Lanterns in the Mist

Peering in the darkness

Zurrod Keep- October 18th evening

Lucinean, Katarzyna, Kendra, Gregore, Ostovach, Azra, Selene, and Vilkurr trade information and get an update from the western front. Lucinean brings Vilkurr up to speed on his lands and lets him know to his north is a village called Stonydown that is Vilkurr’s responsibility, as well as a now unoccupied guard tower called Fangore. Vilkurr sends a group of 50 pikeman to Stonydown as a garrison.

Vilkurr hosts dinner for all. A quiet dinner is enjoyed before the most of the group returns to Willowmourn, leaving only Vilkurr, Ostovach, and their new friend Arza behind.

Willowmourn- October 18t evening

Jean Baptiste continues his studies. The group returns from Zurrod Keep. Lucinean who is looking tired spends an evening of solitude with Kendra. Gregore spends the evening with Jominda. Katarzyna shares some tea with Victor, Felicity, and light conversation. Retiring early to her chambers to read before a day collecting troops.

Zurrod Keep- October 19th morning

Vilkurr has words with Lydia who woke up early and began helping unsolicited but appreciated on the day to day affairs of Zurrod_Map.jpgrunning the keep. Vilkurr first learns about this when a number of items for him to sign off on show up during his breakfast with Sylvia. Sylvia seems to be upset by Lydia’s assistance. Not sure what to say Vilkurr says very little. All of the paperwork looks in order and correct. Gregore arrives with some items to help him convert Vilkurr’s Chapel to a chapel of Ezra and leads Vilkurr in prayers. Lydia says that as Ezra is the God of the new lord of the manor may she join him to learn more about Ezra. Vilkurr says no perhaps another time. She smiles says as you wish and departs for her other duties. Gregore leaves after prayers.

Willowmourn- October 19th Morning

People meet in the war room and get their instructions for the day. Lucinean sends Kendra and Katarzyna to escort Embreth Daramid to Lepidstadt. A missive is given to Kendra to deliver to the temple of Pharasma in Lepidstadt.

Lepidstadt- October 19th Morning

On arrival the group splits up Kendra is sent to the temple after some conversation with Embreth and Katarzyna set about the task of collecting the members. Kendra notices many guards on the streets this morning. She goes to the temple and after some back and forth is admitted to see the High Priest. He reads the letter and tells her it will take a couple hours but that he will see that it is done. He also tells her that she should stay strong for their venture is blessed by the goddess and is of the most importance. Kendra decides to go have some tea to pass the time. An old university flame notices her and shares up cup with her. He looks to rekindle the flame but she politely declines and tells him she is flattered though. She asks why many of the watch are there patrolling today? He responds that there is word that a killing spree took place in the early hours. She asks for details and learns that the people were not family in the same place and seemingly connected other than that none of the victims seem to be poor.

After that news she excuses her self and hurries back to the temple. They let her know that he is upstairs collecting his items but should be back in a moment. A few minutes later a familiar voice says hello Kendra. Kendra is pleasantly surprised to see Dragos there with his bags packed. He tells her that he has been instructed to go with her. They head back to Embreth’s where they find Katarzyna sitting on a divan staring absently at the wall while drumming her fingers a small side table. Embreth sits drinking whisky. Kendra asks if what she thinks happened, happened. A slight nod from Katarzyna confirms it.
Katarzyna recounts how all of the Esoterics on their lists were murdered. The only local members alive in Lepidstadt were mostly junior members, though those were not be called to Willowmourn anyways. Dragos gives Katarzyna’s shoulder a comforting squeeze, only then does she notice that he is here. They share a warm embrace of hello. Katarzyna teleports the group back to Willowmourn.

Zurrod Keep- October 19th mid- morning

A runner dispatched from Stonydown informs Sir Zurrod that Undead forces have been spied north of the village and east of the river. He asks for numbers but the rider does not know. Zurrod shakes his head and then summons Dame Donophair. He instructs her to ride north and spy upon the enemy at Stonydown and report back. Marshall Stephan gives her a spyglass and some signal flags to use on the village maypole. Before she leaves Vilkurr tells her to watch, not fight the enemy unless there is no other choice. With all haste she rides north.

After an hour or so Vilkurr sends his Dragoons to cross the Gorgon and intercept the undead marching in from the west.
Stonydown – October 19th early afternoon.

Selene spies two units advancing south towards Stonydown. One unit closes on the village whilst the other moves on toward Fangore. She instructs the pikeman to signal the keep and then move towards the enemy. She rides out to buy the scared citizen pikeman units time and mounts an assault form the rear. Riding through their ranks. In a battle that last a little over an hour she mounts several charges and retreats that thin the unit of skeletons down from 50 to 15. It is then that the pikeman arrive and help finish the undead off. The pikeman marvel Dame Donophair’s accomplishment. She then urges the unit to trail after and take on the second unit of undead at Fangore.

Western Downs- October 19th – Early afternoon

the_charge.gifSgt Lewellyn and his dragoons spy the enemy crossing a ford north heading toward Milton’s Wood in what he suspects is a maneuver to pincer attack Stonydown. They charge at full to catch up to them. As the dragoons cross the river, the undead surprise them and turn around making their stand on the shore making the dragoons fight them from the river. Undaunted the dragoons fight on, fell the undermanned unit of skeletons in under an hour. Pushing forward Lewellyn passes through Milton’s Wood to reinforce Stonydown.

Stonydown – October 19th afternoon

Selene meets with the Lewellyn’s Dragoons and together they assault the undead forces entrenched at Fangore Tower. The dragoons take losses in the three hour assault but are able to destroy the undead. Selene sends garrisons some of the pikemen from Stonydown to the tower. Selene returns to Stonydown and sends signals to Vilkurr Keep that the battle is over. She sends a report and a plea, via messenger, for supplies to keep her units from eating Stonydown out of house hearth.

Willowmourn – October 19th late afternoon

The group from Lepidstadt returns with the report. Lucinean is beside himself. Kendra says that she believes there is spy at Willowmourn. She feels it is the only way for this to be happening and asks Lucinean who all has access to the addresses. He says that anyone in command room has access. The notes are generated either the night before or the morning of a mission.

Lydia knows that Jean Baptiste is nearly done with his studies and so she goes to check on him. Taking an after work drink JB meets Lydia and is told he should go downstairs to see what is going on. They bring him up to speed and he agrees that he believes there is a spy as well. The group theorizes who could be guilty and who could not be. Kendra wants everyone checked even Lucinean, Lydia, Jominda, Victor, and Diona. An angry Lucinean arrives and says he believes everyone should be interrogated not knowing the group was having the same conversation. He says anyone could willingly or unwillingly a spy. JB reluctantly but without argument agrees and says he will ask Lydia to be tested. The group comes up with a plan to have Maryn and Gregore vet each other and then they would begin the process for everyone else starting with the inner circle. Jean Baptiste will assist with some of the interrogations. Lucinean places Willowmourn on lockdown and has everyone moved to the main hall until they are cleared by the group. The initial interrogations and divining go well with those they list expected passing the tests just fine. Starting with Lydia they modified the questions to “are you an agent, spy, or informant for any other group, goals, or interests?” The questionings continue with Cassandra who fights her way to the front of the line to curtail any suspicion she feels people would automatically go her way. Jean Baptiste comforts her saying that he actually does not suspect her at all. When the guards grab Lacramoria for testing she has panic attack believing her heritage will mark her an enemy in the groups eyes. Her too Jean Baptiste comforts, explaining that all of them had to have the test done. He then stays with her and holds her hand during the examination.
Meanwhile already cleared Kendra and Katarzyna go to the command room and being a thorough search of the area for magic devices or spells in effect.

The interrogations move to other command center personnel. The countess it turns out had refused to be placed on lockdown. She is found her room and after some conversation consents to come for questioning. Gregore says he can get no reading off her at all. She gives a smug smile and says that if she is not trusted she can leave, or you can attack butSeeing_Skull.jpg she is heading to her room. Feeling powerless the group lets her go. On the way out she gives a parting shot that dominated slaves are much more reliable than the assembled group at Willowmourn and she would not have to deal with spies if she were in charge.

Kendra and Katarzyna find something. They call in JB and Lucinean to show them what looks like small skull inset with gems for eyes on a shelf. The girls get to work immediately on divining its properties. Kendra believes it is a recorder and not a transmitter. Katarzyna believes it has a daily cycle so that it only shows what the skull sees during 24 hour period. Kendra figures out how to view its record. She sees whoever is handling the skull is careful not to let themselves be viewed by the eyes. However her keen perception picks up a reflection in a vase that shows that a somewhat distorted shadow of a female with long hair. The skull is brought back to a chamber. Where its image picks up someone else entering the room and conversing with the agent and looking at the skull. The person at first is out of view and speaks nervously but at the end of the image is briefly caught to be Joseph Lucinean’s loyal manservant or so she believes. Word spreads and Jean Baptiste and a livid Samuels are sent to apprehend him. His room is empty but when Samuels and JB look out the window no sign is seen of exit. JB spies Biddreogg talking with Ashira. He entreaties them to help. Ashira begins right way but Biddreogg checks with his master first. There are signs of hasty packing but little else in the room. Kendra and Katarzyna bring the skull to Lacramoria to see if she can gain anything else from the skull being that she has “the gift”.

Zurrod Keep- October 19th early Afternoon

After receiving Selene’s reports Vilkurr begins with getting the requested materials together and sending them on their way. Lydia executes Vilkurr’s supply expenditures as well as other reports. She visits during his lunch to let him know that the Stablemaster’s wife had a child and that she sent Vilkurr’s blessings and message of joy at their blessing. She also went over some other items for his attention. Sylvia reddens at all of this news and silently molders. Lydia asks for a private word with Vilkurr. Vilkurr acquiesces much to Sylvia’s chagrin. Lydia relates that there is a rumor going around that turns out to be to Vilkurrs benefit making him have greater standing with his people. She mentions in light of this she has let it go unchecked to ease his transition to power but thought he ought to be aware of it. Sylvia returns once Lydia leaves and complains about Lydias hubris in taking on these duties. Vilkurr mumbles that it needs to be done but turns the conversation elsewhere. Ostovach arrives at the close of the meal to give Vilkurr a hard time and eat some of his food.

Convoy.png Willowmourn – October 19th evening

Gregore Lupin is questioned next and though he barks he submits to the test. Maigny the Caliban seems distressed about the tests believing this is the beginning of being relegated to the old interactions between humans and Caliban. JB cannot reassure him. Gregore sends for Katarzyna who speaks to him and is able to calm him down. When he is cleared she assigns him escort and search duty to make him feel of value. Next to be brought in is Keastra. She is found to be working contrary to the groups goals. Ready to strike at first, the group somewhat relaxes when she is found counter only to the Caliban wanting to be able to shed her link with her tribe. She is taking a somewhat gold digging route to escape her situation. With no time to deal with that now the group moves on. Next Felicity is brought in. Like Countess no reading can be gathered on her. This sets off Kendra who was unsurprised to see something of the sort with Countess Siervage but not Felicity. JB cannot find guile in her but the group marks a circle back note on her. She is sent to her room with Biddreogg and guards posted at her door and windows. Next up is Victor who passes fine.

The search continues for Joseph and is located by Samuels men in the treasury room. He is apprehended and throne into the dungeon with guards.

Lacramoria is able to easily manipulate the item and slowly work her way through the timeline and is able to activate an audio component to the skulls recording. However she gains no more legitimate information. Kendra decides to summon a creature from tapestry to gain more insight. She does and it demands a sacrifice of value. Kendra makes the appropriate offering and is able to ask two questions. They find out the owner of the skull is Felicity. Relieved that they had her sequestered and guarded they immediately go to her room to take her into custody. Alas she is gone as well though it appears in a much less haphazard fashion than Joseph. After searching the room magically and mundanely they discover traces of magic with teleport signature and a scrying font set on the command room still active.
In the interrogation room; Diona is cleared as she even to have almost no notion of what the whispering way even is. However, Hawthorne’s Aide De Camp is brought to light as a spy. Not as a Whispering Way agent but instead is a Caliban and a spy for Bel Zen. Hawthorne is livid and smacks him a few times before he is brought into custody and sent to the dungeon as well.

Vilkurr Keep – October 19th Late evening

Vilkurr hears a commotion of some sort from the inner bailer garden. Looking out his window he sees that there is a celebration and music occurring. He can see Lydia giving out drinks and food while people celebrate the victory of their first battle and having an active engaged lord of the manor. Vilkurr spies Sylvia among the crowd as well but does not go join them.

Willowmourn – October 20th 3 AM

During a small respite in the kitchen and some information dissemination, Hawthorne discusses with the group the need to transform operations into more of a cell type operation. With very few cleared people who know everything and everyone else only knowing small piece that is clearly pertinent to what their mission is. The group spends some time discussing who is cleared for what. They then break to continue to vet people and clear rooms. Kendra, Lacramoria, and Katarzyna try to scry on Felicity and locate her to no avail. A little later it is recommended that the spellcasters try to get some sleep so that they will be ready to go again as soon as they wake up. The rest continue the interviews and interrogations. JB and Dragos spends time in the dungeon helping to question the prisoners.

Vilkurr Keep – October 20th morning

Vilkurr breaks his fast with Sylvia. Lydia brings in more reports and receipts for Vilkurr to review and sign. With an Zurrod_Keep.jpgeyebrow raised he takes them and asks Lydia why she is doing this. She says that in light of Vilkurr’s generosity of letting her stay there that she wants to be of use, especially in times like these. Sylvia excuses herself. Her façade shows nothing but Vilkurr detects an anger in her. Lydia awaits the moment to pass and then continues saying that it is a tumultuous time and though she has no skills in war she feels she can be of help in matters of administration. Finished she curtsies and then leaves. Vilkurr continues his meal while he reviews her documents. Sylvia returns and apologizes saying that she had a sudden case of the vapours but she feels alright now. Vilkurr continues reading documents while absently listening to Sylvia, until he hears Sylvia say “Are you listening” Turning toward her he gives a smile and I’m sorry yes continue. Sylvia says that is why you should let me do it”. “Do what, Lady Rialla? is all he could answer knowing he missed something important. Pursing her lips slightly and then regaining her composure she says “Lydia is a gold digger! She is trying to worm her way into your head, then heart, then bed chamber!”. “What?” Is all Vilkurr could say. She could see the incredulity in his face and so she recounted how Lydia from a minor family caught her fathers heart on his frequent trips to Tamrivena knowing he was a widower she worked her way into money and then slowly but surely began to take control of the castle finances and schedule meanwhile introducing vice to my father so that he would be less apt to pay attention to her embezzlement and power grab. She says, “Lydia is trying to do it all over again!” Vilkurr tells her he can see no evidence of misappropriation in Lydia’s paperwork. “That’s how it starts, Vilkurr! She says rather while slamming down her fork. Seeing Vilkurr’s surprise at her outburst she loses her composure and while holding back tears she says to let her take over the administration. Sylvia tells him “I am not without sense! Lydia stole the job and I was never allowed to help.” She quietly adds “Let me help you.” Vilkurr consents. He tells her he will let Lydia know. After breakfast Vilkurr ponders the situation for a bit and then not wanting to confront her personally sends his maidservant to go tell Lydia she is to discontinue her duties. Taken aback at her orders she stammers her understanding and then heads off to deliver the news.

Willowmourn – October 20th mid-morning

The group is thoroughly exhausted but is done checking people and the grounds. The only ones exempted from the examinations were the fairies, Malachi, and Lachalla. They did not check Grewin or Myphina either as they have both been at the Fairiebaile since the attack. It seems Grewin has found repurpose as the guardian of Fairiebaile. Really dragging, even those with some sleep get some help from Jominda who makes them a tea infused with Allnight and a pesh dilution. Feeling revitalized they make plans. Kendra and Jean Baptiste head to Vilkurr Keep. While the others stay at Willowmourn.

Stonydown – October 20th Mid Morning

Selene’s rangers return to tell her that they have spied a force of a hundred moving toward Stonydown. She sends the signal to Vilkurr Keep. Rallying the dragoons she has them pincer from the north while she flanks from the south. She arrives before the dragoons and begins causing havok until the dragoons arrive. The battle a little over two hours. There are a few casualties among the Dragoons and Selene wounded but not badly. Selene’s performance cements the admiration and dedication of her men.

Vilkurr Keep – October 20th Early Afternoon

Vilkurr spends most of his time watching for news from Stonydown. While eating lunch Ostovach stops in to eat some of Vilkurrs food and begrudgingly Vilkurr allows him to. Ostovach asks why Lydia was sent away? Vilkurr summons his maidservant and He enquires why Lydia left. Puzzled the maid servant says “per your orders we asked her to leave the keep” She then stops and says “were those not your orders I was told they were.” Vilkurr said he thinks he knows where those orders came from. She apologizes profusely but Vilkurr smile’s warmly and says think nothing of it. After conversation Vilkurr sends Ostovach to go get her and is reminded that his friends from Willowmourn are here. Just then he is called to the wall.

Quick summary to finish-

JB and Kendra question the help to see if there are any spies here. One is eventually rooted out from among the footman who says he was tasked with opening the gate when the enemy forces arrive. Vilkurr sentences him to death. JB talked to both Sylvia and Lydia (before she left). JB believes that Lydia is a much better administrator for Vilkurr than Sylvia and tells Vilkurr so. He learns Lydia was married because of an arranged marriage between her father and Lord Rialla. She tried to be a dutiful wife but there was no love between them. She collected taxes and tried to pay bills but Lord Rialla would always take the money to spend on other ventures and distractions. Sylvia said that was all lies and that JB was falling for Lydia’s wiles.

In The House Of The Unholy
New horrors await the heroes at the ruined temple of Pharasma at Renchurch.

Monday, October 6th, 758, Renchurch, Virlych County, Ustalav

The group takes stock of the situation, looking at the bodies hanging from the hooks and on the slabs. They look at a series of paintings in the hallway leading away from the room, and Kendra recognizes one of the people as Arazni, the Harlot Queen of Geb, a lich who went to Har- Akir and became a leader there. She recognized her from a likeness in a stained glass window at the Misgivings Manor that she several months ago. The male is Socorro, the Butcher of Carrion Hill, who served the Whispering Way. Verezna is in another painting. There is another painting, that they recognize as Crilaum, also known as Lucimar.

There is still the matter of the covered painting. Katarzyna detects a magical aura coming from underneath, but can’t determine it’s nature. She stands ready to dispel the magic if it turns out to be something dangerous. Katarzyna’s preparation is for naught, however, since she and Vilkurr are captured by some effect of the object. They find themselves in a misty realm, completely naked, and they hear a growl coming from nearby.

Kendra and Ostovach see Katarzyna and Vilkurr disappear, but their clothes and gear remain on the ground where they stood a split-second before. Ostovach, unconsciously steeling himself against the mirror’s power, sees the nude forms of Kat and Vilkurr in the mirror, and calls out to them.

Meanwhile, in the mirror, Katarzyna casts a spell, Resonating Word, that targets an unfamiliar creature, and the spell has a significant impact on it. A second creature starts laughing at the first. At that moment, outside the mirror, Ostovach swings at the mirror with his sword and shatters it. Katarzyna, Vilkurr and three demons are thrown into the hallway, and Katarzyna and Vilkurr are dismayed to realize that they are still naked.

Katarzyna grabs her belongings, and Vilkurr immediately lunges for his mace. Ostovach wades into face the demons. He lands a solid hit on one of the demons. Malachi squares off with another one. Raziel uses his fascinating song to distract one of them, and Gregore banishes the one facing Malachi. Cassandra, Jean-Baptiste, and Kendra join in to dispatch the remaining two. Jean-Baptiste lands a solid strike on one, doing massive damage. Malachi and Vilkurr end up finishing off the last two.

Katarzyna tells them that the mirror was a lot like the mirror dimension that they experienced in Karpad. Cassandra tells them that they have to go through the Chamber of Supplication to get to where they’re going. She tells them that the north path leads to the embalming room.

They are talking about what to do next, when they hear the voice of Crilaum. Katarzyna hears his voice, and calls out to him, naming him Lucimar. Katarzyna goads him, calling him a dog. She also tells him that he is a servant of Adivion, and therefore not his own man. They see a zombie coming down the hallway from the north, and are horrified but not surprised to see that it is Mirta Straelock. Gregore takes the Raven’s Head mace and destroys the zombie, but it turns into an incorporeal undead and knocks Gregore down, leaving him close to death. Kendra immediately rushes to him with a scroll of Breath of Life, and uses it to revive him. Katarzyna asks Gregore what happened. He tells them that the ghost of Mirta leapt from her body. Jean-Baptiste tells them that the magic that killed Gregore was an illusion.

Gregore has them return to a room they’d already cleared, and he creates a wondrous feast for them. They are all cured of all sickness, nausea, disease, poison, and they are refreshed. Gregore also gives them the blood of Ezra. It brings all their spells back, as if they had slept through a blissful night, and Katarzyna studies her spells.

Cassandra tells them that they might run across shapeshifters called totenmaskes. She also tells them that there are stone golems ahead. She also tells them where they will find the lair of Lucimar. She also tells them that he has worshippers in the Shudderwood. The Demon Wolves worshipped Jezelden, and Lucimar is that demon. Lucimar was cursed by another lich, Yrasa Nine Eyes, and gave him the shape of an undead warg. Katarzyna notices that Cassandra is tugging at her side, and Katarzyna asks to see the area. Kendra tells Cassandra that she’s bleeding. Katarzyna, Ostovach, Vilkurr and Kendra all try to talk to her and make her accept healing. They discover that she is a flagellant, and that she is punishing herself out of feelings of inadequacy. Gregore does his best to soothe Cassandra.

