After taking back the King’s Seat from the upstart Hobgoblins, Thomas Tresendar and William Rose began organizing the rebuilding of the fortress. A small detachment of militia and laborers were sent to begin the preliminary repairs of the walls and the main quarters. Things did not go smoothly however and William Rose received a message saying that the well in the center of the castle had frozen and an unnatural cold was wafting up from the depths. That was the last communications from the men in days.
Rose explained the situation to some of his men, Vic, Lance and Zek, and sent them on their way to see what was troubling the castle. Rose warned them that there was probably something sinister afoot and to send word if they needed help.
After a day of traveling the adventurers reached King’s Seat and find it surprisingly devoid of activity. The laborers and soldiers were no where to be found although the evidence of recent work of many people moving around were clear to see. Tents and temporary lodgings were stocked with food, cooking pits abandoned. The three approached the main keep and finding the gates locked hear a shout from a window above.
“Be ye amongst the living?! I’ll send you back to the grave otherwise!” A helmeted fellow screamed down at them.
Lance inquired, “Good sir! Let us in, we’ve come lend assistance by order of William Rose!” Before Lance and company can strike up further conversation they hear shouts coming from the window above and possibly the sounds of battle. The same voice floats down do them from above over the din of metal on metal:
“Under the keep! That’s where you need to go! Something’s bringing the dead back to life under the keep! We sent some men down there and they never came back!” And the sounds of battle continued from above, drowning out whatever else the soldier had left to say.
The company heeds the advice of their fellow militia member and head under the keep. Using the same passage they used to sneak in only nights before they find that the environment has changed a bit. The air is considerably cooler and the further in they go the colder it becomes. The flow of water at the end of the tunnel is frozen and where it once trickled from a small crack in the stone there is a large hole in the cave walls leading to what appears to be a long abandoned catacombs. Judging by the placement of the debris Vic realizes that something blew out this wall from inside, some sort of immense and powerful force created the new opening revealing to them the entrance to the crypts.
The group decides to move forward and they are greeted by a strange sight. At the end of a long corridor two glowing orbs seemingly hanging in midair flank a large wooden door. A strange symbol is carved both of the doors. Two suits of armor stand in front of either door and a beautiful, if rather faded, red rug adorns the floor beckoning would be guests to enter. The bodies of two men, clearly the missing militia members, lie of the floor. One of them in a pool of blood and the other holding a bloodied short sword.
Vic and Lance move forward in an attempt to inspect the bodies. Zek feels the orbs burning into his Drow eyes and the piercing light causes him to hesitate entering any further into the room. Vic sees that one of the militia men was killed by a stab wound, presumably by the soldier holding the sword on the the ground. That soldier, oddly, appears to have been suffocated to death. Vic then sees a blood stain in the center of the rug and a small tear in the center of the blood stain. Confused by the strange scene the party investigates further.
Suspecting a trap Lance moves ahead and casts mend on the rug, hoping to repair the rug and disarm whatever trap or foul play may lie in wait. The moment Lance touches the rug the suits of armor spring to life, the swords in their hands dance away from them with a life of their own and the rug rears its head and dives at the nearest adventurer.
Zek, using his innate Drow magic, reacts in time and drops a sphere of darkness on the room thus preventing the animated objects from seeing the party without revealing themselves to attack. Lance, blind in the darkness, retreats back to the entrance of the corridor. Vic steps ups and trades blows with whatever unfortunate object steps out of the darkness and before long the swords and suits of armor are lying on the ground, lifeless. The rug attempts to grapple Vic and smother him to death but Vic uses his Paladin’s diving magic to put an end to the troublesome rug.
The party realizes that in an attempt to save his friend from being smothered, one of the unfortunate militia members stabbed the other through the rug instead. Now facing the hoard of Animated Objects on his own, the remaining militia was quickly overwhelmed and smothered by the rug.
Moving forward into the newly discovered basement of the King’s Seat the party comes to a sort of welcoming foyer with more statues and suits of armor on raised daises. The room continues into another long hallway inset with alcoves and containing more of the floating light orbs. At the end of the hallway is a small trunk with two robes in it and a stone table with a bowl carve into its surface full of frozen water. Zek examines the robes and notices on the front of them they have a symbol for the sun and the moon, respectively. Zek informs the group that this is probably a preparation station for priests or holy clergy to perform a sort of cleansing or ablution. Lance, not wanting to take any chances, knocks over the stone table and destroys it, sending the ice skittering down the hallway towards the entrance.
Vic tests the door in front of them. It is getting colder the further they go and the door is freezing to the touch. Seeing no signs of traps, however, the party continues forward. The area beyond the door is completely dark and the light from the floating orbs penetrates only a few feet into what appears to be a stairwell that winds down into the darkness. Lance lights a torch and takes note that the flame barely produces light and flickers as if constantly fighting to be put out.
