NicksCF

Interlude in Ereworn, part 2

The sun was high in the sky above the ruined temple. Zagro the Warlock, Sir Grimble Bobbleberry and Aldo of the Brilliantly Coloured Robe decided to make their way back into the woods to find the mischievous hobgoblin Old Ned. At the entrance to the forest they found two black-armoured knights on dark horses, who pronounced a sentence of death upon ¨all trespassers in Duke Darian’s wood¨. They charged, but Aldo and Zagro’s spears were ready. One knight went down, spurting blood from his helmet. Then Sir Grimble finished the second with his sword. The ´knights´ turned out not to be human at all, but some kind of hairy goblinoids. Their black armour stank. Sir Grimble proudly climbed on to one of the captured warhorses and Zagro led the other from the clearing.

It was near sunset when they came to a weeping willow on the edge of a rushing river. Asleep beneath the tree were a woodsman and a wolf. Aldo walked forward to have a look but was himself overcome by slumber and fell down snoring beneath the tree. Zagro did not need his magic to suspect sorcery here. He and Sir Grimble caught Aldo’s leg with a rope and pulled him gently from the weeping willow. With a crazed cackle a witch swooped from above on a black broomstick. She tried to cast a spell on Sir Grimble. She failed, and the big knight trampled her with his warhorse. Zagro stabbed her with his spear for good measure. Aldo had dropped his magic spear. Zagro and Sir Bobbleberry knew it was death to touch it, so they left it, and draped Aldo over the back of one of the horses. Sir Grimble tried to pull the woodsman from the tree but could not, so they returned to the inn. The innkeeper was disappointed that they had not yet found his daughter. Zagro and Sir Grimble ate a meal and retired.

Next day, all awoke refreshed. They returned to the forest and headed deep beneath the dark canopy, passing by the weeping willow (there was a charred body, Aldo’s spear and no sign of the wolf). They crossed a rickety bridge over a bubbling quagmire (Sir Grimble led his horse around). Aldo disturbed a nest of giant insects in a cave, but ran away. Deep in a dense thorn thicket they were surrounded and attacked by Thorn Demons. Zagro and Aldo were badly wounded by the creatures in a tough fight. Fortunately, healing potions salved their wounds. Beyond the thorn demons was a ruined tower they had spied when they had entered the wood.

Liftarn skull 1A vine covered statue was outside. Zagro prodded it suspiciously with his spear. The statue moved! It was a gargoyle. A quick fight ensued and the three defeated it. In the broken courtyard of the tower was a fountain (a gargoyle mouth) and a well. Zagro was lowered into the well by his compatriots. There was a huge ominous statue and several skeletons on slabs. When his foot touched the water (which was knee-deep) it was grabbed by bony hands. The skeletons rose and moved toward him. Frantically his friends pulled him to safety. As he ascended, Zagro spotted a stairway leading up, and with a bit of searching the three found an old trap-door above. Figuring it was better to face one skeleton at a time, Sir Grimble descended the stairs. When the skeletons arose he fought them bravely, while Zagro and Aldo fired arrows. The skeletons were defeated and their bones sank beneath the still waters. There seemed to be no treasure. Discomfited by the looming statue, the three headed back up the stairs.

Zagro re-examined the fountain by prodding his spear-haft into its mouth. There was something in there, but the stony teeth closed around his spear. With great effort (and some damage to the spear) Zagro got it out: a brass scroll-tube. Aldo pronounced that it was a magical spell, and he slipped the scroll into his multicoloured robe.

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