Castle Mystery, Part V: Wretched Wardrobes, Weirdos, Whispers, and Wit
Now in addition to the surprise of a zombie in the closet, the party found themselves face to face with a fiery haired young human woman who had vaulted through the window. Confused and defensive, she questioned what they were doing there, while Tarn and Pistachio attempted to keep the wardrobe containing the undead entity closed. However, despite their best attempts the undead broke through, causing Tarn to fall prone on the ground at the mercy of the creature. They sustained a wound from a slash, though fortunately resisted a debilitating side effect. As this happened, both Aldon and Xinas moved into action against the undead. Aldon successfully turned it in fear, and Xinas successfully negated that with arrows to the chest - much to the apparent fear of the mysterious young woman who screamed and cried out with each act of aggression. “Don’t hurt him!!”
Taking matters into her own hands, the young woman forced her way in front of the undead creature, pulled out a panflute and started playing a strange jaunty tune. The undead creature reeled at this, clasping its head and seemingly pacified. Marret joined in and played along with the tune with a great performance that impressed her party members. However, the tune was cut abruptly short by Pistachio who careened into the young woman, sending her flying to the side as they attempted to close the wardrobe doors. With some combined help, the group finally managed to fasten the lock and were relieved when they heard retreating steps from within the wardrobe.
The skirmish now apparently over, the party conversed with the young woman. They noted her striking red hair tied back in a messy high ponytail, adventurer’s robes, olive skin, and a pattern of spindly blueish scarring stretching across her face and arms. As it became apparent that the group was not going to serve as a continued threat, her demeanor changed - becoming much more strange and disconnected from the reality of what was happening in the castle. Presuming them to have been playing some kind of prank on her, she leaves the group behind to go attend to restoring her sentry (which they presumed was the water elemental) but not before making a thinly veiled threat to hurt them if they hurt the undead in the wardrobe again.
Splitting the party, one group went to continue exploring the rooms for captives but came up empty - but not before Aldon and Loopy shared a brief intimate moment of being lost in each others’ eyes while listening at the door for any signs of noise. Tarn and Pistachio chose to follow after, retracing their steps downstairs. Although she was still convinced this was an elaborate joke, they followed the presumed “little miss” who walked to the kitchen where the group had found a golden basin - only to find that it was no longer there. After some demonstration, she was finally convinced that something foul truly was amiss and requested to accompany them as they delved further into the castle - though she warned that she had left before she could rest and was not at her full strength.
Tarn, Pistachio, and the little miss left to catch up to the rest of the group. Pistachio discovered an old portrait in one of the rooms showing the likenesses of a noble family - a regal lord and lady, a young girl in their splitting image, and an even younger girl with a dreamy appearance and the slightest hint of reddish hair escaping her cap - this girl bearing a striking resemblance to the little miss. After Loopy had fallen to the ground upon Pistachio opening a door he had been leaning on from the other side, Aldon discretely cast a spell that caused whispers to emanate from the door. Spooked, both Loopy and Pistachio made attacks against the door, with Pistachio’s fire bolt going wide but Loopy managing to punch a hole through the door with his trident - after which the whispers disappeared. Seemingly nonplussed, the little miss suggested that perhaps it was nargles, and the party continued on.
They made a quick stop in the library on little miss’ suggestion who said that she remembered that she kept a few extra spell scrolls in there. She was unable to find any of them herself, but Pistachio managed to find a spell scroll of Magic Missile. Marret investigated the rest of the room, examining a bust with a female likeness in the corner. Under closer inspection she was surprised to find that the bust’s features were vulpine, and even more so when a grin spread across its face. A cloud of smoke exploded from the statue and when it cleared the group noticed it had disappeared, and in its place was a spectral fox bestowed with 3 long tails and a yellowish coat with a beautiful black point pattern. Those immediately closeby heard a playful voice in their heads.
“Hee-hee-ho! Hello hello there. You aren’t those STINKIN fish men, no no no. Outsiders, yes? Hmmmmm, yes. Let me put you to a test. Answer me riddles three and I shall give you a gift.”
The group accepted the challenge and answered the riddles with apparent ease. “Hee-hee-ho! Good! Very good! Take this prize. Perhaps we will meet again!” And with that the fox disappeared in another poof of smoke, leaving behind a healing potion.
Side quests complete, the group pressed on back to the tower. Before the group entered, Pistachio pulled Solaine aside and told him he didn’t trust him while attempting to intimidate him, though this attempt failed (almost endearingly). Before they clambered back into the tower Tarn and Aldon noticed a fine line drawn across the floor before the door and instructed the group to carefully clamber over it with no issue. Inspecting the rest of the room they noticed that the bodies of the creatures they felled before were gone, and even more mysteriously the bodies of injured sahuagin seemed to inhabit the stasis pods that had previously held Solaine and Lupra.
The group decides to descend the stairwell back down to the shipyard that Pistachio had seen one of the sahuagin escape. The cavern is pitch black but for the illuminating spells cast from the group, the water a still blackness surrounding an old shipwreck. Pistachio quickly investigated the ship and suggested that they should throw Solaine in to do some investigation. Solaine balked at the suggestion, saying that the sahuagin were ruthless hunters who favored hunting their prey in the dark but also failing to hide a bit of cowardice on his part. The party turned to leave, but before they did Pistachio threw their illuminated stone far out into the water, past the shipwreck. As it fell into the water, and before its light was drowned out, they could have sworn that they saw some movement in the water… but it was perhaps just a trick of the light.
The party headed back upstairs to the main floor, contemplating their next move before they would continue on to the upper tower floor…