With their gear and provisions stowed, the party began to explore the ground floor of the Wailing Citadel.
An empty chamber yielded little of note, but the room to the east proved more interesting. The floor comprised a pit fully 20-foot deep. Brackish, slime-coated water cover the bottom of the pit, and bones jutted from the water. Grand Silvertongue dropped a stone into the water which had inevitable consequences.
The stone awoken the skeletal denizens of the pit! Two skeletons dripping with black slime began to climb up the pit's rough-hewn walls. As the skeletons inched upwards the slime upon their bodies began to freeze and a supernatural chill proceeded them. Grand Silvertongue fell back as more capable members of the party leapt to the fore. Artur stood at the brink of the pit hewing at the ice-wreathed skeletons as they got closer, but then retreated to form a skirmish line with Dennan and Colzo.
Although doughty, and possessed of the very chill of the grave, the skeletons were slain–but not before several of the party were injured. Healing their injuries as best they could the party continued eastwards.
The next chamber proved to be even more interesting than the last and seemed to have once been a boathouse of sorts.
Steps led down to a stone wharf divided from the Murkwater by a stone portcullis. The room had possibilities–if the party could get the portcullis working they might be able to dock their rowboats here. Luther also spotted the remains of what could be a boat submerged in the dock's black, silty waters. Horsa–intrigued by this–sent his consciousness into this octopus familiar and dived in for a closer examination. He discovered the remains of a galley-style vessel buried deeply in the mud. Its strakes and struts comprised the curved bones of some sort of huge creature!
While Horsa was investigating the wrecked ship, the party were at work. Eventually, Luther discovered the secret of the portcullis's opening--the eyes of one of the dock's bollards depressed. Pushing them–sadly–had little effect as the mechanism was so old. Although, the party could hear sounds of motion in the ceiling above the portcullis the portcullis itself merely quivered in place.
Clearly, the portcullis was stuck–probably held down by the suction of the black silt gathered under the dock. Colzao used a powerful magic spell to transform himself into a strange form of aquatic human and dived under the water to free the portcullis. He laboured for over half an hour in the dark gloom of the dock.
Meanwhile, Grand Silvertongue grew bored and decided to explore a cobweb-filled shelved room to the north. This was to prove a near-fatal mistake for the young bard. The many cobweb-filled shelves were home to a veritable horde of tiny spiders–and Grand Silvertongue had invaded their domain! Swarms of spiders scuttled forth to crawl all over the bard. His screams alerted his companions to the sudden danger. The heroes leapt into action and the swarms were quickly destroyed–but not before several of the party had suffered yet more injuries.
With the threat neutralised, the party returned to the business of opening the portcullis. Finally, Colzo's labours were at an end, and a concerted effort by the heroes finally caused the reluctant barrier to rise. As it did so, its suction caused a small wave of seaweed-laden water to wash into the boathouse...
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