They decide to press forward. Katarzyna casts Hungry Darkness on Lucimar’s lair. They hear screams, and when the spell dissipates, they enter the room. They find several dead monks. They also find a doll of Grewin in the room. It talks to them. It tries to move its arm. It tells them to open his chest. Jean-Baptiste finds a gnome-sized heart inside the doll’s body. They come to the inescapable conclusion that Grewin is somehow alive in the doll’s body, but largely helpless. Grewin warns them that Flendalene has been turned into an undead. He also tells them that Abner’s spirit is also there, sworn to destroy them. They see a puppet master’s cross on the wall. There are powerful magics associated with the cross, but Katarzyna can’t determine what it is. Jean-Baptiste tries to figure out a way to make it so that Grewin can use the cross to control his own actions. He is able to get Grewin to hold the cross, and control himself to some extent. Katarzyna finds a book called the Manual of Gainful Exercise. She also decapitates the bodies of the monks that were killed by her Hungry Darkness spell.

Jean-Baptiste successfully disables a Symbol of Death on the armoire. Bohater Dziecka, the dagger of Ilquis, the ring of jumping, and the rest of Grewin’s belongings are in the armoire. Jean-Baptiste tries to hand Bohater Dziecka to Grewin, but he is unable to hold it. Grewin sadly hands the handaxe to Ostovach. There is also a book in the armoire. It is inscribed with runes. Jean-Baptiste thinks that the book has to do with outsiders. Katarzyna thinks the book helps one augment their summoning. He also finds a book called the Manual of War, bound in bloodstained leather. The Manual of Gainful Exercise, the Manual of War, and the book of outsiders are all magical volumes.

Katarzyna also finds a book on the creation of carionettes. It looks like it was transcribed by a bard. Grewin also has three silver needles that allow him to possess the bodies of people. Jean-Baptiste asks Grewin if he ever overheard Lucimar talk about his phylactery. Grewin doesn’t have any useful information. Jean-Baptiste determines that there must be a command word that controls the armoire. Kendra asks the spirits what the command word is for the armoire, and it is nar-ni-ah. Jean-Baptiste uses the command word to shrink the armoire. Kendra also asks where Lucimar is.

They pass the room of the bodaks, and the door slides open. Jean-Baptiste manages to keep the door from opening, and they hear Lucimar chuckling through the hallway. Cassandra tells them that the room on the left they pass is the room of séance.

Above a doorway at the end of the hall, they see an Akiri inscription: to each heiroglyph first, pass one left; to heiroglyph second, pass one right; There are skulls and jawbones on all the shelves in the room. It is the room of slain devotees. Each skull is carved with a couplet of runes, which corresponds to the runes on the jawbones below. Kendra asks the spirits the secret to the system, and then they start asking it a lot of questions.

Ostovach and Vilkurr start to become restless while Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna and Kendra spend time asking questions of the skulls. Everyone follows behind. Cassandra tells them to ‘be ready’. Qlippoth is the name of something in the rooms beyond.

Kendra uses her third eye to scout the area, and sends it to the chapel of Urgathoa. There are three cenobites in the room. They decide that Gregore will use a Teleport spell to take some of the party into the room, while Katarzyna uses a Dimension Door to take the rest. Gregore importunes Ezra before they teleport.

The arrive in the room, and face the cenobites. Malachi rushes into the fray, but slips on the stairs. Jean-Baptiste shoots a fire bullet at one of them. Cassandra runs up and attacks one, and Gregore casts a spell. Grewin stands next to Katarzyna. Ostovach swings and lands a solid hit on one of them, then lands another hit as it tries to move away. Ostovach tears through the cenobite’s arm as he tries to cast a spell. Vilkurr tries to interrupt the spellcasting of the other one, but it manages to get its spell off. Katarzyna fires off an Undeath to Death spell, which dispatches all of the flaming skeletons in the cage. Kendra shoots one. Cassandra does a flurry of attacks. Ostovach kills one of the creatures, and the giant fly sculpture comes to life. Katarzyna hits it with a Lightning Bolt, which doesn’t do any damage, but does seem to slow it down.

Cassandra takes down a second cenobite, and the iron golem attacks Kendra. Katarzyna hits it with another Lightning Bolt, in the hopes that it will keep it slowed down. Ostovach takes down the third cenobite. Cassandra repeatedly attacks the golem but only manages to bloody her knuckles. The iron golem terrorizes them for awhile, but Ostovach finally brings it down.

Katarzyna checks the bodies of the cenobites. They all have magical breastplates, scythes, and robes. Katarzyna sees a small ring under one of the pews. It glows with moderate evocation. It is not made of metal, but rather is made of soapstone. It has insignia from Nova Vaasa, and after Jean-Baptiste experiments with it for a bit, he discovers that it is a ring of Force Shields.

They decide to proceed through the door. There is a stairwell that leads to a series of catacombs, and that leads to a round chamber with a pool of maggots. Out of the maggots, a cloaked form emerges, itself seeming a swarm of writhing maggots. Cassandra, in hushed tones, says “the worm that walks!”

The group stares at the horrid form of the maggot-covered figure. It casts a spell, targeting Ostovach. It doesn’t do as much damage as it could have. Vilkurr and Malachi wade through the maggots and try to take shots at the creature. Cassandra also moves in. Kendra casts her Firesnake spell and burns a lot of the maggots. Katarzyna, taking her cue from Kendra, casts her Elemental Aura, and uses her fiery aura to start burning lots of maggots. Gregore blasts the creature with a spectacular display of Searing Light. At one point, the maggot creature summons another creature, made of Mist. Kendra casts a spell, and it becomes even more translucent. The creature tries to cast a spell, but as it does so, he is killed by Malachi and Vilkurr. Katarzyna finally destroys the Mist creature, and she burns the remaining maggots with her Elemental Aura.

Jean-Baptiste finds a suit of leather armor and a cloak. Katarzyna examines the auras of the magical items. There had been a magical staff, but it is destroyed by Katarzyna’s flames. The cloak has runes, and it’s more powerful than Katarzyna’s, and even more powerful than the one that Jean-Baptiste is wearing.

Ostovach hears chanting beyond the doors, and Vilkurr goes to listen as well. Cassandra also listens, and tells them she thinks the chanting is the ritual to prepare Lucinean Galdana to become the vessel of the Whispering Tyrant. They have arrived in time to stop the ritual, but worry that they may be too late.

The next room is huge, with giant statues and a festering pit. The Grey Friar stands next to a dark altar, and a writhing form is suspended over the black pit. Seated upon pews, every observer has the countenance of Lucinean Galdana. Ostovach rushes in and attacks one of the images of Galdana, while Gregore spots the real Galdana sitting dazedly in the first pew. Malachi teleports over to the Grey Friar and starts attacking him. Everyone rushes in and starts attacking the undead. Katarzyna uses an Undeath To Death spell to destroy the vast majority of the undead. At this dramatic display, the Grey Friar shifts his attention and regards Katarzyna coldly. Vilkurr rushes up to the Grey Friar, to help Malachi. The Grey Friar ignores the celestial and the paladin and hits Katarzyna with a spell of terrible power, and Katarzyna immediately falls to the floor, dead.

Kendra screams as Katarzyna falls, yelling for Gregore. She also draws her gun and shoots into the room they just came from, telling them that Lucimar is approaching. She then rushes to Katarzyna’s side.

The remaining undead swirl around and attack. Cassandra rushes out to confront Lucimar. Vilkurr smashes the Raven’s Head mace into the Grey Friar. The Grey Friar attacks Vilkurr. Ostovach swings at him as well. Without a moment to lose, Kendra uses the scroll of Breath of Life to revive Katarzyna. Cassandra runs back into the main chamber, and Raziel shrieks as he rushes at Lucimar. Lucimar tries to cast a spell on Gregore, but it fails to harm him. The Grey Friar attacks Vilkurr, but misses one of his attacks. Katarzyna uses Reverse Gravity to try to get Lucimar, but the spell does nothing. She then runs over to Lucinean Galdana. Vilkurr swings at the Grey Friar. Grewin throws a magical needle at Lucimar. Katarzyna runs over to Lucinean Galdana, and uses Dimension Door to get him out of harm’s way, returning to the room they had slept in hours earlier. She notices that the staked body of Natisha Pavalanis is gone, and the blood-drained body of a Whispering Way monk is holding a stake in its lifeless hand.

Jean-Baptiste runs over to Cassandra, and dispels the fear effect that’s caused her to run away from Lucimar. Ostovach finally kills the Grey Friar. Grewin manages to hit Lucimar with the silver needle. Lucimar attacks Gregore. Malachi immediately teleports over to Lucimar, and Grewin slashes at him again. Gregore steps into the pit, and hits Lucimar with a Heal spell. Lucimar screams “No!” as his flesh starts to fall away, and he disintegrates as he dies.

They all try to catch their breath in the sudden quiet, and search the body of the Grey Friar and the pile of remains that was once Lucimar. The Grey Friar had a phylactery, and some other unholy items. Gregore declares his intent to destroy them.

Cassandra is forlorn, and sits in one of the pews. She is clearly still struggling with feelings of unworthiness. Jean-Baptiste takes Cassandra aside and tells her that he has been where she is now. She seems soothed by his words to some extent, but Jean-Baptiste knows it will be a process to heal her mind.

They evaluate the items that they found on the dead. They find a less-potent version of the headband of Intellect. The pearl is a Pearl of Power. It’s not very powerful, though. It can enable the caster to recall a spell like Lightning Bolt, but not something like Breath Of Life. They decide to give it to Katarzyna, who is still in the other room.

In the other room on the level above, Katarzyna is trying to get through to Lucinean Galdana. He does come around, and after a few moments, he is awake and aware enough to speak. He tells Katarzyna how much he appreciates their help, he also tells her that he was of the bloodline of Tar Baphon, who had clearly sired children before he became the Whispering Tyrant. He and Katarzyna return to the chamber, and he recounts how he was abducted by the Whispering Way to everyone. He also mentions how he had met Adivion Adressant, who has gone on to the Gallowspire to prepare the Carrion Crown. Gregore casts Nondetection on Galdana. He also casts a Restoration, but he can tell that Galdana will need more Restoration spells over the coming weeks.

Malachi walks over to the festering pit. He tells them that at the bottom of the pit lies nothing but Mist, but it is also a portal to the wellspring of all negative energy. And while it is a way out of Ravenloft, it would kill anyone who entered the plane. Katarzyna wants to study the portal before they try to dismiss it, but Jean-Baptiste thinks it’s too dangerous.

They go to where they think they will find Lucimar’s phylactery. Cassandra thinks that the phylactery is not actually in Renchurch.

Kendra tells them that she thinks she might be able to close the festering pit, the planar gateway to the plane of Negative Energy. In the process, she summons a small winged creature, that speaks in strange gutteral noises. The creature brings her all sorts of items that she uses to fashion into a summoning circle. In the summoning circle, she conjures a bizarre creature, very like one she had summoned before.

Tuesday, October 7th, 758, Renchurch, Virlych County, Ustalav

The first thing they do is try to implement Kendra’s plan to close the portal to the plane of Negative Energy. It is a dicey proposition, but Kendra is able to close the portal. Where the festering pit once was, there is now blackened earth, like volcanic rock.

They then focus on the plan to lure the demon into the room where the festering pit was. Cassandra will lure the creature into the room, and they will bind it in the room. Once it is bound, they plan to surround the creature and kill it. They know the plan is very dangerous, but they all brace themselves for the fight of their lives, meeting each others’ eyes with looks of grim determination.

Cassandra initiates her part of the plan, and hurls a shuriken at the creature, which seems to wound it much more severely than expected, in fact the wound continues to bleed as the creature whirls to face Cassandra. Enraged, and it moves to pursue Cassandra. It uses Dimension Door to follow her as she races back to the Grey Friar’s chapel, and manages to injure her. The demon finally teleports into the altar chamber, and as it lurches to attack Ostovach, it is trapped in Kendra’s binding circle. Because the creature is still bleeding from Cassandra’s shuriken wound, the creature and the amazed heroes slowly begins to realize that it will soon die of its wound without any further effort on their part. The creature tries in turn to threaten and to tempt them into setting it free, but to no avail. They all stand and grimly watch as the horrific creature slowly weakens and dies.

Jean-Baptiste runs over to Cassandra to congratulate her on her amazingly effective attack, and as he pulls his hand away, he notices that she has an injury on her back, a foul, festering wound. Gregore determines that she is under a curse. Vilkurr is able to remove the curse, but Ostovach is sickened in the process.

Kendra tells them that the demon was an augnagar. They then methodically search the rest of the level, and killed some ghosts and shadows, and Gregore uses a spell to wall off the room where the bodaks are known to be, sealing them in.

The group takes stock of the remaining issues at Renchurch. There are some stone golems, some nightmares, some totenmaskes, and the mummies. There are some other creatures floating around that pose a threat. Cassandra and Katarzyna go up to check on the mummies, and Katarzyna kills seven of the eight mummies before they can act. Cassandra attacks the last one, and then the others also roll up on it, with Ostovach striking the killing blow. Jean-Baptiste gathers up a large amount of mummy dust, and Katarzyna finds a fair amount of Akiri jewelry among the remains. She launches into a conversation with Jean-Baptiste about Akiri culture and history, with each of them shifting into multiple languages during the conversation, sometimes within the span of a single sentence. Everyone else pretty much ignores these now-commonplace exchanges between the two.

They discover through various means that the items in the ‘trophy room’ are cursed in a way that no spell will dispel. Only destroying the Whispering Tyrant’s link to the plane will remove the haunts that imbue all the objects. They ponder what to do about the objects and room in that case.

They then move on to the nightmare stable. Katarzyna targets the stable with a Hungry Darkness spell, and it chases the nightmares out of the stables. One of them is much larger than the others, clearly the cauchemar, which promptly disappears. Gregore targets the horde of regular nightmares with an Undeath To Death spell, which destroys 5 of the 6 creatures. Vilkurr hits the last one with the Raven’s Head mace, and it is destroyed in a flash of cold white light. The cauchemar swoops in and charges at Gregore. It breathes a massive exhalation of smoke that affects Kendra and Gregore. It then charges at Gregore.

Katarzyna launches a Lightning Bolt. It does a little damage, but the cauchemar continues to focus on Gregore. Malachi heals Gregore a bit, and they all focus on this last remaining enemy. Ostovach is unable to see into the obscuring mist that the creature has created, but Jean-Baptiste is able to get off a shot that does a fair amount of damage. Gregore finally throws a Holy Word on the creature, and it vanishes.

They quickly catch their breath, then investigate the stables after the Hungry Darkness spell ends. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna use Prestidigitation to clean the scale-mail barding the nightmares had been wearing, and put that among the items they’re saving. Ostovach finds a magical bone crossbow in the stables, and Katarzyna invokes her ability to see magical auras, and takes a look around the stables to see if there is anything else magical therein. Kendra identifies the crossbow as an undead bane weapon.

Having witnessed their abilities firsthand, Lucinean Galdana is extremely impressed. Other than the totenmaskes who escaped, the stone golems that were bypassed, and the bodaks that were walled up in their room, they destroyed everything in Renchurch. The list of destroyed creatures would impress all but the mightiest of bands of heroes.

They decide to take a long rest at Renchurch before leaving the following day. During the night, Ostovach wakes them up and has them look outside. They see that the weather has turned dramatically, with lightning arcing horizontally, gale force winds and driving rain. From the smell of things, they can tell that it is literally raining embalming fluid. Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna and Kendra recognize this as a Mortuary Tempest, a rare supernatural weather pattern mentioned in the lore of Virlych. Their sleep is not so blissful afterward, but they all get enough rest.

Wednesday, October 8th, 758, Renchurch, Virlych County, Ustalav to Willowmourn, Amaans, Ustalav

They awaken and get ready for the day. Gregore and Jean-Baptiste use Stone Shape to seal the trophy room away. Jean-Baptiste puts a symbol on the wall and marks it with chalk with a symbol of the Palatine Eye. Gregore also seals the grate and cuts off the access to the area where the haunts lie. They decide they will go first to Grayce, retrieve their horses, and then go to Lucinean Galdana’s estate. Cassandra says she can help them travel out without dealing with the Witchgates. They would still have to deal with the Witchgates if they wanted to return to Renchurch. With Cassandra’s help, Kendra and Katarzyna teleport the entire party back to Grayce.

Once they’re in Grayce, they decide where to go next. Ostovach says he will take Wilhelmina, the other horses, and Lacramoria to Caliphas. Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna, Kendra, Gregore, Vilkurr, Cassandra, Grewin and Lucinean Galdana will all go directly to Galdana’s estate in Willowmourn, a town in Amaans on the western shore of Lake Kavapesta, some distance away from the city of Kavapesta, the largest city in Amaans. Lacramoria uses her crystal ball to help Kendra visualize Lucinean’s estate, so that she can use her Teleport spell to take them to his estate. Lucinean helps her scry on his mother. Katarzyna and Gregore are with Lacramoria and Kendra, and they all see the woman doing needlepoint. They then rejoin the others and get ready to teleport to the estate. Malachi takes his leave of them, and goes to Carrion Hill to watch over Jominda and Gregore’s unborn child.

Gregore teleports himself, Jean-Baptiste, Kendra, and Lucinean Galdana to Amaans. Katarzyna takes Grewin, Cassandra and Vilkurr. An unwitting servant is aghast when Lucinean and the others appear. The woman, Lydia, is quickly mollified by Lucinean, and he calls for his man Yosef to receive them.

Yosef gets all of Galdana’s guests settled into luxurious, but comfortable rooms, each with a balcony that overlooks Lake Kavapesta. They each take a hot bath, and their clothes are taken for cleaning. After her brief respite to refresh herself, Katarzyna is visited by Galdana’s court wizard, Theo, and they coordinate the efforts to protect the estate from the Whispering Way. In the early evening, around twilight, they all gather for pre-dinner libations in Galdana’s salon. Everyone except Cassandra, who has indulged in a little too much wine. Katarzyna, suddenly worried, rushes to Cassandra’s room to check on her, and finds her safe, but a bit drunk. When Katarzyna tells Jean-Baptiste that Cassandra is ‘under the weather’, he excuses himself and goes to her room. He uses a Polypurpose Panacea to remove her drunken condition, so she will be able to socialize with the others. It will only last for an hour. She then joins them in the garden. Jean-Baptiste warns her not to drink, but she eats as many high-fat foods as she can find. Gregore quietly and unobtrusively casts a purification spell on the food, mindful of the incident months prior in Lepidstadt.

Lord Galdana lavishes them with attention, introducing them around to all the courtiers in Willowbourn. Lucinean seems especially attentive toward Kendra. She can tell he is flirting with her. Eventually a trumpet announces that it’s time for dinner. They all sit down to eat. There is roast pheasant, spring potatoes, veal in cream sauce and other delicious menu items. At one point, Cassandra excuses herself, she does not return to the table, but everyone is so wrapped up in their various conversations that no one really notices or comments. Katarzyna bores her table mate with overly obscure and analytical observations about everything on the table, completely unaware of the rather quizzical looks she’s getting from her dinner companions. Vilkurr strikes up a conversation with a winsome young lady named Lady Sylvia Riala, who is rather forward in her invitations and intentions toward him. He is clearly tempted by the young woman.

After dinner, as they are all preparing to leave the dining hall, Lucinean approaches Jean-Baptiste and asks if he fancies any of the ladies. Jean-Baptiste informs Galdana that he is seeing someone in Lepidstadt, and Galdana nods graciously. Galdana, Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna, Kendra, and Gregore gather in the study, where they have a long discussion with Theo, who reveals himself to be a devotee of Halla, having noted the silvery eyes in the group, marking them all as blessed by Halla. Katarzyna drops her disguise, and reveals that like Jean-Baptiste, Kendra, and Gregore, she too bears the mark of Halla. Theo tells them that the devotees of Pharasma are not to be trusted in Kavapesta, their doctrine is of a particularly implacable sort. Eventually Lucinean’s valets take him back to his quarters, leaving Kendra alone. Kendra returns to her room. They recognize that Galdana is a great person, even if he isn’t necessarily the best ‘leader’. The wizard Theo is also a minor witch. Earlier in the evening, Theo had shown Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste an ancient book written in Sylvan. Katarzyna is immediately enraptured by the book, and sits down to read as much of it as she can. She stays in the study reading the book until it’s time to retire to her room for the night, hours after the others have retired to their rooms or elsewhere. Sometime after midnight, Katarzyna returns to her room and checks on Grewin, and Theo bids them all good-night as well.

Now alone in Theo’s study, Jean-Baptiste notices a spider in the corner of the room. It appears to be watching him. He surmises that the spider is Theo’s familiar.

Thursday, October 9th, 758, Willowmourn, Amaans, Ustalav

Katarzyna is up first, having partaken of very little wine the previous evening. She and Grewin have a nice conversation in the quiet hours of the morning, and she asks if there is anything she can do to make him more comfortable. Grewin’s state is pitiable, but he tries to maintain his humor, and tries to downplay it for Katarzyna. Cassandra comes back down a bit later, and says she’s going for a run, and Vilkurr says he’ll join her. Vilkurr quickly realizes that there is simply no way he could keep up with the speed of Cassandra’s running. She can literally run circles around him.

Lucinean tells them that they are all going for a ride, and that he has gifts for them all. After breakfast, they all stroll down to the stables, Galdana gives them each a fine horse, dark grey with long beautiful manes. Jean-Baptiste is given a stallion named Margreve, and another stallion named Paori is given to Gregore. The mares Willow, Pepper and Tisiphone, are gifted to Viklurr, Kendra and Katarzyna, respectively. Tisiphone has a beautiful white mane and tail, as well as white socks, giving the mare an ethereal beauty that stands out from the others. Each of them has a beautiful saddle, wrought by master craftsmen. All of the saddles are nevertheless as robust and suitable for combat as the horses themselves, though of course Katarzyna has chosen a sidesaddle for Tisiphone. Vilkurr, Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Katarzyna all go riding with Lucinean. Gregore stays behind and speaks with Theo.

