The House Betrayal Built
Mirtul 23, 1373
After the doors slammed behind them, Faridoon immediately turned and began trying to force them open, but could not despite his best efforts. Drall, using his divine powers, examined the vantage point with detect magic, revealing that the entire house was pulsing with veins of raw magical energy, but was particularly concentrated directly above them on the second floor. If they wanted to escape, they needed to figure out what magic was keeping them here. Setting out, Vuutharak, Faaridoon and Drall, with his “friend” in toe ventured out in the was was left of the living room. The rafter above had at some point collapsed, smashing a large hole in floor and barring exit through the front door. Upon stepping out, the tattered remains of a table cloth sprang to life dancing for a moment before pulling out a body from the ruins and attacking them like a marionette. Before destroying the cloth, it dropped the body from it’s entanglement, revealing Dynff. After, Dynff related he had been sent by Jonny to investigate before the others had arrived. He had just broken in, he heard a loud noise, and blacked out. A stairwell ran up to the second floor from the living room, but before ascending them, the group decided to investigate the others rooms first.
Drall entered the decaying remains of the kitchen and was struck by a vivid aberration appearing before him. A young boy in purple robes was preparing food. He hears the sound of the front door shut and a older voice call out “Ashton, come here! I want you to meet someone. Her name is Sethlin. She’ll be staying with us for a bit…” The boy in the robes pauses, and then in a fit hurls a knife at the wall, before the image fades away. Suddenly, five knives in the room sprung to life and begin attacking Drall. As he retreats from the kitchen, defending himself from the flurry of flying knives, the other see him and come to his add. Once all the knives are sundered, Drall relates his vision much to the dismay of the others.
The four continue into the living room, where the remains of a grand mantle piece lay in ruins. Abruptly a sofa attacks them, imbued with the magic following through the house. After smashing it to pieces, Faaridoon and Vuutharak decide they’ve had enough and being trying to pry a hole through the boarded up windows, while Dynff and Drall head into the study.
The former study was completely wrecked. One bookshelf remained standing that Drall began shifting through, while Dynff sorted through a mess of papers on the floor. Finding nothing of interest, Dynff had turned around to suddenly see a young man in purple robes sitting at the desk. The figure stood up placed a phantom book on the shelf, returned to the chair and took out a piece of paper and a pen. As he began to write a distant sound from above coming from the second floor began to slowly grow louder. It was a heavy thumping sound with cries of ecstasy. The robed figure wrote for a moment , stopped, gripped the pen in his hand tightly and then stabbed his arm with incredible force, letting out a piercing scream. Dynff wretched in pain as the scream threatened to damage his psyche. After recovering, Dynff and Drall searched the bookshelf for the possible book the phantom had placed on it. They found it and took it back to the other two to explain what had happened. Faridoon and Vuutarak had given up fighting the house – realizing it was keeping them there.
Vuutharak looked over the book, before consulting his ancestral telling bones for further guidance. It was entitled “Of Clockwork and Magicka Obscura by Meldrath Cogsmith” and contained explanations the theoretical works of combining clockwork machina with various sources of power, including steam, strange minerals and arcane magic. The central focus of the book seemed to have been the problem of combining clockwork machines with magical sources of power. The book was dated 1219, The Year of Prideful Tales.
Having explored the entire first floor and deciding not to venture into the basement without good cause, the four traveled carefully to the second floor. In the den, just past the stairs they found a mass of clothes and linens that had been dragged out the rooms by someone or something. In the corner stood a large stuff bear, the onyl remaining decoration. Convinced the bear would animate and attack them, the group attempted to walk past it, only to be attacked by animated cloth from pile of clothes.
Investigating the first door, the four discovered the master bedroom, long ago ransacked and dismantled. The only remaining furniture was a stained king sized bed and a small trunk, where a family of rats had made a family out of papers. The only intact papers they had found amongst the rat’s nest were adoption papers from Rolling Hill Orphanage, for a 12 year old boy named Ashton Fanemir, dated 1293 Year of the Talking Skull and a note that read the following:
(Destroyed by water) PS. Thank you for asking about my apprentice Ashton, he is doing just fine. He has taken surprisingly well the Arcane arts, though I’m hesitant to enroll him in the The Arcanexicanium. I think he will do fine to assist me here with my studies.
