“We only found this old book in the bricked up room Master. It was as if no-one wanted it found but the monks devotion to knowledge was such that they could not bear to destroy it.”
Crastin passed the worn book to his Master, by it’s metal spine and its blue leather cover he could tell it was once an object of beauty. His master received it and then gestured his dismissal.
Once Crastin had left, the Master laughed a moment to himself, opened it at the first page and began reading.
“Hail to the hall! I’d have you hear
of heroes hale, fell fighting foes
they terrors tame with no small skill.
Brave as the best, with sorc’rous spells,
bows strong bent, with biting blades
this told tall tale will gird good hearts,
make mirth some say, till dread doom fades…
By fire’s flowers, sweet mead savoured,
let’s tell this tale, not once waver,
so sit with me, we’ll sing and say
what dice dictate…
till night turns day.”
“M’thanth mocks no more! Murdered, throat
cut, a corpse he lies slain by stealth.
The killer ‘cloven’ some have said,
nine in number, cold and cruel rogues.
Five fair heroes, seek lady lost,
sought by ‘Spy-Glass’, those cruel-cloven
and another, Grigiri, glad
for the heroes help. The Silk Scabbard
they sought but there five thugs they found.
Whose doom determined, Death will decide…”
A dread descent, where ghouls gather,
corrupt corpses deserving death,
with dark dwarves, kobolds, to sell slaves.
Proud Paladin, his rage restrained
to suit stealth, jumps joyous to
battle a Barghest with a wild
cry and call to great gods of right!
But foe-felled he falls, bloody blows
exchanged, spells saving him that heal
he hews again hurting the hound
weakened by wounds, mage-made forces
of mankind’s might decide this doom
and the fey, fades… Some spread word of
daring deeds, our heroes hear none,
receiving rest ‘till day is done.
But bath-house intrigue awaits all,
without weapons, what will await?
The Old Stross steams wet lord and whore,
cloak criminals, mask rumours rife,
the perfect place to talk, to plot…
Weapons well left, safe and secure
heroes hot in the heat sweat and search.
Till demon damsel, filthy thief,
weeps tale of woe, soft seductions,
lesbian lies, failures and theft.
Then riot raised, dark designs against
our heroes, out they escape! Each
bruised but blooded, with prize plucked safe.
She tells her tale, where holds hidden
a cloak that cloaks the baleful book?
A ‘Silken Scabbard’ is what we seek.
To hidden hall, an alley-way
that permits party, grappled guards
and bold bravery, but no blades!
Now with book brought safe, we seek its
roof-top return, some ‘small matter’
to take care of but betrayal
shadows our steps, violence veiled…
By slow stealth the ghouls and ghasts
came crawling in ambush against
Spyglass soldiers. Caught cold and with
their lady leader held hostage,
survivors scaled the stair-well stalked
in turn by two, Yander and Arca.
The roof-top talks go wrong and wild
battle breaks out. Blades and bolts
are exchanged and men take mortal
hurt, our heroes healed and hale
partly prevail. For a fourth force
appears at once, those cruel cloven
to take the book. With spells spent
the book is brought, sold and ceded.
Some slip silently away as
the city streets receive the rains,
our heroes hole up until dawn
and await word of last night news…