I’d prefer not to hang around here any longer myself, Moralane says to no one in particular, and then she turns to Hallister and asks Do you think Stephanie was right? If one of those creatures was the same one we fought last week and it came back then does that mean that no matter what we do these will come back as well?
And then Moralane turns and stares at Stephanie as she moves away.
Miagnik looked at Moralane.
"We already knew that they wouldn't stay destroyed. I hope that means the time it takes for them to reform, or regenerate is a week of time. It's likely part of the curse of this palace. It probably means that even if we destroy the Vampire Queen, she'll come back too. If we end the curse, none of them will come back. But first we have to deal with Omara."
He watched the words exchanged between her and Atharessa. Not going to be make it easy for me, are you?
"I saw a door right around the corner when we were fighting. Maybe we should try there." he said, answering Atharessa's question.
There is a set of double doors just beyond where the encounter unfolded.
Stepping through and over the fallen bits of rusted plate armor and the dust and debris of the destroyed monsters, Rownig leads the others to it.
A quick examination reveals the doors are neither trapped, nor held shut with any locks or bars.
Pushing the doors open, Rownig and Hallister reveal a large room about forty feet on each side. The room is filled with torture equipment, racks, an iron maiden, pillories, and other devices, as well as stands for whips, flogs, and devices too cruel to enumerate. Entering the room slowly, wary of any sort of potential trap, you can get a closer look at these devices, and it becomes clear that it looks as though all of this equipment was brought here recently. None of it shows any signs that it has seen use. There are no gouges in the wood (which you would expect from the use of a cat-o-nine tails or a barbed whip, of which there are several) and there are no blood stains, anywhere.
"Well... at least nothing's been used here." Miagnik said stepping back out of the room, feeling sickened just by the sight of what was to go on here if they failed to stop Omara.
"We can't let her go unpunished."
The others stand near the doors as Miagnik takes a quick look around. When he is ready to leave, he looks back and sees Atharessa standing close to one of the small racks. She is touching a light leather whip, and when she sees that he has seen her, she blushes, stammers, drops the whip and hurries to leave the room
Miagnik gave Atharessa a strange look, clearly not understanding what has come over her. "Something I said?"
Moralane gives Rownig a glare of disapproval, and then cautiously creeps to the north, staying close to the east wall.
She disappears from sight, in the darkness to the north, and returns almost as soon as she is gone, hustling as fast as she can.
This passageway goes on for a long way to the north, and there is a small side passage on the left. I can see dirty foot prints going that way. These are not foot prints made by the armored boots of those skeletons, but more like dwarven mining boots. They come from further north, and go down the new passage to the west. I didn't follow them and thought I should come back and tell the rest of you.
Moralane guides the others in a slow, silent march along the path of the muddy boot prints. The group reaches a set of doors on the right, and Moralane studies the floor for a few minutes
There is a lot of back and forth traffic here, some boots go into through those doors, while some continue on down that way she points further ahead.
Here’s the thing though, Moralane stands up and folds her arms looking off in the distanceI don’t see any sign of the armored boots of those skeletons. I don’t think they came from this way when we ran into them
"So whoever's come through here has been alive." Miagnik said looking at the boot tracks.
"Can you tell which way was more recent?"
Rownig raises his hand to quiet down the group. then he slowly moves back and huddles with the group. "Male voices....laughing behind those doors. Sounds like dwarfs. How should we handle this?"
I have two older brothers. They used to think it was funny to lead me into the forest near our father’s estate and lose me. I guess I learned from an early age how to find my way home by following their trail. When I got older, and it wasn’t fun for them anymore, I suppose I liked being in that forest on my own more than I liked being in my father’s house.
Miagnik looked at Rownig. "More Dwarves? Hmm, we've run into too many different groups to be sure. If they're laughing they must be some of Omara's followers... wait! What if they're like the disguised ghouls from above? And let's not forget the... 'dinner party' we saw before. They may be controlled and just waiting to be another meal like the other group." Miagnik put a hand to his head, he wasn't entirely sure what to think of this.
"Either way they're unlikely to be friendly to us. Rownig, maybe you can get close to the door and try to listen in to what they're saying? Or we could just go in."
" Ready? I'm openin' the door." With that Rownig pushes the door(s) open and tumbles inside the room.
acro: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9
There's a loud groan and a wince of pain, when Rownig slips and falls on his face.
As Rownig takes a knee near the small gap between the doors, he imagines himself charging in, ready for a confrontation only to have his rumination disrupted by the lighthearted banter of the voices he hears.
Your crew hasn’t finished half of what the two of us did this morning and you’ve got the better tools
Well at least we haven’t pulled down the wrong wall three times this month, hahaha
Come on, you both are doing well, besides, if I wanted real working men and women I’d have hired goblins, haha
Oh, that’s low, even for you Tom, say how’s the wife? Ahahahahaha
Well after we eat, I want the four of you back at the doors south of the chapel. I want them down tomorrow at the latest, then the bricks Dolbron and his crew are quarrying are to be moved in place as soon as they are down.
There are a few more laughs, but then a voice, a fourth voice, says in a more somber tone
Dolbron had three more quite his team yesterday. I’m not sure we’re going to have enough bricks to have the door sealed up before Omara returns.
The third voice, the mediator of the first two, then says with a laugh Eight more are supposed to be here tomorrow. Omara promised to send the soldiers let go by Guisse last month. I know those fellows haven’t been able to find work so they’ll be happy to earn some silver, even if we only keep half of them past the second day we’ll get it done, ahahahahaha
Just before Rownig decides to open the door and try to tumble within the room he will relay to the group what he overhead.
