“Alright then, everyone ready?”
The team set off again for the monastery. They'd done the route before, but were still nervous about finding the causeway. There was no need to worry, though, as they spotted the entrance so easily, it was like they'd done this a thousand times.
The new guys, Fearless and Sparky, were impressed.
They opened the double doors at the entrance and proceeded down the stairs.
Last time, to a plan they'd gone straight on at the first crossroads. This time they went right, to the north.
They took the first turn they came to, which took them east. They moved a short distance ahead and after the usual listening precautions, went through a door. This was a big room and the floor was covered in various depths of rubble.
But they picked a path across it and got within 20 feet or so of the far side. There, it had become apparent, were two large stone coffins. Then Towser kicked off, snarling.
|Are you looking at me?|
As he did so, two ghouls raised themselves out of the coffins and floated over towards the team.
Towser was off, clearly spooked. Leggyass tried a sleep spell, but to no avail.
But the front rank of Sir Baltimore and Rockall got stuck in. A flash of steel and the pain of the undead's restlessness was over. The ghouls had been defeated.
Fearless wandered out and retrieved Towser, who had found his own way out of the dungeon and was whimpering away to himself outside. Fearless gave him a slap, then tied him onto a large, but portable rock.
Poor Towser, a guard dog, had had his remit extended beyond his capability.
After a break to regroup and a hopeful search of the sarcophagi revealing little of interest the party were ready to go again.
They chose a rough-hewn passage off this room, leading out to the east. This soon narrowed to only 5' wide
Fearless took up the lead. The Dwarfs identified this passage as a lot newer than the other part of the catacombs.
A little along this narrow passage and they were surprised to feel an arrow whizz over their heads.
A voice called out “just stay where you are and we can all have a chat about where we're going”
Perhaps he was living up to his name, or perhaps it was just his lack of language skills, but Fearless was having none of it. He took off at a charge towards the voice. Towser thought otherwise. Tether-rock or not he was off and sped back past the party, heading back the way they had come.
Two lanterns were unhooded jusy along the passage and behind a few figures, ready for battle. One of them stood at the front, sword in one hand shield in the other. Behind him, a bowman, perhaps two. And maybe another figure or two as well. Probably bandits.
Fearless reached them in no time at all.
But the lead opponent was ready for him. He block his run somewhat with his shield and a half-step to the right, And in one mighty fluid movement he brought his sword up under Fearless armour and pierced his heart. Death was instant.
“We don't really want to be fighting here. There's no need for this at all” said the swordsman.
But Thrilly wasn't far behind Fearless and his blood was up now,
He struck home a blow. But the man was tougher than his reluctance to fight suggested.
He carried on his pledge for an armistice “lets just talk about it”.
But he knew better than to unilaterally disarm himself and managed to strike a blow against Thrilly.
They were well matched.
They traded attack and parry for a while. Then Thrilly relented and showed a desire to parley.
Now that the melee had paused, bowmen took the chance to nock their arrows.
But, as the two fighters at the fray caught their breath, it was Sparky the spellcaster who broke first. He started casting.
Of course, this sparked off the fight again.
It was a tough shot for the bandit, but having a magic arrow helped. And since the magic user was casting a spell, he didnt see it coming. The bowshot sped through the air and through the sorcerer's neck. Death was instant.
Thrilly took up his sword again and he and the opposition front man were back at the battle.
They traded hits again, before eventually all the chat of a truce got through.
Thrilly and the other frontman paused and each took half a step back.
“Everytime we stop one of our guys gets killed”, said Thrilly.
“Well, lets just stop for good” said the bandit, “we dont want any hassle. Why dont you just head off back the way you came and we'll just head back the way we came”
It seemed a good idea to Thrilly. Their party was not depleted by 2 and they'd picked up a couple of other injuries against the ghouls. And edging past this lost might end in a strumash of some sort, where more casualties would be likely. They couldn't risk that.
“Well whats along that way?” said Thrilly
“about 2 miles of long, sweaty corridor. Nothing exciting. And that way?”
“about 100 yards and then a room with sarcophagi”
And they did. Very carefully. Thrilly thought he saw a halfling in their group as they edged backwards into the gloom. Apart from that, there weren't many clues as to who they were.
Bailey pointed out that the arrow that had gone through Sparky's neck had runes on the point. Possibly magic.
So they picked up the arrows and they picked up their dead.
They buried the dead in the ghoul's stone coffins and they buried the arrows in their backpacks. They had a small service for the dead and a small rejoice for the runed arrows.
They picked up Towser, whimpering outside the dungeon entrance and they headed back into the village.