Visions Of The PastTweet to @Brainlessmunkey
As Sif catches his breath, he quickly contemplates his two options: running to safety and pressing onward. As he looks over the scattered furniture, the cleric realizes that anyone else in the lair has probably been alerted. He swallows the lump in his throat, and continues through the unopened door in the dining hall. To little surprise, he sees a man in black robes wielding a dagger heading in his direction. Through sheer instinct, Sif casts Sacred Flame and scorches the necromancer in purifying flame.
The greasy, unkempt human charges forward landing a blow with a poisoned dagger. Sif’s vision begins to blur, and his wild blows with Estelle only find the stone wall. They continue to trade blows and spells until both are bloodied pulps. The necromancer attempts to siphon some of the cleric’s life energy, but the spell doesn’t seem to have any effect. Stealing his moment, Sif manifests another Sacred Flame and puts an end to the haunting of Gadriel’s mine.
Sif collapses against the wall, and catches his breath for the next few minutes. Having taken his powers to their full extent, he knows he’ll be unable to tend to his wounds magically. Accepting this, he begins tiptoeing about the rest of the room. He quickly grabs one of the necromancer’s books, hoping to learn more, as well as a small pouch of coins. Sif begins creeping along the wall, trying to remain as silent as possible as he works his way back to safety. His head pounds with drunkenness and blood loss.
Retracing his steps, he sneaks back to the long entrance corridor and notices two additional rooms along the way. He stops at each of the doors to check for new threats. The first contains a small ritual circle whose purpose is unknown to Sif. The second is a library, that, while interesting to the cleric, is less enticing than the thought of survival. He quickly scrambles out, and hurries back to camp. The two guards see Sif in his injured state and hurry him off to a makeshift medical tent. Before passing out, he mutters, “It’s all good there now.”
After a well-deserved rest, Sif awakens and properly tends to his wounds- chief among them a hangover. As he sits in bed, he recounts the events of the night prior and remembers passing out. Instinctively, he pats down on Estelle and feels some slight sense of comfort; however, he is still unsettled by whatever vision or nightmare had taken his consciousness. Sif decides to keep this to himself, and reports back to Gadriel. The elf thanks Sif for his aide, but is worried about the ritual circle. Cautious of the danger it presents, he asks Sif to find an arcane adept to help dispel whatever effect it may have.
Sif, unfamiliar with magic outside of the domain of the religious, asks where he could find such a person. Thankfully, Gadriel knows of a library in the massive city of Ishtar that would draw curious minds from across the continent. He pays Sif for the work he has finished, and promises a bonus for the new job. Eager for anything gold and shiny, the cleric agrees.
Thankfully, Aelith had marked Ishtar on the map he sold Sif with two points of interest: The Hightower of Nusar, and the Monastery of Avalon. Remembering Wu Shen, the monk that had attacked the bandits at Cirrus, he writes a note to visit the monastery. Sif collects his things and packs up for the journey north. He is able to hitch a ride with a travelling family, and make the trip in just under two days.
As they cut into the arid grasslands of the continent’s heart, Sif parts ways with his travelling companions. Ahead of him, he sees a sight that confirms he has reached his destination: The Wandering Market. For nearly a mile leading up to the city’s walls, various merchants, travelers, con-people, and artists have set up small, temporary stalls and shops. Feeling the coins rattle about in his purse, he decides to do some shopping.
He wanders through the sea of wandering souls until he happens to find a tall, dark-skinned, gorgeous man with long, flowing locks. Mildly enamored, Sif approaches him and asks to see his goods. The human, introducing himself as Shaun Gilmore, regales Sif with some stories of his own adventures and offerings of magical wares. Sif quickly realizes he is out of his league, but decides to treat himself to a simple bow and a newer shield. Thanking Gilmore, he promises to spread the word of the shop the wizard owns in Ishtar: Gilmore’s Glorious Goods.
Having collected a full set of business cards, Sif returns to the original task at hand: finding the city’s library. He walks through the city gate, noting the increased guard presence, and makes his way to the first bar that strikes his fancy. Eventually, in the northern quarter of the city, Sif finds three buildings that have been rather haphazardly fused together with a mesh of architecture styles, building materials, and aesthetic ideals. The sign outside reads Three Strings and Sif decides he has found a perfect inn to stay at for the night. Sounds of music, raucous laughter, and jolly good times echo out in every direction.
Upon entering, Sif sees the most diverse crowd crammed into every possible square inch. Warriors of every nation, merchants, scholars, beggars, and nobles have temporarily forgotten their feuds under their one shared banner: the love of alcoholic beverages. A single tear rolls down Sif’s cheek as he orders himself three beers. For the rest of the evening, the cleric revels in the joys of vegetarian food, stiff drinks, and the carousel of performers entertaining the crowd. As the night stretches into the next day, Sif pays for a night’s stay and eventually passes out in one of the Inn’s various rooms.
