A Tune To Dance To

Investigations and Codes

After a harrowing trip through the mists, we arrive at our destination; Maplebury. While Alanya looks after the exhausted Cecilia and helps he recover from her exertions, the others walk onto the village. The first port of call is the local inn; The Wolf’s Den. As Branimir goes to open the door, he hears a heated discussion taking place on the other side. “Don’t worry” says a deep voice, “I have sent for help”. A general murmering with a few shouted comments respond to the statement. It seems the people are not happy with whoever trid to calm them down. " Say that to those who have disappeared!", “You don’t know what to do, don’t you!?!”. Branimir leads the others into the inn and interrupts the ‘discussion’. “I have come to help you”. Brnaimir’s voice cuts through the general hubub and pointed exclamations of the unhappy crowd. “See!” exclaims the man with the deep voice, “Help arrives”. The group look around the room at the faces of the locals. They certainly don’t look happy or convinced by Branimir’s offer of help. The man with the voice steps forward and introduces himself as the Mayor of Maplebury. “Come this way sir” says the Mayor, gesticulating at Branimir and the others towards a room. “We’ll have some quiet to talk in”. The crowd follows the adventurers as they file into the indicated location. A small figure drops off a stool and follows them in, closing the door behind her.
The Mayor introduces Persyus, a Gnome mage. She has some interest in the disappeared. He then turns, dismissing her from the conversation. "You’ve heard of the ‘Whisteling Fiend’? Well, several men have disappeared from the village. All at night and all accompanied by a whisteling sound. We have no idea what is going on but believe the men to be dead. “Neither you nor the meddling old woman”, he indicates Persyus behind him, “need to get too involved in this. Its making things harder for those who have lost loved ones. I suggest you do as little as you can get away with and then leave.”
Outside, by the almost derelict Gipsy caravan, Cecilia recovers some streangth and downs a nice strong cup of tea. “I think you could do with a good meal too Cecilia” indicated Alanya. While waiting they see a steady stream of people leave the inn and make their way to various locations around the village. “Let’s go to the tavern and order up a plate of something nice and filling. It’ll get the glow back into your cheeks” says Alanya as she helps Cecilia up to her feet. They make their way to the Wolf’s Den inn and enter to see the others exiting from a back-room.
Branimir and Darry are with the Landlord, asking him questions about a disappeared man. Alanya and Cecilia sit down on the most ‘comfortable’ seats in the inn. “So where was the Candlemaker last time you saw him?” asked Darry. “Over by the fireplace”. The Landlord strides across the floor to point with his foot at an area next to the gently glowing fire. “It’s warm there and many a drunkard has spent a night by my fire. Normally they are still there in the morning when I come down for breakfast and they help to tidy up.”
Alanya asks the Landlord if he is serving food. She gets a rude response from him and basically gets told to sit down and wait as he is dealing with important matters.
While the questioning continues, Alain retires to a corner of the room and chanting quietly, gesticulates and paces around the room. After a few minutes of this, he informs all and sundry that “No magic residue remains here”. Alanya gets up and inspects the area indicated by the Landlord. She finds nothing of interest. Alanya can’t even confirm that anyone was asleep on the floor. Branimir also stoops down and takes a close look at the area. His eagle eyes spot something that Alanya missed. “Hmmmm. Look. Footprints going towards that window over there”. Pointing at the window, the Witch Finder moves there and finds it easy to open. Looking on the outside, he sees footprinds leading away from the window towards the woods. Running outside, we pick up the trail again and notice that several more sets of footprints join the first set. Also, marks indicating a trailed cloak or dress hem half obscure the marks. Arriving at a drier, rocky surface, the trail is lost.
After a quick chat, two go off to locate the local tracker and Red goes off to find Persyus the Gnome. It will be a couple of hours before the tracker comes back to the village. Persyus returns with Red to the location of the footprints. While they were away, Alanya guesses that the owners of the footprints probably weren’t too worried about being followed. She moves from the place the footprints were last seen, towards the woods and finds where the tracks continue into them. Alain talks with Persyus aout the whistleing, the disappearences and brings up the subject of Werewolves.
