At midday, the party comes into view of Darkhorn Castle. It rises above the surrounding landscape on a stone rise. The lands around the stone edifice are high moor grasses and a few scattered shrubs and stunted trees. Ayremyr leads the party up to a mountain stream that runs swiftly down to the east. Tellazar spots a narrow stone slab footbridge that crosses the water.
The party crosses the bridge and trudges up the ridge to the crumbling castle. Several towers have collapsed and the group can see several breaches in the outer wall of the abandoned castle. The group reaches the open archway of the main gate of Darkhorn Castle. No sound can be heard but the whistling of wind through openings in the stone structures. Rehs cautiously approaches the gateway and examines the area for waiting traps and finds none.
Corthen leads the party into the ward of the desolate stronghold. He leads the group up towards the main keep, a ruined shell of stone. Suddenly a cry comes from above and the air is pierced by dozens of bolts! The party has walked into an ambush. Crossbowmen fire on the adventurers from nearby towers on the outer walls, from the ramparts of the wall, and from the top of the main keep. Several members are struck by bolts, the luckier heroes’ armor turn them aside.
Realizing that they must move or perish, the group reacts swiftly. Tellazar grabs ahold of Corthen and uses the Dimension Door magic of his robes to reappear atop a nearby tower. Erith, Rehs, and Ayremyr charge a set of stairs to the inner curtain wall to rush their attackers. Uldred growls and pulls his enchanted crossbow out to return fire from the ward. Samira wounded by several of the bolts, runs for the cover of the main keep and says a prayer to Mystra that no attackers await her just inside the breached opening.
Corthen and Tellazar attack the three human crossbowmen atop of the tower. Erith and the others reach the top of the curtain wall. Four men led by a large warrior in field plate armor rush out from a nearby tower and charge the heroes. The leader is wielding a broadsword and he tries grabbing Ayremyr and Erith with a dark gauntlet but he misses.
Uldred has used his crossbow of speed to strike several of the archers atop a wall. Samira has disappeared inside the ruins of the main keep. Tellazar and Corthen have dispatched the three archers atop the tower they jumped to from the mage’s cloak. Tellazar uses Feather Fall to drop down inside the tower. Once there he unleashes a Lightning Bolt to slay five archers atop of the west wall.
Corthen uses his bow and picks off two archers atop of the main keep. Ayremyr, Erith, and Rehs slay two of the attackers including the leader. Erith kocks out three of the attackers with a Sleep spell. Uldred uses his helm to Fireball and eliminates the bowmen atop of the gatehouse. Uldred then moves up the stairs and says healing prayers on Rehs. The remaining crossbowmen flee from the roof of the main keep.
In the darkness of the interior of the main keep, Samira can hear shouts above her and soon she hears the sound of men running away inside the dark confines but she sees no one. Outside the party regroups, with Samira coming out last to rejoin the others. Uldred tends to her wounds before Corthen and Erith speak to his bound prisoners.
The three men are questioned. They tell the party they followed Gordeirn Mathchan, a bandit leader of Northern Gwynneth. The most helpful prisoner reveals that Gordeirn worshipped Cyric and he had the men attack the party to protect the Cyricists. Corthen offers freedom to the three men if they tell him where he can find these servants of Dark Sun. The prisoners tell the party that a stairwell behind the keep leads down into the catacombs and priests are quartered there.
Corthen keeps his promise and releases the men. He tells them should they continue to rob the honest Fflolk, he will track them down and give no quarter. The trio stumble out a wall breach and run across the open heath way from Darkhorn Castle as they can get. The Guardians of the Past locate the stairs down and descend into darkness.
The stairs lead into a large room with crates and wickerwork baskets stacked along one wall. Corthen investigates the containers, ever in pursuit of coins and brooches. He misses the signs of danger and trips a wire and most of the stack falls forward onto the elf. The rotting crates spill large stones out and Corthen is down and unmoving. The party pulls the warrior free of the trap and he comes around from unconsciousness.
The heroes move down a hall off of the entry chamber. Stone doors line the sides. Rehs checks each portal before Corthen opens doors to reveal room being used as a kitchen, a treasure room, and sleeping quarters. The next door opened by the elf reveals two Ettin skeletons that immediately attack the party. The party engages the undead and defeat the two of them.
Rehs moves down the hall to check the door at the end when he is hit by a soundless blast of energy. It knocks Corthen and Ayremyr over as well. Several party members are pretty sure it is a Netherese blast scepter. Samira takes Corthen, Rehs, Ayremyr, and Tellazar ethereal and they attack the men inside the room from behind once they return to solid form. They kill two bandits and two robed Cyricists and take two bandit prisoners. Rehs unspikes the door that connects to the outer hall. Erith aand Uldred enter the well chamber. Samira questions the surviving bandits and learn that three of their companions crawled out the escape tunnel. Erith’s handharp begins playing by itself when he enters the room. The harp plays louder in the northwest corner of the chamber. Uldred searches the area and finds loose flagstones that lift aside to reveal a dark shaft descending into solid rock.