Vog Mur Exit Policy
Arutha's horsemen meet us on the beach. On the way back we swap tall tales and not so tall ones; Haermond tells us that Glordin has 'retired' to meditation and contemplation at one of the last Galadhrim settlements, up near a Mura tribe known as the Shesh. This has left Arutha in charge of a realm beset by lycanthropes. Arutha doesnt know exactly where his father is as the Galadhrim are a bit vague about such things. Alcant's supremely competent Visir Arcana was Glordins friend, companion and servant and is leaving; Elacaborn is packing to return to the Scrófa home in the Verlassenvald. Adding to Aruthas woes is the impending hand over to the Irien, which the Clan is leaving him to manage. He does not want to hand over a realm with a werewolf problem and social unrest. He has always intended to manage an increasingly authoritarian last few years of Gwathló rule so that when the Kuvan take over the population would see it as a time of hope and renewal. This carefully laid plan has gone out of the window. And his fathers parting shot was that he should have found Forgileill, or better yet, not have lost her in the first place.
Tūd is summoned to the lyrond - the most senior court in Alcant - run by Arutha. The court is formally laid out, with Arutha and senior nobles on a dais facing the supplicant's mat and the rest of the court's attenders. Tūd scrubs up his new body as best he can, dons his battered, scratched and patched armour, walks formally to the mat and kneels, facing Arutha.
Arutha presents the court's judgement: Tūd has been found complicit in kidnapping the princess. He would normally be stripped of his ilinhood and banished, but his lyio (Gothon Yla) has retained him despite pressure from Arutha; a letter from him that supports Tūd but lets him leave with honour if he so chooses. He is to remain in his private room for the foreseeable future, and make no contact with his former comrades in arms. The court sits, stony faced, while he tells them of dishonour and assigning guilt without defence. He is escorted to his room. He considers leaving but there's some ilin honour thing involved. And lots of other ilin about with sharp knives.
Kamilata is summoned to the lyrond. He polishes the dents and marches down the hall to the dais, his helmet under his arm - because it is so dented it will no longer fit on his head. He too is found guilty of some spurious charge, and is to be formally drummed out of his unit. The court sits, stony faced, while he tells each of them what he thinks of them.
He is escorted down to the parade ground, the local jalee units drawn up on parade, sweating in the heat. A dwarf factor has been assigned to take back his kit - all of which is, of course, now lost or broken on the battlefield. "Well this isn't issue!" "This is damaged!". Other than some whinging there is no problem until it comes to the matter of 67 gold pieces signed over as expenses. "What do you mean you've not got any receipts?". He hands over what he has (including 12gp given to him by Tūd as it's not part of his... erm, his... er...), his spear, helmet, Gae Bolg, etc. He is left standing in his underwear carrying a large gold shield worth a lot, lot more than 65gp. He is marched off to a cell - no longer a jalee, he is essentially a bandit.
Thranduil is summoned. Kneeling down, he spots a single friend (Cam Gil) amongst the court officials. He is told off for 'swanning about irresponsibly for 4 1/2 months with the princess'. TL presents a case best summarised as "truth, justice and the ilin way", while Arutha responds with a case best summarised as "expediency". He has put enough pressure on the white order that they will expel Thranduil. Cam Gil is obviously angry, but he is following the process. Thranduil hands over his white cloak, which he has patched together over the last day or so out of bits of his old underwear for the court. It's only been lightly washed. Thranduil is arrested as a bandit and escorted to the cells. He considers escaping but there's some ilin honour thing involved. And lots of other ilin about with sharp knives.
The word "scapegoats" floats about.
The phrase "Regime change" also floats about. Any ruler who's chucked us in a cell has so far accidentally fallen from power soon after. Nothing to do with us, usually, it's just considered bad luck.
Unknown to the warriors, Arutha has set an execution date for the two 'bandits', and very probably an 'accident' for Tūd. Forgeillil, while talking to Imrael and arranging for a letter to her dad (Glordin, who has retired to somewhere in Diaton) hears about this and they plot a rescue attempt. She will 'claim' them, and so take on responsibility for their actions. Tūd will need to leave his current lyio as well if he doesn't want brief flying lessons. The plan is to bring them into the evening meal and carry out the bread-sharing ceremony there, where Arutha cannot interfere. It should save face all round bar her brother Arutha, by thwarting his will again.
