21 Month of Gifts 4228 AE, Morning
Zari, Zorrik, Stax, and Ianos decided against luring the dragon into the goblin crowd… for now. They decided to head back to the kobold’s area in the citadel to explore some of the doors they hadn’t yet opened. Luckily for them, the “back way” was clear and the doors were unlocked.
They opened the door into the great hall and saw nothing but bodies. A metallic stench filled the air, as there was blood everywhere. Kobolds and goblins alike (though mostly kobolds) lay dead around them, with wounds suggesting a brutal massacre. Even Yusdrayl, the kobold queen, had been cut down. The group retrieved the remaining items from above and behind her throne: a large key sitting in the mouth of the carved dragon head, a small stone token with a feather carved into it, three spell scrolls (mage armor, spider climb, and knock), and a small flask containing the two remaining doses of elixir of health.
They checked the door on the north wall of the great hall and found rooms filled with more kobold bodies, including some children. In an adjacent room to the west, they found a hole in the western wall, and a tunnel leading into darkness. The hole in the wall and the sides of the tunnel looked worn, like it wasn’t a recently made entrance.
The group listened at the door on the eastern end of the great hall and heard some whimpering, faint but familiar: Meepo! They rushed in, finding a great common room filled with dead kobolds, and a bedroll in the corner heaving with sobs. Meepo was traumatized, and had a cut on his leg, but had hidden early enough that he survived the slaughter. He explained that the goblins came through the back entrance just as Meepo was returning from escorting the party. They were shouting that the kobolds made the first attack, even though no such attack took place. He answered any questions he could: the tunnel they had just found led to the surface, and also branched off to the Underdark. The key they had retrieved from Yusdrayl’s throne opened a door near the entrance to the citadel. The way to the grove downstairs was past the goblins.
Meepo didn’t want to accompany the group into combat, and he didn’t want to wander the citadel alone. Everyone wanted to make sure he was safe, so they asked if there was anywhere he could hide. He said if they were going to the entrance, he could hide in a secret room there, so that’s where they went. The circular entrance chamber was as they’d left it, with the same four goblin corpses littering the floor. Meepo pushed a part of the southern wall and it opened up into a small 10×10 foot room. There were three skeletons inside, archers slumped against the east and south walls, each sporting a rubble-filled arrow slit. Upon further investigation, the skeletons were human, but very old (hundreds of years or more). They found 20 arrows in a quiver, 10 sp, and 5 gp, and there was a +1 arrow in a special pocket on the quiver. Meepo said he’d wait there until the group came back for him, and Durian stayed to keep him company.
The party went into the other door off the entrance chamber. Inside the first room was nothing but rubble and a large stone door with a rearing dragon carved on it. There was a keyhole in the dragon’s open mouth, and the key fit. It turned with a CLUNK, which disturbed a giant rat hiding in the rubble. Zari quickly dispatched the rat with an arrow. The stone door opened with a hiss and a puff of dust, suggesting it hadn’t been opened in a very long time.
In the chamber beyond, the air is stale and a layer of dust coats everything in sight. On the north wall are three alcoves, each containing a dark stone orb on a pedestal. A single alcove on the south wall contains a similar pedestal and orb, though this orb is glowing with a soft blue light. Zorrik approached the orb, hearing tinkling musical notes as he got closer. Once he got within five feet of the orb, brooding music began eminating loudly from it, and Zorrik, Ianos, and Erky all started to run towards the entrance of the citadel, charmed by the spell. Stax and Zari resisted the charm, and destroyed the orb with a dagger and an arrow. It split into two chunks and fell to the ground. Zorrik picked up the pieces and put them in his pack.
The door on the far wall opened to a small hallway, and Ianos stepped on a pressure plate in the floor, taking an arrow to the shoulder from the trap. Zari was able to find the plate and disarm it by wedging that same arrow underneath it.
The next room was empty except for a ten foot tall statue of a coiled dragon carved from beautiful red-veined white marble. Once approached, the stone jaws of the dragon appeared to move, and the group heard the following riddle:
We come at night without being fetched; we disappear by day without being stolen. What are we?
