The group gathers together to investigate the shrine. Halbard locates Kaira’s fallen form and Quaesitor heals the little dragon before returning him to Coratana. Audir – still in her fearsome shape – and Coratana play rearguard to the group as Sulyex leads them towards the shrine. The stone floor has been blown away by some intensely strong force emerging from beneath, revealing a staircase leading downwards.
The stairs end and level out into a long hallway. Draconic script inscribed on the wall reads, “The Platinum Dragon protects his own,” and the group observes a large number of Draconic letters inscribed in even increments on the floor. Sulyex investigates the letters on the ground and a column of radiant white light slams down from the ceiling. He manages to move out of the way just in time to avoid damage, but realizes the group must take precautions. Upon further investigation, Sulyex finds that the letter ‘B’ is untrapped and guesses that in order to proceed, the group must move from letter to letter, spelling out Bahamut’s name, without touching any of the other spaces. The first few members of the group do so, and Halbard moves about halfway through the hallway before utilizing his charm necklace to transport the rest of the group across.
On the other side of the hallway, there is a barrier of purple-tinted energy blocking the path forward and a line of text in Celestial. Quaesitor translates for the group, “Render unto the Knowing Mistress her due.” Sulyex explains to the group about Ioun, the Knowing Mistress, patron of knowledge and study, while Quaesitor offers a book to the wall of force. The two of them are surrounded by an extension of the same purple energy, and permitted to pass through the wall. Quaesitor tries to offer the book back to Audir, but the wall doesn’t permit her to pass. She instead pulls out the collection of notes and stories she received on the very first world they visited as a group and presents them to the wall. She too is enveloped by the purple energy and allowed to pass. The rest of the group – including Kaira – shares other bits of knowledge and pass through the wall.
They go down the stairs into a large, dark, L-shaped room with six mirrors, and around the corner is a dull brassy figure of a sun. In elvish script, the inscription on the wall here reads, “The Dawn Father shares his essence.” Knowing something of Pelor, the Lord of Light, Quaesitor uses his light cantrip, and the group is surprised when the light intensifies as it reflects back and forth from mirror to mirror. They quickly arrange the mirrors in such a way to reflect the light onto the sun figure, which begins to warm and glow with a bright golden light. The dead-end wall at the end of the L-shape begins to split to reveal a secret doorway, allowing the group deeper into the shrine.
The group descends the stairs revealed by the secret doorway onto another landing where the path ahead is blocked by a wall of force, this one tinted a clear green. The inscription here is written in common and reads, “The Law Giver balances the scales.” Halbard educates the group about the little that he knows about Erathis, builder of civilizations. Beneath the inscription is a table holding a pair of scales and 9 identical orbs. There are three crystals inset into the table. As the party begins to place orbs on the scales, the crystals light up blue. After the third weighing, there is a flash of white light and the table has reset itself. The group takes some time to solve this puzzle, finding one orb that weighs slightly more than the rest. The other eight orbs go onto the scale, balancing it out with four on each side. As the scale balances, there is a flash of green light and the wall of energy blocking the path dissipates.
Around the corner is another inscription, this time in Sylvan. Audir translates for the group, “Return to the Wild Mother the building blocks of nature.” The group sees four braziers, each of a different material with a different color around the rim. The first is a brassy bowl with a red rim. Quaesitor lights a torch and drops it into the brazier, stepping back quickly as a column of flame spins up from the bowl before settling back down. A red stone pathway forms a bridge to the next platform, where a silver bowl with a green rim sits. Sulyex tosses in a few of the pebbles he’s picked up, and a column of earth and stone briefly extends upwards before disappearing. A green stone platform rises up to connect to the next platform, where a clear glass bowl with a blue rim awaits. Quaesitor pours out one of his water flasks into the bowl, causing a cyclone of water to rise up before settling down, and a blue stone pathway emerges from the ground to connect to the last brazier’s platform. A light wooden bowl with a yellow edge stumps the group momentarily before Coratana sends Kaira forward to use his wings to send a gust of wind into the bowl. Kaira’s little gust takes on new life as a little whirlwind rises up from the bowl, and the darker green barrier that had been blocking the path ahead dissipates.
The group continues forward and down another set of stairs where they see another table set at a dead end. Dorrin translates the Dwarvish runes set into the wall here for the group: “The Forge Master rewards the work of your hands.” The group quickly figures out to offer handmade items, and Quaesitor, Coratana, and Halbard each place a small trinket or item on the three placeholders on the table. The stone wall to their right disappears, revealing one final stairwell down into the heart of the shrine.
The group descends to find an empty room in shambles, the stone floor blown outward, revealing a hole in the ground approximately four feet wide, eight feet long, and six feet deep. The group pauses to take in the destruction around them, and Coratana and Sulyex decide to attempt to commune with their patron and deity.
Coratana meets with The Traveler in the mindspace he shares with Tana. The Traveler knows only a limited amount about the danger they are facing, but answers Coratana’s questions. Coratana awakens with the knowledge of what sort of foe they are facing. Sulyex meets with Bahamut in his elderly form in a vision of the shrine restored to pristine condition. The Platinum Dragon informs his arbiter about the history of the Keep and of the man who used to rule it: Lord Blackthorne, a human man who craved power. In his search for power, he studied the arcane arts, eventually becoming corrupted and depending on blood to maintain himself. Blackthorne became a vampire, and was eventually sealed away in the shrine.
The two awaken and share the knowledge they have gained; knowing they are unprepared to face this foe, the group decides to head back to town to rest and recover away from the island. They head back through through the shrine and labyrinth, through the keep, and when they exit back through the front door, the heavy wooden door slams shut behind them. Knowing this may well be a mistake but seeing no other option, they descend to the beach, signal the ship to come back and pick them up, and leave the island. As they sail, sleet begins to fall from the sky and the cloud cover grows more intense.
They return to land, Audir getting a bit seasick from the turbulent waters, and head back to Alian’s. Halbard buys the ferryman a drink or six from a local tavern and interrogates him for information about the Keep and the town. Alian provides a simple but filling meal and a place to rest for the night.
Shortly after midnight, a knock sounds on the door. Sulyex reluctantly answers and finds a package. Halbard leans out the door and attempts to shoot down the flying creature that delivered the package. After a brief debate about whether or not the package’s contents can wait until morning, the group opens it to find a detached middle finger wearing a ring that Alian identifies as Neva’s. The group resumes their rest and sets out again in the morning.
They make their way back to the island and back to the Keep. The door opens easily at their touch, and the group makes their way back to the stairs to the second floor. The necrotic pustules lining the walls seem to have thickened and formed a formidable defense against the adventurers, and Audir visibly hesitates. Halbard utilizes his charm necklace to transport most of the group through the deadly hallway and guides them around the recently-reset traps to the corner where they had safely rested the previous day. The ghostly form of their guide is nowhere in sight. Halbard takes a brief tour of what he can see of the second floor, and Coratana instructs Kaira to do a fly-through. As Kaira scouts the southernmost room, he sees four sets of armor. The eyes begin to glow softly with a malevolent orange light as Kaira passes through. Coratana summons the little dragon back to his side as the group debates what to do next.