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Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

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Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint Empty Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Penelope on Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:48 pm

Due to the unfolding of recent events surrounding this little town of Sandpoint and those of a more personal nature, I’ve resolved to record those details that may be worth remembering. My brain seems to be healing itself… Memories are slowly returning, but most are still clouded by a thick, impenetrable fog. I cannot trust my damaged mind to retain the relevant information we encounter, thus the need for this journal.

If I should fall or become something…other than what I am now, then perhaps this record will also serve as an explanation to those I am beginning to befriend and an insight to others in regards to the strange circumstances we find ourselves in.

Rova 23rd , 4710 A.R.– Autumnal Equinox
This was the day of the Swallowtail Festival in honor of the goddess Desna and the dedication of the new cathedral in Sandpoint.

I’d arrived in town the evening prior, walking all day after taking my leave of the lecherous smugglers. Refreshed by my first night spent in an actual inn room rather than a cellar, I set about to explore the town. The festival was a surprise, but a welcome one. As a stranger here, it was easy to blend into the sea of faces that had come to enjoy the festivities. Speeches by the various town leaders, Varisian dancers, games of skill… When I heard of the scarecrow building competition, I couldn’t help myself. Perhaps it was slightly unfair as I’ve a good deal of knowledge both in how bodies are sewn together and how to frighten crows, but I found it an enjoyable exercise and managed to win the game.

While waiting for the dedication which would be held later in the evening, I made my way to the Old Light, whose glowing runes near the top of the structure were immediately recognizable as Thassilonian in origin. I’ve lived my life…well…as much as I remember, in the Shadow of the Irespan; the ruins of the bridge built by the ancient empire of Thassilon. The Old Light is another of those remnants of the past empire, and constructed of that same strange basalt stone that is so easily enchantable. I was told that in my previous life, I was something of a scholar on the subject of Thassilonian rune-writing and lore, but so many of those memories have been lost. Hoping to unearth some of that buried knowledge I sought out this structure. I arrived there to find a table set up with many books and scrolls of study on the subject of the ancient empire, and since no one appeared to be in attendance I sat and started flipping through the tomes.

That’s when I first met Brodert Quink, whose peace I was intruding upon. Turns out that he’d worked in the Great Library in Magnimar for three decades, and he’d come here to study the Old Light. When he recognized my interest in the subject, he sat with me and discussed a bit about the empire’s history. All of it seemed so familiar… He agreed to meet with me again tomorrow after the festival to explore the structure a bit and hopefully give me another history lesson. The man seemed quite excited that there was someone who would actually give him and his theories the time of day.

The required meal of the day was taken while making the rounds of the local eating establishments, which were in contest to see who would claim the prize as the best eatery. It was during these rounds that I met a gnome named Skookumchuk. A swarthy fellow with bright blue hair, it looks as if he’d been chiseled from the very rock. He has a strange way of speaking and is apparently quite finicky about his food. I can’t tell you now which establishment won the contest… Honestly all of it tasted the same to me.

In the late afternoon we returned to the stage where the winners of the games were announced. I’m slightly embarrassed to say that a week later I’m still wearing my medal. It seems silly, but it’s the first thing I’ve ever been recognized for!

Father Abstalar Zantus stepped up to the begin the dedication when quite suddenly goblins rushed into the crowd, chasing a young boy! What followed was complete mayhem… Many more goblins began pouring into town singing disturbing (though clever) songs and setting things afire. Sometimes themselves… Found a goblin drown in a pickle barrel the next day. Not the brightest of foes.

The abilities I’d recently discovered lent themselves well to combating the vicious little beasts and I found myself fighting next to Skookumchuck who was displaying impressive martial skill, another gnome, Zerye, with wild green hair and a porcine companion (who was wearing the winning medal from the swimming competition) and a very reserved elf name Nuari, with hair as stark white as my own. The boy was saved and eventually the remaining goblins were put down.

At the end of the battle, we managed to save the life of one Aldern Foxglove, a young nobleman from Magnimar, who asked us to meet him at the Rusty Dragon inn in the morning.

Garridan, the proprietor of the White Deer, where I’d stayed the previous night, had seen our efforts and offered to give us a free night stay at his inn. After visiting Father Zantus for some healing and checking on Brodert Quink to be sure he was safe, we gladly took him up on that offer.

Rova 24th
The four of us woke to find ourselves dubbed as the “Heroes of Sandpoint” for our bravery in the face of the previous night’s goblin raid. The title doesn’t sit comfortably on my shoulders, I’ll admit, but everyone is being so…kind! I actually feel welcome here.

After meeting in the common room, we went out to the Rusty Dragon to meet up with Aldern. While we waited for the nobleman to emerge from his room, a halfling waitress named Bethana was kind enough to tell us about some unfortunate events we’d heard mentioned the previous day, that they refer to as the “Late Unpleasantness.”

Five years ago, within the span of a month, a string of twenty-five murders took place. The victims' eyes and tongues were ripped out. Casp Averton, the former sheriff eventually found the murderer, dubbed 'The Chopper', carving up his most recent victim. Unfortunately the sheriff became The Chopper's final victim, but not before Casp got in his own fatal blow. The murderer's blood trail was followed north of the Old Light to chopper's isle where the body of Jervis Stoot was found. Stoot was once believed to be a harmless eccentric that liked to carve birds, 'freeing' them from the wood, but when his body was found next to an altar and a heap of desiccating eyes and tongues, it was obvious that he was indeed The Chopper.

As if that wasn’t enough, just after these murders had come to an end, the temple was burned down, killing both Father Tobyn and his adopted daughter of reputed celestial blood, Nualia.

Aldern finally came down to have breakfast with us, and invited us to a boar hunt tomorrow morning, which we, after a few blinks of surprise, agreed to. Even Zerye had no issue with the idea of skewering one of her companion’s kin. Poor Jarrow, he…she? It? Whatever… The boar was standing right there while we discussed it. I supposed killing and eating is the natural order of things.

The man spoke at length of his life in Magnimar and the estate he held in the affluent Alabaster District. He seemed genuinely interested when I told him I was also from the great city. Stupid move, I realize now, though he didn’t seem to recognize the face I’m wearing which is good.

We were heartily invited to visit him at his estate if we were ever in the city. Right… I think Nuari and Skookumchuk might enjoy the visit, but I’m sure Zerye would climb right out of her skin, and myself? Considering I just left the city under some duress, I’ve no intention of going back there. Not without good reason or a better disguise, or both! Certainly not to entertain some fledgling lord whose most traumatic experience before the goblin raid was likely when his maidservant didn’t put enough rose oil in his foot bath…

But I’m being unkind. The man was simply being polite and was trying to thank us for saving his life. He was actually quite pleasant, I suppose. The few memories I have of Magnimar are undoubtedly skewing my opinion of him. Zerye believes he has some interest in me, but somehow I just don’t think we’d be right for each other…

After breakfast concluded, we went out north of the Old Light to visit Chopper’s Island. It was an eerie place. As we neared the ruins of his hut, we were able to see some of Stoot’s bird carvings on the trunks of trees. There was nothing left of interest. The townsfolk, undoubtedly and rightfully enraged by the events burnt the place to cinders.

The Heroes of Sandpoint…that us…spent most of the rest of the day at the Old Light with Brodert Quink. Zerye and Skookumchuk, adept at swimming, agreed to help explore the depths beneath the ruin, in search of more Thassilonian stones inscribed with glyphs. Nuari, while he was there, spent his time by himself. He appeared to be looking out over the sea, but I get the feeling that he’s looking inward rather than outward.

Mr. Quink believes that the “Old Light” was actually a weapon that once stood hundreds of feet high, topped with a face carved in the likeness of the Runelord of Wrath. Guard posts he called them. He thinks there are many more that line this area that was once the eastern edge of Bakrakhan, and that they would spout great gouts of flame to engulf encroaching armies.

Fascinating stuff, and I find myself wishing I could swim as well as the gnomes so I could go down and aid in their search. They’ve not been able to turn up anything yet, but if what Brodert says is true, then there must be a good deal of ancient stones down there where the monolith toppled into the sea. It’s only a matter of time.

Last edited by Ashara on Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:22 pm; edited 1 time in total

Carpe DM

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Post  Penelope on Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:11 am

Rova 25th , 4710

The day of the Lord Foxglove’s boar hunt, we got up early to purchase mounts, which were paid for in thanks for his rescue. The Goblin Squash Stables and its owner, retired goblin slayer, Daviren Hosk made for an interesting morning… The proud man gleefully showed us his display of preserved goblin ears hanging from the ceiling. Each ear had the name of the goblin to which it used to belong, burned into it. Apparently the little beasts are mortified of having their name written down.

After that he took us out back to show us his true pride and joy, a pickled goblin king floating in large aquarium of some sort of preservative. Could it actually BE pickle juice? They seem to have some sort of affinity for pickle barrels…

At any rate, Nuari and Skookumchuk were able to find a horse and pony respectively with no trouble and Zerye has Jarrow to ride. Unfortunately, as soon as came near them (let alone touched them) none of the horses wanted to have anything to do with me. Actually got nipped a couple of times. Eventually Daviren brought out this huge, ill-tempered, brown speckled brute of a horse with one blue eye and one brown. The thing took one look at me, snorted then ignored me completely.

Guess I have my mount. Welcome to the family, Matilda…

Once we were situated, we met with Aldern who provided us each with spears to stick the pig with and we headed off into the Tickwood. With Zeyre’s ability to track the wildlife, it seemed like it took us less time to find a boar than it did to actually kill the thing!

Tenacious and tasty! Or so I was told… We joined Lord Foxglove that evening for a feast of roasted boar where he again reiterated the invitation to his home. He was to leave Sandpoint the following day. Unlikely we’ll be seeing him again… The man was altogether too full of questions for my comfort anyway!

Rova 26th
A quiet day.

Zerye & Skookumchuk spent the morning looking for relics in the water, while I, being not nearly as sea-worthy, perused Brodert’s texts on Thassilon history. Nuari was there for a time before he went meandering the streets of Sandpoint.

We met for lunch and free drinks at the Fat Man’s Feedbag. Upon entering I immediately wished I hadn’t… Reminded me entirely too much of the Friendly Merchant in Magnimar, and the clientele seemed about the same too. Sailors, shady-looking scoundrel types…at least our drinks were free.

I said hardly a word to anyone while we were there, thinking that if Dr. Noenn was to send someone looking for me, that this would be exactly the type of people who he’d hire.

The rest of the day was spent socializing with the not-so-shady looking townsfolk. We ran into Farmer Grump, whose scarecrow-building contest I participated in, and he told us about the rumor of the Sandpoint Devil, some kind of demon horse thing that ran off with one of his cows… Bethanna introduced us to the owner of the Rusty Dragon, Aimeko Kyjitsu, who is the daughter of one of the four noble houses of Sandpoint and then Skookumchuk met a woman named Sabyl, a monk who lives at the House of Blue Stone. I’m glad he has someone to work with, since myself and the other Heroes don’t properly grasp the importance of constant work on what he calls “The Core”.

Last edited by Ashara on Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:23 pm; edited 2 times in total

Carpe DM

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Post  Penelope on Mon Nov 29, 2010 3:01 am

Rova 27th, 4710

Today we received our first indication that there might be something more insidious at work in these parts…

The morning started out as normal, at the Old Light visiting with Mr. Quink who went on for some time about Thassilon’s history. King Xin founded the empire millennia ago upon what he called The Seven Virtues of Rule: Wealth, Fertility, Honest Pride, Abundance, Eager Striving, Righteous Anger and Rest. So successful was his rule that soon the empire grew beyond his ability to govern alone.

Xin then appointed seven Runelords, each masters of one of the cores of magic, and separated his empire into domains that each of them would oversee. By the end of the King’s life, the Runelords had all been corrupted, having made pacts with powerful beings to strengthen their domains. Their desire for power twisted the Seven Virtues into the Seven Vices: Greed, Lust, Pride, Gluttony, Envy, Wrath and Sloth.

King Xin lived one hundred and ten years before he and his imperial palace mysteriously went up in flames, and the Runelords ruled Thassilon for another century before the Cataclysm.

After the history lesson we were off to Sandpoint Savories for lunch. Skookumchuk is quite enamored of the place. He says he enjoys bland foods and bread seems to fit the bill. I’m sure it has nothing at all to do with Alma Avertin’s daughters that she continually parades before him…

Cyrdak Drokkus, the town’s playwright and proprietor of the Sandpoint Theater, intercepted us to ask if I would be interested in performing a role in a play called the Varisian Butterfly… As I’m neither Varisian (well…parts of me may be), nor a butterfly (and I’m not Desna’s type), I turned him down. I don’t think having my likeness or name sent about on pamphlets would be wise. Whether Dr. Noenn is looking for me or just assumes I won’t last long, I’ve no idea but it’s probably not a good idea to be advertising my whereabouts… Hmm…maybe I should’ve changed my name…

Shortly after Cyrdak left us, we were intercepted again by a panicking woman by the name of Amele Barett. She was holding an infant in her arms and was accompanied by a three year old named Aeron whose arm looks as if it’s been chewed. The boy claimed there was a monster in his closet, and the wound looked remarkably like a goblin bite…

Our meal forgotten, we went to go check out the Barett home and root out any sneaksy goblins. Could the thing have been there since the raid four days ago?? We cautiously entered the house, to find the family dog in a pool of blood in the boy’s room but more disturbing was the fact that the father, Alerghast, was half inside the closet being gnawed about the neck and shoulder by the ravenous little beast!

We quickly pulled him out of there and Skookumchuk and Jarrow made short work of the goblin. Apparently it had been there since the raid, in a hole in the closet! It fashioned a shiv from its broken horse chopper and used that to kill the dog.

Quick work from Zeyre saved the man’s life. He lost a lot of blood and we had to take him to Father Zantas for additional healing, but Alerghast will be fine.

That evening, Sheriff Hemlock invited us to the mayor’s house to speak with himself, the mayor and Shalelu an elven ranger that patrols these parts. Since we’ve been so recently active in aiding the town against the goblins, he thought we might be interested in what the ranger had to say.

Shalelu was able to determine that all five of the area’s goblin tribes were working together during the raid, which is apparently highly unusual for goblins. Someone or something must be organizing them.

There’s been increased goblin activity all along the Lost Coast Road, but especially in the dale between the Nettlewood and the Mosswood north of Sandpoint. Obviously this is problematic, and a very real threat to the townsfolk!

Mayor Deverin asked if we could keep an open presence about town to ease the peoples’ minds, making them feel protected while the sheriff goes to get extra troops from Magnimar. We agreed that it wouldn’t be a problem as we already wander about town all day as it is!

The ranger accompanied us back to the White Deer where we ate some dinner. Sheriff Hemlock had us tell his brother (and the owner of the inn) that the tab was on him… Thankfully Skookumchuk stepped up to deliver that news. I had no intention of getting anywhere near a Shoanti family feud!

Shalelu had a good deal of information for us on the goblins and how to fight them. Each tribe has a “hero” of sorts. Not the chieftain perhaps, but a specimen of superior skill. There is Big Gugmutt of the Mosswood tribe, tall and muscular and said to have been born from the crossing of a hobgoblin and a wild boar. Gross… Coravus of the Seven Tooth, short in temper as in stature and wields an enchanted long sword. He hasn’t been heard from in awhile, and there’s a rumor he found a secret hideout in a cave complex. Vorka of Brinestump Marsh is said to be a cannibal, eating goblins of the lesser Licktoad tribe. Charming race… Ripnugget of Thistletop is reputed to be unusually strong for a goblin. Finally, Brithasmus of the Nettlewood tribe, is a bugbear ranger that travels about trading the things he steals in raids. Shalelu has dealt with him on a number of occasions and doesn’t seem to be his biggest fan. Being that he’s a bugbear and a ranger and cavorts with goblins, I don’t find this to be difficult to understand!

She told us that if we intend to fight goblins that there are ten things we need to remember about them:
1) They fear the written word, being especially terrified of someone writing their names down.
2) They hate horses, living in fear of being squished underfoot. I hope they don’t ever get Matilda… I’m not sure any other horse in these parts would tolerate me!
3) Goblins are terrified of dogs, specifically of the barking. Dogs seem to have a special hatred of goblins as well. No love lost... That’s probably why the Barret’s goblin was trapped in the closet for so long! The dog was barking at it and it was mortified to come out! We should think about buying a hunting dog or something if we plan on going out in the wilds. I’ll have to ask Zeyre about that…
4) Always be prepared, because goblins will hide ANYWHERE! Closets... Pickle barrels... Anywhere they can stuff their enormous heads.
5) Burning things is a great passion of theirs and they are completely obsessed with fire. They certainly did plenty of burning the night of the raid.
6) They are very good at crafting things like weapons and armor out of the scraps they find.
7) Goblins LOVE to sing... I wish I could remember that little ditty from the raid. It was morbid but catchy, I've got to admit!
8 ) They are loud, maniacal but SNEAKY!
9) They get stuck easily, which would be amusing under more relaxed circumstances. The goblin we found in the pickle barrel the next morning though… I had to laugh!
10) Goblins are voracious eaters, able and willing to devour a dozen meals a day.

After the meal, Shalelu left us to our sleep and headed back out into the wilds. I hope she stays safe. Sandpoint may need her soon!

Carpe DM

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Post  Penelope on Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:27 am

Rova 28th, 4710

While patrolling the town this morning we heard a rumor that there had been some vandalism in the graveyard, so we immediately set out to speak with the keeper, Naffer Vosk.

Seems that the remains of Father Tobyn, the priest who died in the fire during the Late Unpleasantness, have been stolen! The lock on the mausoleum door was broken and the stone slab that had contained the Father’s remains looked as if it had been loosened with a chisel and then pried up.

Naffer said that this crypt had been undisturbed just last week. Could something have happened during the goblin raid? From the damage done, it doesn’t appear that just goblins could have pried off that stone slab, but then again, we know that a more intelligent force must be organizing them… But why the father’s remains??

His adopted daughter, Nualia’s remains lay directly across from where Father Tobyn’s had rested, but hers hadn’t been tampered with. Maybe someone had come for a keepsake of a celestially blooded being, and picked the wrong corpse? After the fire, there was hardly anything left of either of them, so it would be easy enough to confuse.

I have a hard time believing that it could be someone from Sandpoint that had done these things. Father Tobyn was a beloved figure and what happened to him and Nualia was tragic.

