Sunday, 24 November 2013

Doggerland Session 2:10 (The Village of Hommlet)

Ambushed – (20th November 2013)

The Adventurers
Bow – Ranger
Hallan – Fighter
Johan - Cleric
Paulix – Thief
Vox – Magic User
Spugnoir – Magic User (NPC)

Card Games - Freyasday 12th Quattrober (Day 17) – late evening

The huge severed head of Lubash the Ogre was slowly unwrapped from its cloth sack to the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ of the gathered crowd within the Plough and Stars Inn. Meanwhile, outside the tavern’s walls, peels of thunder sounded like the rumble of boulders hauled over the hills by storm giants.

The party were not in the mood for celebrating their latest foray to the moat house. They had been severely compromised due to the major injuries borne by most of the party and the lack of treasure that they had found. The magical cloak identified by Spugnoir might go some way towards massaging their money pouches if it was sold but that thought did not help lift the mood of the party much. They decided that the following day they would head to Castleford to collect the rewards in person from the rescued merchants, find out a way to get their magical items identified, and generally take in a change of scenery before returning to the moat house to rid it of the presumed high level Cthonic priest that still inhabited the lower dungeon where they found the zombies and ogre.

Bow however decided to make the most of the situation and carried on carousing whilst the rest of the adventurers headed to their beds for a rest. He spotted the card shark and decided to play him at dice. He had noticed how his luck was always just about good enough to make him a small but tidy sum each evening. Bow suggested that they used a different set of dice other than the one that Furnok had been using. The card shark agreed to this and they diced for silver. After a few rolls, Bow decided that dice were indeed with Furnok and that maybe he was just a lucky person, but his inner voice was adamant that he was a cheat who fleeced passing merchants with his card and dice con tricks.

A Visit to the Tower - Godsday 13th Quattrober (Day 18)

The following day, they all rose early to the sound of constant dripping from the gutters of the inn. The rain had returned, albeit as just a light constant drizzle. Their limbs still stiff from the cuts and bruises gained the day before, the companions paid a visit on Johan who had been advised to stay at the temple of Sol Invictus overnight. He was in good health; all signs of the infection from the grey ooze had been removed by the Canon Terjon. With the exception of Paulix and Vox, they all returned to the inn to prepare for their journey to Castleford that day.

The mage and thief had decided to tell Lord Burne about the theft of the metal amulet. Burne, a concerned look on his face upon hearing this news, was able to answer their questions with a little more information. He had found out through further research and conversations with his more learned contacts that the amulet was indeed a key to the doors that imprisoned the demoness Zuggtmoy; the terrible demon that was fought and defeated by the elders of his order ten years previously when the Temple was razed and her followers defeated. The cartouche was an abbreviation of her name written in runes of power. It was essential that this key and the three others like it (one for each door in the spell-locked Temple) were recovered and kept away from agents of the Temple as they could release Zuggtmoy upon the world and her reign of terror would begin again.

The mage was also able to tell them that his informants had noticed several furtive characters had left the village of Staneford over the last day or so. He was unable to name them but there were maybe half-a-dozen or so suspect characters identified by his network.

Ambushed – late morning

The party pulled their cloaks tightly around their heads and shoulders and stepped out into the rain. As they walked past the stables of the inn they noticed that the heavy warhorse belonging to Kobort was absent. They made their way along the north road, past the temple dedicated to Sol Invictus towards the despicable village of Nulb. They could have gone via the forest road past the moat house but that way was more likely to be fraught with danger and was actually a slightly longer path.

Three hours into journey the party came to a short straight in the road between two curves in the forest path. Bow’s trackers’ senses tingled and he felt that something was wrong just as four bandits burst from the bushes to the right of the party. They had waited until the magic users were in sight and then pounced.

