The characters actually had a good night’s sleep locked in the study. Even Einar was reasonably quiet. And there was a surprise waiting for them next morning. Sergi looked out the window and saw someone in the courtyard, who he then recognised as Miroslav who he often gambles with in the The Oaken Tap (and who is or was a love rival – neither has so far admitted much detail on this). Bear then recognised him too – they are/were both members of the Bearskins and once spent a night together in the cells after a brawl at The Silver Goose (Bear was somewhat reticent about the result, though Miroslav seemed quite pleased…).
Bear went down and collected Miroslav and showed him to the great hall…where Einar reminded them they were looking for his father’s bones. There then ensued a search of the remains on the floor and Bear found a very badly damaged set in the middle of the floor with a twisted brooch containing the wolf-head logo, so they concluded it was Ironwolf (Sergi independently came to this conclusion a few minutes later…). Miroslav, Bear and Reed also found some gold pieces among the debris, and Bear found a bone scroll tube stoppered with black stones.
They took the bones and buried them, with Miroslav saying a prayer to the Taraldaran heroes Halav, Petra and Zirchev to look over and guard their souls; Einar sank into the ground in peace, then popped up again to say his father had a secret passage somewhere on the floor where they found him which led to treasure and danger. He then disappeared again for the final time.
They went up into the study where they had slept and searched the desk and the walls. The walls were pretty solid and didn’t seem to have any secrets to them, but when Sergi took out one of the drawers it rattled. This worried Miroslav, who thought it was about to explode so knocked him to the floor and away from it, but when nothing happened they looked again and found it had a false bottom with a pouch inside containing 25gp and a vial of oily yellow liquid. Sergi and Reed tried to identify it, but the only conclusion they could come to was that you wouldn’t want to drink it… It smelled foul. at this point Bear remembered the scroll and asked Reed to identify it, but again he was unsuccessful.
They headed back down to the main hall and were bringing Miroslav up to speed when the door creaked open and a small goblin peered round and squeaked at them. Bear, who speaks goblin, realised she was looking for her mother, and must be a child. He asked her where she had last seen her mother, and she said she went upstairs and she hadn’t seen her for a day. Cue guilt from Bear, who was convinced her mother must have been one of the goblins they killed. They would have asked more, but she turned around and headed off. Sergei whipped out a dagger and was going to attack her, but Bear stopped him, and by the time they had finished wrestling she had disappeared.
They went to look at the trap which Bear had left. It had been triggered and moved, and had bloodstains on both it and the floor nearby, and the debris at the top of the stairs was scattered. It had obviously caught something which then managed to get away again. The trail of bloodstains led down the stairs…
After their scare last time, they were a bit worried about heading down the stairs again, but aware it had to be done if they were to succeed in clearing the castle. After long discussions, Reed was eventually persuaded to sneak down and take a look. He saw half a dozen goblins at a table, arguing. They didn’t seem to notice him so he snuck back up again and told the others. Strategy time…
The plan they came up with was: Miroslav would use Thaumaturgy to get the fire to blaze up, and Reed would use illusion to make it seem like a creature was in it. Then Miroslav used Thaumaturgy to make his voice boom, and said “Flee you fools, or prepare to die”. Unfortunately Sergi’s Hideous Laughter spell was shrugged off by the goblin he targeted, but overall this rather rattled the goblins, and when the team charged down they were caught completely by surprise…though they weren’t able to capitalise on it very well. The goblin Miroslav attacked managed to dodge. Sergi tried to jump off the side of the stair, but stumbled on landing and fell prone. Reed was distracted by the success of his illusion and didn’t do anything. Only Bear succeeded in doing anything, but he got an almighty hit on one of the goblins with his axe, almost splitting it in two.
By this time the goblins had woken up. One attacked Sergi, giving him a nasty slice. Another turned and ran down a back corridor. A third tried to attack Sergi as well, but Sergi managed to dodge this one. Miroslav missed again and got sliced in return. Sergi just parried. Bear charged at the goblins attacking Sergi, but completely missed, knocking Sergi aside and ending up between him and both goblins. Reed finally managed to wake up and got off a firebolt, singeing a goblin, who immediately turned and ran. Bear took advantage of this to hit it from behind, killing it, and Miroslav managed to hit another which was fleeing, killing it too. The others managed to get away down the same corridor.
After getting their breath back, our heroes looked around, then decided to head through a gap at the side. This opened out into a damp chamber with puddles on the floor and a well further in with a low wall round it.
They were starting to investigate the room when behind them they heard marching feet – one set much heavier than the others. While the group huddled against the wall, they heard a deep voice calling out – Bear understood it to be saying “so where are they then? Let’s throw them out for good. They’ve caused too much trouble already.” As they quivered behind the wall, they listened and prayed; with relief they heard the footsteps heading up the stairs away from them.
So what next? Will they get out alive? Will they manage to defeat the hordes?
Tune in next time to find out…