Monday, August 18th, 758, Feldgrau to Carrion Hill, Ustalav
Abner hitches up the wagon, and they all prepare to leave Feldgrau. They heap the wagon with the things they’ve found. They head toward the mountains to the southwest. As evening draws near, they find themselves at the foot of the mountains.
During the night, during Kendra and Grewin’s watch, they come across a skeleton with no legs, crawling toward them. There is a note in the skeleton’s hand, and Kendra inspects the note. Gregore reads the note, and wakes the others. It is from Auren Vrood’s master, and it basically tells them to quit while they are ahead. The note galvanizes the group, and Ostovach pledges his dedication to them.
Order of Watches: 1st Watch: Kendra & Grewin; 2nd Watch: Katarzyna & Abner; 3rd Watch: Gregore & Jean-Baptiste
Tuesday, August 19th, 758, Road to Carrion Hill, Ustalav
They cross a river around noon, and see Carrion Hill. They see two bridges that cross the river. As they approach the city gates, they see guards huddled close to the gate. They approach through the eastern gate. The guards are dressed in black, and they are miserable in the driving rain. Katarzyna wears her Margreve cloak. They are greeted by the guards. Kendra and Jean-Baptiste talk with the guards. Jean-Baptiste presents papers. The guards give them a little bit of challenge, but Jean-Baptiste bribes him and he’s much more accommodating. He suggests that they seek out the Weeping Maiden Inn in the Crown District. Gregore and Ostovach go to look for a church of Ezra, and agree to meet them at the Weeping Maiden. They stop first at the finer stable near the gate, Staylers. The stablemaster, Edmund, tells them that The Weeping Maiden and the Gilded Mask are both excellent choices. He has a guide, Raold, guide them to the Weeping Maiden. Jean-Baptiste gives the man a few silvers.
They enter the Weeping Maiden Inn. The common room is sumptuous, with an anteroom for coats and the like. Jean-Baptiste talks to the concierge, and they arrange for rooms. They are set to dine, but Grewin is feeling poorly. They go to their rooms to change, and they come down to the dining room, where Ostovach is waiting. He had arrived during their absence. They have their meal. Jean-Baptiste talks about the Kellid ruins in Feldgrau, and how Carrion Hill is built upon the ruins of many such temples.
As they’re finishing their dinner, a guardsman comes to the Inn. He seems to know Jean-Baptiste and Kendra by reputation. He tells them that the mayor needs to see them, for a matter of some urgency. They quickly grab their belongings and go with the guards up the hill.
Then enter Crown Manor, seeing several Crows, the guards of Carrion Hill. They meet Mayor Vanton Heggry. He tells them that he knew Professor Lorrimor. He also knows of an investigator being sent to Carrion Hill. He tells them they have been experiencing attacks inside the city, attacking from the tunnels and catacombs under the city. The first attack happened in the Tangles, in the Slipper Market. Other attacks happened in other areas of town. They agree to help Mayor Heggry investigate the events.
Jean-Baptiste tells them that there is a creature called a purple worm, as large as a city street, that may be responsible for the attacks. The crows take them to the site of the first attack. There are three bodies on benches nearby. Katarzyna, Kendra and Jean-Baptiste all inspect the bodies. Two of the bodies are victims of blunt force trauma. The other has been twisted, and his arms broken in so many places that they hang limp.
Jean-Baptiste goes and canvasses the neighbors. He speaks with a man who lives across the street. The man is intoxicated, but doesn’t have much to contribute.
Katarzyna, Ostovach, and Kendra go into the ruined building. Katarzyna tells them to either hang back or stay close. Grewin joins them. They hear knocking, and Grewin opens the door. It is Abner, Gregore and Jean-Baptiste. Jean-Baptiste tells them that he no longer thinks that the culprit is a purple worm. He thinks that it might be a reality warping creature. They search the building. There are lots of books on astronomy and history in the ruined rooms, Jean-Baptiste spends a fair amount of time trying to rescue books that are being damaged by the rain. Katarzyna, Kendra and Grewin go down the stairs to the lower level. The stairs twist around, and they notice that it appears that rubble was recently cleared out of the way. It looks as though the passages lead to an area that connects with the underground tunnels and labyrinths. There is a huge chamber underneath the house, with stone sarcophagi. Abner opens a door, and sees that it is barricaded from the other side. They continue going down stairs, and the stairs go down almost a thousand feet.
At the bottom of the stairs, they find another chamber. The chamber opens up to the north. It appears to be built in the shape of a processional. There is writing on the columns. Kendra recognizes the language as a rare language called Aklo. It’s a mystical, ancient language. Kendra tries to puzzle it out, but can’t really determine anything further. The north end of the column is a natural cavern, filled with rubble. Grewin recognizes that the trees were grown by necromantic means. They see a body on the altar, and in the sludge. Abner goes up to the altar. Grewin and Abner hear movement, and they head toward the sound in a pincer maneuver. Katarzyna also hears the noise, and nudges Ostovach. They go down the center of the area. From the shadows, a creature attacks Abner. A pitched battle ensues, and Abner is paralyzed. They manage to take down the ghoul. Kendra rushes over to Abner, who starts to stir after a few moments. Grewin notices the body on the altar, and calls Katarzyna over. She sees a book next to the body, and calls Jean-Baptiste over. Jean-Baptiste examines the book. There is an interesting inscription inside:
“May we, the keepers of the oldest, prevail over the scourge of simplistic thought and lesser men and escape the bonds of Ravenloft.”
Ostovach tells them that the occupant of the house was from Ilmarsh. This piques Katarzyna’s interest. Jean-Baptiste is engrossed in the book. Katarzyna examines the body on the alter, which has been dismembered. The body is wearing bracers. Kendra determines that he was a male human, 38 years old, very meticulous, a sorcerer, and somewhat accomplished. Katarzyna detects magic, and notices a wand nearby. She also notices that the bracers are magical, the ghoul was wearing a magic ring, and also had a belt pouch. Katarzyna determines that the bracers are Bracers of Armor, the ring is a Ring of Protection, the wand is a Wand of Chill Touch. Abner determines that the pouch contains 35 gp. Ostovach uses the paint set to create a baling hook to pull the body out of the mire, and he brings it out for Katarzyna to examine. It is wearing a woodsman’s cloak, and another ring. Gregore reminds them of the inscription on the front of the book and that one of the five names, Basterwell, is the name of the tenant of the destroyed house.
