Fantastic Tales from the realm

Chapter V

Curiosity killed the wizard

Grass underfoot seemingly transformed to stone as Farren practically glided with the party, her tempo seizing at the difference, a frown creasing her forehead as she looked down and back following the roadway back then forward as she saw the break between the trail and the roadway. Moss and other lichen clung to the stones as if divorced lovers. Parallel to the roadway rose a stone fence, its interlace of brick and mortar crumbling. As the party rounded the fence the imposing gothic manor stood before them. Its 3 storeys’ inching above the surrounding tree line. Its sharp grey lines practically impaling the sky above “Stars Asunder…” Farren muttered as she took in the aggressive beauty of the Manor before she began to notice small issues at first. The broken windows, the blackened grass of the courtyard, the barricaded doors.

“By her blade…” Ugaburk muttered.

“What in the Nine Hells of Baator?” Faehana mused a flash of fangs appearing across the Tiefling’s face at the comment.

“Didn’t know decrepit had become the new Barony chic” Kalwala mused with a smirk.

“Right step back!” boomed Faehana, arms wide as he began to unsling his faetel to withdraw a satchel of white chalk. Marking out a large circle along the stone path he withdrew a tome of spells and incantations as Farren stepped into the circle.

“What are you doing?” she inquired enthusiastically. At this the sage whirled, his eyes aflame with fury as he knelt. Kalwala gently rested her hand on the bard’s shoulder and tugged her back as the sage began the ten-minute process of detecting magic in the area. With a loud thump, the sage snapped shut his tome and he rose from the ground.

“There is definitely magic here” Faehana firmly remarked. Farren balked at the announcement Kalwala let out a loud sigh.

“Oh, wow what a nuanced insight from the TEN-MINUTE INCANTATION!” she boomed, sarcasm lathering her words.

“I’m not finished. It’s coming from a study on the east side of the Manor. And more importantly, it’s active” Faehana repacked his faetel and kicked out the chalk lines as Ugaburk approached the barricaded doorway and tore away the wooden planks and shifted the mahogany door. Inside once would have been a luxurious foyer had it not been covered in a thick layer of dust and been caked in spiders’ webs. With an air of impatience, Faehana burst past Ugaburk and rushed up the central staircase spinning right as he hit the landing before continuing up.

Red Lady give me strength! He’s actually going to get himself killed! Ugaburk mused as he thundered forwards in a vain attempt to protect his charge from himself. In three bounds the cleric reached the landing and another three saw him on the west wing hallway following the practically rabid wizard, the rest of the party close behind the cleric.

“Its right through here!” the sage said enthusiastically as he gripped the door handle and twisted. In an instant, a dark creature lunged through the oak door sapping the sage’s spirit as it phased through the sage.

Sliding past and below both the cleric and the shadow, Farren reached out to the limp Faehana and generated a burst of energy that washed across the weakened sage, his pale face returning to its orange hue.

The dark mass careened through the hallway, swatted away by the cleric’s righteous aura straight into Kalwala’s path perfect she thought as she drew her Baselard dagger and slashed across the shadow’s path. But in its non-corporeal state, it easily wove between each slash before the scream of the sage caught her ear. “Get down!” he hissed as a fire bolt leapt from his fingertips and enveloped the shadows form, its dark shape evaporating in the flame with a screech. The party looked back from the shadow to the sage, his eyes wide as he lay on his back in shock “I got it!” he proclaimed as he rose from the hallway before turning towards the door to the study “I knew it! This place has something important for the magic I felt!” the sage triumphantly declared as he strode into the study even more determined than he was before, swinging the oak door wide open to reveal the orange hue of a study caught in the haze of the afternoon sun, its stained scrolls, tomes and maps littered across the room. “bitceaz!” cried Faehana as he quickly began to wrap up and tuck away the dozens of documents before pausing on a single map, laid at the centre of the pile. Its marked areas referring to an ancient city below the sands of the eastern reaches known simply as The Necropolis with a nervous look he quickly rolled up the map and tucked it into his faetel with the rest of his collection before spying a large well-made chair. Eyes glistening the sage practically pounced on the thing and with every fibre of his will lifted the ungainly chair, the books on his back a convenient counterweight.

“Oh, and I’m the thief,” remarked Kalwala as Faehana stepped out into the hallway.

“She’s a witch. It’s-” “called-” “civil-” “forfeiture-” retorted Faehana between steps as he carried the chair.

“Even if those words were real. Which I highly doubt. I’m pretty sure you don’t have any authority-”

“Halt!” boomed a man from the front of the Manor, “I’s says Halt I’s says!” at this the whole party froze, the chair thumping to the ground as the sage was caught flat-footed.

“Youse not supposed to be in’s ’eres” he said with a chiding tone. “Miss of the Manors ins…tructions”

“And who would the Mistress of the House be?” inquired Kalwala.

“Dam Miss Yeshil of Lucen blood” he replied. At this Ugaburk bristled before being yanked from the informality of calling a Dame damn.

“Well, the Miss is a Witch!” Faehana hissed from atop the staircase landing.

“How’s could youse no that?” the weathered man asked, genuinely confused.

“I am a Sage from the Cliffton Academy of Waterdeep,” Faehana said with a commanding presence.

“Youse sage eh? Ain’t nothin’ special ’bout sage. I’s got sage right outside youse no’s. Certainly ain’t much magic knowledge from sage” he rebutted.

“I am a wizard!” Faehana howled “Your Miss has been playing with Necromancy!” he boomed. At this, the aged caretaker frowned.

“Necro…” he began to pronounce out.

“Bringing the dead back to life!” Faehana screeched in frustration. At this, the caretaker looked on in genuine shock and disbelief.

“I’s don’t no’s ‘bout no dead livin’ I’s just no the Miss ask’s me to keep strangers away from the Manor” the groundkeeper replied “but, leave the chair and I’s won’t bother youse no more” the groundskeeper finished. With a frustrated sigh, the sage began to storm down the staircase and out the Manor.

“So much for research funds” he muttered as he left, the party following close behind.

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