Hills of Kron

Francis Log 5

To the Moathouse

Now we’re off to the Moathouse. Slade bought a medium warhorse, I picked up a little more rope. Around midday, the Nese Road gets too overgrown to pass through easily. We thrash through a little bit of it, but when we hit the crest of a ridge, we can see that the road is overgrown for a long darn way. Slade rides back to get a couple of axes. When he returns, we alternate whacking the thick brush and occasional sapling out of the way. It seems pretty clear that this road has been impassable for awhile now.

We decide to make camp in the early afternoon, so we don’t blunder our way into some type of ambush by crashing through the forest the way we’ve been going. Pertherditeis and I scout ahead a little to see how far away we are – not too far before we can see a stone tower through the trees. So we’ve picked a good spot. We work our way farther off the road than normal, and arrange a fence of bracken to dissuade predators and conceal us somewhat.

During the evening, we hear the loud BRAAWWWP noises that Pete mentioned. Different volumes and pitches – no one has any particular idea what that might be. But we don’t see any lights. We set watches and make it through another night unscathed.

As the camp awakens, we decide to leave the horses here. The presence of food, water, and dense underbrush makes it unlikely that they’ll get too far. And we haven’t seen any traces of anything that should be worrisome to a warhorse. Without the horses, we’re able to wiggle through the underbrush a lot more easily – basically cutting holes for Slade’s big head. Er, shoulders. I meant shoulders!

Anyway, we’re moving along a lot less like a herd of oliphants this morning. We reach the edge of the thick brush as the path gets marshy – and heads past the Moathouse. The path continues farther east, while a short stone path leads up to the drawbridge. Well, the remnants of a drawbridge. And the moat has eroded away its south bank, all the way to the path past the fortifications. Both Carolyn and Pertherditeis don’t really want to cross that drawbridge, so we’re going to circle around the south side of the building and look for another entrance. Given the state of the upper levels that we can see, it shouldn’t be too hard.

Suddenly, a huge pink tentacle flies out of the shadows and wraps itself around Slade’s head! I dodge a second tentacle, and a third just plain misses Pertherditeis. Slade fights with the tentacle attached to himself, and I run to see what sort of critter is on the other end. The tentacle leads off the path, and into the pool – - and into the mouth of a humongous frog! While I batter this frog, I see several others attempting to catch their prey. Us. Pertherditeis and Carolyn team up on a second frog, while two slightly smaller frogs try to get a clear shot at someone with those nasty tongues. BRAAAWWWP, says one.

I manage a tremendous kick right in the first frog’s eye, and it is time to move on to another frog. Slade dislodges the lifeless tongue from his head, and hacks off another tongue that had just hit Carolyn. The now-tongueless frog tries to back off, but Pertherditeis manages a ferocious hit with her staff – after casting Shillelagh on it. The next two seem to be slightly smaller, and quickly die under the onslaught of short sword and staves.

I treat the cuts and abrasions, while Slade slices all of the frogs into very small bits. He’s muttering something about “making sure they don’t froget they’re dead”—making me want to whack him. But he does turn up a pretty little amethyst, so the flying frog parts weren’t entirely in vain.

A little farther east, we reach the south-east corner of the building – where a small corner tower has collapsed mostly across the moat. “We can make that,” says Slade. So I’m volunteered—step, step, jump, crunch. Now I’m on the outskirts of the pile of rubble, and I haven’t been eaten. Yet. Everyone joins me, and we edge our way up the pile of rubble. As we near the top, the pile shifts towards the north, and everyone but myself slides down the far side into a lower level. HISSSSSSS. Well, suddenly it feels a lot safer up here on top of the shifting rubble! But, I suppose I’d feel bad if Slade got those kids killed. Banzai!

