It’s been a while, so lets begin by setting the stage. Location: Hanged Tower. A sort of auxiliary library to the huge underground Lacuna library. A tower, I should add, hanging impossibly from a rock face in the Shadowfell. All dark stone and pointy angles.
It would be a terribly depressing place if not for the hosts. Amil’descong’friz’amater is the Genasi butler… steward? Butler? Well anyway, he oversees the place. Jovial fellow despite being somewhat blue. Fairly excitable, he planned many events for us during our stay. I get the sense that he’s usually lonely. I would be too if I was stuck working in a library for the rest of my life.
I also found the tower fascinating since it was chock full of magical servants and animated furniture. At first it’s a shock but then it’s super cool. Need your pillows fluffed? Call for a servant and it’ll just float right in. Or you can tell them to fluff themselves. I whiled away at least one morning teaching one of the chairs to sit. And play dead. And stay.
Of course, we weren’t the only guests that were there. You might remember from before, but bear with me anyway; they’re going to become important in the mystery to follow. Oops, well, yes. Turns out there’s a mystery. It was almost like something out of a book. The enchanting local girl: Mezlia. The fine dwarven craftsman: Opalheart. The silent one in the corner: Howl. The dark and dashing: Balthazar. And our recurring foil: Mr. Braxtil himself!
So we’re stuck in this tower with a mystery to solve. Whodunnit?!
The first step in our process was research. We were, afterall, in a library. The others read about legends, fantastic beasts, Deus and that sort of thing. Things that seemed relevant given the problems with the Lacuna and what we’d gathered from some of our companions the night before at dinner. Braxtil had been researching legends and death gods. Balthazar apparently was a man of twisted taste and in possession of a magnificent magical horse. Mezlia and Howl both seemed suspiciously normal and like they might not be entirely human.
Me? I didn’t do much reading but I did get some books on books. What for? Well, because the guardian was a book. There’s a large, strange, animate book that’s also a character in this story. It’s the third Lacuna guardian we came to help/check on. Something was definitely amiss in the tower and the book, given it’s guardianness and the tower as its home, was involved.
The second step was more research. Since someone had inked our desserts the night before at dinner, we did some research to see if any of our fellow guests had similar ink. Daevon borrowed some from Opalheart that wasn’t a match. I checked Mezlia’s room but didn’t find any ink at all, save for that written neatly on a scroll in some language I couldn’t read. Howl’s room was locked… but empty. I guess she was staying somewhere else? There was a small paper bird though in one drawer of her room. Though no-one was staying there, I did lock it again on the way out. Leave no trace. Balthazar was sleeping and Braxtil was in his room at the time, so we’d have to follow up on them later. There also was a sixth closed door in the guest quarters…
Which brings us to the seventh relevant character: our host, Mr. Amil’ca’alum’fis’namar himself. Turns out, his room is in the guest quarters. I didn’t check it since we heard noises from inside. Turns out there was a catmeleon in there. Yep, that’s exactly what it sounds like: part cat, part chameleon.
The next clue in the mystery came while we were researching in the library. I mean, what else would we be doing while trapped in a library? I suppose we could be fighting monsters, okay, sure, but, well, hang on, just let me tell the story. So we’re sitting there and reading, some of us more than others, and suddenly we hear this deep voice sort of whisper, but like pretty loudly and from everywhere: “kill them”. And then the library up and attacked us. Bookshelves, rugs, decorative weapons, the coat rack even got in on the action. Right? As Amil’a’cadabra’von’amar later explained, any guest could command the magical furniture. But we didn’t know that at the time, otherwise we could have just told them to stop.
Instead, we fought. It wasn’t really tough, despite our lack of weapons and armor. A bookshelf isn’t very nimble and since they mostly just tried to poke people with a corner it wasn’t very effective. The rugs could have been trouble but Caleb’s wind magic and Fourth’s fists of fury beat them pretty soundly. The surprise chandelier attack could have been deadly but fortunately it missed. And the swords might have cut us up but Tuiz grabbed one and turned it against the other. Me? I couldn’t do much without magical reagents or a staff and I didn’t really want to trash the library so I mostly watched and called for Amil’aran’asan’amar to help us. He eventually did arrive and dispelled the magic animating the last rug and sword. Braxtil passed by on the stairs during the fighting but didn’t stop or help at all.
Afterwards, we spent some time in the library talking through the mystery. A little sandwhich cart rolled through so I was able to snag a snack and some tea. Like I said, the magical servants were quite nice. During the discussion I received a sending from Braxtil’s stone. The mystery narrator on the other side sought to inform him about Gnoll troop movements, the Fang’s ritual failure, and had an inquiry about Elf research. This touched off another round of library research.
Step… four? of the research plan was for us to check Braxtil and Balthazar’s rooms that evening during Amil’ignar’ator’s evening festivities. However, given the lateness of the hour, that part of the story and the exciting conclusion will have to wait for another day.
I’ll leave you with some questions to think about though. Firstly, who do you think is behind the magical mayhem at the tower? Have you figured it out yet? Secondly, who is the catmeleon’s master? And finally, if a friendly catmeleon implored you: “Quickly, come with me, we must save my master!” what would you do?