They gather with the attendants and their new horses and they all go for a ride. At first the path is gentle rolling hills, then the path diverges. The left-hand path is the less challenging, and Lucinean asks if anyone wants to go with him down the more challenging path. Katarzyna and a couple of the more foppish lads and ladies go down the less challenging path. Jean-Baptiste, Vilkurr and Kendra go down the more challenging path with Lucinean.

While the others ride, Gregore and Theo meet with a priestess/witch of Halla named Meryn. They are working on a plan to free Grewin from the curse of the carrionette. Theo thinks that they have to put Grewin’s heart and brain back in his body somehow, though how to do that without killing him remains an open question. He asks if Gregore is skilled enough to do the surgery. The process would require an extended ritual, with a Resurrection spell as the last step. Meryn tells them that she has a ritual for a Magic Jar spell that’s a variant of the standard spell. Theo thinks that they can combine all their skills together to do all the things that will help acheive the result of reuniting Grewin’s soul and his body. They spend the entire day coming up with the plan. Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Katarzyna join in the effort when they return from their ride.

The ritual has to be done outdoors at night. Ideally at the Stairs of the Moon, a holy site of Halla. Ideally the ritual would take place on the night of the full moon, but that is still a couple of weeks away. The moon is in the waxing crescent phase, which is good for constructive magic, so Meryn tells them that they should proceed soon. Kendra will be the main caster of the ritual, and Katarzyna, Jean-Baptiste, Gregore and Vilkurr will form a circle of supporting spellcasting energy for Kendra.

They have all the spell components needed for the ritual, onyx stone and ruby dust, but figure they should spend some time making sure they have everything they could possibly need to complete the ritual and guarantee their success. Gregore decides to spend the night with Jominda, so he teleports to Carrion Hill, and learns through communication with Malachi that one of the nobles in Carrion Hill has a headband that they can sell them, that will grant the wearer an increase in his mental faculties, not just in pure intellect, but in wise judgement as well.

Friday, October 10th, 758, Willowmourn, Amaans, Ustalav; Carrion Hill, Ustalav; Lepidstadt, Ustalav; and Caliphas, Ustalav

The group is rather late to rise, but very focused when they start preparing for the day.

At Willowmourn, Yosef informs them that there is a mysterious individual to see them. It’s a dog with a note in its mouth. They quickly realize that it’s actually Malachi, trying not to alarm the locals by using his true form. Yosef is quite surprised by all this. Malachi tells Jean-Baptiste that Gregore wants money to purchase the headband. That evening, Gregore and Jominda Teleport back to Willowmourn and join Jean-Baptiste for dinner. Kendra and Vilkurr are also still in Willowmourn as well, being entertained by Lord Galdana and Lady Sylvia, respectively. Lucinean Galdana speaks with Vilkurr at length about his history, having already discerned much about the fate of House Zurrod and Vilkurr’s itinerant status. Galdana agrees to grant some lands in Amaans to Vilkurr, in exchange for a pledge of fealty to House Galdana.

At Jean-Baptiste’s request, Kendra teleports him and herself to Lepidstadt, where they look for Lydia. They are annoyed to discover that a squatter is living in the Lorrimor townhouse, and they kick him out. Kendra goes to hire a security service to look after the house. Jean-Baptiste finds Lydia at Judge Daramid’s house. Both Embreth and Lydia are happy to see Jean-Baptiste. Jean-Baptiste tells Embreth about Adivion Adressant, and how he is the main threat, giving her a quick rundown of events that have transpired thus far. Embreth gives Jean-Baptiste a missive that he is to take with him to Kavapesta, and he is to take Kendra and Katarzyna with him when he goes to deliver the message, clearly the letter relates to the business of the Eye. Judge Daramid gives Lydia leave to go with Jean-Baptiste back to Willowmourn. They return to Kendra’s townhouse, where they meet Herald, the man Kendra has hired to watch over the house. They rejoin Kendra and teleport back to Willowmourn, having been away only a few hours, but accomplishing quite a bit.

Katarzyna Teleports to Caliphas, and checks in with Tenelia. She tells Tenelia that if Nikolas shows up, that she will meet him at the Wayward Inn. She is in Caliphas for most of the day, and around 8 pm Ostovach arrives at the Wayward Inn with Lacramoria. Katarzyna can tell that Lacramoria is besotted with Ostovach. Katarzyna lets Ostovach know what’s happening, and what they’re planning to do. She then tells him to be prepared to return to Willowmourn the following day, and he leaves to take care of matters in Caliphas. At midnight, one of the vampire servants of Evgenya Zunaida comes to the hotel. Katarzyna goes with the lady to Evgenya’s lair in the undercity, a route that is rather familiar now. Evgenya tells Katarzyna that Luvick Siervage wishes to see her, though she doesn’t know what the matter entails. They both walk the short distance to the main audience chamber of Luvick Siervage, where the vampires and their thralls are gathered in their nightly revel. Katarzyna stands calmly before Luvick Siervage, who engages in a bit of theater, revealing that he has killed Natisha Pavalanis, the vampire who had attacked them in Renchurch. He tells Katarzyna that she and her friends are under the protection of the vampires, and they will be unmolested by any vampire going forward. Katarzyna is cordial and congenial with Luvick, and they part on good terms. Evgenya and Katarzyna spend the rest of the evening going out and socializing, though Katarzyna’s social activities are incredibly tame by Evgenya’s standards, and Katarzyna’s conversation style is rather different than Evgenya is usually exposed to. In the small hours of the morning, Katarzyna returns to the Wayward Inn to get some sleep.

Saturday, October 11th, 758, Multiple locations, Ustalav

Rising somewhat late, and after a satisfying breakfast at the Wayward Inn, Katarzyna and Ostovach and Wilhelmina Teleport back to Willowmourn. They arrive at the stables near Tisiphone, in an area Katarzyna believes won’t cause a commotion, like what had happened with the hapless maid. They go to the main house and Katarzyna and Jominda have a joyful reunion. Katarzyna is also happy to see Lydia again, and the two women spend a few moments catching up.

They are all surprised to learn that a ceremony is to take place that very day, and their presence is requested to bear witness. They are told that Vilkurr is to swear fealty to Lord Galdana, so they all make their way to the public audience chamber in their formal garb. As his friends watch from the galleries, Vilkurr enters, his armor shiny and bright, his torn tabard clean, but still torn. He approaches Lord Galdana’s position on the dais. Vilkurr declares his fealty, and Lucinean Galdana informs all assembled that House Zurrad is disgraced no more, and reinstates the honor of House Zurrad and names Vilkurr as the new head of the house with lands in Amaans. A new tabard is brought in, with the house sigil of Zurrad in the colors of Amaans. His holdings are to be in Gorscha Pass, where he will stand as a bulwark against the evils of Virlych.

There is a bit of celebration afterward, but they each make their excuses and return to their rooms to make final preparations for the ritual that will take place later this night, and gather up all the things they need for the ritual.

Some time after dusk, they teleport in groups to the Stairs of the Moon. They meet a Set’Ufnar and a Kuunas, who query them about their presence at the holy site of Halla. Jean-Baptiste, Meryn and Gregore tell them that they are there to use the Stair of the Moon to restore Grewin. The Set’Ufnar and the Kuunas tell them that they have earned the right to entreat Halla and they let them pass.

They must first bathe, then don clean robes, before they ascend to the top level of the Stairs of the Moon. One by one, they all strip down and Meryn bathes each of them. It takes a couple of hours for this part of the ritual to be completed. They form a line of robed shapes as they ascend the Stairs of the Moon to the very top, where Kendra is waiting. Kendra has opened her third eye, and she is naked as she begins her dance to perform the ritual. She asks Katarzyna to help her tap into the natural ley-lines in the area, which will aid them in maintaining their resolve and stamina during the long ritual.

The ritual begins in earnest when Gregore casts a Break Enchantment spell on the carrionette. Then, with Jean-Baptiste’s help, he removes the living organs from the carrionette. Taking his time, and using Katarzyna’s magic-imbued surgical tools, he places the organs in the voids of Grewin’s natural body, lining everything up as precisely as possible, and doing a remarkable job to Katarzyna’s trained eye.

The next task falls to Katarzyna, who must inscribe magical script on Grewin’s body in Sylvan. During this part of the ritual, they hear the sounds of commotion down at the bottom of the tower. Everyone maintains their focus, however, and Katarzyna finishes the writing without missing a stroke.

Kendra’s dance begins in earnest now, her body writhing to an unheard rhythm of an unseen force. Sweat pours from her naked form as she performs the complicated, intricate movements of the ritual, mesmerizing them all with the pattern of her movements.

Jean-Baptiste uses a spell to inhabit Grewin’s body during this last, critical phase of the ritual, timing the spell to coincide with Katarzyna acting as a physical conduit. Kataryna follows Kendra’s example and doffs her robe as she performs the last step in the ritual, acting as a living bridge between Grewin’s soul trapped in the carrionette and his deceased, but preserved body now holding the consciousness of Jean-Baptiste. She is shaken to the core as she feels the spirit of Grewin move through her, and the wild spirit of the bear that is entwined with it. She had forgotten about the companion spirit, and it almost causes her to lose her focus, but she rallies. Jean-Baptiste’s consciousness reaches out to Grewin’s, and he soothes the bear spirit that lives within Grewin. When the wild spirit is finally calmed, Grewin returns to his body with an audible gasp. Katarzyna sees his body lurching for a moment, and she hugs him tight as he draws his first ragged breaths.

In the sudden stillness atop the temple, Jean-Baptiste tells them that he felt the Powers of Ravenloft as he was helping Grewin cross over from the carrionette to his natural body. Katarzyna tearfully retrieves her robe and helps Grewin into some simple clothes they had set aside for him. Kendra pants and shivers as she reaches for her own robe, and Vilkurr and Jean-Baptiste gather up all the remaining items from the ritual. After a few moments, they feel strong enough to make the short trek back to the main level of the temple, elated and relieved and very, very tired.

When they return to the main level of the temple, they find out that the Set’Uthnar, the Kuunas, and their allies all defended the temple from an incursion of Konstantin werewolves. Just as they are taking stock of what had transpired during the ritual, they hear Rhakis Szadro call out to them, and Katarzyna recognizes his voice immediately. They are all happy to see him, and they fill him in on Grewin’s condition. Craving warmth and sleep, they all decide to return to Ascanor Lodge. Realizing it is now well past midnight, they imagine their welcome will be somewhat unhurried, so they decide to Teleport there. Meryn wishes to stay behind at the Stairs of the Moon with the Set’Uthnar and the Kuunas, and Malachi pledges to stay with her and keep from harm.

Sunday, October 12th, 758, Stairs of the Moon,

They Teleport to Ascanor Lodge, and the gate guard is rather taken aback at the sudden appearance of such a large retinue without horses at the very gates of the lodge. They quickly make the situation clear to him, and he summons Belik of Courtaud to greet them. Belik tells them that someone named Philip is running the lodge now. They go through the gates, and Grewin asks after Myphina. Moments later, Myphina runs out to greet Grewin, and all are touched by their tearful reunion. Everyone is extremely tired, and as luck would have it the lodge is mostly empty, so they all find beds and immediately fall asleep.

They are awakened about an hour before noon. Breakfast is brought to each person’s room. Myphina comes around and personally thanks them one by one.

Jean-Baptiste goes to see Madame Ivanja. He has seen and done a great deal since they last met, and he discovers to his disappointment that Ivanja is a charlatan, that she doesn’t possess the true gift of the Vistani. She becomes rather icy toward him when he lets her know that he knows she’s a fake.

Eventually Grewin wakes up and joins them in the common room. He is pale and wan, but he is himself again, and as happy as anyone could be after the experience he’s had. Myphina is very attentive toward him, and he smiles weakly whenever she catches his eye. They discuss what Myphina wishes to do, and she decides that she will go with Grewin and stay with him, wherever that ends up being. She agrees to travel to Willowmourn with them when they are ready to return. Katarzyna has a terse exchange with the new owner of the lodge, letting him know that she will brook no nonsense from him as he asks for payment for their stay. She immediately Teleports to pick up Meryn, leaving a startled Philip to contemplate her display of magic. Jean-Baptiste pays him handsomely, and they all gather in the front garden.

Katarzyna finds Meryn and Malachi, and they Teleport back to the lodge, though of course Malachi used his own ability to do so. They rejoin the others in the front garden, and they Teleport back to Willowmourn.

The Path Of The Righteous
New allies and foes emerge as the party wends its way through the mountains of Vyrlich.

Saturday, September 27th, 758, Caliphas to Grayce, Ustalav

Ostovach says a fond farewell to Tenelia, then returns to the inn. Gregore tells Katarzyna that he can use a glyph to basically double the power of her Teleport spells. Katarzyna takes Gregore, Ostovach, and two of the horses on the first trip. Then Katarzyna and Gregore spend a half-hour getting to know the area very well. Then Katarzyna takes Gregore back to Caliphas. Katarzyna takes Kendra, Vilkurr, and two of the horses, while Gregore takes Jean-Baptiste and the fifth horse.

When they return, Ostovach tells them that Grayce is only 7 miles down the road. They wait for the reduce spells to wear off on the horses, then make their way to Grayce.

Eventually they make it to the gate of Grayce. The weather is cloudy, and the wall of Mist to the south stands like a bulwark along the far edge of the river. They come to a stables, and meet the stablemaster. They ask about buying a horse for Katarzyna, who is the only one who doesn’t have a horse. Ostovach has Wilhelmina, Jean-Baptiste has Shadowmare, Gregore rides Duke, Vilkurr has his own horse, Steadfast, Kendra rides Duchess, and Katarzyna will ride Countess once they decide to leave Grayce. They purchase a saddle for Countess, so Katarzyna can ride her.

They make their way into Grayce. They see an apothecary 1, where an older woman is clipping plants. Across the street is a blacksmith 6. There is a Temple of Pharasma 4, a shoppe 5, and the Inn of the Mist 2. They then make their way to the bridge that crosses the river, and find a church of Ezra 13. They notice that the bridge is inscribed with the third book of Ezra. There are two clerics in plate mail that greet them. Gregore and Vilkurr take the lead speaking with them, and Katarzyna is with them as they speak with the anchorites. Jean-Baptiste, Ostovach and Kendra follow them in.

Katarzyna and Kendra wander around the church, admiring the architecture and trying to puzzle out the age of the building. They learn that it is the first church of Ezra in Ustalav. Jean-Baptiste finds a cleric and asks about his missing time. He speaks with Jean-Baptiste at length about his experience with the Mists as a young man. They learn that this portal leads to Mordent. Ostovach quickly gets bored at the church, so he wanders back into town.

Vilkurr and Gregore decide to stay the night at the Temple of Ezra, so Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Katarzyna join Ostovach back in town. They sit down and have espresso (Katarzyna has tea instead), and Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna become engrossed in a hopelessly esoteric conversation that leaves Ostovach and Kendra feeling left out. They decide to leave and explore the rest of the town. They meet some Borcan travelers. They decide to stay at the Inn of the Mists.

Sunday, September 28th, 758, Grayce to Vyrlich, Ustalav

Vilkurr and Gregore awaken in the Temple of Ezra. Gregore is up first. They listen to the morning prayers.

Kendra and Ostovach have a bit of a hangover. They are at the Inn of the Mists. Ostovach takes Wilhelmina on a short ride outside the city gates, she is very happy to have the exercise. He hears branches breaking and sounds of running. A man in rags with no shoes runs out of the misty forest. He also hears the sounds of women’s voices calling to the man. The man asks Ostovach to ‘take his place’, and he agrees. When he does so, he notices a man hanging from a tree nearby. He rides over to the body, and uses his sword to spin it around. When the body is facing him, he sees that the man has Ostovach’s own face.

Suddenly Ostovach finds himself hanging from the tree, as Wilhelmina whinnies nervously nearby. Ostovach tries to get Wilhelmina to support him, but at best he is able to stand on his tiptoes. He finally manages to get Wilhelmina to break the rope holding him in place.

Ostovach tumbles to the ground. His hands are free, and reaches up and there’s no rope around his neck. He looks up and sees a body hanging from the tree.

Katarzyna and Kendra go down to the common room, and Gregore and Vilkurr join them almost immediately. Ostovach walks in, and they all immediately notice the red mark around his neck and broken blood vessels in his eyes. Gregore helps him heal. The barmaid tells them about Raffio, a bard who wooed some Vistani women, and tried to get away from them. The cuckold husband of one of the woman murdered the bard, and his spirit has become a haunt.

They eat breakfast, and get ready to ride out of town again. The weather is cloudy in the morning, and there are some showers. The weather is making Katarzyna unhappy. She is NOT happy that she has to ride on a horse, and doubly unhappy that she doesn’t even have a sidesaddle. Ostovach manages to get food for them. He finds a deer. Katarzyna uses her adamantine surgical dagger to help Ostovach clean the deer.

They clean up and continue on their way. They reach the Carabasse River. Ostovach and Kendra scout around looking for a place to ford the river. They spot a body in the road. The rib cage is shattered, and there is something sitting in the rib cage. The box is ivory and brown and other neutral tones. Ostovach grabs the box and can’t open it. He hands it to Katarzyna, and she opens it. It is a letter from Adivion, just as Katarzyna surmises. She reads the note aloud, with rising irritation. It is basically Adivion goading them and gloating about absconding with Galdana while they were distracted by the vampires. Vilkurr buries the body.

During the night, Katarzyna hears the sound of a girl crying. She immediately knows that it’s either an illusion or undead or something. She wakes up Vilkurr, Kendra and Ostovach. She tells them where the girl is, and they all go toward her, with Vilkurr hanging back a few feet behind Ostovach. She has holes that appear on her arms, and she has no eyes. She says “no, I won’t go back to the shed!” and mentions some witches. Ostovach sees a faint light off in the distance. Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna, Kendra and Vilkurr examine some remains, and determine that it is a child’s bone fragments.

They approach the light, which turns out to be a small campfire. There are three witches, and a crying girl in the center of their circle. Kendra rushes up to the witches, followed by Katarzyna and Ostovach. Katarzyna rips the stakes out of the ground that are holding the girl down, which makes her scream and almost choke. Kendra blasts one of the witches with her musket. Ostovach attacks one of the witches, and she slashes back at him. One of them slashes at Katarzyna and wounds her. Jean-Baptiste shoots the one attacking Katarzyna, and Gregore casts a spell on the same one. Katarzyna rips the bloody rag off the girl’s face, and finds a tiny human heart stuffed in the girl’s mouth. It appears the heart belonged to a toddler, and the toddler was poisoned. One of the witches disappears, and Jean-Baptiste tries to track her with the help of the geist. Gregore, Vilkurr, Kendra and Katarzyna tend to the girl. Katarzyna tells the others about the heart. Jean-Baptiste finds the trail of the other witch, and Vilkurr goes with him. Ostovach finds the body of a man, one of his legs has been removed. There are traveling clothes in a crate near the body. He finds a ceramic egg, with the insignia of the Whispering Way. There is also a note in the man’s things.

The girl awakens and speaks with Katarzyna and Kendra. She says her name is Lily, her mother’s name is Lillian, and she they live near a creek. She was playing by the creek, and found a ‘really neat frog’. She starts crying uncontrollably. Katarzyna speaks with Kendra and Gregore about taking the girl back to Grayce, and letting the church of Ezra take care of her. Katarzyna will use a Teleport spell both ways, then redo her spells in the morning. Meanwhile, Jean-Baptiste, Vilkurr and Gregore engage the third witch and defeat her.

Katarzyna continues to reassure Lily. She tells her long, dry stories that bore her into calmness. Ostovach hands the note he found to Jean-Baptiste.

Gregore and Katarzyna decide to Teleport back to Grayce and give Lily over to the church of Ezra. They teleport to the bridge, then after a brief exchange with the startled sentries, they are admitted into the church. The clerics agree to take care of her. They spend about an hour there, and Teleport back to the campsite.

Kendra uses her ability to speak with the dead, and communes with the spirits of the slain children, to determine which one is the haunt from the tree they saw first. She points to a section on the wall of the witches’ hut, and they pick out the skull of the girl. There are an additional 150 skulls in the hut.

Gregore prays over the grave of the girl from the tree. They see her spirit rise out of the ground and she says “thank you” as her spirit ascends. It is almost dawn when this happens.

Monday, September 29th, 758, Caliphas County near Carabasse River, Ustalav

Katarzyna finishes getting sleep. They all awaken later than usual, since they were active during the night. Some of the others remain awake. The awake people see a caravan of five vardos approaches. Jean-Baptiste hails them in the Vistani language. There is an older man and a younger woman. He speaks with them exclusively in Vistani. Ostovach can understand them, and he lets Vilkurr know what they’re saying. When Katarzyna wakes up, she is immediately set upon by two handsome Vistani lads, who fall all over themselves complimenting her. Kendra is also flirted with.

Jean-Baptiste has his palm read by a Vistani crone, Vadoma. She also looks into a crystal ball to tell his future. She says that his life line ends soon, but picks up again. She tells him that he will come to a fork in the road, and though he knows which way to go, if he avoids the obvious danger, he will miss out on an opportunity to make his path easier. She sees fangs, incredibly large fangs. The fangs are what snuffs his life. The fangs rip him in two. This is not the greatest challenge of his life that she speaks of. His path leads him to the Dark Lord. The Dark Lord reborn. She takes a feather and puts it down and cuts it in two, pricks his finger and puts blood on the feather. She makes a charm and gives it to him. She tells him “send me the speaker of the dead”.

Kendra is next up to speak to the seer. The crone doesn’t read Kendra’s future. She is given a bone. It is a bone from Kamille Dilisnia. It is a noble house in Mordent. It is an item of some utility for Kendra. She takes the item to Katarzyna, who tells the story of Kamille, who poisoned her husband, though it was never proven. Kamille was sent to Invidia, but the Mists took her. When she emerged from the Mists, Borca was formed. The church that she built in Luchavest is the church that Gregore and Dragos are from. Kamille killed three husbands. She married into that Barizzi family. They surmise that she was a darklord, but she was ultimately assassinated by her daughter. The Vistani woman also gives Kendra a charm. She tells Kendra “send me the wailing woman”.

