“Moonwatch” – Fourteenth Adventure night (Day 8, part 4 of 5).

The group arrives safely, that much is a bonus, but they are off target by 10% of the linear distance traveled.  So when the whirl and rush of the Teleport spell is gone, Stumpy and Lester and Jaques and Genive find themselves on dewy grass, under a bright misty sky.  They are an arrow-shot away from the observation bunker.  All things being equal, it could have been much worse.

The Dwarf Scouts are startled to see the Heroes re-enter the observation bunker through the Umber Hulk hole from outside.  The other Party members had gone back to the Cistern outflow channel, to re-enter Moonwatch from below and meet up with Kartug Igmutin at the Dwarves’ base of operations.  Lester sends these Scouts and Stumpy to follow and inform Captain Ironhaul of the most recent developments.

There is a bit of time for a breather.  Genive tells the others what she saw, in that brief instant before the Teleport.  When the Heroes attacked and the command group responded and the Chieftain confidently stood by, Genive noticed the Barbarian warrior beside the Chieftain.  This Barbarian did not rush and attack the Heroes.  Instead, he watched the fight, then looked anxiously up the stairs just before Lester’s Teleport.  The Barbarian had done so unconsciously, as one might when there suddenly comes a real or existential threat against something of value.

This is very significant to the Heroes.  They had assumed that the Chieftain was the be-all, end-all high-value target for them in the Tower.  The Barbarian warrior’s quick check upstairs now suggests that there is something or someone up higher in the Tower, of greater importance.

Pushing against fatigue and what feels like midnight, the Party decides to continue.  They want back into the Tower, but doing so from inside is not an option.  So they won’t try from inside.

Jaques can cast Flight on himself.  Lester and Genive use spells and potions to Reduce Person down to Small size, which is easy for Jaques to carry.  The three of them will Fly up to the Tower, examine it from the outside, and find a way in if possible.  The Barbarian command group knows of their presence and incursion; if not now, then at no time later will it be as easy or opportune for the Heroes to find out what is in the penultimate levels of the Moonwatch Tower.

The air is wet with mist, and visibility is poor in the low, bright ceiling of cloud.  Up over the hilltop of Moonwatch and around the Tower, Jaques circles with Genive and Lester.  The exterior of the Tower, up close, is impressive and formidable.  The sheer stone face shows no signs of weakness, and there are no open ports of entry anywhere up the sides.  All of the arrow-slits are plugged, and the Ballista ports are closed with heavy iron doors.  The Heroes also see, up close, the unlit signal beacon ports at the very top of the structure.

There is luck to be had in finding an opening.  About sixty feet below the top of the Tower, very high up off the ground, one of the shuttered openings of the Observation level is open.  It is a crack of about two inches.  Hovering outside, Jaques holds his allies steady while Lester attempts to push open the shutter.  It will not move; it is blocked from inside.  Genive uses the Chime of Opening.  This has no effect.

Coming closer, the Heroes can see a short distance inside the room.  It is dark but some natural light comes in through the crack they are peeking through.  Much of the chamber is open space.  Against the walls are stacks of boxes, some covered in canvas drop-cloth.

Most curiously, the Heroes can hear music coming from inside the unlit room.  At first they think it is an illusion or some trick of the wind, but it is not.  Someone with a mandolin is playing a slow, meandering string version of this song.




About d20horizons

D&D player.
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