Licking her lips Trig settled in with the large tome in a large armchair by the fire in the study. Around her she could hear Ysabot pottering about and removing volumes from shelves, and then sitting down at the Professor’s desk. She started to read…
Meanwhile Christov, Sif and Cerian circled northwards out of the town, moving away from the main streets so as to not attract attention. With the lake mist shielding their progress, and using the lights of the dwellings as a guide, it was not too difficult to hit the low hill north of town which hosted the Restlands.
The gate they found was not one they had entered before. It was only latched and they entered without a problem, lighting their lantern and moving uphill till they hit the path they recognised as the Dreamlands, which they had traversed earlier. Following this round they passed the Professors grave on their left, and then soon after the junction where Ysabot had judged the false crypt to be located.
Checking a stone mausoleum which seemed a likely candidate, Christov shook the metal gate and the lock fell off. Picking it up it appeeared to have been burned away, and then secured back in place strung with some pieces of wire. “I guess this is it”, he said.
A flight of steps led down into a large crypt lined with empty niches—no dead seemed to be interred here. A set of human tracks led down across the dust to the far side of the crypt, which lay beyong a pair of ornamental metal gates, flanked by a pair of gargoyles.
Nervously Cerian opend the gates, and the group descended down a further set of steps to a crypt containing two stone sarcophagi. One of these appeared to have been tampered with. The lid was counterweighted and swung open easily. Inside were a number of items including several sets of arrows, holy water, potions, some scrolls and a well crafted thin wooden box containing a strange wood and brass board marked with numbers and letters, and a pointer. There were also ten indentations of which four were filled with small glass jars with baroque metal caps at either end: these appeared to be filled with an eerie white vapour. Christov shrugged, “Let’s get these back-Ysabot and Kendra might be able to work out what these are.” The second sarcophagus was completely empty.
Cerian crept back to the upper crypt with Sif close behind; she immediately sensed, with her keen half elven vison that somethhing was wrong- low and indistinct shapes were flowing across the darkened floor towards her. She yelled and cut downwards with her curved elven blade-she felt it cut through something before it moved upwards onto her leg.
Seeing Cerians movement Sif ran to her side and swept downwards with her heavy maul- unfortunately missing the shadowy shap entirely and decending with an audible crack on Cerians foot. She screamed in agony and grabbed hold of the adjacent metalwork to remain upright.
Meanwhile another two of the creatures sarted to crawl up Sif’s legs, and she experinced a series of sharp pains in her legs as they bit into her.Ignoring the pain she smashed the one on Cerian, who returned the favour by skewering another. Dropping her weapons she grabbed the remaining squirming, narrow body in one hand and squeezed and twisted. There was a putrid explosion of foul smelling gore, and then the attack was over as quickly as it had begun.
Christov came running up and held the lantern down to their attackers: three huge centipede- like creatures, each perhaps four feet long and several inches in diameter. “Let’s get out of here before more arrive. Can you walk?” he asked Cerian.
Slowly and painfully they made their way out into the silent graveyard, and through the clinging mists back to Kendra’s house, Cerian being supported either side by Sif and Christov.
Back at the house Trig had abandoned her book. She didn’t understand much of it and so had skimmed ahead to a section which appeared to give advice on having sex with corpses, at which point she had decided that this book wasn’t for her. She consoled herself by sneaking into the pantry.
When she emerged upstairs Cerian had been placed on a settee, and she was summoned over. Sucking her teeth she determined that her boot would need to be cut off, and sent for some bowls and hot water. Milly bustled off.
Half an hour later Cerians foot had been strapped, and healing spells cast. She would mend, though currently still had a bit of a limp. Sif owed her a new pair of boots.
The haul from the crypt had been produced, and Kendra and Ysabot were examining them. Kendra exited the room and then returned with four vapour filled jars identical to those they had found. “These were found on my father’s body, and returned by the Sheriff. They are Haunt Siphons- if you twist the top near a Haunt or Undead it negates the negative energy inside them-essentially damaging or killing them.” She also examined a sheaf of arrows declaring that they were enchanted. “Ysabot and I can check more of these things tomorrow – we will need to prepare the correct spells.”
