Sunday, August 3rd, Ascanor Lodge, Ustalav
The group continues into the Stairs of the Moon interior complex. Before they leave the room, they destroy the canopic stone that binds the vilkacis to the Material Plane. Kendra takes the stone back to the room with the dais, and uses the back of Grewin’s axe to break the stone into two pieces. Kendra keeps half of the stone, and gives the other half to Jean-Baptiste. When the stone is broken, a wisp of ectoplasm escapes, and the overall pall of gloom in the room dissipates somewhat.
Back in the room where Estovian was killed, Abner goes to the pit, and someone calls out. He says his name is Corin. Katarzyna overhears Abner talking to him. He says his spirit is bound to the stone, and he’s been stuck in the pit for 500 years. He was a witch of Hala, who contracted lycanthropy, and his father tried to cure him of it, but could not. He tried to help him by imprisoning him in the pit. He says that they should “return to Hala what is hers”. Katarzyna Feather Falls down into the pit. She uses the magical rope to allow the others to climb down into the pit. Gregore throws one of Jean-Baptiste’s bags down. Katarzyna starts to gather up the bones, but the shackle holding the foot is almost impossible to remove. Abner shimmies down the rope to unlock the shackle. He can’t do it, so Jean-Baptiste and Kendra shimmy down the rope and try their hands at it. Kendra ends up having to shoot the lock off. It is a loud report, and Kendra climbs out of the pit.
Abner and Gregore explore the rest of the room. Abner finds three flasks with liquid in them, newer than the other items in the room. Jean-Baptiste finds unguents and such, but they are all very old and not very hard to come by. Many are toxic extracts of various plants and fungi. There are a lot of surgical tools, all of pure silver, and Jean-Baptiste gathers them up. Abner also finds a small iron strongbox. Abner tries to unlock it, but can’t. Kendra then tries, but can’t. Jean-Baptiste also gives it a try. He finally opens it. He finds a wand and three scroll tubes with fragile-looking moth wings on them. Kendra takes a look at one of the scrolls. Katarzyna looks through Estovian’s spellbook. Kendra says that the scroll tube and the wings are magical. There is an alchemical unguent called Unguent of Timelessness on the wings. Jean-Baptiste speculates that the wand is a Hala wand. Kendra opens a scroll tube, and they open. They speculate that the tubes are preservation tubes. There is a ritual and some information on stars and alignments. Jean-Baptiste reads the ritual to the others. Kendra finds notes from Corin’s father, summarizing the man’s efforts to free his son from lycanthropy. The third scroll tube has a divine scroll. They bring the scroll to Gregore to evaluate. Gregore tells them that the scroll will remove diseases that would remove lycanthropy.
They walk out of the interior complex to go back to the outside of the tower. They see the body of a dead werewolf right outside the door. They loop around the back of the tower. Katarzyna casts Spider Climb and climbs up the tower face. The others skulk by the hybrid werewolves fighting in the decrepit cemetery adjacent to the tower. They arrive at the flat area. There are two wolves ripping open the body of a human, probably a werewolf. Jean-Baptiste recognizes the werewolves as Nightwalkers/Fasmire. The wolves see them and leap at them in hybrid form. Grewin is wounded and knocked to the ground, but the one attacking Jean-Baptiste misses him. Jean-Baptiste shoots one and distracts the other. Abner kills one. Jean-Baptiste shoots the other, but it still attacks Grewin. Abner quickly kills it too. Gregore inspects the dead werewolf. Gregore says it is an undead werewolf called a shadow. Gregore uses Kendra’s wand to remove the damage to Grewin’s strength. Katarzyna asks why they were ripping open the body of the dead werewolf, if it was to become leader of that group. Kendra thins it was the leader of that pack of werewolves. Gregore cuts out the heart and they destroy the heart. Jean-Baptiste starts throwing the bodies of the werewolves off the platform, which attracts more Fasmire werewolves.
