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Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:42 pm

Lamashan 26th, 4710

This morning I went to speak with Sheriff Hemlock and Mayor Devrin about my concerns regarding the possible connection between recent events and the Late Unpleasantness.

Explaining how the Skinsaw Man’s victims were selected for him due to their Greed, as the Sheriff had already been told through Skookumchuk, I inquired whether or not it was possible that the Chopper’s victims were selected in a similar manner. If not Greed, perhaps Wrath or even some other vice…

Between both the Sheriff and the Mayor, all of the Chopper’s twenty-five victims were personally known, but they agreed that while none of the victims were perfect by any means, they don’t recall there being such a connection. There are always secrets. No doubt each of the victims had some secrets of their own, and it’s likely that unless new information comes to light, we’ll never know if they were linked in that way.

The victims were quite diverse, from business owners to common laborers, drunkards to a midwife. Sheriff Hemlock believes that the Chopper struck based on location as opposed to victim. In most instances, those killed were in isolated and under populated areas of town when they were killed.

When Jervis Stoot was trailed back to Chopper’s Island, his body (sans eyes and tongue through self-mutilation) was found beneath his home at the base of an altar to a birdlike demon. Some research was done based on what the Sheriff had seen and he believes that the altar was dedicated to the Demon Lord, Shax, who is known to embody envy, lies and murder.

Hmm… I wonder if he’s related or involved with Lamashtu at all. Something I may look into at the Great Library!

Sheriff Hemlock did admit that he was having some resurfaced concerns about the Late Unpleasantness since we discovered the connection with Nualia, whom they’d thought had been killed in the temple fire. If she burned down the church with Father Tobyn in it, then this occurred slightly less than a month after the Chopper’s murder spree. Before that, Lady Kaijitsu fell to her death from their manor on the cliffs in what the whole town thought was an accident at the time. All three of these horribly tragic happenings occurred within two and a half months of one another, with no such tragedies even remotely rivaling them before or after that period in Sandpoint's forty-year history . . . until the recent troubles, of course.

These revelations have led him to wonder if there were no accidents during the Late Unpleasantness at all, and if perhaps that period which they've all tried so hard to forget somehow prophesied their recent troubles.

Though the link between all of the crimes seems elusive, perhaps more will be learned when we apprehend The Mistress and learn whom her master is!
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Saoirse

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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:47 pm

Lamashan 27th, 4710

Today was a blessedly quiet day.

All of my tumors and plague sores have healed well enough that I didn’t even have to use the powers of the Hat of Disguise to mask them. I’ve been practicing with the item a bit to come up with a disguise to wear around Magnimar and while I think it unlikely that there will be any trouble from Dr. Noenn, it’s best to play it safe. That’s a fight I’m not ready for.

I spent some time walking the streets of Sandpoint alone, talking with the locals. It reminded me why I was here and helping them where I could. I guess I’ve come to see this place as home…and these people as family. With no memories of my past to pull from, I’m reluctant to let go of this sliver of warmth and friendship I’ve found among the townsfolk, even if they don’t truly know what I am. They know who I am now and I think that’s what matters most.

I also discovered Cracktooth’s Tavern this evening. Located near the theater off Raven Street (sigh…), it’s a favorite haunt of those with a knack for performance. There’s even a large stage in the main room and the proprietor, Jesk Beirinni, encourages amateurs to get up and show the patrons what they could do! It was the best evening I can remember in quite a while. Poetry, songs, a Varisian girl got up and did an amazing solo on a violin, and even Jesk himself graced us all with a comedic performance. After everything, it was really good to forget the burdens for a night.


Lamashan 28th, 4710

This morning we boarded The Nautilus. She’s a merchant vessel of considerably larger size than the smuggler’s skiff I arrived on. Brodert Quink came with us after being tempted by the sin of Pride to show his contemporaries in Magnimar the sihedron pendant that Skookumchuk now wears. He believes it to be one of the most important relics of Thassilon yet found and likely created with rune magic. I can’t help but wonder if one of his contemporaries happens to be my creator. I still haven’t gathered the courage to ask him of Dr. Noenn, or the symbol I bear on my chest.

As we neared evening, our ship passed a familiar and quite unwelcome sight standing upon the cliffs to the south of us.

Misgivings still stands!

We watched that building burn flat to the ground. Nothing but ash should remain, but there it was, decrepit and foreboding as the day we’d first seen it. All that I’d learned from Vorel’s tomes made me realize what had to be done. The seven-sided box that we’d seen broken down in the study, must not have been wholly destroyed in Nuari’s magical fire. We will have to go back and ensure that Vorel Foxglove and his cursed house are forever destroyed.

More unfinished business…

Perhaps it was simply my imagination, but before I retired for the evening I could have sworn I heard the old familiar croak of a raven off the stern. I guess Nevermore chose to make the trip back to his old haunts too.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:51 pm

Lamashan, 30th, 4710
Part One

These last two nights aboard ship have been exhausting. My dreams are filled with screams and corpses, some moving and some not, whispered arcane words, their purpose as black as pitch, and then of course the raven. Even when I don’t see Nevermore skulking about, it’s as if I can feel him not far away. Like I know he’s there…watching me… Maybe its just paranoia. Between the murders in Sandpoint, the things we’d seen in Misgivings and the death of Aldern, it’s no wonder that my sleeping mind still reels from all of the horror. I’d thought I’d left all of that behind in Magnimar. I was so wrong…

Skookumchuk approached me this morning to have a discussion. Now, to be truthful, even hours later I still am not entirely sure I understood what the gnome said nor what he intended to relay to me with that little talk but I believe he meant well. That’s something… Still, the impression that I’m left with is that he believes I have tendencies toward necrophilia and that he has some fatherly concerns for my well-being.

I…I just don’t know how to respond to that. I guess that it’s true that I would’ve been more compatible with Aldern in his undead state than in life but… Wow, I can’t believe I’d even think that! No…no, my interest in Lord Foxglove stemmed from his plight. I see that now. I don’t want the man believed a monster…his name forever besmirched because of what The Mistress and her cronies have done to him! I would see him freed from both undeath and death if possible but if not I would at least like to at least deal with those truly responsible for his fall, and that is precisely what we will be looking into today!

The Irespan loomed large over us as we pulled into the dock. I was born beneath that bridge, down there where even the sun refuses to shine its warming light. It occurs to me that I was created in the shadow of the Thassilonian empire and in my former life I worked with her runic language but even after fleeing that life I find myself embroiled in her history and the terrible things some are willing to do to pursue her power. If this be my fate, than I cannot run from it. Even if our destinies are not written in the stars, I’m too far-gone, too involved…too interested to stop the search now!

Upon our departure from The Nautilus, I used the Hat of Disguise to take the appearance of a much older Chelaxian woman with pale skin (darker than my own), long dark hair and the pinch-faced features so typical of people of that heritage. In Magnimar, where I don’t know who might know my face nor whom might be working for Dr. Noenn, anonymity is my dearest friend.

Our first stop was the Bazaar of Sails. I must say, of the few memories I do have, some of my favorites were here when I was allowed out of the cellar. Fantastic colors and sounds, exotic sights and smells from far flung corners of Golarion assault every sense as you walk amid the throngs of market-goers! Just remember to keep your coin purse close…

We were able to offload much of our excess gear and bought a few magical items that will assist us in the upcoming dangers. It wasn’t long after, that we encountered exactly that, though in a form we couldn’t have anticipated!

Off to the Alabaster district we went, to look for the townhouse were Aldern Foxglove had invited us to visit once upon a time. You know…before all the death and stuff…

It was interesting leading the group through the streets of my home city. Flashes of memory with every step. I had no issue navigating the wards until I tried to actually ‘think’ about it, then I’d get all turned around, but my feet knew the way so I let them lead. In Bridgeward, off to the west of us I saw in the distance the cluster of warehouses with the all too familiar tornado of crows that perpetually hung over the place like a dark cloud. The Golemworks. I didn’t tarry too long but pressed on toward the walled off and elitist Alabaster ward.

Guards stopped us at the entrance, which was no surprise. We didn’t exactly look like your average visitors to the homes of the nobles. Still, this was the best way in. Sure we could’ve tried to sneak over the walls in the evening but I have no desire to garner the attention of the guard in any way or make a spectacle of myself while I’m here. That is not the way to stay under the radar. Best to play by the rules where we can.

We spoke to the two guards about Aldern Foxglove’s invitation to his manor after the incident at the Swallowtail festival, but since the lord hadn’t given us a written note as proof, they weren’t intending on letting us through. It was Nuari who convinced them, the silver-tongued devil. Since we had a key to the place, and after being convinced of our story they allowed us into the ward after instructing us to tell Lord Foxglove that next time proof will be required when he invites guests.

Though we didn’t know what we were looking for exactly it wasn’t long before we found a house with the Foxglove coat of arms displayed near the entry, upon a fountain with four wyvern heads spilling water into four pools. It was a three-story building that looked as if it hadn’t been properly attended to, as the gardens around back were quite overgrown. To be expected.

Skookumchuk opened the door with the key set with opals and we entered the silent house. The entryway led either up to the second floor or to the right into a trophy room of sorts. Aldern did enjoy his hunts… In life and in death. Only animal heads hung on the walls however! Well…a few still hung on the walls. Everything in the room was torn up and ransacked as if someone or someones had gone through searching desperately for something. Who or why or if they found it wasn’t known to us quite yet.

Then…

Then Aldern walked out of the dining room to greet us. Yes, Aldern, as in Lord Aldern Foxglove, the man we saved from goblins and who took us on a boar hunt! That one. I was so bloody confused and very suspicious but he radiated no magical aura. No magical disguise… He pleasantly led us into the dining room and invited us to sit as we chatted. When Iesha came out of the kitchen to introduce herself to her husband’s guests, I fell into my seat. This was the very woman that he killed. The woman that killed him right back! And the spitting image of the Iesha Foxglove whose painting…right then…was bundled onto Skookumchuk’s back! It was all too much to wrap my mind around. Something was off obviously but the more the man talked the more I started to doubt my own faculties. He seemed to know an awful lot about his time in Sandpoint with us, but never once did he question the group about who the ‘new’ member was, for there was no middle-aged Chelaxian woman with the Heroes of Sandpoint at the time. He never even gave me a second glance.

Through a bit of questioning we noticed a few slip ups. This was not the man we’d met. This was not Aldern! Since I’d had some handwriting samples from the real Lord Foxglove, I passed over a scrap of parchment upon which the man might pen his name and he lunged at me, scaring me out of my skin! Thankfully Dr. Noenn had procured for me a strong heart otherwise I might not be writing this now!

The handsome lordling (if you’re into…you know, the living, which apparently I’m not) was no longer there, but in his place stood a strange and fearsome creature of leathery flesh and indeterminate features, all whorls and creases where its face should be! My scream would’ve woken the dead. I wish it would have actually because I could’ve used some back up at that moment! Thankfully my companions were less startled than I and sprung immediately into action.

‘Iesha’ also dropped the disguise and transformed into one of those creatures and entered the fray with long swords drawn. It was a terrifying moment but we managed to kill them before they killed us. Whatever they were! Were these the agents of the Mistress that Aldern was to meet when he returned to Magnimar?

