The Manticore Keep Campaign
An Ancient Temple
Teeba and Dwayne rode back to Bervin for supplies and assistance (Dwayne sitting behind Teeba on her horse),while Quonth stayed to guard the keep, and clean (dead manticore, giant rat, zombie, humans, dust, rot). At the Basilisk and Weasel they met up with two acquaintances, Alesiter and Old Dirty Bastard. They explained the past history of finding the keep and the cave, but did not get into details. Provisions were purchased including new equipment for the two human fighters, a new pony with quilted barding for Dwayne, tools and supplies to fix up the keep, food and provisions, and curtains.
On the way back, Dwayne recognized an ambush up ahead. They rode up, prepared to defend, when six orcs attacked on foot. They were quickly dispatched. Aleister rode down the last orc, but Teeba yelled at him to take it alive. He knocked it unconscious instead of killing it. Teeba administered first aid to one of the other orcs to try to keep it alive, to the confusion of the new recruits, but it died anyway. They took the few copper and silver coins from the dead orcs. The bodies were burned, except for the heads which were taken by Dwayne. The captured orc was tied up and dragged along.
They arrived at the keep, and started fixing the place up. Dwayne proved particularly accomplished at masonry and carpentry, and in a couple of weeks the keep was made clean, secure, and livable. The orc heads were dipped in cement, and attached to the frame above the main door. The elves decorated the interior.
They explained to the humans about the ruby items, and what was mentioned in the book. They told them about the machine in the cave, and that any creatures created by the machine will not come near a ruby item. Aleister was given the crown, and Old Dirty Bastard was given the scepter. For note, Quonth had the necklace, and Teeba and Dwayne each had a ring. The three bracelets mentioned in the book were still missing.
They dragged the orc prisoner to the caves, where a rope ladder was set up to descend into the main cave, and braziers were set up for warmth, since it was winter. The first thing they did was take Alesiter and Old Dirty Bastard to drink from the sparkling bubbly pool of miracles. Aleister gained knolwedge and smarts, and Old Dirty Bastard gained in fighting ability.
After a week of reading the book and fiddling with the machine in the cave, Dwayne began to understand the controls. Into the vat went the orc, and out crawled a giant spider, which wandered back to the main cave to set up webs. Dwayne singed off his eyebrows and half of his beard working the machines.
In the back of the caves they discovered a set of stairs leading down, and decided to investigate. A couple hundred meters down they encountered a weird mist in the stairway. Dwayne wandered in and decided that it was safe to breath. All continued down, through the mist. After about a half kilometer, the stairway ended in a blank wall. They pushed at the wall, and it rotated. Opening the doorway, they realized that the secret door was behind a statue, which they were pushing. They went through into the room, which proved to be a huge dusty temple. Aleister recogized the statue as the Daemon Drek, lord of the Undercity of Vindstadt. A pile of dust started to move, and four eyes appeared. Out of the dust sprang two temple nagas, each bearing four huge swords. After a long struggle, the nagas were dispatched. Teeba was wounded, but not critically. They dragged the creatures back into the stairway, took their swords, and pulled the statue secret door shut again. (Leaving a pretty good trail of blood back to the statue.)