22 Almsberth 459
The sounds of merriment became steadily louder as Derek made his way further into the castle’s blockaded bandquet hall. The diminutive mage suppressed the urge to cough as he trudged through the fine layer of dust that coated the floor, most of it seeming to gravitate to the surface of his robe. His fingers twitched with the compulsion to cantrip it clean, perhaps summon little eddies of wind to keep the dust at bay… there were challenges to being eleven inches high that he had never previously considered.
He navigated around a toppled piece of woodwork as he emerged from beneath the displaced cupboard, and then blinked a couple of times. There was no light in the room, but the sight that befell his magically enhanced vision was bizarre to say the least. There was clearly a dinner party in progress, complete with drinking, music, laughter and the clinking of goblets… but none of the diners appeared to be in any way alive. The ghoulish grins that surrounded the tables gave him chills, reminding him once again of the incident in the flaming wood where he was ambushed from above. An emaciated minstrel pranced upon the tables, bits of cutlery sticking out of his limbs, and the revelers raised their glasses as he passed and plucked out the forks, consuming the bits of flesh still attached to the tines.
And at the high table in the chamber’s far corner lurked the strangest – and quite possible most disturbing – creature Derek had ever seen. Its gelatinous mass seemed to undulate with the mirth of the room’s macabre revelers, sending numerous bones and bits of debris into rotation within its depths. Derek studied the abomination for several moments, and then came to a conclusion.
It appeared that he had located the elusive Lord Gorquith.
Breaking in on the macabre dinner party, the heroes manage to negotiate a parley with the undead ooze-creature that was once Lord Pietr Gorquith, master of Castle Korstull until it was sacked by Emperor Coaltongue. Less interested in the disruption of their revelry than in the destruction of the castle’s current overseer, the ghostly Inquisitor Griiat, Gorquith imparts upon the heroes the secret to the operation of the lift to the royal apartments in the uppermost level of the fortress. Withdrawing in due course and leaving the lifeless courtiers to their endless celebration, the heroes meet Clan Millorn at the lift and make their way to the third floor.
The halls of the upper floor become an instant battleground as the party is ambushed upon arrival. Skeletal archers line the halls behind narrow slits in the stone, and undead swordsman fall upon the first of the heroes to emerge from the entry corridor. The party’s diminutive magus flits about the hall and slides into the nearest arrow slit, using his magics to disrupt some of the archery as his companions work their way through the deadly assault. The halfling paladin Grellfin Flintflindercandle joins the initial charge, but most of Clan Millorn remains to the rear as the more capable heroes deal with the ambush. The battleground is further complicated by the tide from the Astral Sea which has somehow swallowed the upper story, making it possible to walk the walls or ceiling or “fall” down the hall.
After contending with the welcoming party and their initial wave of reinforcements, Arlyn creeps into the dance hall.