As the party was leaving the Cloud Theater, they decided to make one more go at recovering Lord Nagel’s signet from the Prison Warden, Odsen Rom before calling it a night.
Arriving again at the Dock’s they “borrowed” a rowboat from Ol’ Sard, and made their way to the cliff face window they had used to gain entry to the labyrinth before.
Safely arriving there, unseen, the party again made their way through the window into the darkened corridors adjacent to the Prison. This time, they opted to steer clear of a direct move against the area known to be secured by the Prison guards and explored the eastern tunnels, hoping to find a safer route to the Warden’s office.
The party soon encountered several bugbears, who were quickly dispatched. One was able to shout a warning down the halls, causing a large portcullis to suddenly drop, sealing one of the tunnels. Maur, with his magically augmented strength, easily bent the iron portcullis, allowing the party to proceed.
Atop a long flight of stairs, the party found another bugbear, guarding a rusty iron gearbox with several levers, this clearly operated a series of portcullis’ in the complex. The party took time to make sure that each lever was switched to the open position and then proceeded down a nearby hallway.
The hallway opened to a large room housing a trio of locathahs. The western side of the room opened to a sheer drop down to a dark canal below. The murky canal was lighted by everburning torches placed at regular intervals along the walls, below. Having no means for the party to safely climb down, they searched the rest of the area, only to find a section of collapsed tunnels and a door to the north. Reasoning that this door would lead the party only farther away from the prison area, they backtracked to where they had earlier encountered the first group of bugbears. A door in this area led to the west.
This door led the group to a small antechamber, with doors leading both north and south. They selected the south door and Ian listened closely. He heard the sounds of several goblins beyond. The echoes of their voices indicated they were in a large room with several angles to it’s design. Choosing to overwhelm their enemies, Maur bashed the door open, charging in with the rest of the party in tow.
Maur stood shocked at what he could see. The room was clearly an ancient torture chamber. A pair of dwarven skeletons were shackled to a far wall. The ancient remains of a third dwarf was still chained to a specially made torture table, sized specifically for dwarves, but at the proper height to have a human of elf administer the torture. A half dozen goblins scurried about as the party tore into them, quickly ending their lives.
Maur glanced about at the bodies of his ancient kin, filling with a mix of anger and remorse. “Lives in their prime, cut short,” he mumbled to himself. Somehow he knew that whatever secrets these poor dwarves had, their interrogator learned nothing. Gideon, focusing on the matter at hand, noticed a passage leading to the west. A large barricade blocking the passage renewed his hope that they were drawing closer to the prison area of the dungeon.
Ian weaved his way through the barricade into the hallway beyond. At the end of the short hall, he noted a door, much newer than the ancient, worm-eaten doors they had been seeing. Returning to the party, he then noted a secret door about halfway down the passage, slightly ajar…it hadn’t been like that just a moment earlier…surely he would have seen it on his first past, if that were so. It seemed odd to him, so he called the rest of the party to investigate.
As Ian investigated the door at the end of the hallway, Gideon and Maur (now snapped out of his moment of thought) entered the secret door, finding a small library. A door, covered in sharp metal studs was to the west, and a passage led off to the east. The library had several bookshelves, covered with books crumbling from age. One of the shelves had collapsed long ago, spilling its contents to the floor in a disorganized mess. All was covered with thick layers of dust and cobwebs. A stone desk sat in the middle of the library, candles, useless with age, and several decrepit quills and a dried vial of ink adorned it’s dusty surface.
Gideon poked through the remains of books, finding one that appeared to somehow defy age. It was a leatherbound tome, gilded in gold edging, with two small golden clasps (both open). A strange sigil was burned into the front cover. Wary of it’s contents, but certain it must hold some value, he put it in his backpack, careful not to open it.
By this time, Ian had listened to the door at the end of the hallway and informed the party he could hear feint snoring.
With the group now gathered at the door, Ian picked the lock, oiled the hinges and careful opened the door, The room was a large barracks, dimly lit by candles. Six or more prison guards were fast asleep. A door was on the opposite side of the room, along with a stairway leading down. It appeared the stairway led to the prison docks, while the door should lead to the Warden’s office. Ian, formulating a plan, proposed taking the fake signet at this point, and drinking one of the doses from his potion of invisibility. Then, alone, he would sneak across the barracks, making his way to the far door. The rest of the party would simply have to wait. It was never discussed what would happen, should the thief be caught.
Ian, now invisible, dropped to his stomach, crawling slowly across the floor of the barracks, under beds, around tables. He timed his movements with the load snoring of one of the guards, slowly inching his way across the room. One of his belts caught against the underside of one of the occupied beds, jerking it sharply. Holding his breath, the guard only shifted in bed, turning over…the snoring ceased.
Ian continued deeper into the room, entering the relatively open eating area. Rising to a crouch, he came to the mess hall section of the room. Two guards, obviously drunk, had passed out. They slept soundly hunched over the table. Paying them little heed, he soon arrived at the door.
The door was unlocked. Again taking a moment to oil the hinges, he slowly opened it. There were three guards, their backs to him, standing in the hall. They were manning a barricade and were totally unsuspecting the possibility of any attack from their rear. Taking a deep breath, he entered the hallway, gently closing the door behind him. Crossing the hall, he then looked down it’s length, opposite the guard post.
Leaving the guards behind him, unaware of his presence, he sneaked down the hall, finding a large alcove and a door. The alcove was lit by a small oil lamp hanging from the wall. The space held a desk, some shelves, a bed and a weapons rack. The desk was littered with papers. Could this be the Warden’s office? Glancing over the shelves, he noted they held several ledgers and journals…nothing that could hold a signet. His attention turned to the desk.
The desk had several documents spread in a jumble across it’s top. Dockets, prisoner profiles, lists of charges and release dates. Provision records, etc. There were three file drawers going down the side of the desk, as well as a wide, narrow drawer at the waist – which was locked. The filing cabinets held several files (no surprise there), but by opening them, Ian was able to find a thin wire running along the length of the waist drawer. Following this wire, Ian discovered the waist drawer was trapped to launch a volley of darts (probably poisoned) towards anyone who opened it. He disarmed the trap and proceeded to pick the drawer’s lock.
The contents of the waist drawer were a jumble of papers, varied mementos (including a box of snuff, a holy symbol of Lothian, and a scroll sealed in wax). Crammed in the back of the drawer was the signet he was searching for. Ian hastily pocketed it, tossing the fake signet in it’s place and pulled out the wax-sealed scroll.
It was at this moment, he heard the jangle of keys as someone opened the adjacent door. Shoving the scroll back in the drawer, closing it, all in one motion, Ian dropped down, sliding under the bed. Odsen Rom entered his office.