We line ourselves up, and open the door to continue this folly. I truly am beginning to question our reasoning, fighting our way inside an occupied keep only to have to turn around and fight our way back out again… This can’t end well.
I hear a bellowing voice through the doorway, it sounds muffled and far away, too far to make out any words. I pause to pray again over the rod, we will need all the help we can get. The others move up around me and enter the hall beyond the door. I can see past them to a wide expanse beyond, this place might be impressively beautiful if we were here for other reasons, all I can do is mark the architecture in passing as we face off with two more skeletons wielding axes.
A balcony spreads out before us, with openings down to the area below. The high vaulted ceiling is supported by rows of columns running through the center of both main sections of the balcony on either side. A section of walkway cuts through the center of the gallery, bridging the two balconies into one. I finish invoking the rod and prepare to make my way through the doorway onto the balcony, last as usual.
As I start to move toward the door I hear a voice call out in a lordly, affronted below- “how dare you profane my domain!” followed by a searing crackle, followed by the curses and bellows of my companions. I charge onto the balcony, there’s not many to face yet, I see stairs at the other end, where Kiki is alone ready to defend, I move up to lend her a hand. She is facing one skeleton, but if the bellows below tell me anything, there’s more to come. As I move past the first gallery I see what I assume is the source of the lightening attack, he is decked out in full armored regalia, black shield and a sword that crackles still with electric energy. Out of the corner of my eye I see a green glow on the other side of the balcony, across the bridge, it quickly disappears through a door.
Cilka casts one of her sticky webs down below, very effectively slowing down the next wave of skeletons on their way up to deal with us profaners.
Keth has waved his hands and mumbled some of his magic words, the skeleton and his companion on the stair behind him both lose their footing on the grease that has appeared on the floor and top of the stairs. The skeleton crashes to the ground, his companion behind him on the stairs, wobbles a bit, but remains standing. I stop just before the floor gets shiny and slippery looking, but within lunge range. It takes a bit, but Kiki and I take them both out.
Keth removes the grease and we descend to take on the lordly bellower and his minions.
Going down the stairs with my companions, I see doors to the left that are just now opening having been freed from the webbing that was holding them shut. I lunge and strike one as I come up to the doorway. Then prepare myself to settle in and work my way through these two, alas it is not to be, Keth does more of his magic mumbo and suddenly the floor falls away from beneath both of my opponents, they crash to the bottom of the newly formed pit 30 feet below where they once stood on firm ground.
The Bellowing Lord is the only one remaining, my stalwart companions have made short work of the rest. We surround him and take turns pounding on him, which seems to have depressingly little effect. Slowly the hits that are landing on him start to make an impression, he takes a step back raises his sword and fires off another round of electrical energy which spreads out in a crackling cone just missing Coy and I to either side. Kuni crumples to the ground, I have no idea how hurt she is. I hit him with two mighty blows, all that shows for it is a small chunk taken out of his armor, my gods this guy is tough.
Gertie’s sword seems to almost glow with a heavenly light, it’s blows weigh heavy on him. Hers is the blow that finally brings him down. We take this brief break to tend our wounded, check our surroundings and ready ourselves for the next onslaught. I stand by the pit on the other side of the door, guarding against the moment the evil nasties held at bay are able to advance against us once again.
I hear the others shouting back and forth, about doors and the tower we needed to find is here! And Keth, “More are coming!”… I stand my ground and guard the pitted door.
Standing by the pit, waiting for the ground to close in again, I am suddenly rocked back by a blow out of nowhere, I see a shadowy shape floating in front of me, similar in outline to the bat-winged creatures we recently defeated. I am severely weakened by this blow, it’s as if it’s sucked away much of my inner strength. Kiki, Coy and Alaric rush to my aide, my weapon meets no resistance as I slash at the thing. Theirs with the magic and the holiness do seem to make a bit more of an impact on the specter. Then Cilka comes up and sends her balls of fire racing into it. It takes off through the doors and espcapes over the pit.
The tower we were searching out with the dark cloud over it has been found, and other enemies are coming, we must move along, or die before we even get past the first rooms.
I run up the stairs and attack another armored skeleton waiting on the balcony. I glory in this fight, something I can hit! I watch in dismay as the skeleton sends Coy down to the ground with a swift blow.
In anger I lay the skeleton low as Alaric revives Coy
Gertie, Keth, Clika and Kuni have followed a green light up the tower and out onto the roof to find the source of the oppressive cloud. Meanwhile Keth’s pit goes away and skeletons flood the area and I turn to defend. I lunge at the first skeleton coming up and connect solidly on my second shot. Kiki and her Snake continue to take down the archers. Alaric steps up and attacks while Coy dispatches the other with electricity. I lunge and dispatch the undead and then head to help my friends on the roof. Coy and Alaric close behind
When we reach the top of the tower roof…we see smoke coming out of a cracked and broken urn-type thing and one of those flying undead things attacking everyone. We deal with this beast and Cilka bashes the urn with her magic and smashes it to bits. The urn contains nothing, no ash, nothing that would burn, just… nothing.
The green light is the ghost of the wife of the Lord of the keep, she is sympathetic to us and not an evil spirit as we had first feared. Gertie seems to have a bit of a rapport with this sad dead woman, she converses with her, learning what brought her to this fate. Gertie learns that the Lady’s husband was not always evil, he was a good man before the scholar came. After the scholar came, he changed and in a fit of rage he cast his wife off this very tower. We assume the scholar is the real source of the evil that pervaded this place, we fear the Lord was just a lackey doing the scholar’s bidding.
We search the area, but don’t turn up much of note.
Hearing Kiki call out from below, warning us of more of the evil undead gathering to harry our escape. We all pour down the stairs bottle necking at the doorway out. Cilka hurls the last gem from her necklace at the group of the enemy across the pit, a fireball smashes into their midst and chars them all quite badly, a few do not get back up. Gertie decides to leap out the window. After I get over the shock of this tactic, I realize Coy is already out there so I decide that it’s actually a decent idea and I follow suit, but I do choose another window.
I manage to get to my feet pretty quickly, but need a second to regain my bearings. Kiki lands much the same way I did not too far off. I rush over to assist Coy who is battling some skeletal archers. We deal with them quickly and head into the keep again to rescue our friends.
We dispatch the rest of the skeletons, fearing the scholar might still be in residence and wanting to re-sanctify the church of the city, we decide to hunker down to regain some of our strength before continuing on.