105. Like Rats In A Trap

The party reach the armoury about 5 minutes later with no more encounters with ghouls, by which time Gildor’s Levitation spell has faded and he’s trudging through the snow like everyone else. They get within about 20m when two ghouls burst out of the armoury, the first carrying what looks like a small limb in its mouth – its hard to tell if its an arm or a leg – with the second ghoul trying to grab a piece for itself. The creatures hiss and snarl at each other, oblivious to the party.

The dwarf’s face blanches and barely a whisper escapes him, “no.” With that he casts spiritual weapon over the two ghouls and commences the work of ending these two as best he can.

As he takes in the horror of what transpired in the Armory while the group was out, Jenson steps out to the side to avoid friendly fire and fires upon the Ghouls. “Damn, to hell you all go!”

Gildor fires in support of the party at the two ghouls and any more that come out of the armoury.
Gildor comments, “Keep your eyes peeled folks. That’s why we lock up when we leave.”
Gildor scans the area and keeps his ears on alert.
“Let’s get inside and clean it out again and lock it once the last one is in and inventory our gear stoke the fire up a bit.”

The party raise what weapons are out and take aim but the ghouls are fast and hearing the oaths and curses of the party they react instantaneously, one running straight at the party, the other heading for the door of the armoury.

Kalam hits the one running at the party before it gets half way to them and Talo’s summoned axe stops it dead a second later. Jenson moves sideways and takes aim but before he can shoot, Gildor unleashes a burst of flechettes and Cynan a brilliant ball of energy and the other ghoul goes down before it reaches the door.
The party advance, weapons aimed at the open doorway and check out the dead ghouls. The limb one was carrying is clearly from one of the bodies in the cellar, it is a rather chunky looking dwarven arm.
Nothing emerges from the armoury and a quick look about reveals nothing but dead ghouls, slowly being shrouded by the falling snow.

Gildor comments softly, “OK! Everyone in and let’s clear the armory again. Last one in lock it tight. We’re in for the night to rest and heal up.”
Gildor helps get everyone and Saphiria too. He’ll start searching the house for more ghouls or any signs of damage to the gear and if they need to deal with the dead bodies below. Weapon ready for any ghouls inside. Gildor continues talking softly as he searches.
“It looks like these ghouls started coming out about Afternoon bell. Let’s get a fire going and figure out a plan for the next few days. No food around here for Saphiria, so we must get moving away from here to get her some food before too long. There was a boat moving on the river so there has to be cities up and down the river probably.”

Jenson looks about the area outside, “Yes, let’s get in quick and lock it up tight. I’ll take upstairs and see what they have done and if any are left.” If he is the last one in, Jenson will double check the locks locking the front door “Make sure to check all the locks as you go to the other doors and see the windows are sealed up good and tight still too.” he shivers “I am not a fan of these undead ghouls things.” Jenson heads up stairs Needler ready and slowly checks each room, verify the windows and doors are sealed and the gear is still good.

“Good call, Gildor,” Talo says brushing snow off his bare pate with a shake of the head. The dwarven cleric accompanies them with the house clearing and then proceeds to administer healing spells to everyone who is injured, starting with the most injured first.
“Those undead were trying to drag our fellows out of the city,” the war cleric mentions as he holds a hand on a vicious talon mark while he blesses Kradorn. “We need to make plans to try and figure out where they are holed up if we are to purge the city. Did anyone see which general direction they were headed once out of the city?”

The party enter the armoury in marching order, through the shop front and into the forge behind. The trap door in the floor just to the right as they enter the forge lays open and the faint sounds of snarling animals drift up from the living rooms below. The other trap door, in the small room to the south east is closed.

Jenson freezes at the sounds coming from the trap door, looking horrified, “They are, eww, no” He pauses and looks up with hope, “Our food supplies are what they are probably devouring”, he gulps,.

Cynan shakes his head and nods at the pile of rations stacked in the forge, along with all the machinery from the escape pod.

“We need to secure the other way up here and confine them to one way exit to make it easier to clear out.” Jenson looks about for things to lock the other trap door as he awaits the groups decision on how to proceed, holding his needler at the ready “Tell me the plan guys.”

Jenson finds an old sword to put through the lock on the other trapdoor.

Gildor says, “OK. I’ll lock the door and bar it the best I can to ensure it stays shut. While I’m doing that, I’d suggest the healthiest of you go down with Talo in the lead and let him Turn them. Dispatch them quickly. If it’s tight quarters, don’t have too many of you go down there at once. Someone should stay on the stairs going down to make sure they don’t paralyse everyone that’s down there. They can get more help as needed. Once I get the front door secured, I’ll come assist. My suggestion is Talo first followed by Cynan, Jenson and Kradorn on the stairs. If anyone gets paralysed, Kradorn goes down to help and Kalam takes his place to watch, then Gordon or me. Gordon’s magic probably won’t do much to undead, but he may be in better health than I. If there are no objections let’s get to it.”

Gildor secures the front door to the armoury. He checks the equipment for any disturbance and the doors to the back yard for a sign of damage and secures them if not already. He will listen to the others in case he’s needed below and adjusts as needed to help.

Before they go down into the living quarters, Talo casts his last prayers over the most badly wounded, Gildor and Gordon, both of whom feel much better after the dwarf’s blessing.
Cynan draws his sword and prepares his shield and signals to Talo to come over to the top of the stairs.

