017. Kazzen part

 

Suddenly, as if pulled by strings, Presto's body sits upright!  His eyes roll back into his head, revealing yellow, bloodshot corneas.  The blood dripping from his mouth gurgles and runs thick and black like tar, smelling of sulfur and death.  Presto stands up, his skin now redenning and becoming covered with boils.  He leans back, lets out a blood curdling scream, and begins to attack the party.  The party manages to kill the Demonvessel that occupied Presto's body, but in its last moments, it warns the party that "it is too late, the ritual is complete.  Khash is risen."

The party rushes upstairs, and finds a narrow passageway.  To the left is a stone door covered in druidic runes.  To theright is a locked door.  They have a key!  Inside they find Presto's chamber.  They search frantically for a way to open the stone door.  They find a document illustrating the family lineage of Corvus the Black's Family, as well as a Vial of Blood from Corvus the Black.  They also find a Map of the World (with a red X on the location of "Triple Toss Tower."  Behind a hanging tapestry, they find instructions on how to open the door.  The instructions display the same set of runes, some of which are colored in red.  The party figures out through trial and error that they must use the vial of blood on a finger to trace over the runes.  The stone door opens to reveal a large room, carpeted in thick grass.  Dotted all around are 6 foot tall trees.  The ceiling is open, bathing the room in sunlight.  In the center of the room, in a mound of dirt, is the sapling of the evertree.   

 

The party moves in to inspect the sapling, which looks worse for wear.  Suddenly, they hear a noise from above.  A cloaked figure carrying a staff slowly descends upon them.  He appears to be a wizard in his mid 40s.  His hair is long and silver.  His facial features angular.  His ears are pointed.  Half-Elf, maybe?  He is clutching a gnarled staff.  He reveals himself to be Kazzen, chancellor to Queen Parthen and the high mage of the kingdom.  

Kazzen knows of Team Triple Toss, and even knew of their plans to take the sapling.  "You see," he says, "you have been gone for ... what ... 21 days, searching for this twig?  You know I couldn't resist the temptation you left me back at your tower."  With that, he produces a blue cube.  "Pity," he continues, "that you left snakemen in charge.  They just can't resist gold.  We watched your tower for 5 days.  Each night, at dusk, the shield would receed, two snakemen would come out, and then again the shield would return.  Exactly at dusk.  It was then that a humble travelling merchant happened upon -- 'Slim', was it? -- and offered 15,000 gold to buy a cube.  He dutifully produced a blue cube -- he knew enough not to give me the green one -- then a snotnose little goblin (Grassfoot) rushed out to stop the sale, but a contract is binding and ... well, breaking a bond is punishable by death.  He orders the party to come willingly or face death.

The party chooses the latter.