5th Fireday, Frostwane
The night passes without incident, and the party opts to head back to town to refill their supplies. Some negotiation with Joey nets a cart full of food to be hidden at the cairn at the second crossroads, near the cairn. Magnuss purchases a new suit of scale mail, a shield, and a spear to "try some new stuff", and the party sets off the following morning.
5th Swordsday, Frostwane
The last day of Frostwane, and the last night of the Dark moon. The trip with the cart is slow going – rather than hit the crossroads at midday as you'd hoped, you do not arrive until nightfall. You hide the cart off the road, behind the cairn, beneath some boughs. Magnuss ties a strip of his tartan to one of the boughs to find it more easily (OOG: The Tartan of Balmoral). You strike camp that night outside of the cairn but, after hearing whispered voices, you opt to move down the road a few hundred feet, and pass a tense night in the rain.
1st Moonsday, Raincome
The day dawns to dark skies – you expect rain for the better part of this month, as always. You decide to head north, over the old bridge, until you encounter an abandoned inn with the symbol of a dancing(?) skeleton surrounded by links of chain on a sign above the door. A cursory inspection of the outside shows a stable and a well, covered with a stone. Inside you find a rickety staircase ascending to a ramshackle second floor, and a trapdoor in the floor.
After some discussion Kredique ascends the stair and beings poking around on the second floor. A glint of metal in the center of the floor – could it be GOLD?!?! – and she steps carefully, carefully …
Seconds later, Kredique falls straight through the floor and lands directly on her face. Most of the rest of the second story comes tumbling down with her, landing on top of her with a crash of stone and wood. Magnuss pulls her out of the wreckage with the rope helpfully tied around her waist. Overcome with how awesome it is:
Braennan lays hands on Kredique and heals her to full. You open the trapdoor and descend into a basement, filled with broken glass and several dried out kegs of beer – one of which happens to be a secret door!
You pass through the secret door into the deep basement of what you assume to be an oubliette. Against the wall is a skeleton, long dead, with a broken shackle around its ankle and a dagger in its ribs. After a few moments of investigation you a green-glowing spectral skeleton appears in the room – it does not interact until Magnuss begins to go about the process of removing the dagger, removing the shackles, and bringing the skeletal body outside. The process of proper internment frees the ghost from its curse, and it blesses the party with a ghostly greenish aura that apparently gave you resistance to fire for a time.
You ascend the chain and come to the first floor of a cottage. You make your way westward through the cottage until you arrive at a set of double doors, leading outside. You investigate the double doors and find yourselves in cottage almost ten miles north of the inn you entered originally. Looking at the cottage from the road you see a thin trail of smoke from the chimney.
You re-enter and continue west, entering a room where an woman in a wedding dress sits rocking before a giant fireplace – a single log smokes gently. You approach cautiously, but she rises up and attacks, sending cinders into the eyes of Tom and Magnuss, blinding them. Chaos erupts – Tom charges blindly forward, fumbles, and drops down. Braennan attemps to turn the creature but is not strong enough, and is himself blinded. Kredique fires into combat, striking Tom in the back – the creatures pauses to laugh …
But her laughter is short-lived. Stump strikes true with his shortbow, the creature trips on her dress, Kredique slips behind her and slices her knife through her larynx, and Magnuss devestates the beast with a mace strike to the head followed by a horrible, crippling head butt to the temple. She drops to a knee, and Braennan strides forward, raises his two handed sword over her head, and pins her skull to the floor.
The body erupts in a wave of flame, nearly setting the house on fire – only the unbelievable luck of the party prevents that from happening. Magnuss beheads the beast and Kredique strips her of her wedding dress, and a discussion ensues of how to respectfully bury the headless, naked corpse of Cinder Ella. Figuring the ship SS Respectful has sailed, the party finds a ladder going to the upper floors.
You enter into a long hallway choked with webs, and Kredique narrowly avoids the bite of a venomous spider before Magnuss pins it to the floor with his spear. Finding three doors in the hallway, you enter into them – the first contains a broken mirror, a vanity (where Magnuss finds 18 pieces of jewelry), and a mattress with a slit in it, sewed up. Braennan cuts open the mattress and a tiny creature jumps out and runs across the floor. Stump blindly fires and pins the creature to the floor through its eye – it appears to be a tiny, naked, bipedal creature of some sort. Also in the mattress Braennan finds a strange book, bound in a soft skin of some kind (not pleather). The title burned into the cover indicates these are the "Lessons of Baron von Vanden Danderclanden" – Braennan tucks this away for later.
The second room contains two beds but is otherwise empty, and the third room is likewise empty. You descend the ladder, head into the oubliette, and exit through the secret door back into the inn, where you decide to sleep the night. Waiting for you is the spirit of Dr. Chapman, who congratulates you – and tells you that the hiding place of Beauty if more clear to him, inside some caverns in a mountain range somewhere in the wood.