Lanterns in the Mist

A Death In The Family

Devastating betrayal results in a heartbreaking decision in Caliphas.

Friday, September 12th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Jean-Baptiste spends the night at the Ventriloquist’s Pulpit with a self-centered arrogant kid, Hammond, the other neophyte acolyte of the Palatine Eye. Hammond is not someone who Jean-Baptiste really connects with, but there are lots of resources and books to pass the time. In the morning, he leaves and goes to get a celebratory drink. It takes him a while to find a tavern that is still serving at this hour of the morning. When he arrives at the Lorrimor Townhouse, Jominda serves him some tea. He goes up to his room to sleep, and he has a very restful sleep.

As he’s heading out the door, he hears Victor call out to him. He hands him a small leather bag, with some lunch for him and Lydia. He goes to see Lydia at the University. She is out in the yard, and he sits on the lawn and they eat croque monsieurs and fruit. They talk about Illindri. Lydia has only seen Illindri lucid once. Jean-Baptiste agrees to meet her at 5 pm and they will have drinks before dinner. He returns to the townhouse. There are several people in the kitchen. Victor has some help in the kitchen. Jean-Baptiste goes up to the lab. Gregore is on the fourth level balcony whittling. He is starting to carve a wand. He’s trying to create wands the hold curative spells. Jean-Baptiste stays and watches Gregore prepare the wand. At five o’clock, he goes to pick up Lydia at the University. They take a carriage back to the townhouse. They get a bottle of wine and take a ride around Lepidstadt.

Katarzyna goes and orders her clothes for the Palatine Eye at Leomund’s Fine Garb. She gives the Akiri password to Leomund. He takes her into a secret room where she meets a man named Rogier. They get up to the room, and the man gives Katarzyna’s Palatine Eye name in Akiri to the man in the room, Rogier. A young female servant also attends them. Katarzyna disrobes and takes the robe offered. The man shows her several swatches, which are much more colorful than Katarzyna is accustomed to wearing. She orders two sets of clothing and some jewelry. She promises to have lunch with Rogier at some point. The vestments will be finished within a week. She returns to the townhouse and reads some more in the Journal of the Pallid Seer (two hours of reading). This chapter talks about the Ghost Dancer. She then bathes and prepares for dinner. She is distracted thinking about the book as she dresses for dinner.

Kendra looks through the items that she brought back from Ravengro. She looks through a journal that details a vampire in Darkon, and how Professor Lorrimor killed the vampire. She also looks for items that might help her keep her guns from falling if she drops them. She talks to several craftsmen, but doesn’t find anything suitable.

In the evening, at sunset, they all convene together for dinner. There are live musicians setting up adjacent to the back terrace. Jean-Baptiste speculates that Gregore wants to propose to Jominda, but Gregore tells him that it is not the case. They all have wine before dinner. There are several courses, and all are quite good.

After the last course, Gregore stands up and gives a toast. He gives a lovely toast. He announces that Jominda is pregnant. Everyone has a good time. Katarzyna and Lydia get especially tipsy. Servants take Katarzyna up to her room at the end of the night. She has nightmares, to her consternation.

Saturday, September 13th, 758, Lepidstadt and Thrushmoor, Ustalav

Lepidstadt: Jean-Baptiste awakens early in the morning by Lyrine. He tips her 5 gold. Katarzyna is brought tea by Elly, the servant from the previous day. The tea is Jominda’s special recipe. Katarzyna prepares her spells.

Servants call them down for breakfast. Everyone gathers in the dining room for breakfast. Jean-Baptiste and Gregore are reluctant to leave, so they decide to leave in the evening. Katarzyna takes the opportunity to read some more in her book. She reads about the Pallid Seer helping a Dr. Ilhousen, who is from Nova Vaasa. The Pallid Seer runs a clinic for the mentally distressed in Egertus, Nova Vaasa.

Jean-Baptiste spends the day with Lydia, and they have a picnic out near a lake. They decide that they will be ‘exclusive’. Gregore and Jominda also spend the day together.

When they are all ready, they Teleport to Thrushmoor.

Thrushmoor: They arrive in Ostovach’s room in the inn. They go downstairs to the common room, where they find Ostovach and Abner in conversation. They have a friendly reunion.
Kendra seems someone less than pleased to see Abner. They had stocked the vardo for the journey. Katarzyna climbs in the vardo. They all say their goodbyes to the rather taciturn stablemaster.

