Our heroes were faced with a nighttime assault from undead shades from the surrounding battlefields.
Artemios peppered several of the apparitions with his arrows, allowing Kwaris to use his sorcerous powers. Lucianna successfully threatened some of the shades to cease attacking her while Osterios used a rope trick to grapple one of the creatures. Though affected by the terror of seeing one of the shades employ the likeness of his father, Fritjof faced off with a large armored wraith and was successful in breaking the undead warrior’s breastplate and dispatching it and its minions with little trouble. The Blue Baron suffered a heavy wound before successfully retreating and dispersing a pair that had been attacking him with his crossbow.
Many others in the camp were separated from one another with a curtain of shadowy mists that permeated the basin, blocking sight beyond five feet and muffling all surrounding sounds.
Outnumbered, Kwaris used his sorcery to hinder the shade’s abilities to attack and injure anyone in the basin encampment for the remainder of the battle. This came at a great cost; whereby he sacrificed one of his tribe members to Tsothaggua. He did so too late however, as the ghostly apparitions killed much of Karis’ forces before receding away into the rolling hills as the dawn emerged.
After the battle, the undead necromancer took command from the surviving lieutenant by ensorcelling him with a domination which resulted in Kwaris pushing the officer’s eyes into the back of his head. This ended any talk of the surviving soldiers suggesting they abandon their mission and flee back to the north among those gathered. They instead resorted to taking a rest and preparing a plan to enter into the keep.
During this rest, Kwaris consulted the departed spirit of one of the battlefield spirits and asked how they had died. They replied and said that they had died like so many others had; the shade menagerie had attacked the basin at night and wiped out him and others who had pledged their swords to Jelal Khan.
Osterios, using his knowledge of history, recalled that the keep had once been set aflame by their enemies. In response to this, the keep’s previous inhabitants created a series of tunnels that would allow the residing nobility an opportunity to escape a siege through a hidden rear exit. Using his chaotic sorcery, Kwaris assisted in keeping their movements around the outside of the keep occluded from any of the patrolling guards.
Working together to find the entrance, our heroes waited until just before dusk and made their way into the tunnel network and into the bottom floor of the keep. Upon entering an open courtyard, they spotted several mountain lions and two pairs of guards. Fritjof effortlessly dispatched two of the guards in one go while Lucianna skewered another.
Using his beast speech abilities, Kwaris was able to successfully command the creatures and turn them upon the remaining guard.
Blue Baron surprised and interrogated a guard descending the nearby stairs by sneaking up behind him and placing a blade to his neck. When asked where Casimir was located, the guard indicated that the corpse of Karis’ son was located in the noble quarters of the wing and that the Countess of Striset was the one responsible for his untimely death.
Osterios used a prying bar to knock the guard insensate and the rest of the group advanced to the second floor of the keep. There they found only a few guards on duty, with the remaining rest of the soldiers asleep in the servant’s quarters until their appointed time to patrol. After siccing the lions on the remaining guards, the group quickly moved on to the third floor where rooms for both the nobility and their guests were located.
Perusing the rooms for any ill gotten gains, the Baron noticed a corpse with a sheet over it and confirmed Casimir’s body was being prepared to be wheeled out of the keep. Upon short inspection, the sorcerer was able to tell that the prince had been poisoned to death. Seeing an opportunity, Kwaris began a long and bloody ritual that involved disemboweling the corpse and rearranging/washing its internal organs before placing them back inside.
While this was happening, the rest of the group agreed to hurry up to the last floor of the keep; the banquet hall. Immediately upon stepping inside this converted throne room, the group spotted another pair of lions, six armed guards and Casimir’s top general, Lucius enjoying an evening drink after supper.
After initially evading his queries, Fritjof spoke up for the group and asked what had occurred to Casimir and why. Lucius lied and said the Countess had killed him and that he had sent word to Karis some recent time ago. When pressed whether the Countess was dead, Lucius regrettably relented and admitted that he was unsuccessful in the attempt to do so.
The Kushite general beckoned his uninvited guests forward and offered Fritjof a drink. The Nordheimer feigned interest but could not hide his contempt of the man as he approached. Lucius saw this and made a motion for his guard to advance upon the adventurers. He then loosed both mountain lions against the barbarian.
Will our heroes survive long enough to discover what happened to the Countess of Striset and the Jade Eye? Stay tuned next week to find out!