Katarzyna is up next with the gypsy. She notices the eye of Pharasma. She tells her that like Jean-Baptiste, she will die soon, but will live again. Katarzyna is perturbed by this. She mentions Abner’s betrayal, and that he is now an undead creature of rage. She also knows that Katarzyna is concerned with only one goal, stopping the Whispering Tyrant. She gives Katarzyna a charm. She tells Katarzyna “send me the fallen knight”.

Vilkurr is the fourth one to speak with the Vistani woman. She tells him that he will need his vigilance if he is to overcome and find his way through the Mists. She gives him a charm. She tells him that he will soon encounter the Eternal Knights, who oppose the Whispering Tyrant, but may also be their enemies. They possess something, wrongly, that could be of great benefit to them. They do not see it for what it is. She tells Vilkurr to “send me the gigolo”

Ostovach is the fifth one to talk to the seer. She talks to him about his sister. She tells him that she is safe. She tells him that he and his friends are the only hope for this land, the lanterns in the mist. She tells him that his fate has been rewoven. She tells him that she senses that he will have a great story soon. She says that she sees an old lie will become true. Finally, she tells him to “send me the giomorgo” in a dismissive tone.

Gregore is the last to see the woman. He is upset when he returns. They all discuss what the woman told them. He was told that he will make ‘the greatest sacrifice of his life’, and he is obviously worried about Jominda and his unborn child. Kendra decides to have a tattoo, and Gregore decides that he has to make a quick trip to Carrion Hill to see if Jominda has arrived yet. He hasn’t returned by the time Jominda is finished with her tattoo. Jean-Baptiste flirts with a woman named Riandra, who serves them lunch.

Gregore arrives shortly thereafter, and they make ready to continue on their journey. Vadoma bids goodbye to Jean-Baptiste.

They make their way to the ferry. It looks really old, but mostly workable. Katarzyna uses her Dimension Door to bring herself, Jean-Baptiste, Vilkurr and Gregore across. On the other side of the river, Ostovach and Kendra handle the horses to get them onto the ferry. The get across the Carabasse River without incident. They make their way down the path. They come to the fork in the road, and go a ways toward the Garden of Lead. The plan is to have Kendra’s third eye scout ahead.

They get to a point in the road, and an undead woman beckons for them to follow her.

They smell a pungent, sharp scent. It is smoke, the smell of burning lead. The are obviously on their way to the Garden of Lead. They are lead through the palace, and they come to a room where a female undead creature welcomes them. She is a creature of great power and evil. She says that they are the ones who wish to oppose the tyrant. She introduces herself as Dissayn, onetime servant of the tyrant. They speak with her at length, and she gives them safe passage through the Ebon Woods. Katarzyna examines her bone structure, and deduces that she was a great beauty in her time. She seems to soften somewhat toward Katarzyna at that point. She does not want to return to the service of Tar-Baphon, and that is the reason she is helping them. She says that trying to Teleport within the area will force them into the system of witchgates. She also tells them to beware the ‘hag mouth’.

They take their leave of the Countess and head back to their horses. They take the other fork toward the Ebon Woods. After about an hour and a half, the road turns toward the right. They see an archway in the road. Ostovach, Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste scout ahead. They see the bone archway, about 15 feet tall, and a shadow moving behind it. It looks like the giant zombie that protects the gate. It doesn’t seem to notice them. They discuss what to do, and they decide that Katarzyna will use another Dimension Door to bring Gregore and Vilkurr into the fight. Kendra will throw a fireball, Jean-Baptiste will throw a fire breath at it.

Kendra lobs her fireball, and the creature charges toward them. Ostovach charges at the creature. Katarzyna uses her Dimension Door to place herself, Gregore and Vilkurr behind the creature. Vilkurr immediately attacks the creature. The creature swings and hits Ostovach and sends him flying into a tree, wounding him severely. Ostovach gets back into the fight and rushes over to the creature again. He smacks it again, and it dies. It falls on top of Vilkurr, but they are able to move him out from under the creature.

They hear the cawing of crows. They see a gem-encrusted arch made of bleached bones, with ravens perched atop it. Jean-Baptiste notices that the area was once a super-ancient druidic grove, now corrupted by the undead. Kendra and Katarzyna start examining a witchgate, but Katarzyna can’t make heads or tails of it. Kendra notices that it that it’s a teleport trap. It’s like a dimensional anchor, but bigger.

They travel for a ways, then make camp. It is a cold, rainy night. Kendra and Katarzyna share a small tent that Kendra brought. Ostovach makes a comfortable lean-to. He places Wilhelmina under the boughs of a tree, and helps the other horses.

Tuesday, September 30th, 758, Caliphas County near Carabasse River, Ustalav

They awaken after a wet, but uneventful night. Their sleep is fitful, but they manage to get adequate rest. They gather their things, and it’s a quiet, unnerving, but uneventful journey. They see a path that leads to an arch. They scout ahead, and encounter an undead ape. They fight the creature. They finally kill it. Kendra notices that the creature is infected with the black plague. They go through extensive decontamination of their equipment.

Ostovach hears Wilhelmina freaking out, and runs over there. Ostovach runs over to her, and she is wildly thrashing around. He calls Jean-Baptiste, who rushes over. As they are watching, Wilhelmina finally stops panicking, as an ethereal form of the undead ape is expelled from her, and dissipates into the air.

They take stock of the situation, gathering their belongings and getting their stuff cleaned to remove any and all contamination. They spend most of the day at the site. Kendra starts doing a ritual, creating a pentagram, and using her third eye. Katarzyna notices that the runes are summoning/binding sigils. The third eye bleeds more than normal. Kendra summons a creature from the Dark Tapestry of bizarre appearance. Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste watch for awhile, then Katarzyna goes to sleep. Jean-Baptiste continues to watch the process, and eventually she dismisses the creature. Kendra’s nose, eyes and ears bleed as she falls asleep. The third eye is much more grotesque in appearance than normal.

Wednesday, October 1st, 758, Virlych County, Ustalav

They all eventually wake up, Gregore and Ostovach are up before the others. Kendra is awakened by Ostovach, who is concerned about her persistent gruesome third eye. Kendra tells them that the creature she summoned was an iyet. He revealed advanced spells and formulas to Kendra.

They decide to use Gregore’s Teleport Without Error spell to go to the next witchgate, and prepare for battle beforehand. Gregore gives Jean-Baptiste and Kendra three scrolls, one of which is Raise Dead. One of them are Breath Of Life, which can be used to save Gregore if they get to him before the round ends. He also gives them each a Gentle Repose scroll. Jean-Baptiste gives Katarzyna a Dragon Breath spell that can be used within the next 13 days.

Finally Gregore is ready to cast his Teleport Without Error spell, and mists emanate from his mouth as the spell triggers. They arrive at the next witchgate. Most of them notice a smear on the floor of the cave they’re in.

They hear a creature’s voice, it calls itself the “hag’s mouth’. A wave of heat knocks into them. Katarzyna casts a Web spell before the creature attacks. The creature spews a thick, burning orange substance. Vilkurr does some healing, but the creatures attack is devastating. They try to keep it confined to the cave, but it bursts out quickly. It tells them that its name is Hag Mouth, and they have come to the wrong place. A pitched battle ensues, until Ostovach finally decapitates the creature in an exceptionally dramatic attack.

Jean-Baptiste thinks the creature is called a linorm wyrm, or dragon, in the parlance of Nova Vaasa. Gregore and Kendra have been poisoned by the creature, and Katarzyna gives him her potion of Neutralize Poison. Kendra uses her potion. They rest for a moment, then Kendra sends her third eye into the dragon’s cave. She spots a hoard of items, and several of them go into the cave to investigate. Gregore and Katarzyna, put off by the putrid stench, remain outside the cave. They find all sorts of items, including a vast amount of money in gold, platinum bars, and gems. There are a few magical items as well.

Kendra asks Jean-Baptiste to use the paint set to create a mirror, which she uses to make a small pocket dimension that they can use as a shelter. It’s not large enough to bring the horses inside. She holds up a shard of glass from the mirror that they destroyed in Karpad. She tells Jean-Baptiste about the events of Karpad. They discuss the planar nature of the plane, and they determine that it is a pocket Domain. Gregore is concerned is worried that the Powers of Ravenloft might try to give Kendra a ‘gift’.

Gregore does what he can to remove the death curse of the linorm wyrm from Ostovach. He warns Ostovach that the most powerful curses are those that are spoken in a creature’s death. Vilkurr tries to remove the curse from Ostovach, but they don’t know if it is successful.

Thursday, October 2nd, 758, Virlych County, Ustalav

The night is uneventful, and they all gear up to travel through the witchgate again. Gregore releases the vardo from the tapestry. They place some of the hoard in the vardo, and Gregore casts his spell again, placing it back in the tapestry. During the course of Kendra speaking with spirits, identifying the items from the hoard, they discover that Skavenier was the name of the Whispering Tyrant’s dragon.

They do their preparations, then Gregore uses his Teleport Without Error spell to transport them. They gird themselves and jump through. They come out in a foggy area, and they see a foggy area around them. Several of them see a campfire or some other type of fire nearby. They hear a voice say “quiet, witch”. Kendra sends out her third eye, and tells them that there are four knights in armor, and a bound woman who looks Vistani. They hear a voice call out “Come forth, servants of Darkness”. Ostovach steps out and speaks to them.

They meet Sir Garvis Karst, a short-haired middle-aged man with piercing blue eyes, Sir Anca Viorica, a beautiful young woman, Sir Filip Andreve, a long haired young man, and Sir Miras Barnholdt, an older man with a scar on his face. Ostovach, Vilkurr, Jean-Baptiste, and Gregore all walk forward, while Kendra and Katarzyna hang back in the shadows. Ostovach sees a large sword in their midst. They recognize the symbol as that of Iomede. They call themselves the Knights of Ozen. Jean-Baptiste tells them that they’ve slain the Hag Mouth. The older man, Miras Barnholdt, tells his companions that he doesn’t think they are the enemy. He tells them that he will let them share their fire. They hear rustling outside the circle, and ask if they are more in number. Katarzyna steps into the light, though it was Kendra they had heard. Kendra follows closely. They tell them that the woman is possessed. Gregore tells them that he can exorcise the spirits from the woman. He tells them that if they are not goodly, they should stay out of the zone of influence. Gregore speaks a word, and though they can’t understand it, its impact is immediate. There is almost a concussive wave of energy, and the woman writhes as the demon is cast out. It is a winged creature with a bovine skull. It flies up into the air. Katarzyna tries to hit it with a Disintegrate spell, but it fizzles. Others try to shoot it, but it is quickly outside the range of most of their weapons. Kendra cast a strange spell that peppers the demon with projectiles. Katarzyna hits it with a lightning bolt, while Gregore hit it with a Bone Shatter. The creature manages to land safely, but is heavily damaged. They all converge on the downed creature. The paladins finish the creature off after Kendra shoots it.

Back at the campfire, Katarzyna and Vilkurr talk to the woman, Lacramoria Antonescu, who is still bound. Vilkurr cuts her bonds as Katarzyna tries to reassure her. Lacramoria tells them that her family is a Witherly Farrows. She tells them that Marrowgarth, a ravener, or undead dragon, has killed them. Katarzyna walks over to the Knights of Ozen, and tells them what the woman said. After a short conversation with the Knights of Ozen, they come to an impasse of sorts. The four paladins go on their way, and Gregore tells them that he thinks that the knights weren’t actually real beings. The Vistani woman then tells them that the demon Xyssas promised that if he could avoid the attention of the paladins, he would keep her family save from Marrowgarth.

They all saddle up and ride in the direction of Lacramoria’s family.

The group gets ready to go to Witherly Farrows, which is only a mile or so away. They arrive at a collection of Vistani wagons gathered near a collection of barrows. Lacramoria starts wailing as soon as she sees the burned out remains of the Vistani caravan. They all investigate the ruined caravan. Ostovach goes forward to investigate the ancient barrows, many of which look like they had been opened a very long time ago. Ostovach notices that there had been a battle in the area, between humans and a large skeletal creature. Kendra goes up and looks at the scorch marks she sees. She notices something strange about them, that they might have an eldritch signature on. She tells the others, and Katarzyna notices that there is a pure Necromancy energy signature. Katarzyna also inspects the remains of the deceased Vistani caravan people. She notices that most of the people burned to death, and there is residual energy that shows the Necromancy.

Suddenly Jean-Baptiste shouts for them to return to where he is. Katarzyna, Gregore, Kendra and Ostovach run back to where Vilkurr and Jean-Baptiste are with Lacramoria. They see a vortex of wind scuttling toward them. The wind coalesces into images of ghostly, leering faces. They find themselves engaged in combat with the eldritch creatures. Ostovach sees a witchfire, and a bolt of greenish energy flies at him. Another one shoots a ray of energy at Vilkurr, and seems to weaken him a great deal. The third shoots a bolt of energy at Katarzyna. The group does their best to defeat the hags, taking a lot of damage in the process. At one point Kendra uses a spell to pick up one of the witches and slams her into a wagon. That witch is killed first. The two other hags continue to harry the party, and set Ostovach and Katarzyna on fire. They put themselves out, and one of the witchfires is defeated, leaving just the one witchfire attacking Vilkurr and one orb-like creature attacking Jean-Baptiste. The orb creature is killed by Jean-Baptiste, as the witch continues to attack Vilkurr. Vilkurr is knocked out by the witch, but Gregore quickly runs up and revives him. The witchfire then attacks Gregore. Finally, Katarzyna destroys the last creature with a Magic Missile, and they take stock of the situation. Kendra heals Vilkurr with the healing wand. Kendra notices that the wand becomes slightly more desiccated as she casts the spell. They check out the bodies of the slain creatures.

Katarzyna looks at the body of the hag, and finds a magical periapt around her neck. She senses an aura of abjuration. She takes it to Kendra so that she can use the Third Eye. She discovers that a bit of the hag’s soul in it, and the spark of life is weakening. Lacramoria tells them that the periapt is a heartstone. She tells them that whomever slays the hag will be protected by the stone for one day, after which the periapt will lose its magical aura and be a simple piece of jewelry.

The spirits tell Kendra that the Vistani were killed by a large bone dragon, Marrowgarth, and that the people who weren’t killed were taken to form a soul ward. Lacramoria pulls out a tarrokka deck. She tells them that deadly bars of iron and piercing streaks await them if they use the witchgates. Lacramoria goes into one of the open barrows, and finds a gauntlet, and gives it to them. She says it will help them. She doesn’t know what it does, but she says someone can use it.

Jean-Baptiste, Ostovach and Katarzyna investigate the open barrows. They find lots of items they can sell, but nothing of informative value. They determine that the graves are a couple of thousand years old, and were from the time of the Whispering Tyrant. This bit of information is what piques Katarzyna’s interest. She is disappointed that they don’t find any books or documents or inscriptions. When they return to the others, Gregore tells them what Lacramoria told them about the gauntlet. Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste inspect the item closely. Katarzyna determines that it is Transmutation magic, while Jean-Baptiste learns that it has special properties. He grabs one of the hinges on the vardo, then touches it with the gauntlet. The metal causes the hinge to rust rapidly, and he is able to break it easily. Katarzyna tries to have it dissolve a gold piece, but it doesn’t work. Jean-Baptiste determines that the item can only be used a few times per day.

Lacramoria asks them for one more favor. She wants to go with them. She will die quickly if left on her own, but they warn her that she will not be much safer if she travels with them.

They do what they can for the remains of the Vistani slain in Marrowgarth’s attack. Katarzyna helps gather the remains and burn them so they can’t be used by necromancers to create undead.

They settle in for the evening. Lacramoria spends a few minutes speaking with Ostovach, and indeed each of them in turn. They settle in for the night.

Friday, October 3rd, 758, Virlych County, Ustalav

They awaken, and begin their preparations for the day. After they cast their preparatory spell, Gregore casts his spell and they teleport. They arrive inside a cage, and it is enormous. There is a large archway with a figure sheathed in ice. She throws a spell at them, and Katarzyna and Lacramoria are caught in the blast. Lacramoria is instantly killed, but Katarzyna has a vision of her own death, the same vision from the Journal of the Pallid Seer. She is able to turn her head and plug her ears in time to avoid the attack, and she realizes that the book gave her the vision of this moment, and allowed her to avoid death. Katarzyna’s horse Duchess dies. Gregore immediately goes to save Lacramoria. Ostovach uses the rusting gauntlet to dissolve one of the bars, allowing them to squeeze through the bars.

They fight the banshee. Kendra flings a page from her book, and the bits of paper coalesce into ethereal energy and attack the creature. They all pile onto the banshee, and she attacks Ostovach. Katarzyna uses her Dimension Door to get herself, Gregore, Kendra and Jean-Baptiste to the other side of the banshee. Jean-Baptiste swings at the banshee. Katarzyna hits her with Magic Missiles, Ostovach swings at her with his sword, while Vilkurr wields the Raven’s Head Mace until he realizes that as an incorporeal creature, she is hard to hit with a normal weapon. They whittle away at her, until she finally goes down. Vilkurr finally takes it out.

Lacramoria yells out that Duchess is down. They discuss at length what to do about it. They speak at length with Lacramoria about Teleporting her to Caliphas and leaving her there with the horses. She is tearful and reluctant, but she agrees to go. She gives Jean-Baptiste her head wrap and earring as a token so that her clan knows that they speak on her behalf, if they have the chance to rescue them.

They see a cathedral in the distance. Lacramoria says it is probably Renchurch. Kendra is overwhelmed by the ethereal resonance in the area. Her third eye starts to water, almost like it’s crying.

They use Katarzyna’s Teleport Without Error scroll, and they end up at the first witchgate. They decide to travel for a while that day. Katarzyna unceremoniously Disintegrates the corpse of Duchess after they discuss the matter. Katarzyna and Lacramoria don’t have horses, so Lacramoria rides with Ostovach and Katarzyna rides with Vilkurr.

After an hour on the road, they encounter three skeletons in the road. Katarzyna dismounts and approaches them. They ask why they are moving away from the forest. They tell the skeletons that they are coming back as soon as they can, they are only taking a temporary break. As they clear the forest, and they cross the Carabasse River, they notice how different it feels. Katarzyna is impatient to return to Renchurch. They camp for the night, and discuss what to do the next day.

Saturday, October 4th, 758, Virlych County, Ustalav

They make their way back to Grayce, and Gregore goes to the temple to see about getting Lacramoria some help. They plan to use Teleport spells to get back to the first witchgate, walk to the second, the teleport to the third, then teleport to the fourth. Then they’ll be ready to go the following day back to Renchurch.

They gather their belongings and make some purchases. Katarzyna goes to the Temple of Pharasma for a final blessing. Katarzyna asks for the blessing of Pharasma, and she feels a cool air spread over her body as the blessing is intoned.

They all meet in the center of town, and walk outside the town a little ways. They then get together and Teleport to the first witchgate.

Katarzyna Teleports them all to the second witchgate, where they fought the ape. Then to the third witchgate. Then to the fourth witchgate where Lacramoria was found. That is where they will rest for the night and gather their strength for the assault on Renchurch the following day. They see a form walking in the village. Raziel tells Katarzyna that it is an undead. They quickly dispatch the creature. It was clearly one of the gypsies of Lacramoria’s group. Gregore and Vilkurr bury the body. Ostovach finds a campsite and starts a fire. It feels hotter than normal him, but feels normal to the others. Gregore is quiet during the meal, then goes over and prays.

Sunday, October 5th, 758, Renchurch, Virlych County, Ustalav

They have an uneventful night. Ostovach tries to reach out to Gregore to make him feel better, but it’s clear that he is feeling concerned about the ‘sacrifice’ that he will be asked to make. Gregore and Katarzyna talk about their spells. They all touch Gregore and he uses his spell to teleport them to Renchurch. The entrance cave is deserted when they arrive.

Raziel flies out at Katarzyna’s urging, and though he is very stealthy, a flaming arrow comes out of the belfry and almost hits him. He also tells them of a fire in the church. Jean-Baptiste tells them of an 18-foot-tall humanoid. As they’re talking a creature appears before them. After Ostovach hits him, he teleports away. They use one of Katarzyna’s Dimension Door to go to the cliffside that Jean-Baptiste describes to Katarzyna. Her aim is slightly off, so Gregore and Vilkurr fall down the hillside, but aren’t seriously injured. The battle is joined, and the devil teleports around the field, while the giant remains suspended in the air by Katarzyna’s spell. As Kendra is running toward the others on the cliffside, she is waylaid by the barbed devil, who kills her. Jean-Baptiste swoops in and grabs Kendra, and brings her to Gregore, who is flying as fast as he can toward Kendra. He manages to save her with his Breath of Life spell. Katarzyna uses a second Dimension Door to bring Vilkurr over to the barbed devil, and Vilkurr, Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste kill the creature quickly afterward. The rest of the party goes to help Ostovach, who has jumped into the Reverse Gravity area to fight the giant. The giant quickly gains the upper hand. Katarzyna and Vilkurr have to walk/run back to where Ostovach and the giant are fighting. Jean-Baptiste flies over to the giant as Gregore pulls Ostovach away from it, and hits it with Dragon’s Breath, killing him.

They take stock of the situation, and Gregore removes the strength drain from Ostovach. They then decide to go into the cathedral. As Ostovach and Vilkurr go to open the doors, they trigger a trap that injures them. Gregore heals them, and Kendra disables the trap and opens the door. They go into the antechamber of the cathedral.

Kendra is grabbed by something unseen, and Katarzyna is dragged with her as she is slammed into the wall. Kendra is picked up again by unseen forces, and slammed into Jean-Baptiste. Gregore manages to release her from the haunt. Ostovach and Kendra go up the stairs of the bell tower to the north.