After Zeyre worked on fixing the mausoleum’s lock, we went to speak with Father Zantas to tell him what had happened. He said the same thing we were all thinking. None of it makes any sense…

Carpe DM

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Post  Saoirse on Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:29 am

Rova 29th, 4710

A panicked halfling greeted us over breakfast this morning. Bethanna, the waitress at the Rusty Dragon that we’d met previously, came in to speak with us. Amieko, the proprietor of the afore mentioned establishment wasn’t up for her usual breakfast, and when Bethanna went to check on her, she saw that the bed hadn’t been slept in.

We wasted no time heading over there, to find things just as the halfling said we would. There was also a note on the floor, written in Tian, to Amieko from her older brother Tsuto. Bethanna informed us that Tsuto is a half elf, which caused quite a bit of scandal in Sandpoint due to the fact that Lord Kaijitsu, who runs the Glassworks here in town, has no elvish blood in him.

During the Late Unpleasantness, the same night as the temple fire actually, Amieko’s mother mysteriously fell from a bluff near their home. Tsuto of course, blamed his “father”, and left Sandpoint not long after their mother’s death. He and Amieko however, had been in occasional contact.

The note reads as follows:

Tsuto wrote:Hello, sis!

I hope this letter finds you well, and with some free time on your hands, because we’ve to something of a problem. It’s to do with father. Seems that he might have had something to do with Sandpoint’s recent troubles with the goblins and I didn’t want to bring the matter to the authorities because we both know he’d just weasel his way out of it. You’ve got some pull here in town, though. If you can meet me at the Glassworks at midnight tonight, maybe we can figure out how to make sure he faces the punishment he deserves. Knock twice and then three times more and then once more at the delivery entrance and I’ll let you in.

In any case, I don’t have to impress upon you the delicate nature of this request. If news got out, you know these local rubes would assume that you and I were in on the whole thing too, don’t you? They’ve got no honor at all around these parts. I still don’t understand how you can stand to live here.

Anyway, don’t tell anyone about this. There are other complications as well, once I’d rather talk to you in person about tonight. Don’t be late.

~ Tsuto

Both the note and the fact that Amieko had yet to return were disconcerting. We assured Bethanna that we’d check into it, and headed out to the Glassworks to see what we could see.

And that wasn’t much…

The factory’s doors were locked, with curtains drawn and the smoke stack working. My companions took turns listening at the windows for any kind of sounds within (since the ears I wear don’t function nearly as well as all of theirs do!), but no one was able to hear anything at all.

Not wanting to break into the Glassworks without just cause, we split up to look for information on the place. At the General Store, Ven Vinder wasn’t able to tell us much that Bethanna hadn’t already told us about the Kaijitsu family. They are one of the four noble houses of Sandpoint. The Vlademars control the shipbuilding and fishing trade, the Kaijitsus own the Glassworks, the Scarnettis own the lumber mill, and then there is Mayor Kendra Devron’s home. Ven has a strong dislike for the Scarnettis…something to do with his daughter being involved with one of their boys.

Skookumchuk’s visit with Sabyl proved far more productive. She’d seen Lord Lenjiku go into the Glassworks last night, but she hadn’t seen him come out. The workers actually live there at the factory, so they are on hand at all hours. I can’t decide whether that is brilliant or akin to slavery… Anyway, she said it wasn’t unusual for him to stay there for long periods of time, nor was it unusual for them to keep the doors locked and windows drawn if they were working on a big project.

We all met at the Hagfish, to determine our next course of action. A curious place, it’s apparently the go to spot for the Glassworks employees. Again, no new information to be had here… So, since nothing at the factory seemed to be necessarily out of order at the moment, we decided to wait until morning and check again.

In the meantime, we ate dinner there at the Hagfish and met the owner, Jargie Quinn. He introduced us to Norah, the hagfish from which the tavern got its name and told us about the little contest they run. Apparently if you put a few silver in the sack next to her tank, and you drink (and keep down) a glass of Norah’s slimy, stinky tank water, then you can collect all of the silver that is in the bag. Nuari gave it a go unsuccessfully and Skookumchuk had no intention of partaking in that particular delicacy.

I’m slightly ashamed that I took advantage of my inability to taste anything but ash. I drank one glass without issue and then, much to the horror of everyone in the tavern, asked for a refill. Guess I didn’t look the type to be able to stomach that! I did get a bag of silver out of the deal and also got to scratch my name up on one of the ceiling beams. I promised myself not to do that again, but just that once it a good deal of fun!

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Post  Saoirse on Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:52 pm

Rova 30th, 4710

We should have busted down a door yesterday…

Our fast was broken at Sandpoint Savories this morning, before heading over to the House of Blue Stone to speak with Sabyl. She’d seen no one come in or out of the Glassworks at all last night or this morning.

Unwilling to wait any longer, we headed over to the factory where Nuari heard some activity within. Giggling and…singing…


Shattering one of the windows, we burst into the building to find the workers dismembered, their limbs scattered about. I had a few nauseating flashbacks at this point…

The goblins were merrily throwing the people parts into the furnaces! Even more horrific (if that is possible), was finding Lord Lonjiku sitting in a chair, completely encased in molten glass. It didn’t seem like the work of goblins to me at the time, and we’d find out later that it wasn’t, which only deepened the tragedy.

We battled the goblins, killing all two. One was wounded and one bolted for the basement where Skookumchuk and Zeyre gave chase. Meanwhile, Nuari and I strung up the wounded goblin for questioning. The elf actually speaks goblin, which I feel might prove exceptionally useful if we’re to do something about the issues plaguing the area.

The goblin was from Thistletop, which lies north of the Nettlewood, and claimed Ripnugget as his leader. Couldn’t get much else of use out of the creature so we left him strung up while we went to check on Zeyre and Skookumchuk, who hadn’t yet returned.

The gnomes did manage to kill the goblin and find even more to occupy themselves with down there! A wall was busted down, that had blocked what may have once been smuggler’s tunnels into the glassworks. Skookumchuk soon stumbled upon Tsuto, who had tried to prepare himself for a battle and though adept, he was no match for ball of muscle and masterful technique that he was pitted against. Skookumchuk brought the boy down before anyone could come to his assistance, but he didn’t seem overly pleased. He hadn’t intended to kill him.

Fortunately Tsuto kept a journal! Within the book were maps of Sandpoint, apparently battle plans. One was circled and looked much like what had happened during this past goblin raid, while the others appeared to require a much larger force of goblins to pull off.

Also within, were erotic drawings of a woman he named as Nualia!! He seems to have been quite smitten with her and wrote that she’s undergoing some sort of transformation.

I’ve transcribed some interesting sections of the journal here:

Tsuto’s journal wrote: After the circled battle map:
The raid went about as planned. Few Thistletop goblins perished, and we were able to secure Toby’s casket with ease while the rubes were distracted by the rest. I can’t wait until the real raid. This town deserves a burning, that’s for sure.

After the last of the second batch of maps:
Ripnugget seems to favor the overwhelming land approach, but I don’t think it’s the best plan. We should get the quasit’s aid. Send her freaks up from below via the smuggling tunnel in my father’s Glassworks, and then invade from the river and from the Glassworks in smaller but more focused strikes. The rest except Bruthazmus agree, and I’m pretty sure the bugbear’s just being contrary to annoy me. My love’s too distracted with the lower chambers to make a decision. Says that once Maffeshnekor’s released and under her command, we won’t need to worry about being subtle. I hope she’s right.

Before the last illustration depicting Nualia as a succubus:
My love seems bent on going through with it – nothing I can say convinces her of her beauty. She remains obsessed with removing what she calls her ‘celestial taint’ and replacing it with her Mother’s grace. Burning her father’s remains at the Thistletop shrine seems to have started the transformation, but I can’t say her new hand is pleasing to me. Hopefully when she offers Sandpoint to Lamashtu’s fires, her new body won’t be as hideous. Maybe I’ll luck out. Succubi are demons too, aren’t they?

THIS was some new information! I wonder if all of it is connected. The Chopper, the death of Lady Kaijitsu, the burning of the temple… That’s a heck of a lot of coincidence to simply be termed ‘unpleasant’. At any rate, it seems that Nualia has already begun her transformation and to complete it, must sacrifice the entire town!

We found Amieko tied up and locked in a separate room. She told us that Tsuto tried to convince her to help him with his plans to destroy Sandpoint, but when she violently rejected his plan, he turned the goblins on her. The poor woman was quite distraught to learn of her father’s death at the hands of her brother. We untied her and escorted her back to the Rusty Dragon before heading straight to the mayor with this information.

Mayor Devron was shocked and disturbed by the news. The Sheriff and reinforcements are still days away and we’ve no way of knowing how long we have until the next raid takes place. We can hope that Tsuto’s absence will stall Nualia’s plans! The mayor asked us to head down into the smugglers’ tunnels tomorrow morning to see where they might lead.

Before returning to the White Deer, we stopped by the temple to fill in Father Zanthos on the recent developments and the truth of the missing remains of the late Father Tobyn. He told us that the Lamashtu is a demon goddess referred to as the Mother of Monsters.

Why Nualia, reputedly of celestial blood would have thrown her lot in with that kind of evil seems to make no sense! There is much more to this story yet to uncover. Perhaps tomorrow will be full of new revelations.

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Post  Saoirse on Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:07 pm

Lamashan 1st, 4710

It’s got to be more than irony that Nualia’s sacrifice of Sandpoint to Lamashtu was likely to take place during the month named after the Mother of Monsters. I say ‘was’ only because I believe we will stop her. We have to! Five clans of goblins will no doubt overwhelm the forces that the Sheriff brings from Magnimar. At least the town’s leadership knows her intentions, so they can prepare themselves.

I’ve only known the people of Sandpoint for a week, but they have been so kind… Mr. Quink, Bethanna, Alma, even Garridan’s grim features elicit a kind of welcoming familiarity that I can’t remember ever knowing. They have something special here in this little town. A beautiful sense of community. Having such a thing be burned to ash would be a tragedy that I will do everything in my power to prevent.

We met very early this morning, and retrieved our dangling goblin to use as a guide before heading down into the smugglers’ tunnels beneath the Glassworks. The first tunnel led us to what appeared to be a dead end, but turned out to be a secret door. Unfortunately it didn’t lead much farther. At the end of the first tunnel, we ended up peering out over the Varisian Bay from a hidden cave north of Sandpoint. Our little murderous companion was able to communicate to Nuari that they’d come through this direction.

Needing to be thorough, we backtracked to the Glassworks and took the second tunnel. This tunnel broke into two branches, the first of which dead ended again, but try as we might we couldn’t locate another secret door, so we backtracked once more and took the second branch in the second tunnel.

This one proved far more fruitful…

As we progressed inside, we were assaulted by some kind of monstrous human…oid…thing. I recognized that it had been magically created somehow, and from the dirty rag tunic it wore, I wondered if it had once been a man. Long, gangly limbs tipped with sharp claws, a strange split jaw with sharp teeth and a long tongue… I’d never heard of any such thing, let alone seen one!

Once it was dispatched, we continued on to find ourselves within what appeared to be an ancient, man-made structure. The hallway led us to a large, red marble statue of an enraged woman holding a ranceur and a book with a seven-pointed star symbol on the cover. The symbol looks terribly familiar, but I can’t place it. That it looks familiar at all leads me to wonder whether it is Thassilonian in origin, and I’ll no doubt speak with Mr. Quink on the topic when we return to the surface. Could it even be possible that this underground…lair could be a remnant of that old empire?

We turned down another passageway and entered into another room onto a rickety old, raised walkway. It was black as death in that cavernous place and unlike my companions, I’ve not been blessed with very good eyesight. Our goblin guide was doing everything in his power to avoid going down there, and we shortly discovered why!

Two more of the same type of disturbing creature we’d fought earlier attacked us on the wooden stairway! Squeezed in as we were, it was a tricky fight but we managed to destroy them and go down to the floor to get a better look at this room. It was some kind of cellblock… A few of the cells contain very old bones that have nearly turned to dust. One of the cells has a pit inside of it, about four feet in diameter, which we could see nothing inside.

It was decided that while we’re down here, it might be in our best interest to keep the goblin locked in one of the cages for the time being. He was a handful while facing those two creatures and if there are other such abominations down here, we don’t need the added worry of having a goblin chewing on our backside in bloody retribution! So, after making sure he wouldn’t be able to fit his enormous head through the bars, I gave him a bit of food (really not sure what prompted that…) and we moved on to the next room.

Even less pleasant than the cellblock next door was the torture chamber we found ourselves in next. The equipment here was completely archaic and also held ancient remains. What is this place?? There was a set of stairs that headed down, but we chose to check out the adjoining room first. It was a mess of tattered parchment and the dust of tattered parchment. We did however, manage to find a scroll of Flaming Sphere, which I gladly gave to Nuari. He seems to be more familiar with fire magics than I am, and I find that I have something of an aversion to open flame in general. I don’t like holding so much as a torch anymore! Still, with my human eyes, it’s usually necessary.

Three doors stood at one end of the room, each with that same seven-pointed star that was emblazoned upon the red marble statue. In each room lay the skeletal remains of horribly mutated humanoids. It’s obvious that demonic magics were at work here, but by whom? And for what possible purpose? Are the people who are responsible for this disgusting practice also responsible for creating those ghoulish creatures? So many questions, so few answers…

Instead of going deeper into the dungeon, we decided to go back to the red marble statue room and enter a set of double doors that we’d skipped earlier. A massive and ancient cathedral opened up in front of us, whose walls were lined with rune writing. Thassilonian rune writing!! In the center of the room was a circle of human skulls surrounding a clear pool. At the far end, upon a raised dais was a strange triangular pool of some kind of glowing red liquid.

I was about to take a closer peek at the walls, when suddenly a quasit appeared over that triangular pool. It screamed at us, furious that we’d desecrated Lamashtu’s cathedral with our presence… After a moment of ranting, it slashed its wrist and where the drop of blood fell into the pool, one of those magically created, ghoulish monsters crawled out and attacked!

Things got worse before they got better. The quasit summoned a fire beetle and a fire elemental to further press the assault while it started flinging spells at us! It was a grueling battle. Even when the supplementary bad guys had been taken care of, that little flying demon was nearly impossible to hit, and it kept flinging a tiny dagger at us that it would summon back to its hand. Things were looking pretty grim until Skookumchuk was able to throw a bag over it and bring it to the ground while we beat it, stabbed it and blasted it to death.

When we were finally able to catch our breath, we stripped the little monster of its valuables and had a chance to look around a bit. Zeyre was very excited about getting the tiny magical dagger it had tormented us with, since she likes to collect such things. Possibly a useful item in spite of its size. Anything that can return to your hand once thrown might just come in handy. It was also wearing a tiny golden tiara…guess it is a she…and an obsidian amulet in the likeness of a three-headed coyote. An unholy symbol to Lamashtu I assumed.

The rune writing on the walls told tales of the power of Lamashtu and of Wrath. THAT surprised me… I’d thought that Nualia, or perhaps just this quasit had refurbished an ancient Thassilonian temple for the purpose of worshipping the Mother of Monsters, but here on the walls was proof that some within Bakrakhan followed her tenants. She has a much longer grasp than I’d given her credit for!

Having taken a respectable beating for the day, we decided to return to town to rest. Zeyre and I went directly to Brodert Quink with the news of what we’d found. Needless to say, he was very interested. The red marble statue he believes to be formed in the likeness of Alaznast, the Runelord of Wrath, and the seven pointed star symbol on the book she was holding was the symbol of the Thassilonian empire. It once symbolized the seven virtues, but as the virtues were corrupted, so was the appearance of the star.

Zeyre and I stayed for a time to scour the bottom of the Varisian Bay for stones with runic writing. Well…she did the scouring, I did the paddling of the boat. She found three such stones and Mr. Quink was nearly beside himself with gleeful exuberance! That kept me entertained as well for the remainder of the day.

Nuari strolled about town to make our presence known as we’d agreed to do. I must say that I’m glad he’s kept up with that, because large portions of the day just seem to slip by when I’m at the Old Light. Skookumchuk, after making his usual visit to Sandpoint Savories, took up watch in the basement of the Glassworks where we met to spend the evening. We haven’t yet finished clearing the tunnels, and we’ve no desire to let one of those gangly monsters through to terrorize the town!

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Post  Saoirse on Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:59 pm

Lamashan 2nd, 4710

I woke up this morning feeling completely dehydrated. My swollen tongue was stuck fast to the roof of my mouth and it felt as if I hadn’t had a drink of water in days. Guzzling my entire water skin barely seemed to help, burning something awful on the way down my throat, but at least it served to dislodge my tongue. Whatever that was, I hope it won’t be a regular occurrence…

We didn’t waste much time before going down into the tunnels to finish clearing out this ancient dungeon. First heading to the room with Alaznast’s statue, we took a new doorway down a strange, checkered stair and into a small room with another circular pool surrounded by human skulls. A blood smear marred the otherwise pristine white of the bleached bone. I’d wondered if perhaps some sort of sacrifice had been offered here, until the reason for the stain revealed itself and attacked us! It was some kind of strange demonic looking head…. JUST the head mind you…with bat wings and a mane of tentacles! I don’t even know what more I can say. I’m just glad that we were able to destroy it without the thing biting us with those wicked teeth. Can’t imagine any good would have come from that!

Through that room was another hallway that led to a spiral staircase. A dead end. The ceiling had long ago caved in and we had no desire to start an excavation.

We headed back to what can only be called the ‘torture room’, where we’d left another descending staircase yet unexplored. Taking that passage, we entered a large room with a high ceiling. Eleven pits dotted the floor, each covered with a wicker lid. The groans and moans emanating from those pits left little doubt what was down there…

Unfortunately there was a more immediate threat! Some sort of hideously mutated, goblinoid creature hobbled towards us. It had several arms, and a few twisted legs that sprouted from its back and shoulders, and it was wielding both a hand axe and a long sword. We were still crammed in the hallway when it lunged out at us and vomited a gout of blood and digestive acids down the line. There at the back of the group, with Skookumchuk leading, Zeyre on Jarrow and Nuari just ahead of me, I didn’t see it until it was too late. Skookumchuk dodged left, Zeyre ducked down, Nuari dodged right, and oblivious, I took the full brunt of goblin gak right in the face. Soooo much burning…

I had to spend the first moments of battle just trying to keep down the two quarts of water I drank this morning. The goblin-thing put up a vicious fight, wounding Skookumchuk before it fell to Jarrow’s tusks. Zeyre healed us up a bit as I looked over the weapons it had been carrying. Both were of excellent quality but upon inspection, the long sword emanated a magical aura.

