After defeating Meros and his puppet, we investigated what his he and his cronies were excavating. After some digging, we unearthed a purple crystal. The Nightshade staff was practically humming with resonance. I placed the crystal atop the staff, and it felt right. It felt aligned. It felt at home. We interrogated Meros, who told us that he was dead, but that his spirit was strong enough that he did not pass through the realm of the Raven Queen. Perhaps his death, at the base of the tower, was such that he did not go into those shadowy lands. Whatever the case, he told us to come find him and restore him. I should have known that Meros would have some manner of plot behind all this. As Meros faded, Tethys regained control of his own self. He proved to be most unpleasant, but he did reveal that Aislynn had a brother, and that her brother was given to some wizard for unknown purposes. Perhaps he speaks of Vorpat, the great and feared Archmage of Protence, though I question that conclusion as he seemed to not know of this wizard…and every being in Protence knows Vorpat, second apprentice to Meros. In any case, Aislynn seemed to want to follow this thread. I don’t blame her. Having no family myself, were I to think one might have lived, I would do anything to see them again. But I have no time for such idle fantasies.
I have not time for them because I have a very real nightmare to deal with. That night, I was awoken by the sound of someone picking the lock to my door. The ward I placed upon the door still remained, so this was not some undead assassin come to revenge itself against me. I grabbed my wand and staff and fired a bolt of energy at the shadowy figure. Coming into the hallway, I was shocked and amazed to see myself, collapsed against the wall. Whatever demon this was, I could not let it live. I confined it within a sonic cage, to see if I could analyze it. Soon as I did, though, it disappeared, leaving Lahktar within the cage. Clearly, it had teleported by switching places with the sleeping bard. I dispelled the cage and searched the inn for any sign of the fiend. So it would seem that a doppelganger, one of those unshapen creatures of the Faewild who so long for fixed shape that they take on the appearance of a person, and then try to kill that person and live their life for as long as they can without being noticed. This one claimed it was me; it must have been wearing my shape for some time to have forgotten itself and come to believe in its delusion. I will have to watch my back, as this horrid creature will surely try to replace me again. The rest of the night went poorly as well, as dark spirits tried to break through my ward, and failed.
We spent some time attending to errands in the city the next day. I got the Dark Legion to promise to guard one of the Twilight Wanders to deliver an antidote to save the life of Prince Donovan of Allandria. No doubt the short-sighted twit will fail to show any gratitude for the deed, but his death would cause too much turmoil to let him die the slow painful death he deserves. Hilde, clearly trying to find a place for her warrior-culture skills in the midst of this civilization, came with a bounty from the Knights of Avandra to hunt down some heretic apostates. We could use the Knights’ favor, and the money if we are to move about freely in Protence, so we decided to run the errand. On the way there, Lahktar explained that these very cultists were responsible for his exile to Meros.
My rage became razor focused. As soon as we kicked in the doors of their temple, I began erupting in arcane power. Meros meant to only take three apprentices in his life; I was to benefit from his wisdom and knowledge alone. Instead, I was saddled with the very definition of a magical bungler, a lazy, loud-mouthed, ridiculous addle-brain who managed to coast along on natural talent. What opportunities had I missed? What could I have learned that I did not? My training was incomplete when Meros left that fateful day. If not for Lahktar, I might have already opened my Arcane University. Instead I am where I am, following breadcrumbs and running errands to curry the favor of idiots who can’t even realize that the end of days is upon them unless put aside their bickering and unite under one banner.
There is not a death horrid or painful enough that I can inflict upon these dragonborn.
The battle was a red blur to me. I know I was hit a few times from the bruises, and it seems the rest of the party took some pretty major blows, but all I could see in my mind was my lost opportunities and the need to channel that regret, anger, loss and sorrow through my wand and through anything that came so much as within five feet of me. I must have activated my fire shield at some point, as the smell of burnt flesh hung in the air. I can’t get that time back, but I got something back for it. They are lucky I was in a red blur of rage…now that I am back to my senses, I can think of much more terrible things I would have rather done to them instead.