…Makes her Appearance
Andrea Ravn found no further treasures as she ransacked the wizard’s library. History of the Fabled Realm might prove valuable but this did not appear to be where Acererak stored his spellbooks.
They decided to make their way up to the next level of the manor house.
Nox noticed Shadowfox was lagging behind. When they all turned around to see what was wrong, the Assassin staggered back into the library, so they followed.
She grabbed the skull of the fallen naga, and held it next to the masque on her shoulder. She seemed to think the skull — from which the masque was made — looked like the naga’s skull, but the others could not see the resemblance. But Andrea noticed something: Both skull had latent magic on them. And the magic seemed to have the same flavor — at least to Andrea.
Then Shadowfox began to shake, and collapsed unconscious. They tried to heal her, but she remained unconscious. Andrea found a letter in Shadowfox’s clothing.
Reading the letter, Relvain saw it was from Amyria and seemed to be addressing all of them. Andrea wondered why Shadowfox hadn’t mentioned it.
“I guess we were pretty busy fighting the Bone Naga when she caught up with us,” the Warlord thought. “It must have slipped her mind when the fight was over.”
They decide to take Shadowfox down to the landing where they left Andrea’s Trihorn Behemoth. Relvain carried her. And Andrea brooded: “We’ll have to come back here when we leave to take her back to our own time.”
They found traps — of course, they found traps — starting with a spike trap. Andrea got a table from the wizard’s laboratory and used it to bridge the spikes. They found some suspicious holes in the floor ahead, so she used the table again to trigger this trap.
But the spikes or poison gas they were expecting did not emerge. Instead, gouts of flame set the table afire. Andrea had to throw it into the central shaft of the stairwell. They jumped, flew, and strolled — in the case of Nox — past the flames.
Andrea warned the others not to mention Acererak’s future when they tried to convince him to give up the rest of his Sky Metal. “It may help us convince him we are from the future, but he will be less likely to part with the metal if he knows he will need it for his necromancy.”
As they climbed to the top level of the building, she heard Acererak’s voice ring out.
“I offer you one chance to avoid my wrath, you cowardly thieves.”
She saw the robed figure had not turned or even paused in his work. He was turning dials and whispering words of power that Andrea could not really hear — but she felt them within her bones. She was able to hear his demand:
“Throw yourselves from my tower, and I shall allow fate to determine whether you live or die. “Otherwise, prepare to truly understand why I am numbered among the greatest wizards of Bael Turath.”
But Relvain quickly stepped in with some diplomatic flattery, telling Acererak they were from the future and — in the future — he was known all over the world, not just in Bael Turath. Nox followed up with a grand bluff.
Andrea knew they had to convince the wizard they were from the future. She had studied the model for his Tomb of Horrors and knew it varied somewhat from what he had eventually built. The historical record of the tomb’s traps was very extensive. So she pointed out the differences.
“Some of those changes … I was already considering,” Acererak told her. “And the others … I shall now consider. They seem like good ideas. I have to admit, this does suggest you may be from the future.”
They made their way through the slime traps and now faced the wizard across a causeway covered with glowing sigils. He had acknowledged their presence enough to turn and face them directly. He seemed genuinely interested about what they could tell him about the future. And Relvain seized on his interest to Bluff him with a story about his future.
They all turned and saw Shadowfox walk up the stairs, wearing her masque. Acererak greeted her warmly: “Hello, Nightshade.”
Nox Rhasgar did not know why Shadowfox was wearing her masque, but it didn’t seem to be driving her crazy.
The stairs had led them up to an open tower room, the walls alternating between solid stone and open slits that looked out upon the nearby city. The floor of this room ran inside these outer walls, leaving the center as an open shaft which dropped to the bottom of the tower far below.
The floor of the uncovered causeway leading to a second tower. Nox was pretty sure the glowing sigils on the crossing indicated some kind of magic trap.
Against the wall behind Acererak was a massive device of glowing orbs, rotating arms, and crystal tubes, almost filling the eastern wall. He could see the remaining pieces of Sky Metal clearly visible with the device’s internal structure. They only needed two more and they would be able to give Obanar enough Sky Metal to make one of the Implements of Argent for each of them.
“All right. You have convinced me you are from the future. But you are still thieves. They still have thieves in the future, right?”
Andrea admitted there were still thieves in the future. “But we are here on an important mission, important even to wizards as powerful as you are in the future. We are trying to save the city of Argent, which in our time is under assault by forces which seek to return the world to the chaos of the Primordials. The Primordials will have no use for powerful wizards in the future they seek to bring about.”
Then she pointed to one of the pieces of Sky Metal in the device behind the wizard and explained to Acererak how he could replace that piece without using any Sky Metal.
“Very impressive,” the wizard admitted, waving arm an arm. At his gesture, the sigils stopped glowing.
Assuming this meant the traps on the causeway were no longer active, Nox walked across the causeway and examined the device more closely. Using similar logic to Andrea’s, she told the wizard how to eliminate the need for the other piece of the Sky Metal.
“That’s all well and good,” the wizard admitted. “Just because you have proved I could give you the Sky Metal, however, hardly proves that I should give you the Sky Metal!”
Shadowfox — or Nightshade, as Acererak kept calling her — seemed to be be on their side in the argument with Acererak. She called him a fool and tried to intimidate him into giving them the Sky Metal.
That did not seem to work, but Nox noticed that he did seem slightly disturbed by the masque she was wearing.
While he and the others tried to gain some Insight into what could move Acererak to give them the metal, Relvain poured on the Diplomacy to convince him that the future would be good for a great and powerful wizard, but only if it was not controlled by the Primordials.
This was enough to convince the wizard to give them the last two pieces of Sky Metal they needed. He had Nox and Andrea help him fix his device so that it could continue to function without the two pieces and then handed them over.
They went down the stairs to where they left the Trihorn Behemoth and Shadowfox, The Assassin was still there, where they left her, and she was still wearing the masque … on her shoulder, not on her face.
Going back to the portal in the foyer, they used the gem Qwor had given them to return to their own time.
Belinda brought Avenglen and Garen Bladerun with her to Fallcrest. They both volunteered to help her pick up the pieces of her life. Maggie showed up as well, always interested in the aftermath of an assassination. But Maggie didn’t seemed as concerned as the others about Belinda’s own feelings. Her father was dead! Roland was missing and so was Madras Kalgore. Everybody was blaming Roland and his underling, but Belinda was sure he hadn’t done it. But she dared not say so because most people still thought she had a crush on Roland. The only one who wasn’t assuming it was him was Jerath … who was the one who wrote the play about her crushing on Roland!
… and armor for the Dragonpinner. She was really looking forward to that. Obanar said he would look through the Archives of Argents for some designs he remembered. He assured Relvain they were dwarven designs, inspired by their God of the Forge.
They told Obanar they would be back soon to use the implements he was making to break the siege of Argent. They did still need to take care of the errand in the Letter from Amyria before they could tackle the seige. Obanar sent them back to Overlook.
Nox took them back to the secret shop where his friend sold Wondrous Items. They picked up some Restful Bedrolls and Andrea looked at some quills she remembered seeing. It turned out they couldn’t do quite what she wanted. Relvain found a smith who didn’t have exactly what she was looking for. She had to settle for another axe.
Then they were off to check out the outpost which was worrying Amyria.
Turned out to be quite close to one of the secret portals which Cachlain told them were being used by the Githyanki. They weren’t being attacked. Yet they were reporting unusual Githyanki activity in the area.
Perhaps even infighting among the Githyanki.