Byland

How not to store your perishible goods

Or, anything that sounds too good to be true . . .

Beneath the chest a vertical shaft dropped into inky blackness. The group descended carefully, with Pelagius examining the former thieve’s guild corridors for any surviving countermeasures designed to prevent the burglars from being burgled themselves.

The first chamber discovered was apparently used for storage, but presently was the home of an emaciated and feral ghoul, which leapt from the darkness and nearly overcame Jolly before being dispatched. The bard recalled ancient tales of a dreadful unlife that awaited those who offend the gods and descend into cannibalism, and all thought of the tale of the ancient thieves, the mad king, and the barrels full of rats.

Beyond was a bedroom that contained ancient rotten furniture and another ghoul. Not surprised this time,the company rushed into combat with the vile creature. More of its kind burst into the room through tatty remains of ancient curtains – zombies and another ghoul. By now the party was hardened to such horrors, and made a good accounting of themselves, quickly destroying the undead. A thorough search revealed a small cache of treasure, including six large rubies, but not the promised hoard of which Angelus awaited his share back at the tavern.

Finally, behind a locked door, the guild’s vaults were uncovered. A large chamber was filled – tragically – with ruined ancient art. Disintegrating, sodden paintings, moldered tapestries, bolts of rotten silk were everywhere. All that was recovered of value were a few random coins and three arrows, clearly of elvish make and intriguingly free of rust or rot.

At last the group uncovered the final remaining chamber of the guild, an ancient temple of the Morrigan, the goddess of battle, now desecrated and rededicated to the Chel. On the far wall an arch stood above a dais, behind which hung a crude tapestry depicting the same comet and mountain scene previously uncovered. A shambling clump of zombies wallowed moaning into the group’s lantern light, and from behind them came a whisper of motion; a pale, beautiful and deadly-seeming apparition emerged.

This last streaked across the room and through a pillar to claw, cackling, at Pelagius. The rogue skipped nimbly backwards and loosed one of the elvish arrows at the ghost, and was satisfied to see it strike true. Erdan lunged at the thing’s flank, and while his unenchanted blade was nowhere near as effective, it was thankfully enough to dispel whatever black sorcery held the spectre to this world. Pelagius watched in silent prayer as it dissipated with a mournful sigh.

Returning to civilization, the party paid off Angelus, who was quite disappointed at the small haul from the former thieves guild but surprisingly trusting of the party’s accounting. As regards the former guildhall itself, all agreed that it would make a good bolt-hole if nothing else.

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