Lanterns in the Mist

Lair of the Demon Serpent

The group confronts Xanesha in the Shadow Clock Tower of Lepidstadt

Sunday, July 6th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Kendra and Katarzyna are not at breakfast when the others come down. Abner is present, but distracted. Jean-Baptiste talks about the Nazeri Consortium, which could be a cover for a group called Anaphexia, a group of monks. They also talk about the sawmill, and Abner leaves to go upstairs, followed by Gregore. Abner knocks on Katarzyna’s door, and asks her where Kendra is. Katarzyna assures him that she is fine. Gregore notices a strange garment in Katarzyna’s room, but doesn’t remark on it. Katarzyna rises and gets ready for the day.

There is a meeting called, attended by Abner, Jean-Baptiste, Gregore, Katarzyna and Grewin. They talk about the sawmill, and the Nazeri. Before long, Kendra returns. Gregore, Grewin and Katarzyna are set to investigate the sawmill. Abner decides to stake out the sawmill. Kendra goes to her library, and messes about in her notes. Gregore decides to work his hypnosis with Illindri. Jominda tries to help, but the language upsets her. Kendra stops by and looks in on Illindri and Gregore. Gregore ushers Jominda out, and Kendra tells Gregore that the language Illindri is speaking is Abyssal. Gregore asks if it’s possible to understand what she’s saying, and Kendra tells him that Illindri’s speech references Abbadon, a plane associated with demonic beings. Kendra promises to do more research, since she doesn’t speak Abyssal. Kendra then goes up to take a nap. She does tell Gregore that Nazeri doesn’t really lead to their goal, but the sawmill is a solid lead. She confirms that the Beast is definitely the scapegoat for the murders, and probably for the theft of the Sea Sage Effigy. She promises to look for language research on Abyssal.

Katarzyna transcribes a ritual for Liza. She completes the transcription and gets ready for the investigation of the sawmill.

Grewin and Abner arrive at the sawmills on the river. The sawmill they are targeting is on the eastern bank of the river, the northernmost one. They observe the seemingly innocuous sawmill operations, the building itself sits on pilings over the river. There are three stories above the main mill. It strikes Grewin as odd that the mill has so many floors above the main floor. Grewin tries to take a closer look. Amelia is left with Abner. Grewin manages to sneak into the mill. He observes the operation of the mill for a half-hour, and then returns to Abner. After a while, Abner sends Grewin back to get the others.

As evening approaches, Gregore goes up to Kendra’s room and wakes her up. She gets ready for the evening’s investigation. She is looking rather disheveled. She greets Jominda and Gregore. They talk about the plan to investigate the sawmill. They also talk about daemons and demons. There are three classes of infernal beings. Tanar’ri are chaotic creatures. Baatezu are more organized and stratified, and they are more subtle and insidious in their actions. The third class is the daemon, or yugoloths. The yugoloths will associate with either Tanar’ri or Baatezu, and they are infamous for their double-dealing and their highly-specific contracts. The realm of the yugoloths is known as Hades or Abbadon. The four horsemen of the Apocalypse are associated with the yugoloths. The big trade in the Grey Waste is in souls. The four horsemen use many methods to collect souls, but there is one type of yugoloth/daemon known as the Arrow Daemon. They are the seducers of the yugoloths. They are not like a succubus, in that they prey on a person’s lust, they are more sinister in that they make a person fall completely in love with them. The arrow daemon uses the love as a means to an end, then crush them and create complete dispair and misery in the victim. Gregore asks if Illindri might be suffering from such a thing, but Kendra speculates that the daemon that was seen by Vistani was such a yugoloth, and that Illindri’s innate sense of self-preservation from the daemon is what caused her condition. She tells him about something she read in the works of Dr. Ilhausen. She talks about automatic writing, which Gregore recognizes as what Kendra was doing the previous day. Kendra can detach her conscious mind, and allow the spirits of the area to speak through her writing. Dr. Ilhausen’s work is similar, in which the subject is hypnotized and allowed to free-write. She also tells Gregore after some research, that the language of the Baatezu (Infernal) is related to the language of the yugoloths. The language of the yugoloths is highly situational and specific, and no mortal has ever mastered the language above a pretty basic level.

In the evening, Grewin has returned to the townhouse. Victor cooks dinner for everyone. It’s…edible. Kendra prepares a sandwich for Abner, that she wraps up to take with them. She also makes a sandwich for Grewin. They arrive at the bridge, and Grewin decides to lead them in an indirect way to the sawmill. They meet up with Abner, and it’s just turning toward dusk. They see a lot of people leaving, and even more people arriving at the mill. Katarzyna reconizes one of the “workers” entering the building, who is actually a half-elf known as Ironbriar, who is a judge in the Beast’s trial (the others are Ambrose Khard, the chief justice, and Embreth Daramid). Gregore and Katarzyna go to tell Judge Daramid about the sighting of Judge Ironbriar at the sawmill.

