The party got a chance to introduce Kyle's new character finally, a replacement for the good Puck who was on the wrong end of a Call Lightning spell. And they made the new guy's life a living hell. Started off being rude and surly, demeaning, belittling, and threatening. Makes you wonder why anyone would want to associate with them.
They also were going through some of the records they had found and say that Fengarth's Tower (the same place they ran out of 3 months ago) was on the list of places that according to Tehpaguar was warded with the same bronze headed wolf amulets the party had acquired. So they figured they would go back there and take another look around (and some payback on the troll that they failed to slay earlier).
There was a place of interest in the sub-basement (which is why the bad guys kept going there) which had some strange effects - but a simple one was that it could recharge/repair any one magical item once. I am VERY against this sort of "reset" button under normal circumstance because I know that PC's are like software pirates and will keep abusing a situation. However in this case I covered my bases fairly well by having it not only be a one time effect for any item in question - but also a one time effect for any person.
But as any DM knows, PC's will find ways of circumventing your well laid walls and barriers and drive a Sherman through your carefully constructed plot devices.
Write up follows:
We spent the majority of the next 3-odd weeks going through the numerous gemstones, pieces of jewelry, trade goods, herbs, elixirs, and coinage we gathered from our time against the Circle of Thorns; Karis and Gwyn taking care of much of the selling, turning as much of it as possible into coin. Once we had done so, we divided up the treasures amongst the group. It was decided to give Evian a full share since she certainly performed her part admirably. We also gave Kalarig his quarter share, which had the flunky-cum-archer very happy with us and told us that he would certainly be available should the group need him again.
Most of the other treasures we kept and either added to the "group" fund or decorated our home with it. The last things of interest were the numerous amount of potions that needed to be divided up, and we waited a few weeks to accomplish that. We talked with our trainers and other personages around town. The harvest was proceeding apace and the roads between Orihalcus and Ironmine were now safer and in better repair.
We tried to talk to Sir Walter about possibly absolving our bondsmanship and learned that was not a possibility. A bondsmanship cannot be absolved and must be performed to the end of the time in question. There was a possibility of money mentioned but it was quashed swiftly. Sir Walter promised the group that he would find some reason to have the party take a trip to Cymbarton, and they just needed to be patient.
We had all found our skills to be growing and around the 8th of Earthmonth were looking for a reason to go out and exercise our abilities. A meeting was called and one of the first things brought up was Hedonim's friend Coruth'tae, the grey elf. It was talked about including him and getting him here and talking to him to let him know what's what and how the party works.
Detheron offered to go to the Blue and Dancing Minepick Tavern and find the grey elf and bring him back. On the walk back however, the druid stopped in the middle of the street and flat out cajoled and told the wizard that if he did anything against the group at all, he would make his life a living hell. Just what I'm sure Coruth'tae wanted to hear.
Then at the party's home, he was given the run down about the Sundered Chains and who Puck was and the respect the party had for him and that they don't trust him and he has to bleed and show that he is one of them and earn their trust and then they'll like him. Ouch. Real nice. I had to admit the group was rather harsh to the new guy and was honestly a bit surprised the poor bastard didn't walk out, get on his horse, ride back home and tell Hedonim his friends were schmucks.
From there we all took turns reading from Dargan's Folley 1 and 2 – and people jotted what notes they could from the tale. This is the only time the entire group would hear the story in its entirety (or at least the 2 of 4 parts we had). Group talked about what we were going to find, and how to do it. But before that, according to Tehpaguar's notes, there was a ward (referred to as a Lyreth Ward – most likely from Lyreth Dragonson, leader of the adventuring party that Tehpaguar, Vanir, and Djohrgahd all belonged to a dozen years ago) at Fengarth's Tower – the same place we had tried to look into 3 months ago and ran out of after failing to injure the troll living there (and that included using many many flasks of oil – a normal standby for this group).
At this point, we divvied up the potions (including Coruth'tae) and discussed what we would do about going to Fengarth's Tower. During the conversation, Karis spoke to Gwyn about his continuous hiding in the back and using the crossbow and the dwarf agreed – although he did say that being in the back meant he didn't get hit a lot and have to spend his money on fixing his armor.
Training was about done and we spoke to Sir Walter about getting a break to go to Fengarth's Tower. Asked why and we gave him a winding answer as to the need for it, not actually answering him (mostly because we didn’t have a real reason to go!). After listening to us ramble on for a while and in order to get a moment's peace, he agreed to let the group go, but only for a day. 26 hours actually. Karis tried to “poo-poo” it and say that if it took longer, that would be ok. This of course forced the nobleman to remind the knight in training (and the rest of the group by extension) that they don't get that sort of say. And if they ever wanted to opportunity to GO to Cymbarton and to GO back to Dargan's Folley – they would have to prove themselves to be responsible. And that means – make sure you're back in 26 hours.
