In the library of the Oracle's Circle, Mellia's research into magickal means of finding the Crown of Horns is largely unsuccessful; she finds references to the dangerous Contact Other Planes spell she already knew about, and reference to a powerful spell to discern the location of objects that requires one to have had the object in one's possession. In the evening, after dinner, she becomes woozy and starts to faint. Fortunately, Fargrim catches her. Mellia explains that she over-exerted herself teleporting the group such a great distance, and that she needs to be more cautious in the future.
That night, while sleeping, Fargrim has visions of Nesme besieged by legions of undead creatures led by a dark knight mounted on a flame-breathing horse. In the vision, walls of ice so high they almost block out the sun surround the city, keeping the invaders at bay.
[20 Kythorn 1372 (Summer Solstice)]
In Mirabar, Dolcetto explores the city. She's generally disappointed by the lack of scholarly resources available. She does find a book stall and picks up a small tome on geology before returning to her room to finish enchanting Fargrim's greataxe. When it's done, she heads to the north gate to await the promised arrival of her new travelling companions. Several heavily-laden carts of ore arrive from the city's mines, but there is no sign of the adventurers. Dolcetto returns to her inn, contemplating whether she should start looking for another group.
Near the Rauvin, Tunak spends another uneventful day at the campsite. Bettina is obviously growing impatient with the fact that, after disappearing suddenly, the others have still not returned (despite having left a note saying they would be back days ago).
At the Oracle's Circle, Mellia tells her companions that her research has been fruitless. In the hallway, she encounters Procul, and the sneering student threatens to summon the school's headmaster. Mellia decides to hurry her friends outside so she can cast the spell to teleport them back west. As she begins intoning the arcane syllables of the spell, however, a good-looking man in his late 30s, wearing wizard's robes, emerges from the forest. He stops up short when he sees Mellia, and calls her name. Flustered, Mellia tries to decide whether to continue or abort the spell; resolving to continue, she then can't decide whether the destination should be Mirabar or Tunak's campsite.
The indecision causes the spell to fail, and Mellia is forced to explain her presence at the tower to Gideon Stormcrowe, Headmaster of the Oracle's Circle. Mellia reluctantly introduces Markus, Cain, and Fargrim. She says they're friends she made in the course of the fieldwork for her research project. She's evasive when asked about her progress on the project, why she's returned to the tower, or how long she's planning on staying. Gideon is somewhat perturbed by Mellia's attitude, but secures a promise to have dinner together that evening to discuss matters further.
The four adventurers decide to walk into the forest so that they can converse in private. Mellia apologizes for her failed attempt to teleport them away, but promises to try again the next morning. Fargrim tells the others about his vision of what was happening in Nesme. The group feel that, once again, they are being scryed upon. Seconds later, the Red Wizard named Felix Ruul emerges from a magical portal, levitating almost twenty feet in the air. He instantly hurls a massive ball of flame at the group, snarling that Cain has brought this upon himself. He denounces the cleric's failure to travel to Nesme as ordered, saying the result has been the ascension of the Aurilite clergy into positions of leadership in the city. He states that he volunteered to bring Cain back to the Flaming Brazier in Bezantur for discipline and punishment, but that he hopes Cain will resist.
Two gargoyles perched on the roof of the Oracle's Circle immediately swoop down on Ruul, but their claws only scrape pieces of stone from the wizard's body, while an arrow shot by Markus shatters against an invisible barrier. Ruul starts his counter-attack, but Cain surprises him by agreeing to go with him. "It's the only way," he explains to the others. The other adventurers don't seem convinced, but do not actively try to persuade Cain otherwise. A disappointed Ruul flies down to where Cain is and teleports him away.
Afterwards, Mellia voices her frustration over losing Cain, saying that she blames herself for distracting him from his task. Fargrim is clearly angry as well, shattering furniture in the tower's library. But Markus seems to be the most dramatically affected, as he's taking to calling a bucket with a crude face carved into it "Cain." The three adventurers vow that they'll find a way to get Cain back.
While the two males travel into the forest to visit an old friend of Mellia's for a healing salve, Mellia has her promised dinner with Gideon. She tells him that Allia is staying with others at the moment, and asks for his help in retrieving Cain. He says that Thay is an incredibly dangerous, distant place, and that he could not in good conscience send one of his students there. He tries to contact Cain with a Sending spell, but it fails due to his lack of familiarity with the cleric. Mellia remains determined to rescue Cain, and decides that she may need an expert on religion to aid her interaction with the Kossuthian temple hierarchy: Dolcetto.
[21 Kythorn 1372]
In Mirabar, Dolcetto spends the day learning a new flame spell and posts a notice seeking other bands interested in finding information about Myrkul and the Crown of Horns. Before long, however, she's visited by Mellia, Fargrim, and Markus, as the adventurers teleported to the glade south of Mirabar earlier in the day. Dolcetto hands a pleased Fargrim the enchanted greataxe that continually glows and has dwarven runes engraved on it. Mellia tells Dolcetto about their desire to retrieve Cain. Dolcetto says she has heard of the Flaming Brazier, but that it is such a distance away that travelling there would take quite some time. Dolcetto says the primary centers for worship of Kossuth in Faerun are in Thay and Mulhorand, but she has heard of a small temple in Mulmaster. The group decide their best bet is to teleport to Tunak's campsite, and from there to travel overland to Silverymoon. In the Gem of the North, hopefully, they will find either a powerful spellcaster or a magical portal that will take them to Thay.
Director's Commentary (August 19, 2016)
Two big things this session!
|Sorry Gideon, wizard chicks only like bad boys.|
Second, Felix Ruul teleports Cain away! Felix, a Red Wizard, was an original part of Cain's backstory as a major rival. Cain had been told a long time ago (in-game) that his superiors wanted him to oust the budding Aurilite (winter goddess) presence in Nesme, but he never took any real steps to do so. So a confrontation was inevitable, and I thought I'd have a big fight for the session. Instead, I was quite surprised when Cain volunteered to go along with Felix. This meant that Cain's player had to introduce a new PC (as Cain would be off-stage for months of time in real life). Moreso, it introduced a major new detour to the campaign, as Mellia launched a lengthy crusade to get Cain back. There'll be a lot more on that in future commentaries.