Ostovach calls from a passage to the southeast. They start searching through the area. Jean-Baptiste finds several books dealing with blasphemous religions. One of the books, “The Dark Tapestry” deals with a realm of bogeymen. Kendra and Katarzyna rifle through the belongings of the people who had camped in the area. The cultists were using Pnakotic manuscripts to summon a creature or open a portal. Grewin does some more scouting along the various pathways. Jean-Baptiste wants to move the altar to see what’s underneath. They also decide to consecrate the area. Kendra uses the baling hook, and manages to pull a scimitar out of the pool of sludge. Katarzyna examines it, and determines that it is magic. It has an inscription. Sholdrin Basterwell is the name inscribed on the blade. “Keeper Basterwell” is one of the names in the book. Count Hatherton Lulles is the person who gave him the blade. Jean-Baptiste thinks that they just want to leave the world as they know it, calling it by the name “Ravenloft”, to escape to someplace else.
They return to the surface. It is cacophany. People are running around. The guardsman tells them that he thinks one of his guardsmen let on that the houses were not safe, causing the panic in the streets. They arrive at the Mayor’s house, and there is a table of food for people to grab. The Mayor sees them, and Jean-Baptiste talks with him about what they discovered underneath the Slipper Market. Katarzyna and Kendra review the books and notes. Mayor Heggry has heard of some of the names, and they discuss the possibilities of who might be involved, but ultimately the decide to go to the second incursion location, and then to the third. Both sites are essentially a crater, which they can’t clearly see an entrance or way to investigate the site.
They then go to Rutman’s Vats, the middenstone manufacturer’s building. Keeper Meyer is one of the names on the list, and this is where he is known to live. They knock on the doors, but there is no answer. Abner unlocks the door. They enter the building. There is light, and the building is very large. The main room is a series of pits crossed by middenstone walkways. There are numerous vats and cauldrons. The open ceiling is festooned with ropes and pulleys and ladders. The north end of the building features a raised observation deck. Grewin, Abner and Jean-Baptiste notice that the workers here are undead, and Grewin tells Katarzyna, who is distracted by the unpleasant conditions. Katarzyna Turns Undead, and they all flee. Someone comes charging down the stairs, and he calls out to them, holding out a staff. Katarzyna sees that he is a spellcaster, so she hits him with a lightning bolt before he can assess the situation. The guy casts a spell, as Jean-Baptiste is desperately trying to get him to listen to his pleas to parley. Abner tries to disarm the staff-wielder and succeeds. The spellcaster attempts to cast a spell on Abner, with black motes and threads forming in his hand, but Abner disrupts the spell. Jean-Baptiste tries to sweep his legs out from under him, but the spellcaster dances out of the way. Ostavach rushes up to the stairs. Abner tries to grapple the man, but misses. The wizard then tries to cast another spell, and even though Abner wounds him in the process, he manages to get his spell off. A column of flame touches down at Katarzyna, but she avoids much of the fire damage by quickly dancing out of the way. Kendra is not so lucky, and bears the full brunt of the fire attack. Katarzyna fires off a Magic Missile, then Jean-Baptiste tries to tackle him, but he dances out of the way again. Abner also tries to tackle him too. He stabs Abner in the process. Gregore casts a spell at the wizard, and it seems to affect him with remorse. The wizard stabs himself. He then tries to cast a spell on Grewin. Abner and Jean-Baptiste interrupt his spell. Katarzyna finishes him off with a Magic Missile.
They collect themselves and Gregore Pulses to kill the zombies that fled from Katarzyna’s turning undead. Up on the loft, they find a lot of paperwork from the middenstone factory, strewn about. Someone had clearly searched the area in a hurry. In the room adjacent to the loft, they find. Katarzyna goes up to the loft at Jean-Baptiste’s request, and inspects the items the man was carrying. Jean-Baptiste determines that the man was not a wizard or a sorcerer, but an Oracle of Bones. He thinks the guy was from Verdrua. Abner really wants the man’s wicked looking dagger. Kendra is taking stock of her belongings, the oracle’s Flame Strike having destroyed her hat and her breeches, she reaches into her pack and pulls out a skirt.
Abner unlocks the room under the loft. He hears noises coming from inside the room. Abner sneaks into the room. He sees a creature inside a room at the end of the room. Jean-Baptiste calls out to the creature, and they hear the creature inside, along with the rattle of metal. Jean-Baptiste tries to kick the door open, but ends up kicking it closed, then opens the door. The creature then comes barrelling out of the room. It is injured and confused. Jean-Baptiste tells them that it is an animal, not a monster. Grewin identifies it as a gorilla, something none of the others had ever seen, though Jean-Baptiste had run across the creature in books. Grewin manages to calm the creature. Jean-Baptiste approaches, and it becomes alarmed again. Jean-Baptiste calms it down again. Gregore heals the creature, and Jean-Baptiste removes the collar on the creature. As soon as the creature is free, it barrels out of the room, knocking Katarzyna to the ground, and climbs up a wall into the rafters with Grewin in its arms.
Katarzyna sourly picks herself up off the floor and goes back up to the loft, glaring at the ‘gorilla’. She notices that the title of the book that the man was reading is called “The Accidental Necromancer”. Katarzyna grabs the book and puts it aside for later reading. There is also a journal. Jean-Baptiste grabs that volume for later reading. It contains references to the Sunless Grove in the catacombs under Carrion Hill. There is also a ledger, a bag, some fine writing implements. There are gold-tipped peacock quills and squid ink. There is a strongbox with gold crowns and trade bars. There are also four small ceramic jugs with liquids. They are embalming salves from Lepidstadt. Kendra examines the staff and the ring. The ring was of thick silver, covered in a spiral motif. She pulls out her skull artifact, then Jean-Baptiste brings the body of the man over at her request. She begins chanting, and she lights incense and sage. Smoke coalesces, and forms a hand, which goes over to the ring. Kendra cuts her forehead, and opens her third eye. She tells them about the man they killed, whose name was Keeper Meyer. He had come across a barrow-wight. It attacked him, but he vanquished the creature. He was younger before the fight. The ring itself was not cursed, but it counters other spells. It is attuned to Enervation. It can be reattuned. It is an old ring. It belonged to a witch. Mayesca, over a millennium ago. It was her protection. You can cast spells into it, and whatever spell you cast into the ring, it will protect you from the spell. Once it dispels a spell, it has to be recharged. The hand of smoke then goes over to the staff. The smoke then goes over to Keeper Meyer. Kendra tells them that Keeper Meyer had killed his own brother. The staff belonged originally to his brother. Keeper Meyer was jealous that his brother had the magical staff. He tried to drug his brother, to take the staff, but his brother awoke. Keeper Meyer then beat his brother to death with the staff. The staff is twice as powerful as Katarzyna’s. It is also a defensive weapon. It’s power can be used to defend its user.
They take their leave of Grewin, who is going to stay with the gorilla. They decide to head back to the Mayor’s house. As they’re walking, they discuss how the journal makes references to trying to contact entities from beyond the Mists, beyond “Ravenloft”. They also discuss the fact that Jean-Baptiste is “missing years of his life”. He has no memory of the years 710-741. He was 12 when he “left” in 710 and 18 when he “returned” in 741. He was in a boat on the Nocturnal Sea when he disappeared in 710, and he found himself in Hara-Kir in 741. Katarzyna wonders to herself about this, considering that Grewin is originally from beyond the Mists, and all of them had traveled beyond the Mists when they went through the portal from the shadow mirror realm to Ossumbra during their time in Karpad.
