Keleson’s Tor stands on a crag northeast of Endamos Keep, overlooking several farmsteads, a few of them abandoned. Once part of an old keep, it now stands alone amid heaps of rubble and fields of scrub. Nearby homesteaders give the tower a wide berth, fearful of any neglected magics that may lie within.
Legends say that Keleson was a wizard of some note a few centuries ago, a specialist in abjuration, the magic of defense. The bards sing of his battle with Ix’atl’phn in the southern reaches of the Shadesh Waste, a duel of psionics and magic that ended with the Abjurer victorious, but with his mind shredded. He falls out of the tales then, surfacing in fragments of lore as a key-bearing madman, releasing prisoners and heroes in an attempt to find the right lock.
The tower itself is large, with many rooms, including a workshop, alchemical laboratory, several bedrooms for guests, apprentices, and one for the master magus himself. The crypt beneath the tower includes a room lined with lead, proof against scrying and magical detection, and the library has long since fallen to ruins. The ancient book repository is home to a curious feature, though. An immaculately preserved oak door stands in its centre, connected to nothing and leading to nowhere. It is locked.
A person might take possession of the tower, but there are some challenges they would face.
- The roof of the top floor has entirely caved in under the weight of time and the elements. Beams and stones have crushed old furniture to splinters, and birds now make their home along the tops of the ramparts. A strong person might clear the stones themselves and rebuild the roof, while someone magically inclined might whisk them away with spells.
A little hard work never hurt anyone and after years of swabbing decks and being a cleaning grunt on The Wandering Night Saena’s no stranger to working hard. A little use of magic makes removing the bigger pieces of rubble from the tower a breeze, levitate gets them high enough and then she just pushes them over the edge.
Actual roof repairs are a little out of her league, but she offers the neighbouring Kobold farmers a deal. She’ll remove big boulders from their fields if they’ll help her rebuild. The farmers are happy to oblige her if only she would talk to one of their young, a 11-year-old girl named Kisha who has become quite attached to a frustrating rabbit that is plaguing her mother’s garden. Kisha won’t allow them to kill the pest because it is ‘too cute’ and the farmers do not want to ignore the girl’s wishes as she is rather a problem child, but one showing signs of having magical talent. They have asked Saena to mediate the dispute and get Kisha to stop making fusses over rabbits.
Saena would much rather just do physical work for them, but invites the girl to have a meal with her and a talk about magic. The girl finds Saena fascinating and Saena herself finds young Kisha quite smart and funny for a child. After their little supper, Saena reveals that the delicious meal they just ate was actually rabbit and though at first Kisha is horrified, once Saena quite ‘innocently’ mentions that rabbit is her favourite food, Kisha agrees it is very tasty and returns home, suddenly wanting rabbit for dinner as often as they can catch it.
Mission accomplished, the thankful Kobolds help repair the tower roof.
- The old alchemy lab is filled with decayed and volatile chemicals, the air itself tinted orange and filled with a noxious smell. A clever person might research the necessary disposal methods and restore the laboratory to its original use, while a reckless person might toss in a jar of Alchemist’s Fire and congratulate themselves on their new sun room.
After spending an inordinately long time spent using her trap finding abilities, spot, listen and disable device multiple times just to be on the safe side, Asanja finally, tentatively pushes open the door to the alchemy lab, and peers into the dusty depths. The flasks and bottles she can see have a thick film of dust, and the one she gently rubs her finger over appears to be empty, the contents long since dried up. Before moving further into the room, she retrieves a lamp, making sure the casing is tight and can’t accidentally set anything on fire, and a large bucket of water, so she can wash down the equipment and table tops.
At the end of a long day cleaning and scanning through a book she found for the correct way to dispose of certain chemicals that hadn’t evaporated over time, Asanja finally emerged from her newly cleaned lab, hair darkened with dust and grime, clothes covered in stains, a few of which glowed and changed colour, lugging her bucket of filthy water with her.
She wasn’t entirely sure what she would use this newly-restored lab for, but she knew that first she had to go on a shopping trip. She sighed; she hated shopping.
- The crypt beneath the tower is cursed, afflicting anyone who descends the stairs with terrible confusion, sometimes trapping them for hours. No doubt a trap to keep thieves from the towers long-emptied vault, unless one knew the passphrase. A clever person might consult the legends to learn the password, turning the curse to their own purposes, while the more magically inclined might simply dispel it with a Remove Curse spell.
After consulting various texts, Astaria finds that the tower was once occupied by a wizard named Baerol. He died at the hands of a jealous lover, and it is said that his wife, Kate, laid him to rest deep in the crypt. Still in love with him, she preserved his body, lovingly wrapped in bandages, and laid treasures he loved all around him. She sealed him in a coffin ready for cremation to prevent a restless afterlife. She meant to burn it then, but it is said she forgot about the curse her husband laid on their crypt, meant to keep them safe after death. As she placed his coffin on the pyre, the spell activated; the doors sealed and Kate found herself wandering around the crypt, lost and confused, unable to find her way out.
