The Party, exhausted after their encounter with Roach, found themselves back in the eerie silence of the antechamber to the Private Stacks. Johann decided to bind and gag their paralyzed quarry, considering the paralytic was likely to wear off before their rendezvous with Lilli.
Removing the two Librarian Keys from the plinths on either side of the doors, Grihymm placed both in the stone coffin at the room's center before Murmus Bigtoe and Johann VonGruppen carried Roach back up the stairs to the upper level of the library.
Exiting the Archive
Upon reaching the upper level, Algernon the Tall conjured a primitive wheelbarrow (largely just a plank of wood attached to a single wheel) upon which they placed Roach's body for Murmus to push. However, seeing that the layers of dust on the floor were giving that wheel some difficulty, Algernon added a simple brush modification in front of the wheel, allowing for a much smoother trip out of the The Primeval Archive. Reaching the exit stairs without incident, they carried the nothic up and out of the library, returning to the comfort of a shining sun and fresh air.
The party took a short rest in the small clearing outside the Archive's entrance. Once it concluded, they made their way toward the pre-ordained meeting spot. However, they didn't make it far before they heard a crackle and a boom from behind them. They each turned to see three skeletons dressed in robes standing in front of a now-collapsed entryway to the library below. Two of these were familiar, as the party encountered them sitting at a table in the Archive. They would leave that room and return to it later, noticing that these skeletons had vanished. The third of the group was unfamiliar to them, and this one put a finger to his "lips" in a gesture of silence to Grihymm Phrahdrandon. Afterward, the three would slowly ascend into the air and fly over the heads of the party without hostility. Johann attempted to have a nearby robin act as an Animal Messenger to the "most fun-looking" of the skeletons, instructing it to deliver a message of friendship. It is uncertain whether the message was ever received, however, as the party would move on to their destination.
Arrival at the Pillars
Reaching the spot where they expected to meet Lilli, the group noticed Solstice sitting atop an exposed root of a particularly large tree. The bird indicated a small opening beneath this root through which the party could crawl into a space below, which they did after pushing the paralyzed carcass of Roach down into it ahead of them. Once all were inside, Sol told the party in Common that they should wait here, and that she'd be right back.
The party found themselves in a small underground chamber composed almost entirely of roots. The relatively small space was unadorned but for the eight pillars that seemed to themselves be part of the root structure that made up the space. One of these was a dark--nearly black--wood that Johann identified as oaken. Intricate floral and runic designs were carved into its surface and it was warm to the touch despite spending its existence in the shade.
Algernon conjured a bag to go over Roach's head to accompany his binds and gag, and delivered a swift kick to the creature's abdomen once it was evident that the paralysis was wearing off. Roach, seeming to understand the desperate nature of this position, chose to remain fairly still thereafter.
After passing another hour or so, Lilli arrived with Solstice to meet the party and seemed suitably impressed with their success. After a brief exchange of pleasantries, Lilli got to work preparing the room for an interrogation. She produced from thin air a book that seemed at once ancient and dangerous, bearing the mark of Vecna on its cover. She pierced its spine with a fishhook, and--using the line attached--was able to hang it at about eye level (for taller persons anyway) near the room's center. Beneath the hanging book, she dug a small hole in some dirt between the roots that otherwise comprised the floor, and lit a small fire there. Lastly, she cut and retied the binds around Roach's wrists in order to secure him to one of the room's pillars, which began to glow red as he touched it. Binding him in such a way that he would see the hanging book and the flame beneath it, Lilli persuaded Grihymm to stand behind the book, and warned him that what was about to unfold would be unpleasant for him. Assuring him that he was in no real danger, Grihymm reluctantly accepted and followed her instructions.
Standing out-of-sight behind Roach with the remainder of the party, Lilli began to address the creature.
"Listen carefully, Roach." She spits out his name as though it were acid before continuing:
"I believe you know in whatever closest resembles your heart that which this book contains. I am about to remove your gag, but you will not speak until I ask you a question. Clap your hands together once if you understand me."
"If you fail to answer my question, or if you lie to me, Grihymm here will use that big sword of his to send this book to a swift and fiery end. Clap your hands together once more if you understand."
"If you answer all my questions completely and truthfully, I will allow you to read the contents of that book, and you may be permitted to leave here alive. Now," she says as she removes his gag, revealing his eerie and permanent smile:
"Who is this that stands before you?"