They arrive at the Mayor’s house. Mayor Heggry is standing by the buffet table. He asks them what they’ve found. Jean-Baptiste fills him in. Heggry glances at a man nearby. Jean-Baptiste notices this exchange, then stops his story in mid-sentence to greet the man. The man introduces himself as Aristen. Jean-Baptiste continues talking to the Mayor. Katarzyna stands nearby, silently watching the exchange. Aristen is dismayed by the revelation that Keeper Meyer had undead working at the factory. Katarzyna asks Heggry about Keeper Basterwell and Count Hatheron Lulles, as well as asking about a place called Ravenloft. He tells them that Hyve is at the abandoned temple of Hala. He is a regional history loremaster. The Mayor suggests that they go to the Temple of Hala to try to catch one of the cultists without killing them. The Mayor tells them that Crove runs the asylum. The Mayor tells his man to go investigate Crove before the group goes to the Asylum.
Just then, the door bursts open and a man says that the middenstone factory has been destroyed. Katarzyna is very worried, and wants to go out to search for Grewin, but Jean-Baptiste is convinced that Grewin is unharmed. His confidence is justified, as Grewin returns to the Inn an hour after midnight. Grewin tells them about the attack on the middenstone factory. He also tells them that he has named the gorilla Flandalene. Jean-Baptiste tells them about their next two prospects: The Temple of Hala, where Hyve is likely to be, and the asylum, where Crove is likely to be. Jean-Baptiste wants to send “the NPCs” to the asylum, while the PCs and Gregore go to the Temple of Hala. Even though they are tired, they decide to go.
Wednesday, August 20th, 758, Carrion Hill, Ustalav
Ostovach takes his leave of them, giving Katarzyna some meat and cheese as he leaves. Ostovach, Grewin, Kendra and a guard are going to the asylum. They set out for the Temple of Hala. The group is Jean-Baptiste, Abner, Gregore and Katarzyna. On the way, Jean-Baptiste and Gregore talk at length about the gods of the realm. The rain is still quite heavy. Katarzyna wears her Margreve cloak to keep dry. They arrive at the church, which is quite small. There are two doors, both locked. Abner unlocks one door, while Jean-Baptiste unlocks the other with the help of a Knock spell.
They enter the main vestibule, and Abner skulks ahead, as silently as he can. They see an alter at the end of the main church building, and two statues draped with cloth. Katarzyna skulks up to the altar by herself. Jean-Baptiste approaches the door on the right, Abner approaches the door on the left, and the both listen for any signs of activity. They don’t appear to hear anything at those doors. There are hundreds of books in the room. They don’t seem individually to be anything special, but it could provide some help if one was to research something. Abner opens the room on the west side, it is a storage room. There is another door in the room, and he immediately goes to the other door. Before he can open that door, Jean-Baptiste opens the door on the east side of the hallway. Katarzyna is perusing a book called “Caliban of Carrion Hill”. Gregore positions himself at the north end of the hallway, between the doorways and Katarzyna. In the room on the east, Jean-Baptiste finds a bedroom, which is unoccupied. Abner opens the door on the north wall of the west room. It is a decrepit, abandoned bedroom. He goes back to the main hallway. Gregore tells Abner and Jean-Baptiste that there is another door on the east side of the church, and Abner goes over to it. Abner manages to disable the lock on the door, and opens it. The room beyond is empty, except for a trap door in the floor of the room. Gregore removes the drapes on the statues. One is of the Crone, and the other is of the Maiden. There is no statue of the Mother. Gregore finds a tapestry covering a wood carving of the Mother on the north wall of the church. Jean-Baptiste removes the tapestry to uncover the carving. Gregore tells Jean-Baptiste that the altar is used to bless new babies and such. Jean-Baptiste and Gregore intone prayers to Hala. They are reinvigorated by the intonations to Hala. Katarzyna explores the areas discovered by Abner and Jean-Baptiste. She finds the trap door. She listens at the trap door, but doesn’t hear anything. Katarzyna and Gregore jump down the hole, both having rings of Feather Fall. Abner follows them, and finally Jean-Baptiste.
Katarzyna skulks ahead a bit, and tries to see if she can see anything in the cavern. Before she can get very far, Gregore throws Light spells all over the cavern. There is a table with alchemical equipment and reagents on a table in the cavern, and Jean-Baptiste immediately goes to the table. He spends some time reviewing the book and other items. Abner goes around the cavern, looking for anything of concern. Katarzyna goes to the south of the chamber, where another ‘hallway’ leads south, and curves out of sight. Katarzyna notices that the tunnel slopes downward. Katarzyna notices traces of alchemical waste. Gregore creates water to remove a lot of the chemicals. Abner heads down the hallway. He comes to the end of the sluice, and climbs down to a ledge 20 feet below. Katarzyna doesn’t hear anything worrisome, so she casts Spider Climb and skulks over to the opening. She runs into Abner on the way. She passes him and looks at the cavern. Katarzyna climbs along the wall of the cavern to scout the area, and she hears footfalls. She quickly Spider Climbs away from Abner. A crossbow bolt almost hits her on the cavern wall. Katarzyna Dimension Doors away, back to the main cavern where Gregore, Abner and Jean-Baptiste are waiting. She tells them what she saw, and they prepare to head back.
Gregore casts Light on several coins, Jean-Baptiste makes himself invisible, then they return to the cavern via another Dimension Door. Gregore tosses the coins around the room, while Katarzyna and Abner make attempts to hide. Gregore calls out to the person hiding in the darkness. Abner points out where he saw movement, and Katarzyna targets the area with Glitterdust. Gregore, Katarzyna and Abner don’t see anything revealed by the Glitterdust. Jean-Baptiste does see him, and he appears to be suffering from blindness. Katarzyna doesn’t know if her spell was effective, so she moves to see if she can see the area. Gregore intones a prayer to Ezra, and from his back, wings of Mist appear, and he flies over to the area. Katarzyna spots the man who presumably shot the crossbow at her, and hits him with Waves of Fatigue. She sees him jump into the water. Gregore flies down to where he saw him go into the water. Gregore is wounded severely by the man, and he lands on the small island in the cavern. He begins painting something on the floor of the cavern. Abner strikes him with a serious hit. Katarzyna tries to target him with a spell, but it misses. A ball of mist forms near Gregore, and it shoots into the water. The man seems to be able to hold his breath pretty well, and he lingers underwater long enough to outlast Katarzyna’s Glitterdust spell. Gregore summons a spiritual ally. Katarzyna targets an area of water. The spell doesn’t seem to do anything, but it does affect Gregore. Gregore pulls out a sword, which multiplies into four swords that slam into the water. Gregore’s spells seem to take care of the creature, or so it seems.
