RecapThe next prophecy had been revealed, and it seemed to point to Istarmani, the mysterious Elven noble that the party had just delivered the Jade Chalice to. Alice Starr cited commitments to the churches in the city, Light had been called before the Inquisition, and Nohrik seemed to have come down with some kind of illness while driving in the woods. The rest of the party, however, splits up to try to gather some information. After trying a few leads, Darian comes across some ne’er do wells in the slums of Alexandren discussing their plan to hit a bunch of the churches in town. The rest of the party follows up their own leads to the Alexandren Library. Glandrin, Reschard, and Gurias head into the library while Darian tries to warn the guards of the impending attacks. An ancient half-elven librarian leads the party to a secluded section of the library about the ancient Nerath empire. [[Image:adventure7-1.jpg]] Descending the stairs into the section, they find several elves ransacking the library! There’s some posturing, but as what often happens, words are not enough, and the battle is joined. The elves pass around a bag of books and try to get it out of the library, but the PCs maneuver around to try to block them in a difficult fight. Istarmani’s lieutenant manages to break through the blockade and head upstairs… to come face to face with Darian who has finally caught up. Down below, the knocked out party members come to, and the battle continues one floor up, with the valiant halfling holding the line. [[Image:adventure7-2.jpg]] The last of the elves is dropped by a well-placed dagger. The books are recovered, and they tell the interesting story of the first Alexandren Library, the great repository of all knowledge known, which at the height of the Nerath Empire burned to the ground mysteriously. They also tell about the three Eladrin lords:
- Istarmani, Lord of the Prime, Master of the Material
- Istarya, Lord of Time and Space
- Istarkoi, Lord of Ideas and Knowledge
Istarya and Istarkoi stripped Istarmani of much of his powers for reasons not revealed, and sealed his power in the Set of Jade, and scattered it throughout the world. The party debates what to do with this knowledge and how to avert the next prophecy. The only thing they can settle on is to venture into Istarmani’s compound. The mansion and its grounds are mostly undefended. A light drizzle begins to fall from the sky. Darian does some quick scouting to determine the best location to slip in undetected. From their past visits, and a drawing on their knowledge of housing ’’(via an incredible Dungeoneering check)’’ they determine the area to go where the Jade Set might be held. There’s strange chanting coming from the main dining area. The party bypasses the valuable artworks on display to investigate. The rain has started coming down faster now, with the sound of thunder echoing within every few minutes. There is speculation about the weather being unnatural. The door to the dining chamber is opened, revealing Istarmani holding the Jade Chalice, the center of some kind of ritual being performed with the help of other Elves. Darian leaps out and tries to disrupt the ritual by stabbing one of the Elves involved, but it seems to be too late. Istarmani begins laughing as the power from the Jade Set fills him again… but then something has gone wrong. He is transforming into something unexpected. The hall is filled with this sound: [http://www.critical-hits.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/fs_a002_male_laughter_morphing.mp3 Istarmani’s Transformation] With every lightning clap, Istarmani’s skin becomes darker, changing from a light complexion to that of a Drow. He curses the party and accuses them of mishandling the Jade Chalice. Energy flares out from the Jade Set, changing the other members of the ritual into strange spiderlike creatures. The Jade Set begins to erupt, spewing forth giant spiders. [[Image:adventure7-3.jpg]] The party tries to rush Istarmani, but the spider-things hold them off long enough for him to use an escape passage underneath his throne. After a few inconvienent webbings, the spiders are dispatched. Without stopping to catch their breath, the party charges on into the secret passage. A nasty spiked pit, surrounded by traps designed to push them in, poses a minor setback. Darian bravely paves the way for the rest, suffering minor spike injuries along the way (which is much better than major spike injuries.) [[Image:adventure7-4.jpg]] The passage leads on to the outside, a muddy field in the Istarmani grounds. There, the thugs and crooks who had been hired to attack the churches congregate there. “There’s those guys the boss wants killed!” they yell at the party, and charge. Darian and Glandrin move ahead and find themselves quickly surrounded, but the combined might of the party dispatches the goons quickly enough. As the last one drops, a shout and the barking of dogs is heard. The party quickly finds itself surrounded by the Inquisition who demand the party drops their weapons. Darian tries to sneak off, but then thinks better of it. The party is brought in for questioning, but are soon let go after the Inquisition superiors send down word for the PCs to be released. The only warning they receive is to not return to Istarmani’s grounds while the investigation is ongoing.