There was a “crack” and Orodreth disappeared.
The others looked around, but he was nowhere to be found, so they continued along the corridor and came to a door. Peering through the keyhole, they realised this was the room where Ylva and Kobe had been standing guard, so they knocked and were let in.
It was time to interrogate Ragnar, who didn’t seem perturbed to be tied up and trapped. He obviously knew Kobe and started asking her why she was interfering in a job from the gang. Kobe gave as good as she got, pointing out that Ragnar obviously wasn’t so great if he had managed to be out-smarted by the “inexperienced” group.
Meanwhile, Ylva and The Monk were investigating the chests in this room – foodstuffs, equipment and a barrel of beer – and Asmund and Sergi were investigating the room next door. It was obviously where Ragnar and at least some of the orcs had been sleeping. This also had a couple of chests. One again contained clothing and equipment, the other one contained books (101 uses for a Dead Kobold, by Arkon Deguul, Basic Armour Maintenance by Hamgor Koplig, Beer and How to Drink It by Troipgan Beermeister, _Irritating Pointy Ears by Orgud Smashbane and Horror in the Monstery, by Shuldur Terroft), a polished skull with the same eye design carved into it as into the orcs’ medallions, and a smaller chest.
Asmund flicked through Horror in the Monastery but it didn’t appeal. He and Sergi then tried opening the chest – teak, with brass bindings and a solid lock with a brass skull design, but failed.
Taking it back into the other room, they spoke with the others. Kobe had been investigating Ragnar’s pouch, and found a key in it, so Asmund tried opening the chest’s lock. It worked, but he got hit with a poison dart which put him out of action, so Kobe started rummaging in the chest and helping herself to the gold and silver inside. Sergi spotted the pearls in a pouch, so they tried putting them into the eye sockets of the skull in case it was magical, but nothing happened.
Along with the treasure were a hexagonal lantern with golden structure and crystal-clear panes; each triangular top panel had a different dragon design on it. There were also an assortment of pieces of parchment.
All that effort for nothing. I suppose it’s ironic. All that way, all those clues solved, after stabbing Treimon in the back when he wasn’t looking after he’d disclosed everything he knew, and now I’m stuck in here.
I can’t get out unless someone comes along to rescue me, but the only person who knew where I am now is Treimon, and he’s not in a fit condition to help, even if he would. I feel like the victim of some cosmic joke by a trickster deity.
Head west to the ruined watermill. Cross the river then follow the path up the cliff and southwest across the moor and through the forest until you come to the ruined keep. There is a stronghold in the basement with provisions where you can wait until we can meet you. We will know when you have arrived. Watch out for the dragon!
I had to do it didn’t I? I thought my skills would easily be sufficient for the task – the prize was so great after all. A treasure of vast worth, one which would enable me to retire to a life of permanent luxury. How mistaken I was. Even now I can feel the foul magics I accidentally invoked coursing through my body, gradually destroying it. I do not have much time left now. Do not go after the treasure yourself; you will only come to regret it, as I have, for what little will remain of your life afterwards.
Norgan, We have had reports that miners have stumbled across something in one of the shafts. It looks as if they have uncovered ancient ruins of some type. I do not recognise the architecture, nor can I tell whether these ruins were once on the surface but have since been buried. I’d appreciate your expert opinion on this, at the usual rate. I could find someone else if you lack the time, but I feel that you would be the best choice. Thorn Addercliff.
I have heard of and am impressed by your skills. I am a collector of unusual artefacts, and I would like to hire you to recover one for me. Although the artefact is located in a place that is dangerous to explore, which is why I require one of your skills, I have full faith that this task is within your capabilities. Of course, you will be paid handsomely for completing this task
Should you be interested, ask my servant, who has given you this missive, for directions to my manor in order that we can discuss the matter further. Lord Dragton.
The Lord is loaded. Get this right and it could be the start of very profitable relationship.
We have obtained Ansel’s schedule – divert him to Rennydale, do the extraction and then reinforcements will appear at Mydstep Keep.
Ragnar refused to divulge anything about those letters, or who Lord Dragton might be.
There was also a schedule, which looked to match the travel plan of the caravan, and one of the characters realised that it finished with “17 Ambyrmont – reinforcements arrive at Mydstep Keep” which explained why Ragnar seemed so calm. Discussing amongst themselves, they realised it was already the 17th of Ambyrmont, and at that moment there was a knock on the door and a gruff voice called out.
The Monk called out and tried to stall them, while everyone else piled whatever they could against the door – including Horace and his plate armour – then the team scarpered out the other door and up another staircase which brought them out at the back of the keep. Peering in, they realised there were maybe 20 orcs gathered in the courtyard, so they sneaked off round the side and headed round back to the path further along, taking Ragnar with them as a prisoner.
They managed to avoid any significant encounters on the way back through the forest (apart from an owlbear who saw them and ran) and spent the night where they had camped before, but crossing the moor, they were met by a large brownish dragon. The dragon asked them about the magic item they had which it had sensed, and after a few attempts, they showed it the lantern, which the dragon named as “Miruval’s Orb of Seeing” and asked if they had the coloured screens for it. When they said “no”, it seemed disappointed. It said it was the victim of a magical wasteland left by a magical battle, and let them continue (with the lantern) as long as they tried to discover the root of the magical wasteland and cure it, and the dragon said the lantern would be an important part of this; however it didn’t know where to find the panels.
Kobe (who had been determined to slit Ragnar’s throat all the way) then chucked Ragnar at the dragon as a meal, and the dragon picked him up in its claws and flew off.
The group made their way back to Rennydale, where Ansel was impressed and relieved to see the lantern back (although The Monk insisted on looking after it). He invited the group to join his caravan as guards the next day, making their way to Glantri.
While all this had been happening, Orodreth had found himself displaced to above-ground again just as the orcs were arriving. By the time he worked his way round them and followed the group, he wasn’t able to catch up until they reached Rennydale.