The party’s first task together was to loot a powerful magic item from Darwell’s tower. Darwell followed the party to Tamoachan. The group next met Darwell at Madam Gold’s just prior to the slaver raid. Rescued the party from Eldrave. Killed by the Others in an attack on his tower in the Vale.

Darwell was livid. As the mage paced across his book-lined study his stiff robes churned angrily, reflecting the intense anger that occupied his mind. He went over and over each event of the past few weeks in his mind, seeking to find a kernel of knowledge that he must have overlooked.

“Who would have taken it…” he wondered aloud.

To Darwell, a mage of the seventh circle, the number of possible culprits seemed endless: Rivals, former allies, fools who did not understand the nature of his arcane studies; any of them could have been behind the party that so brazenly defiled his chambers. But, how to find them? His attempts to scry on the Sphere have all failed. There must be something…

After a moment, Darwell returned to the sedan and begin to piece together the events that led to the usurpation of his precious artifact.

It started a month prior when he heard of the outcome of the Battle of the Oma River. The Exarch of Ishtul’s army had swept away the feeble band of mercenaries and ill-trained farmhand conscripts that King NAME had assembled to resist his kingdom’s reintegration into the Ishti Empire. The Exarch had begun twenty years prior to reassemble by force the empire of men that had crumbled generations ago. King NAME was the latest victim in a line of petty kings and barons descended from stewards of Imperial provinces who had, with the fratricidal collapse of central authority, become kings in their own right. Darwell cared little for political developments since he had always operated outside the confines them. A king, an emperor, a bandit chieftain; who occupied the throne was of little consequence in the grander scheme of arcane power. However, this was different. The Exarch had been absorbing the armies and mercenaries of each newly conquered territory into his own army and his army had the blessing of powerful divine men and women; men and women who viewed the practitioners of the Art as their enemies. As such, each newly won city, each freshly subjugated territory was forcibly cleansed of mages. Books and bodies were burned, tortured and worse. Those whose power flowed freely from nature were less obvious; men like Darwell who relied on their knowledge of obscure texts and the mysterious magical properties of the cosmos for their power were branded heretics and forced to flee. Or else.

There were places that were safe for beings like Darwell; it was to one of these safe havens that he had fled in the face of the army’s advance. A month prior he had stored his most valuable manuscripts and materials via his magicks - except one: The Sphere of Chaos. He had only begun his research into the Sphere, and fearing the immense and untapped energies within it, he had decided that it would have to remain. He couldn’t risk ensorcelling it. He had no idea what lay beneath the surface of the perfectly round crystal; its murky depths could mean knowledge beyond his wildest dreams, it could also mean death. So he left it when he fled. But he didn’t leave it unprotected.

Several weeks later when the ownership of Seaside (the locals called it by its draconic name “Seesat” but as a master of the dragon tongue he called it by its true name) had been determined and the army had returned west for the winter, Darwell returned. The hobgoblin mercenaries he had hired were little more than rotting corpses in the chambers beneath the tower they had been directed to defend. Racing towards the hidden chamber he had bound the orb in, he found it empty, the intricate patterns in silver disrupted, the guardian shadow he had bound to guard it gone. Enraged at the theft of his prize – he had personally faced death and slain many dangerous guardians to obtain it – Darwell returned to his study to brood.

He would brood no longer. His roiling anger gave way to a thought: The tunnel! Darwell had protected his lair against transportation conjurations and as such the only exit besides the front door (which remained locked with his arcane sigil intact) was the tunnel to the docks he had constructed years prior. Surely the thief or thieves must have taken egress of his tower down this passageway. It was down this tunnel he had fled, and it was there that he had left behind a few piddling items. And they would not have resisted taking some of those, and since Darwell had crafted them himself, there would surely be a strong enough connection for him scry on his adversaries.

A cold smile etched itself on Darwell’s face. He turned to the large mirror on the wall and his voice bubbled triumph

“I shall have the Sphere once more and those who stole it shall pay! Dearly.”

He then began the arcane gestures necessary to find his quarry.

The Sphere:

What you know: The Sphere is a man-made artifact; what it contains is not – it is not even of this reality. You have discovered, through painstaking research and a small amount of luck, the true nature of the Sphere. The Sphere contains an entity from a multiverse outside the bounds of the one known to sages and planewalkers. In this dimension were powerful beings that controlled all known planes of existence within their multiverse. Order was absolute—entropy and decay of all kinds had been virtually eliminated. But despite the power these rulers wielded, their control eventually faltered, allowing a horrible creature to pour forth from forbidden realms into their multiverse and poison all of reality. Why their power failed is a mystery, but the result is not. Someone, using conjuration magic lost to history, had drawn this entity forth and trapped it into the Sphere. The entity has little control beyond mental domination over the surroundings until touched. Then the Sphere seeks to occupy whoever is foolish enough to possess it without precaution. There are some who may know of the Sphere; its last known whereabouts, noted in an obscure manuscript hundreds of years old, was in the hoard of powerful green dragon named Ehecatl. You have heard that recently a powerful evoker named Darwell had found it. Although a mage and an evoker, Darwell is known for his service to dark beings. If it should fall into his hands, the world would be the worse for it. If it was to fall into your hands, then it could be studied, and perhaps, harnessed. Its power is legendary, and a host of heroes who could possess it mighty; perhaps if they picked up such treasures, traveling with them could provide access to hidden knowledges to future you arcane prowess…and if they had no use for it, well, perhaps someone who understood its power would be a better steward.

Luckily for you, you have found these heroes. Your divinations detail the place exactly. Deep in the eastern jungles, at the source of a mighty river is the Shrine of Tamoachan. And your destiny.