Students of Strixhaven EP 30 – Schools Out Part Seven

As the party prepare to depart from Inkaran, Grae quickly runs back to the forge to speak with Ezan. She recalls him mentioning Katria Clearseeker, and wants to know about why her clan are so afraid of magic. Ezan provides some further context, explaining that he fled with Katria and Peta to her homeland, seeking to hide from Orson. Orson followed, bringing a large mercenary force, and in the ensuing chaos, the forest spirit guarding Katria’s home intervened, splitting the artefact into two and enforcing a barrier of magical dampening to prevent the forest from being harmed again. Orson recovered the rod, while Ezan fled with the top-end (the sphere), and continued to move from place to place before returning to Inkaran. She thanks him and says her final goodbye.

Meanwhile, Edolkar has been spending time reviewing the shipping ledger he recovered, and attempts to correlate a location from the guidebook they recovered back at Strixhaven. He struggles to comprehend some concepts in the Dwarven language, but thinks he will be close to a solution in the morning. The party collectively take a long rest, heading off before dawn. At the same time, there is a brief side-step reflecting on Ezan’s last moments as he prepares the forge to overheat.

Later in the day, as the party hit the road, they come back to where they left Jhazaal and the carriage. They find him hidden, anticipating possible bandits, but welcomes them back warmly. They take off, headed back to Castle Eldrake, and determine to stop at the lost shipment location. A short while later, they stop the carriage and begin to walk on foot again, searching what they believe to have been the location of a lost shipment hundreds of years go. Khorvus finds a few clues that leads him to a location where he digs, finding what appears to have been a travelling chest and the remains of a few dead guards. He calls over the party and they find some gold and trade goods. Reviewing the bodies, Khorvus finds that a cloak on one of them seems to still in good standing, and has not begun to decay. Examining the cloak, they find it has a number of sewn on patches, featuring items like a window, ladder, buckets, gold pouch and dogs. As a test, Khorvus holds the cloak and pulls off one of the dog patches. He watches as the patch lights up in a blast of magic, and sees a regular looking mastiff dog standing in the spot of the patch. The dog is friendly and seems to have some natural affection for Khorvus, who he excitedly deems their new travelling companion. Reviewing the cloak in greater detail, they determine it is a Robe of Useful Items. They save the remaining pouches for a suitable time, and travel back to Jhazaal, along with their new companion. Once together, they travel the rest of the way to Castle Eldrake, also trying to determine Jhazaal’s loyalties to ‘Roman’.

A day or so later, the party arrive back at Castle Eldrake, meeting again with Old Lady Amelia, who greets them. She goes off to prepare another feast, this time to celebrate their return and presumably accomplishing the task of finding the artefact Roman has sent them to find. As the party once again settle into their accommodations, Grae, concerned with an upcoming confrontation with Roman, has a panic attack. Trix hears her and tries to comfort her. Later, dinner is served, and the party enter into the large feast hall, noticing that Roman is once against not present. He eventually arrives, and is thankful to Grae for her work in recovering the sphere. He begins a short speech in which he indicates he wants Grae to help takeover the Eldrake Academies, to which she expresses some discomfort and doesn’t provide an immediate answer on her intentions. The dinner continues until Roman excuses himself, asking Grae to help him take the artefact back to his laboratory on the ground floor.

Dinner wraps up shortly afterwards, with most of the party staying in proximity to Roman. Grae sees some bright lights from under the door, and knocks to ask if Roman is okay. He ushers her in, and she sees him using Sovereign Glue to magically fuse the two halves of the artefact together. As the two halves combine, the necrotic and radiant energies intermix and shatter, causing a cracking of the artefact. As Grae and Roman look around, they see the broken remains of the artefact. Radiant energy has begun to rise upwards, while the necrotic energy seeps into the ground. As Roman in a panic asks Grae what she did, she explains that she knows who he is: Orson Eldrake. She asks what good the necrotic energy of the artefact could have achieved. Orson explains that he intended to learn and develop what Vasarus had originally intended, thinking he could control the magic to help people achieve extended life, if not immortality itself. While this happens, rumbling is felt coming from below ground. Orson asks Grae to set aside her problems with him for now, and help him get to the crypt below the Castle. She begrudgingly agrees, bringing the party with her.

The party enter into the crypt, and find out that Orson was trying to ‘learn from the source’. They see that the necrotic energy, seeping in, is now dripping onto the coffin in the middle of the room. The coffin’s chains begin to rattle and it breaks open. A headless corpse, filled with necrotic energy, rises up and attaches its head. Orson shouts in horror, indicating that this is Vasarus, the creator of the necrophage. He shouts for the party to prepare for combat and to help him destroy the figure before the corpse gains too much necrotic power…