Journey to Fate’s doorstep: inside the keep

The Drow’s Bane appear on a fifteen foot by fifteen foot stone platform surrounded by water as far as the eye can see; it is dark except for orange and yellow lights dancing fifty feet out underneath the water. The platform is flush with the endless water and there is no current nor breeze; looking up there is no ceiling just a dense vacuum of darkness. Royce can sense they have traveled by divine power to an alternate dimension.

Naismith flies out over the water toward the dancing lights; when he flies above them he can see into the depths of the water. The orange and yellow lights are emanating from torches that light up a stone hallway, deep under the water. Once Naismith describes the underwater view, the party dives into the water heading straight for the lights. Sixty feet down, they suddenly feel a strong pull as if by a mighty current. Each of them is pulled through the water and into the corridor with torches, falling from the ceiling onto the stone floor cold and wet. The party is confused by what just happened as they realize they were swimming a moment ago and now are prone on a stone floor. Ahead of them the corridor moves into an arched hallway that leads toward a door.

What is interesting about the corridor is it is made of brick that are swiftly changing colors across the spectrum of shimmering tones. The party moves down this corridor towards the door. Nong listens at the door and hears a conversation; he catches every other word of the abyssal language being spoken. “…Orcus…alliance…brethren…stronger….,” then he hears one of the voices pause and say “Halt! I sense my brother is near,” and then shuffling and movement replace the conversation.

Nong calls to the wand of Orcus to raise zombies and skeletons behind the door, but he fails as the wand refuses to obey his command. The Drow’s Bane decide to kick the door open and attack. As the door swings open, they see several large and medium sized undead guards, behind them a red faced, winged demon in robes of Orcus next to an undead in robes with a black hand symbol. The party attacks the nearest undead. Nong tries to use the wand to cast a spell at the red faced winged demon but the wand refuses to obey again! Instead, the wand flares up in anger and hurts Nong in return. The red faced demon yells to Nong, “Do not defy the workings of our master, Nong! Or face the consequences.” The red faced demon, sensing the Drow’s Bane will soon overcome the undead, casts a spell and begins to fade from existence, grinning at Nong as he disappears.

As Nong smashes the killing blow on top of the undead robbed figure, it screams out as it crumbles to the ground; Nong notices a journal has fallen to the ground next to the undead husk. In time the party defeats the remaining undead guards in this circular room. Behind the dead bodies is a fifteen foot bronze statue of a ferocious figure swinging a sword, his mouth agape in a war cry. Nong picks up the journal and skims it; it reveals a journal entry of a Bane cultist, possibly the creature he just fought. The party deduces the statue is of Bane and the symbols on the robe, a black painted hand, is the symbol of Bane, the black lord of tyranny. Mordrock recalls seeing the same symbol in the alter in Selene’s chambers.

The party discusses the overheard conversation and deduces a priest of Orcus was in the middle of negotiating an alliance with a priest of Bane. “Why did that demon call you brother?” says Naismith to Nong. Nong still reading the journal, ignores Naismith, turning his body toward the statue. Nong describes out loud what he reads: twenty six years ago the Tide of Bane cult tricked Lord Kaladar into thinking Bane’s ritual would return his dead son to him; instead Bane’s ritual would seal the Lord’s fate forever, turning him into Bane’s Mourning Lord. The journal makes reference of two gems hidden inside Fort Morninglord that might be keeping the ritual in power.

The party looks around the circular room and notices it is made of the same color changing bricks; there are no doors except for the one they kicked open. They search the room and find no other exits, secret or otherwise. When Nong approaches the statue, he begins to notice the swinging sword move down toward Nong and becomes a pathway leading up to the statue’s head. Nong moves up the pathway, he sees the statue’s head grow in size to where the path leads into the statue’s mouth. The others stare at Nong and wonder why he is climbing onto the statue; they do not see the sword pathway or where it leads.

Nong continues up the pathway toward the hilt of the blade, the statue’s mouth opens to reveal an obsidian skull gleaming with foul energy; the skull contains in each eye socket an impression where a gem could fit. The skull fades away and Nong is back in the room standing next to the statue. The party sees a door on the west and east sides of the room, appear.

“I know where the gems must go once we find them,” says Nong, as he moves towards one of the doors.