I can’t help but wonder if that tortured creature was once Coravus, the goblin hero of the Seven Tooth tribe. It was said that he carried a magical long sword and was rumored to have found some sort of secret hideout in a cave complex. Could the quasit have done this to him somehow? I certainly hold no love for goblins, but nothing deserves to be experimented upon… Maybe I’m just especially sensitive to the subject.

Next stop, the pits. It’s with some reluctance that I write this particular account at all, in fear for what it might mean…

Each pit was about ten feet deep and housed a shuffling, groaning zombie. When Skookumchuk lifted the first wicker cover, it looked up and upon seeing him, immediately started trying to scrape its way up to the top. Fortunately the construction of its container ensured that such escape was not possible.

Then I peered over the edge. Perhaps it was just my imagination. Perhaps it was the dehydration playing tricks on my mind, but the zombie stopped. Just for a split second it stopped and looked at me as if…unsure, then it continued scratching at the walls trying to get at me as ferociously as it was my other companions.

I don’t remember ever using the spell before, or how I knew it would work, but when I leveled a digit at the undead creature and spoke a word, a beam of ethereal blue energy shot from my finger striking the zombie in the shoulder. The light flashed around its body and I saw it shudder a moment before it continued the mindless scrambling at the walls.

Calling upon the ability to see magical auras, I struck it again with the beam. The magic that holds me together is similar to that which animated him, but he is somehow tied to the negative plane whereas I am not… The energy that flowed from me seemed to partially…unzip his connection to that plane. The second shot disrupted that tie entirely and the zombie collapsed to the floor in a heap of rotting flesh.

I’m hesitant to say that there are similarities between any undead creature and myself… However, practically speaking, we are both created with some of the same magics. Perhaps the parts I’m fashioned from were a bit...fresher…than his, and I retain knowledge and memories of my old life, but I have to admit there are some things we have in common. A very few… I can’t help but wonder if I can draw upon those similarities in order to affect such creatures in less conventional ways.

Running some tests on these things at that time however, would've possibly garnered the distrust of my companions and I’m not willing to risk such a tentative relationship as what we have. It would be a shame for them to misunderstand…

So, since I was able to Disrupt the undead without putting myself or anyone else in harm’s way, I simply went from pit to pit ending their existence. They were mindless automatons. Robots awaiting a master’s command. Their souls had long since departed and it was only magic that allowed them some semblance of life.

Is that what I could have become had Dr. Noenn been allowed to place me in a second body? I can say only that I took no joy in their destruction… It all hit a bit too closely to home.

We took the corridor from that room and opened another door into an even stranger room. Spherical in shape, the rune-covered room was about fifteen feet in diameter with black lightning flashing haphazardly around the walls, lighting up certain runes with each pass. They all spoke of Wrath. Not much of a surprise anymore, but the purpose of this room was boggling… In the center of the sphere floated various objects. A ragged prayer book to Lamashtu, that read almost like a bestiary of horrifying monsters. A scroll of Burning Hands, a bottle of Ustalavian Black Mushroom wine, a twisted iron wand of Shocking Grasp, and a rotting and maggoty crow a few days dead.

We tied a rope around Skookumchuk, who floated safely out to the items to gather them as we ensured that he didn’t come anywhere near the black lightning along the walls. Yeah, I took the crow. I have plans for that feathered cockroach…

Having been through all the tunnels it was possible for us to find down there, we collected our famished goblin guide from his cell and headed back up to town, dropping him off at the jail to be held in case we have further need of him.

As it turns out, we will… After filling in Mayor Deverin on the discoveries down there, it was decided that it might be best for the town if we made a preemptive strike against Thistletop, where Nualia and her Mother’s altar is said to be, before the goblin clans are allowed to gather for their assault. We will have the remainder of the day to rest and prepare and tomorrow morning we’ll set out on the Long Road to the north.

Back at the Old Light, Zeyre and Skookumchuk went swimming again to look for more rune inscribed blocks of stone, while Mr. Quink, Nuari and I headed back down to the Thassilonian dungeon so the scholar could get a better look at what secrets might be uncovered down there.

I’m fairly sure the man didn’t blink even once while he looked over the ancient runes that covered the walls in that temple. He was in awe of the discovery, and named the place as a rune well. Only a couple such places were rumored to exist, but none had been found, and this one was active… Apparently these rune wells allowed for the creation of creatures of hatred and wrath. The sin spawn, which were the ghoulish creatures we fought down here earlier, made up a good portion of the armies of Bakrakhan.

Broder is very excited about the historical significance of this place and what we could learn from it. I’ll admit it is very intriguing, but the idea that this is an active rune well?! It makes me nervous to think that such information might get into the hands of someone far more interested in the creation of sin spawn than is necessary for mere scholarly pursuits. Nuari wasn’t thrilled at the prospect either, but I don’t believe that Mr. Quink himself would have any intention of using the thing even if he could discover how to use it. Makes me wonder if it was the quasit that managed to activate the place, or some other power… Nualia? Lamashtu? Someone or something yet unknown to us? Perhaps it has remained active since the Cataclysm, just…buried. It’s impossible to say right now, but maybe Broder will have some answers when we return from Thistletop. He insisted on remaining down in the temple for the time being, and asked only that we tell someone where he was.

While there, Nuari and I were able to have a personal conversation about our abilities that I believe has laid the groundwork for what may become a very important friendship. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me in the future, and I’m afraid. Of death… Of what I might become… All of it. I don’t know all the details, and don’t yet feel right asking, I believe my elvish companion is in a very similar predicament. We both need someone to trust and rely on as we face the difficulties our…heritages present us with. All in all, I feel very hopeful that maybe I’m not quite as alone in this fight as I feared.

This evening we will be meeting for a group dinner at the White Deer. I hope to find that afterwards, the Heroes of Sandpoint may have grown a bit closer before heading toward the danger that lays in wait for us at Thistletop.

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Post  Saoirse on Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:57 am

Lamashan 3rd, 4710

I gutted the bird this morning.

There wasn’t really much left of his innards. Soup mostly, but there was no sense in letting a perfectly good crow corpse just rot away, so I stuffed him with some salt and some sawdust that I picked up near the lumber mill, and then sewed him up. He won’t last forever with such shoddy construction, but maybe it’ll help ward off the crows. The scar on my upper lip still itches sometimes. I wonder if it’s all in my head…

We started out early to pick up some supplies before we left for Thistletop… Oil and torches, a vial of Alchemist Fire, and a potion of Cure Light Wounds for emergencies. Father Zantus was kind enough to patch up the remainder of Skookumchuk’s wounds from the previous day, and then we picked up our little goblin guide and our horses and we were on our way north along the Long Road.

The goblin, whose name was Kago, consented to sing one of his little goblin tunes after a bit of…prodding. I remembered enjoying the little chant from the raid on my first night in Sandpoint, and fortunately he remembered it! I’ve transcribed it here for posterity:

Goblins chew and goblins bite.
Goblins cut and goblins fight.
Stab the dog and cut the horse,
Goblins eat and take by force!

Goblins race and goblins jump.
Goblins slash and goblins bump.
Burn the skin and mash the head,
Goblins here and you be dead!

Chase the baby, catch the pup.
Bonk the head to shut it up.
Bones be cracked, flesh be stewed,
We be goblins! You be food!

Morbid little ditty to be sure, but they went to all the trouble to learn it in common just to ‘strike fear’ into our hearts, that I figured it deserved a little recognition!

The only incident that slowed our progress toward Thistletop was when we stumbled upon a patrol of six goblins, but they were dispatched with little fanfare.

Eventually we found ourselves amid a thistle-choked region near the coast and Kago said we were close to Thisletop. Zerye, able to walk through the sharp thistles without difficulty at all, went in alone and found a hidden path that led to a cleverly disguised gate (too cleverly for goblins…) into the refuge. At first I wondered if it might be a gnome ability… Small feet dodging the thorns and all, but it seems that her skill to move unhindered through the underbrush has more to do with her devotion to what she calls the ‘Mootha’. Nature itself I assume, judging from her druid talents!

I’ve wondered if she can sense some inherent difference between us… Through her flows life-giving power and a connection to the natural world! Through me? Possibly the opposite… There is certainly nothing natural about what I am.

Once Zerye returned to us, we meted out swift justice upon Kago, tied up our horses and headed in.

Thistletop was apparently not built for those over five feet tall… Not this part at least. The area is a maze of thistle hedges with ceilings too low for Nuari and I to stand completely upright but thankfully Zerye and Skookumchuk had no difficulty moving about, because turning a corner we came face to face with four goblin dogs! Nasty brutes with a filthy bite…as I was to learn later…
At this point, they were brought down without causing any of us much harm, and it was a good thing too for as soon as the last dog fell, we heard a deep growling sound as a firepelt cougar turned the corner with its hackles raised.

He wasn’t alone! A goblin, a druid we’ve come to believe, stepped out and created a blade of fire from thin air before casting a spell on Jarrow who began to buck, trying to throw Zerye from her back! Our companion held on and got control of her boar as I used my power to put the cougar to sleep for a time. Long enough for me to drive my spear through its heart.

The goblin proved more of a challenge, but Skookumchuk was able to finish him off before he alerted all the other goblins in the area to our presence. He had a number of magical items among his things… Potions, a wand, armor and a cloak. Enough that he was likely an important member of the tribe.

As we traveled further into the thicket, we found a rope bridge that spanned a chasm over to an island where stood the goblin stronghold we were seeking. From our distant vantage we could see four goblins and four goblin dogs standing watch over a set of double doors set into a stockade fence. Instead of rushing ahead at that moment though, we decided to back track and ensure that we’d cleared out the thicket. No need to have enemies before and behind!

Good thing we check too, for we soon encountered a group of ten goblins huddled around a fire! When we turned the corner, twenty comically large and bulbous yellow eyes turned in our direction. Then there was chaos. Spells, arrows, fists, fangs and tusks flew wildly until the very last goblin threw himself willingly into the fire instead of facing the dog that Zerye had summoned. Nuari too used his power to Charm one of the goblins into attacking its kin. It probably wasn’t that difficult of a push to grasp their tiny nut-sized brains, but our elvish companion takes any use of his magic seriously and I was grateful. With that size of a group, the extra blade was very helpful!

By this time, weariness was beginning to set in. For myself at least... Skookumchuk seems to have an endless reservoir of energy. I think I should work on my Core a bit more… Maybe that would help. While we rested briefly after that fight, both he and Zerye tried to convince me that perhaps there was a safer way to use the magic within me, or maybe find a different source of power altogether. Skookumchuk explained the benefits physical exercise and Zerye suggested turning to the Mootha for guidance. I appreciate their concern and their willingness to lend their aid, but unless I tell them the whole truth of what I am and how I was created, I don’t think they can completely understand. I don’t even completely understand!

With the thicket officially cleared, we set into motion our plan for storming the keep. I caused three of the goblins to fall asleep as Skookumchuk charged across the bridge on Jarrow to face the goblin dogs. I was bitten by one of the goblin dogs as I was spearing their sleeping masters and got a strange and terribly uncomfortable rash that spread from my arm, all the way down one leg and up the side of my neck and face. He was about to take another chunk out of me, when flames burst from Nuari’s hand, roasting that dog as well as one of the sleeping goblins. I think I yelped as loudly as the dog did as the fire rushed past my face, and when I turned to thank him, he simply nodded to me with eyes black as pitch.

I worry for him. I worry for what he will do when he finds Nualia… I’m not saying she doesn’t deserve death, for truly if anyone is deserving of having their heart forcibly stopped from its rhythm, it’s her, but my concern is how deeply his rage at the woman will take him into the darkness. She was born with divine blood and she turned against that, destroying those that once loved her. Nuari didn’t have such a fortunate beginning. I think, in a way, that this is personal for him, and therein lies my concern…

Up on a lookout tower at the corner of the stronghold, two goblins, which we hadn’t noticed upon first inspection, were pelting us with arrows as we finished off their comrades. It took a ridiculously long amount of time to take out those two but after doing so, Zerye used a bit of healing magics on us, and we all clambered up the forty-foot wall and headed down the stairs into the keep instead of taking the double doors.

Skookumchuk stealthily snuck around inside, with the rest of us trailing behind him. A few rooms in, and he opened a door into a tiny room with six sleeping goblins packed in almost shoulder-to-shoulder! He tried to end one of them quietly, but they woke just in time. Quarters were cramped, but we put them down without drawing the attention of any other parties.

By this time we were all really beat up and exhausted. We were hardly done here, but considering what might lie before us, we needed to get some rest and recoup our strength. I don’t think we’ve faced Ripnugget yet, the hero of the Thistletop tribe, then there’s the possibility of Maffeshneckor, some beast whom Nualia is trying to release…that can’t be good, and of course Nualia herself. We were in no shape for pressing on.

For the evening, we’re resting out by our horses. Thankfully they haven’t been eaten or killed by anything! We’ll go back in early tomorrow morning and see what new challenges we’re presented with, but for now I’m making a paste out of chilled mud to pack onto this rash. Not so pretty, but it’s helping with the itching…

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Post  Saoirse on Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:25 am

Lamashan 4th, 4710

Success! The rash is gone! Not quite sure if its disappearance can be accredited to time or this mudpack I applied to my face last night, though I may think about selling it as a cure-all in Sandpoint when we get back. Might want to test it a bit more… I’d hate to lose my status as one of the ‘Heroes of Sandpoint’ due to a marketing misunderstanding!

Again, I woke up in a terrible state of dehydration, and drank as much as I dared of my water ration for the day. When Thistletop is dealt with, I think I might have to drink the Thistle River dry to quench this blasted thirst…

Upon returning to Thistletop, we discovered the hedge area as empty as we left it. There’s no doubt that they know we were there…we killed a lot of goblins… A lot. Not to mention the guards around the keep, yet everything seems eerily quiet.

Until…the bridge…

Four goblin dogs were guarding the entrance to the keep, so as before, brave Skookumchuk rushed in first and just as the rest of us were about to cross, a bugbear revealed himself atop one of the watch towers and lifted his enormous bow! Brithazmus!

Much to our horror, the ranger shot out one of the ropes to the already tenuous bridge, making the rest of our crossing seem precarious at best. Nuari made it across with typical elvish grace, but these legs aren’t even mine… I don’t fully trust them to walk a straight line, let alone walk what would essentially be a tight rope!!

While, Skookumchuk was more than busy with the goblin dogs AND the two goblins that appeared out from behind the second watch tower, Brithazmus raised his bow to sever the second rope which would destroy the bridge altogether.

Luck seems to have been on our side though! The bugbear failed to resist my Sleep spell, and with Zerye’s brilliant eagle-retrieving-the-loose-bridge-rope strategy, Skookumchuk’s heroic holding of the line while Nuari scaled the tower and made sure Brithazmus stayed down permanently, we were able to polish off that group of Thistletop defenders without too much of our own blood being shed.

That done, the monk, having spent a good deal of time on the sea and knowing his way around a knot or two, fixed the bridge so Zeyre and I could cross safely. We quickly regrouped and headed into the keep to explore further!

Again, we seemed to be eerily alone in the place upon initial observation. With Skookumchuk’s stealth, we poked about checking out the various rooms, storage rooms mostly, one room with large barrels of pickles… I wonder if ‘pickles’ should be added to my list of things goblins absolutely love. After finding that one drown in a pickle barrel during the raid…I…I just don’t know what else might explain it! Maybe gross misfortune.

After a few minutes of searching, we entered a door that opened into a large room with four pillars in the center. What I can only describe as some kind of macabre throne, with a skeletal horse head looming over the high back, sat upon a raised dais in the corner of the room.

Sadly that was not all… Upon that throne sat Ripnugget, in all his filthy, goblin inbred glory. Oh, but it gets better!! Beside him crouched a giant gecko… So of course he asks us why we’re there, and for some reason I mention that we’re here for Nualia. Suddenly this goblin thinks that I’m the diplomatic liaison to goblinkin for our group. Note to self: keep yap shut. At any rate, it wasn’t like we were going to allow this thing to live after participating in the raid on Sandpoint, but neither did he have any intention of allowing us to live after killing the majority of the Thistletop tribe. Fair enough…

He’d asked me to step forward during ‘negotiations’, which I did hesitantly, until I saw the bloodthirsty gleam in his eye and ran back to my companions who were standing at the back of the room near the doorway we’d originally entered into. The fight was on at that point. Ripnugget mounted his valiant…gecko, and to our dismay four more goblins scrambled down the pillars from the ceiling!

Things got pretty hairy at that point and a little fuzzy for me with all the blood loss and all. I was penned in the front line by goblins and took a bad hit with a horse chopper. Okay, I’ll concede this… Goblins are ugly, dumb, kill themselves in the most ridiculous and obscenely hilarious ways possible, but they know how to craft a weapon. That thing cut through the pieces of me like a giant scalpel! Note to self: don’t ever stand in the front. Purposefully or accidentally. Not. Ever. My life will end soon enough, no need to hasten it!

Thankfully the goblins, the gecko and the monstrosity that was Ripnugget perished a horrible death, with none of our own among the fallen. With him out of the way, we were able to search the rest of the first level of the keep without much further incident.

Except for one. Apparent the goblins had been keeping what must once have been a very powerful horse, locked away in a room. When we opened the door, it attacked us in its fright and desperation for food! Zeyre was able to disguise a dagger as a carrot and calm the beast down. He’d been starved nearly to death and obviously mistreated. A wonder the animal wasn’t killed outright considering the goblins’ hatred of horses. Perhaps he proved more of a challenge then they’d expected!

We couldn’t leave the poor creature behind and we were all drained from the earlier battles, so we gathered the equipment we’d collected on this trip, and after making sure the bridge was well secure, led the horse out of the keep area.

Back with our other mounts, he seemed happier and more than excited to have a place to graze and pack some fat on his emaciated frame. It’ll take some time, but he could again be an impressive steed! Makes me curious how the goblins came to have him in the first place…

We rested there in peace for the evening to recoup our own strength and magical energies.

