Where neither Seraphim nor raindrops go...

The Big Show
In which we learn the truth about ducks in summoning. Or A Deal With A Devil, How Imeckus Stroon Loses Face,

excerpt from Stroon And Very Stroon: The Life and Death and Life Again of Dean Imeckus Stroon

The humans had been dying off for generations before Imeckus Stroon and his brother Tevet were even born. Though they were generally scarce, the two brothers grew up with a few other human families around. When they seemed to be systematically hunted over the last two weeks, Imeckus Stroon leveraged all his power and connections to investigate. As an accomplished archmage and Dean of the University of Havorstov’s school of Arcana, it was no small amount of energy. Though he had uncovered little, his worst fears were confirmed in the first theatre massacre follow the funeral of fellow Dean Professor LeCroix. Running to the scene, he discovered the body of his brother among the dead, along with several other humans, leaving himself and mayor Lincoln Abraham the only remaining humans. The unfortunate events of the second massacre would leave mayor Abraham alone.

A hellish rift tore open in the floor, vomiting brimstone and swarms of demons intent on slaughter. Imeckus quickly created a ritual circle, protecting several students, his minion Pixlwijit, and his protege Ardeth Belikosh. While the abyssal rift poured forth rampaging demons, a devil appeared to the Gnome Illusionist Pock to strike a deal. It is quite probable that this devil may have possessed Professor LeCroix for some time. In exchange for an amulet that Pock had re-stolen from LeCroix’s room, the devil offered anything Pock could dream of. Wishing only for the infernal beings to leave, Pock traded an illusionary version of the amulet. The devil and his forces quickly receeded, but not before dark chains dragged many bodies into the pit with them. Just before the rift closed, the devil noticed a break in Imeckus’s arcane circle where a chandelier had fallen. He quickly appeared behind his former colleague and engulfed his upper half in a blaze of hellfire.

Though Stroon obviously died along with many others, he sputtered back to life within a half hour of his demise. However, it seems obvious that his physical body is not the only thing “not all there”. He is more eccentric than ever, his thoughts scattered and driven somewhat mad by his loss of connection to the magics to which he had devoted his life. His knowledge of the arcane remained somewhat intact though and he was able to perform several binding and summoning rituals which required only the proper procedure and components. The first of these was the re-summoning of his imp familiar Pixlwijit. Pock, noticing Stroon’s ability to summon and bind demonic beings confesses to tricking the devil who had appeared in the theatre. Concerned that the tricked devil would soon return, the group set out find cave owl-ducks, a necessary component for the ritual summoning of a devil so powerful. They hope to bind the being and slay or banish it while contained in the circle.

Stroon claims to have been brought back by “The Lady”, whose power he claims as his patron. While normal arcane magic still does not respond to him, Stroon is able to draw on the deathly power that animates him, as well as the powers of flame and shadow lent by his imp familiar. However, each time he uses these powers, he must pay some price, tapping his own energies or health or the latent energies of fallen souls. Whatever otherworldy machinations are keeping him alive continue to drive some of his biological processes. At any given time, he is in various stages of death, rot, healing, or regrowth, though the scar from the Devil’s hellfire seems unable to be healed. Due to this, he often covers at least part of his face while in public.

He briefly returned to the theatre, where he and several other mages places a ritual seal over the rift, hopefully preventing further incursions. While there, he collected several of the severed Abyssal chains laying around, incorporating them into his robes as a sign of the demon’s failure to bring him down. Donning the massive shoulder pauldrons of one of the slain pit fiends, he vows to use his own knowledge and the powers of Hell and Death to end whatever scheme seeks to end the line of man.

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Prelude To The Big Show

The trans-sylvan town of Havorstov is notable for several things.

First, it is one of the only settlements to actually lay inside the edges of the haunted Gyrewood. Second, it is home to The University, the remains of a now fallen human empire and the largest center for learning and culture on this continent. Third, until recently it was home to several of the last remaining humans. However, four of the six have just been slain and now only two remain: Imeckus Stroon, the Dean of Arcana and Mayor Lincoln Abraham.

The death of a human professor known to many of you brought you to the town, and his murder is being blamed on a frankensteinian flesh golem found in the nearby University Museum.

Investigations into the other crimes attributed to the golem have proven false, but the citizens are looking for something to blame for the recent massacres at the university and the theatre. Dean Imeckus Stroon is concerned that someone is trying to kill off all the humans.

Mayor Lincoln Abraham (the other remaining human) has called a town meeting at the local theater to discuss the issues and finish the golem’s trial.

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To Havorstov we go

After receiving word of the untimely death of Jules LeCroix, we decided to brave the Gyrewood to make our way to Havorstov. On the road we encountered Papa Ghulo and his circus, looking for their fellow lost circus members. While setting up camp for the evening, we were attacked by a severed hand. We dispatched the hand, although some had darker intentions than that, and trekked off into the woods after a haunting voice. We encountered an undead, bloated, Halfling hand collector and were able to subdue the abomination. Upon doing so, we were able to rescue the two missing circus members, although not without the loss of one of their hands each. Good thing neither of them were jugglers.

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Invitation To A Funeral
a note via raven
A raven arrives at your window, bearing a small parchment scroll, stamped with a crimson wax seal.

“Beloved friends and family,

It is with deepest sorrow that we regret to inform you of the passing of our dear Jules LeCroix. He was found dead outside his university office late Thursday evening, and is believed to be connected to the break-in at the nearby museum by a large beast, now in custody. Professor LeCroix was known for his long journeys across much of the known world, charming those he met in every plane in his quest for notable antiquities. “This belongs in a museum!” he would often exclaim, and indeed much of his life was dedicated to finding and cataloging the artifacts our department hold’s dear. However, it was the relationships he made along the way which he treasured most dearly. As such, your presence is requested for the wake, funereal services, and the reading of his will.

Our condolences,
Mikael VonStradt, Barrister & Executor of the LeCroix will

Professor Radu Ludverc, Dept of Antiquities"

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