Chapter 1

Dr. Brandin's Magical Menagerie

21-24 Eleasis, Year 10,783 of the Fifth Age

Their reasons their own, five adventurers found themselves near the great human city of Caerlin, just as the famous Dr. Brandin’s Magical Menagerie and Travelling Circus was in town. A disagreement with Dr. Brandin’s staff over the ethics of caged animals brought Elyos, Adama, and Wylem together, while Musef tried not to get involved. After being barred from the menagerie, and nearly expelled from the fair, the group decided to make their way through the various games together. It was during a pie eating contest that they encountered Z, an earnest fellow who, unfortunately, was unable to keep his pie down.

The contests passed, with each having a moment to showcase their skills, and Musef impressing Elyos with his surprising strength, and ability to seemingly predict the future. Adama and Wylem insisted on going their separate ways at the end of the day- Musef, Elyos, and Z spending the night at a local inn. In the earlier hours of the morning, everyone awoke to find a strange coin in their pockets, inviting them to share breakfast with Dr. Brandin himself.

Somewhat surprised to be meeting up again, the group entered to find a lavish feast set before them, Dr. Brandin seated at the head of the table. A charismatic but abrasive orc, Brandin explained that as a collector, he was interested in this unique group. He gave them a task- to recover a treasure from Darrowmere Manor, a once splendid place that the locals considered haunted. The treasure, it was said, had the power to grant a wish. Their payment would be anything they found in the manor, as Dr. Brandin was only interested in one thing. The group deliberated, and decided to take Brandin up on his offer.

Setting out with Brandin’s homunculus, Charles, tagging along, the five made their way to the manor. Upon arrival, Adama and Wylem scouted the property, noting the unnatural plant growth and other oddities. Inside the walls, Adama encountered a strange, dark beast, though no one else saw it. The group entered the mansion seemingly without issue, and the doors slammed shut, locking behind them. As they cautiously made their way through the first floor, they found several skulls with moon phases carved into the forehead, and a room with headless skeletons around a table. Z found a potion, and upon drinking it fell instantly in love with the first person he saw, Adama. Shortly after the party encountered a room of stone animals, who upon being touched, sprang back to life. Before any of the creatures had the opportunity to move, Z attacked to defend his beloved. The group, to the protests of Adama, slew three of the creatures, before the great owl shouted at them to stop. Thanks to the abilities of Musef, the party learned that these creatures were the remaining staff of the manor, having been cursed years before. Perhaps, if they made their way through the house, the group would be able to somehow break the curse…




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