The session began with The Party, Marin and their two new dragon friends following Lilli Longshadow to her home. Her living space turned out to be a small cabin apartment built into an enormous fallen tree, well concealed furthermore by some kind of illusory veil.
After being introduced to Solstice (Lilli's dark blue owl companion), The Party made several valiant efforts to communicate to Lilli the reasons for their arrival on her doorstep. Unfortunately, each of these attempts was thwarted by the The Curse of Crossbones. However, Lilli was able to intuit--after being instructed to place the Crossbones Doubloon on her tongue--that the Party was under some sort of magical compulsion. She seemed intrigued by this, but not swayed into helping the Party beyond offering them refuge for the night (as well as snacks for the dragons).
Upon further reflection, Lilli did not know how to break the curse, but she did come up with a workaround. She told the Party of a man once known as Rochenion, whom she said could yet be found in a place called the The Primeval Archive. She warned her visitors that Rochenion was not a man any longer, but a monstrous creature with a single green eye whose help would not come freely. She warned also that the Archive was a dangerous and forsaken place, and was therefore impressed when the party agreed to take the risk all the same.
Lilli insisted that she had her own obligations on the day and would not spare the time or risk to join the party on their quest, although she did agree to lead them to the entrance of the Archive. Furthermore, she gifted the Party a vial of contact poison she claimed would incapacitate a creature for several hours.
After a night's rest, the Party agreed to allow Marin to stay behind at Lilli's. Their dragon friends seemed happy enough to come along with them to their destination, and were thus allowed to do so.
After giving the party instruction on where to meet her later that afternoon, Lilli directed them to the Archive's entrance before she departed to her own agenda. The Party and their dragons located the giant, carved staircase that Lilli had described and began to descend.
Into the Dark Below
Upon reaching the base of the stairs, it became immediately evident that the Archive was a place of death left undisturbed for many, many years. Dust and darkness hung oppressively in the air, and even the young dragons seemed muted in this place. With the first steps into the main foyer, blue torchlights popped into existence along the walls, lending a coldness to the already inhospitable environment. Noticing what appeared to be footprint-shaped disturbances in the dust heading toward one of the room's exits, the party made their start in that direction.
After exiting the main foyer through a small hallway, Grihymm Phrahdrandon detected some apparently invisible undead in the Party's vicinity. Upon determining they were not about to be attacked, Johann VonGruppen began to play a song of charming which managed to snare one of the creatures in its magic.
It became clear soon after that the creature was unable to speak, but could apparently communicate by tugging at the Johann's wrist. This was soon translated into a simple yes or no system of tugs as the creature pulled Johann in different directions, ultimately leading the Party away from their initial path into a hall where mirrors were shattered. In picking up a shard of one of these, the party was able to view their new companion--a gray, featureless humanoid that seemed to appropriate all the emptiness of its home.
The party asked if the "ghost" could lead them to their quarry, and they were subsequently led to the western region of the library. Here they found a series of small workshops and galleries, the first of which was populated by a handful of skeletons sitting upright around a table as well as an additional corpse seated alone at a desk with a book in front of him. Reading the book yielded a scratched repetition of "FORGIVE ME" on page after page, and further investigation of this skeleton revealed an interesting amulet around his neck which the party took.
In the next room--a gallery of long-destroyed statues--the party ran into a couple of oversized spiders. These spiders would soon be joined by a Hook Horror who climbed out of a hole beneath some of the rubble on the floor, and all three attacked the party together. After these were dispatched, the party noticed a door with a hole in it that fit exactly the shape of the amulet they retrieved from the skeleton in the previous room. Inserting and turning the key with the use of Algernon's Mage Hand revealed a small room apparently unique in this place.
Space Out of Time
The lights in here were golden instead of the clinical blue of the rest of the archive, and there was no sign of the age and dust that claimed every room in this building. In here they found a book beneath a shield of magical glass, and using a Mage Hand once more to open the book resulting in cracks spiderwebbing out around the glass shield. Johann was able to catch a glimpse of the contents of the book, which appeared to be cruel ramblings about Algernon before the book closed itself. At the urgent warning of their ghost companion, the party elected to leave the book in its case. Additionally, Johann pocketed a couple of other books that sat upon pedestals, and Murmus noticed a painting with a black tarp over it in the corner.
Removing the tarp revealed a painting of his good friend Odac the Vedalken, standing in the center of a field of destruction. The ground beneath his feet was scorched black for miles around, and clouds of dust surrounded it all. The expression on Odac's face was unreadable, although it seemed to belie a certain serenity. Murmus strapped this painting to his back and exited the room, but all the color and substance drained immediately out of it once it crossed the threshold of the small room. Johann noticed the books in his pack suffered a similar fate, but was able to clean his belongings of the dust that covered them using Prestidigitation.
The party's ghost companion would abandon the party soon after, as the hour of Johann's charm came to a close. Upon exploring this wing of the library to apparent completion, the party was left with one remaining door, locked in the same way as the golden vault. Opening it revealed a stone staircase descending into darkness below.