The Nightmare Plague

House that is not a House

with a Horse that is not a horse

As the wagon reluctantly approached Morrick Mansion for a second time, no one noticed that Gillian had literally ‘fallen asleep at the wheel’. When she ‘awoke’ the two hour journey had nearly passed by in what seemed like an instant. “Well, that’s one way to travel,” she thought to herself.
The clopping of the horses’ hooves was a monotonous drawl as the daunting house came into view just past the gate.
Suddenly, Lucien had his bow drawn and Stumble and Travillian were looking skyward as if they had heard something.
Moments passed as the tension in the air grew. No one knew what to trust anymore. Only half of the party heard the noise; but, they could not quite identify what it was they thought they’d heard. The horses trod on hesitantly and ears were perked in every direction.
There! Again! Esmiere, Travillian, and Lucien heard it this time. Though, it sounded more like the flapping of wings…
And a third time, this time everyone saw as the large body swooped across the sky above them. It had the body of a horse, but the head and wings of bird. This was not a creature of the natural world. It wasn’t quite a horse…
That’s it! Stumble got it first and then shared the news: “The horse that is not a horse… that’s the second part of the riddle”
“Go to the House that is not a House, with the Horse that is not a Horse.” Gillian repeated from memory, like a good school child would.
“So, if that’s the horse that is not a horse, where is the house that is not a house?” Travillian chimed in.
“It must be the mansion” Stumbled asserted
“Or a barn.” Rabbit suggested.
“I thought it was a temple,” Gillian tried, but got a disapproving glance from Stumble, and went back to minding the horses.
“What’s over there?” Travillan prompted.
It was then that the party realized that Lucien was actually coming back from the direction Travillan had pointed. Apparently he had snuck off to scout out the area while the rest of the party had been formulating ideas.
“A carriage house” Lucien offered.
There was a unison of understanding among the party…. Except one: “A carriage house is a house that is not a house!” the excited female voice then quietly retreated from the bothered looks of those that hadn’t needed it to be spoken.
The party headed towards the carriage house.
As they approached, the looming urgency not to be caught by the flying horse-like creature was causing everyone to be overly cautious. Finally, they agreed that Hasingstoke would stay with the horses a bit back while the others went in together.
The carriage house was large with a lofted area above the stalls. There was a disturbing animalistic smell that was not entirely livestock. Trivillan and Gillian caught sight of the carriages just outside. They let the rest of the party explore the interior of the stables if they’d like, but they went to check out the stage coaches. There were several of them that had been turned over or torn at with large talons or claws.
Gillian hopped up in the first coach and started searching, while Trivillan’s hand reached for another.
Suddenly there was a terrible scream and then the harking squawk of a bird too large to be just a bird. The creature descended upon the party inside of the carriage house. Trivillan ran to assist and they battled the terrible creature. Lucien shot at it from the doorway as Rabbit cast a spell which disoriented the creature, he appeared to be blinded. This gave Esmiere and Stumble (and Travillan when he had time to catch up) time to attack the creature. Stumble had it pinned against the wall about to give the final blow to end the thing.
Meanwhile, out in the stage coach, Gillian was desperately trying to find some trace of a clue. She hopped down out of the first coach and went toward the one Trivillan had tried to search. As her hand touched the knob there was another terrible screech and the young girl let out a blood-curdling scream.
Travillan and Esmiere shot around the opening of the carriage house to find out what had caused the disturbance. Low and behold there was more than one of the bloody creatures. And this one had it’s talons all over Gillian’s fragile elvish body. Stumble, in a fit of dwarvish furry pound his way clear through the stone wall to come to the girl’s rescue.
After the creature had been disposed of, and Stumble healed all those who needed healing, Gillian, being the stubborn creature she is, went to search the last carriage. Inside, she found a letter to a spy who would have made his way inside the wedding party. She emerged triumphantly and passed the letter around. It was mentioned that the spy would have made his way to the music room and in there he would be give an urn. He would be wearing a red sash.
It was agreed that the party would need to head to the music room inside of Morrick mansion in order to find their next clue.



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