Felipe chose to scout ahead of the rest, and as she crept over a rise in direction of the trees, she saw what looked like a hastily abandoned camp, with a rabbit on a spit over a fire, and hammocks strung between trees as well as various pieces of furniture, table, chest,s and even a few chairs. She heard a scuffle over another rise in the ground, and crawling over the top, she saw the panther on its side, growling and flailing its tendrils, whilst fighting an invisible foe. One voice shouted “Uga chuka!” and a red burst of blood appeared on the panthers chest. A crowd chanted “Chuka Chuka!” and the lone voice shouted angrily “Uga uga Chuka!” and the crowd agreed, “Uga uga, Chuka Chuka,” enthusiastically. Felipe returned to the rest of the party and they decided to head towards the mansion, leaving the feline to its fate.
Inside the tall, thick hedge was a another hedge-wall blocking forwards progress, but a pebbled path cut left to right. They chose the left route, and when there was another crosee section, they chos the right. Soon Hex and Thokk got together and choosing the side in the direction of the house, they chopped into it with their diabolical weapons. Instantly there was a high pitched squealing sound, and all were dazed to see four white shapes come streaking out of the Shrubs. They were like rabbits… with unicon horns. SIlver and sharp, the horns bit into Hex and Thokk as a pair attacked each. Their teeth too were silver and sharp. The two had trouble bringing their large weapons to bear on the tiney creatures who swarmed around them, moving with them and staying underfoot before launching a bite or horn attack. The rest of the party stood mesmerized, until finally Hex speared on on the end of his sword. it squealed and disintegrated into silvery powder. Ria managed to skewer one on the end of a divine ray of light, and it too disintegrated. Thokk had trouble and was beginning to bleed profusely from the long horns and little sharp teeth until Poppy managed to hack one away. Finally the last al-mi-raj was dealt with.
They stepped through the hedge wall and into the courtyard before the front doors of the mansion. The house was large with wings off either side. It had a staely lok but was dilapidated, with paint peeling from the walls, and the yard was unkempt and weedy, though not totally overgrown. Above the door in large glittering letters was the word “AMBER”. The doors were shut but unlocked, and pushing through the party stepped into a large gallery. Two sets of stairs led up a baclony, with large stone gargoyels at the top of each flight. To either side of the front doors was a life size angelic statue in solid silver. The rest of the chamber was richly decorated, though dusty and cobwebby. It also looked recently disturbed, with turned over tables, chairs pulled out of place, and tracks all over. To the left was the dining room and beyond, the kitchens, while to the right, a hallway led to other dim chambers.
Thokk was the first to step forward, and he went straight to the dining room to investigate the piles he saw on that large table. finding a chair, he sat down and started pawing through the dust and web covered platters and place settings. Dull silver gleamed under the grime, and Thokk was just putting a rock hard biscuit between his tusks when he beheld a strange sight. Two young women and a man of ghostly apparition floated through a nearby wall and in complete silence, though they appeared to be chatting with one another, took their seats. One young lady was in a pink dress, and one older lady was in an elegant white gown. The young man wore a white shirt with a huge poofy frill at the front, and tight purple flared pants with a gold stripe down the sides that flared out and curled up at the cuffs.
Thokk was unable to get their attention or hear their words, and the rest of the party looked on from the entry hall as more ghosts appeared from the kitchen. The swinging doors remained motionless as four servants appeared in a row and set four plates of soup down in front of the diners. The one in front of THokk seemed real enough and he could smell onions. He began eating the thik onion soup, and as he finished with a belch, he sat back in his chair, feeling fortified. He gained 3 permanent hit points. (Take that character builder) Soon enough Felipe, Poppy, Ria, and Hex raced forward to grab seats before the next course, a tall glass of aber wine poured from silver ewers.