At the bottom of the stairs the group finds they are not empty. In the center of a long, narrow room is a wooden table with six chairs around it. The head and the foot of the table are empty but the other four side chairs are inhabited by humanoid forms in heavy cloaks. They are also encased in solid ice and it is impossible to tell their facial features beneath the ice and in the depths of the hoods. However, Zek finds that he can make out what he thinks are symbols for constellations. With all of the ice covering he can’t be sure but he recognizes the symbols used to dictate constellations from his arcane studies.
In the western wall Lance sees a massive fireplace set for a fire. Kindling and wood have been set up and it appears that the fire only need be lit and it should light right up. Vic inspects the door in the north wall and finds that it too, like the inhabitants of the chairs, is covered in ice. Frozen solid. Lance, hoping the fireplace is the answer to the frozen door, plunges his torch into the awaiting kindling and watches as the flames lick greedily at the dry wood quickly turning into a blaze.
At that moment the ice recedes from the four men seated at the table and they look around bewildered. Lance, always the diplomat, yells out a greeting but is met by snarls and one man screeching “Death to the unbelievers!”.
Zek casts a suggestion on one of the apparent cultists who runs off to the entrance of the dungeon checking to see if there are any more intruders. Vic launches into melee with the other three and Lance, finally able to fight in some illuminated quarters fires off a volley of arrows. The cultists are all dealt with quickly and the party quickly realizes as they fall the ice of the door melts away and they are free to continue further into the depths.
Going down some more steps the party comes to two doors. Checking the western door first they find a dark room full of what appear to be bathtubs. Seeing nothing of importance in bathtubs they continue through the northern door and into a massive ceremonial chamber set up as if some sort of church or place of worship. Two rows of pews are visible upon first entering. A small stone bridge spans a now frozen stream that splits the room. On the other side steps lead up ten feet to a raised platform. A door in the western wall comes to Zek’s attention and he moves to inspect it. Vic and Lance head up to the platform and find a five pointed star in the middle of a circle carved into the floor. The five points each lead to a fountain and four braziers stand empty circling on the outside. In the center of the star is a deeply stained part of the floor and what appears to be a pedestal intended for holding books or tomes. It is unlike anything they have ever seen but it is clearly the center of some sort of unholy ritual.
Zek, meanwhile, has noticed a glyph of warding on the floor in front of the door. Realizing this could be hazardous to his health Zek backs away and uses his mage hand to open the door, setting off the trap, which he unfortunately finds himself within range of. Luckily for Zek he is agile enough to avoid a blast of Divine energy. As he collects himself a cold wind blows out from door. Lance’s torch immediately goes out and the room is plunged in darkness.
Vic and Lance hear Zek cry out in pain and they turn to assist their comrade. Blind in the darkness Lance fires some arrows in the direction of the gasps. Vic rushes down the stairs to see to shadowy forms floating around Zek’s fallen form. The forms turn to challenge Vic and put him down as they did his unsuspecting friend.
Vic calls on his divine wrath and smites one of the fiends. The shadow demon falls quickly to the holy blows of Vic and is sent back to the abyss. The other demon, seeing a chance to make a break for it, speeds off into the darkness. Lance lights a torch and rushes to Zek’s side. Vic and Lance stabilize him and then turn to follow the escaping demon.
They search the bathtub room and find no sign of the demon. At this point they realize the evil creature has surely escaped. Zek inspects the bathtubs and the layout of the room and realizes that this room was a sacrificial room. The bathtubs are stained with blood and he finds pipes running from the drains of the tubs into the wall. Zek hypothesizes that people were sacrificed in the tubs, their blood ran from this room to the fountains which flowed into the grooves carved into the floor making the unholy symbol of the five sided star within the circle. The pedestal was a summoning font and the whole ordeal was to summon and control demons to the will of whomever was doing the summoning.
With the departure of the Shadow Demon, warmth slowly returns to the area. The stream melts rapidly and begins to flow again. Through the other door the party finds a massive reservoir of water and tiny bit of light coming down from above. They are directly below the well of the King’s Seat.
The party heads back up to the surface and rescues the surviving militia members and laborers. They launch into their tale that two nights ago the water in the well froze. Well two men went down to check on it thinking it was awfully strange. They were gone an hour when something deep underground shook and already loose debris and rubble came raining down in the less stable parts of the castle. Most of them ran inside in an attempt to save whatever parts of the structure they could, fearing a larger earthquake might be coming when the hobgoblin and goblin dead they had piled up began coming back to life and drove them deep into the heart of the keep.
“Whatever you fellas did down there worked. All at once the moaning stopped and they started dropping like flies!” Says one of the militia men. “We appreciate what you’ve done for us and we’ve got to be sending a messenger bird to Rose and let him know what’s happened. Would you mind staying for at least a night or two? We’re a bit shaken up and could use the help cleaning up the place.”