Concerned by their previous run-ins with vicious undead beasts, the party cautiously makes their way further into the depths of the menagerie. The environment changes once again and they find themselves in a forest setting that is closer to what they are used to seeing. The next viewing area contains a wide array of ponds and tanks that have been broken and are dried up. One large pool is elaborately decorated and has rocky terrain built inside of it in addition to the normal pool. Closer examination reveals several decorations dedicated to Melora on the display and a plaque that reads ‘A Gift From The Most Illustrious King Delamodrin – A Protector Of The Sea!!’. In spite of their vast knowledge, no one can recall what this beast may have once been. The party also notices a small book lying in the bottom of the pond. Using her magics, Gwynne retrieves it and finds that it appears to be a leather bound journal. Although most of the pages are waterlogged or damaged, she does manage to find one passage that is still intact.
The path leads on to a much larger body of water. Aside from large stepping stones forming a trail, there does not appear to be another way across unless the group wishes to swim. Although they advance carefully, the adventurers are still caught unawares as they are attacked by two large frogs. The Protector of the Sea, which Opal now recalls is known as a craud, joins in soon afterwards. Several members of the group are drug into the water during the fight but in the end, they put the creatures to rest. They quickly cross the remainder of the stones, anxious to be away from the murky water and whatever else could be lurking below. On the far side, they find the path splits. The right path appears to double back towards the entrance but it has been washed away by what appears to be part of a river. Noting that the current leads off into the inky darkness they encountered before, they opt to not attempt a crossing and take the left pathway instead.
This path leads to a large spire of rock and continues to spiral around the pillar until it reaches the flat area on top. As the party reaches the end of the path they can see a large griffin chained to ground in the center of the spire. On the far side of the spire is a dark cave. The party slowly approaches the beast and as they move closer they can see that its shackles are made of a dark, dull iron that digs into the flesh of the beast causing it to bleed. The griffin’s eyes are milky, it feathers lack luster and are missing in several places and its fur is matted and mangy. Ghesh is the first to approach and although it cannot see, the creature feebly raises its head in reaction to sounds. Opal determines that the creature is alive although horribly mistreated. At Cauldrev’s request, Belhorn attempts to see if the shackles are enchanted but he is blinded by the vast amount of magic that appears to be present at this location and is unable to focus on any single item in the griffin’s vicinity. Gavin attempts to feed the beast and soothe it by speaking in Dwarven. As he leans closer to the beast, he can hear it whisper back at him, “Ware the Keeper”.
They do not have to wait long to find out what this ominous utterance might mean as they have drawn the attention of the Keeper by tampering with his prisoner. The ground begins to shake as a large behemoth charges out of the darkness of the cave. Mounted upon it is an undead dwarf wielding a long barbed whip. After he is dismounted, the Keeper quickly summons a pack of hounds to the battlefield to help defend him. The undead fight rabidly but are eventually brought down by the band of heroes once again allowing them to turn their attention to the abused creature in chains.