With no sign of Dennan–and no clue to his fate–the party prepared to fully explore the Wailing Citadel's third level. As they did so, though, light began to well up the main staircase to the north.
The heroes doused their lights and waited to see what was coming up the stairs. Several of the party heard a wet, squelching sound approach as the light drew nearer. In moments, a human man–soaked to the skin–appeared at the top of the stairs. He appeared lost, and a little confused.
Cautiously, the heroes hailed the newcomer. In the ensuing conversation, it transpired the newcomer–Caiden Armstrong–did not mean to be in Gloamhold's depths. Last night he was a mercenary guard on the good ship Vandor—a stout merchantman sailing from Wolverton on the Lonely Coast with a cargo of tin and wolf pelts. The voyage had been uneventful, but as the ship approached Languard, a great mist rose up, and the wind calmed.
Suddenly a sleek galley hoved alongside and its crew—clearly pirates or other nautical ne’er-do-wells—swarmed aboard. During the fighting, Caiden were knocked overboard and the tide swept him into Gloamhold.
Of the attack, he remembered little of note except a recollection of lightning flashing down from the sky, a bare-breasted woman loudly chanting and a berserk dwarf decapitating several of his comrades in a frenzy of unrestrained violence.
This news excited several members of the party. Could the galley be the Amma? Could the dwarf be the murderous Kildrak? While Artur–particularly–had a score to settle with the dwarf it would have to wait. Dennan needed them!
With their new companion in toe, the party advanced. Moving to the east, they discovered several empty and abandoned rooms. One had a mosaic of a three-headed whip on the floor, but no one recognised the symbol–indeed, it might just have been decoration.
Another room, however, held much danger for the party. Within lay a great swath of bones, broken equipment and the general detritus of adventures past. Strange words were carved into the wall opposite the door and a ghostly figure floated above the leavings of countless desperate battles.
The figure seemed both welcoming and angry. Artur, at the front, believed the ghostly man begged for destruction, and was more than happy to oblige. A brief fight broken out, and the ghost was quickly destroyed. However, strange doings were afoot. With the ghost destroyed the characters searched the room. All now became aware of a strange sense of chilling sorrow in the air.
It was when Artur found a glowing ring, and slipped it onto his finger, that he descended into madness and confusion. As he fought a terrific mental battle with the mad voice in his head his friends backed off. After a titanic mental struggle, the paladin shuffled toward Colzo with murderous intent–interspaced with moments of drooling vacancy in his eyes.
The heroes subdued the paladin, and Colzo threw away the ring–hurling it back into the room from whence it came. Scared by the strange effect lurking amid the bones, they retreated back to the level's main room without claiming any of the other shiny treasures they had noted mingled with the skeletal remains.
Caiden was intrigued by the ring, though. He had noted its glowing purple stone and coveted it. Dashing into the room, he quickly spotted the ring, stuffed it into a bag and then left–all without obvious ill effect.
Marvelling at Caiden's bravery (or perhaps foolishness), the party explored westwards. They discovered several empty chamber as they progressed ever-closer to the Dripping Span...