Wandering off a bit, Dynff entered the first room around the corner. It was a maddening sight: dozen of papers had been stuck to the wall covered with burn marks, ink and water stains. In the center of the room was a tattered jorunal with only a few pages left intact. Dynff, investigating the journal found two legible entries:
Flamerule 14, 1308 …Marious has received notice from the Arcanexicanium regarding his request for financial assistance for his research… the bastards have denied him. We’ll have to turn to the houses for funding. House Kelnar and Samreich both seem promising…
Nightal 20, 1310 … I’ve been having strange dreams since Sethlin came to stay with us… I awake late in the night to the sound of rushing air, and as I sit up a black mass if forming above my bed. Suddenly the air stops and a thousand hungry crows fly from the black orb. Then a figure of a woman appears, with raven black hair and two bladed weapons at her side. As body forms from the darkness, burning pitch beings to flow from my eyes and then I awake… Although she is young, he eyes seem much older…
As Dynff read the last journal entry, the images that are described, begin to appear, resulting in him stumbling back out of the room, clenching his eyes. Drall, tended to his injuries, saw none, but healed him with his divine power, resulting in his vision returning.
Moving down the hallway, Dynff with the group in toe entered the room at the end of the hallway. There, Dynff saw a vision of young girl enter the room in a bathrobe, sit at the desk, dead a note, walk over to the bed and placed it under the mattress. She returned to the desk, took out a dagger and slit her throat. Dynff was just able to resist the urge to follow her footsteps. After the apparition vanished, he found the note under the mattress which read simply: How could you?
Having an idea for what they might see, the group entered the final room, with Drall in the lead. As he stepped in, he saw the final pieces come together. Marious stood reviewing his notes on a pedestal in a ritual room, with the body of a young girl in a circle. Ashton enters the room, slowly creeping up behind Marious with the dagger Sethlin used to kill herself tightly gripped in his fist. Just as he went to plunge the dagger into his back, Marious caught site of him, turned and released a spell and reduced Ashton quivering corpse. Marious collecting his notes and leaving the room in haste. When the images passed, he saw what remained: two skeletons, one in the circle, one with a dagger still in his hands. Drall grabbed the dagger, which had several marking indicating it a ritual weapon of Shar, as the rest of the group entered the room.
On the pedestal they found a tattered age-worn note that had been left behind. It read:
To better investigate the source of the strange energy permeating the house, I’ve created a permanent circle to take use further underground, closer to the source in the basement. I’ve placed it in a secret space behind the barrels on the eastern wall. I can only hope the magical energy effecting the house dose not alter the destination of the circle…
Just as they were about to leave the room, a cry rang out as the room flexed above them, distorting the space around them. A ghostly figure appeared in the room, demanding that the group bring him “his things, his precious things, his journal, robe and wand” or he would make them suffered with him for all eternity. the group agreed and began going through the house gathering the missing items. As Vuutharak waked past the bear in the den on the second floor, a terrible face appeared on it’s head of an older man screaming “Ashton! I told you not to animate any more thing in the house!” and a boys voice crying out “I didn’t! It’s the house! I didn’t!” Suddenly the face on the bear let out a terrible roar and flame enveloped Vuutharak, knocking him unconscious. Drall quickly came to his aid, and after Vuutharak was back on his feet the group continued their search.
They found the wand in the library, the robes in the den, and journal scattered in his room. As they returned the items to Ashton, his figure slowly started to take more of a shape. When the last item absorbed into him, he was fulled visible and formed, although still ethereal. He had also gained some of his consciousness but still suffered from something he claimed “was keeping him trapped, something made by Marious as punishment.”
Dynff, was struck by an idea and returned to the living area on the first floor, where he found a strange clock, that showed no signs of age in spite of its environment. Dynff opened the clock, and saw a strange gem, similar to a De’Ryan’s Eye, but of a different cut. With a swift tug, Dynff ripped the gem from the clock, ceasing it to function, which was followed by a sudden quaking in the house as the voice of Ashton echoed out “I am FREE!”
Returning to the ritual room, the group meet with Ashton one last time before he left their world. He explained he was grateful for all that they had done, and answered their questions about the nature of Marious’ studies. Most importantly, when he was asked “what could a machine the size of a building do, if there was a big enough power supply for it?” to which he answered “it could change to world.” Just as Ashton was about disappear he mentioned that he hoped he would be reunited at last with his love now that he was free. As he faded away, Faridoon humbled to himself: “Not likely…”