We had not long returned from the City of Shattered Glass when we received a missive from the Greyhawk City Doctor’s Guild. It seems that Lord Mayor Zagyg had recommended us to protect one of their members. We returned to the great city to speak with the guild leaders who told us Dr. Valin Cartwright had been working on a cure for the diseases produced by Bartholomew. He recently had begun experiencing terrible nightmares that were affecting his progress. This was certainly cause for concern and not a coincidence.
Cartwright proved to be a pragmatic and somewhat eccentric man. A follower of St. Cuthbert, the pragmatism was not a surprise. His research, however, was quite cutting edge from what Kylie told us. He was using the diseases themselves to create what he called a “vaccine,” a formula that would expose a person in order to create an immunity. Cartwright also turned out to be a survivor from the city of Skorane in the Gnarley Forest, the one that was initially infected with “Night Terrors” and the very place of Bartholomew’s birth.
We set up protective wards and a rotating watch on the poor doctor, while Kylie assisted him and Idrys and Tulla went to the city library to research dream walking. Several nights later, Ardes noted someone else on a nearby rooftop who was watching a house just down the street. The man looked odd through the Gem of True Seeing — out of phase with our reality was the best description. Upon investigation, we discovered the place was amassing Sons of Kyuss. It seems our concerns were well founded, and we decided to act preemptively.
While the others planned an assault on the house, I went to the watch for permission and to alert them as to what was going on. They quickly agreed and promised backup if we required it. On my way back, I had a strange vision. I saw the city of Rauxes, a cracked holy symbol of Heironeous, and a man who appeared to be a fallen paladin. At first I wasn’t sure what it could mean, other than that this man had survived the fall of the city, but it became clear quite quickly.
Loreli, Kylie, Ardes, and Dr. Cartwright retreated into Kylie’s extra-dimentional laboratory in order to keep the doctor safe while we dealt with the Sons of Kyuss. Things happened rapidly after we took a closer look at the house down the street. There was a cleric of Incabulos and his enormous bodyguard: strange man who radiated chaos and appeared to have scales as well as a broken symbol of the Archpaladin — the man from my vision! Tulla realized that her sister, Taren, had trapped the house, but our intent was not to go in so much as force our enemies out. Our mages hurled fire into the building while Jevan webbed the window that the cleric attempted to escape from. Sons of Kyuss fled out into the street where we were waiting for them.
Bartholomew’s alternate self suddenly showed himself as well as the man who had been spying on the rooftops in the night. Our spy turned out to be Thaddeus, the dark herald, who shoved his way into the burning house, followed closely by Bartholotwo. I chased them in and found Thaddeus pulling what appeared to be some kind of puzzle with the name of Acerak scrawled on it. He and Bart struggled until Thaddeus grabbed Bart’s mask, pulling it off. He had the exact same face as Dr. Cartwright! I managed to grab the puzzle and used one of our communication crystals to alert our friends guarding the doctor.
At the same time, Cartwright revealed himself back in Kylie’s lab, but was quickly subdued by Ardes and Loreli’s summoned rhino. Outside the house, Villius did battle with the enormous man, only just matching his strength which is no small feat. Jevan used his magic to bury this strange man in the ground where we later learned he burrowed away. We will need to find him, though, since I know of no other person who survived the fall of Rauxes. We must speak with him if we are to learn what happened there.
We chose to take the unconscious Dr. Cartwright to the church of St. Cuthbert where we learned several things. Cartwright was the original Bartholomew. Or rather, Bartholomew was split off from Cartwright. Due to his greater power, Bart could possess the doctor whenever he chose, but Valin has his own soul. With that knowledge, we left him in the care of the priests, hoping they could find a way to bring poor Valin back to himself.
Almost immediately after this, I received a message from Jack. Rutherford Seafire had found his nephew in Sigil where the boy was part of some sort of extra-planar street gang of children. With the help of Mr. Seafire, we wasted no time and headed to the City of Doors, tracking down the “Planar Rovers” without much fanfare. The children we reluctant to speak with us, but we demanded an audience with their leader anyway and tried to explain how serious the situation was. They seemed unnerved by the thought of Asmodeus wanting to seize one of their members and finally relented.
Unfortunately, it turned out Taren was their ultimate leader, and she set her pet clockwork monstrosities on us from a remote location. We destroyed the mechanical menaces quickly, and Jack, understandably worried, threatened one of the children into telling us where his nephew was. It seems Taren had been loaning the poor boy to to a gang of tieflings who were teaching him… well, I’m not sure what, but I doubt it was good. We hurried to their base where we interrupted a ritual in progress. The young fiend-bloods fled rather than fight us, but young Jack had some sort of strange mind control device on him courtesy of Taren. Tulla was able to disable it, bringing the boy back to himself.
With young Jack safe, we returned home. Rutherford had noticed, in his search, at least three planes that had vanish, however. After some research, it was discovered that some of the energy of those plans was being… syphoned off, traveling back in time to Oerth very long ago to a place near Geoff and then on to the mysterious demi-plane of dread. Sir Christopher spoke of a place called Barovia and brought us what information he had on the awful place. We will need to investigate this further, but for now there is still a great deal to do on our own plane.