Another modular building, further increasing the possible combinations with the existing set pieces!
The lock opened with a click. He waited for several moments, anticipating movement from upstairs. Nothing. He eased the door open and motioned for Step to follow.
Opposite from them was the front door, with a sitting area to its right and dining table in front of that. The fireplace on the left had burned out and the embers were cold. Darkness filled the room, draining the color from their elven night vision. Stairs led upwards on their right and only a thin wooden floor separated Latch and Step from their mark. Silently gliding across the stone, Step moved to crouch at the fireplace. She reached into the opening, hooking her arm to trace the rim. After some searching, she pulled out and presented a small, metal key. Below her mask, her mouth curled in a smile.
The two thieves, clad in black, hooded leather, moved to the opposite side of the space. Another door opened into a side room, which itself led to descending stairs.
“Chat finally came through this time. It was exactly where he said.” Step had lowered her mask as she closed the door behind them, another barrier preventing them from being heard.
“Don’t want to know what he had to do to get it there,” Latch responded, exhaling a quiet chuckle.
“Come on, let’s get these papers and get out.” Step seemed to float down the stairs without ever touching the wood. It was a unique skill that Latch most certainly did not share. Some third of the way down, he planted his boot on a plank that groaned long and loud. At the bottom, Step turned back to him, wide-eyed. He froze in place, closing his eyes and counting to ten. No movement upstairs. He continued, the remaining steps cooperating with their stealth.
The basement was formed in a U-shape around a smaller room with a locked door. To their left were barrels and crates for storage, with visible bags of food and grain. On the right was their objective. Two tables sat against the corner, one with a sword and shield and the other coated in scattered papers. Step was already standing over them when Latch entered.
“It’s not in these. I don’t even… I don’t know what these mean. I can’t read this.”
Latch moved to join her. Indeed, the notes on the table were written in a language he did not recognize. The lettering was coarse and sharp and formed concentric rings rather than lines. It was a language, but not one of the common races. Step turned to him with the key between her fingers.
“There’s no lockbox here, so why did we need a key? It must either be hidden or…” Their heads turned in unison. The center room.
CLUNK. The hefty padlock snapped open as the key turned. Latch gingerly unhooked is fitting. He handed it to Step, who stood behind him as he opened the door.
Dark stains covered the floor inside. Carved into the stone was an array of runic circles that spread outwards and up the walls. Bones were scattered over them, collected in piles at the room’s corners. The smell was putrid and metallic, forcing their masks back on. On the far side, emaciated and bound in thick iron chains, was a halfling girl. She was young, barely into adulthood, and woke hazily to the door scraping along the ground.
Latch heard the breath evacuate Step’s lungs. His heart pounded as the girl squinted her eyes, the three of them each struggling to understand.
Behind them, the stairs creaked.
– by Troy McConnell
More content by Troy
I have several more stores, homes and other towney buildings planned for the next two weeks. Let me know in the comments if there is a particular town building you’d like to see!
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