Fellowship of the Goose

A revival

Three days of travelling beside the road passed without any events. At dusk the group reached the border of civilization and camped in a forest populated by an unusual high number of animals. Refreshed by a night’s rest the fellowship made it to the valley of Hommlet until noon of the next day. Clouds of thick fog blocked the view on the hometown of Braenn, Drugo, Gildorel and John. But they knew the land like the back of their hands, so it wasn’t too difficult for the outlander John to find a path leading in the direction of Hommlet. “Why can’t we see the lights from the village” asked Timo at nightfall. And Timo was right, they were close to Hommlet. Minutes later the ruins of a building appeared in the mist. When approaching they noticed that the building was completely destroyed. It seemed like the house burned down some month ago. They hurried to the spot where they expected the next building, but there was only a heap of burned stones. Step by step they discovered that the entire village was burned to the ground. When they reached the main square of the village they saw that only one building was intact- the granary. And the granary was even filled with tons of crop and flour. A real feast for the rats and mice!! Timo, who feared an ambush, left the building and cast ‘detect magic’. When he looked in the direction of the granary the glow of the magic object nearly blinded him. The inside was glowing even brighter by the spell.” This all is a mighty illusion to disguise the true state of the building” told Timo to the others. “So Ambrose was here and did this all. Maybe something important is hidden by the illusion” proposed Gil. So they started to explore the granary. Suddenly Gil lost the solid ground under one foot. With the bare eye the floor seemed solid at this spot. Timo examined the area with John’s quarterstaff and noticed that there was an invisible hole in the floor. With his magical rope Gil found out that the pit was about 6 feet deep and large enough for a man to climb down. He commanded his magic rope to tie around a pole. When he started to climb down and pulled with all his weight at the rope the pole cracked and fell into the invisible hole. Only Gil’s quick reactions saved him from falling into the pit too. After recovering from the shock, Gil commanded his magical rope to stand vertical and climbed it down. The hole lead to a 6 feet high chamber below the granary. The floor was flooded with cold and rotten water. When Gil looked up he noticed that the illusion not worked from below. So he now not only saw the hole he climbed through but although many holes around it. When Gil told the others about the chamber Braenn climbed down and joined him. Together they walked through the stinking water and examined the walls and floor for hidden doors. There was nothing, but Braenn found two human skeletons in the water. With her medicine skills she was able to determine the cause of death: falling roof tiles broke the skulls of the two persons. They salvaged the skeletons to burry them in a proper way. On their way out of the building, John and Braenn broke through the floor and fell in the water below. With the magical rope Braenn and John were rescued unharmed. Outside the granary a cold and foggy night started. So they build up a camp between two standing walls. Drugo lit a fire and they dried the wet clothes. For sure Braenn in the dress Ildavir made her got some glances from her companions, especially from Gil.

Braenn decided to use her spiritual powers and speak with one of the skeletons. John gave her his long black travelling cloak, as robe for the ritual. Braenn wore it on her bare skin and covered her head with the hood. Some ash from the fire served her as makeup. When midnight came Braenn put some herbs in the fire and the necromancy started. First she asked the skeleton about the circumstances of the destruction of Hommlet. The skull opened its mouth and told her that slavers from the north burned everything down. The skeleton denied Braenn’s question about a mighty wizard among the attackers. It told Braenn that the slavers destroyed the village 10 years 3 month and 7 days after the legendary raid of the ‘Tomb of the Ancient Warchief ’. So it happened five years ago. Finally Braenn asked about the man’s fate. So the skeleton told the fellows, that he was hiding in the roof when the slavers arrived in Hommlet. But this hiding place was a deadly trap when the intruders set fire to the house. So he died a cruel death in the flames.

After the ritual Braenn fell asleep. Suddenly she found herself in a dark void. Only the voice of mother Elviet spoke to her and told her that the restless souls of the villagers were still out there. She asked Braenn to burry the bodies to free the souls. A shaking woke Braenn up; Gil was standing beside her and told her that it was time for her shift.

The next morning all helped together to find and salvage the mortal remains. With an improvised bier pulled by the mules the fifteen skeletons were transported to the graveyard. Braenn could identify the homekeeper of Gildorel’s childhood home and two other persons in their age by the bones. They were buried individual, for the other skeletons John dug a common grave. After speaking some prayers, the group returned to the main square of the village. In front of the granary Braenn raised her hand and spoke the magic word. With a blast of magic power the illusion was dispelled. The fog vanished and in the sunlight they saw that from the granary only the woodwork was standing. “Oh this was a mighty illusion that we not even felt the cold wind inside” wondered Gil himself.

The fellowship stayed another freezing cold and starlit night in the ruins of Hommlet. Early in the next morning they departed to the ‘Tomb of the Ancient Warchief’. On the way Braenn spotted tracks from people passing by. Until midday they reached the entrance of the tomb. It was still looking similar to their memories. They removed the saddles from the mules and the donkey and let the animals brows. “Here the first of our companions died” told Gil to Timo and pointed on a large stone slab at the entrance. “He tried to open the tomb with his crowbar and succeeded, but was struck dead by the falling stone slap. We barley knew the dwarf, not even his name. May he rest in pieces …..ahm peace”. In this moment the stone slab started to move. It was raised up and tipped over. John pulled it up with all his strength while someone pulled it in the opposite direction from the other side. ”I am back” screamed a gruff voice from the inside of the tomb. “Help me” shouted John, when he noticed that his opponent was quit strong too. Timo was the first to react. His clever idea was to use the ‘Grease’ spell. He made the area on the other side of the stone slab slippery, so the person on this side lost its footing. John pulled for a last time and the stone slab fall over and buried the creature on the other side. Only a gray and rotten hand with twenty centimeter long fingernails was visible under the slap. They all walked over the stone slab and entered the tomb. When Timo passed the hand he screamed in a quite female way, because he thought that the hand had moved, but the others saw nothing special about it. In the tomb was no dust on the floor. Therefore Timo used his ‘detect magic’ spell. He saw nothing special, but noticed a glowing area on the floor behind the trap door in the first chamber. With an improvised bridge, made of Gil’s magical rope, they crossed the pit of the trap door and the glowing area. Gil ignored all the warnings from his friends and put his face into the magic area. It disappeared and reappeared seconds later unmodified but with a frightened look. “This is another illusion. Down there is a groundless abyss”. ”Luck for you that you didn’t fall into it. Just in chase ‘Featherfall’ isn’t useless at all” said John with a smirk. In the next chamber some spears lay on a desk. Timo noticed that they were enchanted with a transmutation spell. Above the desk a fresco decorated the celling. It showed a woman with little cloth touching on of the spears. Her face was unnaturally disfigured. There was no doubt, the fresco showed Braenn touching one of the cursed spears during the first exploration of the tomb. So Ambrose made it. He was here. What was his plan and what will await the fellowship of the goose deeper in the tomb.

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