Adventures of the Night Swords!

Move 112

A Walk in the Darkness

The northern coast of Korvosa Bay
The 22nd day of Calistril, 4712 AR – mid-morning

“Give me your hands.” Kymrych stands with the key to Corwin’s manacles. The former prisoners pauses a moment, and eyes Albia and Variel, who stand guard nearby. Then he does as he is asked, and Kymrych unlocks the heavy fetters. Corwin stands for a moment, massaging his chafed wrists. The group stands in a crumbling wing of Arrani Manor, just up the hall from the library where the party defeated a band of savage gnolls.

Albia returns his gaze with an inscrutable stare of her own. “Go now, Corwin. And do not return.”

“Aye.” The young Varisian does not look back as he dashes down the hallway, and enters the manor’s ruined library. It is hoped he can find weapons and equipment to outfit himself for the long walk back to Fair Haven. Once he is gone the three of you return to the trapdoor in the floor of this suite of former servant’s quarters, and descend once more into darkness. Minutes later you return to the now-empty cell block and rejoin the remainder of the party.

“Let’s get on with it.” Akorian nods to Eiko, who fits a heavy bar in place over the exit door, locking it in place. The bolt has already been thrown. Then the group heads over to the secret door in the rear of the cell block, and peers into its depths. There your witch-light illuminates a rough, seemingly natural stone passage as it twists and turns into the living rock.

You cautiously enter the tunnel, and continue onward for about 20’. Then it widens into a large, natural cave illuminated but dimly by flickering torchlight. To the left, the dying embers of a fire issue forth from a small fire pit, and the smell of overcooked meat assails your nostrils. To the right is a large pile of sleeping furs. The southern wall contains a dark passage that slopes down.

Eiko and Kymrych take up guard positions at the darkened exit passage whilst the rest of you search the place. Within moments Talathel finds a shiny silver coin in the bedding. The rest of you examine it, and see it is embossed with a sigil denoting a serpent intertwined on a shield motif. Nadine pulls aside some piled rocks to find several heavy leather bags containing a fortune in gold – or at least what appears to be gold. Akorian splits one bag open to discover that each and every coin in the sack is actually just copper coated with a covering of heavy gold paint. The coins are of Chelish mintage, and are not of the same quality or apparent importance of the first coin you discovered.

You decide to leave the copper pieces where they are, and join Kymrych and Eiko at the exit tunnel. “Let me go first,” Igmar suggests. “My dwarf eyes see far in the dark, and I won’t need a torch to get by. I may be able to sneak up on whoever – or whatever – is down there.”

“Aye,” Talathel replies. “Just be careful, yeah? I have a bad feeling about this.”

“You always have a bad feeling about everything we do,” Akorian quips, and the bard scowls. “Good luck, Igmar.”

The dwarf nods, and slinks into the dark. He is silent as a wisp, and keeps close to damp, rough surface of the tunnel wall; it seems to twist and turn through the darkness, and slopes gently downward as well. Igmar detects the soft hint of woodsmoke in the fetid air. After about 100’ the smell has grown much stronger, and Igmar believes he can see the vaguest of hints of light glowing in the darkness ahead.

He pauses and listens intently, but hears nothing. He eases forward once more, still clinging to one side of the rough stone tunnel. Then, he sees a faint outline in the dim glow ahead – there the corridor makes a four-way split, one route for each cardinal point of the compass. Igmar has just come from the northernmost tunnel, while dim light is seen coming from both the east and west. To the south is more darkness.

Here Igmar pauses once more, and listens. He can now hear faint conversation coming from the easternmost tunnel. From the west he hears nothing. After some brief consideration, he slinks down the eastern tunnel, moving as silently as a mouse. The stink of woodsmoke is stronger here, and the smell makes his eyes water. To his immediate right the tunnel opens onto a small cave – this place contains a simple wooden pallet, an unlit fire pit, and a neat stack of kindling. An opened chest is pushed up against the west wall. From the look of things no one has been here in quite a while.

A sudden burst of laughter is heard from farther down the tunnel. Igmar bypasses the empty chamber and moves on. Perhaps 30’ beyond that chamber the tunnel widens once more, and Igmar sees another, even larger cavern beyond. This area is brightly lit by smokey wood-fires, and appears to be about 60’ by 40’. Six burly men in shabby attire, fighting leathers and carrying an assortment of weapons occupy this room, most huddled around a sparring match in the very center of the place. A wooden table and six chairs are placed out of the way along the north wall, and six hammocks are strung up in the northeast portion of the room.

The men – a mixture of Varisian and Chelish vagabonds by the look of them – laugh and hurl insults as two of their number parry and slash at each other with wooden practice swords. Others bet on the outcome, and Igmar sees money change hands.

Igmar also sees that the tunnel continues on by this place. The chamber at the end of this tunnel is also lit; but, eyeing the rogues at play, he decides not to risk sneaking by. He sincerely doubts his ability to fight off six bullyboys by himself. Thusly he sneaks back towards the four-way split he saw earlier, still moving as quietly as smoke drifting across the face of the wind.

He is just coming to the empty bedchamber when he spies the bright glimmer of lamplight ahead of him, followed by the soft patter of approaching footfalls. He dodges quickly into the empty chamber and slinks up against the nearest wall, hoping against all hope that he has not been seen.

His scimitar is held low against his right leg as those footfalls draw ever nearer. Igmar peers around the corner of the rough stone wall he shelters behind, and sees yet another human ruffian stalk on by, clenching an oil lamp in one hand, and lugging a sack of potatoes with the other. The gruff-seeming fellow doesn’t even look up as he walks by Igmar’s hiding place, and then is gone. There are more catcalls as the potato-bearer passes by the sparring match, but by this time Igmar has crept away, and soon returns to the four-way split in the corridor.

The lure of the dim light seen at the westernmost juncture is too much for Igmar to ignore. He slinks down that corridor next, and finds it to be nearly 60’ long, and winding. The tunnel ends at a largish chamber, also hewn from the natural rock. It is approximately thirty feet in diameter, and is ill-lit by hot coals stoked in a large copper brazier. There are various pieces of fine furniture scattered about the room – a four-poster bed, a chest of drawers, and an ironbound chest protected by a stout padlock. A cramped writing desk sits at the far end of the room with a comfortable-looking armchair placed before it. A man sits at the desk, writing with quill pen and ink.

To Igmar’s eyes he is tall, and almost painfully thin, with gaunt features, ash blond hair, and broad shoulders that bely his initially fragile-seeming physique. After a moment Igmar decides the man has at least some elf blood in him. He is clad in a heavy wool cloak, stout riding breeches, and a heavy waistcoat to ward off the subterranean chill. A heavy longbow and a spiked war-chain sit close at hand, with the bow propped in a nearby corner. The war-chain is looped over the back of his chair. From what Igmar can see the man is very engrossed in his writing.

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