“Right, who’s got the map. Have we missed anything?”
“Back where we started? Priest, would that break the curse?” Waiting for an answer, her brows furrowed, at least the one not covered by her eyepatch. “Are there any upper floors to this keep? Or perhaps another portal,” she added, savouring the look on the Dwarf’s face.
The dwarf scowled at the Elf’s suggestion of yet another portal. “Would not killing that thing be enough to have broken the curse? Priest could you not now do some sort of blessing on the building and lands and call this mission done? If not, I will search this level again for any missed passages but I WILL NOT go through this magicked portal again” Feldard crossed his arms sternly glaring at the lot of them, daring for one say otherwise or call him coward.
“We have given the place a thorough going over. I don’t foresee any further problems. With the spirit of Sevastian destroyed, there is no one left of sufficient power or dark knowledge to call more creatures forth. As to whether the Sons of Night come looking for him and in turn perform some divination to discover who destoyed their comrade. That is another question. We might hope that they are too self-centered to worry about the loss of a subordinate. However, if Sevastian was high in their counsels, it could prove ill for us.” Maruc rubbed his chin. “Would I be right Miklos in assuming these ‘Sons of Night’ would have sufficient power to trace us should they wish to?”
“Easily.” Miklos replied. “It would be logical for us to discover as much as we can about the ‘Sons of Night’ for our own protection. It’s up to you if you wish to inform Caldwell of our suspicions because any divination would need to be performed in his castle. That might be a nasty shock for him, but then again we would have been paid by then so you may not care. We have done what we have been asked to do so there is no deceit in claiming the money offered it would be only our own consciences that will suffer if the ‘Sons of Night’ retake the castle without our warning.”
“Either way we must return to Caldwell and inform him that his errand is complete.” Miklos thought a moment. “We could of course mention this issue after we have been paid, he may then wish to employ us further to discover to truth behind the ‘Sons of Night’? We can get the Specularum in time for a nice warm dinner.” He savoured this thought – no more cheese and bread, for a while at least.
“This may be a hole in the ground, but it is a hole in the ground that we have been paid to investigate and cleanse fully. I would suggest a full sweep through, just to check that we haven’t missed anything. Especially any secret treasure rooms that we might have missed on our initial foray. “If that was a mages hideout, I’m sure there should be something else magical inside, it’s not like we found a huge amount.”
“You have a point Nicolai, he must have had a spellbook at the least. Since we are here and we have cleared the majority of the castle, the only place left to look was the yellow mould encrusted storeroom. A fine mist or spray of water should reduced the effect of moving the contents, a damp cloth across the nose and mouth should make it safer. Its also quite early in the day. I’m sorry Feldard but I’m with Nicolai on this one.”
“This place holds little terror for us now. I see no harm in giving the place the once over.” Maruc added.
* * * * *
The group thoroughly searched the castle, but could not find anything more of value. Satisfied that their job was finished, the companions left the castle and started onward towards Specularum, more than content to leave further talk of the ‘Sons of Night’ behind – one undead mage had been plenty enough to deal with.
They emerged from the castle to find dark stormclouds gathered in the sky. They quickened their pace, hoping to get to Specularum before any rough weather could fall upon them. They did not get very far before hard rain started to fall.
“You want to stop for this rain? You haven’t seen rain until you’ve gone on a force-march through a summer squall in Western Darokin.” Saeth didn’t mention that half the brigade that had been washed away into the sands, or what the survivors had done to the fool of a commander who gave the orders.
Before thunder and lightning could make travel too dangerous, they made decided to divert their journey to the small village of Sisak, which was much closer. The group travelled quickly along Westron Road. The Clearwater River twisted alongside the road for a bit and then ran back into the woods. As it approached noon, the village appeared ahead. Its whitewashed buildings were nestled between the river and an adjoining creek. The fields were well tended and neatly laid out between stone walls. To the east were hayfields and pastures. Strangely, there were no animals in the pastures.
A man was cursing loudly along the side of the road, as he and his team of horses struggled to pull a fully loaded wagon out of the mud of the ford.