Jenson slides the sword in to lock the other trap door and gulps, “OK, um I will follow you all down and give you support” Needler in hand Jenson follows Cynan down.

Kradorn pulls out his bow but then puts it away again, still not having the strength to use it effectively. He changes to the blaster rifle and when Jenson comes over pushes the newcomer behind him.
“Try not to shoot anyone, especially me.” he says.

Gildor nods at Jenson. “You got the trap door and I’ll get the front door to the Armory, the doors to the back-yard area as well. Once you guys clear the lower level you should check on the upstairs area too, just in case. He tells Saphiria, “If you can eat that arm the ghouls, I’ll get it really quick before I seal up the front door.”

Saphiria turns up her snout at the thought of eating ghouls, their flesh is dead and rotting, the dwarf and gnome flesh, dry and withered.

Gildor turns to the front door and clicks the latch and bolts the two bolts, sealing the party in the armoury with all the ghouls.

Cynan heads down the steps followed by Talo, Kradorn and Jenson. Gildor remains upstairs with Gordon, checking the back doors are still secure. Kalam waits at the top of the stairs looking a little uncomfortable.
Cynan heads down the steps and stops almost immediately. Crouched at the bottom of the steps with its back to Cynan is a feasting ghoul. Cynan tries to creep closer but the ghoul hears him and turns with a snarl.
It leaps and catching Cynan by surprise knocks him down, one claw rakes across his armour but does no harm. Down and with the ghoul on top of him, Cynan is unable to bring Bronzefire to bear.
The howl of the pack fills the air and more ghouls appear at the bottom of the stairs. Talo raises his axe and invoking the bloody power of Clanggedin drives five or six of them away. But not all are effected and the rest rush at Cynan and the dwarf.
Cynan raises his shield and calls on Ringheru to drive the ghouls back to whatever hell their souls belong. Against the icy blue light of Ringheru, the remaining ghouls turn and run and the paladin gets back to his feet.
“Well, that could have gone better.” Kradorn quips. Cynan gives him an evil look.

Up above, Gildor and the others hear the howl of the ghouls and several seconds later the creatures begin clawing and tearing at the trap door Jenson sealed with the sword. The trapdoor seems secure enough but the ghouls sound desperate and trapped.

Cynan moves into the kitchen to find two ghouls trying to open the trapdoor leading up to the forge by the rear double doors. Kradorn opens fire with his blaster rifle and a stream of energy balls kills one ghoul and blows two holes in the wall before knocking down the other. It is badly wounded but still animated and Kradorn finishes it with another two flashes of light.
“As long as I keep my finger on the trigger it keeps shooting. That might come in handy.” says Kradorn with a smile.

Cynan tells the others to guard the exits while he goes in search of the ghouls they turned. He heads into the jewel work room whose secret door stands open and after a ghastly scream returns, flicking black ichor from his smouldering sword. He checks the storerooms, the first is empty but the second holds a ghoul which he dispatches after it has clawed and bitten him in its desperate frenzy.
He moves into the hall cautiously but finding it empty moves on through the door in the south and calls Kradorn.
Kradorn takes his blaster rifle with him and the shooting begins immediately, a rapid volley, faster that the players can count. After five seconds this stops, followed by single shots that echo through the underground rooms.
Cynan’s voice calls up through the trapdoor that Jenson sealed “Open up, I think our work here is done.”
Once the trapdoor is open Cynan and Kradorn emerge, Kradorn changing the power-cell on his blaster rifle and Cynan holstering his own blaster pistol. The paladin reaches down and grabs one of the six ghoul corpses by the neck and drags it towards the front door.
Kradorn looks at Gildor. “Got any more dirty jobs for us to do Gildor?”

Jenson sighs, “Wow, that was, err, nightmarish crazy. I want to double check everything to make sure nothing was damaged plus double check all the ways in are locked” Obviously still shaken by the Ghouls “Man, this is like living in a horror movie picture show, wait I think I am in it.”
Jenson shakes his head, “at some point we need to plan our next move, these ghouls figured out quickly where we were and if we get that many assaulting us again at once” Pauses “Eww, let me not think on that.”

Gildor replies to the group,”Gordon and I were wounded the most. Tactically you guys were best equipped to handle the ghouls while Gordon and I sealed the front doors and forge doors. There is no food for Saphiria here. We must plan to leave soon. We should plug our ears with wax to help sleep the night and guard in shifts of 2, 3 if one get singled out. Jenson and I can check the upstairs to make sure it’s clear and sealed. Can you guys gather the dead and put them outside if you think it’s safe? Talo can you bless this dwelling for the night? Jenson and I will call for help if needed.”

Cynan, Kradorn, Talo and Kalam drag the ghoul’s corpses out into the snow, now knee deep on Cynan, thirteen in all, including the two that came outside. Cynan gathers the remains of the Gnomes and dwarves and puts them in a sack and puts the sack in the secret room. Talo blesses the remains and gets the fire stoked again.

Gildor gets his Needler ready and coordinates with Jenson to go upstairs.

Gildor and Jenson search the upper floor but find no sign the ghouls have been up here. The windows are still barred.

