As they climbed the stairs, they could hear bits of shouted commands in a demanding voice. “Tell us of the attack on Darkhold, will it succeed?!” The response could not be heard, but the voice soon shouted “Impossible!” As they neared the top, they heard a man ask, “What is our future, tell us what is to come!”
The Blades entered a room lit with blue-glowing torches, magical and eternal. Long-dead Netherese bones were stacked to the ceiling along the walls. Hundreds of skulls stared out at them. The center of the chamber contained a single stone sarcophagus bearing images of a plate-clad warrior. He battled odd flying monsters, 4-tentacled worm-like things that no one recognized. Whatever foes these Netherese had must have been slain long ago.
Beside the sarcophagus was a chest overflowing with gold coins. Fibbit had no qualms with robbing the dead, and the chest was split amongst the party. While counting their loot they heard a commotion at the back door they had re-trapped. Apparently someone was working to disarm the trap and enter the room. Fibbit moved back to the entry room to block the door, leaving the burial chamber temporarily.
As he – and the cursed gold he carried – left the room, the torches changed in color from blue to deep red. Bones shifted out from the walls, forming together into skeletal figures. The sarcophagus itself shifted open and a linen-wrapped corpse rose from it’s grave. Battle was fierce and over quickly – the undead could not stand up to Kriv and the holy powers of Tempus. Radiant energy blasted the skeletons to dust and the Netherese warrior was put to rest soon after.
Fibbit quickly jammed the exit to slow Clewsoro’s men and the Blades advanced past the burial chamber. A long hallway led directly under Spellgard Tower. At the end a secret panel opened to the tower basement. Inside were two uniformed Netherese soldiers, guarding another passage and oblivious to the secret door. The Blades quickly jumped the men, gutting them in seconds. Unguarded stairs led to higher levels of the tower.
Scepter Tower of Spellgard
Advancing up the tower, the Blades began to hear a deep-bass thump. Someone was ramming the front doors of the tower. Men could be heard shouting orders on the floor above, preparing for combat. Fibbit sneaked upstairs for a look, spying out a half-dozen Netherese soldiers waiting for the doors to shatter. The heavy stone construction was holding up well and the Blades decided to attack.
As they rushed upstairs into the waiting soldiers, the doors shook again and burst open. Mercenaries rushed in, turning the battle into three-way chaos. The mercs were led by the dragonborn Vannak, one of the camp leaders in the ruins. While the mercs, soldiers and Blades fought, Kriv yelled out to Vannak in their native tongue. Vannak recognized an ally and directed his men against the Netherese. Facing two groups at once, the soldiers quickly fell.
As combat ended, Fibbit noticed a small head poking up from the stairs below. It was Milli, the halfling rogue from the monastery. Apparently she was the one bypassing the traps and locks below. That meant Clewsoro’s men couldnt be far behind. Milli ducked back downstairs to warn them.
The Blades and Vannak rushed upstairs while his men held the lower levels. Clewsoro’s men ran straight into them and battle broke out on the ground floor while the Blades headed for the tower’s peak. The remaining tower levels were empty of life, floor after floor, as if all remaining Netherese were assembled at the top.
As they climbed the stairs, they could hear bits of shouted commands in a demanding voice. “Tell us of the attack on Darkhold, will it succeed?!” The response could not be heard, but the voice soon shouted “Impossible!” As they neared the top, they heard a man ask, “What is our future, tell us what is to come!” Now the Blades heard a response, a ghostly female voice state matter-of-factly:
“You have no future. Oreme has no future. Both will fall to threats from below, one from Blades and one from ghosts.”
The group barreled to the top, arriving in the midst of some ritual. The Lady of the tower was indeed here – chained by magic beaming out from surrounding small, broken white pillars. She seemed calm and uncaring of her situation, face unmoving, feet floating an inch or so above the ground, eyes staring into the distance. Before her stood a wizard, demanding details of the future. The remaining Netherese soldiers protected their leader.
Vannak, seeing his one chance at learning his future in chains, went a bit berserk. While the Blades fought off Netherese soldiers and quickly slew the wizard, the dragonborn Vannak attempted to free the ghost. He knocked over one of the fragmented white pillars holding the ghost in place, and a set of ghostly chains faded from view. Several more pillars remained – then she would be free.
With the Netherese slain, the Blades grew alarmed at Vannak’s attempt to free the ghost. The Blades were not content to let this happen, however, and warned the dragonborn to stand down and let them question the spirit before freeing her. Vannak refused and combat again broke out. Just as the battle began, Clewsoro and his surviving bodyguard reached the tower’s top, with the halfling Milli in tow.
Vannak called out to his one-time rival, offering a huge sum of money and rights to question the ghost if he assisted in slaying the Blades. Clewsoro accepted and the odds were evened. Clewsoro’s massive bodyguard, greataxe in hand, stepped forward and attacked. Clewsoro yelled orders from the rear, pointing out weak points and yelling orders.
Milli seemed reluctant to get her hands dirty. Fibbit yelled out to her, offering her a deal, an equal share of treasure in return for her assistance against her employer. It didnt take much convincing, and soon she and the Blades slew Clewsoro, his bodyguard and Vannak.
The tower was silent at last. The ghost floated serenely, watching the violence play out.
Power of Prophecy
The Blades had been warned of what evils could happen if Netheril gained the power of prophecy. Now that very power was in their hands. Would they use it for good or ill?
Fibbit ran forward and began asking questions, one after another. Who are you? How can you be freed from undeath?
The spirit of Netheril floated serenely in her chains, ignoring his presence.
They realized she could only answer questions about the future. They began to phrase questions about what will happen.
Answers began to flow.