They head out from Thrushmoor. While they’re riding, Jean-Baptiste talks to Abner and Ostovach. Katarzyna talks with Gregore in the vardo about the Dream Journal of the Pallid Seer. Ostovach tells Jean-Baptiste that he felt like the dark-skinned woman from the estate was watching him and Abner. He also asks about Jean-Baptiste’s lady friend.

Four hours into their trip, they see a wagon pass coming from the other direction. The man in the wagon greets them somberly. Jean-Baptiste gives the man money, over his objections.

They make camp. Ostovach goes foraging. Abner browbeats Katazyna into helping set up camp. Ostovach’s horse, Wilhelmina, grabs the reins of Shadowmare, Jean-Baptiste’s horse.
Abruptly, Wilhelmina leaves the clearing, and before long Ostovach and Wilhelmina return with venison. Abner cooks some venison steaks.

During Jean-Baptiste and Abner’s watch, they hear a noise. It was like a slight clinking of a chain. Jean-Baptiste taps Kendra awake. Then he wakes up Ostovach. As he does so, he sees five short creatures leaping out of the darkness carrying scythes. They are wearing red woolen caps. Four of them swarm over Abner. Abner is knocked unconscious immediately. One of the creatures dips his red cap in Abner’s blood. Abner throws an axe at one of them. It doesn’t seem to have much effect, though it does hit. Gregore pulses, and brinks Abner back from the brink of death. Wilhelmina attacks one of the redcaps. One of the redcaps attacks Ostovach. Another attacks Wilhelmina, but misses her. A third attacks Abner. Katarzyna goes to the window of the vardo, and mentally asks Raziel (the nosoi) to see if it can do something. Raziel goes out and shrieks at one of the redcaps. It immediately runs way, and when the others see Raziel, they run away as well. Jean-Baptiste tries to attack one as it flees. Katarzyna is able to get another Magic Missile off on one as it flees. They all disappear into the forest.

Gregore goes over to Abner and casts some healing spells. He also heals Ostovach. Eventually they all fall back asleep.

Sunday, September 14th, 758, Thrushmoor, Ustalav to Caliphas, Ustalav

They all arise, and have eggs scrambled with venison cubes. Katarzyna saves some raw venison for Raziel. Katarzyna reads a bit in her book about Lamordia. About three hours later, they arrive in Vauntil. The town marks the boundary of lowlands and coastal bluffs. It overlooks the Raitiso River. The town is full of beautiful flowers and there are cafes and the like. There is also a winery. There is a ferry that crosses the Raitiso River, and Kendra greets the ferryman. He says that they have a forty-five minute wait until they can leave. Vauntil is the last town in Versex before they cross into Caliphas county. They have a lite luncheon at a cafe while they wait. It is a wonderful place. Katarzyna buys some flowers from an adorable little girl named Laura. Jean-Baptiste goes to the general store to buy apples for their horses. The shopkeeper comments on Jean-Baptiste’s Lozeri accent. Katarzyna is very disappointed that she can’t take the wine tour in Vauntil.

They return to their horses and the vardo. Ostovach gives Katarzyna some chocolate. They go to the ferry dock. They get a table on the top deck of the ferry. The crossing doesn’t take long, and they are in Caliphas County. In the vardo, Katarzyna eats scones and chocolate and reads more of her Lamordia book. In Caliphas, the mist rolls in. There is a dark shape on the road ahead. As the rider comes into view, they see that the rider has no head. Kendra asks “where’s your head”. Stepping out from behind the horse, are several sickly, mangy dogs. The headless horseman tells them that he has a missive for them. “Abandon your cause, and turn over the mace, and begone and you shall live.” Jean-Baptiste trades verbal ripostes with the creature, who gives his name as Barliss Rask. Katarzyna can tell that the situation is going south, so she casts some spells on herself and Gregore. Ostovach says the creature is a dullahan. Katarzyna knows that it can call for a person’s death, and can heal itself.