When they recover the body, they discover that what actually happened was that the man had slit his own throat. Apparently the man, presumably Keeper Hyves, did not want to be taken alive. There is writing in Aklo on the gag in the man’s mouth. They examine the body of the man, and review his items. Katarzyna sees a bright glow of magic on the ledge. She destroys a poisonous fungus above the area. Gregore goes over to investigate the magical glow. He finds a magical rapier, and a leather pad sewn with an emblem. The insignia indicates the rank of the Crow was relatively high up in the order. Jean-Baptiste dives into the water to retrieve the items dropped by Keeper Hyves. He retrieves a scimitar and most of the coins that Gregore threw in the water. Katarzyna uses her ability to read magic to decipher the runes, which say “Dezma grants thee a boon to hew the deviant flesh of your great enemy”.
They gather up the bodies of the Crow and Keeper Hyves, and Katarzyna creates a Dimension Door to bring them back up to the surface. They send a runner to go to get Kendra. They decide to move the bodies of Keeper Hyves and the Crow to one of the locations that had already been devastated by the monster. One of the guards they run across recognizes the badge of Khorg Eldreen, a Seargeant and investigator. He had been missing for several months, and the man didn’t know what he had been investigating. They make their way to the location.
Grewin, Ostovach and Kendra arrive twenty minutes later. Abner gives Kendra the magic scimitar. She says that she thinks that the scimitar comes from Farajah. They tell Kendra why they came to the site, to see if the creature is somehow homing in on the bodies of the Keepers, or if it is following a trail of information. If it is the latter, they know that the monster is intelligent, and is probably not acting alone. Abner and Jean-Baptiste walk a short distance away and confer with one another. Kendra speaks with the body of Arlen Hyves. He says the name of the creature, something like Og Sussoth, and it says there is no hope to get rid of it. They do determine that he killed Khorg Eldreen, the slain Crow. They kick the body of Keeper Hyves into the hole.
They return to the Mayor’s house. They wake up the Mayor, and they bring the body of the Khorg Eldreen to Aristen, along with the badge and rapier. The Mayor walks in, and Jean-Baptiste and Abner tell him what happened. Aristen goes to speak with the wife of Khorg Eldreen. The Mayor has food brought before them. He also tells them that rooms have been prepared. Jean-Baptiste asks him about Khorg Eldreen’s rapier. While they are laconically eating, sharp-eared Abner hears a wail of anguish from somehwere in the house.
Katarzyna goes to sleep, having been up for most of the night. She finds the bed suitably luxurious, and falls asleep almost immediately. The others follow suit, retiring to their rooms for a few hours of sleep.
In the midmorning, they awaken and head down to eat breakfast. Jean-Baptiste asks Kendra what is wrong with her. Abner studiously avoids the conversation. Katarzyna is blissfully unaware of any of the conversation, fixated on the myriad food offerings. There are two types of bacon, several different flavors of scones, and eggs. There is some discussion about a book, and something about Kendra needed to not read it.
Aristen brings Khorg Eldreen’s widow to speak with them. She thanks them for bringing closure to her. She tells them that she had spoken with his Khorg Edreen’s father, then she runs away, overcome with emotion. Katarzyna runs after her, and tries to console her. She spends almost an hour with her. She takes her leave after a while to go prepare spells and get ready to go to the asylum to confront Keeper Crove.
Meanwhile, Aristen hands Jean-Baptiste a note, that expresses their gratitude for finding Khorg’s body for them to bury. They also make a gift of his blade, called the Bane Of The Dweller, to ‘the heroes that found it’. They also say there is a reward of 2000 GP for each of them at the bank for them. Kendra indentifies the weapons and magic items. The rapier is a fabled blade, worn by Orthyk, a cavalier of Canterwall, and it is a bane weapons against aberrations and “creatures from without”. Keeper Hyves’ belt was associated with a brigand name Frash, who was killed in camp. The belt increases a person’s agility. The armor is Khorg Eldreen’s armor, that Keeper Hyves had been wearing. The ring has a compartment for a poison pill. It’s also a ring of Protection. There is no story associated with the magical scimitar. The jeweled ring goes to Jean-Baptiste, and the belt goes to Abner.
They regroup, and set out for the asylum. It is raining as they make their way to the austere and intimidating asylum, the only stone structure this low on the hill. There are iron doors, one is slightly ajar. Jean-Baptiste pushes the door open. There is a foyer, that’s relatively empty. There are three people in straightjackets, who begin shrieking as soon as they see them. Gregore uses his hypnotism to calm down the gibbering inmates. When they listen at several doors, four guards push their way in. They are belligerent, and Jean-Baptiste throws one against the wall.
A fight ensues. One of them strikes Katarzyna, and another strikes Abner. Ostovach attacks the one that struck Katarzyna. Gregore and Grewin also roll in. They square off with the guards, and slowly gain the upper hand. Kendra drops the one attacking Abner, and Katarzyna finishes the one attacking Ostovach. Abner gets a devastating attack on the one attacking Jean-Baptiste, finishing him. The last one is surrounded, attacked in turn by Jean-Baptiste, Kendra, Ostovach, Grewin, and Gregore, finally being killed by Gregore’s attack.
There is blood everywhere. The group gets their bearings and continues into the asylum. They check out the small linen closet/cloakroom adjacent to the foyer. They check the bodies of the orderlies, but Abner tells them that there isn’t anything worthwhile. Kendra, however, holds up one of the clubs they were using. She notes the maker’s mark, from Caromark Manufacturing in Lepidstadt. The handle has a mechanism that allows the weapon to crackle with energy. Kendra and Katarzyna determine that they are mix of engineered and magical disciplines, and have a limited shock capacity that recharges.
Grewin goes to the doors and checks out the hallway beyond. He also checks the room on the left of the foyer (D4). It has a chair with attached restraints, and a blackboard. There is another door in this room, and Grewin checks it out as well. It is a small private office (D4a). There is a stack of patient files and other items. There is a small-dagger-shapped letter opener. Meanwhile, Abner opens the door on the right of the foyer (D3) which turns out to be a small padded room.