At judge Daramid’s house, Gregore tells her about Judge Ironbriar. She rings a bell, and calls for a wagon. She goes upstairs and dresses quickly. She returns and they head to her stable house. They ride to Justice Ambrose Khard’s home. It is an estate house, and they arrive at the common room. She notices Gregore’s scarab pin, and remarks on it. They are ushered inside, to the judge’s library and trophy room. There is a large gold scarab sculpture, and in the center of the back is a tiger’s eye. Ambrose comes down and greets Embreth. The judges confer in a corner of the room. Ambrose instills in them a need to bring in the judge alive, and with proof. Gregore asks where they should bring the prisoner.

They leave, and Judge Daramid drops Gregore and Katarzyna closer to the sawmill. They make their way back to Grewin, Kendra, Jean-Baptiste and Abner. They resolve to sneak up to the sawmill. Abner goes to bar one entrance from the outside, while they contemplate going in through the other doors. Kendra uses her divination to determine the history of the sawmill. Grewin is disconcerted by the appearance of Kendra’s “third eye”, to say the least. Kendra intones her incantations quietly. Kendra tenses suddenly, and then she pulls her hand away. She tells them that she has had a vision of pain tinged with evil glee. Katarzyna and Kendra cast Mage Armor on themselves as Gregore straps on his shield. Abner returns from barricading the other door, then they proceed toward the other entrance to the undermill. There is lots of noise down in this part of the complex.

Abner opens the door, and Grewin enters the sawmill. He instructs Amelia to protect Katarzyna. Gregore also enters. One of the workmen spots Gregore, and yells out to him. A scuffle ensues. Abner enters the fray. Grewin points to the razors on a table, which are the same as the one that Abner is carrying from Aldern Foxglove. Grewin and Gregore confront the people who come in to engage them. They’re dressed in red, wearing masks depicting a deformed face with a single bulbous eye. They attack, but they don’t do a lot of damage. They are all killed except for the one that Gregore had paralyzed with a Hold Person spell. That one is tied up and his items taken away. They all have holy symbols and masterwork battle razors. Grewin has Amelia guard the door at the top of the stairs. Kendra uses her divination, and is clearly disturbed by the masks the men were wearing. She tells them that the mask is similar to Aldern Foxglove’s, but has different properties. It gives the wearer the ability to cause fear in the target, and to see the blood coursing through people. It also attacks the psyche of the wearer, it fills them with a similar energy as is represented by Isphet. Gregore tosses Kendra a holy symbol, which turns out to be for the deity Apep. Gregore interrogates the captive. He admits that Ironbriar is on the premises, probably upstairs crafting love letters to his new mistress. He also asks about the framing of the Beast. The captive mentions a Lord Skinsaw. He also mentions Xanesha, an Akiri woman who is a priestess of Apophas. Xanesha seems to have enthralled Ironbriar. He tells that the murders are committed in a specific way, to serve Xanesha. He admits that they are the Skinsaw Men, and that they have been committing the murders, and that Lord Skinsaw requires the murders to destabilize the world and bring about a true chaos, where those that are strong will survive. Abner checks over the prisoner one last time, and then Gregore gags him. Abner binds the prisoner VERY well. They also decide to barricade the door that leads out of the basement. The captive tells Gregore that there are anywhere from eight to twelve others in the mill besides Ironbriar.

They leave the basement, and decide to work their way up the stairs. They briefly return to talk to the captive. Gregore asks if there are any people who aren’t followers of Apep/Apophas. He says that at night, all of them are followers. Gregore signals to Abner that all targets are fair game. Abner, Katarzyna and Grewin climb up through the chute, which takes them up past the ground floor and up to the first floor. Grewin also makes his way out. They overhear the people talking about Ironbriar and Xanesha. The cultists are working the lumber as they’re talking. Grewin sneaks around looking for the stairs down to the ground floor. He is caught, but he tries to fast talk his way past them. They escort him through a door on the north side of the room, and he sees an open room that is open to the loading area of the room. There is no one in the room. The guy unlocks the door to find Gregore waiting for him. Gregore slams into him, wounding him greatly on the first hit, and the guy steps back and casts a Mirror spell. Kendra rolls in with a cudgel and pummels the guy, but hits the false image. Grewin manages to finish the guy off. Abner stabs one of the guys upstairs. Abner attacks another one, and they flank Abner. They both get in serious hits and Katarzyna hears a hoot of glee from the attackers. Gregore, Grewin and Kendra roll in, and Gregore and Katarzyna take them out. Gregore sees that Abner is dying from the attacks , and so he starts working on creating a protective barrier while he gets to work saving Abner. Kendra shoots the attacker coming down the stairs, shooting his leg completely off. Katarzyna moves to the doorway, to get a look at the situation. Several of the clerics upstairs Pulse with negative energy, and Katarzyna casts a Web to keep everyone up there locked in place. This buys Gregore some time to work on Abner. Gregore is able to perform surgery on Abner with Kendra’s help. Judicious use of Pulse helps get Abner back up to health.

Katarzyna Spider Climbs up on the roof to check out the possibility of attacking from that direction. There is a rookery. There is ink and parchments. Clearly these are messenger birds. She looks around for roof access. She goes back down and tells the others about the layout. Abner comes up to the roof and manages to unlatch the trap door. Katarzyna goes back down to talk to the others, and they decide to block the rookery trap door from the outside, so that when the Web spell ends, no one can escape that way.