It comes down to a fight. The dullahan tries to attack Kendra with a spell, but she shrugs it off. Katarzyna Spider Climbs onto the top of the vardo. Gregore sends out a powerful blast of Mist energy, hitting the enemy with a powerful attack, but it seems to avoid most of the damage. Ostovach charges on Wilhelmina toward the dullahan. The creature attacks Ostovach as he charges past. Abner attacks one of the undead dogs as it attacks him. Abner is immediately paralyzed by the creature. The other ghoul dog runs at Jean-Baptiste’s horse. It knocks her out cold, but Jean-Baptiste manages to roll free as she goes down. Katarzyna hits the ghoul dog with a lightning bolt, but it attacks Jean-Baptiste and almost paralyzes him. The dullahan attacks Ostovach, doing grievous damage. The second ghoul dog attacks Abner, but even though Abner is prone, it misses him. Gregore attacks the ghoul dog threatening Jean-Baptiste with the raven’s head mace. When he hits the ghoul dog, there is a loud thump, and it shudders and slumps to the ground. Ostovach attacks the dullahan again. The remaining ghoul dog runs over to Gregore and attacks him, but he doesn’t manage to paralyze him either. Kendra shoots at the dullahan. The dullahan continues to attack Ostovach, and Ostovach attacks it back. The dullahan’s horse blows a sickly smoke at Ostovach and Wilhelmina, but it doesn’t have any effect on them. Kendra shoots at the dullahan. Katarzyna uses her Magic Missiles to whittle down the remaining ghoul dog. The dullhan hurls a skull at Ostovach, but it doesn’t seem to do anything. The ghoul dog bites at Gregore, but it doesn’t do much damage, and Katarzyna’s Magic Missile finally takes it out. Ostovach finally kills the dullhan, but its horse is still in a frenzy. Katarzyna hits it with a lightning bolt, but it’s Kendra’s Disrupt Undead that finally kills the creature.

Ostovach lends Wilhelmina’s help to Jean-Baptiste to track down Shadowmare, who ran off during the fight after being attacked by the ghoul dog, as well as the other horses that ran off (Regdar, Countess, and Duke). Before they leave, though, Jean-Baptiste gives him some healing. Katarzyna surveys the scene with Detect Magic. The dullahan’s magical items include a set of full plate mail armor [goes to Gregore], a flail [very evil looking, like a skeletal spine], an amulet [looks like a tribal fetish; done in the style of defense], a leather wrist bangle with a coin [the eyes are slivers of ioun stone embedded in the skull; the skull itself can spin inside the bauble, and if the grooves are aligned properly, they can set off stored spells within the object; bearer of the item can also use Message, Spectral Hand and Vampiric Touch spells; skull eyes glow in the presence of undead; a goodly person cannot carry the item without being damaged by it, but as soon as it’s let go, the level comes back], and a magical ring [ring of protection, weak]. Gregore is literally salivating over the dullahan’s armor. Jean-Baptiste notices that Ostovach seems fatigued from the fight, so he gives him an infusion to boost his morale.

The rest of the ride into Caliphas is much less eventful. The countryside is lush and green. There is a small hamlet called Crossley, mostly a farm and vineyard community. A short while later, they arrive at Caliphas city itself.

Once they are in Caliphas, Jean-Baptiste scouts out merchants to start unloading the trove of valuable items they’ve been collecting. On the way into town, he sees some craftsmen making chairs. Abner and Katarzyna go into a tailor shop. After that, they go to the Crown and Carriage Livery Yard 2 where they seek to park the vardo and the horses. The service is quite extensive. Ostovach assures Katarzyna that the books will be safe in the vardo. They then go into the inn near the stables, the Coast Road Inn 74. It is large and spacious. They all sit down and order wine and food. A young man offers them a newspaper for 5 coppers. They decide to go toward the Pattering Platypus in the Blackwood District, and end up at the Soul’s Easel Inn 86. Jean-Baptiste speaks with a woman working there, Elissa. After that, they continue wending through Caliphas on their way toward the Pattering Platypus. They go through Skane Gate 68. Skane is a Nova Vaasa word. There a lot of people in the purple and red livery of Ustalav. On the way through Eskcourt, they pass the School of Industry, where the exhibition of engines is to be held. They also pass Headquarters of the Caliphas Department of Constables and Investigators 4, at the corner of White Avenue and Shaw Street. Across the street is the White Way Tavern and Club 83. Just beyond is Howell and McComb, Esquire, barristers at law 98. A robust smell emanates from Farasian Nectar 88 where well-dressed people drink coffee. They decide to sit for a few moments. The proprieter is Abdul Ibn Masheed.

