Every time we end up fighting someone there are chores; check for that which is hidden, appropriate that which is valuable, secure the way out. We’re a team now, so we do these things without fuss or discussion. I like that.
Mostly we do end up fighting those we meet. Mostly we don’t have a choice, and mostly they deserve it anyway.
Now and then we don’t fight. Whiskey obviously didn’t want to fight the priest and the two seresin guards we found in the small temple off the entrance hall. He wanted to talk to them instead. Not sure why these guys were different, but that’s alright.
Anyway, Whiskey got some information out of the priest, and a healing potion (definitely didn’t expect that. Maybe I should offer to be the one who drinks it; not sure we can trust it). All he had to promise in return was that we’d deal to a few lizardmen from the Poison Dusk tribe. No problem; I’m betting we would have done that anyway.
Some of the things the priest told us were useful; there are prisoners in the dungeons guarded by yuan-ti, there’s no direct way to reach the towers on either side of the keep, you have to get there through a portal. Others were maybe a little worrying; the ritual to raise Sertrous is far advanced and can’t be stopped (though I’m still up for giving it a try), Poison Dusk warriors are out looking for items or sacrifices to aid the final stages of the ritual.
So we followed the priest’s directions and headed up the ramp to the gallery level, and from there through a set of double doors. Straight away we’re facing two Poison Dusk guards at the top of a staircase. Bragg – the new guy with the limited vocab – and I charge them (where IS Klang when he’s needed?), the others stay back and watch (with the odd magics or missile – thanks, Salth – lobbed in to help out). It’s over quickly enough.
Up the stairs and through some more doors, and now we’re in the central tower – the one the Priest called the Tower of the Way. A floor or two above is where we fought the bronze dragon and company, and poor Heyerajj failed to fly.
Quickly we checked a bedroom and a study; maps, a silver mirror (non-portable), a pair of boots that took Bragg’s eye, and, hidden in the base of a wardrobe, a modest treasure stash.
On the next floor up we found a series of portals, though none of them seemed sure to lead to the outer towers. Through some we could see a swamp (no thanks), a dry ravine, a forest, and a darkened space where the floor was moving (a whole world of no thanks). Others seemed to be unactivated or untuned.
I don’t know if there was a vote as such, but we went through the portal that led to a forest. It was beautiful there; fresh air, everything growing and vital. I climbed a tree and was able to point the way to a nearby waterfall and lake.
I wish we’d turned round then and gone back. We really didn’t need to go to the lake. What we found there was like going back to the Day of Mourning, just for a moment. Slaughter. Bodies broken and left lying – Elves, Eladrin and one other none of us recognised – none of them long dead. I don’t think any of them were warriors. So sad. No surprise that unquiet spirits haunted the place. One of them spoke to Whiskey. He said she asked him to avenge them, to return a sacred chalice that had been taken from them.
Maybe we did need to go to the lake after all. And maybe we now have a better reason to kill the Poison Dusk.