Having dispatched the Cockatrice and returned to a more mobile form the Sherriffs ponder on what to do next. Alvi fills in Brega and Aelfric on her conversation with Latana the Wild Hobbit and the party agree that they should investigate the tower to determine if there is any further risk. However, they realise they don’t know where Latana lives and so set out to discover her dwelling. Asking about Crissingham, they enter the Vigiliant Mare, where Brega nearly upsets the locals by upsetting a pint. However, in moment of incredible agility Aelfric manages to snatch the cup out of mid air and return it to the table without a drop being spilled.
An argument averted, and with information from the Theo the proprietor of the Vigiliant Mare, they set off into the North Wood to talk to Latana about the location of the tower she had previously mentioned to Alvi. The Sherriffs opt for a softly, softly approach with talk of treasure which brings Latana around. She demands a rate of one silver coin for acting as guide and an equal share of any treasure along with rations. Eventually, after much debate the party agree to her terms.
Leaving Crissingham, the party cross the river by boat at Swanlynn and travel into the Red Hills once part of the Realm of Cardolan but now after the plague a forsaken empty land. Down in a small wooded valley they find the tower from which Latana had taken the egg. The stonework crumbles from the upper levels and the wood is thick and dark around it. Almost as if the forest is trying to reclaim the tower itself. After some careful consideration the party choose the front door for entry as it has been broken open. The small tower has few rooms and soon the ground floor has been explored. Alvi notices a not very well hidden trap door with some foot marks near it. The party opt to explore below ground and leave the upper floors until later. It is at this point that the party realise that they have neglected to bring any light source. Aelfric, ever practical, fashions crude torches from the remains of wood and cloth lying around the tower.
Alvi the bard leads her companions into the darkness of the passage below the tower. The inefficient torches barely illuminate a few feet in front of them. Shadows leap from every rock face and torches need regular rekindling. A defaced statue in an alcove causes a moments concern as it appears suddenly from the darkness.
Soon they arrive at a fork in the passages and opt to follow the left fork towards some interesting alcoves. The first alcove contains a glittering silver ring. Alvi cautiously moves forward as Aelfric quickly approaches the second alcove. Fireballs briefly light up the darkness. Aelfric ducks and his shield deflects the rest of the flame. Unfortunately, Alvi is struck in the chest and collapses in shock. Having determined that Alvi is not harmed in any other way, Aelfric, assuming she will recover, investigates the other alcoves. Each time a fireball is launched but each time Aelfric meets it with agility and shield. By the end, slightly singed he reaches the end of the passage of the alcoves. He is also rather woozy with all the blows taken and in need of a rest. The party recover the ring, a light broadsword, a helm, a wand and a rune paper.
Aelfric takes the broadsword and helm for himself gaining a lighter weapon and a +5 bonus to his perception. Brega examines the magical items and finds that the wand is a +2 adder, the Rune is for Limbwalking and the ring gives a magical blessing of +10DB. The adventurers then decide that they should retreat from the passages to a safe campsite and wait for Alvi and Aelfric to recover.
Camped out in the woods about a mile from the tower the adventurers pass a day and a half undisturbed. Alvi regains conciousness on the first night but is too weak to continue the exploration for the rest of the day. About two hours before sunset the party set out to continue their exploration. They push further into the passage and spot a small group of four goblins preparing for a nights activity.
There is much debate over the correct course of action. Should they sneak past? Would a surprise attack work? Should they just leave? Eventually, they decide to approach the entrance to the cave as quietly as possible and use surprise. Alvi causes two goblins to lapse into sleep with a magical lullaby played on her flute. Brega snaps off a shock bolt that crackles through the air and Aelfric rushes in to attack a surprised goblin. Aelfric’s first flurry puts the goblin on the back foot. A second arc of electricity crackles and Alvi continues to play; a third goblin falls into slumber. Aelfric prepares to finish the final goblin but slips and the new sword breaks on the floor. As he reaches for his trusty old sword electricity arcs again from the tip of Brega’s staff and the goblin expires.
Having searched the goblin lair and found little more than rusty scimitars and some caltrops, the party are delighted to find a more serviceable torch. This allows them to explore the large chamber into which the goblin lair opened. A shallow pool of water stands between the heroes and mystical obsidian plinth in a small chamber. To the right a small passage leads away into darkness. A third, behind and to the right leads to a similar inky blackness. Again the group debate the best course of action and opt for wading through the water to the obsidian plinth.
The plinth is in the centre of a small cavern. Beside the plinth an armoured chest sits on the floor. The invitation is too much and they attempt to open the lid. The chest is locked. Alvi sets to work and with seconds has released the locking mechanism. With eagerness and the vocal encouragement of her companions she opens it. Steel blades sweep out of the plinth scything towards her neck. Was it highly developed reflexes or a subliminal warning. Perhaps it was some divine intervention or it could have been blind luck. Alvi arches backwards and the blades pass with within a fraction of her nose and stop. Her breath mists the polished surfaces of the blades. Cautiously, she moves away.
The blades remain stationary and so the adventurers decide it is safe to remove the contents. They find three bottles of a potion; three rune papers and 500 tin pieces. Initial investigations reveal one of the potions is a magic healing potion and one of the runes will cast Change Kind. The tin pieces are shared out evenly between the four explorers, before the party sets out again to explore the rest of the cavern.
The caverns provide no more surprises, although, there remains one trap which is easily avoided. The party decide to investigate the upper parts of the tower. The tower is crumbling and the climb is filled with risk but sure-footed the party reach the top without discovering anything further. At the top of the tower amongst the branches, Aelfric decides to attempt to leap onto a nearby branch to climb down. He misses the branch and falls to the ground. Fortunately, he is able to break the speed of his fall with the branches of the tree and lands in a bush unharmed. The rest of the Sherriffs use the stairs to exit the tower.
Explorations complete and assured that there remains no more items that might be illicitly brought into the Shire, the Sturdy Sheriffs return to the Midnight Rooster at Wibblesham to report back to Mally Nation. Here Alvi, Aelfric and Brega spend some well earned time resting at the inn.