As the rag tags gathered themselves they decided to head south to candlekeep the vast repository of knowledge in the realms located south of baldurs gate. First they took the chance to stock up on essentials. Binki obtained a new shield from Lagnar the blacksmith and Rolen procured a new rapier from a gnome merchant that soon revealed itself to be more than he though containing the trapped spirit of a vengeful elf.
The party obtained a rare tomb from Wilhelm the book merchant. The book was Alrond's Guide to the Far Realm with comedic notes inscribed in it by Alrond himself. Including the one about Aboleths being a giant tadpole.
The party then head via Fort Blackstaff to meet with Maktak who gave them wedding invites for 3 weeks time which could teleport them there. He hinted Rolen should not disappoint his aunt. He granted them a map and warned them that Luskan has fallen to the shadow forces now under Azaer who is apparently coverting people in Luskan to the ways of Shaar. Luskan had willingly joined these forces. Also the trading port of Port Llast south of Luskan had been consumed in black cloud and melded with the shadowfell.
Maktak also warned them about the vast numbers of black dragon born answering a call and heading north from Tymanther. They were grouping around where the town of Beliard had once been.
This concerned the party as they were due to travel north after candlekeep. Maktak also warned them that spells were disrupted in that region now.
As they headed home to prepare for their trip they stopped by their old friend Alexander at the hall of light. He was doing well. He sold them the holy water and healing vials they needed. They also joined Mahmud for a drink to welcome his daughter Isobella into the world. Mahmud took great pleasure in hiw new toned and oiled musles.
The party rested and the next morning Vhorzim summoned the powers of wind walking and converted the entire party into gaseous clouds. This allowed them to tarvel with great speed to land short of Candlekeep. After granting the tome to the gate keep they were allowed access. They were guided towards the scribes residents where they met with Avowed Ultruant. He sent the journal away to Keeper of Tombs Wilson and indicated they needed to rest a day and come back
The next day came and they returned to find the keeper of tombs present. He looked alarmed at what he had uncovered. The writings in the journal were old Imaskari writings from 4000 years previous that told of a mage slave Linus who had hidden a weapon of great power they Imaskar had used to slay the deities of his people when they were forced into slavery, The weapon was broken into parts and hidden in various planes. 7 keys were needed to act as addresses to these locations. Wilson indicated that the Imaskar empire had long fallen but that a small remnant had returned from the underdark and formed the Magedom of High Imaskar in their capital Skyclave. He suggested that the technology to use these gems would only be found there now. The black orbs were keys that led to the key gems. THe latest clue hinted at somewhere Rolen recognises as the temple of the fallen in the high forest.
Finally able to understand these writing the Keeper of Tombs also saw them off with the book of the language that they should learn to translate the writings. This will take time.
With this the party were left deciding what to do next… pursue the orbs or head north to try and find and confront Azaer and his new forces.