Sunday, May 11, 758, Ravengro, Ustalav
At the Horgan Farm, the weather takes a turn, starting to rain. Father Grimburrow tells them they will have to bring the deed they found to the Council, where he will swear to the testimony of the deceased spirit of Kasomar. Kendra, Father Grimburrow and Abner head back to town. Dragos starts to look for the house that they know is associated with the farm. There is a rickety fence and a crumbling, low, rock wall, and a path where sheep had been let out to go to the stream nearby. Dragos comes to a copse of large, old trees. He starts walking up a hill, at the crest he sees a gate off to the right, and on the left is the ruins of a house, that looks as though it had been burned a long time past. There is a small hut, poorly built, next to the house. The conditions are quite humble and spare. Dragos goes into the hut while Katarzyna looks around the ruins of the original farmhouse. Dragos finds two leather sacks with rocks in them. He and Katarzyna are mystified about their purpose, but Gregore deduces that they were probably for weightlifting purposes. They find several spots inside the ruined farmhouse that look as though Leromar had been digging around, obviously looking for the deed and cache of valuables his brother had hidden. Dragos, Gregore and Katarzyna head back toward town, and Gregore and Katarzyna start to feel as though they might be getting sick.
They arrive at the Lorrimor Estate. Katarzyna greets Kendra, Abner and Father Grimburrow as they’re taking tea. Katarzyna goes up to her room to change out of her soaking wet clothes. Abner is cooking, making something akin to chicken and dumplings. Dragos goes to see if Gregore needs help. Gregore says he just needs rest, that he’ll be fine the next day.
There is a knock at the door. A priest comes to speak with Father Grimburrow. They have a brief discussion, and Father Grimburrow leaves. Father Grimburrow wishes to speak briefly with Gregore, and then Gregore goes out with Father Grimburrow. Dragos and Abner finish up lunch, and the girls eat scones as they wait for the meal to be completed.
Four hours later, Gregore returns, sneezing as he shakes off the rain and mud. Abner goes to make Gregore a hot toddy for his throat. Abner is out of one of the key components of the elixir. Kendra asks Dragos to go to Jominda’s shop for some mullein and echinacea. Dragos heads over to her shop straightaway. He sees a light on at the shop, on the second level, but the shop is closed. He knocks, and Jominda leans out of the second floor window to greet Dragos. He asks her about the herbs. She flirts with him a bit, then goes down and opens the door for him. They chat about Gregore’s and Katarzyna’s illness. She prepares the mullein and echinacea for Dragos. She gives him sliced echinacea root. They flirt a little more, and Dragos tarries a bit with her. She eventually tells Dragos that she has issues with Benjan and Riff, especially Riff, because of Riff’s attitude toward her. She says that some of the substances she sells are “regulated”, and that she thinks Riff is trying to catch her dispensing those substances illicitly. She mentions that she is expecting a shipment of herbs from the North, and thinks that Riff is trying to catch her trafficking in those substances. She basically admits to acquiring the herbs through unsanctioned channels, and strongly hints that she wants Dragos’ help in acquiring the herbs. One of the herbs is amaranth, and she also lists three or four other herbs that Dragos had never heard of. She draws a parallel between her herbalism and Professor Lorrimor’s exploration of the arcane arts. Dragos seems receptive to helping her with her situation. She tells him that the only way to receive the shipment would be to go around Benjan and Riff, and to give a dose of an herb that would induce an illness of short duration. Dragos agrees to help her with her predicament. She offers him a packet of something to put in the food and/or beverage of Riff, Vrodish and Tresselblade, but he refuses to participate in her plan. Dragos proposes going to pick up the herbs himself, but she tells him that her connection would probably not believe that he was acting as her agent, and would not complete the transaction.