After their coffee, they walk over to Eskcourt Gallery. They pass right by it. They also pass Fazir’s, a druggist/apothecary/alchemist 40. They eventually get to the bridgegate leaving Eskcourt. They pass the Capital Glassworks 76. There is darkness in the sky from all the factories across the water. This area outside the curtain wall is known as Leland. Near the bridge is Madame Rousseau’s Silver Stocking, it has two doors. Jean-Baptiste goes in, and discovers that it is a bordello/gentleman’s club. The other door is a lingerie shop. The walk slightly northeast of the Quarterfaux Archives Museum. Before they turn east on the bridge, they see Ilden’s Curios and Arcane House. They also see the Mists and Dreams Tea Room 11. The Vudrani maidservant brings them tea. Jean-Baptiste notices the telltale sent of pesh on the woman. He also notices that the tea is not genuine Akiri tea, but rather a mix of various other teas. They also find the Angelic Imp, one of the establishments mentioned in the Caliphas Cryer. Kendra notices that the building used to be a temple dedicated to Lathander, the Morning Lord. The Angelic Imp is closed.

They go across the bridge into the Blackwood District. The first thing they see is the Blackwood Corner Shop. Across the way is Caliphvaso School for Girls 56. Just south of that is Blackwood Academy 55. They take the small street between the two academies, and find Blackwood Language Academy. Turning south they find the Pattering Platypus 104.

They go into the Pattering Platypus. The owner, Titus, says he is from Australia. The serving woman, who hails from Redhaven, which is different from Australia. Redhaven is from a land called Ozakka. Jean-Baptiste asks her about Oaxaca. Her name is Tamilia. She says she hopes that they stay for her show that evening. They order the exotic foods of Australia, including something called hamburgers with fried potatoes in stick shapes, served with four dipping sauces. While they dine, Tamilia plays the lute and sings for them. The group sits and eats and talks about the various realms. They know that Redhaven is part of Oaxaca, and that Australia, Scotland and the England Empire are part of Earth. After most of the clientele leave, they talk with Titus about Australia. They also talk with a woman named Devon. She tells them that she is from a place called Faerûn. Faerûn is a continent called Toril. Devon tells Katarzyna that Ravenloft is a demiplane. Devon says that the truth of Ravenloft is suppressed by the Cargatane. She says that the demiplane of Ravenloft is also known as the Demiplane of Dread.

As they are walking home, Jean-Baptiste gets nervous, and they hear footsteps behind them. He asks Katarzyna to teleport them back to the inn, and she does so.

Monday, September 15th, 758, Caliphas, Ustalav

They all sleep later than usual. Katarzyna wakes before Jean-Baptiste. They spend most of the day selling the items. They see a magic firearm. They sell everything and put their money in the bank.

Katarzyna goes in the Maiden’s Choir, the cathedral of Pharasma in Caliphas. Raziel tells her that Gregore should not take the mace into the temple. Raziel tells her that the reliquary of the altar contains rare relics important to the church of Pharasma, but some of the items rumored to be contained therein are in fact not present.

After spending most of the day shopping, Katarzyna discovers Haraday Theater is in North Cushing just off Cushing Street. Silver Road leads west. They find Simon’s Dinner Theater 102, the Bull & The Bear 103, Still Steward Orphanage 37, disused and dilapidated building called Haraday Theater 3, Thomas Magore Arms & Armors 94, a watch station 72, and Ustalav Thespian’s Guild 108. They walk along the bay and find the Hound’s Tooth 7, West Cushing General Store 92, the Widow’s Boudoir 44. Kendra goes into the Widow’s Boudoir. They also find the Tower Janoglu, a military outpost with a small lighthouse 64. They go inside the tower and Wrynhyde Greens Inn and Lawn Club 66. Going further down the barrier peninsula, they see a cache of debris 24 and a little boy poking among the debris. They talk to the boy, and Jean-Baptiste gives him a gold piece. The boy says his name is Malcolm. Gregore also kneels down in front of him. Malcolm is clearly afraid of him somewhat. Gregore calms him and heals him of his diseases and wounds. Katarzyna cleans his garments with Prestidigitation. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna give him coin. Then they head toward Castle Golbanz 25. They walk down to the Reaping Rock 26 and the wreck of the Trackless 28 and the Silver Star 27. They can see Castle Borgothi 21 across the strait that opens into the harbor of Caliphas.

They take a boat from Castle Golbanz back to Eskcourt. The boat captain tells them all that 17 is Traitor’s Drop, a spot where bodies were dumped in the past. Back in Eskcourt, they go past an amazing hotel called The Majesty 13. Across from there is Restoration Park 14 and Castle Strieth 15. They then walk to Palace of Voices 10. A young bard named Paolo Caramizta tries to charm Katarzyna into coming back for an ‘audition’ that evening at 10 o’clock. After he leaves, Gregore, Jean-Baptiste, and Ostovach clue her in that he was just trying to sleep with her. She is very annoyed by this.