The second floor was in complete disarray as the trophy room had been on the floor below and we found nothing of interest there so proceeded to the third floor, which we found in a similar state. However, in the study, the lion motif on the fireplace mantle caught our attention. A key we’d found in Misgivings was so similar to these decorations that we believed they had to go together in some fashion and after some searching around the fireplace we found a well-hidden keyhole. Within a secret compartment we found what I presume was being searched for. Two-hundred platinum pieces, Aldern’s ledger and the deed to Foxglove Manor!

Ledger of Aldern Foxglove

Date -- Item -- Paid/To
5/2/4710 -- petty cash -- 500 gps
5/9/4710 -- fine war razor -- 1,300 gps
5/11/4710 -- Iesha trip to Absolom -- 200 gps/wk, Oathday/midnight, The Seven’s Sawmill

6/15/4710 -- clothes shopping in Naos -- 350 gps
6/17/4710 -- tickets to the Lord Mayor’s Summer Ball -- 750 gps
6/22/4710 -- night out at the grand stage -- 31gps
6/29/4710 -- jewelry shopping at the Vista for Iesha -- 1000gps

7/1/4710 -- petty cash -- 500 gps
7/4/4710 -- general contractor fees for the Manor -- 250 gps
7/5/4710 -- Manor rebuilding supplies -- 100 gps
7/9/4710 -- Iesha trip to Absolom -– 200gps/wk, Oathday/midnight, The Seven’s Sawmill
7/13/4710 -- Metal and glass diving helmet -- 150 gps
7/14/4710 -- shopping along the Silver shore -- 200 gps
7/16/4710 -- commodities purchases in Osirion -- 10,000 gps
7/22/4710 -- household sundries -- 50 gps
7/24/4710 -- history of Varisia book collection -- 500 gps
7/27/4710 -- Chelish fineries & Andoran quartos -- 413 gps, sails

8/1/4710 -- Iesha trip to Absolom -- 200 gps/wk, Oathday/midnight, The Seven’s Sawmill
8/2/4710 -- petty cash -- 500 gps
8/4/4710 -- night at the Grand Stage -- 31gps
8/5/4710 -- Aspis Consortium Investment -- 5,500 gps
8/11/4710 -- Linnorn Painting -- 100 gps
8/13/4710 -- Quarterly taxes -- 1000gps
8/16/4710 -- Exotic zebraskin rug for 3rd floor -- 35 gps
8/17/4710 -- hunting supplies -- 100 gps
8/21/4710 -- ink, pen and fine paper -- 10 gps
8/22/4710 -- rare bottle of 3875 Kyonin brandy -- 200 gps
8/27/4710 -- Iesha trip to Absolom -- 200 gps/wk, Oathday/midnight, The Seven’s Sawmill

9/1/4710 -- trip to Sandpoint for Swallowtail Festival -- 100 gps


Deed to Foxglove Manor

For and in consideration of the Magnimar City Estate and its Lord Mayor, I grant to Vorel Foxglove and the Brothers of the Seven all the real property situated along the Lost Coast bounded as follows: <small map of the Lost Coast>

Two thirds of the property will belong to the Brothers of the Seven and one third will belong to Vorel Foxglove. After one hundred years ownership of the estate and all the lands within one mile, around and below, will revert to the Brothers of the Seven. Witness my hand and seal this 5th day of Goaran, in the year 4630.

xx William Leer


So the Brotherhood of the Seven actually own the majority of the Foxglove estate?! That I hadn’t seen coming. What were their dealings with Vorel? It seems that Aldern’s grandfather had shackled his family to this group for at least twenty more years. What was the debt that Aldern owed them? Was he trying to buy back his family holdings? I suppose when we find this Brotherhood, we will find out!

Another curious detail in the ledger was Iesha’s monthly trips to Absolom costing 200 gold per week and paid to presumably the Brotherhood at ‘The Seven’s Sawmill’ on Oathday at Midnight. Not to mention…at least at the last note of this on 8/27, Iesha was likely already dead… Were these debt payments and if so, why would he attribute them to a trip to Absolom? Was he hiding the true reason for his payments to the Brotherhood?

So many questions! Unfortunately we hadn’t the time to go over all of them at the moment. We had two dead monsters down in Aldern’s dining room and we had to alert the guard immediately. The longer we dallied the more suspicious we become as the cause of Aldern’s disappearance. As discussed before, I don’t want that…

Zerye stayed behind at the house to ensure the bodies stayed put while the rest of us went off to find the guards. They immediately regretted allowing us entrance. Our story was pretty fantastic and they were VERY suspicious even after they saw the strange fleshy creatures we’d killed that had taken Aldern and Iesha’s place. These were nothing the guards had ever seen before either.

In the discussion, there was some mention of the ‘other’ murders and when pressed on the subject that told us that affluent people have been dying all over the city for the past couple of months, most having been found in merchant houses which are abandoned at this time of year. Then the strange markings were mentioned. Oh boy…

Zerye drew a rough sihedron symbol on the floor in blood to see if the guards recognized it. And oh did they! It was insisted at that point that we follow the guards back to the gatehouse to await the Captain of the Guard. For…questioning…

Great! This is exactly what I was trying to avoid on this trip! Unfortunately we didn’t know that similar killings had been taking place here and by putting ourselves in the middle of it we were only creating suspiscion. Certainly we could all work this out.

So the Heroes of Sandpoint were led into the cell, where we waited for about three hours. Poor Gruffle was trying to tunnel through the stone by that point and I don’t believe it was a trick of the shadows that darkened Nuari’s eyes… I think he was about a half hour away from accidentally on purpose melting the place into a pile of slag. No one wanted to be there any longer. For me, the cold stone cell felt a bit too much like a cellar.

When Captain Acacia Uriana finally arrived, she entered the jail with guards in tow and questioned us at length. We explained to her about our investigations in the Sandpoint area and how they’d led us here to search for this Mistress and the Brotherhood of the Seven. The captain believed that it was possible that the victims here in Magnimar may have also been targeted for their Greed. Along with the sihedron symbol on their chests, the victims were missing not their jaws, but their tongues. Most likely for the same reason that Aldern had given us. The last murder had taken place a few days ago and as the guards mentioned earlier, they’ve been going on for a couple of months now with no leads. It’s no wonder they jumped on us as quickly as they did! The Lord-Mayor has got to be desperate to see this resolved! Bad for business and all…

Even after our explanations, she quite hesitant to believe us and requires proof. Captain Acacia will be sending a bird to Sandpoint to inquire about us as the ‘Heroes of Sandpoint’ and some of the guards are going down to The Nautilus to confirm that we are whom we say we are. Thankfully, after many assurances, she relented enough to allow us go and continue our investigation instead of keeping us in jail. The captain told us in no uncertain terms though that she’ll be keeping a hard eye on us.

As we were being escorted out of the Alabaster District, I suddenly remembered that the crew of The Nautilus will describe Morelen as young, pale and white-haired, not a middle-aged brunette of Chelaxian decent…

Not good! As if we weren’t garnering enough suspicion!

I had to go immediately to tell the Captain of my disguise or put in jeopardy our entire investigation…

To be continued…
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Saoirse

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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:53 pm

Lamashan the 30th, 4710
Part Two

The guards were rightly suspicious when I abruptly turned to tell them that I needed to speak with the Captain again. No doubt we’re the most guilty-appearing innocents in this case… Thankfully they hadn’t seen the pendant Skook is wearing or we very well might be spending the next few days in that lock up!

Captain Acacia was more gracious than I expected. She was suspicious at first when I told her I was wearing a disguise of course, but she seemed to understand when I revealed my true self and explained the reason. Well, most of the reason behind my desire to keep my identity to myself. Hearing my story, the captain became very interested in Doctor Noenn. Perhaps he is even involved in these crimes! I would put no evil past the man, certainly.

I told her of his employment at the Golemworks and his ‘side’ job in flesh crafting and his collection of bodies and where he keeps them (and at one time me), down in the cellar of his two-story derelict laboratory in The Shadow. Left out the part about me being one of his creations but I really didn’t feel that was necessary to tell her at that time… Or ever.

The Captain assured me that it was unnecessary that my name be brought up in the Doctor’s investigation and I believed her. I can confirm that Dr. Jaeden Noenn is a killer and a killer is exactly what they’re looking for right now. I doubt she cares who points her in the right direction. She intends on taking care of him. Better her than me as I figure it.

It was late by the time we left the Alabaster District and there was the discussion of finding a decent place to sleep. We found a place just south of the Seerspring Gardens called the Wizard’s Wiles. It’s a quirky little inn and tavern that I don’t remember ever being in, but that’s hardly a surprise. The invisible wait staff could use an attitude adjustment. Other than that…nice place.

We did a little chatting with the half drunk student about the goings on in the city but we didn’t get much in the way of new information. The victims of these strange murders have been mostly bureaucrats, merchants and cheating traders.

Tomorrow morning we’re going to Kyver’s Islet to do some ‘sight seeing.’ Hopefully more answers to our questions lay at the Seven’s Sawnmill.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:51 am

Lamashan the 31st, 4710

Well, it wasn’t hard to find with the big sign out front advertising The Seven’s Sawmill… The four-story structure looked pretty harmless, though I immediately noticed the rookery that sat atop the building. Do a lot of sawmills use ravens to carry messages? Maybe the Scarnettis are missing out on something. Hopefully they will continue to miss out on it, as one raven hounding me constantly is quite enough thankyouverymuch. No doubt Nevermore was up there fraternizing… Oh gods I hope he’s a he! I don’t need any ravenlets pecking at my eyes! I wonder how one would check for bird gender. Ugh…I’ll just hope for the best.

Zerye went into the sawmill as a sparrow while we meandered around the island inconspicuously to some degree, but she found it all locked up. We would have to come back later this evening to see if the Brothers of the Seven would receive any late night visitors. Since tonight was the night that Aldern would’ve made his regular payment, it’s likely that someone would normally be there to collect.

In the meantime we headed over to the Great Library, the Founder’s Archive and the Museum of Ages. Brodert was found amid the stacks thumbing though a text that he denounced as utter rubbish. He agreed to postpone his discussion of the sihedron pendant after we explained the recent goings on in the city and how unveiling such an item could bring him…and us, some very unwanted attention. Best to keep that under wraps until we can get to the bottom of these murders!

Close to midnight we returned to the Seven’s Sawmill. This time, Zerye turned into a mouse to poke about and see what she could see. And she could see a lot!! FOURTEEN cult members of Norgorber (as I was able to determine from her description of their attire) were in there listening to their leader, an elf wearing a hideous mask that went by the name of Father Skinsaw.

After she came out to relay the information, we all entered the building as quietly as we could.

Skookumchuck was able to get the drop on the large group and the battle was on! All the cultists wore masks and brandished war razors. My heart sinks even as I write this… Aldern bought a war razor five months ago. Is it possible that he’d become a member of this cult!? There wasn’t much time to think of such things in those chaotic moments.

I was able to put to Sleep a good number of the gathered, except of course for the elf. Father Skinsaw made himself Invisible, avoiding our attacks for a time.

