Our party resumed their adventure in the chambers of Lord Bastion, with the Hooded Figure and Drack disappearing to outside the tower. Lord Bastion asked if there was a wizard or sorcerer amongst the party. Barty spoke up, and Bastion further inquired if he knew Feather Fall. Saying yes, he led the party down to the observatory where they broke out a window and plummeted at a safe speed down the tower base below.
Rounding the corner to the front of the tower, the party found scorched earth all around. Drack was left but a pile of burning bandages and ashes, and the book was found a pile of ash as well. The Hooded Figure remained ensnared by Zoshia‘s spell. With a crossbow bolt from Torvak, an arrow from Zoshia, and an attack by Levinia, the hooded figures’ cloak fell to the ground. The heroes observed an eight foot tall lanky creature with gray skin, and no facial features except his two large opalescent eyes. With an exclamation from Levinia, the beast was impaled and slain. All that was left behind was his cloak, longsword, and a pool of ichor.
Vanion approached and used a stick to move the ichor around. It smelled putrid. Bastion lamented the loss of Drack, and told the party about what is going on (thanking them for helping to save his life). This creature goes by the pseudonym “Mask”, but that is not his true name. He is fiend from the plane of Gehenna. When the party killed him, he merely returned there, but he doesn’t don’t know for how long. Bastion knows this as he used to work for Mask, and his organization “The Order of the Mask”. It’s a cult following that Mask has run for years, which funds his pursuits to find all the Books of Keeping. These books contain the true name of every fiend in existence (almost). If a fiend’s true name is known, it can be controlled. Mask fears this and wishes the books all destroyed. Lord Bastion isn’t sure how many have been destroyed already. He laments that Drack is not around to tell them more, as in addition to being his servant, he was Lord Bastion’s historian, with a wealth of knowledge.
He has an idea, and runs inside the tower urging everyone to follow him. Barty scoops up a vial of ichor and they all follow, finding the entrance room to be right-side up this time. Running through the door into the room with the circular table, he runs to the chest by the stairs. He opens it realizing that the Seance Ball is missing. Barty slyly informs him it was on the floor nearby, and hands it to him. Levinia and others move the circular table and set up chairs. Bastion places the ball in the center of the table, and urges everyone to sit around it. Using a piece of bandage that belonged to Drack, they summoned his spirit to the table, Drack appearing as if he was back to his old mummy self.
Drack told the party many stories about this Mask character. It is told in tales that there was a once an ancient called who called themselves “The Lariat”. They were some of the first in Mastoria to discover the existence of other planes and as such wished to summon a being from another plane. They summoned Mask from Gehenna, and he lived among them in their underground lair, learning all he could about the planet and its people. One day, he slaughtered them all. One of the members however, managed to shackle him down in the cult vault, dooming his existence. However, it seems at some point someone or something released him from his prison. Drack mentioned that if the Lariat member was still alive, that person would be unbelievably old, as it was ages ago. Drack reminds Lord Bastion that he has a key on his belt that can possibly open a portal. He gives it to the party, and leaves them the Seance ball and instructions on how to use it.
Drack went back to his eternal rest, and the party inquired about staying and resting before heading back. Vanion went to fetch a bandage remnant from Drack in case the party ever wishes to perform a seance with him again. Bastion is happy to house the guests as they helped save his life. Vanion suggest a celebration, and Bastion mentions his wine room upstairs. Wanting to stop Bastion from finding out he stole all the wine, he offers his Elvish Springwine from Volkarsis, pretending it is his own. Bastion heads up the tower to get some wine glasses from the dining area.
Fifteen minutes later or so, he comes back down with the glasses and hands them out. He tells the party that he suspects two people broke into his tower, drank all his wine, and in their drunken stupors got into a fight. One of them killed the other in the lounge, and the other escaped to die slowly of the poison Bastion placed in one of his wines. The skull also seems to have escaped in the Gallery, and something must have shook the glass shroud of silence off the pedestal. The party now realizes that one of the wine bottles Vanion took is poisoned, but they don’t know which one. They wait for Bastion to enjoy some wine, seeing nothing bad happened before joining in doing so. They bid farewell to Bastion and head back through the portal.
Coming out on the other side, they emerge to the drill site and find it’s night time in Astryer. Using rope and pitons, Levinia climbs up sixty feet and anchors in the rope. Slowly, one by one everyone climbs up, with Vanion slipping once but making a recovery, and Barty climbing the rope as if everyone else were muscle babies.
They walked the crack to the outskirts of town and headed back towards Crestguard, which was slightly over two days worth of travel. Both nights Vanion and Levinia kept guard and nothing interesting transpired. They made it back to Crestguard at about noon on the final day. Barty headed straight to the library. Torvak visited the Bowyer/Fletcher and purchased a heavy crossbow. He and Levinia traveled to the smithy and sold the damaged longswords for scrap. Having Mask’s longsword studied at the smithy and at Marbo’s magic shop led to nothing special about it being discovered. “Marbo” agrees to a trade with Torvak to study the dragon hilted dagger for a day to find its magical properties. Vanion puts on his fancy shirt and goes to visit Valerie at city hall. She is busy at her desk and is ecstatic to see Vanion, thanking him for the wine he had left. She vents about a goblin asking for a small business loan, and tells Vanion that the Crestguard Knights have returned but she doesn’t know what they found yet. She urges him to go get his companions before Ellion sees him here and yanks him into his office. He leaves and heads to the apothecary, having gotten directions from Valerie.