Once back at the inn Falathar retired to his room and pulled out the letter. He opened it eagerly wondering what it contained. He found a copy of the notes Venture Captain Eando Kline had recorded about a journey to Kaer Maga. The details of the journey included much about the dangers encountered in the area. Most tantalizing was the possibility
of finding an ioun stone there. In reading the notes Falathar corroborated Bron’s opinion of the town. According to Kline it is “a den o inequity, rife with criminals, outcasts, vice merchants, and worse.” “An ioun stone for a wayfinder, perhaps,” thought Falathar, “I should support Strabo’s proposal to go to Kaer Maga once we have accomplished our mission in Magnimar.”
Falathar went down to the common room where he found Samson trying to convince the party to take up Headmaster Soldragon’s offer. Agrent was dead set against it, “What about Foxglove?” He turned to Rain, “Your boyfriend.” “Not,” blurted out Rain. Agrent chided, “You play hard to get, but you know you wanted him.” The glare Rain gave Agrent seemed to chill the room instantly. “I only joking,” apologized Agrent, “but we should
find Foxglove’s friends first.” Erlig and Falathar were for going to the academy one hundred gold would come in handy. “We have all learned new skills,” pointed out Falathar, “and it would give us a chance to test them before going against more formidable opponents.” Agrent agreed only because it was to be just two days work. The party agreed to accompany Sampson to the academy.
Falathar suggested that we ask Samson’s father, head of the town guard to check into those who might have been working with Foxglove. The party agreed and asked him to draft a note with our questions to present to Sampson’s father. We asked for information on the “Mistress, Wanton of Nature’s Pagan;” any groups that practice the Sihedron
ritual; and a group referred to as “Brothers” who used the fungus and its spores. It asked that the request be kept confidential so as not to alert the guilty parties.
The conversation switched to lighter subjects with Agrent asking Cameo why he changed his name from Kizzy. “Why name yourself after necklace?” he asked. Cameo tried to steer the conversation away from his name, but Agrent was on a roll. He then turned to Samson, “You named wrong. You not Sam’s son. You should choose new name.” Samson said it wasn’t proper to change your name. Agrent would not be dissuaded, “If Kizzy can his name you can change yours. Your name now Justice.” We spent the rest of the evening in pleasant conversation enjoying the wine and ale.
The next day we set out for the academy and arrived in time for lunch. We were ushered through the courtyard into the dining room. There we joined Headmaster Meritus Soldragon along with four teachers at the head table. Mistress Valria, a stern hawkish looking noble woman, taught weapon training along with proper manners. A smiling half-elf, Master Azlar who’s subjects included writing and history, which Falathar approved as proper subjects for an elf or half-elf to be teaching. There was a gruff one-armed man, Master Carble in charge of specialized weapon training, armor use, and poetry (all about war and battle). The fourth was a halfling man, Master Deft who took care of athletics, logic and math. Master Deft took one look at the merry Halfling, Blossom and shook his head in disapproval.
The students then entered rather noisily, more so when they saw our party. Several looked at Blossom, while some of the older boys leered at her and Rain. Blossom giggled and waved at the boys (much to Strabo’s approval). Rain turned to Blossom, “Sit down and shut up.” Many students looking at the Shoanti whispered and chuckled. Agrent and Parlay turned to give them a cold steady glare, which seemed to make the children
uncomfortable, but quiet. We notice that place settings were set for the teachers, our party and most of the students, but the tables in front of several students were conspicuously bare.
The headmaster rose, “We have guests for lunch. I expect you to behave,” He then turned to the first of our party, “I would ask you to introduce yourselves and tell us something about your specialties.” Parlay stood up in a flat voice, “I kill,” then sat back down.
Erlig was next, “I come from the far north.” Strabo rose majestically, “I am one of the priests of Calistra, and am accompanied by Blossom and a attendant (he had brought one of the ‘girls’ from the local temple). They will be assisting me in instructing you.” Strabo then looked to Mistress Valria giving him a disapproving stare, “I have Mistress Valria’s eye so I will sit down.” Cameo was next, “I was raised in these parts. You have a nice school.” Rain, “I use the bow.” To which Soldragon remarked, “Oh, excellent, an archer.” Agrent rose, “I am he who walks unseen. I hunter.” Falathar rose, “I am Falathar, son
of Fëanor of Kyonin. I am a bard.” This brings a look of approval from Mistress Valria. Finally, Sampson rose, “I am Samson, a paladin of Iomedae.”
Introductions completed Headmaster Soldragon stood and clapped his hands. Students came from the kitchen bearing salads which they first served to the head table before the student tables. Agrent asked the headmaster, “Why do students have no place set,” as he pointed to the students. “Punishment,” stated Mistress Valria, “for being lazy. Don’t
worry they get plenty of food at dinner.” Strabo quietly committed to memory the faces of those who did not get food. Erlig commented that he hoped this wouldn’t take long to sort out. Agrent turned to Mistress Valria, “Your food must not be good, your face sour.” Mistress Valria turned to the headmaster, “An interesting group you have assembled Headmaster Meritus. I hope they can solve our trouble.”
The main course was brought out next, a hearty meat stew. Once again the head table was served first. Just as the last students were served the stew, Agrent and Falathar noticed a
shimmering form start to take shape at the far end of the hall. It became horrible bloody figure of a halfling or gnome ghost whose jaw distended with an unearthly wail. The students ran screaming in terror and were not the only ones for Rain (once again), Cameo and Parlay joined the stampede to get out. The headmaster and teachers were not far behind to “maintain” order as they later told us.
