The party and Splug made their way out of the keep’s basement around sundown, and found a secluded copse of trees in which to hunker down for a rest. Nothing disturbed their slumber, but when they broke camp around midnight, a foul mood pervaded the group. They noticed an eerie green light coming from south of Winterhaven (Stonegraves was able to identify its source as the Winterhaven cemetery), but elected not to investigate at the moment.
Making their way back into the cellar, Althaea heard a low growl coming from the western hallway off the main entrance, followed by a “Shhh!” Althaea signaled back to the group, nocked an arrow, and stepped into the hallway ready to attack. Thirty feet down the hallway stood two hyena-like creatures (Stone would later identify them as krenshars), and a goblin bending down, stupidly tying its shoelaces. Althaea fired an arrow at one of the krenshars, and Nuvok and De’Wayne piled in behind, quickly dispatching one of the beasts. Meanwhile, however, more goblins leapt out of hiding in the southern and eastern corridors, and fired arrows at Stone, Althaea, and Brandis, who still stood exposed in the entrance hall. Brandis, uncharacteristically fearful even for a young, adventuring wizard, cowered behind a pillar and projected magic missiles at her approaching foes.
At last, the fattest goblin any of the party had ever seen emerged from the eastern hallway, and bloviated, “Ha! What luck! Imagine ”/wikis/erzoun" class=“wiki-page-link”>Erzoun‘s surprise!" He continued stupidly, "She plans an assault on the town tonight to take out you troublemakers, and here you walk right into my waiting hands. Imagine the looks on her lackeys’ raven faces when they learn that they’ve been beaten to the punch by Balgron!" Balgron then produced a crossbow and fired at Althaea.
Nuvok and De’Wayne meanwhile had their hands full with the remaining krenshar and his goblin keeper. The krenshar bared its fangs at De’Wayne, and simultaneously, the skin on its face pulled back, exposing the beast’s skull. Needless to say, this display unnerved the ordinarily brave knight, and he swung wildly a few times before he could regain his composure. Stone charged to his aid, while Nuvok extricated himself from the melee to aid Althaea, who was taking the worst of it from the goblin in the south passage.
Balgron and one of his lackeys had by now almost closed on Brandis, who shivered in unnatural fear. As calmly as she could manage, she waved her staff in a circle, and emitted a blast of cold at the two goblins, sliding them into the very pit that she herself had fallen into earlier in the day. Now the goblins were on the ropes, and the party was quickly able to dispatch all but Balgron. When only Balgron remained, Splug rushed down from his perch on the staircase, and exclaimed, “Now I have you Balgron!” The rest of the party surrounded the pit. Balgron briefly tried to bargain for his life, but the party didn’t believe he had anything to offer alive; they slaughtered him where he stood, and looted his body, taking a magical pair of bracers.
Even now, having learned that Erzoun had planned an attack on Winterhaven for this very night, an uncharacteristically terse Stonegraves just said, “Let them deal with it themselves,” and headed deeper into the basement of the Keep. The party reentered the halls where they had fought off a horde of zombies, and then turned southward, discovering a large chamber lined with ten stone sarcophagi. A faint, starry glow shone from the domed ceiling of the room’s eastern end; below it was a shut double door. The party moved gingerly eastward, though they noticed no immediate signs of danger. Then, all of a sudden, all ten sarcophagi burst open and ejected bones into the room, which magically arranged themselves into animated skeletons. The party was able to destroy each individual skeleton quickly, but every few seconds, more skeleton erupted from the sarcophagi. Assuming that some magic must be causing the skeletons to animate, De’Wayne and Stone pushed farther into the chamber, into the domed portion. There they saw two altars, each topped with dragon statuary. The walls in this portion of the chamber were covered in murals depicting knights kneeling before a dragon. On the altars there was writing, which they recognized as draconic script, but were unable to read.
In order to deal with the steady flow of undead, Nuvok called upon Pelor‘s wrath, summoning an aura that was able to destroy many of the undead at a touch. This allowed Brandis, still quaking with fear, to follow De’Wayne and Stone eastward, where she hoped she could decipher the text on the altars. Frustrated, Stone almost destroyed one of the dragon statues, before realizing it was an icon of Bahamut, and thereupon stayed his hand. De’Wayne, seeing little else for him to do, kicked in the door at the eastern end of the chamber, revealing a round room with a dais occupying its eastern half. Atop the dais was a large stone sarcophagus.
Someone called to De’Wayne, “What are you doing?” He responded, “Sometimes it’s dangerous to play it too safe,” and made his way up to the sarcophagus.
Brandis meanwhile had reached the altar, where she was able to read the following inscription:
The Platinum Dragon is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer. He is my stronghold, my refuge, and my armor against the foes of life—I need only kneel and offer him my praise.
“Everybody kneel!” she shouted.
“Even me?” De’Wayne said, his hands even then hovering over the stone lid of the sarcophagus, decorated with the image of a knight in heavy armor.
“Especially you!” the wizard replied. The party all complied, and the flow of skeleton from the sarcophagi stopped. Nuvok and Althaea picked off the few undead that remained in the crypt, while the rest of the party caught their breath. Stone, now having a minute to think, was suddenly overcome by what he now perceived as his selfishness, in having failed to go to the aid of WInterhaven earlier. “Oh gods,” he announced, “We have to get back to the town. They’re under attack!”
De’Wayne was unimpressed. “What about this coffin?” the knight countered.
When we reconvene, it will be 0200, 3 Flocktime 588.