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Post  Saoirse on Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:21 am

Lamashan 5th, 4710

At dawn we were back to trudging through the thistles. Well… Zeyre was walking through the thistles, Skookumchuk was walking comfortably along (on his hands for part of the journey) and Nuari and I were hunched over like ape-ish beasts. The elf didn’t seem to mind too much…

Somehow I don’t think any pieces of me belonged to nature people. In fairness, I can’t really remember much before the basement of that building in Underbridge, so there might yet be hope, and if the alternative to travel is going back to the big city? Back to Magnimar? No sir… I think I’ll just pick up a tent when we get back to Sandpoint.

When we got to Thistletop Keep, everything seemed to be as we left it. Bloated corpses and all. So, we headed directly down the stairs to the lower level with Skookumchuk moving stealthily on ahead of us.

One of the first areas we came to seemed to be some sort of natural-looking cavern. A section of it even opened up to the sea. It was in this room that we encountered a strange squid-like creature, which at first, blended almost perfectly into the rock it was hiding against. A triangular…head…though we could see no eyes, topped a mess of writhing tentacles that lashed out at Skookumchuk. It was dispatched with fairly little drama and I don’t think we realized how much of a problem it could have been until we saw what was probably its lair. Shriveled husks of dead birds and goblins littered the adjoining chamber. They’re insides liquefied and likely sucked out by that…creature. Uck… Hmm… Parched as I am right now though, I might actually give liquefied goblin a try…

We did find some magical armor and a sword, the former seemed to fit Zerye quite nicely and the shriveled goblin didn’t put up much of a fight!

Traveling down a hallway we came to a set of large double doors covered with engravings of pregnant females of many races, giving birth to various monstrosities. After what we’ve learned about Nualia and her demonic patron, we had little doubt to whom these doors paid tribute, and we were proven right when we entered to find what could only be a temple to Lamashan.

A hideous statue of a pregnant half woman, half monster stood holding two glowing kukris at the far end of the room upon a dais. Before it was an altar with the remnants of bone and ash…presumably that of Father Tobyn…still lying atop it.

Now, we didn’t actually get a good look at any of this, before two demonic dogs came flying down at us. Yes…flying down at us… Vicious creatures, it took some time to dispatch them, and there were some scary moments but we managed to prevail. Between demon dogs and goblin dogs, I think I’m becoming a cat person.

A doorway from up on the dais led us to a large room filled with empty cells and torture devices. The rack…iron maiden…pretty standard stuff, but much more updated than the previous torture room we found after exploring the tunnels beneath the glassworks. I’ve no doubt these have seen more recent use…

Aside from the demon dogs and a squid monster, our search this day had been fairly devoid of life, so we were a little surprised when we entered a small room inhabited by four female (I think) goblins and a sickly sweet stench that traumatized even my dulled senses. I’m assuming these were Ripnugget’s women folk… They quickly shared in the fate of their champion.

After that messy business, we came to a hallway off of which were a number of bedrooms, but they bore no resemblance to goblinoid living quarters. There were various items of interest here. One of the rooms must have been Tsuto’s, and it seems he preferred to do most of his thinking on paper. Good for us! We found a stack of papers detailing plans on how to blackmail his father and using the Glassworks as a staging ground for the assault upon Sandpoint. The upcoming investigation of the Catacombs of Wrath was also mentioned…this could be referring to no other place than the ancient ruin we found that quasit and the sin spawn inhabiting. Apparently we got there first.

To my exquisite joy, we found an Everburning Torch in one of the rooms that otherwise seemed relatively unused. As the only one who can’t see in darkness, I’ve had to bear the torch. Fire and I have a…strained relationship and any chance I have to put away that inferno on a stick, I’m happy to do so! Three cheers for magic!

We also found what we believe to be Nualia’s room. An extravagant bed with silken sheets stood on one end of the room, with a work desk at the other. There were a couple of interesting notes here. One noted mentioned the taming of a “whispering beast” and another mentioned that additional tribes from the north would be coming for second raid on Sandpoint. I’m guessing that the whispering beast might be Maffeshneckor, but as to what this beast might be? Well, I’ll admit some trepidation that we’ll be finding out the hard way.

That hallway cleared, we traveled back to a doorway we’d skipped earlier. I was growing concerned that Nualia might have skipped out of here after the goblins were destroyed, but Tsuto’s journal mentioned that she rarely left the lower chambers… She’s far too dangerous to let escape, and I’d much prefer not to chase her down!

We passed through what looked like some kind of war room, as we found large maps of the area lying there on the table. The adjoining room was not unoccupied. Two humans, whom we knew nothing about at the time, were as surprised to see us, as we were to see them. A man wearing heavy armor, wielding a long sword and a shield that depicted a human face, attacked us as we entered the doorway. Farther back in the room, a woman caster of some nature was also prepared to dispatch us intruders.

Thankfully the warrior decided he needed an immediate nap there on the floor before he was able to put that sword to much deadly use, and after a brief struggle, the woman was Charmed by Nuari. She’s being most helpful now.

Lyrie, that’s her name, and Orik have been assisting Nualia in her plans, and Lyrie specifically has been helping her to research how to free Maffeshneckor. Now that we had a moment, I could see what that research must have entailed in part… Artifacts, books, and scrolls littered the room here. Thassilonian runes were inscribed on much of it. Yep, that stuff is going in the old pack!

Skookumchuk tied up the warrior and took him to one of those cells in the torture room for safe keeping until we can bring him back to Sandpoint. Lyrie however, has been convinced by the elf to help us take out her former employer and navigate another level of Thistletop that lies below us through a secret door.

After this brief respite to put a few things in order, we’ll be heading down. According to Lyrie, Nualia is currently down there with some sort of dog at her side… Really getting to dislike dogs… I may have to add them to the list right under crows.

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Post  Saoirse on Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:50 pm

Lamashan 5th, 4710
Part Two

Unable to resist Nuari’s elvish wiles, the Charmed Lyrie led us down through a secret door into a lower dungeon where she told us Nualia could be found.

Four identical statues stood in a chamber we entered after passing through the second doorway. They appeared very old, some of the finer details fading with time, but we could make out a robed figure carrying a book and a glaive! It must be one of the runelords, but which?

I seem to recall that on my first visit to the Old Light, Mr. Quink mentioned the domain that lay on the eastern boarder of Bakrakhan, but could we really be so close to the border? I couldn’t, for what little life remains to me, remember the name of that domain, nor which of the runelords used the glaive as their weapon of office… Brodert will know of course but until we get back to Sandpoint, that is going to persistently nag at me!

Lyrie pointed out a ten-foot wide pressure plate, warning us of the trap before we sprung it and thankfully we all made the running leap to cross it safely!

Our helpful guide indicated the room in which Nualia would be found, so we had a chance to prepare ourselves before entering the odd room. Inside we found what must have been a library of some sort. Red marble shelves were brimming with religious texts. Four burning skulls lit the room in a dull red haze, illuminating specimen jars containing gods know what, just enough to sicken us a bit.

We didn’t have much time to worry about the surroundings because there standing before us, with flying demon dog at her side, was the woman we’d been searching for. The cause of so much of the trouble in Sandpoint over the years!

She wore a hand and a half sword slung over her back, a breastplate and what appeared to be some kind of hide armor. Her scarred abdomen was shown openly. Old wounds that she’d undoubtedly inflicted upon herself to show her dedication to Lamashtu. In spite of the scars and in spite of the bestial, clawed arm, she was beautiful. Exotic violet eyes and shining silver hair spoke of the mixed heritage that her adoptive father was said to have confirmed as celestial. It wasn’t difficult to believe. What a shame…

In that infinite moment just before everything erupted into chaos, I saw a change in my elven companion. Always during our discussions of Nualia, his rage had been seething just below the surface. She represents the opportunity for a blessed life that Nuari may never realize. And she squandered it. Worse! She spat in the face of her divine heritage and turned to that which Nuari tries so desperately to repress in himself!

But in that moment he gave himself over to it.

Waves of heat seemed to pour off of him as his eyes went jet black and he ran into the room screaming; gouts of flame leaping at her from his outstretched hand. Jarrow charged the demon dog, which she’d learned to dislike as much as I had from the temple of Lamashtu on the floor above. Skookumchuk charged her unleashing his own flurry of pain and Zerye assisted her boar in putting the vicious dog out of its misery before it could cause too much trouble.

The entire room seemed to be bathed in flame and I opted to stay outside in the hall to avoid it as much as I could. When it was over, a wall full of books had crumbled to ash within the fiery blaze, and though the woman was well dead, Nuari just kept burning her until she was completely unrecognizable. It must have taken enormous effort, but after a few moments he pulled himself away and stepped from the room to calm down.

I can only guess at the toll his actions might have taken on him but there would be no time to discuss the matter with him today...

Once the corpse cooled off a bit, we found beneath her magical breastplate a medallion in the shape of a seven pointed star… The symbol of the Thassilonian empire! I wonder if she found in somewhere in the ruins… The medallion was magical as well and we determined that given its ability to protect the wearer with a spell called False Life, it should be given to Skookumchuk to wear as he throws himself into melee more often than not.

Among the texts that remained in tact on the shelves, we were lucky to find Nualia’s journal. That is certain to be an interesting read!

We moved out across hallway and entered another short hall. On one end stood what looked to be a pillar of gold coins and on the other was a set of large double doors bearing the relief of two skeletons holding a skull between them.

Based on the pillar of gold coins, which we determined to be magical, Nuari guessed that perhaps this place belonged to the Runelord of Greed. A definite possibility, but I couldn’t confirm nor deny it. I have a lot of study to do when we get back to Sandpoint! The answers are right there on the tip of my brain, but it feels like I just can’t access them yet! Terribly frustrating!!

As I was trying to resist beating my head against the wall, Skookumchuk noticed two slots on either side of the golden pillar. Coin slots? At this point we started losing money… We tried to put a copper in, a silver, a gold, even a platinum piece, but there seemed to be no affect besides us quickly losing wealth. On a whim I asked Zerye to try putting a silver piece in one slot at the same time as I put one in the other. Again nothing. Just to be thorough, we did the same with two gold pieces, and the pillar descended revealing an ancient room beyond!

We didn’t have time to check it out just then though, because we heard shouting from the room down the hall! Nuari, Skookumchuk and Lyrie had moved on to check the room with the skeleton doors while Zerye and I were still fiddling with the coin slots. And they’d found some serious trouble…

Three shadows of the undead variety slid out of the sarcophagi that rested along the edges of the room. In the center stood a very large statue of that same robed man carrying a large book and a glaive. When we ran in, the trio was hard pressed against the malevolent creatures and from the unhealthy pallor of their faces, Nuari and Lyrie’s strength had already been sapped by a chilling touch! Skookumchuk positioned himself to try to take some of the attention off the weakened casters and thankfully, though it’s normally difficult to injure such creatures, the gnome’s fists and feet seemed to be wearing at it as wisps of shadow evaporated with each blow. But there were three of the undead… While the fight with Nualia had been vicious, this one turned deadly fast and Lyrie slumped to the floor unable to summon the strength even to keep her heart at its rhythm. A moment later, to our horror, she herself rose as a shadow and now there were four!!

Somehow she was the only casualty, but when Nuari was struck too weak to carry his gear any longer, I feared that he too would fall. He was fortunate. We were fortunate! We managed to destroy the last shadow before it was able to turn another being…a friend…to unlife.

With the elf unable to get to his feet, and Zerye’s spells as well as my own almost spent, we had no desire to check out that secret passageway until we’d gotten some good rest. The column of gold had returned to its original position anyway, so we’d come back to it the next morning. Skookumchuk hefted the elf onto his strong gnomish shoulders and we made our way to the floor above.

Zerye and Jarrow are staying out in the courtyard to be as close to nature as possible without having to leave the keep. Nuari is resting comfortably in the luxurious bed in Nualia’s chambers. He will likely need assistance removing the hefty silken sheets when he wakes, but at least he’s getting some rest and Zerye said she’d be able to aid his recovery in the morning. Skookumchuk and I staying in the research room tonight, just in case something decides to come up through that secret passage. I’d feel more comfortable if we weren’t all separated but with the upper levels of Thistletop cleared out and Orik secured, we shouldn’t have trouble.

Before turning in for the evening, I wanted to take a look through the relics and books that Lyrie had collected here in this room, but unfortunately none of it seems to be of much use to us at this time. Still… I packed the stuff away to take with me back to Sandpoint when we’re through here. Undoubtedly Brodert will want to peruse these himself.

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Post  Saoirse on Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:33 pm

Lamashan 6th, 4710

I’ve heard tell that difficult times will either bind people together or break them apart. It remains to be seen how these last days will change us, whether we’ll stick together as friends or separate now that the threat to the town seems to have been dealt with. Without question, the Heroes of Sandpoint have been rigorously tested since the goblin raid two weeks ago, with a number of the battles there bringing us too near to death than seems healthsome.

Today’s battle was much the same, except this one we didn’t win…

After Zerye magically restored a portion a Nuari’s strength, we gathered again and headed back down to the pillar of gold coins. Inserting another two gold granted us access and we cautiously entered a short hallway beyond.

To the south stood a heavy door, with a distinctive depression in the center in the shape of a seven pointed star. It was bigger than the medallion that Nualia wore though, so the key must lie elsewhere.

To the east was another torture room. Wicked looking knives and saws as well as more inexplicable instruments of pain lay rusted and worn on the tables inside, while scored bones were strewn about more haphazardly. When we explored the room, it appeared that there were a few more heads than there were pelvises. Usually those things come in equal numbers…

Zerye immediately started shoving any sharp or pointy object she could find into her sack. I don’t understand her fascination with knives… Is there some kind of history with them that feeds her obsession? Honestly I’m a little afraid to ask.

Within this room we found the key to the southern door. A silver and gold seven-pointed star, with a convenient handle, that looked like it would fit the depression exactly.

But first there was the northern room. Two rows of benches led up to a stone dais upon which sat a marble throne. A programmed illusion showed a robed man sitting upon it - a now very familiar man, holding a glaive and a large book, which rested in his lap. The Runelord of…a domain yet to be determined!!!

He seemed to be preaching about something but as I’ve only ever deciphered written Thassilonian, I’m not exactly fluent with the spoken word. I’d have to come back to this! Words directly from a Runelord’s mouth?? Mr. Quink would soil his breeches and I cannot deny my own fascination!

Key in hand we came to the southern door and briefly discussed whether to open it or not. Zerye and I both wanted to see what lay beyond, if it was indeed Maffeshneckor and deal with the creature. Skookumchuk seemed willing to either go in or walk away. Nuari, with good reason, didn’t see that letting out the beast that Nualia had been trying to release, was such a good idea.

There was undoubtedly a risk, but at the time we didn’t know whether the risk was worth the reward. My curiosity was peaked and I had come to believe that its whisperings to Nualia had played a part in the threat to Sandpoint and I was loathe to let that threat lie there unknown and not at least try to do something about it.

Perhaps the feeling that I’m nearing the end of my life has made me bolder than is wise. I want to do something important with the time that remains to me. I want to be remembered. To be someone worth remembering! If however…my recklessness causes one of my companions harm… Well, that’s not what I want to be remembered for.

Regardless, the votes had been cast and the key was turned. Locks clicking and gears shifting as the mechanisms were released.

Before us was a red room with a pit of lava in the center that filled the room with waves of heat. Lit candles stood in the corners of the room but in spite of the fire and heat from the lava, the wax remained in pristine condition. On the back of the wall was painted the seven-pointed star of Thassilon.

Then there was the beast… A dark creature, it had a wolf-like body and clawed hands for front paws, while its head was a disturbing amalgamation of goblin and wolf.

It didn’t move to attack us, just turned and stared with eyes filled with a malevolent intelligence. Another one of those infinite moments passed, then it fixed its stare upon…Jarrow… There was a move to try and shut the door, but it whispered something and the boar rammed into the back of Nuari, shoving our companion into the room with the creature, which fell upon him in a fury!

Skookumchuk leaped in after him as I loosed what spells I could at the beast from the doorway. The gnome launched into a dizzying flurry of kicks and punches, trying to fight the thing off, but it was too fast and its hide too thick… Nuari was cut down within seconds and Skookumchuk didn’t escape the carnage either. I thought for all the world that the elf was dead, but the monk leaped back across the pool of fire and snatched up Nuari’s body, pulling him out the door. Zerye fell into her healing magic while Skookumchuk and I pulled the heavy door shut once more. While it was closing, the beast paced in front of the doorway, staring at us hungrily… I didn’t even try to cross the threshold and at the time, we didn’t care either way. The way is shut. It was made by those who are dead, and for now, the way stays shut.

Wanting to know what kind of beast that was, I cracked open that holy book of Lamashtu that we’d found in the Catacombs of Wrath beneath the Glassworks. I found a page detailing the barghest a kind of cross between a goblin and a wolf that is incredibly strong and has magical abilities. That certainly fit the bill. Its weakness seems to be magic…

While the injured rested and were patched up, the others graciously allowed me the time to sit at the feet of the runelord illusion and phonetically scribe the words he was speaking. I hope to take them back to Brodert and see if he can make anything out of them. Hopefully so… I’m not keen on the idea of bring him back to this place.

That done, we bound Orik, packed our finds and left Thistletop a much more desolate place than when we first arrived. Mounting our valiant steeds and I on Matilda, off we rode back to Sandpoint. Only one stop was made. At the Thistle River, I clambered off my horse, waded into the river and drank until I thought I might burst at the seams.

It was evening when we arrived back but we went immediately to the sheriff and mayor to fill them in on the happenings in Thistletop. Apparently the sheriff wasn’t able to get any additional guards from Magnimar. Not a surprise. They are so full of their own importance, that should they care for a little Podunk town like Sandpoint??

They were pleased to hear that the matter had been resolved, though Skookumchuk and I have discussed the possibility of paying the Barghest another visit in the future when we are better prepared. He’s been locked up for ten thousand year apparently, so a little more time wouldn’t hurt. Still… If it caused so much trouble already, I’d hate to just leave it there and hope for the best. If there’s something we can do about it someday, I think I’d like to help see it done.

Mayor Deverin set us up with room and board at the inn of our choice and we chose the White Deer since most of us have been staying there anyway. With our work concluded for the time being, we headed back to the inn for a meal where we flipped through Nualia’s journal.