They also pass the Caliphas City Hall 33, the Mayor’s House 34, Caliphas Courts 35 and Ornislovna Clock Tower 36. They also see the Caliphas Cryer office 99. Fergolin’s Fine Firearms 110 is an establishment that they pass. They see a gnome sitting at a desk. Jean-Baptiste raps on the door, and he comes outside in his stocking feet with his pipe. Jean-Baptiste talks with the gnome about gunsmithing. The gnome’s name is Gonnic Fergolin. They compare their gunsmithing work, and Gonnic’s coat pistol is especially ornate.

They then wander down to Dawn’s Requiem 29. Abner and Kendra go off together to another place for some time alone, and Gregore returns to their inn. So it is only Jean-Baptiste, Ostovach and Katarzyna go into Dawn’s Requiem. Jean-Baptiste pays the bouncer to let them in, and a woman paints henna on their hands. One woman comes up to Katarzyna and says ‘love your bird’, referring to Raziel. Some of the people are wearing inverted symbols of Pharasma. Raziel is not amused.

The serving girl brings a rare wine for Katarzyna and a fancy whiskey for Jean-Baptiste. At some point, a person says they are invited to join someone. The woman inviting them over is Evgenya Zunaida. She is able to see through Katarzyna’s Hat of Disguise. They speak at length. The bar mistress brings them a new bottle of wine.

They all go back to the inn, and have dinner. Jean-Baptiste asks Katarzyna to watch her while he sleeps.

Tuesday, September 16th, 758, Caliphas, Ustalav

In the morning, Gregore pounds frantically on Jean-Baptiste’s and Katarzyna’s doors, and tells them that the mace is gone. He went to sleep with it, and awoke to find it gone.
 
The group goes through what they know regarding the theft; the mace was stolen, no sign of entry, Gregore was not killed, and the church of Pharasma was not at fault (at least according to Raziel).

Once everyone gets their bearings, they decide that they will try mundane and then magical methods to ascertain who the thief was. Kendra uses her Third Eye to investigate the area. She notices that Gregore’s jewels and coins are on the bedside table and that they were not taken. Next she gains insight into the powerful emotions and other strong disturbances to the area’s ethereal resonance. Kendra senses the previous presence of the Raven’s Head relic. She can feel the strong emotions of faith which the group decides belongs to Gregore as well as guilt and sorrow. They also believe those were Gregore’s feelings given how much he has said he is at fault. To a lesser extent she senses fear and betrayal. Kendra keys in on betrayal but the group believes that was also Gregore’s misguided self-recrimination.
Meanwhile the rest of the group goes off to study their spells or alchemical formulae. They decide that Ostovach will use his Bloodhound ability to see if he can track the scent of the criminal and Gregore will cast Communion to speak with Ezra. Ostovach finishes his devotions early and goes to get them breakfast. Jean-Baptiste investigates the scene and he is able to discern that the window was not used to enter or exit the premises. Katarzyna detects magical auras, but finds none of any note except for a powerful new aura on Abner’s person. Abner has a new dagger the group was not aware of. When Katarzyna questions him about it, he says he traded away his razors, short sword, and much of his share of the coin they had recently received. They do notice that he does not have any of the old items on him. Katarzyna asks to see the dagger but in typical colorful Abner fashion he refuses. Before he puts it away though she senses an aura of Necromancy in the dagger. Jean Baptiste asked Abner if he were stealing the Raven’s Head how would he do it. Abner runs through a scenario.
 
They talk about how to discover the location of the object and who could have perpetrated such a thing, since it would have to be someone who wanted the mace but was not an enemy enough to kill Gregore in his sleep as the Whispering Way surely would have. Jean Baptiste says that no one they know is above suspicion including lovers and patrons. Katarzyna says “or even any of us”. With a momentary hesitation of surprise Jean Baptiste agrees and Katarzyna asks Gregore if he has any truth spells he could use to clear the people in the room. He says he does but that since he is casting it he could not be cleared. Osotvach is seen to be sweating a bit and moves closer to the door hand clenched around his sword. Jean-Baptiste can’t decide if it is to protect the exit or get ready for a hasty retreat, but just in case he closes the door. The question that Gregore asks is “Did you or did you not have someone take the Raven’s Head mace from my room?” In order Katarzyna, Kendra, and Jean Baptiste are cleared. Abner is asked and mocks the question as ridiculous and says “what do you think?” Jean-Baptiste demands he answer the question and begins intense scrutiny of Abner’s body language and mannerisms. Abner says “No, I did not steal the Raven’s Head”. Both Gregore’s spell and Jean Baptistes scrutiny reveal the statement as a lie.