A quick flurry of blows pushed the mages back and stopped them from casting their spells, so they were reduced to fighting with their more mundane weapons. Spugnoir tried to step back from the fray after being hit by a sword but the numbers brought to bear by the bandits was enough for one of them to break past Johan who valiantly held most of the bandits at bay and cut him down, his body falling into the bushes at the side of the road. Meanwhile, Hallan and Bow tried desperately to get back to help their companions, and Paulix, as was his usual method of travelling, was hidden in the trees off to the left hand side, quickly crossed the path to enable him to get round behind their attackers.

As he entered the forest on the opposite side of the road the thunder of hooves was heard coming down the forest track way from the direction they were headed. Paulix had his attention fixed on the sound of hoof beats as he passed through the trees but it was his lightning reflexes that allowed him to dodge out of the way of the fists of Turuko; the small companion of Kobort.

The battle between the bandits and the magic users was eased by the arrival the fighters and Paulix set himself upon the little monk. The charge of Kobort on his heavy war horse was halted by Hallan with a hefty swipe of his great two-handed sword. This slowed the rider and horse enough that they were kept within the melee, but the numbers were in favour of the attackers now that Spugnoir had been dropped.

Paulix made short work of his opponent, proving that a blade was a far better weapon than one’s fists, and he re-joined the fray on the track way. Unfortunately, things did not go well for the party thereafter. Kobort on is warhorse rapidly reduced the battered fighters to little more than weak kittens before he landed a telling blow on each of them; Hallan took the worst blow, a severed artery in his leg pumped his life blood into the forest leaf litter. Johan and Vox had more luck and were able to kill two of their opponents but the remaining two bandits and Kobort held the upper hand.

Paulix saw that things were going badly for the party so extricated himself from the combat leaving Johan and Vox to carry on the fight. He thought of running away but at the last moment remembered the two potions in his pouches. Trusting to luck rather than judgement, he unstopped one of the elixirs and poured it down Spugnoir’s throat. His luck held, and the Healing Potion restored the mage to full health. Luckily they were both still in the bushes and were unseen by their assailants, so Spugnoir was able to recover his wits and cast a spell that rendered all of the remaining combatants into a stupor.

The last two adventurers quickly tended to their companions and saw that all were OK with the exception of Hallan who had bled to death at the side of the road. In his rage, Paulix grabbed up his dagger and quickly dispatched the rest of their sleeping attackers. He then searched the bodies and robbed them of all their valuable possessions. He kept the scroll case and potion secret from Spugnoir but told him of the coins and the two more wooden amulets that he had found.

After everyone had been given first aid and the bandit’s bodies disposed of on the opposite side of the road, the party rested up to allow Johan to regain his healing spells from his god Balder.

A few hours later they heard the creaking of harness and the snorting of horses. Paulix quickly grabbed Kobort’s war horse that was on the trail eating grass and brought it under cover with the rest of the party.

A merchant caravan passed by that consisted of about four or five wagons and a large body of guardsmen. Luckily they were making quite a bit of noise and did not notice the snickering of greetings that Kobort’s war horse gave to the passing horses.

Return to Staneford – a Visit to Jaroo and Burne

Johan recovered his spells and healed the party as best he could until all his magical power had been drained again. The party loaded the war horse with Hallan’s body and the booty gained from the bandits and they headed back towards the village that they had left only a few hours previously.

They made straight for the druid’s grove to see if he could prepare Hallan’s body for burial in sacred ground as they did not wish for him to be tended to by the priests of Sol Invictus. Jaroo said he would prepare Hallan for burial overnight and stand vigil upon his body to keep away any evil spirits before he was interred. Vox volunteered to dig the grave of his friend and help out with anything that Jaroo required for the ceremony.

During their conversation they found out that it would be possible to bring Hallan back to life provided that he was seen by a priest within the next week or so, but it would cost a lot of silver. Paulix made a quick calculation and realised that if Kobort’s warhorse was healed up and given a good brush down it would raise enough silver to pay for the ceremony to bring Hallan back from the dead. They thanked Jaroo for his help and headed back towards the inn.

