Short version: everything here will try to kill us eventually, even if they’re nice to us for a while TO FOOL US!
So there we were in the chapel, having just had a statue come to life and touch Brandr. He said afterward that he felt smarter. There seemed to be no women to impress nearby so I think it was true. No women if you don’t count the ostensibly female screaming and sobbing sounds from a corner of the chapel floor. We manouvered around creepy statues, pried up some stones, and dug out one Magdalene D’Amberville, much bedraggled. Bleeding from her torn fingernails perhaps a bit ominously but otherwise by all evidence an actual human D’Amberville. She said she fell asleep and woke up, er, dead? or in a coffin at least.
I trusted her enough to give her a magic sword and I have NO idea why. In hindsight it was a really poor move.
She joined us and we all went into the back bit of the chapel looking for Simon, who Isadore said might help us.
Door number one was full of cowled skeletons seated in an ominous semicircle. Our query as to the location of the restroom made them all stand and draw their swords, so we backed the hell out of there. Next door had some curious little alcove doors in it so Verdant checked them each for traps and we opened them. Each concealed the end of a chute, up one of which was a bag full of gold. Up some or wait, possibly up all of them were also very large insect creatures and a nest. We closed all the doors and backed the hell out of there.
We’re totally familiar with the idea that everything is trying to kill us, but these little opportunities to slam doors and/or run away before the killing happens, these are nice.
The third door revealed a priest in gilded plate armor (ooh) by an altar. Simon! He seemed willing to help and said in the East wing there might be appropriate items to stave of the “feast affliction”. The blood of a magical creature and a silver symbol of… [something that I didn’t write down].
We asked him about the politics. The Isabel who can help with the feast affliction, the Etienne who created the feast and who with Theresa plotted to remove Camille from power. The Camille who plotted to break the link between worlds and strand the castle here. He said Camille could be swayed to help us. He also said that at this point if we could land the castle in pretty much any world everyone would be happy. This is good to know.
Instead of going straight to the East Wing, Simon agreed to a quick detour to check out the chapel library and there we met Magdalene’s brother Claude, aka some crazy old man in a nightshirt. There was a bit of a spat between Magdalene and Claude by which I mean they tried to kill eachother spectacularly. Apparently Claude was the one who judged his sister to be dead, thus he was responsible for her being buried alive and all that. A bit of magic and violence ensued before we got them both separated and subdued. I took back my sword.
This was when Simon gave them something strong to calm them down and I made Claude drink the truth serum, being our scary bottle with the floating eyeball in it. IT WORKED! except that Simon later said it didnt work and it was just ancient vinegar but whatever screw that guy. Claude started to spill the beans. He said he had been hearing a voice in his head. The voice said that Magdalene would take the castle back to Averogne and this is why he, er, kind of buried her alive a little.
Returning to Averogne is bad apparently, as that’s the place they were long ago kicked out of. There were serious allegations there of the D’Amberville’s engaging in Black Magic and Dark Necromantic Things. Quite accurate allegations, as was cheerfully acknowledged since apparently “most of the family” practices this sort of magic. (OK so worse than the “not leaving here alive” thing is the newly-imagined “leaving here as the undead” thing ).
Simon had a suspicion that the evil voice might be Azederach, a powerful Averognian bishop.
We decided to leave Magdalene there recovering and we took Claude with us back through the forest towards the East Wing. On the forest path Simon took it upon himself to educate us that the pools of water were totally not harmful but in so doing he disturbed some water lily flowers which spewed a pretty cloud of pollen that then knocked out everyone except for Verdant and Simon.
Kayoshin and Karamail had it the worst because they fell off the path. the path, you’ll remember, that we were never supposed to ever stray from. The same path just a few feet from which some grasses and a rose bush then came to life and tried very hard to kill Kayoshin and Karamail.
Verdant woke me up (me=Xandros) and then Simon, helpful helpful Simon came over to me and laid a glowing hand on my shoulder causing… tremendous agonizing pain. So I tried to kill him. Verdant went on waking people up, Karamail freed himself and then set about saving Kayoshin from the murderous plants, Simon threw a staff at me and used a command word to make it transform into a huge python. Gertie not to be outdone, threw her own python-transforming staff at Simon. “Raise your hands if you have a stick that does NOT transform into a python” said someone, possibly me.
And then just moments before I could remove his head, Simon pulled out a broom and flew away. Rude.
As we were regrouping Brandr lost it a little and angrily questioned Claude about the family’s murderous tendencies. Claude gave us advice, I think that we should seek Richard? possibly in the dungeon? I forget, still occupied imagining all the moments I could have beheaded Simon unexpectedly and saved us all this trouble.
We make it to the “East Wing”. To get into it the path leads under an ancient stone monument. A pair of standing stones with a third stone across the top. Blood drips from the stones. From what, it is not clear. Apparently the blood has always dripped thus. We go under and it really really feels like it was a bad idea but we just don’t know why yet. And into the East Wing, which is…. a Throne room. The throne room Isadore said we weren’t supposed to go to yet cause we weren’t ready and not being ready we would be killed. The throne room, on each of which thrones sits a skeleton. There’s also a welcoming throng of skeletons before the thrones, a courtier skeleton holding a parchment in mid gesture, and lots and lots of guard skeletons along the edges. We back the hell out of there. back through the Arch of Almost Certain Badness but not before I made and hung a little “Do Not Disturb” sign on the throne room door.
Now we got it into our heads that everything Simon had told us was WRONG. And winding it back he had not wanted us to go see the monks in the chapel. So we went to see the monks, and OK Simon was right, the monks were horrible horrible zombies dammit and we killed them all and that was it. Claude also turned himself invisible somehow and fled. le sigh. We spiked the door and settled in for the night.