Lady Mallory is a powerful wizard (or witch, if you were to ask the residents of Witchmill who named their town for her). She resides in a massive tower built along the Wyrmtail River to the west of The Fellgleam.
In addition to acting as sovereign of Witchmill and being renowned for her contributions to artificing, the Lady is perhaps most well known for devising the magic used during The Scourge of Acaesura to end The Demon War.
Mallory is reclusive. Although she is revered by those living in the shadow of her tower and widely respected by Acaelica at large, few claim to have actually met her in person.
Despite her elven heritage maintaining her relatively youthful apperance, she has expressed to the party that she considers herself quite old.
For all the mystery that surrounds Lady Mallory, her affluence is indisputable. Her tower is a daunting sight to behold, rising hundreds of feet above the Wyrmtail River and sporting innumerable, arcane runes carved into its inner walls.
Few have ventured into the higher levels of her tower, but the foyer--which operates as a magic item shop under the care of her protege Janice--is constantly well-stocked. Its spotless marble walls are inlaid with opal blossom in intricate patterns and every surface gleams in the daylight.
Meeting the Party
Their first meeting came as a result of Johann attempting to barter with Janice using Threads that the party had taken from Riverrock. This was the very first interaction any of the party other than Vornaar had had with Janice and it caught her wildly off-guard.
Despite being initially taken aback, Janice gathered herself and tried to downplay the Threads as pointless trinkets, offering 10 gold pieces to Johann for the lot. Unconvinced, the bard pressed further--insisting he knew of their value (and even hinting at their power). A stunned Janice would then set up a meeting for the party with Lady Mallory later that evening, going so far as to cast a Mass Suggestion spell in order to ensure the party remained in Town before the meeting. The party did so after the spell worked on most of them and the others were unwilling to split the group.
Upon meeting at the ordained time, Janice had every member of the party gather around the Tower Shop's central console. Instructing each to place a hand upon it, they all found themselves temporarily unable to remove those hands. The platform upon which they stood began to ascend into an impenetrable darkness in the ceiling. Once the elevation completed, the darkness vanished with Janice along with it, and the party found themselves in a fight with some warforged-like sentinels.
Algernon the Tall was technically the first of the party to meet the Lady. He was taken down by one of the warforged sentinels that had attacked the party in the strange space apparently above the Tower Shop. Strangely, the sentinel raced to his fallen person, clasped something around his neck, and caused him to vanish.
After the remainder of the party managed to finish off the other sentinels, they found themselves transported safely to a much more pleasant chamber, and in the company of the Lady as well as Janice once more. Algernon was healed up, though still resting on a small bed nearby.
Mallory interrogated the party, evidently familiar with at least their names and some of their story already. It would later become clear that this information came by way of Twig Treefog, who had evidently been working with the Lady in some capacity this entire time. The Lady expressed that she was in the "business of information" and insisted on knowing everything the party could tell her about the camp from which they had come. However, once it became evident that their curse would preclude them from doing so, she insisted that they find a way to break their curse for her own benefit. It was this conversation that introduced the party to the name of Sinfarena, whom the Lady explained could conceivably break a curse that she called "extremely clever and well-constructed."
Apparently unwilling to trust the party to return with the information she sought, she asked them to place some peculiar "collars" around their necks--identical to the one Algernon had already been wearing at the time of their reunion. These collars could, she explained, be made to contract to mere centimeters in diameter, killing anyone unfortunate enough to be wearing it at the time. She agreed to remove the collars on the condition that the party returned to her in a reasonable time and with their curses broken. Understanding the unpredictability of time in The Feywild, she would provide the group a guide to ensure they stayed on track.
Though this understandably infuriated several of the party members, Janice would speak in the Lady's defense in saying that she was not doing it out of malice so much as necessity. Janice's opinion of Mallory seems to be primarily colored by respect and admiration more than fear.
The party's second meeting with the Lady came after they returned successfully from The Feywild with their curses having been broken. Lady Mallory heard, then, one of Murmus Bigtoe's famous, no-detail-spared monologues detailing every event up until their last meeting with the Lady.
Lady Mallory seemed rather surprised to learn of a Vedalken being present in the camp and interested to hear the names Zauroth, Khol Nazalk and Gillath Naethyra. Combining all of the above with the knowledge that the camp existed for the sole purpose of obtaining Threads of the Old Weave, she determined that Crossbones doubtlessly had something to do with Palasar Tolthik and his efforts in the so-called Ascension War.
