We joined our heroes as Torvak and the Hag Turtleback Ethel Greenteeth worked out a wager, and played a game of cards. Thanks to Torvak’s sleight of hand he was able to defeat Ethel. Being true to her word, she used much of her magic to revive Levinia, and gave the soul bag to Torvak. She ordered Torsten to throw Barty off the cliff, but Vanion stopped him with a Hold Person spell. Ethel banished the heroes from her abode, instructing Torsten to follow them and ensure they don’t spread the word of her presence underground willynilly. The party was surprised to find that instead of being greeted by a friend, Levinia seemed to be incredibly confused about what was happening, and Elizar managed to cast Sleep on her, as they carried her up and out of the underground.
Torvak, Vanion and Torsten took Levinia’s body to the Temple of Lathander in the southern residential district, as the sun began to set. There, Acolyte Dirk gathered up a room in which she could stay, and the heroes warned him of her current state, and to inform them at the Dire Bear Retreat right away when she awakes, and if it all possible, keep her at the temple.
From there, Torsten and Vanion went to City Hall. Finding Valerie at the front desk a sight for sore eyes, they paid a visit to Mayor Ellion. Vanion explained that they’d been busy and investigated about if there was to be disciplinary action taken against the gnomish woman who worked at the front desk of the library, as they had discovered her tossing “fictional” works into the sewers. Ellion assured him, and got assurance back that the heroes would still be attending the gala in 13 days time as security and entertainment. Heading out, Vanion got a wishywashy answer from Valerie about seeing her later in the evening. They headed to the Dire Bear Retreat, where Torvak had just gone.
Meanwhile, while the rest of the group had gone to the temple, Elizar was storming to the Crestguard U Library despite his injuries, with Barty following close behind. He tore the front desk gnome a new one, firing her on the spot and sending her packing. In a fit of rage he destroyed the “Fiction” sign hanging about the section about dragons and planes and ranted about removing the public access bathroom.
They went back to Elizar’s office to cool down. While clearing papers off his desk to find the ritual notes he had written, he accidentally discovered a magic note from Mask. The note spoke that if Elizar did not bring him the Book of Keeping by sundown in two days time, Mask would return to kill him. This sent Elizar from furious to anxious panic. They decided the ritual should happen sooner than later, and rushed off, meeting everyone at the Dire Bear Retreat, where Elizar pounded down some ales.
Vanion bought a room for Elizar at the Retreat as he didn’t feel safe returning to his office. Torvak and Barty got rooms for the night, while Torsten opted to sleep outside. Vanion snuck out to stalk Valerie, to see what she was up to at night.
Seeing her exit city hall and head east, he trailed her to the Crestguard U Library, where she unlocked the door and went inside, locking it. He peered through the window to find her heading into the restricted section. Using an unseen servant to let him through the window, he followed her, not finding her in the restricted section any longer. He went to the doors he had seen in his vision, and went through, finding them unlocked, and finding a staircase that led down hundreds of feet.
Heading deeper down, he came to familiar sight, the stairs that led to the hag’s lair, and footprints leading there. Going back through the dirt tunnel, and across the rickety bridge, he called out for Ethel to meet him face to face. She hopped down out of one of the skull’s eyes, and Vanion bargained with her for Valerie. Vanion struck a deal, and Ethel returned Valerie to him, in exchange that Vanion would bring her the soul of an evil god. He helped the seemingly dazed Valerie out of the cavern, out of the library, locking it, and to her home in the River District, where he placed her in bed and waited in another room, with sword nearby.
To be continued…