When he appeared, the high priest spoke at me, Charming me with the most seductive promises of blood and death…and I found myself unable to resist his desire that I begin waking up the cultists. It could have been a problem. Thankfully Nuari saw what happened and spoke his own words, stealing my mind back into its senses. It bothers me how easily that all transpired… I think I’ll keep my mind to myself from now on!

With Father Skinsaw visible, Gruffle went at him in full fury, chewing viciously at the ankles until the priest toppled and exposed his throat to the angry badger.

When all was said and done, seven cult members were still alive. A good thing. We’ll definitely need some questions answered! Zerye flew off toward the Arvensoar to alert the authorities as we bound the living cultists and searched the bodies.

The elf that the cultists referred to as Father Skinsaw, was in fact a man known to me. Justice Ironbriar is one of the thirteen officials of the highest court in the city, the Justice Court. It is disturbing that this level of depravity can reach to the most influential positions in the government. Not surprising of course but disturbing. A mask of flesh had disguised his face. It had been cut into one long, thin, unbroken strip, like the peel of an apple and sewn together in a macabre whorl that centered at one eye. The other cultists wore masks like the one we found upon Aldern’s person, further incriminating the man I so passionately defended.

While we waited for the guard to come clean up the mess, we took the time to look around a bit. There was a study in the back of the room with faces that had been flayed off, stretched taut on a wooden frame, presumably to make more masks…or perhaps simply art. This was Justice Ironbriar’s study. Boy is Magnimar in for a shock due to this little revelation…. We found a slim ledger and journal belonging to the man, written in a code of elvish and infernal. We’re fortunate to have an excellent translator of those particular languages among our number, but we’ll have to work to decode the journal tomorrow. It will take some time. Also among his belongings was a spell book with two intertwined snakes on the cover, one red and one green. It should fetch a good price at market. Another tome was found as well, this one with illustrations and entitled ‘The Syrpent’s Tane – Faery Tales of the Eldest’. Sounded like something Zerye might want to have a look at so I stashed it away for later.

It took impressively little time for the soldiers to arrive and they wasted no time bundling all the cultists off to the Arvensoar for questioning. We were assured that our help was no longer needed for the evening. Probably for the best. It’s terribly late…or early as it were, and sleep will be required for any kind of continued coherency. Tomorrow we’ll check in on the prisoners.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:55 am

Neth the 1st, 4710

Terrible dreams…

I’m seeing faces now that I recognize but don’t, if you catch my meaning. I see snippets of conversation between my old self and Dr. Noenn that hardly sound like a scribe speaking with her employer… Was I something else to the man? The very thought sickens me.

There was a time not long ago when I wanted nothing more than to recover my past but now I’m afraid that knowing might be worse than remaining in ignorance.

Skookumchuck and Zerye went off to the Arvensoar this morning to see if any new revelations about this cult of Norgorber had been uncovered, while I spent the day with Nuari deciphering Father Skinsaw’s journal. It was interesting work that came easier to me than I expected and I was at least able to point out a few verbs, that kind of thing, to help him with the code.

What we learned was a bit of a blow. To me anyway… From the journal and ledger we found that Aldern Foxglove had killed his wife, apparently in a fit of rage as he had claimed to us, back around the beginning of Desnus! That was nearly four months before we met the man at the Swallowtail Festival!! The Brothers of the Seven seemed to have been blackmailing him with this information after he went to them to help him cover it up. With friends like that…

We also found that he received payment from the Red Mantis for something known as Vorel’s Phage. This must be what Aldern was gathering the contaminated rats for, and now that’s in the hands of assassins? No good can come of this.

There were a few entries that spoke of ‘The Wanton of Nature’s Pagan Forms’. This is the Mistress that we read about in Aldern’s note, no doubt. Apparently she’d garnered Ironbriar’s affections as well as providing him with a new way of murder which as we all know is the quickest way to a man’s heart. Though it seems the Mistress prefers it slow since we know the ritual is actually performed while the victim is yet alive…

Ironbriar met with the Mistress about a dozen times at the Shadowclock…a structure I’m quite familiar with. The abandoned clock stands in the Shadow. Generations old, it was built during a time when Magnimarian government decided to clean up Underbridge and after they inevitably failed, they kindly left the decrepit (and haunted some say) timepiece in the center as an exclamation point upon that failure.

No doubt Captain Accacia will be interested in learning of this information.

Zerye and Skook weren’t able to go in to speak with the prisoners, which greatly aggravated the druid, but they were able to learn that the other cultists were on the verge of a coup against their High Norgorberian priest due to his obsession with an unknown woman. A vamp as they called her. Probably believe that she was having a little too much influence over the man and was using him for her own ends. As she did Aldern…

The revelations of the past two days have further blackened my mood. I desperately hoped for Lord Foxglove’s innocence, finding any and every explanation I could to make excuses…rationalize actions. I do it still! What if part of Aldern’s blackmail was being forced into this cult to serve their purposes? Perhaps they told him to go collect rats from his old family manor. Certainly that didn’t sound so bad, but then someone or something changed him into the slavering wretch he became and he moved up in the ranks. Was Aldern a murderer or a victim of circumstance? I think the answer to that is…both.

It seems I hoped too much. I hoped for a cure, for him certainly, but ultimately my goal was a more selfish one. I hope still for a redeemable spark of light in this life and body full of darkness. I thought that escaping Dr. Noenn might be an opportunity to start over and create a new life for myself…to be someone, to make a mark on this world with what time I have left! But shadows and nightmares hang like a sodden cloak about my shoulders and there are days when it feels too heavy to bear. Ghosts of a past I do not remember tug ceaselessly at my legs, threatening to drag me down, until every step is a force of will.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:22 am

Neth the 2nd, 4710

I think our feet are worrying a deep and permanent groove from the Wizard’s Wiles to the Arvensoar. Again we visited to tower early this morning. Again we weren’t permitted to speak with the prisoners and again, Zerye was quite perturbed.

It was the promise of new information that jogged the guard into going to fetch Captain Accacia but it still took the woman a half hour to join us. No doubt she’s quite busy.

When she finally arrived we gave her the information we’d learned from Ironbriar’s journal, that he’d been meeting with this Mistress quite frequently at the Shadowclock. The woman was pleased at this new lead and gives us a reward for all of our help, saying that we’ve concluded our official work with the guard. We offered to go with them to the Shadowclock and though the captain didn’t expressly say that we weren’t allowed to go check the place out, she did say that she and the guard would be handling it from here. There’s no way we’re just going to hand this over to them and hope for the best… Many Sandpoint citizens are suffering because of what has transpired here and we owe it to them to follow through wherever it may take us!

But we kept that bit to ourselves…

Captain Accacia also informed me that Dr. Noenn had been captured!! I can scarcely believe it! Asking to ensure that it was really he, I was taken to see him through a small window in his cell door. Hands folded smugly in front of him atop his enormous girth, it is indeed the man that I remember and I verified that no magical auras were upon him. After a quick glance to satisfy my curiosity, I returned to my companions. I do wish I would have been able to speak with my employer face to face, but I found myself entirely too frightened to face him….even under those circumstances.

Our business at the Arvensoar done, I led the Heroes of Sandpoint toward some of my old stomping grounds… The Shadow. No one was shanked or robbed as far as I know. A good day.

The Shadowclock stood as it always does. Sad, dark and foreboding. I half expected there to be a crack of lightning overhead and a downpour of cold rain as we entered the creepy tower. Nothing could be found initially aside from fresh tracks but soon, from atop a wagon, a hulking, monstrous construct stood and chastised us for entering “The Master’s Tower” before beginning to swing a huge scythe about with terrible force.

The creature was made from horse, cow and other bestial pieces and though I was unable to place what time of construct it was, we quickly found that it was highly magic resistant.

Eventually, after much trouble, we were able to bring him down. Zerye was patching up the injuries while I checked over the body. Good work… Excellent stitching… I guessed at the thing’s origins even before I saw the tattoo on its chest. That symbol that I too bear. The mark of Dr. Noenn. Is he somehow involved with all this or perhaps he simply sold this fellow to protect the Mistress? Again, we have more questions than answers.

After a short breather we headed up the stairs were we were attacked by three of those strange, fleshy creatures that we’d found impersonating Aldern and Iesha. Compared to the golem, they were dispatched quite easily.

Then we were at the top of the clock tower. Upon a mound of silks and pillows lay a lamia! Half snake, half woman, the creature had purple diamonds painted on the snake “hood” that flared out at her hips. Could this be the Mistress?!

She used a ranseur and spells to terrifying effect and there was more than one time during the painfully long battle that I thought all was lost. She used a powerful enchantment on Skook to get him to leave the fight and go wait for her downstairs. Things looked pretty grim. Thanks to Zerye, the lamia was being continually hounded by birds while we fought and the extra beating wings and pecking beaks proved very helpful. Eventually the lamia was injured badly enough that she was forced to flee.

I’m not sure this can count as a victory, as much as yet another loose end. A bargest, a cursed house and a lamia…we’re racking them up! At least we were able to find a lead.

Two notes were found laying amongst the pile of bedding. The first was essentially a hit list, titled ‘Sihedron Sacrifices’, with far too many names already crossed off.

SIHEDRON SACRIFICES

Thrundar Perolkor, merchant
Glayn Klendrank, moneylender
Crade Hambley, farmer
Virikan Obendar, gambling den owner
Gedwin Tabe, thief
Lenner Hask, thief
Tarch Mortwell, thief
Jarnie the Knife, thief
Banny Harker, mill manager
Olmur Davankus, grocer
Haldmeer Grobaras, Lord-Mayor
Sontal Vrig, merchant
Salgar Kaddren, merchant
Titus Scarnetti, merchant
Frabdar Shorkred, adventurer
Voranie Arbrenoir, adventurer
Zalna Sinteril, adventurer
Forall Igralir, bar owner
Gumarto Bargadin, moneylender
Kemos Shadron, gambling den owner
Keldis Four-Fingers, thief
Noltun Pelgrem, merchant
Jubrayl Vhiski, thief
Chaden Kelimon, merchant
Chod Bevuk, butcher
Hayliss Korvaski, merchant
Myrmias Ironskull, adventurer
Temgrith the Slasher, adventurer
Sabriyya Kalmeralm, thief

The second note provided evidence of some of the mechanations behind the Mistress’ actions.

My dearest Xanesha!

I am so proud of what you are doing in Magnimar, with your band of murderers winging souls to our Lord! Soon enough, Magnimar will be a much nicer place, with all of its greed sucked dry.

My plans proceed up here in Turtleback Ferry. You wouldn’t think that greed could take a foothold in such a desolate area, but when you provide people with just a bit of hope for a better life, it is amazing how their greed rises to the top.

The only obstacle to my plans is Fort Rannick, but that will be taken care of shortly. Soon, we shall be reunited to share with our Lord in his glorious reign!

~Lucrecia

This…Lucrecia person hints at a much greater plot afoot. Could someone be using an ancient Thassilonian ritual to gain enough power to rule? Undoubtedly the Runelords wielded a mighty magic that those practiced in the Art today can only dream of but maybe someone stumbled upon some long forgotten lore. Harrowing implications if such knowledge has fallen into the wrong hands…again…

After collecting ourselves, we went downstairs to find Skookumchuk who, still under the effects of the Suggestion, refused to leave the tower since Xanesha told him to wait. None of us were willing to take the chance of trying to move him…

During the wait, Zeyre and Gruffle went over to the Arvensoar yet again, to alert the guard to what we found. I made copies of the notes we’d found. When Captain Accacia arrived I gave her the original copies and made sure to point out that Dr. Noenn had created the construct defending the Shadowclock from intruders. A little more evidence. One more nail in his coffin.