"Sounds like three dwarfs having a friendly talk 'bout work and family over a meal. They say they doing some brink work and standing guard. They are lookin' to seal up a door near a chapel before Omara returns. Looks like Omara promised more soldiers that were let go by Guisse recently."
He pauses, "Let's have a chat with 'em, rather than kill 'em. We can suggest we are replacements lookin' for work."
With that information Rownig will move to open the door. You can keep my original roll.
Miagnik backpedaled away from the door looking to Atharessa and hurriedly whispered.
"You would know more about the inner workings of Sir Guisse's thoughts than the rest of us. Would he employ Goblins as Soldiers? I'm aware that a small number of our clans reside within the capital but I... never was allowed to do more than menial tasks."
"Not as normal soldiers." Hal said with a shake of his head. "He's a pretty staunch traditionalist, which means not a lot of love for Goblins. He'd be happy to use goblin mercs as fodder in the front lines if it suited his purposes though."
"Row and Moralane would know better than me though."
Yes, Hall is right. Guise won't use goblins as soldiers, but he has been known to put them to work in the mines and foundries near the coast. Life is pretty hard for them, a lot of goblins flee Guise's lands looking for work in Lady Inarossa's lands. I know that Guise has had to let go of many soldiers in his employ in recent months. he is running out of money, everyone knows it, though no one knows where he is spending all his resources.
When Rownig opens the door and flops inside Windel thinks quickly on his feet. "Bah git up you worthless shoe crud." He looks at everyone in the room then points at each one. "I mean yous. We ain't being paid to sit on our duffs, we were hired to guard."
bluff vs sense motive: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18
"But first git me some ale!"
When Rownig “tumbles” through the door, the party is surprised to see far more people than they were expecting.
The room appears to be a dining hall of some kind. There are two long tables running the length of the room, a large fireplace is in the center of the opposite wall from the door. At least fifteen dwarves and goblins are sitting at the tables. Most of these men and women are silent, but the voices that were heard earlier seem to come from four men, all dwarves, who are sitting at a table by itself to the left.
In addition to these sitting dwarves and goblins, there are about five goblins, or possibly gnomes, dressed in robes with hoods who scurry around the room carrying plates of bread, and boiled potatoes.
When Windel shouts at the room, everyone stops what they are doing, and there is silence.
One of the dwarves sitting at the lone table stands up. He is old, with a steel cap on his head, massive amounts of grey hair sticking out from underneath, and a long white beard.
Guard! AHAHA, is that what he told you? Fellow na lad, there’s nothing here to guard. You got yourself a job moving bricks, if you want it. I’m not surprised ol Ganalo told you you’d be paid to guard something. Hells, it’s hard enough to get anyone to come down here as is. But say, where’s your invitations?
The old dwarf seems friendly, if a little suspicious now that he has noticed something is amiss. All of you soon realize that everyone here is wearing a thick silver chain around their necks, and hanging from a circle of black iron fastened to the chain is a leather pouch about the size of the palm of a goblin’s hand.
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Miagnik looked at the room and took in the entire group.
"Invitations?" Miagnik said stepping up to the room. "I don't think we-" he paused...
Bluff: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (19) + 10 = 29
With a sudden look of dawning realization and horror Miagnik swung his bag off his back and quickly began digging through it. "Oh no! I-is that what was in the bag you told me to... I forgot it! Oh no I forgot it! Please, don't hit me!"
He looked fearfully for a moment at Windel. Then he looked at the older Dwarf sitting at the table.
"But I mean, we're here now right?! It doesn't matter that I don't have our invitations because we made it here and you need workers. You said yourself it's hard to get people down here. We still get paid, right?!"
Bluff/Secret message: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23
Windel thumps the forgetful goblin on the back sending him stumbling forward a few steps. "Bah...jus' git me ale...and stew!" He sneers at "his servant" then back towards the grizzled old dwarf.
Clenching a fist against the angering pain he felt as he picked himself up straight, Miagnik continues with the ruse and nods to go join the cloaked servants to get "his master" the requested foodstuffs.
"Uh, where can I find ale and food for my master?" Miagnik quietly asks the closest one.
The old dwarf gives Windel a knowing nod
I feel your pain, friend. I'll try to get you and your friends some replacement invitations. He holds up the leather pouch on the chain around his neck The wedding party, if they catch you without this where they can see it, well just be lucky they didn't. Armored guards with the maids of honor, marching all around this place, not to mention the groomsmen. They'll tear you apart. So watch yourselves. Tard, Agran, fetch these fools a drink and some stew. When you've finished supper you're going with me and I'll show you what we need done. Two more doors need to be sealed before Omara returns.
Hal was a little surprised at the ease Windel and Miagnik had infiltrated the room. He gave Altheressa and Moralane a wide eyed, impressed nod before stepping into the doorway and leaning in the frame near Windel.
"Torn apart? What the hell did you sign us up for, boss?" Hal asked Windel.
"Coin...that's what you signed up for." Windel growls back at Hal.
He pulls his shoulders back and walks into the room. Come on, it's all 'bout confidence, don't falter now. He announces to the grizzled man loud enough for the room to hear. "Name's Windel, this bumbling one is Rownig, and that's Hal." He points his thumb over his shoulder.
"Now the two pretty one's they're wit us." He winks at the dwarf. "She's Moralene and the other's Altheressa." He doesn't bother to introduce his goblin servant.