The Trail of Greater Andruil

ACT I: Chapter 2

The Madness of Matterholm

The party exit the town hall and start inspecting a map of the area. They see that Matterholm is a small town of mostly lodges surrounded by forest. However, towards the east side, they see a lone dwelling beside the crypt Mathias mentioned. From what the party knew this is where the hermit lived. They decide that questioning this hermit would be very valuable since they live so close to the crypt.

The town seems old, shabby, with nary a sound. The air begins to nip as the skies darken. People begin to pop out of their homes with burning poles to light the lamps that stand next to them. The lodges are constructed from lumber and connected by footprints of trodden mud filled with rainwater. The church stands out as the centrepiece of Matterholm, clearly the most important building by construction material alone. Other than the town hall the rest of the town is wooden! Not to mention the important-looking symbols decorating the stone arch above the doors, the citizens are without a doubt of the spiritual variety.

The party follows the map and approaches the hut. Compared to the cabins at the center of town this hut is made from finer materials; build with a base of moss-covered stone and beams of wood above it. Even the roof is superior, roughly cut slate tiles arranged evenly.

Danny tries knocking on the heavy wooden door – it opens. With Danny looking straight foward, he is greeted by a big, scruffy looking bush. The hermit is an old naked woman and she is standing, looking down at Danny. She stays there for a few moments. Danny also stands there for a few moments looking straight forward. The old hermit then groans, shrugs her shoulders and slams the door. Not fulfilled with the encounter the Bard knocks again – no answer. He knocks a few more times, each with no response.

Aelar notices runes written on the doorframe, of an arcane nature. This is confirmed when Brassignr senses the hut is protected by strong magic. Aelar then tries to blast down the door using druid magic, instead of breaking through his attempt is recoiled and sends him sprawling. Brassigr then tries with one of his wizard spells, in a similar way his magic is repelled and sent back at him. His spell hits his torso bruising him a little. After seeing two weak attempts Morgash charges at the door, knowing he can easily smash through a measly wooden door. In full stride, he launches himself shoulder first, just as he makes contact his body stops, then sent back twice as quickly as his back slides across the dirt.

Seeing the failed attempts Danny decides to explore the garden. While picking roses and eyeing the vegetable patch he also sees a window. While thinking it’s very unlikely, he still takes a chance and reaches up. Pushing the frame expecting resistance his arm instead falls through as the window swings wide open. Glancing around and smiling to himself, he climbs into the hut and silently lands inside. Releasing the latch he opens the door for everyone else.

The room contains mostly simple items and essentials for living. The only object that stands out is a large circular rug that lies close to the bed, it looks relatively new and clean compared to the rest of the room. Looking left of the door: a desk, a chair and a bookshelf stuffed with parchment, tomes and letters. In the left corner, a stove with a clutter of implements and skillets scattered across the floor. Towards the other corner, a simple bed with a wooden frame and a straw mattress with a bucket at the foot of it. Atop the bed sits a frail framed woman wrapped in a blanket and facing the wall – the hermit. As the party enter, she begins to mutter to herself in a monotonous drone. The spellcasters don’t recognise the incantation and in a foolish panic turn around and run for the door. Seeing everyone run alarms Morgash and he follows. During the escape, amidst the rush Danny turns away as if he forgot something important. He emerges seconds later from the garden with arms full of turnips and carrots with an even larger smile. In this chaos Danny and Morgash trip over the large root of a tree. With Morgash falling behind Danny (Danny also falling) he begins to tumble down the steep hill. With Danny falling forwards and upwards he narrowly misses Morgash as he tucks himself in, he is now somersaulting over him with an arm full of vegetables. The half-orc barrels past and rolls into the distance, a carrot manages to escape the grasp of the spinning halfling. Danny then lands onto his feet for a ten point finish, clutching is precious vegetables with the carrot returning to him and landing back exactly where is was.

The party eventually stop running and start walking towards the crypt. They approach and see the dark bricked doorway and a robed man standing outside. Walking closer he looks panicked and worried. He quickly introduces himself as Priest Callahan and says his friend is hurt and he needs help. Most of the party are happy to help but Aelar looks as if he is suppressing his fright. Insisting he waits outside the rest walk through in search of the priest’s friend. Just as they all enter, following Callahan, the building rumbles and a giant boulder falls over the entrance. With everyone already in shock Callahan turns around and pulls out a dagger. He apologises with sincerity and then thrusts the blade into himself and collapses to the ground. At that moment the party realise that they are trapped, and not by mere chance.

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