After returning home on Snake 19th (9/19), Jerker borrowed money from Aderian and Azrak which he used to buy goods Tienarth needed in order to enchant Jerker’s armor. Over the course of eleven days, the old elf toiled and in the end did not complete the enchantment. Meanwhile, Jerker spent time asking about the new protectors of St. Orlan, the mysterious figures in green robes. They had made no further appearances since first being introduced by Bremlai. The only edict handed down was that all townspeople were forbidden to enter the swamps north of town. Most found this rule easy to follow because the swamps were known to be dangerous.
Jerker also stumbled into talk in the town about the absence of the inquisitors who savaged the town with witch hunts in years past.
Digging Up Bones
On the morning of 10/2, they gathered at the magic mirror in order to locate the treasure described by the map found in the buried treasure near the castle. The scene shown in the mirror was a tight space illuminated by a oak leaf design on a suit of leather armor. The dried up corpse of an elf wore the armor. A view from farther away showed grass growing under an old oak. Guessing that the armor was magical, they prepared to find the armor and dig it up. It took a day to walk to the ruined tower where they spent an uneventful night.
Ferris lent Morto im Morto, magic sword with extra power against the undead, to Ollie.
The next day, they walked seven miles to the area described by the map (hex 0607). The last mile was hard climbing through mountains. Presently, they located the spot and began digging. None of them thought to bring a shovel. Ollie used his cudgel. It took six hours to get down to the coffin, which was well-preserved. It was neatly held shut by wooden pins.
At this moment, the coffin resting in the soft grass and the sun setting, they hesitated. Was the corpse inside a vampire, they wondered. Red light poured over the mountains, and a chilly wind swept down over the slopes. Ferris pulled down a branch of the tree and cut it into a stake. Tienarth produced his crystal ball to scry inside the coffin. The scene was unchanged from what they saw the day before. An inanimate corpse lay inside. The oak leaf design in the armor glowed like a candle.
The tension increased. Jerker pointed his blade at where they expected the face of the corpse to be. Ferris pried the top off, and Jerker immediately stabbed at dead face. It crumpled like withered pages of discarded book. The tension dissipated as they realized it was no vampire nor mummy, but an ordinary corpse. They carefully removed the armor from the dead elf, placed the body back in the coffin and reburied it. The armor was perfectly preserved and the symbol glowed, both signs of its magical nature.
Darkness had fallen and they were seven miles from the tower, but camping in this remote location seemed more dangerous than trekking in the dark. They arrived at the tower around midnight. No monsters bothered them that night.
The next day, they decided to return to the castle seen near where they fought hill giants and dug up the treasure (hex 0907). The route included leaving the road at the lake, crossing the river and looping around the lake. The castle was among the peaks north of the lake.
From a slight elevation, they looked at the castle’s 20′ walls and 30′ towers. A 10′ wide entrance in the south wall gaped, no bars or doors to prevent access. A 20′ wide gap in the eastern wall was partially choked with rubble. Jerker tried throwing a boulder through the entrance. It just rolled into a central area and produced no effect.
Out of caution, they entered the castle grounds through the breach in the eastern wall. Immediately inside the walls weeds tangled up a long-neglected field. In the northern end of the castle grounds was a modest, two-story palace. Several other buildings filled the space inside the walls.
Ferris crept around the palace, first listening at the might double doors. He heard several voices saying “Are we going to be safe here? No one comes around. Have a ration? Where do we search next?” He also thought he heard something about a map. He walked the perimeter of the palace, looking in windows. Most were narrow slots, but one offered a wider view into a room with a zombie hanging by the neck from a rafter. It reached helplessly toward him.
The rest of the party waited near the breach in the wall. A narrow, hallway inside the wall went north and south, and they all huddled in the dark, out of sight. Jerker handed Ferris a whistle created from his magic scroll. Tienarth made the thief invisible, and he crept back towards the palace.
He first climbed up to the second story where there was an open-air patio. In the center of the patio stood a figure in a dry fountain. The figure held hands up to the sky. Its skin looked moist, perhaps clay. As Ferris hopped onto the patio, the figure stepped towards him, prompting him to retreat. The figure returned to the fountain and resumed being still.
Next, Ferris returned to the front door, which he pulled open and stepped back. A call was made from inside. Soon, a warrior of some sort appeared, halberd in hand. He looked from side to side, then pulled the door shut again, muttering, “must have been the wind.”
Ferris returned to the others, and they waited until dark, hoping the people inside might go to sleep. When Ferris returned to the front door, light spilled out from the cracks. He pulled at the door and it was obviously barred from inside. The sly thief circled back to the window into the room where hung the zombie. He stayed out of reach and opened an inner door to reveal a larger room where two figures sat at a table, pouring over a map. One was the warrior seen at the door hours before. The other wore black plate armor. Two other figures stood at the door, listening.
Ferris was invisible, and none of the occupants noticed him at first, however, as he crept around the room, he knocked a mug from a table. Instantly, the man in the plate armor lept to his feet and struck out with a mace. It landed solidly on the thief’s midsection.
Ferris stepped aside, grabbed the map on the table and then dashed out of the room. They heard his feet on the stone floor, and they saw the door into the zombie room move as the passed, but they were unable to land another blow.
Back at the hiding place, they looked at the map. It was an incomplete rendering of the Tosasth Valley. It seemed the assumed bandits or explorers were more treasure hunters, likely working from the well-shared knowledge of the exploits of Tienarth’s Raiders.
It well past sunset, and there was little point watching for the people in the palace. They returned to the ruined tower to rest. On the way, they surprised a pack of lions surrounding two boards. Jerker rushed to attack. Tienarth fired bolts of death from his new wand which tore into lion flesh.
As the first lion died, the rest backed off, then ran full speed from the encounter. The two boars, perhaps relieved to be free of the threat of the lions stayed to attack Ollie. Jerker and Tienarth hurt the boars terribly. As the lions fled, Jerker lifted a boar corpse and hurled it great distance, striking a wounded lion.
The danger gone, they gathered up the other boar carcass and made it the rest of the way back to the tower where they roasted the boar over a hearty fire. Thus ended the day of 10/4.
- Treasure: Leather Armor +2, sized for an elf with an oak leaf on the chest that glows like a candle.
- Combat 2090 xp
- 5 Lions 360/ea
- 2 Boar 145/ea
- Characters 418 xp/ea
- Ferris (steals, skills) 468 xp
- Jerker (fight, lead) 468 xp
- Nate 460 xp
- Ollie (fight) 422 xp
- Tienarth (wilderness, collects magic item, avoid combat) 431 xp
- We agreed to a new Subduing Damage rule.