After that Gildor gets his ring back from Saphiria and gets her a fire going if it’s not already. After that he goes down and check the secret room and chest that was trapped apparently. He just examines things and doesn’t touch anything yet.

There’s no sign that Gildor can find that the chest has changed in any way.

“I suggest we get something to put in our ears just in case it gets noisy outside tonight” comments Gildor. “Unless you’re on watch then don’t wear the stuffing. Everyone okay with taking a buddy for watch tonight? I can buddy up with Jenson and maybe keep slowly preparing him to train as a wizard someday, when we can get some real time to spend on it. I recommend the following shifts and partners but feel free to make changes or recommendations. First watch Sunset to Midnight, Gildor, Jenson and Talo, Midnight to Silent Bell, Cynan and Gordon, Silent to Sunrise Bell Kradorn and Kalam.”
“This gives us all enough sleep assuming we can sleep, and we aren’t woken up or attacked somewhere along the night. If no objections we can start our watch after Jenson and I do a quick check on the equipment and inventory. I’m going to grab three flechette grenades while we are at it before we sit down to quietly go over basic magic stuff again.”

Grinning, Jenson turns to Gildor, “That would be great, doing first watch together and possibly start to introduce me to magic”

With some better prospects awaiting him, Jenson hums as he goes about getting out some food packets for everyone to eat. “Gildor, you are thinking the same thing I am in wanting to make sure all the equipment from my spaceship is still operational and I to need to replenish my grenades, plus Needler ammo. Sighing, “I lost both my laser pistol and rifle so if we ever get a chance to retrace our steps I would love to look for them.”
As Jenson peeks outside with a half hearted laugh, “I’ll need a metal detector to locate those weapons with that amount of snow laying on the ground out there. Gildor, does your magic give you the ability to locate things or people besides those cool fire and electric spells I have seen you do?”

Jenson will do a more thorough job checking the equipment and gear out; battery power levels, inventory food packets, power cells, grenades, needler ammo, rope, and any other gear they have, sorting it and rearranging it for easy grab and go if needed.

Chuckling as he turns to anyone near by Jenson comments, “There all done, one of my old jobs where I worked at before all this, adventuring, was as a clerk taking inventory, preparing the gear for storage or travel, verify the systems and gear was operational and then fill out all the status reports and requisitions as needed.” Opening up a grenade case, “I’ll take 2 more flechettes and another incendiary grenade.” Closes and re-secure the case, opens the Needler ammo case, “Anyone else need Needler ammo?” He will distribute needler ammo as requested.

The inventory consists of –
4 lanterns filled with oil (20 hours oil)
kalam: Backpack: soap, towels (x2), a disease cure, a poison antidote, a radiation antidote ampoule, 2 Healing spray, mini-power cell 4.5lb
Talo: Healers kit – 1 uses, Holy water (3 bottles), 51pp, 173gp, 31sp, 5cp, 2 500 gp Garnets, 150pp Ogre torc 8lb
Gildor: 2 food packs, 2 mini-power cells, Kuo-toa dagger, 73gp, 190pp, 38pp, 14gp, Lantern (5 hours), winter gloves, Survival Dome, Sleep needler clip block  18lb
Kradorn: needler pistol , blaster pistol, 2 needler clip blocks, 7 ration packs, 1 Healing spray, 1 platinum torc 100pp, Steel Composite Longbow, 3 days rations, 8 dwarven books, two dozen mindflayer notebooks, +1 Goblin Longsword (Shadowslayer), Quiver, laser carbine, 1 power-cell 45.5lb
Gordon: Backpack 50′ silk rope, Pint of oil, flint, steel & tinder, 12 candles, chalk, fish hook, string, and 4 iron spikes, flask of Brandy. potions of healing, mini-power cell, gas grenade, 7 ration packs, 2 Healing spray 22.5lb
Cynan: 4 mini power-cell 2lb
Backpack: 8 needler pistols, 4 unknown pistols, 4 laser pistols, 2 laser rifles and one blaster pistol, 1 surface to space radio, 14 assorted books from mindflayer’s library, black tablets from Mindflayers library, 56lb
Sack: a materials converter, and a magical tablet, 5 days rations,
Backpack: 3 days rations, Whetstone, Flint and Steel, Wineskin 0.5 pints, 7 day-rations 46lb
Sack: 4 surface to space radios etc. Portable medical unit, 1 materials converter, food packs, portable AI with Power unit. 125lb
Sack: -various potion bottles and creams and two capsules marked with a death’s head.
-opal tablet.
-a black door card. (locker)
-3 platinum rings (value 200, 75000, and 5 gp respectively), 6 platinum bracelets (2 are worth 100 and 60 gp respectively), and 3 platinum necklaces (one set with 7 aquamarines worth 50 gp each, jewellery value 400 gp).
– grey card
7 ration packs, 3 Healing spray, 2 disease cure ampules, 100gp gem, 1 medical pack, illithid’s note book, the black sphere, and the shiny black tablet (3) 13.5lb
Sack master keys for Harnanca, 1 sack, Scroll case, 6 days rations, 2 x flint,steel & tinder, 10 candles, 12 x chalk, fish hook, string, longbow, 1 quiver, 16 sheath arrows, 3 steel arrows, whetstone, Grappling hook, 2 smoke signals, meat, 2 needler pistols, 1 unknown pistol, 1 survival dome, food packs 136lb
Sack: 1 portable AI with Power unit. 1 Box 54 sleep needler clips 2 inflatable dingies 96lb
Sack: 1 mobile manufacturing unit, three boxes each containing grenades: 17 gas, 15 incendiary, and 7 flechette, 1 inflatable dingy, 1 survival dome, 1 medical pack (3lb), power collection unit, -six crystal flasks containing various quantities of liquid.
-6 30cm square pictures of varied landscapes, only the quality is so good it is like looking through a window, the clouds and trees move in a breeze. They show mountains and lakes, towns and deserts, -tin object, shaped like a fat dart on a stand. 104.5lb
Sack: Studded leather armour, 2 Boxes, 60 power cells, 38 anti-personnel needler clips, a portable medical unit, a mobile manufacturing unit, 3 power cells 120.5lb

