Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Chapter Sixteen: Return To The Haunted Manse...

Forest Wights: An Omen Of Ill Fortune ('They Feed On Schadenfreude')

The latest chapter in the adventures of Cobblethwaite's Companions began with Kirchin and Holly sparring in the courtyard of The Merry Riot in Dundraville, while Davian was inside running 'tests' (ie hitting with a hammer) on the magical skull ring he had found the day before.

Marigold cleaned herself up from her sudden bout of sickness as Harry took a test shot with his onyx bow... and promptly broke it!

Kirchin became obsessed with the idea that leather wristband Harry had claimed from the treasure chamber was to blame for this disaster.

But that was only the beginning of Harry's bad luck.

With Kirchin pushing the wheelbarrow he'd borrowed from Bothwell, the group headed back into the hills outside the village, past the old ogre cave and deeper into the woods. As the canopy closed above them and it got darker, they began to see dark shadows - with bright, burning eyes - darting back and forth between the trees.

Holly explained that these were "forest wights", generally harmless, insubstantial ghost-creatures whose presence was a portent of bad things to come.

Arriving at the walled manse, buried deep in the woods, and overgrown after decades of neglect, the party opted to head through the main gates and try the front door.

Unfortunately, as they trooped in, the ground gave way beneath Harry and he crashed down into a subterranean room, that turned out to be the derelict remains of an old laboratory.

The party carefully climbed down and Kirchin went to practice his physicker's art on the wounded bard... and ended up making the problem even worse. Harry's scream of pain was probably audible back in Dundraville.

'Ceiling Monkey'
While other healers in the group started working on Harry - and he took a swig of one of his healing potions - Davian was keeping an eye on a strange creature scuttling around on the ceiling that retreated into the neighbouring room when it caught sight of the size of the party.

Looking into the next room, a water-soaked old library, Davian saw there were five of these "ceiling monkeys" as he called them.

The creatures retreated when the adventurers entered the library and didn't appear to be much of a threat.

Heading through the library, the party found themselves in Jerol's underground study and realised they were now in areas they had explored before.

They explored the passageway where Kirchin deduced - with Holly's input - that the 'snark' had lured Peter Entwhistle away and attacked him, but couldn't figure out how Peter has escaped. Marigold - his student - did point out that he was a mighty wizard!

Beyond this area, in an overgrown gallery, they found what they presumed was the snark's egg, but - as far as they could tell - they had killed the only snark down here.

After some discussion, they decided to make for the staircase back up to the ground floor, where there was a door they hadn't tried.

Breezing through the corridor, they wandered into a ghoulish ambush and once battle was engaged at the bottom of the staircase, more ghouls poured out the kitchen behind them and trapped the party in bloody battle.

Holly heroically charged the ghouls that were attacking from the rear, while the others dealt with the first group of ambushers. Then Holly hid in the wine cellar, while Davian took her place in the hall and Kirchin fired arrows (as he could) past him into the flesh-eating creatures.

It was a protracted fight but, boosted by Harry's singing and occasional bursts of magic from Marigold, Davian managed to overpower the ghouls.

After this fight, the adventurers rested for an hour in the wine cellar, then headed back to Jerol's bedroom, through the secret doors and into the crypt where they had found Kennet the other day.

It turned out the crypt contained Jerol's tomb. Not wishing to desecrate it, they paused to think where they would head next.

To be continued...

  • Davian (Kevin)
  • Harry (Simon)
  • Holly (Erica)
  • Kirchin (Pete)
  • Marigold (Clare)

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Prologue To Chapter Sixteen...

Bothwell and J'Homme were delighted to have Kennet back safe and sound

Marigold groaned and rolled over in her bed. She could hear the clatter of sword-on-sword as Kirchin and Holly sparred below the window of her room in the courtyard of The Merry Riot Inn.

It wasn't just the celebratory drinking from the previous night that was making her feel ill. She was still disturbed by what had happened when she snuck away to the tavern's cellar to try out her newly-found 'tentacled wand'.

The ale had been flowing freely - as landlord Bothwell refused to take coin from anyone, so pleased was he at the return of his errant son - but Marigold was twitchy and wanted to know more about her new possession.

Peter Entwhistle still didn't feel like his old self
In the shadows of the cellar she tried waving it at casks, mugs and crates, but then a large rat scuttled across the floor.

She pointed the wand, pressing down on the tentacle as she did and promptly vomited when the rat stopped in its tracks, spasmed and then folded flat into a thin envelope of flesh.

The creature's bones had somehow been pulled outside its body and lay in a rat-shaped pile next to the furry skin sack.

Covering her mouth, she ran back upstairs, past her partying colleagues - who were too in their cups to notice - and up to her room.

Well, at least now she had an idea of what the wand did!

Marigold's mentor, Peter Entwhistle, had spent the evening stuffing his face with food. Probably due to his extensive wounds, he still didn't feel quite right - despite the miraculous effect the 'joy juice' had had on him.

Although his colleagues had decided to return to the abandoned house to retrieve what treasures they could, Peter had declared that he would be returning to bed, and for them to wake him when they got back.

Berk wants the Joy Juice
The chubby bald halfling, Berk (co-owner of Berkclay Brothers Brewery), was fascinated by Peter and Marigold's descriptions of the powerful 'joy juice' and kept rubbing his hands gleefully asking Marigold if she could bring some more back from the house.

His rather slimy persona persuaded her not to reveal the fact that she already had a couple of extra vials of the mead-like liquid in her pack.

Nursing a thick head, Kirchin had risen early - having promised to work with Holly on some basic fencing techniques to hone both their skills.

Chatting with Bothwell, the ebullient publican had agreed to loan him a wheelbarrow, which was what Kirchin had wanted to retrieve the suit of platemail from Jerol's manse.

Holly had spent a great deal of the night before, and this morning, talking to the locals about Jerol of Jirrey. Piecing it all together with her own knowledge of the region's lore, she now had a better understanding of the legendary adventurer and his comrades in The Most Excellent Brethren (Jerol's very successful adventuring and trading company).

After she had sparred with Kirchin for a bit, she was going to visit the druid's circle outside the village and harvest some herbs to make healing balm for the party's return trip to Jerol's haunted mansion.

Davian was regretting agreeing to sample the Berkclay Brothers 'fire ale' during the boisterous celebrations for the return of young Kennet, but despite the heartburn he was now suffering, he was determined to find out more about the eternium 'skull ring'. Despite its very basic design, the ring seemed resistant to all damage.

Dwarvish tradition associated the mysterious metal with 'good fortune' and Davian scratched at his beard as he wondered if this ring would somehow grant him luck.

Having spent most of the last night gargling honey mead, poured for him by the tavern's three serving maids (the sisters Darly, Dayla, and Dayl), Harry was delighted to discover that come the morning his voice had returned.

With a song on his lips, and confidence in his heart, he was just about to try out his onyx bow at a target he had set up on the far side of the courtyard, when Marigold threw open the window of her room, stuck her head out and proceeded to be violently sick... breaking his concentration!

Darly, Dayla, and Dayl

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Background: Tools Of The Physicker's Trade...

Bloody Bandage Tied Round A Pole Outside The Temple Of The Lady Of Healing
Indicating That This Is A Place For The Treatment Of Ailments And Wounds...
A selection of Kirchin's tools and charts for his physicking work...
A selection of salves, herbs and simples that Kirchin has labelled up, on a table outside the temple,
as part of his teaching for Holly and Kahl...
A key chart in Kirchin's work: showing the various shades of urine
and what they can tell him about his patient's state of being...
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