We took a carriage just after the crack for Pricklecleft, arriving just after sunheight. From there it was only two or three hops to the dungeon entrance. The contract is worth four hundred grains but the dungeon loot value is estimated at only twice that. Hardly worth the trip for most people but It's been hand to mouth for me for so long I'd have done it for a hot meal.
They landed on their backsides behind the dyke a ways from the Dungeon entrance and began laughing. Jubilant mirthful laughter that lasted for some time.
“How easy was that?” said Greiip wiping away a tear of happiness.
“I know, good rote, we must have, I don't even know how much gold here”
Behind them was a dungeon full of very confused bandits searching for what could easily have been twenty people as far as they were concerned. In a short while they would realise their gold had all somehow vanished.
“That thing you did to make them all think there was three of you” said Karndal holding a large emerald up to the sunlight “you have to teach me that.
“Aye, well anyone who can react to that and snatch their grainpurse while they search is worthy of knowing my better tricks”
“It was nothing, and I didn't almost stand in any man traps this time”.
“No you didn't” Greiip took off his cloak and spread it out “you're learning fast”.
They piled up the loot in the cloak and tied it shut.
“Did you pay the carriage to wait?” asked Karndal
“No I only had barely enough to pay for the trip here but never mind”.
“There's a town nearby, Dawnforest, we could get a bed for the night there and hire a carriage back tomorrow” said Karndal.
“Excellent idea, which way?”
Dawnforest was a harbour town built between the eponymous expanse of Oplii, Trindle and Pallenwoods that flanked it's southern edge, and the mouth of the great river Tork to it's north that led into the Greater Ocean west of the town. They approached from the east and saw none of this. Arriving at an inn along the main street sometime before sunwane the tired adventurers picked through the thin crowd of patrons to the bar.
“A twin room if you please barkeep”.
“OI” shouted the barkeep suddenly. They whirled around to look at where he was shouting. A cullutyin had walked in the door.
“We don't serve your kind here, bugger off”.
The cullutyin made a click clacking noise from it's mandibles and what must have been a rude gesture with one of it's tentacles.
“Wouldn't want to drink in this hole anyway” it muttered before stalking back out of the door.
The barkeep returned his attention to Greiip “horrible things, anyway, you want to hire some twins you say, well we don't have any twins but Shandice and Catrille don't mind doing double visits, they're with mister Hibple at the moment though”.
“No, we want a twin room, to sleep”.
“Ah, excellent, five grains then please”.
“Very reasonable” said Greiip, “however we are adventurers good sir, we have not yet had a chance to sell our loot, perhaps we could barter something”.
“Indeed, do you have any invisiblity potions?”
Greiip undid his cloak sack and rummaged around. They had helped themselves to the contents of a shelf in what looked like a small alchemy laboratory while they waited for one of the bandits to stop searching that area. He picked a bottle at random.
“Is this any good?”
The barkeep unstopped it and sniffed the contents pulling back sharply.
“I know what this is” he said coming out from behind the bar. He crossed to the door and called out to the street.
“Oi, you, yeah you come back here”.
They heard a click clacking noise approaching. The barkeep poured a little of the liquid into his hand and flung it out of the door. The click clack turned into a scream.
“My eyes arrrgh my eyes” came a voice from outside followed by “whyyyyy?” fading off into the distance. The barkeep returned looking satisfied.
“Cullutyin repellent, this will do fine” he took a key from a cupboard behind the bar “room three, top floor”.
They managed to get a few ales and some bread and cheese thrown into the bargain and retired satisfied. The beds were comfy and a shelf of good books adorned one of the walls. Greiip felt things were looking up for once. The two of them chatted for a while and he showed Karndal a couple of tricks in how to make people look in the wrong place for you. After the ales had set in Greiip decided it was time to get up and relieve himself. In the hall outside the room he tried to retrace the steps he had taken to get there and quickly found himself turned around. The place was a warren. He followed the sound of someone playing the habtinar below to a staircase that led to a long quiet corridor at the bottom. He was about to turn back when something caught his eye scratched into a door. It couldn't be, could it. He approached quietly. On the door was carved the image of a closed eye. He tried the handle gently. The door swung open. Inside a man at a desk sat writing. He looked up. There was a momentary pause, the quiet of the room almost deafening.
“Can I help you?”
“Er, I was looking for the privy” said Greiip smiling nervously.
The man pointed silently with his quill back towards the staircase.
There was movement in the corner of the room. A man, wearing a strange armour Greiip recognised from the attack in Echo hills moved out of the shadows. Greiip jumped and closed the door. Heavy footsteps pounded towards him from the other side.
Karndal looked up startled as Greiip burst back into the room.
“Grab your stuff we need to go”
“What” Karndal sat up.
“Quickly, we need to”
The door crashed in and the soldier advanced. The armour had the same design but it looked lighter than the battledress he had seen during the attack on the convoy that day, mail instead of plate. Karndal recognised it too.
“What did you want” demanded the soldier.
“I told you, I needed a wee”.
The soldier drew his sword and advanced across the room. Greiip darted back and grabbed his own, scabbard and all from beside the bed and turned raising it up just in time to stop an overhead blow. The strike drove him down a little but he regained his footing quickly. The soldier's sword had wedged in the material of the scabbard and the two struggled for a moment.
“Go” shouted Greiip “grab the loot and go”.
Karndal grabbed the bag of loot and started for the door but another soldier appeared there.
“Dammit” said Greiip and kicked the soldier he was wrestling with sharply in the groin. The man's eyes widened behind the helmet's slit and he doubled over with a groan. The other soldier advanced, this one with a short handled axe in each hand. Greiip freed his sword, grabbed the bag of loot from Karndal and punted them both through the window pane. Without a second wasted he grabbed the lad and half jumped, half fell through the broken window. They landed on a tiled roof of an awning above the front door. A helmeted head poked out then disappeared.
“How did you know this would be here” said Karndal between groans.
“I didn't said Greiip” in equal pain. They slid down and retrieved the loot. They could hear the soldier clattering through the bar so with great effort limped away. On the other side of the road the door to the inn crashed open and the soldier with dual axes ran out. He looked both ways then ran off down the street. Greiip and Karndal breathed out, relieved.
“What the hell was that all about”?
Greiip sat down “damned if I know, at least we didn't loose the gold though”.
Karndal smiled bitterly and rubbed his back where he had landed.
“Yeah, tonight was a real victory”.