As soon as the spell reveals Abner is the thief, he goes on the defensive pulling the new dagger and a previously unseen straight razor. Before he can stop her Katarzyna casts Blindness on him. He drops the razor and hurls another dagger from his belt at Katarzyna, but misses badly due to the sudden loss of sight. This leaves him only armed with the new dagger, but they notice that his empty hand and the lower parts of his legs begin to become black and shadowy. Abner begins slowly backing up and verbally alternating between excuses and threats. The party is hesitant to move in even with Abner being blind due to his fighting ability. Jean-Baptiste decides to try and end the standoff and shoots Abner’s dagger out of his hand to disarm him. The dagger clangs to the floor after the loud report of the pistol.

Abner sighs heavily and slumps down on the window sill, his body returning to its original color. Not taking any chances on Abner plunging through the window Katarzyna uses a Web Bolt on him. She then grabs the artifact dagger, and immediately discovers that it’s cursed; she is wracked with intense pain down to her soul. She quickly flings it away.

Jean-Baptiste, Gregore and Katarzyna grill Abner at length. Ostovach mainly watches the situation, and Kendra just shakes her head in disbelief. Abner admits that he stole the mace and gave it to the whispering Way. The group is aghast that he would take it and give it to their most hated enemy given what the Whispering Way is trying to do with it. Abner insists that he did it to protect Kendra. He said the Whispering Way promised to never target Kendra with assassination.  Kendra is almost made ill by the statement and screams at Abner that living while all her friends die is not anything that she would ever have wanted. Abner also reveals that the Whispering Way gave him 5000 marks, 5000 marks worth of gems, and the cursed dagger as payment. They ask when the Whispering Way made contact and he says while the group was away in Lepidstadt and he was alone in Thrushmoor.
 
They hear a pounding on the door, and the City Guard calls out to them, responding to the report of the gunshot. Katarzyna, fuming, immediately Dimension Doors back to her room. Jean-Baptiste then opens the door. He speaks with the City Guard, they notice the webbed man on the window and tense up. They tell everyone to stay put and call for a detective. Katarzyna goes back to the room where everyone else is and speaks with the City Guard briefly before he leaves. 
 
A plainclothes detective arrives. He is someone that Jean-Baptiste knows, an inspector James MacMillan, whom Jean Baptiste went to academy with. They speak at length. Jean-Baptiste tells him about the Raven’s Head mace, but does not want to prosecute Abner for stealing it so that the group can handle it. MacMillan is disturbed by everything. He leaves but insists the dagger should go with him. He also mentions that should this become known it will all be out of his hands as the Church of Pharasma holds much power and that even he could be in trouble for this. He asks them to tread lightly and carefully.
 
The group begins to think about what to do next; how to find the mace and what to do with Abner. Voices call out for retribution, forgiveness, imprisonment, and more, but emotions are highly charged as the group turns on each other a bit. Kendra says she will not leave Abner so that she can make sure he doesn’t escape. Katarzyna questions whether Kendra is objective enough to watch Abner or whether he will manipulate her. Ostovach fearing for the group’s cohesion tells Katarzyna to trust her teammates but the stress is even getting to Ostovach, and his call for calm cohesion comes off as a snappish admonishment.
 
Katarzyna is extremely upset at Abner’s betrayal, as is Gregore. Katarzyna abruptly leaves the room via Dimension Door again, then Teleports from her room back to Lepidstadt to inform Judge Daramid of Abner’s betrayal. Jean-Baptiste goes down to the common room to get drunk, eventually Gregore joins him. Gregore is stunned that someone he thought he knew well could betray the group so completely. Upstairs, Ostovach has begun a vigil to watch Abner and make sure he does not escape, but everyone notices the barely contained rage Ostovach is holding in. Abner, true to form, takes no small amount of pleasure in Ostovach’s discomfiture. Kendra swings between anger and sadness like a pendulum, goaded and implored in turn by Abner.
 
In Lepidstadt, Katarzyna speaks with Lydia and Judge Daramid. Daramid gives Katarzyna a note of official custody of Abner, and some magical manacles to keep him in check. Katarzyna contritely takes her leave, solemnly vowing to retrieve the mace or die in the attempt.
 