Once Skook came out of the effects we were ushered away from the scene, stopping by Dr. Noenn’s hovel/laboratory where I was kept for the first few months of my new life. I hoped to find his books… Records of his experiments that maybe the guards had missed when they arrested him. No such luck.

It was later that evening that Zerye turned into a bat to try to track the lamia, Xanesha from the air while Gruffle attempted to track from the ground. Sadly there was no evidence as to where she had gone, but we do have one new lead to follow...

Turtleback Ferry.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:03 am

Neth the 3rd, 4710

Shortly after dawn, I made my way alone to the Arvensoar, while the others inquired about Turtleback Ferry and the best way to get there. I had to find out where Dr. Noenn’s journals and research have ended up! If he has some sort of record of my creation, it could be…problematic for me.

The guards revealed that they did indeed have all of his books found in the dwelling and that they're being held pending trial. I would not be allowed to see them of course lest the accusation of tampering with evidence be laid against them and I wouldn’t want any desperate action on my part to keep that vile man from the noose. The guard assured me that once they were done with the trial, the books would become available. I’ll have to make plans to return…

My companions were able to determine that taking a ship back to Sandpoint and going cross country from there, was the best route to take to get to Turtleback Ferry, which lies on the western border of Sanos Forest where consequently, Zerye was raised.

Mr. Quink will be joining us on the trip back tomorrow. Disappointed though he was that he couldn’t talk of his discoveries quite yet, he was understanding of the danger it might pose and looked forward to getting back to his work in Sandpoint.

I'm looking forward to getting back to town as well. Hopefully we can deal with one of those 'loose ends' before setting out on the trail. Misgivings poses a continuing danger that should be taken care of if we can manage it. That seven-sided box...the phylactery needs to be wholly destroyed in order for Vorel's spirit to be released, or so I've come to believe. At least we can access the lower tunnels through the well instead of going through the house again. I don't think Nuari will want to deal with another encounter with the manticore...
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:17 am

Neth the 4th, 4710

Neth… As the season grows colder, so too do I. There’s a gnawing pit of ice in the center of my gut that seems to chill me from the inside out. The blood-laced wine I’ve taken to drinking seems to thaw me out for a brief time, but I’m almost out of that now. In three days time I should be able to resupply in Sandpoint, so I’ll make due until then.

There were actually a few snow flurries today as we boarded the ship and set sail, but the temperature has little effect on me now. The tiny flakes no longer melt on my skin… I wonder if I will even last until we reach Turtleback Ferry, but I hope to at least see these troubles through to their conclusion. It seems a worthy way to spend my days.

Last night I dreamt that my body was being wracked with a great jolt of electricity. A memory I suppose. I know that Dr. Noenn uses such methods in the final process of uniting brain to body and I can only assume that the same was done to me. If it was just a dream though, it was a powerful one, for when I woke, my hair felt as if it were standing on end and the tips of my fingers tingled with energy.

Sleeping becomes more eventful by the night…
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:32 pm

Neth the 6th, 4710

We arrived back in Sandpoint this evening and it feels good to be here again…almost like coming home. Even so, I feel that a part me is still indelibly tied to Magnimar. Imprisoned or no, as long as Dr. Noenn lives it can be no different. One day, hopefully soon, he will receive due payment for his sins in this life but until that sentence falls, I’ll dream sweetly of his bulk dancing spasmodically at the wrong end of the noose.

My soul found a bit of solace in the warm fire and nearly raw venison that awaited us at the White Deer for dinner. Our conversation centered on the upcoming journey and the proprietor, Garridan, was able to tell us a bit about the area we were headed. The Wyvern Mountains are said to be a treacherous area rife with monstrous giants and ogres, so we’d do well to avoid going into the mountains. An order of ranger types, called the Black Arrow look to protect those small villages like Turtleback Ferry from the ogre types to the north of them. They make their home at Fort Rannick. Apparently they are a motley bunch of ex-cons and ne'er-do-wells who have chosen a life of service to a cause over death. Riff-raff after my own heart.

Even now, at this late hour, Nevermore is perched upon the old tree just outside my window, cawing as if he wants my attention or ire…or maybe he just wishes for someone to end his miserable life. If he keeps it up much longer someone is bound to grant that desire.

It is blustery outside tonight however… The season has turned and I forget sometimes that not everyone is as numb to the cold as myself. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt if I cracked the window just enough for him to get out of the biting wind.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:20 pm

Neth the 7th, 4710

Well, the raven didn’t have a go at my eyes as I half expected he would. Instead, I found him perched upon the back of the wooden chair at my desk, feathers ruffled and beak buried beneath them for warmth. A tiny black down feather had settled onto the tip of my nose sometime during the night. A puff of breath sent it swirling into the air before it floated gently back down to the floor, and I suddenly knew…or maybe remembered, that I could do that magically! Another piece of the puzzle.

Now… Before I go on, I must clarify, dear reader that I still believe myself of sound mind. Granted there are few among the insane who truly believe themselves to be so, and thus I realize the pointless nature of that statement. Still it had to be said.

When I stirred from my palate upon the floor, Nevermore untucked his face and ticked his head sharply to the side to get a better look at me, as is his way. If I have a soul to swear upon, I would swear to you now that he croaked ‘GOOD MORNING’ at me just then! I can only imagine the expression I wore at that moment and somehow I think the blasted bird recognized my shock, because he started hopping from side to side on the back of the chair and cackling wildly and incoherently I might add, which adds credence to my belief that I was still half in my dreams when I heard the creature ‘speak.’

After shooing the annoying thing back out the window, I headed out into town to find a chicken for breakfast.

I washed off all evidence of my meal and was heading back to the White Deer to meet up with my companions, when I noticed that I was being followed. Somehow I was able to control the panic before it took hold. My immediate thought was that Dr. Noenn had sent someone after me. That even from behind bars his long reach sought to strangle me and rob me of what little life I have left! Unthreateningly, the man called out my name to get my attention before I could start making plans of where to dump his body should he attack.



A tall man of Chelaxian complexion, he was sporting an impressively thick and luxurious beard, well maintained and braided in the popular style. He introduced himself as Titus Arvantias of Nethys. It seems that our exploits and discoveries have peaked the interest of some of those seeking to know more about the history of ancient Thassilon and where Nethys is concerned…rune magic. My name must have come up, being a pupil of sorts to Brodert Quink.

The priest hails from Galduria to the northeast along Ember Lake and was forthright about his desire to travel alongside us.

Now, I take no issue with Nethys and while the voluptuously bearded man doesn’t seem the preachy sort so far, I still don’t know why I agreed to it. We could definitely use a little extra help on the road and a priest would be invaluable. After that last battle with Xanesha I think we could all agree to that assessment, but I know Nuari is suspicious and probably rightfully so.

Honestly I look forward to the additional company on the road. Mr. Quink isn’t the traveling sort and has plenty yet to do to document our recent discoveries, so I know I will be missing his long-winded Thassilonian discussions and theories.

After agreeing to the proposition, I asked Titus to go pack up his things at the Rusty Dragon and meet us back at the White Deer when he was ready. We would be leaving this afternoon.

While our newest member was packing his gear, back at the inn the Heroes of Sandpoint we pouring over a map that Skook had purchased detailing the wider area east of Sandpoint. It will be a three hundred and eighty mile journey to Turtleback Ferry, and the season is too late to take a barge up the Yondabakari so the horses will have the opportunity to stretch their legs.

First order of business though, is to see about destroying Foxglove Manor for good. We’re not sure what it is we missed when we burned it down the first time, but it was quite a shock when we sailed past the site on our way to Magnimar and found the house standing there again as if nothing had happened! From the information I uncovered in his journals and from what we’ve seen in the house, I believe it must have something to do with Vorel’s phylactery, but I hope to find more information upon our second inspection.

Titus met up with us as planned and introductions were made all around. No one seemed averse to the additional traveler except perhaps Nuari and his aforementioned suspicion, which I cannot write off as unfair. Time and deeds will prove the man.

After a few short hours of travel, we again arrived at Foxglove Manor and accessed the lower levels through the well, with the aid of my recently rediscovered Feather Fall spell. The man-shaped mold still grew strong down in the study and between Nuari and Zerye, they nearly melted the rock to slag to be rid of the stuff. It looked destroyed completely… The seven-sided box, which was scorched nearly beyond recognition after our first visit, was now no more than a pile of char.

Feeling pretty good about our work, we went back up top and burned the rest of the house down…again…for good measure and then chose to rest for the evening a short distance away with the orange glow of Misgivings lighting up the darkness.


Last edited by Morelen on Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:27 pm

Neth the 8th, 4710

The dawn assaulted us with only more failure. The house is gone, but the mold in the lower levels is still growing. I believe that Vorel must have intended the seven-sided box to be his phylactery but something went horribly awry and now perhaps the house itself has become the vessel for his soul. More powerful clerical magic will be necessary to deal with this evil, and even with Titus traveling with us we are unable to attend to it at this time. I only hope that Vorel’s spirit and disease doesn’t affect anyone else before we have the chance to eradicate him once and for all.

We went back to Sandpoint to resupply before heading off to Wartle, the first leg of our journey to Turtleback Ferry. There is little time to waste. If this…Lucrecia is at the same type of work as Xanesha was in Magnimar and Sandpoint, then many lives are at stake. Many have likely already been lost, and for what?! What do they hope to accomplish with this ritual? Is this true rune magic that they are working upon the bodies, and if so, who might have taught them such a thing?

I must be honest with myself and admit that I’m intrigued. I have no interest in carving up bodies. I’ve seen more than enough of that. I am interested however in some of the other things that rune magic might accomplish. It was a force of good at one time before the Runelords corrupted it. Could it be so again? These are thoughts that should be kept to myself.

Titus has begun work on the creation of a cloak for Zeyre that will help her to better shrug off magical effects. A generous offer and one that certainly helps ingratiate him to those of the group who aren’t entirely sure what to make of him yet. The man certainly seems to be willing to get his hands dirty in all of this business and for that I am grateful.

We were still traveling the great plain eastward when evening fell, so we made came just off the trail and set our usual watches. Titus joined me on first watch and we spent much time going over our discoveries beneath Thistletop (with the exception of caged Meffeshnekor of course) and the Runewell beneath the glassworks, until we were surprisingly joined by Shalelu near the end our watch! The elvish ranger had heard of our mission and offered her bow to the cause. None of us would turn that down!
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:54 pm

Neth the 10th, 4710

The last two days have been spent following the quickly flowing waters of the Yondabakari River on our way to Wartle. The dirty little bog-town seemed to be aptly named after the wartling sounds of the tiny muck dwelling creatures running rampant beneath the raised walkways. It was little more than a trading outpost and mercifully we didn’t stay the night. After resupplying we continued on our journey and headed toward Whistledown.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:42 pm

Neth the 14th, 4710

This afternoon we arrived in Whistledown. The recent days were a little more eventful than those previous. Titus had finished the cloak he was working on for Zerye as we traveled just south of the great tree line marking the border of the Sanos forest. Nevermore, who’d spent the first leg of our journey perched on my spear as we rode, chose to take to the trees, but much to my chagrin it was only temporary as the raven returned each evening. The druid didn’t seem as homesick as I would've expected, so close to her home as we were, though she’s a hard read and spent most of those two days of travel chattering at Gruffle. Maybe she was telling him stories of her time there. I suppose gnomes are more live-in-the-moment types anyway.

