Last week on the Tuesday game...
On their way to the library town of Biblos, they stumble upon a tiefling and an armoured warrior locked in deadly mortal combat. As the fight spills out onto the road, the paladin uses the distraction the party's appearance causes to run his sword through the tiefling and, as his foe gasps his last, decapitates the creature with an easy backhanded swing.
Introducing himself as Taman of the barony of Byley in Keorid, the human asks if they are mercenaries for hire. As the party hesitates and hems and haws, he holds up a hand and offers them payment: gold and a magical ring taken off the corpse of the tiefling he had just slain. Taman says that he is "a traveller looking for adventure and wisdom", and he would be pleased to travel with men who appear to be capable of handling themselves.
With Serrano leading the way, the party eventually make it to BIblos without further incident, and they discover that the town is strangely partitioned. In addition to the outer walls that all large towns have, Biblos also features six inner walls that divide the city up into seven roughly equal sections, each with its own individual portcullis-ed gates.
Unlike most other towns, Biblos also does not appear to have any sort of marketplace or central town square. Instead, what they have is something that the resident monks call the "central column", a place that everyone seems vague about its purpose but yet clearly understand to be sole purview of the Hidden Schools.
Asking a passing monk where they can find books on demons, the party receive directions to an ordinary looking building: ordinary, that is, save for how - in place of cattle or grain being stored on the ground floor of the house - it is books stored there instead. The party freely wander into the shelved sections of the book and pick out a couple that seem interesting. However, when Taman tries to walk out of the house with the book, an invisible wall rises to stop him dead in his tracks.
Realising that they are only free to read the books in Biblos and not take them out of their buildings, the party do some research on Ashotel, Blackwall, and the relationship between demons and their names. However, they quickly run into a problem: while the books in Biblos are great for establishing the groundwork on any subject, the really important information appear to be ripped out from the books in question and sequestered in some sort of "restricted section".
Before they are able to leave the section, however, the party hear some sort of commotion out on the streets and watch as the normally-docile monks run to arm themselves with a bunch of sharp iron-tipped spears. An intruder from another shelving system - specifically, the Library of Concordia - appear to have been caught in the Decimal section on a book raid, and the monks are now on high alert searching for the intruder's accomplice.
The party offer to help the monks search for the accomplice near the walls to the central column, and Alistair takes this opportunity to pop into the Hidden Schools (triggered by touching a glyph that only those with magical potential can even see) to buy a scroll of Identify.
To their surprise, the rest of the party actually find the accomplice they were pretending to look for. An unassuming-looking young man cowering in the corner of a small house, he begs them to not give him up to the other monks, and Serrano agrees to not just smuggle him out of the sector, but to even help him steal a couple of books from the Decimal section.
With the aid of Alistair's Sleep, Gabriel's Silence spell, and Serrano dragging the unconscious guards into the alleyway, the party manage to lift the Decimal sector's portcullis and sneak away back to the young man's home sector. The monk is welcomed as a hero by the rest of his comrades, and the monk gratefully shows them where his section keeps their books on dragons.
Unfortunately, as with before, the most important part of the books remained sequestered in the "restricted section". The young monk they rescued tells the party that only an elder monk can grant them access to the restricted section, but since nobody really knows where the elders live, there's no real way for them to get access in the first place.
With the sun slowly starting to set and the day quickly becoming much colder, they decide to break into a random house and seek shelter there, that they may be out of the cold. Serrano promptly knocks the resident monk out with the hilt of his dagger, and after seeing to that the monk was securely tied up, the party rest and wait for daybreak.
At dawn, Gabriel apologetically strips the monk and puts on his robes, that he might pass for a monk and enter the sector controlled by the Decimal system in search of an old monk that Serrano had a passing encounter with earlier. Unfortunately, the cleric's acting skills proved to not be up to snuff, and a bunch of militant Decimal monks surround him threateningly.
"We ought to string you up and hang you," one of them says, "but today's your lucky day. Return the two books that you helped the Concordia rat-bastard steal, help us steal an additional book from the Library of Concordia's section, and we'll call it quits." Gabriel agrees, and the monks let him go about his business.
When Gabriel finds the elderly monk, he too proves to be less than helpful and even goes so far as to chase him away with a well-placed Firebolt. He returns empty-handed to the rest of the party, and after a short round of discussion, they decide that they should try using Dispel Magic to see if it helps them sneak a book out of the restricted section.
Their plan works, but the act of casting the spell appears to trigger some sort of defence mechanism within the library: two earth elementals rise from the ground and attempt to beat the party senseless, but they eventually destroy the elementals and - as the commotion cause the monks to slowly rouse themselves from their sleep - sneak their way out of the city in the resulting chaos.
The book that they stole is entitled, "On Gold Dragons", and tells them that of all the good dragons in the world, gold dragons are the most dedicated foes of evil. Other dragons respect them for their wisdom and sense of justice, but they tend to be amongst the most aloof and grim of the metallic dragons. "A gold dragon's privacy," the author writes, "is almost as valuable to it as its hoard, and it will often send dreams and visions to those who unwittingly approach its lair to warn them away."
The author claims to know the lair locations of two ancient gold dragons: Ymriss the Lame - also known as Kearixenkorthvhir ("the Hearth-on-an-Autumn-Evening"), the Shield of Amarath, and Old One-Eye - who lives on Mt Amarath, and Uthoil the Magnificent - also known as Uthoil Demonbane, Bahamut's Blade, the Fire Dancing Upon the Mountaintops, and the Doom of the Duergar - who lives near the dwarven city of Nihfaldir. Instructions to finding both these lairs are provided, though they may be well out of date.