“The Wizard's Keep – Part III”
Zethar: A Druid
Bwlch: A Ranger
The Time: Spring, 19 Xaul, 7 VIII
The Place: Odhirran, Dun Luzern (small town; monstrous; AL LG/CE; 50 gp limit (usually 3,000); Assets 20,000; population 1,500 (usually 2,500); authority figures: Lady Gudrun Talluth, Baroness of Dun Luzern, female human Paladin 2; The Wraith King, mail wraith Necromancer 10; Important Characters: Druid Farold, male human Druid 6, assorted undead, town watch (missing)).
Zethar, Bwlch, and Willem had entered the kitchen. Green flames flicked
in the fireplace. A shape was hiding behind some barrels at the west end of the
room. Zethar peered at the shape,
discerning a hairy humanoid, a humanoid that growled and slowly rose.
It shared horrible characteristics of both a man and a wolf.
Spittle dripped from its bared fangs, yet Zethar tried to be diplomatic,
It roared and leapt over the barrels, attacking. Zethar pulled out his silvered dagger and twisted around its attack. Bwlch slammed his longsword on its head, but the wound healed instantly. Willem slams his short sword up through its neck, and out the top of its skull. The werewolf pushed Willem away and pulled the sword out. The wound healed instantly.
"Strike it with a silvered weapon, if you have it!" shouted Zethar, tossing his silvered dagger to Bwlch, "Bwlch, Catch!" Zethar cast Shillelagh on his quarterstaff, making it magical.
The werewolf bit at Zethar, drawing blood on his shoulder. Bwlch slashed out with the silver dagger, but the werewolf eluded the dangerous dagger.
Willem started opening drawers and cabinets in the kitchen, looking for silverware. Zethar whacked it twice with his enchanted quarterstaff, and the werewolf dropped. It lay there, in wolf form, breathing, unconscious.
"Bwlch, Willem. Help me tie him up real well to that chair." They grabbed a chair, a lot of rope and tied him up as best they could. Once Zethar felt he was sufficiently bound and unable to escape, we head downstairs. "We shall come back and parley with him after we check out the cellar."
"Very well," said Bwlch. They went to the door that led to the basement stairs.
At the foot of the stairs was a room filled with eerily still mist that limited their view to five feet or so. They saw vaguely humanoid shapes lying on the floor of the chamber. Zethar stepped off the stairs to check if the people were alive or dead, but as soon as his foot touched the floor, he was shocked by a powerful jolt of electricity. Instantly, he jumped back onto the bottom step, his entire body tingling from the trap.
Blwch stepped down on the floor gingerly, testing it. He felt nothing. Willem followed him to the floor. Zethar, supposing the trap had been a one-shot, followed. He touched himself, pouring healing energy into himself, slowing his heartbeat. He breathed deep. "Check and see if these people are alright, but stay together," said Zethar.
The people were destroyed skeletons. Zethar cast light on his quarterstaff. Still, the mist obscured their vision considerably. They went to the left toward a darkened passage. Two charred, inanimate human skeletons lay on the floor at this end of the passage. A layer of soot covered the floor and walls of most of the last 5 feet of the passage. A ledge at the end of the passage was similarly blackened with soot, save for a small untouched circular area in the middle.
Soot? thought Zethar. They left before they set off that fire trap. "Let's cautiously check out that passage," suggested Zethar.
Bwlch said, "Let me go first, Zethar."
"Alright, my friend. Be careful."
As soon as Bwlch walked back into the mist enshrouded room, he was jolted with electricity. He picked himself off the floor and said, "Shocking! Let's move on." He led the way to the dark passage Zethar had indicated.
There, they saw a figurine of a woman holding a book laying shattered on the floor amid broken candles. A ledge above the statue bore wax imprints where it and the candles once stood.
"Anything on the ledge, Bwlch?" asked Zethar.
"Let's check the other passage, then, across that room."
Returning to the mist-enshrouded room, Zethar tested the floor with his quarterstaff.
Bwlch said, "It wasn't so bad. Let me go first again, Zethar."