They wait for the spell to end, then Grewin casts his Stone Call spell. Katarzyna casts another Spider Climb on herself. The clerics upstairs hit them with their spells. They roll up to the second floor and engage Ironbriar and his minions. Kendra shoots at Ironbriar multiple times. Ironbriar raises one of the fallen clerics. During the battle, Grewin summons a dread dire badger. Ironbriar easily takes Katarzyna out of the fight with a Confusion spell. The badger attacks Grewin at one point, but doesn’t manage to hit him before Grewin sends him back. The fight goes well for the most part, and Abner takes him down finally, even though Abner has been seriously wounded in the fight. Ironbriar is not killed, so they subdue him and truss him up. Abner and Katarzyna check the other rooms on the level. Katarzyna finds nearly two dozen Skinsaw robes in a closet on the second floor.

Ironbriar is searched. He has a mithril shirt, a wand with magical aura, razor with magical aura, and a Reaper’s Mask with magical aura. The barrel on the second floor contains some magical items. There is a bowl with three potions [brown liquid, Barkskin +3], burlap sacks [300 gold crowns], a crystal decanter with obsidian stopper, and small wooden box containing three diamonds. The strongbox contains books, sea charts, maps, pamphlets, forgotten school of magic called Alchemyc. There is a leather bound book with red and green intertwined snakes, it turns out to be a spellbook. A beautifully filigreed tome, the Syrpents Tane: Fairy Tales of the Eldest, has beautiful illustrations that have a fey look them, but it’s somewhat disturbing. There is also a slim volume, a ledger, written in an amalgam of three languages. One of the languages is Baatezu, the others are Draconic and Elven, which Gregore doesn’t know. Kendra is the only one who can decipher the book.

Katarzyna goes up to the third/top floor, followed by Grewin and Gregore. It is a shop, with lots of sawdust and tools about. There are two tables, and a ragged man strapped to a crossed bar frame in the shape of an X. There are double doors at the end of the room, inside is a room with gruesome trophies made of human flesh, and a trap door in the ceiling that undoubtedly leads to the rookery above. They take the beggar down from the cross, and put Ironbriar on it in his place.

Kendra sits down and invokes her third eye. She takes 10 minutes and uses a ritual to learn additional facts about Ironbriar. She stands up at the end of the ritual, then grabs some implements and starts using her phrenology to examine Ironbriar. She determines that he is a cleric of Apophas of the 6th rank. He doesn’t care about law or chaos. He is 95 years old. She also determines that he is under the effects of a charm spell. The spell is at least as high level as what Katarzyna and Gregore can cast. Gregore successfully breaks the charm, then wakes up Ironbriar. Ironbriar is angry at Xanesha, a very attractive Akiri woman who is responsible for all the Skinsaw Murders in Courtaud and Lepidstadt. She was using the Brothers of the Seven to her ends. They confront Ironbriar about his activities. He tries to weasel his way out of it. Katarzyna manages to get him to tell them that Xanesha is in the Shadow Clock Tower. The Shadow Clock Tower is in the northwestern part of the city, on the street that leads to the Spiral Cromlech ruins. He mentions Xanesha’s friend Auren Vrood, a colleague of hers from Ravengro. They speculate that Xanesha and Auren Vrood have manipulated events. They take Ironbriar into custody and gather up all the evidence to bring back to the judges. Kendra is fixated on the revelation of Auren Vrood’s identity. They also take the other prisoner and the poor unfortunate vagrant with them, for incarceration and medical attention, respectively.

They return to the townhouse. Everybody is quite tired, but it takes a while for them all to wind down.

Monday, July 7th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

The next morning, they all awaken quite late. Victor is brought up to speed, and at 10 in the morning, a messenger arrives at the townhouse. He carries a missive from the High Court of Lepidstadt requesting their presence as soon as possible. Gregore manages to remove the curse on Abner. Kendra shows Grewin the Syrpent’s Tane book. It tells of the Tane, notorious twisted fey. The Jabberwock is one of the Tanes mentioned in the book. Grewin is intrigued by the book.

They take a carriage ride to the High Court of Lepidstadt. Farren is not there, but Ironbriar is, and they take their statements. The depositions last until about noon. Judge Daramind greets them and tells them that Dragos and Jean-Baptiste are helping in the investigation. She tells them that the Council will convene to discuss the case against the Beast, which will probably be dropped. She wants them to take care of Xanesha, she can’t spare any of her people.

Grewin, Kendra and Katarzyna grab lunch. They have tall steins of beer. They meet back up with Abner and Gregore at the townhouse.

They decide to head out the following day. Katarzyna and Grewin go to visit Liza. Katarzyna brings the transcribed ritual and Grewin brings the Syrpent’s Tane to show her. When they realize that it’s getting toward evening, they take their leave and return to the townhouse.

Abner and Kendra go to stake out Xanesha’s lair. The rest of them remain at the townhouse. Katarzyna and Grewin stay up later than they intended, having wine and playing cards and chatting about all sorts of things. Victor prepares them dinner, and it is AWFUL. Katarzyna successfully convinces Victor that she enjoyed the meal, but Grewin is not as convincing.