It told the story of a young woman ostracized by society because she was ‘special’. Along the way, she fell in love with a man named Delek, who impregnated her and then skipped town. Her adopted father, Father Tobyn was furious and tried to force her into the clergy, which she had no desire to do. At seven months pregnant, Nualia miscarried and though the midwives didn’t allow her to see the dead baby, they told her it was monstrously deformed.

These events took a harsh toll on the woman and she fell into a near comatose state in her despair. She was haunted by dreams of monsters and demons and in these dreams there was one who promised to help her…

Not long after, she burned down the temple with Father Tobyn in it and fled to hunt down Delek and kill him. After doing so, Lamashtu turned her into a half fiend.

The journal went on to detail some information about the Runewell beneath Sandpoint. By razing the town, Nualia wanted to fuel the Well with the Wrath of Sandpoint’s citizens, which would bring forth an army of sinspawn! After completing the ritual, a drop of blood will spawn a single creature, but if so much Wrath is feeding the Runewell from above, then the sinspawn will spontaneously be created. It was Erlyium, the quasit who called to Nualia, brought her to the place and told her how to use the Well.

Though she might have created many of the sinspawn, she didn’t want to overuse it because once the stored Wrath was spent, she wasn’t sure how it could be recharged. A fortunate thing for us, or we may never have returned from the catacombs!

All in all it sad story, sure… Told from a very skewed perspective of course! I can only imagine that miscarrying her child caused her mind to fracture, or perhaps the whispers of Lamashtu are so seductive that one can no longer think rationally

To me, Nualia’s actions prove one thing. That which is in your blood does not matter. You choose your path! She had the blood of divine beings and yet she chose a path of darkness. Cannot one who has the blood of the infernal also choose a path of righteousness? What about one who was created by an evil man and is held together solely by dark magic? To me, Nualia’s story proves that our destiny is our own.

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Post  Saoirse on Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:36 am

Lamashan 7th, 4710

A day of some much needed down time…

Garridan delivered a note from Nuari this morning, telling us that he and Zerye went for a walk and wasn’t sure when they’d be back. Hopefully it will be a good thing for them both. The past few days have been difficult and in the elf’s case, I don’t think he’d fully recovered from the encounter with the shadows, so Zerye should be able to take care of that for him. Then again…the last image I have of her was when she was sharpening her new ‘toys’ that we found in the Thassilonian torture room below Thistletop. I’m sure it’ll be fine…

Skookumchuk and I went to visit Dr. Quink who was busy with his research down in the Catacombs of Wrath. He was surprised to hear that we found another ruin to the north and was able to tell us that the statues were of Karzoug, the Runelord of Greed (as Nuari correctly guessed) from the Domain of Shalast.

I really need to do some more research! These names…Alaznast…Karzoug... They’re familiar, like something I’ve heard before but just can’t place. It’s aggravating how slowly these memories are coming back, and I’m starting to get the feeling that if I really want to know, than I’m looking in the wrong place. The only question is, just how much am I willing to risk to get these answers?

We also told him of the looping image we found in the secret, secret rooms below Thistletop and showed him my phonetically transcribed copy. I was hoping he could make some sense of it, but considering that no one has spoken the language of Thassilon for millennia, I wasn’t betting money on a positive result.

We all headed back up to town, where our tiny band split with the agreement to meet at the Hagfish for dinner. Dr. Quink and I went to his home to begin the translating process and Skookumchuk made his usual circuit around Sandpoint, before doing some training with Sabyl.

I’ve gotta say… Brodert Quink may be slightly eccentric, very egotistical, and his theories of Thassilon’s history may be far-fetched in the minds of some, but he is a truly brilliant man. Somehow he was able to decipher my poorly transcribed words and come up with something that made some semblance of sense! Well…mostly…

Back at the Hagfish, he went over his findings again with Skookumchuk and I. The illusion was repeating itself, but the loop was apparently broken. A section of the Runelord’s words were missing.

“…is upon us. I command you remain! Witness my power, how Alaznast’s petty wrath is but a flash compared to my strength! Take my final work to your graves and let its memory be the last thing you…”

Interesting… Who was he addressing? What is this final work he was speaking of? If it was a type of illusion, was this message ‘recorded’ somewhere else and then sent here to this place and many others like it around his domain? Certainly the Runelord wouldn’t place himself in that kind of danger to be right on the border of a domain that he’s at war with??

It’s a fascinating puzzle, and I hope that we might find further pieces though I’ve no idea where. Granted, in the last two weeks, two new Thassilonian ruin complexes have been brought to light so anything is possible! Then of course there is the Great Library in Magnimar… There’s a good possibility we could find further info on these subjects there. The link between Lamashtu and the late great empire… More about these two domains and who their rulers were… Dr. Quink has a good number of texts on this subject, but most of his knowledge is in his head and maybe I could find something amid the stacks that could aid us. That would be some risk! Dr. Noenn is no stranger to the Great Library.

My thoughts were not the only ones that led in this direction and it was Skookumchuk who suggested that it might be beneficial to bring in more experts from Magnimar. Bring them here to Sandpoint! It was a fair consideration, but both the doctor and I reacted poorly. Brodert, out of pride and myself out of fear. The thought of bringing such people here to this tiny little haven that I’ve stumbled upon, turns my stomach. Perhaps I would have worked with them when I was wearing my old body! What if they recognized my face! My former employer has many acquaintances among the scholars of Magnimar…do any others know of his true work? Would they tell him of my location? No, I’d rather not risk bringing anyone here if I have a choice in the matter. I’d much rather go there.

On the way back to The White Deer, I had to make my apologies to Skookumchuk for my harsh reaction to his suggestion. After explaining that there was someone I’d fled from in the city…someone that I was afraid might find out I was here, he said that he would aid me if someone were to come try to take me back or more likely, try to kill me. It feels good to know that I wouldn’t be on my own if such a thing were to happen!

Magnimar… Do answers to this riddle lay there along side the answers to my past? Maybe it is worth the risk. It’s been a couple of weeks and I’m sure that Dr. Noenn thinks I’m food for crows anyhow. A simple disguise should allow me to waltz right into the Great Library, especially if I’m accompanied by Mr. Quink, and maybe I could even take a walk around some old haunts to try to collect some memories!

There is the difficulty however, in not knowing who to trust in the city. I’ve no doubt that I once had friends there, maybe even family, but I’m not wearing the same face nor do I even remember what my name used to be!

Perhaps there is one ally in Magnimar. Lord Aldern Foxglove and his presumed…interest in me, was mentioned again today in passing. Of course I dismissed the possibility. He was simply engaging in polite conversation! Besides, he invited us all to visit him at his estate, not just myself, and only then out of a sense of appreciation for us saving his life! In spite of my protests, to my shame, I feel an unexpected warmth rising in my face every time his name is brought up. Silly… Dangerous… Shards of emotions that no longer suit this temporary life nor this body I inhabit. I’ve no time for such idle thoughts!

Still, if we do visit the city one day, it would be good to have somewhere safe to stay. Bridges should not so hastily be burned and Dr. Noenn would hardly think to look for me at the estate of a young noble!

I think I’ll write Lord Foxglove a letter. Just to keep that connection in place should we need it in the future…

Before turning in for the evening, I spoke with Garridan. I’ve been seeking some way that may help Nuari to calm his anger when he feels it getting out of hand. I didn’t mention my elvish companion of course, but I inquired about the Shoanti warriors and their ability to bring themselves into a rage in battle and then pull themselves out of it. I’d hoped there was some technique or some type of training where such a thing could be taught. Calming oneself in the heat of anger.

Unfortunately there was no ‘trick’…no easy fix. The Shoanti simply understand themselves and through that understanding, they are able to control themselves. Perhaps therein lies the answer for Nuari.

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Post  Saoirse on Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:55 pm

Lamashan 16th, 4710

The last week or so has been pretty quiet. I’ve spent my time getting to know some of the townsfolk a bit better and exploring some of the establishments. I did purchase a Wand of Comprehend Languages from Vorvashali Voon at The Feathered Serpent, which I’m quite excited about, though the likelihood of coming across more of the spoken Thassilonian language is…well…not likely at all!

My condition does not seem to have improved, though neither has it worsened. I still wake with the most acute feeling of dehydration but liquids with more substance than water, like broth and even warm milk act as a balm to my ravaged throat. I seem to have simply adjusted to these new circumstances. Other solutions elude me and while there is a healer in town I think, I’ve not been there. All I need is for someone to go poking about my body to see what’s wrong with me…

Zerye and Nuari returned the morning of the 9th, the druid sporting a new companion. A badger named Gruffle. Apparently Jarrow had other boarish business to attend to, or maybe she was just tired of eating demon dogs. She certainly seemed to enjoy it at the time! Granted, the poor beast had been through a lot.

Zerye asked to take some time to train her new friend a bit before we headed back out to Thistletop to wrap up a few things there. All of us figured waiting would be for the best. Badgers have a reputation for being…temperamental, and personally I don’t want to be on the receiving end of its fury, especially if the druid can’t pull him off me with a command! Waiting was a pretty easy decision…

So this morning, after being assured that everything with the new companion would be fine, we headed off to Thistletop. We found the place in the same condition as we left it, which I was glad of. I’m concerned that it might be retaken by another of the goblin tribes in the area, which would put them far too close to Sandpoint for my liking. Especially with the barghest down there in the pit whispering dark thoughts into their weak little minds!

Unfortunately there’s very little we can do about the barghest at this time. We keep the key to his prison with us for use at a later date, but until we can procure some more magic to defend ourselves and attack it with, we’ll have to leave it be.

Instead, we destroyed the altar to Lamashtu and her unholy statue which stood behind it. That was something at least. Skook and I, after discussing the words of the Runelord of Greed, had decided to take a closer look around the sarcophagi room. Something about the last phrase… “Take my final work to your graves and let its memory be the last thing you…” We just wanted to be sure there were no further clues in those particular graves as to what this runelord’s final work was.

We did not come away empty handed!

A secret door was discovered in the sarcophagi room. Descending stairs eventually led to a small, ancient alcove. To the west, the wall had crumbled to rubble, opening the room up to a tidal pool, which was littered with gold and gems at the bottom. A great helmet, formed of gold and bronze and large enough to fit a giant, lay beneath the surface of the water.

Zerye and I were taking a look at the mural on the eastern wall when quite unexpectedly the giant helmet got up and started crawling toward us! A giant crab had taken up residence inside! A lavish home for a crustacean… He was put down rather quickly and then Skookumchuk went diving for the riches that could be found in the tidal pool.

The mural itself was very interesting… It depicted a towering mountain upon which was carved a stern face. A face with qualities very similar to those we’d seen in the image of Karzoug the Runelord of Greed. In the valley below this mountain stood a beautiful city of spires.

I wonder if this was perhaps the capital of the Domain of Greed. I’ll need to speak with Brodert again on the matter. I’m curious to see if he knows if the place has been excavated or if there have been any discoveries that could lead us to the ancient city. I can’t even imagine what an amazing find that would be!! To tread in such a place after millennia of abandonment! Perhaps even to learn more about rune magic…

That would be something…

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Post  Saoirse on Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:47 am

Lamashan 18th, 4710

Mr. Quink did indeed confirm the suspicion that the mural we’d found below Thistletop portrays the capital city of the Domain of Greed! Xin-Shalast… Oft hunted for but never found, the magnificent city is said to be lined with gold and gems. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the old scholar’s face light up with more wonder or gleeful anticipation and to be honest…that’s been happening a lot over the last few weeks. He of course insisted that he come with us to visit it and with little to do at the moment we all set ourselves back on what is becoming a very well-blazed trail.

Once we arrived at the stronghold and managed the descent into the secret room, Brodert promptly forgot we existed as he poured over the painted image. Meanwhile, Skookumchuk decided to work on his Core and did a bit of swimming in that tidal pool just outside the room, taking Zerye with him after he found an underwater exit out into the Varisian Bay. From that viewpoint, the gnomes claimed that the rock upon which Thistletop was built, looked very much like an upside down face! Mr. Quink was curious to see this as was I, but our swimming skills being as they are…well…we decided it would be best to return to Sandpoint and rent a boat to come look at the rock instead of attempting a dangerous underwater spelunking expedition.

After showing him the rest of the Thassilonian sights below Thistletop, we headed back to town for the evening.

This morning we rented a small boat from the shipyard. Skookumchuk’s time as a sailor served us all well as he steered (and almost solely rowed) us out to “face rock” where Mr. Quink attempted a sketch of the head’s features. Wild theories about how the thing got there started forming. My favorite was that this head was once the top of Alaznast’s war machine that we now call the Old Light and that some attack by Karzoug’s domain destroyed the structure, sending the head flying far to the north where they decided to build a secret fortress in the stone. After all, the head was already upside down when the rooms inside were carved!

Brodert proposed a far more likely scenario. He doesn’t believe that this face, even as weathered as it is, could have been the Runelord of Wrath. Likely it was once part of a statue of Karzoug that had fallen.

I think I still prefer my story of flying heads…

Skookumchuk told him about the giant sized helmet we found in the secret chamber and the scholar told us that the Runelords often made agreements with other powerful races and probably employed giants to help build all the massive structures demanded by their equally large egos! That would also explain the Irespan I suppose, for even with magic, such a feat as the construction of that massive structure spanning so many miles seems nearly impossible. It’s also referred to as the Giant’s Bridge… Perhaps that’s not a coincidence!

Our mission accomplished, we rowed back to Sandpoint where Brodert went back to his studies with some new information to chew on. I returned to my room at the White Deer to plot an eventual trip back to Magnimar. Disguised of course…

All these new discoveries feel like sustenance to me and I am hungry to know and remember more! Still, the prospect poses some serious problems and Lord Foxglove has, as of yet, not responded to letter I sent by courier ten days ago. But it’s only been ten days… Stupidly I’ve put myself in this vulnerable position, waiting impatiently on the word of a lordling to find out whether I…I mean we will have a written invitation to visit his estate. He’s probably busy slaughtering boars somewhere... I better get comfortable with the wait.

The Heroes of Sandpoint met for dinner at the Hagfish. It’s quickly becoming one of our favorite haunts what with Jargie Quinn’s infectious laughter and the friendly, relaxed atmosphere of the establishment. Besides, Skookumchuk really likes the ale there and he has a very uncompromising palate. There’s always the fun of watching the attempts of patrons to drink Norah’s tank water or Zerye’s petitioning for ‘Freeing the Fish'! Actually, tonight she attempted to magically Speak with Norah to ask if she wished to be free of her tank. The fish-eel-thing apparently is too stupid to know that it’s in a tank and seems happy enough to be fed regularly and slither through her slime.

Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint Norah10

Mr. Wheen was there this evening as usual. The proprietor of Wheen’s wagons and local lush, the man is known for loud grumblings about his wife especially when he’s deep in his cups. The family had three daughters before the eldest, Tenithiya, drown in Millpond some years back. As a result, Mrs. Wheen has become quite overprotective of her remaining daughters, to the point where she’s smothering them. At least in Billivar’s eyes… One side of the story isn’t ever a complete story.

Last week after one of his usual rants, Skookumchuk offered to go over there to teach his daughters how to swim, thereby lessening one of his wife’s fears. A kind gesture. Though Mr. Wheen agreed, when the monk visited the home, Mrs. Wheen said her daughters were ill. Perhaps she was telling the truth but somehow I doubt it.

Tonight though, he had a different and more unusual complaint. Apparently, Mrs. Wheen had locked herself inside her deceased daughters room and refused to come out at all, even ignoring her other two children who were becoming increasingly concerned and frightened. ‘Crazy hag’ or not, this behavior sounded like a whole new kind of crazy. Skookumchuk went to check it out and see if he could talk some sense into the woman.

Nine o’clock rolled on by… Then ten o’ clock… With still no word from our companion, we headed over to the Wheen residence to see what could be wrong. Mr. Wheen had no desire to accompany us.

When we arrived, Skookumchuk appeared to be babysitting/teaching the youngest daughter to dance. They were both having a wonderful time of it, but Mrs. Wheen was still shut in the old bedroom refusing to come out, so we all went up to try to speak with her. She harshly shooed us away as she had the monk, but this time Zerye said she heard two voices in the room instead of just one…

It didn’t take much to bust down the door.

Mrs. Wheen sat in a rocking chair, facing her dead daughter’s bed. The sleeves of her nightgown were wet, as was a spot on the bed itself. She was quite displeased that we were interrupting her, frantically demanding that we leave immediately. Then this…thing…rose up from beneath the blankets… A doll’s head, wearing a dripping blanket like some sort of garment floated before us and attacked! A spirit of some sort, though I’m sure that this was not the spirit of the dead daughter… I’m trying to convince myself of that at least.

It had the ability to steal voices! While we fought it, one by one, we were losing the ability to speak as our voices joined the whispering chorus that surrounded the creature. Quite unnerving…

After it was destroyed, Mrs. Wheen fell completely to pieces. She believes that this was her daughter that had come back to her. She’d played with the lonely spirit and only wanted to spend time with the memories of Tenithiya. Perhaps the creature was only lying to her to get what it wanted, but it was a kind lie in a way. I feel terrible for my part in destroying that bit of hope in the woman but she has real, live children that need her! I ran to fetch Father Zantus and tell him of what happened. Unfortunately he knew nothing of what kind of creature that must have been, but I hope he’ll be able to do something for the poor, troubled woman and her family.

Tomorrow we’ve decided to check out Millpond and see if anything is amiss. Perhaps there is some unrest there that needs to be resolved.

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Post  Saoirse on Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:19 am

Lamashan 19th, 4710
Part One

Evidently there was some unrest near Millpond…

Far…FAR different from the unrest we anticipated and nothing at all (at least we believe) to do with Mrs. Wheen and her long-dead daughter.

I’m sitting in the lumber mill as I write this, waiting while Zerye and Gruffle try to track a murderer. The air here is thick with the stench of death and blood. I’m having some difficulty keeping my hands from shaking and while the scene here is horrific, I find that far less disturbing than what this atrocity could portend. Have I somehow brought this down upon Sandpoint?! Am I responsible for these deaths!? Will others meet this same, terrible fate…

I know, I know…

This isn’t about me. How could it be? I’m an amalgamation. An abomination. Nameless, faceless, possibly soulless and not nearly as egomaniacal as to believe that it is in pursuit of me that these two young people have been killed!

But that note… Oh gods, that note! What am I supposed to make of that! In blood no less! Written in blood and addressed to me!

