After the battle with the beholderkin, we searched the cellar. Sadi called from the far corner. “I think I found our guy.” She pointed at a skeleton with the large “V” shaped pendant around his neck. Acgar hurried over. “Yes, the clothes are about right for the time period. It’s hard, at this juncture, to say what killed him exactly. What we need–” Sadi grabbed the necklace and yanked. “This is what we need right now.”
“Let’s check the upstairs, OK?” I headed up the stairs.
At the top of the stairs, we saw 5 doors. One on the left was slightly ajar. Acgar and I moved closer. “Tracks.” Acgar whispered to me.
“Why are you whispering?” A voice whispered. I whirled around to see Various. “What are you doing — How did you –”
Acgar put her finger to her mouth. “Shhhh! ”
We approached the door. I took a deep breath and pushed it open. What we saw inside was a small and filthy bedroom. Bedding had been pulled from the beds. Pieces of food littered the floor. Various peered in over my shoulder. “Gross.”
We moved on to the other door on that side of the landing. Ian and Myntilly were looking at the lock. Ian pulled out his pack and pulled out what looked sort of like a metallic ruler. He rapped it against the door handle and it made a lovely clear sound. As the sound died away, Ian opened the door. Myntilly smiled. “Handy little thing!” She said as she moved into the room.
This room was larger and well appointed. There was a single bed with several pillows. I felt something brush against my arm and suddenly the pillows moved without anyone touching them. Myntilly quickly cast dispel magic. I started laughing as Various was revealed bouncing on the bed. “Why didn’t you tell me?” She put her hands on her hips and glared at me. “I didn’t have a chance! You’re so quick with the spell. Like some sort of hired assassin. Very impressive.”
“Hey! Who did that? Why am I visible?”
Myntilly walked to the bed. “I’m sorry Various, honey. I didn’t know you were in town. No one (she shot a look at me) told me! I thought you were a ghost or something. Don’t sneak like that! I could have done worse than dispel, you know.”
“Like what? Orb of acid? Fireball? Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if I were set on fire again. Would the other eye smoke, do you think?” She got off the bed and the three of us joined the others on the landing.
“Let’s check the double door. I bet it’s the master bedroom.” I moved toward the doors. Without Cinder around these days doors are a bit more tricky. If I’m up front I say a small prayer and turn the handle. This time Brus padded up beside me. He stood up with front paws on one side of the door and the door swung open. “Good boy! Thank you, buddy.” I peered in. “Yep,” I called. “It’s the master bedroom!”
Myntilly squeezed past me and Brus. “I wonder” she said, “if any of the clothes are still in the closet. That would be a cl –”
From the doorway, I heard Myntilly yelp. And then I heard a scurrying sound. “Oh gross!” Myntilly yelled. I quickly cast fire shield and pushed past Brus. Whatever was in here, I didn’t want Myntilly to face it alone. I was not prepared to see a huge centipede. It was trying to coil itself around Myntilly. She was successfully lobbing spells at it. It must have felt me coming up behind it because it quickly turned and attacked. As it tried to coil around me, the flames of my shield seared it. It released and, not being very smart, launched itself at me again. I almost laughed, and then I saw the teeth. I wondered where everyone else was. Suddenly Brus was at my side. And Acgar jabbed her spear through the opening between the door frame and Brus.
We were lucky, in the end there were only a few babies, which Myntilly and Brus dispatched easily. Later I realized that we only ever got the one door open, so the others had limited vision and access.
As Sadi said later, “It was a jumble in there. I heard Myntilly yelling and then you go in all wreathed in flames and Brus goes in. I couldn’t see a thing with him in the way. And well (she shrugged) you guys weren’t yelling or anything, so I figured you had it under control.”
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