Grewin rushes to attack the oncoming werewolves. Gregore also attacks with a radiant energy attack. Jean-Baptiste kills one. There are still werewolves charging. Katarzyna shoots Magic Missile at one that’s attacking Kendra. She then kills the one attacking Abner, while Grewin finishes off the fourth one. Finally the rest of them start climbing up the stairs that wind around the tower. They encounter a dead werewolf on the staircase, and they toss the body off the tower. They get up to the menopteron level. There are three silverhide werewolves in the circular room. They attack. Grewin, Amelia, Abner and Jean-Baptiste are the only ones who can really get in the room. Abner kills the first of the three. Katarzyna shoots one with Acid Arrows, and it attacks her, knocking her prone. Jean-Baptiste bull rushes the werewolf and knocks it through one of the windows. Amelia barrels out of the menopteron and knocks the werewolf down. Grewin kills the one attacking him, leaving only the one attacking Amelia. Jean-Baptiste bravely leaps down onto the exterior staircase and shoots the werewolf. As the last remaining werewolf tries to throw Amelia off himself, he falls off the edge of the steps and off the tower.
Abner tells them that he heard a female werewolf voice say “I think they defeated your men”. They decide to go up the stairs, while Katarzyna Spider Climbs up the opposite way. They emerge at the top of the open-air observatory with megaliths. There is an large, armored male werewolf on the platform, who is apparently Mathus Mordrinacht, and a female werewolf, Cybrisa Dorshanev. Mathus is carrying a longsword. Mathus and Grewin exchange heated words. Mathus hurls a dagger at Grewin. Grewin stumbles backward from the wound. Grewin starts shaking. Grewin seems to undergo a transformation, with black hair, turning into something like a bear. Everyone is shocked by the transformation.
Katarzyna Spider Climbs up to the top of one of the menhirs. Jean-Baptiste shoots at the female werewolf. Mathus attacks Grewin. Cybris casts a spell, hurling lightning at Jean-Baptiste. Kendra shoots Cybrisa. Gregore tries to attack Mathus Mordrinacht, but Amelia gets in his way. Abner then rolls up on Mathus. Jean-Baptiste then runs at her and tackles her. Kendra casts a spell on Abner to give him better accuracy in fighting. Grewin slashes at Mathus Mordrinacht and bites at him, but misses with both attacks. Cybrisa tries to cast a spell on Jean-Baptiste, and he pistol whips her as she does so. Mathus continues to attack Grewin. Katarzyna blinds Cybrisa, but her lightning bolt still hits Jean-Baptiste. Kendra shoots at Cybrisa, after her “broken arrow” attack. Gregore pulses. Katarzyna shoots Cybrisa with Acid Arrows. Mathus attacks Grewin and Abner. Grewin collapses and starts to turn back into his gnomish form.
Cybrisa calls another Storm Burst, but Gregore pulses again. Jean-Baptiste tackles Cybrisa to the ground. He goes to grapple her and she bites him. Cybrisa morphs into a bird and flies away. Mathus focuses on Abner, wounding him grievously. Katarzyna hits the fleeing Cybrisa with a lightning bolt scroll, and she shifts into human form as she falls. Kendra heals Abner. Gregore’s healing spells are exhausted, so he he casts a spell. The spell targets Mathus, who flings away his dagger, which seems to be burning his hand. Grewin rallies and attacks Mathus again, sinking his axe into Mathus’ back, Mathus is incredulous as he stares at Grewin, and falls forward, dead.
Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste notice the crowds of werewolves gathered around the tower. Jean-Baptiste has Grewin cut off Mathus’ head, and they throw it off the tower. They see the werewolves converge on the spot where the head landed, and the wolves start to leave the area. Before long, all of the werewolves congregated around the Stairs of the Moon have left the area.
Jean-Baptiste talks about keeping the heart of Mathus Mordrinacht, but Katarzyna and Gregore are dead set against it. They talk about completing the ritual to reconsecrate the temple to Hala. Jean-Baptiste throws the body of Mathus Mordrinacht off the tower. His longsword and dagger are still on the top of the tower. Abner picks them up. The weapons are of very fine quality. Abner offers the sword to Gregore, since it is his god’s favored weapon. Grewin is loathe to touch the dagger, which is cold iron and therefore extremely dangerous to him. Jean-Baptiste, Abner and Grewin go down to the bottom complex.