Jean-Baptiste and Gregore in their cups decide to look through all of Abner’s belonging for clues, suspicious items or anything else that might help locate the Raven’s Head. They see a great deal of coin and some gems. One of the gems is magic, a diamond. Research reveals that the diamond is a scrying focus gem. Someone on the other end can hear or see anything near it. They inquire where Abner got it, and he said it was prepayment for stealing the mace and that he had it since Thrushmoor. Jean Baptiste makes a deal with the hotel’s owners to put it in an iron pot inside of the hotel security chest.
 
Katarzyna Teleports back to her room at the inn in Caliphas, and immediately walks across the hall and places the magical manacles on Abner without a word to him or Ostovach. She then hands the papers of custody to Jean-Baptiste, and says “you should read these” and returns to her room without another word to anyone.

Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Gregore return to the room to question Abner. Abner is insouciant and defiant. They don’t learn anything important questioning him. Abner informs them that other than Kendra, he doesn’t care about any of them and he did it all for the coin.

Later, Abner and Kendra talk while Ostovach watches warily. They share a bit of a tender moment, and Ostovach’s expression darkens. Sensing possible trouble, Ostovach knocks on Katarzyna’s door soon after, and asks if she will help watch Abner whenever he needs to leave, because contrary to what he said earlier he now believes Kendra indeed may be susceptible to Abner’s manipulations, and Katarzyna agrees to help. 

Upon Ostovach’s return and sensing his anger, Abner ridicules him mercilessly as the conflict between the two of them finally comes to a head. Kendra asks Abner to stop and for a time, he complies. He then tries to persuade Kendra to come away with him, where they can forget all the tribulations with the Whispering Way and be happy, without Ostovach and the others driving a wedge between them as they have lately. Abner asks Kendra if all is lost between them, and she tearfully says she doesn’t know, but doesn’t think there is anything Abner can do to make things right. Jean-Baptiste joins in the vigil and witnesses at one point where Ostovach goes to speak with Abner. Jean-Baptiste cannot understand what is said but can tell that Abner responds in a mocking tone and Ostovach punches the wall next to Abner’s head, followed by Abner chuckling at Ostovach.
 
At one point, Katarzyna goes to reassure Gregore. She tells him that he is not to blame for the loss of the mace, that only Abner is to blame. Though her words are warm, her demeanor is cold, as it has been since Abner’s duplicity came to light. Gregore does not seem consoled, but he murmurs in response as Katarzyna takes her leave.
 
Later, they all meet to discuss what they will ultimately do with Abner. Jean-Baptiste puts Abner to sleep with an infusion so that he won’t overhear their conversation. They decide that Abner probably will not help them recover the mace, or that he won’t be able to. They discuss locking him up, but they all know how easily Abner can escape most situations. Finally, Ostovach and Jean Baptiste tentatively and regretfully suggest executing Abner. Jean-Baptiste explains the likelihood that with nowhere else to turn, Abner will be very susceptible to being seduced by the Whispering Way. Abner, he argues, knows the secrets of all of his teammates; the people they love and where to find them. Ostovach continues that it is only a small step from love to deadly obsession in regards to how Abner feels about Kendra. He further mentions that the Whispering Way have vast resources at their disposal and could help Abner break out of any prison if Abner wasn’t able to break out by himself. One by one, Gregore, Katarzyana and Kendra reluctantly agree. Gregore’s expression is unreadable, and Katarzyna’s voice is flat and cold. In Kendra’s despair her assent is barely audible, her eyes glassy with tears.

In the ensuing discussion, they determine that there must be no body left. Not only for the sake of evidence, but to keep the Whispering Way from being able to question Abner’s corpse. After a somewhat grisly visceral method is brought up by Ostovach, Katarzyna suggests the use of a new spell that she believes will kill and consume the entire body. They agree to use the new spell.

After a few minutes of preparation, Katarzyna Teleports herself, Ostovach, Jean-Baptiste, and the still sleeping Abner to a point outside of town on the road that Katarzyna is familiar with. They startle some travelers on the road with their sudden appearance but Jean-Baptiste is able to bluff their way out of a serious confrontation, claiming that their sleeping friend is merely drunk. After the travelers move off, they carry Abner’s sleeping body off the road toward the sea. When they find a draw from the cliffs down to the sea they stop. Jean-Baptiste removes the manacles, and he and Ostovach pensively regard Abner’s sleeping form. Katarzyna takes a moment to compose herself, then uses her Disintigrate spell for the first time, killing Abner outright and destroying his body completely. In a quiet, flat tone, Katarzyna informs Ostovach and Jean-Baptiste that it was the hardest thing she’s ever had to do.
 
