On May 9th, Year 6, Ragnvaldr and Rowan set out into the east of Wraecliff’s demesne to continue exploring. They expect their mapping this week to include the area surrounding Moaning Hill, which has cultivated quite a reputation in the Vale, but they have both been inside it once before and aren’t concerned:
- Ragnvaldr (TrS): Level 8 Human Fighter
- Subdued Owlbear
- Neville, Level 2 Toad Familiar
- Rowan (MiM): Level 8 Elf Magic-user
- Pebble, Level 2 Cat Familiar
They plan on avoiding ratfolk settlements they know to be in the northeast of the demesne as they search the north eastern eighth, doubling back to spend about half the nights within sight of Castle Wraecliff while walking methodically through the east-northeast eighth of his demesne.
On Monday, having informed Wraecliff of their intentions, they set out into the wilds. The let a pack of wolves flee at their approach and slay an ogre. Sleet hits them before they make camp, but they are soon in their crystal dome tent that keeps them dry and warm as the storm goes on. By morning they have no symptoms of anything wrong.
On Tuesday, they wake to heavy rain and stay in the tent until it stops still in the early morning. The day is warm and humid. They spot a griffon and call it down with a bow shot, slaying it as it swoops away from its first dive. The owlbear drags some of it along. They come into a graveyard they recognize as gnomish and very old. They pass through, thinking they will pass through it on the way back. When they do, they see a granite mausoleum which they investigate, finding that ratfolk are living in it, stew on the stove.
Wednesday is cold again. As they march, a giant lynx flees when it sees them. Later in the day they fight two ogres and a while later make camp. Thursday cools even further and after they kill three ogres, Rowan seems to be coming down with something. He goes into his sleeping bag and Ragnvaldr carries him on. As they approach and skirt Moaning Hill, they encounter and slay seven giant bats in two groups.
Ragnvaldr finds a passage into the hill. The chamber has three outlets and he takes the easy path to another chamber with five giant rats and another passage into the hill. This passage brings them to a fight with giant spiders and an ettercap, where Ragnvaldr is badly wounded by badly aimed spells from Rowan and Rowan’s spell points are expended. They loot the chamber, finding ratfolk bodies with some coins and a device that crawls making a stepping sound.
Wounded and spell points expended, they leave the hill with passages unexplored. Ragnvaldr slays another giant bat and they make camp a way south of the fateful hill. In the morning, they map south of the hill and to the castle. On one trip back toward the castle, they encounter an altar with dried blood. It has depictions of dragons and undead on it, as well as dragon empire text neither of them can read.
They camp early by the altar, as Rowan is still feeling a little weak. They are vindicated as a hailstorm starts and they are sheltered again by the crystal dome tent. In the morning they return to the castle and report their findings. Wraecliff pays them some bonus for delving into the Moaning Hill.
Moaning Hill is massive. Some amount of political tension between Wraecliff and Rovert has been recently resolved with each of them claiming half of the hill. Which half will be more valuable. I don’t know.