As the refugees settled into their new temporary home, the Adventurers settled around their campfire. It was decided that Telia and Fass would stay back with the large group while the rest sought out the Tower and the key somewhere within the marshy Plains ahead. As they peered over the rough map plotting their course for the coming days, one of the Townsfolk, Auri, approached them and offered her assistance. She explained she was a traveling bard and could possibly provide some additional lore and other types of support to the group. They happily accepted her into their little band.
At first light, the group headed on their way into the swamp below. The first day went well, and the smaller group of experienced travelers made much better time than when they were with the huge caravan of poorly nourished former-slaves. They began by crossing over small rolling hills, destined for a central point within the marsh. Upon entering the bog, they felt a deep chill overcome them – a feeling of dread and despair that was not quite magical, yet set them all on edge. They arrived where they planned without issue, but alas, no sign of the Tower.
Day two went along decently as well, even though the entire day was spent slogging along muddy “paths” through the slough. Only once did they get turned around, but thanks to Dunk’s uncanny knack for direction, they quickly were able to get back on track. Near evening, they spotted in the distance what appeared to be their objective. They approached cautiously, and good that they did! Along the path appeared to be a carnivorous, sentient plant-monster! Kyriel took no chances and blasted away before the party could even discern what it was. Dunk followed his lead and let loose as well. The fight was on from there and was going relatively well until the plant-thing got its tentacles wrapped around Sin and swallowed him whole! Some fire from Zuul and continued hacking and blasting from the rest of the team soon finished the monstrosity. They fished Sin out from the maw-ish opening and got him back on his feet.
A little investigating led them to a wooden trap door under where the plant-thing was hiding. Inside the trap door were scattered bones, perhaps the remants of the monsters past meals. Digging through the bones, Sin found two large amethysts the party judged to be worth 100 steel pieces each. Not bad for the literal middle of nowhere! With nothing more to discover here, the party crept closer to the ruined tower.
As they got closer, they realized finding the tower may have been the easy part – getting in looked like it may be another matter. After a 50 ft slope, there was a vertical climb of 30 feet to the “mouth” followed by another 100+ foot climb if they wanted to check out the “eyes” above. With no other apparent options, they started up. It also quickly became apparent that most of this party was more the “brains” than the “brawn” as getting up the rope resulted in more than a few minor injuries to some of them. Once inside, they carefully began their methologial search of the old tower. The first room they entered brought them face to face with a dragon! This one was a yellow-ish browny color and was chasinng a small goblin. However, the scene was encased in a magical statis, freezing the moment in time. The group estimated that the pair had been trapped for approximately 300 years. Kyriel surmised that touching a bit of iron to the barrier around them would release the spell, but the party (unable to recall much about dragonlore) decided that they should let sleeping dragons lie…at least for the time being…. and moved on. Dunk and Sin were able to appropriate some new armor though, which was helpful.
The main central room of the tower contained a rusted out spiral staircase leading down further than they could see. Off of this room, was what appeared to be an shrine of some sort. A decrepit skeleton was slumped on the alter near the back of the room, grasping a parchment in one hand and a gleaming sword in the other. Zuul summoned his Mage Hand and retrieved the paper, which turned out to be a detailed map of the three levels of the tower in its original form, with an indicator of something (treasure? death??) two levels down. The sword was a longsword of excellent craftsmanship, which Dunk kept. Of special note, the map revealed a secret door along the northern wall of the central room. After a short search, Auri located the door and the party entered the first chamber of an old barracks.
Within the second chamber were two wights who immediately followed their ancient orders to protect the tower and attacked the group. Sin took the brunt of the attacks with the wights draining away nearly half his life. However, with the divine and arcane powers wielded by the rest of the party, the undead were soon put to their final rest. The explorers still have quite a bit of exploring to do. According to the map, there are two levels below ground to explore. There is also a passageway that has opened up on the main level that isn’t indicated on the map that has piqued the interest of some of the party members. And then there is still the matter of the magically hibernating dragon….