<the page here is marred by a large blotch of ink as the quill jabbed too forcefully into the paper>

Gah! By the seven scourges of the Pallid Princess, what I wouldn’t pay for someone to put a bolt into that croaking raven right now!!

<the writing past this point continues anew in elegant script>

Let me begin again… More calmly this time, lest I pop a seam.

We awoke early this morning to brotherly bickering downstairs. Sheriff Hemlock and Garridan were getting into it again it seemed but this time we were the subject of the curfuffle if not the root of it. The sheriff wished to speak with us. One by one we trickled downstairs and collected Zerye outside where the man could tell us what was going on.

Last night there were two murders. Apparently these weren’t the first either, but Hemlock didn’t bring those to our attention right away, as he wasn’t assured that we weren’t involved in them! Something to do with the seven-pointed star pendant that Skookumchuk now wears…the one taken from Nualia’s crispified corpse. Well, after last night’s attack and our care of Mrs. Wheen, he apparently decided we were trustworthy enough…or the threat was great enough, to warrant bringing us on board to look into this mess.

The most recent victims were Katrine Vinder and Banny Harker, were found by Harker’s associate at the lumber mill, Ibor Thorn. Both he and poor Ven Vinder were taken in for questioning though no evidence against them has been found. Ibor discovered the bodies when he arrived for work and Ven…well… If he’d caught Banny and his daughter together, I might see him killing the boy in a fit of rage but he would never have hurt Katrine. Plus, there was something far more insidious than rage that went into the perpetration of this crime.

As we walked in sort of a dirge-march toward the lumber mill, the sheriff reluctant to go into detail about what we’d find in there, instead filled us in on some of the details of the earlier murders. A few days ago, a patrol was attacked by a deranged man, killing one of the men before he could be properly restrained. He was tracked back along Cougar Creek to the south, to farmer Bradley’s barn where three other men were found murdered. Tarch Mortwell, Leonard Hask and Gedwin Tabe. Three ne're-do-wells that have caused trouble in Sandpoint in the past and were kicked out of town to relocate elsewhere.

The crazy man, whose name they’ve been yet unable to discover, is currently residing in Habe’s Sanatorium south of town. I hope we’ll be paying him a visit soon…

In one of the dead men’s pockets was a note that the sheriff said he’d retrieve for our inspection after taking us to the lumber mill. Before he left us to our investigation, Belor handed me a different note. This one, he said, was pinned to the remains of Banny Harker. Upon the outside of the simple, neatly folded piece of parchment was scrawled a single word in blood.


It took me a few breaths to open it. Partially in shock, partially in fear, I knew that whatever was penned inside would lead to something bigger…something more than what I was ready for. With the others waiting though, I had little choice but to examine it right then.

The note reads:


I had to check again that it was my name on the front of this note. With that confirmed I wordlessly passed it to my companions. My mind reeled…is still reeling with questions to which I can give no answer. Who is ‘she’? What is this ‘pack’? What have I done to garner the attention of some sort of murderer?! Desperate for more information, we proceeded into the lumber mill.

We were warned that the young lovers had been murdered in a most terrible manner but even that warning couldn’t prepare us for what we found when we arrived at the scene. On the ground floor, a wickedly-bladed log splitter dominated the room and at the end of this device lay the pile of ravaged meat that used to be Katrine. An axe stood embedded in the floorboards just a few feet beyond her and stuck upon the blade was a scrap of flesh. Not…normal flesh, but putrid rotted flesh, the reek of which we could barely stomach. Zerye discovered upon closer inspection, that the girl’s jaw was missing.

Banny Harker’s body was found soon thereafter on the walkway above. He’d been stapled to the wall… His skin was carefully…almost surgically removed and his jaw was missing as well. All of it added up to a dreadful scene, but the true shock to me was revealed in the symbol that had been carved into his chest… The seven pointed star of Thassilon. Some residual magic remained over the gruesome mark as if magic had been used to achieve its creation, or some sort of ritual was performed upon the body but it was so faint that there wasn’t much I could discern.

It was about then that Sheriff Hemlock returned with the note found on one of the bodies from the murders south of town. The three men there were also killed in the same manner as Mr. Harker. Jaws removed, seven pointed star carved into the chest…

This note was found in one of the victim’s pocket, not on display as the one pinned to Banny had been. Also, as soon as I saw the distinctive handwriting, I knew that the same person that had written the note to me had written this one as well. Just…not in blood.




There are a few things about this note that struck me. One, it sounds as if these three men of notoriously shady character were lured to the barn by the same man that killed Banny and Katrine. Two, it’s likely that the murderer and the victims knew each other or at least of each other. Enough so that the men knew who this “Lordship” was that was inviting them into this deal. And three… Lordship?? Could this be a true title?

Sandpoint has four noble families. The Kaijitsus, of which only Amieko remains and she could hardly be mistaken for a male, not to mention the fact that between running the Rusty Dragon and now managing the family business, the Glassworks, she hardly has time to plot murder. And of course she’s shown no…personal interest in me whatsoever. Thankfully. Then there’s Mayor Devrin herself. I hardly think that could be possible...

The other two families we have had fewer dealings with. The Valdemars who own the shipyard and the Scarnettis who own the Sandpoint lumber trade. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Scarnettis had dealings with the first three victims, all of whom had been run out of town for causing problems. Is it possible that this family is involved somehow? But what do they have to do with the seven pointed star and what in the world do they have to do with me? I don’t think I’ve ever even met one of the Scarnettis!

These four are not the only lords we’ve met though. As we reviewed the notes, Nuari reminded me of Lord Foxglove. Not that I needed reminding…the man has been on my mind as of late. Yes, he’s a lord and according to some, he’s shown interest in me in the past. That said, he hardly seems the murdering type and even less so does he seem to be a practicioner of the arcane or a scholar of ancient Thassilon… Plus he’s from Magnimar. Would Mortwell, Hask and Tabe even know who he was well enough to recognize him as their Lordship?

My initial panic led me to believe that Dr. Noenn or those in his employ had discovered me here in town. The Thassilonian rune is nearly in the same placement on the bodies as the one tattooed onto my chest. He is both a skilled wizard and priest and is quite capable of accomplishing necromantic rituals. I am an example of that. As I’m watching Gruffle track the murderer up the walls and out of the window though, there is no way that man could have accomplished the physical feats needed to get this murder done. Unless he hired someone and it wouldn’t be out of character for him to do that. Still…my employer is hardly a lord and has never shown any desire for me beyond what I could accomplish for him as a translator and scribe. Now Zerye tells us that she believes that the murderer actually swam up Cougar Creek all the way to the Lumber mill here where he stood across the pond and probably watched the two most recent victims before coming in to kill them. That is most certainly not Dr. Noenn… Voyeurism, sure…but I can’t imagine him swimming across a puddle let alone miles up Cougar Creek!

Then of course there is the memory of the Chopper and the Late Unpleasantness. He collected trophies as well. Not jaws, but eyes and tongues. After his death though, the body was thoroughly burned, so while this couldn’t be the same murderer, perhaps same dark powers that once influenced the Chopper have done something similar to another person. Created a broken and murderous mind.

Perhaps our greatest clue to this mystery lies in the lunatic that attacked the patrol south of town, whose tracks led from Bradley’s barn. I hope the others will agree that a visit to the Sanatorium is shortly in order! The Sheriff convinced us to keep these murders under wraps for the time being and I can understand that he doesn’t want to panic anyone, but at the same time I fear for those who go out walking after midnight.

It is the final statement of the most recent note that is haunting my mind at the moment. “Give yourself to the pack and it will end.” Does that mean that these murders will continue until I give myself to this mysterious ‘pack’?? Am I indirectly to blame for the deaths of Banny and Katrine?! I don’t need the guilt of more lost life on my shoulders!

Fine! If that’s all it takes to put this town back at peace than I’d willingly give myself over to whatever evil association seeks me. My life is all but spent anyhow! Those two young people lost more than I will ever have or know, and their families! Poor Ven… I can’t imagine how distraught he must be right now…

While it sounds a simple enough solution just to turn myself in, would that really be the end of it? Whatever they’ve done here involves some truly dark magic. I cannot believe that they would…or even could ever stop committing these kinds of atrocities. No, something very wrong is going on here. If we can learn who the ‘pack’ is and if it could buy my companions some time to solve this mystery and protect the people of Sandpoint, then doing what the note suggests might just be an option worth pursuing…

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Post  Saoirse on Thu May 05, 2011 10:13 pm

Lamashan 19th, 4710
Part Two

Though it hardly seems possible, there have been some even more horrifying developments since the discovery of poor Banny and Katrine.

We went from the lumber mill straight to the cellar of the Sandpoint Garrison where the first three victims were being kept for the time being. Zerye noticed strange markings on the skin. Bruising and puncture marks where the lower jaw had been ripped from their faces. Judging from their shape and placement, they seemed to have been made by a five-fingered hand with very sharp claws. Disturbing indeed, but there was little more we could learn from the bodies so we paid a visit to one of the men being held, Ibor Thorn.

The young man was evasive about our questions regarding Banny and the Scarnetti’s but eventually divulged that Banny was skimming funds from the lumber mill’s profits. Ibor didn’t want to drag his friend’s name through the mud after such a tragedy. It remains to be seen whether this clue has anything to do with his untimely demise, but considering what we learned later that day and the next, it seems unlikely.

After our discussion with the lad, we headed south down the Lost Coast Road to visit Habe’s Sanatorium. Shame and fear prevented me from offering my condolences to Ven Vinder who was also being held in the Garrison in a separate room. Though I had no part in the murder of his daughter, a note bearing my name was at the scene and while I’ve no idea why or what I’ve done to be singled out in this manner, there is a certain amount of guilt that accompanies it. Could I somehow have prevented the loss of his daughter? I can’t imagine it’s possible, but the thought lingers… Perhaps catching this killer will ease the pang of my conscience.

The sanatorium was, as one would expect. Desolate. Run down. Kind of that sterile and yet shabby clinical atmosphere that reeks of past (and maybe not so past) inhumane treatment. All in all I felt pretty comfortable there until we were taken to meet Grayst.

This was the man that attacked the patrol near cougar creek, whose tracks led back to Bradley’s Barn where the first three murders had taken place. He was indeed thoroughly insane… Likely traumatized beyond what his fragile mind could handle, from seeing the slaying and subsequent disfigurement of Mortwell, Hask and Tabe.

Not only was he deranged but there was something physically wrong with him as well. The doctor insisted it was just do to him running wild outside for an evening but that doesn’t explain his pallid complexion, the milky-white film over his eyes nor the gangrenous patches on his skin.

Grayst didn’t acknowledge us at all until Skookumchuk showed him the seven-pointed star pendant we took from Nualia’s body. Then he panicked! We couldn’t make out everything he said, but he repeated the words ‘razors’ and ‘too many teeth’ and then…’Skinsaw man’. That’s even more ominous a nickname than The Chopper!

I asked Grayst who the Skinsaw man was and he turned to me and started, as if noticing for the first time that I was there. “The master told me you would come,” he said. “He gave me a message for you.”


The message was, “If you come to his misgivings and if you join his pack, he will end his harvest in your honor.”

Misgivings? What? By this time I was starting to feel like I should check out a room here in the sanatorium myself. I’ve had some whoppers of bad days but this really does rank up there on the list.

While I was reeling, Grayst suddenly burst out of his strait jacket and attacked us but Nuari used a bit of electroshock therapy on him, which calmed him effectively.

From there it was back to Sandpoint. Sheriff Hemlock needed to be updated on what we’d found and we had no further leads but the cryptic message left by the Skinsaw Man through his mad servant. When we reached the town square, we found the sheriff trying to calm a frantic Farmer Grump. First it’s the ‘Sandpoint Devil’ stealing his cows and now it’s ‘walking scarecrows’ attacking people at night. Maybe the crazies are going around… Still, the surly old farmer wouldn’t get this hysterical over nothing, so we agreed to go down to Hambley’s Farm to check it out.

Hemlock was able to make a bit more sense of Grayst’s message. Misgivings is apparently the name given to the old abandoned FOXGLOVE MANOR that stands on the western coast to the south! It’s getting harder to ignore the possibility of Aldern’s involvement, but none of this makes any sense to me…

We didn’t waste any time heading out to the farm and when we got there, we found scarecrows all right. Lots of scarecrows standing motionless in the field. Something was definitely off here, so we carefully began checking each of the scarecrows to ensure that they were indeed only stuffed with straw. There was some question as to my method of checking, but pantsing each of them seemed a perfectly legitimate way of ensuring this. All seemed fine until we approached one that simply reeked of death… I hesitated just before the old straw hat lifted to reveal the grey-green skin and long, snaking tongue of a ghoul! And he was not alone! Many of the innocuous looking scarecrows were actually ghouls in disguise but we were fortunate that they didn’t all attack us in one big pack…

Pack of…ghouls…

Oh no… “Join the pack,” the notes have said. This may not be good…

We were able to clear about half the field of ghouls before we were too exhausted and injured to continue, so we made the three hour journey back to Sandpoint to again tell the sheriff of the developments. Father Zantus aided us with some healing. Tomorrow we’ll be accompanied by four of the Sandpoint guard as we work to clear out the rest of Hambley’s farm and learn more about what may be causing this.

Misgivings awaits us and I hate the feeling that every moment we delay more people could be murdered, but the ghoul infestation has to be addressed. Hambley’s family hasn’t been heard from for some time and there were no signs of life from the house as we fought in the fields surrounding it…

Tomorrow we may learn their fate.

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Post  Saoirse on Thu May 05, 2011 10:15 pm

Lamashan 20th, 4710
Part One

Early this morning we returned to the farm with backup to finish off the ghouls, but we found more than just scareghouls attached to stakes in the fields today. We found living men and woman hanging out there as well! They were all sickly pale, with gangrenous lesions over their bodies and a milky white film over their eyes. A single bite mark on each of them. Ghoul fever…it must be!

Realizing at least in part what we were dealing with, Skookumchuk wisely sent two of the Sandpoint guards out to Habe’s Sanatorium to warn the doctor that Grayst was likely going to turn into a ghoul and soon!

When the fields were cleared we moved on to the two structures. The house and the barn. A few ghouls were dispatched around the barn, which appeared to have been used as a feeding ground for the pack. Well-gnawed bones and half-eaten human carcasses were strewn about the grisly floor of the place. One interesting observation to make note of is that the barn itself is using a huge stone as a support for one of the corners. A stone bearing an ancient and weathered face of a helmed warrior! It must be a remnant of Thassilon. I’m sure Brodert will want to hear of this once things…settle down.

It was inside the house that we discovered another mutilated corpse this one about four days old by Zerye’s estimate. Poor Farmer Hambley lay on his own dining room table, jaw missing and a seven-pointed star carved into his chest. On his bloody jacket was pinned a bloody note in the same bloody handwriting.


I hear some girls get flowers…

As we’re reading and conjecturing, more ghouls leap at us from the rafters of the house, including one very nasty dread ghoul who was thankfully dispatched before he could actually bite anyone. I have some morbid curiosity as to what might happen to me if I contracted this disease. Would I turn into a ghoul? Something else? Would I lose my mind, as it seems these types have or would I retain my memories and sense of self? The idea is compelling. Best I keep those particular thoughts to myself.

The dread ghoul was carrying a large key with him, which we believed was likely the key to Misgivings. We were correct. After making a quick jaunt over to Habe’s Sanatorium to ensure that all was well, the final two guards with us were sent back to Sandpoint with the sick and to tell Sheriff Hemlock the news of the Hambley family.

The Heroes of Sandpoint made their way to the old Foxglove manor… It was late afternoon when we arrived at the weather beaten homestead. The house seemed to cling desperately to the edge of the windswept cliffs where hundreds of feet below the waves of the Varisian Bay crashed.

Using the key, we entered what appeared to be an abandoned building but we all got the sense that we were very much not alone there…and eerie sensation of being watched. Then we started hearing things. Skookumchuk swore he could hear someone playing the grand piano, though it stood before us in ruins.

We came across a trophy room of sorts. Apparently the Foxgloves all enjoy a good hunt. A huge, mangy manticore stood in the center of the floor nearly scaring me out of my stitches when the torch first cast light over its face, but it was only stuffed as the rest of the menagerie of heads and mementos were in this room.

In the dining room was a beautiful stained glass window depicting monsters leaping from a kind of seven-pointed box of similar shape as the space in the center of one of the seven pointed stars of Thassilon. There were some accompanying runes within the glass, but to my discredit I was unable to translate them… One more thing to bring to Brodert!

Then we started seeing things as well… In a sitting room, Nuari came across a butterfly-winged statue with one of the wings broken off. When he picked it up he saw a vision of a beautiful woman telling of how her husband, Aldern Foxgrove killed her with her own scarf.

Each room seemed to lead only to more questions! The Aldern we’d met a few weeks ago was a single young noble who lived in Magnimar, but the Aldern we were getting a picture of here, murdered his wife, created ghouls, killed and mutilated several Sandpoint citizens and lived in an old abandoned building on the coast. Something just isn’t adding up… Could this really be the same man?!

As we continued our exploration of the manor, I suddenly heard a disembodied woman’s voice behind me. “What has he been doing down in the basement? What has my husband become?”

I was apparently not the only one busy hallucinating at the time, for Nuari with a scream of terror hefted Zerye over his shoulder and bolted out the door yelling that we had to get out of there!

Skook and I could only blink at each other for a moment and then try to keep up…

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Post  Saoirse on Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:54 pm

Lamashan 20th, 4710
Part Two

By the time Skookumchuk and I caught up with the other two, we found them surrounded by a veritable cloud of crows pouring from a deep, dark well! Of course it would be crows! Not just any crows though… Undead crows covered with strange tumors! Am I living though one of my nightmares here? What IS this place??

I used the vial of Alchemist Fire we’d purchased some time ago, but after that there was little I could do besides pick them off one by one and there were far too many to make that effective. It was Nuari spraying gouts of infernal flame from his hands that saved us on that particular occasion. I’ve kept one of the corpses of the birds for later study. Perhaps I could bring myself to visit Father Zantus personally to learn more about how this bird had joined the ranks of undead and also what these tumors might mean. We found evidence of such things elsewhere in the house.

Apparently in a fit of panic induced by the spirits of this house, Nuari momentarily believed that Zerye was his baby and that he had to get her out. He took the inevitable teasing in stride. The moment of mirth lasted only until we set foot back into the oppressive atmosphere of Misgivings. What an appropriate name!

