I’m sorry for the long gap in sending this letter, but there has been a number of events that occurred in rapid succession. Immediately after returning from the Caverns of Suel Memory, Baldrun Ralffson, Villius’s mother, began the preparations for his and Hanna’s wedding. It was a complicated affair spanning many days. I’m sorry you couldn’t be here to see it since I know how much you enjoy wedding ceremonies.
The wedding went more smoothly than I was expecting. With all the strange things happening, I honestly expected some kind of trouble. We met Villius’s extended family, including his uncle Oleg who was very entertaining. The king of the barbarians, Villius’s other uncle Hundgred, declared him to be his heir. We are now traveling with the future ruler of the barbarian people. Cerrion also seemed to be quite… friendly with Villius’s cousin, Rika. I thought it best not to pry.
Some of us had very strange dreams during our stay, and Baldrun proved to be an incredibly accurate seer. She explained things to several of us that should prove useful in the future. Baldrun stressed that Jack is a good person, which was hardly news to me, but warned me that he might do something incredibly stupid in order to save his nephew. That too had occurred to me, but it was good to get some forewarning. Tulla dreamed of a man in the marketplace of Zeif. Which wouldn’t be strange except that she was dreaming of him, and he happened to not be Baklunish. It seems we should seek him out. Baldrun had information for Idrys as well regarding his demon’s history. Evidently he was once human. Kylie learned that there is something she needs to retrieve from a magic forest that transforms evil people into stone. Sounds like an interesting place.
The fourth day… I’m not even sure how to describe this, but I’ll try. Oleg came into the great hall where everyone was celebrating and declared that, despite having drunk enough to collapse a dragon, he was quite sure he’d seen a flying ship in the sky. Now, Oleg had been declaring a number of amazing things during our stay there, but this seemed different. We all went outside to look. And, indeed, there was a ship in the sky flying the flag of the Grand Duchy of Geoff. Jack leaned over the side and started yelling to us about how amazing his new toy was. I refused to play along, realizing how insufferably excitable he can be about these sorts of things, but…
That ship, “Reason’s Might” they called it, is incredible! It is powered by the Crook of Rao, built by gnomes, Raoans and dwarves from the plans given to them by Bahamut himself. It is truly unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Everyone was awed and wanted to see just how fast it could travel. Fenderus Von Caliper, the gnomish ambassador to Geoff, explained they had made the trip from Geoff to the Frost Barbarian lands in half a day! With the powers granted by the Crook of Rao, it should be invaluable in our fight against the fiend hoards.
We stayed another day, until the official end of the wedding festivities, and then left on the ship to Zeif. Hanna accompanied us since she is an expert on the history of the Song of Ages. When we arrived, we were escorted by Prince Kareem, the husband of Princess Jenna Everdawn who had come back to his homeland to be our liaison. Apparently, the royal household was expecting us, and we quickly learned the reason why. Kylie’s friends, Jeremy and Frederick, had arrived before us. They relayed the information they had gathered regarding the Temple of Shame and promised to search for the man from Tulla’s dream while we were busy.
The Sultan himself is something of an experience. He seems convinced that the key to everyone’s happiness is marriage, but he’s a very savvy individual as well. He had many warnings for us one what we might encountered at the temple introduced us to a Camel of the Pearl — a genius, elephant sized paladin camel. He was very polite, that camel. I like him quite a lot. The Sultan told us the most dangerous thing in the Temple of Shame would be the Great Guhl, a fragment of the Elder Elemental God and thus of the Mad God.
We didn’t have much time in Zeif before we headed out, graciously being given a ride by our camel friend. The temple was a melancholy place with roaming magical null zones. Just inside was a room sealed up with holy sigils that prevented evil things from entering or leaving. We also found notes from the time of the Twin Cataclysms regarding the Baklunes’ decision to summon Dorga Torgu to fight back against the Suel.
Progressing through, we found areas that were devoted to the different elements. While some still contained monsters, many of the elementals that had inhabited the place had been literally sucked dry by the Great Guhl. A chilling thought that such a creature could eat the elemental essence. Along with the clockwork automatons, we found guhls and undead clerics who tried to bar our way. The most surprising find were the three secret libraries, complete with a 3000 year old clockwork librarian. He was polite, but seemed to expect us to fail in our task.
We left him behind in the safety of the library and went to the main worship chamber where the Guhl and his great elemental creations waited. Thanks to careful planning, we were able to overcome them without any serious loss our our part. We also discovered a room that the librarian had warned us about: a summoning chamber for gods that had the power to tear apart and dismantle them if used correctly. A disconcerting find. The librarian was pleased when we returned and detached the libraries from the rest of the temple using an amazing mechanism. The building sprouted legs and began to walk towards Zeif!
Exploring the library, Idrys came across a book that contained prophecy regarding Asmodeus. It seems his intention is to sign a pact with the demons, a truce in the Blood War, in order to wage war on the heavens themselves. The given date was a familiar one: Ready’reat 11th.
Thrilled to be free of his imprisonment, the librarian, who called himself simply Librarian One, was eager to learn about what he had missed in the last 1000 years. He warned us that Acerak, who may be the only being who knows how to create, and possibly destroy, a vestige, was a being called a demilich. In life, Acerak was a cambion who was disturbingly fond of Vecna and entirely loyal to him. If there is anyone on Oerth that would want to see the Archlich restored, it would be him.
Tulla told him the story of the Heroes of the Key which he found quite fascinating. Using one of our communications crystals to put him in touch with Sir Christopher to answer more of his questions, the librarian assembled the information he needed. He explained that Zagyg is a fragment of Boccob from the terrible future the Heroes prevented, thrown into the past to help them. Ygrax was indeed Zagyg who attempted to tear out the part of himself that contained Boccob’s sorrow and anger. In doing so, he inadvertently created the Codex of Infinite Planes. The book is quite literally an evil god of magic that lacks the divine power to truly ascend to godhood. It is everything evil about magic.
And with that distressing thought, we made our way back to Zeif.
PS. Villius seems to be under the impression that Jack is “sweet on" me. I’m not sure what to make of that. Seems strange… What do you think?