They move into the hallway (D5). Abner steps through first. They deliberate about which way to go first. Jean-Baptiste tries to listen at various doors, but there is a general din of inmates yelling and knocking. They check out the two stairwells in the center of the building, but close the doors for the moment when they see chained inmates waiting at the bottom of the stairs. After a short discussion, they send Abner to scout the hallways on the south side of the building. They then open the double doors on the east side of the building. There is another set of double doors just beyond a small vestibule. They open those doors, and discover a well-appointed office [D13]. There are no windows. There are three doors that lead from this room. Abner finds a hidden panel on the desk. He checks for traps, then activates the panel. He opens a small drawer, with a thin crystal wand inside. Katarzyna examines the wand. There is script on the side, that says UITÁ-TE ÏN OCHII MEI, it is written in Táiyoo. It has an aura of enchantment about it, with an element of compulsion. Grewin opens the door on the north wall of the room, which leads to a hallway going north. The northwestern door is locked, so Abner unlocks it. It leads to a narrow twisted stairwell that leads to the basement [D13a]. Grewin listens at the door on the southwest wall of the office, and Abner opens it. It is a lounge of sorts [D14] with booze of various sorts. There is another door on the south wall of this room. It is also locked, so Abner checks the door and tries to unlock it, but fails. Jean-Baptiste uses Knock to unlock the door.
The room beyond [D15] is a library, and Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Katarzyna take a look around. It appears to be focused on a number of subjects, including astrology, astronomy, portals, history, and practices and rites of cults. There are also books on anthropology and sociology. Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste take special note of the book on portals. Katarzyna takes Jean-Baptiste aside privately, and tells him that sooner rather than later, he should read the Journal of Cygnus, one of the books that was found in Traver Foxglove’s study in Courtaud. She produces the volume from her bag, and hands it to him. He slips it among his belongings.
Jean-Baptiste asks Abner to check for secret doors and compartments. Kendra is mumbling in a strange language, which Katarzyna thinks is Aklo. Katarzyna catches a key phrase in Kendra’s mumblings that is the same as a passage in the book of portals. The book talks about summoning elder creatures from beyond the Dark Tapestry. When Jean-Baptiste tells Kendra that she had been speaking Aklo, it jogs her memory from her studies of the book. Kendra, Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste compare notes over the course of an hour, and they determine that the creature is not fully in “Ravenloft”, and isn’t at full strength, but every time they killed one of the Keepers, they’ve prevented the creature from getting more power for itself, as it was attuned to the men who had summoned it somehow, and could fully materialize if it killed enough of them itself. Because it is not at full strength, it can still be defeated by so-called ’normal’ means. The creature is called an orphan of Yog-Sothoth. The phrase “ia ia Yog-Sothoth” is a phrase that is associated with the creature.
Abner and Grewin hear movement in the building, and stealthily go to investigate. They encounter two of the same guards as before, and engage them. After a while, Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna and Kendra realize that the others are engaged in combat, and join the fray just as Grewin is finishing off the second enemy. After the fight, they compare notes about the research they had done, and determine that the guards had been lobotomized to make them more compliant and obedient.
They decide to go down the narrow stairwell [D13a/D33]. Grewin and Abner stealthily proceed down, to scout ahead for danger. The come to a door at the bottom of the stairwell, and they open the door. It opens into a hallway, with doors on the north and south walls of the hallway. There is also steps leading down on the northwest corner. It opens into what looks like a dungeon or holding area [D23]. Grewin and Jean-Baptiste move west down the central hallway. The stone floor tiles are deep green. There is a massive pair of iron doors at the western end of the room. There is an iron door hanging open on the southern wall of the eastern part of the main hallway room. As they approach the western end of the hallway, they hear the rattling of chains, and Grewin draws his weapons. Grewin spots the chained people he had seen from upstairs. Grewin tries to knock out the one on the north side of the hallway. There are patients in many of the rooms. There is a girl with a collar and a gag in the first room Jean-Baptiste looks in. Several of them hear something happening upstairs. They all decide to rush upstairs as quickly as they can. They see Grewin’s gorilla throwing a lunatic against the wall. Grewin manages to calm her, and they decide to check out the rest of this level.
They head to the northwest room on the main floor [D7] which is a library. There is a small person hiding under a fort made of chairs. Jean-Baptiste recognizes the creature as a young gnomish boy. He also recognizes that the gnome has been flayed and tortured. He speaks to it in gnomish. Grewin overhears him speaking. He tries to calm him down. He leaves a curative potion for the gnome, which he takes. Grewin comes into the room. He also sees the evidence of torture. Katarzyna also goes into the room. Grewin and Jean-Baptiste calm the boy, and Gregore suggests giving the boy over to the guards waiting outside. Gregore uses his crystal to hypnotize the boy. He then picks up the boy. The boy had been reading a book of Zon Kuthon torture techniques, much to their distaste. Katarzyna and Ostovach take the boy to the guards, and give them instructions to take the boy to the Mayor’s house.
The others go to the room at the north point of the building, which is a mudroom [D8]. They then go into the eastern room, which has a metal table with dried blood and various unpleasant substances, including leeches [D9]. There is another small room [D10] adjacent to the torture room with extra supplies. They then go into the room on the south wall of the north hallway. It’s a large room, a lecture hall of some kind [D11]. There is a lunatic giving a lecture in gibberish, and there are five other lunatics in the lecture hall. One of the lunatics rushes toward them as the door opens. They do their best to knock them out without harming them.
They continue investigating the rest of the rooms on the first floor. In the southwest corner of the building is a room with a hole in the floor. They hear growling and Kendra uses her third eye to investigate the area underneath. She sees a large creature with an eye, a massive maw full of sharp teeth, with many tentacles. The creature was in a room full of pillars with a dark lake. The creature spotted her floating eye, and destroyed it, breaking her vision. She is quite shaken by the experience.
They decide to continue searching the basement level. They quickly survey the cells in the southern loop, and the row of cells in the southeast corner of the basement. They hear something beyond the double doors on the west side of the main hallway. Grewin and Abner listen intently at the doors, and Grewin hears a person screaming. Grewin kicks in the door, and finds in the room beyond a torture chamber. There is a creature in the room that appears to be torturing people. The creature is an “evil dwarf” according to Jean-Baptiste. Everyone is horrified by the creature. They attack the dwarf, who moves with surprising speed. It casts magical darkness, but Kendra immediately counters with a light spell. They battle the creature, and finally Jean-Baptiste incapacitates him.
Gregore is tending to the two surviving torture subjects, with Katarzyna’s help. Grewin stabilizes the evil dwarf. Ostovach asks what kind of dwarf it is, and Jean-Baptiste says that it is a darrow, a type of dwarf that lives underground. Katarzyna searches the room, and finds a notebook, which appears to be written in Aklo. Kendra reads some of it, and tells them that it is all clinical information, but it is interspersed with dwarven idioms. The book details how the darrow, Zhezek, had struck up a deal with Crove, serving him as a torturer in exchange for a steady supply of subjects. The journal also details the glee with which the darrow tortured the gnome boy.
They move on to the door on the south wall of the room. Grewin listens carefully at the door, then gingerly opens the door. The room beyond appears to be Zhezek’s personal quarters, and it is grotesquely festooned with his grisly trophies. Jean-Baptiste and Abner toss the room, but don’t find anything informative.
