Start Date: April 1
Start Status: We won't get fooled again
Start Location: Outside Blackpool Maze
"At least the rain will wash away our tracks," mutters Rawon as he watches Strom try to keep the small camp fire alight in the downpour.
"Always looking on the bright side, ain't ya," grumbles the dwarf as he succeeds in getting yet another piece of soaked wood to catch fire.
Last night's rain has turned into a deluge, leaving everyone soaked through and irritable. The party is hot to head back to the maze, so they're up early despite the weather. This time, they've better supplied themselves and let the guards know they may be gone for as many as four days. After the final instructions are given, the main group heads back to the ruin, arriving in the early afternoon and setting up a watch just outside the walls to see if anything is moving in the ruin.
After several hours of staring at stone walls, Raúguey announces, "That's long enough. Let's go look. Nothing will be out in this rain anyhow." He leads the way, using a freshly cut stick to probe the thick mud for traps. The others share a look, but Dagmarten nods his agreement and starts to move too. The others fall in, fanning out and following Raúguey's lead with sticks and staves.
The group moves into the ruin without encountering any problems, but they do spring two bear traps on the way. As expected, the heavy rain has washed away tracks outside the ruin, so it's impossible to say who or what has come and gone. All the huts are empty, including the one in the northwest corner, but it's Maro that notices what's wrong first. "The bodies. The big things we killed. They're gone."
With Rawon and Dagmarten keeping watch, the others check out the half-burned hut. Sure enough, the stinking gnoll corpses are still there, but the remains of the three larger creatures are gone. "We cut off their heads, didn't we?" mutters Grendor.
Durego nods. "Maybe they were dragged off and eaten by something."
"Maybe," answers Ingvild, "buy why leave these behind?" he gestures at the gnoll corpses.
There is nothing of value in any of the huts, just soot-smeared hides, crude furniture and rotten food. The northwest hut proves to be little more than a shell; there's no sign that anyone uses it as living quarters. Mordikarr takes a few minutes to check out the lake's shore, well, where the shore would be if it weren't flooding, and studies the wall fragments in the lake and the ruined tower on its little islet. "Maybe there a way in out there," he mutters before rejoining the others.
The party makes its way to the stairs, pausing so Durego can cast detect traps on the way down. They move in quickly with lights blazing and check the pillar hall, crevice room and crypts. While all three rooms are empty, there are definite signs that someone or something has passed through the pools and puddles that dot the area. Smeared prints of various sizes criss-cross the floors. "They know we're here," says Ohwatoo.
Undeterred, the party ventures down the stairs, with Durego scanning the way ahead. The lower hall shows signs of passage too, fainter tracks here, which mostly lead away south. The doors have not been tampered with, so the group checks the north room first (which is also marked with some faint tracks), and then the south. The summoning room is empty, save for the ruined corpse that still hangs from the west wall, but someone has redrawn the circle in glistening red-black. "Blood," mutters Dagmarten as he stoops to examine the new addition.
Maro says, "Let's check the east wall for secret doors, then move on. Don't touch those pillars, though!" He, Rawon and Grendor examine the east wall but find nothing. Meanwhile Ingvild, Ohwatoo and Durego have checked the west door and found it to be safe. The party resumes its usual marching order and heads into the hall beyond. The door at the other end is open, and the statue room is empty, aside from the big statue itself and the scanty offerings scattered around its base. The trog corpses that were left there before are gone. There are faint tracks in the thin dust but nothing definitive.
[For those that don't recall, the statue is a six-legged lizard thing in a rearing posture.]
"Well, we're here, which way now?" mutters Saurabh.
OOC: Just to make sure everyone knows everything, these are the potential unexplored avenues you've discovered/theorized about so far:
- Surface: there is a ruined tower out in the lake. Might be a way in there, but no easy access.
- Trog Den: Elevator room, stairs in cross hall leading to the lake level.
- The Crevice: Hallways in the hot pit that may lead somewhere.
- Death Pit: Secret shaft in the tree room, the unopened door above the pit and several unexplored passages.
- Lake Level: Unexplored
- Elevator One: Unexplored
End Date: April 1, late afternoon
End Status: We're here!
End Location: Blackpool Maze