It goes off as planned; Forgeillil gains responsibility for three ilin and Arutha goes pale and loses his appetite, leaves as soon as formally possible. The rest join in the ceremony.
The next day Forgeillil gets a mouthful from Arutha and told that Vog Mur has gone to pot - the regime change was fine but there was no follow up plan ("Not enough manpower" says Kamilata when told). She is to get out of the way, go there and sort the place out. Properly this time. She is not best pleased with this slight on her ilin that effectively reflects on her, and gives them a mouthful in turn, despite their protests ("But we did what were told!" "There was no follow up plan!" "It was the politicians who fouled up!" etc). She is even more amazed, frustrated and depressed when she learns of all the loot, er, taxes, that were handed out by the crew when they got back, rather than kept in a box she might have access to.
We hear more about the situation in Vog Mur as we prepare to leave. Apparently monsters overrun the place ("What monsters?" "Firehounds for example" "Oh yes, there were some of those...") and the local population is leaving in droves. Very small droves as there aren't many of them to start with. The ilin's new boss is even less impressed, while the regime change crew continue to protest that they did what they were told and it's a failure at her level of management ("The Adminisphere"). This happens a lot.
We kit ourselves out - Kamilata gets his gayblade back. We're not sure - neither is Imrael - how to kill firehounds, so we get some holy water and some silvered arrows. It seems a fanatical priestess of the warrior maiden called Ardnorot (pr Arnorow) has gone out there with an entourage of 2 Frunze hardmen and a Quaj fighter and not been heard from since.
Forgeillil writes letters - including one to Arutha promising to go back to school. Kamilata arranges for some boats with is mocca friends. Thranduil gets the provisions in - lots of hard tack biscuits. Tūd raids the armoury.
On the canoes a week passes quickly past, before Tūd has his first wet raven dream.
A few days later they land on the beach at PegCuir? (?). We are met by a Frunze hardman Alphonsa who greats us with a very camp "Hola!". He is sinewy, scarred, carries a battleaxe, shield and javelins; looks a bit like a mini Thrud the Barbarian, speaking Spanish with a Norwegian accent.
As we potter about looking to see what the state of the nation is, he is replaced by Rathro, a similarly built warrior carrying a broadsword and a big smile.
The castle is still in ruins after the golem destroyed most of it chasing down Silnas (not Silas Greenback), which in turn released the hydra. ("What Hydra?" asks Forgeillil "Ah, yes. Yes there might have been a hydra" respond the others. "But look, we left the place in the hands of a capable sergeant, who was very good at digging latrines")
We talk to the locals; apparently the hydra is currently scoffing the rare ant-eating Appelation trolls in the other half of the island. In turn the ants are running amuck in an ant-like way and eating buildings and some of the fishing boats. The firehounds are loose and occasionally pop ("they can teleport?" asks Tūd in broken Kea, "My god can they?!") into the village for a snack. Many folks have been fleeced by the traders that can now approach the village, and most of the fit fighting men have gone to join a battle-sized unit being raised at Eagles' Reach. Leaving the hounds, hydra and ants free to roam.
Rathro is replaced by Zato, carrying two Quaj (oddly shaped cleaver-like blades), a leather breastplate, thigh length boots, a sneer and nothing else. His exposed body parts are pierced heavily.
In town we find a public/community hall "The Ardent Pigs", where Ardnorot already sits with her hardmen. A political/philosophical debate ensues between her and Kamilata The Raconteur along the lines of her saying we should leave them alone, and Kamilata saying she's no better than us and at least we will (eventually) have the support and infrastructure of the empire. (And of course their taxes, but he doesn't mention that). She plans to deal with the hydra by assembling a bunch of villagers and driving it off a cliff... Good luck to her. Tūd asks her about the teleporting firehounds and she looks momentarily panicky - they can teleport?
We decide to leave the firehounds, hydra and fanatical priestess to themselves and go and say hello to the loved-up librarians in Dulacaborn's old tower; we rent a small fishing dinghy and Kamilata sails it around. Forgeillil is a bit reluctant to use the tunnels because of the undead insurgents, despite the other's insistence that there aren't any more.
