We finish off our conversation with Marsha, who shows us a sketch of Helm (who we’ve promised to ensure leaves the city for good) and tells us where we are likely to find him. We make our way over to the smithy where he works and see him about to depart; with a laden mule, and with someone who looks like maybe his brother. The city is abustle with preparations for the Midwinter Festival and it is easy to follow them out of the town. (Like all good bandits) we wait until they are alone on the road before approaching them. Tesora (with some verbal backup from Rudolphus and some mostly non-verbal backup from Verion) persuades Helm that he had better keep going, and not come back for many, many years. Helm’s not happy about it, but he agrees. Helm’s brother is also not happy about it, but we give him a few coins, and a few more threats, and escort him back to into town without incident.
We head to Roffa the Sightless’ and tell Marsha we’ve completed the job, arranging to come back at night. Althia spends the intervening time chatting up Maurice to find out what more she can about the catacombs. We also buy some Holy Water from the temple; leaning heavily on Tesora’s paladin-ness. And, finally, we meet up with Anne (the priestess), who gives us some more holy water, an elixir of revivification (which she’d like back if we don’t use), and a request. She would like us to find Edith (who, in life, loved books and is recognizable by her ruby pendant), and make sure that she is fully at rest. Before departing for our meeting with Roffa, we buy a a sack full of chickens.
(On the way to see Anne (and thus Roffa) we weren’t quite able to evade some city guards who wanted to question us about the ruckus at the Rooster†. We persuaded them that we didn’t start the trouble, are only here for the festival, and will be staying out of trouble until we leave in the very near future.)
Marsha greets us in what we think is maybe finally her true face and takes us to confer with Roffa. Who is indeed Sightless. And surrounded by black and white cats, cages filled with birds, and, in one case, a dangerous creature called a cockatrice. She is happy with the short work we’ve made of the Helm mission and will take us to the entrance of the catacombs. She gives us some more details about what we can expect to find below. And some ____‡, in exchange for us bring her another cockatrice; should we find one.
Marsha then guides us to the House of Death. We’re obliged to suffer the indignity of wearing hoods as we’re guided through, and then the further indignity of listening to the priest of death being smug at us. We’re led past whatever gibbering ghoul or ghast they’re holding in check and taken to a small hole in the wall that we’re going to have to crawl through. They will open the hole back up in 24 hours, and again 24 hours after that, and then they won’t be opening it any more. We are urged not to emerge from other exits – it wouldn’t go well for us
We crawl through the passage, over some fortifications, and then decide where we want to go. We decide to avoid the warrenous area that ‘The Beast’ prowls and head south toward ‘The Museum’. The way is transected by many, often dead-ending, side-passages. We are (kind of) ambushed at one of these by a pair of ghouls, who growl at us, and urge us to leave, but are willing to accept a few chickens in lieu of actually fighting us. We tail them further south where we overhear them talking to someone who seems like their leader.
Tesora, Althia and Rudolphus go in to parlay with this individual and Verion hangs back. We find out the Edgar is the keeper of this …. Gallery. It is lavishly decorated, with the carcasses of the dead and pennants of the past. We offer up the last of our chickens and persuade Edgar that, since we’re not here to loot, he should let us pass. And yes, of course we would like a tour of his gallery. During the tour 1) we find a very old book of sketches – that weirdly contains the portrait of Lord Snow. 2) We hear about the history of the gnoll skeleton – one of his prized exhibits. 3) Verion sneaks his way to the other side of the room, without attracting attention. And 4) We use the ‘television’. Spill some blood into it and it will give you a vision. Rudolphus’ vision is of Dracian arguing with his brother.§ Althia’s was of ____‖. And Tesora’s faded to darkness. Edgar also told us that the librarian, Lilu, who does not like visitors but does like new books. Devoid of chicken, and anxious in spirit, we continue on.
† aka The Cock
‡ Seriously, what did she give us here? More holy water? I think she gave us something because we promised we’d bring her a cockatrice. Maybe we’ll just get paid for it when we return.
§ About? My memory fails me.
‖ What? How can my mind fail me so badly.