Back to Castle Zagyg.
This trip was successful in so many ways and it is time to uncork another bottle of the Wychwood’s finest to celebrate. Cheers!
I’m so glad this trip improved upon the embarrassing results of my last trip. I still don’t know exactly how I offended the elves but I know they won’t forgive the slight lightly. The tapestry I gifted them was worth a king’s ransom, and I could tell that they knew the name “Haugemon Algot” but they won’t be telling me anytime soon. Perhaps I should learn a spell that could allow me to listen to their thoughts…Another time perhaps.
We had a smaller group than last time but we were determined to find treasure and planned to plunder deeper levels than we had gone before. We didn’t know how far down the central staircase went but we wanted to go below the Deep Cellars where the Red Griffons had gone… those bastards.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. We set out with Brother Wesley and his little imp and Inara with her illusions. Also along with this formidable display of arcane power were Inara’s charge Meryan, Jane the Enforcer, Groktor of the 3rd person and half orc, and Dismas the studious archer. We hired Gimble who was another initiate of St. Cuthbert. I sometimes get flashbacks of my upbringing with so many Cuthbertians around with their notions of justice and such, but their healing is welcome in a pinch. I purchased another cure light wounds potion so that I’d have one in reserve – a good thing too.
We greeted Gaynoc as cheerfully as ever but he wanted to play with a magical weapon before allowing us to pass through his portal. I offered a scroll of Magic Missle, but he did not perceive this as a weapon, which confused me. Happily, Gaynoc did accept Wesley’s offer of a glowing bronze dagger and we were off to the strange room of many doors, all colored differently. Jumping through the orchre portal led us again to the grove of trees near the Castle. After showing Gimble the tree with Cuthbert’s symbol upon it to strengthen his resolve against the horrors he’ll be exposed to as a Castle Zagyg cherry, we were off to the ravine and hopefully Bogna’s ungrateful cooperation.
But apparently there was trouble amongst the Gublinish! While we’ve passed on being enlisted with different factions or social climbers in that particular goblin tribe, it seems they have settled scores in their own goblin fashion. Bogna is now captured by a rival faction that appears to have committed regicide against the not-so-great Gublin and replaced him. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer goblin, I’m sure. We were worried that we’d have to waste time fighting our way through upper caverns but they accepted a few silver with the knowledge that we were likely pretty powerful as our destination was far below into the castle depths. I’m glad Jane and Inara could speak with them to get past this potential bump in our road to fortune if not fame.
It was a good thing that we didn’t have to fight them, as both Inara and I had planned to use our entire arsenal of 2nd level spells to hide the party with invisibility. We holed up in our secret room – complete with the upholstered divan that I claimed for repose – after making everyone invisible besides Jane. Whisper was already invisible. Someone has to teach Wesley the spell so that next time we can ensorcel everyone, including the mule.
After regaining our full magical might, we left Robert to spike himself behind the secret door with the mule. Down the corridor was the spiral stair case. Down we went – from the Store Rooms, past the Deep Cellars to the ominously labeled “Dungeons” (the bottom of the stair case by the way – we’ll have to find other stairs when we are ready to go deeper.)
The Dungeons proved tricky from the first encounter. Not far from the stair case was a portcullis to a long, slopped chamber. I’m so very glad I remembered Ivan bin K’bob’s advice to never walk under a portcullis until it was spiked! After moving up the corridor, we found its end: a large stone (carved into a rhino, I think… must have blocked the memory from my mind!) which filled all but the very top to the corridor. We ran quickly back through the portcullis, although Jane was nearly caught by it. The impact against the wall chipped even the granite that composes Castle Zagyg.
While we were catching our breath, Brother Wesley had Ildrik fly up to investigate. Brother Wesley noted that the stone didn’t immediately come back down the tunnel, so we may be able to make it to the room where the stone was. Still, he didn’t find anything. Something to check on our next expedition!
While we were waiting for Brother Wesley to come back, denizens from this level arrived, likely to investigate our setting off of the trap. Two minotaurs! All of us were glad that we were still invisible, except Jane who was the focus of their attention. I was annoyed that they were smart enough to not be hit by one area spell, and also distressed that they appeared to be invulnerable to my Sleep spell. Well, we did decide on our own free will to challenge this level – serves us right I suppose.
The battle was hard fought. Inara blinded one, myself another. Still, they were able to take down Groktor easily with a smash from their two handed giant mauls. I found myself on the front line! I threw oil at the beasties and finally we were able to take them down but not before feeling the strength of their blows all too personally – ouch! I used one of my cure light potions and gave poor Groktor the other. Alas, the minotaurs weren’t in their lair and thus had no treasure. So we took their horns – surely minotaur horns are a potent magical ingredient.
Going farther away from the stairs, we found a chamber of small lizards. They seemed to be guard animals to me, so we used the sleep spells that were likely of no use on this level to overcome them before they could set an alarm. Beyond the opposing door we found a corridor with several doors, and stairs up guarded by two lizard men. We dispatched those quickly as well. Heading up the stairs we found a chamber with a lizard with a big mouth. It died quickly, and I regretted using one of my spells on it.
Having still found no treasure, we went back down the stairs and utilized the most single useful spell that we cast: Locate Object. Brother Wesley and I had discussed ways to use this spell to search out for wealth and I think I had the knife to cut through our Gordian Knot: search for a chest. We already had other treasure items in possession.
The spell lead us down back past where the guard lizards were to a locked door beyond which were slithery voices, telling us to go away. Groktor told them that we had a candy gram (!?) and we burst in upon a room teeming with lizard folk! Brother Wesley and myself were quickly throwing all of our magical might upon them, and Inara cleverly used the scary image of the minotaurs undoubtedly known to be on this level to aid us. We cleared the room of them, but not before we were all practically out of spells. I had only Charm Person left. The leader of the lizard folk, brandishing a glowing sword, retreated to a rear chamber. Fearing that he was going to attempt escape from a hidden door, I went down the hall outside the room, hiding in shadows to use my last bit of arcane power should he try to save his scaly skin and deprive us of the reward we sought.
But no, he merely waited stoically for death in a grisly chamber that seemed to be fit to die in: numerous skulls and glowing candles. While Groktor conversed with him, sneaky Dismas (watch out for that elf!) hid and took careful aim, wounding the lizard chief before Groktor advanced. That lizard won’t be adding to his skull collection any more.
But that grisly room held the chest that we had sought: 5,000 silver, 2,000 gold and several gems. While the gems were a paltry poor lot, we finally found a taste of the fortune said to lie within the depths of the castle. Next time, all the wiser and more powerful, we will surely find more of it.