On their way up the path from the grove, Bow noticed that there were tracks made by a huge bear criss-crossing the area. The small movements in the undergrowth of the grove he had spotted whilst talking to Jaroo convinced him that the druid had a powerful protector beside him at all times.

Paulix and Vox said that they would head off to see Burne and report their findings whilst the rest of the party returned to the inn to rest up. Johan got straight back to praying for guidance from his god and was rewarded with several healing spells again, which he used on his companions.

At Burne’s tower the thief and young mage were again granted an audience to tell their story. Burne listened with interest and offered them guidance on how they might get their friend brought back from the dead. The two companions grimaced internally as they were told the ceremony could only be performed by Burne’s friend the High Priest Ralph in Castleford; a priest of Sol Invictus. He reiterated it would not come cheap but he wrote a note of commendation none-the-less that they could show to the priest to hasten an audience.

They mentioned the wooden amulets that Kobort and Turuko were carrying, which fitted in with the intelligence that Burne had gathered concerning the furtive persons that had left the village recently. They also mentioned that they had a number of magical items that required identification. Burne said that he was unable to identify these items but the lady Mathilde in Castleford could do that for them. He wrote another sealed note addressed to his superior and handed it to the party.

Finally, Paulix produced the scroll case that they had found on the body of the evil fighter. Burne sat up with interest and asked what it might be. A quick movement of his fingers meant that he was able to decipher exactly what it was, a spell that enabled the caster to give the ability to climb walls like a spider to either himself or a companion. He asked what they would like in return for him keeping the scroll and Vox replied that he would also like to learn it at the right hand of someone so knowledgeable as the worshipful magician of Staneford. Burne instructed Vox in how to add the spell to his spell book and said that as this was a spell he had not seen before and as he had been flattered by Vox’s compliments he would teach him another lesser spell that he might find useful. As he was short of offensive spells Vox requested that he would like something that allowed him to cause damage at a distance. Burne knew just the spell and taught him how to cast an invocation that sent forth burning fire from the spread hands of the caster.

A Morning of Rest - Sunday 14th Quattrober (Day 19)

After a subdued evening of chicken broth and healing at the hands of their cleric, the party rose the following day to the sound of rain pattering against the shutters of their rooms. They got up and finished a large breakfast whilst Johan used up the first of his new set of healing spells getting his companions back to full strength.

The party then visited the stables to see what they could do for the badly injured warhorse that was now in their possession. Paulix suggested that they might want to heal it and groom it so that it would fetch the best possible price in Castleford and thus allow them to get their companion Hallan raised from the dead. Johan healed the horse to the best of his ability and as he had a few spells left he and Vox wandered up to the workers building the curtain wall around Burne’s Tower. He healed a few sprains and breaks for those who had picked up a few injuries during their work over the last few days and mentioned that the power of Balder would protect them if only they would worship him with all their hearts.

It was at this point that Vox and Johan noticed that one of the more militant workers had left the work gang.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Doggerland Session 2:9 (The Village of Hommlet)

The Moathouse – Part 3 (11th November 2013)

The Adventurers
Bow – Ranger
Hallan – Fighter
Johan - Cleric
Paulix – Thief
Vox – Magic User
Spugnoir – Magic User (NPC)

A Face in the Crowd - Thunorsdsay 11th Quattrober (Day 16) – late evening

The warm glow of the cosy common room fire of the Plough and Stars Inn reflected from the expectant faces of the awaiting crowd. Hushed in awe and anticipation of the tales of the five adventurers, the villagers crowded around the companions and listened to their every word. The tales waxed from the lyrical lips of Paulix and sent shivers down their spines and raised the hairs on the backs of their collective necks. Each and every person within the common room hung onto his every word and each had suppressed a cold shiver as they listened to the tales of wonder and intrigue; or perhaps it was the free ale that made them such a pliant audience?

