In the dirt near the moorings where the quay used to be, there is something small and shining in the dirt. When Arith picks it up, it is a platinum coin with a stamp still visible – this may well be the coin that Mandravius (Pal) left to the Gods in gratitude for their safe passage. (And yes, we left it, regardless of its incredible value to a collector… it was given to the gods, after all.
We debate resting, but choose to go to the tower before we do so. we’re in fairly rough shape – but we will be so for all the time we’re here.
We trail through a set of storage areas, a barracks, a smithy – none of which have anything either surprising or useful. As we keep ascending, we enter a sulfur-smelling room with undead hounds.
Arith and Lachellis cannot identify them. River, however, finally identifies them as Niscean war hounds, which as a pack will bond with a single person. Fortunately, we avoid the fight entirely. After another barraks and other useless rooms, we encounter a war room. Although it is filled with interesting items, it is seriously out of date. Not out of date is the huge armoured figure that turns away from the table and focuses on us. He does NOT look friendly.
Arith and River hit him hard at the beginning of the fight. He retorts by… um… spitting out a miniature self. This second creature flanks Arith, and the large one grabs him. The General beats mercilessly on A, then takes a bite out of him. He chews with every evidence of satisfaction. Arith escapes his grasp with a teleport, and the creature turns his aggression toward Lachellis. Once again, he produces one of the miniature replicas of himslf. River manages to temporarily turn each of them against himself – and thereby kills the smaller creature.
It continues, but
- sooner than we would have expected - the creature explodes into a group of the four smaller creatures. They swing futilely at River, but miss him. We finally rout them. We expected that this was an anchor, but it turns out he was not.
The party rests – tries to. Lachellis seems to have not gotten a good night’s sleep, although the rest of us sleep like (forgive me) the dead. On waking, we determine that we must now face the donjon. As we approach the doors, we see that the doors hold not only a bas relief of demons and priests cavorting with the souls of the damned, but also skulls with spiked chains running through them – the symbol of Zon Chthon. Instead of attempting to break through the doors, we take the stairs to the next floor and hope for another way in…..
Back down to the second floor, and most of our search shows very little resistance and empty rooms.
In the banquet room, we find cold fires, dark brown stains, and a dias with thrones. As we enter the room, a figure manifests. He is ghostly and large – and he is bound by three chains.
This! This is the object of our quest. But we realize that a confrontation now would be hopeless The chain spirit cannot be destroyed while the chains exist. He would be gone for mere minutes. Lachellis is the only one who was too far in to get out—but Larisha acts fast and teleports Lachellis to her; they both take only minor burns when the door bursts into flame.
We continue our explorations, although with an even more somber outlook. We pass by the banquet hall, but this time we run by in a wary and hurried manner. We go back up the stairs in the front of the castle. We enter a hallway full of meaningless things – and Captain Castothrane.
One of the two captain’s minions moves through the wall and casts a fireball into the group of us. It hurts! Lachellis steps up, and the rest of us are not far behind.
In the very first offense, Larisha is knocked unconscious by a powerful attack from Castothrane. While she is brought back by River, the fight doesn’t get much better. The warriors are hard to hit – and they do quite a lot of ongoing damage. This is complicated by the minions’ ability to blind us.
During the fight, we come to realize that Castothrane is compelled to fight us – he does not want to do so. The usual implement in doing so is a golden circlet. In this instance, the chain is surely working just as well. When we finally overcome him and his minions, another chain is broken. We feel the evil lift from the room, and we feel resurgeance as our vigor comes back.
And yet – two more chains to go.