It’s 4 hours to get there (in good weather), and we figured we'd leave the next morning (Earthmonth the 8th) at 8 AM – which meant we'd have to be back on the 9th at 10 AM – which means we HAVE to leave Fengarth's tower by 6 AM on the 9th. Sounds good! We purchased some quick rations and water and had the cart and ponies hitched up and off we went.
Along the way, Coruth'tae cast invisibility on Zoltan, Gwyn, and Karis – and the 3 of them had a good time playing with their new-found "not there"-ness. The wizard then spent the time restudying spells for when we arrived at the tower and after a timely fashion we did so and ready to do business.
Tower was a good 200' tall and 60' at base – half that at top. There is a parapet about half way up. Front door was long ago staved in. The “inviso” part of the party went in and surveyed that the main floor was empty and secured. Circular stairs going up and stairs going down that Puck had long ago chained and locked with manacles.
Except…now the manacles were missing and the chain was undone. Hmmm – someone has BEEN here and undid the chains. We went down and checked it out. Expected the basement to be more dusty, but it wasn't. Zoltan went first and felt the floor was thrumming as if from underneath. No traps (he thought) and he looked around. Basement was quartered like the tower – first part had wrapped bundles and bags – and a drag line of old dried blood leading to ANOTHER door – this one going to a sub-basement.
Next quarter had chairs, table, and shelving – of 3 differing styles. Again, not that much dust. Next quarter had some bureaus, cabinets, a hat/coat stand, the smell of vermin, and a 4' oval mirror. Last quarter had barrels, many of them staved in, and a section on the north wall where there was a warded doorway that had been partially bricked up (9 courses high) with bricks also bearing small runes on them. (Cask of Amontillado anyone?)
Group came down – and we checked out the area. Detheron did a detect magic and the tower itself was magical – walls, floors, ceiling – but the contents so far not. Walked about slowly, panning over the rooms. Zoltan "trapped" the stairs with a couple of chairs so that if anyone was coming DOWN them, we would hear them and be ready. The other door down had the markings of the Lycos Suns emblazoned on it. Karis gave it a cursory touch and for a moment was filled with the desire to go home. Yep – a Lyreth Warded doorway.
Meanwhile, Detheron found two things of interest – one was the coat/hat rack was glowing with dweomercraft (which according to Coruth'tae was Abjuration magic) and two that the warded and bricked up doorway was seriously magicked. The druid found a real love of the coat rack and after trying to move the arms about, refused to let it go.
We opted to leave the center doorway alone (except for a moment of abject terror when Detheron TOUCHED the warded door with the coat rack and had the party gasp – nothing happened). Then we checked out the Lyreth ward. It took a concentrated application of the medallion to open it, but when it did – showed a set of stairs going down – old and worn and chipped.
Zoltan took point (with Karis) and there was a chained and locked door on the bottom. Original door for the tower – new lock and chain. In fact a good lock. Zoltan checked it carefully and found there was a spring-loaded needle within. Great. Disarm it? Gwyn came forward with a vial of acid and dropped half of it into the lock which fired off the needle (hit no one) and burned away enough of the tumblers that the lock popped.
We saw yellow and green lights emanate from the earth itself, the rock and soil pulsing and humming with the raw eldritch forces of naked magic. A few chairs had been set up in a circle around the center of the room where a ritual pentagram had been carved into the ground; old stubs of burned out candles and melted wax dotting the five corners. A table was placed near the pentagram's edge, a number of knives, prods, and strange pointed tools scattered across the top. There was a vial as well, mostly empty except for a thin layer of pinkish silver fluid resting on the crystal's bottom. The area inside the pentagram was stained with large concentrations of spilled blood long dried.
Zoltan went first and the yellow and green lights snapped up his body, crawling all over him. His invisibility faded but the magical items he had suddenly became fixed and in good repair. One by one, the rest of the party followed, the same thing happening to them. Even staves and wands became recharged (which included the very useful Heimdal's Bulwark). This was a nexus point, a place where the roots of Yggdrassil lay close to the surface of the real world, a place of true magic.
We deduced that the effects only work once for each person AND only once for each item – and would fix any item that was broken. But it was still a boon to the party as we were now better prepared and equipped and ready.
And that lead us to going upstairs. We opted, for now, to leave the warded doorway alone and come back to it later. We went up to the 2nd floor and looked around there. The game room was still as it was before and Karis snagged a chess board, Coruth'tae some dice. There was another room with lots of broken glass and we gave it a wide berth. A few other smaller rooms or cells were here and while we were looking them over, we heard a voice from the next level above, deep and cavernous, call out, "Who's there?" and "Vanir? Is that you? I said I don't want to be disturbed. Go away!"
And then footsteps. Big, big forest troll sized footsteps, began coming down the center stairs.