5 Rova, 4714 AR
The gang continue to explore Hunclay’s house, including the observatory, where they meet a crafty homunculus in the wizard’s observatory who attempts, unsuccessfully, to trick them into sitting on the trapped seat of the room’s enormous telescope, and the extensive cellars beneath the house. There, Bat, Ham, and Emraeal uncover evidence of Balthus Hunclay’s dark hobbies. In one laboratory the group rescues one of Hunclay’s test subjects – an emaciated and near dead wolf. Emraeal soothes the creature and releases her from her cage. The wolf seems uncharacteristically taken with the elf, and stays close by her side for the rest of the group’s delve.
Deeper still in cellars, the group discovers Balthus Hunclay’s most diabolical explorations – demon summoning, devil binding, and sinister research into the Dark Tapestry. Several of Hunclay’s summoned and conjured servants remain trapped in the cellars, bound by runes and salt pentacles. They kill one of the creatures, a goat-headed schir demon, and send the other, a childlike blasphemy called a zebub devil (a kind of plump infant conjoined with the features of a bloated fly) back to Hell.
After sending the zebub devil back to Hell, the group discovers Hunclay’s summoning journal and takes some time to review his research. His journal contains extensive notes on the appearances and behaviour of the outsiders he’s conjured, and the services he secured from them. Most were conjured purely for questioning. Only the schir, the zebub, and something called a shae were kept for any length of time. The journal describes that he conjured the schir to be his bodyguard on a visit to meet someone named “Barlau”, and that he conjured the shae because he believed, erroneously, that she might know something about the so-called Dark Tapestry.
The other creatures summoned run the gamut from devil to demon, azata to archon. The topics of Hunclay’s research vary from the creation of constructs and homunculi, investigations into Belhaim’s history, and discussions of various magic items and spells, but far and away the most common topic is the Dark Tapestry. Time and time again, the notes mention a failed conjuration of a “representative of the Dominion of the Black.” Hunclay conjured it only to have to kill it when it attacked him. The notes show that this took place in “my secret cave,” a mile north of Belhaim.
Behind a magical wall of light the group finds one final prisoner of Hunclay’s – a strange creature that appears as a humanoid shape made of amorphous shadow. The shadow-woman calls herself Maffei, and says she is a shae, a resident of the Plane of Shadow. Although the group, particularly Emraeal, is suspicious, Maffei insists she bears them no ill will and asks to be released from her outrageous imprisonment, claiming the wizard Hunclay summoned her unjustly from her home plane, tearing her unbidden into this realm. She claims that she cannot pass through the wall of light, that it has already weakened her considerably, and asks that the group find some way to dispel the magic. She knows that Hunclay kept a stash of magical dust of darkness in his secret cave – a fact he took great joy taunting her with. She promises to help them in any way she can if released.