Starting out bright an early, the exploration team elected to investigate the graveyard before braving the castle itself. They discovered that the iron gate was crudely barricaded from the outside, as if to keep something in the graveyard. Rather than risk being spotted forcing the gate, Jod bent a couple of the fence bars with the aid of Winthrope’s magical anytool.
Inside, the graveyard was surprisingly well tended, the markers clean and free of lichen, the lawns lush, trimmed and free of weeds. Near the edge of the cemetary was a small shrine to Desna, with a magical bowl that seemed to transform rainwater into holy water. Taking the water, but being careful to leave the bowl behind, the party decided to fetch Koya to get her opinion. The old woman, while fascinated, had no additional insights to offer, but she did shoo the rest of the party on their way, assuring them she could get back to the caravan safely on her own.
Pressing on, the explorers noted the haphazard patrol of dire corbies meandering about the walls, and used ropes to climb up. Moving directly to some large double doors, the party tried to force their way in. When they eventually succeeded, they were greeted by a sphere of darkness and a thunderclap of magic that shook most of the heroes and alerted the dire corbies on the wall, as well as the more horrible denizens of the keep’s stables.
While the party battled the high priestess of Pazuzu in her lair, the gang of dire corbies excitedly ratcheted back the arm of an old catapult, and a monstrous spider raced out of the stable to engage the travlers, followed by its keeper, a scrawny ettercap. The battle raged back and forth, but eventually the priestess, the spider, its keeper and the dire corbies were defeated. After examining their spoils and repairing wounds, the party pressed on into the keep itself.
Dispatching a few more dire corbies as they explored, the party eventually raised some sort of alarm. While they were resting in an elegantly appointed bedroom, they heard a frantic scratching at the window. A tiny, winged figure, carrying a pair of starknives, of all things, warned the party that a large force of troglodytes was searching the keep, and about to burst in on them. They had only a moment to prepare before the door flew open and a gang of reeking reptilian creatures rushed in.
The battle was brutal, as several of the party were left gagging by the stench rolling off the troglodytes. Winthrope was savagely bitten by a large lizard, and suffered a slow, painful poisoning of the blood, while Spivey, as the tiny azata was named, fluttered about delivering magical healing to several members of the party. Ultimately, the heroes prevailed, and seized the troglodyte chieftain’s magical weapon as a prize.
After recuperating and taking stock, the travelers decided to continue their exploration of the keep. Making their way to the larger tower, they observed a pair of hideous, twisted brutes wrestling near a scum-covered pond. Spivey said that they, and their sister, had made some kind of deal with the dire corbies to rent a lair in the castle. They also fell afoul of an undead spirit, apparently that of a little boy who parched to death after being pinned by fallen beams. The undead creature possessed a strange ability to steal voices and sap vitality, but was no match for Jod’s blade or Wendy’s claws.
In the tower itself, they discovered a beautiful, winged woman waiting impatiently for them. Silently signaling her peaceful intent, she reached out and touched Winthrope on the forehead. The halfling was surprised to hear her voice in her head. The harpy, Zaiobe, proposed a deal. She had been the paramour of the self-styled lord of the keep, a strange tengu called Kikonu. There had been a falling out when Zaiobe discovered that Kikonu was somehow able to use her voice, which she had mysteriously lost years ago, and refused to give it back. The harpy offered to lure Kikonu into an ambush, and join the heroes in dispatching him. Despite Spivey’s discovery that Zaiobe was “evil”, the party agreed and decided to attack in the courtyard.
After the travelers took care of the dire corbies manning the gatehouse, Zaiobe telepathically contacted Kikonu, who quickly rushed to the courtyard. Enraged by the harpy’s treachery, the tengu focused his wrath on her, but was eventually taken down by the combined might of the party. However, some unnatural vitality caused his flesh to continue knitting together even as he lay unconscious, and before the heroes could figure out how to destroy him completely, Zaiobe revealed her true colors and attacked.
A strange game of cat and mouse followed, as Zaiobe used flight to her advantage, and Jebediah conjured a cloud of mist to hide from her. Periodically darting out to hammer Kikonu’s body, and relying upon Spivey’s mobility, the heroes eventually drove the harpy off, but given her murderous spite towards Kikonu, it is unlikely that she would leave such an insult unanswered for long.
Well and truly exhausted, the explorers decided to head back to the caravan to recover, trusting that the remaining dire corbies would be left in disarray after the deaths of their leaders.
Defeated Nevakali 1200 xp
Defeated Flatbelly the ettercap 800 xp
Defeated Flatbelly’s spider 400 xp
Laid the attic whisperer to rest 1200 xp
Killed the troglodyte chieftain 600 xp
Slaughtered 4 troglodytes 1600 xp
Slew a pet monitor lizard 600 xp
Destroyed 7 dire corbies 2800
Defeated Kikonu 1600
Drove off Zaiobe 1600
Recruited Spivey 1600
Pitted Zaiobe against Kikonu 800
Broke the dire corbies 400
Broke the troglodytes 400
Helped Koya find a new site sacred to Desna 400
New XP Total: 9014 Welcome to 4th level!
Next Level: 15000 XP