Before revitalising their fallen comrade, the group decided to quietly explore some of the rooms around them in the ruin. They didn’t find much intact beyond a room that seemed to have been used as a make-shift shelter by someone.
They did however also encounter a large grey ooze – a mindless acidic amoeba-like creature – that had slipped in through an opening in a wall from the waters beyond. Ruin, in his favoured form of a yeti-like creature, splattered the ooze so that it wasn’t a threat any more, but was badly hurt in the process (lesson learned: don’t punch the creature made of acid).
The group retired to a room that they had made secure, healed up and then the druids were true to their word. With the morning light they were able to cast a reincarnation spell on Darmon. His scorched and twisted form rebuilt itself into that of a healthy male hobgoblin rather than the delicate refinement of his original elven body. After a degree of hunting around for appropriate clothing, the newly revitalised mage was ready to go, secretly rather liking the extra strength in his frame.
The group spent a little more time exploring the upper level but other than disturbing a large colony of bats they found nothing else alive or that pointed towards the location of their contact. Instead they crept down a set of stairs into the castle’s dungeon. They soon found that they were not alone. Four well trained and armed gnolls – muscular humanoids with jackal-like heads – ambushed them at the bottom of the steps. They too wore the same insignias as the bodies upstairs. For a moment it looked as if the group was in trouble but they were able to push their attackers back and with the aid of a human wizard who had been hiding nearby they were soon victorious.
This newcomer proved to be their contact. Named Spugnoir (pronounced Spooner), he was normally based in a nearby port called Harren, and was their Black Lanterns contact. He handed the group a package for delivery back to Sharn, but informed them that he had been hiding here both from the dragon but from these strange cultists who had arrived shortly after him. He had spied on them as they began excavations further into the complex and they seemed to be uncovering a shrine of some sort to a deity that he did not recognise.
Unnerved by what he’d seen, he asked the group to help investigate and stop them if necessary. They agreed and began to explore further. They hadn’t got far before they came under attack by a group of ghasts that seemed to be clustered around an old torture chamber. The foul stench of the creatures and their sheer numbers turned the narrow confines of the hallway into a tense battleground. Victory was quick in coming, but the group was bloodied in the process. As the remains of the undead predators collapsed into stinking piles of slime and rotten bone, the group began to wonder what they were getting into.