Several of the itinerant adventurers who find sporadic work at the Seawatch keep were sent down into the keep’s supply cellar on a simple errand— check on the quartermaster and the squires who had gone down earlier in the day, and make sure the quartermaster hasn’t taken the opportunity to take a little off the top in the wine cellar.
The adventurers found that, yes, some alcohol had been pilfered— but not by the hapless quartermaster, who never made it that far. In one of the adjoining storage rooms, the quartermaster and the squires lay slain, the victims of vicious and abnormally sized rats.
The party interrupted them as they were chewing on eyeballs and viscera.
A fight ensued, during which the party demonstrated the old maxim of “Never let a bull loose in a china shop, or anywhere else” and in which a number of crossbow bolts were sent into innocent bags of grain, jars of olive oil, and bundles of sailcloth.
After a fierce battle, the party succeeded in smashing, rending, and vivisecting all of the rats in the room save one, who had fled through a hole in the wall to an adjoining room.
Inspecting the mangled corpses of the rats, the adventurers found something both curious and ominous: a runic N branded into the bellies of each of the slaughtered rats.
Chasing down the rat that had escaped into the other room, the adventurers busted down the door and quickly found themselves in the wine cellar, which had not been opened in the last forty days of mourning for the recently departed Lord Amran.
Four more rats were lurking here, having despoiled quite a bit of the keep’s fine liquor reserves.
After another short but brutal fight in which eldritch powers transmuted wine to vinegar, the rats were all either slain or fled. Investigating, the adventurers discovered that the rats seemed to have entered by a hole in the wine cellar’s wall— and this hole shows chisel marks and signs of being recently made.
Thomas and Drave stayed behind to watch the hole while the rest of the party quickly went to warn the captain of the guard. Thomas’s keen eyes spotted an approaching light down the tunnel, and shortly thereafter a bedraggled elf stumbled into view.
The elf, who gave his name as Vash, related a horrific story of capture by orcs several days to the east. He had escaped their clutches and fled deeper into their caves and tunnels, wandering lost for several days. Just when he had given up all hope, he had heard the sounds of battle, and stumbled towards the noises… only to emerge in the cellar.
He brings word that the orcs are gathering, drilling, and preparing for war.