We move further through the monastery, through a secret door and into a room with skeletons. I’m in the back of the group and by the time I get up to the room, they’ve already killed them. I throw out some sparkles and blast one to death.
There are iron double doors on one side of the room. They’re really heavy. Really heavy. There’s a wooden door closer to us that’s been forced open. The door on the third wall is stone and set into the wall. There’s glittering runes on it in some sort of ancient form of gnomish. I think we should go through the shiny pretty door, but it’s locked.
Errich does his business with the heavy double doors and unlocks them. “Did you maybe, check for traps?” Fin asks. “Um yeah, I was gonna do that…” Errich says, trying to act like he was totally going to do that. (He totally wasn’t.)
Drash opens the doors and we find a small empty room with a collapsed back wall preventing us from going further. Oh well. We check out the door with the runes but nobody can make sense of them. Fin says he thinks it’s a magical door and the symbols are the key. Of course, he’s not sure what to do with the symbols. He touches the symbols both nothing happens. He tries to sound out the words. He speaks gnomish like an elven cow. Some of the runes shine a bit more, but nothing else happens.
Errich goes into the door that was forced open and climbs the rope ladder inside to peek into the room above. When he comes back down, he tells us that it’s dark and smelly. Of course, being a Halfling, he can’t see in the dark. I heave myself up the ladder – I have never been good at ladders, or climbing, or fitting in small spaces, or anything physical, really – and peek through the trapdoor. The floor is covered in thick spiderwebs. Ew, spiders.
We suggest that Fin should whip out some of that fire magic and burn up the spiderwebs (and any spiders that might live in them). Fin says it would be better to throw in a sunrod to blind anything that might be in there and then fight it. Somehow we settle on the happy medium (?) of throwing a burning torch into the room.
Errich tosses it in and closes the trapdoor. We chill for about five minutes and he climbs up to open the door. Thick smoke pours out and Errich begins to choke. He climbs back down and we leave the door open to let the room air out. Of course, more than just smoke left the room. Two big spiders scuttle towards us quickly.
After cutting their legs off, we send Errich up into the room to check it out. He hollers down to us that there’s another rope ladder that appears to go somwhere with light. Drash feels that we should go back to the door with the runes.
I try to read the runes because – duh! – my gnomish is way better than that silly human boy’s. The door zaps me. Ow! Okay okay, maybe my gnomish isn’t as good as it used to be.
Errich suggests we make a rubbing of the runes on the door and bring it back to a gnome in town to see if he can help us. After doing that, we head up the rope ladder into the spider room. Errich crosses the room and goes up the second ladder to scout. It’s a fairly new looking ladder.
What happened next is entirely Errich’s fault and Moradin cannot fault me for it because I had no knowledge of it happening until it was over. In the room was a man asleep on a chair. He was supposed to be on watch, but it smelled like he had a few too many ales and fell asleep. Errich snuck behind him, pulled his dagger, and slit the man’s throat. A sleeping man! We could have at least interrogated him and then if he was evil, we could have killed him. But now we’ll never know.
The room is a bedroom with a bed, a desk, and a cage containing a very upset raven. Errich finds some papers, small strips of paper and small strips of leather. Because he’s pretty smart, he figures out that they were for tying messages to the bird. We find some old messages, including these two:
The mercenaries are messing with us, must warn Ankiel.
…and in a different handwriting:
Girl just got out of town, going in your direction.
We’re concerned that we haven’t found the girl, so we backtrack to check the tents and surrounding area. We find nothing except for proof that there are probably more “monks” around. They’re hiding, but we’re sure we’ll have to face them eventually.
We decide to take the horses from the stables and ride back into town. I pick a pretty brown horse and name her Winnie. She’s a big girl like me. I love her. When we get back to the inn, it’s early evening. We have eight horses and only five people in our party, so we sell the rest.
“Did you find anything else in the room?” Fin asks Errich. “Just some quill things and papers for the bird.”
Helion, our resident elf, wanders over to our table. I ask him where he’s been, but he claims it’s something personal and he’s really sorry but he can’t tell us.
“We saved you a pony,” I say. “A pretty one. Not as pretty as my brown one, tho.”
“I appreciate it,” he says.
Lady Chauntessa is curious to see if we’ve found Lyssa. She says that our gnome friend, Mr. Silverheel, came to find us and wants to see us tomorrow. We are sad to report that we haven’t found Lyssa and make plans to visit Silverheel in the morning. We fill Helion in on the monastery, the “monks” who were Iron Manacles slavers, and the details of the rooms we explored.
“Are you going to be here tomorrow?” Fin eyes Helion suspiciously.
“Yes, I’ll be there,” Helion says. He’s always so calm and polite. Elves are so weird. He continues, “If this is a slaving organization, perhaps the town guard would like to know.” He’s concerned that we should alert the authorities immediately because if word hasn’t made it to the Umberwood Coffin shop then we could get the upper hand in case they are in cahoots with the slavers.
Helion asks Chauntessa about the local authorities and which ones we can trust. She tells him about Lady Woden who is a tough woman who is tough on crime. Thieves refer to her as Woden the Wolf. Helion wants to go alone because he figures no one from the monastery would recognize him on the streets. Errich dons a disguise and hides in the shadows, stalking behind him.
((OOC: Easy dragonborn disguise: A mouthful of hard liquor + a match = instant dragonbreath!))
I stay back with Drash and Fin and throw back a couple ales at the inn. Helion and Errich come back and the elf explains that he was unable to see Lady Woden and had to leave a note with the guards. They didn’t appear to be followed. We’re really hoping the guards are trustworthy and deliver the letter to the right person.
Drash thinks we should hang outside the coffin shop to see if we can see anyone. “It’s in our hands,” he says. Helion disagrees, “With a city this large, it should be in the hands of the law.”
Drash calls over Chauntessa and asks her where the coffin store is. She raises an eyebrow and asks why he’d need a coffin at this hour. “Ankiel’s shop would be closed this time of night,” she says. Ankiel? That’s the name on one of the notes we found in the monastery!! “Oh well,” Chauntessa says, “It’s none of my business.” She gives us the address.
Helion explains the basics of the story to Lady Chauntessa. She says that many people have been coming up missing lately. (Now she tells us!!) He tells her that the town guard didn’t take him seriously and she says she’ll do what she can to pull some strings.
Fin thinks we should use the raven to find the bad guys. If we let it out, it would surely go to its second home. Unfortunately, black raven and black sky – bad combination. We can’t follow the raven. Drash says we should write a note to the person and set up a trap for the person. The boys finally settle on taking the raven to the coffin shop to see if it reacts like it recognizes the place.
Drash and I stay back because we’re a) drunk (or at least I am!) and b) we’re not so good at being sneaky. Oh, and c) in case the town guard comes looking for Helion. That too. Fin wanders off at one point, but I don’t feel much like getting up to follow him. It’s been a crazy day and I deserve a rest!
A few ales later, they’re all back! Fin snuck out and got in touch with Lady Woden, succeeding where Helion had failed. The town guard showed up at the coffin shop just as Helion and Errich were about to break into the shop and stop the “monks” from burning paperwork. The guards busted through the door and arrested the two bad guys without incident.
We find out that the slaves were sold to orcs, but they can’t find out where exactly. For now, it’s time to get some sleep. We bid each other goodnight and head up to our rooms.
“I could go kill some orcs,” Helion says. His eyes sparkle with a combination of hatred and glee. It’s pretty freaky. “The only good orc is a dead orc!”