We finally picked up the game again after having to skip a session due to multiple and various illnesses – and the campaign really saw some interesting developments. Unlike the previous session, which saw the party encounter some wandering Hill Trolls (and doing an amazing job of killing them), the continued trip to Cragmaw Castle (now revealed after some reflection by the various party members to be the Citadel of Seven Towers, an ancient ruin dating back to the White Empire) saw little in the way of events – save one.
While on watch one night, Gwyneth (and her alone) found herself “caught outside of time” and facing a knight clad in somewhat antique, ornate grey armor. The knight challenged, she accepted, and the two faced off – fighting dearly for a handful of exchanges until Gwyneth, close to death, managed to strike the final blow only to have the knight disappear into mist – and leaving her with the Blessing of the Cold Flame.
The next morning there was some discussion of this event as Gwyneth revealed what had occurred, but given that nothing much could be done or investigated, the party pressed on to Cragmaw Castle – carefully following the gnomes, Fonkin and Wren, along with Rhys as they scouted along ahead, looking for ambushes. Finding none, the party eventually came upon the lair of the Cragmaw goblins…
And, with the keen-eyed gnomes and half-elf scouting, promptly found a hidden entrance though the north side of the ruins. Working carefully, the party entered and slowly scouted out the center section of the lair – until Rhys “discovered” another pit while Fonkin and Wren avoided the collapsing floor. The sound of crashing rock (and swearing Rhys) alerted nearby goblins who quickly attacked the party from a variety of directions.
Fundamentally the party made short work of the goblins, with a minimum of wounds taken in return. After a short pause when there were no more goblin attacks, Gwyneth, Jarvic, Ilda, and Fonkin took a rope down to investigate the oubliette that Rhys had found himself in. It was an unexpected and eerie chamber – circular with layers of writing on the walls and the huddled scrap of rags that remained of the former occupant.
Obscuring a deeper level was a grate in the center of the floor made of woven bands of cold iron, silver, and orikalkium – all inscribed with runes that the meaning of which could not be determined in the time that was spent there. Floating in midair at the cardinal points, connected to the floor in a similar manner, were four great crystals filled with Wind, Flame, Sea, and Stone and as the party attempted to understand what they had found there was a great blast of radiance and silent thunderous winds as a cloaked and shrouded female figure manifested, floating above the grate.
The party stood revealed, in the radiance that shone forth from the figure – Jarvic with the sigils and aspect of his status as a Dorje of the Great Dragon of the Air, Gwyneth with sorcerous runes and a nimbus of grey flame, Fonkin overshadowed by his Archfey Patron, the Prince of Fools, and Rhys with eldritch runes and a nimbus of grey flame that was striking similar to Gwyneths – of the group it was only Ilda who betrayed no higher allegiance, merely the runics notes of a bard floating about her.
Speaking to Jarvic, the entity (most likely the “Maiden of Storms” – a known servant and ally of the Great Dragon of the Air as well as a member of the Celestial Court) warned him directly of a coming “Age of Worms” and instructed him to seek the “Whispering Cairn” in order to stave off this threat. Disappearing, the Maiden of Storms left the group, reeling in her absence, trying to decide what to do.
And that’s where we left it – with the party having just returned to the room above and all coming together.