While waiting for the tracker to turn up, some of the group go to question the Candlemaker’s wife. She is of not much use, but Alain does notice that the men in this village have little regard for their womenfolk. It seems that, though of good character before arriving at Maplebury, they soon fall into abusive and violent ways. It was also noted that only men have disappeared…so far and that their disappearences are accompanied with a strange whisteling sound.
When the tracker arrives; a young man called Thomas barely into his late teens, the group moves into the woods following the trail. After something close to one hour of following the tracker, the group encounters a ravine. It is about 15 feet wide and very deep with sheer walls. Various ideas are put forward to cross it. The most dangerous one is settled on as this is potentially also the fastest way across. We volunteer Thomas to tie a rope about his body and to try to jump across. He’s happy to try but when he does so, he makes an abysmal attempt. Barely 3 feet over the ravine and he falls, swinging on the rope into the face of the sheer side below. Having all held onto the end of the rope, we haul him up and find that Thomas has a broken leg. We set and splint the broken member and decide to abandon our task to get Thomas back to the village and proper medical care.
We change our plans as it is now too late in the day to return to the ravine. We set watch around the village overnight in the hope of spotting the whistleing creature as it takes another victim.
During the night, Alanya is alerted to two men in robes walking out of the woods and towards the inn. At the door, the Landlord emerges and accepting a third robe from the men, dons it and walks off into the wood with them. Alanya runs off to tell Branimir, who also saw the situation taking place. Collecting the group together, the others are told of the happenings and the group move off into the woods, following the general direction of the men.
Keeping far enough behind the cloaked men, they are followed until they get to the ravine. Alanya notices one of the men bend down and fiddle with what looks like a rock at the side of the ravine. Suddenly movement is discerned in the ravine and the group sees a bridge appear. The men cross the bridge which then proceeds to disappear into the gloom. The group waits a few moments to make sure the men have gone and then proceed to the place where thet were standing. Alanya notices a curious rock with several indentations. She’s sure this is what the man was fiddling with before the bridge appeared. She places her fingers into the small hollows on the rock and realises that it’s some kinde of coded lock system. She starts to press the indentations in order…4…3….2….1. Indentations 3 and 4 caused a clicking noise, but no bridge appears. "OK. I think 3 and 4 are part of the code. Let me try 4….3….1…2. All positions click and the rock rotates clockwise. The code is repeated; 4…3…1…2. The rock rotates back anticlockwise. “Hmmmm. There must be further codes after the first one. Let’s see”. 4…3…1…2…rotate clockwise, 2…1…3….4. The rock rotates further clockwise. Still no bridge. Alanya tries 4…3…1…2. again. The rock turns anticlockwise. “Damn!” she exclaims under her breath. 2..1..3…4 and the rock rotates back to its original position. “3rd time lucky” she says quietly. 4…3…1…2 rotate clockwise. 2…1…3…4 rotate clockwise again. 1…2…3…4. The rock again rotated clockwise and a soft noise in the dark behind them indicates that the code has been broken. The bridge reforms and allows the group to cross the ravine. On the other side another stone allows the bridge to dismantle itself, leaving the ravine untouched.
The group move off into the night, roughly in the direction the men took. The trail is picked up and after a short while, the trail seems to follow an old delapidated cobbled road. Alain believes this to be a remnant of a long past empire. The group pass old ruined houses and buildings as they follow the trail until one house ahead is seen to have light at its windows.
The group approach carefully and study the lay of the land. Two cloaked men seem to stand guard at the main door, and light spills from the unshuttered windows of the building. Alain moves off into the dark, gesticulating for the rest of the group to stay put. Everyone waist for about half an hour but Alain does not return. Looking at each other the group decide to put an end to this. As a man, they all stand and move forwards to attack the cloaked senturies. As attacks are made with magic and swords, two other cloaked men emerge from the house and join in the fight. Alanya draws one of the men away from his companions and proceeds to put him out of the combat. Magic missiles and Panther spirits help to subdue and deal death to the other guards.

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