The next morning is bright, crisp, and tinged with the all-too-familiar pangs of a hangover. Seeking a cure for his body’s punishment, he wanders downstairs to find most of last night’s patrons firmly asleep in the very chairs they had been drinking in not hours before. Sif squeezes between an elven woman building up the courage to attempt eating and an orcish man doing his best to ignore the rays of sunlight streaming in. He manages to eat a few eggs with toast, and washes them down with the hair of the dog that had bitten him.
Accepting that this would be the best he was going to feel for the rest of the day, Sif wandered out into the blinding sunlight of the late spring day. After adjusting his eyes, the cleric made is way to the heart of town in search of the library Gadriel suggested to him. With the aid of a few helpful citizens, Sif eventually found a large, ornate sandstone building adorned in statues of various deities and heroes of myth. The fifteen-foot-tall oak doors revealed centuries of knowledge spread between display cases, towering book shelves, and scholars deep in their work. Overwhelmed by the sight, Sif sought out one of the librarians and eventually met Kryvnn Estymyr, a brass dragonborn.
“Hey, do you know any mages looking for a job? A guy named Gadriel in Phandalin is looking to hire someone.”
“Well, you’ve certainly come to the right place to look. There are a few members of the Grand Arcanum visiting today, but they might be a little busy. How complicated is the work you’re looking for?”
“It’s just dealing with some necromancy stuff. There’s a few things to dispel.”
“Oh, we’re not doing the necromancy. We’re undoing it.”
After a long, awkward pause, she responds, “Well, there’s someone in the ancient mythology section that’s looking a little desperate. Maybe he can help you?”
After shaking off the weird encounter, Sif began searching through the library for the mage as well as texts detailing the art of alchemy. With a few books in tow, he climbed the stairs to the top level and began searching through the dusty scrolls and worn shelves of the ancient collections. He eventually found a table covered in layers of odd and disorganized texts, maps, and hymns. Figuring the mage would return to his work, Sif decided to read through the books he had been collecting. For the next few hours, Sif studied the various plants indigenous to the southern lands of Ivalion.
The day crept forward. Sif, determined to wait out the mage, continued to read until he had exhausted his curiosity. Remembering the book that he had taken from the necromancer’s lair, he decides to dig further into the necromancer’s interest in Gadriel’s mines. The book, marked as the property of Casfar Felvos, contained his research into the dark and forbidden magic he wielded as well as the limitations he faced. As Sif continued through the notes, he learned Casfar had been trying to set up an outpost for the Black Spider’s expansion beyond the walls of the Kingdom of the Red Lion. His mission had been to construct a teleportation circle between his underground lair and the city of Kythorn. Realizing the purpose of the runic circle in his lair, a bead of sweat rolled down his face.
Sif continued on, and managed to work through some of the cryptic messages left behind. The necromancer had learned of an ancient tool of the profaned god of undeath: The Horn of Orcus. He planned on using the horn’s power to raise a small army by capitalizing on the war tearing Ivalion apart. Fortunately for Sif, the necromancer’s plans had been thwarted by the threat of a strange monk searching for artifacts of the gods banished beyond the great barrier: Nar, Nusar, Hermaeus, Huang, and Orcus. Unsure of his powers or purpose, the Black Spider had refused to move the horn from its current location. At this point, the notes came to an abrupt halt. Desperately searching for any clues that might indicate the horn’s location, he hurriedly flipped page after page.
Eventually, he ran into a divider and flipped into the next section of the book: the necromancer’s spell repertoire. A large ritualistic circle had been drawn across two pages, and the thin, spindly arms connecting the spell were covered with a strange script. Sif slowly turned the book sounding out the runes he recognized, and a sense of fear overcame him.
This is wrong.
The rotation would drawn magic towards the center, and whatever had been placed within the central locus.
I have to stop.
Reaching out, the arms could pull and contain external energy for later use. It was a useful technique to create longer lived undead.
Why can’t I stop? I don’t want to read anymore.
Given sufficient skill and reagents, this technique could animate a corpse for months, and maybe even years with no ill effect.
Please stop. Please stop. Please stop.
Completely entranced, Sif continued spiraling the book and studying the spell as his vision fades to black.
It is deep in the night and a terrible storm is approaching. The rain drenches his cloak, and he pulls it tight to keep warm. Step after step drives him towards the precipice of the black, stone tower. It is ancient and withered, but still serves its true calling. Behind him, a small gnomish man carries the still body of his dearly departed. He has paid handsomely for this day, and, in desperation, turned to a man and forces he did not understand. Their journey continues on in silence, save for the crashes of thunder in the distances.