Synopsis The party explores the terrors of the Graul Farm’s cellar, but do not find any living prisoners. Then they find out what the Grauls had been doing in the barn…
Moonday, 5 Kuthona 4707, midday
After exploring the foul and reeking bedroom of the matron of the Graul family, the party continued to explore the house. Upstairs, they discovered an elaborate workshop where one of the Graul boys assembled the crude but highly-effective traps found throughout the house. A chest which held a few dozen coins
- and several severed fingers- contained a very devious trap that Zandu was able to disarm. The severed fingers presumably belonged to others who were unable to disarm the trap. Picking through the workshop, they party pieced together three complete sets of masterwork thieves tools, some flasks of acid, and some more coins.
After healing themselves a bit more, the party decided to brave the basement. One room was fitted with leatherworking tools and tanning equipment. Several skins were stretched out, drying… including one that had been a man’s face, flayed from its skull in one piece. All of the skins were of humanoids, including two that had Black Arrow insignia tattooed on them.
Another chamber was a dank and fetid bedroom, reeking of death, body odor, and excrement. A crude wooden bed was in the corner, its posts decorated with human skulls. A chair made of bomes stood against the wall. As the party searched the room, four dog-sized rats attacked. Fortunately for the party, the rats did not prove to be much of a threat. Nothing else of value was in the room.
The next chamber had a small amount of natural light coming in from an open window that was just at ground level. This room was very damp, and was overgrown by sickly green vines and tendrils. As the party stepped into the room to explore it, the vines animated and attacked, attempting to wrap around the adventurers’ necks! McGregor and Declan were able to toss off fire spells that severely damaged the vines, while the rest of the party chopped up the remaining vines with edged weapons.
Through a conceled door in the room with the vines, the party discovered what must have been the Graul family fortune— mostly scavenged from their victims. The stash included jewelry, armor, weapons, and some cash. It also had four Black Arrow tabards (all bloodstained), six suits of chanimail, five longswords all of similar construction, and a magical longbow with a quiver of black-fletched arrows. The party collected these items and returned to the main floor of the house.
Exiting the house, the party turned its attention to the barn. Listening at the door, Zandu heard dogs barking along with the sounds of some humanoids grunting. Other voices laughed and shouted vile commnds, including, “Lemme hear ya squeal like a pig, boy!” Another human voice made a feeble squealing sound, followed by loud grunt of pain.
Bursting open the barn doors, the party beheld a truly horrific sight. Two headless and partially-butchered human corpses hung from meathooks suspended five feet from the floor. Gore still dripped from them into small pools of blood, which one of the dogs lapped at. In the center of the room was a large wooden sawhorse. A naked human man was tied to the sawhorse. Four ogrekin surrounded the trussed man. Two of the ogrekin had their pants down, and were performing sexual acts on him, while the other two watched and cheered them on. One of the watchers noticed the party enter, and shouted a command to the four mastiffs, which immediately attacked. While the party fought off the dogs, the ogrekin pulled up their pants and attacked as well. The ogrekin attempted to disarm the PCs and grapple them, but were quickly incapicated by McGregor’s and Declan’s spells, and were kept at bay by Halfred’s ranseur.
After the dogs and ogrekin were dead, Zandu untied the prisoner while Declan and Charrone did their best to tend his wounds. The man had been beaten severely, and his many bruises and other wounds indicated that he had endured this abuse for weeks. He asked for water, and said that he was a Black Arrow ranger named Kaven Windstrike. He also said that there were two other still-living prisoners in the next room in the barn. “But be careful of the giant spider in there!”
[To Be Continued… next week!]