Back in town, the party tended to business while Seamus recovered from his brush with death. A couple more days passed during which they sold the owlbear pelt, and gathered supplies for what they figured might be a somewhat longer stay away from town.
Another suit of chainmail became ready during their rest and they also bought two donkeys for carrying extra supplies and anything they might find.
Once Seamus felt well enough for the trip they set out to the same area in hopes that the owlbears lair, if they found it, might hold some treasure or at least give them a temporary shelter during their hunting.
By mid afternoon of the next day they had discovered a vine shrouded stone tower hidden among the thick trees and shrubbery about a mile from where Seamus had nearly met his end.
A search through thickets and clinging ivy eventually led to the entrance the creature had been using into this long abandoned ediface.
The tower reached up into the canopy and had to be at least 30 or 40 feet tall, possibly more. They made their way into the ground floor after tying the donkeys up outside. Confident that being in the lair of the areas top predator would be enough to keep the donkeys safe, they left nobody to guard them.
There were no windows within and the party needed to use a torch to provide illumination even in daylight. The dim torchlight scattered by their own shadows revealed a large nest and a litter of bones and other detritus on the floor, and a stairway leading upward.
Rowena had begun poking about in the nest, but afraid to risk her hands was accomplishing nothing so Seamus dug in and quickly recovered a necklace and some silver coins.
In short order they decided to explore up the stairs and discovered a thick wooden door bound with iron bands. Thorgrim called Seamus up to ply his locksmithing skills and get it open.
More bad fortune befell Seamus as one of his metal picks slipped from his fingers and bounced down the stairs. While he recoved it from the mess below, Thorgrim chopped his way past the lock and with Aiden's help pushed open the stubborn portal to the second floor.
The only filth on this level appeared to be a thin layer of dust. In the center of the room was a large stone spiral staircase with thick stone walls. The stairwal took up much of the space on this level along with four small stone statues of various creatures atop stone pedastals along the walls.
Ever suspicious, Thorgrim dulled one blade of his ax by taking a wack at the statue nearest the entrance to discover it was indeed stone.
The party decided to search the room for anything out of place and anything hidden. At first they uncovered nothing, then Valen going over the wall that would be beneath the stairs found a secret door.
The secret door concealed a compartment in which sat a medium sized wooden chest. Seamus determined that it was not trapped, and this time, he was able to defeat the lock. Within the chest was a large amount of silver coins. The party decided not to spend the time counting and chose instead to hide them back beneath the stairs until later.
Moving further upward, they decided to breach the door to the third floor. Seamus found this lock also beyond his skills so Thorgrim set to hacking at the door.
Shortly after he began chopping at the stout door, the party detected sounds of distress from outside and what sounded like a lot of flapping wings.
Rushing down the levels and out of the tower, they discovered their donkeys under attack by a large group of stirges that they apparently disturbed when trying to break through the door.
A well placed sleep spell and a bit of a fight later and the donkeys were saved, though badly injured and weakened. Two party members had also been snacked on by stirges, but none were killed.
The party decided to camp in the tower over night, bringing the donkeys inside with them. The door to the third floor could wait until morning.