Tuesday, July 8th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

They are awakened early, and Katarzyna is fatigued. Victor makes them breakfast, and it is AWFUL. Katarzyna again convinces him that it is palatable, but Grewin and Gregore don’t bother to try to hide their distaste. They finish their preparations and get ready to assault the Shadow Clock Tower. The tower is 180 feet tall. Katarzyna casts Mage Armor. The Barkskin potions are doled out to Abner, Katarzyna and Grewin. They enter the clock tower. It is hollow on the inside, 65 feet square. They check out the bottom floor, and look for an entrance to some sort of subterranean structure. Gregore is looking for evidence of disturbed earth or other tracks. He finds that there has been quite a bit of foot traffic through the area. Gregore picks up the trail and follows it to the northeast. The path leads to a giant grotesque creature, that Katarzyna and Kendra identify as a lifespark flesh golem. It attacks Gregore. It is a HUGE creature. They keep it at bay, and Katarzyna uses her Elemental Aura to burn the creature. It slows it for a few rounds. Abner shoots it with Kendra’s guns. The group finally takes it down, but it’s a tough fight.

In the aftermath the battle with the flesh golem, they debate whether they should pursue Xanesha immediately, or wait until the following day. Gregore convinces the group that they should disengage, and return the next day. Kendra is most reluctant to leave, but she acquiesces. Abner remains behind to watch the tower, and asks that whoever comes to relieve him simply walk out in the street, and Abner will join them there. He asks that the person not seek him out.

Kendra suggests that they update Judge Daramid. Grewin and Gregore hear the sounds of wagons an what sounds like a lot of troops. They walk down the toad toward the center of town. They come across a militia with horses and wagons. The leader introduces himself as Lord Marshal Tarmand. He is tasked with cordoning off the clock tower, setting up a perimeter. Judge Daramid has asked that they stop by her house.

They arrive at Judge Daramid’s house, and they are told that she is at court. They head to the courthouse. They are shown inside, and they are ushered into the chambers with Daramid and an unknown judge, as well as a bound and gagged Ironbriar. The gag has runes on it. Judge Daramid tells them that Xanesha is a priestess, and is very powerful. She has creatures that work for her in the tower, some are shapeshifters. Ironbriar is under a geas of sorts, and he tells them that Xanesha is a minor sorceress. She purports to be a servant of Apep, but he believes that she serves another organization with its own aims and goals. In her true guise, she looks like a half-snake, half human hybrid. Kendra talks about an ancient civilization that has fallen away to the Mists, and the creature is known as a lamia. Ironbriar tells them about Xanesha’s abilities, and they are quite intimidated by the information. Xanesha is powerful almost beyond reckoning. Xanesha’s staff reminds Grewin of an ancient fey weapon, the strike causes utter despair upon all it touches. Gregore asks Ironbriar to describe Xanesha’s lair in the clock tower. There is a room with the bells, and a rookery, and above that is where “the angel” resides, and she does not stir from that area. Before they leave, Judge Daramid pulls Gregore aside and has a private conversation with him. Gregore then leaves for the Temple of Ezra as Kendra and Katarzyna go to do more research on Xanesha.

Gregore speaks with the Sentire of the Church of Ezra, telling her all about Xanesha and the threat she represents. The Sentire then tells Gregore that Dragos’ soul has been claimed by another, that he is lost to Ezra. Dragos is now a servant of Pharasma. Gregore also peruses the library, but doesn’t learn anything immediately useful from the books. He then returns to the townhouse.

At the townhouse, Kendra is doing her automatic writing. while Grewin is watching with consternation. Gregore tells Katarzyna about the books at the Temple of Ezra, and she tells him that they will go as soon as Kendra is done with her divination attempt. Kendra comes out of her trance, and Katarzyna helps her decipher the writing. The souls of the dead had much to say about Xanesha, she has killed many people. After going through all the writing, they determine that the spirits had died in silence, unable to scream out. Other clues lead them to think that they need a way to overcome a Silence spell. Katarzyna informs them that she can try to dispel the magic with her own spells.

There is a knock at the door. It is Dragos and Jean-Baptiste. Dragos greets them all warmly. Jean-Baptiste and Dragos had been investigating the Sea Sage Effigy. Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Katarzyna go to the Temple of Ezra to investigate the lamia. Jominda is tasked with finding herbalistic approaches to counteracting mind control effects and invisibility, etc. Grewin accompanies her on her excursion, but Jominda struggles with the effort. Dragos goes to the Temple of Pharasma to see if he can learn anything useful from his new affiliation.

At the Temple of Ezra, Kendra, Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste discover information about the lamia. That night, they all have dinner and Kendra shares what they’ve learned with the others. Kendra tells them that the lamia is highly resistant to magic, and they are immune to mind-affecting spells. She also has the ability to affect the mind with her strikes, and suck away their mental balance. They would have to be able to strike her without her being able to do anything about it. Jominda tells them that she hasn’t really been able to do much to help, but she has one concoction that will allow them to see invisible things. Dragos says that the Pharasma clerics don’t have information, but would assist with scrolls and potions.

Wednesday, July 9th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Dragos brings the group scrolls and potions. 2 scrolls of Dispel Magic cast at 9th Level; 6 potions of Heroism; 3 potions of Bull’s Strength; 6 potions of Owl’s Wisdom; and a scroll of Stoneskin. They spend a bit of time discussing the strategy of the attack. Jominda gives them six See Invisibility potions (they last for about 20 minutes).

