Party: Finial, Callehalahath, Iolena, Fledermaus, Hilniflit
Day 0: Taxes? Guild kitty after taxes? 6,591 gp
Iolena calls the Guild together to discuss a mission of mercy. The mysterious ghost boy the party found in Shadowed Keep has been weighing on her mind and she'd like to see what the Guild can do to put his spirit to rest. After some discussion, a group decides to visit Yanis to learn what they can about Ironwolf's family – the ruler of the Shadowed Keep before it fell.
The child was named Inar Ironwolf, he was the son of Valentine and Karina Ironwolf. The Keep fell when it was attacked by goblins hundreds of years ago. Valentine was a conqueror of goblins and hobgoblins, but squandered his fortune in the pursuit of their slaughter. Broke and alone, he shuttered his family away in the Keep. He drank a lot and fell into ruin, all but letting his family get murdered by hordes of goblins and hobgoblins when they came for their revenge.
With little else to go on, the party decides to warp to the Keep and see if they can sniff out some more clues about a way to ease the pain of Valentine's tormented son.
When the party arrives at the Keep's tower, they head down into the courtyard and find two goblin guards. They are the marked goblins of the Ork Skull clan. (A small clan of goblins that followed a priestess bearing a very rare ork skull that hasn't been seen in Westmarch for thousands of years. The party slaughtered many of them and took their skull and then brokered a truce, sending the cult to the Shadowed Keep to take up with the Badmoons – who the party has ALSO brokered a truce with in exchange for leaving human populations alone.) One of the goblins has fresh, scar markings of the made-up ork "language" the cult carves onto their bodies. It seems the Ork Skull cult is spreading through the Badmoons and gaining followers.
Hilniflit approaches the guards and asks permission to enter the above-ground portion of the Keep, the Donjon. The two guards are dismissive and mumble about having to get permission from various leaders. Hilniflit, not in the mood for negotiations or goblin diplomacy, gives each goblin a gold piece. Goblins, it is known, can go their whole lives seeing little more than a copper in their lifetime. This is a wild, financial windfall to them and they have no other response except to step aside and let the party through. Hilniflit makes clear to the guards that the party will leave the goblins alone and they are free to pass that on to their leaders.
The donjon is quiet and empty. The party heads upstairs, where the ghostly boy was last seen. When they arrive at the landing at the top of the stairs, they find blood on the floor. The blood seems to only be about a week old and is smeared across the floor as if something was dragged out of a room and down the stairs.
Iolena opens the door the blood trail leads from. The room is covered in dust and a skeleton of a human child molders on a rotting bed. The ghost of Inar is also in the room. His throat slashed as before and standing over the body of a dead goblin wrapped in moldy sheets stained with blood.
Iolena approaches the boy and asks if he needs help. The boy will only nod in response. Iolena then asks what has made the boy sad and Inar replies, "Goblins, goblins everywhere…" Finial and Iolena ask the boy if he'd like to leave. Inar says he is "broken" and that he knows his parents are dead. Fledermaus mentions "knowing" Inar's parents. Inar's eyes glow red and he snarls, "That's a lie." Fledermaus clarifies and says the party knows where his parents bones are.
Inar tells the party that he can't move on as long as his bones are separate from his parents. He mentions a tree from his childhood memories that he used to swing from. That might be a good place to be buried. The tree is outside the walls of the Keep – but he'd only be buried there if his parents bones were buried there as well.
Meanwhile, Hil and Fledermaus have begun searching the other bedroom upstairs. They find the mother's bones in the master bedroom and gather them up, but her skull is missing. Downstairs, in the Main Hall, they find the father's bones where they last saw them, but his skull is missing as well. Without the skulls of Inar's parents, Inar can't be put to rest by the tree. The party is going to have to find those skulls. In order to keep Inar calm, Iolena and Calle leave Sasha and Mimolet to care for the ghost boy.
Hilniflit decides to ask the guards at the front if they know anything about the skulls. Despite her handsome, world-changing bribes, the goblins are still dismissive and petulant. She tries a new tack and asks if they'd like the party to take care of their ghost problem. This elicits some cooperation. Inar's ghost has been a nuisance to the goblins and they'd really like to see it taken care of. Hil wants to talk to Sibeza – the cult leader. The party will need to go down into the goblin tunnels to find the skull. The guards are dubious, but they go down to ask anyway. After 15 minutes of waiting, one guard returns and says Sibeza is ready to meet them.
The party follows the goblin guard down to the first chamber of the tunnels, the guard room, and finds Sibeza waiting with a lot of goblins. Fortunately, this seems more like a display of force rather than an ambush. Sibeza asks about her ork skull and the party makes clear that she won't be getting it back. The party mentions the possibility of taking care of Inar's ghost, but they'd have to access the crypt. The goblins, who avoid that part of the dungeon agrees to let them down there.
The party heads down the stairs into the lower catacombs and come to the pit in the hallway. Calle starts by trying to climb the wall, but the walls are slick and dangerous. She then decides to use Soften Earth and Stone to carve a narrow path along side the pit in the wall of the hallway. With a new, safe path around the pit, the party scrambles across safely to the other side.
Beyond, in the Hall of Valentine with its stone relief carvings of Valentine and his people slaughtering goblins and hobgoblins, the party finds a pile of bones and skulls – as well as a bunch of dead goblins and hobgoblins. Rolling up her sleeves, Hilniflit decides to start searching the pile for human skulls… unfortunately, a gaseous dark form with wings emerges from the shadows, its eye glow red and menacing.
Iolena shoots it with magic missiles, Calle throws a flaming spear. Hil casts burning hands and Finial channels some really lame positive energy that might have damaged the thing… maybe. Suddenly, the goblin corpses in the room come alive and jump up. The party reflexively douses the room in a lot of fire. The demonic dark cloud with wings rushes at the party and backs everyone except Fledermaus and Hilniflit back into the hall. Its ghostly talons, when they tear into their target, drain life from the person and weaken them noticeably.
With some effort and a lot more slashing and fire, the party is able to dismember the goblin zombies and eliminate the dark, evil cloud. They gather all the human skulls and head back up to Sibeza's guard room. Using some terse and hostile diplomacy, the party gets by the goblins without incident and head up the stairs of the donjon.
They find Inar losing all memory of what has happened recently and he is now laying claim to Sasha and Mimolet, thinking they are his pets. Calle and Iolena are having none of this and Iolena tells the party we need to clear the ground level of goblins. If Inar sees goblins on the way out to the tree, he might react poorly. Fledermaus heads down and with some potentially damaging and hurtful words about the state of the blood in their goblin bodies, convinces the goblins to scatter into hiding. The path is clear.
The party finds the tree Inar told them about and they dig a grave for the family. When they bury the family's bones in the grave, Inar's ghostly throat heals up and Inar fades away. Mission accomplished! The party loots the boy's room and finds a copper piece and a button…
TO BE CONTINUED ON TEH INTERNETS SOMEDAY
Good luck with the move, Kevin and Jen!