They continue the search of the basement in the southeast hallway. The first cell is empty, but bloodstained. The second cell, on the west side of the hallway, is occupied. They hear a growling speech from the room, which Katarzyna recognizes the language as Undercommon, which she doesn’t know. It is an amalgam of languages of the subterranean races. Abner peeks into the cell, and sees an emaciated creature with big eyes. The arms are very long, with hands that end in claws. Katarzyna seems to catch that the creature is hungry, and she gives it some bread, but it doesn’t seem to want the bread. They decide to move on to the next cell across the hall, which is occupied by someone who speaks. He gives his name as Ploog. Katarzyna takes pity on him, and they let him out of the cell. Ploog tells them that the creature in the cell they just passed eats humans. Katarzyna gives Ploog some food and water. As he’s eating, Jean-Baptiste uses the paint set to create some fruit and cheese on the ground. Ostovach takes him back up to the guards outside the asylum, to hand him over to their care like they had done with the gnomish boy.
Katarzyna goes to the next cell, and listens at the door. The occupant is a seemingly catatonic man, who is wearing a straitjacket. Gregore goes to the man, and starts cutting away gangrenous flesh. Gregore says that the man has been lobotomized to the point that he is completely unresponsive. Grewin picks up the man and takes him to the room where the flayed subjects were. Grewin laughs aloud as he sees that the darrow has been stabbed to death. Jean-Baptiste and Grewin share a moment, where Grewin appreciates that Jean-Baptiste was responsible for making it happen. Ostovach returns right about this time. Katarzyna is unaware of any of this, as she and Gregore are still in the hallway where Ploog and the lobotomized man had been found, and are heading toward the unexplored sections of the basement.
Back in the hallway, Jean-Baptiste goes to the last door, which is where Ploog said the creature was. As Jean-Baptiste peeks through the door, a tentacle lashes out at him, and Jean-Baptiste starts to deform. After a brief moment of near dissolution, he seems to resolidify, but it’s clearly a struggle. Gregore grabs Jean-Baptiste pulls him away from the door. Katarzyna is shaken by the image. Ostovach is attacked by the creature next, but doesn’t suffer from the same malady that struck Jean-Baptiste. They continue to do battle with the creature. Gregore manages to remove the condition from Jean-Baptiste using a spell that removes curses. The creature pulls it tentacle back through the door. It is not in any way defeated, but it remains behind the door. For now.
They talk about how best to deal with the creature. Gregore and Katarzyna think they should not engage the creature yet, but rather continue searching the north part of the complex accessed through the study stairwell. Abner opens the door, and they find a small room [D36]. There is a desk and a high-backed chair with a deep purple cushion. There is also a door on the east wall. Grewin listens at the door, and checks the door. As he does so he hears a voice say “come, come”. Grewin opens the door, and he sees a man who must be Keeper Crove. He addresses them in condescending fashion. Katarzyna goads him, mocking his inability to name the creature in the room of pillars. He threatens them, so Kendra shoots him. Abner also stabs him, doing a lot of damage. He then attacks Abner. There is a pulse of negative energy from Crove, that hits them all, but especially Katarzyna. As they fight, they hear the telltale sound of ground shaking, signaling the imminent arrival of the creature from the Dark Tapestry. Keeper Crove tries to bargain with them, but Grewin isn’t having it, and has Flandalene attack him. She lays him out.
They hear the building shake, and Ostovach yells that the creature is upstairs. They also hear screaming from upstairs. Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste take the body of Keeper Crove out of the room, up to the front door of the asylum, through Katarzyna’s Dimension Door, coming out behind the creature. Grewin, Osotvach, Kendra, Abner and Gregore remain downstairs, though Katarzyna exhorts the others to come along if they can. They choose to remain behind. As Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste take Keeper Crove’s body, the creature wails plaintively. It lashes out and grabs Ostovach, and starts to go upstairs. The others rush up the stairs. Upstairs, Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste prepare to face the creature, grabbing the items from Keeper Crove’s body that Katarzyna had identified earlier as magical. The creature rushes to where the body of Crove is, and Katarzyna blasts the now-invisible creature with Glitterdust. They attack the creature, desperately trying to free Ostovach and take the creature down. The monster manages to grab Grewin as well, and they continue to valiantly try to take it down. Flandalene is especially effective against it. Gregore casts a spell that summons a 9-foot tall anthropomorphic mastiff who draws a two-handed sword, a hound archon. It attacks the creature, but misses. Ostovach tries to break free, but can’t. Kendra shoots it with her gun. Jean-Baptiste manages to strike it with the Bane of the Dweller. Flandalene hits it again for grievous damage, but Grewin misses with his attacks. Kendra tries to help Ostovach with his ability damage, but doesn’t activate the wand. Katarzyna hits it with three lightning bolts, but two of them don’t seem to have the full effect. Jean-Baptiste hits it with Bane of the Dweller one last time, and it starts to dissolve into a foul-smelling mass, ultimately leaving a stain of white powder. There is a cocophany of sound as crows wheel around the city of Carrion Hill. There are THOUSANDS of crows, all cawing and flying wildly around. The hound archon goes over to Ostovach, and licks the wounds on his abdomen. Ostovach’s wounds disappear when he does so. Ostovach’s color also returns. He also heals Flandalene. The hound archon then walks over to Gregore and they talk briefly. He then vanishes.
Jean-Baptiste goes exploring in Keeper Crove’s quarters, and finds several lockers, one containing lots of platinum coins. The others contain shards of pottery with symbols and writing that feature the writing motif of the creatures.
They take stock of their situation at the asylum. Katarzyna talks with the city guards, and tells them that they’ve killed the creature threatening the city. She tells them to send help for the people of the asylum who need care. She then goes back into the asylum. She checks on Osotovach. They chat briefly. They then go downstairs to check on Jean-Baptiste and the injured asylum inmates. Grewin, Abner and Gregore join them downstairs. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna investigate the complex, and they find a couple of rooms they hadn’t discovered before. Abner goes outside for a smoke, while Grewin tends to Flandalene, who is feeling much better after the hound archon’s attention. They all know that there is still the matter of the tentacled creature beyond the locked door, but for the moment, they appreciate their victory.
There is a brief lull in activity, and there is a contingent of guards that arrives. They ask that they go to speak with the mayor. Jean-Baptiste, Kendra, Abner and Katarzyna go to speak with the mayor. The birds are still everywhere, cawing and keening. They arrive at the Crown district. They notice rats returning to the sewers. They go into the mayor’s residence. They all go to their rooms to freshen up. There is a flurry of servant activity, drawing baths and serving. Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna and Kendra each avail themselves of a bath and lavendar soaps. There is also mulled wine, to help take the chill out of their bones. They each change into fresh clothes. The servants also present plates of appetizers.
