It was an uneventful trip from Baldur’s Gate to Candlekeep, where we took accommodations at the Inn. I dispatched a note to my contact Siliven to let him know of my arrival and impending visit in the morning. We also talked to the Inn’s bard due to our desires to hire a person such as him to help spread our chronicled exploits. The kind gentleman agreed to send some of his peers to meet us in the garden in the morning.
We felt that Candlekeep was likely a safe play to sojourn, however I did set up a Wyvern Watch just in case.
A brief visit to Siliven in the morning set him upon a bit of information search on my behalf. He informed me that I was not the only one looking for this information lately. There had been some priest here from the Oghma temple in Waterdeep looking into some of the same questions. We are certainly not as alone in this race as we originally thought.
In the gardens we interviewed some potential bards to join our group. The first was not much more than a fop. The second, a dwarven song mage of immeasurable worth. The third, an attractive Halfling that would just never, ever, ever stop talking. Without question we wanted the dwarf to join our party. We tried to think of a role for the Halfling as well, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to admit someone who couldn’t be quiet. There have been times in our quest where silence was the difference between life and death.
Later, back at the library, Siliven shared information he had found about the crafter of the Diadem of Destruction [attachment 1], information about the Fire Primordial, and general information about the underdark due to the fact we may have to go there for the third key. It was time to return to Baldur’s Gate on our way to Waterdeep.
In Baldur’s Gate, Delenn met up with her contact and arranged for us to ride to Waterdeep as part of a caravan guard. We mostly laid low, waiting for the time of our departure. However, agents of the church of Oghma found where we were staying and delivered a summons. Let me reproduce the summons here. It is quite embarrassing, yet my dedication is to knowledge:
“Your presence is required at the Font of Knowledge in Waterdeep in two tendays time to answer for the crimes of:
• Theft from the Binding Hearts Orphanage
• Assault on priests of the Oghmarite Faith by magical means
“Failure to appear before the tribunal will result in immediate excommunications from the church and prosecution as per the laws of Baldur’s Gate. Until such time you are to be refused entrance to any and all Shrines and Temples devoted to Holy Oghma.
“Should you choose to repent and accept responsibility for your crimes at the tribunal, you will be subject to the punishment as determined by the presiding Loremasters. Upon completion of said punishment you will be given a full pardon and all rites and passages of the Oghmarite Faith shall be restored.”
This letter was signed by the Loremaster Most High himself. [Attachment 2]
We left with a caravan in the morning. When we were well away from the safety of the city, the caravan was attacked by a number of cyclops-kin! We lost 1 member of the guard, and we almost lost Braden to the attack. Many of the caravan needed healing after the battle.
Attachment 1: The History of Illiuz Venraele
Illiuz Venraele was born into the Venraele clan of elves in Cormanthor approximately 800 years ago. He grew up among some of the best wizards and magic users in all of Faerun as the Venraele clan was known for such ways. He showed great promise in not only spellcasting but in the art of crafting magical items. He spent many years crafting some of the best minor magical items the clan employed. Weapons, armor, wands, and the like were among the items Illiuz provided his family.
Illiuz was still considered quite young when the war with the Red Wizards of Thay broke out, when his great grandfather Atharamis Venraele commissioned him to create a powerful diadem to quash the Thayan uprising. Illiuz set to work using all of his knowledge and abilities to craft the diadem for the sake of is clan, but was just too inexperienced and the results were flawed. Illiuz was banished from the clan and Cormanthyr due to his failure and was never heard from in the region again.
Illiuz traveled south and west into the Dalelands where he first encountered a powerful wizard named Elminster. Illiuz spent 2 decades in this area learning from Elminster and accompanying him on several travels throughout Faerun. During this apprenticeship Illiuz continued to hone his skills in crafting magical items. Several of his works have been chronicled throughout the Realms and wielded by many of history’s heroes. Illiuz then continued west through Cormyr, learning from Vangerdahast, and onto the Sword Coast where he came into contact with Khelban Blackstaff, Lady Alustriel, and the Companions of the Hall.
Illiuz spent the next 400 years defending Faerun from all manners of destruction alongside the aforementioned heroes and the armies of the west. He found against the Netherese encroachment, the Zhentarim incursions, many Red Wizard plots (especially those by Szass Tam), and countless wars throughout Faerun’s history. These wars took their toll on Illiuz, however, as he watched so many of his friends and companions die from senseless violence and unchecked destruction. Illiuz became obsessed with prolonging his own life and that of his dearest friends while also creating 2 of the most powerful items Faerun had ever seen in order to defend the Realms from any threat.
The first of these items was called the Everburning Rod. This item created devastating offensive effects said to be capable of warding off anything short of Godlike beings, its evocations surpassing those of Illiuz’s power alone. It is said that Kossuth himself granted Illiuz divine powers in order to complete his wondrous and deadly artifact.
The second item, the Skull of Illiuz Venraele, was meant to prolong the lifespans of Faerun’s greatest heroes in order for them to continue to defend the Realms and instill peace and tranquility. Before completing work on the skull, Illiuz knew that his own life was nearing its end and set about initiating the ritual of Lichdom. Despite his centuries of knowledge and ability, and his careful preparation for the ritual, something went amiss and though the final result worked (Illiuz had indeed become a lich) the ritual drove Illiuz insane. He became known as Illiuz the Cinderghoul, and instead of completing the skull to prolong and save life, Illiuz warped the magic and reformed it into something that took life and prolonged undeath.
Eventually Illiuz was hunted down by a brave band of heroes and destroyed (?). The skull was taken but lost shortly thereafter. The location of Illiuz’s crypt and the current whereabouts of both the skull and the Everburning Rod have been lost to time.
Attachment 2: Photo