Returning to the main cave we head down the tunnel which is long and winding before it reaches a large cave, there is an old rotten wooden staircase fixed into the side of the cave wall leading down to its floor. looking down we see red glowing dots moving on the floor below, which scurry into hiding as we reach the top of the stairway, probably fire beetles of some sort.
The stairs are clearly dangerous, and unnaturally wide (some 15ft) and on the cave wall they are attached to are large fungi, some with a purplish tinge to them, Shallyn says they may be violet fungi which are very dangerous and can protrude out to attack passersby. Taking his advice we follow Dorin carefully down the steps as he checks their safety.
Reaching the cave floor the fire beetles come out of hiding and attack, once again poor Dorin is severely wounded, but after a brief fight we prevale. Searching the cave Tom finds the skeleton of a pirate which has been decaying for decades, amongst the bones is a pouch with 37gp worth of coin and what appears to be a treasure map, Tom is clearly excited.
From the cave there is a tunnel with daylight at the end, it leads to steps cut into the cliff which lead down to a secluded cove, no doubt use by pirates and smugglers in days gone by. We return to the Kraken to rest and have lunch before investigating downstream from the main cave, but the stream just carries on for a short while before descending into the earth again.
Back at the Kraken we report our findings to Justin and he says he will have the cellar wall properly bricked up, he tells us that Jenkin Bateman is waiting for us in the main room.
Jenkin is the magistrates secretary who also does work for the town council and we are invited to a council meeting at 2 o’Clock on 5th Baelmont in the council chambers.
For the rest of the afternoon we are taken on a brief tour of the town, ending at the Watch house were Fintan catches up with the goings on whilst he has been away, he has some bad news, there has been a murder of a prostitute, Jenny Bell, in the town, her last customer Baltha Bexley, has been arrested but Fintan is unhappy with the investigation, and is determined to make enquiries of his own.
In the evening Justin points us in the direction of one the locals, old Griff who likes to tell a tale to any who will listen, he knows about the murder, and that people are saying that the ‘Slasher" has returned, and goes on to tell the tale of a serial killer, John Dalby, who killed five women in Rowen Cove 34 years ago in just the same way Jenny Bell was murdered, he also said he didn’t think Bexley had it in him.
He seemed more interested in the treasure map we had found (that news traveled quickly) and said it must be Mad Merrik’s treasure, and went on to tell us Merrik’s tale he says that the map is somewhere in the Jagged coast, and if we want to sail there we had better talk to Captain Dench (normally drinking in the Ebb and Flow) as the only one crazy enough to sail those waters.
We discuss the problems that seem to be facing Rowen Cove and Tom sums them up as:
The orcs invasion of Southtown
The goblins in the Rowen Forest
The saftey of women walking home at night
Bandits on the highway.
Tom takes the news of a possible murderer on the loose to offer to escort Kathy the barmaid home . . .
Much later in the night when decent people are in their beds Shallyn goes to the Jalen Tavern and makes contact with ‘Sharky’ a member of the Evers gang that controls the underworld down in the harbour, he is hoping to gain some information from him in the longer term, and whilst Tom is at first a bit hesitant he seems to see the possible benefit of it.
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Shallyn and Dorin plan to go to the forest and commune with nature, also making enquires about the goblins (yesterday the town guard on the north wall had told us that there had been increased sightings of goblins on the fringes of the west forest).
Abermar and I plan a brief visit to the Temple of the Elder Gods in the nearby park, before he and Fintan make enquires about the murder, whilst I will research the treasure map.
Tom is to meet the the town councillors individually before the council meeting to sound them out and to make a first impression one to one before seeing them all together.
In the late afternoon we meet back at the Kraken to discuss our day:
Shallyn and Dorin report that the goblins have not made any ventures into the east forest, and the villagers in Wistwood say that the goblins have been very quiet and none have been seen along the road, they did report hearing strange noises on the road near the old Rittinger mansion (Dorin tells us that there have always been ghost stories about that place since a bride hanged herself on her wedding day), they went to have a look but took flight after being chased by a bear.
Dorin was most perturbed by this, and the skittish behaviour of animals which would not allow them to approach.
After a visit to the Temple where the priest Havier Renn gave us a tour and a history of the Temple and gardens I spend my day at ‘Trailfinders’ a cartographers run by Daniel Warren on Barron’s Rd., he seemed more interested in maps than making a profit and we got on well. He had seen similar maps purporting to be Mad Merrik’s secret base, but none with so much detail, we were able to identify a specific location on the jagged coast, and he was able to point out that the numbers referred to the tide times on midsummer day, and midwinter day.
I was able to work out that it was probably referring to the minimum high tide required for a galleon to pass through the gap between islands where the numbers were, without danger of the hull being torn apart by the rocks below the sea, adjusting for difference in size between a galleon and a fishing boat, it seems possible that we could make the journey anytime in the next week or so. Thrilled at my discovery I made enquires of the owner of the Ebb & Flow who said that Dench would be back from a fishing trip later that afternoon, and would no doubt be at the tavern in the evening after he had seen to landing the catch.