In the tower on Eventide Island, the party is engaged in combat with Rivallo, Calithane, Brutus. Fero, still in the form of a cougar, lunges to bite Calithane in the back of the neck. As Calithane struggles to tear Fero away, Hella, having removed the bolt pinning her to the floor, charges at Calithane and strikes a fatal blow through her stomach. Fero transforms back into a Halfling.
Angered, Rivallo casts an enchantment to yank the weapons from the party’s hands. Fero maintains his grip, but misses a swipe at Rivallo. Brutus’s knife is torn from his hand by the enchantment and strikes Fero. As Lem struggles to maintain a hold on his rapier, Fantasmo casts a Light cantrip to illuminate his staff as it flies from his hands. This distracts Brutus momentarily, and Fantasmo casts magic missiles at his back. He fumbles the casting slightly, causing him to forget the spell, but nevertheless the missiles hit Brutus and kill him.
Hella’s sword is unaffected by Rivallo’s enchantment. She strikes through his armor, taking a blow to her shoulder in return. Fero shoots an arrow at Rivallo, but misses and hits Hella. Lem attempts a slash, but Rivallo blocks it and knocks the rapier from his hand. Rivallo grasps Lem by the neck, and the touch of Rivallo’s armor burns Lem’s skin. Hadrian, who has been investigating the storeroom area, hears the sound of the struggle and rushes back into the fray. Hadrian thrusts his halberd directly into the symbol on Rivallo’s chest, striking a fatal blow. As Rivallo dies, his last words are “he lives.”
After the fight, the party investigates the area. Fantasmo replenishes his bag of books with volumes from Rivallo’s bedroom, including a book called “The Canon of Samot.” Lem investigates the marks on the faces of their late adversaries, and learns through pattern magic that the mark exists throughout the tower, and that the mark has become aware of his presence. Investigating the armory, Fantasmo finds a strange crack in the wall. Fero and Hella both examine the armory’s supply of knives, and take a few.
Hadrian returns to his investigation of the storeroom area, where he has found the entrance to a war room. This room contains an octagonal table showing a map of Hieron, very old and much finer than the maps the party has seen. The map is partially a diorama, and some of the pieces have been moved recently. Among the pieces are several “plumbob” crystal markers, including a blue marker on their current location, a green marker on the Mark of the Erasure, and a light brown marker just to the south of Rosemerrow. There are several other plumbob pieces on the map, but they are colorless and knocked over. Also on the table is an iron crown with a symbol of the sun. The crown is warm to the touch, and Hadrian senses that it is evil.
In the bedroom, Fantasmo detects that Ribvallo’s armor and mask are magical. As Lem investigates the mask, some enchantment compels him to put it on. Under its sway, Lem walks to the war room and approaches Hadrian. Under a similar influence, Hadrian puts the crown on Lem. Both of them have a vision of a man with wavy golden hair, who wears the crown as a crowd outside chants “Samot! Samot!” The man whispers “is it time already”? The mask falls from Lem’s face and he comes to his senses, but he is left with burns. Hadrian is profoundly disturbed by this interaction, and he is eager to advance to the next floor of the tower. Before they move on, Fero pockets the plumbob pieces.
As the party continues ascending the tower, Fero turns into a hummingbird once again. The upper part of the tower has largely collapsed, so that they can see the sun setting in the sky. On the penultimate floor of the tower there are numerous chests filled with gold and gems, and the party resolves to take as much as they can when they leave. Lem notices a broken down door which has sprouted humanoid arms and legs—evidently it had been animated at some point, but then later killed. There are stairs winding up the surviving walls of the tower that lead to a platform, the highest remaining part of the tower. Fantasmo listens closely to hear if he can detect any signs of magic, and he hears two humming sounds—one coming from the platform above, the other coming from Hella’s sword.
The party finally ascends to the top platform of the tower, where they see a number of tables and chairs lined in front of a dais. The dais has cracked, and in front of the dais is a large book, whose cover bears the same symbol that appeared on the faces of Rivallo, Brutus, and Calithane. Cautiously, Fantasmo approaches the book and opens it with his staff. In doing this, Fantasmo shoves the book out of the sunlight and into the shadow. Fantasmo senses a magical reaction from the tower like a sigh of relief, and the entire party realizes that a low hum of white noise they have all been hearing has suddenly stopped. However, Fantasmo still hears a hum emanating from the broken dais and from Hella’s sword.
Fantasmo examines the now-open book and determines its purposes. The runes in the book establish an automated magical system that brings objects to life to act out their teleological purpose—for a knife, to chop; for a kitchen, to cook; for waves, to crash against the shore. The book’s automated magic evidently went haywire at some point in the recent past when the book was knocked off the dais and into the sunlight, which caused not only the unusual waves that have disturbed the waters around Velas and Ordenna, but also the odd phenomena that the party members have seen while ascending the tower.
Fantasmo notices that in reaction to the book, the hum he hears from Hella’s sword is becoming louder. He picks the book up and approaches Hella with it, which causes the hum to intensify. Hella can now hear it too, but for Hella, the sound of the hum takes on the sound of words—“Hella, Hella.” She begins to draw her sword and the hum increases. Fantasmo accuses Hella of keeping secrets from the rest of the party. The rest of the party, who cannot hear the sounds Hella and Fantasmo are hearing, are unsure what to make of this interaction.
An argument ensues regarding what should be done with the book. Fantasmo wishes to take it from the tower. Hadrian vehemently disagrees; although he does not sense evil from the book itself, he finds it disturbing and does not want to be near it. Fantasmo chides Hadrian for being suspicious of the book, opining that magical spells and artifacts cannot be evil, it is only the things that people choose to do with them that can be evil: “Magic is no more evil than the wind.” Hadrian sighs and responds, “Of course the wind can be evil.” Hella broadly agrees with Hadrian’s aversion to the book. Lem argues that that the book should be returned to the dais, because that seems to be its intended place in the pattern, an argument Fantasmo finds equally absurd. Only Fero doesn’t object to Fantasmo taking the book. Ultimately the others give in rather than pressing the argument, and Fantasmo gets his way.
On the way out, the party collects a sizable pile of gold and gems, some of which are shared with the expedition leader Calhoun. Their mission has been accomplished, although various members of the party are now angry and suspicious of one another as a result of their disagreement. The party returns to Velas and reports their findings. The authorities are very interested in the plumbob markers from the war room map, and consider having the party split up to investigate those locations: one party to investigate the Mark of the Erasure, and the other party to investigate the site to the south of Rosemerrow.
- Austin Walker (GM)
- Ali Acampora (Hella)
- Keith J Carberry (Fero)
- Jack de Quidt (Lem)
- Nick Scratch (Fantasmo)
- Art Tebbel (Hadrian)