Saeth pauses eating to glance from the commotion to the priest–who she now knows to be a “Halavist”, whatever that meant. Her village had none of these silly interniscene conflicts! “I suppose you’re going to want to go see what’s troubling her cellar?”
“I suppose you’re going to want to go see what’s troubling her cellar?” Saeth said, her voice tinged with an what Maruc felt was an element of sarcasm. He smiled at her and turning back to the frantic woman.
“Calm yourself good woman. Come be seated here and be assured. There are no demons creeping here abouts for assuredly you would not be speaking to us now if there were. Indeed the immortals themselves would not allow it. I suspect there is a very simple answer to what disturbs you during the night. It, whatever it is, is unlikely to be the extremely rare occurance of Portaliture.” Maruc gave her his most reassuring smile.
“It takes a great deal of power and time to cause such events and they cause what is loosely known as a cosmic afterwash that would have been felt by every priest for fifty miles, and even a few talented magi no doubt. No, there is no portal for if there were we would already be slain or taken to the deepest pits from which none return. I will be glad to visit your house to put your mind at ease.”
Feldard had no hesitation as he gathered himself to make way to the woman’s house. This Maruc certainly is a long-winded fellow, he thought to himself. The dwarf had no idea of what the source of the lady’s hysteria could be, but it didn’t matter. He was ready to confront it.
Fighting demons for charity seemed like the height of poor judgement, the elf thought to herself. Fighting the savages in the Broken Lands was bad enough! The young swordswoman had no intention of having her saga end with a rhyme of “Saeth” and “Death”. Still, the heroes of lore did smite evil like this all the time. And driving a demon away from the village would seem to be the very sort of thing Bideven Broadleaf or Nansaidh the River Princess might do, with sharp blade and sharper tongue. And with this ‘retainer’ from the Torenescu’s artist, she supposed there wasn’t much else that needed doing.
“Well, you’ll need help with that, I imagine? At the very least, someone to carry your body home afterwards?” Seath put in.“I certainly hope not.” Maruc chuckled, “At least I seriously doubt meeting the denizens of the underworld. These creatures are wicked, cunning and highly intelligent if they chose to breakthough to this world, I doubt the first thing they would do is have a chat in someones cellar, will not at least with out ensuring there weren’t going to be overheard by judicious use of terminal area-effect magic. I’m sure Miklos would agree would you not?”
“Indeed I would, Maruc if I was applying human logic to the illogical and chaotic world of demonology. But considering the situation,” Miklos said glancing over to Seath who was preparing herself to leave, “if there are people there, they may not be there for long.”
Miklos stood up and picking up his travel bag turned back to Maruc. “I have prepared myself already with certain meditations, doubtless we are all well equiped to deal with any ‘natural’ problems.”
“If we are to resolve this lady’s problems quickly then we must leave with haste. After you Maruc.” Miklos gestured toward the door. “The lady can direct us.”
“Yes, enough talk. Let’s see what this matter is.” said the impatient dwarf, already standing by the door.
* * * * *
Nicolai awoke with a start, an old woman shouting about demons in her cellar. He doubted that were true, more likely some underground meeting room for some grouping or other that liked to keep in the shadows.
The travellers he had spent the previous day following were prepared to go down and have a look. As he thought about following them down, he realized that no one here knew him or his past misdemeanours. A clean slate. A chance to build a decent reputation. If nothing else this would make his life somewhat easier than back on Fogor Isle, but would it also make him a target for those with more nefarious ideas.
He quickly packs his belongings, and follows them down, trying to keep to the shadows. A feeling that it might be a good idea to watch the backs of these travellers was at the forefront of his mind.
* * * * *
The old woman leads the group to a house a short distance away from the inn. “In my root cellar, I can hear it moving about… Sometimes during the day, but mostly at night. Things get moved. Food is missing! Just minutes ago was the worst! I could hear voices. They called to me!” she says as she walks hurriedly. She directs the group past the entrance and to a trap door in the back of her kitchen, beside the brink and plaster oven.
“The cellar is down there.” she says, shaking with fear. It is clear that she wants to leave the house and return to the inn.