[flashback to 25 Kythorn 1372]
After seeing Ralkin disappear through the mirror-portal, Mellia spends the rest of the day looking through Terrigo Multivar's unorganized collection of books for information on Thay. Most of what she finds is useless histories of ancient wars and political squabbling, but she does develop a partial picture of what modern Thay is like.
According to her research, the land is governed by the Red Wizards, an order of extremely powerful spellcasters. Each of the schools of magic chooses one leader as Zulkir, and the eight Zulkir together decide on the fate of the country. In the past, this often meant invading neighboring countries, but in recent years Thay has adopted a policy of trade and has established trading enclaves in several cities across Faerun, exchanging magickal items for gold. Slavery is quite common in Thay, and patrols of gnolls and "blood orcs" constantly scour the land for escaped slaves or foreigners who are present without a permit. Everyone in Thay is either a Red Wizard, a noble, a commoner, or a slave.
After finishing looking through Multivar's books, Mellia casts a Sending spell to an old friend and then visits the Vault of the Sages, the massive structure that represents Faerun's preeminent assembly of knowledge. She's told by a junior priest of Denier that it is near closing time and she should return in the morning where materials will be waiting for her.
[26 Kythorn 1372]
After successfully defeating T'Klack and recovering Multivar's spider-shaped amulet, the adventurers return to the first level of the complex via Myst's levitation spell. Syd is in excellent spirits and casts a spell on Garry to allow his animal companion to walk on the walls and ceilings! The two race along the complex in boisterous play. Ralkin, meanwhile, tells the mysterious being in the weapons room that his master is dead and that he is free to depart. The being departs after expressing his gratitude to Ralkin and Daisy.
With the weapon room now unguarded, the adventurers take stock. There are dozens of weapons inside, and everything is in exquisite condition. Fargrim realizes that some of the weapons are even made of silver, cold-wrought iron, and even extremely-rare mithral! Daisy takes a silver greataxe (pestering Myst to explain whether it will hurt various types of enemies more), and Fargrim outfits himself with an urgosh and battle axe to the point where he looks like walking weapons cabinet.
As the inventory continues, Dolcetto awakens and remembers having been filled with frenzy in the arena. Ralkin teases Dolcetto about her folly in charging into the arena and explains how he found the amulet under the dark elf's body. Realizing that much of her equipment is missing, Dolcetto finds Myst and says she was only holding the items belonging to Gelkar pending a final disposition of his remains. Myst seems to believe his fellow tiefling, and returns the items.
Syd and Garry continue to frolic, much to Dolcetto's annoyance. Still, she shares her theory that if the two of them are in touch with the adventurers when the duration of the mirror-portal's spell ends, they will be transported back to Multivar's house with them. Upon examining the weapons' room, Dolcetto suggests taking every single item present for future sale and then proposes a means to divide the proceeds among the adventurers. The others don't argue, but also don't seem to care one way or the other. The tiefling loremaster then magickally divines whether anything is magickal and learns that, although nothing in the weapons room is, every one of the items taken from T'Klack's secret room displays some type of magickal aura. Dragging over a hundred pounds in weapons behind her, the determined loremaster heads outside when the group has determined to wait for the mirror-portal's magic to end. That night, Myst magickally conjures a small cottage. Although temporarily stranded in a forbidden wasteland, the adventurers find their night's rest uneventful.
Back in Silverymoon, Mellia sends another message via magic. She seems disappointed in the response. Returning to the Vault of Sages, she hears about how red is a forbidden color in Thay unless one is a Red Wizard. She also views a map of Thay, but determines that 50 gp is too much to spend for a copy. When she returns to Multivar's residence, she asks the old man if his mirror-portal could travel to any countries outside of Thay, as she is worried about the permit requirement. Multivar flips through his densely-scrawled book of notes and says there is a portal to the city of Laothkund, which he describes as being in Aglarond.