Dragos heads back to the estate. As he’s going across the road, he sees some tracks in the mud, that seem to glow with otherwordly light. He follows the tracks. It looks like tracks of a horse pulling a cart. Old River ambles alongside Dragos for a while. The tracks go past the estate, but after Dragos stops inside the house for a brief moment, the tracks disappear. He tries in vain to pick up the trail again, going to the monument, but sees nothing. Katarzyna lets Old River in the house, and cleans him up. Dragos asks Kendra about the tracks, and she tells him that some minor haunts can manifest in that way, and that an “orb” can sometimes manifest in that way. The orbs can be minor animal spirits or the souls of children. Dragos and Gregore discuss the issue with Jominda, and what she’s doing. Gregore’s illness seems to be getting worse. Pearl, Katarzyna’s albino barn owl, is NOT pleased about Katarzyna’s doting upon Old River, and glares at them both.
As Katarzyna is getting ready to go to bed, she notices that her window looks different. It looks like a prison window, indeed it could easily be a window in Harrowstone Prison. As she’s looking around the room of what appears to be a vision, she realizes she is in a small prison cell, though she can hear Gregore’s coughing and other sounds of the Lorrimor house. As she surveys the scene, her name starts to appear in blood on the wall of the prison cell. As the name gets to the last letter of her name, she startles awake. She quickly realizes that her name has been written in blood above her own bed in the Lorrimor house. She calls the others to come look at the ghastly writing. It is a very unnerving sight, but Katarzyna remains calm and analytical in the face of the macabre display. Katarzyna speculates that it is a manifestation of the Splatter Man. Kendra goes to her room and retrieves a small object, that appears to be a tiny crystal skull. As she looks at the words on the wall, the words glow faintly. She passes the skull in front of the others present in the room and as she gets to Dragos, she closes her hand over the crystal skull, and smiles at Dragos. She does not detect a strong ghost presence. Kendra invites Katarzyna to share her room for the remainder of the night. It takes a while for Katarzyna to get back to sleep, but she does succumb to exhaustion eventually.
Monday, May 12, 758, Ravengro, Ustalav
They awaken in the morning, and Kendra is up before Katarzyna. Abner lets them know there is another letter on the monument. They get ready and head out to the monument. Gregore is still hoarse, and feeling under the weather. He says that he might skip Leromar’s hearing. There is less of a crowd at the monument, probably due to the weather, which is again unpleasant. As expected, the monument now has the letters VESO on it. The letters are superficially similar to the letters on Katarzyna’s bedroom wall. Kendra also thinks that both are manifestations of the Splatter Man. They talk at length about what they know about the Splatter Man. Katarzyna thinks that the Haunt of the Splatter Man might target her, and that they should use that to their advantage to trap it.
Dragos goes into town to buy bread. He nods to Jominda and greets Marta Avanaki. He offers Marta some of their tea, but she declines the offer. He tells her about the latest letter on the monument. He then goes to the Outward Inn and speaks with the person working at the counter, one of Sarianna Vai’s employees. He also greets the men playing poker at the table. They are playing Towers with a Harrow deck. One of the men at the table throws down his hand and exclaims “I win!” and the cards burst into flames as they hit the table. Dragos hears a muffled sound of people on fire below, and he runs down to the basement only to find that it is not on fire and no one is present, it is just an ordinary basement. When he gets back up to the common room, everyone is rather taken aback by what had just happened. Dragos, drops some silver on the table, and notices that even though there is the smell of smoke in the air, the cards that had been on fire were not damaged in any way.
Sarianna Vai comes into the room, wondering what happened. As Dragos speaks with her, she picks up one of the cards on the table, and says “the uprising” and sets it back down. Dragos purchases the deck of cards and brings it back, along with the bread. He speaks at length with Kendra and Katarzyna about his experience at the Outward Inn. Katarzyna states the obvious, that it is some sort of resonance with the fire at Harrowstone Prison, but they can’t make any real sense of what happened or why it happened at that particular place and time.
As the time approaches for Leromar’s hearing, Kendra, Abner and Gregore decide not to attend, not being as directly involved in the concern as Katarzyna and Dragos. Gregore decides he will take Illindri to the Temple of Pharasma. Kendra and Abner remain at the estate, and Katarzyna and Dragos take Old River to the hearing at the Town Hall.