They enter the main cathedral room. The room is littered with broken pews. They proceed forward. Katarzyna uses the lantern that keeps spirits at bay. There is a group of ghouls at the end of the room, feasting on the body of a man, probably a Vistani. Ostovach sees them first, and Raziel relays the scene to Katarzyna. “What do we have here” says one of them. Raziel tells Katarzyna that one of the creatures is an emaciated humanoid with the head of a jackal. “Come children, it’s time to eat” says the jackal-creature.

The battle is joined. The necromancer shoots a spell of negative energy that hits Jean-Baptiste, Kendra, Katarzyna, Ostovach and Raziel. Gregore’s spell banishes the jackal-headed creature. The other undead creatures are paralyzed. They continue to pound away at the creatures while they are paralyzed. They finally finish the rest of the corpulent ghouls.

Katarzyna goes up to where Raziel is perched at the old desecrated altar of Pharasma. Ostovach goes down a new hallway he discovered, and Katarzyna follows him. The others also follow. Katarzyna listens at the door. She hears a woman’s voice. They see a spectral form come through the door, and fly through the door across the hall. The door opens, and Natisha Pavalanis greets them cordially. She is rude to Katarzyna, who doesn’t speak with her any more. After about another minute of Natisha taunting them, Katarzyna casts Undeath To Death, which destroys three of her four ghostly minions outright. Gregore casts Boneshatter on her, and Vilkurr and the others attack her as well. Jean-Baptiste stakes her in the heart. The surviving spectre is hit by Kendra, and then Ostovach kills it. As the body dies, it looks less twisted, like an acolyte priest. Natisha is subdued by Vilkurr. She tells them that the Way is below, performing a ritual to bring back the Tyrant. After she answers their questions, Katarzyna kills her with a Magic Missile. She hurls a dying curse at Katarzyna, but with Pharasma’s protection, Katarzyna shrugs it off.

Ostovach and Vilkurr go out into the hallway to continue investigating the complex, but come back in moments later, and Ostovach is choking. Katarzyna casts Break Enchantment on Ostovach, but it doesn’t work. Kendra tries to use a haunt siphon, but it fails. Katarzyna Turns Undead, and Ostovach is released from the haunt. Gregore goes out into the hallway, and when he returns, he tells them that the heads on the walls need to be immolated. Katarzyna uses five charges from her wand of Burning Hands to destroy the heads and the haunts.

Ostovach, Vilkurr and Katarzyna go exploring the rest of the complex, while Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Gregore stay in the room with Natisha. Raziel stays with them, so that they can communicate with each other. In the room across the hall, they see four chairs surrounding a black gem. In three of the chairs, there are three masked creatures, and in the fourth chair is a elven male, who appears to be bound. Katarzyna can see that this is some kind of ritual being performed. Another woman enters the room, and the battle is joined. Ostovach swings at the gem in the middle of the room, but is injured by the backlash.

There is a pitched battle, and only one of the girls survives, as well as the male elf. The girl tells them that the black stone is a Ghoul Stone, made of lazurite. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna recognize that lazurite is a mystical stone from the dark lands or the feywild. If you put dead creatures in its presence, they will come back as undead. Ghasts, ghosts, and juju ghosts. The girl seems distraught and upset, and Katarzyna questions her at length. She says that the male elf wanted to become a ghast. His name is Clevis. There is some question as to whether Clevis is telling the truth. Katarzyna asks the girl her name, and she gives it as Cassandra. They discuss what to do about Clevis and Cassandra.

Kendra uses her third eye to investigate the complex. She says that she saw evidence of Saint Vesbius. She also saw a greatsword with holy power of some kind. She thinks it is tied to a haunt down there. She also says there is an omox demon from the abyss, Immozob, in the labyrinth down below. He looks like a half-melted human. The demon saw the third eye and beckoned to it. She also says there is a lich. Cassandra says the lich is Nalthazar.

Cassandra tells them that the Grey Friar is a huecuva, a cleric of Urgathoa. She also tells them about the Worm That Walks, a powerful wizard who dies and is buried in a graveyard imbued with eldritch magic. She tells them that if they go through the room with the mummies, they can avoid the Worm That Walks. Cassandra tells them that they were observed by someone named Lucimar. They discover that he was Crilaum, the companion of Mirta Straelock that they encountered in the Shudderwood. He stays in the cryptorum, near the chamber of bodaks. He is one of the most important of them. There is also a female lich named Verezna down in the labyrinth, who is attended by cenobites. All of the cenobites are juju zombies and clerics of Urgathoa. Verezna is the guardian of phylacteries. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna know a fair amount about liches. The female lich was slain by adventurers, and she returned to the care of the cenobites. The cenobites are powerful undead. Cassandra also says that she met Adivion, and that he is incredibly arrogant. He says the only person he thinks is on his level is the Whispering Tyrant himself.

After much discussion about the horrors of the under level, they decide that Gregore, Vilkurr and Jean-Baptiste go back to where Clevis is. Ostovach is waiting just outside the room, but Katarzyna, Kendra and Cassandra stay outside the room. They release him from his bonds, and Clevis immediately says “thank you, my newfound best friends”. He then says “what did you do with the girl?” and asks about his clothes. He is really weirded out by the behavior of the three.

Ostovach, Katarzyna and Cassandra go out and scout the grounds. Katarzyna spots Clevis out by the exit gate. Cassandra spots two of the other monks. Through Raziel, Katarzyna observes a meeting between Bjorn and Melana and Clevis.

They make the decision to take care of Bjorn and Melana. Katarzyna uses a couple of spells to destroy the trio, and a Powers Check ensues as a result of the Circle of Death spell.

They return to the room and talk about how to move forward in the underground complex the following day.

The have a combat in the early evening. They kill a couple of cultists. The rest of the night goes uneventfully.

Monday, October 6th, 758, Renchurch, Virlych County, Ustalav

They are discussing with Cassandra which route to take, when a mastiff comes into the room. Katarzyna is taken aback, but it turns out to be the hound archon, Malachi, that they all knew before. Gregore had summoned it again, as he had mentioned before. Jean-Baptiste tells him that they are working on a means of helping him return to his home plane. Vilkurr takes Katarzyna aside and tells her that Cassandra is feeling ‘unworthy’ of redemption, and that Katarzyna should try to be a friend to her to help her along. Malachi tells them things about the omox demon, including that it is immune to acid and electricity, and resistant to almost everything else.

Katarzyna disguises herself as the female cultist that was slain the night before. She helps Cassandra with her outfit. They decide to try to traverse the mummy room without engaging the mummies. Mummy room: sarcophagi, and a mummy arm.

They enter the first room. They encounter the skeletal creatures, mohrgs, that have intestines that serve as flagella. Katarzyna targets one of them with Boneshatter, wounding it severely, and Jean-Baptiste uses his Dragon Breath to get most of the ones in the room. They fight all the acolytes and the four mohrgs, and then are joined by a lich. Jean-Baptiste drops the last acolyte attacking Cassandra. They fight the lich and its two golem minions, who have alchemical elements to their construction. Vilkurr finally takes the lich down, and they face off against the two constructs in earnest. Cassandra is very effective in the fight, taking down one of the golems.

After they defeat the last of the enemies, they take stock of the items left behind by the lich and his minions. They then enter the lich’s formulary, where Jean-Baptiste finds Nalthazar’s formulary book. They also find a lot of notes for some kind of elixir for the Carrion Crown. The final cooking of the elixir took place in the bellies of the corpses on the wall. Ostovach finds cold fire wrappings. Katarzyna and Kendra get amulets of Mighty Fists, even though they feel they are unlikely to need them.

They prepare to go into the room with the demon Immozob. Gregore will try to dismiss the demon first. Gregore, Vilkurr, and Malachi are in the first rank, Jean-Baptiste, Ostovach and Cassandra are in the second rank, with Kendra and Katarzyna in the last rink.

The omox’s lair is lined with funerary urns sealed in red wax, and an acidic tang hangs in the air. The omox immediately attacks Malachi and summons another demon. The fight goes very quickly, though, since Gregore’s Holy Word spell immediately dismisses all of the demons in the room. Gregore opens one of the urns in the room, which has elemental dust.

In the next room, which is full of cultists in various stages of drug use, Katarzyna uses Waves of Exhaustion to incapacitate them. Malachi and Jean-Baptiste execute them as they sleep. One of the cultists is wearing a bone bracelet, a fell necromantic item. It allows the wearer to control mindless undead. They also find a bejeweled thurible/censer in a chest in the room. One of the juju demons casts a spell that targets Katarzyna, and she immediately follows that with a Disintegrate spell that obliterates it completely. Another juju zombie comes out of the darkness, and they dispatch it relatively quickly. The fourth juju zombie comes rounding another hallway with six revenants at its heels, and Katarzyna hits the group with an Undeath to Death spell, which kills four of the six outright. The juju zombie and his two revenants attack the group, and the they trade blows for a few rounds. Gregore takes down the juju zombie with a Pulse. They continue to fight the revenants. One of the revenants shrieks, trying to fill them with fear, but no one is affected by it. The other one attacks Vilkurr. Katarzyna drops it with a Lightning Bolt. Jean-Baptiste attacks the last one, who is facing off against Malachi, who is heavily injured. Malachi finishes it before it can hit him again.

Malachi, Katarzyna and a few others go to the room of the phylacteries. They see the dessicated body of Verezna, rapidly regenerating on a slab. Vilkurr takes her phylactery, and smashes it with the Raven’s Head mace. They destroy the phylactery of Nalthazar next. Kendra identifies the third phylactery as that of Locardier Eliote, a famous bard from Lozeri. He is famed for his depravity. Malachi vows to pursue Locardier Eliote after they have finished with the Whispering Way in Renchurch. Ostovach brings a small bag, that appears to be magical. There are four magical robes. All of the cenobites were wearing magical robes embroidered with figures representing undead creatures. There is an aura of moderate Necromancy. Katarzyna notices that the configurations of the embroidery are different for each robe. Kendra surmises that tearing off one of the patches will create the undead pictured. They decide to destroy the robes. They also had magical breastplates and scythes. There is also an array of 60 onyx gems and an unholy symbol of Urgathoa.

Gregore takes Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna and Vilkurr aside, and they recognize the revenants as Clanartus Viliras, Albor Volitaro (high priest of the water temple), Estovion Lazerov and Ostovach! All of them are incredulous at this discovery. Katarzyna discerns that the body has been altered to look like Ostovach. Another body looks like Kendra. The sixth looks like a cultist of the Skinsaw murderers. There is a shrine to Urgathoa in the corner, and Gregore disrupts it. Obviously the revenants are the souls of people the party has killed. Somehow the Whispering Way managed to gather the revenants together. Katarzyna examines the personal effects of the revenants and notices that one is obviously Keeper Krove from Carrion Hill. Malachi places his hand on the face of the revenant that looks like Kendra, and her face changes. They think that the woman might have been one of the people they fought in Feldgrau. The sixth, the one who looks like Jean-Baptiste, is actually Auren Vrood. Clearly the Whispering Way had gathered the bodies of the people they had slain, and reanimated them as undead.

What Lies Beneath
The uneasy peace is threatened as unseen forces create chaos in Caliphas.

Thursday, September 18th, 758, Caliphas, Ustalav

Gregore performs his morning rituals of prayer and thanks and then check in on the group members to see how they are doing in light of everything that occurred yesterday. One by one he visits the groups rooms. Kendra is morose and out of sorts as is to be expected. Katarzyna is cold and remote. A bit saddened by his ability to connect with his own group he goes downstairs to have a brief breakfast. He joins Jean Baptiste and Ostovach while they are discussing his mastiff whom he has named King. Ostovach says that King is not well but that it will take time to get him back to full health. Ostovach then excuses himself and says that he has some errands to go run at the Bardic college and elsewhere around town. Gregore distractedly mentions that he will be at the Shrine of Ezra praying and relaying his message for the day. Towards the end of the meal, the others join them and discuss what their next steps need to be. Gregore makes a last ditch effort to mend the group’s spiritual wounds by inviting them to attend his prayers and his service. They turn him down. Gregore not to be completely put off, insists Kendra goes with him.

Katarzyna goes to a magic shop 80 at the School of Arcane Studies. She goes in search of components, but is asked to join the guild. She meets Gustav the receptionist, and Melisander, a senior member. Melisander recognizes Katarzyna from the University of Lepidstadt. After some conversation and selling the reasons to join; Katarzyna takes a mages test to show her skill level, pays her fees, and is sworn in as a member. With the library and stores now open to her, she starts shopping. The store curator tells Katarzyna about some of their spells such as Rigor Mortis, a sixth circle spell of the Transmutation school. There is also Slough and other spells that did not interest her in the least.

Thursday Evening

In the evening Jean Baptiste, Katarzyna, and Kendra go to their event at the Haraday theatre. They give their Akiri names and are admitted into the theatre. Katarzyna recognizes Melisander. The group is surprised by seeing ostovach at the meeting. They find out he is the guest of Count Lucien Galdana whom is the leader of the county of Amaans who goes by Rahotep within the Order. Kendra mentions that she has heard that Galdana is an adventurous count. Ostovach introduces them to the count. Ostovach knowing that Galdana loves good stories of valor and bravery recounts the tale of the groups battles with a dragon and their part in the werewolf civil war that occurred in the Margreve.

They see Abraun Chalest who goes by Hemenu within the order and talk with him. Abraun knowing they are searching for help in their search for a lead to find the Whispering Way gives them some advice on how to approach the members of the Caliphas chapter. He says it is good that they seem to get on well with Galdana because his political clout goes a long way with Edjureus Modd who is the leader of the Caliphas cathedral. Jean Baptiste heads back to continue to foster the good relationship between the group and Galdana. While in conversation with Galdana, Jean Baptiste inadvertently (at first) manages to cause affront to a sycophantic man whose name within the Order is Sarenpet who was currying favor with Galdana. The man leaves in a huff and Count Galdana is grateful that jean Baptiste that he drove away the tiresome man. The Count mentions that Sarepet is the head of a winery on the edge of town. As the conversation goes on Jean Baptiste confides that they are trying to track down the Whispering Way in Caliphas.
Katarzyna during this time made her way over to Melisander, who is called Panero within the order. She relays that the group had but that the Way then stole the Raven’s Head mace. Melisander is aghast and says that he will help her find it if he can.

Abraun notices Kendra by herself, approaches her and offers to take her on a tour of the cathedral. She wanly smiles and accepts the offer. He takes her to the observatory and tells her about the transparent roof and the spells and runes placed within the chamber that help with astronomy, astrology, and general star gazing by highlighting constellations that the users call about by arranging the runes in the room. This would normally be completely captivated by such a wonder but on this night the response is muted at best. He then takes her to the gallery showing her art, items, and relics from across Ravenloft though everything in some way reminds her of both Abner and his treachery. Deciding that distraction is not helping this obviously hurting woman, Abraun tells Kendra about things the group will need to know in the area. Abraun relays that there is a large population of Vampires in the city and that a long ago treaty between the royalty and Vampire Lord forged. The Vampires had helped the humans fight off the Whispering Tyrant during the Shining Crusade, that alliance had helped pave the way for the treaty. The royalty did not think they would be able to fend off the immortal creatures of night at the conclusion of the crusade, too many had died, and the land had recently changed. They instead opted for a treaty they knew would damn them but allow them to keep in check while at the same time rebuild from the incredible devastation that took place during the war. The treaty states that the humans and vampires will not crusade against each other. Quotas and the classes of people they come from were set. Abraun went on to say that the ever fragile treaty is in jeopardy due to the recent murders.

Katarzyna throughout the course of the night becomes indignant and upset, though she tries hide it, at the lack focus on the Whispering Way. In her mind, the Order only exists to combat the Way and that should be their primary goal. To her dismay she finds out many enter for the sake of knowledge and some for the much less noble causes of political maneuvering, prestige, or to make coin.

Katarzyna, Kendra, and Jean-Baptiste speak with a textile merchant from Lepidstadt. A forgettable conversation that helped them bide their time at the party. After awhile, they are given a signal by Count Galdana, to go speak with Edjureus Modd. Modd is insufferable showing himself to be narcissistic, womanizing, and arrogant. Jean-Baptiste and Kendra are highly put off by him. Katarzyna keeps her cool, though, and bats away his unsubtle insults and crude flirtations with aplomb. Eventually they are granted permission to enter the vaults to gather information about the Whispering Way.

Friday, September 19th, 758, Caliphas, Ustalav

The gathering runs past midnight and once people start heading home they are admitted to the vaults. The way to the vaults is down a wide chute with the stairs attached to the walls. Paintings of members and storied quests adorn the walls. In the Vault, Jean-Baptiste confirms what the group has suspected- the poem is a formula to create a lich. He verifies some key points in their translation of the poem. It is a list of items needed to create lich but after Kendra consults the spirits turns out that it is a list to create a lich from a very specific person.

Abraun who accompanied them into the vaults directs them to various sources when they ask specific questions. In her research Kendra realizes that in the hands of a cleric of Pharasma, the Raven’s Head mace has additional incredible powers against undead, but was still quite useful even in the hands of non-followers of the Lady of Graves.

Katarzyna sets out to research the Whispering Way, ethereal resonance, and practical ways to locate the Raven’s Head mace. She abandons her search on the latter two items as the research on the Way become a rabbit hole. On the Whispering Way, she finds few will ever know the atrocities committed under the veil of the Whispering Way. It needs no history or mythology, no belief system at all. The Wizard King Tar Barphon converted to the Whispering Way after his defeat at the hands of Aroden. He returned to the world as the Whispering Tyrant, a lich. Some seek lichdom for power, others for immortality. It attracts the cold and passionless as well as the megalomaniacal. Katarzyna stumbles across information about something called the Moribund Key. It is a secret key used by the cult, but its detail is not described and nor how to use it.

Not to be easily daunted she begins her search anew looking for clues about the Moribund Key. In the journal of Achaeus, an order member who died 150 years ago, he details information about a strange device called a Moribund amulet that was found on a dead Way member corpse. Achaeus had thought it an elite badge of office within the Way. The described magical aura on it and the physical description remind Jean Baptiste a great deal of the medallion found on the dullahan that had attacked the group outside of Caliphas. In another book, there is reference to a key in the shape of an amulet called the Moribund key. Some of the powers of the key along with limited instructions were listed. Ostovach offers to go retrieve the amulet from the item. Ostovach departs and promises to return quickly and says he will also bring Gregore on his return. Kendra finds the mention of a gargoyle statue that is a map to the Whispering Way hold in Caliphas. Abraun relays that he knows that statue and that it was moved into the vault some years ago after a raid against a Way member but that the Order could never figure out how to use the statue. He takes them to it and after some clearing of items they examine the gargoyle. They are able to locate some runes hidden in the details of the statue and surmise that is the combination to enter into the Moribund Key.

After a long 45 minute wait, Ostovach and Gregore arrive back at the cathedral vaults. Katarzyna notices that Ostovach looks pale and queasy. When asked he says that carrying the Moribund Key is causing him discomfort. Jean Baptiste relieves him of it and matches the runes on the key to those listed on the gargoyle… Nothing happens. After thinking the matter he touches the amulet to the statue and it causes the gargoyles eyes to light up.

The light casts a translucent map of light, depicting ancient Caliphas above the floor in front of the statue. It includes the area of Eskourt and the areas to the east, but not the other outer areas of the modern city. There is an area on the map that is colored darker than the rest, according to Abraun it is the Quarterfaux Archives. There are liches on the corners of the map, and in unison they say “recite the fifth catechism”, but no one can determine what that is. The map vanishes in a puff of smoke, and the smell of brimstone fills the air. They hear a disturbance at the other end of the room. Suddenly bookshelves start slamming into people, one hits Abraun, knocking him to the floor, unconscious.

At the other end of the room, the group is shocked to see four bone devils, also known as Osyluths amongst the learned, advance towards them. Gregore is the first to regain his wits, and creates a Spiritual Ally and sends it after one of the devils. Before Katarzyna enters the fray She casts Stoneskin on Ostovach to keep him in the fight longer knowing that he will be toe to toe with them. Three of the devils attack them with spells. Green rays spring from their bony hands at Katarzyna, Kendra and Jean-Baptiste. Katarzyna realizes that the group has been blocked from dimensional travel. Kendra begins casting. New to the casting of some of the more powerful spells, her head is dripping with sweat from the concentration it takes to focus and release the energy for a lightening bolt from the skull fragment of Okannosde. She correctly summons the energy and it lashes an enemy but at her skill it is almost shrugged off. Gregore casts another spell, Boneshatter, on one of them. With these devils being composed of mostly bone, it is devastating in its effect. One of the devils summons an ice storm in the adjoining room. It isn’t specifically targeted at anyone but it does look like it cuts off the only route of escape. Another one summons more of its allies. The third sends a green mist at Gregore which though it looks like it cause it tremendous pain does not fell the anchorite. To capitalize on its comrades attack the fourth and last one physically attacks Gregore lashing out with its two claws, tail and even tries to bite him. The sparks can be seen where they are meeting the metal of Gregores armor merely knocking Gregore about rather than rending him. Ostovach moves into protect Gregore and swings at the osyluth but misses. Raziel transforms into his four-winged form and screeches at them with the call of the dead but because they are devils it has no effect. The fight continues apace, with Ostovach and Gregore fighting one but neither side seems to get the upper hand. Jean-Baptiste reduces the unconscious Abraun Chalest, so that he is no longer trapped under the bookcase. The osyluth that is in melee with Ostovach attacks him viciously with claw and tail. Another attacks Jean-Baptiste. Many more devils appeared to be called in from hell by their brethren and now a total of ten bone devils are in the fray. Working on crowd control Katarzyna casts a Web spell and tries to catch as many of them as she can. She then uses a Disintegrate spell to blast a section of the wall away to make an escape route. Unfortunately, she blasts into what appears to be a cesspit for the latrine on the floor above but at least it’s an exit.