Eventually, she died laying next to the husband. He was to lay forever in his grave, unburied and dishonoured as his wife withered away next to him. According to his old diaries, only he could break the secret of the crypt, his last words being the key. As Astaria makes her way down to the crypt, she notices it is a dark place, greyed with age. The walls are adorned with mosaics of legends long past, but dust and age has left them difficult to see. The floor is covered with mangled rugs, clearly covering the obvious spell trap.
Apparently this wizard was not good at subtlety. There are tables and empty coffins every few feet; empty drawers and shelves lay on the floor from years of looting. Astaria easily avoids the traps through spells and such. Way too easy. No sign of this wizard named Baerol, however. She walked down the long hallway toward the wall at the end of the hallway. She searched the wall for a secret door. Unable to find one, she walks by the dusty walls around the room. A glyph catches her eye. This one is familiar. Malena had told her once of glyphs such as these, popular things ages ago that kept secret things hidden. They had one weakness though: they all unlock the same way, except the code has been long forgotten, except by a few. Malena of course found out the code ages ago and had shared it with Astaria during one of their many nightly conversations. Astaria smiles slightly as she traces the glyph clockwise, then counterclockwise, then waves her hand over the glyph, first up, then down. She taps the left side, then the right. The glyph starts to shine as she finishes the pattern and raises slightly from the wall. She pushes it. A loud click is heard nearby, as a huge wall divets and slides away, revealing a large room, which also has been looted. In the middle of the room lays a coffin, slightly open. She opens the lid, finding a preserved body of a Satyr, still wearing his pointy hat. Astaria uses a spell to speak with the dead.
She doesn’t get much from the corpse who simply repeats “I’m sorry”, spoken in common. “I forgive you”, she says. Nothing happens. Astaria shrugs and calls for Steve, who apparently knew of the young, foolish wizard. Steve tells her he came from an ancient civilzation that used to speak an ancient language of K’elthor. She casts tongues on herself, saying “I forgive you” in the wizard’s ancestor’s native tongue. As the final sound is uttered, the trap in the other room glows and disappears. As she takes the body of the deceased wizard out to bury properly, she finds a small note, tucked into his hand, slightly aged, perhaps by a handful of years. On it was a drawn a sun with a cursive M in the center. Malena’s signature. Astaria smiles. Malena had clearly been here once a long time ago, before she had come to Nafaanra. Apparently Malena has been here before. After looting the crypt, she left it pretty near empty.
- An antique garderobe in the apprentice quarters has miraculously survived the ravages of time. Careful inspection reveals a liberal seal of wards cast on it. What’s worse, it seems to be haunted, the incoherent ghost wailing deep into the evening, chilling the hearts of all who hear it. A priest might perform an exorcism, putting the ghost to rest and destroying the wardrobe. A clever person might unravel the spirit’s past, giving it a proper burial and ushering it to the afterlife.
- A carrion crawler has taken up residence in the privy, feeding on ancient filth and the mice of the tower. Its paralytic maw greets any and all who answer the call of nature. A brave person might fight it and defeat it, making the toilet safe for one and all, while a cunning person might learn its favourite food and bait it, luring it into the woods and away from its home.
Using an anti-paralytic grease from town, the rotting corpse of a baby pig, and some small, iron grating, Elias is able to lure the carrion crawler from it’s hiding place between the rocks into the open. He briefly battles with it, taking some hits from it’s stingers (that are weakened by the grease), but is ultimately able to force it up the wall and back out the way it came. Once it’s out, Elias seals up the hole with the grating he created at the forge, and proceeds to set fire to the various mounds of rot and waste, scouring and cleaning the room as he goes in hopes that it will no longer be a suitable habitat for the creature.
- The third floor is warded with a Symbol of Sleep, ushering all who intrude into a deep slumber. It’s unclear if it’s a trap to stop thieves or merely a method of soothing insomniac guests. Either way, it’s an issue. A magically inclined person might launch a powerful Dispel Magic to be rid of it, while a more dextrous individual might locate and disable the runes themselves with the Disable Device skill.
- A great deal of stigma surrounds the Tor. The townsfolk fear it, having heard the wailing at night. A few young lovers, seeking a place for a tryst, have fallen victim to its traps, and more than one unwary shepherd has fed the beast in the privy during a long watch. A charismatic person might convince the townsfolk that the tower is safe now, guarded by warriors and mages, while a strong or wise person might build a rapport with the homesteaders, helping them raise a barn near the tower as an act of good faith.
Unshaping his Soulmelds, Kell makes his way to talk to the townsfolk. While initially mistrusted due to his appearance, his openness and honesty soon relax the townspeople enough for him to get to the heart of the matter. “I have come to let you know that the Tor is currently being cleaned out of the dangers that have been plaguing this region for so long” he says. “A group of adventurers, including a pair of Taer’Sulei, have decided to take up residence there, and help bring stability to the area. Among those moving in is Lucy Kincaid. She is a blacksmith who apprenticed under Elias Blackthorne at Endamos Keep. We will be setting up a smithy for her, so you will be able to get what you need without travelling as far.” After delivering his message and getting the thanks of the townsfolk, Kell makes his way back to Keleson’s Tor. Hopefully the others will be almost done clearing out the dangers.