Short staff last night but lots got accomplished! When we left off last time, the state of the party could be best summed up by the following four points:
just got two ass-kickings
look like chumps
being hunted by a giant floating brain.
But the former constables of the disgraced 13C are nothing if not resourceful. As the Book, his planetar friend and a couple platoons of hobgoblin soldiers approached closer and closer, and Valkeer and Sister Dolores nowhere to be found, decision needed to be made, and swiftly.
It was then that Mira’s pointed out that they were being watched, by and invisible creature not far away. She and Balthazar attempted a bit of disinformation, but amid laughter the creature came into view: an osyluth, or bone devil.
The bone devil had a modest proposal: I am no friend of that fat bastard Orcus, it said, so in the spirit of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” I will assist you in getting into the castle safely. What you do after that is on you. And it named it’s price.
“What’s in this for you and your infernal masters?” asked Balthazar.
“I gain if you succeed, and lose nothing if you fail,” it explained with a smile. The party, needing to find Sr. Dolores, agreed to meet with the osyluth later, and the creature planted the location of the rendezvous point telepathically into Balthazar’s mind.
The party then Windwalked to the east, searching for the lost Iomedaens, which they found about an hour later and after a quick briefing returned to the place the osyluth showed them. They agreed to the deal “Contract: approved.” came a disembodied voice) and they prepared to go into Castle Holden. The bone devil’s teleportation only could take one person at a time, and Sister Dolores, going last, felt the icy cold malevolence in the creature’s skeletal clutch.
“Osyluth obligation under contract: fulfilled” said the disembodied voice, and the creature left the 13C inside a dark hallway, halfway up the front facing of the castle, informed them of the traps of which it was aware, and departed.
Inside the castle, Mira cast Invisibility on everyone and they proceeded deeper into the castle, encountering two traps: one mechanical, which Balthazar deactivated using Mage Hand, and one magical. The magical trap gave them some pause: a large ceiling mosaic, emitting necromancy magic, with two large opals for eyes. Balthazar covered the opals which some loose dust and dirt, rendered malleable with a little Create Water, while they tested it’s sensory abilities. The Keredes family was able to pass easily, but both Trevor and Sister Dolores began to activate the trap. Balathazar allowed them to use his Amulet of Nondetection to pass by safely.
Remaining stealthy and cautious. Mira peered into the next room and discovered it to be full with creature which she at first, identified as zombies but which had one distinguishing feature: Their eyes and mouths glowed with what Mira ascertained was repressed magical energy. Sister Dolores stepped up to dispatch the zombies using Nimbus of Light and a burst of anti-undead energy, which destroyed the zombies BUT released the energy contained inside: when the first zombie collapsed, it’s torso ripped open and five Magic Missiles came up out of the creature and shot straight at Dolores. Mira slammed the door shut in time to protect the priestess but none could deny the ozone smell of electricity was filling the air.
The party took cover but it did not stop what happened next: 240 hp worth of Chain Lightning arced out of the destroyed zombies, filled the enclosed room with electrical power, and blew every door outward. One smashed like a cannonball against the fair wall, another arced into the sidewall, barely missing Trevor and destroying itself on impact. The room itself, once and luxurious bath, was now a wreck, with scorched accouterments and broken baths, leaking sizzling water onto the marble floor.
The party investigated the bath and found several other doors leading away from it: one led into what looked to be a hallway adjacent to a large lecture hall, with tiered seating. Trevor pointed out that the Osyluth had warned them of a “summoning trap” contained within a room matching this description. A second room contained the remnants of a library of some kind, with old papyri stacked without order and a large pile of books and papers crowding the floor.
But the party eschewed these two rooms in favor for the third: a warmly furnished, actually kind of inviting place, with excellent furnishings and (what?) the sound of what could only be a parrot squawking occasionally from within. Mira entered Invisibly, Balthazar behind her, and cast Detect Magic: something in the desk (multiple magic schools), the entirety of the bed (abjuration), and the small stick upon which the parrot perched (transformation).
Then Mira stopped. In the silence, Balthazar could here her voice. “Something’s here, brother,” she whispered. She said a few more things, most sotto voce so that even her brother had trouble hearing them (he did hear the word “Frederick” twice, easier to identify because of it’s uniqueness and repetition), then Balthazar saw the parrot fly over to where he suspected Mira was, and disappear. Soon after, the magical perch upon which it had stood disappeared as well.
“Let’s go,” came Mira’s’ voice from the space in front of him, and he felt her pass him by. “There’s nothing else here for us.”