We defeated a beholder and its minions, and found in the remains an arcane orb. We believe the sphere contains a void prison, although we could not tell what sort of creature or spirit might be contained therein. Aginor decided to carry the orb with him.
There were two openings to the beholder chamber, and no sign as to which might lead to the Eye. To the west, we felt an area depleted of mana; to the northeast, there were traces of some great conjuration. We followed the canyon northeast for two hours, and found that it opened onto a broad plain, covered with fog, where ghostly armies fought. The pixie flew above the mist and reported that an hour’s march away was a black keep. Its banner was that of Volkare, a general from a few hundred years ago, who had waged unceasing war against the undead until he himself was turned by a master vampire. The ghostly battle around us was a replaying of Volkare’s forces being surrounded and crushed by Orcus’s warriors led by the vampire lord. We surmised that Orcus had summoned Volkare’s keep as a trophy, and kept repeating the battle to torment the general who had so long opposed him. We marched to the keep. The shades of Volkare’s men were at the battlements, but the gates had decayed and fallen in the centuries. We announced ourselves and entered.
Inside was a great hall with ghosts at the tables. The pixie darted to the high table, poured whiskey into a goblet there and raised it to Volkare; the shades answered, and a spirit captain whispered “Vokare abides” before he dissipated. From the great hall, we found a kitchen, a chamber where the maps and documents from Volkare’s last campaign were laid out, and a treasury with some few coins and gems. We found the stairs also, and went up to find a barracks room above the hall. As we came in from below, two feral ogre vampires came down from above. Donnar kept one in play; the other dodged past and attacked Audrie and the pixie before Aginor could intercept it. Despite our wounds, we put both the undead ogres down quickly, with fire and steel. Not taking time to catch our breath, we hurried up to the top of the keep, where we found more vampires awaiting us.