After returning to town they retire to a back room at the inn to reflect over their recent experience and to try to tie together everything they have faced since their first adventure together. Niene pulls out a piece of parchment as the party recounts everything they can remember, trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together.
- Initially the party responded to a group of kobolds raiding a supply wagon to the village of Huln’s Lode. Kobolds raiding supplies is nothing strange, but the ruins they discovered were.
- Visiting the village of Marienheim, they found the village infected with a massive outbreak of a fungal infection. Venturing into the vale, the party collected ingredients to form a cure and was able to save the town.
- While exploring the vale, the party discovered a monastery dedicated to Fharlanghn. The monks had dissapeared, but in the ruins underneath the party found evidence of them turning from their deity to a new dark God.
- Delving deeper into the ruins, the party encountered zombies covered with mold, though quickly dispatched by Uthad. Perhaps this would have been the same outcome for the villagers had they not found a cure.
- While searching for the missing children, the group defeated a band of kobolds that worshiped a dark and evil diety. The kobolds appeared mutated, with many covered in a mold similar to that found on the zombies in the levels above.
- According to King Sunhammer’s Decrees, the dwarves seem to have been changed by the creature as well, turning to worship it and ultimately destroying their city and disappearing.
- The missing priest had fallen under the sway of a dark deity that had been imprisoned. Once freed, the creature appeared to be a mass of filth, mold, and disease.
Putting the pieces together, it would appear that this Great Old One, Nyarlathotep was either directly behind, or connected to most of the events that recently occurred in the region. With that knowledge in hand, Niene and Dyne felt they should get to work researching Ciaran’s possessions to see what mysteries they held.
Appearing to the simpler item to decipher, they chose to first investigate the dagger. After several days of staring at the dagger, it would seem that was the wrong choice. Both Niene and Dyne could tell the dagger was special in some regard, but why was just beyond their grasp. Holding the dagger made them slightly uncomfortable, hungry, and slightly agitated. Whatever power the dagger held, it didn’t seem to be a friendly one.
Ready to give up, it was a surprise then when Dyne, holding the dagger and attempting to light a candle with a simple spell, instead set half the table on fire as the spell came out much more powerful than he had expected. (Dagger provides caster with a +2 to spellcraft when equipped). Niene seemed to believe they had found the dagger’s function, however Dyne was not so sure. Something about the dagger seemed to call to him, though what, he was unsure. Perhaps the dagger still held some unknown power, but they had spent enough time researching it, perhaps the answer would reveal itself in time.
Moving on to the tome, Niene cast a spell giving her the ability to understand foreign scripts and languages. The early part of the grimoire appeared to be a diary of a man lost and wandering in the desert. Out of food and close to dehydration, he stumbles into a cave looking for shelter. Traveling deeper into the cavern he finds it exits into an oasis. Drinking his fill of water, he explores the oasis for hours. As he returns to the water, from a distance he spies a large creature moving near the shore. He describes the creature in few details, but indicates that its appearance shook him to the core. Running back to the cavern he makes his way out into the desert in the middle of a sand storm. When he awakes he finds himself in a bed, being tended by the village healer. They claim a caravan found him wandering in the desert, mumbling and speaking words they had never before heard before he collapsed. believing him to be sick from the sun, they brought him to the village healer.
The story ends abruptly as the pages of the tome go blank for a large number of pages before beginning again with maps of unknown lands and ancient cities. There are notes scribbled along the borders of the maps, along with random diagrams and symbols, however they seem to defy translation. The pages again go blank for several pages, picking up here and there with other diagrams and excerpts from the diary indicating the author researching dangerous books, attempting to find something to prove what he saw was not a fevered dream like the townsfolk believe. The pages fill with sketches, maps, and diagrams before going blank once more.
Again the diary picks up after a large number of blank pages. The author tells of being at home and hearing unnatural noises outside his home. Unsure what the noises are, he initially is paralyzed with fear. The author finally works up the courage to venture outside and finds his livestock slaughtered by finding strange tracks int he sand leading out into the desert again. He immediately returns to his house, locking every door and window and barricading himself inside his home. When he searches the area in the morning, the tracks are gone and the only signs of the creature are the corpses of his animals. The diary leaps forward several weeks and it appears that the creature has returned almost every night since. The author indicates that he cannot take any more and that the creature will get him soon unless he acts.
Once again the pages go blank, this time ending with diagrams of various artifacts, interspersed with varying numbers of blank pages. Again, similar script and symbols line these pages next to the drawings, however they indicate a clear meaning. One page however stands out amongst the others. A diagram of the dagger is covered with strange notes, some however appear to be more recently penned than others. The party conjectures that these secondary notes might belong to Ciaran, and indicate a ritual involving 7 sacrifices to free a powerful God. This seems to be what the party stumbled upon earlier.
The pages once again return to the strange symbols and script. Some pages seem to have a rhythm to them and Niene believes they may be a spell or ritual of some sort, but the effect or purpose is unknown. Once again a single page stands out, holding the name Nyarlathotep. The pages continue on for some way, almost seeming to be both a chronicle and a spell book.
One last time, the pages go blank before ending with a final excerpt from the diary. The author is in an ancient city, lost to the sand ages ago. He keeps lingering on how he made a mistake and should never have followed the tracks. The author asks for forgiveness from some unknown person and laments his fate. He seeks solace in the fact that it will all be over soon and that his book will be lost with him so that no one may follow in his footsteps.
The information the party is able to translate only makes up a small portion of the actual content of the book. While under the effects of the spell, Niene is able to translate some of the alien script into letters she is more familiar with, but their meaning still seems to elude her. With some research material she believes more of the book would make sense, but without finding something like a Rosetta Stone or more complete notes, the actual purpose of the tome will go unsolved.
Gathering her notes, Niene provides the others with what she has found and makes suggestions of locations she knows to have the resources needed to properly translate the tome. The University in Altstadt had The Great Collection of the Empire, but didn’t contain a wealth of information on foreign countries. The Treasury of Enlightenment in Tor Ulthuan, though she doubts the Elves would give them access, and finally The Queen’s Academy in Caer. She is sure there are more, however those are the only ones she can think of off the top of her head, and that are relatively close to where the party is now.