Bwlch stepped carefully into the room, and was rewarded with a powerful jolt of electricity that ripped through his body. He winced and said, "See... not... so... bad..." He led the way to the next hallway. They saw a small ledge at the rear of this otherwise empty room that held a rotting pile of hay, under which they saw a glint of metal.
"Come here, Bwlch," said Zethar. He touched Bwlch and poured healing energies from the earth into him. "See what that metal is without moving it."
"It looks like a cylinder. A tube."
"Make sure it is not attached to anything and pull it out."
Bwlch raised an eyebrow, brushed off some of the hay, then gingerly lifted up the cylinder. He handed it to Zethar. Zethar found a scroll inside the tube.
It said, "To find the arm he had us hide
You must go
to the hall of the lady blessed.
There, under that which never lied
He found a place of rest
By the place where the fair nymph pointed
A place of honor was decreed
There behind the stone anointed
You will find the work you need
Only then one worthy shall
Cast away the spirits foul
The storm will wash away the lie;
May you have better luck than I."
Bwlch asked, "What does that mean?"
"Let me think for a second." Zethar tried to remember everything that was in the room with the painting of the lady.
Bwlch asked, "What did that one lady call the stones... that old temple?"
"Which lady, Bwlch?"
"The lady we escorted out of town, who didn't want to wait for her husband."
"Oh yes, I remember. The standing stones they worship at." Zethar thinks to himself, "Of course! That is the lady Tollerath must have meant."
"I think you are right."
"Shall we go back to the town, then?"
"I think I saw another hallway beside this one, let us check that first. Who is going to take the jolt this time?"
Bwlch took it again, and dropped to the floor, blood draining out of his nose and ears. Zethar knelt next to him and did what he could to restart his heart. Soon, Bwlch was breathing, but unconscious.
Willem looked nervous. "What happens if it resets while we still stand here on it?"
"I do not want to find out. Help me get him upstairs."
Willem and Zethar dragged Bwlch upstairs. The werewolf fighting mad. The chair he was sitting in was almost broken.
"Calm yourself, we are not your enemies!" Zethar yelled with authority.
It howled in outrage, and burst its bonds.
"Willem! Use that dagger!" Zethar whacked it with his quarterstaff, breaking open its skull. The wolf turned human. It looked lonely in death. "Pitiful creature. May you find peace." He saw Bwlch had started to awaken. Zethar said, "Willem, let's take Bwlch up to Tollerath's quarters to bar ourselves in there for the night." The druid grabbed back his silvered dagger and helped Willem with Bwlch.
To be continued
To be continued
Bwlch, male human Ranger
2: CR 2, medium humanoid; HD 2d10+2; hp
17; Initiative +2, Spd 30 ft; AC 15 (flatfooted 13, touch 12); Attack +4 (1d8+2
Mighty [Str 14] Masterwork Composite Longbow), or +4 (1d8+2 Longsword); Favored
Enemy (Dragon); AL CG; Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +1; Str 14, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 10,
Wis 12, Cha 8
Skills: Hide +7, Listen +6, Move Silently +7, Spot +6, Wilderness Lore +6
Feats: Track, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot
Equipment: Mighty [Str 14] Masterwork Composite Longbow, Longsword
Willem, Doppelganger: CR 2, medium shapechanger; HD 4d8+4; hp 22; Initiative +1, Spd 30 ft; AC 15 (flatfooted 14, touch 11); Attack +4/+4 (1d6+1 slam), or +4 (1d6+1 shortsword); Detect Thoughts, Alter Self, Immunities; AL N; Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +6; Str 12, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 13
Skills: Bluff +12, Disguise +22, Listen +11, Sense Motive +6, Spot +8
Feats: Alertness, Dodge
Notes: the creature calls himself Willem, but he is not what he seems. He pretends to be a woodsman who sought shelter in the castle only to discover the dead within. The truth is that Willem is nothing more than a looter. He thought the keep was abandoned and hoped to find some untended valuables. He hopes to gain the protection of Zethar and Bwlch, and intends to follow and help them until he can leave the keep.