[27 Kythorn 1372]
Mellia sends a magickal message to Cain, and is annoyed at the response. Hearing a knock on Multivar's front door, she realizes that Bettina has arrived in Silverymoon and was directed here after asking questions at Wayward House. Mellia explains that Markus is temporarily away, but should be returning any day. Mellia then visits the Vault of Sages to inquire about Aglarond. She's presented with general reference books on the east that mention the country is heavily forested and populated by humans on the coast with ancient elven communities said to be lurking in the Yuirwood, and that half-elves are extremely common. However, the tomes specifically on Aglarond are in part of the Vault's catacombs undergoing reshelving, and it may take a couple of days to be found. Mellia then inquires about Kossuth, and gets a picture of the deity's faith that seems completely at odds with what she knows about Cain! Later, so as to better pass as a noble in Thay, she purchases some expensive but very well-made articles of clothing and jewellery.
Meanwhile, back on the far side of the mirror-portal, the others pass the time waiting for the return spell to activate. Syd works on training Garry, Dolcetto and Myst trade spellbooks, Daisy interacts with Gelkar's shovel, Ralkin cogitates about a new trap, and Fargrim waits bored and somewhat listless. As the afternoon's light begins to wane, suddenly Fargrim, Daisy, Myst, and Dolcetto feel themselves starting to tingle and their vision starting to fade. One of them cries out that the mirror-portal is drawing them back, and Syd makes sure to hold on tightly to one of them. Ralkin, who was several yards away, sees his companions starting to disappear and leaps to grab ahold, only to land just inches short with a mouth full of dirt! The kenku takes the matter philosophically, however, and returns to the complex to start removing the traps that T'Klack had installed.
At Multivar's house, the adventurers suddenly find themselves back in Silverymoon. Garry is shocked to find himself indoors, and runs rampant, crashing through doorways and furniture before escaping to the streets with Syd barely able to keep up. Startled passerby are stunned to see a dinosaur on the streets of Silverymoon, and Syd decides the best way to calm his companion is to turn into a dire eagle and literally pick Garry up! Syd and Garry start flying towards the Silverwood, and Daisy, excited, mounts her griffon, Binky, and flies with them. The adventurers and their mounts land in the forest and decide to rest there for the night.
Back inside, Dolcetto informs Mellia of Markus' death in battle. Mellia says she is not surprised, as the swordsman was always taking chances, but hopes the group will manage to have him raised from the dead. Dolcetto also tells her how useful Syd and Garry were, and that if it can be arranged, the two should join them in Thay. Myst seems willing to go as well. Multivar, for his part, is flabbergasted that none of the adventurers have returned with his amulet, as it was left in Ralkin's possession! Dolcetto explains that Ralkin has "slower reactions than a stone golem," but surmises that the kenku should return soon, since he entered the mirror-portal only a day later than the others.
Dolcetto then visits the city's shrine to Tymora, and sees that a gambling night is being held. She talks with Luckpriestess Aratha Sul, who agrees that, come morning, she will cast a divination spell to discern whether Markus wishes to be returned from the realm of the dead. Dolcetto's efforts to learn of Gelkar's wishes, however, are stymied, as there is no formal house of worship of Tempus in Silverymoon and a guard at The House Invincible (devoted to Helm) says the loremaster has come to the wrong place for divination magic. Dolcetto decides a visit to the Halls of Inspiration (devoted to Oghma) is in order, but it is closed for the night.
Meanwhile, Fargrim says it would be best if he explained to Bettina about what happened to Markus. He finds the former sailor's wife in a room at Wayward House that she has hastily remodelled in a nautical theme (perhaps to the dismay of the inn's chamberlains!). Fargrim says that Markus died bravely and with great valour, and that his dying words were of love for Bettina. She sobs, but is comforted by the dwarf's partial lies.
Late that night, Dolcetto and Mellia talk about the best way to approach retrieving Cain from Thay. They decide to further investigate the Laothkund option, and to have the magickal items obtained from T'Klack's complex identified.
The night's rest passes without incident.
Director's Commentary (16/03/2018)
As I've talked about, there wasn't a lot of traditional adventuring or dungeon-crawling in this campaign (despite my original intent!), so there were few opportunities to gain magical loot. Dolcetto's player became notorious for taking just about everything that wasn't nailed down for future sale.
There's a lot of research here into Thay and Aglarond, as well as the Red Wizards and the Church of Kossuth. I had to do a lot of prep work to get ready for the group's journey there but, as we'll see, I'm pretty proud of how well I pulled it off given the limited resources (in terms of books, etc.) I had at my disposal.
The scene at the end with Fargrim talking (and lying through his teeth) to Bettina was hilarious.