It takes a while to go through all the equipment, during which Jenson can answer any questions Gildor or the others have about the use of any stuff they brought from the Limited Gravitas.
During this time the ghouls make no reappearance, but the snow continues to fall, though the winds seem to have died down somewhat.

With everyone fed and reloaded by Evening Bell, Kradorn wonders if “Perhaps it might be an idea to try and get out of the city or get to the boat that’s coming upstream.” He wonders “How many more ghouls are lurking in the greater city and what else may be out there. Although… there is a palace on top of the hill, and who knows what’s just lying in the treasury waiting to be salvaged?”

Outside the wind has died completely and the snow lays 50cm deep. The blue sky has almost cleared overhead and Celebdae has risen high in the east. Gordon reckons it’ll be sunset in about three hours.

Gildor says, “Kradorn these things mainly work at night. There may be worse things than just these ghoul things. There was one commanding them in the fight and there may be more like it or even stronger ones.”

“Three, there were three undead warriors.” Corrects Kradorn. “Saphiria killed two, the other disappeared.”

Gildor continues “They were trying to drag us to the Palace I think, so something is commanding them probably. I think we need to burn the bodies so they can’t be reanimated. I suggest we all stay put for the night other than burning the bodies. I don’t know if we want to try and drag all the bodies from down towards the gate back to here or not. That seems too dangerous to me and probably too physically draining in this heavy snow.”

“I agree with Kradorn,” says Talo “we need to check out that palace – that would likely be the base of operations for the foul forces that have overcome the area. I don’t know of many undead who use boats so we may benefit from observing their movements and understand their intentions. But the fate of this town appears to be left at our feet.”

“Me thinks the fate of this town is already sealed Talo, but if there is a seat of evil here what is ruling the surrounding area and we have a chance to destroy it then all well and good. It might even go some ways to ridding the land completely in due course.” says Gordon.

“If we’re going up there, then I think we need to sneak up. Like you said Gildor, something seems to be controlling them. By my reckoning we must have killed upward of 100, maybe 150 ghouls and that was just this part of the city. The gods knows how many more there are in the city proper.” says Kradorn.

Jenson shivers at the idea of going to the palace “You would think there are real powerful undead controlling the ghouls” um “not saying we are not powerful and all but is it wise to assault the palace outright? Maybe soften then up killing more of these ghouls and scout the palace out from afar.”

“Jenson I’ll take a block of AP needle ammo and 3 Incendiary grenades please.” Gildor checks his needler for ammo count and power swapping as needed.

Handing Gildor and anyone else the requested ammo and grenades Jenson grins, “Thanks Gildor, I try to improve on the reasons you all added me to your group to make me a solid addition.”

“Great job on the inventory Jenson. I think I have a possible way out for us, but I don’t know that the gear can come along. There are two dingys in the inventory. Boat/Raft thingies, I think. I just don’t know if the gear can come too but I think it can. We just have to be careful with it so it doesn’t rip or puncture the bottoms. Guys first and foremost is Saphiria needs food. I have to get her to some food source soon. I think it’s cleared up enough to start using the charging machine to get our cells charged back up. I can send Saphiria hunting tomorrow in the other directions as across the river might be better and if she finds food perhaps, we can base camp here and try and clean out the undead in the area. I do recommend we get a plan together. Let’s see if any of the ghouls we killed near the gate are reanimated tomorrow day. If so then we need to make sure we decapitate or burn them from now on. Let’s try and find our gear tomorrow that we lost on that road during the fights. We can decide after tomorrow based on how the day goes what our next plan is.”

Shivering at the prospects “Gildor, do you really think the undead will be animated again after we killed them?” Jenson asks.

Gildor takes the supplies he asked for from Jenson saying, “Well, it’s a possibility they could be reanimated, I think. Burning and decapitation are a couple ways I think that prevents them from being reanimated though. I don’t know for sure, just concerned mainly. Kradorn, I’m not planning on going back out there except to decapitate those ghouls since that’ll be the fastest way to deal with them. We could get a 100 m from the armoury and be surrounded and in a bad situation since most of our magic is gone. Let’s hunker down for the night and rest and heal. We can talk tomorrow morning about our next move. Food for Saphiria is my first concern.”

Cynan interrupts “I’ve never seen ghouls get up again after they’ve been slain.”

