After moving camp and getting what rest we could, we continued to follow the trail of the Beastmen until we came upon some sort of ruined keep. After the scouts reconnoitered the area, I had Brume circumvent the keep and found that the northwest corner had collapsed so we decided to enter there. As we began to climb, Sam triggered an avalanche which caused many of the keep’s wall stones to come tumbling down upon us. Ming rushed to save his new found canine friend leaving me vulnerable and that was the last thing I remembered until I looked up into the face of angel. Even though other people were injured, herself included, Daphne rushed to my aid and called upon her God’s power to revive me. Unfortunately, my conscious presence left her flustered and she was unable to channel her divine power. She was so flustered that she slipped in her attempt to call upon her God, Amon-Tor, earning His disfavor. And so it was that I was left to the care of her acolyte, who although quite competent, lacked the appeal that Daphne holds.
Once we were assured the climb would be safe, we climbed up into the ruins of the inner keep. We saw a strange, capstone looking block covered in ivy, the burnt remains of a stone outer-building, a tower in the Southeast, a sink hole with clouds of mist churning from it in the Northeast, and a well. While some of the archers, the clerics, Star and I stood over-watch, Ming and Floyd approached the well. His dog, Zeus, was hesitant to approach the well in some sort of strange animal sense, so Ming stopped to console him. Floyd, missing the signs of danger, continued to the well and heard what he described as moaning. He said that it must be Andy trapped down there and he whistled that annoying tune he was always going on with only to fall into the well. He did not cry out or yell for help, but we also never heard him hit bottom. The danger from the well was palpable and frankly, many in our group were becoming increasingly worried about Floyd’s behavior, so we let him be. It is a shame because he was a good with a battleaxe and he was willing to do the work that others simply didn’t have the stomach for.
Around the same time, Billy-Bob came too close to the edge of the mist covered sinkhole and the ground gave way causing him to tumble towards his doom. Erik the cleric, Daphne’s acolyte, was able to grab onto him but was in danger of following him off the edge and to both of their dooms. I invoked the The Fates and asked them to intercede on my behalf and because I am an instrument of their will, Billy-Bob was flung back to solid land dragging Erik along with him. Perhaps it was because I failed to try and save Floyd, perhaps it was because I interceded in someone else’s fate, but either way, I suffered for my hubris by having my ears quickly shrivel up and fall off of me. It’s strange that I continue to hear perfectly well, but the price of my power is easily observed now.
Even though I had just rescued him from his death, Billy-Bob decided to tempt The Fates again by examining the capstone we found. Even after I deciphered the writing upon it as a warning, the fool decided to jump up and down upon the stone in some sort of ritualistic dance his people must use to celebrate the avoidance of certain death. Strange. Having recovered from the loss of my ears, I realized we still hadn’t surveyed the burnt out stone building on the east side of the keep. I sent Brume to investigate which was easy since the wooden roof had fallen into what I realized was some sort of place to worship a bizarre Toad faced deity. Obviously, someone else took um bridge at the Toad God because they had barred the doors to the temple and painted the word, “Repent” on the outside. How that message was supposed to reach those trapped inside that apparently perished from the fire is unclear, but we decided to avoid it all the same.
I’m not sure if it was the fool’s jumping or the fact that we proceeded into the middle of the courtyard, but one of those foul Beastmen started to ring a bell near the entrance to the keep, so Star called forth the power of the Fates and shot forth many of his Force Daggers of Fate and obliterated the foul abomination. It was an impressive display. Although, his ears elongated and he looked like Ming’s mule, Bessy. He even let loose a braying laugh. It was quite annoying. I began to wonder if it wasn’t disfavor that caused my ears to change, but rather some source of power within the keep itself that was tainting our magic. Perhaps the well that Ming’s dog found so uncomforting.
Finding the door to the Southeast tower locked, the men-at-arms took attempts to bash down the door and after a long, strenuous effort, finally battered it open. Ming jumped into the room beyond only to find himself standing on a wall-to-wall carpet of corpses and skins that was utterly disgusting. In his haste, or perhaps his grief at the disappearance of Floyd, Ming did not consider the tactical situation and his rush almost cost him his life for he was not alone. He realized that a half-score of the foul Beastmen shared the rot filled corpse room with him and he was set upon by a brutish specimen, perhaps the biggest we’ve seen yet, and would’ve lost his life if he hadn’t blocked the brute’s axe blow with his magical shield. Even so, the blow was so strong that his shield flew off into the gore of the room and he wisely kept the monsters at bay while backing out of the room. That was all the space I needed for I channeled my power and unleashed an astonishing ten Flaming Arrows of Fate into our foes. I was able to shred the powerful, beastly champion and four of his minions while leaving one more severely wounded. I didn’t know it at the time, but that much magical power, or the corruption of this place, caused my pupils to turn chalky white until all anyone could see were the whites of my eyes. Daphne must’ve regained the good graces of Amon-Tor because she, and those around her, were blessed with the sound of angelic singing and our group fought on that much harder. It wasn’t long before we dispatched the other beasts, but after launching one powerful Flaming Ballista Bolt of Fate, my hands grew translucent, almost ghostly, until they were nigh-invisible. I wasn’t the only one, because I noticed Star walking with an odd-gait as if one leg had suddenly become longer than the other.
After we were able to light Ming’s lantern and a torch or two, we discovered Irico and five other humans hanging from chains around the perimeter of the room. Daphne and Erik were quick to heal as many as they could and Irico was in a hurry to take the survivors to safety. Whiile searching through the gore, Slim had a rot grub worm its way into his leg and he almost wasn’t able to remove it, but he finally did. Good thing for him or he would’ve spent his last few moments in this mortal coil screaming in agony. Anyway, Irico told us that there had been more imprisoned by the Beastmen but suspected that they were being turned into more of the foul creatures, so with all haste, we set off down several flights of stairs to save them.