Once Terent and I recovered from the poisonous gas, we purchased a flask of holy water which Josh is carrying (to throw at any more undead we encounter). I had heard that getting strong spices to add to the holy water would help burn the undead, but Restenford is very lacking in any kind of hot peppers or hot spices. It was most disappointing. (and although Al’lien and I had reminded ourselves, we forgot to purchase cards, playing cards.)
So we headed back to the guardhouse, and removed the flagstones, and let ourselves down the hole. Marlow continues to carry the everburning torch, as he can function using only one hand, unlike the rest of us. Several times as we explored, mostly Al’lien with his strong sense of smell, and occasionally all of us smelt the scent of vanilla.
We went back past the kitchen to the room where the dead rat is. We investigated the room to the right. There was nothing in the room but a table and chairs, a target and some rusty knives. Al’lien broke down a locked door that led to a very long tunnel. We decided not to pursue it right away, but went back to the room with the dead rat. On the opposite side of the room, the wall didn’t appear quite right. It turned out the wall was a concealed door. Behind it, when we eventually worked our way through it, were three chests. The first held 4pp, 77gp, and 210sp. The second chest held an empty box. The third chest, a pair of boots (which I tried on, but they didn’t fit me. Turns out they are magical. Don’t recall what we did with them.) and a small velvet pouch containing 3 blood-stones, an emerald, and a diamond. (We tried appraising them, and we think they ’re worth between 500 and 550gp). Josh is carrying them.
Then we headed to the passageway beyond the dead rat. It was too big to step over. The passageway opened into an intersection. To our right was a cavern with rat nests, ahead was a cavern with a narrow passage only the rats could get through, to our left another cavern with a passageway leading off. We set up a defensive position in the intersection as we were attacked by many of these huge rats. It took a long time to kill them, there ended up being 19 of them. I felt uncomfortable coming into the rats’ territory and killing them all, when there was not a good reason to aggravate them. Several of us, Josh, Al’lien and wolf contracted a disease carried by the rats.
We had a bit of a debate before heading back in. I wasn’t sure I could wantonly kill the rats, just because I came into their space. It felt good to have a good discussion, we hadn’t done that in a while. When we headed back, I agreed to assist any of the group, my friends, but I didn’t want to kill any more rats.
We had cleared out the rats from the passage to the right, so we headed to the passage to the left. There didn’t appear to be any more rats coming from the passage dead ahead. I was hoping I could convince the rats not to attack, so I was in the lead. Suddenly we were surrounded by them, and they did come back through the centre passage. I managed not to fight any of them, although I healed Marlow. It felt good to be able to do something to help. We finally managed to regroup and fight the remaining rats off. We were just searching the space, and some of us looking to the passage continuing off to the left, when Lord Lankin (the camouflage elf) appeared. It is quite eerie how none of us can detect him, except Al’lien because Lord Lankin smelled strongly of vanilla.
Lord Lankin explained that someone had made off with the magical tome. In fact they managed to get to it before we even went down to search. He was willing to give us the healing belt as a recompense. He said a necromancer, who makes much use of undead, had taken the tome to a Yuanese Keep in some ruined fortifications to the North/Northwest of Restenford. There are bugbears there. Lord Lankin asked what we would accept to continue with this quest to retrieve the tome on behalf of the Lady of Brightwater. He took several suggestions, better armour for a couple of us. Other suggestions were made. He even thought he could get me another footbow. He is native to Lendore, and knows of Osprey Raptorans somewhere on islands not far away. He seems to be able to get us all sorts of things. I don’t understand his altruism. Why would someone charge us with something, and then compensate us when we haven’t achieved it. Lord Lankin took the time to explain a few things to me. The Lady of Brightwater wants this tome, not to use its magic, but for the prestige she gains. It is a kind of competition. Lord Lankin believes the necromancer may have taken the tome for another who is also engaged in this competition. This is quite a foreign concept to me. Lord Lankin did explain that he is on a kind of task, which he needs to fulfill, and so is willing to hire us to continue with this quest. He gave us an indication of the direction to head in, and agreed to do a reconnaissance of the keep to give us some idea ahead of time, of what we are up against.
First though we headed back to the Inn. Wolf and I are both afflicted by the rats’ bites, and need to heal. I was given the Healing Belt, and used it to heal. It is most effective, an amazing gift. We had found and took to a mage some pipes, which turn out to be Pipes of Sounding – ghost sound. Marlow said that with some research, and instruction, he could learn to make use of them. He kept them. While I was recovering, Marlow received a letter from Lord Lankin. He said we had missed a couple of items in the rat warren, and gave Marlow a cloak broach which makes him less vulnerable to attack, and a ring, that allows him to float down gently rather than falling.
Once we were healed up (and again without purchasing the playing cards), we headed out along the road. I didn’t want to go that way as it is treeless, and I need to keep practicing my flying, well gliding. So we went overland, which after discussion will take no longer than using the road. But, we ran into a group of gnolls. They were very powerful attackers with battle axes. I spent more time keeping people in one piece, including wolf, whom Al’lien saved from a vicious head splitting blow. The gnolls were very dangerous. We did find on them 42pp, and 60gp. We have reached the top of the first hill, going westwards. We are ready for a break, since the Healing Belt enjoyed much use. I am just waiting to float down this hill.
Our DM was very patient with our comings and goings this game. The players of Josh, Al’lien and Pyfiravin started off the game, Marlow arrived a while later, then Terent showed up. Josh’s player had to leave on schedule, then we played a little more, went off to find something to eat, and came back and played the gnoll encounter. It made it long and a little awkward with the party composition changing. Hats off to him.