Session Log 2022-03-21
Having determined the fourfold circumference of the room, the party surveilled the ground floor more thoroughly using Robin's illusory lantern. On the central pillar, below what Ignis had labelled the Summer constellation, an archway stood, reminiscent of the archways leading to the unstable spire on the first floor or the cracked spire of the second. However, all that lay beyond this archway appeared to be an empty void from which emanated an unsettling atmosphere. Above the arch, a walkway connected the pillar to the first mezzanine.
Satisfied that they had established at least a basic sweep of the area, the party set up camp. Ignis washed his armor with his infinite healing liquor. Once finished, he offered Klaitos a nightcap to deal with the injuries he had sustained when crushed by the door, but the necessary quantity of curative alcohol exceeded Klaitos's tolerance. A campfire of poorly-burning furniture provided enough light to keep watch, and so Ekkels was left to stand guard for the first few hours of the night.
After some time, he heard a faint scuffling sound somewhere elsewhere in the tower. The acoustics of the burnt library made it difficult to tell from which direction it emanated, but it seemed most present around the area of the Summer constellation, beyond the furniture barricade. The noise stopped, but Ekkels climbed the pile to see if he could spot a clue as to its origins. He was able to see the dim outline of a doorway, but before he could look closer, an elongated hand reached down from above to grab at him. He startled free of its grasp and called for help, but toppled into an avalanche of furniture.
The party awoke to aid him, Klaitos blearily bringing up the rear. Robin's illusory light revealed nobody else nearby, so Ignis set to digging his teammate free from the desks and tables fallen onto him. Robin and Klaitos rounded the pillar and climbed to the first mezzanine to vainly seek any trace of Ekkels's assailant. They did not return empty-handed, however - Robin spotted and claimed an intact purple book, titled Wilga's Wisdoms in a florid script, amid the ashes and burnt shelves. She opened it to find spontaneously-generated pointed insults, offensive illustrations, and mocking prose on each page. She promptly, eagerly, and thoroughly tested it on each of her sleep-deprived allies, but found it to respond to inquiry with only more mockery.
Ekkels, extracted from his furniture burial, went to bed. Robin took the next watch, which she spent poring over the Wisdoms by firelight. She noticed that the final page was a fixed dedication, expressing a wish that the reader appreciated Wilga's masterpiece and featuring an author portrait of a manically-grinning halfling witch in a stockade.
Robin's watch passed uneventfully, and Ignis was woken for the final shift. He heard what he thought might have been a strangled cry and swift thumps somewhere nearby. He peered into the darkness to try and find the source of the sudden noise, but was unable to figure out where it had come from in the echoing library, and it had fallen silent too soon to track.
He decided to feign sleep - his eyes closed, his ears attuned to the room as best he could muster, ready to leap into battle should someone attack the camp. He made out some faint scuffing noises somewhere overhead, but nobody came to disturb his fake slumber. Changing tacks, he leapt to his feet and hurled a burning chair-leg from the fire to the mezzanine, hoping to cast a light on any lurking enemies. His unaimed throw bounced off the mezzanine back into his face, blinding him briefly and foiling his attempt at counterespionage.
Come morning, the library seemed slightly better-illuminated: dim beams of sunlight peered sporadically through the arrow-slit windows. Klaitos, hungover and grateful for the dulled morning light, climbed to the first mezzanine, Ekkels resting in his pack. He went to investigate the spot that Wilga's Wisdoms had sat on the shelf. It seemed less fire-damaged than its surroundings.
Ignis wanted to try throwing a chair leg into the void archway. Robin, scientifically intrigued but risk-averse, watched from the first mezzanine above. The leg passed the threshold, and the sense of unease spiked, startling Ignis. Wind howled as the archway's void began drawing in its surroundings. Ignis, having thoughtfully tossed the leg in from a few paces away, was able to hold his footing and avoid falling in.
Robin, meanwhile, caught a glimpse of multiple elongated hands reaching down from the second mezzanine to grab at her. She tried to act quickly, conjuring an illusion of Ekkels to distract their attention so she could evade, but her assailants were too quick and grabbed her before the illusion could fully take hold. Ignis, distracted by his experiments with the void door, failed to notice as she was pulled out of view.