We finished investigating the first floor. An old bathroom with a very large rat stuck in the washtub was the final threat (or so we though at the time) there and Gruffle gleefully dispatched that on his own. The second floor proved much more disconcerting and the mystery of the place deepened. So many layers of tragedy in this place!

We came first to a child’s room. As we stepped in, Zerye and Nuari received a sort of vision and through the eyes of this child, they watched a murder take place. A man covered with tumors was attacking a red-haired woman wielding knives and though they didn’t see the outcome, they got the impression that whomever proved the victor was coming for the child next. The man was not Aldern, so I still hold out some hope that perhaps we simply haven’t gotten the whole picture yet. Perhaps the young lord isn’t involved in murder after all.

Opening the door to a large sitting room we immediately drawn to the five exquisite stained glass windows dominating one of the walls. Each depicted a different scene or object, which Nuari recognized as likely components to a necromantic spell. A powerful one by my guess… As familiar as these five conjunctive things seemed to be, I couldn’t bring the knowledge of that spell to the forefront of my mind.

I was still wracking my damaged brain as we moved to the next room. A bedroom I think, but it was hard to tell due to the prolific mold that blanketed everything from floor to furniture. The others saw no reason to go inside. I should have listed to that wisdom. As soon as I’d finished scraping a sample of the mold into a vial I heard a voice behind me.

“What’s on your face, mommy?”

Turning abruptly, I saw nothing! Suddenly my face began to itch terribly. I could feel them, the tumors growing over my skin! Panicked now, and half mad with the terrible itching I dug my fingernails deep into my face, raking through flesh in desperation to end the pain of it! Skookumchuk restrained me from doing any more damage to myself and the haunting faded. The only marks on my face were made by my hand alone. No itching. No tumors… A residual memory perhaps from those that met their grisly fates here.

Not sure that mold sample was worth it.

A good portion of the floor up here was rotted through. We had to be quite careful not to fall through the floor and we were mostly successful. The second floor washroom proved to be weakened enough that Nuari fell all the way through the floor into the room with the stuffed manticore below! Within moments of his fall, his groans of pain became shouts of fear and we all ran below to come to his aid. When we got there though…all was as we left it, except for a mortified elf trying to put out imaginary fire on his clothing. The house strikes again… He claimed to have seen the manticore come to life, but with a flame-haired woman’s face. The same woman he’d seen fighting with the tumor-ridden man in the child’s vision.

After collecting ourselves, we went back upstairs into the next room. This bedroom seemed more lived in than the others. Not as moldy or riddled with cobwebs. There were many ruined pictures hanging on the walls but one, instead of being destroyed, was turned backwards to face the wall. As soon as we touched it, the words, “What are you up to down in the damp below?” echoed through the room. The painting was of a beautiful Varisian woman with raven black hair wearing a simple but lovely blue and white dress. A pearl bracelet and a Varisian brooch were the only baubles she wore. Judging from the lack of aging of this painting and the fact that it was turned around as if the occupant of this room was regretful, I can’t help but wonder if this was indeed Aldern’s wife and the vision from the first floor was true. Did he kill this woman? We’ve only been in this house for less than an hour and already it feels as if this place is alive with malevolence. Was he driven by madness? Surely Misgivings isn’t the best place to lay one’s head in the evening…

Next we walked through a long room that seemed to have served as a gallery for the Foxgrove family. On the northern wall hung three paintings and on the southern wall were hung five. As we perused the old paintings, the walls suddenly seemed to burst to life with sickly colored mold and the paintings…the paintings of the family members shifted! Thankfully these paintings were tagged with names. Vorel Foxgrove, a tall man and perhaps the patriarch of the family, appeared for an instant to be covered in fungus and tumors. Beside him in their own portrait was Cassandra his wife, a brunette, and their daughter Laurie. Both wife and daughter were covered with tumors as well.

On the opposite wall, Traver Foxglove stood tall and thin in his portrait, sporting a well-groomed moustache and a long bloody line across his neck where it had been slit open. Four portraits hung beside his. Cyralie his wife was a ginger, and appeared broken and burned. Then their children… Sendeli and Zeeva’s portraits were both frosted over while the final one, a very young Aldern Foxglove, rotted before our eyes, his hair fell out and a long, slavering tongue rolled from his desiccated lips. Aldern was a ghoul! Just as suddenly as it had come upon us, all returned to proper order as if nothing had happened. Evidence of Lord Foxglove’s involvement in the murders around Sandpoint and his responsibility for the ghoul pack, were becoming harder and harder to explain away.

Our next stop was a large, nearly empty room, which held only a single writing desk. Ancient blood stained its surface and when Zerye claimed to see a vision of a dagger, I couldn’t help but wonder if once Traver Foxgrove sat in that chair and took his own life with such an instrument.

Having explored the second floor, we were on our way next to the attic. The basement yet awaits us and twice we have heard ghostly voices asking what could be going on down in the damp below but we hope that by ‘securing’ the house above ground first, we might gain more clues about what’s going on and has gone on in this haunted place.

The first room we came to in the attic only provided us with more questions. A woman, cold and pale sat before a mirror crying. Skookumchuk, ever the gentlegnome, attempted to speak with her but to no avail. I tried the same but with no success. She was sitting upon a rolled up rug and we feared a body might lie within. Desperate to get a peek and having no luck with the distraught woman, Skookumchuk attempted to gently lift her from that potentially grisly perch.

Apparently she didn’t like that…

Her white face contorted gruesomely in fury and she shrieked an unearthly wail that sent Nuari and I cowering into separate corners of the room. Zerye and Skook attempted to fight her off, knock her down…something, anything, but she proved far too strong and picking up the gnomes by their necks, she hurled them both across the rooms. Then, she sat back down upon the rolled up rug and continued her sobbing.

A type of undead creature I have little doubt, as I was able to briefly touch her intelligent mind, but she slammed the mental door in my face before I could attempt to exert any control over her. This brings up another, more personal question… How am I able to do that??!! In the panic of the moment, I simply knew I could do it. Knew or remembered? My fingers flashed in the appropriate gestures as if they’d done just that countless numbers of times before. Muscle memory. Why am I afraid to admit that to myself? Who was I before I was thrust into this unfamiliar body?

Knowing we were likely outmatched in that particular fight and seeing no reason to provoke the creature further, we moved on into the next room.

A study. Filled with scrolls and books and knickknacks of far-flung places, we were able to find a few valuables here that we chose to take with us. A couple of scrolls, some maps and ship charts and a large painting called Throw Down in Swine Town that was done by a Magnimarian artist known as Andosalu. Should fetch a tidy sum to the right buyer.

The rest of the attic was mostly storage rooms with rotting wares and nothing to further our knowledge of this family or their past. We knew that the basement yet remained but considering our current state, weary and wounded, we decided to head back to Sandpoint before the sunset and report to Sheriff Hemlock all that has transpired. While we intend to return soon to deal with the remainder of the house, I am quite concerned that Aldern will go on taking lives since I have not done as he’s asked and joined his pack. I don’t need any more deaths on my shoulders… I just don’t. That said, I’m not sure I’m willing to give myself over to ghouldom quite yet.

I wrote Lord Foxglove a very polite ‘cease and desist’ letter, promising that I would return to his Misgivings and asking that he refrain from his slaughter until I return. Will it work? If he’s truly become a ghoul in mind and body then likely not. If there is something of the old Aldern yet left to him, then perhaps.

I have to try…

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Post  Saoirse on Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:35 pm

Lamashan 21st, 4710

This morning, with the help of Father Zantus, Zerye recovered well and after making the Sheriff aware of the goings at the old Foxgrove manor we headed off to finish our business there.

Once again, upon entering, Skook heard ghostly piano music. Nuari likewise was yet again stabbed and burned by the stuffed manticore bearing Cyralie Foxglove’s face. I think she was waiting for him specifically… The elf was badly wounded and did receive a bit of healing but waived off more, in favor of keeping those magics available for when we’re desperately in need. Already, before we’d even gotten to the basement level, we were shaken and wounded. It would be an interesting day.

I peeked into the dining room before heading down and noticed to my satisfaction that my note, quill and ink and my scarecrow medal were gone from table! I only hope Alden did as I requested and took no more lives…

The basement was in deplorable disarray. Fungus and mold and rat droppings everywhere! We entered into what was once used as a kitchen and poked around a bit finding a few worthwhile items of value when suddenly we were surrounded by the sounds of scratching and squeaking as swarms of rats poured out of every conceivable crack in the masonry! And not just any rats, oh no… PUSTULENT rats! Why oh why didn’t I pick up some lamp oil or something in Sandpoint while we were there?!

Thankfully, Nuari cut greats swaths of burning death through them with his fans of fire, otherwise that may have been a quick end. Death by gnawing…

With the smoldering rats on the floor, we poked around a couple of rooms that were in shambles and one with a couple beds that actually looked relatively clean of dust, but otherwise empty.

Down a different hallway, we found that we were blocked by a large, locked iron door. There was no way we were going to blast our way through it this decade, so instead we back around to the room with the beds and took some time to work our way through the old brick wall there.

After several minutes we peered into an arcane workshop of sorts. Broken glass and beakers littered the floor. Ancient books and a few cages with deformed rat skeletons stood upon a long table. This room, as the two immediately above it, had large stained glass windows looking out over the cliff. To the north was a thin man with gaunt features whom we recognized as Vorel from his painting on the second floor. To the south, the window depicted a dead man…undead perhaps, that turns into smoke that spirals into a seven-sided box.

Everyone did some poking around and it was the books that interested me the most. Ancient and moldy they weren’t in very good condition but I carefully attempted to open one of them. As soon as I touched it, a series of visions forced themselves into my mind.

The first, a middle-aged man…Vorel Foxglove, as I’d come to understand, sat in that very room pouring over books, scrolls and tomes, feverishly researching…something. In the next vision, he was carefully pouring chemicals and various other liquids into a vial with a triumphant expression on his face. Once finished, he greedily drank the contents of the vial then immediately clutched his midsection and doubled over in agony as he rotted away.

Emotions, not my own, assaulted me and I was filled with blinding shame that a loved one would do such a thing to himself! Then an anger… A burning rage that he must be stopped!

A wiser person might have counted themselves lucky and just left everything where it was within the room. Not able to lay claim to such a commendation, I assumed the danger here had passed. Curiosity nearly killed the construct…well…more nearly the elf…

Upon opening the decrepit text, I was filled with sudden terror. I knew that the man in the stained glass vision was embarking on an evil quest and that his quest was successful. Whatever dark purposes he had, he’d completed them and I believed with all my being that I was in terrible danger. More than that… I believed that my children were in terrible danger!

Now while in reality I have no idea if I have children (I refer not to any born of this body but my former one), I’m quite sure that none of them currently reside in this place, yet in that moment I completely believed that the were up in the northeastern corner room on the second floor! We’d been in there the day before. A child’s room was its supposed purpose at the time and this vision seemed to support that as well. Two generations of Foxgrove children born in this accursed place!

None of that mattered to me at the time. My friends were suddenly morphed into the horrible visage of the man from my visions. He’d transformed somehow, his flesh becoming pockmarked and diseased though he seemed not to care. He towered before me with a lock of cold satisfaction on his face and smiled vilely.

The man…Vorel chased me then. My husband, the father of my children had turned himself into some sort of…monster! How often I wondered what he spent those long hours doing down in the bowels of the house! I’d waited far too long to discover his purpose! The madness and disease had taken hold of him fully and he sought to kill us all! With a desperate singularity of purpose, I fled the room where we’d congregated and bolted for the staircase that would lead me up to my children. I almost made it up.

The leperous creature managed to get in front of me on the stair and lunged at me, so I pulled my silver dagger from my hip hoping to bury it his heart but even in his hideous state he was too fast…too strong for me. I was unexpectedly grabbed from behind only to find that he was there as well! Had he created a double of himself!? With merciless efficiency and frightening strength he put me into the ground and pinned me down. Helpless I screamed and thrashed but nothing mattered. I knew I was about to die…

Reality slowly trickled back into my consciousness. Vorel’s taunts became Skookumchuck’s monotone pleas to calm down. The second Vorel, the man in front of me, appearing for all the world as he’d been touched by the hand of Urgathoa herself, melted away into the visage of my elven friend.

Feeling remorseful for my actions and thankful that I’d not connected with that silver dagger, my companions and I continued on into the final room in the basement. We expected Aldern… We found instead a recently dug tunnel that spiraled downward far beyond our sight. It was as if I could hear all of our hearts sinking in our chests at once. Misgivings…very appropriate.

Before we had the chance to move into the blackness, another vision took me. Aldern was there before us! Sweaty, filthy and wide-eyed, he was digging away at the stone floor with a pickaxe. With each swing he grunted out the words, “For you.” Somehow I knew with certainty that the ‘you’ he spoke of was me… His final swings broke through the floor to a room beyond and a horde of shrieking ghouls rose up to pull him into the darkness below before turning their eyes upon me.

I was startled but having fallen victim to numerous visions at this point, I was able to pull myself together before bolting a second time.

We lost count of how many stories we descended beneath the earth but it was a relief when we stepped onto flat ground. Almost. The tunnels splayed out before us were covered in an eerie blue mold and two ways presented themselves. The southern tunnel seemed very old and the northern one was very recently dug. The vision I’d had pointed to the delver. I’m ashamed to say that my pulse quickened but fear was mingled so closely with excitement that I couldn’t decipher which was the true reason for it.

The southern tunnel was filled with the mold as the entrance had been. As we moved we entered a large room and a gory mess awaited us. Ghouls fed here. We’d seen enough of their work to know it at a sight now and their sudden appearance would not have been a surprise. What did appear, WAS!

An enormous ghoulish dire bat squeezed down the hall toward us, reaching out with terrifying claws and dripping fangs! The battle was on and much to our dismay, Skookumchuck fell victim to one of the greatest threats a ghoul possesses. Paralyzation. Death would be bad enough but no one should have to suffer through being eaten alive! Without the power of the monk we may have been finished there but Gruffle charged into it, a tornado of tooth and claw to rival even this monstrosity! The bat fought back but was bested, falling to true death. I could have hugged the badger at that point but that would have undoubtedly ended in tragedy. Perhaps I’ll just adore him from afar…

The hole that the dire bat crawled out of ascended straight up, eventually opening into the sky above. The well…it must be. With in the den we found the old remains of a man. We didn’t recognize who it might be but he wore a filth stained badge that we took to show the Sheriff when we return to town. He also had a magical hat, a pearl ring and an adamantine sword…not many of those are seen everyday! He must have been someone of import…

Having reached the end of the southern tunnel, we went back and took the northern route. Mold was even more concentrated here and it was within a small, rubble-strewn alcove that we found the pickaxe I’d seen Aldern swinging in my vision. It was magical as well, and with great skill, Skookumchuck was able to retrieve it without stepping foot…or palm…in the ominous mold.

Three ghouls emerged as we moved into the tunnel and again we found ourselves in combat. Skook was again the victim of paralyzation but thankfully two of them were lulled to Sleep by my words, buying us some time while the others took them down one by one.

Further ahead, we came to a cathedral-like cavern. A spiral pathway sloped downward, ending at a large pool that I’m guessing exits to the sea. Perhaps this is the exit Aldern used to swim all the way to Sandpoint? On the opposite side of the cavern, we could see four goblin ghouls apparently guarding a stone door.

Wounded and exhausted, we were in no shape for another battle. Not without the risk of losing someone. Instead of pressing on this…afternoon I guess it is, we chose to go back up to the basement level and hole up for the night in that room with the relatively clean beds.

I’m not feeling well… There are moments when I think I can taste blood from my ravaged throat but maybe it’s just the time we’ve spent in this place. Who knows what kind of mutant spores we’ve been inhaling since we started exploring here! A few hours of sleep should do me well.

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Post  Saoirse on Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:51 pm

Lamashan 22nd, 4710

Nope. Woke up with tumors.

I wasn’t alone either. Nuari was similarly plagued with boils over his face and sores on his body.

While Zerye made her petitions to the Moothah for her spells, I took a peek at that magical hat we’d found yesterday. To my enormous delight, I recognized it as a Hat of Disguise, which was to me, far more valuable an item than an adamantine weapon! With this I can properly hide myself from anyone Dr. Noenn might send to find me! With this I can hide my scars and maybe even evade that blasted bird, which has been blessedly absent since we entered Misgivings yesterday morning. Demonic as he may be, even he will not suffer a wing to flap in this place. There’s something to be said for the wisdom of a raven…

I entreated the group to allow me to wear the Hat for the time being, with the understanding that it would be for everyone’s use as needed. As soon as the hat touched my head, it became a black hairpin as I’d willed and my tumors and hidden scars melted away as if they’d never been there. The disease would need to be dealt with later. We were ready to see this business finished.

Back to the cavern we went. The four ghoulish goblins still guarded the stone door across the way but they were not the only undead within. A horrible munching and crunching filled our ears as we neared the place and Skookumchuk crept closer to get a better look. Three other ghouls sat feasting upon a pile of limbs and innards around a rocky bend. Thanks to his stealthiness we were able to get the drop on them and dealt with them handily. The four goblin ghouls were not much more difficult and though there were a few injuries, fortunately no one was paralyzed. Gruffle has emerged as a true terror in combat. I’m going to have to see that he’s afforded some magical protection if he continues to throw himself into the front lines like that! Hopefully he won’t misunderstand a helpful touch as an attack… I’ve no doubt the beast could kill me if he chose to.

The stone door opened without difficulty and we came face to face with the man himself. Lord Aldern Foxglove sat calmly upon a blood and meat-stained chair in what appeared to be an old study. Serving implements rested upon a desk across the room, but their crystalline elegance did nothing to ameliorate the horror of what was being served. Maggot infested flesh, which I guessed to be human, lay in an inglorious lump upon the tray while one of the delicate crystal glasses was filled the brim with congealing blood. The items I’d gifted to him the evening before rested there as well.

Strangely, there was a man-shaped explosion of mold against one of the rock walls of the room and beneath it lay the shattered remains of a seven-sided box. Was this what happened to Vorel? From the stained glass windows we were shown that he was somehow trapped…or maybe housed within such a device.