Jean-Baptiste shoots one, but misses, and Gregore continues to use his Spiritual Ally to harry a devil. Katarzyna uses Waves of Fatigue cast through Raziel to weaken the enemies caught in the Web spell and runs out of sight of the bone devils to escape reprisals. Kendra advances to the one attacking Jean-Baptiste and readies her scimitar. The osyluth turns on Kendra but is unable to hit her as she deftly parries and ducks the incoming attacks. Kendra follows up with attack that hits but seems to fail in doing any real injury.

Ostovach keeps swinging at the creatures, scoring hits that take a small toll but no more. The Spiritual Ally continues to attacks damaging and frustrating the devil, Gregore casts Searing Light, burning the evil creature with its godly sanctity. Katarzyna throws a Lightning Bolt at the one attacking Kendra, which hurts it but does not bring it down. Jean-Baptiste uncovers Abraun who is unconscious and has a large bloody welt on his head he prepares a quick curative concoction and feeds it to Abraun. One of the devils attacks Kendra. Another one flies out of the web, and makes a beeline at Katarzyna, but Raziel moves in to protect his charge and stuns it with an attack.

The fight continues, and Jean-Baptiste shoots at the devil threatening Katarzyna and scores a hit. It is stunned, so it reacts but not effectively. Katarzyna follows up with a Lightning Bolt, but it attacks Jean-Baptiste, doing serious harm. The one attacking Ostovach continues its barrage. Gregore channels the healing energy of Ezra and fills his immediate area with its caress, healing many of the wounds his friends had received. One of the devils does a feint that catches Kendra off guard and capitalizes on it scoring some vicious hits. Kendra hardly feels the attacks as a stoneskin that Katarzyna had put on Kendra earlier withstands the worst of the relentless assault. Unfortunately, the attacks overload the magic barrier leaving Kendra completely vulnerable to any future attacks. Katarzyna fires off a third Lightning Bolt at the one attacking Ostovach, and kills it, and Ostovach weakly signals his gratitude, the magic that had been protecting him earlier had been long gone. Catching a second wind Ostovach surveys to see where he is needed and moves in to confront the Osyluth attacking Jean-Baptiste. Sensing her vulnerability the devil attacking Kendra becomes frenzied and is trying to finish her off. Katarzyna notices Kendra’s position and kills the devil with a salvo of Magical Missiles.

There is only one Osyluth left and it is in pitched battle with Ostovach. Sensing its own defeat coming the devil seems vow to take Ostovach with it as it attacks with renewed vigor and relentlessness. Ostovach takes hit after hit and though he stands, it now is with a visible wobble and blood seeping from many wounds. Kendra pulls out her curative wand and ignoring her own injuries try to help by healing Ostovach. It helps but Ostovach is quickly hit by more attacks and goes down to one knee, facing the final bone devil. What is said is not quite heard but the tone of taunting and defiance is heard from Ostovach. This angers the Osyluth who claws at Ostovach driving him down onto his backside. Jean-Baptiste prepares an infusion for Ostovach, which he takes but too late. The Osyluth attacks Ostovach before he can imbibe the potion and renders him unconscious and barely breathing. Just as hope seemed lost for Ostovach the power Ezra is felt to fill the room, mending Ostovach’ s wounds and burning at the essence of the bone devil. Ostovach suddenly gasps for air, sits up, drinks Jean Baptiste’s potion and then with mischievous smile mocks the failure of the devil. The bone devil contorts its bony visage in surprise and consternation. While it’s distracted Katarzyna hits the devil with a flurry of Magic Missiles. The missiles injure the devil but also snap it into action. Ostovach regains his feet and wind, then presses the assault with a might war cry. Filled with a renewed sense of vigor the group presses the devil at every side and with a last volley of magic missiles, Katarzyna and kills it, and they are finally able to catch their breath.

Abraun at regaining his senses is taken aback by the turn of events, not having seen too much of what happened. He is quite distressed by the damage to the library, the tumbled shelves, the blood, the scorch marks from the lightning bolts, and of course the giant hole in the wall from Katarzyna’s spell. Hearing what the group found out and how strong their need to carry on the search for the Raven’s Head was though, Abraun showed them another secret way out of the library. He told them he would stay to explain things and cover for them.

After leaving the Haraday

After passing through the secret exit, they continue down a hallway, and come to a door inscribed with runes. Kendra, Katarzyna and Jean Baptiste converse in Akiri to keep their words secret from the rest of their group. Jean-Baptiste then turns to the gate and speaks an Akiri phrase and the door opens. They leave the complex. The gate opens into the sewers under the city. A makeshift room has been fashioned from this area and repurposed with religious iconography all over. The roof has an oculus. There is a ladder, with a lever next to it, and Jean-Baptiste pulls the lever, turning the ladder into a stairway of sorts. At the top of the stairs, there is a hinged door. There are many runes of forbiddance; trying to decipher the runes Katarzyna and Jean Baptiste surmise that it blocks ingress, rather than egress. The room has also been blocked to summoned creatures.

Opening the hatch they emerge into the city a couple of blocks away from the theater. They decide to head straightway to the Quarterfaux Archives. Ostovach has a hard time keeping up and mentions he is spent from the battle. Jean-Baptiste gives Ostovach an infusion to dispel his fatigue. They pass; Blackberry Bills, a rather low-key tavern 109, the Butcher of Borca, which is closed, they pass Illden’s Curios 78 and find themselves at the Quarterfaux Archives Academy 12. Jean-Baptiste notices several windows that might lead to the interior of the building, but he searches for an entrance to the lower levels specifically. They find and enter a mudroom with a broken door latch. Katarzyna sees a doorway at the end of the room. She looks down the hallway in the dark pleased at the excellent lighting but notices nothing of significance.

To expedite reconnaissance, Kendra uses her third eye to scout ahead down the hallway. The act of slitting her forehead open, a bloody eye emerging and then ripping itself from her forehead still causes Ostovach to blanch. The first door her eyes finds leads to a janitor’s closet, the second is a kitchen with a hearth, and a metal contraption with a furnace hooked up to it. The fourth door is a large storage room. A fifth door at the end of the hallway, with a plaque that says ‘wipe your feet’. The hallway turns left, then right, and then comes to a door. Inside that room is a lot of items with tags and the like. It is a large room.

They all make their way towards the large room that turns out to be an exhibit hall and look around. Kendra spots a painting with a man wearing a Moribund Key amulet. The painting is called ‘the heretic’. A small plate on the wall next to the painting says that it is a painting of the first Count of Grodlych, Laudmeur Vandolmayne, who was priest of Pharasma, but betrayed the Crown and joined the Whispering Way. He was killed in the Shining Crusade. It is in the Grodlych section, which is dedicated to the history of the county of Grodlych. Grodlych was subsumed along with Virholt into the County of Virlych. Kendra goes over to the other door that leads out of the room, and returns to tell them what she saw. Jean-Baptiste accidentally kicks something across the floor. Bending down he takes a closer look. He sees some slightly muddy footprints by the painting. He uses the wand of Knock, but while it rattles a bit it does not open the doorway. Jean Baptiste then uses the Moribund Key and it does open the painting doorway. A set of steps lies beyond the painting leading down into the darkness. Moving down the stairs, they hear the sounds of conflict. They come across a body with a slit throat at the foot of the stairs, which leads into a wide wooden walled dark room. They all move through the complex, and Raziel flies ahead to scout around. They enter into a larger room and see bodies on the floor. They have the regalia of Whispering Way Cult members. Katarzyna sees a crate with hay in it but otherwise lies empty on the altar. The other members inspect the bodies and the seem to be indeed be members of the Way. Ostovach says to no one in particular “They are fresh slain. Who killed them then and are they still here?”

A voice as if in answer says, “I thought others were racing to the same goal but I did not know it was you” and some steps into the light. It is Dragos Von Caver. The group heartily welcomes the return of their old friend. Dragos relays that he was tailing the Way when they tried to hide out in the secret room. He had sensed the Ravens Head presence and moved into take it back. On his hip rests the mace. The group mentions taking the mace to the Temple of Pharasma but Dragos has a dubious look at the group. Dragos says he has to pray on what Pharasma will is because the cathedral of Pharasma here in Caliphas wields much power, and can be too political to get anything properly done. He also talks of the supreme inquisitor here a woman named Zetiah Mardhalas and that with her zealousness she cannot be trusted.

They head back to the inn. In everyone’s minds a hot meal, stiff drink and a soft bed is all they want however before they can even let the door of the inn close a man named Theodore approaches Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Katarzyna and says that he has been sent by Edjureus Modd and he would like them to come see him. Reluctantly the group agrees knowing that they eventually had to discuss the event at the Haraday the night before. They board the carriage sent by Modd and are conveyed to the Modd estate outside of Caliphas. They are escorted by the servants to the rear gardens for breakfast al fresco. There they meet with Edjureas and Abraun discuss the Haraday and the path forward. Things go amicably and Edjureus even says he will lend support in their crusade against the Whispering Way though you can tell he finds it a bit of an inconvenience. The group then heads back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

Mid-afternoon Ostovach tries to rally the group but they are resistant to his entreaties, only one, Katarzyna, even answered the door and then only to tell him no. With an annoyed shrug Ostovach gives up and heads out on the town by himself.

Katarzyna studies her spells and then decides to teleport to speak with Judge Daramid in Lepidstadt. She sees Lydia who asks Katarzyna if she will courier a letter from her to Jean Baptiste. Katarzyna agrees and returns to Caliphas. Katarzyna speaks to Gregore, Kendra, and even Dragos and they decide to meet around 9 PM. She also admonishes Jean Baptiste for spending the day reading while there is so much to be done. Non-plussed jean Baptiste returns to his reading.

Later, around nine, the group congregates in the common room. They decide to go speak with the vampires of Caliphas. Dragos says he can show them the way so he takes them to Restoration Park 14 to speak with the guardian of the park, Maryk. Jean-Baptiste calls out for Maryk but there is no answer, so Dragos leads them to the glass house where the entrance is. They knock, and the door unlocks seemingly of its own accord. They enter the glass house.

On entering, a shrill noise begins and Jean Baptiste recalls from a horticultural lecture about a type of fungus that emits gas in such a way as to create a shriek when it senses something moving toward it. With no way of stopping, they proceed into the room but the loud noises causes some damage to Katarzynas hearing. They see what they believe is a thrall and let her know that they wish to speak to Luvick Siervage. Maryk indeed appears but seems hostile and non helpful. Jean Baptiste decides the best approach is to withdraw and come up with a different plan. Unfortunately the group does not see eye to eye and Katarzyna refuses to leave and attacks the vampire druid.

Combat ensues. A spell goes off immediately. It knocks down Katarzyna and Dragos, injuring them severely, and Kendra sends a lightning bolt arcing toward Maryk. Katarzyna sends off a spell that kills several of Maryk’s minions. The thrall attacks Katarzyna with a dagger, but Katarzyna’s next spell, Elemental Aura, takes her down. Dragos, Gregore and Ostovach roll in to attack Maryk. Another vampire attacks Ostovach, so he whirls to attack him. Katarzyna sends Raziel to give Ostovach a Stoneskin spell. Soon thereafter, Maryk and her vampire companion are both taken down. Jean-Baptiste rushes over to the thrall, who he manages to stabilize. When Gregore heals them all with a Pulse, the thrall, Helena, is healed as well. They speak with her, and she tells them that she has been Maryk’s thrall since February. She also tells them that the entrance to the vampires’ lair is guarded by a human-eating tree. They resolve to destroy the tree, and Katarzyna starts off with a Disintegrate spell, which does minimal damage. Ostovach, Gregore and Dragos roll up on the creature, and the creature grapples Ostovach and Dragos. Katarzyna uses several Magic Missile spells to destroy the tree. They cut Dragos out of the tree, and he coughs and wipes the digestive acids off of himself.

While Katarzyna, Gregore, Kendra, Ostovach and Dragos battle the plant that guards the entrance to the vampire’s lair, Jean-Baptiste takes Maryk’s erstwhile thrall outside the Glass House, where she leads him to the other entrance to the vampire’s lair. She shows him a spot and points out a drain, but he sees only stone at first. He is able to penetrate the illusion.

Dragos says that he can lead them to Luvick Siervage. Katarzyna goes down the stairs first, followed by Dragos, Gregore, Jean-Baptiste and Kendra. Dragos points out the lair of Maryk, and he suggests despoiling her coffin. Dragos hands Jean-Baptiste an empty vial, and Jean-Baptiste tastes the remnant of the potion, which was blood based and very repugnant to him. There are three coffins in the room, one pine, one cedar, and one cherry. Dragos removes the lids of all three coffins.

They continue down the passageways, spotting a room with six coffins, all open. Presumably five of the occupants were killed in Katarzyna’s initial spell during the fight with Maryk. They then trudge down long passageways.

The group finds themselves beset by undead. They battle them. Gregore attacks first. Katarzyna Turns Undead, causing two of them to flee, and angering two of the others. Dragos casts a spell that gives everyone’s weapons a silvery sheen. Ostovach wades in and attacks, but also says a few words to give them all an advantage to hit their foes. The undead wade in and attack. Dragos then attacks, and one of them goes down. Katarzyna launches a lightning bolt at one of them. Shortly thereafter most of them flee, except for one that was frozen in front of Katarzyna. Dragos tells them that they should wait to attack that one, and he pulls out the Raven’s Head mace. Gregore takes the first shot at the creature. Jean-Baptiste and Kendra also hit it, and it dies. Gregore uses his wand of Lesser Restoration to restore Kendra’s lost energy. Dragos heals Katarzyna of the damage she took from the creature.

They continue going down the hallway. They come to a doorway on the left. There is a guard. Dragos tells them that they are there to speak with Luvick Siervage. Jean-Baptiste also speaks with the guard. They come to a room with heavy iron doors, like prison doors. They are lead through the complex to a room where there are thrones. Dragos urges them to treat them carefully. Dragos is greeted by someone who steps out of the shadows. Dragos steps forward at the man’s behest. They are introduced to Luvick Siervage, lord of the vampires of Caliphas. Jean-Baptiste tells him that the Whispering Way is trying to foment conflict between the vampires and humans of Caliphas. Someone enters the hall, and says to them that ‘the gateway is open”, and he is addressed by the name Florian by Luvick. Florian is a very attractive, extremely so. One of the people standing nearby, dressed in robes, has a thin strip of paper covering much of her face. Her skin is greenish white. Kendra starts to say something about the paper, but Luvick stops her, and the woman giggles. Florian introduces the woman as Jondah. Florian greets Kendra, asking if she’s related to Petros Lorrimor. Florian tells them that he knew Petros Lorrimor, and that he had traveled with him to Bluetspur, a place he does not remember fondly. He greets Katarzyna, Gregore, Dragos, and Jean-Baptiste in turn, introducing himself as Florian Lamarath. He seems to be quite taken with Jean-Baptiste.

They discuss the possibility of exchanging information with them about the Whispering Way. Luvick tells them that they have a suspect in custody, named Ramoska Arkminos. He is nosferatu. They say the should speak with Lady Evgenya Zunaida and Desmond Cote.

They are dismissed by Luvick Siervage, and they go to speak with Ramoska Arkminos first. Florian Lamarath takes his leave of them, lingering in inviting Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna, saying that he’d “love to have them for dinner…or breakfast”. They make their way toward Arkminos. Ramoska Arkminos believes that the formula for becoming a lich is meant for Prince Ordranti. He doesn’t think that Ordranti is even aware of this. They speak a bit more, then take their leave.

When they leave the jail complex, they discuss which person to speak with next, Lady Evgenya Zunaida or Desmond Cote. Dragos knows Desmond Cote, and tells them that he follows a dark god named Zaebos. Gregore knows that the worship of Zaebos is exceedingly small. Jean-Baptiste knows a fair bit about Zaebos, and between him and Gregore they learn that Zaebos is a demon from hell, whose sacred animal is the crocodile. They decide to go see Desmond first, Jean-Baptiste wants to ‘end on a happy note’ with visiting Lady Evgenya last.

They go into a large chamber, with a small shrine within. There are two long tables along the far wall. They speak briefly with Desmond Cote, and Katarzyna walks out. Dragos and Gregore leave afterward. Ostovach acquiesces to the demands of Desmond Cote. Jean-Baptiste also performs the proper forms of address. Kendra joins the others in the hallway. After a while, Jean-Baptiste and Ostovach rejoin them. They tell the others that Desmond Cote told them that the wooden stakes found on many of the victims seem to have been made from broken furniture. They speculate that the vampire killer is holed up in some residence, and using the furniture to craft the makeshift stakes.

They travel to Lady Evgenya’s apartments, and they find a small group of fancy nobles in the anteroom. One of them, Melinda, flirts with Jean-Baptiste. They are led into her ballroom, and there is all sorts of debauchery on display. They are escorted to Lady Evgenya’s. They sit down with her for awhile. She asks Katarzyna to dance, and they do so. A young woman named Ludmilla asks Jean-Baptiste to dance, and he does so. A man approaches Gregore and asks him to dance, but he demurs, and a woman intercedes and takes him to a table of food. Ostovach invites Kendra to dance, so that she isn’t accosted by one of the revelers. Evgenya finishes her dance with Katarzyna, and then cuts in and starts dancing with Ostovach. After her dance with Ostovach, she approaches Jean-Baptiste. They dance, and he tries to impress her with his dance ability.

Lady Evgenya leads them to a dining room. The conversation turns to the situation with the murders. She tells them that she thinks she is the next target. She also tells them that the thralls released by the murdered vampires are not acting like released thralls, someone is still controlling them. She also tells them that most of the victims died after hunting in Restoration Park. After dinner, they take their leave. Jean-Baptiste tarries a moment with Lady Evgenya.

They decide to head back to the surface. Dragos leads them out, back to Restoration Park. Dragos goes his own way, while the others return to the inn. Kendra and Katarzyna retire to their room, and Jean-Baptiste settles in to sleep. The dog tries to jump into Jean-Baptiste’s bed, but is too weak, and he has to help him.

Saturday, September 20th, 758, Caliphas, Ustalav
The group awakens in the afternoon, and they awaken at different times. Katarzyna begins preparing her spells immediately, and asks Kendra to bring her some food, and some food for Raziel.

Jean-Baptiste is horrified to learn that his dog is dead. He goes to pick up the body of the poor creature, who seems to have starved to death in spite of being well-fed. When he picks up the dog, he sees a healthy spectral form of the dog, who seems eager to be petted. Gregore sees him carrying the dog, and Jean-Baptiste tells him to let Ostovach know. Ostovach and Gregore meet Jean-Baptiste at the stables, and when Jean-Baptiste tells them about the spectral dog, Ostovach thinks the dog is a geist, like Dragos’ father.

Kendra is downstairs when she sees Gregore. She is present when Dragos arrives. He sees Jean-Baptiste’s new geist friend immediately, and explains to him what it means. Dragos explains that the geist is a guardian spirit. It cannot affect the material world.

They split into three groups and hit up furniture shops in Caliphas. Jean-Baptiste quickly creates two duplicates of the stake for the other two groups to take with them. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna go together, Gregore and Kendra go together, and Dragos and Ostovach go together. Both of the groups get names for people that they think is the original artisan that created the furniture. Gregore and Kendra go to Ravenwood Furnishings first, and an hour later Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna go there. Kendra talks with the proprieter. The man tells them that Radvir is the one who purchased the chairs. Radvir is the proprietor of the Nobleman’s Stitch.

They approach the Nobleman’s Stitch, and decide what to do. Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste pose as a married couple, and investigate the shop. Jean-Baptiste plays the part of an idle nobleman, and wanders around the shop. In the basement, he finds four armed and armored vampires, but bluffs his way out of the situation. Katarzyna buys clothes while he investigates.

They have dinner, and decide to head back to the undercity to speak with Evgenya. Dragos tells them that Radvir has a tailor shop in the Undercity as well as the Nobleman’s Stitch.

They make their way to Restoration Park. Jean-Baptiste breaks into the greenhouse, opening the lock deftly. As they walk through the torchlit corridors of the Undercity. They go directly to Evgenya’s estate. They find Evgenya with a handsome dark-skinned man reclining on a sofa. They tell her about Radvir, and come up with a plan to disguise one of Evgenya’s progeny as Evgenya, then let her serve as bait for whatever would-be assassins might want to attack her. They depart, and Sylvia, Evgenya’s double, goes out with guards.
The group continues toward the tailor shop. Lady Evgenya sends one of her guards with them. Jean-Baptiste overhears her talking to him before he leaves with them. The guard’s name is Theophilus. He has piercing eyes and smoldering good looks. They wend their way through the Undercity. The whole place is dimly lit with lanterns and torches. They make their way toward a part of the Undercity they had not previously visited, passing Luvick’s area on the way, which has guards posted. They see a group of younger vampires as they pass through the area. They have a brief, slightly tense exchange, the young vampires referring to the party as ‘food’. Theophilus directs them toward Radvir’s shop, as he himself hangs back.

They see the sign for Radvir’s shop. Jean-Baptiste confronts Radvir. He immediately turns to smoke and disappears through the closed door. Theophilus catches up with them, and they head back to Evgenya’s lair. She becomes melancholy when they speak. She sends them to speak with Luvick.

They make their way to Luvick Siervage’s den. Jean-Baptiste’s mention of Ramoska Arkminos cause Luvick to become briefly enraged. He sends Farnham, one of his henchmen, to accompany them to speak with Ramoska again before they confront Radvir.

They speak with Ramoska Arkminos. Dragos, Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Gregore go in and speak with Ramoska. Ostovach and Katarzyna stay outside. Jean-Baptiste tries to make an alliance with Ramoska Arkminos. He goes through all sorts of questions with Ramoska about how to capture Radvir without killing him. He says they have to pin him down and drive a stake into him, but not into his heart, which would kill him. They return to Luvick after a brief conversation, and promise to return with Radvir as soon as possible. They then go to see Evgenya again. She tells them that she will sends Theophilus as an escort. She clears the room, even Sylvia and Abdul are asked to leave. She gives them an item. She has Theophilus fetch a box for her. The box is made of hawthorne, and is made in the Margreve style. She sets the box on the table, and inside is a well-carved wooden stake. She also gives them a scabbard for carrying the weapon. It is an ensorcelled stake. Katarzyna takes the weapon, and tells Jean-Baptiste that she will give it to whomever can wield it best when the time comes.

