Previously, the heroes managed to find their way into Dr. Arkenward’s sanctum and were confronted by a guardian which reminded them of the statue guarding the portal at the top of Atilesceon’s tower. They managed to pass by the guardian, but not without picking up some bumps and bruises, only to find a large throne room, as well as a storage room filled with large barrels of wine.
Tenth Day, Third Ride, Autumn Red, 1262
(Silvermoon is waxing. Bloodmoon is waxing. Darkmoon is waxing.)
The heroes had made their way through the throne room, finding little of interest, and up to the balcony looking down upon it. At the back of the balcony they found a doorway leading to a new room which held a dozens of enormous barrels, each of them seemingly filled with wine. Mallets, spigots and bottles could be found here and there, all meant to facilitate the tapping of kegs and barrels, and the sampling and bottling of wines.
In the south-western corner of the room was another doorway, and close to it, some people had set up a makeshift camp around the chopped up remains of a small barrel, which served as fuel for a rather impressive bonfire. Two bedrolls and a few personal items could be found there. The southern end of the room had a high wall, which opened up to the next room beyond.
While Luca and Quentin inspected the quality of the wine that was stored in the room, deeming it “average”, James scouted ahead to the next room through the corridor in the south-west of the room. He reported back that the room beyond was dotted with strange pillars with green, glowing crystals on it, while a group of a dozen imps were fluttering among the pillars. It was decided that it would be for the best to try and bypass that room, if possible.
The northern part of the room gave way to the wine room, while in the north-east there was a portcullis which lead to a corridor. The eastern wall was high, but opened up to another room running along-side; due to the angle it was difficult to see what the next room held.
The heroes remembered that Sadwick, Atilesceon’s imp familiar, had not been a particularly power opponent, but was a sufficient nuisance in combat that it was unwise to confront the imps directly. James and Emrys, cloaked in invisibility, would move ahead and establish a safe spot, and Luca would then communicate the location of that spot with James, using the earrings of whispers.
As James and Emrys moved up and turned invisible, Emrys felt that he lost control of the magic that welled up in side of him. He felt the urge of his body to move, to jump, to shift through time and space, and he found that he could make short jumps of translocation. In his enthusiasm he forgot about James and jumped into the corridor beyond the portcullis. James, unsure of what happened, relayed his shock back to Luca and stayed put.
The corridor behind the portcullis sloped upwards and lead to the room behind the room that ran parallel to the room with the imps. In that room Emrys noticed that several creatures were chained up against the wall, or locked away in cages if they were bigger. The room he entered in and the other room were also locked from one another by a portcullis, and just inside the room with the imprisoned creatures Emrys saw a gruesome sight; a spider-like creature had mounted a man, had two of its front legs burrowed deep into its torso, and seemed to be pumping it full of… something. The body was bloated and distended as a result of it.
Horrified, Emrys thought of retreating, comforted only by the fact that a heavy portcullis stood between him and the abomination. He turned around and inspected the room he was standing in, only to find that it was filled with objects, art and books. A strange figure wearing a long, collared robes, who had not noticed Emrys, floated in front of one of Arkenward’s bookcases. A tome was hovering in front of it, with pages slowly turning as the figure was absorbing the contents. It didn’t take long before the tome closed and was gently placed back in its place on the shelf. The levitating figure moved to a different bookcase and it was then that Emrys got a look at its face; a mauve coloured, bulbous head with a mass of tentacles running down its face where its mouth should have been.
This was more than Emrys had bargained for. He felt the surge of magic that allowed him to translocate ebbing away, and he knew that it would dissipate soon. Not wanting to get separated from his companions, he decided to return back to the room with the imps. The last few jumps left in the surge allowed him to jump past the pillars without disturbing the imps. He did come to realise that the pillars emanated an aura which slowed the body and befuddled the mind. Getting stuck inside of the aura while the imps were disturbed would be dangerous.
In the meantime, Luca and James discussed how to proceed without Emrys. It was decided that Luca and Quentin would move up to the entrance of the room with the pillars and imps, while James would attempt to sneak past the imps while he still had the benefit of invisibility. Once James could confirm that the corridor in the south-east of the imp’s room was safe, Luca would portal Quentin and himself there.
Luca used the earring to talk to James who said he didn’t know where Emrys was, but when he arrived at the doorway managed to re-establish contact with Emrys, despite them both being invisible. James confirmed that he had found another body of an intruder, which looked to have been savaged by the imps.
Luca and Quentin tried to get into place as stealthily as they could managed, which was not saying much. Luca could not seem to manage to stay quiet, even though Quentin managed quite well, despite feeling frustrated by always being out of his element; either by not being able to see in the dark, or by having to skulk about while wearing his armour. Despite all of the trouble and frustration they managed not to disturb the imps, and portalled to the end of the room to meet up with Emrys and James again.
Emrys shared what he had seen in the room beyond and when people took a glimpse inside the room, they saw that several creatures were chained to the wall. Most notably, a khazra, a skaven, an imp as well as a young, human girl and a creature that looked a bit like an ape with sharp claws and a hideous face. There were also several cages, one held a rat ogre, moving restlessly back and forth, while another held what looked to be an enormous man with the head of a bull. A third cage held another ghastly creature which looked somewhat like an orc, but with ghastly horns and spikes protruding from its back and arms. A fourth cage seemed broken and empty. Then there was the bloated body of the man who had a wicked spider mounted atop it. Some of the bulbous swelling that Emrys had spotted had burst open and spiders had crawled out, three in total.
And in the middle of the room was an examination table, which had a strange humanoid creature on it, with its body cut open with great precision, displaying its insides. It was another one of the tentacle-faced creatures that Emrys had noticed in the room beyond.