The party arrived at Candlekdeep and each party member offered up books of interest to the Avowed guarding the gates. Some books were stacked along with other ornate tomes. Others were placed careless on several other piles comprised of rather eclectic mix of things that could barely pass as books.
You were admitted one by one and entered the Court of Air, a large open air courtyard that is actually much closer in size to a rather bustling small town. You spotted a rickshaw-like cart made of heavy wood being pulled by a very exhausted, young avowed. Walking alongside but offering absolutely no help were several other avowed of various races and ages, all wearing the purple robes you are beginning to understand as the uniform of the avowed. The cart itself has the word “Welcome” in various languages carved around an ornate wooden fringe, and the rest of the exterior of the cart is comprised of shelves behind wooden doors. It’s like a large, mobile filing cabinet.
You approach the cart, to the relief of the sweaty avowed towing it. Remembering your mission, to find Matreous, you inquire after his whereabouts. One of the avowed accompanying the cart, an adjutant charged to help guests find their way in the Library, steps forward. Without taking his eyes off of the book he’s reading, he introduces himself as Vooshadi Moonriver. He’s a late-middle-aged elf scribe who you quickly learn is more interested in the book he’s holding up to his face than he is in you, or anything else around him for that matter.
He is able to confirm that Matreous has rented an office space in the Towers of Pedagogy, where more prominent scholars and researchers often set up camp for extended periods of time to dig into rare books. He leads the way to the office Matreous has reportedly rented. He tells you Matreous had checked in about 5 days ago, and had rented the office for a tenday.
Vooshadi’s speech stops abruptly the moment you set foot into the tower in which Matreous’s office is located. In fact, not only could you no longer hear him speaking, you couldn’t hear anything, not your footsteps, not even your own breath.
The tower is tall, cylindrical, and surrounded by a staircase spiralling its way up to the top. You follow Vooshadi as he begins climbing the stairs, leading you past door after door, behind which are the offices available for rent. Each door has a hanger, some of which have a piece of paper hanging off of it. Glancing at a few as you pass, they appear to be a list of requests – for food, books, or other services – made by the occupant to be fulfilled by other adjutants like Vooshadi.
After some time Vooshadi knocks on a door. No answer. He knocks again. No answer. In a fit of anxiety from being surrounded by so many humans, Eldon begins to faint, and while attempting to brace himself on the door handle, opens the door and falls through into Matreous’s office.
Matreous’s office is a small room, with a window on the wall across from the door, shelves and several oil lamp sconces on the other walls. Against one wall lies a well-worn leather sack filled with some run-of-the-mill traveller’s goods and a couple small books. In the middle, a modest oak desk with several more books, some bearing the Candlekeep stamp, others likely brought here by Matreous. Several dishes with nothing more than a few crumbs are stacked along one side of the desk.
Obviously Matreous had occupied this room, but there is no sign of Matreous himself. One of you looked at the sheet of paper hanging on the office door. You had been toled by Vooshadi that Matreous checked in about five days ago, and you see requests for food and books that align with that timeline. However, the requests stopped about two days ago.
On the desk Marvoril noticed an open book, which upon examination bears the The Joy of Extradimensional Spaces and it is a hefty tome. Its thick covers are made of ornately tooled leather decorated with gold filigree. On the cover is the bust of a legendary spellcaster that Marvoril immediately recognized as Mordenkainen.
The book had been open to a page that refers to “pocket dimensions” and extradimensional travel. The margins of the page are filled with arcane shorthand, which has faded considerably, but Marvoril is able to make out a symbol meaning “sceptre” and the word “Fistandia”. Vooshadi tells you that Fistandia was the name of a beloved mage who frequented Candlekeep and donated many books.
As you talk it over a member of the party utters the word “sceptre”. A portal opens up against a far wall, the party is sucked into the portal, while poor Vooshadi is sucked towards the portal, but slams into the back of the desk where he gets pinned does not pass through the portal with you.
You tumble out of the portal and into a grand foyer of a luxurious mansion with high, arching ceilings. An old man holding a brass statue is startled by your sudden appearance, then delighted to see that you had re-opened the portal he had been trying to open for the past two days. He introduces himself as Matreous, and that this mansion is actually a pocket dimension created some time ago by Fistandia herself. She clearly lived part time here, given the fast array of books and treasures.
Matreous explains that he was able to use the book and notes you found on his desk to open the portal to this persistent pocket dimension mansion (dimansion!?). The portal remains open for only a few minutes, and before he knew it, it was closed and the command word “sceptre” did not work on this end.
Thanks to the research he conducted to find the mansion, and from Fistandia’s notes and writing he’s read while trapped here, he has the skills to keep the portal you just came through open, albeit with some effort. But he’d feel much better if he had the key to open the dimension from either side.
You explain that you actually need his help to relieve the town of Middlevale of its cursed drought. Matreous explains, in turn, that if you can help him find the key to open the dimension from within, he’d gladly help lift the curse of Middlevale.
You agreed to these terms, and Matreous tells you that he’s confident Fistandia has left the key, probably a command word, somewhere in the mansion. He promises to check back with you once he’s deposited his goodies in Candlekeep. He grabs his sack, hugs his nifty statue, and steps through the portal. He issues a blood-curdling scream shortly thereafter and the portal closes.
Trapped, and a bit worried about the fate of Matreous, you begin to explore the manor. You follow the stairs up to the next floor. Silk finds an attic scuttle which he promptly enters and walks to the west end of the attic where he sees light shining through the ceiling below.
Meanwhile, with Silk above, the rest of the party also continue west. They find a laboratory, beyond which is a mysterious space that appears to be a hilltop during a starry night sky. There is an orb with 5 telescopes. Marvoril solves the mystery, cross-referencing the star chart in the laboratory room with the stars in the sky, revealing a door in the “night sky” to the west.
What lies behind the door? Will Silk every come out of the attic? Stay tuned for the next session!