There Tūd discovers a new interest and learns lots of stuff about hydra ("Some of them have seven heads you know. And they're quite big"). Kamilata reads up on the Firehounds, finding an old shipping note of Silnas's; there are 'only' two of the pony-sized beasts, and they can breathe fire 'only' a limited number of times before having to restock on chilli. No mention of teleporting, but that may be because everyone knows they can and so it's not worth mentioning.
Thranduil finds reference books on werewolves ("First, draw a pentagram on the wall. Second, encourage people from foreign lands to visit your capital") but there's nothing there he didn't already know. Kamilata comes across a reference to the massive campaigns up on the plateau between empire and hurgelin, culminating in Hurin Cįma's last stand. Many high-cast bodies lie there unburied, much to their clans dismay. Being important people they might just be dripping with shiny toys...
We also find out lots and lots about the ecology of East Rythim and surrounding areas. For example, you can make silk out of pineapples.
We sail off to Encla Turic, the remains of the castle, to have a look around. Ten yards out from the beach our sailor expert Kamilata drops the anchor through the floor of the boat. Tūd offers to open another hole to let the water out. The others beat him over the head with an oar (which is odd, because the boat isn't rowable) and wade back to the beach. K's repair job was excellent ("Right, if she comes apart we all hold on to the repair, not the rest of the boat") and despite the initial jeers from the rest of the crew, once he's under way again he glides effortlessly through the waves, coming to an exact four-wheel-drift sliding stop at the castle pier.
At the back of the pier are two large iron doors to enter the castle. Forgeillil breaks her lock-pick trying to open them. Kamilata shins up the chains to the counterweight locks and starts to split the links, but hits his thumb and falls off. Tūd climbs up and breaks the links in a few blows. The door opens ("Yeah, but I weakened them for you") and a bell chimes ("Yeah yeah").
"So Boss, what now?" Confusion reigns - Boss? Who? Oh me! Erm, well.. Forgeillil suddenly wants to leave us to it and stay at home. "That's what happened last time" chorus the boys. "You can't delegate responsibility". Thranduil is sent off on a stick. Er, stalk.
Ilin are all white...
We explore the castle - again. This time, we can remember roughly where the traps are.
In the library, Forgeillil finds a secret cache ("That was easy, why didn't you find it the first time?" "Er, we were busy"). Five alchemy books and six vials, three marked '+' and three marked '-'. We look at the tiny little perfectly formed boats in the pool... and consider Silnas's close relationship with the Kraal... and the stock of trade goods in a room downstairs... Kamilata takes one little sailing boat and a plus potion and hides it in the pier for emergencies.
In the alter room, we spot a panel behind the jade demon statue with sapphire eyes. While Forgeillil tries to work out how to get to the panel, TL/K? Sweeps the statue onto the floor. We now have 47kg of green obsidian chips and two large sapphires worth silly amounts of money.
Following one corridor up Thranduil finds himself at the bottom of an enormous crater. He fails to see anything as a javelin comes whistling past. Two more arrive as he stands looking about wondering where they're coming from (very unlucky - or lucky - rolls). The Three Amigos are scattered about the rim of the crater. As we arrive behind Thranduil, Forgeillil preps some kind of lightning bolt (we all duck) and we ping a couple of arrows that miss. Zato stands and waves his private parts at us. Tūd fires and misses, but Forgeillil gets him with her favourite firebolt. We hear "Zhe swee en feur!" and then he's off "'shów! shów! shów!" burning 3/round. We jeer "Fek arf yer spanish barsteward!"; Forgeillil looks at us in surprise "But he's french" "Yes we know, just adding insult to injury"
Below we find an arena and some more traps, and the remains of a giant ("Oh. There was a giant?!") that was half buried under the rubble and then probably chewed by seven sets of teeth. Tūd looks at the skull but it's a bit big. It'll keep.
We go back to the alter room and down another corridor. Forgiliell going first spots but resists a symbol of pain. Kamilata, behind and unwarned, spots it too and succumbs. Forgeillil averts her eyes down to the floor and is caught by a symbol of fear. She backs up into Kamilata who throws up down her collar. We drag them all out and wait till it all wears off. We argue about who should go first. (In our recent change of status, we realise that Kamilata has been 'promoted' from professional soldier to junior aristocratic criminal...)
