After the party came back from raiding the laboratory of Archmage Zykora, they were in a sour mood, not surprising considering the horror they faced there and the fact that they have been cursed.They started experiencing a strange sensation of emptiness. No drink could quite quench their thirst and no food could fully satisfy their hunger. Ravagella’s spirit was no longer lifted by music, Haereldor was no longer comforted by gold, Damos no longer heard the words of Pelor, Virginia's meditations no longer provided answers, and, worst of all, Chad no longer enjoyed the taste of dwarven mead.
At first Calenor ignored them (and concentrated on performing elaborate rituals and adopting exotic diets trying to get more of his youth back, but to no avail). As their plight became obvious (and their complaining unbearable) he and K decided to act:
- Calenor left for the Western Continent, hoping that he could gain access to the Great Library, even though he was banned after the party's last visit. This was very unlikely, but he desperately wanted to help his fellow comrades (or more likely: he really wanted to get the rest of his youth back).
- Meanwhile K left
for the Arcane University in the Imperial City, the largest collection of arcane knowledge in the Old Continent. K knew she had no reason to assume that the Directorium would just let her waltz in and browse the Forbidden Library. On the other hand, she was not planning to ask them... In the meantime the rest of The Faultless Arrow was instructed to remain at Aerlcliff and try to stay out of trouble.
Forbidden Knowledge Edit
When K arrived to the Imperial City she found the city in a state of shock: she heard that the VI. Legion, sent to defend the province of Eremus Minor against the barbarian onslaught, had been completely wiped out. The Emperor had ordered another Edict to be cast against the enemy, but they somehow still persisted. In the meantime martial law was declared in most of the Imperium which forced K to give up her original plan and improvise.
She managed to sneak into the house of the university's Dean of Herbology and after some rummaging found what she was looking for: the dean still had some old correspondence with the hierophant of the Elderwoods in which he was advising them on how to prolong the life of plants if they lack sunlight. He might not have realized but he was essentially trying to help them avoid the effects of the Edict of Nightfall, clearly an act of treason.
With a lot of charm (and just a bit of blackmail) K persuaded the dean to grant her full access to the Forbidden Library. K spent the next few days poring over old tomes detailing various curses, but the symptoms of the party were just too unspecific for that to be helpful. She decided to try another way, by looking for info about the one who cast the curse, the Sorrow. To her surprise she came upon several reports detailing encounters with this being, which they couldn't have been older than a few months. Unfortunately these were protected by a hidden alarm and tracking spell that K failed to notice in time. Soon half the city was in pursuit of her, leaving her no choice but to ditch the reports and make a run for it. She barely made it out of the city, but she did learn that the Imperium knows a lot more about the Sorrow than anyone thought.
News from the West Edit
About a week after leaving for the Western Continent Calenor finally contacted the rest of the party. He appeared in their dreams (although they did not recognize him at first as he made his dreamworld avatar much more handsome than he actually was) and relayed the following message: "Dear Comrades,
I have returned to the Western Continent in the hope that the Great Library might hold the answer to your predicament. After much grovelling and palm greasing, (most of which was so painful that I had to wipe them from my memory), I have managed to gain access to all but the highest levels of the library. Yet, I could not find a single reference to the Sorrow or what it could be. As for the "curse" you are suffering from: there are dozens of curses that cause similar symptoms and most require special rituals to lift, we need to know more before we could attempt any of them. Killing the one who cast the curse also works in most cases, but based on what happened in the laboratory that seems to be off the table.
I would return to help you with your condition but I have just found some leads about a potential way to regain the years that were cruelly stolen from me. I am sure you understand that I can not join you until that issue is resolved."
Boredom, the Greatest Enemy Edit
Meanwhile the party found it hard to stay put:
- Ravagella left to visit the taverns in the region, hoping that a change of scenery and the cheery tavernfolk will lift her spirit.
- Virginia thought that the failure of both K and Calenor clearly means that the knowledge they are seeking is not arcane in nature, but divine. So she set out to Tamor to talk with the elders of her temple and to commune with her god, Fharlanghn.
- Damos had never felt more distant from Pelor. Since filling the stables with Pelor's symbol had no effect, he came to the conclusion that this must be punishment for all the sins he and the rest of the Arrow had committed and more contrition was needed. So he secluded himself into his room and began a two week regiment of fasting and self-flagellation.
- Realizing his dwindling interest in alcohol with horror, Chad decided that the only remedy for such a condition is to force himself to drink as much as possible. After several days Haereldor grew tired of detoxifying him and locked him into the estate's chapel. Little did he know that the late priest had hidden several barrels of holy wine in a backroom.
- Haereldor pitied the others for their lack of emotional control. He had learned long ago that if one feels blue, one should just gather some blue mushrooms and smoke them. He spent most of the following week blissfully smoking his pipe, unaware of what was happening around him.
Despite the best efforts of the party the feeling of emptiness and hunger did not abate, in fact, it seemed to be getting stronger. Meanwhile they are no closer to finding a cure. Four weeks after their harrowing escape from the Sorrow the affected party members were all back at Aerlcliff when they received a message from Archmage Vilgefortz: "Meet me at Allistair's Tower in Emberfrost as soon as possible. I have a job for you." Although K and Calenor told them to stay put, the prospect of an exciting new adventure proved to be too hard to resist.