Carric, Istarya, Lel, Teodora, McGwyver, Gwrtheyrn, and Rex
Following the trail of the blue Crystal of Location using Istarya's arcane understanding, in combination with Carric's tracking, the party marched into the foothills towards an ancient castle resting at the top of a cliff. Along a narrow mountain path that continued on, the party found an old stone doorway set into the mountainside with an intricate statue of a dragon on each side. Up a staircase carved directly out of the mountain rock, the party found themselves inside of the ruined castle, stone walls half collapsed all around them. The first room, open to the sky, used to be a grand royal foyer with a fireplace set into the far wall.
Strewn about the floor were piles of trash and bones, as the party entered further into the foyer a ghostly specter appeared ahead of them on an outside walkway, and the piles of bone arose into walking skeletons with swords. The party fought the ghostly haunting and progressed out onto the stone walkway, where they found two of the owl's cages thrown down upon the rocky mountainside. From the other end of the foyer a ruined hallway extended where the party noticed a beautifully painted mural upon the stone wall depicting _, however the lower half of the mural had been scrawled over with blood in the images of death and torturous demons. Up a flight of stairs and through a set of double doors sat an active dining hall, with a table built for a whole family, bookshelves along the close walls and large windows along the far wall, and ghosts all dining and moving at all of the seats of the table. At the far end of the dining hall were a large set of double doors that would not open, while attempting to find a way through the party was addressed by the seemingly king ghost.
After some parlay with the long-dead lord, the party discovers that years past a mysterious stranger arrived one rainy night and was welcomed into the castle, formerly called Castle Artegia, for shelter and a warm bed. Later the stranger explored the depths of the castle as everyone inside seemed to slowly go insane and all of the castle inhabitants were brutally killed. The party promises to help avenge the family, and is allowed access through the doors.
Up a flight of exterior stairs the party finds themselves on a windswept old stone plateau in the ruins with three statues along the side. As they stepped out into the flat, wall-less room, they discovered that the statues were a source of strong wind which threatened to push them off the edge. Using teamwork and clever use of ropes, as well as McGwyver plugging up one of the statue's mouths with a cork and Istarya working magic on the others, the party makes it across the plateau and up another set of stairs towards an elaborate looking ruin at the very top of the cliff with the flicker of firelight coming from inside.
Teodora stays behind to make sure they are not attacked from behind, and also to explore the library in the dining hall and learn as much from the ghost lord as she can. The narrow stair case wrapped along a narrow cliff up to the ruins above, but the party encountered a group of dwarves with a pet scorpion and spiretop drakes to slow their progress. After a tense fight along the narrow stairs, the party advances and McGwyver acquires a mechanical Flameburst crossbow from one of the dwarven bodies.
Just outside of the ruins above, the party spots several bulky undead inside and suspects an ambush, after some discussion McGwyver tosses in a satchel of vials which exploded into a cloud of acid across the entrance to the room. Several zombies charged through the acid and corroded to pieces, while other bulky undead threw motes of necrotic filth over the acid, exploding on several members of the party while magical bolts of energy surged out from around a throne at the rear of the room. Eventually the party charged into the room and fought off a ghoul and the gnome arcanist commanding the undead, finding several of the owls abused but still alive in their cages and a large pile of mail beside the throne that had clearly been thoroughly rummaged through.
On the body of the gnome, Istarya discovered the other half of the blue crystal he'd found earlier. In the pile of mail was a letter to Rex from his wife, sent many days previously, expressing her loneliness and hoping that he would come home soon. Also in the pile was brown wrapped book sent to McGwyver which turned out to be his sister's personal journal.
650xp – Carric, Istarya, Lel, McGwyver, Gwrtheyrn, and Rex
175xp – Teodora
Loot: +1 Flameburst Crossbow, Amulet of Protection +2, +1 Thunderburst Longbow