Nephelle, Gwyn, Brand, and Bast walked through the garrison with their retinue and into Highglen Castle. Wanting to get settled in, they asked Lieutenant Nigel where their quarters were. He replied and said they had a couple of options. They could stay in the Ambassadorial Suite, but that would force them to move the Kardane Ambassador to another location. The Highglen staff had also prepared another suite for them. It wasn’t as nice as the Ambassadorial Suite, but it should suffice for their group. Nephelle declared that the other suite would be sufficient. Nodding, Nigel led them to the rooms.
It took about a half hour to wind their way through the streets of Highglen to enter the living quarters. The castle was carefully designed against seige, the streets winding to and fro often leading into sections which would become death traps in time of battle. All the twists and turns made for slow going through the castle grounds, but they finally entered the hallways leading to their rooms.
The doors opened into a large, spacious chamber with couches and divans spaced out in a cozy manner. Five short passages led off to the available bedrooms. Each of the Agents picked a room, leaving the fifth to be shared by their guards. After dropping off their gear, they gathered in the dining room on the second floor to discuss their next move. Grateful that the guards had stayed below, Bast informed the others that she had found a secret passage leading from her room. She had gone to each of the other rooms and found the same. Some of the passages opened by pressing on a brick or pulling a sconce, and in one of the rooms, the entire fireplace rotated open, revealing a dark hallway behind it. Bast had traveled a short ways down the passageway from her room but didn’t want to go too far without the rest of the group.
They were talking about whether or not it would be a good idea to do that now or later when they heard Nigel’s voice coming up the stairs, “Lady Nephelle? I wanted to inform you we could take you to the Baron’s body if you would like. It is being kept in the dungeon where it is coldest.”
The group descended and asked for more information. Nigel explained, “The Baroness’ apprentice, ”/characters/vellatus" class=“wiki-content-link”>Vellatus, is keeping watch over the body. But if you would rather, we could go to the armory where the weapon used to slay him is being kept." Liking that option, they set out. Gwyn stayed behind for she wasn’t feeling all that well. She said it was probably something she ate.
It took the others almost an hour to wind their way to the armory, which was in the main building of the garrison surrounding the castle. They evaluated the garrison to hold about 600 soldiers in addition to the staff necessary to care for that many people. They enter the armory and see the walls arrayed with a typical assortment of swords, lances, maces, flails, shields, bucklers, helmets, and breastplates. Nigel leads them through a hidden doorway and down a flight of steps. At the end of the hallway there are two soldiers standing guard by a door. Nigel approaches, whispers a quiet passphrase and produces a myiar key which he inserts into the lock and turns it. The door opens and the group enter. As they move past, Bast takes a closer look at the lock and realizes it’s a powerful spell-lock.
The small room they enter had been emptied of everything except a table in the center of the room. They could see empty shelves on the walls, indicating that the room had been cleared out specifically to serve the purpose it was now….namely, protecting the weapon used to slay the Baron. The wood surrounding the dagger was darker than the rest of the table, the dark pattern following the outline of the wavy blade and twisted hilt perfectly. The dagger had also sunk slightly into the table. Nephelle didn’t even need to expand her senses to realize that this was definitely imbued with some sort of magic. But when she did seek out the magic, she was surprised to find it radiating both necromatic and divine magics. Closer inspection of the blade revealed no trace of blood and Nigel explained that when the blade left the body of the Baron, it was clean even then, cauterizing the wound as it was withdrawn.
The hilt of the dagger was two serpents intertwining. Nephelle recognized it as the symbol of Raagbaal, the Mother of Demons. Brand’s keen paladin senses detected chaotic energies in the blade. Focusing more intently on that revealed a fiend bound within the dagger. Blades with parasitic demons such as this were used in rituals to revitalize creatures that had become very weak and needed to regain their strength and power.
Nephelle knows of another ritual in which they could trace where the strength and power of the Baron would have been siphoned to, but it required supplies she did not readily have on hand. She asked Nigel where they could get those supplies and he said it would probably be best to talk to Vellatus about that.
Deciding to kill two birds with one stone, they follow Nigel back to the castle and down into the dungeons to see the Baron’s body and talk with Vellatus.