Stonegraves made his way alone up the mountain, having learned little from the extra time he spent around Winterhaven. He was familiar with the path, and gained time on his companions. By 1600, he ventured into the exposed basement of the Keep on the Shadowfell, where he found four goblin bodies lying in pools of rapidly drying blood. Using his tracking skills, he determined that his companions had exited the entrance hall to the west. He turned a corner just as the rest of the party was entering the same hallway. Without thinking about the closed door to the north, behind which they had earlier heard voices, Brandis greeted Stone aloud.
The door to the north burst open, and in the doorway stood a bugbear near seven feet tall. A voice shouted from deeper in the room, “Don’t kill ’em! We can sell ’em to ”/wikis/Vohx/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Vohx!" The bugbear held its position in the doorway for as long as it could, while a group of hobgoblins attacked with javelins from behind. Eventually, after a few blows from De’Wayne and Stone, the bugbear was forced to retreat, at which point the party was able to move into the chamber. The table in the middle of the room had rows of straps. In one corner was a cage, and in two other corners were tables full of torture implements. Next to the door was an iron maiden and in the rear of the room was a fire pit full of pokers. A hallway to the west led to a number of cells.
Brandis stayed outside of the torture chamber, casting bolts of ice through the open door, and causing two of the hobgoblins to slide into their own fire pit. Stonegraves leapt onto the table in the center of the room and landed two spinning axe blows on the bugbear. Meanwhile, Nuvok, Althaea, and De’Wayne pushed deeper into the chamber, pushing the hobgoblins back before them. Soon all of the foes lay dead.
Stone laid claim to a suit of magical hide armor worn by the bugbear. As the party searched the rest of the bodies, a goblin voice was heard from down the hall with the cells; it said, “Who’s there?” Moving to investigate, the party found a goblin locked away in the central cell. They questioned him. He said his name was Splug. He claimed he had been locked up by Balgron after quarreling with him over whether the tribe should have allied with the shadar-kai. Disbelieving him, Althaea rattled his cage menacingly, whereupon he admitted that he had been locked up for being caught cheating at cards one too many times, and expected that he would soon be sold as a slave. Splug begged the party to set him free, explaining that he could help them find their way around the dungeon, and that he could help them find the elf woman who had recently been moved from the next cell down.
Althaea picked the lock of the cell where the elf woman had allegedly been kept. After a few minutes raking through the filthy straw that comprised the cell’s bedding, they found a silver chain with a jeweled crescent moon on it, the emblem of the goddess Sehanine. Deciding to extend Splug a slender reed of trust, the party unlocked his cell and Stone bound his hands tightly behind his back.
The group returned to the entrance hall, and asked Splug which way to the elven prisoner. He shrugged towards the western door, “past the dead ones,” he explained. Asked what was back the other way, Splug said, “Stupid goblins. They just dig and dig and dig. The cistern is that way too. We don’t go there anymore, since the accident. Big monster.”
The party opened the western door, Brandis cast a spell of light on De’Wayne’s sword, and the party and Splug descended into the pitch blackness. Almost immediately the passage branched off to the left and right. Nuvok asked Splug which way, and the goblin seemed to think for a moment, and then said loudly, “Left!” Nuvok was quite sure that the creature had no idea where he was taking them.
A faint moaning echoed through the halls. Althaea peeked around the corner into the southern passage, and saw, unblinking and unmoving, four swaying undead staring at her, apparently uninterested. After she whispered her discovery to the party, De’Wayne decided that a frontal assault was necessary, and charged into the room at the two zombies farthest from the entrance. Nuvok followed, exulting in the opportunity to bring glory to Pelor by smiting these abominations. Althaea and Brandis remained in the hallway attacking from afar, while Stone ventured a distance up the northern passage to guard the rear. On the floor in front of him he saw a rune he did not recognize, and went no further.
The zombies used mob tactics, trying to grab and immobilize Nuvok and De’Wayne, who had their hands full with the undead. Nuvok struck with the full force of Pelor’s might against a zombie that was grabbing De’Wayne, freeing the helpless knight from the creature’s grasp just in the nick of time. More menacing was the sound of heavy footsteps approaching from the west. When the approaching creature revealed itself, it was a huge, plodding zombie, eight feet in height and almost filling the width of the the ten-foot hallway. It charged and landed a heavy blow on the unsuspecting Althaea, who called for Stone to reinforce the group.
The tide was beginning to turn for Nuvok and De’Wayne, who had laid several of the zombies low. Stone charged the hulking zombie while Althaea and Brandis retreated to relative safety behind him. Stone took a few heavy blows before De’Wayne could join him, but returned at least one for every one he received. Then, just as the giant fell, another group of zombies appeared from the northern passage. They had arrived too late, however, and the party was now arrayed to dispatch them with ease. Splug, who had spent the battle perched awkwardly on the lower steps, did his best to applaud the party’s prowess with his hands tied behind his back. “You guys strong!” he beamed.
Brandis and Nuvok now followed Stone to examine the runes he had discovered. Nuvok recognized them as a magical alarm system, that would trigger a loud noise if touched by the party. Stone and Althaea then wandered the halls carefully, finding the way blocked in several places by more of the alarm runes, but otherwise finding little of interest in the area. The party next needed to decide whether to make camp or continue on. Nuvok in particular had been hard hit by the day’s battles and was nearly exhausted.
When we reconvene it will be 1800, 2 Flocktime 588