During the course of the evening, and in between rounds of drinks bought by the intrepid explorers, each of the companions managed to speak to one or two of the patrons alone to gain as many rumours as possible from the pliable audience. They managed to find out that the two war horses in the stables belonged to Kobort (the well-built fighter they had met a few days previously whilst conducting their enquiries into hiring possible companions for their jaunt to the moat house) and another man-at-arms type whom they had not met yet. They were told by Gundigoot that he was quite a private person and he was only there awaiting a particular caravan to pass through so that he could sign on as a guard to earn some silver.

Elmo attempted to get hired again, but his drunkenness and demands for some decent armour were met with the usual negative response from the party. The usual patrons were also in the bar; the card shark, a table full of Sir Rufus’s men-at-arms from the tower up the road, and most of the farming community, many of whom the party had not seen before; the scent of free drink and a merry tale brought many a person out of their homes for the evening. Melubb the money changer also showed his face and toasted his new found customers with much merriment, and the glum trader Rannos also made an appearance alongside his three or four equally moody companions.

Towards the end of the evening, Vox spotted a person that seemed very familiar to him get up from a table on the other side of the room and furtively leave the inn. He nudged Paulix to take a look but all he caught was the tail end of the person’s cloak as he exited the bar and could give no more information as to who it could be. Johan sprang quickly from his seat but by the time he got outside, there was no sign of the person. He scratched his head and then returned to the bar for more drinks.

Back to the Moathouse – Freyasday 12th Quattrober (Day 17)

The party rose early in order to catch Sir Rufus and Lord Burne on their way to the temple of Sol Invictus for the early morning prayers. Paulix and Johan made their obeisance and requested whether it was possible to purchase some armour from them in order to be better protected on their next foray to the moat house. Sir Rufus suggested that they contacted his captain who would see them right. Meanwhile, Bow had some fun at the expense of the magic user Vox by suggesting that he might be able to make some money at the cost of Sol Invictus. Bow whispered that if he held out a bowl at the entrance to the temple he might be able to gain some valuable silver and keep it from the pockets of the priests at the same time. Unfortunately, this was met with looks of disdain from the congregation and the patrons passed him by with their noses held high and their purses firmly tucked within their jerkins.

Tired of being ignored and realising that he had been at the butt end of one of Bow’s pranks he headed into the village to purchase half-a-dozen throwing knives and a shoulder sling in which to hold them. He also headed to the teamsters who were able to supply him with a block and tackle for one of his hare-brained schemes.

After they had purchased some decent armour from the captain at the fortified tower, Bow and Paulix collected up the rest of the party and headed off to the moat house.

The warm, comforting rays of the sun had burnt off the early morning mist and the party made good time along the now well-travelled paths to their destination, but rain clouds gathered in the west. Other than the warbling of birds and the grunts of small woodland creatures they heard nothing untoward and encountered no trouble on the paths and track ways of their route there.

The moat house hove into view when they crested the final rise and it seemed as quiet as ever. They made their way nervously past the pool outside the gates but there was no sign of the giant frogs that they had encountered on their previous two visits.

The party cautiously made their way across the broken drawbridge, and again Johan slipped into the algae filled waters. Vox laughed at his companion’s repeated misfortune only to fall in again himself. Hallan sighed in frustration and pulled the damaged gateway door off its hinges to cover the part of the slippery bridge with the holes in it in the hope that no-one fell in again; the splashing noises were sure to alert anyone within of their approach.


Whilst the fighter and spell casters were preparing the new bridge, the ranger and thief stole forward and began to take a look around the courtyard. They could find no signs of any extra traffic leading towards the doors at the top of the steps but the door to the spider tower hung slightly open (they had closed it when they left) and it looked like something had gone on there.

