Adric sat at the table in the dining room of the Ayers manor, quietly sipping his ale. Taldarin was boisterously telling some grand tale about Kerathra the Wizard-maiden or some nonsense while Fadris and Travis laughed along. Adric’s thoughts, however, were with his father and the recent events. He was never good at following the fantastic stories his father would tell him about fate and sorcery, and being involved in the middle of one didn’t make it any easier. What did the seer mean when he said that Adric shouldn’t exist? How did the talisman he wore protect him from the blow of the fate juggernaut they fought in the fields just the other day? He glanced at Destan and noted that he was likely stuck on the same thoughts as he sat in the corner, seemingly attempting to blend into the walls, unnoticed.
All-in-all, though, it was nice to stay at the Ayers estate. The servant staff was polite and helpful, and Adric was able to spend plenty of time thinking through his situation. He came no closer to determining how to execute his father’s charge, though. Before long, the academy wizard had arrived and was prepared to begin the portal ritual. Perhaps Vincent Ayers’ lab would provide some answers.
The portal ritual was nothing new to Adric. Jeddamar would use it frequently to travel, and Adric accompanied him on more than one occasion. The destination portal, though, was disconcerting. The structure was old and ruined with a strange, pulsating flesh tentacle curling around the broken pillars. A quick survey of the room indicated that this was located deep underground. This was confirmed a moment later when the smell hit…the telltale, putried musk of a troglodyte.
Adric was the first to respond, diving out of the destination cage and hurtling down the stairs to strike first. Taldarin began to sing as the sound of moving gears filled the room. Adric did not have a chance to see what caused the noise as the bard’s song transported him to the Fey. Adric was prepared for this, he rushed 12 paces west to where the troglodytes were standing, and when the song ended he found himself flanking one of the soldiers with Travis. The ranger and battle cleric struck in unison, crippling the warrior as the terrible smell overcame them. Before they could finish him, though, Adric found himself flanked by another of the lizardmen. He ducked a hard swing and struck the newcomer in the knee with his hammer, and followed that with an overhand strike with his axe. By this time, Destan had joined the fight, striking from behind Travis with his glaive.
The party made short work of the troglodytes, though Taldarin spent much of the fight hobbling around attempting to escape a rust monster. Fadris spent more than a few moments giggling at the sight before sniping the beast down at range with Fey fire. Eager to escape the stench, the companions ventured down the nearest corridor.
The corridor ended in a dead end with a metal dial centered on the wall. A scrawled message above it read “What is most important,” and the dial had five concentric wheels with letters etched in them. After a few failed tries, Taldarin was quick to determine the password – Vincent Ayers clearly placed great value on his son and protege. He wheeled the dial to say “Emery,” and the passage opened. Truly, Adric often forgot that Destan was a pseudonym for the soldier at the center of all this.
They entered the passage, and found themselves in the secret library of the archmage Vincent Ayers…