With this question, Roach shifts his focus from the book to the dragonborn standing beyond it, as Grihymm Phrahdrandon began to feel an invasive, violating presence in his mind. It was as though the creature before him was staring directly into his own memories, and the sensation was sickening. Despite this, Grihymm did not resist the magic being turned on him, and listened with his companions as Roach began tell his story for him:
"What was his function within that camp?"
"For what reason did he seek the Threads?" Lilli seems to spit out the last word with the same tone as she previously afforded Roach.
"He knows only that Odac wants them, and it was his task to retrieve them with the other Raiders."
"Did he seek the one called Lilli in search of these Threads?"
"In a way," he chuckles.
At this, Lilli whispered something under her breath. It seemed to cause the flames in the hole to visibly grow in intensity.
"NO!" Roach shouted and began to struggle against his binds to no avail. The book was clearly of great importance to him.
"Try again, Roach."
"My captors led a quickling called Twig and his goblin companions to the camp, where they stole Threads from Odac. This nearly resulted in my captors' execution, but this they were spared by a Kalashtar named Khol Nazalk. They were told to retrieve the Threads and return. Khol guessed Twig would attempt to return to the Fey, but this one does not know if he did."
"It seems they were smart enough to seek a guide, and received a hint that the one called Lilli would be able to help them navigate the Feywild in search of Twig, the goblins, and the Threads."
"Does Grihymm seek to secure these Threads and rejoin the camp?"
"Grihymm does not trust Odac. He seeks the Threads as a means to power, or to wisdom perhaps. They do not intend to return them to the wizard. They do not know what it is they seek."
"Thank you, Roach."
And with that, she took a needle to Roach's neck, who fell unconscious immediately after.
Life, Death, and Rainbows
Lilli asked Grihymm to return her book of recipes to her, and told the party that they were responsible for Roach's fate. Suggesting that it would be a mercy to kill him, she said also that it was unlikely that Roach posed any real danger to anyone but himself. After some consideration (and some persuasive arguments from Johann VonGruppen), the party elected to allow Roach to live. Lilli said that while she would be loath to part with her book of recipes, she did promise Roach a chance to read it. At this, Algernon conjured a convincing replica, but populated the pages in the book with a cinnamon bun recipe of his own.
With the help of Murmus and Grihymm, Lilli took the unconscious nothic to a spot not terribly far away in the The Fellgleam and abandoned him--and the cinnamon bun recipe--to their fate beneath a tree. The three returned to the chamber where the rest of the party waited with Solstice, and she debriefed them about their situation as she saw it.
First, she revealed that the Threads were considered highly toxic and even lethal to fey creatures. Although she did not know what Twig might be up to, she was certain that it was nothing benign and it warranted further investigation. She doubted that he would return to the Fey with the Threads, but didn't discount it as impossible. Hearing that the camp was operating solely to recover these items displeased her, but she did not seem entirely shocked about that revelation. It seems that seeking them out to enhance one's powers is not entirely uncommon in Acaelica, and she also indicated that she thought it "wise" of Odac to seek them in the Fellgleam.
She said that it was worthwhile to investigate Twig and the goblins further, but that might entail venturing into the The Feywild--something she said came at a cost the party might not want to bear. Among many dangers she didn't yet reveal, she noted the issue of time being unpredictable in the fey, and a trip there could take much longer than one might anticipate. Recalling that they had left their "friend" Marin back at her home with an as-yet unkept promise to his service, she indicated that their first move should be to return there. However, there was not time left in the day to make it before sundown, and therefore the plan was to spend the night in the underground chamber.
With the waning hours of the day, the party took the time to investigate the odd pillars in the room. Lilli indicated that the Fellgleam was littered with such puzzles and strange magic, and she did not seem particularly interested or concerned with this one. Realizing that each pillar glowed different colors when touched, Faewynn Treewalker recognized the colors of the rainbow, and touched the pillars in their order. Doing so resulted in turning the black pillar to a bright white, and at Murmus' touch, a chest appeared in the room's center. The chest appeared ordinary, but its contents were anything but.
Handing the bow to Faewynn, Murmus proceeded to smash the chest into splinters with his hammer, and was able to turn the scraps into caltrops for himself. After this, the party decided to take a long--and well-deserved--rest, knowing their next day would start early and end late. Lilli--apparently not much of a sleeper--held watch overnight. The party awoke the next morning with a new sense of strength, purpose, and accomplishment--eager to meet the new challenges that await them.
- Level 5
- The Rain Bow