Saturday, October 2, 2010

Shadowfell Keep, 2nd Floor (II)

Mol, Lharvion 23, 998 YK (Day 9).

With Typhus and Mikhal deceased (only one was really mourned; guess which one), Zil'dejin, Morgue and Lythanis proceed with Valthrun in tow to the hallway that the fleeing hobgoblin attempted to take Typhus to, pursuing some distant but formless telepathic cries that seem to be originating from this direction. They find the hall leads to two separate doorways, one leading north and the other south; they enter the northern one first. On entry, they are noticed by a hobgoblin guard, who flees into an adjacent room and starts yelling about intruders.

Here, amongst a stash of crates and boxes mostly full of rations, they find two weakened bodies chained to the floor. One, a large warforged, lies next to another construct - this one not of Khorvaire origin, and completely unfamiliar. This second construct, made entirely out of crystal, is the source of the telepathic yelling.

There is little time for speech, but the party decides that without the assistance of the paladin and the wizard who accompanied them before, the help of these two (obviously sharing a common enemy, given their current condition) will be invaluable in the coming battle, and so Morgue is able to pick the locks on the chains that bind them and free them. They retrieve their weapons and armor from some of the crates in the room, and prepare to fight the hobgoblins.

The warforged identifies himself as Stahlstrauss, and his companion as one Eshunu, who is incapable of speech (having no mouth, vocal chords, tongue or really any means of producing vocal sound) and can communicate only telepathically. Stahlstrauss is a warrior, created during the Last War as a front line shock troop, and Eshunu is a druid, though little more information is given.

The party engages the hobgoblins by advancing through a side-passage through the north. Zil'dejin and Stahlstrauss charge the main chamber, where they are met with some difficulty by an archer, and a Warcaster using a variety of spells against them, particularly one that causes a kinetic outburst.

Meanwhile, Morgue, Lythanis and Eshunu are assailed by a series of grunts and soldiers leaving the main chamber to attack the weaker party members. They present a huge threat to the suddenly undefended Lythanis and Eshunu, but Morgue, who is (slightly) more adapted for physical combat, tries to hold them while his two comrades fire long-ranged attacks.

The attempt is futile, however. Morgue ultimately gives his life to ensure that Lythanis and Eshunu are protected, and is killed by the assaulting hobgoblins, though his sacrifice gives them enough time to get to safety and kill the hobgoblins from a distance. Morgue's last words are "Screw the opposite!" before passing away on the floor of the keep.

After the battle is resolved, the party talks a little more about their purposes. Stahlstrauss reveals that he and his longtime travelling companion Eshunu arrived in Winterhaven by chance, but were caught off guard by a hobgoblin warband and awoke in the dungeon as they were found. They decide to accompany Zil'dejin and Lythanis (now grieving over Morgue... at least, Lythanis is grieving) for Stahlstrauss' intentions of revenge, and Eshunu's unstated purpose to follow Stahlstrauss.

The four with Valthrun then move to the southern door in the hall, where they are blocked by a portcullis arising from the ground. Stahlstrauss and Zil'dejin work together to break it down, and they proceed into a seemingly empty room. Before long, they are ambushed by hobgoblins from two adjacent rooms - they discover that they have stumbled on the quarters of the hobgoblin Warchief, and he is not at all pleased that they are here.

The battle goes with some difficulty at first, and the presence of the Warchief rallies the other hobgoblins and pushes the party into the hall. But, they are able to stand their ground there, and soon take care of the band, loots a chest owned by the Warchief as well as some crates (including some wine - Zil'dejin leaps at the opportunity), then leaves to proceed further and, hopefully, stop the forthcoming ritual.

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