Mayro moved to a new, better inn to get a private room with a lock on the door, and bought a small iron box to store his valuables. While waiting for Golfo to recover from his fight with the giant leech, Mayro did another stake-out of the House of Jourdain. Mainly, he saw more of the same: another servant woman being driven out with a beating, occasional deliveries during the day, 3 or 4 groups of customers at night. Curiously, one day he arrived at his stake-out post to find others already there—also watching the House. He slipped away without being noticed. Also, one night, he saw a group of monks leaving the House near dawn, and taking a couple women with them; he trailed them back to the monastery of the Two-Fold Path.
Golfo had told Mayro a few things about this Monastery, and Mayro now decided that he had seen enough that he was ready to go in. The next day, a little before dawn, the party (Mayro, Golfo, and Nardon, all wearing their new armor) made their move. Golfo was able to point out a formerly secret, now half-concealed, back entrance and they began exploring the ruined former living quarters. Their were a few signs of recent maintenance, but most of what they saw lay in complete disarray. Large sections were returning to a natural state with weeds, sapling, and even mature trees growing amongst the rubble of a collapsed hall. They began picking their way through those rooms, which while burned and scarred still had intact ceilings and internal walls.
Mayro & co. lost a hireling when the floor collapsed beneath them in one room. The seasoned warriors knew how take a fall, but the malnourished laborer did not. But there was little time for mourning as the noise attracted attention of a group men who began shooting arrows at them on sight. The party returned fire and killed the men. After climbing out of the pit, they examined the bodies, and found that they did not look like monks, but nomads or wandering brigands. The party retreated to rest and returned a few days later. Nothing much had changed. The party crossed the pit without incident and in the rooms beyond, found a stable, seemingly unused, and a long flight of stairs descending underground.
The space underneath the monastery was dug roughly out of the hard clay. The tunnels were narrow and twisting, and the party soon saw an explanation as to why, when they stumbled into a room occupied by a group of giant insects, some bipedal and wielding weapons, the others more conventional except for their size, roughly that of large dogs or even ponies. The insects allowed the party to retreat while guarding their own weaker members.
Continuing their exploration of the underground space while avoiding the narrower tunnels, the party came to a tunnel sloping up and ending at a ladder and a trapdoor. Mayro climbed the ladder and with a little effort, busted it open—to find himself surrounded by about 20 monks. Their initial response was surprised relief, but they soon showed signs of suspicion or hostility and Mayro dropped back down.
Fleeing with his companions, Mayro & co. heard at least a couple monks in pursuit and decided to take a chance in the insects’ warren. They fought their way through a small group of giant ants and then found themselves at the center of the hive, in a large chamber housing the overfed, glutinous body of the queen and her many attendant guards. These guards were fierce and did not allow an easy retreat. Likewise their hard exoskeletons repelled most of the warriors’ blows. Fighting within an inch of their lives, just to get back out of the queen’s chamber, the party fled the insects’ den and made a beeline (ow!) for the relatively safe, ruined section of the Monastery. After catching their breath and binding their wounds as best they could, they made all the way out and returned to Khanbaliq. Mayro concluded that the Monastery wasn’t something to tackle with such a small party.