Chapter Five Are they digging in an evil way?

The day starts with much confusion as McFlurry interrupts the current conversation mid flow as we discuss tactics and spells by suddenly blurting out “..create soup? What spell is that?” We all pause as we recall the conversation, and not even breaking his sentence down into its component parts could we come up with that particular phrase. After a few well aimed blank stares he is summarily ignored as we discuss things properly, like where can we buy a wagon from with raised sides, barbed wire and a wizard’s tower.

We get a packed lunch from Lady Shontessa as we leave, fun sized Mars bars included, but as the door to her inn is opened by a patron, we spy armed guards approaching and quickly choose to hide. With Hide bonuses not equalling double digits between the lot of us, we are all soon spotted and rounded up to sit at a large table while we are questioned.

Apparently a band of Monks were due to arrive in the city many days ago, and a messenger has arrived to question their disappearance. When described to us, I explain that perhaps these Monks where killed by bandits, as we came across bandits wearing cloaks that suspiciously sound like robes the Monks wore. As the party shuffle to get distance from me and the large murderous hole I am digging for us all, I manage to give them enough information for them to believe us. We are ordered to meet the guards the next morning at the city gates, and lead them to the place where we left the bodies.

Early the next morning we arrive at the gate, and wait for the guards to arrive. The hour of our meeting passes, and another after that as we sit in wait for our escort. I have a sneaking suspicion of duplicity and question the gate guard regarding the officer’s name who questioned us. When he replies in the negative, we stress the importance of bandits possibly impersonating guards, and the master sergeant is summoned. He thanks us, and says that he can now take action against this crime, while McFlurry nods and proclaims they only know what they know now “...because we are intelligent.” Sadly, this comment marks us back down in the eyes of the watch to buffoon level once more and sighing, we leave for Lady Shontessa’s castle.  

The day passes as we travel with nothing to trouble us, and it’s not until nightfall when I am on watch when trouble strikes. Wolves attack from the darkness, and the party are instantly awoken with my spell to bear arms against the attacking foes. Of course I spoil my distressingly good start by burning everyone around me including the wolves with my next action – damn. With flames licking from my body, the Wargs all pack attack me, and as I burn them again, I drop to the floor dying.

McFlurry finishes the first singed wolf off, and then heals me with a potion before helping Trixie batter off the two that are attacking her. Soon all of the wolves lie dead, and fiery glances are aimed in my direction as people wipe soot from themselves or look to repair burnt clothing. With no thanks forthcoming for ‘saving the day’, I turn in for the night.

Early the next day we come across the castle as described to us by Lady Shontessa, surrounded on three sides by water, and on the fourth side, a tall mountain. We intelligently decide to wait in the rocks hiding ourselves until nightfall so that we can cross the large beach area without being spotted. During this wait McFlurry tells us the tale of his life quest which regrettably drags on quite a bit about persecution and sacrifices, and is only stopped when we all feign death.

Silence descends on the group until darkness falls, and then we make our way round the lake to map out the area. The castle has 25’ high walls although one tower has collapsed, and lots of sections of the walls have collapsed in on themselves. The main doors into the castle still look secure though strangely enough, and outside the castle walls, many tents and a singular large wooden building can be seen by the moonlight.

We soon find a well travelled pathway that looks to take us up the side of the mountain and towards the castle, so we follow it until it curves and seems to go into the mountain high above the castle walls. A large metal door stops our journey onwards and Trixie with the aid of a spell takes on the role as “...a Monk with a hairy back” to propose some cunning plan to gain entrance.

We have no ambush sites to try anything though, so we have to move off the path and across a section of hillside where tall grass allows us to take some cover. The night passes and the morning comes during our vigil for wandering Monks and shortly after breakfast we observe Monk like people working below by the tents. In an attempt to determine whether we should talk to them or simply attack them, Trixie asks “Are they digging in an evil way?”  

Trixie in her alter ego disguise hails some workers and finds that she needs to talk to Brother Mike who is excavating things near the broken gate tower. There then follows some kind of cunning plan that my writing just cannot fully explain – you really had to be there. It seems that Trixie became Miner Dobbins, reported at the main door, gained access, told the door keeper about his miner friends, ran off to get us, and then came back as the Monk with the hairy back saying that Miner Dobbins had to deliver an important letter. I told you had to be there...

In our guises as miners, we are greeted warmly, the Monks explaining that they had been waiting for some workmen as replacements for a shift and they lead us into the side of the mountain. We are lead through corridors and while I look for murder holes in the ceiling, the brother passes the time by chatting about their finds, leading us back out the mountain again and onto a path that leads down to the tents below.

This confuses the hell out of us all, as we have never had a plan work successfully, and all are looking around to try and work out if evilness is apparent – a badge or an evil moustache being twirled would help, but all we can see are hard working brethren. We do notice that the occasional person that passes has robes that are obviously bulky due to armour worn beneath, but not enough of them to raise that much suspicion, well not in us anyway.

We are ushered into a large tent and are told to wait for the dig supervisor and not five minutes after the Monk has left, the tent falls down around our ears. I knew our plan was too good to be true!

Blows from clubs rain down on the lumpy bodies and heads of the party, and Trixie quickly cuts a hole in which to escape from. As I was standing next to Trixie I get out easily as well, and call out that “...things are going to get prickly!” as I cast Briar Web and catch eight of the Monks in my naughty bushes.

With the others well and truly trapped in tent bundles and pointy thistles, it’s left pretty much to Trixie and I to save the day. Again. I have flown up into the air to avoid a clubbing, while Trixie casts Sleep on the Monks, catching a few. I move close to Trixie to heal her from a particularly nasty wound she took as she left the tent, and we start to fight any of them that come out of the brambles. When I say fight, I really mean cast Summon spells of Dogs and Wolves that tear at the Monks exposed legs and at the sleepy ones on the floor, while Trixie hides behind me throwing daggers.

McFlurry has now escaped, but does not want to harm his fellow brethren for some reason, despite the fact that they wanted to take his unconscious body and probably do unspeakable things to it with an avocado. This changes when he see a Monk shoot an arrow at Trixie though, and defending her honour strikes the nearest Monk in the face until he collapses.

Stumpy just grumbles loudly and for a very very long time in the entangled mess, one step forward earns him gashed legs and arms and just wraps him up even further – so he sits and waits, not knowing that outside of his tarpaulin cover, eight Monks also stand still, with clubs raised high ready to strike the solitary lump, but all immobilised in the same way, muttering curses and small grimaces of pain.

The archer is up on the wall, and it’s up to SpiderMonk! to apprehend him, and so McFlurry charges and then straight up the wall on all fours aided by his arachnid cloak, taking an arrow or two for his troubles. As he closes in on the archer, he identifies the man as the soldier from town who tricked us, and when he casts Magic Missile at SpiderMonk!, McFlurry bravely runs away.

My Dogs and Wolves get the last of the Monks that we can see, while Magic Missile from Trixie wink out harmlessly on the casters shield, so we run off and hide in amongst the other tents out of bowshot.