Just yesterday we saw our first combat on the journey, as four boggards from the Mushfens hopped out of their bog, all bulging eyes and furious croaking as they attacked. It didn’t prove too problematic but after days of boring travel, I at least had grown complacent. That served as a brutal reminder that we’re not in Sandpoint anymore!

At least for tonight, it is comforting to be enclosed inside a room again. I’ll treasure this bit of privacy and the unconventional meal that affords me, for tomorrow we’re back on the trail and continuing east toward Ilsurian.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:48 pm

Neth the 16th, 4710

As we approached Ilsurian, we could see the flattened peak of Spindlehorn mountain far to the north. We’d been warned of ogres and giants and worse in the Wyvern Mountains but there is something beautiful about those stark, rocky spires stretching to the sky that makes me wish to see them some day. I think I’ve been spending too much time around the bloody bird… No doubt I’d only end up a smear on some giant’s club.

We stopped at a little tavern called The Freedmen for a nearly passable lunch. The fish stew was just this side of undercooked and slid down my ravaged throat with ease. I’m barely eating anything anymore. There is simply too much company to go picking off small forest creatures, what with a ranger and a druid in our growing party now and I don’t care to answer any questions that might be put to me. If any of them would bother asking before striking me that is. At any rate, I seem to be managing fine in spite of my hunger and it doesn’t appear that I’ve lost any weight or found myself lacking in energy. I know that should concern me…

It started to rain this evening. A cold winter rain began as a sprinkle as we crossed the Skull River and gradually became a steady downpour as we turned our horses north toward Turtleback Ferry. It made for miserable traveling but I am thankful we’re able to take some shelter beneath the trees of the Ashwood where we made camp this evening.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:49 pm

Neth the 18th, 4710

Cursed rain!! Two days now with no letting up! Would that it were blood!! At least then the pain in my gut would subside and I could simply be miserable on the outside!
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:21 pm

Neth the 19th, 4710

Woke in a better mood this morning than I fell asleep in, but everything is wet… Just…everything. My skin has been damp for so long that I’m growing mold between my toes.

At least I hope that’s just because I’ve been damp... My scars have been uncomfortable too. More so than usual and that concerns me. Itchy. Irritated. Really hoping it’s just the dampness.

Speaking of mold, we came across an interesting glowing variety as we traveled. When scraped up, it can be used for a few days as an Everburning torch! Though we took none at this juncture it was worthwhile to note, and perhaps something we could use in the future.

This afternoon we wandered into a tiny fishing thorp which laid claim to only six small buildings, one of them being a sodden, decrepit, squat little excuse for an eatery named The Wall-eyed Wife. The fish bride was pleasant enough and a balm to us all in the midst of this gods-forsaken weather. She had a remarkable selection of pies available for consumption and all but myself partook of a piece or two. Unfortunately Skookumchuk had terrible difficulty keeping any of the pie down and after the first inevitably disagreed with his delicate palate, he attempted the milder raspberry and turtle egg pie with disastrous results. The orange gnome (slightly greenish at that particular moment) projectile vomited over the entire counter and spoiled everything that sat atop it. Needless to say, we were asked to leave. Skook felt terrible about the whole affair and apologized profusely, but I doubt we’d be welcomed back.

It was early evening when we finally arrived in Turtleback Ferry, tired and soaked to the bone, but we were ever alert in the unlikely event we could be pounced upon by Lucrecia or even Xanesha. If the lamia matriarch we fought in Magnimar had gotten word to her compatriot here about what had occurred, she could be expecting us. This night we needn’t have worried.

We’ve purchased a few rooms for the evening at a local establishment named Turtle’s Parlor run by man named Vadian. The place was fairly empty. Considering the weather perhaps that wasn’t unusual, but we were here to see if there had been murders taking place and an empty tavern usually spoke volumes about the well being of a town. It didn’t take much prompting to discover that there was serious trouble in Turtleback Ferry, but not of the kind we were looking for.

There is terrible sickness that has been afflicting the people here for the last few weeks. Eighteen people dead so far, with a couple dozen more suffering at the makeshift infirmary set up at the Temple of Erastil. Apparently it starts with a cough that gets progressively worse until you eventually start coughing up bits of lung and drown in your own blood. Not number one on my list of ‘Most Awful Ways To Go Out’, but it sounds like it would be right up there! Anyone who comes down with the sickness is dead within three to five days. None have survived it yet.

And that’s not all! There’s been some strange activity in the Kreegwood to the north. Wild animals are fleeing the area and travelers must beware of attacks from ‘abominations’, possibly ogre/human hybrids.

Those that would help protect the settlements from danger, the Black Arrow rangers which we’d heard about back in Sandpoint, haven’t been heard from in some time. Usually a few of them would stop into town to resupply every three or four days, but it’s been a much longer span of time than is normal now, long enough to worry the people here that something may have happened to them. The note we found among Xanesha’s things said that Fort Rannick was an obstacle to Lucrecia’s plans and she intended on dealing with them shortly. I fear that may already be the case…

It seems that tomorrow will be a busy day.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:59 pm

Neth the 20th, 4710

Still raining.

We set out into the town this bleak morning, in different directions. Skookumchuck went to speak with the priest of Erastil about the sickness going around, and learned that Father Maelin hasn’t been able to determine what the sickness is yet, let alone a cure for it. He believes that aside from those sick that are being cared for at the temple, there are probably three or four times that number that are sick at their homes. Something needs to be done about this illness quickly or there won’t be a town left!

While Skook was busy at the temple, the rest of us wandered about town to gather a bit more gossip about the goings on here. The Yak n’ Cut seemed as good a place to find gossip as any! Once we entered, the barber took one look at the wild mane on our druid and pulled her into the chair.

A great deal was learned from the man while he worked. It has been raining ceaselessly for nearly three weeks now, which is not normal for this area or season. Also, much to my shock, he had heard of a ‘woman’ named Lucrecia! Apparently she came into town a while back and started a gambling operation on a boat called the Paradise. Seems to have been quite popular until the incident three weeks back, when the boat caught on fire and sank, going down with Lucrecia and twenty-three of the townsfolk aboard. No signs of them were ever found.

Could this have been Lucrecia’s plan to gather greedy souls for her “Lord”? I am curious if the bodies might still be found within the wreckage of the Paradise, and if they are similarly marked with the symbol of the seven pointed star.

Zeyre and Gruffle now sporting new hairstyles, the group reunited for lunch back at the Turtle’s Parlor. After sharing the information we’d learned, Titus and the druid went to the temple to see if they might be able to learn something more about the disease for themselves, while the rest of us went back to the Yak n’ Cut once more to glean as much additional information about Lucrecia as we could.

There wasn’t much more we were able to discover. While it seemed that the barber had likely seen more than just the outside of the Paradise, he wouldn’t admit to anything, but did give up the names Dimitri and Hagar as to frequent patrons of the gambling boat. The first is a fisherman and the second is the proprietor of Hagar’s Rope. They might be worth talking to. Though a Detect Thoughts spell we were able to ‘see’ Lucrecia as well. It was likely a disguise, but she appeared as a striking woman with bright red hair and noble dress.

Titus and Zeyre had much more luck! She was actually able to recognize the sickness as something called Blackscour taint, which is caused by a fungus that grows in mountainous regions and not native to these parts. Somehow the people of Turtleback Ferry must be ingesting this fungus in order to get sick. Could it have something to do with the constant rain? The nonstop downpour and the illness seem have begun at about the same time…and the sinking of the Paradise as well. All of these things, the missing rangers, the sinking boat, the sickness, the rain…it can’t be all coincidence!

Not only was Zerye able to discover what the sickness is, but she knew what the cure was as well! Most of what was needed could be found within the Ashwood, but there were three rare ingredients that we’d have to do some searching for. The first is a Rat’s Tail, not of the standard variety, but specific type of root that has been pickled. The priest told them of an old witch within the Ashwood that might have such a thing. Secondly, Ironbloom mushrooms known to grow in mountainous areas prevalent with veins of ore. There is an abandoned dwarven monastery on the edge of the Wyvern Mountains where we might find them. Finally, we’ll need to find some Elderwood moss, which grows only on the bark of the most ancient trees in the Ashwood.

There was no contest as to which of the mysteries of Turtleback Ferry must be dealt with first. These people need a cure and quickly! We may discover that in searching for one of these answers, we might stumble across answers to the others.

So with no further ado, we set off into the Ashwood in search of the old witch that Father Maelin spoke of. Zeyre took the form of an eagle to scout ahead of us. What took place next I can only report secondhand… It sounds completely incredulous, but then again, I’m sewn together and apparently talk to ravens so perhaps I’m not the best judge of the absurd.

The druid found the hut and flew inside to check the place out and find the root as quickly as possible. She said she saw a body…dead and decomposing in a chair, but had little time to investigate further when the cauldron attacked her.

The cauldron.

Attacked her.

Okay, I just wanted to clarify that. Granted, it is not unheard of for inanimate objects to be enchanted to life and I suppose even I could be considered a case in point. Golems... Brooms... Things like that, but cauldron is a new one on me.

Zeyre summoned a dire ape to help protect her and it wrestled around with the…cauldron, apparently not getting the upper hand in the struggle, so she summoned a bison to attack it as well! The dire ape and the bison defeated the cauldron and she was able to find the Rat’s Tail needed for the cure before flying back to us.

I’d be interested in seeing the body of this witch to discover if she died of the Blackscour Taint as well or something even more insidious, but with a dire ape and a bison in the tiny hut, I can’t imagine there’s much left of said hut. Something about a bull in a china shop springs to mind. In fairness, Zerye can be difficult to understand at times and I may have the story completely wrong, but what matters is that we have this root now.

One down two to go.

Tomorrow we travel deeper into the Ashwood to seek out the oldest of the forest’s trees and the Elderwood moss that grows upon them.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:27 pm

Neth the 21st, 4710

Still raining.

We wasted no time getting up and moving this morning seeing that lives are at stake and all. Besides, sleeping in isn’t quite as appealing when lying in a puddle, so at the crack of dawn we headed out into the sodden and deepening forest.

As ignorant as I am of nature…stuff, even I was able to tell that the forest was showing the effects of the strangely persistent rain. Mushrooms and moss and molds (not the plague carrying kind, I don’t believe) of a disturbing variety blanketed every surface they could attach themselves to, while everything else was lush and green. Now as far as fungus goes, I have no particular aversion to it, but I must say that I’ve seen enough of the stuff to last me this lifetime. I don’t even want to describe the state of affairs between my toes at the moment. Moving on…

Around midday, we were attacked by three of the largest wolves I’ve ever seen! Makes me wonder what else might grow to preposterous size this deep in the woods. Titus was unfortunately mistaken for a chew toy, but the battle turned quickly once Zerye was able to Dominate one of the wolves to fight against his kin. When the other two were dispatched, she sent it running away. By the time the magic wears off it should be well out of our hair.

