Investigating the Orgillion Estate
A stony rise forms the foundation of Orgillion Manor. The northern slope of the mound descends gradually to the moor, allowing access via the path. The other three sides fall away rather sharply and consist of loose, crumbling cobbles. We punted the skiff to the North side of the estate, attempting to keep out of sight from possible guards monitoring the main path to the Manor.
After a couple of attempts, Sharna uses my grappling hook and rope to climb the cliff face. I manage to scrabble up after her, closely followed by Ugnan, Cherry and Sylke. We're up! "Nicely done", I whisper as I roll up and stow the rope.
Cherry peers through a partially obscured window. The conservatory is linked to the Great Hall and the outside by twin glass and wrought iron doors, blighted and dying plants litter the floor. Cherry creeps silently up to check out the door, oils the rusty old lock and picks it with some ease. Shes' getting really good at this.
We ready ourselves, as Sharna and I spot two grey-skinned humanoids, one gnawing a shattered bone. The things are strangely transformed Ghouls [art credit], putrescent corpses with teeth lengthened into fangs and nails strengthened into claws.
I charge in to meet them, but Sylke and Sharna react first. Sylke strikes one with a Light Bolt, and Sharna follows up with blinding speed, a flurry of elbows and feet causing the closest creature to reel around in shock. I strike out with a backhand swing with the axe and the spike embeds itself reassuringly in the second ghoul's skull. It drops and I rip the axe free, but two more emerge from behind bushes to engage. Ugnan successfully calms a third creature that appears and Cherry skewers one in its side with a well-placed arrow. Sharna and I move to protect Sylke.
Sharna pummels another Ghoul and I connect with one of the stunned Ghouls with a savage thud into it's lower back. It drops in a spray of brackish spinal fluid as I move on to tackle the calmed Ghoul. Cherry's arrow misses one of the two remaining, but Sharna strikes it with a spin-kick and bludgeons it to the floor. I finish off the final Ghoul, who was completely focused on a flower next to him. I wipe the rancid ichor from my axe on the tattered rags of one of the ghouls.
A wolfish grin splits my face, "that's the way we like fights to go". Sharna nods once to me as I move up to the door and listen. "Say one thing about Cran Crannock, say he has a way with the women", I mutter beneath my breath as I take my place again at the head of the line. Nothing but the faint sound of air rustling a pennant in the area beyond.
This spacious hall, once elegantly furnished, is now in a state of decay. A ragged banner hangs from the rafters, occasionally stirring fitfully. Doors to the north stand ajar and the glass that once filled the frames have been smashed. A number of short-swords and an axe lie discarded on a blood splattered floor. The weaponry is stained and chipped but fairly new and well made.
Further investigation leads to a library. Richly furnished, this room houses ranks of book cases but the books they hold are rather dull and non of any particular value. Silver candlesticks on the large table indicate that this room has been used recently. A torn ledger lies on the floor. A small coffer also rests on the table. The library is extremely well stocked with numerous historical and geographical books and manuscripts. Sadly these are somewhat "eclectically" filed, making it hard to find specific texts. However, fully one whole shelf is devoted to large books that are labeled on the spines as being "Records and Accords Of The Honourable Guild Of Spice Merchants". [Details of our search are recorded with the Guild description].
The ledger lists what looks like slaves who have been purchased. We stow the two silver candlesticks in a pack and Cherry investigates the elaborately carved box and discovers a pair of needle traps. She triggers the trap and successfully picks the lock, revealing a horde of gold and silver and three uncut rubies! By Cas this investigative work is much more lucrative than the mercenary game.
Bedrooms Converted to Cells
Moving on, we find a master bedroom, smelling faintly of tobacco. A canopy bed with shredded hangings occupies one corner of the room. An empty chest lies at the foot of the bed, broken open. A private bath adjoins the Master bedroom. Ugnan discovers some very fine clothes and a well-balanced Long Kynack hidden under a rug. I've heard of the Kynack - interesting looking weapon - I must give it a test later. We believe that the lack of clothes indicate that the resident is not permanent.
Opposite the master bedroom we encounter a long abandoned bedroom. The furniture is intact but the soft furnishings are spotted with mold and are falling to pieces. There is a faint "coppery" smell to these rooms and there are disturbing gashes and deep scratches on the open doors.
I hear a couple of the Ghouls coming up a corridor from the South and surprise one with an axe swing that removes its leg in a spray of dark ooze, causing it to crash to the floor, twitching and pumping out gloopy fluids. The f***er behind it lashes out at me however before I can ready my axe and gashes my forearm. Thankfully, Sharna springs off the walls to attack, before I complete some good work with Tarnak's axe. They're both dead.
Blood patters down my arm wound as Ugnan drags me back to the library and heals me. My word I never knew the true value of a healer. He's a bloody miracle.
We find another small bedroom, this one with a crapper in it. Why is it that whenever I see a toilet I need a piss? Anyway, I felt much better after that.
We open more doors to small bedrooms, before opening a door to a storage room with a grim scene behind it. Blood has been splashed liberally across the broken furniture, trunks and miscellaneous bric-a-brac that litter and fill the room. Shackles have been fixed to the walls and are both out of place and very new. We can see what looks like a number of bones, perhaps rib, thigh and leg in the room. I move in to search but we find nothing more.
Another guest bedroom yields a pen. Ugnan seems excited by it. Made of silver apparently, and engraved with an Eagle Head. Writing's pointless. Why can't people just talk to each other?
Cherry discovers an trapped ceiling and a locked door. The door leads to another toilet. Why would someone trap a crapper I think as I plunge my hand ito the cold clear water. Nothing. Ugnan isn't as convinced of the trap at all – bloody trap my arse.
Dining Hall and More Cells
Having searched the East Wing, we return to the main entry hall and begin exploring the West Wing. Sharna and I note a cool breeze coming from upstairs. A broken window perhaps?
We open a door into a dining room. As if set for an uneaten meal, the long wooden table holds crockery, dishes, wilted flowers and unlit candles. An occasional mouse scampers across the tiled floor in search of mildewed crumbs. The dining set looks like it could be worth an absolute fortune – we need to pack it carefully and bring Spotted Jim back to collect it!
Weird. I sense a strong smell of suckling pig and, as the others come in, they detect faint sounds of a meal being taken. "Keep your wits about you", I command as we move to the doors out of the dining room.
The first door we open leads to a store room. Vermin of various sorts flee to the four corners of the room as we enter. Casks and barrels of moldering grain, flour and dried vegetables line the room.
Beyond the dining room we come upon a kitchen. A large stone fireplace for cooking holds a spit and has several niches for baking bread. The room is dirty, stained with grease and accompanied by a rancid odor. Only a few battered utensils remain hanging from nails along the mantle.
We creep along a passageway with lots of doors opening to left and right. Out of the corner of my eye I spot moving shadows, although Sharna shakes her head when I raise a questioning eyebrow.
We investigate the rest of the rooms and turn up what seem to be more bedrooms converted to make-shift cells.
Barricading the Master Bedroom
As it's getting dark outside, we opt to return to the large master bedroom we discovered, drag a couple of beds in to use as barricades, and some mattresses and blankets for warmth. I hum an old mercenary song as I smash up some furniture for the fireplace.
I'm liking this crew. They're pretty damned effective out of the city and this place reminds me of many nights hunkered down on campaign. Sharna has some interesting ideas about close-quarters combat tactics that seem well-worth pursuing. Ugnan's got some stones on him – he's tougher than he looks and brave as they come – anyone who takes pain on willingly to help an ally is invaluable. Cherry seems highly skilled and Sylke didn't complain about the Manor. We did some good work today.