I’ll admit that my attention wasn’t held by any of these things. Not with Aldern’s luminous blue eyes upon us. Upon me…

Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint Skinsaw_man

He wore the trappings of a fashionable nobleman, which considering the man that now inhabited the outfit might have been considered comical in any other situation. At the time it only added to the horror. His thick brown hair was entirely gone and only grayish flesh remained. A wide mouth filled with razor sharp teeth smiled as we entered and a long ghoulish tongue rolled across those teeth as he spoke with us. Too many teeth… The stench was almost overbearing and it wasn’t just the rotting carcasses in the room. It was Aldern himself! If it wasn’t for my dulled senses I don’t think I would’ve been able to stomach it and fortunately my companions were able to hold their composure as well.

Lord Foxglove wasn’t simply a ghoul. Somehow he’d become a dread ghast, a much more powerful version of the…species.

He rose from his chair and approached. A wicked war razor was held in one hand, crusted with old blood, but he didn’t raise it against us. Yet… He tried to convince me to come with him and to be changed with him and while my road may eventually lead me to such an end, I had no intention of going there willingly. Aldern decided to take matters into his own hands and Skookumchuk nobly stepped up in front of him, proclaiming himself my chaperone. As strange as that might have been, it makes me smile now that I think of it, but at this juncture it was my turn to protect him.

Razor in hand, Aldern launched himself at the monk but before he could succeed in his murderous intent, I demanded that he stop and to my utter shock, he obeyed! My power over him wouldn’t last forever but it would give us a few days to figure out what could be done for him.

I told him to put his razor down and have a seat and we took this opportunity to ask him a few questions. He wasn’t very motivated to speak about his family. He did tell us however that somehow Vorel has become the house. The mold prevalent through the entirety of it must be some sort of extension of the man himself, which seems odd… Is this what he intended with his experiment? As curious as I might have been, there were other more pressing matters to inquire about.

Lord Foxglove had been instructed by “The Mistress” (from his shattered memories he could only describe her as beautiful with dark hair) to gather infected rats and send them to the Brotherhood of the Seven in Magnimar. He believes they are researching the disease. Certainly no good can come from that but that was hardly the most disturbing part. The symbol of the seven-pointed star, the sihedron that he’d been carving into his victim’s chests, was part of some sort of dark ritual but he didn’t know what the ritual might accomplish. He was given a list of names….Nine name. Four are yet alive…Chod Bevuk of the Sandpoint Meat Market, Hayliss Korvaski of the Sandpoint Boutique, Jubrail Vhiski who is unknown to me, and Titus Scarnetti, the head of one of Sandpoint’s noble families. Apparently each man was chosen because of his Greed. That concerned me…

After some prompting, Aldern explained that the jaws were taken from the victims to prevent the dead from speaking to a priest with such abilities and that he’d simply disposed of them instead of keeping them as trophies. It begs to wonder whether the Chopper had similar designs… He also had gone suddenly mad and though he may not have been turned into a ghast, he did take the eyes and tongues of victims. Was it for the same reason? See no evil, speak no evil… I wonder if there was anything similarities among the victims of the Late Unpleasantness. Were they chosen for their predilection toward Green? Or maybe Wrath? Or could it really have been a case of a man gone off the deep end. I’ll have to look into this a bit more when we return to town.

There were remnants of magical emanations on the seven pointed star that had been carved into Banny Harker’s body, but Aldern was able to tell us that he was given no instruction to cast spells upon the victims, just that the magic was in the carving itself…in the motions of creating the star. This makes little sense to me but perhaps Brodert could tell us more about the ritual or what it might accomplish.

When asked about his wife and what had happened to her, Aldern grew very remorseful. He’d come upon her upstairs with another man and in a rage he strangled her with her own scarf, then sickened by what he’d done, wrapped her in the carpet and stashed her in the attic. The attic… Apparently undead Iesha was sitting atop her own corpse, sobbing. I hadn’t recognized what she was when we first saw her. I would soon understand.

Aldern couldn’t remember what had happened to him or why he changed. All he knew is that the hunger would come and it built and grew until it overwhelmed him. He said that when he thought of me, it calmed the hunger.

The following is the letter to Aldern from ‘the mistress’ that we found on the desk in that study.

Aldern ---

You have served us quite well. The delivery you harvested from the caverns far exceeds what I had hoped for. You may consider your debt to the Brothers paid in full. Yet I still have need of you, and when you awaken from your death, you should find your mind clear and able to understand this task more than in the state you lie in as I write this.

You shall remember the workings of the Sihedron ritual, I trust. You seemed quite lucid at the time, but if you find after your rebirth that you have forgotten, return to your townhouse in Magnimar. My agents shall contact you there soon---no need for you to bother the Brothers further. I will provide the list of proper victims for the Sihedron ritual in two days’ time. Commit that list to memory and then destroy it before you begin your work. The ones I have selected must be marked before they die, otherwise they do my master no good and the greed in their souls will be wasted.

If others get in your way though, you may do with them as you please. Eat them, savage them or turn them into pawns---it matters not to me.

--- Your Mistress, Wanton of Nature’s Pagan Forms

While the others read over the note, I became frustratingly aware of how hungry I was, and the mold on the wall looked too tempting to resist! I moved over just to take a taste but Skook and Nuari stopped me and ushered me out of the room with Aldern in tow.

Nuari went back in to burn the mold off the wall, after which we left the caverns with Aldern muttering incomprehensibly behind us the whole while. Realizing we’d have to burn the place down to hopefully get rid of this curse, I asked Lord Foxglove if there was anything of value he’d like to keep from the house. He chose to go collect the three rat cages from the arcane workshop. When I ask him not to bring the dead rats, which were inside, he turned and eyed me in displeasure before doing as I’d asked. I wondered about my Control over him. Nuari assured me though that my magic still held.

While our ghast follower was off collecting his things, we discussed what could be done with him. I preferred to see him locked up somewhere under reinforced manacles and iron bars until I had a chance to study about ways to reverse his condition. I can’t believe that Aldern should be held personally responsible for these killings… Maybe not even that of his wife! The house is clearly cursed. We’ve seen visions of death and murder, I’ve seen my companions morphed into horrific monsters, I’ve even tried to stab Nuari thinking he was Vorel! Who can say that a similar vision didn’t help drive Lord Foxglove into dealing a fatal blow? Afterwards he was changed into an undead creature and used as a pawn. My hope was that I might be able to save him somehow.

The other Heroes of Sandpoint were clearly not pleased with the idea. After all, who would want an undead monster locked up in the town’s garrison… I repeated my plea a half dozen times, assuring them that he would be locked up in a way that prevented escape and offering my own time to keep him under my control and see to his care and feeding until I was able to find a cure. Noting my passion to save the man’s life, they consented though reluctantly.

Concern over his containment wouldn’t be necessary for long.

Upon leaving the house, Zerye cast a Flaming Sphere into the rotting building and started the house burning. When the attic finally caught fire, we heard an unearthly howl and a female voice calling for Aldern’s death.

Iesha, blackened and shriveled from the flames, bolted out of the house directly at her former husband. It was a brutal fight like one might see between two animals…not humans. Or…former humans as the case may be. I used my abilities to disrupt the negative energy, which held her together, and caused her to flee in terror while the fire ate at her. Nuari attacked her with bow and fire while Skookumchuk stood at my side, refusing to let me get any closer for my own safety. Zerye sat down behind us all to simply enjoy show, cheering on both sides as they tried to kill each other.

And that’s exactly what happened. After a few horrific moments of rending and biting, Iesha took vengeance upon her husband and separated Aldern’s head and arm from his torso before she fell to dust. The revenant’s purpose was complete.

There were a few items of note upon his body. There was a cameo locket that fell off when his head was taken and inside we found a small picture of…me…sketched upon a piece of paper. The likeness was actually quite good and it made me wonder if he was something of an artist.

Two magical rings were found in his possession. One of Jumping, which Skook wears and one of protection, which was given to me. Also there was a plain iron key. We’d found a few keys within the house but perhaps this one leads to Aldern’s townhouse in Magnimar. It seems that’s where we’re headed next.

Also on Lord Foxglove’s person was a strange mask made up of layers of human skin. It gives the wearer the ability to shift their features to look like another person and blend into shadows better when trying to be stealthy. Zerye was quite excited about it and none of the rest of us wanted (or needed) a flesh mask

Considering the state of our disease, it was decided that we stop about halfway to Sandpoint to avoid contact with any other citizens. We don’t want to be responsible for starting an epidemic if this thing is contagious!

The ride itself was uneventful, and silent for my part. With Aldern’s head and arm in the saddlebags and his body draped over Matilda’s rump, we rode for a couple of hours then made camp. We hope that Zerye will be able to Remove the disease tomorrow morning.

In the meantime I’ve been keeping to myself and working on sewing Aldern’s arm back to his body. Grisly business I suppose, made only more grisly due to the fact that I hardly know what I’m doing. I’d seen some diagrams in Dr. Noenn’s books before, but seeing and doing are two different things. Plus…I’m still in a bit of a daze after the recent events.

I feel…hollow after it all. The hope that I’d been fostering seemed to have been dashed upon the rocky cliffs below Misgivings. Perhaps my impassioned plea for Aldern’s life fell upon deaf ears. Perhaps it was simply too inconvenient for them to lift a finger to help a cursed man win his life back. No doubt they believe he deserves his fate and maybe he does, but he will never get the chance to prove it either way. We may never know the truth of the man now.

Gods forbid that one of us may one day fall victim to such a thing! What if Nuari or Zerye one day were bitten by a ghoul and succumbed to the change? Would I simply stand back and shrug my shoulders assuming that nothing can be done? No. Would my companions come to my defense if the same happened to me? After what I’ve seen today, I have my doubts about some of them. Maybe they would see putting me out of my misery as a kindness and maybe it would be. Still… I’d like a chance at living…

I have to believe that there’s till hope for Aldern Foxglove. I still have his body. If there’s a chance that I can restore the man to true life, to reverse his change to undeath, I will see it done!

If the plague doesn’t get me first that is...

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Post  Saoirse on Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:21 am

Lamashan 23rd, 4710

I awoke this morning in a fog of uncertainty. Still angry about yesterday and afraid for the future I opted once more for silence unless it became necessary otherwise. Zerye attempted to Remove the disease that Nuari and I are afflicted with but it seemed to have no effect. She said she’d never seen this type of disease though it bears some resemblance to the Bubonic plague. Ugh… Thankfully, though she wasn’t able to cure it, she was able to treat the symptoms, which we were thankful for. The plague sores and tumors are quite painful! I’m finding it easier just not to move at all.

Skookumchuk went into town alone and spoke with Sheriff Hemlock about the events of the previous day as well as alerting him to the four men left on the list. He also went to visit Father Zantus, albeit reluctantly, and picked up a couple of specimen jars that I’d asked him to purchase for me.

The infected rat and crow that I’ve been carrying in a separate sack, if contagious, will need to be placed in jars for study. Whatever the Mistress was using Aldern to find, it might be valuable to have our own sample at some point.

It was mid-afternoon when our gnomish monk returned with Father Zantus in tow. Intrigued by the symptoms, he wanted to come out and take a look himself to see if there was anything he could do for us. There wasn’t… The disease was unknown to him as well but believed that it was likely contagious and gave Nuari some additional aid to treat the bulbous tumor that was starting to obscure the elf’s right eye.

He apologized for being unable to do more and I offered him one of my specimens in case he wished to study the disease further. He chose the rat. Even in disease-ridden death I can’t get rid of these crows! Ah well… I think they suit me this way.

I took the opportunity to ask the Desnan priest if he knew of any way to bring someone who had been afflicted with undeath back from the dead. There was none he’d ever heard of, stating that he believed such a thing an unfortunate impossibility. I think I’m a living example of how nothing is impossible through magic and I just won’t accept his assessment of it.

After a short time among the plague-ridden, Skookumchuk escorted Father Zantus back to Sandpoint. I’d helped him to memorize the note we’d found down in the study with Aldern, (since we didn’t want him to take the actual note into town and expose the citizens to…whatever this is) to take to Brodert Quink. It will be interesting to see what he makes of the Sihedron Ritual.

Nuari came to speak with me this afternoon as I was sewing Aldern’s head back on. I suppose he’d noticed my withdrawn behavior and was concerned about how the lord’s death might have affected my relationship with my companions. It was good to talk about it I must admit. The elf made me realize that I was seeing far too much of myself in Aldern…that we are not the same. I felt quite a bit better about things after our discussion. Clearer. It’s true that we know nothing about the man and perhaps he committed some of these nefarious acts willingly but I still would like to know the truth about him. Maybe we’ll learn more at his townhouse in Magnimar. When we find this Mistress and the Brothers of the Seven, they’ll have a story to tell...

With no end to the quarantine in sight, I carefully began thumbing through the two books I’d taken from Vorel’s workshop. They’re in terrible condition but they contain a wealth of necromantic information! After everything we’d learned from Aldern and the visions, it did not come as a surprise to see concrete proof of his interested in becoming a lich. Something seemed to have gone very wrong though!

I poured over the books for a few hours before it became necessary to beg for food. The rations that I’d brought with me are nearly inedible now, causing me a great deal of pain to eat because of the condition of my throat, and the hunger was overwhelming. The way Aldern had described ‘the hunger’ yesterday made me nervous. It wasn’t an unfamiliar concept to me... For days now I’ve been feeling as if I was slowly starving and what food I manage to choke down does little to ease my grumbling stomach.

Zerye willingly went out to procure us some meat and brought back two plump and juicy rabbits, which she’d dressed in the field. I started me salivating as soon as I spotted them slung over her shoulder. She handed one to me and I immediately fell upon it. The flesh was still warm… Trickles of blood ran down my throat and acted as the most wonderful balm to the pain I’ve been enduring!

So distracted was I by the pleasure of it, that I didn’t think of the reaction my companions might have. Therein was my mistake. Zerye tried to tug the meal from my mouth but I resisted, loathe to let the delicious flesh be taken from me, so she pulled out one of her many daggers and cut the rabbit in half. I was left with the oh so tender rump end. Plenty happy with that, I took another big bite only to be rewarded with a violent strike over the head as the gnome bludgeoned me with her staff.

She claimed that she didn’t want me to get sick. Really? Sicker than I could get drinking Norah’s water? Sicker than I could get with the plague?? Nope, that wasn’t it. I’d exhibited aberrant behavior and paid the price for it. Now I know… I made a mistake and let these urges get the better of me. I was becoming too trusting of these people. I won’t be so again.

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Post  Saoirse on Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:40 pm

Lamashan 24th, 4710

Skookumchuk returned last evening after I’d retired to my tent and I listened in while he spoke to the others about his visit to Mr. Quink. The sihedron rune, the seven-pointed star, he believes was the primary symbol of power in Thassilon. In ancient Azlant, it used to signify the seven virtues of rule and the seven schools of magic (Divination wasn’t a separate school), but the runelords corrupted it.

Brodert didn’t know what kind of ritual the note might be referring to, though he was fascinated by the thought that true rune magic was being used in this case! Who taught it to Aldern? Where did they learn it?

The possibilities are disturbing. Nualia was trying to use the runewell below Sandpoint, the one that used to be a part of Alaznast’s domain, to raise an army of sinspawn. Thankfully she was foiled before she could destroy the town as part of her dark ritual.

But what now of these events? Are they related somehow? If someone has discovered another runewell within the ancient borders of the domain of Greed, perhaps they’re trying to raise an army of their own. And what of Lamashtu… Is the Mother of Monsters a link between the zealots trying to accomplish these mysterious rituals? The Mistress’ title, Wanton of Nature’s Pagan Forms, and even the stained glass windows in Misgivings that depicted different monsters leaping out of a seven sided box, hint of a possible connection. Did Vorel himself have some sort of ties to rune magic? I’ve not seen anything in his texts yet, but I’ll keep searching. I’m kicking myself for not taking the entirety of his works…

This morning, the goose egg on my skull had diminished, though a great tumor had grown up beside the bruise. The plague was back in force. Zerye attempted to cure us again with no success and Nuari is quite convinced that he’s about to die. With spells of restoration though, she could string us along almost indefinitely if she chose to, or at least until a cure could be found.

Resigned to another day of quarantine, I stayed within my tent delving into the books of necromancy. I’d left the flaps on both ends of the tent open to encourage something of a breeze. About noon I heard a familiar rasping croak. Nevermore was skulking around in the grass a few feet from my tent, but instead of cawing incessantly, he simply stood there watching me expectantly. For what, I have no idea… Maybe he sensed my black mood and thought it best not to disturb.

On a whim, I tossed him a few pieces of the inedible rabbit that had been charred black over the fire and he gulped them down greedily, ruffling his feathers at me when he finished. I wonder if giving him food from my hand will cause him to contract the plague as well. So much the better…

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Post  Saoirse on Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:32 pm

Lamashan 25th, 4710

As of this morning, Zerye’s spell was able to cure us and Nuari and I are now officially plague free! It was good to get back to Sandpoint again. Good to get back to my quiet little room with the lock on the door where I can be myself with no one but the raven looking on.

While the others made arrangements for a ship to Magnimar, I paid a visit to the temple to make arrangements for Aldern’s body. I’d hoped to have a Gentle Repose spell laid upon him, but Father Zantus was not pleased… He quickly put together from my earlier question about Raising those afflicted with undeath, that that was exactly what I hoped for Aldern. His concern was IF it worked, what would the man be Raised as. A fair question to be sure. I don’t intend to act on my intentions until such a thing has been researched thoroughly of course and I simply wanted to utilize the Gentle Repose spell to buy me…and the lordling, some time to work with.

After much debate and a little smooth talking, Father Zantus relented, casting the spell upon Aldern against his better judgement. I’ve used up any good will I’ve earned at the temple though. He will not help me further and made it a point to tell me so. It was worth it.

This afternoon, after I’d purchased a casket for Aldern, we buried him on Chopper’s Island. Skookumchuk insisted on digging the grave for the exercise and Gruffle assisted. I’d rather have taken him to Thistletop and shut him down below in the secret vaults to keep him safely tucked away with all of our other unfinished business in area, but this will do I suppose. Maffeshneckor still awaits us.

Skookumchuk was able to get us boarding on a ship called The Nautilus, which will be setting sail for Magnimar in three days time. I’m glad for a little downtime. There are some things I hope to check into before we leave.

After a meal of very rare lamb I settled in at the desk here to do a bit more research in the books I’ve borrowed from Brodert. Seems that this knowledge of the Thassilonian empire may become applicable soon if someone is using rune magic!

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