Blood in the snow
It was Wodensday the 21st of Baelmonth, a still, cold day. Skagharin and his friends trudged through through the silent snowy woods towards the beacon tower of Enom Tor. Expecting trouble, Skagharin had donned his mail shirt and carried his new double-handed hammer. Apart from the mail it was almost like his old mining days. Suddenly — THWACK, he walked into a low hanging branch. He needed to keep his mind on the present.
They had not gone far before Freilin spotted a large splash of blood on the snow. Nearby was the oversized paw print of some kind of giant feline. Lions? Wild cats? There was no body and no drag marks. They moved on cautiously, staying upwind of the bloodstain.
The tower was built on a wide undercroft. There was no sign of life as they approached, so Freilin, Moonshadow and Frankie crept past the door, which was hanging half off its hinges. Dintari and Skagharin stood guard outside — until the sudden scrape and crash of furniture alerted them that all was not well.
They found a chaotic scene. Furniture was scattered and upended. In the doorway of the bedroom were two bizarre cat-like creatures, jet black with clawed tentacles waving menacingly from their hindquarters. Frankie was trying to push a table to block the doorway, but was straining and struggling. Moonshadow and Freilin readied their bows to either side.
Skagharin rushed to the table and shoved with considerable force. The table screeched to the door, but the cat-thing was faster. It burst through, knocking the table over onto Frankie and the dwarf — only to receive Moonshadow’s arrow through its eye at point blank range. It shuddered and collapsed.
The second black tentacular feline leaped through, swatting Skagharin with its tentacles as it did so. If he had not been wearing mail, the vicious claws would have ended his life. As it was he was bruised and winded from the blow. The creature seemed to shimmer when his companions struck at it; they often missed. Raising his hammer high Skagharin smashed the creature’s spine. Moonshadow blasted it almost simultaneously with his pretty pretty magical darts. For the first time ever Skagharin saw a gleam of respect in the elf’s eyes.
After the fight
All was quiet once the dreadful cat-things had been killed. Skagharin and Freilin had both been wounded. When Skagharin tried to physick Freilin, the stunted one passed out from the pain. Moonshadow did a similar botched job on Skagharin’s wound. Elves!
Meanwhile, Dintari and Frankie explored. They found a kitchen and pantry and they cooked up some food while waiting for Freilin to regain consciousness. Moonshadow found a locked chest with some gold, a silver dagger and two potions. Skagharin claimed the dagger, and Freilin (when he awoke) drank one potion and revived considerably.
They continued to explore. In the cellar were four zombies who pursued them up the stairs and were easily destroyed. The cellar contained alchemical ingredients, some of which were valuable.
Heights of the tower
Leaving the cellar, they ascended the stairs, past a storeroom and up to a trapdoor which felt strangely warm. Pushing through the trapdoor they found themselves in a light-filled room, full of steamy vegetation. The air was warm and earthy. The walls were made of white-coloured glass. An iron spiral staircase wound up through the centre of the room. Chained to the floor was a strange bird-headed humanoid. Frankie gave the creature some food and cautiously approached. The bird-man seemed non-hostile and intelligent, so Frankie unlocked its manacles. The birdman ran out and downstairs.
The Bellows Fellow
Above the garden was the top of the tower. The beacon was there, unlit. A solitary zombie pumped a bellows which had become detached from the foghorn. Frankie rushed over and killed the zombie. The tower was quiet, no sign of the mage Carthadon. It seemed the beasts below had escaped from captivity and..maybe eaten him? Skagharin looked down at the island below, then looked around him. Where was Moonshadow?