He swings his sword to intercept you, but quickly drops before Feathersong‘s ceaseless rain of blows. Then he dissolves into shadow. "YOU OAF, YOU FOOL! YOU MEANDERING LOON! You let him escape again while you were buisy wrestling with shadows! If he enters the city of shadows before we catch him it’ll be your head!" With that pleasant note the woman sets off at a brisk pace without answering any questions. She is seeming less attractive by the minute, yet you have no choice but to follow.
After a short interval of walking, the city of shadows comes into sight and, luckily, so does the caster. He is standing calmly outside the gate. His arms are by his sides, but there’s no telling what dark magic he could call on in a moment’s notice. You and the woman move in silent consent to surround him so he cannot run.
“Found yourself a new pawn, have you Aralanda?” With a swish of his cloak he’s behind her. Feathersong charge to protect his moody reptilian maiden, but stops dead in his tracks at the sight before him. The caster waved his hand across the yuan-ti’s body and a darkness wafts upward from her breast before absorbing into his hand. All that remains of her is a horrible translucent blue human torso with an enormous bloodshot eye and a blue eel’s tail for legs. It shrieks and flees back the way you came from.
The caster claps his hands and four other casters appear around you. “You have much to learn if you fall for a pretty snake woman that easily. You are my charge now and I shall take you to my guild hall.”
He and his men escort you into the city past high black stone walls and around countless turns before you arrive at a tall black building. Over the lintel board of the main doors there is a symbol similar to the one all over the city. “I am Baron Reilan, guildmaster of third light and this is my guild hall.”
He leads you to a private room and begins a long explanation. “I am master of one of the six guilds of shadow casters within this city. There are two each devoted to good, evil, and lawful. The shadow casters as a whole are never completely good or evil, but a fulcrum from which both sides swing. If one side becomes more weighted we must move towards the other in order to maintain balance.”
“Many years ago, Aralanda became my apprentice. I was new to my rank then and innocent. I had been ordered to exterminate most of her nestmates. She was part of an ancient- though nonmagical by nature- race that was too smart and to longevitous for its own good. She was ambitious and once she started learning shadow magic she soaked up the secrets of our art ceaselessly. Yet even so, she bit the hand that fed her. The never forgot how I had slaughtered her family: in cold blood and without remorse. She tried to take revenge for her ‘murdered’ kin and I had to put her down. Yet even in death her will was so strong her soul remained. She has haunted the land since as a bloodthirsty specter. Her shadow magic was stripped from her, so she replaced it with arcane trickery.”
“She if crafty and devious. Every time a caster is sent to kill her they either don’t come back, or the never find her in the first place. Also, I suspect, every attempt simply renews her resolve for vengeance. This is where you come in. The more powerful figures within our guilds are much too buisy with a celestial uprising in the nest of angels to go out of their way to destroy her. We will provide you with magical items, new weapons, and perhaps later, an escape back to your plane of origin.”
Feathersong agrees readily enough and is introduced to nimian the un-holy (a strange creature that was the last victim of Aralanda’s treachery) Together they are given a local guide,Stonespirit , an initiate from the guild of Third Light to aid them in their exploit.