Friday, October 21, 2016

The Moathouse Grind

When Vulpio’s elven contacts learned that Burne, a human magician, was sending adventurers to explore below the moathouse, they summoned him and his friends Gerrilynn and Wolfgang with their own offer: don’t allow a long-buried evil return to the world.  Without being specific, Arethil, the elven priestess, told the party that she thought she thought there were darker powers involved, plotting and gathering strength deep below the earth.  The elves had a secret entrance to the dungeons beneath the moathouse.  They offered the party a safe base and asked them to explore.  If they could find the source of the power Burne was seeking, the elves would help them address it.  But if the enemy was who they thought it was, the elves didn’t want to alert their ancient foe to their presence; a gang of human explorers were unlikely to raise the same level of alarm. Speaking of humans, the elves warned Wolfgang & co. to avoid contact with Burne’s guards in the moathouse above, or for that matter any other humans.  If they could not be evaded, any humans should be dealt with diplomatically and brought to Arethil.  Gerrilynn thought this sounded ominous, but Arethil assured her, “If I wanted to kill them, I would leave that to you.”

The party came across a number of strange sights. A natural pool inspired curiosity, but bones on the bank warned them away.  The crypt, though quiet, seemed to offer nothing but dread and danger. They explored other tunnels.
Opening a door onto a blind wall seemed to trigger some type of alarm.  They encountered two groups of beast-men who attacked on sight.  These were fierce warriors, but between Gerrilynn’s divine powers, Wolfgang’s animal companions and Vulpio’s war hammer, the monsters were destroyed.  The party took a prisoner-- a hairy, shambling creature with claws and fangs. Gerilynn wanted to turn him over to the elves, while Wolfgang wanted to lead him to the wilderness outside and let him “run free.” Wolfgang won the argument, but Gerilynn won the dispute; on their way to the exit, the elves met them, congratulated them on their success—and took custody of the prisoner, throwing s net over his head and arms.  Wolfgang took this as proof that the elves would do the bugbear harm and that they should have done more to get him out.  But he turned over the prisoner.
The elves were grateful to have a prisoner, but most of all hoped to find the source of Burne’s new power.  So the party continued to explore.  Gerrilynn had made a comprehensive map and found they were confronted with a number of imperfect options.  There was the pool of dark water, in which something was lurking.  There was the crypt, which Wolfgang refused to explore.  And there was a portcullis barring the way down an otherwise safe looking passage.  The party reasoned that they were responsible for the portcullis being down—that the clanging sound they’d heard when opening a door the day before had been the sound of iron crashing down on the stone floor.  But they couldn’t figure out how to open it up again.  Wolfgang made friends with a group of rats who were eager to show him their home and the way down—if he could fit into the six-inch diameter hole in the wall.  They could not.


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