Panic on Monday, as Ravengro is attacked by scores of undead creatures, and what is the song of mourning that fills the air?
Sunday, May 4, 758. Ravengro, Ustalav.
As Gregore is talking to the children, a dog circles around his legs. A man tells Gregore that the dog’s name is Old River, and he’s a “town dog”. Old River’s owner had died about a decade before, and since then the people of the town looked after it. The children of Ravengro are especially close to Old River, and Old River is particularly protective toward the children.
Katarzyna comes out into the square from the Outward Inn. She sees Gregore and walks over to him. They talk briefly about the dog. They pet the dog and then the dog goes bounding after a child. Katarzyna wanders over to the general store, while Gregore sits on a bench in the center of the plaza, watching the people in the town. Inside the store, Katarzyna sees girls playing a game (with something hidden in their hands) outside the store, and they giggle as they run away. Inside the store, Katarzyna meets Luthko and Marta Avanaki, and their four children. Katarzyna sees heirloom armor that depicts the Battle of the Caliban Hordes, and talks to Luthko and Marta about it. Katarzyna speaks with the couple a bit, and purchases a sympathy card for Kendra.
Gregore talks to Benjan Caeller. Gregore tells him that he is from Borca, but Benjan is unfamiliar with the region. Gregore notices Benjan’s attention is fixed toward someone or something other than himself. Gregore notices the object of Benjan’s stare, and it appears to be a woman similar in general appearance to Kendra Lorrimor, at least at a distance. Gregore asks the sherriff about the prison, and the death of the professor. The sherriff tells Gregore that he will be visiting farms the next day, so won’t be around. Benjan summons a female halfling, “Riff”, who gives Gregore a rather unfriendly look.
Dragos sees Gregore and the dog, and he and Abner go to have a drink at the Outward Inn. There is a small stage off in a corner. Dragos sees a woman arranging the common room, Sarianna Vai (who just met Katarzyna moments before). They exchange pleasantries. He also sees another person in the room, perhaps a Darkonese man. Sarianna tells Dragos that the man in in Ravengro on business. Dragos approaches the man, and exchanges pleasantries. The man tells Dragos that he is a merchant. He seems intimidated by the Inquisitor’s presence. He gives his name as Marchen the Fair. He hurriedly leaves the common room. Sarianna agrees to answer Dragos’ questions.
Gregore goes over to the Outward Inn, and speaks with Abner, who has relocated outside to smoke. Gregore goes inside, and speaks with Sarianna and Dragos. Dragos quizzes Sarianna about the Professor. She relates anecdotes about the Professor, including his singing while drinking and such. The subject of the Professor being a necromancer comes up again.
Katarzyna wanders over to Abner, who is talking to a man named Vrodish. They exchange pleasantries. He is a coarse, but amiable man. Dragos and Gregore come out of the Outward Inn, and Abner, Katarzyna, Gregore and Dragos all go to the Laughing Demon Tavern. Once there, Katarzyna greets Zokar, who had been at the funeral. They spend time at the bar, and sample many of the whimsically named offerings of the house. Katarzyna talks to the boy Pevrin Elkarid, the tavernkeeper’s son. Gregore talks to the female dwarf who owns the forge. Gregore actually gets the dwarf to open up a bit about the prison and her history.
Dragos and a surly man have a bit of a confrontation at the gaming table. The man leaves the table before the situation can escalate to violence, but is unmollified by Katarzyna’s attempt to smooth over the incident. He mutters something under his breath, and Gregore sees that it upset Katarzyna quite a bit.
Kendra Lorrimor comes in to the Laughing Demon, and just afterward Mirta Straelock comes in and greets Kendra. Gregore and Katarzyna join Kendra and Mirta, and the other townsfolk start filtering in. They all stay there drinking well into the evening.
Later, they all head back to the Lorrimar Estate. Katarzyna is rather inebriated from the day’s drinking, and a sudden banging noise causes everyone to search the house for anything out of the ordinary. Dragos and Gregore notice a cold spot in a bathroom on the second floor, but the searchers don’t find anything else.
Monday, May 5, 758, Ravengro, Ustalav
Abner prepares breakfast early, wanting to get an early start on the day so he could pick up some items he had requested at the general store. He makes a concoction for Katarzyna, to help with her lingering headache. Upstairs, Dragos and Gregore speak briefly in Dragos’ room as Gregore is doing a quick inspection of the rooms, looking for signs of cold spots and the like. Dragos’ room is quite cold, unnaturally so. Gregore says as much to Dragos, who hadn’t realized it was anything other than a cold morning.
They all set off together. Dragos, as ever, is in his full armor with weapons at the ready (probably why he cuts such an intimidating figure among the locals). Katarzyna carries her quarterstaff as a walking staff, not really an oddity, considering her frail appearance, but her spell components are secreted on her person rather cleverly. Her snowy owl, always nearby, is unobtrusive and quiet, and none seem to take notice of her. Gregore does not go forth in armor, but he does carry his weapons. As they go toward town, they hear melancholy violin music. It is eerie and fills them with disquiet.