Sunday, September 21st, 758, Caliphas, Ustalav
They make their way to the Nobleman’s Stitch. On the way, they hear a wailing and see a vampire being attacked, and Theophilus goes up and intervenes. The wild vampire calms down a bit. Theophilus tells them that the vampire’s bride had been killed by a mob. Theophilus gets them to the edge of the territory. At Restoration Park, they see a large number of constables. Jean-Baptiste looks for Inspector McMillan. He asks a constable, who points to a large group of people. They go to the place indicated, and are stopped by a constable. Jean-Baptiste manages to speak with the inspector. He gives him a missive from the CDCI. A woman dressed all in black, with long red hair, approaches, and the group parts to let her through. She nods to Dragos as she passes. She asks them who they are. Jean-Baptiste speaks with her. She introduces herself as Larsa. There is a tense exchange. He says that Lord Lucien Galdana was targeted by vampires. Inspector McMillan says they should go to Whiteshaw to speak with the CDCI [Caliphas Department of Constables and Inspectors].

They are taken to Whiteshaw 4, and are guided to the Bureau of Special Affairs. The door opens, and Larsa comes out, nodding to them as she brushes past. They are ushered in to see Lord Galdana. There is an older gentleman wearing robes, with nightclothes underneath. There is also a woman with dark hair, pulled back in a bun. She is Chief Agent Vashant. She tells them that she has been told that they might be able to help them solve the murders. After a brief conversation, she asks them to leave the office so she can speak with her people.

They speak with Lord Galdana, and then go back and speak with Chief Vashant. There is an official document that tasks them with finding who is murdering the vampires. If there is a shadow group causing discord in Caliphas. They are all asked to sign the document. Lord Herald, the Sypmaster and Chief Vashant both place their seals on the document. She tells them that they must tell no one else of their doings. Jean-Baptiste starts to talk to Chief Vashant about the Whispering Way, and Lord Herald interrupts. The scribe returns with six leatherbound squares, each with a coin attached. They are official badges of office, but temporary ones. They don’t grant broad powers, but they will get them past checkpoints and the like.

They discuss strategy, and are interrupted by Larsa. She tells them to ask for Jedane at the Temple of Pharasma, but not to let the high Inquisitor hear them ask for her.

They make their way toward the Temple of Pharasma. Jean-Baptiste, Kendra, Gregore and Ostovach remain outside while Dragos and Katarzyna go into the temple. Dragos hangs back, and a young man approaches Katarzyna. An older woman named Mother Thestia approaches Katarzyna. Katarzyna asks about holy water. They are joined by Jedane. She is fascinated by Raziel. Katarzyna asks them for holy water, and after a brief conversation, she gives her ten vials of holy water. Mother Thestia also sends her man with a leather bundle for Katarzyna. Katarzyna leaves the building via the side entrance. When Katarzyna looks at the item given her by Mother Thestia, it appears to be a violet grease of some kind. Jean-Baptiste examines the substance. He is able to determine that it is a substance called god’s balm, or spirit balm, and it imbues a weapon with a Holy aura. Raziel reminds Katarzyna of how blessed they are by Pharasma. She responds sincerely, though no one else in the party is aware of the exchange.

They make their way toward the Nobleman’s Stitch. They scout around the area. Katarzyna casts some preparatory spells, then casts Dimension Door and brings Kendra and Gregore with her into the hallway of the shop. Jean-Baptiste, Ostovach and Dragos prepare to enter through the lower door. Once they’re through, Ostovach gives the others a signal, and they all enter the basement level. The vestibule is stacked with boxes and crates. There are four vampires in the center of the room. Two of them attack Jean-Baptiste and Dragos, the others attack Kendra and Gregore. Gregore is wounded, as are Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Dragos. Kendra casts a preparatory spell, and Katarzyna casts a powerful spell [Undeath to Death] that instantly kills three of the four vampires. Their bodies burn down to ash as the lone vampire faces off against them all. Gregore then Pulses to heal them and to inflict damage on the sole remaining vampire. Jean-Baptiste drinks a potion, and Dragos wields the Raven’s Head mace and swings it at the final vampire in the room, who is facing off against Gregore. He lands a solid hit. Ostovach then attacks the vampire, who almost blocks the incoming blow. The door on the south wall opens, and Radvir appears. They also hear a loud noise. Gregore smacks the vampire henchman with his mace. The vampire attacks Gregore, and hits him twice. Three other henchman enter the room as Radvir turns to smoke. One attacks Kendra, another attacks Dragos, and the third attacks Jean-Baptiste. Katarzyna casts Halt Undead on the three that just entered, and immobilizes two of the three. Dragos swings the Raven’s Head Mace at the one still moving, and manages to destroy it outright. Jean-Baptiste faces the immobile vampire in front of him, and stabs it with the hawthorne stake. As the dagger penetrates the skin of the vampire’s chest, and it dessicates and destroys the flesh of the vampire. As the vampire falls, the hawthorne stake releases him and he crumbles into dust. Ostovach shouts a stirring battle cry, and wails on the one that’s still facing off against Gregore, but misses. Kendra shoots the same vampire, and hits him for a grievous wound. Jean-Baptiste shoots the same vampire with his gun also. Dragos also attacks, but misses.

Radvir materializes suddenly, and swings a strange weapon at Dragos, but misses badly, hitting one of the supporting timbers above him. The lone mobile vampire swings at Gregore twice, hitting him once. Jean-Baptiste then goes to the second immobilized vampire. Radvir’s eyes widen as he sees what happens to the hapless vampire when the hawthorne stake. Ostovach and Dragos round on Radvir. Ostovach misses with his attack, but Dragos’ attack with the Raven’s Head Mace lands. Katarzyna casts a Magic Missile on Radvir. Kendra shoots the one attacking Gregore, and it turns to smoke and flees. Dragos swings his sword at Radvir, but misses, and Gregore casts Searing Light at him. Jean-Baptiste shoots him. Kendra throws holy water on Radvir, and Katarzyna hits him with a Magic Missile. Shortly thereafter, he shifts into smoke form and races out of the room.

The group gets their bearings, and as they are healing and searching the next room, Radvir materializes behind Gregore and hits him with a serious wound. Gregore immediately pulses. Raziel begins his Fascination song, and Radvir is immediately affected by the bird’s song. Jean-Baptiste stealthily moves behind the fascinated Radvir, and plunges the hawthorne stake into him. Once he is immobilized, they notice three vampire captives chained to the wall behind them. They are manacled with silver cuffs, and internal silver spikes pierce their flesh. They rifle through Radvir’s belongings, looking for a key to unlock the manacles, and find four vials of some kind of potion, a wand made of hawthorne, a magic mithril chain shirt, a magic hat, a magic ring, and a scabbard. They don’t find a key, but Dragos sees some keys and some notes. The notes delineate the vampires he’s targeting and the Caliphas nobles he’s framing Adivion Avrissant. Kendra is stunned to hear that name, since she has known him most of her life. Adivion and Petros Lorrimor had gone on many expeditions together. They had been rivals, but always with professional courtesy and respect. There are also several notes, one from Aisa and Hetna Dublesse. They are a pair of witches, who are requesting the bodies of the vampires, and in exchange Radvir will get something called a blood brew elixir. Radvir is working on behalf of the Whispering Way, and believes that the two sisters are working on behalf of the Whispering Way as well, but aren’t aware that the other is.

They pick up Radvir’s inert form, and continue to explore the area. In the room directly adjacent to this room is a crypt with four coffins. When they open the second coffin, it turns out to be a mimic. There are two other mimics as well, so they have to spend time to defeat them. During the fight, Ostovach and Jean-Baptiste are swallowed by the coffins.

After the creatures are defeated, Katarzyna helps Jean-Baptiste and Ostovach clean their garments with Prestidigitation. They go to the room north of the mimic room, which is also filled with coffins. Dragos carries the inert Radvir. Gregore notices a wierd seam in the bottom of the coffin. Ostovach opens up one of the coffins, and tells the others “I found him”, and drives a stake into the sleeping form of the vampire. The vampire shrieks, and dies in a spray of black ooze. Meanwhile, Jean-Baptiste can’t seem to disable the false bottom on the stone sarcophagus. They reveal a lever, which when pulled causes two secret doors to open. In the northern room is a large stone sarcophagus on a raised dais. There is a huge tapestry depicting an ancient battle, the Shining Crusade. It was made by hand, and the age of the tapestry appears to be from the time before Ustalav came to Ravenloft. Ostovach pushes the lid off the sarcophagus, and there is soil inside. There is a small locket. There is a painting of Radvir, and another of a woman. Katarzyna notices a magical aura on the tapestry, which explains the remarkable level of preservation on the clearly ancient item. They take the tapestry down and roll it up, placing it in the vestibule. They go into the secret room directly south of Radivir’s private sanctum. They discover a series of rooms, one of which leads to a natural cavern. They see two bats flying away into the darkness, and Jean-Baptiste shoots one, but does not kill it. They assume the bats are vampires. As Katarzyna wonders aloud if the cavern leads to the Undercity, a voice calls out from the darkness, and says “it does” as Theophilus appears.

Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna and Gregore go up to the tailor shop. There are various employees milling about. Several are taken aback by their presence, but Katarzyna imperiously breezes past them. They fan out and search the areas of the shop that they had not seen previously. Jean-Baptiste speaks with the woman who says that she is in charge of the shop.

Katarzyna and Dragos go back upstairs to see if the women of the shop are under any sort of enchantment, and they discover that they are indeed enslaved. They return to the natural caverns below the shop. Kendra casts Reduce on the tapestry, and she and Ostovach return to the hotel.

They walk through the caverns toward the Undercity proper. Jean-Baptiste speaks with Theophilus. He thanks him for his “control”.

They stop by Evgenya’s home first. Jean-Baptiste shows her the book, with her name in it. They all file into the chambers of Luvick Siervage. There are a lot of vampires, more than they had seen before. Dragos, Jean-Baptiste and Gregore are clearly ill at ease, and Katarzyna is ready to cast Teleport if the situation deteriorates further.

A hush falls over the room, and a deeper darkness coalesces into the form of Luvick Siervage. Jean-Baptiste hands the evidence to Luvick, through his lieutenants. When Radvir is shackled with new shackles, one of the vampires goes to remove the hawthorne stake. He leaps away, and Jean-Baptiste removes it. Luvick confronts Radvir. Radvir tries to goad Luvick. Luvick is unmoved by Radvir’s efforts, but he launches himself at Radvir from his throne, and takes him away from the room. Lady Evgenya tells them to go back to her lair, and Jean-Baptiste tells Florian about the vampires staked in Radvir’s basement.

Luvick returns to his throne within moments. He speaks with them at length, and tells them that he wants them to go after the Dublesse sisters. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna assure him that they are dedicated to slaying them, and Adivion Adressant. The see Larsa among the gathered vampires. With Larsa’s help, they manage to get the book back from Luvick. They leave the chambers with Larsa, and she takes the book to Lord Galdana. Dragos tells Jean-Baptiste that Larsa is dhampyr, like himself.

The rooms become a scene of revelry. Evgenya’s thralls bring them water and the like so they can clean up for the revels. They are served fruits and wine. Jean-Baptiste vividly describes the sensations of the foods and wines to Evgenya, who seems absolutely transported by his descriptions. She is somewhat melancholy as they go to take their leave.

Jean-Baptiste is almost enthralled by Lady Evgenya, but he manages to resist. He does give her a kiss before she leaves.

Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna talk about Lady Evgenya’s remark about the ‘darkness’ that surrounds Jean-Baptiste. They are summoned to Luvick’s chambers. Larsa is there as well. Luvick announces that the ‘deed is done, and war has been averted for now’, thanks to Galdana making his report at court. They found interesting documents in the tailor’s shop. Radvir had forged all sorts of notes to frame various nobles for murdering the vampires. Luvick summons Evgenya, and they drink wine to commemorate the event. The date of the wine is 2508, so it is from before Ustalav came to Ravenloft. The winery is from Galt. As Luvick bids them leave, he tells them “look to the skies to see my judgement”.

After the celebratory dinner, they return to the surface with Larsa.

They return to the inn, and knock on the door of Kendra’s room, and she and Ostovach are sharing a bottle of wine. Kendra had determined with her third eye that they weren’t in danger. They fill them in on what happened in the Undercity. They go through all the items they’ve collected. The scabbard is especially interesting. The mithril shirt is low powered magic. It goes to Kendra. The hat is a Hat of Disguise is just like Katarzyna’s. The scarf is a bladed scarf, which allows the wearer’s supernatural powers and abilities to be conducted through the scarf. The wand is a Wand of Halting Undead. The ring is a Ring of Protection. They give the ring to Ostovach to give to his sister Diona. The potions are Cat’s Grace, Displacement, Haste, and the last one is a think red liquid in an ornate gold filigree flask. Jean-Baptiste smells the liquid. He also tastes it. He wonders if it might be Blood Brew. Finally she tells them that scabbard is a pocket dimension that can hold 8 one-handed weapons or 4 two-handed weapons.

The group takes a breather and divide the items they’ve found among themselves. They discuss what to do with the magical scabbard, Kendra wonders if it can be magically modified to hold firearms. They also find a more powerful cloak that offers the wearer magical resistance, which Katarzyna wears, trading in her weaker version of the same cloak.

There is a repeated slow pounding on the door. Katarzyna throws open the door, and a female zombie stands there holding a piece of paper, sealed in wax. Katarzyna reads the letter aloud to Kendra, Ostovach, Gregore, Dragos, and Jean-Baptiste. Katarzyna reads the taunting letter, undoubtedly from Adivion Advrisant, with growing fury. It is a taunting letter, gloating over his brainwashing of Abner, and offering to aid any of them who decide to switch sides and aid him. Katarzyna and Kendra destroy the zombie, and Dragos takes the remains away to be buried. They all discuss what to do next.

There is another knock at the door, and Katarzyna answers it. The maid reminds them that they still have items stored in the inn. Jean-Baptiste suggests going along with Adivion’s plan, and pretending to betray the group with a fake mace. Kendra and Katarzyna are not receptive to the idea.

The group decides to get some rest, then resume their activities that evening.

After he awakens, Ostovach goes over to see Wilhelmina, and grabs something to eat. He speaks with Melanie, then goes to see Tenelia, the women he’s been seeing in Caliphas. He has beer at Titus Muldoon’s pub, the Pattering Platypus.

Gregore is the second one to awaken. He goes down to the common room for food. He does some more work on the wand he’s been crafting.

Jean-Baptiste wakes up next. He hears a rapping at his door, and Kendra enters. She asks if he wants to come with her to see what Luvick has going on.

Katarzyna awakens to the sound of Raziel singing. She prepares spells, and Kendra knocks on her door as well.

Monday, September 22nd, 758, Caliphas, Ustalav
Jean-Baptiste, Kendra, Gregore and Katarzyna go out at midnight to see what Luvick’s message is. They hear the flutter of wings and see scores of birds flitting about. They hear the sound of screaming, and head in that direction. They see humanoid forms on the rooftops, and one of the forms leaps from rooftop to rooftop, carrying an inert body. The creature lands on one of the towers, and climbs up, still carrying the body. At the top of the tower, the creature slams the struggling body onto the top of the tower. They hear a massive scream. “Let this stand as testament to any who would challenge my rule. I am Luvick, I am the lord, do not question me.” The shape then leaps into the air and flies away.

“The lord is truly powerful is he not?” says a female vampire. The woman introduces herself as Natasha. They speak with her. Jean-Baptiste kisses her hand and asks her where her loyalties lie. She says she serves Lord Siervage. The streets become a little more fog-filled. They exchange pleasantries with Natasha. She takes their leave, and disappears into the night. They hear the clopping of hooves on the cobblestones. A carriage passes them, it’s fog lamps burning through the fog.

In the Pattering Platypus, the overall tone of the room changes. Tenelia ends her song prematurely, and walks over and speaks with some people. She tells him that something is happening in the noble’s area. People think that there is a war brewing between vampires and humans. Ostovach offers to walk Tenelia home, wary of the growing fog. He heads back to the inn.

Back at the Inn, Ostovach sees Lord Galdana in the common room, playing to the crowd. He saunters over and listens to the story. He greets Ostovach with familiarity, and Ostovach greets him with a bit formality. Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna, Gregore and Kendra enter shortly thereafter. They spend some time drinking fine wine and toasting with Lord Galdana. They regale him with tales of their exploits. He offers them to stay at his estate, and even offers to send an army to their aid if need be. Jean-Baptiste is distracted by his impending tasks. Lord Galdana takes his leave of them and bids them farewell.

Katarzyna spends the rest of the night reading her Lamordia book, and takes a few short naps during the night so that she is rested in the morning.

Sometime after dawn, they all gather in the common room for breakfast. Dragos tells them that he has found the Abbey. It is a few miles down the coast. They consult Radvir’s journal. They discuss the fact that Blood Brew releases a vampire from their thralldom to another vampire.

They head down to the coast, and trudge toward the abbey, which is about four miles. They arrive at Abbey Sante-Lymirin. It was once a splendid structure. There is a bell tower at one corner of the building, and the site commands a view of Caliphas to the south. The abbey is two floors. They scout all around the site, checking out the area. The bucket by the well is wet, indicating that it had been used recently. They decide to go to the smaller building first, each of them taking one of the four doors at the same time. Jean-Baptiste and Kendra take one of the doors, Gregore and Katarzyna take another one, and Dragos and Ostovach each take the other two doors. Katarzyna asks Raziel to signal them when they’re all in position.

On Raziel’s signal, they all enter the building. There are three huge wine casks in the center of the huge open room. There are smaller casks in the room. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna see a sickly green color emanating from behind the cask on the east wall of the warehouse. Gregore, Ostovach, Kendra and Dragos don’t seem to see the creatures. They hear “why are you here” in harmony. They all realize quickly that the creatures are witchfires, incorporeal undead creatures. They speak with them, they say that they are opposed to the Dublesse sisters, and won’t attack them if they oppose them. The witchfires say that the Countess Carmilla Caliphvaso is in league with the sisters. The sisters are looking for the skull of Uthi, the third of the coven. The witchfires’ names are Mertine, Besda, and Erilu. Mertine is very strident, Erilu is agitated and distrustful, while Besda is the most cooperative.

They leave the warehouse and the witchfires unmolested, then Dragos, Ostovach and Gregore walk down to the lower dock, below the bluff. Dragos points to something in the water, and Gregore and Ostovach look to where he’s pointing. There is a creature in the water. Dragos waves the others down to the dock. Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste see creatures in the water, that they speculate is a spirit naga. Jean-Baptiste splashes the water to get one of the creatures’ attention, and it swims over. The creature fascinates Jean-Baptiste. Before he gets to the end of the dock, Gregore and Ostovach grab him. Jean-Baptiste tries to throw them all into the water, but doesn’t succeed. Dragos shouts to Katarzyna as Kendra shoots the creature in the face. Katarzyna breaks the spell on Jean-Baptiste. He then draws his weapon, intent on the naga.

The naga hurls a fireball at them, but they all dodge out of the way quite nimbly, but are still burned by it. The dock is on fire. They all attack the naga, and Katarzyna hits it with a lightning bolt, killing it. Jean-Baptiste jumps in the water, and drags the body of the naga onto the shore. He takes some scales and hair from the body of the beast. Ostovach gets in the boat and starts trying to put out the fire on the dock. He sees a small beach to the north, and takes the boat over to look at it. Kendra goes with him. Katarzyna and Gregore walk along the edge of the cliff, and when Ostovach calls to them that he sees a cave. Katarzyna jumps down and joins Ostovach and Kendra. Jean-Baptiste, Dragos and Gregore join them shortly. Katarzyna asks Raziel if he will go in first, and she follows him stealthily. Dragos and Gregore pull the boat up onto the beach, so that it doesn’t float out to sea.

Katarzyna and Raziel scout ahead in the cave, the darkness being no trouble for either of them. Raziel sees two nagas, and a hewn hallway beyond them. They come back out of the cave, and tell the others what they see. Kendra uses her third eye to scout around. She also sees the nagas, who are talking. The hallway ends in stairs that lead to the abbey, where she sees some guards wearing swords and armor. There are double doors and an open hallway, so she goes down the hallway. It’s a large room, lit by braziers. There is a circle of candles that illuminate a pathway of some sort. There is a pentagram on the floor, with a massive statue depicting a winged woman with an eagle’s head, and alcoves on either side that end in doors. There is a creature in the room. A knight of some kind, wearing armor, full plate. From every crack and crease in the armor, blood dribbles out in rivulets. Jean-Baptiste recognizes the description of the knight, and realizes that it is an accursed blood knight. They are the damned souls of fierce warriors who died in a horrid manner. The creature is standing in front of the statue, looking at it. The south exit of that room goes to another 4-way intersection. There is a stairway to the west, and a hallway to the east. In a disused room is a mural featuring a winged eagle-headed woman. Gregore thinks that the eagle-woman is Sante-Lymirin. They decide to go back up to the abbey, and deal with the complex from the top down. They trudge through the water back to the burned dock, and climb the stairs up to the bluff.