“These potions are for Healing and Restoration” said Ysabot, reading the Alchemist’s Marks on the bottle. She paused.
“Hmm. It’s usually at this point when I’m with a group that I suggest a mutually benefical financial and practical arrangement.” she paused, and pursed her lips.
“Really?” enquired Christov, “And what might this be?”
“Healing potion. Very useful for adventurers-very expensive at 50 gp-assuming the Church or Apothecary has any to sell you.”
“So? It can’t be helped” replied Christov.
“Well it can. I can make these for you for a mere 10 gp fee for several hours of my valuable time. You would need to procure the ingredients of course-either by paying 25 gp to the Apothecary or by collecting them yourself-if you know where to look.”
“Hmm that is interesting. And what are these ingredients?” asked Christov.
“Marshwort, Lady’s Necklace, Starmoss and spiders webs. In the spring you can use frogspawn instead of spiders webs-goes down better.”
“I know all those plants” exclaimed Trig excitedly, “I could go looking for them!”
“I could help you also” said Christov, “Best not to wander out alone.”
“Fair enough-the best place round here is the moor between the Restlands and the lake- it stretches for several miles northward and dozens of miles to the west. As you go towards the lake it contains a lot of small pools and marshy scrub; you can find everything there.”
The group moved into the library and settled themselves around the fire. Milly brought in refreshments and Sif’s fouled garments were forcibly removed for cleaning. When all were settled Ysabot continued.
“I refreshed my memory a bit about the old prison. Like I said the fire was 50 years ago in 4661. It killed all of the prisoners and most of the guards, and destroyed a large portion of the prison’s underground eastern wing, but left most of the stone structure above relatively intact. The prison’s warden perished in the fire, along with his wife, although no one knows why she was in the prison when the fire occurred.”
“There’s a statue commemorating the warden and the guards who lost their lives on the riverbank just outside of town to the south, if you didn’t know.”
“Anyway,it transpires that the fire that caused the tragedy was, in fact, a blessing in disguise. Five particularly notorious criminals had recently arrived at the prison, and a riot had commenced in the lower level. While the commonly held belief is that the tragic fire began accidentally after the riot began, in fact the prisoners had already seized control of the dungeon and had been in command of the lower level for several hours before the fire. Warden Hawkran triggered a deadfall to seal the rioting prisoners in the lower level, but in so doing trapped himself and nearly two dozen guards. The prisoners were in the process of escaping via the supply lift when the panicked guards at the surface accidentally started the fire in a desperate attempt to end the riot,which seemingly killed everyone in the lower levels, and the smoke also killed the prisoners in the upper cells. Only the guards at the surface level escaped.”
“Quite a tale” commented Christov. “I wonder how accurate it is?” Ysabot shrugged.
“It was fifty years ago. There might still be some survivors of that time. Some of the nonhumans live for a very long time, for instance.”
“That’s right”, chimed in Sif. “I met the smith-Jorfa: she is a dwarf. I wanted to talk to her again anyway.”
“Well it seems like we have quite a bit to do” said Trig. “Perhaps we should also just nose around town as well. The Professor seems to imply that some people have been behaving oddly around town anyway. Also he seemed to think the names of people who died in the fire were important.”
“Those records should be in the Town Hall or the Church” said Ysabot. “I’m happy to search through them but I’m not the most popular person with either Father Grimburrow or Councilman Hearthmount.”
“Perhaps I could have word with them” suggested Keryn, “I’m pretty good at talking people round. Then I could let you in and you could do the actual searching.”
And so it was agreed; the next day Keryn and Ysabot would approach Father Grimburrow, while Christov and Trig would search for plants. Cerian and Sif would nose around town and see what they could find.