While the exhibit turned out to be a hoax, the small group was aproached by the Head Schoolmaster who’s Signet Ring was pilfered by a troubled elven student. A reward was offered for it’s retrieval, so this small group of strangers combined to set off in search of the errant boy.
When the boy was discovered at his hometown several days later, he fled into the forest.
The party gave chase, but was soon knocked to the ground by a large earthquake. The chase resumed and a fissure that opened during the earthquake revealed a passageway. The elven boy took advantage by disappearing into the darkness.
The party, still basically strangers, bemoaned the twist, but resentfully and carefully descended in pursuit.
The inside was both a beauty and a horror to behold. An ancient fortress, dazzling in it’s architecture and beauty, was as decayed and wretched as the dozens of skeletal remains, Human, Elven, and Orc alike strewn everywhere.
The party found themselves being “investigated” by a gaseous tendril with a single eye. Before they could react to it, it dissolved and spread across the floor, reanimating the skeletal remains of the ancient battle.
A new battle was afoot! But, after several deadly wounds and even a broken arm, the party had successfully re-killed the ancient foes. Many areas the party entered contained more re-animations, and an occasional Tove or two. All areas contained once great treasures that were now useless in their decayed form.
Not long into the investigation of this ancient ruin, the party heard the distant cries of terror from the elven boy. They knew right away that the boy had just been killed… by something….
They later found his body floating face down in a pool, and covered with the bites of Toves. Poor kid never had a chance. But the party did recover the signet ring, and continued to explore the rest of the ruin.
In the final room, they finally found the source of that green tendril that had re-animated the former combatants of this fortress. It was locked behind a warded gate set into the floor. 60 runes held the ward in place…. but somehow, almost half of them were broken, or disabled. Presumably by the spirit that has been imprisoned here for so long.
The party found a book that contained a magical language they were not familiar with, but they could recognize the runes around the gate, and covering the walls, as being listed within the pages of the book. They also discovered a magical map that indicated a point to the distant shorelines in the south, as well as a fist sized green gem of sorts that bore a strange marking, also matching some of the runes in the mysterious room.
To one side was an apparent scrying crystal, though it was embedded into a pillar next to a large marble platform. By peering into the crystal, the party realized they were not alone any longer, as locals had discovered the entrance and authorities were called to the site. If the party wanted to keep their new treasures, they would need to find a different way out, fortunately for them, the Marble platform, was a teleport device that took them to the place depicted in the crystal. Safely outside, they decided the next step would be a visit to the Schools headmaster to retrieve their reward for returning his signet ring, and also to see if he could be of assistance deciphering the runes.