6 Month of Light 4228 AE, morning
At breakfast, Zorrik and Ianos told the group about a woman they met the previous night who recognized the fake pendant Zorrik had fashioned. Ianos was able to convince the bartender to tell them who she was: Ciani, a half elf who had a magic shop in town. In addition, Stax had learned that only part of Jaggonath was open, and Zari had overheard a woman talking about her cousin doing some research at the university involving solar fae, and he’d been working with the church.
Ciani’s shop was open, advertising “sorcery for hire.” She told them more about the Hunter’s pendant, and about the people who show up in towns and villages wearing them, on the same day or night that someone goes missing. She also said there were ghosts left behind in Jaggonath, and that they shouldn’t be an issue if you don’t piss them off.
The group went to the adventurer’s guild next. They learned that only the southeast portion of the capitol was accessible, and their guild papers should get them in that entrance. Advice for the ghosts: “Don’t be an asshole.”
The group went to the city. The ground was dead from 20 miles away. Dead livestock dotted the landscape, as well as farms full of now dead crops. On their second day of travel, it started to rain and hail.
7 Month of Light 4228 AE, evening
Approaching the city, there was no smoke coming out of any chimney, and very few people traveling the roads at all. By the time they reached the wall around the city, the weather had cleared, and it was a cool evening. They got to the northwest entrance first, and they were promptly directed to the other side of the city. The guard at the southeast entrance looked at the party name on their registration papers, looked at Stax and Zorrik, and chuckled. “Heh, I get it.” Then he let them through.
The city was quiet. All the windows were dark, save for the occasional ghost floating past. The ghosts all had some distortion about them—a twisted limb or facial expression, like they had died in agony. They saw the ghosts fade in and out of sight, and were able to tell that it wasn’t just invisibility, but something else.
In the uphill wealthy district, the paving was more decorative, buildings were in better condition, and parks that dotted the district were now their own miniature wastelands. The party went to the church first. On they way, they passed the university, and saw people going in and out of a few buildings packing boxes into carts.
They arrived at the church, a majestic building towering over the rest of the district. The front doors were locked and barred, but they picked the lock on an iron door around the back. They found a storeroom and an office. There was a key hidden in the office desk, as well as a book with a very detailed account of the war on the dark forest.
They went to the sanctuary, which was empty. Ianos was determined to get the front doors unbarred. After attempts to lift it were unsuccessful, Ianos used Shatterspike on it, and it violently exploded into splinters.
They didn’t find anything of note in the sanctuary, so they continued looking for rooms, and found stairs leading to a basement. There was a locked iron door at the bottom. The found key didn’t fit, lockpicking failed, Shatterspike was drawn, and Ianos took 4 damage from the iron splinters thrown into his face.
The stairway opened into a large storeroom in the basement, filled with mundane church supplies. There was a locked door on the opposite wall that Stax picked. Inside was a ghost wearing priest robes, and his jaw was hanging loosely from his head. The room was a small office with bookshelves and a desk. Stax and Zari were trying to look at the books and the desk, respectively, and the ghost switched between the two to intervene, wordlessly darting in front of them to obscure their view. He was getting more and more agitated.
When Stax finally reached for a book and opened it despite the warnings, the ghost let out a terrible wail. Ianos and Stax were immediately drained of life and fell unconscious, and Zari and Zorrik were badly hurt. Healing potions were used on Ianos and Stax; meanwhile, Zorrik tried to fight the ghost, and the ghost attacked Zorrik and then disappeared. It reappeared behind Zari and knocked her out with an attack before retreating to the other side of the room. Once the group fled towards the stairs, the ghost stopped attacking and floated in the doorway to the office. The group went upstairs to rest and recover. During the night, the ghost floated up through the floor, watched the group for a while, then went back to the basement.
8 Month of Light 4228 AE
In the morning, the group tried to talk to the ghost. Ianos asked yes or no questions so the ghost could answer with a nod. He convinced the ghost they were trying to help, and the ghost pointed to the desk. Ianos found letters in a drawer from a man named Duri, talking about solar fae, research at the university, and something called Fire. The group left for the university.
Only two men were there at this point, taking boxes out of what looked like the main building on campus. Ianos persuaded them to point them towards Duri’s office, and one of the men directed the group to the Magical Items building, saying Duri’s office was in the basement.
Once in the basement, the party called Duri’s name, and a ghost came into the hallway from an office at the end of the hall. Ianos showed him the letters and explained that they were there to help. Duri’s ghost went back into the office it came from and pointed at a specific desk drawer. Inside was a key. Duri’s ghost then flew down the hall, gesturing to a locked door behind the stairs. The ghost left them. They opened the locked door with the key.
Inside was a storeroom full of various items: an empty wooden box with delicate gold inlay; a leather bag with a design on the flap that looked like a face; beautiful purple gloves with a spiderweb and arrow pattern on them; an iron rod about two feet long, with horse figures on either end; an intricate glass decanter filled with clear liquid; a pale wood lute with cherry wood veneer carvings depicting various animals; a green quiver with gold trim; and a grey robe covered in different patches. Ianos strummed the lute and took psychic damage. At the far end of the row of tables was a small metal lockbox; the key from the church office fit it, and inside was a very bright vial of solar fae.
The group made their way back to Haydon.
9 Month of Light 4228 AE, late afternoon
They brought everything back to Ciani’s shop in Haydon and got it identified.
The wooden box was a Folding Boat. (Stax shouted “Avantio!” as soon as he learned this, but nothing happened.) Saying the phrase “ba ba ba” would turn it into a small sailboat, saying “dook dook dook” would turn it into a ship, and saying “babadook” would return it to a box.
The leather bag was a Bag of Holding.
The Gloves of Missile Snaring enable the wearer to catch arrows and other projectiles, lessening the damage they do.
The iron rod was an Immovable Rod — pressing a button on it locked it in place, even if it was left floating in midair. It would only move with extraordinary force until the button was pressed again.
The bottle of liquid was a Decanter of Endless Water. It would pour out different amounts of water based on the word said at the time of pouring: “stream” for one gallon, “fountain” for five gallons, and “geyser” for a forceful release of 30 gallons that could be aimed at creatures or objects.
The lute was the Doss Lute, named after a legendary bard college. With attunement, it could cast spells when played.
The quiver was an Efficient Quiver, capable of holding a large amount of numerous weapons and ammo without ever weighing more than two pounds.
Finally, the robe was a Robe of Useful Items. Tearing off a patch would turn it into whatever was depicted in its image. There were two each of the following patches: a dagger, a filled and lit bullseye lantern, a steel mirror, a 10-foot pole, a coil of hempen rope, and a sack. There was also one of each of the following patches: a pile of gems, 4 potions of healing, an iron door that would expand to fit the opening it was placed in, a tall wooden ladder, a beautiful silver coffer, 2 mastiffs, and a 10-foot square pit.
After celebrating their haul, the party talked to Ciani about the Fire. She was in awe of it—she knew of it but had no idea any still existed. She said they had a better chance in the dark forest than anyone else because of the Fire, but without a pendant their trip would likely be unsuccessful. After lots of conversation about where/how to get one (short answer: it would be near impossible to find one randomly), Zorrik asked her if she had one. She did. She didn’t want to get it for the group yet, because she still didn’t know enough about them. She went around the group one by one, asking them each their story. Zorrik, then Zari, then Ianos, then Stax. After learning about the group, she went to her back room to get the pendant.
She was gone an oddly long amount of time, around 15 minutes. She finally emerged with the pendant, showing it to the group and then giving it to Zorrik. She wished everyone luck.