Wild boar with apple liqueur and the monastery at last

The two nobles Vestorius and Pidmerion circle back to regain their bearings. On the second night of backtracking their camp is once again invaded. This time three huge wild boar like creatures stampede through the encampment. The attack is savage and Pidmerion takes a grave wound to the lag, flooring him. The two nobles take swipes at the charging beasts but to little or no effect as they have tough skin. The beasts turn for a second pass and the two friends realise they are in mortal danger. Pidmerion desperately tries to increase the intensity of the fire and this confuses and frightens the boars. Vestorius manages to pour his will into the rapier that Pidmerion has enchanted with a fire rune and this further disquiets the animals. Eventually they retreat and then as suddenly as they arrived they turn and run out into the night. The two nobles breath a sigh of relief and Vestorious again employs his growing skill as a healer to see to Pidmerion’s wound. This time however the wound is beyond his ability to heal and all he do is make his friend comfortable. Privately, Vestorius thinks the leg will be useless but keeps this information to himself. Vestorius busies himself by making a platform to raise them from the floor. After some hours of work he manhandles Pidmerion into the treehouse and settles in to tend to his friend.

The next day the two are awoken by a man dressed as a hunter, with a long bow, long cloak and various sacks hailing them from beneath their perch. He identifies himself as Torarg a hunter who works these mountains selling meat and furs to the various towns and villages around the lake. Grateful to encounter something that does not want to kill them immediately they invite him into the tree. Torarg inspects Pidmerion’s wound and says that he can help heal the wound. He prepares a poultice with herbs and oils that the two nobles are unfamiliar with and soon Pidmerion feels a strange warmth flowing into his leg. Within an hour Vestorius is astonished to see that the wound will not incapacitate his friend although Torarg says that it will still takes days to heal properly.

The two friends offer food and drink to their guest and question him as to his knowledge of Ad-Athiss and its location. Torarg replies that he is familiar with the monastery and that he has had dealings with the old Abbot Rothomad, but that he has heard the monastery has gone into retreat after the old abbot died and was replaced by Tal-Lorran. He agrees to guide them to the hamlet close to the monastery. The two thank him for the directions but decide to rest and recuperate before continuing their journey. Two days pass without incident and Vestorius’ admiration for Torarg’s poultice increases as Pidmerion starts to walk and is completely healed much sooner than he thought possible.

Within a week the two friends find themselves in a hamlet at the bottom of a hill with a track up to the gates of the monastery of AD-Athiss. They decide to take the chance to enjoy a drink and some company with the villagers before approaching the monastery. They learn that the hamlet serviced the monastery selling their famous apple liqueur, providing provisions from their hill farms and the skills of a local blacksmith. They spend the night in a comfortable barn and think about what they might find in the monastery the following day.

As day breaks the two friends ascend the hill to the monastery. They are confronted by a large wooden wall with closed large wooden gates. They decide to scale the wall rather than walk through the gate and find themselves in a large unkempt orchard. It is obvious that the crop has not been tended and will need harvesting soon. They move through the orchard to a short causeway that leads across a gap between the mainland and the splinter of rock that the monastery is carved from. On the promontory there are two large single storey buildings with a two storey tower above them with a pitched wooden roof. The place looks abandoned but locked tight.

Pidmerion and Vestorius approach the building on the right of the main tower and after some difficulty Vestorius opens the lock. Inside they find a storehouse of barrels of the apple liqueur but no sign of life or recent activity. They move over to the left building and find a large press and other equipment in the distillation of the liqueur but again no sign of life or activity. They eventually approach the main tower only to be baulked by the lock. Pidmerion ignites his sword and plunges it into the lock and the mechanism gives way under the intensity of the aspiring wizard’s magical fire. They decide that the frontal approach might be compromised and climb the building and loosen some of the wooden shingles to allow them to drop in on the top most room of the building. Inside they find plush apartments with a large working area with an ornate desk. They are in the Abbot’s rooms. After determining that there is no danger here they take the time to search the rooms thoroughly. Vestroius discovers Rothomad’s journals in the desk. These rooms have already been searched, he thinks.

The two descend the stairs and emerge into a large library. Here they are sure that a search has taken place, books lie strewn across the floor. The two friends make another long search and discover that certain elements of the library are missing. It is difficult to know exactly what is missing but the two are familiar enough with libraries to know that sections are missing. Now they are intrigued especially as there is still no sign of the sixteen former tenants. The next floor contains a dormitory where the brothers were billeted. Still no sign of life and now the two friends become concerned. Down the stairs again and they realise that they are descending towards the lake. This floor has kitchens and dining tables where the brothers used to prepare and eat their meals. Vestorius opens all the locked doors with growing skill. On the next floor the room is filled with work stations where the brothers made potions and salves for their healing work. They are disturbed by movement in this room as three skeletal forms move towards the two brandishing long knives. Although they do not move quickly the skeletons close and attack the two nobles with inexorable determination. Their numerical advantage makes the skeletons difficult opponents as the two divide their attentions between adversaries. However, the two friends have superior skill and movement and soon they drop the skeletons that collapse into inarticulate piles of bones when they are felled. 

The two friends decide that the likelihood is that the danger will increase the further down the dower they descend. They decide that enough is enough and that they can profit from their discoveries so far without incurring further risk. They lock and barricade the doors and ascend the tower. In the library they collect as many books as they can and store them in an empty barrel from the storeroom. Together with small barrels of liqueur they lash as much of their gains to the pack horses as possible and leave the monastery heading for Sendat.

On the second day descending towards Sendat they are caught by a young man from the hamlet close to the monastery who tells them that the townspeople are all dead and that the monastery is on fire.  The two friends turn to look and see smoke rising from the direction they have come. Something about this tale is incongruous and Vestorius discovers that the young man is possessed by a malign spirit. Quietly he informs Pidmerion and they determine to get to the town as quickly as possible while keeping a close eye on there new companion. They arrive in the town after another day’s hard travel. They immediately seek out the temple to Perdar the god of death and leave the boy with the priest explaining that he is possessed.

Satisfied that they have done good work they seek out their female friends Shyren and Shynken and have a welcome home dinner. However they feel that there is more to the story of the monastery. As good citizens they decide that they should inform the authorities of there story. To this end they seek out Tulem, Mayor Naldim’s secretary, and recount their experiences at the monastery and the subsequent sight of the burning of the place. He assures them that he will send some guardsmen to investigate.