While they were trying to figure out how to get Oppal out of the Holes, they headed back to the Fallen Towers for a bit of breakfast and an ale or two to get their brains working.
As they entered, they saw the tiefling woman sitting at the bar that they had seen the day before. She had given Pixel a few head scritches. The tiefling drinking a dwarven ale and it may have been her second one she was on. Pixel went over to the tiefling and let her pick her up and put her on her lap. Hetty noticed this and remembered she had seen this same tiefling at the temple area. Hetty went over and they struck up a conversation. Meanwhile, Kataract was lounging in his chair playing a tune on his lute. Henrik and Jasper were nursing dwarven ales and Reva was at the end of the bar with her hat tipped low keeping an eye on everyone and all of the exits and entrances.
Hetty introduces herself and the tiefling responds “I am Vedra. I am here looking for an elder from my home temple that disappeared earlier this year. The head cleric tasked me to look for him and after a long search I find he is in the Holes, in prison, going to be executed tomorrow. I have tried to talk to the people at my temple but I do not think the believed me. I tried to go to the palace and they told me only that the elder had said bad things about the king. That is not like him. He would never talk politics back at my home temple. I have to get him out and get him back to our home temple.
Hetty said come with me. I want to introduce you to my friends. I think that they will want to hear your story. They went over to the table and sat down just as the food arrived. Vedra told them about the elder in prison and then told them a little about herself. 5 years ago she washed up on the shore at the ocean with no memories. She walked 5 days looking for help when she stumbled upon a temple Goibniu, the god of smithing and hospitality. She made the folks there, mostly dwarves, a bit nervous at first. She was taken to the head cleric who about passed out when he saw her. She had been in a vision of is not two days before and she would be coming to the temple. They saw it as a sign that she should stay. She became a cleric but also a master at the forge.
They mentioned to Vedra that they too had a friend in the Holes and that they were planning to break her out. They asked is she would join them and they would get both Oppal and the elder. The elder’s name was Glauron Thunderbender. Henrik asked if Vedra could scry into the prison. She said she could but the pub was not the best place for her to do it. After settling the bill, they went to her rented room and she scryed into the Holes. She knew Glauron and had a token he had given her so it was easy to scry on him.
A sensor floated just over the shoulder of Glauron. He was in a small cell, the middle on in a row of three. Three more cells were across from him. Looking around, Vedra saw 8 guards and 6 (at least) officers. He saw other prisoners including an orc which everyone thought was Oppal. They would have to get inside to be sure. They looked around for any passages and only saw one exit, up the stairs and into a hallway and then up more stairs to the castle main floors.
They decided that Henrik would as the Stone of Golarr to use its Legend Lore power to see about the secret tunnel. After a brief conversation, the stone gave Henrik a riddle:
Not the rumor – it is there Take the bend just around where, there is no need to hold your breath No water to tread but the passage is raw Up through the forgotten basement.
It was enough information for Pixel to go searching for entrance. So, Pixel and Vedra set out toward Castle Never and its ledges to see what they could find. The rest of the group went to meet up with Gundren for the funeral of his two brothers.
They met Gundren at the entrance of the Pauper’s graveyard, where the undead had not taken over. Hetty brought a cask of dwarven ale and a bunch of snacks including some of the sweet rolls she liked she much. She made sure there was enough for everyone. They walked to the gravesites which were side by side. Due to lack of space, they had dug up and down graves instead of the normal way. The burial had already taken place. Gundren began to chant low and Jasper realized it was a dwarven funeral chant. He joined in and Kataract who was beside him knew the tune so he added the melody on his lute. Jasper gave the signal to Hetty who passed around the dwarven ale. Gundren’s voice became a little louder as his finished the chant. They finished the dwarven ale and then went back to the Fallen Tower to have more dwarven ale while they waited for Pixel and Vedra to return or to message them with Pixel’s Sending Stones.
Pixel and Vedra made their way close to Castle Never. They looked at the cliff face and found three entrances that may fit the information that Henrik was given from the Stone of Golarr. Pixel shapeshifted into a giant wolf spider and then made her way to the first entrance. Vedra stayed on the first bridge closest to the bridge and the cliff to make sure Pixel entered okay and then made it back out. The first entrance only led 20ft back and Pixel did not detect any secret doors. The second entrance she found a secret door and entered a rough passageway that led to a larger cavern.
Pixel summoned 8 more giant wolf spiders to follow her.
Pixel followed the cavern around to the right. She spotted a dire troll and moved on to the right almost falling into a pit trap. She side-stepped the pit trap and saw that the cavern ended. On the cave floor was written in Common “No”. It did not seem to be magical so Pixel started to follow another path back the way she had come but this one branched more to the north. She could see the dire troll and now it had been joined by two boars that had the same color skim as the dire troll. She sent one of the giant wolf spiders to create a diversion as she and the other spiders tried to make their way deeper into the cavern. And hopefully have the troll or the boars fall into the pit trap. They were able to pass by the troll and his minions but they did not fall into the pit trap. An intelligent troll.
