In your youth, while adventuring in the wild places of Antonica, you stumbled upon a path into the hills near the passage to the Thundering Steppes, and a small graveyard where you met a strange old hermit, Rikantus. You performed several tasks for him, for which you were amply rewarded, and parted on friendly terms.
Upon entering Nektulos Forest and crossing the J'Rais Bridge for the first time, you heard a strange voice, speaking in your mind, that urged you to speak to Theeral the Nomad, a strange old woman very close to the other end of the bridge. She gave you an eerie Flesh Bound Tome, which turned out to be some kind of a magical diary. The entries inside led you, step by step, to the door of Nektropos Castle, and within!
Inside, you encountered a ghost, Alexa, in The Chapel of Ullkorruuk, who begged you to free her from the prison of the cursed castle. She told you to meet her on the castle parapets.
In the Servant's Quarters you found a door that could not be opened. The walls around it had been warped, as if by mighty arcane forces, sealing the door. However, in the next room you found that the wall between the two was breached. Inside the sealed room you encountered the ghost of Pelleas, and banished him. On a table in the corner you found a family portrait of the Everling sisters.
Assuming you solve the riddles of the first floor you eventually arrive on the roof and see her again, where she tells you that to free her you must conquer the ghosts of the six daughters of Everling and obtain a locket from each. Only with all six will you be able to break the magic seals on the doors to reach Lord Everling's bedchamber and the hidden stairs to the crypts.
When you entered Crysta's bedroom you found a portrait that looked familiar. This was the very same portrait that you saw on the table in Pelleas' room! This discovery leads you to seek more knowledge of the other sisters.
You found a journal on a bookstand, The Journal of Rikantus Everling. Most of it was water-stained and illegible, but you were able to make out a few brief passages. These told you that Rikantus' first family died, and that he intended to continue his father's work; something about the "descendants of the guardians". After reading this you were attacked by a ghostly guard, whose very real sword turned out to be the key to open the secret passage to the crypts, below!
Alexa, it turns out, is the daughter of Maltus Everling, but there is a deeper betrayal. She was possessed by the shade of her uncle, Ollix Everling, who seeks to use your corpses to build himself a new body. You survived that encounter and soon after found the secret passage to Everling's secret laboratory. There you defeated him.Idol of Everling appeared in the center and you took it. On the bottom of the idol you found an inscription that read, "Mor'Tael of Vul Merchant of Oblivion, Servant of Theer". When you examined the idol further, you received an odd message, as if a voice had spoken. "Within thickets of fiend and flesh, through a tunnel beyond death... I call to you."
Outside, after you vanquished Maltus Everling, you chanced to speak to Valten Darkcleanse who asked you to put the spirit of his dead sister, Maltena, to rest. It may take you many years in your travels to find the four locations he named, but find them you will, and return here someday to set a brother's mind at ease.
Upon your return to Valten Darkcleanse, he gave you a key that would allow you to re-enter the castle. Once inside, you found that the years had not been kind to the castle and many of the hallways and doorways were choked by fallen rubble and impassable. You did, finally, manage to find a way through the maze and up to the second floor. Here you beheld a terrible spectacle! In each of the bedrooms you witness a replaying of the tragic betrayal and the murders of the daughters. It seems that the six women were murdered by the family guardians that were sworn to protect them! After each scene played out, the cursed remains of the daughter rose up and assaulted you! With the help of your companions you laid their poor bones to eternal rest.
In the bedchamber of Lord Everling, you find a different book on the stand than the one you remember from your earlier visits.
This book appears to have page after page of symbols and glyphs. There is far too much material here for you to research or even decipher.
After a while, you finally discover an image that looks quite familiar. The image is a symbol that not only can be found in the book, but also upon the wall in front of you. It is a symbol with two triangles intersecting and forming a diamond in the center.
There is far too much to read, but you do manage to learn a few interesting finds. The symbol represents a dimensional plane of existence far different than the known planes. What is truly odd is that the first instance of this symbol was found upon a Shissar artifact found within the ruins of a place called Chelsith.
The symbol was once called the Rune of Ethernere, but since recent discoveries, the writer has changed the name to something more appropriate, the Rune of Vul. The rune is said to be ancient and there is only one other rune known by the writer that is as old. This other ancient rune is called the Rune of Sunder. Information on this other rune will be kept within the hidden curios vault.
The hidden curios vault is a secret chamber in the back of the main library. Inside you found The Book of Sunder. This magically animated tome spoke to you and demanded the password. After several attempts to guess it, the book reveals to you that not even the master can open him, as he forgot the password many years ago, causing the tome to reset the password to something new, which noone knows. He does say a few interesting things. He admits that he is the book to ask about the Rune of Sunder, IF you know the password, but "If you want to know about multiplicity as it applies to Everling, you'll have to ask the master." So you asked him where the master was, and he said, "I'd start by looking in the courtyard, at least that is where those shadowed beings were going to perform some binding ritual on him. Apparently he's been fighting his curse. "
After many harrowing fights you find three Shadowed Men in the courtyard, standing around a man-sized copy of Idol of Everling. After you kill the shadowed beings, you return to find that the idol has been replaced by the ghost of Rikantus Everling.
