i finally managed to sneak past those stupid Ragesians and arrive at the entrance of Greyskull. As the monks of two winds explained, there really IS a breach in the firestorm they had not yet noticed. But there is a bunch of people waiting that i did not expect. I was informed of 3 elves (one dark) and 2 humans. But what are those 20 halflings and gnomes doing here?
I considered to stay hidden and listen in, but decided to approach openly to avoid their suspicions. They must’ve already been on edge with a ragesian army at stones throw.
My reception went pretty well, after mentioning the monks the elves and humans believed me. The introduced themselvel as Beryl (human female) Breora (elf female), Castagorn (human male), Lady Laurya (elf female) and Rylik (drow male).
They explained they made a bargain with clan Milhouse (the half/gnomes). The clan would get any treasure inside the castle, but we the torch. We also had a short discussion what todo with the torch (take it along or destroy) but didn’t come to a conclusion. Thus we entered the castle.
The whole castle looked pretty impressive if you ignore all the burn marks and ashes caused by the fire storm. It took a lot of time to investigate the ground floor and didn’t reveal much, besides some undead, devils and empty rooms.
At the end of a corridor we found the pump room an the elevator and more undead soldiers. But they didn’t attack us on sight, instead their leader Thorkid threatened us. We used this opportunity to negotiate and he offered to help us with the pump if we allowed him to take this place over, after our business is done. We agreed cause a castle full of undead and surrounded by ragesians was useless to us anyway. I wondered why an undead would confine himself to a single place when he could discover the world, but he said he wanted to study the source of his undeath first. I agree that it’s helpful to know the limits of your immortality.
He then explained the torch would most likely be at the top floor but it can only be reached by elevator. The elevator in turn is currently out of order and is secured by lots of traps. To enable the elevator, we must reactive the pump, which is connected to the water wheel. So we must remove the damn somehow. To avoid the traps we need the correct elevator lever combination. The note from the dead half orcs could be a hit on parts of it.
With this the first floor was fully explored, so we headed to the second floor. Here we found a series of rooms and corridors that i’m not describing in detail. This part of the 2nd floor is isolated and not connected to the other stairs in the second entrance hall. It contains the castles only toilets, a chapel, statues to several gods and is filled with holy smoke that compells visitors to donate stuff to the statues. Additionally all corridors had small wholes that connected them to adjacent rooms, so that the holy smoke could fill the area easily.
The chapel was inhabited by some devils who attackes us on sight. During combat an imp claimed they have free will, but i didn’t believe them. All devils serve Asmodeus! The fight was funny for me cause the devils tried to flee by teleporting through the wall wholes, while we’d have to walk a longer way through the next door. But with my own teleport i followed them easily and flushed em out!
We found a mirror in one of the back rooms, that showed another room with lots of mirrors and another undead dressed like a ragesian inquisitor. Later we found out this is Griiat, the source of all evil at this place. He used the mirrors to monitor the whole place and us. Reddengott as wraith could move between floors, not needing the elevator to command the troops. I tried to take it along but the mirrors magic faded when i put it into my bag of holding. I guess Griiat himself disabled it. Maybe the devils used it to communicate with him…?
After clearing the chapel Lady Laurya mentioned this it’s blessings are still intact so undead can’t come here. We could rest here anytime. But we were still healthy, so we moved on to the other part of the 2nd floor.
There we found a barricaded large banquet hall with a griesly sight. Several undead and an ochre jelly were feasting on rotten meat. The ochre jelly introduces himself als Lord Gorquith. They disliked Griiats leadership and expected his minions to kill them any day. Gorquith agreed that this would be a good opportunity to get back at him but he insisted that we should revive him before he would provide any help, like the correct elevator combination. He sent his jester with us, as he knew where there’s a secred compartment in the chapel than contains a scroll of true resurrection. We took and but the jester turned on Gorquith, telling us to use it on him instead. But he couldn’t provide any real arguments for himself like more information or telling us what an evil preson Gorquith is, so we held our part of the bargain and he left the castle. We revived Gorquith and told us the correct elevator combination.
At this point all accesible areas were explored so we returned to Thorkid and told him we’re ready to go up. Pumping up enough water would take hours, so we planned to rest after setting up the water wheel. He also warned us that Griiat would use this time to summon more undead and prepare his defenses. Several hours later the rocks were removed and the waterwheel was turning.
We moved towards the chapel but Reddengott was already waiting for us in the entrance hall with a new type of undead. We attacked them like we always did, but these guys were something else. They were moving like whirlwinds all the time and anyone caught in it was stunned for a short moment.
So if they didn’t move away, anyone close to them remained stunned until death. But my exceptional will allowed me to recover from their stunning blows quickly and focus their attention to me. The rest of our team could slowly whittle them down at range… but they were too slow to save me, when Reddengott commanded all undead to focus on me. Lady Laurya countered this by using all her healing magic to keep me alive, but the undead were too numerous.
