Roxy is negotiating with HR. She does not think any of our group wants to be a test subject so she denies the contract and just gets payment for the Sendings we already put down.
Evie and Serena are searching the archives. Unfortunately the archives are just dry catalogs of things that were made in the past. It lists what was made, for what purpose, and who it was given to. Nothing much beyond that.
Evie finds something about "Oathbreaker" for the 42nd Abhorsen, Zariel, to shatter "both barriers and Will." Isha and Serena agree this sounds like exactly what we need.
Finn, Corian, and Muriel take a look around Vashalok Castle. We spot someone going into a hidden doorway that usually appears as a normal wall. We act casual then examine the wall, which appears to be solid wall. Muriel uses a detect magic spell and finds some Charter Marks that are around the hidden rotating door. Finn figures out the Charter Marks need a counter-sign to pass through. We also find a dormatory, a testing ground that spills into the courtyard. There are a lot of tests in progress. We stop to watch and observe a Charter fan that create gusts of wind that helps a partner jump higher and further. We also see a Chartered suit of armor and other Charter spelled armor. And we see Free Magic creatures of low level that have Charter Spell collars and advanced handlers. A tester trips and a creature tries to pounce on them but another Charter Mage forms a cage around it. We are convinced there must be something more dangerous here so Finn casts a spell to detect high concentrations of Charter magic. It leads us back to that hidden door inside the castle.
Evie notices Serena hasn't come back to the dorms and goes to find her in the middle of the night. She finds her passed out in the archives and guides her back.
The nest morning we are summoned for a meeting. Isha and Caverron are both there in a heated argument. He is saying absolutely no one may go to the Wallmaker's Hall because too many have been lost there. Apparently something invisible has been attacking people there. Isha says the Wallmaker's Hall is where we could find information about Oathbreaker. Of the last team of Charter Mages that was sent there, only two of the eight returned. When they sent others with armored Sendings they came back trashed.
They tell us that there's a consultation fee and hand us a bill with directions to the edge of the Great Wood. We take the hint and leave.
We get to the Western edge of the Great Forest. We find a large mansion that has fallen to nature, at least partially. There are trees and vines growing into it. Serena points out that the doors are intact and a good portion of the building seems to be as well. Muriel doesn't think there are any undead around even though animals seem to avoid the general area of the mansion. Evie spots the knocker on the door that seems to be magic in some way. Serena examines it further and sees it has the symbol of the Wallmaker on it. She also points out there is a wide set of footprints around the mansion that are only a day or two old that go to the house and also back into the forest. Evie does some hardcore investigation of the footprints and she thinks the more recent ones go into the forest.
Serena makes a Charter Magic bucket trap for the door. Serena goes inside and guides us all in. There is a grand hall and the remains of a beautiful chandelier. There are chunks of wall missing and broken windows that allow light inside. There's the scent of dust and mold and live plants inside here.
We find rusted suits of armor and busted open doors. We find the library behind large double doors. Half the room is actually forest and most of the books look moldy and ruined. A few look preserved by Charter Spell. Muriel doesn't sense anything Undead but she does sense two "fragmented" corpses in rooms nearby. Evie finds a few intact Charter spelled books. We start to notice sounds coming from the interior of the mansion.
We start exploring and find a few useful items. We find an old rusted forge. The sounds are louder in this room, coming from behind a closed door. Corian listens at that door and hears pacing footsteps and soft clanking like flatware. Serena opens the door and we see Sending carrying plates and smell food cooking – particularly meat like pork. Muriel has a bad feeling it's cooked people though.
We investigate the dining room and larder and we do indeed see chunks of humans hanging in the larder. And there are six place settings at the table. A Sending is heading straight toward Serena and it is holding a sharp pair of scissors. She tells it to stop but it does not obey. Instead it pulls out a measuring tape and takes her measurements, then promptly leaves.
We recall that sometimes very old Sendings can act up. These ones are very old and faded and their Charter Marks are faint. They may not even be aware that they are cooking people.
We go to explore the second floor. A few of us need to be pulled up by more physically adept party members. The second floor is precarious with chunks missing. Mostly this floor seems to be bedrooms, all very weathered. One room has intact display cases with proper Charter spelled items inside. But none of them look like Oathbreaker. There's a ring, a lantern, a clockwork messenger bird, a battleaxe, and some other wooden thing. Muriel and Evie's Danger Senses tell them they are being watched right now.
From the trees that encroach upon this room we hear a low clicking noise. Muriel pulls out the Wind Fan and throws a gust at the tree. It strips a bunch of leaves off the tree but we don't see anything aside from the swirling leaves. Serena's Charter Wolf, Thorn, hops over to a hole in the floor and starts growling at it. As Serena looks down she sees golden arrows pointed up at her. She reflexively throws up a shield.
Three arrows come flying at Serena up out of the floor. Her shield holds up against the attack and we hear footsteps moving around downstairs. Corian casts a spell to strengthen the floor. Finn casts an oil slick right at the foot of the door. Muriel starts casting the best goddamn Diamond of Protection of her life.
Evie shouts, "We don't want to fight you! We mean no harm!" No response.
Roxy investigates the items in the display case. The lantern says, "The Beast of the Great Forest resides within. Do not open." It also says that it is to be taken to the Abhorsen house.
We hear something landing on the stairs and then bursts in the door and fuckin eats it on the oil. It is person-shaped. Evie notices a handful of Charter Marks that mark it as a Sending. Corian casts his Mending spell on this weird Sending lying on the floor. Its Charter marks flare up but then die down again, not enough to make it visible. Roxy tries to calm its emotions. Evie casts mage hands on it to hold it down in the oil.
Finn examines the ring in the case which is called Covillous and can "change you into a monstrous thing." The oar says something about Charon and the "Drowning dead."
The Sending stands up but does not attack. Corian and Serena work together to further mend the Sending. The Charter Marks get much stronger – it is now apparent this was the Hunter meant to get meat for the larder. Maybe now it won't be so confused.
Finn examines the bird. It says "I am Corax, I fly to Belisaire and then back to you." Corian gets nothing more from the oar.
Roxy and Evie look through the books. They find the tale of Zariel and her lover who encased herself in a statue similar to what Quinona did. Oathbreaker should be in Belisaire in the Spell Archives. Finn knows if it is there, there should be a record of it.
Finn deciphers the oar. It says, "I am Charon. I call forth the Drowning Dead." Corian looks at the battleaxe which is really hefty. It says "No walls will hold you should you swing my blade."
The Sendings give Serena some nice custom clothing but it is not armor. She tells the Sendings to throw all the food out and start over from scratch.