Realm Runners

CHAPTER THREE: The Keep

Down they go into the ancient keep. And no sooner do they fall under attack by the Goblin residency, does Droggle fall into a pit trap filled with an orgy of rats. Athena manages to pull Droggle out while Mentathenis fends off the Goblins. During the fight Shalimar lends very little aid to the companions, and as soon as the Goblins have been felled, he turns his dagger on Athena, nearly taking her life. Droggle and Mentathenis immediately move to her aid and manage to subdue the dastardly rogue. Before he dies, he reveals his alliance with the Dark Priest Kalarel, and tells them that any attempt to stop the cult are folly.

The three continue on, and learn that goblins are abound in the keep, one of which is particularly overweight, and named Balgaron the Fat. Upon entering what appears to be a prison and torture room, they find a small Goblin by the name of Splug in one of the cells. He begs the group to free him and he would be indebted. After some debate, Mentathenis decides the small green one may be of use, and opens the lock of Splug’s cell with a key they recovered from a particularly vicious Hobgoblin torturer.

The four make their way through the upper level of the bowels of the keep and run across rodents of unusual size, chitinous creatures of perhaps normal size, a blue slime in an underground lake. Once defeating the Slime, they discover a few partially dissolved items and a message cylinder. Contained within, is a map of the location of Shadowfell Keep, and a message to Kalarel from a Chief Krand of the Bloodreavers. It is an offer to purchase any humanoids he has captured during his time in the area. Krand and his operation are looking for Slave stock. After leaving the underground lake, the four enter into a maze-like crypt filled with screaming runes and zombies, which the goblin Splug, refuses to enter and sneaks away.

Upon entering a tomb filled with sarcophagi that continually spit out armies of Skeletons, Athena calls upon her goddess Selûne for help at an alter. Hearing her prayer the legions of Skeletons are incinerated in holy fire and the sarcophagi are reduced to ashes in her light. Searching the alters in the room, they find a secret compartment which when opened, three Moon Pendants materialize before their very eyes. Undoubtedly gifts of Selûne.

Beyond the Sarcophagi room, they find an antechamber with a single coffin within. When the group decides to attempt to pry it open, the lid explodes in dust and a human Skeleton girded in plate armor and wielding a finely crafted sword rises from the cloud. Instead of attacking the party he introduces himself as Sir Jarold Keegan and warns them that the rift within the keep must never be opened and proceeds to question them, one by one to see where their allegiances lie, and to make sure they are not part of the death cult. Upon passing the undead knight’s tests, he relinquishes Aecris Longsword +1 to the three, in hopes that it will aid them in destroying the cult.

When the party continues on, they find a faintly glowing barrier which appears to block the stairs leading down to the second level of the keep. Upon it, in words that phase in and out of existence like rolling smoke, reads “Shadow seeks Shadow…” which the three agree must be the beginning of a pass phrase to unlock the magical gate. Unable to continue on, Athena, Droggle and Mentathenis decide to return to Winterhaven for more answers, and hopes of uncovering the rest of the password. When the three approach the village gates they find them closed. Several figures stand with weapons drawn on the parapet above. One of the figures, Lord Padraig calls out to the party. “We are in peril! Several villagers have disappeared, and the dead in the cemetery have risen. We fear these creatures will emerge to assail the gates and drag us all away!”

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Trysta

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