The sun was not yet risen when Ycesia decided to break from her trance like elven sleep and go to a nearby stream for some water. It was a short 5 minute walk from the ruins down the steep path facing the hills. When she was returning, her elven eyes noticed a traveller approaching from the hills. It was Norril the Half-Elf catching up with the party after spending the last couple of days travelling from Modain to find them.
After a friendly greeting the two of them decided they would go beyond the veil into the shadow keep to do some reconnaissance while the others slept. After Norril was acquainted with the shadow keep, they pressed on down one of the dark hallways that was not yet explored. They found a room that appeared to be a study of some sort. As Ycesia inspected a bookshelf they heard something. A muffled voice from behind the walls. “Talking books” she thought. The muffled sounds continued and they discerned it was a cry for help coming from behind the bookshelf! They dispatched the bookshelf and lo! Behind the bookshelf was a dark passage. The two adventurers entered. After squeezing down the passage a short ways it opened up to a chamber of despair. Across the small room they saw a man, blindfolded and gagged on the floor behind iron bars. They wanted to free him so they tried the iron door. It was locked. Ycesia chose to try her fists instead of a key and smashed the rusted lock to pieces in one swift strike. They freed the mysterious prisoner from his bindings. He stood taller than 6 feet, a giant of a man. He was broad shouldered and proud, knightly he seemed. He introduced himself as Zalthier the Unbent. They asked what happened to him, and he replied. He was once questing to rid this place of evil, but was overtaken by the numerous hosts of this foul keep and locked up many months ago. The adventurers welcomed him to join them as they searched the rest of the keep.
Once they made it back to the study, they decided to go up the spiralling staircase they had seen earlier. Upon reaching the top the three of them were bombarded by a volley lf magic missiles. There was an evil flying skull surrounded in flames laughing at them from across the room. It was a more important looking study than the one downstairs they had just entered. The skull would not be reasoned with, so Ycesia launched at the skull with fury and grace, pummelling the skull and slamming it into the wall across the room. Zalthier delivered the finishing blow with a sword he was handed by Norril. The flaming skull was crushed into many pieces.
The group looked through the room and found a chest filled with Zalthier’s belongings including his armor and weapons. On a desk they found a handful of important looking documents written in am infernal script which they were unable to read. They took them for future investigation. After they were satisfied searching the study, the returned to the ground level of the shadow keep.
It should be noted at this time that at the center of the study on the ground floor, there lies a magical circle. At the center there is a dark portal just like the one the adventurers came into the shadow keep from. At this time they decided to enter this second portal. On the other side of the portal was the material plane and they could see the other section of the ruins that was blocked off from all the towering pillars and debris. They walked through the grassy hollowed out chambers and ended up finding a monolothic stone slab casting an unusually dark shadow in one of the larger enclosures. Using their recent knowledge of this sorrowful place, they walked into the shadow and found themselves taken to another part of the shadow keep!
They stood in a fairly large rectangular library, colorless and well stocked. The three explorers split up, looking around. Ycesia spotted a faint light emanating from one of the larger tomes. She called Norril to take a look at it, fearing it might be some sorcery at work. When he picked up the book a well crafted sword hilt dropped to the ground from inside the book. A voice spoke to his mind. “Well met, adventurer! Attune to me at once!” Norril spent some time attuning his mind to the sword hilt studying it. It spoke the common language, introducing itself as Galahan the Unbreakable. Galahan had been a prisoner of this place having been captured from a fallen kingdom of old and taken to this dark place. He spent many years reading the books in the library, using his unseen powers to move from shelf to shelf. Knowing he wouldn’t have much use for a sword, Norril handed Galahan to Zalthier. Norril noticed that his hands were cured of the callouses that had built up from his recent adventures. Zalthier then attuned to the ancient sword hilt and it was at that time he was compelled to raise the sword, activating a raging blast of fiery radiance forming a blade of light from the hilt. The others beheld the glory and majesty of Galahan the Unbreakable and Zalthier the Unbent, righteous and just, crusaders against evil doers, defenders of the helpless.
A shuffling could be heard beyond the only door at the end of the library. Sensing it may be undead the paladin led the way with the others close behind. It was in fact more undead wights and zombies that had heard them and a battle broke out. The monk unleashed fists of fury while Galahan slashed the undead foes. A field of light surrounding the light sword seemed too much for the wights, blinding any that stood too close. Norril unleashed fiery doom upon the wights and the enemy was defeated.
The team stood in a larger cathedral like room. Near the center there sat a skull atop an ominous pedestal. When it was approached it spoke a grim riddle: “Upon entering the darkness, a window to the world becomes a descent toward the dead….”
The adventurers after some time concluded that the window was a large hole in the ruins that corresponded with the back wall in the room. Zalthier unfolded a handheld battering ram. He and Norril charged it into the back wall. They met no resistance and almost flung themselves with the ram! The wall of illusion was hiding a staircase. They looked down but it was too dark to see far. They decided to come back another tfrom facing that dreadful descent could spell certain doom for just the three of them.
Advancing across from the library, and passing a large sealed doorway, they found another door that took them to a storage room that had a spiral staircase going up. They went up and found a sitting room with a door. They decided it was far enough for just the three of them to travel, and getting an uneasy feeling, they decided to return back to the ruins encampment where the rest of the party still slept. As they left the shadow keep an evil laugh echoed from within…