It wasn’t long after that when we came upon a tree of monumental proportions towering above the canopy and disappearing into the hazy fog. Even I couldn’t help but be in awe of its majesty. The shrubs and underbrush too, seemed to part in deference for this most ancient of trees, creating a large grassy clearing around it. Upon its enormous trunk grew the moss that we were looking for.

Moved far beyond my own appreciation, Zerye and Nuari actually approached in order to hug the tree. It was not a surprising move for the tiny druid, but Nuari’s reaction took me slightly aback. His two natures are so in conflict with one another that his response to some situations can be unpredictable. Unfortunately, his elvish nature cost him in this case

Nuari, if only because he was taller than Zerye, was attacked by a serpent-dragon like creature that bolted down the tree at him. What the druid would later named a Tatselwyrm, had four stubby legs effectively built for scaling trees and one large maw full of teeth effectively built for grabbing hold of elves before squeezing them silly. And I don’t mean in an affectionate way.

It only got more interesting when the wyrm belched some kind of rancid, poisonous gas on Nuari to weaken him, but after being pummeled and outnumbered, it fled up into the tree. Not quite fast enough to outdistance a Magic Missile spell though. I’ll admit to a smirk as it plummeted ingloriously from the mother tree and landed at my feet.

While Zerye collected the moss needed for the cure, I quickly packed the tatselwyrm up into my bag. Hot lunch for later! A needed comfort after this soggy day.

With the first piece of the cure found, we turned north toward the Wyvern Mountains to find the monastery and hopefully the ironbloom mushrooms.

We made camp just inside the tree line before passing into the foothills, with about an hour of daylight left. Our destination had to be close. Zerye took the form of a bird and did some scouting, which gave me time to enjoy my meal. Was yummy. I even passed some of it through the fire for the others to try!

Mmm…tatselwyrm, the other white meat.

The druid discovered the old monastery without much difficulty but wasn’t able to find any of the ironbloom mushrooms with just a flythrough.

Thankfully the ruins lay only about five mile from our campsite, but with the sun dipping beneath the horizon we decided to wait until morning to try or luck.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:49 am

Neth the 22nd, 4710


Still raining.

Early this morning we pulled ourselves out of the muck and made our way up through the foothills to the monastery.

The structure was in a terrible state of disrepair and it was obvious to us all that dwarves no longer lived here. No self-respecting dwarf would allow his home to fall into such ruin! There was one squat tower on the southeastern corner and a building that dominated the west side. What used to be thick walls now protected little to nothing. The eastern wall was collapsed inward into a large courtyard, while the western wall had long ago been graced with an unintentional ten-foot wide doorway into the main building.

In the courtyard, water from the constant rain stood in puddles hidden by the tall, razor sharp grasses, which had turned a lush green color from glutting on the recent weather. Skookumchuk entered the monastery through a doorway at the base of the small tower and found himself face to fangs with an enormous black widow spider at least the size he is! Now I have no particular love for spiders but I take no issue with them either. I leave them alone, they leave me alone and all is fine. However, there is just something malevolent about seeing your reflection in eight different eyes as venom drips from shining fangs.

Thankfully after a short scuffle, that particular threat was ended and no one ended up as a desiccated corpse! But…the day was still young.

The room turned out to be nothing but storage with the exception of a magical short sword we found hanging in the spider’s web beside a pile of dried bones and flesh. That will be put to good use!

Finding none of the ironbloom mushrooms in either the storage room or the courtyard, next up for exploration was the main keep. It quickly became evident that someone or something was living in these ruins. Our first clue being the rudimentary (yet effective) trap that dumped a large net full of stones onto Skook’s head. The second was the half eaten meal (a crow…of course) on a plate with some other crude utensils lying beside it.

Even more on our guard, we started poking about the rest of the area when we ran into a very angry kobold. Very angry… There was lots of screaming in draconic coupled with the use of words that brought color to even MY cheeks! Skookumchuk was about to subdue it, though it put up quite the resistance, and we tied him up in case he would be necessary to provide us with information later.

We continued our exploration and came next to a library that was soaked from rain and collapsed from age and probably violence. Mold everywhere… Perfect. Due to our earlier mold experiences, I was quite careful not to touch it as I eagerly looked through the remains for anything of intellectual value. Unfortunately there was only one book I found in tact. It is a book on dwarven religions, particularly Torag, and there was a priestly scroll inside, Spiritual Hammer, that was given to Titus.

Next we came to a sanctuary. Or at least that’s what it used to be. Only a few of the puce pews still stood right side up, and the shrine to Torag had been maliciously defaced. There wasn’t time to get a much closer look, when two darkmantles descended upon us, one of them wrapping around Skookumchuk like a wet, bitey blanket! The poor gnome was having a bad day…

When they were defeated and the monk patched up, we approached the altar and noticed five small depressions on the surface, as if something should be placed there. A faint aura of Conjuration radiated from the depressions. Perhaps they needed a spell trigger or key.

Zerye remembered the dwarven book we’d just found and suggested we take a look through it to see if we could find anything similar to this. Indeed we did! On one of the pages, we found an image of a similar altar to Torag and spent a little time translating the inscription beneath. Five small, magically enchanted rubies, when set into the depressions, would release a small burst of Torag’s power. We hadn’t found any of these rubies yet, but we’d be keeping a lookout for them! As a rule, I prefer to avoid any kind of ‘burst of divine power’, but it may yet benefit us.

We continued searching from room to room for the ironbloom mushrooms, but we weren’t turning up much, until we entered a rubble-strewn chamber and came face to face with two dire wolves the same size as those monsters we fought in the forest. Behind them was what I understood later to be a worg. What it lacked in size it more than made up for in the pure malevolence that shone in its bright red eyes…

The battle was brutal, but we prevailed. There was one surprise in particular… The ghostly hand that I projected to touch the beast, just to unnerve it mind you and make it think twice about his course of action, somehow…weakened it. More than that, it strengthened me! It was as if I’d drained some of the life force from the creature with a mere touch. A disturbing development. I’m not sure what this might mean, but considering the path I find myself upon, such ability could prove very useful if used carefully.

We passed through an armory filled with old rusted weapons (though we were lucky enough to find four magical bolts tucked beneath some debris), and opened the door to what appeared to be a small jail. Four piles of bones lay upon the floor and three of them rose to unlife as Skookumchuk entered the room. Worse still, they burst into flame!

Thankfully I was able to swallow my fear and complete a spell of Command, which forced one of the mindless undead to obey me and turn on his bony companions. When the other two were dispatched we went in to check the remains that hadn’t risen against us. We found a dwarven skeleton with a Ring of Fire Resistance and piece of parchment lying near him. Upon it was written in dwarven, “Forgive me dark father of the forge… My toils shall never be enough.”

It would certainly be interesting to hear the whole story of this monastery. These dwarves were probably worshippers of Droskar, the dark dwarven god of toil. Why were they locked inside this jail? Were they responsible for defacing Torag’s shrine? Why was the monastery destroyed? I wonder if we’ll ever know.

My companions allowed me to keep my new skeletal pet, even Zerye and Titus, which I was glad of, and a bit surprised by to be honest. The continuous aura of fire makes him difficult to be around, seeing how Skookumchuk was burned badly just by passing by the skeleton’s flames, but he could still prove useful to us in the days that I have Command over him. The monk wears the ring of fire protection now though, so that should no longer be a concern. Nuari also has no fear of being hurt by flames… He passed his hand near enough to the skeleton that it should have blistered skin, but there was no damage at all. He expected that I believe, but it was plain to see that our friend was still rattled in face of the evidence. Evidence that is, of his devilish parentage…

After finding but one ironbloom mushroom in our search of the ruin, we went back to the bound kobold to see if we could get any leads. Somehow I speak and understand draconic. Why? I have no recollection, but perhaps it was useful in my scribing work for Dr. Noenn. Something I might ask Brodert about if I should ever see him again.

The kobold was offered his life in return for information, and he gave us no difficulties. Apparently, ‘Greypelt’ kept anything of any worth in this place. If he meant that gray-furred worg that we killed a few minutes ago, then we must have missed something!

We kept our word. The kobold kept his life and his sword, while we relieved him of his armor, a wand and a pouch with one of the enchanted ruby gems before heading back to the room where the wolves were killed.

We had missed something! A hidden stairway that led down into a dark dank room where we found six more of the mushrooms and a bag containing gold, a magical crossbow, a potion and a wand.

With the needed ingredients for the cure in hand, we made our way out of the keep, stopping back by the shrine to see what effect the ruby might have when placed into one of the depressions. While interested in what the effect might be I didn’t want to be near any ‘bursting’. It was unlikely to be harmful but I have growing concern about how certain divine energies may affect my…state. Whatever that might be.

Nuari used Mage hand to get the gem to the shrine and Skook fearlessly entered within and was healed of the damage he’d suffered. That pleased me. He’d had a rough day.

Not wanting to waste any time, Zerye turned into a bird and flew back to Turtleback Ferry to start working with Father Maelin to create a cure, while the rest of us hoofed it back to town with Roger in tow. I named the skeleton Roger. My Command over him will hold for about a week and after that, I’ll put his torment to an end. Unless of course, he proves to be a boon to us in battle…then his tour of duty may be extended…

We arrived back in town in the early evening. Zerye had made good use of the time! The cure had been created and she helped to distribute it to the sick, saving many of them from the brink of death. Now that the most pressing of troubles to the area had been dealt with, we’ll need to discuss where to go next. There seems to be no end to the mysteries in this gods forsaken little mud hole… If the rain keeps up, it may be washed away completely! WHY is it still raining!?

I had to leave Roger outside of town. The people wouldn’t understand and I couldn’t risk anyone else getting hurt on account of his aura, so he’ll have to stay there until we travel elsewhere.

It was around 7PM when we all met back at the Turtle’s Parlor to discuss what to do and where to go next. Zerye had some very interesting information for us…

While helping to cure the sick in town, she found that four of the infected patients had a seven-pointed star tattooed on their shoulder blade! This is definitely a different type of ritual than the one that we’d previously seen.

It didn’t take us long to all agree to go talk to those particular patients again upon the morning. Also, we intended to check out the lake for the sunken Paradise. Zerye and Skookumchuck’s previous diving practice will certainly come in handy tomorrow!
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:24 am

Neth the 23nd, 4710

Still raining.

Nevermore stayed in the room with me again tonight after feasting on the table scraps I brought to him from dinner. He doesn’t much enjoy the constant rain and though my reservations about the feathered beast remain, we have that at least in common. Plus he hasn’t gone for my eyes.

…yet.

The Heroes of Sandpoint gathered to go speak with one of the patients that Zerye treated with the seven-pointed star tattoo. He was very helpful. Apparently, he was given the tattoo by Lucretia herself as a kind of “badge of honor” as a special member. Basically someone who’s spent a good deal of time and money there. The tattoo itself radiated necromantic magic (as before) but also conjuration magic. Unfortunately, due to the unfamiliar nature of this magic, I was able to determine no more.

