|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.
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.
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)