During the group short stay they continued to mill about the keep, and it was during this time that another unexpected discovery was made. A card was found tucked into one of the cushions of the throne. The card was that of a knight in plate armor, but all the group knew is that it apparently belonged to a set. They knew this due to the fact that they had discovered two other cards on the orc chieftain’s body. These two cards contained a skull on one, and a gem on the other. Three cards that most likely belonged to a larger set, but why were they spread about in such random locations? Then the knight, Sir Oakley, asked to see the cards. A curious look fell upon the older man’s face as he studied each, before handing them back.
Time continued to pass when Sir Oakley began to tell the group of a secret stairway that could lead the group to the top of the hill, and telling the companions that it was well hidden but would most likely provide the group a safe route to the temple above. Finally after a short deliberation the group followed the white haired knight outside the village walls to the western cliffs. There, hidden amongst the tangled brush but very well hidden, was indeed a stairway carved into the sides of the steep embankment.
At the top of the hill stood several buildings which made up the temple’s complex, but Sir Oakley had his sights set on one in particular. The once-grand temple which stood at the pinnacle of the abbey’s hill, and was now reduced to crumbling ruins. Though the roof was half collapsed and the building was blackened with soot and decay, some hint of its ancient grandeur still shone through the abbey’s great temple. Mighty columns rose into the shadows beneath the crumbling roof, lifting the eye toward the heavens. Smaller pillars of graceful shape and elegant decoration hinted at the temple’s lost beauty. Altars to several ancient gods surrounded a towering statue of Bahamut, depicted as a human knight in armor. But as the group took in the sights of the massive temple a croaking voice suddenly called out from overhead, “all faithful of Bahamut, come and pay him worship!” A flutter of feathers then drew the groups eyes toward two wretched shapes, like hideous women with wings and talons, draped in bloodied holy vestments. Many in the group quickly recognized that the creatures known as harpies were obviously insane, and their mockery of Bahamut surely did not sit well with either Fin or Sir Oakley, both Paladin’s of Bahamut. The harpies immediately began to sing drawing several companions into the temple before three angels suddenly appeared, and then suddenly attacked. The battle was on, and many in the group began to wonder what strange magic, or curse, was at work here? Why were angels attacking them? Who were these harpies and why did they seem to worship Bahamut yet attack a group containing obvious worshippers of the same god? There was only one obvious answer, they must all be insane! It was the only explanation the group could come up with, and there was little time for any further discussions on the subject. The battle was hotly contested by both sides, but the companions soon proved the better.
Badly injured, the group decided that it would be best to make camp in hopes of recovering from the draining encounter. A thorough search of the premises revealed a series of alters in niches on the side walls, and an alter at the north end of the temple that was dedicated to Bahamut. It was this latter alter, the alter to Bahamut, that Fin began to approach when he suddenly felt a sudden rush of divine energy course over him. It was a rush like none he had ever experienced before, and it filled him with a renewed hope for the future.
Further inspection of the premises revealed nests in the far northeast corridor of rooms, where the harpies had apparently embedded thousands of gold pieces into the walls of several rooms. This created a shimmering affect when light was introduced into the darkness, making the walls appear as if they were made of gold. To the southeast of that very same corridor a stairwell was discovered descending into the darkness below… each had an eerie feeling it most likely lead to the temple’s catacombs. But with the heroes current condition the group decided that further investigation would have to wait, it was time to settle in for the night. Meanwhile in the main chamber another card was discovered hidden in a secret compartment on Bahamut’s alter, it was the card of “Fates”.
Before the group set in for a good nights rest Sir Oakley hoped to perform his ritual of purification inside the temple, even though the religious vessels he need were nowhere to be found. The vessels had apparently gone missing over the many long years. The knight explained that he needed the sacred vessels to perform the ritual, but now hoped that perhaps they might not be needed. Soon however he discovered otherwise as the ritual failed. Then Fin and Sir Oakley went to a quiet chamber nearby where the knight explained the ritual to Fin, in the hopes that “The Chosen One” might fare better with the ritual. In return Fin explained his divine ability to heal in order to quench the knight’s curiosity. Then the two returned to the temple’s large chamber to have Fin perform the purification ritual, but once again the ritual failed.
That night the group was startled awake by Sir Oakley’s loud voice, but upon waking the group discovered that the knight was in some sort of strange trance. It appeared to be some sort of dream-like state in which Sir Oakley seemed unaware of his surroundings. Then the knight began blinking rapidly as he suddenly came to, and then realized that the others were looking strangely at him. After collecting himself Sir Oakley began to tell the companions of the visions he had experienced, and how he now believed that he knew the locations of the three sacred vessels! Why, or how, he could not be certain, but there was little doubt in Sir Oakley’s mind that Bahamut had more than a little to do with the sudden revelations. The Brazier of Silver Fire was apparently in the ruined village garrison, the Chalice of the Dragon was amongst a hoard in the vaults, and the Bowl of Io’s Blood was to be located in the temple’s catacombs. Unsure of what to make of the sudden visions, the group decided to continue their rest. They agreed that the next morning they would delve into the catacombs below, where they hoped to discover whether or not the knight’s visions held any merit…