One of the Kuunas werewolves approaches them up the stairs. Katarzyna is in awe of him, and addresses him as “Loremaster”. The Kuunas then goes down to the platfrom and starts skinning the body of Mathus Mordrinacht. He asks that Jean-Baptiste return the heart of Mathus’ Mordrinacht. The Kuunas tells them that the Mordrinacht clan is all but destroyed, Mathus was attempting to eat a portion of Kevalka Seyn’s heart to control the clans. The Kuunas says that Mathus would have been unsuccessful. Katarzyna stays with the Kuunas, who is joined by an Set’Ufnar guard. As people start to clear away the bodies of werewolves, the Set’Ufnar growls, but the Kuunas speaks to him in their language and he and other Set’Ufnar start gathering the bodies of the werewolves themselves. The Kuunas leaves a cloak and a mithril chain shirt. Katarzyna is raptly attentive to everything the Kuunas does while he there, and bids a reluctant farewell when he leaves. Jean-Baptiste asks several questions. He gleans from the exchange that the Whispering Way probably took the heart of Kevalka Seyn to the Furrows.
Gregore calls them all back to the top of the tower to complete the ritual to reconsecrate the Stairs of the Moon to Hala. Kendra tells them that someone is going to lead the ceremony. Kendra says that someone who is skilled with rituals should lead the ceremony. Jean-Baptiste is wearing the symbol of Hala. The group decides that Kendra herself should be the one who leads the ceremony. The ritual is accomplished. Kendra, Jean-Baptiste, Grewin and Abner all disrobe for the ritual. A refractive fog starts to drift off the menhirs. The form of the mother goddess appears. She approaches Abner, and gives him a kiss on both cheeks. She then approaches Grewin, and when he looks at her she is gnomish size. She then approaches each of them in turn, and thanks them. As she touches them, they have a vision of a battle with a black-robed individual with a breastplate of bone; the scene then shifted to an underwater scene with tentacles writhing all around. Then they have a vision of a humid area when they are sopping wet. They then see a beautiful but deadly woman with powers of undeath. They then are high atop a spire and they’re fighting a skeletal man with glowing eyes. They also have a vision of how the Stairs of the Moon was desecrated originally.
When the vision ends, they are standing in a glade, in a ring of mushrooms. Hala bids them to “come and drink, and find your respite”. She offers the first drink to Abner. Abner sinks to his knees, and she kisses him on top of his forehead. Then Grewin does the same. The others do so in turn, Katarzyna is the last to drink, but she does so. They all drift into a blissful sleep.
Monday, August 4th, Stairs of the Moon, Shudderwood/Margreve, Ustalav
They awake each feel remarkably renewed. They are back on the top of the Stairs of the Moon. It is the first light of dawn. They all notice that their eyes have turned a luminous silver, even Katarzyna’s. They talk about the shared visions. Gregore casts Gentle Repose on the body of the Whispering Way acolyte and buries the corpse. They also bury Corwin. Kendra casts Detect Magic and discovers that the mithril chain shirt is magical [+1 mithril chain]. She thinks the cloak is a Cloak of Resistance. She also reminds them that there is a Ring of Protection that is up for grabs. They decide Abner should have it, and that Grewin should have the amulet of natural armor. They decide that Abner will get the mithril chain shirt magical armor. The scroll is a Dimension Door. The wand that they found is a wand of Spider Climb.
[All Characters who drink from Hala’s cup gain 1 point of either Wisdom or Charisma, player choice; Characters achieve 8th Level].
Kendra comes up to the top of the tower, and tells them that they need to see something. At the base of the steps, they see Johan’s head on a pike. Katarzyna looks at the wound, and determines that the head was torn roughly off. She determines that it must have been werewolves, who killed him in retaliation for what has happened. Jean-Baptiste discusses the logistics of returning Estovian’s remains to Ascanor Lodge. They make their way back to the lodge.
They arrive at the gate of Ascanor Lodge. There is no sign of Duristan or his bannermen. The gate guards fetch Belik, who comes out to greet them as they come through the gate. Ostovach is there to greet them. Delgros Kroitzcer is also present. Myphina greets Grewin warmly. Ostovach dotes on Katarzyna. Katarzyna asks Belik if he knew that Estovian was a wizard. He said he knew that Estovian “dabbled”, but that’s it. Servants come out bearing drinks and such. They decide they are going to stay one more night at Ascanor Lodge and then leave in the morning. Duristan has not returned.
Belik tells them that he is going to send Estovian’s remains to Courtaud. Ostovach tells them that he wants to come with them. Katarzyna talks with Kendra about him. They decide that Ostovach will come with them.
Jean-Baptiste goes to Markiza Welgory’s room. The serving girl tells him that she is asleep, but that she will give her the message when she wakes. Markiza does talk to him later at dinner. It doesn’t go too well. He makes an indecent proposition, and she slaps him. Her servant does catch Jean-Baptiste’s eye, and signals him to meet the Markiza in a half hour.