With nothing left to learn there, we were on to the lake to see what secrets its depths might be concealing. The druid summoned a trio of water elementals to quickly find the wreck, which was easily located not far from shore, then Zerye and Skook, with the assistance of a Water Breathing spell, dove sixty feet down to the ruin of the Paradise. They found a number of bodies down there, but the lake denizens picked most apart and none of them resembled the beautiful visage and red hair of Lucretia. Plenty of jewelry and coin were found and the gnomes also brought up the body of a female that was found in a lavishly decorated room.

Titus had the foresight to prepare the spell Speak with Dead, and from the woman’s corpse we were able to learn that her name was Estava and she was a prostitute on the Paradise, but she had no idea of Lucretia had gone down with the ship. The hunt for the perpetrator continues.

We’d arrived at a dead end (no pun intended) on this line of inquiry but there seemed to be no end to the trouble around Turtleback Ferry. One that could lead us more closely to our goal was the search for the missing Black Arrow rangers at Fort Rannik. From her note, Lucretia had identified them as standing in the way of her plans. Frankly I fear for their lives. Worse perhaps…their souls.

After purchasing supplies for a few days journey, we took the path north out of town. The one that would eventually lead us to the Fort.

One thing struck me along this journey. I have a curious lack of hunger and thirst now. Whereas before I couldn’t seem to quench the deep thirst I had, that need seems to have sharply abated. I’m not sure which worries me more. Of course, over the last few days I’ve been eating and drinking now and again just to keep up appearances. No sense in garnering worry or abuse from my companions.

A few hours of travel passed quickly before we came across a firepelt cougar caught in a bear trap. The last time we’d encountered one of these was at Thistletop among the goblins, but this one seemed less ready to slaughter us and more frightened and wary.

Zerye was able to come it down and the gnomes freed it just as we began to hear the sound of hounds barking. A booming voice joined the chorus soon after, yelling about how we’re messing with his hunt and that firepelt was his catch! The voice belonged to a large and twisted creature that could only be one of the ogre abominations we were warned about.

The cougar, shocking us all, was the first to charge into the fray! Outnumbered and running into a pack of dogs?? Even I realized that was unusual for a wild beast! We entered into combat on his furry heels.

The hounds fell quickly against the combined might of the Heroes of Sandpoint. The abomination was much more formidable, but after “shooting the sky at him” in the form of lightning as he so quaintly put it, and bringing fire down from the sky onto his head, he fell to his knees and started crying.

Crying!

Skook tied him up in some well-executed sailor knots. In hopes of sparing his own life, he spoke freely when we asked him if he’d seen the Black Arrow rangers. He first drew our attention to his cloak, which was decorated with Black Arrow patches. This did not bode well. Even knowing that, we…at least I wasn’t anticipating where this questioning would lead us. The leader of this family…his kin as he called them, is “Mammy”. Little doubt that she must be the creature that spawned this abomination. They reside at a house deeper in the woods to the west and are currently keeping the rangers there as food!!

Needless to say the ogre-kin’s life was forfeit at this point and when there was no more information to retrieve from him, we saw him to his death.

The firepelt cougar was eager to join us as we traveled to find Mammy and rescue the rangers. It’s likely he’s the companion of one of them and attempting to rescue his master. We won’t turn his claws down in this fight, but in order to gain a bit more information about what we’d be walking into, Zerye took on the form of a bird and flew off to scout ahead.

She wasn’t gone terribly long. Upon her return she told us that there was an old farmhouse with a small field to one side where one of the abominations was working. The windows of this structure were well boarded up and she couldn’t see much inside or hear any sign of the rangers, but she was able to see three more of the brutes milling about, and one very…large…rocking chair.

Once we’ve packed up camp here, we’ll be moving in to see if we can save these rangers from being eaten. And keep us from sharing a similar fate!
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:25 am

Neth the 23nd, 4710 - Continued

The homestead wasn’t too far a ride, and we left the horses a fair distance back lest their sounds give away our position. It was nice for a change to be able to prepare for a fight, so we had some semblance of a plan before we went in, though we weren’t entirely sure WHAT we’d be walking into.

For that I’m glad actually…

We’ve seen some horrific things in our short time as allies but I don’t think that even the Heroes of Sandpoint were prepared for a visit to the Gruuls’ home! But I’m already getting ahead of myself.

When we arrived at the property, it was just as Zerye had described; a house, a barn, and a good sized field of corn. We kept ourselves hidden within the forest line until we were ready to strike. Roger, my trusty flaming-dwarf skeleton, was magically rendered invisible and then we sent him into the field to start it afire, thus causing a bit of distraction and the hope of drawing out more of the ogrekin so we might take care of them outside the confines of the house.

Roger did his job admirably! The tumor-headed ogrekin in the field looked nothing so much as forlorn at the sight of his corn going up in flames and began desperately (and fruitlessly) tried to beat out the fire.

Three other brothers came out to watch the spectacle. Not help, mind you…just mock the brother trying to save the crops. The first one had three arms and a tragically dented in head, the second was tall with pale white skin, and the third was…well…stumpy and twitchy.

That’s when Nuari gave us the ‘go’ signal in the form of a devastating fireball! No mistaking that signal! The pale one went down first after a volley of spells, and the stumpy, twitchy one was made short work of by Skookumchuk. Three-arms was the next to fall, with the cougar ravaging him, tearing limb, from limb, from limb.

One remained outdoors, and he was angry… The tumor-headed ogrekin, whom Zerye lovingly (and truthfully) named Stupidface, charged and cut down Titus in a matter of seconds! They are powerful brutes!! Thankfully Zerye was close to our cleric and brought him back to consciousness with her wand of healing, while Nuari’s elvish Charms couldn’t be resisted even by a Gruul. We were able to glean some helpful information from him.

Counting was an issue, but Stupidface was able to name eight of his family that lived there in the house, including Mammy and…Pa… Personally I didn’t like the sound of Pa, though the ogrekin we encountered in the forest seemed mortified of Mammy. We would be discovering very shortly who was worse.
We also learned that the rangers were being help in the barn, and guarded by someone called Bigg’un. Bigg’un was not listed among the family members…

Though we tried to get Stupidface to go fetch Pa to tend to the burning field, he assured us that “Pa don’t care.” There was nothing more we could think to ask him, but Nuari’s Charm spell would last some time yet and there may yet be some need for information, so we sent Stupidface back off into the field with my waterskin to tend to the fire while we headed into the barn

The first room of the barn was large and empty, not what we expected, but there were four entrances into the second room; two up stairs to the loft and two down low. We split up to check the two loft entrances and found it entered into another large room, this one covered in webs, with a sickeningly large funnel of webs on the floor. Equally as disturbing were the six cages in the far corners of the loft. Three of them contained motionless bodies and the remaining three each held only a bloody mess…

Before long we were introduced to Bigg’un. Biggun IS a BIGG’UN!! The enormous, room-filling, spider crawled out of the web funnel intent on making us his dinner. He succeeded in poisoning Zeyre before he fell before our might, but Titus was there in a flash to cast Delay Poison on her, effectively putting off the danger until the next morning when the druid could cure herself.

The three men in the cages were in bad shape, even after some healing. They’d been through quite an ordeal. We spoke with them while Nuari cut off their manacles with his adamantine sword.

The firepelt cougar went immediately to the side of the ranger sporting an eyepatch. He’d found his master. The man told us that fort Rannick had been overrun by a clan of ogres called the Kreeg. The massacre must have been horrific… The three empty cages once contained more of the Black Arrow rangers, but they’d been carted off to be…eaten…by the ogrekin… Okay, I’ll admit that I was hoping the other ogrekin from the forest was lying to try to scare us. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

The surviving rangers limped off into the woods to regain some strength while we moved into the house to take out the rest of the Gruul family. After what we’d seen and heard from the rangers, we were all eager to exact a little vengeance…

I’m not sure how detailed you’d like me to be in this account, dear reader, because I wish to spare you the nightmares that will most assuredly follow. Nightmares that will be added to my own.

The whole of the house was ‘decorated’ with pieces of people. Heads, skins, bones, hands, feet… Eating is only the beginning of what these monsters did with bodies. Dr. Noenn would think it terribly wasteful to do such things with perfectly good parts. I bagged one of the nicer skulls from a collection on their shelves, figuring I might be able to make some use out of it.

Also, there were traps. Apparently ‘Pa’ is handy, so says Stupidface. We found this to be true in the various swinging scythe traps and the clever trap door beneath the couch that Skook discovered in the living room.

The whole place was filthy. Not just dusty filthy mind you, but soiled filthy like they don’t always make it to the privy… Ohhh the privy… There’s a sight and smell I’d rather be able to burn from my brain!

Skookumchuk braved the privy to check the…contents. He didn’t say what he saw in there, and I had no intention of looking when I saw him emerge with his normally orange face gone almost as white as mine. It was something horrible. I asked, but he only shook his head, since to give voice to what he had seen would only make it that much more real.

We killed two of the ogrekin before arriving in a large bedroom. Beside the huge bed was a painting easel with paint pots filled not with normal pigments but with blood and excrement. Also, three decomposed corpses stood leaning against the wall, each of them having met some tragic end and having had their mouths sewn shut, but the most dominant feature in the room was an enormous female, undoubtedly immobile due to her immense girth. Mammy!

We wasted no time in attacking, since we’d heard she was a caster of some sort, but neither did she. Barking out some orders to her ‘sons’, the three corpses against the walls awoke as zombies and attacked us! Horror upon horror in this house… Not the zombies per se, but that she used the bodies of her own sons! Likely she was responsible for their deaths as well.

The battle was over quickly and Mammy slumped in death into her own folds of skin.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:18 am

Neth the 23nd, 4710 - Continued

Mammy had a number of valuable magical objects on her person…only Skook had the stomach to check and it’s good he did. The Heroes of Sandpoint will put those magics to much better use!

Titus took the precaution of putting a rune ward at the base of the stairs to the attic before the fight with Mammy to protect our rear, so we opted to leave that there and head into the basement.

The first room we came to was the skin…shucking…room. Now I’ve seen a lot. Corpses, miscellaneous people parts, heads, hooks, saws, etc. You know, everyday stuff for Dr. Noenn, but pulling the flesh off bodies and seeing all the…remnants…that turned my stomach. With nothing to find here, we moved through there as quickly as possible.

Next we entered into a dank room covered with moss and fungus, which, in recent weeks I’ve really grown to dislike. Fortunately this didn’t look like the plague-causing stuff, but I remained cautious, as one who barely survived a fungus attack should. This room looked like it was the place they threw all of their rotting vegetable waste. As expected, all the vegetation in the room gathered together in a stanky pile and formed into a vaguely man-shaped figure, which immediately pounced up us!

The attack was over quickly after Nuari spewed a gout of acid at the thing, which completely took me aback….him as well I think. We are both developing in some frightening ways and I know we both fear the culmination of that development. This was not the time to sit down to have a heart to heart though, and Nuari looked a little paler than usual afterwards. Hopefully there will be time later.