More courses, including a steaming slice of bread straight from the oven, spread with melting butter. Upon eating a slice, one was transformed by the experience. SOme were fulfilled and took no more slices of bread, and they became immune to the affects of starvation, for the others, they took up a second slice of bread, and ever afterwards, they required twice as much food and drink to sustain themselves. High metabolism – today considered a benefit, would once have been a negative. But enough about the dinner. It soon ended, and a final small cordial of amber brandy was served. They noticed the three ghosts instantly grabbed there brandy up ad swallowed them down. This gave everyone but Thokk pause – he on the other hand, saluted the god of blood and thunder and swallowed his glass. A moment passed where he felt strange, as if the hands of fate were moving but the moment passed (and he lived.)
Moving on, a mad cackling was heard from the balcony, and a ball of flame came lurching down the stairs and slammed into the half orc. (It was just not his night, though he did gain 3 permanent hps out of it, and over the course of his career, a quick estimate would be it will save him a total of 3700 hp, or 3.7 percent of the 100,00 hp in damage he will take by the time he is 30th level.) Shalazar Shackleton stood at the top of the stairs. He had a crazed look and held a large spell book in his hands. He was dressed in boots and leather breeches, but wore a vest of animal fur, and a girdle with 20 fine bladed daggers. He tore a book out of the spell book and threw it into the air while speaking arcane words. The pge crmbled into black dust which formed itself into two shadowy forms that slowly wafted to the floor taking on humanoid form. Living clouds of knives came flying out of the kitchen with another page torn, and Shazzy Shack tossed daggers at the heroes doiwn below while screaming how now the ghosts had taken form. He was really crazed.
Thokk and Hex charged the stairs,a and the gargoyles lurched forward to attack as Shalazar Shackleton ran in fear down the hall. Thokk was right behind him and got in a savage blow with his axe just before the shazz dodged into a lavatory and dove down the dark, malodorous hole within that privy chamber. Before he went down, he pulled one last page from the book, and as it disintegrated, skeletal hands, right and left, crawled from a cracks between floor and wall to attack. Below, Poppy slew the dark shadows just as one of the silver statues animated as an angel of retribution, silver great sword flashing. Another time, after killing the living knife spells with a flaming spell of the druid, another living fireball appeared out of her magical energies.
After the magic battle, the heroes searched the four bedrooms upstairs, and in the first three they found the ghosts of the three from the dining room lying atop made beds. The rooms seemed typical of a noble or rich private bed chamber, and in the chamber of the young lady who wore pink, they found a well read booklet of poetry. Investigating her ghostly figure, they realized their was a hole in her chest where her heart should be. The infamous hole under the dress, and the hope chest at the foot of her bed. Not like a jagged bloody hole or anything, just an emptiness that they knew was going to wind up some kind of quest they were going to have to solve. Man, how they hate quests! The lady in white and the man with the pants had similar missing hearts. The whole time the party is upstairs, Felipe was calmly polishing silver and putting it into her bag of holding. She got a setting for eight, including goblets, utensils, and an ewer. Estimated value 10gp per piece.
In the fourth bedchamber they found an old wizard who was very much alive, but napping. He couldnt be roused for more than a few second at a time, and whenever he was awake, he first noticed his crown was missing, then he would notice his spell book was not on its table in the corner of his room. Felipe and Ria use the downstairs kitchen to make a potion that will rouse him. He wakes up and manages to answer a few question. He says his crown was taken by his assistant Friday, who must have taken them back to his people in the steaming jungle. He does not know what happened to his spell book but was adamant it must be returned. So saying, the characters explore a door they found in the kitchen which leads to stairs downwards. There is a landing, then the stairs turn and end at a door. Thokk noticed a silver rune mark. on the door. (He had earlier blown himself up after ignoring a similar sigil on one of the nobles doors.) He stepped back to let Poppy try to disarm it, and it instead blew up in her and Hex’ face. The party retreated back to the chamber of the lady in pink, barricaded the door, and prepared to spend a night in the enchanters mansion.
Also, something about horses. But we will end it here.