Paulix clambered up the tower wall for a better look when suddenly the door was thrust open further. A small group of shambling corpses ambled out of the tower towards the terrified party. A quick glance showed that these were the bandits that they had slain the day before, but they had a new lease of un-life. The party closed up to form a battle line and a few missiles were hurled but no real damage was done to the zombies until Johan the cleric stepped forward and called upon the might of Balder. The power of the Bleeding God smote the undead, and they all crumpled to the floor; any demonic possession being completely wiped away from them.

A quick look at the corpses showed that they were covered in the grey ooze, so the party left them where they fell as they did not wish to waste time at this point when the set of stairs down from the rats’ pantry beckoned them onwards. A quick look inside the spider tower revealed that the bodies of the giant critters that they had left there the day before had gone.

Bandits at Eleven O’clock

The party advanced across the courtyard and hastily mounted the steps into the main castle vestibule. The first thing that struck them was that the door that they had chopped open the day before had been repaired in a make shift pattern. As they approached the door to investigate further they heard the sounds of movement beyond. Hallan quickly bunched his huge shoulder muscles and heaved aside the new woodwork only to notice the feet of a person being drawn up through the hole in the roof.

Paulix and Hallan took a quick look around the room before scrambling up the rock fall after the leavers. They got to the roof and spotted seven men carefully tip-toeing across the moat on sub-surface stepping stones. The bandits then sprinted for the fenlands. Paulix got a shot off with his bow but was unable to hit any of them and was rewarded only with a shaken fist for his troubles.

The pair of adventurers descended back down the rubble and investigated the room further. They could find no more treasure but the seven new bedrolls gave away that there were indeed seven bandits that had taken up residence again. Paulix and Bow, wanting to stop any further returns by the bandits, trapped the cascade of rocks that led to the roof. They hoped that any movement on the pile would cause it to avalanche and cut off any further chance of egress.

Whilst searching through the bedrolls, Paulix noticed that the stone slabs in the eastern wall at one point looked a tad different to the rest; a point he failed to spot the day before when he had searched the area. A quick feel around with his fingers and he noticed a tiny hole in which there was a release catch. He checked that there were no traps and pushed the lever. The slight outline of a very tight fitting door appeared. The thief pushed it slightly and it opened into a black void beyond. When his eyes had adjusted he realised that there was a steep stairway down, so he called for Hallan to supply him with a torch.

Lubash the Ogre – early afternoon

When the lit torch was thrust into his hand he was able to see that the stairwell led down to a small chamber – a priest hole, a place of refuge in times of trouble. His curiosity got the better of him so he clambered down the steps to see if there was anything at the bottom. There were the remnants of cloth and wood that may have made up a cot but nothing of value. The rest of the party had followed him down and were doing their best to get in his way whilst searching for anything of value. Suddenly, Johan called out – he had found another small catch in the wall.

Paulix jumped to the fore and placed his fingers into the hole. The catch popped quietly and the door swung away from him silently on its hinges. He noticed that there was light beyond door and he also heard muttering in a deep guttural tongue. The party prepared their weapons and Paulix flung the door open.

The huge being beyond the door looked up from his task and demanded who they were in a very thick Vannin accent. He stood up from the chest he was sitting upon, raised his weapon and advanced towards them menacingly. Johan shouted a Command for him to sleep, and the ogre tumbled to the rag strewn floor. The companions all advanced upon the ogre rapidly and began to hit him with all their might.

Unfortunately for them, this broke the spell and the ogre awoke but was obviously in some confusion. The party rained blows and magic upon the beast but he would not go down. However, with the flurry of blows aimed at him he found it difficult to retaliate, especially when he was Cursed by Johan. Eventually, after several minutes of gruelling combat, the ogre crumpled to the ground covered in cuts, gouges and contusions. The ogre only managed to get a couple of strikes off in the confusion but they hurt the two fighters sorely.

Not wanting to risk the ogre being brought back as a zombie, Paulix removed its head and hands. Meanwhile, the party rummaged through the rags strewn across the floors and pointed out the great chest he had been sitting upon to Paulix to see if he could open it. Paulix saw that the lock was very primitive and ascertained that there were no traps, so he popped open the lid to find a stash of coins and some very cheap and tacky trinkets; enough to keep an ogre happy but would barely fetch a decent price if they were traded.