At the hearing, they see Leromar chained to the floor. All four Councillors and all the deputies are present, as is Jominda. Jominda and Katarzyna exchange pleasantries and Jominda gives Katarzyna a sachet with herbs to help combat her cold. Vashian Hearthmount calls the court to order. The charges against Leromar are read. The court calls Dragos, Katarzyna, Father Grimburrow and “Kasomar himself” as witnesses. Katarzyna is called to the stand first. She greets the Council and is asked to recount the story. She does so, and tells them about how Old River had led them to the remains of Kasomar and the events that occurred afterward. Dragos is called to the stand next. He gives a very similar account. Father Grimburrow also gives testimony, going into more detail about the murder. He also presented evidence that the remains had shown signs of having been chopped up, as the spirit had said. He also tells them about the nature of the divine magic used to discern the truth of the matter. They then adjourn.
Katarzyna goes with Jominda to her shop for some tea. A little while later, Riff knocks on the door of the shop, and lets them know that court was back in session.
Dragos receives an invitation to have tea with Marta and Luthko Avanaki and the family. It is a light lunch of sandwiches. They make small talk for awhile. Tresselblade goes to the Avanaki’s and lets Dragos know when the Council has reconvened.
In the meantime, a friend of Kasomar’s has given testimony. As they walk in, Councilor Shanda Faraven announces that Leromar is to be hanged by the neck until dead. This causes a commotion among the people gathered. Katarzyna is downright shocked.
Dragos approaches the Council, and speaks with Shanda and Vashian, and formally makes a claim to the Horgan Estate. He also lets them know that Father Grimburrow was present for all the happenings, and that Father Grimburrow is a claimant to the inheritance as well. The Councilors note the claim and determine that the matter will be handled separately at a later time.
The Council dictates that the sentence against Leromar is to be carried out immediately. The Sheriff leads Leromar to a large tree in town, as the doomed man begs his former friend and employer for his life. A large group of townsfolk are present for the execution, Vrodish and Tresselblade are subdued, but otherwise unreadable, Sheriff Benjan is grim and determined, and Riff’s general demeanor is heightened by an even more hostile aspect than usual. Dragos is unfazed, but Katarzyna is overwhelmed by the sight of a living man being executed, a man she knew, though only briefly.
Within a few short moments, Leromar is hanged. It is an ugly sight as he twitches and chokes and finally, is still. His body is left at the tree, it is not cut down immediately. Katarzyna speaks with Father Grimburrow about making sure that the body remains at rest, and he reassures her that Leromar won’t be walking out of his grave to bother anyone. Dragos speaks with Sheriff Benjan about the wisdom of leaving the body hanging, and manages to convince him that it is the town’s best interest to cut down Leromar and bury him properly. Riff is upset by the whole thing. Dragos to comfort her, but is predictably unsuccessful. Riff escorts them to Restlands Cemetery, sullen and taciturn, and glaring at anyone who would dare speak to her.
As Dragos arrives at the cemetery, he notices that the priests are piling heavy stones atop all the graves. He notices that one of the headstones has Gregore of Borca’s name on it. “Come to my world and be as I; as I am now, soon you will be; embrace your end, and witness me” is the inscription on the marker, and the date of death is given as 708. Dragos nudges Sheriff Benjan to ask the identity of the person buried in the grave, but when Dragos looks back at the marker, it is illegible. They bury Leromar without incident, and pile stones atop the grave.
Katarzyna returns to the Estate and tells Kendra what happened. Katarzyna is still upset by the hanging, and Kendra makes her some rooibos tea and consoles her. She tells Katarzyna that she must never lose the quality of compassion that she has. To cheer Katarzyna, Kendra reads her a story from her book. After that Katarzyna goes up and tells Gregore what happened. He is sympathetic. She then goes back up to her room and stares for a while at the spot on the wall where her name had been spelled in blood. Abner had scrubbed it clean as best he could, but there were still traces visible.
After a while, Katarzyna senses a commotion in the house, and she makes her way downstairs. Abner and Kendra are talking about inviting people over for dinner. They are inviting Father Grimburrow, the Avanakis, Jominda, and perhaps Sheriff Benjan. Dragos walks in as Abner is shooing Kendra and Katarzyna out of the kitchen.