Jenson hands Gildor the meat, “Yea, Saphiria’s needs are a huge concern especially if she cannot find fresh food within flying distance to and from here. I wonder if the undead things scavenged the area taking all the living within there reach?” “I wonder if the boat is actually some of those undead coming back from an undead hunting party”

Gildor grabs a bite to eat “Oh wait, I just remembered I have some meat in one of the bags.” Gildor asks Jenson for 1 of the meats and offers it to Saphiria. “I have two more left girl if you need more. Tomorrow though I want you to fly across the river and see if it’s better on that side. If not, check up and down the river then.”

Saphiria wolfs down the days ration but as there’s only a small portion of meat it’s gone in a few of seconds. The firedrake looks back at Gildor and cries for more.

“There are two dinghies so two for us and one for the equipment. We tie it off to one of ours if we decide we want to do that at some point. I got Saphiria some food possibly.”

Jenson pulls the dinghies out to measure them.

The dingies are contained in 40cm long by 20cm wide hexagonal shaped pods. The instructions say to pull the handle on the top and stand back. An illustration on the side of the pod shows the dingy as a 4m by 2m octagon capable of carrying eight people or 600kg (1300lb). They come with 4 paddles each.

“I think we can all fit in the two with the supplies in the other. Risky if we loose the supplies especially my battery cell recharger, which means no fuel cells to fire the lasers and no way to recharge my communications set.” Jenson scratches his head hmm, “I am going to see if I can get some type of charge into my communications set with what light we have left then pack it up for the night in case we have to run.”

Gildor will go behead the ghouls if the coast is clear as he checks before going outside. Listen checks and with the door cracked if it sounds clear he looks for movement before opening and going out needler ready until he does the beheadings.

Hefting his axe, Talo says, “If having their heads is a problem, I think we can provide a solution. Let’s stick together and see if there have been any changes to the undead we defeated last night and then we can see what we can see of the river-craft and its occupants.”

Gordon will assist in the removal of heads of the ghouls outside the door and the removal of ghoulish remains in the store.
“I wouldn’t mind visiting the shop across the road again, I was just finding some interesting stuff. We might even find summat of use to us.”

Looking to Talo, “So with little light left before night, we decapitate the ones outside, then hold up for he night here and try tomorrow to find the boat? and see who was in it or did you want to go back out tonight?” asks Jenson.

Jenson watches Gildor go outside before he goes upstairs, “Careful Gildor,” shivering at the thought “That is a nasty deed you have to do but a necessary one by the sounds of it”

If no one objects or decides to foray outside more then to cut the heads off the undead by the door. Jenson states “I am setting up my power cell re-charger to catch what little light I can before dark to get a touch of power back to my communication set, then I am packing it up for the night”

The war cleric responds, “Just a quick clean up on the doorstep tonight – not long enough to draw any attention and if there are any out there we can hole up for the rest of the evening. And then head out at first light we can proceed with a better look around. And that rest and watch rotation works good for me.”

Gildor nods in agreement with Gordon and Talo and says to everyone before going out to decapitate the ghouls, “The snow is knee high to Cynan my friends. We can do no more tonight except decapitate the ghouls outside which was all the ones in here….right? Plus the couple we killed outside. I’ll search them quickly in case there might be any clues on the bodies if the coast is clear. If there’s any sign of more ghouls coming, we bolt back inside and lock it up tight. Be careful to not get their blood on you as the plague may still be in them.”
Gildor decapitates one carefully and starts searching them and helps decapitate as he goes as needed.

Gildor, Talo and Jenson head out the front door. There are no ghouls about and no ghoulish cries in the air. The evening is chill and silent, the storm having died away and the cold blue of the sky is slowly turning to purple in the east as the sun sinks in the west.
Beheading the ghouls piled up outside the armoury isn’t a problem but the others that Kalam and Cynan shot down are a little harder to find in the deep snow.
They are all back inside by the time Jenson has unfurled the power collector on the upper floor. The collector connects to his translator, needler and grenades and Jenson allows it to begin recharging the device. It is at 75% battery strength and will take about 5 minutes to charge back up to full power. The weapons require an access code to recharge but they are all around 90% anyway.

Sunset Bell comes and goes, the sky darkens and Gildor and Jenson take watch. Jenson’s translator having recharged long ago.

Gildor says, “ I’d get something to plug your ears for the night if you’re sleeping. Even if you’re awake you could use just a little to muffle any screams a bit.”
Gildor gets some wax to make some soft plugs, nothing he can’t get back out though. He offers it to the others also.

Neither Kalam, Kradorn or Cynan take up the offer of the ear plugs and if Gildor goes to put them in his own ears, Kradorn stops him and throws them away.
“You’re supposed to be on watch you idiot! How can you hear anything if your ears are stuffed with wax, Gods Gildor, you’re going to get us all killed one of these days!”

“You dummy, I wasn’t putting it in all the way”, Gildor says. “We’re not going to wake you up if we see ghouls on the street. We already know the undead is here. I guess you’re right though about trying to train him a bit. Get some rest and we’ll wake you if it’s serious.”

“Jenson, you and I can chat with hand signal and I’ll show you really basic stuff.”

“No teaching Gildor, you’re on watch, you and Jenson should be watching the streets.” Says Cynan quietly to the half-elf.

“Sorry Jenson. It’s probably best to stay alert even though we’re locked up tight. Let’s find the best vantage points to watch the streets and we can roam the house from each vantage point every so often.”