The storekeeper Luthko and a local man are talking about the music they all heard. One of Luthko and Marta’s daughters goes into the cellar and exclaims “Grammy!” and at the same time Gregore sees an apparition of a rotting corpse from behind the gorgeous suit of armor. Another Avanaki child exclaims in terror that the rotting corpse is “Grandpa”. Violence ensues. Abner and Gregore are greivously injured. Dragos and Gregore manage to kill “Grandpa”, while Katarzyna destroys “Grammy” with her power over unlife. At the sound of screaming from upstairs, Katarzyna bolts up the stairs as the entire Avanaki family cowers in a corner, and a dark shape stares menacingly from the closet. Gregore follows Katarzyna up the stairs. She destroys the shape in the closet, but not until after it attacks Katarzyna and saps her strength a bit. Meanwhile, Dragos goes outside and battles “unearthly hands” as he called them out to his companions, and Abner follows. The hand creatures are attacking the local children and Old River the dog. Dragos, Abner and Gregore manage to destroy the hands, then they destroy a zombie ambling after a mother and her children.
The proprietress of the Silken Purse, protected by seven guardsman already, offers all the defenders fifty gold pieces to help defend her establishment, but seeing that the guardsman have the situation well in hand, the group decides to focus on the areas of greatest need.
They head north of the town square, and find two skeletons with nooses and a zombie rider on a zombie horse who have cornered Pevrin on a posting pole. They defeat them quickly. They cross the bridge over the river, and run into Rufio, the Pharasma acolyte, who gives them scrolls of healing, and tells them to help the councilor who is struggling with a vengeful ghost. Katarzyna destroys the ghost quickly, and they move on to the Restlands Cemetery, which appears to be the source of the fell music that continues to fill the air.
Sure enough, there is a figure playing a fiddle on the brow of the hill at the center of the cemetery. Rufio had been attacked by an undead wolf as he approach the cemetery, but when the group arrived they were able to detroy it with their superior numbers. Gregore finds and heals Rufio and they all sprint toward the figure playing the fiddle in the cemetery, by now clearly an elf maiden, who wears the tattered remnants of a straightjacket. Skeletons attack the group, and still they head toward the elf girl as quickly as they can. Dragos and Katarzyna both realize that the girl is alive, not undead. Katarzyna tries to target the violin to disrupt the music (and hopefully the obvious spell effects of unquiet dead crawling out of their graves), but her skill with the quarterstaff doesn’t seem equal to the task. A pitched battle ensues and they are beset on all sides by undead as they try to stop the girl. Dragos yells out “hit the fiddle!” and quickly Gregore scores a hit on the fiddle, and then another. Others manage to hit the fiddle as well, though the elf maiden dances gracefully away as often as not. Eventually Gregore destroys the fiddle, which causes the runes on the fiddle to explode, and there is a powerful shockwave that destroys all the remaining undead creatures in the town. Suddenly, the chaos and danger is over, as quickly as it arrived.
They take stock of the aftermath, and scouting the cemetery, Katarzyna hears noise coming from inside a crypt, the door of which was wedged closed by a heavy obelisk that had fallen from a nearby disturbed grave. They find Father Grimburrow and several other priests inside the crypt, they had been preparing for a funeral, and had been trapped inside before they realized anything was happening.
Grimburrow tells them that the girl is Ilindri, formerly known as Alhindriosa. She was a Vistani Caliban, who had taken up with gypsies. Her parents died on a river trip, after which she became despondent, but then seem to break out of the dspondency and became carefree. She then connected wtih a group of Vistani from the north. The Vistani accepted her, and she danced with the Vistani for a decade. Even the Vistani noticed her connection to something otherworldly. She became known as the dancing elf maid of the Vistani. One night, a dark stranger swathed in black demanded that the elf maid dance for the fiddle. Lothario, leader of the Vistani, destroyed the violin, and refused the malevolent stranger’s request with stoic defiance. The stranger was clearly a supernatural evil, and quickly killed all the Vistani, who could not raise a hand against him before their lives were snuffed out, but he left Ilindri alive. He told her that the Vistani had saved her life at the cost of their own, and intimated that they would meet again someday. Ilindri noticed that the evil creature was manlike, but had cloven hooves instead of feet. Ilindri immediately became unresponsive, all but catatonic. The townspeople nursed Ilindri back to a semblance of health, but her mental trauma couldn’t be treated. A benefactor had Ilindri sent to the mainland to a specialized hospital. From there, she was shuttled to other facilities, none of them really able to help her. She had escaped from her most recent home, and returned to the site of the Vistani massacre, the town of Ravengro. Of the violin, Grimburrow could not hazard a guess, and it was utterly destroyed when it’s last rune was sundered by Gregore.
The group returns to the town square, and makes certain that everyone there had not suffered subsequent misadventure, and all was well. Or rather, as well as can be expected after a massive wave of undead tries to destroy your town and everyone in it. Faces that once looked at Dragos and Katarzyna with suspicion and malice now showed kinder eyes. Abner and Gregore had already made inroads with the hearts and minds of the locals, and the heroism of the group clearly elevated their standing even more.