I don’t remember the rest of the fight but this is what the others told me. A moment after i died, Reddengott revived me as another ogre wraith and turned me against my former allies (shame on me). They feared they’d all die at this point.
But our saviors arrived, when Clan Milhouse came down from the chapel after hearing all the noise. We started winning when one of them used a scroll to gain control of Reddengott and Breora started the song of forms, turning some of the wraiths subsantial and much more vulnerable to physical attacks. At this point they easily managed to kill the remaining undead (including me) and even asked Reddengott for the correct elevator combination. He gave the same one as Gorquith, but reversed so i guess he lived upstairs while he was alive.
This would’ve been the end of my story, if not for Thorkid and Lady Laurya. Somehow they managed to bring me back as a revenant, a being that’s both alive and undad at the same time. It took a while for me to get used to it, but it isn’t so bad (and who questions a gift horse). The new body seemed slightly stiffer than my old (speed 7 → 6) but a lot more resilient (unnatural vitality). Thorkid returned to the pump room while the rest of us rested, while waiting for the tanks to fill.
The tanks took about 16 hours to fill, so we had a lot of time. At this point i was introduced to Phoenix, a hamadryad and master of healing magic. She explained she was turned to stone by Reddengott, but the curse ended with his death. As she was “part” of the dam we cleared earlier, she inevitably met the group when she followed the only path to where Reddengott was slayn. As hamadryad she’s dependent on her accorn, which Reddengott took from her. So she’d join us in searching this place. I was also explained that my revivication weakened Laurya lot, so she’d be unable to join any fighting.
During our rest Griiat started another pointless attempt to get rid of us, by sending more Phantoms. They definately managed to surprise us as we didn’t expect invisible undead at this holy place. Castagorn took some good hits before the rest of was ready to strike back, but we managed to regroup. I was resting i a side room accessible only by teleport, so i did my own kind of surprise attack on them. We continued to rest after the last vanished, but we did set up guards and secure the only door, which they had used.
With 4 guys from clan Milhouse we headed to the elevator and started it up. Thorkid recommended us to secure the lever, so we decided Castagorn should control it and never let go until we arrived. We debated which of the 2 combinations would be correct (Reddengott or Thorkids) and decided to use Reddengotts, as he was controlled by us at that time and unable to lie. Turns out it was the wrong decision, as we triggered the traps of the 10 floors on the way up. I won’t list them all but suffice it to say we barely managed to survive, thanks to Phoenix’s incredible healing magic.
The 2 most dangerous traps: The outer floor suddenly gave in and one of the gnomes fell down. I barely managed to hold on and succeed in climbing up, but couldn’t stand up as there wasn’t enough space for us. At this point i put on my Bracers of Brachiation and climbed up, to avoid further floor traps. Arriving at the 10th floor, the last trap threatened to iron us, as it was an invisible but solid ceiling. It disappeared when we changed the lever to the last letter of Thorkids combination.
Finally arriving at the top floor… my head started to spin when grabbity stopped working. Our wizards explained we could decide ourselves what’s the “floor”, even the ceiling. Another heated battle started when we left the elevator. We were in a narrow hallway surrounded by arrowslits and undead behind them, who immediately opened fire. One of them also created a wall of fire behind us (on the elevator) that was moving closer so we were forced to charge. I flushed out the archers by teleporting in, while the rest of the team tried to move away from the firewall. Easier said than done because we were also attacked by lots of those sword dancers that could stun. Still we managed to win and move on.
After another hallway we came into a large hall with floating debris, that couldn’t decide where it’s center of grabbity. The dark pyre was also in a small room adjacent to this hall and a magic sled. Thanks to the debris it was impossible to make out anything more than 10 foot away… the perfect place for an (am)bush. The room with the dark pyre is where Griiat was waiting and had prepared a warm welcome for us, in the form of lots of burning skeleton archers and 2 walls of fire at the sides. At first we tried to set up a defensive position in the middle of the room, while firing back at those archers. But Griiat (a ragesian inquisitor) dispelled most of our protective spells so we charged and killed him. With his death the spook ended – all undead and the firestorm outside the castle died. I fell uncoucious because part of my power source was gone.
But i woke up a few minutes later, having Breora and Phoenix tend my weakened body. I felt pretty weak, but alive. Through a window we saw the the army charging into the castle. I hope the remaining half/gnomes are alright. I rushed back to the elevator to block the mechanism and buy us more time as we hadn’t found the torch yet. We started searching the castle’s top floor, revealing some secret passages, a magically locked box, an unconcious inquisitor and… the castle’s treasury!
No matter what we did, the inquisitor didn’t wake up. After some debating we used a special potion from the treasury on him and it worked! I also considered to use it myself, maybe it would’ve turned my body back. But bigger things were at stake and he might know where the torch is…
…which he did not. He introduced himself as Darius, ragesian inquisitor and guard of the emperor. He told us some skilled dark elf assassins poisoned him and took the other guards out. Then they probably either killed or took the emperor along with the torch. As proof there was some blood near his bed.