Sunday, 26 Pharast, 4723
I can now add "demon-slayer" to my resume, thanks to the recklessness of Balthus Hunclay. And I'm still seeing spots in my vision after walking through his blasted wall of light.
Following my last entry, we pried Aldern away from the wizard's books and ascended to the third floor of his manor. He maintained an impressive observatory there, with a crystalline dome and a complex rotating telescope mounted on a track in the floor. The telescope, of course, was trapped with magic, but we found a way to set it off without summoning an angry bear. Doing so provoked a vicious little winged creature to hurl a lightning bolt at us and then swoop down to bite me. It didn't last long. Aldern claimed it was some sort of construct called a homonculus, likely a creation of the wizard.
We lingered in the observatory awhile as I tried to train the scope on some distant mountains. I spied a ruined fortress of some kind, and a treant walking confusedly in circles. Both were quite far off, so I doubt I will have the opportunity to investigate any time soon.
From there, we continued into the manor's cellar, wary for traps both physical and arcane. Knives found one such magical trap on the door to a storage room, but Aldern decided to blast it open with one of his spells, setting the trap off before Knives could clear the area. Things got very heated between the two and I had to intervene. Knives has a quick temper that is all to familiar to me, and Aldern, for all that his knowledge has proved valuable, is too reckless. I tried to talk some sense into both of them, but I may jut have been tripping over my tongue. Again.
Knives and Lennox found a strange door in the cellar made of steel, with some kind of magic on it. We opened it and entered the room, eventually finding a pit from which a voice spoke, calling for them to release it. The creature proved to be some sort of goat-headed fiend, and entering the room broke the seal to release it!
Perhaps seeking to make up for his earlier mistake, Aldern arrived and swiftly translated the Abyssal runes over the chamber entrance. He spoke the creature's true name, causing it to stand rigid. While he repeated it over and over, Knives, Tagnus and I were able to flank the demon and end it. So good for us to be working together as a team again. I hope Aldern noted how his knowledge, not his spells, was crucial in aiding us against the fiend.
From there, we pressed deeper into the hidden caves beyond the cellar proper. Knives and Tagnus found a grotesque devil, sort of a cherub crossed with giant fly, trapped within its own binding circle. It was dead before the rest of us could reach it. In the same chamber, Tagnus found Hunclay's journal, but we had no time to peruse it.
After Knives and Lennox unlock the last chamber, we found arcane symbols covering the walls. Aldern recognizes them as a spell for a "wall of light," with the eponymous wall stretching across an opening in the south side of the chamber. We also found a very exotic suit of leather armor, along with two magical weapons: a scimitar and a short sword.
When Aldern was reluctant to venture through the wall of light, so I volunteered to go through first and was temporarily blinded. I immediately heard a voice from an entity called Maffei, a Shae from the plane of Shadow. She was trapped in here by the light spell, summoned and held prisoner by the wizard Hunclay who was interrogating her for information. He kept asking about the "Dark Tapestry," wrongly thinking it was connected to the plane of Shadow.
Dispelling the wall was beyond our arcane power. Eventually, Tagnus and I bashed down the wall so that Maffei could escape. She reclaimed her arms and armor.
While the Shae recovered, I took the time to read through Hunclay's journal. I'm pretty sure Knives and Tagnus slunk off to drink some of the wizard's wine. The journal explained that Hunclay was summoning these extraplanar entities for various purposes.
The goat-headed demon was meant to serve as his bodyguard for a meeting with someone called Barlau. Maffei was to be questioned about the Dark Tapesty. Other planar allies, from fiends to celestials, he summoned and dismissed for information to aid him with topics ranging from the creation of constructs, investigation's into Belhaim's history, and discussions of magic items and spells. But the most common reason for summoning creatures was to question them about the Dark Tapestry. At Aldern's request, I took down notes on the names and summoning preferences of three dozen different outsiders.
In the journal, the wizard repeatedly referenced a failed conjuration of a representative of the "Dominion of the Black." Hunclay had conjured it only to have to kill it when it attacked him. The notes stated that this took place in his "safe cave," a term that sends a shudder down my spine every time I contemplate it. The journal gave the cave's location, just under a mile north of Belhaim.
Though it is not part of Hunclay's estate, it appears that the safe cave is our next destination. Knives surprisingly wanted to bring the cave to the Baroness' attention, thinking that we could get more reward. Aldern and I convinced her it would be better to keep it on the "down low" as they say in Absalom. But that and is for tomorrow. For now, we have chosen to rest in the wizard's manor and set out tomorrow morning.