Ianos said, “That’d be stars, right?” and a secret door in the western wall swung open.
The door led to a great hall twenty feet wide. Six alcoves were in the room, three in each of the north and south walls. Five of them held a statue carved from the same marble as the dragon in the previous room. The statues resembled tall elves in plate armor. At the far side of the room was a pit ten feet deep, spanning the width of the room, filled with spikes. On the other side of the pit was an archway opening up into another room. A green glow and a large sarcophagus could be seen from this side.
Stax jumped over the pit, followed by Zorrik. Zorrik did not make the jump and fell into the pit, taking a lot of damage. As Stax landed on the other side, a quasit (a small fiend, looking like an imp with small wings) attacked from the north side of the archway. The team sprang into action, and when the first attack landed on the fiend, it shouted, “You broke the binding. My watch over the dragonpriest is over!” At its first opportunity, it turned invisible and flew away.
The party examined the sarcophagus and the room they were now in. There were four sconces on the wall, one in each corner, and one of them held a candle lit with a green eternal flame. Stax had additional candles that he gave to Zorrik, who lit the other three sconces. Stax and Zari found a secret door, leading to a crawlspace that exited behind one of the statues on the other side of the spike pit. The sarcophagus itself was made of marble, with dragon imagery carved all over it. The head of the sarcophagus resembled a dragon’s head. Six rusted iron latches held the lid firmly in place.
Ianos spoke up first, being firmly against opening the sarcophagus. He pointed out that the fiend said it was guarding something, and with this kind of protection keeping it inside, it might be something nasty. As he was talking, Stax jumped on the lid and pried one open with a crowbar. Erky spoke up as well, reminding everyone that the fiend mentioned what he was watching over was a dragonpriest, which might refer to a high ranking member of the dragon cult that used this citadel long ago. He was also against opening it. The group continued to open one latch at a time despite these protests, and even Erky was persuaded to help since he was the strongest in the group. Zorrik used fae sight and saw that dark fae was lining the edges of the lid; even so, he continued to try and open it. Finally the latches were all open, and the group pushed the lid part of the way off.
They saw a huge pair of feet, which started to move. They stopped opening the lid, but it continued on its own. After it was fully off, a giant troll sat up, dressed in rotted finery and adorned with jewelry and rings. His body was shrunken and elongated, and his flesh a rubbery, putrid green. His black hair was long, thick, and ropy. His beady black eyes flashed open, and he snarled.
The group fought him, and took him down. However, he got back up on the next round, landing a hit on Ianos that knocked him unconscious. Stax then remembered that trolls regenerate, and they need to take fire or poison damage to stop their regeneration. The group immediately took the candle from the nearest sconce, lit with a green eternal flame, and threw it at the troll. He fell, and did not get back up. The group took his jewelry and a ceremonial dagger.
After a short rest, the party made their way back to check rooms they hadn’t yet explored. They came across a room with a locked and barred iron door, and after picking it, found four goblin prisoners inside. One of them spoke Common, and tried to trade information for his freedom. The party learned that of the original adventuring party they were searching for, one of them was dead, and the other two are somehow charmed by the Gulthias tree. The tree “chewed them up and spit them out.” Ianos pushed for the group to free the goblin and his friends for sharing the information. Two of the goblins, including the one negotiating with the party, had their cuffs picked, while the other two locks jammed. When an eldritch blast aimed at the chains hits the opposite wall instead, the two free goblins fled. Giving chase, Zari followed them to a nearby room, but didn’t get there fast enough to see which door they went through. Meepo didn’t see any goblins run by him near the entrance, so the group determined the goblins went back to their tribe to warn the others.
Determined as ever to get past the goblins, the group headed once again through the “back entrance” into the goblin area, but woke up four sleeping goblin bandits. One of the bandits made it part of the way out the door before dying, drawing the attention of three elite goblin guards. The party won the fight, but not without suffering for it. They now need to decide whether to let the dragon loose on the goblins, or attack on their own…