Upon arrival back in Vallaki at midday, Zean went directly to Wachterhaus to deliver a scroll that might cure the new burgomaster's daughter, Stella. Lady Fiona examined the scroll and offered her thanks, saying that if there was anything they ever needed, and she was able to assist, they need only ask for it.
Wanting to capitalize on the remaining daylight, the party head straight out to and across Lake Zarovich. A few hours later they arrived on the north shore of the lake. After securing the boats and walking up the craggy coast, they saw an elk standing on a rocky spur about sixty feet away. Suddenly, it assumed the form of a man in tattered black robes. His hair and beard were long, black, and streaked with gray, and his eyes crackled with eldritch power.
The group started to move forward and address the man, but he instantly vanished without a trace. After a search of the area, the party found what appeared to me a magical portal and deduced the mage must have gone in. After some trepidation, the party followed suit.
One by one, the party went in. But when Rolen approached the entrance there was a loud noise and she was forcibly thrown several feet back. After some puzzlement, the party determined that the Bag of Holding that Rolen had in her possession was the cause. She hid the bag nearby, and joined the rest inside the mansion's foyer.
Beyond the small foyer was a magnificent grand hall tended by magical servants. At the far end of the hall the party saw a large swimming pool, with a beautiful tiled mosaic at the bottom. A metallic glint caught someone's eye. The item was a magical ring (Ring of the Ram).
The party went on to explore the two wings of the mansion. On the first side they found lavish bedrooms, baths, and other luxury accomodations. Looking through some of the chests in these rooms, the party came upon a pair of magical boots (Boots of Speed).
While Zean was checking for more loot, he saw a small chest sitting apart from the rest. When he reached out to touch it adhered to his hands, and then revealed a small mouth full of teeth. The creature bit Zean's hand, causing him to release it. After chasing the small creature around the room for several minutes, the party was able to corner it. Rolen used her natural affinity with animals to calm the creature enough so that she could handle it. The "mini mimic" proved to be quite friendly, and has taken to following the party around as they explored the rest of the mansion.
The party moved on to explore the opposite wing. There they found a massive library. The party spent some time looking through the collection of books for any clues about the Mad Mage, and his history. Almita was able to zero in on a manuscript that shed some light on the mystery.
The Mad Mage is a famous Archwizard named Mordenkainen, from a land called Oerth. The wizard was also a member of a powerful group of adventurers called the Circle of Eight.
After exploring the library, the group came upon a nondescript door bearing a placard reading "do not enter". The characters picked the simple lock on the door and proceeded into a short narrow hallway. At the end of the hallway was a stand bearing a glowing quill and a pice of paper, next to a heavy iron "door" comprised of several interlocking layers of heavy gears, slides and chains.
As the party approached, the paper began to reveal writing that read "Let it be known that the owner of this residence has offered fair warning to the person(s) who are trespassing into this private area. No local law enforcement, or similar entity, shall hold the owner of this residence responsible for this ill-advised decision to proceed. Signed ____________________ " leaving a blank space for each party member to sign their name. The party was unable to touch the heavy door until everyone had (truthfully) signed their name to the document.
The door was a confusing entanglement of gears, levers, and locks. As one lock was turned open, another would lock tight. After several minutes of attempting to figure out the proper pattern to open the multiple locks, the door began to violently buck within the door frame as it re-arranged itself into a new form, gradually assuming the shape of a bidepal warrior with wicked bladed weapons at the ends of its' arms.
With nowhere to run the party turned to fight the clockwork construct, now free from the door frame and stepping toward them.