Alert: May contain spoilers for the adventure “The Village of Homlette”
By the time we roused in the morning, Kobort had had breakfast and left on his horse. I wish him well.
As we headed back to the Moat-House, we saw the workers toiling away on the fortress construction…and among them were the two bandits we captured yesterday.
I was worried about them, so I’m glad the knight and all figured something out. Better than being dead.
We made good time again, taking only about two hours to get to our destination.
On entering the Moat-House, we turned first to a small door off the main entrance room that opened into a crumbled tower.
Ezekiel shone his shield around, and I caught glimpses of building debris, bones, husks, and cobwebs covering the floor.
Ezekiel snapped his shield up in time to catch a huge spider jumping down from the ceiling. He swung at it – nearly dropping his mace – while Raven tried to throw a dagger at it.
So…they gave me those special, well-made arrows we found in the chest. Yeah, I’m not sure what they’re good for.
Well…My first shot I’m pretty sure was too left (the shadows made it tricky, see, and Ezie being in the way) but from the splash of spider blood I must have hit it…so maybe that was the work of the arrow.
The others must be duds, though, because I couldn’t land another hit.
Mikael called Nori to attack, and clocked the spider with his staff. Ezekiel, I think it was, called it a “Great Wolf Spider”.
I called it a great nuisance.
While I was recovering my arrows (and Raven was finding his daggers – his spear had ichor on it, so he must have landed a hit, too) Mikael told Nori to climb up to the rafters above and see what she could find.
There’s no staircase in this tower – although with the number of boards lying around, there might have been once – and the remnants of the floor above are charred and broken, like the tower was burned.
Well, Nori came back and told Raven there wasn’t anything up there, and it all stank like that “bad spider.”
But Ezekiel found some change on the floor, and Lydia found a little ivory box…so I guess it wasn’t a total loss.
The only other opening from the entrance hall is a place where the wall has collapsed, so we went up the steps to the great hall. There wasn’t any sign that anyone had been there since we left yesterday, and the furniture was still piled in barricades down the middle of the floor.
We headed down one of the west corridors – the one with giant lizard prints.
Several doors lined the corridor, and Raven checked them for traps.
The first room we found had furs and animal heads lying around, but nothing that looked like it’d be worth anything anymore (except maybe a pair of antlers, except that they were broken. I didn’t try to guess what animal they might have been).
Mikael found an empty torch bracket on the wall. We understood that when we came to the next room, and Ezekiel found a bracket with the stub of a torch in it…except the “torch” was smooth and heavy, shaped like a baton, and bent when he set it in the sconce and pulled on it.
When he scraped off the black, he got a flash of white underneath…so we figure it’s a silver bar everyone else had missed so far.
Nothing else in that room but broken furniture, so we went across the hall.
The north room used to be a kitchen, with a fireplace in the corner. It still had a huge kitchen table, an empty torch bracket, and a wine cask in the corner…but nothing of value.
In fact, as I was wandering past the wine cask, looking for anything that stood out, what should jump out at me but the biggest tick I’ve ever seen!
(How did he get so big? Does he suck the blood of the frogs outside?)
Ezekiel and Raven were the only ones near me, so Ezekiel pulled back and gave that beastie such a whack that it dropped back off its eight legs onto its abdomen or whatever!
Much good that did us, since not a one of us could seem to hit it (or at least do some damage on that smooth, tough shell).
Raven called out, “There’s a really big bug here.”
So Nori came in, crawling along the ceiling (I could hear Mikael talking to her), and dropped onto the tick while it chittered.
And, well…that was that. I think we’d still be standing there, trying to swing at the tick if Nori hadn’t TAKEN IT OUT IN ONE BITE how is that fair…?
ANYWAY, after that we only had one doorway to check out…the double doors at the end of the hallway where the lizard footprints led.
Lydia offered to cast Stinking Cloud, so Raven cracked the door open for her and she hefted a rotten egg through the opening (the fact that she’s been carrying that around explains a few things…).
We threw the door open, and Ezekiel told me to take it down with my special arrows.
Raven threw a dagger and nailed the creature (it’s got to be the biggest lizard I’ve ever seen, since Explictika Defilas doesn’t count) and Mikael cast faery fire.
And we will not talk about what I did.
We will not talk about it.
The lizard was huge, and flopped there in the fumes, staring stupidly at us, and rimmed with the glowing outline of the faery fire—
All right, so I did land one shot (out of four tries!).
And I didn’t do what Raven and Ezekiel did. Raven jumped into the air with a spin as he threw a dagger, but he must have slipped or something because he fell flat down.
As the greenish cloud dissipated, Ezekiel cried out and charged, mace upraised, but he also slipped and sprawled flat on his nose (he says he landed smack in the rotten egg).
Maybe it was that room.
Whatever it was didn’t affect Nori, because while Raven was still getting up, Mikael ordered her forward–
And she rushed in on those eight legs of hers and sank her fangs into the lizard and, well, that was that.
I tell you, sometimes I wonder why I haven’t shot my own eye out…
Anyway, while I was wandering all over the room finding my arrows, Raven searched the stomach of the lizard and found a fine-quality shield (we’re learning, see?).
We also found a chest in this room, with some copper pieces, scale mail, a cross-bow, and some quarrels.
Nothing else worthwhile in the room, except some broken cots. The structure doesn’t look too sound, with beams poking through here and there. While it’s possible some bandits were hanging out here before the lizard kicked them out, I’m starting to doubt whatever we heard above the ceiling yesterday was humanoid.
We carried our loot away to the bandits’ bunkhouse, where Mikael could cast Detect Magic on it and the weapons of the bandits.
So we found out that the shield the lizard swallowed is magical (and confirmed that my arrows are…somehow)…but nothing else is magical, including the Bandit Chief’s gold chain and the little ivory box Lydia found.
And we still haven’t found anything about an evil cult…not even mad scribbling on the wall or something.
Ezekiel doesn’t look too upset yet.
We’ll have lunch, and decide what to do next…whether we need to head back to town and let the spell-casters recover their abilities, or whether we can press on. There’s still the staircase leading down to explore, plus a doorway off the south of the great hall. And there might be a way to the second floor, if it’s not too damaged for human access yet.
Probably I should roll myself in my blanket and glare at the fire while Mikael and Nori clear the rest of the building on their own. That way I won’t shoot anyone (like myself) in the back by accident.
Someone’s going to be spending some time in the practice yard…
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