Grewin has “the conversation” with Myphina, telling her that he is a werebear. The conversation seems to go well.
Katarzyna spends most of the evening with Mirta Straelock. Ostovach is on his best behavior.
Tuesday, August 5th, Ascanor Lodge to the Margreve/Shudderwood, Ustalav
They all gather up their things and get ready to depart. Mirta Straelock is leaving with the caravan to Courtaud. Ostovach gathers his hounds. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna have a brief conversation with Corvin Tergsvor. They speak with him about the events from the night the Margrave was killed. Jean-Baptiste tells him that they understand that he wasn’t responsible for what happened, and that they won’t say anything. He is contrite for his previous behavior. He gives them an ioun stone. Jean-Baptiste wishes him well.
Katarzyna gives Myphina a hug goodbye, and Myphina tells her to keep Grewin safe. Jean-Baptiste also bids farewell to Belik.
The group gathers their horses and starts off toward the stairs, leading their horses. They arrive at the Stairs of the Moon relatively quickly. Ostovach helps Grewin track through the forest. They hear breaking branches, and the see two ten-foot-tall hybrid werewolves. They are both armored and weapons. They are Vollensag, and they attack them. One goes for Jean-Baptiste, and the other goes for Grewin. Jean-Baptiste enlarges himself and goes toe to toe with one. Abner, Amelia and Grewin do battle with the other one. It does a lot of harm to Abner and Grewin, but Katarzyna fires off a lightning bolt at it and it dies. Abner and Grewin finish off the one attacking Jean-Baptiste.
The group collects themselves and discusses their next step. Katarzyna is concerned about the activities of the Whispering Way and their hand in events. Kendra approaches Jean-Baptiste about his affiliations. Ostovach suggests they get going. They all start on toward the Stairs of the Moon. They see a group of werewolves on top of the tower. They speak with the wolves up top, who are Set’Uthnar. The Kuunas comes out to speak with them. They parley with him for awhile, then leave in peace. They then bury Cilas Graydon on the grounds of the cemetery adjacent to the Stairs of the Moon. Gregore leads the service. Afterward, they continue on their journey. Ostovach’s dogs are happy to leave the area.
The rain continues. Up ahead, Grewin spots what appears to be the scene of a wolf’s kill. He signals for the others to stop. Katarzyna invokes the Margreve Cloak’s invisibility. Grewin moves up ahead to investigate. The others come up to investigate. They determine that they have happened upon the remains of Duristan’s men. Jean-Baptiste notices several figures off in the distance walking toward them. They are werewolves, but they morph back into humans as they approach. They offer to parley. Grewin steps toward the back, and Katarzyna remains invisible. The lead werewolf introduces himself as Rhakis Szadro, packleader of the Prince’s Wolves. The rest of the werewolves come into the clearing. Jean-Baptiste greets them in the Vistani language. Katarzyna remains invisible. Rhakis Szadro expresses regret at the slaughter of Duristan’s men. He says it is the work of the Jezelden, the Demon Wolves. Rhakis tells them that he will help them. Katarzyna emerges from invisibility, and Grewin and two of the Prince’s wolves go to scout for a camp, and they find a spot and set it up as Gregore and Ostovach gather the remains of Duristan’s men. Abner and the Prince’s wolves prepare a rabbit for dinner. Rhakis tells Grewin that he understands why Grewin doesn’t quite trust him.
Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste speak with Rhakis about the situation with the Whispering Way. Rhakis manages to coax Grewin to join them near the campfire. One of the Prince’s Wolves plays a lute, and Katarzyna listens intently. The Prince’s Wolves present are Rhakis (leader), Nikolai, Radu (the cook), Viasaslav (an older wolf), Jan, Tabetha and Emiliana. Jan seems to be interested in Kendra, and Abner watches him intently. Emiliana flirts lightly with Jean-Baptiste. Kendra, Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste spend time with the Prince’s Wolves, but Ostovach, Abner, Gregore and especially Grewin hold themselves apart.
Wednesday, August 6th, Margreve/Shudderwood to Ardeal, Ustalav
They awake in the morning. It’s still raining, so Katarzyna wears the Margreve cloak. They travel very quickly, thanks to the Prince’s Wolves. They arrive at the edge of the forest, looking out at the plains. There is a ferry that carries them across the Vhatsuntide River. The group decides to forego going into Chastel.