“Eons ago, before the conflict between those born of dragons and those who willingly gave themselves to the devils shattered the land asunder, a powerful dwarven mage settled in the mountains nearby to gain the use of an arcane wellspring to power his spells. He was a kindly sort, and used his power to help set up a settlement, binding an enchantment into the stones that provided those within with a constant source of protection from disease and foul magics.
Located by a stable crossing to the land of the Fey, it soon began to prosper through the trade of Eladrin food, beverages and fey-touched tradegoods and was known as a bright beacon of light where those with things of value could barter for miraculous items.
However, jealous of the source of power this dwarf held, a rival wizard came to the prosperous town and did battle with sorcerous powers, closing the crossing and laying waste to the town, destroying the enchantments that kept it safe.
It is said that the townsfolk found their corpses amongst the rubble that used to be their home. Following instructions left to them by their protector the townsfolk locked away the wizard’s instruments of power in the depths of a dungeon that the dwarf had constructed for just such an eventuality.
As is its nature, time passed and the once great settlement drifted into obscurity until even the name itself was forgotten.” -Creepy Old Lady
We join our heroes in a dark and sinister complex, hidden behind a complex door, beneath the goblin-repurposed stronghold where their adventure began in chains. Wiping gelatinous cube goo off of everything, they take a short rest to contemplate both the central room they stood in and their next move.
The worked bronze plinth in the center of the chamber was a complex device covered in buttons, slots and a set of scales. It was not until Torva fired an arrow at the button on the side from a safe distance that they gained access to the recessed area and the specially shaped gems within that matched those taken from the room containing a Gelatinous Cube. Resolving to come back to this puzzle the party decided to investigate the remaining two rooms.
Van, having developed his techniques since the embarrassing moment in the Tower of Amadeus made the northern door spring open by barely caressing it with his hands, no doubt a trick imparted to him by his mistress. The door opened onto a floor-level ledge, with the rest of the room being filled by a deep pool of murky water containing another orb and schools of vicious fish made of almost nothing but giant, snappy teeth and hunger.
After attempts at gaining the orb without getting their feet wet through the use of Lower Water rituals, Torva finally snaps and shatters the orb with a well placed arrow. Afterwards, Kendall makes magical friends with a fish and persuades it to fetch the contents of the orb for them.
The easternmost room, the one suffused with necrotic energy was not as simple an ordeal. It contained piles and piles of bones, semi-animated small animal corpses with a spitting hatred for lighting and a large, angry skeletal snake jealously guarding this room’s orb. The party decided to test the room’s properties using the standby “flaming bread” technique. This led to a brief and savage fight amongst the waist deep bones, but it was not long before Van tapped into his newfound divine powers and teleported all of them out of the room, slamming the door behind them and ending the combat with the orb securely in hand.
They now had 28 gems and 9 keys in total, which gave them a vague idea as to the operation of the central plinth. The phrase “Nine are given, eight are false, truth lies heavy” indicated that the correct key was slightly heavier than the others. After spending many gems to winnow through the keys, they found the correct one to place in the keyhole (Curses, foiled again!). The correct key made the statues surrounding the room salute as a circular staircase descended from the floor and down into a chamber below, where Van had sensed the powerful necrotic energies.
The final chamber was circular, made out of the same stone as the rest of the complex, with a central dias raised off the floor by several wide steps and surmounted with a column bearing a weighty tome. This tome seemed to be the source of a cloud of hungry, reaching shadows that caused vomit-inducing nausea on Van when he exposed his arcane senses to it. The shadows leapt at his sick, creating tiny aggressive vomit golems out of his breakfast. They are the pure distilled essence of the Shadowfell, after all.
After some frantic testing to see what would be animated (live snake: no, cooked chicken: yes) Torva boldly strode forward onto the first step.
And was promptly dumped down a chute into an underground river.
Van used his Fey Step ability to teleport onto the plinth and grabbed the book just in time to leap down into the river with Kendall in search of their wayward colleague.
The current dragged them downstream, through several rusty grates and eventually spit them out into the ocean near the Seahaven pier where they were literally caught by Bertok, who was enjoying a light spot of fishing.
Inspecting the book they had risked life and limb for, they discovered that it was the Legendry of Phantoms and Ghosts by a wizard called Evard, a treatise on powerful shadow magics. Both Van and Torva tried to read parts of the book, Van failed to make much headway against the magical cryptography. Torva however, approached it from a position of understanding of the primal forces and was rewarded by a realisation that hit her so hard she passed out. Kendall checked Torva until she was assured that she was just sleeping, then her and Van promptly gave in to the rigors of the past day and fell asleep in Van’s tent.