An Ex-Summer Place
Shambling Mound … Wargs … What’s Not to Like?
Darkarus had been hired to do a job – and we could help. He’d been asked to go to a place where many of The Fifty of Elweir once had summer homes. Although they had long since abandoned those summer homes, a cache of treasure had been left behind. The reason for abandonment had something to do with reports of “berserker wolves’ in the area. Darkarus’ employer wanted four specific items from the treasure. All the remaining items would belong Darkarus … and anyone he engaged to help him. Aside from the four specific items the employer wanted, Darkarus had been informed of a number of other valuable items in the collection. Just like everyone else in the group, I agreed to go … mostly because I didn’t have anything better to do. (Note to self: I need to find better things to do.)
Of course we’d need supplies for this adventure, so of course, Aliella flew into action. In addition to the usual food, ropes, and things like that we would need pack mules. Assuming we did find the treasure and it was as extensive as described, yes, then we would need pack animals. But in any case, it would be impossible to find mules or anything else once we got to where it was we were going. Plus, pack mules would allow Aliella to take her pavilion. The journey would not take too long and it would be a good test of the abilities of our staff (such as it is) to manage things in our absence. Packed up and ready to go, we headed out.
We didn’t meet with any trouble until the night we camped close to where the summer homes had been and the treasure was supposed to be. At some point fairly early in the night, there was a strange noise like nothing I’d heard before. Raganash and Fiona were up and about; I was on the wrong side of the pavilion to see what was happening. By the time I caught up with them, I wasn’t sure what I was looking at or what was going on. There was this … thing … that looked like a small hill had detached itself from the ground and started walking around on its own. Maybe Raganash had whacked it with his act and the … thing … had hit back (somehow). I wasn’t sure. Fiona was speaking to it in her own language, so I didn’t know what she was saying … but it seemed to be listening to her. Then Raganash made another lunge for the thing. Hesitation seemed a more appropriate course of action to me, so I put out my blade and tripped him. He thanked me by taking a swing at my legs. But Fiona was able to calm the situation. The thing is a shambling mound and meant us no harm … so long as we did not seek to harm it. I think Fiona and the mound stayed up talking all night; the rest of us went back to sleep.
The next day we found the spot Darkarus was seeking. He and Raganash and Fiona all went down into the ruins to find the treasures while Aliella and I kept watch on things in the area. Nothing happened where we were. I’m not sure what all happened down in the ruins, but Raganash came out with all kinds of ideas for traps and gizmos. Darkarus found the treasures and we hauled them out. After we brought the loot back to camp, Fiona went hunting and shot a deer. I was about to start work on cooking it when her mound friend returned. Fiona explained that the mound was warning us there had been Wargs in the area and was suggesting we go over to its place. Raganash, Darkarus, and Aliella started arguing about whether or not to go. I grabbed the deer, threw it over my horse, then jumped up behind and said, “If you want dinner, I’ll be over at the mounds.” That settled things. During the night we did hear some howls from the direction where our camp had been.
Nothing more exciting happened until we were returning to Elweir. Apparently anyone who brings any amount of goods into Elweir has to pay tax on those goods. Darkarus did not think to also get compensation for this from whoever hired him. Somehow, I don’t know how, he and Aliella managed to have the whole cache pretty much overlooked. We’ll see how this plays out, but I’ve got a bad feeling about it …
Darkarus took the requested items back to the person who hired him. We dived up the rest of the goods. I ended up with a silver ewer, a spy glass, and two silver, ceremonial swords. The spy glass is definitely useful; I just need more practice with it. Having the ewer in my room reminds me I really am a lady; it’s good to have a little something nice. As for the swords, I know what I’m going to do with them. I can give back as good as I get … maybe a little better.