Coming down the stairs, the party is confronted with a single armored warrior, bearing a sword and calling out in a strange echoing voice, “The Rift must never be opened again! State your business or die!”
And so did the Party meet Sir Hektor of Keegan. At sword point, Hektor interrogated each of the Party, finding most of them to be wanting and being particularly antagonistic towards the tiefling Vashaela. Not fully convinced of their competence or intentions, Hektor ordered them to turn back before their souls were tainted by the Rift below. The words used by Jem resonated with Hektor, and he permitted the Party to rest and recover in his sanctuary, showing them the alter to an unknown dragon god (from whom sprang Tiamat and Bahamut), overshadowing the smaller family devotion shrine of Hektor’s.
Tordek briefly explored an area he suspected a secret door lay and sure enough discovered two secret rooms and a passage to the entryway. When explored later, the first revealed an enchanted black dragon scale armor as a response to a riddle (the answer being Honor or similar) and a second door. Beyond the second door lay a large crystalline dome containing a purple haze and bier with a tall humanoid of pointed features, neither elf nor human no anything previously known. Overwhelmed by impulse, Jem and Hilda reached out to the dome, hearing in their minds a voice sounding dry an ancient, asking them “Who are you”, “What do you want”, and “Is it time?”. Within the room there was posted a warning to disturb the sleeper at your own risk. Before they could answer, Sureena broke their contact and it was decided to walk away and leave sleeping arch-mages lie.
Over the night as the Party told their tale, Sir Hektor revealed his. From the Keep of Runeel, he and his fellow mage knights found themselves in a magical disaster. Knights were struck down, transforming into demons and attacking their fellow knights. The nearby mage tower exploded and fell. Most terrifying of all, beneath an ancient ruin, mages were found tampering with a rift to the Shadowfell that was unleashing waves of negative energy across the land. Within the ruins, the mage knights found themselves corrupted by the Rift. The other knights barricaded them in. By the time they regained their senses, it was too late. Hektor attempted to assemble a final line of defense from the empty armor of the fallen until he finally consigned himself to stand guard even long after his flesh had failed. Unknown to him, the event was not singular, for 1200 years ago ley lines and nexuses had responded with wild surges to the efforts of the Circle of Vecna.
Upon hearing the effects of the Shadowrift were still being found across the land, Hektor insisted on equipping the Party with arms and spells to close the Rift and perhaps return his blade to the Empire he once served.
The Party ventured further, discovering the Sleeper upstairs, gelatinous shamblers, and the reanimated desiccated corpses of Sir Hektor’s family. Choking back sorrow and horror at the sight, the Party managed to return the family to rest, restoring them to their tombs with their belongings in something as close to a Kothian burial ceremony as they could manage.
According to Sir Hektor, the Party was nearly at the Rift but warned that while it was open, there would still be many unspeakable horrors free to roam.