Victor goes out to deliver invitations, while Abner goes out for more provisions. Dragos takes over kitchen duties while Abner is gone.
The guests start to arrive, and Sheriff Benjan brings Tresselblade as his companion. Katarzyna speaks with Tresselblade for most of the evening. Tresselblade tells Katarzyna that she hails from Sithicus, though Katarzyna isn’t very knowledgeable of the lands outside of Ustalav, she is eager to hear of them. Tresselblade is a bit enamored of Katarzyna’s ability to control magic. She loves poetry, nature, history, and art. She has a rather juvenile demeanor, and is plagued by self-doubt and apprehensive about disappointing others. Though Katarzyna is undoubtedly much younger than Tresselblade, she begins to find Tresselblade’s childishness a bit tiresome. Dragos speaks with Jominda and Sheriff Benjan during most of the evening, but Jominda is far less solicitious toward Dragos than she had been previously at her shop. Later, Jominda upbraids Katarzyna for leaving her alone with the two men. Katarzyna apologizes, thinking that she was actually doing Jominda a favor by monopolizing the Sheriff’s “date”. The girls quickly fall into their usual banter about the various people at the party, and the matter is forgotten.
The Avanakis are the first to leave the party, they have to put the kids to bed. There are big farewells all around, and lots of hugging of the Avanaki children. Tresselblade leaves shortly thereafter, though it is a much quieter exit. Dragos offers to walk her home, and she accepts. They talk about weapons training and such. He shares a nightcap with her at the Laughing Demon. After a while, Tresselblade’s silly behavior starts to grate on him, and he bids her goodnight. Tresselblade heads up to her flat, and Dragos has another drink with Zokar before heading back to the Estate. It is a “green fairy”, a green concoction with little motes of light in it. It is a memorable sensation, to say the least.
As the party is winding down, Benjan, Gregore, and Abner share scotch, as Katarzyna, Kendra and Jominda chat in the parlor about a handsome merchant who comes into town every six months or so. At the end of the night, Sheriff Benjan offers to walk Jominda home. They run into Dragos as he is returning to the Estate after sharing a nightcap with Zokar. They greet each other and continue toward their respective destinations.
Father Grimburrow shares a smoke with Abner on the porch, and then heads home. Abner greets Dragos as he’s returning home. After all the guests have left, they all retire for the night. Katarzyna decides to sleep in her own room. Kendra thinks it might be too soon, but Katarzyna is resolute, feeling that she needs to prove something to herself. After what she witnessed at the hanging tree, the writing on the wall didn’t really seem as frightening. The night passes without incident, though it’s unlikely anyone’s sleep was completely untroubled.
Tuesday, May 13, 758, Ravengro, Ustalav
The next morning, Dragos awakes before Abner, and starts cleaning the kitchen. Victor comes down and helps after a while. Abner comes down next, and starts making breakfast from leftovers. Salted pork and hard-boiled eggs are laid out for everyone.
Dragos, Abner and Gregore decide that they will go to Harrowstone. Gregore, Victor and Illindri go to the temple before the girls come down for breakfast. Gregore’s condition doesn’t seem much improved, if at all.
Kendra comes downstairs. She talks with Dragos about the arrows, telling him to conserve them. Katarzyna is the last to head down, and eats a little breakfast before gathering her things. She is still in a rather subdued mood, but she and Kendra share a comfortable, if quiet, breakfast.
Gregore returns to the house, and tells Kendra that Victor and Illindri will remain with Father Grimburrow while they are at Harrowstone Prison. Gregore seems despondent as he trudges up to his room. Dragos goes up to check on him after a half hour goes by. Gregore tells Dragos that he can’t go to the Prison that day, and that he probably won’t be able to go the next day. He is reticent, and dislikes Dragos’ line of questioning. He walks out of the house with his morningstar, with a passing remark about “giomorgo”.