The mayor enters the central room where Katarzyna and Kendra are. He speaks with them, and Jean-Baptiste enters. Jean-Baptiste asks about the libraries. Katarzyna asks about local boutiques, and an hour later a woman named Savonna talks with them and she leaves a book of styles for them to review. They make an appointment for the following day. Gregore arrives and changes clothes and bathes. Grewin does not return to the mansion. Ostovach also returns and asks Katarzyna to dinner the following night. Many young serving girls seem to be attending to Ostovach.
They sit down to dinner, and there are various nobles in attendance. Jean-Baptiste dines next to a noblewoman named Katarina Addison, who has a Canterwall accent. Her father is from Canterwall, but her mother is from Ordanto. Katarzyna sits next to Mayor Heggry. Kendra’s tablemate is flirting with her, much to Abner’s consternation. Gregore is engaged in conversation with a Pharasman high priest. There are many toasts and salutations, and Ostovach’s glass is never empty for long, thanks to the attention of the doe-eyed serving girls.
After dinner, the dinner guests break into a couple of groups in different rooms. Katarzyna and Kendra indulge in wine and spirits, and Kendra finds herself feeling no pain, but Katarzyna is a little more sober, oddly enough. Jean-Baptiste makes the rounds of the various nobles and aristocrats of Carrion Hill, and also speaks with Mayor Heggry. He also speaks with some of the guards. He doesn’t really get much from them. Katarzyna slips away early. Gregore is working the room, and Ostovach is talking with a long-haired bearded man, possibly of Vistani lineage. Jean-Baptiste also speaks with Aristen. They discuss the various strategies for dealing with incursions from the catacombs underneath Carrion Hill.
There is a loud, braying laugh from elsewhere in the room, and Jean-Baptiste goes over to the area where the laugh originated. A jester comes through, touching people with a ribboned staff, making them laugh uncontrollably. He also performs some card tricks. Jean-Baptiste notices that the tricks performed by the jester are rather extreme. The victim of the card trick has his clothes dissolve until he is stark naked, except for his ring. The jester approaches Jean-Baptiste, brandishing the deck. Jeen-Baptiste, wary of the jester, asks if the laughing people will laugh themselves to death, but at that moment, the first person stops laughing. Katarina Addison draws a card from the jester. She seems to be lovelier than before. The jester then dances away. He then presents the deck to Ostovach, who draws a card. Jean-Baptiste doesn’t notice any change in Ostovach. He then dances over to Gregore, who regards the jester with a hard look. He Pulses, and the jester is thrown back, and he gets up and laughs hysterically. For some reason, everyone in the room starts running away in panic, knocking people down to escape, including Jean-Baptiste, Ostovach and Gregore himself.
Upstairs, Katarzyna hears some commotion in the garden, she jumps down with her Feather Fall ring, and tries to talk to one of the fleeing women, but she continues running away from the jester’s location. Kendra is not affected by the jester’s effect, and goes in to face the jester. She sees that his deck of cards and his wand are magical. He hits Kendra with a card, but she only smiles. Katarzyna hits him with Glitterdust, and he draws a card to throw at her. Kendra draws a pistol on the jester, but misses both times she tries to shoot. The card flies out at Katarzyna and hits her.
Katarzyna has a strange vision of the world between life and death. She sees three crones weaving a long thread. One crone says “Where”, the other says “When”. Katarzyna has the feeling that she can ‘undo’ an event in the past. She thinks about Ostovach losing his hand, and the crones ‘unweave’ that event. The vision ends, and Katarzyna finds herself blinking at the jester. Katarzyna realizes that she had just unwoven an event with the help of beings called Fates, who are mentioned in religions from Nova Vaasa. Katarzyna is stunned briefly as she realizes that no one else has any memory that Ostovach had ever lost his hand, including Ostovach himself.
Meanwhile, Aristen casts a spell on the jester, then Katarzyna tries to halt him, but fails. The creature hits Katarzyna with its wand, and she collapses in laughter. It strikes her again, and then Aristen strikes the jester with a lightning bolt from a scroll. Kendra shoots it and kills it with a spell that sets him on fire. Kendra and Katarzyna notice that though it is on fire, a metal object at its waist is not burning. Gregore, Jean-Baptiste and Ostovach return shortly thereafter, and Mayor Heggry returns shortly thereafter. Kendra recognizes that the creature was a Red Jester, a special type of undead. The deck of cards was a Deck of Many Things.
Ostovach notices the object among the burning remains of the Red Jester. It looks like a scroll tube. Aristen opens the tube, and hands the note to Jean-Baptiste, who sighs. It is a note, from “A”, telling them “Have it your way.” The scroll tube is not magical. Katarzyna tells the others about her experience with the card, though of course no one remembers Ostovach losing his hand.
Jean-Baptiste calls Ostovach aside, and asks for his help in investigating Keeper Krove’s spellbook. They go to Jean-Baptiste’s room and look at the book. The book is cool to the touch. There is an icy rune on the cover. Ostovach runs downstairs and asks Katarzyna to come up to Jean-Baptiste’s room. He is in a state of suspended animation, surrounded by an amber field of force. Katarzyna uses both her Break Enchantment spells to free Jean-Baptiste. They look at the spellbook, but make no firm determinations about it, and after awhile Katarzyna turns in for the night.
Thursday, August 21st, 758 Carrion Hill, Ustalav
Katarzyna and Kendra go to the ladies’ boutique. Katarzyna purchases several items, including two dresses and some other clothing items, cosmetics, and jewelry. Kendra spends half as much as Katarzyna, and replaces the items that were ruined the previous day.
Jean-Baptiste decides to scout around Carrion Hill, to look for places to liquidate the various items that have accumulated over the course of their adventures. He sees Ostovach with Aristen, and some city guards. Ostovach tells him that Aristen is going to help them assault the creature under the asylum. Jean-Baptiste tells Ostovach that he needs some time to prepare before they approach the creature. Katarzyna and Kendra approach them, and she also tells Ostovach that she’ll need time to prepare spells. Ostovach tells them that he had a different sword in his sheath than he previously had. Katarzyna inspects it carefully. It is uniquely shaped, with spikes and a dual tip. There is a dark vine motif going through the blade. The guard is in the shape of an ox skull, and the pommel and guard feature three red gems. The sword glows with a moderate Transmutation.
They return to the mayor’s mansion. Katarzyna prepares her spells, and Jean-Baptiste prepares his elixirs and infusions and such.
In the early afternoon, they regroup and head to the asylum. The guards have cordoned off the area, but many spectators are gathered at the barricades, curious about the goings-on. They go down to the basement level, and Kataryzna and Aristen cast their buff spells. Ostovach reminds them that the creature should be less challenging than the other creature they faced, since Keeper Krove had no trouble containing and controlling it.
