Oh, boy, we've had a busy month with a lot of playing, leading to me getting way behind on session logs.
Soon after our time at Falcon Tower, we decided to head west to check out the pregnant woman's story of a den of orcs (and also wanting to investigate rumors of kobolds who robbed some miners). We headed west down the road, but found only a long-abandoned camp of kobolds. We briefly met with the "witch", Valdershenk, who told us that she knew the kobolds well enough, but that orcs were always trouble. She also gave us a bit of a potion, that most of us survived pretty well. We headed further west, past the river that marks the county border and into the mountains.
It was a fairly difficult trek, especially with the number of greenhorn travelers we had along. Being the strongest swimmer, Sevlan tended to lead our way across rivers, while the rest of the party would follow on a rope he carried, or ride a log downstream. There were some rough bits, but we made it to a small, protected cove beneath the cliffs, where we figured our lady must have come from.
Quite frankly, this is one impressive trek for her. She climbed down a sheer cliff, hundreds of feet tall, crossed two rivers, and walked down the road, all while heavily pregnant, with inadequate clothes and no shoes. We suspected that her captors were up near the top of the cliff, but we couldn't make it up safely, so we decided to head back to town and circle around. On the way back, we met Valdershenk again, still strolling happily through unsettled lands; she informed us that she had some cures and such at her hut near the old Has road, which we promised to keep in mind.
Since we were planning on heading back west, we talked to our friend, Captain Reymond, the captain of the guard at the Palisade, asking if he had anything that needed to be run out to the towers to the southwest... figured we'd get pay and the short-term use of a mule out of the bargain, and continue our good relationship with the captain. Before we headed out to Karpar peak, we retired to some rooms we'd rented in the keep itself... while cheaper to stay at the hostel in Quarrytown, I also worried about security, especially when we start picking up money (aaaaaaannnny day now, I swear). However, we got attacked by giant rats. Huge rats. Rats the size of medium-sized dogs. Ava, our priest of the Bear, got bit and fell ill. Since Balan was unable to cure her disease, and the disease wasn't fatal or contagious (so long as she didn't bite anyone), we chose to keep adventuring, figuring it would clear up and a few days on the road would give her time to heal. Then, we were going to go into the sewer to wipe out the rats.
We started to run supplies down to the tower, and Sevlen noticed someone picking one of our pockets. We caught him and presented him with a proposal: He could adventure with us, or we'd turn him into the guard. He was enthused by the prospect; he was Amnet, and his family was tradesmen, but died soon after arriving at the Keep. He'd been on his own ever since, stealing bits and, while never quite joining the Ravens, he was occasionally dependent upon their charity. We got him some armor and he came along with us on the supply run.
The supply run was... interesting. The Karpar tower is rumored to be haunted, so Grimwulf was interested in investigating it in his position as a dedicant on the Eternal Lantern. When we got there, we learned it wasn't so much "haunted" as "rumored to be a lousy duty station so those assigned there could party." Good food, good drink, even a prostitute out there. We partied with the Karpar guard, and they offered us a chance to join a "secret society", though they weren't clear about the nature of it.
After a good night (and looking west, since we're still worried about orcs out there), we headed back to the keep with an Ava whose symptoms were getting worse. Determined to exterminate the rats, we headed down below. We knew of several entrances to the keep sewers, but started with one well away from the privies. The first was a small complex, draining directly to the river below, but with one-way doors that we couldn't get open... but rats could. Heading to the lower bailey sewers, we found a vast complex... what seemed to be the remains of the old keep. We found a kennel, a jail (with evidence that someone named "Dirk" was executed by someone known as "Sir Trigger"), some storage and a great hall. The hall, Fredi told us had giant tapestries, some of them quite valuable, but all of them quite old and delicate. Exploring further, we found evidence of the rooms of several of Sir Trigger's "fingers", including Dirk, the Pointer Finger... who seems to have been the one executed. We thoroughly mapped the area, with Amnet (that thief we caught) finding a few traps, and Ava getting further diseased. This second one was more severe, but would clear up just fine... provided she went to spend a few months in the desert. Ava chose to leave us, then, heading south to the arid lands and her health.
After a couple weeks of training, and thoroughly exploring that remnant of the old keep, we decided to tell some of the authorities about it. And for this, we were torn. Did we tell the Earl, responsible for the keep and arguably the one who could inherit the treasures below? Or did we tell the Prefect, responsible for the protection of the keep, who would surely like to know about the passage between the lower and middle baileys? In the end, we chose to tell Greytar, the mage who was present for the last keep, and a possible friend of Sir Trigger. We kept some information from him, however... like the library below. Sevlen'd finally pieced out the Orcish writing in the diary we'd taken from the Orc priest, and had learned a different history of the keep... one that included Sir Trigger, the Grel Wizard, who had attacked the keep before he helped rebuild it. We weren't sure of Greytar's actual loyalties, but bribed him with a bottle of valuable wine to set up a meeting with the prefect and the Earl (figuring that telling them both at the same time would avoid appearances of favoritism, though Greytar clearly favored the Earl).
The Prefect react with bluster and anger to news of a complex beneath the keep, and the Earl with cautious optimism to word of artistic treasures below. We shared this discussion, and promised to spend more time mapping the deeps.