[Britain, Trammel] Last evening, Lord Magnus Grey assembled the Royal Spies in the Counselors Guild in Britain with details of the evening's mission, including the fact that Kahler's sextant would soon cease to function. In addition to that, a solstice stag was found prancing around the meeting place, in its tracks dropping the occasional Christmas Angel Food Cake. Once the mission briefing was complete, the Royal Spies headed out to Magincia to learn the location to be revealed by Kahler's sextant. It turned out to be a set of ruins due south of the dungeon Shame, another of the usual blue moongates awaiting them in the ruins’ center. Inside the gate, in a swampy cavern, the Royal Spies were met by Imperus Noxum, a poison elemental who had, according to rumor, once been a man. Noxum spent several minutes trying to entice the Spies to aid him, and while a few seemed ready to assist, most stood defiantly against him, trying to get him to use a polymorph spell that some had previously brought to him. "You don't really understand. This is you dealing with me. I don't need to deal with you," Noxum taunted them. Noxum admitted to working with the Cult of Styx. When asked by Spy Fl'Gith about his knowledge of the Cult's plans for him, he responded, "I have a good idea. Some really impressive mastery of elemental magics to the point of immortality and great power." Royal Spy Galen pressed Noxum for information however, dealing specifically with a threat that had been leveled toward the Meer of Ilshenar. "The meer... I almost forgot about them," Noxum answered. "They have a place underground where many of them sleep, right?" Discussion with Noxum soon reached the point of Noxum's tolerance, and he ended the conversation. "Well, good luck with the Meer," Noxum said, smiling. "Maybe I'll see you again." He then vanished through the gate, and disappeared into the forest near Shame. Some of the Royal Spies ventured deeper into the cavern looking for clues, finding ratmen in a deeper cave before finally emerging in the swamps near Destard, while others immediately headed for the Meer crypt in central Ilshenar. There, among the Meer Eternals, they were met by several Cultists of Styx, undead, ancient liches with great powers. Once the undead menace was defeated, a Meer named Daner shared information learned from their scouts. "There is something in Yew..." the meer stated, "I think it is near your prison there." The Spies rushed to the prison, and found another blue gate beneath the prison walkway which led back to the crypt that had been the scene of nightly battle throughout the course of a week. This time there were a few creatures to be dispatched, and two gates, each with a coded phrase in the Cult's reagent code before each one. Spy Fl'Gith, familiar with the code, tried to decipher them quickly, but failed to do so before some had jumped through the gates. Lord Grey arrived on the scene, saying, "Two gates? Which one is the right one?" At the same time, Spy Fl'Gith finished his deciphering of their code and called out, "West gate reads 'death!'" The other gate read "power," so the Spies then rushed through the proper gate and were immediately set upon by a strange beast, a plague malevolence. "Wouldn't it be nice if this was the magical creature mentioned in PoxCrafter's book?" Spy Galen mused. Beyond the beast were two more gates, and two more messages, which Spy Fl'Gith quickly deciphered, not wanting any further accident. "Left reads, 'magic,' right reads 'lies.' Go left!" he called out. Within that final gate was a chamber very clearly ready for a ritual, and in the center, both the lich mage Poxcrafter and Imperus Noxum, confined within the flames of a spell. "I feel it! Something is happening!" Noxum cried out as the spell completed itself, but then something went wrong. "You tricked me!" he cried out. "My power, my form!" Suddenly both Imperus Noxum and Poxcrafter, enraged, attacked the Royal Spies. The battle was rough, and filled with poison gases, but in the end the Royal Spies felled both Noxum and Poxcrafter. The battle over, all that remained of Imperus Noxum were his human corpse, and a few green tinted remains of his Malevolence. Royal Spy Galen, apparently ill with some unknown affliction, coughing violently, said, "I had the spell. Someplace. We need to... Cast it... Or all this means... nothing..." Danar, the Meer, present at Lord Grey’s behest, asked to see the spell. He then encouraged everyone to leave, quickly, and set about summoning fire elementals to torch the last remains of the vile site of the ritual. Back in Britain, the Royal Spies settled in for a wrap-up of the mission. "Beauvina," Lord Grey started the summary, "word of advice. When a powerful mage says, 'cleansing fire' and 'run,' it is a good idea to run." Imperus Noxum was dead, Poxcrafter stopped. Yet there was the air of possibility that all was not yet over. "I read this journal," Lord Grey finished the debriefing, "and it mentions two worrying things. The skull [of Mondain] was moved before our arrival. And the cult has human members, not just undead." The Royal Spies meet on Tuesday evenings at the Britain Counselor's Guild in Trammel, just south of Lord Blackthorn's Keep, 8:00 PM CST. Special thanks to Lady Beauvina, who took notes and provided sketches for this article.