While Cora the halfling checked a door to the east, Novak kept an eye on the room beyond the open doorway. A curtain hung behind a dining table. Presently, the curtain fluttered. Novak took a defensive stance. The halfling came running, fumbled a leap atop the table and then pulled the curtain aside to face an elf. Beyond the curtain was a cooking area with a gurgling fountain. One of them may have made an introduction. Novak only noted she called herself a queen.
One door out of the kitchen opened to a privy. Beyond another were boxes and bags from which a ghoulish phantom appeared. Novak charges at it, but could land no blow. He feared undead magic and switched to his silver dagger that was no more effective. His comrades claim not to see the phantom, so he backed out of the room. Queenie spit out an elven spell and then produced five mice from the bags of rotting grain. Novak instructed her to kill the evil, illusion-making mice. Queenie offered a bizarre tale of simpathy for the mice, explained best as the defects of an elven mind. While the argument went on, the dwarf and the cleric walked over to the sleeping mice and stomped them to mush. In her hand, Queenie held the fifth mouse which she placed in her pocket.
The left Queenie to poke around in the storage room while the rest went back to the door on the east side. As soon as Novak stepped into the dusty room, a giant spider dropped from above. The halfling tumbled past it to attack from behind and another spider emerged from under the bed. It bit her savagely on the calf, and though she squealed as halfling women are known to do, she remained standing and drove her sword into the hairy body of the spider. Before long, the spiders fell to many blows.
In the room, they spied a jeweled lamp and then a spectacular tapestry, its scene nearly lifelike. This they pulled down and rolled up. There also was a rusty dagger with an engraving that the cleric recognized. Under the bed, Novak noticed a web-covered hole. Considering its small size, Novak took the shrinking potion they’d found earlier in the chest. He shrunk down to shorter than a hand. He climbed down the hole they’d found under the bed which lead to a tunnel and the nest of a big rat. He poked the rat and tried to coax it after him. Eventually, he got the thing to follow. Cora killed the rat in a single blow.
Walking around in the tiny tunnels, Novak discovered a secret room adjacent to the bedroom, one that contained a desk and many books. A thorough search found various books of interest to the cleric, and also a map of the nearby area. While opening drawers in the desk, Queenie sudden went dumb. The other elf snatched up a leather book, probably one that had spells in it.
They gathered loot and headed back to Four Trails. Novak road on the dwarf’s shoulder for two hours before the shrinking effect wore off. After a night in the trading city, they marched to Untala and then towards Slateholm. On the way, they visited with Prince Coryn. The weird druid lady was there, too. She tried to help the dwarf with his glued lips. None of her magic could reverse the effect. He seemed destined for a life of slurping gruel through the open corners of his mouth because he was too afraid of cutting open his lips. Fortunately, the druid was able to restore Queenie’s ability to speak. All this help came with the price of a promise to go back to Malcolmsfort to call on the first druid they’d met the year before.
First, though, they continued on to Slateholm to see about selling the magical tapestry to Benabil, the halfling merchant. He recognized the high level of magic and asked to hold it for a time for better study. He also confirmed the magical nature of the jeweled lamp and a set of inks. These inks were for making tattoos, apparently.
They planned next to make for Malcolmsfort.