Just as they were about to push open the door in the western wall, Paulix spotted a cloak in amongst the detritus that appeared to be made of a material none had ever seen before. He stashed it into his adventurer’s pack and joined the others at the door.

Prisoners of the Temple

The ranger pushed the door open and the party advanced into it, weapons drawn. There was nothing to be seen in this chamber other than the tapestries that hung in tatters on the walls, the piles of broken furniture and cloth strewn about the place, and the threadbare carpets upon the floor. The ceiling appeared to be on the point of collapse and the many small holes in it could have let in several of the giant sized rats from the castle above.

Bow decided to search a bit further and pushed open the door in the southern wall. He poked his head past the wooden portal and took a good look round. He saw a large chamber with some hefty supporting pillars dotted throughout, as well as many doors down the western wall and a set of steps that led upwards (he assumed to the rats’ den). Just as he was about to enter the chamber he spotted in the distance two shambling beings. He quickly hissed back that there were zombies beyond the door and Paulix stepped in to spike the door closed.

The party returned to the ogre’s chamber to investigate the locked and bolted door in the southern wall. They drew back the bolts and pulled the door open only to be greeted with cries of dismay and a scrambling noise that moved away from them further into the darkness.

Paulix and Bow advanced into the room with their torches held high and the three beings in the room cowered from the light. Johan moved in and began calming the prisoners, telling them that they were to be rescued. He then proceeded to heal the small boy who had been beaten by the ogre in preparation for him being eaten.

The two men said that they were merchants and that they would pay the party handsomely if they could return them to civilisation. The party agreed to this and passed them over to the care of Spugnoir.

They spent a few moments talking to the merchants and the small boy and found out that they had all been captured on merchant caravans which had subsequently been wiped out and from which all valuable goods and food stuffs had been stolen. Injured members of the merchant groups had been slain and those still in reasonable health had been brought to the moat house as food for the ogre or for an even worse fate. The bandits that had attacked the caravans all wore a similar garb; a black robe or cape with a yellow spiral on it. Paulix produced one of the wooden amulets and showed it to the merchants who agreed that the symbol matched the ones that they had seen borne upon the tunics of the bandits. Johan reached for the amulet in his pouch only to notice that it had gone missing! He knew he had it before he went to bed the previous night but as he hadn’t checked upon it throughout the day so far it could have gone missing at any time.

More Zombies

The adventurers decided that they should deliver the merchants and the boy back to Staneford, so they returned to the priest hole and clambered up the steps into the stronghold above ground. They left Spugnoir and the three prisoners in the large vestibule outside the bandits’ lair to shout in case of trouble and advanced to the stairs that led down from the rats’ pantry.

Johan led the way down the steps with his holy symbol held forth in one hand and his flail in the other, closely followed by Bow. Paulix and Hallan came next, and finally Vox brought up the rear.

As he led the way downward into the pillared crypt below, Johan felt something land upon his shoulder. It was a large blob of green slimy stuff. He thought nothing of it so just absently brushed it away with his left hand. Behind him, he heard Bow remark that some gunge had fallen onto him too. The pair of them noticed that despite their efforts to remove it, the green slime did not get removed but was spread even more so over their upper arms and shoulders. It was at this point that Johan noticed his armour and glove were beginning to get eaten away by the stuff, and that the slime was growing slightly as the armour was dissolved. Johan then tried to brush it away with his flail handle, but that too started to dissolve. Bow’s efforts with using one of the magical arrows had no better effect but at least the arrow did not begin dissolving.

Worried about the damage that the slime might do to their bodies, the two adventurers stripped off their armour before it got through to their skin. The two piles of armour began to rapidly dissolve when piled in a mound at the bottom of the steps.

