After cleansing the kobold lair, the group returned triumphantly to Winterhaven. Noorwyn used his charm to get an audience with Lord Padraig at an inconvenient hour, but he couldn’t get him to pay the reward without proof of the deed having been done. He demanded the goblin head of Irontooth to be produced. Noorwyn insisted it was done, but that they didn’t have time to go back for the head because they had other pressing business. Padraig said he would have to send his own men to verify it and Noorwyn could collect his fee next time they passed through Winterhaven.
Meanwhile (unbeknownst to the others), Mana used his own charm to hire Ninaran as a guide up to the Keep for the next morning.
Next morning they set out for the Keep, Ninaran leading the way. Noorwyn and Brok were unable to be civil with the elf, although Mana tried to keep the peace. As they approached, the narrow track widened into a clearing.
The forest suddenly fell silent. Animal and insect sounds stopped, and even the wind died down so that not even a leaf moved in the branches overhead. It was unnaturally cold, and they felt like someone—or something—was watching them, although they knew there was no one else nearby.
Ninaran was just interested in the gold and was content to walk with them for the morning up to the edge of the dead clearing around the spooky Keep, then she took her payment and left.
Great piles of shattered stone blocks and scorched timbers dominated the clearing, sprawling out from its center to the edge of the woods. No plants grew among the ruins or within the clearing. The ground was bare dirt, and although the forest had begun to reclaim the path leading here, it had not intruded into the ruins of Shadowfell Keep.
Yet clearly someone had tampered with the ruins. In the center of the debris, stone blocks and timbers had been gathered into a pile. Someone had cleared a path through the rubble and pulled aside the wreckage to reveal a stone staircase. The staircase descended into darkness.
With the barest minimum of caution the adventurers descended into the dungeons below the ruins of the Keep. The stairway leading down consisted of finely crafted stone, perhaps the work of dwarves. A breeze chilled the brave adventurers to the bone as they
took each step down. The flicker of torchlight spilled from a room at the bottom of the stairs.
After taking a few steps into the centre of the room, Brok fell into a concealed pit and was attacked by a swarm of rats. His primal thunder soon was the end of the vermin, but more deadly vermin took advantage of the trap to spring their attack on the rest of the party – goblins!
There were four: a couple of snipers and a couple of soldiers. It should have been nothing for our stalwart group, yet these four little critters put up quite the fight! Whether due to over-confidence or just bad luck, it was a battle that left them more bloody than they’d anticipated. Luckily, Brok kept the last one from escaping to find help.
And so our group ended this session, licking their wounds in the first guard chamber of the first level beneath Shadowfell Keep…