Kylie has told me that young Jack is progressing well in his studies, though she doesn’t give any details. It sounds as though Tobi is thoroughly enjoying himself in Dawn Bay as well. I doubt there’s much for him to do since the Seafires are more than capable of protecting their own. There hasn’t been much word about Kalur, but I did insist that he be given opportunities to speak to his son. Those communications crystals Sir Christopher gave us are wonderful for keeping in touch over long distances.
We had finally had some time to rest in Greyhawk City. Most of the group went off to do research, but since I’m not terribly good at that sort of thing I did what I could to help around the church of Heironeous. One evening, I returned to my room to find a pile of newspaper clippings and an old book about the folklore of the city. The dog-eared page in the book spoke about the “Serrance Manor,” while the articles were all about people disappearing in the poorest part of the city. Everyone was intrigued and concerned, so we set about learning what we could.
We eventually found ourselves speaking to Phinder Gabberstop, a gnome journalist who had written the articles left for me. He was set up in a building across the street from where the manor had once been. Idrys, using the gem of true seeing, was able to tell that the house was still there in the ethereal plane. Phinder explained that the Hand of Chance, among others, had gone into the house but never come out. Random individuals often disappeared in the vicinity as well. Combined with some digging in the city’s archives and at the church of Zilchus as well as speaking to an elven art dealer, we were able to start piecing together some of what had happened.
The Serrances had a butler named Terrance Pike who fancied himself an art aficionado. He was, by tale, a lazy man who resented his position of servitude. He tried to market a painting that everyone seemed wary of due to it’s unsettling nature. He called it the “Map of Hell.” It seems he made a deal with Adramelech, Asmodeus’s librarian, and murdered the members of the Serrance family. The house was consumed in a great blaze 60 years ago, but stories of it appearing were told from time to time.
We decided to split our group in two, with half waiting outside in case something went wrong. Those of us who went in first were greeted by a door that slammed behind us, and everyone but me was instantly transported to the attic. On my way to meet up with them, I spotted the Ink Loreli monster and gave chase. Unfortunately, in the dark house I lost it. We all met up again and decided to search the house from top to bottom. Using True Seeing, Idrys realized that the entire house was covered in a repeating invisible magic sigil. We learned a great deal more about what had happened when we found a toy chest filled with teddy bear and toy soldier golems.
Long story short, Terrance had used the Serrance family as a power source, trapping them in different points in the house. Their poor tortured ghosts remained until we subdued and freed them, stopping the flow of power. The house… well. Zagyg, 400 years ago, decided to have a family and built himself a house that acted as something like a cubic gate. We theorized that it was a prototype of his god trap. More importantly, the Serrance family were HIS descendants. Due to it’s construction, Terrance was able to reconfigure the house — with help from Celasur who ultimately killed him — to funnel power straight to Asmodeus. It seems this energy was what he used to power his experiments on the Von Slythe family. Able to exist in different time periods simultaneously, the house was the perfect funnel.
Stopping by the art gallery, we found the Ink Lorelei had absorbed all the paintings in the room. The paintings had been sucking up the souls of the people who had disappeared, granting great power. Ardes doused the ink monster with paint thinner, causing pain to not only it, but Lorelei as well. Fortunately, Tulla, Idrys, and Kylie were able to momentarily break the connection between the two — right before Ardes struck the creature with a fist wreathed in elemental fire. The explosion sent us all flying. Idrys was thrown up through the ceiling, crashing down through two floors into the basement laboratory Zagyg had hidden. Lorelei explained later that the monster was made of magical ink. Very volatile spell ink, in fact. We couldn’t tell if it was destroyed, but the room was certainly ruined.
By this point the rest of our group joined us as we had already been gone for quite some time. We found the Hand of Chance trapped in the library and discovered that the ghosts of both children were trapped in containers. Oddly, it seems Celasur set up circles to protect the children from the worst of Adramelech’s tortuous magic, while still leaving the power to flow from them. It seems we need to learn more about this woman.
In the basement, we set off a trap that summed four devils, but Faern’s Holy Word made short work of most of them. We were able to kill the others without being harmed ourselves. There we found the ghost of Emily Serrance, trapped just as her brother had been and protected by another of Celasur’s circles. As we freed the last ghost, we felt the entire house begin to spin around the central pillar. Everything locked into place, and it was apparent we were no longer where we had been.