We sneak down the corridor using our hands as blinkers, Thranduil in advance, and into the centre of a hemispheric room. This is the room with a hidden door to the underground tunnel network. We find an up-and-over door and follow a corridor to a hall with a shiny sword on a stone bench. Tūd cries 'race you for it!' to Thranduil but as they rush forward Kamilata spots a trap, Forgeillil triggers one and Tūd gets to the sword first and picks it up. A large pin is fixed to the middle and all kinds of things happen in the next round.
The door we came through closes. A door in the chamber opens, letting in water and... a kraken. Kamilata heads for the mechanism but the kraken goes for him. Tūd goes for the kraken with his new shiny sword. "What's happening?" cries Forgeillil, having recently returned from the loo (?) "Dying and drowning". "Normal behaviour when you're around us. And water."
It wraps four or five tentacles around Kam and starts to squeeze. Tūd and Thranduil hit it but don't accomplish much. Forgeillil plugs up the water channel with an earthwall, leaving us waste deep in water but not nostril deep, which is a Good Thing. We batter away for a bit at the beast while it crushes away at Kamilata until he manages to tear open its chest with his garry baldy; from then on we hack at it and lightning bolt it ("aaargh no, ow ow ow" says Kamilata) until it stops moving.
We stop for lunch back at the pier. We expand the ship ("I name this ship glug glug glug"). Forgeillil is too impatient to wait for her powers to recover, so we scout down the corridor we've not yet been in - downstairs to the Kraal Caverns. Nothing there. Dark.
That night we pitch anchor in our new boat off the Spit of Land. Tūd is assigned to cooking, so he cooks the biscuits that Thranduil has brought, roasting them gently over a stove. The elves stand watch.
Halfway through the night, Forgeillil sees some sea creatures approaching from towards the beach. She wakes everyone up and we talk about whether we ought to shoot them or shake their hands. Thranduil shoots one anyway. Tūd takes aim at the dark patches on the dark patches and gets one. K sets sail. Between us we shoot them until they stop wriggling.
Were they friendly? Was it a coffee morning call? The conversation by the 'real' ilin drifts to bows and arrows and the rest go to sleep. We all settle down. Thranduil stands watch, and is ambushed by one of the wounded Sahuagin (Kraal) in the middle of the night that managed to get a hold on the ship. Thranduil cries out "I say everyone get up!" We blow the ballast tanks and dive. Ooops. Thranduil kills it. Tūd mutters about being woken up every half hour for no real reason.
In the morning Tūd fries up some biscuits. Cleans deck. Swabs jibs. Cleans Kraal skull...
We sail around to Eagle Head Cove (near Garth's mausoleum) and up the hill to see what we can see. There are puffs of smoke from the wood near the village on the other side of the island, so we sail over and jog in to the edge of the wood.
Thranduil, our scout, manages a brilliant perception roll and can pinpoint the hounds and the Three Amigos closing with each other.
Thranduil & Forgeillil clutch bits as a huge but faint power surge flows over at the speed of magic. Later, when they compare notes, it seems to be from around Diaton and must consist of a Major Event. (1000s of pp, summoning a devil 40-50pps).
Thranduil sneaks forward from the rest of us, and find himself watching Ardnorot sneak across his field of view. She doesn't see him. He quietly smells like a fox. She twitches with the gentle power use nearby but is too focussed on the firehounds. He suddenly realises Zapo is right in front of him; a few very tense moments as Zapo crept across. Zapo and Ardnorot are obviously very very good.
Interlude: ICE stories. (link?)
We sneak along behind Thranduil as he sneaks along behind the French folk. Tūd, with his new body, is doing really well at the sneaking - he has to tap Thranduil on the shoulder to let him know where he is.
The firehounds get wind of someone and head off, but don't teleport. The French folk give up trying to follow them; they're too fast. But we track 'em with our tracking ranger-like ilin. Pick up the trail, lose it, gain it again. We camp out at the wall of Edas which has been abandoned for a bit and Tūd stews some biscuits. We close the gate and Forgeillil fixes up the hydra-shaped wall with an earth of wall, trapping the hounds in the largest part of the island... Overnight, the elves see ghostly forms come up from Garth's tomb to stand staring at us.
Roast biscuits for breakfast.
It's time we dealt with Garth. Our engineer opens the main door and portcullis; there are also side passages to the depths. Inside is a hall with pillars, with chambers and passages off. In some of the chambers are slabs with desiccated and well armed and armoured corpses. We don't disturb anything. Yet.
