Having gathered as much information as possible about the Dark Wizard, we decided it was time to make our way past the double doors of doom.
Jak customarily took the point, both figuratively and literally, given Crow had once again illuminated the tip of Jak’s spear as the keep’s torches began to flicker and fade. Having satisfactorily searched for traps and finding none, Jak cautiously cracked open one of the doors, finding it surprisingly unlocked. Cruel fate would once again rear its mocking head as the Minotaur, the only member of the party who has trouble seeing when light is scarce, peered into total and utter blackness.
Suddenly, a flurry of sparks exploded through the small gap in the doorway, not from the gloomy depths, but from behind Jak, starling the already pensive beast, causing him to turn, spear at the ready, only to see the rest of his party staring innocently back at him completely unalarmed. Stumped and confused Jak opened the doors the rest of the way assuming that if something waited beyond the doors, there was no longer cause for subtlety.
As the party proceeded, the glowing spear tip became the sole source of light as the brackets that normally held torches were disturbingly empty. Also disturbing was the foul stench of rot and decay that grew thick as the party descended. Inching forward, we made our way through a series of interconnecting hallways. In several locations among the passages, a mysterious ruin was found intricately carved into the floor. We attempted to discover the possible purpose of these glyphs, but were unsuccessful. Weary of setting off who knows what, our party avoided crossing the ruins, which lead us to a room that appeared to be some sort of burial chamber, as its walls were lined with several stacked stone structures that seemed to serve as a final accommodations for the dead. But there were no dead to be found in this room, a fact that was at once both welcome and disturbing.
At the far end of the chamber was a relief carved into the wall (detail escape me).
Having satisfactorily searched the room, we proceeded to the only other avenue open to use without crossing the seals, which was a passage that appeared to open up and then fade into darkness. Soon after crossing into the room, we were immediately met with several wretched forms emerging from the darkness. They had the appearance of beings long since dead yet here they were, ambling awkward toward our party or possibly towards the light at resting at the end of Jak’s spear.
Judging the intentions of the reanimated dead were not friendly, we attacked the walking corpses with the intent of righting whatever wrong was responsible for raising these unfortunate souls from their final rest (were these the former occupants of the empty chamber we had just left?). We made short work of the ghoulish creatures, especially due to those among our party who’s abilities seemed to be particularly effective against these sorts of horrors.
Proceeding past the gruesome scene and River attempting to ignore the stench of death left on him by a particularly grabby ghoul, we came across the words “Keep out! Really!” crudely painted in red on the floor. Sensing no threat from the graffiti itself, we proceeded past it into a room lined with many sarcophagi standing upright along the walls. We examined them and saw no threat, so we continued down the hallway toward a light coming from around a corner down the hall.
Suddenly, the sarcophagi burst open, revealing skeletal remains that, similar to the half decayed denizens of the dark we dealt with earlier, moved as though alive despite having no flesh to even keep their bones together! Most of them fell quickly, but as soon as one fell, another would appear from one sarcophagus or another. As the bones began to pile up and the skeletal stream seemed unstoppable, we were reminded of the light that was coming from the end of the hall. Having the first opportunity to break away, Jak bounded down the hallway to investigate the source of the illumination, discovering an alter. Remembering River was the sort of person who might be able to make sense of such a thing, he beckoned for the cleric to join him.
River, deducing it to be a alter of Bahamut, who stood on good terms with his diety, Avandra, offered up a prayer humbly requesting assistance and deliverance from the macabre manifestations presently pressing in upon us.
This seemed to hit the intended mark, for immediately the sarcophagi slammed shut in unison, thus cutting off the source of the skeletons. Once the remainder were dealt with, we had time to closer examine the alter, finding a large dome above it that emulated the night sky with stunning brilliance, proving to the source of the light, although the light did not seem to be coming from any spot in particular. River discovered a set of figurines hidden in a secret compartment in the alter itself. Feeling that the relics had significant religious value, River kept them with the hopes of finding a more active community of Bahamut followers, being is was doubtful that any would be returning to this sight any time soon.
Scattered before the alter was yet another disturbing scene. Several solidified remains of what appeared to be hobgoblins sat frozen in their final death pose, all facing the alter. What caused this bizarre arrangement was not clear and we hoped we would not fine out.
We continued on to an adjoining chamber that appeared to be another burial chamber, but this one seemed to hold greater significance given the presence of sarcophagi appearing to belong to members of the Keegan family itself. On the back wall lay a large horizontal sarcophagus carved into the shape of a fully armed and armored human. Given Jak’s genetic attraction to patterns, he went to investigate the shield carried by the carved coffin, perhaps with less caution than would have been appropriate.
As soon as Jak approached the sarcophagus, its lit popped off and a ghostly apparition emerged from darkness within, claiming to be Sir Keegan himself, demanding to know what we business we had disturbing his castle in a manner that suggest we had better have a good answer…