In the spring, after several nights of disturbed sleep, Mesta called Petrus, Brandon, and Cyllw to the temple of Isis in Hollyburg. Once they’d all arrived, Mesta told the trio that she’d been having bad dreams about them visiting a cave in which some type of magic staff hovered over a pool. She had a sense of foreboding that something evil was seeking out the staff and she felt that the dream was from Isis and that they needed to try to prevent whatever evil was about to befall the place.
The four of the students traveled to the library to do some research, hoping to discover the exact location and to find out a bit more about the staff that she’d dreamed about. What they discovered was that the staff was likely the one the kings of the Ivoness dynasty held. While it was not clear exactly how the staff worked, it appeared to change with its owner and the last one to hold it was the last king of Mivon, King Ivoness the 12th. Additionally they discovered maps that seemed to mark out the possible last capital of the Ivoness dynasty, deep within the borders of Pitax.
While discussing how they might travel to the location in Pitax, a journey they were estimating would take several weeks, Cyllw was called over to the head librarian, who suggested she read a travel book about the different humanoid races written by another Merg decades before. After finding out what the students were doing, the librarian also suggested that they all talk with Galen.
The group decided that Galen’s advice and any possible help would be quite advantageous to their impromptu expedition and went to speak with him. After talking to him about what they were planning, Galen said he’d teach them the incantation for the teleportation circles and that there was a circle very near the place they wanted to go; it was only two day’s travel from it instead of many weeks. After getting their bladesworn counterparts and the supplies they needed, Petrus, who’d taken copious notes during Galen’s instruction, teleported the group to the area in Pitax they needed to be.
Within minutes of arriving Petrus noticed tracks that seemed unusual to him and he pointed them out the group’s ranger, Guntar, who identified them as goblin tracks. After a bit of scouting Guntar came back and told them that there were indeed multiple goblins that had also traveled this same track not too long before and that they were probably watching them, which was verified by Brandon catching sight of one of them. After a bit more time, Guntar left the group to dispose of the goblin scout who seemed to be following them.
The students continued down the trail in the direction of the temple they’d discovered on the maps. Suddenly they were ambushed by a contingent of the goblins and a couple of ogres. Putting up a significant fight, the group killed the ogres and many of the goblins, the remainder of which ran away but returned to hound the students all the way to the temple.
Once inside the ancient temple they made their way to the central chamber, which seemed to be a natural cave which glowed with an eerie greenish light. In the middle was a pool of water but no staff remained above it. Instead, Petrus and Cyllw noticed that a figure in a dark robe sat, as if wounded, next to the pool.
The group arrived in front of the man to hear him weakly asking for help. Brandon gave the man a potion of healing which did him a great deal of good, reviving him enough to explain what’d happened. The man’s name was Tanin and he was a necromancer who served a bloodmage master who thought nothing of sacrificing his apprentices to gain what he desired. His master had taken the staff and had gone to the temple’s teleportation circle to return to Ensio, the city of the Witch King. Petrus and Cyllw decided that the man was untrustworthy and had Dalyna kill him with her spear, just as he was trying to take control of Brandon’s undead minions.
The group rushed into the teleportation room in time to see a red-cloaked wizard holding two staves preparing to leave. Brandon fired off a crossbow bolt, which seemingly disintegrated before it reached it’s goal. Petrus cast grease on the staff that obviously was of Mivonian heritage; unfortunately the dispelling field the wizard had in effect negated its effectiveness. The three bladesworn and Mesta ran forward and were thrown like ragdolls to the back wall. Petrus then cast break on one of the rocks of the circle, hoping to destroy it and prevent the staff from being taken. Cyllw cast a charm spell on the wizard, with no apparent effect. Brandon cast a ray at the wizard, again to no effect. Petrus summoned a riding dog and had it try to wrest the staff from the wizard; the wizard deftly moved it before the dog could get it in its maw and with his other staff incinerated the summoned creature.
The wizard’s name was Janus, and he’d once served alongside Galen. He had nothing nice to say about the apprentice master, basically relegating him to near non-wizard status compared to himself. After he was done belittling Galen, Janus opened a portal to one of the other planes and left, leaving the students to figure out what to do next.
The group decided to spend the night in the temple, rather than trying to fight their way through the goblins in the woods outside. Mesta and the other bladesworn were not in much shape to travel and Mesta was having problems getting the power she needed through her prayers to Isis. The following morning the group decided that perhaps the temple had in some way been desecrated and set to search out a method for setting it right.
On the top floor of the temple, in front of the altar, there was indeed a desecration. Apparently Janus summoned and bound a devil to kill the group as they entered the sanctuary. Fortunately, Petrus opened the door without entering the room and immediately recognized the creature was a devil. Speaking Infernal to the creature, the student made it promise to return home without harming anything in any way in exchange for being released from the binding circle. The devil agreed and Petrus entered the room and set it free.
Before leaving, the devil relayed that Janus had known exactly who was coming to the temple before they arrived and had commanded the devil to slay them all, but due to no longer being bound, he was not obligated to carry out the wishes of the wizard. He told Petrus that though his agreement not to harm anything was good for now, it would likely not be so the next time they met. The devil’s four-syllable name began with Garen.
After the devil left the sanctuary, the students helped Mesta consecrate the location and once more she felt that her prayers were properly getting through to the goddess.
The group then decided that if there was anything else of value, especially lore, they would return to Hollyburg with it. They made their way down to the treasure chamber and discovered wards and runes on the door. As Petrus was trying to work them out Mesta stepped right up to the door and was blown back by an explosion; a magic mouth appeared and Janus’s voice was heard saying how please he was to have had someone set off his trap.
Cyllw, with a prayer to Isis and her eyes closed, pushed the door open and walked through into the chamber. Unfortunately it had been ransacked and there was nothing of value remaining. With little to show for the trip other than the knowledge that a new enemy existed, the group made their way back to the teleportation circle that first brought them to the area.
Petrus transported everyone home and Mesta returned to the temple of Isis for healing and aid. The bladesworn went to the Drunken Unicorn with some money from Brandon to get properly drunk with, and the wizard apprentices went to see Galen to inform him of the trip.
After telling Galen about their encounter with Janus, Galen told them a bit about the history the two had under Osprak’s service when they were merely called Osprak’s wizards, rather than wizards of Mivon. Galen congratulated the group for surviving what was clearly beyond their abilities.