“There’s no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
In this session, the party split up. Our focus was on the smaller group comprised of Vrae’ree Everhurden, Cervaa Shankledorn, and Arlan Strangeways. They returned to the villa of Wakanga O’ Tamu, one of the seven merchant princes who rule Port Nyanzaru. Wagkanga is the only arcane spellcaster of the seven princes. He is a dandy who enjoys the company of beautiful women. Although he holds a monopoly on the production and trade of potions and scrolls in Port Nyanzaru, he really deals in knowledge, intelligence, and lore. He prefers to be paid in coin, gemstones, or magical items.
The party arrived at the villas to find that there was a funeral in progress in the central garden. Further investigation allowed them to learn at the Granddaughter of Zhanthi, another of the Merchant Princes, had died of the Death Curse. The girl’s name was Zorya, and she was an adventurer who had died once before and was resurrected. She was afflicted with the Death Curse only a week ago and died earlier this afternoon.
The entire villa community was heavily fortified with guards comprised of both Lord’s Alliance Flaming Fist mercenaries and Zhentarim Hobgoblin soldiers. There were at least triple the normal amount of security on premises when the arty arrived. They talked with the guards at Wakanga’s villa and were escorted inside after a short wait. The butler offered the part food or drink, but they politely refused. The butler excused himself, and a few moments later Wakanga entered the room through a nearby door. When the door opened they could hear a woman wailing and crying, but as he quickly closed the door behind him, the sound was deafened.
The party talked with Wakanga and paid for their magical items. Wakanga was infuriated that they were considering going to the floating castle as per Syndra’s wishes. What they didn’t (and couldn’t) know was that wailing woman in the next room was actually Syndra Silvane. She was crying uncontrollably because Wakanga had just spent the last half hour taunting her with the idea that the party she had put so much trust in (and spent so much coin on) were betraying her to work for Wakanga instead. In her anger and sadness, she began to suffer a nervous breakdown.
Wakanga explained that Loral had arrived earlier in the evening and signed a contract with him saying that the party would go to Camp Vengence tonight and begin a three-day expedition within the Aldani Basin, also known as the Swamp of Sorrows. When the party remained noncommittal to his wishes, Wakanga asked the party to leave. They left politely and summoned a rickshaw (pulled by two young triceratopses) large enough to carry them to Syndra Silvane’s residence in Market Ward.
Arriving at Syndra’s home (at around 1100 pm) her manservant greeted them politely. He was carrying a lit candle for light and invited the party inside. He explained that Syndra was staying at the Harper safehouse in Merchant’s Ward with some of her former adventurer friends who had come into town for the funeral of Princess Zhanthi’s granddaughter, Zorya. He explained that the safehouse was Wakanga’s villa. Syndra would be staying there for the night and returning in the morning. This troubled the party, but they decided that trying to force their way into Wakanga’s house would be foolhardy. They thanked the servant and departed.
At this time, they decided that it was worth their time to travel to Castle Adikos like Syndra had employed them to do in the first place. They decided that would scout out the castle and then rendezvous with the rest of the company at Camp Vengeance. Cervaa Shankledorn transformed into an Air Elemental using his Wild Shape ability, scooped up Vrae’ree and Arlan, and flew them to the castle. The castle, they discovered, was an earthmote hovering about 300 feet in the air near the Western tip of the Bay.
Approaching the castle, they found that it was both beautiful and terrible to behold. The castle’s keep was constructed of the blackest obsidian and the towers around it were made of the purest white marble. The central courtyard near the main gate glowed with an eerie, reddish pink light. Again, the light seemed delightful and horrifying at the same time. Despite several efforts, Cervaa Shankledorn found it impossible to go anywhere on the earthmote or the castle save for the main courtyard. Wards, signs, and portents protect Castle Adikos from visitors entering by any means save the front gate. Landing, they found that the courtyard was immaculate, perfect in every way. Turning their attention to the entrance to the keep, they found that the huge double entrance doors were shattered, torn from their hinges by some tremendous force.
When they attempted to enter the castle a Death Knight appeared and blocked their path. He declared that he had failed to fulfill his oath to the god of justice in life so he would now fulfill it for the god of death. The Death Knight said he name was Gaylond, and he would not allow them to enter Castle Pescheour. Vrae’ree Everhurden, Cervaa Shankledorn, and Arlan Strangeways interacted with the Death Knight for some time, trying to find a way to talk their way into the castle. When it became painfully obvious that the Death Knight would not budge, combat ensued. In the end, the three managed to defeat the Death Knight. Having fulfilled his oath to protect the castle, the curse was lifted from the knight. Gaylond’s spirit appeared to them briefly, thanking them before he vanished.
Entering from the front gate to the small Barbican, they heard voices raised in song. A dirge-like melody filled the area, coming from everywhere at once. The female voices sounded sweet and sad all at once, again giving the mixed emotions of beauty and terror at the same time. They exited the Barbican through another archway, entering into a long, wide hall.
In the dim pink-red light of the hall, they saw the floor was strewn with the fragments of the huge main gate doors, mixed with the shattered corpses of several Zhentarium hobgoblin soldiers. Throughout the chamber among the debris and corpses was what seemed to be large grey feathers. They did not investigate this scene any further and moved on to the next room through another large archway.
They found themselves in a grand ballroom. Row upon row of hardwood tables and chairs lined the center of the room, filled with plates of food and cups of wine. At a head table sat a king and his queen while dozens of dancers twirled merrily throughout the room. Men and women alike stood talking, eating, and drinking. None of them paid any attention to the Vrae’ree, Cervaa, or Arlan who soon discovered these beings were all specters, ghosts doomed to relive this moment of time for eternity. Vrae’ree took note of the tapestries on the wall, all marked with the Pescheour family crest, featuring a large silver sword.
Moving away from the ballroom, they ascended a spiraling staircase that led them to the second level of the castle. Here they discovered a large octagonal room made of marble and obsidian. On the floor was etched (in gold) the Pescheour family crest, but this time it featured a silver sword and a kingfisher. From here they noticed that four very large doors stood along the room’s far wall, all made of some kind of dark, almost black wood and reinforced with iron studs. To the far right-hand side of the room stood a staircase that led down several hundred feet to end at a landing in front of two large wrought-iron doors. Behind the doors gleamed a bright red light that filtered through the cracks in the doorway, spilling out along the floor like blood.
Vrae’ree, Cervaa, and Arlan decided enough was enough. All three agreed it was time to head for Camp Vengeance. Cervaa transformed into an Air Elemental, flying the three to the camp. When they arrived, they were greeted by Commander Nile Breakbone. The Commander begged them to help his sick and wounded soldiers. Vrae’ree, Cervaa, and Arlan were happy to do so, using their healing magic spells to cure the sick, wounded, and injured. This being done, the three retired to tents provided by the Commander for a well-earned rest.
What’s Next? Return to The Campaign Page!