The travelers would thus talk with the newly present spirit of Wildweeper Villa, the master of the house, Roland Wildweeper. A true curiosity would arise in the halls that day. Roland proclaimed peace and happiness were with him wherever he had been. He claimed that he had been with all his family in that place, all of his children and his wife.
He had no desire to return to the nightmare of his old reality.
Despite pleadings from the adventurers, Roland stubbornly refused to relent his curse upon Fort Mercaeus. Deras had indeed saved some of his children, but he had been part of Hedravol’s force that had abandoned his estate when it was clear the people of Mercaeus were volatile, fearful, ignorant monsters waiting for an excuse to storm the gates. It striked the men as odd that where the noble had went, he had seen all of his kin. Truly, he even knew that Deras had saved many of his children. Could he had been driven mad? If he had, why did he seem so determined and thoughtful in the world that was real to every other person?
Roland dismissed the men, ordering Marsley to remove them from his home. Upon reaching the main atrium of the mansion, Marsley took the men aside, particularly speaking to Avaniel. He suggested another way to lift the curse. Perhaps, if the men had a symbol of station associated with the Wildweepers, they might be able to trick the curse. If a strong symbol of representation was present, perhaps a person could still lift the curse as a Wildweeper might. He said a symbol of such office might be found in the sauna room under the stairwell, as it was the only room he had no true access to himself.
The men forced their way through the lockeed door under the stairs, Inside, a dirtied pool sat motionless. Looking at it, it had runes traced on its outer ridge, magics used to heat the interior water for the sauna it would seem. Looking carefully into the pool, the crack in the pool Marsley had mentioned was visible. It was far too small to grasp, but it was certainly present. Avaniel used the lever on the valve outside of the room, and the pool water receded into slits around the edges of the vessel.
Jozan would use his training to sense magic about the area. He would discover a leyline. The men pensively decided they had no choice but to trust a path would become clear when they used the dangerous magic of the energy point. They would activate it, feeling the displacement of themselves and reality around them. The stone walls of the room closed around the doorway, and the crack in the pool opened wide. The new opening dropped down a scant inch onto a black stone platform with yet another leyline on it. The men once again cautiously activated this one, and it warped reality once again.
The black stone sunk far into the bowels of Fonoros, dropping them men down into a tower-like cavern roughly carved into the natural stone of the hill the villa sat upon. The leyline remained visible for a moment far overhead. Above it, the crack in the fountain closed up, locking the adventurers inside this structure. Tall Arches supported the weight of the chamber, and the furnishings inside the chamber betrayed that the Wildweepers had at least known about this room. Thus, they knew about the leylines.
Inside their new surroundings were a series of small thrones, a pair of targets for archery, and a display for a bow. Upon the display, a bow of twisted wood lay. It was crafted with white, azure, and dark colored woods. The three stocks were wound around one another to form the piece. Avaniel grasped the bow as Jozan looked at the dry, brittle arrows stuck within the targets. As the half-drow held the bow, he heard a calling in his mind that he strained to listen to.
“Fae guide thy arrows to swift victory,” the unseen speaker said.
The puzzling statement was left ill contemplated as the ground in the corner of the chamber began to crack, and earth pushed up from underneath. A ragged corpse burst from the ground, clawing its way from the very dirt and rock. It dragged itself up, flesh forming upon its bones. A black robes flowed forth from this morbid growth, and a second, winged creature clawed itself from the depths as well.
“So I’ve found you again, companions. I had hoped to find you in the Pit, but I suppose this will have to do. It is time I did some recruiting for my master,” the sickly visage proclaimed curiously.
Jozan could only assume the god of death and fate had some hand is this. He told the creature they were messengers of Yogir, that this thing should let them be. He was worried when the response came back.
“My master could never be so base. It is he who imprisoned Yogir. It is he who takes of his power. Soon you will know of him yourselves.”
Without further banter, the creature conjured up a pair of wolves from the magical aether. The things gnashed their teeth and set upon Jozan as he battled them off with his axe. The winged creature disappeared, and the bowmen set arrows about the room. The wolves dragged Jozan to the ground, piling on top of the druid with ferocious teeth.
