Episode 2 - The Haunted Keep

Ruins

After ensuring that Douven was stable enough for travel, our group headed back to Winterhaven from the goblin’s base in the caves. Upon arrival, we took him straight to the Temple of Pelor where the high priestess attended to him.

The following morning, a runner from the temple informed us that Douven was awake and we could see him. He was able to speak briefly before the priestess insisted we allow him to rest.

He told of how Kalarel was once his brightest pupil but through tragedy, had lost his mind. He’d been keeping tabs on Kalarel’s actions and it was believed that he was attempting to open a portal to the Abyss in the hopes of releasing the demon Nagash upon the realm.

He believes there is still hope that Kalarel can be cured of his madness but he must be stopped before he’s able to open this portal.

In searching for Kalarel, he was captured by a band of goblins and taken to the cave where we found him. It is clear that the goblins are working in union with Kalarel but it is unclear why they allowed Douven to live. He overheard whispers among the goblins that Kalarel wanted to confront him himself but after several days in captivity, Kalarel never came.

Douven begged us to do everything in our power to ensure that Kalarel was not successful and we gave our word that we would.

After leaving the temple, Paelias sought out the town’s historian seeking information that could help us find Kalarel. After much long windedness, he was told the story of an ancient fort built in the days when the Empire was still strong. This fort was believed to have been built on a site of great power where a rift in the fabric of the universe created a thin veil between this world and another. Magic wards had been placed over this rift to lock out the evil that lay on the other side. Legend tells of the castellan being driven mad by the evil powers of the rift and butchering his family before throwing himself from the battlements. The keep was abandoned and is now in disrepair. Only restless spirits live there now.

Balomir visited the tavern where once again he challenged city guardsmen to arm wrestling with rounds of ale at stake. After downing several arms and ales, he asked if they knew any place where a group might hide in the woodlands surrounding the town. They told him the woods stretch for miles all around and a person could easily hide for days but if they were looking for shelter, there was an abandoned fort about half a day’s walk to the north. Some say the fort is haunted.

Galt and Woodie headed to the market to see if the Elf herbalist had anything that could help Douven’s recovery and to see if she might have any information that could help us locate Kalarel. She did have some herbs for sale but was unable to supply them with any useful information as to the whereabouts of Kalarel. Galt was unsuccessful in negotiating a lower price for her herbal remedies while Woodie was unsuccessful in negotiating an intimate encounter with the fair Elven maid. In the end, they did manage to purchase healing herbs (at the full cost of 20 gold) which they promptly took back to the temple for Douven.

We decided to head north immediately, in search of this haunted keep.

We approached the keep at dusk and Paelias stealthily scouted the area. He informed the rest of the party that the keep had indeed fallen into disrepair and that several sections of wall had collapsed completely. On the western side of the courtyard, a group of hobgoblins sat huddled around a campfire, consuming roasted meat from a spit. It was decided that we would attempt to sneak up to a breach in the wall near where they sat in the hopes of drawing them out one at a time.

Unfortunately, Galt caught his foot on some loose debris and alerted the creatures of our approach. The beasts were obviously well trained as they quickly took up defensive positions against us. Archers stationed in two of the towers also provided them with ranged cover.

Regardless, we made short work of dispatching these foul creatures and proceeded to the keep doors in the center of the courtyard.

A set of stairs led us down to the cellars where we encountered yet more of these hobgoblins. This bunch proved more difficult as one of them employed magic against us. To further complicate matters, the creatures had a giant spider under their command.

Once again we successfully defeated these foes and headed further into their subterranean lair. The passageway ended at a set of double doors beyond which we could hear a deep guttural voice giving commands to another. We smashed our way in, gaining the element of surprise on the two hobgoblins inside. Their pet drake, having heard (or smelt) our approach, was not surprised but we put the beast to rest in short order. The two hobgoblins proved to be tougher but both fell to our attack.

Hobgoblins

A doorway in the back of the room was warded with magic seals and could not be opened. While we searched the area for treasure, we heard the approach of running feet. We made ready an attack but were surprised to see two of the city guard from Winterhaven. They explained they had been sent to fetch us because the city was under attack by legions of undead. Our assistance was needed so we made haste back to town.

Our forced march proved too much for the two Eladrin in our party and both suffered the effects of exhaustion. When we arrived back at the temple in Winterhaven, Douven, having had some rest, and the other temple priests were able to work restorative magics on our party so we could continue to fight.

It was explained that the undead were seen amassing in the graveyard outside of town. The city guard felt they could hold off the current attacks but the steady stream coming from the graveyard would need to be stopped before they become too many for the guard to handle.

We proceeded to the graveyard to put a stop to the unholy flow of undead and approached just as a mutilated priest was giving orders to one of his acolytes. This priest appeared to have one of his eyes and part of his face replaced by a large crystal. He bore worn and faded symbols of Bahamut on his armour and also the horned goat symbol of Nagash. He told his follower to prevent us from interfering with his plans and destroy us.

A powerful magic device cast glowing symbols on the ground near the acolyte’s feet. Woody was able to identify this device as being responsible for the raising of the undead. We knew we would have to disable it if we were to stand a chance against such unholy evil.

Several skeletons were scattered around the cemetery but one in particular stood out as being considerably larger than the rest. Accompanying these skeletons were also two large zombie dogs.

Balomir made a stand between the bulk of the undead and his companions. Round after round he took damage, constantly invoking the power’s of Kord to heal himself and stay alive. The dogs knocked him from his feet time and again but were unable to keep him down for long. Paelias picked off skeletons left, right and center while Woodie wielded her magics to devastating effect.

Galt made a dash for the magic device responsible for raising the undead but was met face to face by the evil cleric. The unholy power he wielded proved to be too much for Galt to handle on his own and he was forced to retreat before he was able to disable the device.

Though strong and brave, Balomir was unable to withstand the onslaught of the undead and he was knocked unconscious. Woodie was quick to react and administered a potion of healing to the fallen Dwarf who immediately returned to the fray, engaging the evil priest and holding him at bay, allowing Woodie a clear path to the magic device.

As Paelias, Galt and Balomir dealt with the evil cleric, Woodie was able to shut down the magic device and put a stop to the constant flow of skeletons.

What fate lies ahead for our brave adventurers? Will they find Kalarel in time to stop him from releasing the evil Nagash? Will Galt’s past catch up with him? Will Balomir find out more about his father’s involvement in the crusades? Will Paelias and his secrets be able to solve humanity’s woes. Will Woodie find herself some hot, girl-on-girl action?

Answers to these questions and more await.

Episode 2 - The Haunted Keep

Terror of Nagash AndyH