Taking a day in Stonebridge to recuperate and resupply, Janus, Artemis, Samira, and Mij make the decision to take on either a henchman or hirelings to strengthen their party. Janus, Samira, and Mij head to the local pub to look for prospects while Artemis remains behind to continue to heal. As they order their first round at the pub, they are approached by a man claiming to be a tax collector from Fairmont. After establishing, to the best of their ability, the credentials of the man, they end up paying a tax bill of 37 Griffons.
That being finished, they again turn their attention to the search for prospective henchmen. After interviewing two itinerant caravan guards named Jojo and Solo, they selected a young man by the name of Arris Nottington. After negotiating a salary with Arris, they are startled by a disturbance out in the street.
There they find an old man ranting and screaming about a person or persons (in his ranting, it is unclear) taking his magic, stealing his Art, etc. They begin to approach, but unexpectedly, he magically disappears from the street. Questioning folks on the street, they find that this is not the first time the man has been in town acting crazy, but the sudden disappearance is new. Mad Meerim, as they call him, often wanders about, muttering to himself, and reacting to the locals in quite a paranoid manner. They avoid him when possible due to his unpredictable nature.
As the three of them go back into the pub to finish negotiating with Arris and settling the deal, they inquire about Mad Meerim to the bar tender. He tells them that he has seen him in town off and on for years and that Meerim claims to be the apprentice of a powerful wizard, but until today he had never seen any magic performed by Meerim. the barkeep cannot recall the name of the wizard of whom Meerim claimed to be an apprentice.
They head to the general store to purchase some rations. Again, Meerim magically appears on the street and continues to scream at the top of his lungs, but also directing his accusations at the party and Janus in particular. Again he disappears into thin air. While they resupply, the proprietor says that is the first time that he has ever seen Mad Meerim teleport like that and that his paranoia seems to be getting worse. When Janus inquires further, he says that Meerim had always claimed to be the apprentice of a wizard named Iyam or Yeeram or something along those lines. Since he thought Meerim was a madman, he never paid attention to closely.
From the general store, they head to the blacksmith to get Arris a battle axe. While they are making their purchase, Janus again inquires about Meerim. They learn from the blacksmith that there was indeed a wizard named Iyarim, but that was years ago and further to the west. He was not sure if Meerim was actually his apprentice though.
As they are leaving the blacksmith’s workshop, Meerim appears right at Janus’ side. He grabs her arm and casts his curse on her. She immediately feels a spell leave her mind and a general sense of unease comes over her. Mij and Arris attack right away, but are unsuccessful. He teleports away and is not seen again. Lacking a better plan, they head back t the inn to retrieve Artemis.
Upon their arrival, however, they find the room ransacked and Artemis and her belongings missing. They inquire with the innkeeper to find that two men had come to the inn and asked about the four of them. They determine that the first one was the revenue collector from Fairmont, who the innkeeper verifies the identity and position of the man. The second man claimed to also be from tax collections, but the innkeeper had not seen this man previously and could not verify that he was actually with the government.
With no clues as to the whereabouts of Artemis and the curse continuing to work at Janus, the party made the decision to head back to Lo Reltarma the next morning to consult with Portia d’Ferranta at Ferrantio Library to gather information on Iyarim and Meerim. They set out the next morning, stopping at Fairmont to report the second visitor. They confirmed that the first agent was authorized and not an imposter. They continued on to the capital, arriving late in the evening. They acquired lodging at the PestFree Apartments.
The next morning they stopped at the Golden Gargoyle Inn to ask Jarod Walker if there had been any news of Artemis before heading to the library. At the Library, Portia was able to help them with information on Iyarim. They discovered that he was rumored to be buried on the easternmost hill of the Three Thanes under a black statue. Iyarim was said to wander the planes of existence before his death and it was on these trips that he discovered the secrets needed to create the curse that now afflicted Janus.
Portia was also able to warn the group that it was a day and a half journey overland to the hill. She recommended staying to the east bank of the Selane River as the Savage Woods were home to humanoid tribes that the guard has not removed. Following her advice, they made sure they had adequate provisions, and set out the next morning.
The journey was mostly uneventful, the only cause for concern a small band of orcs on the far side of the river near the edge of the forest. They did not antagonize the orcs, nor did the orcs pursue them. Indeed, it was not clear that the orcs even saw them though they were in open field. They camped for the night and completed the journey in the morning, arriving on the Thane around noon. Since the East Thane is not covered in trees and the statue that they were searching for was located near the top of the hill, it was not difficult to locate.
The statue was situated in front of a slab of obsidian. Janus, Mij, and Arris, attached ropes to the slab and moved it to reveal a staircase descending deep into the hill. The stairs were trapped to “buck” at random intervals, sending the half the party tumbling down the stairs with very minor injuries.
At the bottom of the stairs, they find a room with a throne which had a skeleton seated upon it. The skeleton had a staff in its hands. There were also a helmet and rotting cloaks hanging on pegs on one of the walls. Mij completely kicked over the skeleton and throne uncovering a niche containing bone scroll cases. Disturbing the throne also released an animated flying dagger that attacked them. They were able to damage the dagger enough to knock it out of the air, with only Janus taking any damage.
Examining the scrolls, they found that two of them contained spells, and one contained three strange words: “Archinon”, “Zabbalas”, and “Zoun”. They followed a hallway south to a door covered in the relief of a hideous laughing human face with hollowed eyes and mouth. The party spent several minutes taking the skull from the throne and the staff it was holding and poking them into the eye and mouth holes to no avail. Mij tries to kick the door open to no avail, and his touch triggered a second flying knife attack. Once more they are able to damage it enough to dispel the magic. They are about to give up when Arris suggests trying the door and checking to see if it is locked.
The door was not locked, nor trapped and the enter the next chamber. The only furnishings in the room were a small round table, a comfortable chair, and a footstool. The table had a small iron coffer and a book on it. Janus was not able to pick the lock, and the book was a worthless inventory of something from the past, but a scroll containing a spell fell out of the book. Next to the footstool was an old battered pair of boots.
The west wall had the frame of what appeared to be a mirror, evidenced by the shattered and broken shards of mirror on the ground. Samira picked up a shard and kept it. The southwest corner was hidden by a heavy curtain.
Looking behind the curtain, the party found a stone sarcophagus. When they touched it, a magic mouth appeared and spoke a warning to those who would disturb the rest of Iyarim. Janus and Mij lifted the lid and released another flying dagger attack. It was defeated with only Janus taking damage (again). The sarcophagus was empty of a body, but did contain a couple of old cloaks, a hat, some daggers. Additionally, an ivory box containing a brass ring, five potion vials, one with a red stripe, and a cedar box containing a wand.
No other means of exit being evident, the group made their way back to the entry chamber. A final flying dagger attack occurred. Again it was dispatched, this time only Mij taking damage. At this point, they decide to put the skeleton and staff, into the sarcophagus and re-close it. As they were leaving, Mij’s armor completely rusted off and was unusable. Taking the trapped stairs, they manage to make it to the surface with only minor injuries. They begin immediately to head back to the capital.
They stopped for the night and camped without incident. In the morning, Janus utilized the wand of magic detection and a read magic spell, to discern that she indeed had found the counter spell for her curse. They returned to the city without encounter. They rest for the evening and visit Portia in the morning. She agrees to introduce them to the wizards at the college the next day to see if they can help lift the curse.