Arriving at the Keep, the party found essentially some ruins. It actually wasn’t that bad, but the place had fallen into disrepair, several of the battlements had fallen completely, and two of the corner towers had collapsed. But that was the least of their concerns.
Amidst the remains of the Keep, they saw several Gnolls walking along the battlements. Clearly there were more inside. As the others scrambled up, Leorin and Baltric levitated to the top using magical boots. Attacking the Gnolls in the courtyard were Bishop, Thom, and Silver. Meanwhile, Arduin and Lupina went after the Gnolls on the battlement. Baltric (horrified at the state of his family’s Keep and the presence of disgusting Gnolls) began furiously hurling bolts of power at the interlopers. Leorin focused his help on the Gnolls among the battlements. After dispatching most of the Gnolls, two hulking Gnoll brutes lumbered onto the battlefield. Their thick hides and shields absorbed most physical damage, but Leshanna’s dark magic began to wither the Gnolls’ will to destroy as fear entered their minds for the first time. The power of the Gods, channeled through Leorin, Lupina, and Silver, smote the villains where they stood. Weakened, the Gnolls were vulnerable to she sly Thom who was able to sneak in increasingly frequent backstabs until they were ready for the killing blow. Arduin’s mighty axe finished one of them and Leshanna’s dark blade eviscerated the last.
In the quiet, the party looked over the remains of the Keep. Arduin crossed what appeared to be a small creek. Silver shouted, “Don’t disturb the water, you fool…didn’t you see they were avoiding…” Before he could finish his rebuke, Arduin was tossed aside by a large creature that had been waiting below the water. Cloaked in shadow and mist, the party only got a glimpse of the creature before it disappeared from their view. The screams (or was it war cries) of Arduin could be heard from the mist. Silver and Bishop disappeared from the others’ view, who blindly tried to bring the beast down. The sheer ferocity and swiftness of the attack left the party members confused and disorganized. Finally, Baltric was able to reveal the beast with one of his many magical rituals. Focusing their attacks on the now revealed Aboleth, the party began to chip away at it’s defenses. Finally, the hulking creature fell, but not before inflicting a poisonous bite upon Silver. While he was to live, he would be too weak to carry on with the party.
A few days later, when he had some strength, Silver got on his horse and rode off to the monastery where he had originally trained as a Paladin and committed himself to The Silver Flame. The party was devastated to lose their comrade, but there was work still to do. The refugees from the town of Drostone (where the party had encountered the Giants) needed their help. So for the next several weeks, they helped the refugees to build a small settlement just outside the Keep. In return, the people of Drostone helped to restore the once magnificent Baldweiss Keep. Things were quiet in this way for only a short time.