[Game Time: Tuesday, later in the afternoon]
The sound of the trap banging against the stone walls echoed down the vaulted ceilings of the sewer, and in the brief silence, Shard heard the sound of seagulls coming from further down the tunnel. Stepping past the dangerously sharp ironwork, he noticed a rowboat in a little nook on the far side of the water. He clambered across the fence that was blocking up the tunnel, hopped down on the other side, and discovered the Surly Mermaid, a five-man rowboat in poor (but recent) repair. Packed in with it were all the things you'd need to maintain such a boat: oars, rope, an anchor, materials for patching, and even some sailcloth. Laying in the bottom of the boat was an oilskin pouch with a note written on it:
Shard looked it over, left the rest of the items for later, and began clambering clumsily back across the grating. Meanwhile, Bree was running her hand over the stone wall and checking to see where her Rat-In-The-Box was pointing. As she moved along the wall her hand plunged right through the bricks as though they weren't there. Bree played at disappearing through the bricks while the rest of the party split their attention between the illusory wall and the strange words on Shard's note. Bree found another door inside the false wall, and after Shard delicately shoved it open with a wayward elbow while checking for traps. Through that door was yet another door, this one
made of thick steel. Mounted in the wall next to it was a brass panel with two rows of four levers labeled alphabetically: ABCD and EFGH, with the B and F levers connected with a tie rod. Strange…!
The party decided that the letters on the levers corresponded to the words on the crib-sheet they'd found in the boat. The only lever that didn't have a label was the "E" lever, so Bree offered to pull that one first. Everyone held their breath and Bree pushed it upwards. It made a quiet ka-chunking sound and some faint noises like a chain-pull
or machinery grinding, but otherwise, nothing appeared to happen. Bree pulled the lever back down, and this time there were no noises whatsoever. Curioser and curioser. Thea kept going over the words in her head: farmer, corn, goose, dog, boat… she asked Bree if maybe it had anything to do with that old puzzle. Terciel and Rache stood
close to Bree in case their ability to teleport was called for; Shard and Lenora stood nearby (but not TOO nearby) while Darg and Thea stood back by the wooden doors in case it was a trap. The three ladies up front debated and counted on their fingers… corn, then goose? Could this be something to do with that old riddle? If that was the case, Lenora asked, where was the Hellfire? Rache offered to provide some, if they came up short.
Finally, they agreed that it must be the old riddle about the farmer. They puzzled out how the farmer could get everything across the river safely, and pulled the levers, each time wincing in case some horrific trap should be sprung. The farmer and his goose, the return trip, the grain, return with the goose, the dog, return empty-handed to pick up
the goose, and… voila. With a series of ever-more-complex noises, the latch gurgled, clanked, and finally clicked. The door swung slightly ajar and the party peeked inside.
There was a prominent alarm bell, a spear and sword rack, a large animal-skin rug dyed a lurid maroon color, and a lantern lighting the small foyer. Rache snuck out and looked around, and noticed an orcish officer sitting in a chair next to a reinforced wooden door. He was polishing a pair of boots while his spear, longsword, and shield sat next to him. Rache headed back and informed the party, who spent a few moments whispering in hushed tones. The plan was simple: fill him with arrows, nail him with spells, and charge him quickly with swords and knives to finish him off. Terciel tested the tension on his bow and pulled out a pair of arrows; Rache crept up as close as she dared; Bree passed a fizzing white bolt of energy from hand to hand; the rest stood by, weapons drawn, ready to rush the lone guard.
Terciel and Rache unloaded almost at the same moment, Bree fired a magic missile, and the guard jumped from his chair, bleeding and confused. He snatched up his weapons hollering "Intruders! To arms! To arms!" and ran through a door to his right.
So a farmer tries to cross a river with an ogre, an orcish platoon, and seven adventurers...
In which the party wonders why they even have that lever.
[Game Time: Tuesday, later in the afternoon]