The fire burned low in the great temple room, casting strange flickering shadows into the darkness around. Skagharin‘s eyes were dark pools as he sat quietly watching over the room and his slumbering companions. As he watched he carved and whittled an old table leg and listened with half an ear to Dintari, who kept watch with him, chattering to crazy old Keestake. It was only when the old fool muttered about a hidden treasure, an old prince and a boat beneath the manor that Skagharin paid full attention. It seemed the old man had valuable information after all, perhaps explaining why he’d been captured by the Lizard Men. Definitely a matter to investigate on the morrow. Time passed, the fire burned to embers. The old man finally fell silent. Skagharin was tired from the events of the day. He and Dintari woke Parius and Brutarl for their watch and, hungry but warm, drifted quickly to sleep.
In his dreams, Skagharin heard a silvery, unearthly voice. He awoke, alert with his hand on his daggers. Though the fire had been allowed to die down a strange glow filled the room. Skagharin hissed between his teeth when he saw the lean outline of Brutarl silhouetted against the source of the light — the now whole statue of the Goddess Lassa (Parius stood slightly further away). Worse, the goddess’ statue was speaking to the warrior with the silvery voice from the dwarf’s dreams. What thrice-cursed supernatural forces had the headstrong barbarian awakened? Skagharin crept closer, to hear the silvery voice of Lassa uttering these chilling words:
“…these actions have displeased me and so I shall destroy this island at sundown.”
In spite of this dire foretelling, the goddess seemed to hold no malice towards Brutarl and his companions. Skagharin even prompted the Lady of the Winds to state that fair breezes would be theirs who escaped from the island before its doom. As to how to do that, Lassa offered no information. The glow faded and the goddess was gone forever from her former temple. Her statue was once more seated upon its throne, though now repaired and intact. The fading presence of the deity made Skagharin feel rested and refreshed, and he saw that his new companions had been similarly affected. With the island destined for destruction at the hands of a vengeful god in just a few hours, the time for sleep was over in any case.
The group decided to search the temple for anything of use before departing. Impatient Brutarl could not see the point of this and he paced outside in the rain like a caged animal, muttering futile entreaties to Lassa. The temple was mostly empty. Moonshadow and Keestake, Parius, Melisana, Skagharin and Dintari peered into empty room after empty room, with the old man giving a rambling commentary. Servants quarters, empty store-rooms, the great dark kitchen with its cavernous fireplace. After leaving the last, trailing the party with Dintari, Skagharin heard a noise behind. He turned and saw a ghastly corpse-like creature with sharp talons rushing at speed towards Dintari. The thing gave a dreadful shriek and Moonshadow seemed frozen with fear. Skagharin and Dintari kept their heads as the thing ripped into Dintari’s neck with its vile claws and fangs. Dintari pulled out his sword and slashed at its arms as it grappled him, though now his chest was red with his own blood. Skagharin stabbed at it somewhat ineffectively with his dagger, but Dintari, although bloodied, was soon victorious over the corpse thing. Looking at its slashed, corrupted body on the ground, Skagharin quizzed Keestake about it, but the old man claimed he knew nothing. Parius laid his hands on Dintari’s wound and it was healed. Brutarl came running at the sound of the shriek, then strode off to explore the temple’s upper level. There was little else to be found except for some cloth from which they fashioned some crude clothes. Dawn was coming; it was time to leave.
In the grey light of dawn it was clear that the supposedly treasure-filled manor was not far away at all from the temple building. It was also clear that a small force of Lizard men crept up on the manor from the left, while a band of Goblins approached from the right. The two groups had not yet spied each other, but Skagarin guessed that when they did they would not be happy. Not far from the temple, a shallow ditch led to the side of the manor, perhaps enough to conceal the group from the goblins and lizard men as they approached. The old servant of Lassa piped up, saying that there was a loose bar on the window at the end of the ditch. The group was decided and they made their way forward as quietly as they could. But the dwarf cursed as he tripped on a rotten root, which snapped loudly. One of the nearby goblins leaned over the ditch — and was slashed once, twice by the deadly blade of Lorien Moonshadow. The goblin toppled into the ditch, and Skagharin took some sort of food from its pouch. Fortunately, neither the nearby goblins nor lizard men were alerted by this commotion.
Climbing up to the window at the end of the ditch, Brutarl easily removed the bar and clambered inside, followed by the rest of the party. Keestake resumed his rambling commentary, telling of the nearby Queen’s chamber and how she possessed a magical stick which could find treasure. With cautious haste, and stopping for a look at Keestake’s room (“Oh, they’ve wrecked everything!”, he moaned when he saw it), the group made their way to the Queen’s chamber. Skagharin listened at the door and heard conversation. Quietly they entered the antechamber and, spying goblins within the main room, prepared to fight them.
Brutarl, Dintari and Moonshadow surged into the room and the battle commenced with Brutarl’s mighty war-cry, and more of Moonshadow’s sleep-magics. At first Skagharin hung back, to guard the rear and pick off any gobins who escaped from the bed-chamber. But soon he realised that this was a dangerous fight and that his help was needed. He left Melisana, dagger in hand, to guard the old man, and leapt into the fray. Blades flashed and clanked, there were cries and yells. The goblins fought hard but they were eventually overcome and slain. Once again Brutarl and Moonshadow wreaked much carnage, and Dintari and Skagharin fought bravely. After the battle, Skagharin and Moonshadow stabbed the sleepers without remorse, glancing at one another; one thing at least which the elder races had in common. The goblins had found the supposed treasure-finding stick and Skagharin handed it distastefully to Parius. More sorcery, he thought, and most likely useless. Time was a-wasting, and he had no wish to die here. They needed to find that boat, and quickly.