Pixel continued north and west. She found a cavern where it had caved in some time ago. She continued more north and fell into a pit trap. She rested at the bottom to get some health back. She climbed back out and shifted into a giant scorpion. At the end of this passage she saw written on the floor the word “Exit”. She followed it and came upon an ancient stone arch that had been filled in at some time after the arch was built as the stone was not as old as the arch. She used her claws to remove stones until the gap was large enough for her get through and maybe Henrik if he needed to use it.
She entered an ancient hallway. It ran to the left and to the right. The left was a dead end about 40ft down. The right went 60ft and ended at a door that looked similar to other doors they had seen around Neverwinter. In her scorpion form she was not able to open this door but she felt pretty certain this led to the basement and then to the Holes. She then returned to the secret cavern and sneaked her way through and then ran when one of the boars discovered her. It ran after her and she was able to crawl up the cliff side. The boar realized too late what was going to happen and it slid across the last few feet of the cave floor, out the entrance and plummeted into the bay. She saw it bobbing in the water. It was still alive! She did not wait around to see how bad it was injured. She went to meet Vedra letting her know that the scorpion was her. She changed back into cat form and they went to the Fallen Tower to meet up with the others to make their final plans.
They would split into two groups. Pixel, Hetty and Reva would take the Bag of Holding and their newly purchases Heward’s Handy Haversack with everyone’s weapons and other items in them. They would go through the secret basement entrance and get set up as close to the prison area as possible. Jasper, Henrik, Kataract and Vedra would attempt to pass themselves off as friends and family of Oppal and Glauron to get into the Holes. Once inside Pixel would cause a disruption in scorpion form while Vedra would use a vial of acid to break through the bars of Glauron’s cell and Hetty tried to pick the lock of Oppal’s cell. They would communicate through their Sending Stones when each group was in place.
Pixel, Hetty, and Reva stealthed through the secret cavern. Hetty cast Pass without a Trace so they would be even more stealthy. They made it past the dire troll and its boars and up to the door Pixel could not open. It was locked and Hetty picked it easily. They let the others know that they were in place.
Vedra and Kataract approached the entrance to the Holes. Kataract was dressed as some who would deliver last rights for those who follow Goibniu. He was accompanying Vedra who was there to see her Uncle Glauron. The officer let them in and after being given the once over by the prison wizard, they were let into the prison proper and down into the cells where Glauron and Oppal were kept. Henrik and Jasper followed close behind. Henrik let Pixel know that they were inside. Pixel was now a scorpion and she moved stealthily at first down the hallways. She sped up when she saw the feet and legs of her friends heading into the cell pod of Glauron and Oppal. Vedra and Kataract approached the cell with Glauron. Glauron looked at Vedra and said What are you doing here? She said I am here to get you out of here. Henrik and Jasper made their way to Oppal’s cell. She looked at them oddly. Henrik said That’s a big hen house. Oppal replied Only to a small fox. Henrik gave the signal. Vedra created a sound in a cell behind her to draw the guards away Glauron’s cell. Only two moved so Vedra was not able to use the vial of acid so she and Kataract got ready to attack. Pixel ran out of the shadows and attacked the first officer and two guards in the area. Reva fired two shoots with her crossbow and then got into a defensive position to let Hetty get past that first group, down the steps and then shadow walk to Oppal’s cell. Stepping out of the shadows, Hetty attempted to pick the lock. It didn’t work and Oppal said to them you are going to get yourselves killed.
Kataract reached into the cell and asked Glauron if he trusted him. Glauron looked at Vedra who nodded. Glauron said I think so…? and and grabbed hold of Kataract who cast Dimension Door and they teleported up to the first landing just beyond the officers and guards. Reva fired more shots and the guards started dropping. Vedra cast Spiritual Guardians and 4 more guards dropped. Henrik reached into the bag and pulled out his pike and ran towards the larger group of guards and officers. Pixel continued to attack with her claws, grappling as many of the guards as she could before they were killed. Vedra picked up the officer’s keys and gave them to Glauron who ran back into the prison to try to get them to Hetty. He ran as far as he could. He was then joined by Jasper who encouraged him and then moved on up the stairs towards the way out. Hetty ran to Glauron, got the keys from him and the shadow walked back to Oppal’s cell. She opened it and her and Oppal ran for the exit. The group took out two more groups of officers. They could hear more guards coming from upstairs so they made a run for the secret caverns. They shut and locked the door behind them. Vedra cast Stone-Shape fusing the rock around the door. They ran into the secret cavern and began to search for the dire troll and its boars.