After each having received a letter from the sage Artephius two of our heroes have made the trek to his country estate on the northern boarder of the Ghostwoods. The estate itself has the appearance of having once been a military structure that has since been converted into a private home. A stone wall surrounds the estate but due to it’s low stature it clearly was never intended as a defensive structure. Outside the wall there are several acres of farm fields to the north and a large fruit orchards to the east. Inside the low wall the courtyard is occupied by a well kept vegetable and herb garden bordered by several wood structures that are clearly of agricultural use. A small barn with various animal pens, a chicken coop, horse stable and a few other outbuildings all accompany a large stately looking two story manor house. Beyond these buildings is an impressive three story stone keep that dominates the majority of the estates property. Clearly this building was originally a military outpost that has long since been converted into a private dwelling. Battlements and barred windows having been replaced by diamond pane stained glass windows and other far less utilitarian features. Most of the structures from the large stone keep to the manor house are covered with many years of ivy growth giving the entire property a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.
The large manor house is occupied by the head groundskeeper and his family who are employed by Artephius to tend to the property as well as take care of the cooking cleaning and other domestic tasks. Living in the manor is also a groom and a farrier who maintain the stables and tend to the half dozen horses on the estate.
Inside the large stone keep the main hall is a neat and well kept entryway with several doors on ether side with a massive double staircase at the far end. Judging by the contrast in design elements used it is clear that the tile floor as well as several other “decorative” features had been added when the building was converted from a simple stone military fortress into something more hospitable in appearance. While the main hall is a well kept and clean first impression for new visitors the rest of common rooms are not nearly as well maintained.
Upon his arrival the gnome Dimble is greeted by the eldest son of the groundskeeper and escorted into the keep where he is shown into a parlor where Artephius and another man are having a conversation. Artephius introduces Dimble to Landrich and offers the two some refreshments while they become better acquainted. Once introductions have been made and the two have had a bit to eat and drink Artephius settles into his chair to explain his reason for summoning them to his estate.
He first explains to them that there is yet a third guest who regrettably was unable to attend this meeting. A dwarf named Milnar who had recently been part of tragically failed military campaign and is currently somewhere in the Red Stone Mountains seeking the council of his gods. Artephius explains that Dimble and Landrich will need to travel to the mountains to find Milnar and convince him to join them on their mission as his aid will be greatly needed. After this he continues to explain the exact nature of their quest.
Recently Artephius with the aid of a friend and fellow scholar named Collin have uncovered what they believe to be the whereabouts of an ancient Abyssal artifact commonly known among scholars as the demonomicon a simple clay tablet that acts as a sort of Rosetta stone for deciphering demonic and abyssal script. He explains that abyssal script is a rather complex language that has never been fully translated due to the fact that it is impossible for mortals to speak and the written form is a closely guarded secret among the demons of the abyss. According to Artephius his friend Collin has recently come into possession of several brass plates that appear to be written in demonic script. Unable to translate them he contacted Artephius who was also not able to translate the writing. Thus the two begin to search for one of the fabled demonomicons with the hope that they will be able to use this to read Collin’s plates. Through rather exhausting (and honestly incredibly boring) research the two discovered that an artifact matching the description of a demonomicon was reported not far from Ravenmarch in the area of the Great Dale .
Apparently many centuries ago there was a great sorcerer known only as Clymph who built a tower in the Rawlinswoods area of the Great Dale. while Artephius admits he knows little about the sorcerer himself it is said that he was well versed in demonic knowledge and owned a copy of the demonomicon.
Concerned by the idea of such a seemingly powerful object being discovered and eventually translated Landrich questioned Artephius as to wisdom of uncovering such an artifact and if it was not better left undiscovered or perhaps even destroyed. Artephius explained that it was far from the only demonomicon but it has more to do with the close proximity of the object and the idea that having such knowledge could be a powerful weapon against demons and other abyssal creatures. His goal with the tablet is to translate it and record what he finds on Collin’s plates and return this information to Candlekeep where it can be protected and used responsibly for the forces of good. He (Artephius) then explains that in the morning his friend Collin will arrive and more explain in greater detail the exact nature of Clymph tower as well as what it is the party will be looking for.
After their conversation with Artephius, Dimble and Landrich share a few more drinks and discuss various subjects long into the evening after Artephius has retired for the night. In the morning the three continue their conversation from the night before with several other questions before the housekeeper announces the arrival of the historian Collin.
Collin enters the dinning room and after formalities and introductions he has a small cup of coffee before sitting back in his chair to begin explaining in detail what exactly the heroes will be doing.