Agrent reacted by immediately leaping up on one of the long student tables and charge to ghostly form. He ran down kicking bowls of soup off the table and reached the spirit. He swung his club which passed through the form without effect. Agrent realized that it was
going to take a magic weapon to hit this creature. The spirit touched him dealing moderate damage to our Shoanti. Falathar started singing to hearten the party knowing it was going to take all their skills and abilities to fight this monster.
Bron was the next to act and ran down to face the ghost, but was able to attack yet. Erlig used a wand and hit it with a magic missile, which caused the spirit to turn away from
Agrent. It sped down the room and touched Erlig causing severe damage. Agrent cast shaleighlie on his club. Sampson detected no evil but both he and Falathar missed with their swords. Strabo cast bit of luck on Samson.
Meanwhile, Bron who had run down the room to attack the ghost now found himself at the wrong end. He turned and ran back to where he started still not having a chance to swing at it. Agrent attacked with his now magical club and hit the creature causing it to shriek in
pain. Erlig stepped back five feet and cast a magic missile from memory with the two missiles hitting the target. Blossom threw a dagger, but it passed through without effect. The ghost looked at Erlig, but turned and touched Sampson with moderate damage. Sampson used cleave attacked but only hit it with the first swing. Falathar managed to prick it with his rapier. Strabo once more cast bit of luck on Samson for it seemed to help.
Bron finally got a chance to swing and hit the creature with his war axe. Agrent moved to attack it from behind hitting it solidly. Erlig cast another pair of magic missiles into it.
Blossom tried once more, but again her weapons were useless. The spirit then turned to Falathar to repay his hit with one of its own. Sampson landed both hits using cleave with heavy damage to the ghost. Falathar reeling from being touched missed with his rapier. Strabo cast bit of luck once more on the Paladin happy that it seemed to be working.
Outside Parlay had come to his senses and turned to run back into the dining room. Bron scored another hit followed by Agent landing a solid strike. The ghost shrieked in agony. Erlig cast another set of magic missiles into it. The ghost began to speed away from the party and dissolved away and disappeared at the far end of the dining room. It took some time, but Cameo and Rain also regained their senses and returned to the dining room. Finding the fight over Cameo offered, “We were protecting the children.” Agrent shook his head at Cameo and then he healed himself. Falathar cast cure moderate wounds on Erlig. Sampson performed several lay on hands to heal up Erlig, Falathar and himself.
Headmaster Meritus stood up to get the student’s attention, “Everybody needs to get ready for classes. This little episode doesn’t mean you get to stand around.” Master Deft, “You can’t be serious. We’re not going to be able to get them settled down in class.” One look from Meritus was enough to silence any further dissention among the staff. The students finally began to move off, still talking about what happened and with looks of admiration at our group. We heard various comments, “A kid saw it before in the courtyard” and “did you hear…left school because it appeared over his bed.” As the children file out of the dining hall Sampson called out, “That is how you banish evil.”
Agrent asked if something had happened in the past connected to this spirit. Headmaster Meritus responded, “The Soldragons have owned this land for two generations and I know of nothing like that.” Erlig asked if there had been any other incidents. Meritus, “Yes, so I think you can see why we need the help.” Erlig further inquired if this was the only apparition appearing, “Yes” was Meritus’s response. We asked it any attempt had been made to communicate with the spirit and he said they had not tried. “It wants something,” stated Cameo. “Kizzy right,” agreed Agrent.
Meritus informed us that the spirit had first appeared two months ago, “On a Wealsday exam day.” We all agreed that it looked like a halfling or gnome. Erlig asked where the records were kept and was informed in the library or Mistress Valria’s office on the third floor. Erlig wanted to check the student files and the Headmaster informed him they
were in his office where he was welcome to check. Erlig headed off for the office to check for students who left prior to the trouble starting. Strabo dropped by the kitchen and got tea and biscuits. He then went to wait in Mistress Valria’s office with a lustful smile on his face. Cameo and Falathar decided to check out the library. The remaining party talked out how to handle banishing the spirit. “Let’s burn it (the building) down,” offered Parlay. Bron shook his head, “Burning the building down is no way ta’ solving the problem.” He then muttered under his breath about the crazy Shoanti.
Cameo and Falathar reached the library and began searching the volumes. Shorty thereafter, Cameo found a tome on flowers and became engrossed in reading it. Falathar seeing this said, “Figures,” and continued searching. He came across an empty section of shelving labeled “ghosts.” Falathar then checked the journal and found that Master Deft
had checked them all out. He tapped Cameo on the shoulder to get his attention and they returned to ask Meritus how long Deft had been teaching there. “Thirty some years he began teaching with Piper Soldragon, my father.”
Falathar and Cameo inquired as to where Master Deft’s office was and were directed to it. They found the officer crammed with bookshelves and these crammed with books. There was a rolling ladder used by Deft to reach the top shelves, which Falathar and Cameo could
easily reach just standing. Falathar came across four tomes on ghosts: “How to See Ghosts,” “Corporeal Specters,” “Ghosts and Their Powers,” and an elvin book on Corporeal Undead.” Cameo continued by searching Deft’s desk, but did not find anything of interest. He looked over to Falathar, “I think it’s time we had a little talk with Master Deft.”
Meanwhile, Parlay had moved outside to watch the boys taking combat lessons. One brave young lad approached him, “Mr. Parlay you are a fighter. Can you show me how to,” he made a movement with his practice sword, “…parry.” “Sure I can show you.” Parlay did just that after twenty minutes the boy had gained the proper way to parry and a profound assortment of bruises and welts.