Castle Mystery, Part IV: Tridents, Toads, Toilets, and Trespass
Their long rest complete, the party decided to take care of some business before setting back out into the castle. Pistachio had been able to build a new steel defender using miscellaneous parts from the weapon and armor strewn about the store room. They also were able to tinker with the gear of their companions, granting them some much needed bonuses that would surely help them in their next round of combat.
Loopy checked in on his mother, who was able to rest but still anxious to be away from her captors’ domain. Loopy had been convinced that he would bring his mother with them as they delved back into the castle to free the others, but between her apprehension that she would merely be a liability and the warnings from the rest of the party, he conceded and agreed to escort her back to the entrance of the castle once they set back out.
Tarn, Solaine, Aldon, and Xinas explored the cellar below the hidden door. They discovered a room filled with more barrels of fine foodstuffs and wine, but also discovered two chests collecting dust around the corner. With some drop-in help from Pistachio to assist with inspecting and opening the chests, the group was rewarded with an assortment of healing potions and the discovery of a mystical weapon - a moon trident. Solaine related to Tarn with the best of his ability, given that he had only ever read about these weapons, that moon tridents (much like their land counterpart, the moonblade) were prized weapons that were forged by the noble sea elven houses of old. Passed down from generation to generation, these weapons were so incredibly rare and powerful that they even had the ability to speak. He was concerned and frustrated that this one had been hoarded and locked up like some prized trophy for so long.
The question came up about who could attune with such a weapon, with which Solaine had no clear answer. Xinas suggested that he attempt to attune to the trident, but when he did he was violently rebuffed. The trident tore away from his hands, telepathically screaming “NO! You are not worthy!”, leaving him with a debilitating headache that would put him at disadvantage for saving throws for the next 24 hours. After some further deliberation, Solaine hypothesized that there perhaps were some alignment restrictions and asked Tarn if he might try to speak with the trident. He did so, though the others could only hear a one sided conversation from Solaine starting hopeful but ending in dejection. He informed the others that the trident was named Ethali, previously wielded by the house of Nightwater, and that they were indeed a powerful weapon forged to protect and further elvenkind. He also confirmed his suspicion that Ethali would only align with those who were good or neutral and of elven descent, but that still would reject those she deemed unworthy and, to his dismay, apparently he too was unworthy.
Giving a last look through the room, Tarn also uncovered another, more well hidden chest that contained a scroll of protection and a spell scroll for the spell of Expeditious Retreat. With that, the group returned upstairs to divvy out some of the loot. Tarn offered the trident to Loopy, suggesting that though he was only half-elf it was probably “good enough" to meet the requirement. Loopy took the trident in his hands and was greeted with a melodious voice in his mind, one part feminine and another part masculine. It told him that it had been countless years that it slept, being passed between the hands of the unworthy. It was surprised that when it finally awoke, it was not in the hands of her sea elven kin, but in those of a landwalking half-blood that she finally found a worthy soul. It was left up to Loopy to accept the bond with the trident, though it was suggested that the bond would be for life.
Wary at the commitment (I thought she just wanted to go on a date!), Loopy set down the trident and spoke with his party, relaying what the trident was telling him. Solaine was spluttering and incredulous, suggesting that it was the highest honor one of his kind could ever receive to be bonded with a moon trident. The rest of the party happily reminded Loopy that Aldon could actually officiate this apparent wedding! To this Ethali chuckled in his mind, suggesting that she was more than happy to partner with him and lend her strength for the rest of his life, but that marriage between a mortal and a moon trident “would never happen” (but honestly, wouldn’t that be pretty dope?). Loopy accepted the bond, and became attuned to Ethali - after which a new rune showed up below the previous two emblazoned below the moonstone.
Eager to finally move on, the group cautiously headed back out to the entrance of the castle and parted ways with Loopy’s mother, Lupra, who disappeared into the dark to find Cithrel (who had agreed to meet and escort any survivors back to town).Tarn led the others to explore the two previously unexplored rooms, discovering Hopperdink the frog in the kitchen who was lured with food to come back with them to meet back up with his brother, Lillypad. The other room was revealed to be a privy, in which they were met by a disembodied hand imploring them, “P-p-p-paper please!” Tarn went to go find some paper to offer to the hand, but before he could return with it Aldon discerned that it was a no-good undeadly ghost and cast Turn Undead, causing the hand to flee back inside the toilet.
Pressing on, the party proceeded back to the frog pond, depositing Hopperdink next to his brother.. though one empty lilypad remained. Tarn and Loopy peeked into another kitchen area, similarly disheveled like the previous one but also housing a mysterious large, yet empty golden basin with blueish accents along the side. They continued on, setting their sights upstairs.
When they alighted at the top of the staircase they came face to face with an apparent prized trophy - a mounted dragon head, which was concluded to be a remnant of the previous owners. Pistachio thought to attempt casting Detect Magic, and picked up a trace of abjuration through the wall and doorway to their right. Unsure if it was wise to pursue unspecified magics in such a hostile environment, the group finally settled on having the majority of the party inspect the room while Solaine (still quite salty of being passed over by Ethali, and by the party’s insinuations that because he was a sea elf it meant he might know the mysterious origins of water on the floor) and Loopy continued down the hall.
The room appeared to be an unkempt bedroom, with a set of bookcases, a vanity mirror, and a locked wardrobe. Tarn suspected this could be the room of the “Little Miss” and called out for the last missing frog, but got no reply. Pistachio homed in on a small patch of magic on the ground in front of the wardrobe and thought it would be a good idea to have Tarn walk over and try to open the doors. As Tarn stepped over the magical spot on the ground it vanished… yet nothing seemed to happen.
Realizing the likely mistake, Pistachio warned the group that he thought that they may have just set off some kind of alarm and that they better be ready to fight or flee. Figuring that their time was limited, they made quick work of the padlock on the wardrobe and opened it. They were met by the terrifying visage of an undead human covered in barnacles emerging from the depths of this wardrobe that seemed far too deep for its dimensions, and were plunged into combat.
Hearing a commotion something to do with barnacles, Loopy implored his trident to grant him the power of Haste by wielding it like a guitar (thus permanently attuning it to this method for activation), and ran back down the hall. The rest of the party had a mixture of responses: fight it, try to read its thoughts, and just-put-it-back-oh-god. They managed to avoid taking any damage and closed the doors, but Tarn accidentally fumbled the lock into the ground. Aldon and Xinas stood in wait, ready to attack or Turn Undead again the instant the doors opened.
Before they got a chance to do much else, a blur of red caught their eye as a young woman with fiery hair vaulted into the room through the window and yelled, “What in the gods' names do you think you are doing?!”