Not satisfied with abandoning their expensive equipment to their villainous opponents at Mooncrest Lodge, both Kithry and Oskar made their separate attempts to locate and recoup their belongings from the hands of Prince Morcant‘s men. Kithry tried first. His attempt was punctuated by explorations of the stables (where he found a dagger and not much else), the servant’s quarters (where he explored the laundry, some servants’ bunks -where he stole Gunnar West‘s identification papers, the occupied kitchen, and the private living space of Orwell d’Obergill – the estate’s butler), and finally, the far side of Mooncrest Lodge itself. Sadly, while peaking in a window to the Lodge’s Great Room, Kithry was spotted by a pair of guards who quickly made their way outside to pursue him. One used his tracking skills to noble effect, following the halfling back to the grand entrance of the lodge, where Kithry used rope to bar the door. Stealing his way up to the second floor, he noticed a man in servant’s clothes pacing the balcony outside, while neglecting to notice a second pair of guards around the corner, guarding a door at the far end of the hallway running parallel the balcony. With little choice, Kithry leaped out onto the balcony with the servant and threatened him at knifepoint to reveal the location of the stolen gear, upon which the tongueless man, Eldon Moore, revealed his inability to speak. Kithry gained his aid in pushing the passenger pigeon hutch up against the doorway he’d entered through, but this accomplished little, as a second doorway at the far end of this outdoor balcony was also available to the guard. Kithry used the intervening seconds to attempt to ascend to the roof with the aid of the mute servant, but without success, and was finally forced to jump from the outdoor balcony to the ground below. A successful tumble ensured he suffered only minor damage before he began on a mad dash past the well and kennels to the stables. It was here that Kithry was finally cornered by the pursuing guards, and knocked unconscious after a failed attempt to impale one of his pursuers with a pitchfork.
After resting the night out in his badger’s den to fullest (leveling) effect, Oskar was unwittingly next to take up the equipment retrieving cause. The dwarf wasted little time, approaching the lodge in the wee morning hours while most of the household was still asleep. He entered the doors to the great room, only to find the assigned guardsman asleep on duty at his post at the bottom of the stairs. After a brief interrogation, Oskar slit the man’s throat, heading in the direction of the kitchens, with hopes of locating the pantry, where it was suggested his weapons might be stored. In the kitchens, Oskar located another cook, who he threatened into assisting him, taking her down into the root cellar to look for his lost equipment, but to no avail. Once again, with little choice in terms of methods to silence her, he killed his hostage, returning to the great room to explore the upper level of the lodge. He noted with some satisfaction that the guard’s body remained undisturbed as he climbed the stairs to the balcony overlooking the great room, where he was able to gather a few weapons for further use and protection. His keen dwarven eyes also noted a dim corner behind the chimney from the great room’s fireplace where the sound of his footsteps rang hollow. It took quite a long time, but eventually, he was able to pry open a secret trap door to reveal the room where he and Esme had been held prisoner just days before.
This time, Oskar chose to follow the ladder to its bottom, in the underground passage below the lodge. Carefully making his way along the revealed tunnel in the dark, he soon came to a deep pool of water, which revealed itself to be the well seen above ground near the lodge. The tunnel’s floor at this point was marked by sets of muddy footprints, indicating that it had been used recently. Oskar forged onward, curious to see where it would lead next. After passing a second ladder that made its way up to the kennels, the twisting passage eventually ended in a wooden doorway, preceeded by an 8 ft gap of strange looking stonework on the floor that Oskar had the good sense not to trust. By placing a single foot on the section, Oskar revealed a pit trap that might have killed him, were it not for his keen dwarven senses. Oskar was able to scale his way along the wall over to the far side of the pit trap and open the wooden door on the far side.
Inside, Oskar noted several items of interest. A set of shelves containing many precious items of note, including a letter, a series of alchemist’s invoices, a ruby ring, the package that the party had been charged with delivering to Mooncrest Lodge (which revealed itself to contain a fist-sized dragonshard), as well as his personal identification papers, along with those of Kithry. Beyond the shelves and behind a coffin, was the stack of knapsacks containing the missing gear of interest, minus a few items of no particular note. After gathering the belongings, Oskar inspected the coffin, which contained nothing more than dirt, before breaking into the final locked set of cabinet doors in the room, which turned out to contain Kithry’s bound and gagged body. After ungagging and untying his friend, Oskar spent time meticulously combing over the underground chamber, trying to reveal more of its secrets, before the sound of footsteps finally halted the search. Extinguishing the light of the sunrod that had been lit by tucking it into his clothing, Kithry waited with Oskar at the partially opened doorway to the tunnel until a whiff of smoke bypassed them to enter the room -materializing as none other than Morrison, who had now revealed himself to be a vampire.
Much fighting ensued, but to little effect, save dazing Kithry into making nothing by the most minor of actions in each round of fighting. However, it was, in the end, Kithry’s decision to use the wooden crossbow bolts as improvised “stakes” to drive through Morrison’s heart that saved the duo from certain defeat. A single, action-point assisted and directed attack was all it took to fell the foul creature, and Kithry and Oskar were able to escape via the kennel escape route in the tunnel to the badger hole once again – equipment in tow this time. Few could argue that the two half-pint heroes had had lady luck on their side on this particular occasion as they schemed in the afternoon light what their next move would be…