In one empty room, the floor seems suspicious (it keeps asking us what we're doing there) so we split the party and search the basement. Or rather, the elves cross the floor and open a door on the other side while Kamilata and Tūd wait at the entrance. The floor slides back, revealing a water pool. Tūd spots (00) a glass 'coffin' full of silver in the water (and an undead-slaying sword? I've got confused - "In case of zombies break glass")... We don't disturb anything. Yet.
On the far side of the pillared hall from the entrance, we find a richly decorated coffin. We try and read the inscription; both Tūd and Forgeillil conclude (bad rolls) that it's his mother. Kamilata and Thranduil look around for an oar. To try and communicate with Garth we start lifting the lid, which suddenly shifts itself. Garth sits up. He looks a little worse for wear, being dead these last few thousand years, but Tūd says "Hello", bows, and offer him a cup of coffee and a broiled biscuit. Garth cuts off Forgeillil's arm.
She collapses with shock; Tūd grabs the bigger bits of her (as it were) Thranduil grabs the rest and we run for it. The pillared hallway seems full of Garth's ancient, scrawny and extremely resilient companions. We peg it past, over and through them taking a few scrapes. Thranduil zips swinging through the columns which keeps them diverted for a bit. Kamilata falls over. And gets up. Thranduil thinks about jumping around some more but thousands of badly dressed barbarians appear on the nearest hill and shout "Get on with it!", and he rushes speedily ahead to open the portcullis. Kamilata runs into a column - a glancing blow...
We make it outside, Thranduil shutting the portcullis as Kamilata struggles through, but 3 zombies make it through with him. They square up; Thranduil throws Tūd his spare arm, and Tūd smears the last of his healing paste on Forgeillil (at -10) keeping her alive. One of the zombies comes out of the darkness under the entrance into the sunshine, and Kamilata takes him on. Forgeillil, now conscious enough to talk, tells Tūd of some bit of herb she likes to take at occasions like this, and after a bit of fumbling (easy now) he finds it and feeds it to her.
In the meantime, Kamilata smacks the zombie over the head with a big stick. (We all need to get sticks from East Rythim. They would be rythim sticks...) Thranduil uses the planet. It goes down, but it's not staying down. They both try and get the zombie's mace away from it; Kamilata manages to trip over (01+00+15) his Gae Bolg which could be very nasty as it's got blades everywhere. Which might explain why he tripped over it. Luckily, or unluckily, he breaks it in the process . The zombie is up and battering; Tūd joins them and between them they batter it to bits. It's not quite dead, but it's still... still...
On the way back to the boat we come across Zato at the wall. He stands taunting us, waving all his weapons at us. We shoot him; he does some fancy arrow chopping but by the time he reaches us he's hurtin' 'n' spurtin'. He closes with Tūd but leaps sideways and cuts Thranduil down. Tūd manages to follow him, stabbing him in the back. Kamilata flank attacks. Zato goes down and we keep hitting him until he stops twitching. Tūd takes all the shiny things off him, including some rather iffily placed ones.
Back at the library ("Oh hello. You again. So nice to see you. We'll be upstairs"), we gift the sapphires, Zato's blades and the alchemy books to the librarians. They're very happy with the books, though not so much with helping Tūd learn to read them while he's there. Forgeillil and Thranduil are put to bed to recover from their injuries; Forgileill will be bed-bound for a fortnight, and Thranduil a week. The rest spend the time in the library, Tūd trying to decipher the alchemy books. Kamilata comes across some history of Garth, about him wanting to be buried in the volcano, but his son built him a beach hut instead.
We wash, steam, boil and soak in Dettol Zato's magical piercings and then hand them out: 2x +10 DBs (Thranduil and Kamilata), 1x PP multiplier (to Waseriel), 1x Deflection (Forgileill) 1x Flip(3) (Tūd). We examine the potion from behind statue; Tūd reckons (-15) it's a Red Dragon Were-Chicken? transform. Thranduil reckons it's Invisibility.