"Hail, Rikantus Everling"
Rikantus Everling says to you, "My time is short. I will soon rejoin my brothers... myself."
"Are you Lord Rikantus Everling, master of Nektropos Castle?"
"I am master to nought. My curse keeps me divided and spread throughout time and space, forced to peddle the cursed curios my family built their fortune from."
"Why are the shadowed men after you?"
"The souless entities of oblivion return to take what was theirs. The Rune of Sunder. They must silence me. They will soon rid me of free thought."
"But I saved you!"
"The shadowed ones have completed their ritual and I will soon return to my curse. Before the ritual overtakes me I will reveal to you an ancient secret, a key to the future of our world."
"Is it the Rune of Sunder? Do you have it?"
"I have little to offer you, but these meager gifts shall plant the seeds of knowledge that will show our people the path to salvation. It is the power of the Rune of Sunder, do you accept it?"
"I accept it."
"The knowledge is yours. Learn from it or all will perish. Now leave me. Let my final seconds of free thought be of my beloved life in Nektropos Castle."
He gave you the book "Beyond the Rune" (and Idol of Everling if you did not already have one. This is the same idol you found the first time you went to Nektropos Castle!} The book details the partnership of Rikantus and Valdoartus Varsoon as they work to comprehend two ancient runes, The Rune of Sunder and The Rune of Ethernere. Rikantus suspects that Varsoon has lied to him, but is determined to breach the void and travel to Ethernere to retrieve the souls of his poor, murdered daughters and restore them to bodies he has prepared using his understanding of Necromancy.
During this and subsequent visits to the Castle, you found the scattered pages to several tomes that, piece by piece, revealed to you more of the history of the Everlings. These tomes are From Below to Castle, My True Beloved, and perhaps the most disturbing, Our Lady of Betrayal. Now you know how the castle was built, and why, as well as the fate of Rikantus' first family, the true name of the servant, Pelleas, exactly who Theeral the nomad is, and the reason that Rikantus had a chapel built to such a dark goddess, Ullkorruuk.
One day, in your Trophy Room at home, you were examining Idol of Everling and remembered why the Antiquitor's name had seemed familiar! Taking the Idol to Maj'Dul, you showed it to Antiquitor Kantus Mor'Tael and asked him about it.
"Hail, Antiquitor Kantus Mor'Tael"
Antiquitor Kantus Mor'Tael says to you, "Do I know you? Yes... the rune... the rune is the key."
"The rune of sunder?"
"You! I know you. The mystery begins with sunder."
"What is the mystery behind the rune? Where do I begin my quest?"
"Time is short. The rune is but one. I am... divided."
"No! Do not go."
It was too late. Whatever deeper memory within the man spoke to me, it had faded and he was nothing but a merchant of curios once again.
Rikantus says, "The rune's family awaits."
"What family?", you asked him.
"It is a single key of a great ring."
"What do you mean?"
"My thoughts... they fade and focus. Do not abandon the mystery. Do... not... abandon..."
"Stay with me, Rikantus!"
But once again, he would say no more.
Kantus and Rikantus were channeling the spirit of Rikantus Everling! It seems that when he entered the plane of Ethernere his soul could not withstand the violent forces at play there and was ripped into three parts: Rikantus Everling, Antiquitor Kantus Mor'Tael and your old friend, Rikantus!
Although the shop produced an affluent clientele, it was located in the poorer section of Freeport due to its humble beginnings. It is said that it was also the perfect place to move contraband to and from the shop. That section of the city was later razed by the Freeport Office of Landholders by order of Sir Lucan D'Lere. They hired a dwarf crew to do the dirty work, Demolition Guild 426. I doubt you could find any remnants from that curios shop. However, an odd thing has been reported in the back alley taverns and black markets of Norrath, some say they have recently visited the House of Everling. Of course, those people that made such claims must be rathed. That entire section of Freeport was razed approximately three centuries ago and there is no record of a new Everling shop within Freeport. This would seem the case since a few of those few recent patrons have attempted to prove the existence of the shop only to find it was not where they thought it was. Tales of bottomless tankards they must be!
The above quote, along with a recent comment by Vhalen during a Allakhazam Dev Chat with SOE where Vhalen told us that the family trade of the Everlings may be returning to Norrath, seem to indicate that someone has reopened the shop.
Allakhazam's wishes to thank the following sites for some of the information or inspiration used in this article: