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.
Gildor checks for traps and if there’s a locks on the gates.
“Give me some room Talo, scoot back a ways.”
Gildor finds a hidden trigger at the start of the tunnel which when depressed causes something at the far end to give a metallic click.
Gildor says, “Sounds like I triggered something further up. Let me check out the bars more thoroughly and see if we can move them out of the way and keep going. 90 cm isn’t too wide though.”
Gildor examines the bars more closely, to try and figure out how to get past them.
Gildor crawls along the pipe and finds the four iron bars fixed inside an iron hoop which simply swings out into the tunnel beyond. The trigger at the other end seems to release a catch on the hoop.
The wider tunnel beyond looks like a sewer tunnel and heads east or west.
While Gildor has been away, the party have been able to hear movement above them in the forge. Lots of running feet by the sound of it.
Gildor goes back to the group saying, “The tunnel connects to the sewer that’s heading east and west folks. This tunnel narrows to 90 cm at the end where it meets the East and West tunnel that’s a little larger. Thoughts? It seems like we don’t really have a choice. We just need to get somewhere safe to rest.”
“Okay.” Says Kradorn and heads off down the tunnel. “Come on, grab your stuff and let’s go.” he whispers.
Cynan looks to Gildor “Is there any of this ‘stuff’” he says nodding at the equipment brought down from the Limited Gravitas “that you want me to carry? I’ll take what I’m able but not so much it’ll slow me down if we need to run.”
“I can carry something too.” volunteers Kalam.
Above them the party hear the trap door from the forge to the kitchen being opened and the meeping, snarling voices of the ghouls moving about in the room behind the secret door.
Jenson starts to quietly sort out the stuff and hands off to each member certain sacks/packs etc. quietly stating what each is in importance and makes sure the person agrees to take it or hand off to anther to take depending on bulkiness.
He whispers, “Here Kalam take this sack it has 2 Boxes with 50 power cells and 37 anti-personnel needler clips, and a mobile manufacturing unit. Maybe the armour and a mobile manufacturing unit can be left once we are away from here”
Kalam dumps the Portable Medical Unit as Talo is taking one and the armour, as no one really needs it. He’s not taking any more as it will slow him down and he sets off after Kradorn before stopping and asking. “Why am I taking the Mobile Manufacturing unit if we’re going to dump it anyway?”
Jenson whispers “Talo take this it has the Portable medical unit which is useful and 4 surface to space radios, a Portable medical unit, a materials converter, food packs, a portable AI with a Power unit. Maybe when you have a need further away you could leave materials converter, the portable AI with Power unit and 4 surface to space radios”
Talo agrees to take the Portable Medical Unit but he can’t carry anything else or he’ll be reduced to a crawl.
Cynan watches Talo stagger off down the tunnel and says he’ll take as much food as he can carry and a boat in a box, in case they need it. He will not take anything that Jenson says they can dump as it’s obviously not that important and will just slow them down.
Jenson looks down at the piles of stuff in the narrow tunnel, there is just himself, Gordon and Gildor left. Gordon says he’ll take what he needs.
“I’ll take a sack with a materials converter, and a magical tablet (3D hologram), 5 days rations, 8 dwarven books, two dozen mindflayer notebooks, plus my power collection unit and the mobile manufacturing unit and I’ll leave if needed the magical tablet.” Jenson whispers to no one in particular as he loads the gear on his back.
He dumps the tablet but still can’t move with all the stuff he’s carrying.
Jenson whispers to Gildor or whomever is last with him, “Help me set these 2 flechette grenades as a trap I hope will bring the roof down on them and close up this tunnel”
Gildor says, “Let me check the other gate at the end. Once I open the smaller gate, reset the trap at the beginning Kalam.”
but Kalam and everyone but Gordon and Jenson has long gone down the tunnel.
Gildor helps Jenson set a trap in the tunnel but when it goes off it may well bury the equipment still piled up there.
Just as Gildor and Jenson are about to set off down the tunnel Gildor hears something sniffing and scratching at the secret door.
Jenson looks to the two who are left with him, “I am not going anywhere fast so I am dumping stuff and crawling to the tunnels end with what I am taking is important so just drag me along if need be or help and take between us the mobile manufacturing unit (20lb), materials converter (30) and anything else I mentioned to take as I’ll still take the power collection unit (15lb). If we can get as much stuff to the end of the tunnel and out of harms way when the grenades go off we could still come back for it.”
Jenson heads off down the narrow 3′ wide tunnel, moving slowly but steadily away from the secret door taking the mobile manufacturing unit and the materials converter with him.
Gordon grabs his backpack and one of the sacks, discarding a couple of things he goes through the pile and stuffs various bits and pieces in it. Throwing it over his shoulder he grabs two more of the sacks and drags them along after him, heading after Jenson.
“You coming Gildor?”
Gildor whispers,”Let’s move as fast as we can to safety. I’ll get what I can carry.”
Gildor grabs what he can carry but no more that what would restrict him to half his normal movement.
He grabs two sacks and empties out any duplicate items before setting off.
Gildor gets halfway down the tunnel and is just passing the sacks Gordon has dumped there when there is a bang from far behind him and moments later he feels a gust of air blow past him.
He’s almost at the pipe when he hears the first distant cry of the ghouls.
Talo is squirming through the pipe into the sewers when Gildor arrives at the end of the tunnel. There seems to be a bit of a log jam as Cynan, Jenson and Gordon are all waiting their turn to pass through the pipe.
Back down the tunnel Gildor can see the first of the ghouls about 50m away. They are loping along on all fours snarling and howling as they come.
Gildor cast Web to start as far down the tunnel as he can and fills it up with web.
Gildor’s spell fills the tunnel with thick, sticky webs, trapping a couple of the ghouls in its strands in the process. The creatures struggle and thrash but they are trapped and unable to escape.
Gildor says, “I can take care of these guys. Just get everyone through and find a way to a secure place. It looks like there might be another secret tunnel straight across. Best let me look at it though in case it’s trapped. Otherwise we just follow the sewer tunnels.”
It doesn’t take long for Talo, Jenson, Gordon and Gildor to pass through the pipe and into the sewer tunnel. Gildor looks at the bars in the opposite side of the tunnel but can’t find any sign of a trigger or such like. Looking beyond behind the bars he can see a pipe just like the one opposite and it seems to open into a larger space after about 3m.
“Can we dump some of this stuff yet?” asks Kalam raising his lantern and pointing at the mobile manufacturing unit he is carrying.
“Okay, if there’s no way through there,” says Cynan nodding to the barred pipe, “Which way now, east or west? it’s only a matter of time before they realise we’re in the sewers.”
As Jenson waits for the verdict he turns to Kalam “Kalam, as long as we have one Portable Medical unit” – Points to Talo’s sack, “One Mobile Manufacturing Unit” points to the one he is carrying (Unless Kalam has it) “One Materials Converter” points to the one he has “and the most important, the power collection unit ” pointing to the one he has “We can safely put the other units to the side, NOT in the middle of the sewer but in a dryer space” Looks to what everyone took, “Power cells, grenades, needle ammo and any other guns plus the food are important.”
Smiles, “The power collection unit keeps the power cells charged, the material converter and the manufacturing unit will help make such stuff as grenades and fix some of the guns and make ammo. The medical unit can help save lives as you saw with the poison antidote”
Unable to find a lock Gildor says, “Let me try to pull the bars out/open. If I can’t get it you guys help me and see if we can all get it open. Let’s at least get the stuff to a secure location before dumping it.”
“I am unfortunately not the strongest of clergy in Clanggedin’s phalanx but what I have I will give.” Talo leans into his portion of the bar.
Together Gildor and Talo can’t budge the bars.
Talo steps aside and welcomes the stronger companion a bite at the apple.
Cynan takes a turn with Gildor with no better results but it finally comes out with a clang when Gordon and Gildor try it together. Kradorn says he would have helped but he is still weak from the encounter with the wights.
“Okay, everyone into this tunnel”, comments Gildor. “I’ll bring up the rear. I’ll try and put this grate back in place too. I hope it goes somewhere safe.”
Jenson helps put all the extra gear up into the tunnel too and moves up to give room for Gildor to reattach the bars. “I hope that holds them off. We should check for traps in this tunnel too and see where it goes?”
Gildor secures the grate if possible and move to the front as the tunnel widens and says, “Let me check for traps and secret doors as we go. Everyone else look too. You guys in the back watch our rear.” Gildor checks as he goes for traps, secret or concealed doors and listens as best he can.
Gildor does his best to refit the bars on the pipe and backs into the wider tunnel where the rest of the party are waiting. Gildor squeezes past everyone until he arrives next to Gordon.
“Looks like the back of another secret door.” comments the gnome.
Gildor checks the door for traps and finding none, and having a quick listen first, pushes the 1m wide door open. Behind it is a small room, probably a cellar, 4m wide by 6m long with four square pillars supporting a timber ceiling and with a steep wooden staircase in the left far corner. There seems to be a trap door at the top of the staircase leading into the room above. The cellar’s walls are hug with skewers, cleavers and hooks and there is a foot powered grindstone in the middle of the room.
Squeezing into the cellar room Jenson sighs, “I may not be of this world and not know all about your creatures and beasts but I can guess that we are only going to be temporarily safe here too. Once the webbing, which was awesome I might add,” grinning “I can’t wait to learn that trick, wears out or they rip through it, they will be on our trail again as I am assuming they are like blood or life hounds and will follow our scent. Which conveniently is right across the way.”
As Jenson pulls all of the extra gear into the cellar everyone has, he turns to Gildor then looks to the group, “Is there any more permanent magics you could cast in this tunnel to keep them out but still let us pass if we needed to? I can only use more grenades to trap the tunnel and possibly bring down the tunnel walls, not a best choice though.”
Once he is done collecting off to the side and inventorying in an organized pile all of the extra gear, Jenson awaits the groups move to go upstairs, “Anyone need any more ammo, food or grenades?”
Jenson makes sure he has 3 full needler clips plus the one in his needler.
Gildor says to the group, “Jenson I have some options, but none are permanent, and all are dangerous.“
“Option 1. I Cast Fireball from our side of the tunnel to the other sides tunnel as far in as I can. We take a medium shield and place it in the tunnel at the 90cm closest to us and have Gordon cast enlarge on it wedging it into the tunnel to block the backwash of the Fireball. Gordon would have to try and time it so that the enlarge spell goes really soon after the Fireball spell. The sewer tunnel is larger so it will take up most of the fireball spells volume but it will want to come directly across first. We could place the shield on the outside of our tunnel using the shape of the shield to deflect the flames quicker to the sewer tunnels if it can survive the fireball I would need enough room to cast through the gates and when Gordon’s enlarge spell goes off it would cover the gaps so no flames would come into our side of the tunnel. Gordon and I would run back to the cellar and up the trap door as fast as we could.“
“Option 2. We place an incendiary grenade and a flechette grenade to go off in a small time interval to collapse the tunnel just near the sewer on the other side so it collapses that end of the tunnel and the sewer tunnel. We just need enough time to let us get back into our side of the tunnel get into the cellar and close it up and get up the trap door. This is probably the less dangerous option and you and I can probably complete it while the others clear the area above the cellar. We can either verify it sealed the sewer enough that they won’t follow us or just pray it does.”
“If anyone has a better suggestion speak up. I’ll check for traps and go up, then we need to have a plan ready.”
Gildor checks for traps on the trap-door at the top of the steps but finds nothing. He carefully lifts the door 10cm and peers through the gap. Around him he sees a large stone-built warehouse with the trap-door in the left corner. The building is approximately 20m by 40m with three large pillars running down the centre and large double doors at the far end, which are partially open. Sturdy beams criss-cross the left side of the warehouse and sturdy hooks hang from these beams every few metres. The right hand side of the warehouse has eight heavy oak tables spaced along its length.
Four large windows line each side of the warehouse. A couple of the windows are broken and snow has blown in leaving shallow drifts beneath. Looking right Gildor can see a scattering of bones and skulls in the corner, though there is no sign of what left the bones.
Talo raises his hand awkwardly, catching Gildor’s eye as best he can, if at all, and at the first pause he says, “No need to limit ourselves here..” His terrible smile cracks his face, “Here is a fine choke point and killin’ these abominations sounds right. We toss some grenades at ’em as they come; Gordon and I harvest a batch of knee-caps; tall folks whack ’em in the bitey ends. You end up not likin’ anything, sling yer fiery doom down the hall…” Talo composes briefly, “Course, I know Clanggedin’s way ain’t errbody’s way but the ones we bury here are ones we don’t have to fight through to get to the death knight above.”
“Town needs some savin’ and I figger we got some extra savin’ to go around.”
“Whoa, whoa! Talo, hang on a moment. Just how many ghouls and wights did you see outside the Armoury earlier?” asks Kradorn.
“Umm…” Talo’s face screws up with the effort of the guess, “25? 50? But with the narrow quarters we may be able to face a few at a time.” Looking around the sewer the war cleric squints, “Right? It may be beneficial to keep everything to long distance; grenades, arrows, Jenson’s light cross-bows, then fiery doom, followed by a cave in….” Talo looks at the walls carefully.
Talo isn’t sure about tunnel construction, he seems to be more of a ‘hit ’em, then bless the bodies’ kind of dwarf.
“50 doesn’t seem too many.” says Kradorn “If we can get them down that tunnel then Gildor’s fireball might kill the lot of them.”
“Good point Kradorn. Let’s put some distance between us and them. Perhaps we can be sure to bury the grenades in pockets of the tunnel.”
Sighing, Jenson shrugs, “So it is a stand we will make here. OK, I’ll take a few flechette grenades and incendiary grenades and set up a trip wire trap at the tunnel entrance – Incendiary first at the gate then flechette once the get in and then I toss a grenade down the tunnel after the second one goes off and keep tossing grenades till I run out or they get too close? Actually can we set up a few outside in the main sewer tunnel before they get through the webbing and thin them out?”
Gildor says,”Okay Talo. Let’s try it your way. We need rest though. We need a plan to pull anyone paralysed back out of harms way. I’ll need access during the fight to lob grenades and or cast a fireball spell. If it comes to a spell then we need to duck back into the cellar immediately and seal it against the blast. Here’s my suggestion Talo and Gordon up front. Jenson, Cynan and me on the second row. Kradorn and Kalam on the third row supporting best they can. Jenson any other thoughts or anyone else? If not let’s prepare. Let’s set up so we are at least the distance of the blast radius of a flechette or incendiary grenade from the 90cm grate to the sewer back. I want my grenades going off at the sewer end point of our tunnel to collapse it there as a last resort or maybe ignite the sewer fumes. If they ignite we need to bail to the cellar fast. Ready?”
Gildor sniffs the air wondering if it would be flammable if so he tries to evaluate how strong of a smell it is. How dangerous it would be using fire down here?
“Saphiria stay to the back my dear watch our backs.”
Gildor says,”Okay Jenson, sounds good but let me try and evaluate the sewer smells down here to see how flammable it might be first before you set those traps. You and I can go down and set the traps. If incendiary grenades seem okay based on sewer smells I’ll set one on the other tunnel exit then come back to our side put the grate in place and you set a incendiary at our sides grate. We move back to were it open up to 10’ and set a trip trap flechette grenade inside the 90cm section. After that we lob grenades or use needler AP rounds to gut the rest. Everyone okay with that?”
Gildor can’t smell anything unpleasant down in the sewers but then no one has lived here for 300 years. The water trickling down the main sewer pipe looks as clean as anything he’s seen flowing down a mountain stream.
Jenson looks to the group then Talo. “Um, I believe someone said there was like an army of them undead things marching on the road toward the keep and a large contingent,” gulp “more than 50 that attacked us.” He turns to Gildor “Gildor, no matter how many, lets set some grenades on the opposite tunnel say, flechettes and then incendiaries on our tunnel so if by gods they circle us we do not destroy the tunnel and have a possible way out especially if you fireball does not drop the ceiling in on us too but clears the sewers for us to run in.”
Jenson will get a flechette and Incendiary grenade and move out with Gildor “I like the hit em from a distance to then pound them as they get close. Grenades first since we have a bunch, then spells, then hand to hand, guns last.”
Gildor adds,”Okay. I’ll set a flechette grenade inside the opposite tunnel in the 90cm section then one on the grate at the opposite tunnels exit. Once I get back inside or tunnel and reposition the grate back in place you set up the incendiary ones. We’ll get back in formation and pray we live the night.”
Gildor lowers the trap door quietly then relays to the group before he heads off with Jenson what he saw up above the cellar quietly, “I don’t think going up will be an option. It’s open to the outside so we need to secure this trap door if possible, from our side. While Jenson and I go set these traps Talo and the rest of you perhaps you can rig it so it won’t open from above quietly. We don’t want any Ghouls hearing us if at all possible, from above. Okay let’s get going Jenson.”
“Did you see any ghouls up there?” Asks Kradorn.
Gildor heads out with Jenson. While moving out he checks his Needler and Needler ammo to make sure both are close and ready. If his ammo is low he puts a full one in and if the needler needs power he puts a good cell in. Next he gets his flechette grenades ready and scans ahead to make sure his web is still intact for the moment before popping the grate free.
Gildor whispers to Jenson, “I think it’s okay to use the incendiary grenades. At least I think so… Let’s hope so too…”
Gildor and Jenson move back into the sewers and attach a couple of flechette grenades to the far set of bars and two incendiary grenades to the bars leading into the cellar. They return to the party waiting in the cellar and begin preparing for the fight to come.
“My counting was off – I saw *hundreds* of ghouls up there with multiple wights in attendance…” says Talo somewhat abashed.
“Okay,”says Gildor. “we definitely don’t want to go up top then. Our scent may stay down here and not be noticed. We don’t stand a chance up top in the cold. We need rest and to survive the night.”
Kradorn sighs then turns to Gildor. “Wait a minute Gildor, do you want us to stay here and fight all the undead in the city as they come out of that hole… or do you want to try to escape the city. Because if we can get to the river, Cynan there has a boat, at least I’m hoping that’s a boat in that little box, and maybe we can get away. I know you want to rest but we’re being hunted by undead… maybe a lot of undead, and unless we can find somewhere to hide that they can’t find, those ghouls are not going to stop hunting us. And if you are intending on making a stand here, are you willing to die here? Talo reckons there are a lot more than 50 ghouls. They know we came through the dwarf tunnels and the only way out is through the pipe into the sewers, it doesn’t take a genius to figure we might have come through the other pipe into this cellar. Ghouls might not make the connection but the wights will. And even if we do stop them in the tunnel, don’t you think they might look for another way? The ghouls will just keep coming and coming… or they’ll just surround us and wait us out. By all means lay some traps but while Talo might want to die gloriously, I don’t, I don’t want to die in this cellar, do you?” Kradorn asks Gildor.
Gildor on hearing Kradorn’s argument to escape says, “So you want to try and get Talo and Gordon through snow that is chest deep with who knows maybe thousands of undead out there. The sewer may lead to the river and we could try that possibly. I’m all ears if you guys want to try that. We’re lugging a lot of gear so we’re going to be slow going. I’d say if we are going to try and get to the river let’s get going now. The sooner the better. Jenson can disarm the incendiary traps and then reset them. We need to figure out which way we go in the sewers to try and get to the river too. Let’s get packing boys. Saphiria let’s get going girl.”
Gildor adds, “Based on the orientation of the armoury and the secret passage we took, I think we want to take the sewer tunnel going west. Gordon and Talo and Kalam and Kradorn go west. Cynan, Jenson and I will go east for 30 m to leave a false trail to by us some time. That is if the webbing is still in place. If there is even a hint they are close to getting through the webbing we all go west. Saphiria will go west with you guys if we try the scent path. Everyone agreed Let’s go.”
Jenson looks to Kradorn “OK, Now we run instead,” then turns to the group in whole. “To answer your encumbrance statements – besides what you have already in back packs and personally need/want we need to take extra from my ship the following – The power collection unit, mobile manufacturing unit, materials converter unit, Portable medical unit, all the power cells we can carry, all the needler ammo we can carry, the Survival Dome, the 1 inflatable dingy and all the food we can carry. So divvy them out and ready to move”.
“I think you have all that.” Says Cynan looking through the packs, bags and sacks the party are carrying.
Once he is done, Jenson looks to Gildor,”Ready, let’s lead us out of here, disarm the grenades on our tunnel exit, and use them further down the sewer in chance to slow them down a second or two. I do like the idea if we can of a diversion sent path the opposite way.
Jenson gears up and moves back down the tunnel, disarming the grenades if he is to do it. He whispers, “Gildor, we should listen in on the other tunnel to see if they have made headway down your webbing or not.”
Jenson moves into the pipe to disarm the incendiary grenades followed by Gildor and Cynan, while the rest of the party prepare to follow and head in the other direction. Jenson reaches the grenades and after a moment or two there is a bang and a flash and Jenson, Gildor and Cynan are engulfed in flames. The pipe and the three people in it are all covered in the sticky burning gel of an incendiary grenade.
Jenson does his best not to yell but more tries to get out of the tunnel and scrape the gel off of him, ripping his cloak off he will try to roll/lay/scrap it off onto the floor/walls of the sewer. Hopefully avoiding the already burning gel area in the sewer.
Jenson falls head first out of the pipe and into the sewer tunnel, his entire body seemingly on fire. He splashes into the 20cm of freezing water flowing along the bottom of the tunnel.
Jenson rolls, slides, scraps and does whatever to get the burning gel off, he is mouthing silent screams of pain and horror praying for help while hoping no one else got it as bad.
Gildor tries to back away out of fire quickly and does his best to get the gel off himself in the narrow pipe but reverses into Cynan.
Cynan scrambles from of the pipe backwards and drags Gildor out too by his ankles. The paladin seems to have escaped the worst of the flames but Gildor is well ablaze. Kradorn unhooks his cloak and pushes forward and Talo, seeing what Kradorn is intending pulls off his cloak too and follows him.
Talo tries to help Jenson down the pipe but is unable to see him due to Jenson falling into the sewer, Talo begins the uncomfortable crawl into the pipe after him to help douse him.
Frantic, the war-dwarf does all he can, elbowing Kradorn out of the way, as he hustles through the pipe. “Sorry lad, I can help more.” As though he is trying to will the flames aside he hollers into the pipe, “Stop burning, Jenson! The fire is not as great as it looks! … No, Fire! No! Bad fire!”
Talo crawls through the pipe and sees Jenson rolling and splashing in the ankle deep water flowing down the sewer tunnel. He seems to have extinguished the flames by himself but he looks badly burnt.
Jenson sits up, aware of being sat in a stream of freezing water but not the considerable burns covering his body. His clothing is ruined and the soles of his boots melted and holey. He sees Talo land next to him in the sewer and hears the dwarf’s voice booming away but then realises he can’t understand the scary looking priest. Jenson feels for the translator around his neck and finds it partially melted and cracked.
Cynan pats out the spots of his clothing which are still alight while Gildor is wrapped in Kradorn’s cloak and the flames beaten out.
Cynan looks a little scorched but only lightly wounded by his experience with an incendiary grenade. Gildor however is badly wounded, most of his outer garments are burnt and the sacks he was carrying his equipment in destroyed. Their contents, while mostly intact are a little scorched around the edges and scattered about the cellar.
Cynan quickly strips off his armour, gets out his healing spray and applies it to himself before offering it to Gildor. The paladin stretches and flexes while putting his armour back on and with a sigh declares “Good as new.”
Gildor uses the spray as well after removing what’s left of his gear and armour. He makes room for the others to get to Jenson to help him.
Two doses of the healing spray treat all of Gildor’s burns, though his hair won’t grow back anytime soon. When he is finished he is almost covered in a layer of the tough, flexible spray on skin. Gildor’s boots seem to have survived, though scorched but most of his outer clothing is ruined. He doesn’t seem to feel the cold as the ring of warmth works its magic.
“Stay away from the other tunnel. Everyone go west to get away from the grenade traps, in case the ghouls get through the web.”
Gildor tries to find a spare bag to put the equipment and gear in.
“Thanks for saving my arse everyone. We need to save Jenson too. My bond with Saphiria May have help me a bit.”
Kalam gives Gildor a backpack he was carrying. It will take small items, power-cells, food packs etc. but not the larger items. However all of the gear from the escape pod has handles and straps.
Jenson takes the ruined translator off and does a quick check of it then hands it to Talo and points to Talo’s back pack. Shivering a moment as he sits in the cold water, slowly realization washes over him and he starts to shake and looks at Talo. He mutters something incomprehensible then sighs and pokes and sorts his destroyed clothes, then looks at his boots. He turns to Talo again and mutters something incomprehensible but points to Talo’s cloak and boots. After a moment Jenson pulls all of his gear to him and goes over what has not been destroyed. Maybe he is in shock or trying not to go into shock and doing what he has been training to do but evaluates each piece of gear he has, placing destroyed items to one side and usable to the other.
When Jenson has finished sorting his gear and clothing he is standing in little more than his underwear. Kalam donates a leather bag into which Jenson can put all his smaller items and Cynan hands him his healing spray. A careful, thin application of the spray, following the instructions on the can coats Jenson’s burns, brings instant relief and seems to counter his shock. The thin artificial skin binds to his own and yet remains flexible. It doesn’t help with the icy water sloshing around in Jenson’s boots though.
Cynan says something to Jenson but it is incomprehensible.
“Uhhh… I don’t understand you, Jenson.” Talo takes the device and stows it away in his pack, then he removes his fur cloak from his shoulders and drapes it over Jenson’s shivering form. He pats the human on the least burnt portion of his skin, “Hang in there, we’ll get you sorted out. I don’t have any extra but I can spare the cloak for now.”
“Jenson perhaps it’s best for Kalam and I to deal with the traps. Let’s see how bad off we are.” says Gildor.
Jenson looks at Gildor’s words blankly, points to his ears and shakes his head.
Gildor examines his injuries thinking to himself, we don’t have time for this shit.
“Cynan and Jenson get back, in case I have to disarm any more grenades.”
Sighing with some relief, Jenson accepts the cloak and gingerly puts it on.
Slowly getting up, Jenson just nods to Talo and points to the tunnel, then to what gear survived of his, then to Talo’s back pack and hold up 2 fingers pointing to the sack, then Talo, them him.
Talo just looks confused.
Jenson then turns and points to the tunnel with the webbing and shrugs like in a question position, then stands there shivering waiting for the rest of the group with what of his gear is salvageable.
Kalam points to the grenades Gildor attached to the bars and indicates perhaps the party should leave them alone. Looking through the bars Jenson can’t see any webs but there is no sign of the ghouls either.
The rest of party all clamber out of the cellar and back into the sewer tunnel, heading west with the trickle of water. The tunnel goes west for about 80 or 90 metres, then comes to a crossroads. On the right a tunnel heads north north west, ahead the tunnel continues west and on the left an identical tunnel heads south south west. The icy water all seems to be flowing south.
Gildor took note of what was left behind as they head out saying, “We only have one dingy left it seems and I have no idea if it will hold us and all the equipment. We can go south west, and I think that will take us closer to the river or north west to try and get further away from the city. I think the river is our best option. If we can get there, we can maybe get some distance from these undead beasties. Let’s stay in marching order and Kalam do checks along the way. If you spot a trap tell us so we can back up 30 yards. I’ll come up and help with the trap. Everyone else can search for concealed and secret doors as we go.”
Gildor pats Saphiria and says, “We’re working on getting out of here girl. We need to get you some good food and a warmer place.”
The party head south, following the freezing water running along the sewer tunnel. There are 30cm diameter iron drain covers in the ceiling of the sewer tunnels and pipes, spaced about 10m apart. Water drips into the sewers constantly from the snowy streets above.
They get about 100m down the tunnel when they come across a 90cm diameter pipe in the east wall just like the ones they trapped with grenades, however no amount of searching finds any way of opening the bars. This pipe seems blocked by debris about 5 or 6m down.
Moving further along they come to another pipe on the right, this one is unblocked and with a trickle of icy water pouring into the main sewer tunnel.
Ahead the party can see the beginning of standing water in the main tunnel and from behind them they hear the distant cries of ghouls echo down the sewer.
Pointing to the clear pipe further down, Talo says, “Let’s make haste to that one and see if the coast is clear.”
Jenson turns when he hears the howls and shivers a moment then follows the group best he can without bumping into anyone as they stop and go.
He does his best to look about as they go in case he notices anything.
The party move on to the next pipe and splash into the standing water. They find the pipe to be just another barred sewer pipe.
Jenson stops and takes out a flechette grenade and stand near the back ready to throw it at the first shadow of an undead beast.
Gildor says,”The dingy can only carry 8 people or 1300 lbs.. We’ve got 7 guys and a bunch of gear. I’d guess about 1000 lbs of gear not counting our body weight. We may not be too far from the river. There may be thousands of ghouls in the streets now though. Morning light is what we need. That’s several bells away. Thoughts.”
Looking anxious while holding the grenade Jenson mumbles incomprehensible words then points to both the tunnel with the trickling water and the pooling water and shrugs his shoulders with a questionable look on his face. He turns every now an then to keep an eye on the tunnel too.
“I am not certain where our sky-boat dingy is – but I think it could handle some assault from outside of it if we get the door closed… We could also make a stand around the pipes and cram them full of dead bodies and then find a safer spot.”
Gildor comments, “Talo….It’s certainly something to consider but I’d hate to be stuck in that thing if they found a way to seal us inside without a way to get out. We’re travelling away from the sky boat thing as it is now. I hate wasting ammo too though. To that end make sure you don’t all throw a grenade at the same time unless it’s necessary. Stagger the grenades. Those without grenades fire your weapons at anything not taken out by the grenades.”
Gildor goes over to Jenson and does a hand gesture with him about the plan. Gildor points to Jenson’s grenade and holds up one finger and point to the others and wags his finger indicating no. He mimics an explosion then motion’s that one of the others gets a grenade and they throw it while wagging his finger at Jenson and the others. While doing this he speaks the words in common to help Jenson learn Common.
Jenson shakes his head in agreement following Gildor’s gestures and pointing while also trying to mimic what he says.
He shivers a bit as he watches Gildor check things out then looks to the group to see who has grenades out and who does not. If any do he will point to each one, 1 finger to one and say in his speech one hoping for a return in there common speech of the same word then 2 two to the next and so on leaving him as the last in counting order. He smiles then sets and awaits the progress of the group and wonders if they just retreated into the jaws of death instead of staying put and if he will ever get their language, both reading and speaking, thanking his lucky stars for all his clerk military training.
Gildor examines the pipe with water running out of it or any other pipe they could fit in that’s nearby. “Give me room boys in case it’s trapped.”
The pipe is just a pipe, with bars where it joins the sewer tunnel. Gildor can see down the 90cm diameter pipe and it extends as far as he can see to the west.
Gildor searches for concealed and secret doors and as none are found he moves south toward the standing water which he hopes leads to the river. He searches the walls as he goes.
Finding no secret doors – the sewer tunnel is just a sewer tunnel – Gildor and the rest of the party advance down the tunnel. Soon they are sloshing through the standing water in the tunnel and after a couple of minutes the end of the tunnel is in sight just ahead.
“Oh, that’s not good.” says Kradorn as the party stop and stare.
The tunnel ends barely 10m ahead, becoming nothing more than a snowy sided ditch running out into the river. However the end of the tunnel section is blocked by 3cm diameter vertical iron bars spaced 15cm apart.
Cynan wades up to the bars, the water coming to his waist, about 1m (3′) deep at that point. He grabs one of the bars and tests its strength. “Almost rusted through, but still solid enough.”
Behind them, the party hear the distinctive howls of hunting ghouls echo down the tunnel.
Gildor says, “Well I think we can have three or four strong folk try and muscle the bars loose or we use flechette grenades and tie 6 of them to 6 bars near the top or bottom to break them loose and then bend them down possibly. Even if we get past the bars, we can’t take all of us and the equipment on the single boat thing. We can try and find another boat to use but it’s a risk.”
Gildor wonders if Saphiria could melt the bars but doesn’t ask just yet.
“So what do you want us to do?!” asks Kradorn. “We need to act quickly!”
Behind them the party can hear the ghouls splashing through water. Looking back down the tunnel, Talo can see the ghouls about 70 metres away, they’ll reach the party in about 30 seconds.
“Blah blah blah!!! Blah, blah blah blah!!” Jenson stands a moment forgetting no one can understand him then puts his grenade in his pocket or a safe spot and walks over and tries to bend the bars indicating others to join in. “Blah blah blah!!!”
Gildor sees what Jenson is up to and starts helping with the Bars saying, “You heard the lad. Let’s get the strong folk in here.” Gildor gets the strong folk bending the bars asap.
While they’re trying to bend the bars he says, “I think it’s too risky for a fireball in here. We need to get ready to lob some grenades their way in about 20 seconds. We try on the bars for that long then we fight until we can get a break to try the bars until we can get it open enough to get out. Let’s get it done folks. Stagger the grenades and fire weapons at will. Don’t waste grenades. Mix incendiary and flechette grenades.”
While the actually physically capable members pull on those bars, Talo casts his spiritual axe at the foremost of the running ghouls attempting to cut them down as they run in hopes of tripping them up and buying as much time as possible.
“There’s only one problem with this plan Gildor. I can’t see a damn thing. I can make out the bars and see the snow and the River but if a ghoul comes down this tunnel I’m not going to see it until it bites my face off! ” shouts Kradorn.
Gildor replies,”Okay… those not working on the bars toss a couple incendiary grenades ahead of the ghouls but try and get the lead part of them. That’ll light it up for us.”
Looking at the bars then looking at the water Gordon just shrugs and turns to face the oncoming onslaught, hoping that the ghouls will not have had the nowse to have waited for each other to get through the pipe before starting their pursuit and so will be coming at the party in drips and drabs. He moves back down the tunnel some 10 foot or so, gets his needler pistol ready, ensures it has charge and starts to mark his targets.
“Guys, I ain’t too confident we’ll bend them bars and suggest we put up a firing line to try and take them down as they come at us and at as far a range as possible. If you have them greenaides then get em lobbed when there are some to lob them at. Gildor get that wee dragon of yours up ere as well t’blast the bloody things with fire, and don’t worry about your fireball, if you lob it far enough down the tunnel we’ll keep our whiskers.”
Gildor, Jenson, Kradorn and Cynan all heave together at one of the iron bars but it doesn’t budge. They move on and try another bar but it too fails to move or bend.
Kalam unable to get in on the attempt to bend or move the bars pulls out a grenade. “I can’t tell what this grenade is, if it is an incendiary or a flechette, I can’t see in this dark tunnel.”
“Just throw it!” shouts Kradorn.
Talo casts Spirit Axe and the weapon spins at the first of the ghouls splashing thigh deep through the water. The axe misses.
Gordon takes aim at the approaching ghouls but is aware that they won’t be in range for several seconds.
Gildor and the rest move on to the next bar and try again and the bar comes out easily, surprising the party and dumping Cynan into the water. He comes up spluttering, holding the iron bar. The gap in the bars is 30cm across, enough for Gordon or perhaps Jenson to squeeze through but Cynan and Talo have no chance.
Kalam throws his grenade into the darkness ahead of him and hears it clatter off the roof before plopping into the water. The grenade detonates with a blinding flash amid the middle of the pack, bringing down about half them.
Talo’s axe swishes in again but misses, dazzled by Kalam’s grenade.
Gordon looses a volley of needler flechettes but sees them scatter off the roof in a shower of sparks.
“Did I hit anything?” asks Kalam. The ghouls are now about 50m away.
Yelling “Blah blah blah!!! Jenson moves to the next bar and tries to bend it hoping the others continue trying.
“Okay, okay!” shouts Kradorn as the party grab the next bar along and try to pull this out too. It doesn’t budge. “Shit!” shouts Kradorn.
Kalam throws another grenade, which lands long as far as he can tell but the blast still manages to bring down four more ghouls at the rear.
Talo swings his axe at the first of the ghouls splashing through the water towards them and hits but the blow is a poor one and the ghoul keeps on coming.
Gordon takes aim again and fires, but the flechettes scatter and miss. The needler seems like a close range weapon only.
Only three ghouls remain of the original small pack. Kalam says he is out of grenades and has his laser carbine out but can’t see anything. He’ll try to use his Blindfighting skill to judge the positions of the ghouls – they’re making enough noise in the thigh deep water – but warns the others to watch they don’t get in his way.
The party try the next bar along but it is stuck fast.
Talo’s axe misses and the dwarf curses his luck.
Gordon waits till the other two ghouls are closer before trying the needler again.
A heave on the next bar sees it shift a couple of centimetres and encouraged by this everyone gives it their all. The bar comes out but not just the bar, in fact the stone block the bar was embedded in comes out too bringing the next bar and several bits of the roof with it. The debris lands harmlessly in the water revealing a 45cm gap in the bars more than big enough to get any of the party though and their gear.
Making sure he is out of Kalam’s way, Talo swings the divine axe and hits the closest ghoul bringing it down with a splash.
Kalam shoots and misses.
The two remaining ghouls are about 30m away.
Talo continues to deal death, again to the ghouls with his spiritual axe – hacking and slicing every step they take. “I’ll play van guard as you all climb.”
Gildor says softly as he moves up to be beside Gordon and draws his needler, “Okay guys let’s get these last few Ghouls shall we. I want to be quiet, so we don’t draw any attention to our location as we figure out what to do next. I don’t want to use my lantern either or it might draw the ghouls to us from the outside.”
“I think Kalam’s grenades have put paid to any idea of being quiet Gildor.” says Cynan.
Talo’s axe cuts down another ghoul as it stagger through the water towards the party and two blind shots from Kalam brings the last of the pack down.
“We only have the one dingy. I’m thinking we can all grab a week or two of rations and leave the rest. I know it can only hold so much but we might be able to push it a wee bit extra. I can probably float in the river on the side of the thing, so I don’t take up any room at all and very little weight. I’d need to leave any gear that would not like the water in the dingy with you though. We don’t know this river either or what’s downstream. I’m open for other ideas to help out too.”Gildor says softly.
“Everyone start moving to the river quietly… leave anything behind that we can do without. If we can get back here at some point and it survives, we can get it later. For now let’s just find a way to get everyone on the raft but me. I think my ring will keep me warm and I can hang on the side of the dingy thingy. Saphiria will have to fly ahead downstream and roost. Start dumping stuff folks but quietly.”
“Saphiria when we get going you fly ahead of us going downstream roost to rest up and stay in contact with me, so we don’t lose one another. Don’t fly off until we are ready to go.”
Gildor sets down a lantern outside the sewer drain but up a bit on the bank.
Saphiria slips easily between the bars and is away in a moment. She flies up and gives the area a check for potential threats.
Gildor gets Jenson’s attention and points to the portable AI with Power unit. He signals thumbs up or down on keeping it? Gildor signals it’s heavy. Gildor waits for a reply.
Jenson scoots through the opening and surveys the area, looks left, right, up, down with what little light the group has out and then feels with his foot to see how deep it is but only scoots out a little and stays within what light there is.
The ditch leading from the sewer tunnel to the river stays at about waist height as Jenson wades forward. To either side of him are the snow covered banks of the river, white under the light of a last quarter Celebdae high in the southern sky, with little Dinlosaew following on behind in the east.
Once Gildor confirms that the last of the ghouls are dead Cynan moves between the bars and pulls his bags with him. Kalam follows close behind.
The far side of the river is visible in the moonlight, a good 200 metres away, the river flowing past at about a metre per second, dark and flat between the thick piled snow on the banks.
Kradorn and Gordon emerge from the sewer tunnel.
“Gods, I forgot it was so cold.” complains Kradorn.
“Bracing!” laughs Cynan.
Behind them the party can hear hunting ghouls in the town but Kradorn reckons them to be four of five hundred metres away to the north.
Jenson shrugs and points to the dingy then himself, then puts his hands together then apart and points to the shallow water.
Cynan hands Jenson the inflatable dingy and after handing out ship’s rations to whoever wants them, dumps the sack on the bank.
Moving back to shallow water Jenson goes through his gear, deciding what to take and leave. mumbling as he does.
Once he’s finished, Jenson looks at the instructions on the side of the inflatable boat, the text faintly glowing in the darkness, gets everyone to make space in the ditch, twists the handle at one end until it clicks three times and pulls. The hexagonal cylinder hisses and clicks as it unfolds and unfolds and unfolds. The basic shape of an elongated octagon is quickly apparent and the thing keeps growing magically, the paper thin material it is made of expanding until it is 2cm thick and solid as wood.
Within ten seconds the whole thing is finished, it even has two pairs of two metre long oars laid in the bottom. It is a 4m by 2m octagon and 75cm deep. It floats high in the water.
Kalam checks his gear and with a shake of his head dumps a sack containing 2 Boxes with 48 power cells and 37 anti-personnel needler clips and a mobile manufacturing unit.
Far off down the sewer tunnel Talo hears the cries of ghouls, he moves through the bars and prepares to cast protection from evil and attempt to turn undead with Clanggedin’s Edge.
He also shouts a warning to the party.
Saphiria reports she can’t see any ghouls any where near the party but see does see a large number (hundreds) moving south, at speed, towards where the party are.
As soon as the dingy is loaded Talo hollers for Kradorn to give him a hand out of the tunnel and into the dingy. “Thanks, lad!” Looking about he says, “Onward then.”
Gildor moves over by Jenson and stashes a lantern, Potion, Lantern, winter gloves, Survival Dome, Sleep needler clip block, 2 surface to space radios, portable AI with Power unit.
Gildor tells Kradorn, “I hold the dingy now. Maybe Drop the needler pistol and ammo for it. You got a long range blaster rifle so ditch the bow and arrows and quiver my friend. Use the healing spray on yourself of someone. Maybe use the holy water real quick too. Pour it around us on each side to the bank of the river?”
“Tell you what Gildor,” says Kradorn somewhat affronted by being asked to leave his bow and arrows “why don’t you sort yourself out. I wouldn’t trust this thing…” he says pointing to the blaster rifle “over a bow. Bows don’t just stop working for no reason and if I run out of arrows I can always make or buy some more. When this bow stops working, I’ll get rid of it.”
“Talo, do you want this holy water?” asks Kradorn.
Gildor says, “I think we are only slightly overweight. I say we try and risk it and spread out the extra way as evenly as possible. If it looks like it won’t hold, we’ll have to make some more hard choices. Eat a ration while we floating to lower the weight and we all get fed a bit. Let’s get moving I don’t want to drag this out too long. Everyone that’s dumping stuff do it and let’s get on the water.”
Kradorn shakes his head and laughs “Gildor, eating a ration while we’re in the boat won’t make it weigh any less I think.”
Jenson stands next to the dingy holding on to it, using the weight of the gear he has, he indicates for others to get in by pointing to the dingy as they dump gear. He then points to Kradorn once he is done leaving the gear he does not want and indicate for him to hold the dingy.
Then Jenson moves to the side of the bank, and leaves 4 mini-power cells, the materials converter, magical tablet (3D hologram) on the bank up a bit if he can, then pulls out the power collection unit and mobile manufacturing unit and show them it is heavy and also places them on the bank but then points to his mouth and throat (where the communicator was) and shrugs pointing the the group then if possible collects a few grenades to make him have 2 of each and 2 extra clips of needler ammo then a week more of food. He moves to the dingy and gets in and sighs.
Gildor hands the rope to the dingy to Kalam, “Here… let me sort stuff out with Jenson…”
Gildor goes over by Jenson and they both point to the most important things. 2 Space Radio’s, Charging unit, Medical unit.
Gildor speaks softly and motions at the same time, “Blah blah, blah blah blah, Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.”
Gildor gets his gear into the dingy and just has his Leather’s on. Everything else is in the dingy that was left after scrapping most of his gear.
Saphiria warns Gildor that the ghouls are closing and will be at the boat soon.
Gordon just jumps in the dingy with all his stuff, well if somebody gives him a hand up as the water is deep, the dingy on top of it and he is only short.
Kradorn helps Gordon into the boat, which bobs about a bit and some water slops over the edge. Strangely the water seems to be absorbed by the inner surface of the boat and is all gone within a few moments.
The howls of the ghouls seem much closer now and Gildor pushes the boat out carefully into the flow of the river making sure he has a good grip before he does it.
The boat is heavily laden and its rim sits barely 10cm above the water.
Cynan tells everyone to remain where they are and not move around too much as it will be easy to tip one edge into the water.
The boat is soon caught in the current and moves along the bank for several seconds before hitting something submerged beneath the surface. Water slops into the front of the boat and Gildor tries to balance it as best he can. Everyone holds on tighter and Talo goes pale suddenly realising that if he goes into the water in his armour, he is not coming up again.
Jenson panics and starts babbling, though no one understands him.
Kalam panics too and jumps out of the boat and into the water and starts wading towards the bank. Behind them a ghoul emerges from the sewer tunnel perhaps 10 metres away and lets out a howl, having spotted the party.
Struck with inspiration, Gildor turns the boat out into the current and pushes, shouting “The oars, use the oars!”
On the snow covered shore Kalam shoulders his laser carbine and starts shooting. His first shot hits and knocks down the ghoul but it staggers back to its feet and about a dozen more emerge from the sewer tunnel behind it.
”WHOAAAAA!!!! Did we run aground? Work them oars boys. Push us off the darn thing. Kalam get back in here boy. You don’t stand a chance on the bank Lad. It’s suicide man… Come on!!!!! We got to get going here… Get back in the dingy…”
Everyone scrambles for the oars, tearing them off the inside of the boat. Talo pulls a bit too hard and the boat sways dramatically, forcing Gildor to concentrate on keeping it level.
Kalam reloads after his next pull of the trigger produces nothing but a beep and the ghouls scramble to get out of the ditch and at the party.
Kalam heads back towards the boat, wading into the chilly water while keeping his weapon trained on the ghouls. He tries to get into the boat as the ghouls rush forward and tumbles in, managing to do it without inundating the craft.
Gildor kicks out and everyone starts paddling furiously but the ghouls rush after them, splashing into the water. Though unable to swim, one of the ghouls wades up to the boat, walking along the bottom and grabs Gildor’s legs. The rest of the ghouls struggle in the flow of the river, either getting washed away or retreating back to the bank.
On the shore, groups of ghouls begin to appear from between the buildings, hundreds of them.
Gildor frantically tries to kick the ghoul off his leg, “Help… Get this thing off of me…”
Gildor screams in his head ~ Well that could have gone better. Lady of summer hear my prayer. Help get this foul beast off of me and help us survive the night.
Jenson tried to calm down enough to help correct the steering and keep the raft going. When he sees Ghouls strike out at the group and Gildor He yells “Blah Blah” and points between strokes.
The ghoul holding onto Gildor tries to clamp its jaws onto the half-elf’s thigh but Gildor twists and the hears the jaws snap shut under the water. The creature tries again but Gildor gets one foot free and wedges it under the ghouls neck to keep it at bay before smashing his heel into its monstrous face. The creature reels back and Gildor kicks it away from him, where it slowly sinks out of sight, lost amid the rolling black waters of the river.
On the banks hundreds of ghouls have gathered but they don’t come near the water, they just howl in frustration as the party paddle the dingy out into the river and the current takes them slowly east.
The moonlight provides good illumination and the white of the snowy river banks stand out clearly. The dingy is only about 50m off shore and has travelled perhaps 200m from the sewer outlet.
“Which way” asks Cynan “To the far bank or downstream?”
“Lady of summer thank you for your blessing this night,” exclaims Gildor! Gildor lowers his voice a bit, “If that ghoul would have managed to touch my skin, I’d be a goner. We need to go down stream. Pay attention to the sounds of the river though. If you hear anything loud it might be a waterfall so in that case, we head to the bank fast. We need to get Jenson educated enough to speak common. Everyone stay alert. Be read to pull me in as well. Who knows what’s in this river. Give me a bit of rope to lash me to Kradorn and Kalam. Try and stay toward the south bank of the river but still close to the centre.”
As they break into the middle of the stream Jenson points downstream “Blah Blah Blah??”
The boat moves slowly out into the middle of the river, taking about five minutes paddling to get there. Once there, Kradorn comments that the river is moving slightly slower as it widens but the party carry on paddling and the river pushes them out into the big bay south of the city. To the north they can see the docks running along the east coast of the port. Three tall sailed ships stand by the docks, intact and apparently in good condition, though its hard to tell as their decks are knee deep in snow. A dozen smaller boats are tied up around them. The north and south banks are 400m away and the howls of the ghouls behind them are almost lost on the icy winds.
The dingy runs east and then south-east, following the flow of the river as it heads that way, speeding up slightly as the flow narrows to less than 200m in width.
Behind them, the party can see the walls of the Imperial city surrounding the central mount and the palace. On their left between the inner and outer city walls is farmland dotted with leafless copses and empty manor houses. Kradorn reckons the dingy is moving more quickly now, perhaps 5km per hour with everyone paddling.
The dingy passes the great outer walls of the city after about ten minutes, they stand almost 20m tall, with opened topped towers every 750m or so. Several stretches of wall close to the river have tumbled down, exposing the boulder filled core behind the white cyclopean blocks of the exterior. And then the huge city is behind them.
They pass the odd house on the shore but for the most part all they can see are vast snow shrouded fields north and south of the river as they head east. After an hour the river bends gently left and heads north east, eventually joining another river coming down from the north. After that the river heads south east again, the party drifting silently along on its dark waters.
Sunrise Bell sees the party still heading south east on the meandering and slowly flowing river. Everyone but Gildor and Cynan are cold and wet (Cynan doesn’t seem to feel the cold) and Kalam and Kradorn are shivering, with Kalam mumbling occasionally and Falling asleep regularly.
Gildor says, “Saphiria scout ahead and south please my dear quickly please check for animals too.”
Saphiria flies off complaining that she hasn’t seen any sign of prey since she got out of the escape pod and the cold is slowly freezing her claws.
To those in the dingy Gildor says “Keep Kalam awake and help keep him warm. Saphiria will scout ahead on the south banks to find a spot on the bank we can get out easily and secure the dingy. If there are structures not too far from the banks or trees that could be used for shelter and fire it would help.”
Gildor keeps checking in with Saphiria hoping she finds a spot quickly. If nothing is found quickly Gildor will decide to make the best possible choice for a good landing spot for the dingy depending on the scouting report from Saphiria.
The firedrake climbs high to get a better view and follows the twisting dark shape of the river as it heads south for about a kilometre and a half. After this the river loops around to the west, then heads east again. At this point there is a town on the southern bank and numerous farms and larger houses scattered about the countryside. A large boat, notable by the lack of snow on its decks, sits at anchor in the river here. After the town the river meanders back and forth heading north east.
About 15 kilometres away a line of low hills dominate the eastern horizon.
Saphiria wheels north again and descending spots a farmhouse about 200m from the river, on the western bank. A road leads from the farmhouse to the river and Saphiria can see a small jetty there. It is only a kilometre downstream from the dingy.
Saphiria puts on a burst of speed to return to the dingy (which she can’t land on) to report her findings. As she wheels about the dingy she notices a dark, looming storm gathering far to the north.
Having made her report she heads south again and finds a tree on the riverbank upon which to perch and watch the dingy drift slowly past.
The party continue downstream, moving slowly towards the west bank until they spot the jetty indicated by Saphiria. It looks sound enough but all the same, Gildor pushes the dingy ashore next to it, to make it easier for everyone to climb out.
Climbing up the bank in the early morning twilight they can see a road running west and about 200m away a cluster of buildings including a fair sized farmhouse.
Saphiria flies over the farmhouse and can see no signs of life inside nor any tracks in the deep snow around the buildings. The road continues west as far as she can see.
Tramping through the snow, the party arrive at the farmhouse which Kradorn, somewhat hastily scouts out. He is eager to get inside and get a fire going.
It is a two storey building with an impressive front door covered by a porch. There are four windows downstairs and five upstairs, all shuttered. The back has a similar layout but two of the downstairs windows are unshuttered and one of these is broken. Behind the main farmhouse stand two barns, a stable and two single storey cottages. The front door of the farmhouse is unlocked and the interior seems almost completely intact, untouched even.
Cynan and who ever else wants to comes with him searches the house thoroughly while everyone else waits in the hallway. Gildor notices as well as his own wrinkly skin, his leaf patterned leather armour is looking decidedly pale and a bit yellow around the edges.
The house is well furnished, if a little dusty but strangely untouched by the three hundred years that has passed since its occupants died.
The search finds nothing lurking in the corners or the cupboards, apart from a long dead body in the kitchen. Once Cynan has buried the body under the snow, he makes a fire in the parlour and lights it with his flint and steel. Kradorn gives a moan of joy and starts stripping off his wet clothes.
At this point Kalam mumbles something and keels over.