When everyone was fully rested, we broke our fast with what little was found in the Temple's kitchen. After all, we did not want to use up our provisions. It was a satisfying meal, and we were all ready to take on the day.
We knew that Nebrion's tower was to the west of the temple, so when we exited the temple we were going to head west. Everyone agreed on that plan. We filed out the exit farthest from the gate. We did not want to attract the attention of the city guard.
Our procession was like a ghost being followed by a mummer's parade. I do not think they could have been any more obvious. I do not know why they just did not break into song or shout for the guards.
I heard some shouting, so I ushered the group into the nearest available house. I just hoped that no one put up the "Hey! we are in here" sign. We did not need to be fighting with townspeople in this small house.
Upon entering the house, we noticed a dead man on the floor. He had not been dead very long as his body was still warm. After a bit more searching, we found a woman in the kitchen. "No more," she gasped as she took her last breath when Thorvald discovered her.
"They are still in here," Thorvald whispered to Jane.
"Upstairs," I guessed. "Quietly now!"
I snuck up the stairs in utter silence. There were six bandits ransacking the bedrooms looking for treasure. I signaled for the rest to join me, and they rushed up the stairs like a heard of cows.
The bandits must have been significantly distracted, as they did not hear them until they burst into the one bedroom. It was too late for them as Gudrid made quick work of them. Jean took on the group in the second bedroom and I just watched.
As we were searching and disposing of the bandits, Thorvald went down to the first level and did his thing.
"Please, we do not have much." said the man as Thorvald restored him.
"Peace be with you sir," replied Thorvald. "Do not fret my appearance. My comrades and I are under a spell and not reptilian at all."
"My wife? Where is my wife?" enquired the man.
"Wait here and I will bring her forthwith," replied Thorvald.
"No more," said the woman.
"Peace be with you madam," replied Thorvald. "Your husband awaits you in the front room."
The woman, with an astonished look on her face, entered the front room of their house in wobbly legs. "What happened?" she asked.
"Bandits," started her husband. "I remember bandits breaking into our home."
"They will bother you no more," responded Thorvald.
"I am Mark Flannigan, and this is my wife Laurie."
"I am the most revered cleric Thorvald Larsenski of the Cygnus Clan," our cleric replied. "My compatriots and I have business with Nebrion and we came upon you in a state of distress. It was my sworn duty to aid you."
When Thorvald said the name Nebrion, the Flannigans gave a frightened glance to each other. "We owe you a great deal cleric Larsenski," Mr. Flannigan stated graciously. "Whatever we have is yours."
"Your offer is most kind sir, but I can accept no payment for this deed."
"Thorvald, if I may interrupt," I said. "May we have a word with you in private?"
"Certainly," he replied. "My comrades and I must confer on what it is we should do next. Please forgive us, and I shall return shortly."
I escorted Thorvald up to the upstairs hall. "We found this," I said to Thorvald as I handed him a hand written piece of paper.
"What is this?" he asked.
"We hoped you would be able to read it," replied Glaf. "I could only make out the word 'Nebrion' from it."
"It is written in an ancient script, but the writer is unfamiliar with the syntax. It is likely used to conceal the actual content from unknowing eyes."
"And...?" I asked impatiently.
"It is difficult to decipher; nevertheless, these men do work for Nebrion that is for certain."
"What were they doing here?" asked Gudrid.
"Oh Flannigans!" exclaimed Thorvald ignoring Gudrid's question. "That is that the meaning of those glyphs."
"And...?" I asked even more impatiently than before.
"I beg your forgiveness," responded Thorvald. "Essentially the note reads, 'Flannigans suspect - look like orcs. Nebrion' That is the best I can decipher."
"I am beginning to think that Nebrion does not have this city's well-being at heart," responded Glaf.
"No! Really?" I said without a bit of sarcasm in my voice.
"If you please my comrades," Thorvald said. "We should leave these fine people's house and continue on with our journey."
"With pleasure," I replied.
"And," Thorvald added. "Please leave all items found upon the bandits with the Flannigans. They have suffered greatly this day and we should not compound their grief."
"Agreed!" responded Glaf without consulting anyone.
"What?" I asked.
"I said 'Agreed'," Glaf said as forcefully as he could muster.
I stifled my laughter of Glaf attempting to be tough, but I had not collected much in the house in the first place. Thus, I agreed to their request with only a little prodding from Jean.
