The Mystery of Archmage Burke
This all started when Arca and Raam, adventuring together in Winterhaven, stumbled upon a long-buried Lich named Morode. Once a brilliant student at the Highriver Academy, Morode turned to necromancy as a misguided way of preserving life, and managed to become a Lich without Orcus’ involvement. However, in binding the precious Phylactery that would make him not only immortal, but absolutely indelible, Morode was swallowed by a dragon, trapped and magically bound in her frozen lair.
Raam and Arca, along with their various comrades, were hired by Morode to track down Maximillian Coron at the Highriver Academy and personally deliver a message from “his old friend.” In exchange, they would receive kings’ ransoms worth of the dragon’s treasure that Morode was swimming in. They eventually completed their mission, in spite of a maniacal white wizard and persistent death cultists and hobgoblins and even one sea monster.
However, while they were crossing through the wartorn city of Svereguard, before setting sail for Highriver, Arca recovered an artifact known as the Kalak-Cha. It appeared to be a spellcaster’s orb of indeterminate power. He had it appraised at an magic items dealer and, after a puzzling blackout, Arca awoke to find a frantic shopkeep shouting that it had “gone inside your chest!” The Kalak-Cha was, apparently, a container. And whatever lived within now has a new container: a half-mad Eladrin.
After this mysterious infestation, Arca began developing psionic abilities.
Doctor Burke, I presume.
Not long after setting foot on Lecone, the party began to learn about the Erianne Institute: a secretive laboratory wherein some of the most godlike and devastating magical weapons and rituals in Erovan history were devised. They learned shortly afterwards that Dr. Burke was a prominent researcher there.
Meeting Percival Wheeler gave the party more information about Burke. Percy, who at the Erianne Institute when the accident happened, managed to snag one of Burke’s private shielding rituals and run to the Gatehouse in time to warn others. He is now locked in a shielding bubble in the basement of the eastern tower with a gaggle of survivors.
(Note: Percy is only aware of Hrodane and Arca; they claimed to be alone when they spoke. Raam and Echo remained hidden.)
Arca communicated with Percival telepathically and, soon, detected a psychic presence. This presence has continued to eavesdrop in Arca’s mind whenever his psionic/telepathic abilities are used for an extended period.
Percival revealed that Burke had been up to some very strange things recently and has been spending a lot of time going behind the Erianne administration’s back with his two close associates.
There will be an excerpt from the intro I proffered to Mike about the events surrounding Chat’Ka’s trans-universe jump as soon as Chat’Ka reveals this to the other players fully. He’s already told Aubrey, Raam, Echo and Arca that he was plucked from Athis by three strange men in the Erianne Institute just days before the cataclysm.
Echo, doing her thang, came across Burke’s office on the rooftop of the Gatehouse and rummaged through it for clues. She found an abundance of ash: Burke, or someone else, had burned virtually every document in his office. Only one scrap of paper remained: a yellowed concept sketch of what could only be the Kalak-Cha.
On the fourth floor of the Gatehouse, the information trade between Percival and Journeyman Jack revealed something most bizarre: According to Jack’s search of the old Gatehouse records, Burke, Meath and Offaly were all present at the Erianne Institute over one hundred forty five years ago. Nobody else seems to have noticed that long-dead doctors have returned to the Institute.
… One more thing. I looked into personnel.
There is no doubt about it: Burke was here in 1260. He came to Lecone over one hundred forty five years ago, and when he arrived, Meath and Offaly had already been here for a decade. They worked together during the Third War for a long time, then they appear to just vanish from the records. Complete E.I. coverup. From the look of it, killed.
I might be wrong, but my friend, I swear this is the same Burke.