The party considers all the pressing issues to be dealt with – the Ashmodai cult, Lord Neverember, the Netherese, finding an heir to the throne – and decides that the best way to proceed is to search Castle Never. Potentially they can find the Crown of Alagondar to place on the “heir”, and if nothing else there should be some fat loot.
They go to Castle Never. The castle is in disrepair; the two front towers have fallen, blocking the gates from the rest of the castle yard. In the accessible section of the yard is a Drow encampment. Their leader comes up and introduces himself as Jarlax. He tells us of a fabulous Treasury in the castle. This treasury requires two keys to open, but he offers to sell us one for 1000 gold. We decline until we can check out the treasury door ourselves.
Baern wants to visit the library to see what he can learn about Gauntlgrym. Drow adventurer-in-training Frank offers to guide us as far towards the library as he can. We go into the main hall and through several other large rooms. Frank leads us to a door that’s blocked off, then leaves us to our own devices. We open the door and go through to atrium overgrown with plants. Mushroom people pop up and attack; we kill them. The atrium has a statue and a trap door in the floor. In case other enemies come up, we pull the statue over the trapdoor to block them. We also open the windows in the atrium to dry it out and discourage the mushroom people from returning.
The party proceeds up the tower. According to Frank, this is not the library tower, but there is a rooftop bridge crossing over to it. The bridge is in disrepair, with crumbling masonry and a big gap in the middle. We can see some movement down in the castle graveyard. Several harpies are circling overhead. We start to cross, when a beholder wearing a crown pops out of the library tower and introduces himself as King Chernanog of Castle Neverwinter. Both gems are missing from crown – this is probably why he hasn’t been killed by it yet. Chernanog tells us that if we find both gems in the castle and bring them to him, he’ll make us knights. He gives us free run of the castle, but tells us to watch out for his Thay rival. There are Eddercaps (spider people) in lower castle but they’re charmed by him, so they shouldn’t attack us now. If they do, he won’t get angry if we kill a few.
We finish crossing to the library tower, climb it and find the library at top. It’s filled with an uncanny inky blackness, and even our lights cast a much smaller glow than they should. We get attacked by ghosts, but kill them and return light to the library. We decide to rest there for a little while so that Baern can look around.