After breakfast there appeared to be a break in the weather, and several of the group decided to accompany Malvenos to gather firewood from the edge of the nearby forest. As they set about the deadwood with hatchets and axes, Rasha noticed that once again the Priory seemed to have had night -time watchers. When they returned to the Priory he shared his observations.
“The wagons will be mended to day, and if the storms thinning we may be able to leave tomorrow or the day after.” said Rasha, “But we still have no idea what is going on here.”
“Ja. I do not wish to leave these unworldly priests at the mercy of whatever is going on here” replied Ragnar. “We must force a resolution of some sort.”
“What about getting Koya to cast one of her prayers to determine the intent of the people round the table. I think she can do something like that?” suggested Dinald. This plan was suggested to Koya.
“If you think I am going to insult our very generous Hosts by casting a very obvious-they are clerics after all- spell questioning their intent, you are mistaken. Unlike yourself Dinald, I actually possess normal manners, and I refuse to spit in the collective faces of my hosts.” said Koya firmly.
“Um, uh what if I entertained our Hosts with some singing?” he suggested. “Could you do it in the background?”. Koya reluctantly indicated that she probably could.
About an hour before dusk there was another commotion in the yard. Ragnar could see the clerics going in and out of the Justicar, and entered.
Lining this hall were the statues of several saints and helpers of the Goddess. All of these had been pushed off their plinths, and now lay broken on the floor. Old Ruan seemed deeply affected, and was escorted out shaking by Ythel. Examining the hall they saw that it would have been quite easy to topple the statues with a bit of leverage-what was more surprising was that no-one had actually heard anything. As they emerged from the hall they went over to the Refectory to put their plan into operation.
They had something of a surprise: the so far unseen female guest Eiravel was sat down to table. Ungo and Dinald sat down near her. Somewhat shyly she was drawn out as she answered a few curious questions, re-iterating her story that her caravan had been attacked, and she had fled in the general chaos. Ragnar guessed that she was perhaps not telling everything of the truth.
As the meal neared its end Dinald winked at Koya and stood up.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, in order to thank our hosts and to honour the goddess Iomidae I would like to perform a few songs to show our gratitude.” he shook his hair. “Thankyou very much.”
Dinald had quite a pleasant voice, as his brother was forced to admit. Reynald looked across at Brothers Tomas and Ythel- Ruan had unfortunately not turned up for the meal. This probably wasn’t quite their cup of tea, but what harm could it do? And then a worm of horror crawled bit into his spine.
The song Dinald was very stupidly singing was called “The Princess and the two Goblins”- a Varisian drinking song of lewd bawdiness, verging on rampant pornography. From the look of shock and increasing anger on Ragnar’s face, it was clear that he too recognised it. So clearly did Brother Tomas, his face red he stood up and stormed out, shortly followed by Ythel and Rosenn. Ragnar hurried out after them.
“You fucking idiot Dinald.” said Ameiko shortly.
Dinald went outside and saw Ragnar coming towards him.
“Hey Ragnar my man, some misunderstanding. I’ll talk to them it will be fine” he chirruped. Ragnar grabbed him by the lapels and pinned him up against the wall.
“No. You will not talk to them. You will not see them. You will not bother them again.” he said through clenched teeth.
“Lighten up Ragnar, what is the problem?” asked Dinald.
“You insult the goddess, you insult my religion and you insult our Hosts and you do not see a problem.?” snarled Ragnar, towering over Dinald and putting his angry face right up against him.
“I am fed up of your stupid jokes and your lack of respect for anyone. You are a useless piece of Varisian street scum, and I am sick of you.”
“Rest assured” continued Ragnar, “That when we get to Linnorm Lands your behaviour will find you an early grave. My countrymen do not take kindly to guests who cannot behave.”
“You will not bother the Priests in this place again. You see them you walk away. Understand? UNDERSTAND!!” Eventually even Dinald understood.
As Ragnar stalked away Dinald saw Ailukka watching and made a “What’s he like?” gesture.
“You are imbecile Dinald.” was Ailukka’s pointed response.
Back in the Dormitory Koya pursed her lips. “Well Dinald fouled it up as usual, and all of the clerics left.”
“Waste of time then?” asked Sandru.
“Hmm not entirely. I detected something unpleasant about the girl- Eiravel. Something is not quite right about her.”
Ragnar re-entered glowering, and started preparing his bunk. Around him others were doing the same. Dinald had remained outside in the courtyard, not wanting to risk further annoying Ragnar. Rasha and Reynald came outside and mulled over Koya’s comments; Ungo joined them.
“Welcome to the club, Dinald!” laughed Rasha, as he clapped the Bard on the back.
“At least you didn’t get bitch slapped by Koya. Though Ragnar putting you up against the wall was impressive. Maybe we shouldn’t have given him that Belt of Ogre Strength? Ah well, getting it away from him now will be problematic, so we’ll just have to remember not to piss him off.” Rasha chuckled.
“Anyway we should do something about checking out this girl” continued Rasha, “No need to let the others in on it-I think they are quite annoyed enough with that last plan.”
