With their strength renewed, the party ventured back out into the dungeon where they discovered the living quarters of more goblins, including their leader, Balgron the Fat. Balgron’s bravado quickly dissipated in the face of the party’s superior might and he was soon begging for his life. However, he was not able to offer any information on Kalarel or what was transpiring in the depths of the dungeons, so Balgron’s position as goblin chieftain was quickly terminated.
Continuing their exploration, the group next found a torture chamber with more goblins and a hobgoblin torturer wielding red-hot pokers. This group soon lay dead and the party pressed on with their exploration.
They soon found a long hallway lined with sarcophagi. The party readied themselves for a trap as they made their way down the hallway, and were quickly being besieged by skeletons spewing from the sarcophagi. Leaving a trail of shattered bones, they made their way to the end of the hall into a chamber which was obviously once a shrine to Bahamut. An altar sat along both the north and south walls, and a mural of the dragon god graced the ceiling of the chamber. A search of the altars revealed a secret compartment which held five small dragon statues inlaid with silver.
The party then went through a door which led out of the shrine and found themselves in a small burial chamber where a stone sarcophagus lay on a raised dais. As they entered, the lid burst from the sarcophagus and a skeletal figure dressed in plate armor rose from the dust.
“The rift must never be re-opened!” the skeletal figure croaks. “State your business, or prepare to die!”
Intrigued by the figure’s statement, the party conversed with the skeletal knight eventually convinced him of their intention to stop the rift from be opened by Kalarel and this is what he told them.
“I am Sir Keegan. I was commander here in Shadowfell Keep. It was my charge to keep the rift sealed, lest Orcus’ unholy powers once again seep into the world.”
“I failed in my responsibility. I allowed the influence of the Shadow Rift and my knowledge of the crumbling empire to distract me from my sworn oath. The corruption that lies on the other side of the rift touched me and triggered disaster. Orcus’ vile taint soaked through the rift and into my dreams. A madness overcame me. I was possessed! In a rage, I drew my sword and slew my wife and children. From that bloody deed I moved outward, attacking my captains, one by one, killing them even as they stared in shock. I had become a murderous fiend!”
“Finally the alarm went up, and what remained of the legion banded together against me. Even in my rage, I realized I couldn’t best them all, so I fled into the crypts to hide from vengeance. Only then did the madness lift. I realized what I had done and despaired. I had killed my love and broken my oath. More than that, I had done so with my sword, Aecris, an implement given to me by King Elidyr when I was knighted. The remnants of my legion sealed the passage and trapped me here. I selected this as fitting place to spend eternity.”
“I am past redemption, but perhaps I can grant you aid. I cannot leave this crypt, but Aecris can. Perhaps this elegant weapon, unlike me, can be redeemed. I give it to you that you might purge Shadowfell Keep of those who work to open the rift. Seek Bahamut’s boon at the altars outside and perhaps he too will grant you aid.”
The party then returned to the twisting hallways of the dungeon where they ran into more of the walking dead. Their battle with the zombies was complicated by a series of runic traps traced into the floor of the corridors, which caused those hit by them to flee in different directions. The party was able to overcome the zombies and the traps and even discovered a secret room hidden off one of the corridors.
The room seemed to be nothing more than a small empty chamber, but this proved to be an illusion, and after a brief fight with a couple more zombies, they entered into a small secret armory. The racks and shelves in the armory contain an array of weapons and armor that have been rusted and rendered useless with age. As they move near a rusted suit of armor upon a stand, a ghostly image appears and calls out with a booming voice.
“A wondrous treasure,
valued by all, sought by many.
Found in both victory and defeat,
yet never at the bottom of a treasure chest.
It marches before you like a herald,
and lives long after you are gone.
Of what do I speak?”
After pondering the riddle for a few moments, the correct answer is spoken and the rusted armor gleams with light and transforms from junk into a magical suit of armor.
With a little more exploration of the passageways, the party finds a stairway leading deeper into the dungeons. Knowing that more trouble likely waits for them at the bottom of the stairs, the group decides to hole up in the hidden armory to rest and recuperate.