Once all the fighting skeletons were down, dissolved by the rain of holy fire, the party moved into the skeletal leader's bedchamber, where four skeletal women huddled under the covers, trying to hide from the party. They tried to ignore them at first, deciding to just loot the room without engaging them since they seemed harmless, but then one tossed a pillow at one of the party, which missed but made a loud CLUNK as it hit the wall.
Beware took that as the skeletons being armed, and fired a ray of fire at one (and missed). Arial took Beware's attack as 'the fight is on' and dropped a thunderbomb on the bed, which shattered two of the skeletons. Thanks to Beware's curse (that he'd put on them before the fighting started) which makes dying enemies set other enemies nearby on fire, this caused a chain reaction of exploding skeletons that killed them all and set the bed alight.
They found a bunch of random loot in the bedroom, hidden in the chest, on the skeletons, and even under the bed! They also found an armory next door full of nonmagical weapons (but only longswords, daggers, and shortbows -- nothing the party actually wanted to use) and a secret door behind a tapestry in the back wall. They'd also, they decided, found a good place to rest the night -- there were multiple exits, all of which could be barred or blocked, and it didn't seem to be on the main path that searchers would take trying to get through this part of the keep (that would have been to take the other main door straight out of the barracks), so if the shadows *did* come in looking for them, they might overlook them here.
They were disturbed during the night by two things. One, the skeletal prostitutes started to regenerate -- but one part of the 'treasure' that they hadn't known what to do with was a bag full of 'bone-worms' that ate bones. Now they knew what to do with it! They piled the smashed remains of the skeletons in the chest with the bone-worms, and locked it for good measure.
Two, a patrol of more skeletons came by to examine the barracks, and tried to break into their room. But they just held the doors shut and stayed quiet, and there was nothing the skeletons could do to get inside. They built a fortification outside the room where the party was sleeping, though -- which would have been a problem if the party didn't have the secret door to use.
So, in the morning, they headed through the secret door... which led to a chapel of Orcus and dead ended. Oops. They searched the tapestry on the chapel's back wall -- nothing. They searched the altar for secret compartments -- yes, some ritual scrolls. They checked the suspicious statues for signs of being animated evil adventurer-thumping statues -- and found the secret doors out of the chamber, hidden behin the statues. That led to a secret passage that went just far enough to get them around the barracks, and then to the main corridor running along the wall, after passing an archery range with a huge hole in the floor, leading to a dungeon... and a huge hole in the ceiling, where thunderhawks were nesting.
Since their goal was go up, they decided to face the dangers of the hole. Unfortunately, the hole exposed four different levels of the dungeon, was chock full of thunderhawks, and they saw the shadow of a beholder on the very top level! Eek! So they decided to play it safe and teleport up to the passageway one level up -- Beware had an ability that teleported three people, the monk could teleport herself, and the last two, they'd drop a rope.
The thunderhawks, who'd been occasionally pelting them as they ran around the perimeter of the room to get in position, had some problem with this. Two of them attacked the party while they were standing in the corridor or climbing the rope, using annoying stun attacks that delayed the people at the bottom, and annoying ranged attacks that kept knocking down the people on top. But they were more of an annoyance than a threat, at least without the rest of their flock or the beholder to back them up, and the party was eventually able to retreat down the corridor after blowing the two hawks to bits. The other hawks didn't follow them into the kill zone-I-mean-long narrow corridor.
The corridor on the level above seemed to be in better repair, so they followed it for a while until they got to a turnoff that led deeper into the keep. Since they needed to get to the center --
Beware: "No, let's not go that way. We were warned to stay as near to the exterior of the keep as possible until we got to the roof -- that leads deeper in, which the elf painted as suicide."
Arial: "... actually, you know, I think he's right. Let's not go that way after all, even though it looks like a detailed encounter area that the GM spent a lot of time preparing."
GM: "You pass the corridor full of scooby-doo doors, and come to... another corridor full of scooby-doo doors."
Beware: "We keep going."
GM: "And another one."
Arial: "We keep going until we see some signs of a staircase up, or we run out of corridor."
GM: "Eventually, both happen. You find a spiral staircase leading both up and down."
So they decided to go up! The stairs led up a few levels... closer to the beholder. DOOM DOOM DOOOOOM!
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