They head to the ruins of the keep, which now consists only of rubble and the somewhat-preserved lower floors beneath the earth where they are met with traps and hostile goblins. After fighting through the entry chamber, they pick one of the adjoining corridors and head there to find a torture chamber, containing more goblins and a hobgoblin torturer. They fight them, and free from the nearby cells a goblin named Splug, who tells them where to find the goblin chieftain’s chamber and pledges his service to the party.
Far, Lharvion 20, 998 YK (Day 6). Morning.
The party awakens again in Wrafton’s Inn. The day is overcast and cool, but relatively pleasant. Typhus is the first to wake, and goes to Bairwin’s Grande Shoppe with Morgue and Zil’dejin, where he attempts to sell the humanoid skulls he retrieved from the kobold lair. Bairwin explains that he is interested in curiosities, like the dragon skull – not the remains of people. He sends the party on their way. Outside the shop, the party discusses their next move, and the nature of Valthrun the Prescient.
“I don’t trust Valthrun,” Morgue says flatly. “I think he’s suspicious.”
“You think everybody’s suspicious,” replies Tam’elanath, reminding him of the woman they met in Lakeside who first prompted them to come to Winterhaven.
“She was suspicious.”
“I agree about the wizard,” Typhus adds. “I think that guy is up to something.”
“Me too,” states Lythanis. “We should be careful about trusting him.”
The party comes to agreement: they believe Valthrun is not what he seems to be, seeming suspicious and aloof. They decide he may be a threat, and so forms a bizarre and elaborate plan to contact him about the rib again.
The approach his tower once more, and Typhus lays down the clothes he took from Sil, the changeling who posed as Delphina Moongem. Typhus uses his mage hand cantrip to knock on the door, and then uses the same spell in combination with Lythanis’ far hand power to lift the clothes off the ground in an attempt to make the uninhabited garments look like a human being, assuming that Valthrun will only open the door a crack. The party stands off to the side, behind the door.
Unfortunately, Valthrun opens the door in its entirety, sees the floating clothing and then the party attempting to hide out of his sight. “What… are you doing?” he asks.
“Recognize these?” Typhus asks, gesturing towards the clothing. Valthrun shakes his head.
“They belong to the changeling posing as Delphina Moongem.”
“What are you talking about?” he asks in response.
Finally, Zil’dejin enters as the voice of reason yet again. “We’re here to ask about the rib . Have you finished studying it yet?”
“Oh. Well, er. No, not yet, exactly, but I’m certain I’m close. In the meantime, perhaps you’d be willing to help out the people of Winterhaven once more?”
“What is it this time?” asks Mikhal.
Valthrun describes the keep just north of the town, along the ascension to the Icetop Mountains. He explains that his historical records indicate that it was built by Karrn the Conqueror (the founder of Karrnath), and that it was built to protect a rift to the Endless Night, also known as Mabar. He says Orcus, a demon lord, was sealed in Khyber, but about a thousand years ago his exarch, known as Doresain, tried to breach the rift here and use the flowing negative energy to raise army of the undead from the keep. Paladins of Dol Dorn then sealed him away in the rift, and the keep’s original purpose was forgotten, the structure abandoned. But the rift is still there, and Valthrun believes someone may be trying to open it. He mentions that the Winterhaunt is nearing, a time when Mabar comes close to Eberron, which will then weaken the seals on the rift. He believes the Winterhaunt is why the townspeople have been acting so strange, and the attempt to breach the seal is responsible for the hostile activity lately. Finally, he asks the party to investigate.
They are skeptical at first, initially not wanting to hear him out but eventually deciding that this may be the best course of action for the time being. They agree, and Valthrun tells them where to go and indicates he will continue to study the rib in their absence. The party again leaves Winterhaven, this time headed north along a barely-defined path overgrown with vegetation to the old keep.
Before long, they arrive at the ruins of the keep. The structure still stands, though barely. However, the party detects some hints of recent use; a path through the rubble has been cleared, and a staircase has been revealed. Typhus uses a light cantrip to illuminate the staircase, and seeing no immediate danger, the party descends into the depths.
In the entry room, Mikhal falls prey to a trap and falls into a pit in the ground, but is lifted out by Morgue. After this, they are attacked by goblins, alerted to their presence by the sound of the trap going off. They fight off the first few goblins, and then the party then splits into two; Zil’dejin, Morgue, and Mikhal head forward down towards the south corridor, and Tam’elanath, Typhus and Lythanis head to the east corridor. They are met by different challenges; the former group encounters waiting goblins, and the latter, a very resilient curtain. Eventually, they clear the last of the goblins, and decide to proceed along the west corridor from the first room, and arrive in the torture chamber.
Here, they encounter more goblins and a hobgoblin torturer, apparently in charge of the goblins in the room. They fight these off, and Typhus speaks with an imprisoned goblin in the cells here, who identifies himself as Splug. He offers Splug freedom in exchange for translating the note found on Ironteeth, and though he is not satisfied with Splug’s interpretation, sets him free anyway on the condition of unswerving servitude. Splug is glad to be out, and offers what little information he can; he tells the party that the chieftain’s room branches off from this one. The party considers going here next, and takes a brief rest.