As they are gathered, they are joined by the hound archon from the day before. He nods to them, and they go through the barricade to engage the monster. Ostovach encourages them. Grewin approaches the door and goes to unlock it, but the creature grabs him. Grewin does manage to get the door open though. Jean-Baptiste immediately moves in to attack. Flandalene attacks next, followed by Aristen, who casts Rage on Jean-Baptiste. Gregore moves up, and casts a spell, followed by Kendra and Katarzyna, firing a musket and Magic Missile, respectively. They all pile on the creature again, but when the creature strikes Flandalene, she is reduced to amorphous goo. Gregore removes the curse on Grewin, while Ostovach moves in to attack after Flandalene falls. Aristen steps up again, and sends off a spate of Magic Missiles. Jean-Baptiste finishes the creature, and Katarzyna breaks the enchantment effect on Flandalene. The gorilla is panicked by her experience, and she runs away from the hallway, followed closely by Grewin.
Jean-Baptiste, Kendra, Katarzyna, Abner and Gregore investigate the lair of the creature. There aren’t any magical auras. Jean-Baptiste searches the fetid, dank water. Gregore leaves them, going to a meeting. Jean-Baptiste, Ostovach, Katarzyna and Abner search for at least an hour. They are greeted by the guards when they come out. They speak briefly, and Katarzyna, Kendra and Abner ride up to the Crown with the mayor. Jean-Baptiste goes to speak with Ploog, the lobotomized man they rescued the previous day. He is with Ostovach. They speak at length, about him possibly joining the party as a porter. Jean-Baptiste strikes a bargain with him. He charges Ostovach with getting Ploog kitted out, but he tells Jean-Baptiste that he has other things he has to attend to, so Jean-Baptiste gives Ploog money to purchase weapons and gear.
Katarzyna, Kendra and Abner return to the mayor’s house. Katarzyna bathes and changes for her date with Ostovach. Kendra also has a bath.
They all meet with Mayor Heggry around 3 in the afternoon. He tells them that the town is very thankful for their help. He offers them either 3,000 GP each as a reward, or that same amount of GP worth of books from his private library. Katarzyna, Jean-Baptiste and Kendra are all eager for the books. While Ostovach speaks with the mayor’s clerk, the trio peruses the library. There are all sorts of incredible rare tomes, some even with magical auras. Katarzyna is especially in search of books that mention “Ravenloft” and “Scotland”. She also looks for books about the Dark Tapestry and Aklo. She finds a book that she thinks is about the Nova Vaasi religion, but turns out to be a book on religion of the Linnorm kings.
Katarzyna spots a book with a scarab on the spine. It’s a journal of a man named Arisid. Katarzyna tries to conceal the book, but Jean-Baptiste spots it anyway. He then shows Katarzyna a book about the history of Carrion Hill. Katarzyna purchases a book about the Dark Tapestry for 2,000 GP, and the book about Lamordia takes up the rest of her allotment. Kendra buys a book on the Whispering Tyrant, as well as some other books related to the occult. Jean-Baptiste buys Arisid’s journal with his own money. He also buys the dream journal, as well as several other journals. He also buys a book about Ustalavic alchemy, as well as a book called “The Tales Of The Vales, An Abridged Version Of Fact And Folkore From Ustalav’s Vales”. Katarzyna stays in the library all night, eventually falling asleep in a chair. Kendra retires to her room with her books. Jean-Baptiste returns to his room and starts reading the Journal of Cygnus, and gets a few hours into it.
Friday, August 22nd, 758 Carrion Hill, Ustalav
Kendra is first to awaken, and she sees Katarzyna asleep in the library. Ostovach is in a good mood, and he speaks with Kendra, and tells her that he hired someone to go and act as a steward and guardian for his sister.
Katarzyna wakes around 11, and goes up to her room to freshen up. She then goes down to look for some food. She runs into Kendra, and they chat briefly. She also runs into Ostovach, and they have an awkward conversation about the status of their non-relationship.
They all meet for lunch, and they decide to have lunch outdoors, since Flandalene is skittish. Gregore talks with them about their next steps, he has sent to Lepidstadt for Jominda and Victor. He wants to come back to Carrion Hill when they’re done with all of their dealings with the Whispering Way and help get the asylum back on track to really start helping people. Ostovach and Grewin (and Flandalene) want to head toward Thrushmoor sooner rather than later. Ultimately they decide to tarry in Carrion Hill for one more day (Saturday) and leave the following day (Sunday).
Katarzyna spends the rest of the day scouting various shops in Carrion Hill, looking for magic items. She runs across various items of interest. She finds a “bracelet of mercy” that is covered with gems. It is very elegant, and it is helpful for healers. It doesn’t sound like something she’s ever heard of a priest using, it might be something associated with another type of magic than someone like Gregore would use. The old man wants 16,000 GP for it, so Katarzyna admires it and moves on. She finds more interesting items in other shops, but ultimately doesn’t find anything worth purchasing.
In the evening, Jean-Baptiste rounds up the others and goes to meet with Zon Kuthon followers to sell some items. Katarzyna and Kendra accompany them. They are greeted by a priest who can see through Katarzyna’s Hat of Disguise, so she drops the disguise. The priest speaks to another man, and they have a brief animated conversation. Abner and Grewin follow stealthily as they conduct the transaction. The man slits his forehead and reveals a third eye, and he looks at the items. They walk toward a dilapidated building. It is dark inside, and only Katarzyna can easily see inside. There is a strong smell of incense and there are candles giving off light in various areas. They see a woman, and speak with her about the items. She is very pale, and dressed in provocative clothing. She serves them wine. She gives them a name to call her, “Belladonna”. She tells Jean-Baptiste that she serves “the pallid princess”. Katarzyna doesn’t know who that is, but Kendra and Jean-Baptiste know that it refers to Urgathoa. Jean-Baptiste shows her the items he wants to sell. She picks up the scythe, and it’s obvious that she’s quite skilled with the weapon. She remarks that it is well-balanced. She also examines the ring with skull motif. Belladonna spots Abner up at the roof, and he climbs down into the room, accepting a glass of wine as he makes it to the others. She offers 3,000 GP in onyx for the items. They take their leave, and Jean-Baptiste takes her briefly aside. He tells the others after he rejoins them that he is considering using the wands of controlling undead as an incentive to keep her working with them. He also tells Katarzyna about Urgathoa, the goddess that Belladonna serves.
They purchase a Vistani wagon called a vardo, and water-resistant chests for their collection of books. One of the chests is white with scrollwork, the other is metal, somewhat older, with a very well-made lock.
Before they turn in, Kendra asks the others to join her in a seance. They experience a vision of a man named Amadeus Rask in Ilmarsh. He is looking for Gaster Lucas. He bullies several townspeople, including Tam, Lauren and Jasper. The vision ends with Amadeus Rask on the wharf, having just seen some sort of leviathan out in the bay, screaming into the night at the townsfolk, threatening to kill them if they don’t tell him where Gaster Lucas has gone. A sinister voice speaks to him, saying “Welcome to Ilmarsh, Amadeus Rask”.