OUT OF CHARACTER |
|Thanks for your patience. Adventure 3 begins now...|
The next morning, the party gathers at the house of wizard, Master Allustan Penkawr, to begin their journey to consult with the witch, Marzena. Although the group had planned to walk, Prost shows up mounted on a riding dog, prompting Tex to mutter something about “lazy halfling thieves”. Everyone ignores his grumbling as he leads them out of town in the direction of Shadow Castle Keep, on the edge of the Calenvicar Swamp.
Master Penkawr is talkative during the journey. The party learns that his brother is the mayor of Rastingdrung, Lanod Neff. This is one of the reasons Penkawr left Tula, the City of Mages, to take up residence in the little town, although the party gets the impression that Penkawr and Lanod’s relationship is a little strained. Penkawr also mentions politics as one of his reasons for leaving the Great School in Tula. He makes some vaugely negative comments about “...city wizards, cooped up in their dusty libraries, never seeing the real world.” He also talks about his efforts to expand the Many Steps archives in Rastingdrung.
The group stops for the night at an abandoned farm called Shank’s Rest. The party exercises caution in setting up camp, but finds the place perfectly safe. In fact, the entire two-day trip passes without incident, until the travelers approach Shadow Castle Keep near dusk of the second day. As they cover the last stretch of the southbound trail, they notice an increase in the number of flies and the smell of a battle — smoke and blood. “I've got a bad feeling about this,” comments Tex. The next bit of the trail ascends a moderately sized hill. Approaching the top of the rise cautiously, the group secures a good view of the keep and its current situation.
The keep itself is built out of black stone and consists of a four-story tower with a basement floor that (according to Penkawr) is buried under a false hill. Large sharpened wooden stakes jut out of the hillside, pointing away from the keep. The door to the keep looks like it has been broken open and hastily repaired. On the level above the door a five-foot balcony extends outward and a nervous group of defenders keeps watch there, armed with longbows. Next to the keep is a stockaded horse corral, partially embedded in the false hill. The doors to the stockade are open and a dead and partially dismembered horse is in the doorway. The party can see groups of lizardfolk lurking in strategic places around the keep, using bushes, large rocks, and dead trees as cover. Each has a club, large shield, and at least one javelin. Some of them are eating horsemeat, and at least one is eating a dead human soldier. Three dead lizardfolk are out in the open near the keep, attracting flies.
“This looks bad...” comments Penkawr. “Lizard people,” grumbles Tex, “Why'd it have to be lizard people...”
OUT OF CHARACTER |
|The party is approaching from the east (right hand side of the map). Beyond the keep to the west is the start of the swamp.|