Scene I: Tallie and Splug
As soon as the Avengers stirred from their slumber the whispering stopped. They creep over to the cells and notice, for the first time, that two of the three cells are occupied. At one end was a semi-naked goblin wearing Y-fronts, a pinstripe waistcoat, a top-hat and a monacle. At the opposite end of the cells lie a crumpled figure that began groaning as soon as the Avengers come into view. Munchkin and Bryony retreated to interrogate the goblin, while Fylphi watched over the human figure.
The goblin, it turned out, was an extraordinarily good cards player. His comrades had imprisoned him for “cheating” the entire unit out of their rations. His name was Splug, he told them, and would pay handsomely for the chance to accompany them to the exit. When he finds out that they weren’t escaping, he offers to give them information in return for gold or jewels. He tells them that Balgron “the Fatts” McFatronfell, leader of the Clan of Goblins that guarded the Keep, was resting through the door that led east from the antechamber. Splug also informed them that they would not be able to beat whatever was at the bottom of the Keep. Being a lowly soldier, he said, he had no more information to give. However, he rejigged his offer of accompaniment to include the rest of their stay at the Keep for a small sum of the loot they would gain.
Meanwhile, the groaning figure’s condition was deteriorating. Fylphi had thus far failed to pick the lock to the cell and called to the other Avengers. They recognised the figure as Tallie, the prison guard that had accompanied them and had been dragged off by goblins. Just as they recognised him and called him by his name, he regained consciousness. He expressed disbelief at their survival and, when questioned, informed them that their transference from Cairngorm Penitentiary to the Gravelstoke Correction Facility had been because of their ineptitude at everything. His condition took a sudden drop as he lost consciousness again. Bryony feystepped into the cell to try to revive him and Munchkin used his healing skills to try and stabilize the guard, but blood spurted from his face and he turned into a zombie. Bryony, stuck in a 7’ by 5’ space with a rabid zombie, panicked.
Munchkin, recalling the ring of keys that he looted from the Torturer, tries every single key before finding the correct one; by the time that the door had been unlocked, once-Tallie had already been put down. Exiting the Torture Chamber, they politefully declined Splug’s offer and wished him good luck.
Scene 2: Balgron and Kruthiks
Once back in the antechamber they tried the eastern door and found it unlocked. They proceeded through the corridor beyond into the territory of the Goblin Chieftain. Spying a small brass bell on a table surrounded by goblin guards, Byranaetr used her mage hand to grab onto the bell’s clapper to prevent it from ringing. Then, the Avengers began their assault on the Cheiftain’s lair. The goblins are surprised by the silenced bell and easily fall to the group’s tactics. They head towards the Chieftain’s chambers to witness him fleeing through a secret door, before more guards pour from nearby rooms. After making short work of the guards they follow Balgron. They find him in an excavation area, making his way across planks that join the tiny platforms. A group of workers nearby are alerted to their presence by their guard-drake in an encounter that would haunt Munchkin for years.
They take out the guards (after Fylphi falls down into the pit in an extraordinary display of his dexterity) and corner Chief Balgron on a platform. He initially refuses to cooperate, however after Bryony waves the medallion she stole from the Kobold priest outside the Keep he quiets down and becomes much more pliable. He informs them of a shadow beneath the Keep and tells them a little of its history, as well as the Passphrase that the goblins are working with; “And life fails in the dark.” It isn’t too long before he comes to his senses and clams up again. Bryony uses her Mage-Hand to remove all of the planks joining the platforms and to snuff out every light-source in the room.
Shorty’s Avengers descend into a natural cave and discover a Kruthik lair – after Fylphi falls into a pitfall and is ravaged by a hungry Kruthik, the group retreat back to the caves and find a locked room containing a natural spring. And a Blue Slime. Bryony (now revealing her true name as Byranaetr) leaps to an island in the centre of a pool and blasts the slime with fire spells, while Munchkin hacks away and uses his flame-based breath attack to whittle its health. Eventually they defeat the slime and loot the skeleton of another unfortunate person that fell prey to the slime. Munchkin gains a Shield of Protection, Byranaetr gains a healing potion, and Fylphi gains some silver pieces. They read through some scrolls in a message cylinder and discover that the slime had been sent as a “Plan B” for the messenger by “Chief Krand of the Bloodreavers”. After taking stock of their near-deaths in this area, they backtrack through the caves and continue deeper into the Keep.
Scene 3: Aecris and Fear
Engaging goblins that they could defeat whilst avoiding guards that they could not, the Avengers descended into a crypt filled with sarcophagi. They walk towards an altar and are surprised when the coffins disgorge reanimated skeletons. For each skeleton they defeat, another is released. They fight for hours, until their strength wavers and Munchkin drops to one knee before the altar and offers praise to Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon; the remaining skeletons immediately crumple to the floor. Fylphi finds a secret drawer in the altars containing three small dragon statues.
They walk through to the next room in the crypt and find the final resting place of Shadowfell Keep’s last Paladin-Knight. The marble sarcophagus burst open to reveal the lingering spirit of Ser Keegan, who interrogated the Avengers on their intentions. Byranaetr and Munchkin passed his tests of valor and might; however, Fylphi failed to win over the spirit, and had to bluff his way into the Paladin’s approval. Munchkin gained Ser Keegan’s longsword Aecris, a weapon that had been passed down through generations of Bahamut-paladins since the Dawn Age.
Having received Ser Keegan’s blessings, the Avengers moved through the crypt. The Magelight cast a glow across a mystical rune in their path: in a surprising display of dexterity, Fylphi and Byranaetr managed to leap across it; Munchkin managed to fall flat on his face in the rune. A scream escaped from the rune as it disappeared. Munchkin, overcome with terror, fled into the darkness and spent the next quarter-hour walking in circles by following the left wall. After being rescued by his companions and battling through a horde of zombies, the group descends to the next level of Shadowfell Keep’s basements.