Back to the castle and the serpent-carved pillar that's been bothering Forgeillil. She finds a secret panel; inside it are a black rope and a gold rope. She attaches a climbing rope to the black one and we pull it from far away. Spiral stairs open up downwards to a big drum chamber, decorated with murals and containing a treasure chest! Yippee! Back to the library to identify and research the goodies: A rod (essence pp multiplier) a 2H sword, a ring, 3 vials, staff (channelling pp multiplier) 250gp, 500sp, 5 emeralds. Forgeillil puts on the ring and attunes - a x2 pp multiplier!
Back to hill at Eagle's Head Cove, near Gart. As we climb the hill, we can see the remaining Amigos make their way from the wall; they've seen our ship and are heading towards us. She pulls out something and forms an odd wiggly carpet and gets on it. We converge...
As they close, the hardmen get off and fan out. We open fire. A few poor shots from the Ilin, but Forgeillil firebolts Ardnorot off her mat (eventually). Kamilata squares up to Alfonso, Thranduil to L vs. Rathththro. Tūd keeps shooting Ardnorot. Kamilata is hit hard but he's not bothered - and manages a 66 crit! ouch! Cuts off Alfonso's arm. Rathththro takes a flying leap at Thranduil - who steps under to stab him in the back as he lands. It's very hard to change direction in mid air. Forgeillil clobbers him with a firebolt too. Very painful.
Ardnorot goes crackle crackle, spurt spurt, sizzle sizzle. Rathththro suddenly gets better. Kamilata tries to finish off Alphonse. Tūd goes up to Ardnorot and shoots her in the head. Thranduil and Rathththro go at it again, and Forgeillil throws her dagger at him and knocks him to his knees. Thranduil tries to take his head off, but batters him, he's still conscious. Kamilata cuts his leg off but he's doing a Boromir. Tūd cuts off Ardnorot's head. Kamilata gets caught by a symbol on Raththththro's shield and falls asleep. We batter Rathththro to the ground and cut off his head.
Tūd tries first aid on Kamilata but don't get nowhere.
Whew. Only alive because we kept the priest busy.
Loot: Bear teeth stirs something in Tūds mind. A bit. Battleaxe, target shield (incl repel undead rune), broadsword, another shield. Ardnorot had a shield with a snarly woman - one for Torendra or Forgeillil? A furry belt (skill DP 1/3/9) that Tūd tries on and wahey! He has a tail! An even faster faster lightning draw... Boots to escape unpleasant situations (use 1 spell from bridge list 1/day). Candle - unputtable outable, on a finger ring. Eagle circlet - Tūd puts it on (he likes trying things on) - holds 1 prepared mentalist spell, sharper sight (+10 percep) +5 presence, acts as light helm.
The Worm raft drifts off. Yuck. Handbag - 11kg no matter what's in it 100 litres space. Tomfar club easier to fumble but can become flaming flail of Some (?) possibly cast flamebolt. Vambraces (Gauntlets of Registow?) STR+5, medium claw attack, clawed hands (Kam?). Gorget (distance?). Flammable oils. In bag: Rod animate dead (F) Shortsword of wounding (x2 con hits, x2 ratios?) .
Forgeillil is not really keen on these claw/tail things. Not part of her... erm... her erm....
Lots of piercings: Forgeillil is really not keen on some of these, but we persuade her that it's better to be better than put them in a bag. She compromises with only ones we can't see. Earrings: RR vs. essence, channelling skill, magic ritual skill, steel clothing (Kamilata). Nosering: power perception? Lips-ring: RR vs. poison. Tongue pin: seduction. Nipples: herb lore +20 (Tūd), first aid +20 (Tūd), bicep (2nd aid +20 Tūd), L shoulder: thrown weapon, R shoulder, 1H concussion weapons, navel: effective contraception.
We leave the bodies as bait and hide. Sure enough, the hydra appears. With it's enormous bulky body. And great claws. And huge nibbly teeth in seven sets of jaws. We stay hidden, and track it to its nest; our Lyio climbs a tree and pours shrinking potion on it. It starts to shrink a bit - down to 12m long. Another potion, and another, down to 6m. That'll do. It wakes up, surprised at how all the trees have grown. Big battle with 'little' hydra. It dies.
Off to the wall - we're now the official Empire representatives. Again. We celebrate with sautéed biscuits and get a good night's kip.
