…the gargoyle bore down on Tegric and Demil from above, but the two were able to avoid the attack. As they ran on through the night-shrouded village, the screaming of the gargoyle caused villagers to look out from their homes, and shouts of horror and shock rang out through the streets. As Tegric and Demil made their way toward St. Cuthbert’s temple, they passed Rory’s home, and Tegric’s fellow blacksmith shouted at them, asking what was the matter. Tegric skirted the question, insisting that they had to get to the temple. Rory looked concerned and suspicious, a reaction that Tegric and Demil would encounter again and again from others throughout the night. As for the kender, Rory was the first to be startled by Demil’s appearance, and was also the first to refer to him as “a skinny halfling,” much to the kender’s confusion and chagrin.
As they arrived at the town square, they came within sight of the village’s sole inn, the Axe & Hammer. At that moment, Tegric’s uncle Argus, a captain of the men-at-arms belonging to the temple, burst out of the inn’s common room, along with four of his men. The captain and his men were somewhat inebriated, but they were coherent enough to recognize the threat to the village. Argus spotted his nephew and confronted him, asking him if he knew anything of what was happening. When Tegric avoided the topic and insisted that he be allowed to continue on to the temple, Argus made comment on his ongoing distrust of Barik, but allowed Tegric and Demil to move on…after expressing confusion at the appearance of the kender, of course.
Once at the temple, they met with Kerin, one of Tegric’s acquaintances from his youth. Amidst the confusion of clerics rushing through the temple in response to the gargoyle attack, Kerin (now a follower of St. Cuthbert) took them to a small healing chamber, and with the help of another young cleric named Tam, tended to Tegric and Demil’s wounds. After talking a bit with Kerin, and Tam catching the kender toying with a small marble statue of St. Cuthbert, Tegric and Demil decided to head back out to see how the fight against the gargoyle was progressing.
Out in the village square, they found Argus and his men standing around the dead body of the gargoyle. Argus was now in a wonderful mood, and he suggested that Tegric and Demil join him and his men for a round of celebratory drinks at the Axe & Hammer. As they approached the inn, Bero Pickheart, one of the proprietors of the inn, came trundling out in the midst of strapping on his armor, determined to join the fray that was already over. The dejected dwarf turned and slunk back into the inn’s common room, and was heckled by Gorm Stonebinder, the other dwarven proprietor of the inn. Argus called for ale, and Bero’s niece Bera brought the round. The kender, in the meantime, procured several pouches of coins from unsuspecting patrons, including one of the men-at-arms…with the intent of returning them later, of course.
Before the group could begin their celebrations, however, the door to the inn burst open and Barik stumbled in, raving about how someone had stolen something. Tegric rushed to help, and the wizard gasped something about the mysterious device that had summoned the kender and the other horrors now plaguing his underground lair. Tegric, Argus, and the majority of the men-at-arms decided to bring Barik to the temple, and Tegric ordered the kender to stay in the inn.
Once back at the temple and delivering Barik to the tender mercies of Kerin and Tam, Argus confronted Tegric, demanding to know what he knew about Barik and what was happening in the village. Tegric told his uncle about the device that Barik had been tinkering with, but didn’t reveal the existence of the lair. Argus became enraged, saying that he knew that the old man was bound to bring calamity down on Guldenberg. The two argued for a time, and Argus then stormed off to ensure that his men were prepared for further occurrences of attacks on the village.
Meanwhile, at the inn, three merchants came down from the rooms to have a meal in the common room. As one of the merchants passed Demil, the kender “acquired” one of the merchant’s pouches…and the merchant noticed the acquisition. He began raving aloud about the “little thief,” and demanded that the kender be arrested. The one remaining man-at-arms in the common room stood up to grab Demil, but the kender made a hasty exit and decided to head to the temple, in order to have the protection of Tegric.
At the temple, Tegric and Kerin were watching over Barik, who was still unconscious. The blacksmith and the cleric also spoke a bit, and Kerin revealed that Anton, and good friend of Tegric’s, had returned to Guldenberg after two years in Safeton, a town to the south. Kerin suggested that they ask Anton for assistance in the matter of the device, as he was an aspiring magic-user. They were interrupted by the arrival of Demil, and the kender’s pleas for protection. Kerin took the opportunity to find Anton, who was staying in the temple.
Anton and Tegric had a warm reunion, but the two old friends were interrupted by the return of Argus. Tegric’s uncle was accompanied by Paedrik, a childhood rival of Tegric who had become one of St. Cuthbert’s men-at-arms. It was then that Barik regained consciousness, and began urgently proclaiming that someone or something had come to his home to steal the device. Thus the full tale of the wizard’s secret lair and the events of the night before became known to all. Barik described his attackers as no more than “shadows.” When asked where the device had come from, Barik revealed that a nameless merchant had sold it to him for a pittance several months before. The merchant had told Barik that he was traveling from the Bright Desert on his way to the city of Greyhawk.
Then, before Barik slipped once again into unconsciousness, he produced a piece of the device from his robes. It was the crystal sphere, which had originally been cradled in the center of three pieces of curved golden metal. These three segments of the device were gone. Anton took the device, and began to study it. As Argus began to rage again about the meddling of wizards and the safety of the village, Anton exclaimed that there was a small point of light drifting inside the crystal. He surmised that the point of light might indicate the location of the missing pieces of the device. If that was indeed the case, he would need some more time to study the sphere to determine if he could use it to pinpoint the location. This led to discussion of whether or not it would be wise to make immediate plans to pursue the stolen pieces. The group decided to get some rest for the evening and reconvene the next day at the Axe & Hammer.
The next morning, Tegric, Demil, Kerin, and Anton went to the inn. There they met with Paedrik and his brother Shaan. Anton revealed that he had determined how to use the crystal sphere to track the missing pieces of the device, but added that a further complication had arisen: instead of one pinpoint of light in the sphere, there were now three. This led him to believe that the pieces had been separated and were being carried in three different directions. One piece seemed to be heading toward the northwest in the direction of the Gnarley Forest. The second was heading to the southwest, deeper into the Wild Coast. The third was heading toward the northeast, in the direction of Hardby, the Abbor-Alz, and perhaps the Bright Desert beyond.
The group ultimately decided that the piece headed toward Hardby was in the most jeopardy, as Barik had said that the device had most likely come from the Bright Desert. The desert had for almost a decade been under the control of the powerful archmage Rary, who had betrayed Greyhawk’s Circle of Eight at the end of the Greyhawk Wars. The thought of the piece falling into Rary’s hands was a great concern. The group decided to send messengers to Safeton and Narwell, since both of those towns were located on the paths of the other two shards. The hope was that the garrisons of those towns could be made aware of the search for the pieces, and could perhaps assist in their recovery.
Having decided on their course, they agreed to provision themselves, prepare for the journey, and leave the next morning. Argus, meanwhile, would remain vigilant, watching the entrance to the lair. Barik had placed wards and other spells over the entrance, but it was not known how long they would hold. As for Barik himself, Kerin had beseeched Guldenberg’s High Priest of St. Cuthbert, Father Aquiles, to give the old wizard sanctuary.