We bid the Flannigans farewell and left them with the little they had. However, they insisted that we take a bundled of rug fragments they had collected. Without speaking of it, they had known what Nebrion had done, and they knew that we were their best hope of saving the town. Thus, they aided us in our quest the best way they knew how.
The mummer's parade continued towards Nebrion's tower and lo and behold, some townspeople spotted us. The city's inhabitants were attempting to save their homes, and we did not wish to harm them, so we ran.
We wanted to head towards the tower, but that way was cut off. Thus, I led the party into a large estate northeast of the tower. This estate had a large wall surrounding it, but the front gate was open. I closed the gate behind us and directed the group into the large house. The front door of this house was also unlocked and we went right in.
The house was quite large and it looked as if its occupants had packed and left in a hurry. There were webs and dust in great quantities all over the entryway to the house. With the uproar that we had caused, someone -- read me -- mentioned that we stay in this house for a while until the town quiets down.
"While we're here," suggested Gudrid. "We might as well have a look around."
How did I know that was coming? We could not just sit and rest in the front room of this mansion. No, we had to poke our noses into everything. At least it was something to do.
In the first room we explored, it smelled of death. When we entered, we saw a large group of rats gnawing on a pile of bones. They looked quite hungry, so they naturally turned their attentions upon us.
We made quick work of the rats, but we were unable to determine what it was they were gnawing. The body had decayed far too long ago for any of us to determine what it was. It could have been a person, or orc, or even a dog. We just could not tell.
Many of the rooms were like the first. We fought many rats. To mix things up a bit, a group of spiders or other insects would attack us. It was beginning to appear as if this house was devoid of human life.
Suddenly, we stumbled into the kitchen where a large group of bandits where hiding. I do not know which group was more surprised. They had probably been fending off rats for quite a long time and in walks a group of lizard people.
They were a very experienced band and were excellent fighters. However, they were no match for Gudrid and Jean. They fell readily at the feet of our experienced fighters. With a bit of magic thrown in and a crossbow bolt here and there, the bandits were soon vanquished.
They were sitting on a small cache of supplies. It was not much, but we could make a fine meal out of them. Clearly, with all of the rats about, they constantly had to guard their stores.
I could tell we were getting cavalier with our actions, as we did not give a second thought about other bandits. That is why we were quite surprised when they walked in while we were dining on their supplies.
As they rushed in, I distracted them by running at them. I turned and they attempted to catch me as I raced around the room. This gave Gudrid and Jean a chance to leisurely swallow their last bites and wash it down with a little wine. I think they may have even stretched out a little before jumping into action.
This group of bandits was not as experienced as the last group, and we dispatched them in short order. Before we returned to our feast, we decided to check out the remainder of the house.
Luckily, we did not encounter any more bandits. We did run into plenty of rats, and a few spiders. If I had owned this place, I would have moved away also. It was crawling with creatures.
In the entire house, we only found one locked room. Not only was it locked, but a trap was guarding the door. We all thought that this was quite odd. Naturally, the trap and the lock were no problem for me. I easily opened the door and went inside the room.
It was a very small room with a chest along the far wall. This chest was guarded by three helmed horrors in full plate. Whatever was in that chest was important to somebody. However, before we could examine a treasure of such magnitude, we had a fight on our hands.
These armored specters were not going to be easy to get by. They were quickly upon us, and my bolts were useless against them. Thus, I was once again used as a distraction as the ghosts chased me around the room.
Thorvald was quite effective in this fight. His magic was quite useful against spirits of this nature. Jean and Gudrid had to resort to their less effective magical swords. Thus, we fought these horrors for quite a long time.
Eventually, they did succumb to our weapons and I unlocked the chest with the valuables in it. Inside was a bundle of rug fragments and nothing else. While I understood that we could potentially use the rug, I was quite disappointed in the contents of the chest.
We now had four rug fragments, so if we got into the tower, we could possibly gain entrance to Nebrion's room without his knowing. However, I would have liked to see a little gold or some jewels in the chest.
Quite satisfied that the house was secure, we returned to our meal after fighting off some rats of course. Rats -- why did it have to be rats? Why not snakes or some other creature?
It was well into the night when we had finished everything. Thus, we decided to rest in this house. I found a quite comfortable room, which would have quite comfortably slept two. However, the women thought it best to keep guard. It was their loss.
In the morning, we would push on to the tower no matter what. If we had to slice through every citizen of this town, we were going to make it to the tower. I was well passed ready to shake the dust off my boots and leave this crumbling town. I slept quite soundly.Posted by deg at December 17, 2006 11:48 AM