8th Rebirth, 56 FE
Before Saldar and the PCs get to talk, a servant enters with a platter full of breakfast goodness. Saldar tells them that his illness is affecting the castle. What they experienced was one of these symptoms. Saldar asks the PCs to tell him about what happened and where they were while being gone from the castle. Leila doesn’t want to talk about it, but GuUshal and Vashti describe the picture book forest and the pedestal with the teardrop, along with the soothing effect it had on them. Saldar lets them know that he can feel the same kind of soothing warmth from the teardrop as they speak, even though the PCs cannot feel it anymore.
Saldar tells them about a simple ritual the PCs can make using the teardrop (and other teardrops like it, if they can find more) to help keep the symptoms down. He also informs the PCs that there is a book in the library that might hold the key to curing the disease, and gives directions on how to find it (the newest book on the top shelf of bookcase 3). GuUshal asks why Saldar does not look in the book himself, to which he answers that he simply can’t. It is impossible. GuUshal asks Saldar if he can understand that this makes it difficult for them to trust him, which he can.
Saldar warns the PCs that they are not safe while they remain at Bluecastle, but that he and his servants will never harm them. He advises them to stick together and take precautions, and warns them that the library is not currently safe.
The PCs then go to the library. GuUshal quickly spots the newest looking book, and grabs it along with a book on diseases in mice, which also looks new. As he grabs the book, he hears loud screaming and wailing, but manages to convince himself that it is just a trick of the mind, and the screaming soon fades. Leila takes the book from GuUshal, noticing the title being “Did you really think it would be this easy?”. The book starts to melt between both their hands, turning into long strands of shadow. These start to attract and absorb all other shadows in the room, swirling together to form a being. Vashti is attacked by small shadow beings, probing her eyes, ears, and brain, which the others can’t see.
GuUshal quickly readies his hammer, and swings it at the shadow, which nimbly dodges his blow. GuUshal finds himself smashing his hammer into a bookshelf instead, sending it and its contents flying. Vashti gives it a sound kick, and a small part of it returns to being a normal shadow in the corner of the room. Leila, having convinced herself that this is really just another one of her nightmares, lets loose some powerful magic beyond what she’s ever done before. In an attempt to rip apart the shadow, she instead tears apart several bookcases, sending books and splinters flying everywhere. She then tries to tear a hole in the fabric of reality in the middle of the shadow being, causing some damage to it and making it thinner, but otherwise doesn’t appear to be very effective. Noticing that both of her companions have nosebleeds, she decides to give the shadow a nosebleed as well, which she does with fire, setting both shadow and books on fire in the process, while also giving herself a nosebleed by overloading her reserves of arcane power. Meanwhile, GuUshal is busy making sure he and Vashti won’t get hit, while Vashti attempts to throw several more kicks at the shadow. The shadow attempts a range of different mind tricks. Vashti finally makes the shadow vanish by giving it another kick. The shadows then return to normal, and the ladies notice the book they’re looking for appearing out of nowhere and falling to the floor, closely followed by a wooden teardrop.
Leila hurries towards the book, but as it dawns upon her that this was not justa bad dream, the horror of the havoc she caused overwhelms her and she faints. Vashti hurries off to fetch some servants to help put out the fire, while GuUshal moves book, Leila, and teardrop out of the library. GuUshal keeps the fire from spreading by creative use of an upturned wooden table, and soon after the fire is put out with help from the servants.
Vashti asks a servant if she can get something for her broken nose, and it leads her to a storeroom on the ground floor where it makes and applies some salve to it, making it go completely numb. GuUshal carries Leila and the things down to their apartment. Here, he notices a flask of oil on the table next to the teardrop, along with a note reading “For the teardrop”. He decides that it is for someone else to handle, and then goes to find Saldar, who is in the great hall. GuUshal and Saldar have a talk about the events in the library, and briefly about Saldar’s condition. Saldar specifically mentions that he’s lost track of time, and also that he suspects the rain to be a symptom as well. GuUshal asks if Saldar can do anything for Leila, who is quite badly ridden. He agrees to go have a look, and they return to the apartment, where they also find Vashti.
Saldar requests permission to cast some healing magic on Leila to ease her mind and mend the worst of her wounds. GuUshal and Vashti agree to this, and they immediately see a positive effect on Leila. Vashti then requests that Saldar tends to her as well, and he asks permission to cast magic on her as well. Saldar declares that he will see how much of the library can be salvaged, and then departs.