Dragos tells Kendra, Abner and Katarzyna about the change in plans. Kendra tells them that the word “giomorgo” means half-Vistani. Kendra tells them that giomorgo suffer from the “lunatio”, which occurs during the full moon each month. The giomorgo cannot cast spells during the lunatio. Sometimes the giomorgo will run wild during the nights of the full moon, but the wiser giomorgo are not susceptible to it. Dragos tells the apprehensive Katarzyna that Gregore is unlikely to “run wild”, that he is not the sort.
Dragos takes the opportunity to start questioning Abner, Kendra and Katarzyna about their pasts. He also shares his own story. He tells them that the day he was born, a vampire attacked his mother, as he was being born. Dragos also tells them that he is “haunted” by the spirit of his father, who was killed the day he was born by the vampire. The same vampire also killed Dragos’ mother. Katarzyna asks if the vampire that killed his parents is still “alive”, and he nods assent. Katarzyna offers to help him destroy the creature, when the time comes. Katarzyna almost starts to say more, but thinks better of it. Kendra tells them that Dragos is dhampir. Dhampir are vampire “offspring” of a sort, and have some of their same vulnerabilities.
Dragos and Abner go to the cemetery to help the priests pile stones on the graves. Kendra and Katarzyna research at the Church library, but come up empty. Dragos and Tresselblade practice combat a bit. Dragos and Tresselblade have dinner together later that evening. She reveals that she is 39 years old.
Katarzyna and Abner discuss Katarzyna’s past. He seems unfazed by her revelations, and speculates that Dragos would probably not think ill of her either, given Dragos’ own situation. Katarzyna ponders the question of whether she wishes to be more forthcoming with the Ezrites. She and Kendra retire early, before Dragos returns from his “date” with Tresselblade.
Wednesday, May 14, 758, Ravengro, Ustalav
The next morning, Abner and Dragos quicly notice that Gregore had not come home. Kendra and Katarzyna are very dismayed, and everyone immediately sets about dressing and getting ready to leave the house. Breakfast is forgotten.
They go to the Temple of Pharasma and speak with Father Grimburrow, who says that Gregore had been by at around 6 pm the previous evening. All are concerned, but Katarzyna is almost in a panic when they arrive at the town square and notice Gregore in the center of the town square, sitting on a bench. Gregore tells them that he just need to “go for a walk”. Dragos, Abner and Kendra seem to accept his remark with equanimity, but Katarzyna is visibly upset. It is unclear whether Gregore notices any reaction from anyone present, he seems preoccupied.
Councilman Vashian Hearthmount sees them in the square. He walks over and tells them that if they want to settle the claim on the Horgan Estate, they may do so at once, since the Council had convened. A runner is sent to summon Father Grimburrow to the hearing. The all walk over to the Town Hall, and Father Grimburrow arrives a few minutes afterward. He gives testimony on their behalf. Mirta Straelock thinks it’s a splendid idea that the group inherit the estate. She also reminds Gregore and Katarzyna of their promise to speak at the school. Father Grimburrow quits claim to the Horgan estate, but the others are bound to it, though in Katarzyna’s case, reluctantly so. The Council adjourns the hearing, and they all leave the Town Hall.
Gregore returns to the Estate. He seems unfazed by everything that had transpired, including Katarzyna’s obvious concern. Jominda invites Kendra and Katarzyna out to spend time together, and they pass a pleasant evening together.
Dragos trains with Tresselblade again this day. Dragos finds out that Melian is her real name.
Gregore is sleeping when they all return home. Abner, Dragos, Kendra and Katarzyna decide to take turns staying awake to make sure Gregore doesn’t leave. He doesn’t stir during the night, and nothing else of note happens.
Thursday, May 15, 758, Ravengro, Ustalav
Gregore tells Dragos that he thinks he can probably go to the Prison the following day, Friday. The usual morning routine is followed, with Abner cooking, Dragos helping, and Katarzyna rising last. Katarzyna does not meet Gregore’s eyes, and doesn’t speak with him, though it’s unclear if he or anyone else notices her sullen behavior toward him.
A now-familiar knock is heard. There is another letter written in blood on the monument. It’s “VESOR”. The pattern continues…