Following our exhausting battle with the shadow creatures, we found that Caigreal was missing. She had somehow vanished without a sound. We had assumed she had run from the danger, which turned out to be true but for a wholly different reason.
As we readied ourselves for a cautious nights rest in Artrosa at the end of what we thought was our first day there, we were greeted by an old woman who introduced herself as Jadrenka, the warden of Artrosa. I had been expecting someone more formidable in countenance than a frail looking old crone, but, as I had learned to that point, looks are often deceiving when dealing with witches.
We learned a great deal from Jadrenka, in the way that witches often have much to reveal if you can get past their peculiar mannerisms and cryptic way of communicating. We discovered that Caigreal was actually a hag and Jadrenka’s mother. The two were vying for the position of warden and Jadrenka had won the post over 100 years before, yet Caigreal still sought to cause trouble for her daughter.
Jadrenka confirmed that frost giants and centaurs had indeed invaded Artrosa and that they had reached the Aeon Pit, a magical site deep within Artrosa that could serve to greatly enhance a witches power if it could be survived. This was the primary purpose for Artrosa’s construction, to secure the Aeon Pit. It was also being used as a prison, but for what or whom was still unclear. Jadrenka knew of this incursion but seemed unconcerned as this had happened before and always ended in the death of the invaders. That did not bode well for us, I feared, as we too were invaders of a sort.
Jadrenka allowed us to go on our way with this information but no actual physical assistance, citing over and over that it would be “against the rules”. Being incredibly distrustful of witches, we went in the other direction then the one she indicated only to end of circling back into Jadrenka again, this time in the form of a mother, before finding ourselves back in the maiden statue where we first met Caigreal, who was now absent. With little direction otherwise, we finally reached a consensus to head in the direction of what we were told was the Aeon Pit.
Without Jadrenka’s keys, we were forced to pick the locks on every door and either disarm or spring every trap in our way. This led to a series of 5 magical wards in which I tripped one and disarmed 2 others while Fenn worked out the key phrases that allowed us to pass the others. Unfortunately the ward that I tripped magically aged me for a period of time.
Having wandered for what must have been over a full day through the labirynth of Artrosa, diplomacizing with its strange denizens – and that’s a lot coming from our intrepid team – and slaying that which would not listen to reason, we finally came to a large iron door flanked by frost giants. We quickly dispatched them much blood splatter, and readied ourselves to face what lie beyond.