Now that is a snake! Carolyn’s retreating from it, Slade’s getting up, and Pertherditeis seems to be waiting in a staff en garde position. Well, time to get this ridiculously overgrown snake’s attention, I throw a good-sized rock at a nostril while running around the left flank. The snake strikes – and I jump just at the right time. Excellent. The others attack as I lure. I think both Per and Slade hit. I turn, but miss my attack. The snake tries to bite me again. It misses the bite, but it does crush me against the wall. Ouch.

Slade runs his blade into the snake’s eye, nice hit. The snake whirls and slithers up the rubble, but Per manages to hit it also. The snake begins twitching in the throes of death. That wall still hurt. We rest for a little while and patch up. Slade turns up a nicely jeweled dagger. Gaudy, but it practically has to be worth a pretty penny. Now that the snake is dead, we examine it a little more closely. Pertherdites says “Twelve feet! And look at the fangs and mouth structure, this is a Giant Adder – quite likely poisonous!” We double check to see if any of the nicks and scrapes might have venom in, or on them. This room is twenty by forty or so, with a door on the north wall that opens into a hallway. There’s two sets of doors on both sides.

The rooms to the sides turn out to be fairly dismal, Slade turns up a fine broadsword, which he immediately appropriates and starts swishing around enthusiastically. Overly enthusiastically. As we step out from that room, we hear a roar from farther up the corridor. Nor a bestial roar, but more like a collective cheer. The corridor goes another thirty feet and looks like it opens up into a room. So we approach quietly. Well, I approach quietly, Slade clinks even when moving slowly. Regardless, we get close enough to see a group of people off to one side of the corridor watching the floor intently. Gambling, probably. Carolyn hauls out a pinch of sand and motions both of us to the side. Somnifize she chants, pointing at the group, and four of the gamers keel over. Slade and I step into the room. Thunk, thunk. Yeeouch! We couldn’t see too far to the left of the entry before coming into the room, but there were two archers guarding the main entry to this room two our left, and they hit both Slade and I. A third non-sleeping foe lets out a yell , “Rally to me! Guardhouse!” He seems better equipped than the rest, too. Slade hit his archer, and I hit mine.

Pertherditeis and Carolyn step into view. Pertherditeis swings at, but misses, the fellow Slade was fighting. Carolyn is fumbling for something in her beltpouch. Slade, myself, and both archers (who switched to short swords) miss. Carolyn is spreading sand again, but I can’t quite hear her chant Somnifize. The archers pass out, but the fellow that was yelling doesn’t. No matter, Slade and I both hit him, and he isn’t doing anymore yelling. Footsteps pound up the steps to the southeast, and two more people burst into the room. The first is in much better armor. Pertherditeis hits the other running fellow, and Slade manages to throw his new sword during a swing at this apparent leader. Brilliant. The leader manages to nick Slade, but he opens himself up to my attack. I’m able to hit his legs and topple him to the ground.

Pertherditeis gets stuck by her foe, but even Carolyn leans in and gives that fellow a solid whack with her staff. Good work Carolyn! Slade’s still dodging, but I get a second hit in on this leader. Slade recovers his sword, just in time to parry a vicious thrust. The riposte guts the leader, so I turn to help finish off the fellow harassing Pertherditeis and Carolyn. And then we can worry about these arrows, yeeoch.

This area is clearly where these guys have been camping. A large room with black, polished flagstones, this must have been the audience hall of the keep. There’s two corridors out – one for each wing of the moathouse – one west, one south. There’s a large set of double doors to the southwest, and a small opening in the northwest corner. The eastern wall is partially collapsed, and looks somewhat disturbed in areas. Slade and I both get the joy of removing well-set arrows. But I break out the healing ointments after that. Pertherditeis pokes through the rubble for awhile and finds a leather hide wrapped around a chest. In total, we seem to find around this much stuff: 13pp, 6gp, 9ep, 69sp, 2000cp, 2 citrenes, a gold chain, 2 bolts of fine cloth, a complete crystal wineset, an ivory box, arrows, and the gear of the brigands.

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