Judge Daramid comes to the townhouse in the morning. She looks wan, and accepts a tumbler of scotch. She tells them that Judge Ambrose Khard had sent Sir Morgan into the tower. Sir Morgan leapt to his death soon after. He wasn’t in the tower very long. She also tells them that the Council of Vieland is deeply involved. There is concern that the knowledge of Xanesha’s presence might cause panic. They discuss the attack plan, Gregore is insistent that they attack the witch that day, since she has presumably used some of her spells to defeat Sir Morgan.

Jominda brings the potions of See Invisibility, clearly labeled. Victor and Katarzyna have a sincere conversation, she tells him to do whatever he wants with her items if she doesn’t return. Kendra and Abner come downstairs, they’re holding hands and looking uncertain. Abner and Grewin have a smoke together. Kendra pours everyone a bit of expensive scotch. Kendra proposes a toast, “to good friends and allies, there’s no one I’d rather be doing this with”. They all concur wholeheartedly. They have a last meal together. Victor speaks briefly with Gregore, and vows to continue his care for Illindri. If Gregore falls, Victor will see to her care, and will also work with Jominda as long as she is willing. Jominda gives Gregore a very long and tearful goodbye hug.

They set out for the clock tower, to what many of them think may be their doom. It is late in the afternoon when they leave. They make their way across town. Katarzyna asks Gregore about the Dimension Door gambit, and he says she will know when to use the spell, and to save Kendra and anyone else who is nearby. They cast their spells to prepare. They are greeted by the chief of the guards, and Katarzyna shows him their papers. They are allowed through, and they make their way inside the tower.

Inside, the marching order is Grewin, Abner, Katarzyna, Dragos, Gregore, Kendra and Jean Baptiste. At one point, Dragos falls through two levels of stairs, but catches himself before he falls through all the way. He is behind the party, but he is not killed. Another section of stairs falls away under Abner and Grewin, and Katarzyna uses the magic rope to help the others cross the new gap. They hear the sound of a massive bell, crashing down toward them. The bell hits Dragos and Gregore on the way down. It hurts Dragos quite a bit. He miraculously survives, but is very hurt. Jean-Baptiste runs down to help him. Kendra heals him a bit. They all hold position until Kendra, Dragos, and Jean-Baptiste can catch up to them. They continue up the stairs.

They arrive at the level of the bells. Three of the four bells are still in place. Above them is a jumble of gears and clockworks, frozen and incomplete. There is staircase along the outside of the tower. They hear something that sounds like someone who is in trouble. Abner quietly goes to investigate the sound. He returns, and tells them that there are two tied-up guardsmen. They are all skeptical that they are what they appear to be, but Katarzyna is concerned that they might be legitimate captives, but even she thinks it’s unlikely. They untie the captives. They are exactly what they expected to be, the polymorphed creatures from Aldern Foxglove’s townhouse. The group sees them turning to grab weapons, so they attack before the creatures can ready their attacks, and one of them falls before it can attack. The remaining one attacks Dragos. Grewin attacks it on the other side of Dragos, and it turns to attack him. There is a brief skirmish, and the second ones falls.

They see Xanesha in the opening at the top of the stairs. She taunts them, but they don’t rise to the bait. They use their long-term potions, and Katarzyna casts the scroll of Stoneskin on Grewin. The third bell falls, and they make their way out to the outer staircase. The stairs are very slick and rickety, and Jean-Baptiste falls. It happens quickly, but Abner assures them that Jean-Baptiste had taken his Feather Fall elixir. He’s out of the fight, but he won’t die. They go into the rookery level, there is another staircase that leads up to the angel statue. They cast spells and drink potions, then proceed toward Xanesha’s lair.

They arrive at the angel statue level. there is a small lounging area, upon which rests the fearsome form of Xanesha. Kendra shoots at what appears to be Xanesha, but it is an illusion. They spy Xanesha slithering up onto the statue, but as she flies in the air, and prepares to cast a spell, Katarzyna dispels her magic and she falls to the floor of the top level. She looks upon them with cold rage, and targets Katarzyna with a spell, but it fails to harm her. Dragos enters the fray to engage Xanesha. Kendra shoots at her, doing a fair amount of damage. Xanesha goes to cast another spell, and Grewin hits her. Xanesha then looks at Abner and tells him to stab himself in the throat, but the spell appears to fail since Abner doesn’t stab himself. Gregore and Katarzyna use their magic to severely weaken Xanesha. Xanesha viciously attacks Grewin with her spear, but does minimal damage. Dragos swings on her and lands a solid hit. Katarzyna dispels the magic on Xanesha’s mask and spear, and Abner lands a solid hit just after. Dragos goes to attack, but fails, almost dropping his weapon. Kendra shoots her, doing greivous damage, and Grewin also hits her, wounding her severely. Xanesha attacks Abner, wounding him greatly. Gregore and Kendra heal him for most of it, but Xanesha attacks Abner again immediately. She misses him twice, but lands a decent hit. She attacks Abner again moments later, and runs him through with her spear, seemingly killing him. Gregore drags Abner out of the way, letting his Spiritual Ally takes his place. Gregore heals Abner, getting him back on his feet. Xanesha’s mask regains its power, and she targets Grewin with a spell, but it doesn’t do any harm. The battle continues, and she rounds on Dragos, She lands a solid hit. Finally, the Silence spell breaks, and Xanesha casts a spell. As she does so, Grewin and Gregore attack her, and what looks like a portal starts to form, but dissipates. The attacks take Xanesha down, and the group catches their breath. Katarzyna is amazed that they were able to win the day. Moments later, Jean-Baptiste manages to rejoin them at the top of the tower.

