The draugr guardsmen closed ranks and our heroes waited tensely to see what would happen next. Boomah dropped to his needs and spread the Omaro surcoat before him.
The undead leader in the rear dropped to his knees and laid his sword and ceremonial keys on the ground. Saerin noted that this a ritual of failure and that he was surrendering his head to Celeste. She told him to stand and explain himself. He answered in the high Pellen language, which no one spoke. They eventually communicated that fact and he told them that he could speak ‘the trade language of the low people’, which they knew as the common tongue.
He told them his name was Vanto ren Omaro, and he was the captain of the guard. His mission was to masquerade as his master to fool the ‘watchers’ and let Fierin Omaro and his young heir to escape the keep. Paro Lento had explained that the ‘line’ must be protected at all costs. He thought he had failed, but in death continued to protect the castle as well as he could. Celeste explained that he had obviously succeeded as she was a continuation of the line.
The asked about the creatures from beyond the waterfall, and he told them that there was an old copper mine there, and he assumed that they were trapped in a mission as well. But there recent expansions and activity had convinced him that was no longer the case. He also told them about the shrine to Aerin beyond their hall and proclaimed ignorance about any noise beyond the tower door.
They checked out the shrine and found a high chamber filled with light channeled from above. The walls were covered with myriad horns and antlers of wild beasts from across the old world. Vanto explained that each of these were stalked and killed by members of House Omaro. Kallius noted the room radiated magic, and they questioned the marshall if there were any rituals that needed to be performed. He told them about a simple prayer of entry required for any Aerin shrine, and Celeste made sure they performed the obeisance before entering. There they found the tomb of Lady Synelle Omaro and several empty tombs — but no danger. Celeste relieved Vanto and his guards of their duty and they melted into mud and ooze, leaving a magic ring and bastard sword behind.
Moving on, they climbed the exterior wall of the keep to reach the unfinished second floor. The found a plastered over entry to the tower, but heard no rushing water. They smashed at the blockage until they had created a goblin-sized hole. Peering in, Boomah saw the tower was choked with thick webs and there were a fair umber of spiders crawling about. The decided they were not prepared for new dangers this day.
They chose to rest in the shrine and continue in the morning. Returning to the roof, they found that the opening had been covered by webs. Boomah soaked the area in oil, but unnerved by the numbers of spiders gathering on the webs, scurried back after lighting the webs aflame.
Immediately a swarm of spiders burst for the opening. Expecting this, Boomah launched a flaming bomb, but stumbled and it hit the ground at his feet — bursting into flame. The spiders turned from the blaze and moved toward the elves along the edge of the roof. Kallius pulled back next to his comrade, and the two were covered with hundreds of tiny vermin.
Calling for help, Boomah launched another bomb at the swarm, catching the tow elves but scattering the creatures.
There was some quick healing, and they returned to the now open passage into the tower. They expanded the hole to allow humans and crawled inside. Boomah crept down toward the sound of rushing water, but saw nothing. Looking closer, he found a pile of human bones along the wall. When he touched them, the floor filled with a rushing torrent and he was swept down the hall — crashing with the wave into the wall at the far end. He rand back to the group, who could already hear the sound of rushing water begin to build. Celeste summoned a dolphin to collect the bones, but since the wave did not reappear it was quickly dispatched.
Then they rushed down and collected the bones, depositing them in one of the empty crypts in the spring to Aerin. Immediately the sound ceased, and the tower was eerily quiet.
Saerin took the lead climbing up. Above the second floor landing, he could see something large moving in the broken beams above. Kallius cast light on an arrow, and the ranger shot it up toward the motion. it stuck fast in a crossbeam, illuminating a huge arachnid shaped descending toward them, covered with hundreds of other spiders crawling in and out gaps and cracks in the monstrous spiders exoskeleton.