The Astorian Keep
The old keep of Astoria has been locked for over a century, what secrets exist with?
A thin layer of fog coats the surface of the bay, dimming the light, and casting your party in a ethereal gloom. As you row out to the great keep, you feel a sense of forboding. The dark, silty water below hides its secrets in whirling layers of blue and green, the keep ahead grows larger, but appears no closer. It isn’t until you are almost upon it that you see the long dock stretch into the bay, but it’s still more than 100 yards away. Seeming to disregards such petty things as distance, the walls of the keep continue to grow upwards, proving to be much higher than you thought.
As you make your final approach, you realize that the docks float on the water, likely to compensate for the great ebb and flow of the sea’s tides, and the river’s ever-changing depth.
You tie off and cross onto the wide docks, more than 20 feet across, and look up again, at the looming walls above.
The docks are empty, save for a small building at the base of the ramp leading up towards the keep.
This small wooden shack is no more than 10 foot square. On the western face, a small shelf at chest height runs the entire length. Above the shelf, wooden shutter-boards imply that it can be opened to the air. On the northern face, a single wooden door, pressed against the eastern side sits closed.
The door is slightly stuck, but requires only a light application of force to open.
A set of 3 steps on the far side of the door lead up to a landing. The southern wall is a singular bookcase, containing rows and rows of identical books, each one bound in natural leather.
The western wall has a counter and two stools, allowing those on this side to sit comfortably while serving standing customers on the other side of the wall.
Bookcase contains logs of ships coming and going, as well as their cargo. Every book is accounted for here, the last book’s last entry is the 23rd of Winterrise in the 15th Year of Egerton II. The first entry appears to be 13th of Autumnhold in the 20th Year of Arax
Arax’s died in the 5th of Springrise in the 26th year of Arax
Reaching the top of the dock mearly indicates that the easy part is over. A once well-worn cobble road is now choked with weeds and loose stones. The climb takes another half hour and is exhausting.
Everyone gets one slot of Fatigue.
You finally stand at the gates of the Astorian Keep, and realize that the keep is in fact, on another island entirely. A deep gorge, at least 50 feet down and 30 feet across, dug by the natural flow of the river separates the docks from the keep itself.
An ironbound drawbridge sits upright on the far side of the gate, and two stone statues, in the form of guards with long halberds stand at either side of the road here.
Statues Constructs built to guard the gate, are semi-intelligent, but will not reveal anything about the keep.
Anyone who attempts to cross the chasm are first warned in booming voices "None but true allies of the lord Astor may cross!" If this warning is not heeded, the guards will intersect themselves. If the party displays a Talisman of Passage, the guards will reply as follows:
Welcome, friends of Lord Astor. Unfortunately, the Lord is unable to receive you at this time, please wait on your ship, and you will be retrieved when they are available.
Obviously, Lord Astor is dead, and if the party brings Daniel, and he declares himself the Lord of Astor he is responded to thusly:
The Sleepless Guard recognizes Lord Daniel Astor, first of his name, and rightful lord of Astoria. Unfortunately, we are unable to allow you to enter the keep, my liege, as it was forbidden by your predecessor. No member of the royal family may enter the keep until the madness is contained. You may send emissaries into the keep, but each must have their own Talisman of Passage to be allowed entry.
There are a handful of talismans just inside, but the Sleepless Guard do not know this. There are also additional talismans to be found in the various adventure sites around the region.