They search Xanesha’s corpse and the upper level of the Shadow Clock Tower. Xanesha’s spear is known as the Impaler of Thorns, an ancient magical weapon, dating from before the Mists. She also wore the Medusa Mask, a magic, gold-plated iron mask with crystal eyes. It too has nasty magical properties. Xanesha had worn a snake scale tunic, with magical properties including a resistance to poison. She also wore a Ring of Protection. Around her neck she wore a medallion, featuring a skull with a gag in its mouth, its magic grants the the ability to scry on or control the voice of the wearer, and can also bestow false life, and casts Gentle Repose. They also find a long tube among her pillows. Inside is a list, which has a lot of names on it. The list is titled “souls needed”. Some names on the list are people from Courtaud and some are from Lepidstadt. One of the names is Radu Velocic, a councilor from Vieland. Others are names from the murders that they investigated. There is another note from Auren Vrood.

After Katarzyna is satisfied that they’ve taken stock of everything, she Dimension Doors down to the bottom with Abner and Grewin. The others make their way down the stairs or use Jean-Baptiste’s Feather Fall elixirs. They are warmly received by the assembled townsfolk, including Victor and Jominda. There are lots of people, and some are coming out of nearby houses. They bring a wagon, and the body of Xanesha is placed in the cart, and the townsfolk are amazed at the sight of the lamia’s corpse. The wagon takes the corpse to the courthouse, and they draw up with the cart. People are building a wicker man to burn Ironbriar and the Beast. Embreth steps down and looks at the corpse of Xanesha. People in the square are shocked at the sight of the body. The group are invited into the courthouse to give their account of the battle. They all present the items and other evidence they found in Xanesha’s lair. Radu Velocic faints when he sees his name was on Xanesha’s list. He sits down, and aides bring him sherry. He is effusive in his gratitude toward them. They stay at the courthouse for a couple hours giving statements, and Radu Velocic invites them for dinner to properly thank them.

They return to the townhouse, where Victor has arranged to have food brought in, and baths drawn for them all. There are two ladies present, dressed in maid’s garments. Katarzyna greets them. Shann is one of the maids, and the other is Abby, and Katarzyna makes sure to make them welcome. Katarzyna is shaking from all the activity of the day, and the maid helps her relax. Jominda helps Gregore in his bath, but she also spends some time with Katarzyna. Spa specialists come and give them massages and to style their hair. Victor also arranges for someone to take care of Amelia, and she receives a nice grooming job. A local inn chef prepares them a wonderful venison meal, with candied apples and twice-baked potatoes. There are bards, and other entertainments, and Kendra breaks out the good scotch again. Judge Daramid also visits them, and offers them Invidian cigars, though Katarzyna does not partake, not wanting to affect her singing voice. They have a grand time. Embreth tells them that if the Xanesha’s spear, the Impaler of Thorns, is up for grabs, she wants it. Kendra tells Katarzyna that the emblem on the medallion Xanesha wore is the sigil of the Whispering Way.

The party is convivial but finally winds down, and they all turn in around 3 a.m. They each have dreams. Katarzyna dreams that she is reading her spellbook, and the writing is gone, but in its place is the sigil of the Whispering Way and illuminated script. It says “You have been looking for me, you have been following me. I will strike you down, and I will find you.”

Thursday, July 10th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

The morning dawns, and they awake to wonderful aromas downstairs. They congregate in the dining hall. There is a missive from Radu Velocic inviting them to dinner that evening. Katarzyna reads it aloud to everyone. Gregore reminds them of one thing that Xanesha had said, “the Crown will be finished”. They also talk about the Sea Sage Effigy. Ironbriar had said Auren Vrood was the one interested in the Sea Sage Effigy. They all talk about Xanesha and the next steps. They decide that they will have to follow up on Auren Vrood and the Sea Sage Effigy. Kendra and Katarzyna go dress shopping. Abner and Grewin go shopping for smokes, and then Abner goes to purchase a suit in the Canterwall style. Abner and Gregore don’t purchase new clothes. Kendra and Katarzyna order a dress for Jominda as well.

Before the evening’s festivities, Gregore offers to fix the massive scar on Abner’s face. Abner allows him to try. Gregore casts his spell, and Abner’s appearance is restored. His eye is still missing, but his appearance is markedly improved. Abner is grateful, and tells Gregore so. Abner even shaves for the night’s festivities. Kendra also thanks Gregore for what he had done on Abner’s behalf. They all get ready for the evening, and everyone is delighted at Abner’s transformation.

