Coldeven 621. We parted with Dandelion’s family and decided to investigate Ravonnar and Castle Brodelin further. Dandelion, Morrick, Lakra, Aurora, Raylendar, Raylinn and I decided to visit some of the taverns to get a feel for the gossip in town.
First some of them went into the Pewter Cup. It was quite a dive. It did not seem prudent to eat or drink anything. 2 fishers and a sailor comprised the other patrons of the bar. They did not have a high opinion of Marchioness Chantel. When Dandelion indicated he was trying to rescue some friends from the Castle, the sailor told he that they were likely already not themselves. Aurora thought she hear sounds from the basement, maybe a fight pit. This was not our concern, so we moved on.
The next place was the Drunken Dwarf, which had a prejudice against non-humans. Dandelion posed as a musical instrument salesman and bribed a waitress to get an invitation to the castle. We found Mazer’s sister Shea in her Colette guise. She told us that Holphin had been brought into the castle as a prisoner. Three knights and their squires had also entered the castle and not exited. Some frogmen and a troll were also rumored to be at the castle.
We decided to leave town and come back as Knight Commander Dispatcher Blasting Puma Raylinn Fardale and Lady Amber Lightblade, daughter of Regent Eridan Shadowblade of Gyruff. The rest of us were disguised as their retainers. We stopped at Cosmos first so Chantel would know that visiting nobles were in town. Lots of gold diggers were at Cosmos trying to hit on the men. We learned that some knights had been to the castle a couple of days ago and headed on to Skulk and Redlee.
As we headed up to the castle we could smell fragrant flowers even though it was late winter or very early spring. Peasants appeared to be tending what looked like empty fields. The area off the path had a different sent and feel than it should. We discovered that someone had used Mirage Arcane to cover terrain features and mask the many plants and flowers.
We saw the banners with the black raven and rose crest of the Brodelins as we entered the gate of the castle. The guards were friendly and let us approach. Precieux, Raylendar and I were attracted to the plants in the courtyard. We felt an uncontrollable need to roll in the “dragon nip”. Morrick tried to remove Precieux from the plants and incurred her wrath. She cast fireball at her, destroying some of the plants. Fairies swarmed Precieux at the destruction of some of the plants, but Dandelion intimidated them into leaving. We managed to overcome our attraction to the plants. By holding our breath, we managed to gain the inner keep.
Marchioness Chantel kept us waiting, but eventually admitted us to her solar. Then things got “interesting”. Precieux noticed a blond woman sitting looking drugged on a side sofa. She was excited to see Mommy. Dandelion was quite surprised to see Avaterria and alarmed when she did not react to Precieux. Chantel quickly excused herself and her staff followed her to attend some urgent business. After a Dispel Magic, Avaterria regained her senses, turned into a gold dragon and followed after Chantel. Lakra and I were frightened, but pulled ourselves together when Avaterria left.
The chase led down some stairs and past a guard, who tipped over a large barrel of oil onto the stairs to impede our progress. We managed to decent the stairs by flying or other means. Raylinn ended up riding the guard like a sled down the stairs. We were much surprised to see Graz’zt at the bottom of the stairs. Graz’zt was much less surprised than we. Dandelion managed to talk his way past Graz’zt and we continued on our way. We ran into the anti-magic field again and started slipping on the oil. For amusement, Graz’zt decided to use Lakra as a bowling ball against Morrick and someone else at the end of the hall. After he almost slipped twice, he suddenly disappeared. Lakra is going to have serious nightmares, first a gold dragon and then Graz’zt.
Aurora, Raylendar and Avaterria exited to the courtyard and flew toward Ravonnar trying to find the Marchioness. Dandelion and I continued on trying to find Marchioness Chantel. We disturbed a three headed, five armed troll who was too big to fit through his missing cell door. We continued our search while Morrick distracted the troll and Raylinn started searching for Holphin in the cells. Morrick heroically rescued Holphin from a fungus zombie and yellow mold, then got the group to safety. Morrick and Raylinn also captured a guard for questioning.
Chantel and her group escaped, so we searched the castle. We found some knightly corpses in cells along with carrion crawlers, a giant spider with mushrooms growing on its back, a giant scorpion, two fungus zombies who were formerly Chantel’s guards, colorful humanoid amphibians, cockatrices, green slime, a gelatinous cube, basilisks, grell, centipeds, ettercaps, shriekers and violet fungi. We did not have time to explore fully.
We withdrew to the main hall to talk to the guard. Some of Chantel’s pupils practiced they wiles on Kar’sten and were able to get a lot of information. He is young and easily swayed. He told the ladies about Hugo being a corpse animated by his armor and saved by Eridan’s daughter. He also told them about Tallia, Gretta Lea, turtle ships, Dwyr, Hugo’s quest, Precieux and Aunt Shea. What will Chantel do with this information?
The guard told us about the alchemy level between the ground floor and the dungeons. Cases of wines, brandies and other spirits were brought to the alchemy level, stayed for a while and shipped out last week. We examined the alchemy area and found bedrooms, a dining room an office, a lab and a furnace. Beyond the items you would except in a lab, we found exotic ingredients (venom, drugs, poisons, arcane reagents and other things.) We found broken bottles of Keoish Brandy and Ulek wines and other evidence they were working with these bottles to alter them.
We then searched the Marchioness’ room. We found a silver framed antique mirror. We also found letters from various rulers around Keoland, promising alcohol, mushrooms and other delicacies for the wedding. We also found letters from the Marchioness’ cousin Inelda Neheli Botkin, including one offering from Inelda to introduce Chantel to Sondra, Aldriv and Cardor’s grandmother who was getting revenge on the Bodelin’s. Further searching upstairs revealed a magic silvered mirror similar to Evendur’s. We also found journals in Chantel’s room and Anita’s room which need to be deciphered.
Our search was interrupted by an approaching column of heavily armed and armored assailants. Watcher Hugo attacked Avaterria in her gold dragon form. Between Hugo and the flanking air elemental, the badly damaged and drove off Avaterria.
Morrick and Lakra barred the door to the inner keep, but it shattered open. We recognized Aoth, Evendur, Zilziver and Astra among the attackers, but they would not respond to attempts to communicate with them. Badly wounded in short order, we had to escape. Soon after Mazer, Tallia and Bothan entered the keep. And the light of Lydia was used to regrow some of the toxic and dangerous plants we had attempted to burn.
I don’t know if our friends have been permanently turned against us, replaced by mirror images or dopplegangers or if Chantel only momentarily used magic to convince them to attack us. Time will tell, but time is short. If we are to prevent the regent from taking power over Keoland at the Council of Niole Dra, we must act quickly.