Continuing their investigation of the slowly resurrecting castle, the team discovered even more weird stuff. At the top of the central tower, a hole in a stone plinth emitted an acrid smoke; further investigation was unable to confirm whether it was the top of a chimney or something else.
Down in the basement was a large room with many long tables, upon which were hundreds of piles of clothes. There were also three doors, each of which proved to be trapped with a cunning concealed pit. After Thedis fell into the first one, greater care was taken in dealing with the others.
The rooms beyond held many blue cylinders built into the wall, each magical and apparently containing living creatures. One room had a particularly large, black specimen, which the team assumed contained a more powerful being.
While waiting for Thedis to recover from his wounds, Corin undertook a more thorough examination of the areas, eventually discovering a secret door that led to a room full of large, black cylinders, and another containing a pillar slowly turning from stone to crystal and a holographic display of the keep.
The image of the castle depicted a large area of underground tunnels, as well as many red, gold, and black dots. A bit of experimentation suggested that the red dots were living creatures, the gold dots seemed to be constructs or spirits that were rebuilding the castle, and the black dots were the creatures inside the cylinders, and those dots were slowly turning red.
There was also a massive book bound to a stone table by a heavy chain. Despite being written in a strange language, Corin was able to determine that it was the journal of a being called Akarium, a godlike being from a distAnt reality who traveled between realms gathering knowledge. In his travels he seems to have defeated (and vivisection) more than a few deities.
Intrigued by this wealth of information, Corin started copying down as much of the journal as he could, aided by Cerwin under the effects of a Comprehend Languages spell. More to get the rest of the party out of the way than anything, Corin suggested that Thedis and Pseudolus report to the giant chief what the team discovered.
The giant was unimpressed, and ordered the team back in, informing them that he had calls all the local tribes to assault the place if our here’s failed t deal with it. After explaining that we would likely die in the process, the envoys headed back in.
Back in the secret chamber, observations of the crystallizing column suggested that it might be a timer f some sort, and that there wasn’t much time to spare. A heated discussion about whether to fool around with things, sneak away, or jus wait and see what happened followed, with the ultimate decision being Cerwin would stay behind and observe while the rest of the party headed for the hills. Thanks to Thedis and Pseudolus, the clumsy giant patrol were easily avoided and our heroes slipped away. Fortunately, Corin convinced Cerwin that he wouldn’t need cash, and added it to the party fund.
While his comrades exercise the better part of valor, Cerwin had a box seat for the slaughter of the hill Giants, watching their red dots wink out one by one. Once the battle was over, he wandered around the halls of the castle until eventually being captured by the awakened residents. He was carried to the head guy, who simply ordered the Druid be taken to the lab. Finally deciding that escape would be wise, Cerwin used his spells and shapechanging skills to run away, barely making it into the forest outside the castle walls, but only after taking a severe beating.
Now, the team is split, with Corin, Pseudolus, and Thedis making their way to New Vanya, Oona and Zeta lost in the shuffle, and Cerwin presumed vivisected.
Loot: Thedis identified the shard of bloody glass as the Blade of Heart Blood, some sort of focus that keeps the Titan of Braga asleep. The shard would serve as a + 1 dagger if fitted with a hilt, but if broken would allow the Titan to wake.
The blood dripping from the glass also has special properties: a drop added to a healing potion super charges it, increasing the healing by 1d10. The blood can also dispel magic and break curses, but greater volume is required for more powerful effects.