Pleased with her learnings, the Lady removed the party's collars without fanfare or restraint--keeping up her end of the bargain. Without thanking the party, she dismissed them to Janice's care and moved to depart. As an afterthought, she added that she may contact them again one day. For the moment, however, her attention is seemingly on other things.
A Clandestine Enterprise
Following the party's publicized froghemoth battle in Little Acheron, Lady Mallory contacted the party personally.
The party (who were expecting to meet with Inibis Valmeia the following morning) had decided to spend the night at Castian's home in The Songs. Though most fell quickly asleep, Murmus found himself awake, admiring Castian's collection of vintage armor and weaponry. He was soon contacted by a mysterious messenger apparently entering the room by way of a Dimension Door-like spell.
Finding the six he evidently expected to find, the man wordlessly delivered a letter to Murmus before passing back through his gate. The letter was terse and simply instructed the six to meet the Lady outside The Clockless Tower that very evening--an appointment they elected to keep.
The Lady, appearing at least ostensibly in person, told the party that she was aware they were in close contact with Inibis. Stranger than that though was the fact that she knew of an as-yet cryptic job offer Inibis had privately and only just made them. The Lady told the party that she would be prepared to let them name their price in exchange for acting as her spies in Necine--an apparently open-ended contract. Instructing them that they would be given the night to decide, she informed them that she'd expect their binding response in the morning before departing.
The next morning, Grihymm awoke to find another envelope resting on Murmus' beard, having apparently been delivered in the middle of the night.
331 Fable Walk. 7AM sharp. The door is unlocked for the six of you.
Deciding to wake the rest of the party, the group made their way to the destination noted, passing Cithreth Bardic College on their way. They found the address to be a nice home--unremarkable given its surroundings. Entering per the instruction, they found a mostly empty house, save for a cloaked man who offered them a package.
Inside, they found what looked initially like a spell scroll but which closer inspection revealed to be a contract. They also found a small container that held six familiar-seeming coins, itself wrapped in another note.A Contract With Lady Mallory
We the Undersigned (numbered six) agree to describe in full any and all private interactions with the Volta Inibis Valmeia of Necine to the Issuer, Lady Mallory of Witchmill. These descriptions shall be delivered in the shortest amount of time that ensures their secure delivery. Engaging in unnecessary delay or taking undue precaution toward this end constitutes a breach of this contract, as does the willful misrepresentation, obfuscation or omission of any aspect of these descriptions.
We the Undersigned further agree to seek actively any opportunity to meet privately with Inibis Valmeia in order to procure these descriptions for the Issuer. If 40 days pass without the Issuer receiving a description from the Undersigned, the Undersigned will be considered in breach of contract and will reimburse the Issuer for any payments rendered as pertains this contract theretofore.
In exchange for their service, the Undersigned shall receive the following (to be delivered subsequent to the first description deemed worthy of their value by the Issuer):
I regret your choice but I will honor it. Nevertheless, I cannot risk your indiscretion in this matter. This magic doesn't demand a coin but I trust you'll appreciate the irony.
The roguish man they would later idenitfy as Wisp told them that they were all to sign or to consume the coins. Remembering Crossbones and his arrival in Acaelica, Murmus refused the latter option outright and insisted he had eaten enough coins for one lifetime.
Johann, on the other hand, was quick to place the coin on his tongue, which he found resulted in nothing but confusion about how and why he had come to this home in the first place (as he suddenly found himself without any memory of a conversation or potential deal with Lady Mallory).
The remainder of the party was unsure of how to proceed but ultimately decided to take the coins. However, this was not before Algernon asked the memory-wiped Johann to read the contract again--an exchange plainly observed by the man in the foyer.
Understanding what Murmus needed to do for this situation to resolve itself, Johann used his magic and sleight of hand to get a coin onto Murmus' tongue--much in the same way Faewynn had once done to Vornaar to let him in on The Curse of Crossbones (and allow him to understand their story to that point).
Once the rest of the party followed suit, everyone was understandably confused about where they were and why they had come. The strange man in their midst walked out the door and vanished... with an interesting story to tell his employer.