|Some seasoned adventurers have heard about what happened to the School of Death - its "drop" from Ravenwood into the scary depths of Nightside. Some young wizards have even been tempted with quests to travel through Nightside to help search out the mythical creature known as Grubb, in order to help poor Marla get a decent grade from crabby old Professor Drake.
Beware. This is not a task for the faint of heart. Heed Marla's advice when she tells you not to go alone!
As a relatively young Journeyman, I decided to help Marla with her paper, being a fairly decent student myself. My first venture into Nightside as a lone, wandering wizard ended abruptly when I was accosted by three rude old women who literally kidnapped me off the sidewalk, beat me senseless and sent me home to mommy. I tended my wounds and promptly tried again, with the same result.
"So this is how it's going to be here," I thought.
Fellow Journeyman Tara Windwalker lent me some assistance with my next excursion into this notoriously hazardous neighborhood. Together we were able to at least beat back the first wave of "bag ladies," even though we seemed unable to avoid them altogether. The task still proved too ambitious for my abilities, however. Even with the assistance of my devoted comrade, I could not seem to get past the second gate in my search for proof of the existence of Grubb.
I nearly gave up. I left Nightside for a long time. Often, I sat wishing for a way to absolve myself from the promise to assist my friend Marla with her research, but I was constantly reminded of it (thanks to the nagging Quest Log).
Then, one evening while my friend Keller Mythgiver was out and about in the Commons, he ran across a wizard wearing a badge neither of us had ever seen before... a wizard who was asking questions about Grubb. Knowing my previous interest in the myth, Keller ran back to tell me. I made my way to the Commons and was introduced to Tabitha Deathbringer, a necromancer wearing the badge of Master Diplomat. I was cleverly disguised as a mere Hero of Unicorn Way.
"Let's see what this wizard is made of," I muttered, as I agreed to accompany Tabitha back to Nightside. I never told her I was a Sorcerer - an Adept of the School of Balance, with nearly equal powers from the realm of Storm. Still, even having attained the 23rd degree of my School, my previous experiences in Nightshade had me doubting if we were up to the challenge. "Master Diplomat? What sort of badge is that? Does she argue people to death?" We would see...
True to my expectations, the old women of Nightside were as aggressive as ever, grabbing Tabitha, who'd scarcely made it inside the gate. I thought for a second that I might try to make a clean getaway if the Banshees were focused on her, but in the end, I am made of sterner stuff - I turned and fought side by side with my newly acquired companion. Besides, I knew there were more banshees where these had come from and I didn't want to face them on my own.
Tabitha's prowess as a Necromancer was impressive. She had honed her skills well, and even though most of the enemies we faced were resistant to her magic, she was able to use some cunning tricks to enable our success. Once, she even sacrificed a portion of her own life force to keep me going on the battlefield long enough to summon a tempest wave to finally banish the worst of the banshees.
After several skirmishes in the street, we were finally standing on the checkerboard floor that marks the entrance to Grubb's Tower. He did exist! And he had friends. By the time we arrived at this destination, though, Tabitha and I had fought six or seven times together and had a good idea of each other's capabilities. We fought in tandem and made short work of Grubb, eventually subduing him and his cronies with a combination of life-draining necromancy, widespread sandstorms, and for dramatics, summoning the Kraken to our aid when Grubb had only 19 life points left.
Even victors must maintain their sense of humor.