A short time after sunset Cynan and Talo feel a chill run down their spine and both stand and reach for their weapons. Seconds later the sound of a distant horn echoes across the city.

Hearing the horn Gildor locates his friends and seeing Talo and Cynan standing weapons ready Gildor says,”That horn can’t be good and that’s why I wanted the ear plugs.”

“What?!” exclaims Kradorn, flabbergasted.
“Kradorn, shut up!” whispers Cynan.

Talo tries to stand still as he tends toward the cow-bell end of the stealth spectrum. His eyes dart back and forth in the dark watching and listening for any change around him.

The dwarf hears nothing in or immediately outside the armoury but he remembers the feeling just before the horn, like someone walking over his grave, a feeling of creepiness that made the hairs on the back of neck stand on end.

The horn sounds again, a single faint note.

“Alrighty, lads! Something is amiss with that sound. It ain’t right… I say we get in the cellar portion of the house, I slap a protection ward from evil on that door if we hear somethin’ come a-tappin’. We are not in a a position to fight these things on their terms. We just gotta wait ’til dawn.” Talo also casts detect evil to see if there were any evil spells cast at the group or their hovel.

The horn echoes out across the city for a third time then goes silent.

Clanggedin’s axe appears momentarily on the door before gradually fading after Talo casts his Protection Prayer and satisfied the door is secure against undead the dwarf prays again, scanning the party and the armoury for any lingering evil. He finds none.

Looking around Talo double checks the walls in the cellar to make sure they are of stone make and their ability to withstand digging from above. Touching the walls he sniffs his fingers and mumbles to himself, “Frozen ground should keep them up top pretty well.”

Talo starts in the kitchen and proceeds in a clockwise direction feeling the walls to make sure they’re solid. They don’t seem that cold and Gordon tells him that even a few feet down the earth is good at holding any warmth it has. Ten minutes later Talo is in the kitchen, checking the north wall – the last wall remaining – when he finds a three foot section much colder than the rest. His curiosity peaked he calls over Gildor who checks it for traps and finds a concealed door.

Prizing the door open reveals a narrow passage 3′ wide by 5′ high heading north down a gentle slope as far as the dwarf’s infravision can see.

Talo proceeds to perform the final rites for the lost souls who were consumed by the undead.

Looking from one group member to the next, Jenson takes out his ear plugs “This is not good, I’ll want to secure our gear better at least so it is not so inviting to go through and we should take our food supply, ammo and grenades down with us plus if I may, my recharging station. I have no idea what else they would throw at us that could be more discriminate in it’s destructive desires.”

Jenson goes and gets his recharging station and puts it in the cellar securing it in a corner where the group plans on holding up then goes back up to help get the food supplies, ammo and grenades and also secures them where the group plans on holding up. “There that will keep some of it protected and if we are caged in here a bit, we have a few days supply to fight back with”.

“Gildor, Talo? I did not remember the horn the first night night here. Is it they now know we are here and trying to feel us out or scare us?” asked Jenson.

“Well, it’s working.” Comments Kradorn.

Gildor is with Cynan and Talo or helping to secure the gear in the basement. Gildor tells the others. ”I think I remember something like this. I feel like I know something about that horn. I’m not sure but I think it raises the dead. I’m not sure though.”
Gildor moves to a window to see if there is any movement outside now.

There’s no movement outside but the night is darkening rapidly after the sunset.

Jenson is also helping Gildor, Cynan and Talo as they secure the gear. “Gildor, you think that horn awakens the dead, um what about those we placed in that” points to the area of the cellar they laid to rest the dead from the Armoury “room? Plus all the dead in the other buildings?” gulps “What about the dead we killed err made dead again, will they rise again if what you think is true?”

The dwarf’s response is a low whisper as he looks out the window as though he was waiting, “Not sure. We don’t have enough to go on now. We need to hunker down and see if anything comes of it…”

Gildor hearing the dwarf nods and says softly, “Let’s try and stay quiet and maybe we can go unnoticed for the night.”
“Saphiria we need to be quiet tonight my dear.”

Jenson stops making any noise and stands near the stairway up needles out as he listens and watches the stairs.

A third of a bell passes and the party settle down with Cynan, Kradorn, Kalam and Gordon getting what sleep they can. Jenson waits at the bottom of the stairs while Gildor waits in the basement. Talo clumps upstairs takes a look out the window as he has been doing on and off all watch and is somewhat surprised to see the snowy road outside full of ghouls, hundreds of them and at least two dozen undead warriors.

Gildor settles down to try and get some sleep unless alerted to anything of significance. He pets on Saphiria for a bit to settle her down and keep her calm as they both try and get some rest.
Gildor tells Saphiria telepathically, “It’s okay girl we’ll be safe in this armoury we just need to stay quiet.”

With a gruff growl, the war cleric says, “Argh!! For cryin’ out loud!” as though he is bothered with a persistent alley rat, pointing his axe at the host outside, Talo grasps his holy symbol and turns undead, “To the grave with you.”
It seems clear to the cleric that the undead are entirely focused on the armoury, not just wondering about the city at random. Talo’s axe shines and flashes red for a moment, something he has not seen before, before the voice of Clanggedin thunders around him. The hundreds of ghouls howl in fear and all withdraw a hundred metres or more, as do the wights. As they retreat Talo sees a cloaked and hooded figure in their midst step back too, obviously effected by the dwarf’s turning. It looks and moves in a very human way, though it is pale and slim.

Talo sniffs the air and begrudgingly returns back down stairs.

Back in in the basement the party jump to their feet in response to the howl of the undead outside.

Looking to the group Talo says, “We have a host of ’em waiting at the door. We can wait them out ’til morning. We need to look into that hidden chamber as well.”

Sighing, Jenson turns to Talo “It seems I have not much help in fighting these unholy of creatures so, sure, I’ll help check out the hidden chamber.” Jenson will go downstairs and check the hidden chamber out more carefully. Signs of being use, tracks, feels for a draft, will slowly check the floor and walls – traps and such and see where it leads.

Before Jenson has a chance to leave, Talo grabs him by the elbow, “Eh!…” looking over his shoulder at the horde outside Talo continues, “I think we do this as a group. The smiths were eager to trap their valuables in plain sight. There is a good chance there may be other unknown dangers down there. I think closing and bracing the portal for now is good enough until we have a rest under our belts and *all of us are ready to go down that chamber. Let your war-mates help, lad.” With that the ugly dwarf smiles? Grimaces? His tone of voice seems comforting enough in spite of his inscrutable expression.

Jenson smiles at Talo, “Sure, I’ll wait and we can do it as a group and um err we did secure that passage way, right?”

Jenson then quietly goes back to his support position by the stairs.

Gildor signals for everyone to quiet down and whispers, “Let’s everyone get down here. If Saphiria is not with Gildor he mentally calls her to come down. Gildor continues in a whisper, “Let’s secure the door coming down. Is all the equipment down here? If not let’s start getting it all down here as quietly as we can. Talo they probably didn’t even know we where in here until you cast that spell. Now they probably know for sure once your spell wears off. We can only hope the doors hold. Hopefully, it all works out. Let’s get things done and rest up we’re going to need it. We can search the secret passage out in the morning after we all rest and Kalam and I can check it for traps as we go.”
Gildor will get any left over equipment brought down if it can fit otherwise he helps secure the hatches before he rests with his needler handy.

“Hang on” says Kradorn, “weren’t you supposed to be on watch?” he asks Gildor.
“It’s still first watch Gildor, why weren’t you with Jenson and Talo?” asks Cynan too.

Gordon has been pretty quiet but feels compelled to voice his concerns and ideas. “So we have the undead horde of hordes sat on the door step waiting to rip us apart and you all think we should just sit tight until they get bored and go home! Bollocks t’that I say. As soon as Talo’s spell runs out they are going to rip this place apart and the doors won’t hold them for more than a minute or two!”

“Let’s get all the equipment down here as you say and then lay some traps upstairs. Jenson these greenhades we have from your world, can we use them to set traps? Kalam, Gildor can your knowledge of traps help here? Let’s make the upstairs of this place a death, or a re-death, trap. Then we get down to the cellar, seal the doors with Talo’s spells and see where this ‘ere tunnel leads.”

Jenson isn’t sure how the grenades are used apart from the way they’ve used them so far but Cynan spots some instructions on the inside of the lid of the grenade box and Jenson translates these to the rest of the party. It seems the grenades have three primary settings: (selected with a dial on the base), a timer; once the cap is removed from the top of the grenade and the stud beneath pressed three times, the grenade can be set to explode five (this is the default setting), ten or thirty seconds later (the timer controls are again set into the base of the grenade), the second setting is for using the grenade in a trap. The trigger stud can be unwound from the grenade, revealing a 2 metre long mono-filament, if this wire is pulled the grenade explodes. The last setting is for remote detonation via an electronic signal. This requires some sort of signal transmitter and the presence of a red or higher security card.

If all that goes to plan then the gnome gets Kalam or Gildor to check the start of passageway for traps, the gnome is then happy to take the lead and explore a little way further shortsword in hand as there won’t be space to swing his axe.

Kalam nods at Gordon’s request and with Cynan’s help he prises open hatch to the secret passage and heads down it while Cynan holds the lantern. The narrow passage heads south south east and extends under the yard behind the armoury as far as the lantern light reaches. Kalam has proceeded perhaps 5m when there is a twang and Kalam gives a grunt and a curse.

He staggers back into the kitchen holding a small dart in his fingers before collapsing onto the floor. A quick check reveals the thief is struggling for breath and his lips are starting to turn blue.

Gildor says, “The reason I came down was because we were all coming down to avoid attracting the attention of the ghouls and anything else.”

“So your idea of being ‘on watch’ is laying asleep down here, with wax in your ears?” asks Kradorn.

Gildor hears Kalam having problems, “I thought we were waiting until we all rested before exploring the secret passage? Oh crap. Jenson. Anything in the bags that can help Kalam? Talo… Kalam is down. Anyone not helping Kalam help me get the rest of the gear downstairs. Once we are done up here, I can set the traps. I’m taking the chest from the secret room unless It’s too much to carry. Any questions? How is Kalam? Cynan for more time do you have some sway over these undead beasties? If so wait as long as you think is safe to give us more time.”

“I can try to turn any that come in here but from what Talo says there are hundreds of ghouls and unless Ringheru comes to my aid personally I can’t see me turning them all.” says Cynan.

