As it was now dark, the party decided to set up camp. Even though nobody was tired, everyone rested as best they could so that they would not be so "out of sorts" the next day. Normal watches were kept. Nothing but the cold night air disturbed the party.
In the morning, the party scouted the area. There was something on the horizon to the northeast. According to the map, the party was to head east anyway, so they headed towards the "something" instead. Grimble flew ahead to scout.
Grimble reported that the "something" to the northeast was a structure on a rocky outcropping or butte. The party continued northeast. As the party neared, the magic arrow began to quiver. The party continued to advance. Talon wanted the party to discuss what story they should give in order to ask for the shard without giving too much away. Siobhan suggested that Talon should do the talking, presumably so that Talon would not complain about others saying the "wrong thing".
Built into the butte were stairs that led up to a fortress. Carric noted that the stairs had not been traveled for some time. Talon stated that the inhabitants of the fortress could be using another way to get it, such as using a secret door somewhere along the base of the butte. Carric circled the butte looking for tracks that might indicate use of another way in. Carric found no tracks, so the party decided to take the stairs.
The party spread out while heading up the stairs (someone thought it would be a good idea to separate). The trip up was uneventful. The fortress on the butte was huge. A large wall circled the fortress. The main gate was ajar. Carric noted that the area near the gate had also not been used in a long time.
The party went through the gate into a courtyard. There were two elaborate doors at the far side of the courtyard, and Talon found a tiny passage exiting one side. The tiny passage would have to be crawled through, and seemed to open up into a room after 30'. Carric moved to check out the doors. Talon asked Caelesti to look for traps on them. Caelesti didn't find any, but wasn't really sure what one would look like. Carric tried to open the doors, and then with Caelesti's help, but they wouldn't budge.
The party moved to check out the tiny passage. Carric asked for Caelesti to cast a message spell, so that he could search the passage alone, while still be able to communicate with the party. Caelesti cast the spell, and Carric crawled into the passage. As he crawled, a medium-sized poisonous snake entered the same passage from the far side, heading toward him. Carric was able to empathize with the snake, which turned around and disappeared.
Carric continued through and out of the passage. He stood up into a room that had many platforms, one above the other, 10' apart. Floating 20' up was a floating head with long green hair. It appeared to be asleep. Carric whispered, via the message Spell, for the rest to advance, and they did.
The party talked about climbing up the platforms. Caelesti nicely asked Grimble to fly up and see if there were any reason for the party to even attempt climbing up. Grimble scouted the area invisibly. He reported that there was a walkway at the top. So, the party decided to climb.
Caelesti climbed up to the first platform. The floating head opened its eyes and let out a loud shriek. The shriek was annoying, but did not otherwise affect anyone. Caelesti cast magic missiles at the head and hopped off the platform so that she could not be caught alone. Siobhan cast soundburst on the head, "killing" it. The head plummeted to the ground. Carric checked the splattered head to make sure it was not regenerating.
Caelesti climbed back up onto the first platform. For each platform, Caelesti set up a rope for the others to climb up to join her. While attempting to climb to the 3rd platform, Caelesti slipped and fell 30' to the ground. She was able lessen the fall damage by tumbling as she landed. The party lowered a rope for her to climb up, and Siobhan cured her wounds completely. Caelesti then used a grappling hook with a knotted rope to work her way to the walkway, 80' above the ground. She secured the grappling hook, and the others climbed the knotted rope to the top without injury.
A 20' wide gap separated this outer walkway from an inner one. The party traveled along the outer walkway to a covered bridge with doors on each end. Caelesti tried the door, but it was locked. She climbed up onto the roof of the covered bridge, walked across, and hopped down onto the inner walkway. The door on the other side was also locked. She tried to get back up onto the roof, but had trouble climbing that side. After several failed attempts, and a small injury, she asked Grimble if he would get the grappling hook. Grimble did, and Caelesti attached it to her side of the bridge. Then she asked Grimble to drape the rope over the top of the bridge and down to the others, so that they could travel across the roof of the bridge too. The plan worked, and everyone reached the inner walkway.
From the inner walkway, Carric spotted a blue, winged creature. Talon, looking where Carric was pointing, said it was a young, blue dragon.
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|Copyright © 2009 by Brianna Sollandry <brianna at hambo dot com>||
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu
R'lyeh wgah-nagl fhtagn.