Deciding to get something done this week, the party decides to get some work done around the city. Taking Sam and Val’s bows to a local bowery to get them strength tested, Sam also takes the bear corpse to get skinned and have a cloak made from it the skin and helm from the skull. Catching a few classes at the local school he also got better at skinning, bargaining and first aid. Val spent some time at the Sage’s Fortress reading up on other languages and Cam recharged his staff.
Newly equipped and the party Ranger draped in his new bear skin, the gathering heads out and walks along the cliff face toward the wizard’s tower toward the south. The path is rough and unfamiliar to travelers as the cart slows down the party a bit. Two days of travel finds them camping about two hundred yards away. Over the course of the night, the party keeps catching the sound of stone grinding on stone infrequently. As the night wears on, off toward the ocean a storm started to blow in. In the morning, the storm had yet to arrive and to the untrained eyes it didn’t look too bad. Securing the donkey near a large boulder out of the rising wind off of the ocean, the party moves toward the tower.
The tower doesn’t stand alone, as there was another building about fifty yards inland which was once a large barn, but had burned to the ground. Cam spent some time looking over the remains of the collapsed building, he couldn’t see any signs that the fire was anything but natural. Closing in to the structures, Tinan’s foot came to rest on a empty potion bottle which shattered under his step. Long exposed to the elements, easily another hundred bottles were scattered around in the tall grass. Val discovered a magical trap on the front door as Cam tried calling for the tower’s occupent. Tinan and Sam wander around the tower to check for the possibility of a back door and find a couch exposed to the elements and countless bottles about an arm’s throw from the couch. Looking around, they notice a full sized wagon up on blocks with what was once a racing stripe painted along the side which had faded with time. Deciding to check out the burned out building first prior to scoping out the tower. The collapsed roof made exploring it different, but after tying a rope to Val and sending her inside, she managed to route around without causing the unstable structure to fall on her. Eventually, she managed to find a metal case partially buried in the rubble, with the metal slightly melted around the edges. Carrying it out carefully, Val placed the box on the ground before pulling her dagger and carefully prying at it for a while before popping the box open. Inside laying upon lovely purple velvet and massive amounts of packing material is a fancy bottle filled with an amber liquid. Considering the adventure at a close, they decide to secure the brandy and loot the tower.
Sending Val’ora to climb the tower, she makes her way up to the fourth floor where she can see a strange heat effect in the top tower, like flames made out of glass. Feeling no heat, but concerned about the possible effect, she instead secures a rope to the eaves at top of the tower before climbing to the top and looking around. The buffeting wind causes no issue as she looks around the area and finds a small, blacked shape about two hundred yards out in the distance. Climbing down to the ground, the thief shared the news with the family members, she goes back to the top and guides the trio through the grass where the find the remains of a humanoid, blackened beyond recognition. Tinan and Sam find signs that while the body was consumed with flame, most of the bones in the neck and back were crushed. Suddenly feeling less excited about the entire affair, Val decends to the second level before looking inside and finding what appears to be a study. Chairs and tables in areas to put the local light to the best use, as well as plates showing signs of previous meals but no sign of any sort of vermin. Heading downstairs, Val’ora stops suddenly as both an owlbear and rust monsters are reared up facing the front door. After a few moments, she realizes that they aren’t moving and after dropping a few arrows she’s sure of that fact as they make a hollow thump on impact. Once downstairs, she uses the stuffed rust monster to push against the front door where an off-color flash occurs, before she’s certain the trap is discharged. Noticing the storm is coming, they bring the donkey and cart inside the building before searching. A trap door was hidden under a rug, and after a bit of exploring they find the basement stocked with foodstuffs which they promptly shove into their Hefty Bag of Storage.
The third floor contains a bed and items of a personal nature, as well as several crates holding necessities for living alone. A dedicated tossing of the room turns up the only items of value being a single box containing find inks for scribing spells and an ivory quill with several new nubs. Cam quickly pocketed that when the party catches the sound of the stone on stone again, but this time very close and as soon as the party notices the sound, it stops suddenly. Racing downstairs again, the party checks all of the floors before finding nothing out of the ordinary. As the storm has finally hit and a light rain patters down, Val’ora took the initiative to gaze outside and while she didn’t find anything moving, there were signs of heat from what look like claws dug into the morter of the tower. Examining the tower closely, several of the same marks could be found on all sides, but all except the few Val’ora found were the same temperature as the stone walls. Concerned, but unwilling to give up just yet, the party decided to head up to the fourth floor… at least the last few steps leading up to the fourth floor. Still covered with the invisible flames, the party spent a bit of time throwing various items in to see what would happen, only to have everything be removed without any sort of damage done. In looking around the top floor, they noticed a lecturn holding an overly large tome which could only be a spellbook on the far side of room. Unwilling to risk the flames, Val’ora decended back to the second floor, climbing up the rope once more, and manufacturing a makeshift grappling hook to try and grab the tome.
Tinan instead summoned up a minor servant of Odin who, when ordered to obtain the book refused. The invisible looking fire was something the being called ‘Soul flames’ which were from the infernal planes and only consumed the spirit of living beings, leaving bodies intact. Val’ora caught the spellbook by the spine and drug it out of the soul flames while the divine servant started to attack the fire in efforts to, as it put it “Defeat the Evil.” Looking over the spellbook, the spells inside were far above Cam’s understanding, but he gathered that the caster was at least specialized in Conjuration. Deciding that it was safer to barricade themselves into the first floor, they barred the door and piled the stairwell full of the belongings from the tower to wait until morning. It wasn’t long until the night before they caught the sound of stone grinding on stone, and foot falls on the second level.