The floorboard shifted ever so slightly and Golgh peeked through the small crack. The room he peered into was empty and unlit. The only light poured in through the window, casting a blue-green luminescent glow about the room.
“What do you see?” Benison whispered.
“I don’t see anyone,” Golgh said. “It looks like a hall. Another set of stairs leads up. There’s a kitchen and two doors across from us and another door in the kitchen. I detect no traps.”
“If you detect no traps,” Varghul risked raising his voice just above a whisper, “then get up there.”
The floorboard whined and Golgh pulled himself through the hole onto the first floor.
The room was indeed empty. A table, room enough for one was shoved against the wall in the kitchen opposite the end with the door and a row of barrels. Shelves stocked with Eladrin wine drew their eye above the cold fireplace.
“Who do you think lives here?” Benison asked as Varghul climbed out of the basement.
Golgh shook his head.
“I don’t know.”
“What’s in here?” Varghul asked, pointing to the door directly across from them.
Quietly, Golgh stepped toward the door and listened. He shook his head. “I think it’s empty.”
“What about the other door?” Benison asked, indicating a second door kiddy corner to the first.
Golgh pressed his ear to the second door and listened.
“Sounds like there’s scratching…maybe digging on the other side.”
“Let’s check out this one first,” Varghul said and carefully, cracked open the first door. A bedroom, plain and simple — no lights, no body — was on the other side.
“It’s clear,” Varghul said and carefully entered the quaint little room. A bed pushed against the wall beside a nightstand was to his immediate right. A large chest rested at the foot of the bed. A large dresser as tall as he filled the corner to his left and a second chest had been pushed into the farthest corner opposite the dresser.
“Just a bedroom,” Golgh said. “Room enough for one.”
“What’s in her dresser?” Benison asked and pulled open the top drawer. “Panties!” Benison cried. “I love panties!” and at once, he began stuffing his pockets.
“What’s here?” Golgh asked as Varghul inspected the largest chest in the corner. “It’s locked.” Golgh crouched down with the ring of keys and matched one up to the lock.
“Traps?” Golgh said.
“I don’t see any,” Varghul said.
The ranger shook his head.
“Hey! Cleric! Get over here!” Golgh called then turned about. “What are you doing?”
Benison sniffed the perfumes emanating from the handfuls of fabrics balled adoringly in his fists.
“Those are granny panties.”
“And I love them.”
“Get over here! We need you to check for magic.”
Benison crammed the handfuls into his pockets, grabbed another pair then closed the drawer to the dresser. Holding the fabric to his face, he inhaled deeply and said, “I detect no magic.”
“Open it,” Golgh said and Varghul turned the key.
Within the chest they found two thousand gold, a set of plate armor, and a full set of arrows. As Golgh and Varghul emptied the chest, Benison studied the room. Beneath the bed, a glint of metal caught his eye.
“What’s that?” Benison asked, peering beneath the bed.
“Let’s see,” Golgh said and studied a floorboard, strangely fastened just beneath the bed. “Can you get to it?” Golgh asked.
Benison pulled at the board. “It’s stuck in there pretty go—”
“Huragh!” Golgh growled and slammed his foot through the floor.
“Well, that’s one way to do it, I suppose,” Benison added and cleared away the debris. Within the floor beneath the debris, they found a delicate diadem stowed away.
“Good,” Golgh said. “We’ll need the money.”
“Just clothes,” Varghul said, shuffling through the second chest at the foot of the bed.
“Panties!?” Benison asked, standing up excitedly.
“No. Just…rags,” Varghul said.
“Well,” Golgh sighed. “I think we’re done in here.
“What’s this?” From atop the end table stand, Benison took up a slip of paper. On it, was written the circle and cross. Cold nerves tingled down Benison’s back. “Torog.”
Golgh snapped his head to attention at the name.
“The most evil of evil gods,” Benison whispered as if afraid to speak.
“We need to get out of here,” Varghul said and made for the door.
“What about this room?” Varghul pointed at the door kiddy corner to the bedroom as Benison crammed the note into the little room left in his pocket.
Golgh pressed his ear against the door. The scratching was still there.