The next day we go back to lay a trap for firehounds - in fact the hydra corpse has already been chewed. Tūd and Thranduil track them to the woods but are reluctant to go in... they can just run away faster than we can catch up. The others drag the remains of the hydra corpse into the mausoleum, leaving the portcullis open, and hide themselves nearby.
The firehounds leave the woods and reluctantly follow the hydra blood trail to the mausoleum (they're hungry), trailed at some distance by Tūd and Thranduil. They pause, reluctant to go in, but they're very hungry and the corpse is just there... they go in. Kamilata & Forgeillil pause, not quite sure who's going first. Kamilata eventually goes in but manages to trip over his shoelaces (again?); one firehound looks up to see him and starts towards the exit. Forgiliell rushes over to the stone trigger and pushes it but one hound makes it out and away - Tūd tries a 600m shot but just misses it. We fix the portcullis closed and shut the doors. Hopefully the zombies and firehound will sort each other out.
We track the other to the woods; Thranduil helps us sneaking up on the nest but we blunder about in the dark ("SHHHHHH!"), Kamilata falls over and collapses into the nest, finding himself face to face with a waking firehound. In one blow he hits it, cutting off its leg and killing it. Good job it didn't yawn... The rest of us untangle ourselves from whatever we've got caught up in and wander in.
In the morning, back at the mausoleum the hound is still there. We spend time fetching the undead-repelling shield. Come back and feed the hound biscuits in an attempt to tame it. It starts to associate us with food...
We give up. Tūd shoots it and it tries to breathe fire, but (01) smokes out an ear. Forgeillil tries a waterbolt but fumbles; it fizzles. Thranduil stands there laughing. Kamilata still holds a biscuit. It makes a break for the rear of the hall but it stumbles, and Tūd the heartless barsteward kills it.
We wander about Garth's beach mausoleum. We find two locked iron doors that we can't open. Behind Garth's coffin is a passage to a room with a glass case with three suits of armour - we open the case. The three ilin are looking at three suits of armour... Forgeillil, on watch, sees Garth's coffin open - so she seals him off with an earth wall in the passageway. "Don't worry; the boss has buried us alive"
A ghostly form of Garth makes it through the earth wall. Clobbers Kamilata hard but he shrugs it off. Forgeillil releases daylight from her prepared rod, driving Garth back through the wall. Thranduil is examining his armour and shield - they seem magical. We sit around in the pitch black discussing plans before realising we've got an undying candle and don't have to discuss our doom in the dark.
We prepare to run for it. Forgileill removes the wall and we leap off - and scrabble about in the soil. She casts sudden light again and Garth is effectively stunned briefly. Thranduil cuts at him with his new sword of undead slaying. Tūd is not thinking straight, and instead of heading for the exit comes up to flank Thranduil while the others head for the passage. Forgileill preps a firebolt but Tūd is in the way. Much shouting ensues. Thranduil hits Garth shattering his shoulder and he disappears. We keep running.
Back at the library ("Oh for goodness sake, what have you brought this time?"). Gart's black/silver armour - +20 (Thranduil?). Gray, sneaky plate armour +20 (Kamilata?). Boring silvery inlaid with gold armour ( +10). Plus similar swords?
Garth's shield is cursed and evil, and we need a remove curse from a priest to release it from Thranduil.
Kamilata (as the sailor) and Thranduil (as the cursed) are instructed to go back with a letter to Arutha to say we've recovered control of the island. They're not keen on meeting Arutha, but Forgeillil insists. So eventually they agree. And 'stop off' at East Rythim to get the shield removed. While they're waiting, they 'realise' it would be quicker and more reliable to post the letter than to sail all that way, so they do so. That gives them a few weeks to see the sights. They visit the local ruler, who was supposed to be looking after Vog Mur; all is OK. Settlers are being assembled.
News: Glordin's retreat was attacked by a large force of werewolves (they must have had a weremole to know where he was) and defended by a good proportion of the local empire's powerful. Glordin was killed, but the werewolf threat is largely destroyed.
News: Forgeillil's fortune has been shipped to Hisra, the last remaining Gwathló fortress further into the empire. Arutha is brooding, unstable.
They return with chocolates, men, sheep, Ilin and bureaucrats. We leave, saying goodbye to the librarians - who tell us that they can probably pinpoint the battle on the plateau. Turin, city unnamed. There's a standard ritual to find the dead. We sail to Eagle's Reach.