To add to their woes, the two zombies that Bow had seen earlier from his vantage point behind the now spiked door had noticed their arrival. As the two walking cadavers advanced upon them, Johan prepared himself to turn the undead. Meanwhile, Bow called up to everyone else to watch out above their heads as they ventured down the steps. Paulix, the third in line, used his torch to burn away the green slime pools placed strategically above their heads, but it would take a few minutes to destroy it all.

Johan and Bow joined combat with the two zombies, thinking they would be relatively easy opponents, but just as melee ensued, two more zombies emerged from one of the row of doors along the western wall of the south leading part of the room. Johan decided that it would be best to try to turn them with the power of his holy symbol, but his god failed him on this occasion.

The two adventurers began to panic as four of the zombies were now locked in battle with them, but luckily Paulix had completed ridding the area above the steps of green slime and the rest of the party joined their comrades at the crowded area at the bottom of the steps.

The combat dragged on for a while as the numbers of zombies was added to periodically as more and more cell doors opened. The adventurers were slowly becoming ground down by the sheer weight of numbers but Johan was occasionally able to Turn a few zombies to ease the pressure. As the injuries mounted for the party, the breakthrough came as several zombies were felled simultaneously through their own accumulated injuries. Finally, Hallan and Bow laid low the last two reanimations and the party heaved a collective sigh of relief.

The companions wiped their weapons free from the gore and grey ooze that coated them and then checked their wounds for infection. Everyone seemed to be OK except for Johan; one of his wounds looked particularly inflamed and most definitely had some of the grey ooze smeared within it. Paulix and Vox got to work with burning the corpses so that they could not be raised again.

Rather than search through the rest of room and behind the closed doors and run the risk being attacked by even more adversaries the friends called it a day and left the confines of the underground tomb. They wearily climbed the steps, collected Spugnoir and the prisoners and headed into the sunlight of the moat house courtyard.

On their way across the courtyard, Bow made a slight detour and sprinkled burning oil onto the zombie corpses there to make sure they did not raise again either.

An Audience with Jaroo – early evening

The journey back through the fens and forest was again uneventful, which was lucky for Johan as his condition worsened. He swore that he would not visit the priests of Sol Invictus due to his animosity for them but wondered where else he may be cured. Vox vaguely recalled that the priests cast some sort of Cure Disease type spell upon him as well as douse him in Holy Water. He couldn’t be sure of the whole process as he was delirious at the time.

Whilst Bow, Vox and Spugnoir accompanied the ex-prisoners into the Plough and Stars inn, Johan decided to call upon the druid Jaroo to see if he could offer up any aid. Jaroo rubbed his chin and said that he was able to cure most diseases but he had never seen this particular infection before. Paulix asked if he could make some Holy Water as that seemed to be required too to fully cure anyone, but Jaroo said that that was way beyond his capabilities. He suggested that the priests at the church of Sol Invictus may be their only hope as they had cured Vox previously.

The party were not happy with the verdict, but realised that it was not Jaroo’s fault, so they thanked him for his advice and supported Johan on the path up to the temple. He was welcomed in and shown to a private room where he could be healed. The acting-Canon, Terjon, consulted the library tomes after speaking to Johan and said that the cure would cost 600 silver pieces. Paulix found this from the party funds and paid the cleric. Terjon said that Johan should be right as rain sometime the following morning.

Paulix and Hallan made their way back to the inn to join their companions for a well-earned rest. As Paulix crossed the common room, the young boy who they had rescued approached him and pressed a small iron ring with a few symbols inscribed upon it into his hand and whispered into his ear that this would identify him as a friend to his associates in Castleford.

The mood in the party was not as jovial as it had been the previous two days – the treasure haul was tiny compared to last time (although Spugnoir identified the cloak as magical), they all had taken a severe battering and their friend was to be beholden to the church that nobody particularly liked.

To make matters worse, a thunderstorm was brewing in the hills to the west. It looked like it would rain on the morrow.