The party took passage on a small riverboat going south. They paid the taxes once the boat was flagged down by the keep and then paid the pilot of the river craft to set them ashore on the Keep's side of the river.
A surprise encounter with a number of bugbears, roughed up the party slightly and possibly drew attention to their location where they had set up to spy on the keep. The party did notice a small, 2 wagon caravan entering into the keep before the sun set.
Late morning the 2 wagon caravan left he keep, the party shadowed the caravan, eventually overtaking it and posed as a lost party of adventurers looking for a place to recover. Successful rolls were made, and the captain of the caravan mentioned that Rivergard Keep would offer passer bys a night's sleep if they requested it. The driver also gave them some information about the number of 'guards' in the keep and a slight description of Lord Grimjaw and his personality, curt, abrupt, and not one to bandy words. The driver had a positive opinion of Grimjaw and the Keep and Milpot felt that the driver might not always operate on the up and up.
The party approached the keep whose guards seemed to have noticed the party. They spoke with Holger the captain of the Gatehouse guards and after a brief interaction with the party, offered to allow them to meet with Lord Grimjaw and request a place for the day and night.
Lord Grimjaw was just as curt and abrupt as the caravan driver described. He did not even look up at the party from his desk of cluttered papers as he listened to their story, cutting them off when it took too long to answer one of his direct questions. He said they could bivouac for the night and be on their way in the morning.
The party noticed a small shrine next to the keep proper within the walled courtyard. They went on inside and were met with a crazed devotee to an unknown diety. The priest railed about the depths of the ocean holding all secrets and about a powerful and mystical figure that lurked in the ocean's darkness. Merric lasted about 20 minutes before standing to leave which infuriated the priest even more. The priest called upon two guards, dressed in leather armor and bearing nasty shark-toothed swords and heavy bronze shields stylized to look like a horseshoe crab.
Merric attempted to push himself past the guards, provoking the crazed priest into attacking the party. The priest and one of the guards were cut down, but one of the guards escaped and ran to Lord Grimjaw to inform him of the party's deceit.
The party pursued, and eventually assaulted the Keep where Grimjaw was located. Grimjaw's adviser, Urshnora, changed form to become a water snake and spent his time chasing party members around the room, trying to grapple and squeeze them. Milpot countered the wereboar with Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter which allowed the party members to finish off the guards and seal themselves inside the keep. Grimjaw managed to shake the laughter, and escaped through a secret door that led to stairs exiting into an underground cavern where a boat launch was situated.
The party managed to find the mechanism which opened the secret door and Valeria killed Grimjaw, striking him in the back with one of her Eldritch Bolts. The underground river exited into the Keep's walled off water pen and then into the Dessarin River.
The party attempted to seal all of the exits into the Keep. They met with some of the servants who described their life in the keep as being fairly harsh and that they were treated as slaves. Many had been abducted and brought here and given the chance to serve or be taken elsewhere.
The party looted Grimjaw's room, found an old library that was mildewy and wet which they assumed Urshnora used as a bedroom. They ventered out onto the walls to see a contingent of guardsmen, a halfling, and a man with blue skin assessing the situation. Retreating inside, the party listened a pounding on the Keep's main door with a high pitched voice calling for a parlay.
Pike (halfling): "Release Lord Grimjaw and we'll let you escape with your lives," called the high pitched voice.
Valeria: "Grimjaw's dead!"
Pike: "… release Lord Grimjaw's treasure and we'll let you escape with your lives!"
Valeria: "Tell you what, you leave now and we won't kill you"
At this point the party started arguing over whether they should talk with those on the outside or not. Pike seemed to have heard some of this conversation because he claimed that he was sent to see if a negotiation could be reached. That if the party was willing that they would send in a negotiator to try and come to an amiable agreement between the two parties. He also asked that the door be opened so that the negotiations could be face to face and that the party could offer some mead since they had all the stores at their disposal.
Milpot opened the door, only to see 3 bugbears charging the door. Quick to react, Milpot threw his body into the door bracing it as he yelled to his party members to brace the door.
The bugbears hacked and chopped at the door, eventually breaking the door with the broken half of a pew. Charging in, Grick Silverhewn charged forward to meet them in battle, yelling to the party members to escape while he held them off. The party escaped down the hidden stairway, grabbing the boats that were located at the bottom only to face the 4 ghouls that had been turned by Merrick when the party chased Grimjaw down to the boat launch initially.
The party managed to escape the ghouls and pilot the boats up river by poling or rowing. They found a soggy, earthy projection that they managed to pull their boats onto and spend a frigid night sleeping to recover from the full day's ensnarement. Upon waking, the party continued moving up river in hopes of finding an exit and getting out of the darkness.