The night was uneventful and the healing spell Pedro had cast on the more injured of the two donkeys seemed to be helping, though both animals remained weak. The two wounded party members had begun to regain some color and everyone decided to make another try on the door to the third floor.
They breached the third floor of the tower to discover the room covered with stirge guano. Dim light scattered into the room from the opening in the ceiling that had once had a trap door, now rotted and splintered remnants lay on the floor amid the layer of viscous droppings and decaying matter. The smell in the room was nearly overwhelming.
Not trusting the floor which they could not see beneath the filth, Tok was volunteered to make his way around the room until everyone felt secure enough to enter. Squishing and crunching his way around the room, Tok determined that it would at least hold his weight.
Centered within the room and covered in the same slurry of feces, fur, and other disgusting detritus was a pedastal upon which sat a cylinder of stained glass with a tarnished silver lid complete with an ornate handle. No light penetrated the glass and they decided something must be filling the object.
What they could see of the walls behind the streaks of stirge droppings indicated that the patterns of writing in various languages, runes, pictograms, and heiroglyphs would be present everywhere once the crap was cleared away. Some of the inscriptions were in dialects of elven, dwarven, and older tongues, long gone from memory.
The decision was made to try to clean the walls and cylinder enough to determine what the room was for. Sacrificing strips from bedrolls and using the majority of their water and some spirits, they began the long task of removing the reddish brown, slime and crust. Under foot the thick muck began turning to a smeary goo.
During the process the party received a visit from some surprise guests. Five stirges flew down through the opening and went immediately for various targets.
Quick thinking and a closely placed sleep spell from Valen within the tight space of the tower put down 4 stirges and the ever unlucky Seamus who slipped into the filth stew beneath their feet. The fifth stirge struck at Fred and then was brought low by attacks. The party killed the sleeping stirges and shook seamus awake.
Gradually the patterns began to emerge and a winding band of a single elven script became readable around the top of the walls. They had found some sort of oracular device, one which could be used to answer questions that required interpretation and might not always be accurate.
The script indicated that within the glass was another cylinder of ebony, graven with symbols within which was trapped a fey creature of brilliant radience. The interaction of the magics from the glass, the ebony cage, and the creature within could yield answers. All one needed to do was open the silver lid and raise a panel of ebony to allow the fey's brilliance to shine outward through the glass. As she turned the cage exposing her light to different sections of glass and wall, groupings of information on the walls would be highlighted.
They continued cleaning until the light made work impossible for those without good dark vision out of a desire to conserve their remaining torches. They then retired back to the floors below after capping the opening in the ceiling with the third floor door.
Another night was spent there, though the fleas and filth made it quite uncomfortable, especially for their crud covered thief. In the morning they loaded the chest of silver pieces on their donkey and did their best to use the second floor door to block part of the ground floor entrance, then they set out for town itching all the way.
They are planning a return to the tower and to continue hunting the other bandit lair. Their worst enemies this time were fleas and filth.
I might make Seamus save to avoid a disease. He has born the brunt of the mishaps for 3 sessions consecutively.
We are trying to work through the scheduling issues in order to get the overdue session #6 going. Hopefully enough people can make it on August 20th. Presently that is not certain. One of the most reliably present players has to go away that week and won't make it back in time.