Taking a moment in the midst of the carnage of their previous victory, our heroes reflect on their recent adventures. They each feel as if they’ve passed some kind of experiential milestone, and each feel stronger and more powerful than they’ve ever felt before. Adaven’s been brushing up on some of the rather underhanded skills he learned on the streets of Neverwinter, whileTarlach and Grey have both grown more powerful in their very different forms of combat. Tarlach’s bardic magic is also stronger than it’s ever been.
The group heads onwards. In the room beyond the destroyed mess hall, they find what looks like an alchemist’s workshop. Adaven studies the apparatus, but although someone’s clearly been creating potions here, he can’t tell what kind. He pockets a couple of vials, though. There’s some valuable stuff in here. The group press on. Before them is another door. Fixing his Redbrand cloak, Adaven swings the door open. Inside is a small but well-furnished bedroom, with a elegantly carved desk to one side. Sitting at the desk, quill in hand, is a short, dark-bearded human with an unassuming manner. He looks up and raises an eyebrow. “Yes, what is it?”
Adaven’s a little thrown by the man’s unruffled demeanour. He states that the bugbears have run amok, and are killing Rebrands throughout the manor. The man, clearly Glass-staff, sighs. He waves a hand distractedly at Adaven, telling the half-elf that he’s busy, and that he’s sure things will sort themselves out. Adaven looks blankly at Grey and Tarlach, who shrug back. “Fair enough,” he says, and summons an orb of chromatic energy, which he hurls at Glass-staff. The ball of light coalesces into a blast of lightning, but the wizard sitting at the desk is no fool. He stands and whips out a weapon in one move, a inquisitive staff made of pale green glass. As the draws the staff, a shimmering field of energy envelops him. Adaven’s chromatic orb spell splashes off the wizard’s defences.
Eyes narrowed in cold anger, Glass-staff weaves his own spell. He gestures to Adaven, who feels a soothing echo reverberate in his mind, whispering that this wizard is no enemy, indeed a valuable friend. Fortunately, the sorcerer’s elven heritage steels his mind against the charm. He shrugs off the wizard’s spell. Grey and Tarlach begin to move into the room to engage. Grey flanks to the right, while Tarlach decides to try out a new spell. Roaring a word of arcane power, he blasts Glass-staff with a wave of rolling thunder. The little wizard is blasted entirely off his feet, smashing head over heels into the wall behind him – which promptly crumples, revealing a secret passageway with stairs that appear to lead up.
Adaven grins, and prepares another spell. “Nice try Glass-staff, but you’re not dealing with weak-minded fools any more,” he says, but as soon as he releases the spell there is a shimmer in the weave, and a chaotic cascade of pure wild energy ripples out from him, turning everyone in the room invisible. “Oops,” the disembodied Adaven says.
Tarlach and Grey register no small amount of consternation with this new development. Glass-staff merely laughs. “Your magic is that of a witless child, half-elf,” he snickers, “you have no control and no talent for it. Much as I would love to entertain you three fools, I’m afraid I have urgent business elsewhere. I am sure we will meet again soon.” With that, the heroes hear scampering feet making for the top of the secret staircase as the now invisible villain makes good his escape.
Grey says something uncomplimentary about Adaven’s parents, and hurtles after the retreating wizard. Tarlach and Adaven follow, the latter rather sheepishly. At the top of the stairs, there is no sign of Glass-staff, and no door to be seen. Luckily Adaven’s observant eyes pick out a small panel on the wall. Grey punches it, and a secret door swings open, leading to the back of the cavernous entrance area with the deep crevasse that our heroes had traversed earlier.
The group rushes forward, and hears the wizard Glass-staff’s voice once more. “MY, you are persistent, aren’t you? I’m afraid I can’t stay for drinks, but I’ll ask my friend here to keep you company.” The heroes feel a familiar cold, malevolent presence in their minds, and a hideous one-eyed creature emerges from the crevasse. It resembles a kind of nightmare, cycloptic lizard monster. It walks on two legs, and packs a pair of razor-sharp claws and a row of dirty, jagged teeth. “A nothic!”, Tarlach shouts.
“I do apologise friends,” the creature rasps within the groups’ minds, “I’m afraid I must renege on our previously beneficial relationship.” With that the lurking aberration leaps forward, and focuses its foul yellow eye on Grey, who’s at the head of the group. The eye blasts the dragonborn with a wave of foul, necrotic energy. Fortunately, Grey is not your typical dragonborn, and happens to eat foul, necrotic energy for breakfast. Though the blast of negative energy withers some of his scales, he shrugs off the hit without too much trouble.
The dragonborn warrior leaps forward, striking once, twice across the nothic’s leathery chest with his greatsword. Tarlach rushes in as well, sliding beneath one claw swipe and taking he other to the arm as he gets into position for a flank. Adaven hears laughter fading in the distance, and concludes that Glass-staff is as good as gone. He curses and sends a crossbow bolt into the nothic’s leg. The monster howls. Tarlach and Grey team up to cut the beast to pieces, but it manages to slash the bard and scamper away. It slips down into its pit, cursing our names. Just as it’s about to hide in the darkness below, Adaven sights in on it and sends another bolt down into the pit. The bolt bursts through the back of the nothic’s head, bursting forth from its single eye in a spray of gory ichor. The beast drops to the ground, clearly dead. Glass-staff has escaped, but Tresendar Manor has been cleared.