After a few moments, Katarzyna, Ostovach, and Jean-Baptiste walk back to Caliphas, unable to Teleport due to Katarzyna’s trip to Lepidstadt earlier in the day. They arrive at the gate in the afternoon. They make their way back to their inn, and Katarzyna immediately informs Gregore that the deed is done. Kendra is very drunk when they return. Katarzyna retires to her room without a word to anyone else. She allows Raziel to comfort her somewhat, but she is very disturbed by the day’s events. 
 
Without informing the others, Jean-Baptiste goes out that afternoon disguised as Abner, and cashes out Abner’s accounts from the bank. He then takes the coin and adds it to the group’s common funds.
 
That night, each person in their own way grieves the loss of a former friend and comrade, and confronts the choices they made that brought them to this point.
 
Wednesday, September 16th, 758, Caliphas, Ustalav
 
During the night, Katarzyna has a nightmare about killing Abner. In the dream, Abner is how he was when they all first met in Ravengro. Unlike the scene under the cliffs of Caliphas, Abner is awake, and screams “no” as Katarzyna kills him. 
 
At 9 a.m., Ostovach knocks on their doors. They all go downstairs for a somber breakfast. Jean-Baptiste informs them of the previous day’s errand. They discuss the possibility of Jean-Baptiste trying to infiltrate the Whispering Way disguised as Abner. Kendra will try to locate the mace through ethereal resonance. Meanhwile, Raziel tries to look for magical auras by flying over the city.

Ultimately the three of them, Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Katarzyna stroll through town, looking for any sign of magical or ethereal attenuation. Kendra notices areas of ethereal resonance at the Widow’s Boudoir, an upscale villa on the outskirts of town, and a small stand of trees outside of town. They also see the site of the burning of the witch Oothi, a famous local bogeyman. They also see Vaj Morant Cemetery. There are mausoleums set into the stepped hillside, with ancient stones with the names worn away. There is a strong sense of despair coming from the Steel Steward Orphanage. Kendra also notices a disturbing resonance at 67, a small island with a manor house on it. It is Suteflori Island, the home of one of Caliphas’ elite families. About a hundred years prior, a girl named Destiny Zazvirog, a young ballet ingenue, flooded the house with dangerous gases, killing everyone inside. The manor house has been haunted ever since. They also sense strange resonances elsewhere in town, as is to be expected in a town the size of Caliphas. 
 
In the industrial sector of town, they see a spectral form of a woman, with a dagger in her chest. The area is Ipston’s Cross, which is famous for a church called St. Ipston’s church. Kendra senses strong negative emotions from St. Ipston’s church. Also in this area they encounter a malnourished mastiff. Jean-Baptiste feeds it by painting a hunk of food with the paint set. The dog immediately takes to Jean-Baptiste, and follows him. 
 
They continue wending their way through the industrial, poor side of town. They meet some grimy children, who tell them about a very evil-feeling place called Brookman’s Alley where a haunt named Timmy will attack those who don’t know the correct hopscotch sequence. It is the site where a young boy Timmy was stoned to death by a pair of twin sisters named Yarri and Yevett while playing hopscotch. They abruptly find a seemingly abandoned bag of coins in plain view on the edge of a fountain near the docks. They do not figure out who left it or why. It has 207 marks in it. Jean-Baptiste decides to take it and add it to the party’s common funds.
 
In the mercantile district, they meet Madame Camille, who sells Jean-Baptiste a hat for Katarzyna, and forces a somewhat taciturn and humorless Katarzyna to smile, though it’s clear there is no real warmth behind it. 
 
They continue to investigate the impoverished part of town until dusk. They return to their hotel, and Gregore and Ostovach talk with them. They help Jean-Baptiste take care of the malnourished mastiff, Ostovach especially takes a liking to the pitiful creature. Katarzyna, Kendra and Jean-Baptiste then begin preparations for the evening. They had long planned to attend the performance at the Haraday Theater, and are loathe to miss the chance to make contact with the people there, in spite of the terrible loss they had just suffered.
 
At the Haraday Theater, they meet Abraun Chalest, who responds to Katarzyna’s Akiri greeting. He takes them up to his theater box, where they exchange pleasantries. They watch the show, “I, Strahd”, though it is unclear how much they able to really experience the performance. During the show, Abraun tells them to return the next day for a special meeting of “likeminded people”.

Comments

Siansonea

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.