20 Flamerule 1374 D.R.
Year of the Lightning Storms
The party spent a day in Ambroth, allowing the local temple time to brew healing potions for their next assault on the manor. Tulia, chaperoned by Mesmer and accompanied by Badrick, sought a blessing from the priest to remove the ill-effects of the curse set upon her by the relic in the Manor. However, while the blessing was successful, the priest’s diety (Tyr) did not take kindly to an evil individual seeking his aid for their own selfish gain, so he set his own curse upon her.
The next morning, the party awoke to find Tulia missing, and their belongings ransacked. A coin purse taken from Badrick, a magical ring taken from Rummy, and a holy symbol stolen from Anders would ensure the party would follow her back to the manor. She left a note revealing her actions, but the party was incensed.
The party, in due course, made their way back to the manor and followed a breadcrumb trail of coins and notes inside. In the basement, they discovered a large band of dog-faced humanoids reveling and imbibing copious amounts of liquor from the cellars. As the mass of snarling dog-men converged upon them, Harzinon yelled “DOWN!” and the party took cover. A moment later, he hurled a fireball into the center of the room, and incinerated the entire mob.
Ultimately, the party discovered Tulia’s corpse in a secret room, a dagger protruding from her throat. Rummy, being the first to discover her, quietly launched her corpse down the descending ramp back into the main chamber, where the party momentarily thought she was attacking them. Rummy had a good laugh, and set to looting the room. Amidst the paltry loot, a scroll case, a golden rod, and a gem were found. Within the scroll case, the party discovered the deed to the land and the manor, as well as a note inviting them to seek out its author, if they were worthy. The rod is about a foot long, and incredibly slender, with a dragon head at one end. The gem should be able to be sold for a tidy profit.
At the conclusion of the looting, the party headed back upstairs to deal with the rest of the manor. At one point, Mesmer played her armonica to soothe a group of fire beetles, while the party slaughtered them in their tracks, proving brawn isn’t always the most potent weapon in a fight.
The final room to be cleared was the master bedroom, and they made a two-pronged assault, entering through both the door and the secret passage. The skeletons within fell in short order, and the party was faced once again with the burning candle. Ideas were voiced regarding how to best address the issue, but a consensus could not be reached.
Harzinon, realizing time was wasting, and noticing another bead of wax making its trek toward the skull, grabbed an axe out of Badrick’s hand and launched himself across the room, bringing the axe down upon the skull in a massive overhead swing. The skull shattered, and the immense magical energy stored within came surging outward, slamming into Harzinon and flinging his lifeless body across the room to impact the wall with a wet crunch. Everyone in the room was knocked from their feet, and as they shook their heads to clear the cobwebs, they witnessed Harzinon’s pulverized, boneless body sliding slowly down the wall to rest in a puddle of skin and tissue.
The party came to realize Harzinon had not been the manipulator they had thought, and removed his remains from the room, to be disposed of properly. They also recovered his spell book, and a deck of cards from his robes. Passing the cards around and inspecting them, Mesmer drew a jester from the deck and laid it on the table before her, as she began to sort the cards into piles. A bright flash of light stunned everyone, and Mesmer had an incredible insight into the art of storytelling and music-making. However, the packet of cards disappeared from her hands and was gone.
Hours later, the party had cleared all of the corpses from their new manor and lit a bonfire to dispose of them. As they stood around, watching the flames lick the pile, and contemplated how best to clean up the rest of the manor, an ear-splitting screech sounded in their skulls, and streaks of black lightning raced across the sky.
Once again, they found themselves standing on parched, dead ground. The nearby forest was nothing but charred stumps for as far as the eyes could see, and the manor stood in a state of ruin, it’s upper level entirely missing, and it’s lower, marble walls, baked and discolored to a dirty orange/brown. Sand and dirt stood in drifts against the walls, and every window stood entirely empty of glass.