There are two carriages that take them to dinner. There is a sumptuous feast. Everyone who is anyone is there, the high priests of Ezra and Pharasma, Dragos, Jean-Baptiste, all the councillors, Farren, and other notables. There is dancing and revelry. Katarzyna forces Grewin to dance. Liza is also there, and she chats with Grewin. At one point Radu Velocic asks to speak to them privately. There are cigars, and there is another person present. Radu Velocic talks to them about the list of people found in Xanesha’s lair, and says there is a trend. He says that his clerk will write them out to draw funds from the Bank of Lepidstadt. The checks he writes for them are for 6,000 gold pieces each. They are all quite taken aback, and effusive in their thanks. Abner and Kendra leave the party a bit early, since he’s being more liberal in his drinking than previously. Grewin is looking for an excuse to leave early in the evening, and Jominda and Gregore leave a bit later. Dragos also leaves early. Katarzyna is the last to remain, and enjoys the party until the very end, and wakes up at the councilman’s house the next day.

Friday, July 11th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Grewin is the first to awaken, and Amelia is insistent about something. It seems like she wants to go for a run. On the way out of town, he runs into his gnome friend Tallyn, who is with three other gnomes, two males a female. Tallyn asks Grewin to come back for dinner that night at 6 to celebrate his victory over Xanesha. Grewin agrees, then continues his morning exercise with Amelia. Afterward, he returns to the townhouse and speaks with Victor briefly, then speaks with Gregore. Kendra shows him a carved animal skull, and Grewin is impressed with the artifact. Kendra tells Grewin that it has a mystical aura of some sort, but she can’t place it.

Grewin goes to open a bank account. He gets a 500 gold piece signet ring (emeralds and platinum). He has tea with Kendra while they’re out and about. They also head over to the University, he smokes herb with the university students. He heads over to where the clockmakers.

Jean-Baptiste is off with Dragos. They are investigating Auren Vrood.

Katarzyna awakens at Radu Velocic’s home, and she is feeling poorly. She takes a carriage back to the townhouse. Katarzyna tries to have breakfast, but can’t keep it down. She goes back up to her room and takes to her bed until the early afternoon. Later she converses with Kendra. Kendra suggests that Katarzyna learn Celestial and Vudran/Rajian. They practice Akiri with each other. Abner comes by and they chat with him a bit.

Katarzyna goes to the Temple of Pharasma. She asks about the type of spell that would be needed to restore Abner’s eye and throat.

She also goes to the bank to open an account. She gets a 500 GP signet ring (emeralds and platinum) and buys checks. The fee is 20 GP per month. She gets a loaner ring until her actual ring is ready. She returns to the townhouse, and tells Abner that they have an appointment at the Temple of Pharasma, where they will cast a spell of Regeneration on him to restore his eye and throat.

Grewin spends the evening with the gnomes. One is from Darkon. Another works at the guns shop, the “Art Of The Musket”. Another gnome tells Grewin that he is from Toril, but Grewin can’t place the name. They dote on Grewin and Amelia. Grewin arrives home, and Abner is still up, waiting for Kendra and Katarzyna. Abner tells Grewin that Gregore and Jominda had only gotten home around midnight. They talk about their next steps. Abner thinks they should have a meeting the next day to talk about it. They hang out until two or three in the morning, and Abner heads out for a walk.

Kendra has Katarzyna change into her “darkest clothes”, and so Katarzyna does so. They go to Les Corbeaux. There is a group that does anatomical dissection. Kendra and Katarzyna go down an elevator that is in the back of a water closet, they are greeted by a woman named Gabrielle. They “order” an adult male human corpse. Gabrielle takes them to a corpse of a man named Walden. Katarzyna and Kendra dissect the body and determine that the man had a fatty liver. They haven’t determined what caused it. Katarzyna is disappointed with her performance. They meet other researchers, a woman named Bertha. They have a glass of claret. Bertha is a “grey” necromancer. There is a man named Jacob, who seems like he’s from Ardeal, and the owner of the bar, Max. There is also a bartender named Rialdo, a rather suave type. Les Corbeaux has four floors, the main floor, the dissection theater, a floor for living quarters and a smoking parlor. At the end of the night, they decide to stay for one last drink. Kendra and Katarzyna have a glass of absinthe (made in the old way, with opium) and Bertha joins them and tells them that she thinks Walden was an alcoholic. The absinthe does a number on Kendra, and Katarzyna makes sure that she makes it home without incident, arriving back at the townhouse at 4 in the morning.

Saturday, July 12th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

In the morning, Grewin rises around 9. He goes downstairs and Gregore and Jominda are having breakfast with Illindri and Victor. He also spends some time on bow practice.

Kendra and Katarzyna are late risers. They head downstairs. Jean-Baptiste tells them that he and Dragos had fought an evil gnome named Grine, Grewin thinks instead of a gnome, it may have been a dark fey creature called a dark creeper. Grine was a priest of a god of poison and murder, as well as a vivisectionist. He had a companion, a man without skin. Grewin has never heard of such a thing. There were also flesh golem hounds and vats of chemicals. They also found a ledger of people who purchased cadavers, a Dr. Brada and Auren Vrood. Dragos arrives at some point, and tells them that he is going to investigate some activity purported to be the work of the Beast of Lepidstadt. He tells them that their paths won’t cross for awhile.