Looking at the situation Jenson then turns to Gildor, “I’ll check the med-kit to see about a poison antidote ASAP” Jenson will go through the med-kits and see if he finds a poison antidote.

Jenson hunts frantically amid the bags and packs of stuff taken from the Limited Gravitas, sure he remembers having seen a poison antidote ampoule in there somewhere. It only takes about 30 seconds to find it and apply it to Kalam’s neck – where he thinks it should be applied – but the poison takes its toll and Kalam still looks wounded after the ampoule has taken effect.

The party help bring all the stuff down to the cellar and it doesn’t take long but as Kradorn is carrying one of the material converters down the steps, he makes it plain that if the ghouls break in and the party have to make a run for it, he’s not carrying anything that slows him down beyond grenades and extra power-cells.

“Talo your devices may help Kalam too perhaps. I am concerned we need to rest but his life is in jeopardy”, pleads Gildor.

“Hey guys. I’m setting two flechette changes one on the front door and one by the forge door. I’m not going to burn this place down. I was going too but I’m not sure it’s wise when we don’t know anything about that tunnel”, adds Gildor. “Maybe try a med-kit on Kalam.” “I’ll be right back Saphiria.” Gildor sets the front door trap first then the forge double doors and heads below as fast as safely possible.

Gildor sets the traps on the front door and forge double doors without any problem and is convinced the things will work as expected.
He then moves downstairs and takes the chest from the secret room. The chest isn’t that heavy (20lb) but he can feel and hear that it must be half filled with coins of some sort.

Jenson sets back on his heels after applying the poison antidote to Kalam and sighs, “Ah, not sure guys but I think I may have stopped him from dying” pauses and looks up at those around him “but he is in bad shape right now and I need someone a bit more trained in healing to check him out pronto so I know if I need to apply another poison antidote dose or if he just needs time now to recover”.

Jenson stands up and looks at Gildor, “Setting those grenades is well and good, but flechette grenades will rip this place up and maybe ruin whatever chance we have at resealing the place up if we do beat them back.”

Jenson kneels back down and looks over Kalam “Can we carefully move him to a secure spot before all Hell breaks loose?”

“I’m fine.” counters Kalam “Whatever harm the poison was doing has been stopped by that medicine you gave me.”
He stands and looks back at the secret passage. “Someone still needs to go down there and find out where it goes, if not one of you, then I must go!”

“Well folks, fireball grenades will burn this to the ground and sleep grenades won’t do a thing. I didn’t want to burn the place down on top of us or fill our lungs with smoke and I’m afraid the undead are coming in here no matter what”, comments Gildor. “I won’t put any traps out but I’m open to suggestions. We best be going and seal things behind us fast. Talo can you look over Kalam?”

Gildor makes sure the equipment has been moved, then gets everyone and the gear into the tunnel him first checking for traps as he goes. “Some one close it up behind us.”

“Come here, lad.” Talo holds the wound between his two hands to inspect the injury.

The small dart has left a bruised patch on Kalam’s neck where it struck him but little else.

“Lads, my only spell is designed to only slow its effects. I cannot cure this, but I will tend to the wound as best I can.” Talo takes out a first aid kit and proceeds to try and clean and dress the injury.

“I am ill-prepared to handle large groups of undead – but, by Clanggedin’s bloody beard, I am willing to fight them with a butter knife and quill. Let’s see what we can do to bar their way – we all need a rest. Perhaps we can cave the passage behind us. I think my burrow-mates back there would have provisioned for something in dire situations like this.”

Taking one quick look at Kalam, Jenson grins “Great to hear you are better now and I hope that was the only trap down there.”

Jenson does a quick survey “Gildor, OK, we will haul all the gear into the tunnel as you guys keep checking it out. Is there a way to lock the door?”

Gildor checks the concealed door but finds no way to lock it.

“Hang on a bit, Kalam.” The ugly dwarf pats his shoulder, “Dwarves are the experts under here. Kradorn, would one of ya close the door behind you and secure it if you can?” Talo motions for Gildor to join him and proceeds down the tunnel providing room for Gildor to check for traps at his side. All the while he continuously looks for hidden stone-work traps or other hidden devices and doors.

Gildor says,” Slow and steady my friend. Everyone else secure the basement access points.”

The half-elf and the dwarf move carefully down the narrow passage and Gildor quickly finds the trigger for the dart mechanism and disarms it. The passage heads south east for as far as Talo and Gildor can see and they move onward going deeper and within a minute or Talo thinks the two are far beyond the grounds of the armoury.

Kradorn searches through the equipment and retrieves his pack and takes several more grenades and power-cells. He turns and whispers to the party “I’d grab your packs, just in case we have to do a runner.” He picks up Talo’s pack too and throws it over his shoulder.
“I’d take more but I’m still feeling a bit weak after that undead warrior grabbed me.”

Gildor and Talo have travelled perhaps 150m when the tunnel suddenly narrows to a 90cm diameter pipe, 3m long, with iron bars at the far end. Beyond the bars is a wider tunnel or pipe 3m across with a similar barred pipe in the middle of the wall opposite.

The party grab what they want and move further into the narrow tunnel when there is a thump from overhead and a bang from the other side of the secret door. Dirt trickles down from the rafters overhead.