The arrows flew into the robed creature, and jozan struggled free to strike with his flaming axe, immolating the robes around the creature before being overwhelmed once more. The creature lifted his hand to fire a black beam of energy which wracked the very soul of Avaniel, and this was followed by a ray that atrophied the muscles of the ranger to near nothingness. The flying creature above cackled as it used the wand, preparing another onslaught that landed upon Jozan.
Avaniel struggled and ached as he dropped hi pack upon the ground so that he may move. He drew his blade but could only manage a meager hit upon one of the wolves. Saluhul fired upon the flying creature, unable to connect.
Talei and Jozan were finally able to rake apart one of the wolves when the creature called out to them, “How about a blast from the past gentleman?”
A cloud of putrid vapor spilled into the entirety of the room. The men shielded themselves well, but Saluhul stumbled about, unable to shake a retching sickness from his innards. The men fought on, and set the creature low with their magic items. The wolf disappeared, the winged creature collapsed back into bones, and the cloud dissipated.
Jozan took a remaining wand from the ground while Avaniel slumped and thought. The creature had surely seemed an undead monster, yet he was unable to figure what it might be, nor did any of his training assist him in vanquishing it. He propped himself up and conjured magic to see what this new bow had in store for him. He stopped suddenly, noticing he did not hold his magically bond object within his grasp. The magic persisted and felt normal to him, however. Somehow, in this dreary dark recess, was a bow that was magically inclined, indeed bond, to him.
The men took their time using rope to reach the leyline. On activating it, they found themselves back at ground level, discovering that items in the real world did not interact with those in the strange plane they traveled to. So they went for Marsley, minus a rope and grappling hook. The caretaker pointed and his mouth was agape in shock.
“You can use it?” he started. “I mean I had always thought it true, but I couldn’t be sure until this proof. Listen closely, Avaniel. Through some strange path of fate, you have come here with the blood of Wildweeper in your veins. Only those with that blood can draw that bow.”
The revelation was confusing and jarring for Cerellion as the ghastly servant continued, “I cannot say how this has happened, but I can give some insight.” He explained the Cerellion Lodge was an old inn that lay in Eastern Daramis to the south of the Molagona Mountains. It was used as a safehouse for the children of Wildweeper in the tense days following the Villa’s fall. It was possible that one of Avaniel’s parents could be one of the children of Wildweeper or their children.
Avaniel had known his mother to be human, given his lineage, and this would continue to haunt him on his travels to Urima it would seem. Marsley declared that all that needed to be done was for Avaniel to remove the curse upon the fort, and all would be well since he was indeed a male heir to Wildweeper. The travelers had grave worries about Roland. If they did lift the curse, it was certain it would anger the vengeful spirit. It was clear he was a creature of some magical renown. The men knew he could not leave the villa at this time, but dreaded the prospect of having him as an adversary if the situation changed. What if he should be free some day?
They would have to dismiss these worries as the continued on to Irelevi’s to consult her, tell her of their progress, and measure her reaction. She was disappointed in the outcome, but she was accepting of the situation. Her father was free, and he seemed enormously unforgiving despite the aid of the men. It was revealed that she did indeed suspect that Avaniel had Wildweeper blood as well. He looked to similar to some of the men in the family in life. She decided that it was the right thing to aid what very well could be family. She would report her satisfaction with the removal of the spirits to the constable.
A short journey to the fort later, Avaniel called out to Hedravol. The officer emerged from the fort with Deras. The appartitions of the keep drew weapons and prepared to beset the men. Avaniel then absolved the men of the curse of Wildweeper, instantly casting their forms back into nothingness. A lonely, windswept landscape and an abandoned fort were all that remained.
The men grabbed their papers from the constable, and returned their keys to him. They bid Saluhul farewell, letting him keep the scabbard and the magic sword they had given him. They implored him to use the money to cure his ill health caused by the spirit of Deras. He thanked them and departed, and the men continued on their way to Wellcliff and the Steelsnout with all haste.