When Katarzyna mentions that she is going to have Abner’s eye regenerated, Gregore seems insulted that she would consult the Temple of Pharasma before asking the Ezrites. Katarzyna is confused by this, and she has a long conversation about it with Kendra, Abner and Grewin. They also talk to her about her social obliviousness. Katarzyna and Grewin talk with the clerics at the Temple of Ezra, and they are unable to cast the spell they need, so she decides to keep her appointment with the Temple of Pharasma.

Abner, Grewin and Katarzyna decide to take a boat, to explore the vicinity of Schloss Caromac. It is a very nice boat ride. There are many metal towers and such around Schloss Caromac, and it’s a beautiful scenic boat ride. They are given spyglasses to use to get a better look at the picturesque castle. They have a lovely time, and head back to town in time for dinner. They stop by the townhouse first to change into their nice clothes. There is an outfit on Grewin’s bed for him. There is a colorful vest, slacks, and a shirt.

Dinner is as St. Monde de Trois, a restaurant of some repute. Everyone except Dragos is planning to go to dinner. Grewin wears his new duds, and Kendra, Katarzyna, and Jominda wear pretty dresses. A bell rings, and Victor answers the door. The carriage has arrived to take them. The seven of them (Abner, Kendra, Gregore, Jominda, Jean-Baptiste, Grewin and Katarzyna) all pile into the carriage and head to St. Monde de Trois. It is a lovely dinner, with good food and good wine. Katarzyna spends a good deal of time chatting with Jean-Baptiste, trying to see if he is interested in her, completely overanalyzing him in the process.

Toward the end of the meal, Katarzyna feels her muscles seize. Abner throws up, and everyone around the table is clearly sickened as well. It seems clear that they’ve been poisoned. Gregore casts Lesser Restoration on Jominda and Katarzyna. Katarzyna pushes past a startled serving girl and finds the kitchen. She collapses while in the kitchen, and she is carried back to the table, where Grewin manages to stabilize her. Kendra, Jominda and Jean-Baptiste also have a tough time of it. Jominda especially fares poorly, and Gregore is beside himself when she takes a turn for the worse and collapses. Katarzyna is seething, angrily looking about for the person who poisoned them. Grewin determines that the first thing they ate, the soup, is the item that was poisoned. Jean-Baptiste also examines the soup.

Katarzyna goes outside and sits down on a bench outside. A constable arrives, and tells Abner and Katarzyna that he is there to investigate. Katarzyna is suspicious, given how quickly the man arrived at the scene. They go back into the restaurant, and Katarzyna is attacked by the constable, who seems to be trying to attack her hand. He does injure her hand, but she launches a lightning bolt at him, doing a fair amount of damage to him and the building across the street. Abner hits the guy and takes him down, who turns out to be some kind of creature. The skin on the guy’s face peels right off, much like the creature that was described to them before. The serving girl returns with three guards, and they all draw down on them. They all return to the inside of the restaurant, and the guards drag the body in with them. A guard pulls some bits of skin out of the dead guy’s pouch, and Grewin recognizes the face of their carriage driver as one of the creature’s faces. The creature is a skin stealer, a dark fey. Katarzyna is fuming. She tells Kendra what happened. The guards discover that the constable who attacked Katarzyna was a real constable that was apparently killed by the skin stealer.

They are brought back to the townhouse. Grewin starts to make some tea, but Victor takes over, and brings some up to Katarzyna. She is on her bed, wearing her dress. Grewin and Kendra come in, and Kendra uses the wand to restore the damage from the poison. Grewin and Amelia sit with Katarzyna for awhile. Everyone gathers in Katarzyna’s room. Kendra tells them that have probably been foolish to think that they could expect no retribution from the Whispering Way.

Sunday, July 13th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

They spend the day researching the items they’ve found. The snakesin tunic is evaluated, and they learn that the Impaler of Thorns is an ancient weapon with a despair effect. The Medusa Mask grants a bonus to gaze attacks. The Whispering Way medallion does the same thing that Katarzyna’s False Life spell does. Kendra and Grewin go to the University to see about recharging her wand, and they also go to the gun shop.

Grewin goes to visit Judge Daramid to offer to sell her the Impaler of Thorns and the Medusa Mask. She is interested in the Impaler of Thorns. While he’s there, Embreth offers Grewin chocolate. She gives Grewin a pound of chocolate in powdered form. She tells him to heat up milk and add the powdered chocolate. She thanks Grewin for all he has done for Lepidstadt. He is welcome to come back any time in the evening.

Monday, July 14th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Katarzyna brings Abner to the Temple of Pharasma to regenerate his eye and throat. It costs 1000 gold pieces the spell. Katarzyna is very pleased that Abner has regained something he lost, and is very happy that his face and voice have been made whole again. She knows Kendra will be pleased as well

Judge Daramid sends word that the value of the Impaler of Thorns is 9000 gold. She says she can either pay them 7500 gp or trade another item. They decide to pick up a firearm for Kendra with special abilities.

Abner gives everyone a potion of Neutralize Poison. They also give up the Medusa Mask to Lepidstadt University in exchange for 8,000 GP.

The snakeskin tunic goes to Kendra. Abner is quite impressed with how Kendra looks in it.

Tuesday, July 15th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Katarzyna spends the day scribing scrolls of Lightning Bolt. Kendra buys all sorts of bullets for her guns. They learn that the poison was from a dark reaver.

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