Victory in the Vale

An Excursion into Shadowfell Keep:

A Sage's Account.

by Valthrun the Prescient

I am keeping this journal of observations for many purposes, not the least of which is to occupy myself during the brief spurts of downtime I am allowed, for committing myself to a conversation with any of my uneducated compatriots is a long, drawn-out, aggravating process that I only undertake when necessary. More importantly, though, it will hopefully survive as an important record of how the abandoned keep’s interior has changed over the years, and provide insights as to the Empire’s legacy when I am able to divine it myself. I also hope it will provide a second usage to other arcane practitioners who are curious about field work – I will probably not be providing so much an exhaustive manual as a collection of words to the wise, though.

The keep’s walls and outer structures remain as desolate as ever, wrecked by the earthquake some years prior and never repaired. The goblins have vandalized the interior, even to the point of digging a pit by the entrance and filling it with such offal as to attract a swarm of rats, which thankfully we managed to avoid provoking. Any traces of the Nerathi soldiers that watched over this place are gone now, save perhaps for the mattress frames that the goblins use for their bunks, or the chests that they fill with “shineys” (rough translation from the goblin tongue). They obviously have no regard for the historical import of the site, even going so far as to completely dig up the floor of a rather large chamber in search of nonexistent buried trinkets. I suppose it’s not entirely truthful of me to condemn their gathering, as I did come away with an enchanted implement for my troubles…

There was a strange rune on the ground on the second level: a trio of lines emanating from a single point, separating sigils of a hand, a crossed pair of arrows, and the symbol denoting infinity. The others believe it to be some kind of enchanted, terror-inducing trap, but I cannot be certain – no such icon has ever appeared in my notes, and it would be imprudent to make a guess at this juncture.

More pressing than the rune, though, was the presence of undead – I should have surmised it from the telltale smell. Skeletons and zombies in varying degrees of decomposition are a worrying sight indeed, even if they appear to be far less capable of seriously harming us than the goblins we’ve fought. Their presence suggests that either the rift’s worsening energy leak is animating the dead soldiers entombed here, or that the death cultists that I suspect are behind all this have a skilled necromancer in their ranks. Neither possibility is particularly comforting to think about, but the most disturbing thing at all about this is the sense of satisfaction I can’t help but feel when a dusty skeleton explodes at the behest of a well-timed bolt of arcane force.

The deepest part of the tomb held none other than the infamous Sir Keegan himself, now animated as a fleshless abomination, but seeming to be far more in control of his faculties than the historical accounts would have me believe. I stayed well away from him while my naive allies conversed with him; I had told them that he was the reason for the Keep’s downfall, hadn’t I? In life, the man had single-handedly dispatched almost half of the men under his command and a great many more civilians besides, including his wife and children. Then again, I suppose I should hardly be surprised – why wouldn’t such cutthroat individuals want to be chummy with that murderer? As for me, I trust nothing he has said.

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