We found a small door, which led us to a tiny room. A closet really, with a chest inside. Weapons, cloaks a gear were all stuffed inside, and we had to assume that these were the Black Arrows’ things. Shalelu confirmed that when she recognized a particular bow among the equipment as belonging to Jakardros, the eye-patched ranger. She knew him? This was the first time that was mentioned… Apparently she didn’t choose to join us on this expedition just because she likes our company!

Moving along into the next room, we finally ran into the inbred monstrosity that was Pa Gruul. There’s really no better word for him. Instead of growing on the top of his head, Pa’s greasy brown hair grew out the side of his face, while a lumpy, misshapen, vestigial twin peered over his right shoulder, grunting and growling at us.

Nasty.

Pa and his two giant rat companions wasted no time in trying to make meat of us. And he nearly did with poor Skook. The Gruul hit like a stone giant, but the gnome monk packs quite a wallop in spite of his diminutive stature and hit Pa back just as hard. If we weren’t in peril of losing our lives at the time I might have laughed at the expression of surprise on Pa’s face.

One of the rats charged at Zerye, but she started singing to it, which apparently was some kind of rat hypnosis song because it skidded to a stop and just watched her as it swayed back and forth. One of the rats was effectively out of the fight at that point.

I used a portion of the magic that sustains me and created a glowing hand that reached out and touched Pa, draining some of the life essence from him and transferring it to me. By the gods, the strength I felt! Some part of me is ashamed to say it, but I do so look forward to using this spell again. Is it possible that I could lengthen my life in this way? I mean, as long as I do it on those who have it coming right? Pa wouldn’t be using that life energy much longer and it would be such a shame just to let it go to waste.

The Heroes of Sandpoint won the battle and the Gruuls were defeated when Pa finally fell. Skook was pretty injured and Nuari went to take a look at the wounds and somehow…healed him! From what Skookumchuk said, it was kind of a ‘bad touch’ but hey a heal is a heal. Titus was watching him very curiously afterwards though.

With the basement clear, we moved up to the attic once Titus removed his rune. It was a workshop of sorts. Trap making supplies, bunches of glassware for alchemy purposes (which we took some of to sell), and odds and ends of all kinds littered the area.

Skook found a chest with some coin and a trapped pouch inside, but thankfully he managed to avoid the trap and get the bag. It was full of old noses and finger bones. Why would someone waste perfectly good noses and fingers? I guess the Gruuls made ample use of most other body parts, and I shudder to think of the horror that they would create piecing a construct together…if they had half a brain between them of course. We were safe in that regard.

We’d seen all there was to see (and a whole lot more) within the Gruul house, so we headed back outside to deal with Stupidface before meeting back with the rangers. After everything we’d seen in that house…even knowing that he’d eaten people, I am feeling some…remorse?…because he was charmed at the time and was treating us as friends. I helped to kill him without thought or hesitation and only now lying here alone with my thoughts am I disturbed by it. Should the taking of that life have given me pause? There was no emotion as I distracted him from the killing blow from behind and watched the life drain from his eyes. Not even a second thought. I guess that’s the part that scares me. Not that Stupidface didn’t deserve death, because he most certainly did, but because of my own non-reaction to killing. Is this adventuring lifestyle I’ve so recently adopted, driving me closer to become that which I work so very hard to avoid? Will the coldness in my heart one day match the darkness in my soul?

When we reached the place where the rangers were hunkered down, we showed them the gear and handed out their belongings. Shalelu pulled Jakardros aside and was having a very animated discussion with him. When the voices rose we could hear a bit of what this was all about. Apparently Jakardros is her stepfather, who left her after her cleric mother was killed. Shalelu rightfully wanted some answers to her abandonment and the two moved off a greater distance to continue the discussion more privately. I hope she finds what she was looking for.

Meanwhile, the Heroes of Sandpoint sat down with the other two rangers, Kaven and Vale. A fun couple of characters, I must say! We were talking about the goings on in Turtleback Ferry and it was discovered that Kaven had frequented the Paradise when he was in town. Vale was the more forthcoming of the two about Kaven’s activity, which was funny until we saw the sihedron mark on his arm. We were all over that like maggots on a corpse.

The tattoo was magical in nature, so Nuari attempted successfully to dispel the magic, but the mark returned a few seconds later. Titus, the elf, Zerye and I sat down to discuss what this might mean while Skook did upside-down crunches while hanging from a tree overhead.

The magic was a type of conjuration magic that seemed to be able to siphon the soul of the host upon death. Siphon it to where? I don’t know, but the note we found with Xanesha mentioned, “winging souls to Our Lord.” Nope, not good at all.
When we told Kaven all of this he didn’t seem want it on him anymore, but neither did he like the ideas being thrown around about flaying the flesh off his arm or melting it off with acid. I really can’t blame him there. Thankfully, Titus stepped in and said he could attempt an Erase spell coupled with Nuari’s Dispel Magic upon the morning. Let’s hope that works. For Kaven’s sake…
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:13 pm

Neth the 24th, 4710

Still raining.

Never thought I’d say that I miss the inn at Turtleback Ferry, but I don’t think all this sleeping in the constant dampness is good for my…condition. My scars are becoming quite itchy and irritated. I’ve got to stop scratching!

Since the rangers were too weak to travel yesterday, we opted to stay in our little hiding spot just inside the forest to give them a little more rest before we started on our way. They filled us in as much as they could on Fort Rannick, but there wasn’t a lot they could add to what we were told earlier. They were among a group of rangers that had gone out on their usual patrols down to Turtleback Ferry, and when they returned they found the fort overrun by ogres.

Unfortunately they weren’t able to find any survivors that might have escaped and it was in the forest searching that they were ambushed by the Gruuls and captured. All in all the Black Arrow rangers have had a few terribly bad weeks!

Titus and I spent the rest of last evening doing some crafting. After watching him work on Zerye’s cloak, memories of doing similar work of my own came flooding back to me! So when it was decided that we’d next be working on a magical headband for Nuari, I asked to do some of the physical creation as well. My fingers…fingers that apparently know more than what my scant wakened memories tell me, moved adeptly as from muscle memory (though they be entirely new muscles). I’ve apparently done this sort of thing before! Titus was as surprised as I was and gave the project to me entirely while he took up work on a Wand of Mage Armor. That will certainly come in handy for all of us.

After everyone was up and around Titus and Nuari started working on the white-faced Kaven. The man was still mighty concerned about the possible flaying if Plan A didn’t work. Fortunately for all parties involved, they were able, through a combination of Dispel Magic and Erase, to permanently remove the ranger’s tattoo.

Then there came an interesting development… Apparently Zerye had kept the face of one of the dead rangers from the skin shucking room with the intent of bringing him back to life! Reincarnation more precisely. This is an avenue I’d not considered before. She says that she only needs part of the body to make use of this magic, so if my brain remains in tact…

Something to ponder.

In order to cast the spell, she needed to procure some oil for the ceremony, so taking the form of an air elemental, Zerye flew off to meet us later on the road.

We knew we had to do something about Fort Rannick. Lucretia mentioned the stronghold in her note to Xanesha, saying that it stood in the way of her plans, but not for much longer… Even if she is not there herself, perhaps there is something or someone there that could lead us to her so we might get to the bottom of these seven star tattoos and their soul siphoning properties. Not to diminish their own interests, the rangers too were eager to meet out some justice to those monsters that killed their friends.

It will take us about a day and a half of travel to get to the fort, so we started out today and are camping along the road. That way we’ll arrive at Fort Rannick about mid-day which would give us some time to see exactly what is going on there and how we might get rid of the ogres.

Zerye returned to us this evening with the required material components and was able to successfully reincarnate the ranger! However…he came back as a halfling. I’m not sure how he felt about everything…the whole transition and all. I mean considering one moment he’s being tortured and then and ‘shucked’ and eaten by ogrekin and the next he wakes up as a halfling? It’s no wonder he’s been quiet. He’s got some issues to work through I’m sure.

Don’t we all…

We stopped a little before nightfall and moved a short distance from the road to camp, which gives Titus and I a little more time to work on our magical projects tonight.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:42 pm

Neth the 25th, 4710

Still raining.

We slogged through the mud, taking turns on the horses for half a day before reaching the edge of a large clearing and getting our first glimpse of Fort Rannick.

It is a massive structure, not Irespan massive, but certainly imposing as it seems to jut out of the rocky cliff like a fist of stone. Even more imposing knowing that there is only nine of us against who knows how many ogres. From this distance we can’t see much aside from occasional movement on the watchtowers. My hopes that they’d gotten bored and abandoned the place were immediately crushed…

Zerye shaped changed into a little air elemental and I cast invisibility on her so she could most safely explore the keep and report back. Meanwhile, the rest of us waited and started to discuss how we could liberate fort. In the mud, Jakardros drew us a crude map detailing the area.



Fort Rannick is built into an alcove within the cliff face. A river spills over the cliff at the southern edge of the curtain wall and then runs around the keep forming a sort of natural moat, which can be crossed at two points. A southern bridge and an eastern bridge. There are two main entrances into the keep. The southern gate is closed currently and has taken apparently no damage, while the eastern gate has been crushed completely. This must be the point of entry for the ogres.

There had to be something else though… A secret entrance or emergency exit if things went bad at the fort. Jakardros confirmed this. Aside from the sluice gate, which leads to the main courtyard, there is a secret entrance hidden behind the waterfall that makes its exit near the inner keep itself. That was good news! This hidden entrance might be our best hope of getting in without being noticed.

When Zerye returned, she was able to report finding roughly thirty ogres…and that was without being able to check out the whole keep! We’re definitely going to need some good teamwork here to make this happen without casualties.

Inside the curtain wall are a number of structures. The ‘new’ barracks which houses many of the ogres, the cook house with a particularly nasty looking (if I’ve deciphered the druid’s speech correctly) ogre chef, a crumbling watchtower which would be easily collapsed, with three or four ogres on guard, and a stables. There is also a staircase up the side of the cliff, which Jakardros explained led to the now defunct aerie. The entrance to the staircase has recently been blocked up with rubble.

The keep is a two-story structure with a tower, but Zerye wasn’t able to gain access to all the levels. There were however a couple of windows in the tower…

Jakardros suggested that he and his remaining Black Arrow companions act as a distraction, leading a large number of the ogres away from the fort while we deal with those left behind. These rangers have dealt with ogres all their careers, and if they say that ogres are stupidly hostile and will take that bait en force, then I believe them! This would, of course put them in a great deal of danger, but the steel in their eyes tells me they wouldn’t think twice about taking that chance in order to retake their fort.

We are also discussing using the confusion to kill a number of them before retreating to the secret tunnels that Jakardros told us about. He’s sure the ogres wouldn’t have found it and it’s too small for them to travel through without squeezing.

As it neared dusk, I cast Invisibility on Skookumchuk so he could go check out the secret caverns. When he returned later he was able to report that they were clear in spite of warnings by the rangers of the potential presence of shock lizards. They may be worth exploring again with the whole group before our assault.

Thinking there had to be some sort of leader of these ogres in the keep, or perhaps even Lucretia herself, Zerye volunteered to turn into an elemental again and peek around in the tower through the windows. Inside, she saw him…or what we can only assume is their leader, a huge, hulking brute of an ogre sitting in the middle of one of the topmost rooms in the tower.

Yep, this just keeps getting more and more interesting…
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

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