Players: Gante (Jon), Epona (Elizabeth), Kerwyn (Will), and Jim (other Adam)
17th of Suncrest
Early in the morning, perhaps an hour or two past midnight, Epona awakes to what sounds like arguing outside. Very distant, barely audible, but her elf ears are pretty sensitive. She didn’t get a good sleep last night, but she decides to check it out. She takes her sword and shield, but nothing else. Walking into a shadier district of the city, she can spy what looks like smoke in the distance pouring out of a building’s remains. Nearby are some twenty or so people gathered in a mob. She can’t tell what’s going on, but decides it’s beyond her control.
After sunrise, the team gathers up their ridiculous assortment of items. They’re invited back into the planning room (the same room from the previous night, where they met with Lord Stravin). Inside is Lord Stravin standing near the table of maps and a man wearing a black cloak and hat is sitting in a nearby chair. He has the typical look of a dark sorcerer, but with a malnourished appearance. His cheeks are sunken into his face, giving his face a skeletal look. His pale complexion only adds to the image.
“Ah, good morning,” Lord Stravin says. He seems less stressed than he did last night. “Last night, you, a team of warriors well-skilled in steel and sorcery, walked in after braving a Dwarven stronghold that had been overtaken by goblins. Early this morning, the city acquired the… services of a man who knows how to infiltrate the old castle. Events do not coincide like this every day. Whether it is coincidence or divine providence I cannot say, but I’m willing to take it as an opportunity to prevent the goblins from taking the country. So what do you say? If you can get in that castle, there’s no limit to how much you could weaken their position.”
The team agrees. “Excellent. Now let me explain what exactly we need to have done: no one can get near the castle as of now. The goblins have an incredible marksman who patrols from the castle’s guard towers. If you can kill him, we can begin a full assault on the castle.” Lord Stravin directs their attention to the black-garbed man in the chair. “This,” he says “will be your guide into the castle. Though I’m not certain how he acquired his information, he knows of an underground passage leading into the castle. I can assure you that he will do all in his power to assist you in your task.” At this statement, Lord Stravin eyes the man with an air of triumph.
Gante is the first to confront the man. He introduces himself and asks for the man’s name.
“There are some who call me… Jim.”
Gante asks him several questions, but Jim answers them rather vaguely. When asked where he learned of the castle’s secret passage, he only commented that dwarves can’t hold ale as well as people say. After a bit more questioning, they leave for the old Castle Remnas.
After less than an hour of traveling, they catch sight of the castle. It comes into sight through the trees, still distant, but still an imposing figure on the landscape. Their guide looks out at the fortress, then leads them all to the west. They maintain a good distance from the castle, arriving at a rocky outcrop far from any path or road. Jim explains that the passage was built as an exit, but has a trigger that opens it from the outside. Searching around for the switch, the team eventually discovers a set of rocks that can be forced into the ground when a little weight is applied. They push them all in. A large boulder laying aside a small cliff falls over with a deep thud, spreading a cloud of dirt when it hits. The dust settles, and a dark passage lies ahead, sloping down and toward the castle.
The old passage is cool, but humid. Some hundred yards in, they see an end to the passage. An old iron door contrasts with the carved stone. It has patterned holes in it, like a metal grate. It’s unlocked. Beyond the door, the room is somewhat circular. A stone staircase leads up to a metal hatch in the ceiling. On the ground near the stairs is an old, iron lever. Jim has never actually used the passage, so he’s unfamiliar with exactly how the hatch is opened. Gante decides to give the lever a try. As he pulls the lever, they can hear old gears turning for the first time in decades. The iron door slams shut. From out in the passage, they hear a swift sound, metal grinding on stone, then a sound like trickling water. The trickle quickly escalates to the sound of a fountain, which speeds along to a roar of water falling. Water begins pouring in to the room from the door’s grate. Within seconds, the whole floor is covered in a few inches of water.
Jim runs up the stairs but finds that the hatch is stuck. Gante and Kerwyn work together to push the lever back, but find that the lever has snapped into place. Their combined force actually breaks the lever out of its housing. Everyone is a little panicked as the water continues pouring in to the room. Gante and Kerwyn attempt to force the hatch open. Kerwyn notices that there’s a latch on the other side, so he pulls out his thieving tools and attempts to undo it. A satisfying click is just audible above the water’s splashing. They all combine their efforts and force the hatch open at last. They climb out and shut the hatch behind them. This new room is only about 10 by 15 feet. A small door is on the wall opposite them. It’s also unlocked. Beyond it is a short hallway that appears to dead-end into a rounded wall. Kerwyn examines it. He finds that the round wall swivels aside once a peg is pushed out of the way. He pushes the obstruction in to the wall and slides it away, revealing a dusty passageway. The floor and walls are carved from stone. There’s a lot of detail in the work, though it’s been worn down, leaving only a slight reminder of the craftsmanship. On the right is a pile of rubble and rock. To the left, the hall splits to a T-intersection. They can see that the rounded wall looked like an embedded column from the other side, and that peg was the end of a torch’s sconce on this side.
The team checks out the hall, finding a lot of old iron bars. Long ago, these must’ve been jail cells, but the metal is now rusted beyond use. This place has all the look of a standard dungeon, aside from rats. At the end of one particular hall of cells, the wall has been hollowed into a cavernous opening. Beyond the broken wall, the ground is uneven and rough. The team makes their way inside the unusually placed cave. At a split in the caverns, Kerwyn takes a moment to listen for any clues as to what may be ahead. He hears a distant scuttling noise and from below him a sound like rocks falling off of a large pile of rocks. This sounds changes to a crack, and the floor begins to give way. Gante and Epona jump back, but Kerwyn and Jim fall about twenty feet. Kerwyn turns his fall into an impressive tumble, taking little damage. Jim is not so lucky. He’s badly hurt and unconscious. Gante runs to find somewhere to secure his grappling hook. He climbs down to where the two fell and heals Jim of that damage. Jim comes to, but for some reason is nauseated by the experience. Epona climbs down to join them.
They find that they’re now in a similar cavern. They make their way through the twisting passages, fighting off large scorpions along the way. They finally find their way back towards the castle. At the end of one tunnel, they see an old column that had broken away from the castle’s masonry. Above it, a large hole in the dungeon’s floor. They manage to get each other up to the floor (about twelve feet up). They intuit that they’re on the other side of the rubble that they first saw when entering the castle. Beyond them, a staircase spirals up and out of view.