Hypatia immerses herself in intense study of the second volume of The Tomes of Power. Hypatia learns Level 11 of the Paths of Power on Junantus 13 and Level 12 on Junantus 14. Hypatia realizes that her limit is twelve hours of study in one day and that she will sometimes need a full day of rest between levels. She spends a day of rest and recovery on Junatus 15. She is visited by Dog Boy who helps her with her housekeeping in her quarters and brings her a big platter of food prepared by Cookie. After Hypatia finishes her meal, Dog Boy asks her to tell him tales of the adventure to Grey Marsh and the battles with the Lizardfokk and the Black Dragon. Then he asks, (1) Was the old sunken tower that the halfling Toes led you to inside Ardwen? (2) How did the Black Dragon get inside Ardwen’ s wards? (3) Can Mungo teleport? (4) Are Mungo evil? (5) How do the Mungo get inside Ardwen?
Lady Ryselka invites you to the castle for a festive dinner to celebrate your defeat of the Demon of Betrayal and your acquistion and restoration of The Tomes of Power. Cookie is in the kitchen as head chef, while Dog Boy is seated at the dining table by Lady Ryselka’s side, excited to hear of your latest adventure, though a bit saddened for not having accompanied you on it. Lady Ryselka is obviously very fond of her nephew, and he of his Eladrin aunt.
After dinner, Lady Ryselka takes you on a tour of the royal family’s living quarters. She eventually brings you to her mother’s (Queen Valorianta‘s) study chamber. Most of the chamber is roped off with a thick, red velvet rope. Only Lady Ryselka is allowed to enter the room, by orders of the King. The queen was apparently a pack-rat; the study is crammed with tomes, parchments, baubles & trinkets, art objects, maps, etc. Lady Ryselka looks for a particular volume, finds it, dusts it off, and hands it to the party. The tome is titled, Queen Valorianta’s Book of Rituals. She hands it to Ki’mat, “I believe my mother would have liked for you and Hypatia to use this, if she had had the pleasure of knowing you.”
Lady Ryselka goes on to tell her guests that the Queen was an 8th level cleric of Corellon. She was an eclectic collector of maps, scrolls, rituals, and art objects. She also craved knowledge of strange and exotic destinations, especially those that could be reached through portals or teleportation circles, though she never had the opportunity to explore most of the places she had researched. Queen Valorianta wrote copious notes about these locations, but they are scattered and disorganized (as is her study room). Lady Ryselka offers to pore through her mother’s notes and diaries, writing down all the sigil sequences she finds for potential portal destinations and any accompanying notes about the destination site. It may take her weeks or months to find all of the sigil sequences researched and collected by her mother. Lady Ryselka shows you to a small storage room with a lock-box on a table. Lady Ryselka has a key to the lock-box and she hands a duplicate key to the party. You can visit the room and open the lock-box from time to time to see whether Ryselka has added any new sigil sequences to the list. She recommends memorizing the sigil sequences in the same way that you master a ritual (with 8 hours of study).
Lady Ryselka hands the party an art object. It’s an obsidian pyramid, about the size of a pair of hands formed in the shape of a tent. She says her mother called it The Pyramid of Shadows. It’s a portal to an extra-dimensional place that’s rumored to serve as a prison for a powerful Tiefling wizard, who happened to be the husband of Queen Valorianta‘s sister, the Eladrin princess Vyrellis. It’s rumored that both the wizard and his wife were trapped inside the Pyramid, held there by a special magic crafted by powerful devils. Though a deadly place, the Pyramid is also thought to be brimming with treasures, far beyond any than can be sought after in Ardwen. According to Lady Ryselka (as told to her by her mother), you only need to place your hands on any two sides of the pyramid for a few seconds and you are wisked away into its extra-dimensional space. Queen Valorianta had always hoped to have the chance to rescue her sister, but she was discouraged from doing so by her husband, King Gwenyk. She died before ever having a chance to venture there. Lady Ryselka hands the obsidian pyramid to you. “It’s yours now. Do with it as you will.”
Finally, Lady Ryselka leads you down a number of hallways and stairways leading to the dungeons under Castle Ardwen, arriving at a double-door guarded by a pair of centaurs. They open the doors for her. Inside is a chamber with four more centaurs standing guard around a circle of arcane symbols inscribed on the floor: a permanent teleportation circle. Only the royal family, The King’s Council, and the centaur guards know of its existence. Lady Ryselka tells you that using the teleportation circle will aid you in your use of the Linked Portal ritual. The centaur guards are given orders to allow your party to depart from the circle, and also to arrive at it as a destination. Anyone other than the PCs will be challenged by the guards, and killed if they appear threatening. Ki’mat should commit the sigil sequence to memory. But the PCs must keep the sigil sequence and knowledge of the existence of the teleportation circle itself a closely guarded secret.
After a satisfying dinner and a full evening at the castle, you return to your quarters in Ardmore, the deceased Queen’s ritual book and black pyramid in hand.
You spend the next day shuttling between Harefolk Glen and Underton to negotiate a new arrangement between the Harefolk and the Halflings. You propose that the Harefolk resume their tradition of growing their own vegetable gardens instead of acquiring their food from the Halflings in exchange for black truffles. The Halflings will help guard the Harefolk warrens so that the Harefolk will feel secure enough to work above the surface, tending to their gardens. The Halflings will be paid with black truffles in exchange for their services to the Harefolk. You sweeten the deal by giving Constable Trueberry a magic longsword at his request.
You spend the following day, Junantus 15, traveling back to Ardmore and then explaining the new arrangement to Lady Ryselka. She thanks you for your innovative solution, saying that The King’s Council will be pleased to learn that a troubling issue – the recent food shortages in Ardwen – may now have a genuine resolution.