Heavy Lies The Crown
"Step out the front door like a ghost, into the fog where no one notices/The contrast between white on white. And in between the Moon and you, the angels get a better view/Of the crumbling difference between Wrong and Right." - Counting Crows, "Round Here"
The party leaves the newly crowned Count Parlfray, blind and alone, in the secret passage between the Keep's jail and the long shaft descending into the vermin-infested tunnels below. His father, now an Undead cannibal, remains locked in his cell (for the time being). He mentioned a text somewhere in his family library upstairs that might shed some light on the secrets this keep was erected by his ancestors to protect. Such insights would make pursuing the murderous rogue Gideon far safer than stumbling after him through the dark, but even if the Heroes cannot secure the tome, investigating the rest of the stronghold and clearing it of hazards is a worthy endeavor. There is no telling how many of the refugees from Thurmaster who made their way here yet live, if any. The cult and all who aid them have proven proficient in their bloody work.
And so, there is nothing for it but to venture upstairs and see what can be seen. The door leading out of the narrow hall the party has found themselves in opens to reveal a short staircase, climbing about five feet before leveing out again. Rounding another corner takes Jugg into what appears to be a wine cellar, which is certainly encouraging. Surface folk appreciate the benefits of keeping wine in the basement, but it would necessarily be easily accessible to the kitchen staff. And if the kitchen is nearby (which is typically NOT underground), so too must the dining room, and from there the rest of the keep's ground floor. Indeed, he can sense that he has led his colleagues to the floor just beneath the hill's summit. Thunk has gleaned this much from his experiences with food and booze, as well, so the sight of rows upon rows of glass bottles gladdens his heart. Not only might this offer another opportunity to drink himself stupid with his bearded brother-in-arms, but if there are any survivors up here, there must be SOMEone cooking SOMEthing.
Jugg decides on a path through the racks of stored bottles, keeping his head on a swivel. It is quiet here except for the sound of his own footfalls and those of his companions in the column behind him, the reverie occasionally broken by a phlegmy cough and a half-muttered, unintelligible apology from Raphael. There are numerous opportunities here and there to peek through the shelves to see what is on the other side, so it is not exactly like this would be an easy place to set up an ambush; but if the party did fall pray to one, marching single-file in cramped quarters would be less than ideal when trying to mount a counter-offensive.
Thankfully, potential adversaries would also need to deal with the restricted terrain. Anyway, Jugg can see in the dark, which means that even in a brightly lit room, someone trying to skulk about in the shadows would be plainly visible. The dwarf is eyeing up the rows upon rows of stacked wine and trying to figure out how easy it would be to tip one of the shelves over in the case of an emergency when everyone except Dalvar and Raphael observe that it is not something creeping in the shadows that they need worry themselves over at all; rather, the shadows themselves appear to be writhing and moving of their own volition.
Jugg - 15
Feruq - 14
Argus - 13
Shadow - 12
Thunk - 7