After discussing the matter they decided that they would manufacture an excuse to get into the infirmary, and quietly interrogate the girl. At around midnight Reynald would clamber onto the roof of the Chapter House, and on a rope lower himself down the outside to look in through the windows. Using a pretext of hearing a call for alarm Dinald and Rasha would then enter the infirmary and question the girl. Reynald would continue to observe after they left, to see what the girl did. Kelda and Ungo would act as backup.
Shortly before midnight Rasha and Reynald clambered atop Koya’s wagon, and Reynald then threw his grapple up to the roof, and in the pouring rain, started to climb. Reaching the roof, he retrieved the rope and dropped it along the outside wall.
Meanwhile Dinald exited the dormitory, and looked outside into the sheets of rain and the blackness. He decided to count to three before he reacted to the imaginary scream he needed.
“One….Two…..Three………….” An echoing scream pierced the night, shortly followed by another. He stood frozen in shock. “This isn’t part of the plan?” he thought. Another short scream and then silence. Behind him in the dormitory no-one reacted, the sound muffled by the door and the weather. Reacting at last he moved forward towards the infirmary, and a clatter of arrows hit the wall near him, one of them piercing his arm. In the pitch darkness he saw the vague shape of a figure lurching towards him.
“Rasha! HELLLP!” he screamed, and backed toward the infirmary door. The figure lunged at him and iron hard fingers tore into his shoulder knocking him back against the wall. A brief flash of lightning illuminated a rotting dead face, yellow and broken teeth moving towards his face. He palmed his hand upwards and screamed even louder.
Ungo and Kelda ran forward, both again facing a hail of arrows, but partially shielded by the darkness and the cloister arches. Axe and sword bit deep into the figure, and it staggered backwards and fell to the ground. Ungo and Kelda rushed a number of shadowy figures across the courtyard, and as these drew their blades the clattering of a fierce hand to hand resounded around the yard.
Rasha climbed down from the caravan, and noticed too that the door to the Chapter House proper was partially ajar. Deciding that the Infirmary was probably safer Dinald opened the door and ducked inside. He was wrong, as usual.
He stepped inside and sprawled across one of the beds, face down was the girl, Eiravel. There was blood on the blankets. Skulking towards him was a ghastly, stooped figure, with pallid unnatural flesh. Its feral eyes gleamed with a baleful greenish glow, and savage jaws and naked talons reached out towards him. He squawked in terror as the talons raked deep into his shoulder, and as he tried to leap backwards he became aware of an ice cold torpor seeping through his shoulder, making his movements sluggish. The thing bit into his arm, before he toppled backwards and knew no more.
Hanging from a rope outside Reynald managed to get a partial view of the scene,as the unidentifiable thing stood in the outer doorway. Cursing he realised that events had overtaken their plan, and he started climbing back up the rope again.
Meanwhile Ungo and Kelda, in a bloody combat, had managed to dispose of all four of their foes. Turning round Kelda saw the new threat emerging from the infirmary, and charged forward. Ungo noticed that light seeped out from the ground floor of the gatehouse, and padded forward seeking new foes.
Yelling an Ulfen oath Kelda went into her battle rage, magnifying her already formidable strength into frightening proportion. With a single blow of her longsword she sheared through the things shoulder and chest, splitting it almost in two. It fell to the ground.
Ungo moved cautiously into the gatehouse, almost stumbling over two bodies at the bottom of the stairs. Moving swiftly upwards he encountered two more, and in the half light he could now see that they were goblin- like, but nearer the size of a man. Emerging into the upper corridor he saw Malvenos, clad in scale armor and leaning back against the wall, bloody and badly wounded, but holding the point of his longsword out in front of him.
“Haud yer blade Laddie” he called, “Ye’ lukk like yer’ve been in the Wars?”
Down in the courtyard Ailukka and Shaleelu had now emerged, and with a little more light on the scene Rasha and Ragnar slipped into the open ground floor of the Chapter House. Following the sounds of grunting towards an open cell door they witnessed Rosenn’s cell. She was writhing helplessly on her cot, her hands bloody and smearing prints over the wall behind her, occasionally beating feebly at the hulking goblinoid figure atop her, raping her violently.
Ragnar stepped forward and cut at the things unprotected back. It roared and pulled itself upright, but it was in no real position to fight back: Ragnar killed it mercilessly. Sister Rosenn huddled her bloody and naked thighs up to her body and curled herself into a ball, and covering her eyes smacked violently again and again against the side of the cot.
Realising that the situation was beyond his skill he called out for Ameiko and Koya.
Taking stock in the courtyard Malvenos indicated that he had seen a figure sneaking into the infirmary, and suspecting something was afoot, managed to arm himself. He did this just in time, as he was then attacked by four of the creatures rushing up the stairs, though they had only been able to fight him one at a time.
There had been eight of the goblinoid attackers in all, and these seemingly had been let in through the front gate. There was no sign at all of Ythel, Ruan or Tomas. Eiravel was wounded but soon recovered under the ministrations of Koya and Spivey, and the group decided to Maintain a guarded watch until daylight.