On February 1st, Year 6, Satyrs (wanting to settle near it to be nearer the Vale) finally prevail on Citadel House Adventurers to return to the ruined elven castle and certify once and for all that it is not haunted:
- Q (TrS): Level 4 Human Thief
- Snickerton (CoS): Level 1 Halfling Musician
They arrive in the afternoon to find Satyrs eating in the rumble strewn dining hall. They are happy to see them coming to take a look and mention that they heard trickling water coming from the fireplace. The satyrs are about to head into the Vale and say goodbye.
Snickerton is most curious about the upper floors, so they scramble up the ruined stairs to the second floor, finding long-dead drakes scattered through the rooms and a nest. All the rooms and the nest have clearly been ransacked, so they move on the the third floor, having to climb where the stairs are completely gone. This floor is strewn with the bodies of giant rats and Q senses a fresher aura of death here. He determines that the bedroom has been used somewhat more recently, finding signs of the desk and bed being occupied since last they were tossed by looters.
Back on the ground floor, they briefly pass through the rooms open to the sky (trees grow in them) and make their way into a study. This room looks less disturbed, but for ruined tomes strewn about the opposite door. They search the desk, finding some trinkets (WWJLTS), and open the closet to be attacked a dark ooze.
It uses its darkness magic to darken the room and eludes attacks, damaging Q and falling from the ceiling onto Snickerton. Nearly unconscious from its acid, Snickerton escapes, climbing out the window. While Q combats it, Snickerton climbs into the window and hits it with a well-placed crossbow bolt, causing it to try to ambush Q with another roof drop. He avoids it, luring it to the light where he soon kills it. Snickerton bottles the ooze with broken halves of two hour glasses and some sealing wax from the desk.
They force their way through the door into the ruined library, finding that piles of books and rubble resist their passage. Once inside, they scramble to the other door where they find the stones and books have been dug back. It leads to a store room and stairs down to the basement. The first level of the basement seems to have been covered in a puddle fairly recently, but also looted. The cellar below it is in a foot of water with signs it has been much higher in the past. The stop a sink running in the corner and abscond with all of the intact, almost certainly over-aged, wine.
They return to descend another level and find a prison flooded to three feet deep. They can hear a sink overflowing at the back of the room. The room is sick with a powerful aura of death. Snickerton has been carrying the candle, but gets out a second for Q to take into the water with him. Almost immediately, Q spots movement and gets back to the stairs before it can grab him. He slays the creature and it fades into the water.
As Q returns on his way to the sound of trickling water, four more water phasms attack. He attempts to fight them off, and Snickerton destroys one with his crossbow, but one manages to pull Q under, extinguishing his candle. Q soon slays his remaining attacker and emerges from the water. He splashes in the dark to the sound of trickling water and turns off the faucet there. He retrieves and relights his candle before picking the locks to each of the eight cells. With the water so deep, he is unable to conduct a proper search before returning to the stairs.
They leave the flooded dungeon to drain, not knowing how long it will take, and leave the thoroughly-searched castle by a secret shipping door in the back wall, selling their wine to wealthy citizens who value its historical origin. They both level up.
Another of the older (in terms of how long I’ve had it prepared) secrets of the immediate Vale area was the flooded dungeon below this castle. Considering a pipe led them here, I didn’t expect draining it to take so long.