Bored with the relentless questioning, which the skeleton seemed to take in stride, Valanthradil wandered outside and started practicing his aim on wandering zombies in the courtyard. The rest of the party joined him moments later and got into a scrape with some more undead. Sal decided to ready a javelin and run at a zombie, but was unprepared when the zombie turned and grabbed him. While it tried to bite his neck, Valanthradil maneuvered around and shot it in the back. Sal managed to avoid the bite and then break free to deliver the killing blow.
One-Eye wandered off again to check on the skeleton he left dangling from the outer wall (if you recall from the end of chapter 15). He hoisted it up and called loudly to Harold who was still guarding the horses outside the walls. When Harold arrived at the base of the wall, One-Eye began lowering the skeleton down. He had it in his head that the skeleton would be the perfect addition to the ship he planned on captaining and decided Harold would understand he was lowering it to him for safekeeping. Harold was not on the same wavelength (spectrums away) and in his surprise at seeing the skeleton immediately killed it. One-Eye shouted at him, but Harold just smiled and waved back thinking about what a great job he did killing that skeleton.
The party quickly decided they were beat up, exhausted, and needed some rest. They piled into the stables next to the barracks and split up into stalls and the loft to sleep. Like any good adventuring party, they forgot to close the door and didn’t set a watch.
Sal woke up first to the sound of shuffling footsteps outside the stable. He crawled toward the door to listen. Noone and One-Eye woke up next to the sound of dreadful moaning. While searching around, One-Eye bumped into a zombie in the darkness. A fight broke out while Valanthradil was still sound asleep. Daggers and swords flew about as arrows zipped by this way and that. The commotion awoke Valanthradil who joined his bow to the madness. The dust (or hay mostly) settled and the party went back to sleep after making sure to close and secure the stable door.
Two buildings searched, on to the next one!
The party freshened up and then struck for the North West building within the keep’s walls. There were a couple of spry looking skeletons wandering around outside the building, so Sal and One-Eye charged right it at them. Sal landed a solid blow with a thrown javelin, but before One-Eye had a chance to even attack, Noone made a terrible shot with her crossbow and accidentally hit One-Eye in the back of the arm. They battled back and forth for a bit, and then One-Eye made a quick move behind the skeleton focused on Sal to deliver a killing blow.
Noone begrudgingly healed One-Eye as another skeleton reached Valanthradil who was firing away at all comers. Two quick strikes and Valanthradil was down and dying again having still not fully recovered from his near death experience the day before. Sal and One-Eye cleaned up the remaining skeletons while Noone saved Valanthradil’s life again. As the party searched the corpses, they reflected on how these skeletons were must faster and stronger than those previously encountered. In addition, they wore tattered leather armor and wielded short swords. Not fazed by the harrowing battle, the party checked the door of the nearby building and prepared to face whatever lay within.