The party began scouting around the old farmhouse. Mal found dozens of small deep bootprints surrounding the place. The Venomtail brothers silently scampered up to the shake siding. Maggie moved onto the front porch and she found a complicated trap mechanism on the ceiling above the front door. Azrak and Albi stood back looking on as she attempted to disassemble the device. By deactivating it, however, she unwittingly triggered a devious series of slashing blades that stabbed between the porch planks and tore into Albi’s foot.
Upstairs the ratfolk found the shuttered windows natiled shot. They used Nip’s crowbar to pry them open and peered into the bedroom window where laid a still form upon a bed. The removed the window pane and slipped inside.
(The groan of the old wood announced the ratfolk’s approach to the hidden foes within.)
The daylight illuminated the Black Arrows Ranger lying atop the bed in a pool of blood with a hand missing. His other limbs were shackled to the bed frame. Nearby laid a bloody wooden box with one end open.
Remy drove a wooden stake through the corpse’s heart.
Meanwhile, the adventurers below recovered from the trapped porch attack. Maggie entered a empty living room. On the sofa was a bloody satchel which she avoided for the time being. Maggie, Azrak and Albi moved deeper into the silent dwelling.
They entered a large bedroom that reeked of death. Upon the oversized bed, a pile of corpses laid akimbo. Azrak howled and called out the names of his fallen Black Arrows brothers. Maggie covered her face and moved to withdraw when she heard the sounds of movement from within the pile. Reluctantly the heroes started moving corpses until they found the source. Under the dead was a living ranger – pinned by his dead comrades he had been forced to eat their flesh at the cost of his sanity.
With their attention focused on the pitiable man the adventurers failed to notice the attacker behind them. Azrak yelped when a crossbow bolt grazed the back of his thigh. Maggie rushed toward the closet in the corner of the room and after searching for several moments found a small covered passage into a dark neighboring room. Knowing that Azrak would not fit, the group left the room for the hallway.
Meanwhile up above, Remy and Nip blackened out the windows before leaving the bunk room. They passed through a hallway into a large darkened attic full of crates and debris. Moving silently, they entered the room as Remy concentrated on the subtle source of evil within. Although the location was relatively clear the source remained hidden. Nip blindly flung a vial of contagion into a pile of rubbish at which point a pair of child-sized foes emerged and attacked – they launched crossbow bolts before charging with oversized scythes.
Although the size of children, the creatures wore blood red shapeless caps and had the faces of gnarled old men. Up to their knees they wore iron shod boots that somehow allowed an uncanny silence. The redcaps flanked Nip and Remy making slashing attacks. Remy suffered a single brutal strike. The ratfolk attempted several retaliating attacks but the redcaps proved extremely evasive. When one finally suffered a wound, it disappeared back into the debris.
Back downstairs, Maggie entered another large storage room which she suspected abutted the bedrooms closet passage. She was ambushed by two more redcaps. She withdrew into the hallway to attack anything that emerged.
Upstairs, the other evil little bastard made cleaving scythe attacks against the ratfolk before fleeing down the hallway. The ratfolk raced downstairs after it.
The wounded red cap who first left the upstairs battle had dropped from a trapdoor and landed in the hallway just behind Albi. It delivered a slashing wound to the gnome before retreating into the corpse pile bedroom.
The other 3 red caps races the same direction. One of them crashed through the window. The others moved to follow as the party chased them. Mal launched a lightning arrow into the wounded redcap’s chest creating an explosive exit wound. The other foes escaped through the broken window and immediately disappeared in the undergrowth beyond.
The house grew silent again save the buzzing of the fat lazy flies circling the gruesome room.