They approach the outside of the abbey. They decide to go through the barn section of the abbey. They open the door, which is unbarred. It smells of hay and manure, and a cart is parked next to a large pile of hay. They see a startled stablehand, and Katarzyna approaches. She speaks with him, making small talk, and they go through the doors into the chapel. The man, who gives his name as Haloran, sees Ostovach and Jean-Baptiste speaking. He asks if they are planning on knocking him in the head. After a few moments of Jean-Baptiste’s questioning, they realize he is not as innocuous as he seems. His form shifts, and takes the form of a creature called a daemon. He speaks boastfully, then he breathes out a cloud of black flies. They swarm around, and Katarzyna casts Elemental Aura, forming a burning aura of flame around her, burning the flies. Gregore casts Boneshatter. Jean-Baptiste casts fire breath at the daemon’s flies, dispersing them completely. They all pile on, attacking him from all sides with weapons and magic. The daemon reaches out and grabs Ostovach. He is dropped by the creature. The creature then points at Gregore, and he suddenly falls upward, slamming into the ceiling. Kendra pulls out the migo wand, and casts it at the daemon. Katarzyna tries to hit the daemon with a Disintegrate spell, but it fizzles, so she follows it up with a Magic Missile. Jean-Baptiste shoots him with his gun. The daemon then attacks Dragos. It lands three solid hits, but Dragos’ protective spell keeps him from taking any damage. Kendra draws a wand and brings Ostovach a little more healing. Dragos attacks the daemon, and hits it with his longsword. His attack takes it down, and it disintigrates into a bubbling mass of maggots that disperse into flies. Kendra and Katarzyna go directly to the doors leading to the room just south of the barn, and Katarzyna’s elemental aura is still flaming.

They wait a minute, and their sickened condition dissipates. Jean-Baptiste gives them all Cure Light potions. They proceed to the main dining room, and Katarzyna casts a Web spell to immobilize all the mercenaries at the table. Dragos tells Katarzyna that he can immobilize them temporarily while they investigate the rest of the complex, so he cast his spell as soon as she drops the web. They tie up the mercenaries and proceed to investigate the rest of the abbey on this level. They see the tower, then proceed through the door on the west wall of that room. The doorway leads to a room with a table, with a map upon it. There are circles on the map that indicate circles on various rooms in the abbey. They go back into the main hall, then peek into a kitchen. There is a cold larder in the room just north of the kitchen.

They decide to investigate the second level of the abbey. They ascend the stairs of the tower room. They go down a hallway, and Katarzyna, Ostovach and Gregore hear the sounds of someone speaking. Katarzyna sneaks to the end of the hallway, and sees a female figure at a counter, working. Ostovach asks Katarzyna what she sees, and the woman hears him. Jean-Baptiste sees Katarzyna starting to cast a spell, then the woman hits her with a spell. Katarzyna is hit with the spell that causes her to not be able to breathe, she has been polymorphed into the form of a small perch. The woman laughs. Gregore tries to hold her with a Hold Person spell, but it fizzles. Jean-Baptiste manages to fill his hat with water, and scoops up the fish into it, allowing her to breathe at least. Ostovach rolls up on the witch, followed by Dragos. The witch continues to fight them. Kendra throws a lightning bolt at her. Gregore lands a solid hit on her. Raziel tries to get Gregore to help Katarzyna, but he remains focused on the witch. He does realize that he has have to help Katarzyna, so he rushes over to where she and Jean-Baptiste are. The witch sends a giant bat to attack Raziel. The witch continues her attack. Katarzyna tries to dispel the cyclone.

The combat continues, mostly in stalemate. Katarzyna fires off a Magic Missile, and another person enters the room. The person is tall, looks undead, and is wearing armor. The witch yells “goddamn it, help me!” and the other person moves slightly, then yells “no!”. The bat is finally killed by Jean-Baptiste, and the witch screams when that happens. Ostovach finally strikes the fatal blow after that, but not before the witch curses him before dying. The wind creature immediately flees, shattering one of the windows in the process.

The armored man asks if they are there for the witches. He gives his name as Vilkurr. He agrees to help them kill the other witch if Gregore helps him atone. Gregore starts to pray, and mist starts forming from the ground, and out of Gregore’s mouth, nose, and ears. Vilkurr also prays, and the tendrils of Mist encircle him and suffuse him. Eventually Vilkurr is completely covered in Mist, and with a final word, all of the Mist returns to Gregore, and Vilkurr has disappeared. Mist comes out of Gregore’s mouth, and fills the room. When it finally clears, the form of Vilkurr is on the floor. Katarzyna rushes over to him. She helps him regain consciousness. She examines him, and determines that he is alive again, though he was a vampire only moments before. Everyone is amazed. Gregore takes Vilkurr aside and they speak privately. Jean-Baptiste tells Katarzyna and Ostovach that Vilkurr’s house is fallen, and that he should have been killed fighting the Caliban in the western wilds of Ustalav. When Vilkurr returns, they speak with him about his past. When he tells them about his past, he mentions that his family was killed by Caliban. When he finishes his story, Katarzyna reveals that she is Caliban. He seems to take it well enough. He tells them that Ezra has charged him with aiding them in their fight.

Kendra tells them that there is a magic collar on the body of the witch’s bat familiar. It is given to Katarzyna for Raziel. Vilkurr tells them that the witch they just killed was Hetna Dublesse. Aisa Dublesse must be elsewhere in the complex.
Everyone takes a few moments and takes stock of the situation, then they continue through the abbey. They find a vampire’s coffin, and Vilkurr destroys it, after which Gregore sanctifies the area with divine magic to eradicate all traces of negative energy and fully prevent the return of the vampire. The move on to the library, where they see tied bones that are labeled. Books in the library were none empty. [Not sure what this last notation means, hopefully the phrase will jog your memory.]

[GM Note: These are my transcriptions and embellishments of Eric’s notes from the game. There is no mention of when Katarzyna teleported to Lepidstadt to give Daramid the bone of Oothi, is then when that happened? She must have teleported back quickly if that’s the case. Not sure of the time scale of events during this sequence, so it will need some editing for that.]

Jean-Baptiste, Vilkurr, Ostovach, and Kendra are attacked by invisible creatures. Katarzyna casts Glitterdust to make them visible. Jean-Baptiste fights one of them unaided. Ostovach is wounded and stunned by one, it then attacks Kendra. Katarzyna and Dragos destroy one together. Vilkurr and Jean-Baptiste see a mass of spiders that takes a humanoid shape, then disperses. They speculate that it is the spirit of Oothi.

They continue their room-by-room search of the abbey and its grounds, and find nothing of note in the study and outside garden. Kendra uses her third eye to scout around the bell tower and the lower floor. The eye sees spiders on the ceiling, which scatter when they notice the eye. The spiders all seem to be heading to the basement levels of the abbey.

The spiders lead them to a crypt. Vilkurr tells them that the witches were excavating the crypt. They find a secret passage to the well, although it is almost at the bottom. They then return to the crypt and go through another door. They find a secret set of tunnels leading back to the crypt and the barn.

They find a second sarcophagus, that contains witch fetishes and cat dung among the dirt. The group realises that Aisa Dublesse is a witch and a vampire. When Dragos sanctifies this sarcophagus in the same manner as the previous one, a scream is heard coming from elsewhere in the complex. Jean-Baptiste leaves to ask the witchfires to join the fight.

The rest of the group hears the metallic scraping of footsteps. A blood knight spews great gouts of blood at them, causing several to drop their weapons. Gregore retaliates with a geyser of water aimed at the blood knight. Using the Raven’s Head mace, Vilkurr and Ostovach destroy the blood knight. Vilkurr tells them that the blood knight was Khonus Espirilian, who fought and fell to Tar Baphon. The Whispering Tyrant raised Khonus as a blood knight to fight as his thrall. His presence is undoubtedly as Tar Baphon’s envoy, to ensure the Dublesse witches’ cooperation.

Jean-Baptiste manages to get the witchfires to agree to fight Aisa Dublesse, should they be needed, but have no interest in any of the other combatants or thralls of the witches.

Jean-Baptiste rejoins the others, and together they make their way to a large open chamber, with a raised dais at the far end. There is a pentagram on the floor, drawn in what appears to be blood. A throne sits upon the dais, and upon the throne sits a beautiful woman who can only be Aisa Dublesse. A cat sits at her feet, and two wood golems flank her throne.

The group faces Aisa Dublesse. “You really know how to ruin a girl’s day” she tells them. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna speak with her.

They fight. The witch/vampire casts a spell and turns into a smoke form. Mist, like the borders of Ravenloft, also starts to form around the edges of the room. The golems attack, and the party engages with them. Aisa casts another spell and summons an earth elemental. They manage to take down one of the wood golems first, then the earth elemental. Aisa casts a spell that fills the room with green smoke. The second wood golem attacks Jean-Baptiste, but manages to kill itself in the process. Gregore dispels the green mist. Dragos rushes to the middle of the room, and says “we are of one mind, of one purpose”. The witch summons a fire elemental, and they fight it. As Jean-Baptiste is trying to hit the witch with his rapiers, she moves quickly and deflects the attack, causing him to wound Gregore instead. Katarzyna uses Magic Missiles to finish off the fire elemental. The witch then casts a spell that affects Gregore, causing him to choke. Ostovach taunts her, and she attacks him, but misses. Katarzyna wings her with a Disintegrate spell, and she lashes out with a spell that harms everyone but Katarzyna’s ability to heal. Dragos tosses the mace to Ostovach, but he drops it. She attacks Ostovach with a spell that caused him to lose levels. They all gang up on Aisa, but she easily holds her own against them, saying “I will not be undone!” She hits Ostovach with her staff, and he disappears. Kendra sees that he has actually been turned into a jellyfish. Katarzyna hits her with another Magic Missile, and she goes to one knee, turning to smoke and fleeing down the corridors past Katarzyna. Jean-Baptiste immediately goes over to try to rescue Ostovach. They hear a scream, and they realize that she just realized that they had destroyed her casket. Just at that moment, the witchfires arrive, and they throw down bodies of death nagas. When they hear that the witch is upstairs, Katarzyna, Dragos and Vilkurr run in the direction of the stairs. They return to the lab, where Aisa is weeping. The witchfires tell them that they need to stake her. Jean-Baptiste tells Aisa that if she tells them about the Whispering Way, they will scatter her ashes near her sister Hetna’s. Aisa tells them that a man named Adivion recruited Aisa and Hetna into making an alchemical item that would work on vampires, the blood brew. It would be addictive to the vampires, and they would need it, and would be able to make a vampire do their bidding. Hetna is the one who made the elixir. Once Adivion had located his mark, Radvir, Adivion promised him a place in the lich-king’s court. Radvir waged war against Siervage’s court, while removing possible enemies to Tar Baphon. Aisa and Hetna only agreed because they thought Oothi’s last remaining bones might be there. ? gave the sisters the formula to mix the Sun Orchid elixir with vampire blood. Aisa drained the blood of the immortal blood knight to turn herself into a vampire without a master. Katarzyna finally stakes her. Katarzyna immediately starts removing the magic items from her person. Katarzyna says “where’s Ostovach?”, and he immediately tumbles out of Jean-Baptiste’s hat, still wet from the salt water. They speak with the witchfires, who give their names as Besda (nice), Erilu (suspicious), and Myrtine (mean). As they walk away, they become more and more insubstantial. Katarzyna confirms with Raziel that the witchfires have crossed over to the other side.

They take the bodies of the witches out, and Jean-Baptiste keeps his promise to spread Aisa and Hetna’s ashes together, by letting the sun destroy them both.

They hold a seance, and Kendra identifies the items that had been worn by Aisa. They then explore the rest of the abbey. They find the bodies of several vampires, but decide to leave them as they are and to tell Siervage. They also see several severed vampire heads in holy water. They also find a wine cellar, filled with empty wine bottles. Jean-Baptiste thinks they once helled blood brew. There are actually several wine cellars surrounding the large ‘throne room’ in the basement.

Kendra also finds a hidden alcove in the large pillared room in the basement.

Katarzyna Teleports herself, Jean-Baptiste and Dragos back to Caliphas. Dragos takes his leave of them, then Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna go to pick up the vardo. The stablemen are sleeping, so they pull the bell and ring for them. They open the door for them. Jean-Baptiste tips him a platinum piece. He is very deferential toward them, and his daughter comes down to see to their comfort.

They get their vardo, and while Katarzyna sleeps in the vardo, Jean-Baptiste hears the sound of wings. He looks inside the vardo, and Katarzyna is asleep with Raziel. He tells Raziel to investigate, and he does. When the vardo arrives at the abbey, about 2 am, there is a woman standing outside. Sylvia, Evgenya’s thrall, is waiting outside. Jean-Baptiste speaks with her. She tells him that Siervage wants to speak with them soon. Jean-Baptiste tells her about the staked vampires in the abbey, and the heads preserved in holy water.

Katarzyna wakes up, and asks Raziel if they’re at the Abbey, and he says yes. Jean-Baptiste moves the vardo to the barn, and Katarzyna helps Jean-Baptiste unharness the horses. They talk with Vilkurr and Gregore before they go to sleep.

Tuesday, September 23rd, 758, Caliphas, Ustalav
They all awaken and return to Caliphas in the vardo. Jean-Baptiste takes several items from Hetna’s lab and places them in the vardo. They return to Caliphas about 11 am. They leave the vardo back with the stablemaster, and they return to their hotel. Vilkurr will stay with Gregore.

Dragos knocks on their doors, he tells them that Lord Siervage has summoned them. They ask Gregore and Vilkurr to remain at the inn, since they wouldn’t do well in the undercity. Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna and Ostovach go directly to Siervage’s lair, and he grants them a boon. They are two books, both from before Ustalav joined Ravenloft. Katarzyna is almost weak in the knees at this. Siervage can tell that Ostovach is not impressed by the books, so he gives him a ring. He also calls Kendra forward and speaks with her quietly. He then dismisses them and they leave the undercity. On their way out, they run into the vampire bard Flovian. He gives them a chest for the others.

Dragos tells them that he needs to speak with them. They all return to the inn for lunch. They open the chest, and it contains gold and platinum. Dragos tells them that he needs to return to Lepidstadt. He gives the Raven’s Head mace to them to use, and they give it to Vilkurr. Ostovach will go see Tenelia in the evening, while Katarzyna takes Dragos, Jean-Baptiste, Gregore and Vilkurr to Lepidstadt.

Ostovach goes to the Pattering Platypus. He runs into Titus, the owner. He asks about Tenelia. He decides to wait for her. He does go out and gets some flowers for her. He spends the evening with her at the Pattering Platypus, and on his way back to the inn he is waylaid by a would-be robber. They duel, but the man is no match for Ostovach, and he kills the man. He takes the man’s body to a nearby alley, and finds a drawing of himself on the man’s person. He manages to make his way back to the inn. He goes to Kendra’s room, and shows her the drawing. She sends her third eye out to see if they’re being watched, and then sets a ward so that Ostovach and herself can sleep.

Katarzyna, Jean-Baptiste, Dragos, Gregore and Vilkurr teleport to Lepidstadt. The townhouse seems to be shuttered. Gregore is disappointed that Jominda and the others seem to have already left for Carrion Hill. He decides to spend the day working on the Wand of Restoration. Jean-Baptiste goes in search of Lydia, while Katarzyna and Vilkurr go shopping for clothes and for items to make small repairs to his armor. Jean-Baptiste discovers that Lydia is at Judge Daramid’s residence, so he goes to there. The butler greets him and has him wait briefly, then shows him into the judge’s salon. He tells her that the bone that Katarzyna had brought the previous day is the bone of Oothi, the witch. Jean-Baptiste gives her all the information, and mentions that they’ve found new allies. He also tells her about the books they’ve gotten from Siervage.

Wednesday, September 24th, 758, Caliphas, Ustalav
Jean-Baptiste, Gregore, Vilkurr and Katarzyna return to Caliphas. Vilkurr and Gregore go to the shrine of Ezra, while Ostovach goes to check in on Tenelia. Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna, and Kendra go to Eskorvir Keep to see Lord Galdana, but he’s not present. The man tells them that they need to go to Castle Strithe. They admire it’s modern architecture with buttresses and gargoyles. The gargoyles almost seem alive.

They speak to the seargeant, who grills them about their business with Lord Galdana. They see Boverde Hoptler, the Chief Inspector, who is rather unpleasant toward them, but they do show him their papers. They are told that Galdana is missing. The captors left behind a Whispering Way coin.

Chief Agent Vashant speaks with them. She is VERY rude to Katarzyna. She demands all their identification, saying that Prince Ordranti wants to speak with them. Katarzyna leaves the area in a huff, bristling at Captain Vashant’s manner. Jean-Baptiste continues to search the room. He finds Galdana’s rapier, and a broken bottle. He speaks with McMillan. McMillan tells him that all of the doors and windows were locked, so someone would have had to use magic to enter and leave the room. They discover that they used Dust of Disappearance.

Chief Agent Vashant returns to the room. She tells Jean-Baptiste that the Prince has asked to see them. Katarzyna does not deign to acknowledge Vashant, but does see her smirk as she brushes past.

They walk the hallways of the palace. They are brought to a room in the palace, the office of the Royal Accuser. The Royal Accuser, Lord Herald Lackmore, notices the negative interaction, or lack thereof between Katarzyna and Vashant, so he asks Vashant to leave the room. “Is that better, my dear?”, he asks, and she nods.

He calls in his page Stanislaw, and he brings them tea and food. Jean-Baptiste gives Lord Herald a full report. Jean-Baptiste mentions the notebooks, and asks Gregore to to retrieve them, sending one of his pages with him to facilitate entry. Once Gregore and the page have left the room, Lord Herald gives him his Akiri name, Meritamon. Katarzyna, Jean-Baptiste and Kendra give him their Akiri names. They talk briefly about Judge Daramid. They also talk about the Whispering Way, the Whispering Tyrant, and Adivion Adressant. Kendra notices in Lord Herald’s log book notes about hags, Countess Caliphvaso. When the he returns, they tell him about the Countess and her Sun Orchid elixir.

They leave the Royal Accuser’s office. Bouverd and Vashant are arguing over jurisidictions, and Katarzyna breezes past them without acknowledging them.

They return to their inn, then Gregore and Katarzyna go to find Ostovach. He takes his leave of Tenelia. She tells him that she is working at the Pattering Platypus that evening. Gregore tells Ostovach that Lord Galdana has been kidnapped. They make their way back to the inn.

Vilkurr is sharpening his blade when they return. Ostovach has information on how to get to Vyrlich. He tells them that they would be heading for Renchurch, in the north region of Vyrlich. He tells them about several of the challenges that they might find in Vyrlich, including witchgates, and a portal of some kind in the village of Grayce.

While they are speaking in the common room, they are interrupted by Constable Raynolds. He tells them that the Royal Accuser wishes to see them. Vilkurr will go with them. They ride in a royal carriage. Katarzyna uses the magic of her witch’s dress to make her clothing more elaborate and formal than it might otherwise be. They arrive at Castle Strithe, and go directly to the Royal Accuser’s office. The Royal Accuser asks them all to take a vow to complete their mission. They must promise to see it through to the end, and must not abuse the power given to them, and the use of that power must be germane to their cause. They must promise to protect Ustalav and report only to him. They can still speak with Daramid, but they don’t have to explain themselves to people like Vashant. Each person receives a letter that names him or her a Royal Accuser. They also receive badges of office.

After he gives them their badges, he takes them to the throne room. The throne is empty, and they are taken to a room off to the left of the room. Stanislaw opens the door, and they are instructed to walk toward the prince, and never show him their backs. The room is sumptuous. There is a private garden, and the prince is reading and signing documents. He calls them forward. He tells Kendra that he knew her father. He tells them not to fail in their quest, and that if they have need of an army, they will have one.

As they are walking back to the inn, Katarzyna notices a man in brown watching Ostovach. She immediately starts running toward him, but he manages to elude them.

Katarzyna goes to the Wizard’s Guild, and picks up a couple of scrolls. It takes her a few hours, but the guildsman tells her that she can use the crystal ball for 500GP and if they offer an item of equal value as collateral, since some things can destroy a crystal ball if you scry on them.

Jean-Baptiste goes to visit Chief Agent Vashant. He asks if she knows where he can find a crystal ball. She is unable to tell him.

Ostovach goes with Tenelia to try to find a crystal ball on the black market.

Thursday, September 25th, 758, Caliphas, Ustalav
At breakfast, Kendra tells them that Siervage has turned the Scabbard of Many Blades into a Holster of Many Guns. They also gave Kendra a double-barrel pistol.

Ostovach tells them all about his black market crystal ball idea. Katarzyna, Gregore, and Vilkurr are resistant to the idea, but Jean-Baptiste seems keen to own a crystal ball.

Katarzyna spends the early part of the day learning her Circle of Death spell. Jean-Baptiste spends the same period of time finishing the Dream Journal of the Pallid Seer. After he reads the last page, he immediately falls into a fitful sleep. He suddenly bolts awake. He then falls back to sleep almost immediately.

Friday, September 26th, 758, Caliphas, Ustalav

Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste are both fatigued as they awaken. They have some of Jominda’s tea, then join the others in the common room. They head to the Wizard’s Guild. The guildsman brings them to the back of the room, and introduces them to Ludmilla. She ask which of them is a diviner, and Kendra steps forward. Ludmilla asks for the payment. She also asks about the armor that they’ve brought for collateral, and they tell her about Konas Espirillion, the blood knight who fought in the Shining Crusade. Katarzyna also puts her Staff of Defending in the pot as temporary collateral.

As Kendra tries to use the crystal ball, she tries to find Renchurch. She finds herself getting yanked to another location, and she sees a strand of gnarly, misshapen trees. In some of the trees, they see creatures hanging by their necks, and in the center is an archway, and the archway is made of bones. It’s obviously a witchgate. Kendra points out a 20-foot tall zombie, walking around the vicinity of the witchgate.

Kendra continues to scry on various areas of Ustalav. They see that Diona has made it to Ravengro. They can’t scry on Jominda directly, but they see that Alhindri and Victor are okay, and with Jominda. Kendra manages to speak with Victor via the crystal ball. Kendra also contacts Diona through the crystal ball. Jean-Baptiste also manages to scry on Lydia.

They leave the Wizard’s Guild. They decide that they will break down the vardo, use Treasure Stitching to trundle it up, and use Katarzyna’s Teleport spells to transport them and the vardo to Grayce the following day.

Gregore, Vilkurr and Jean-Baptiste work on the vardo. Ostovach goes to visit Tenelia. They spend one final night together.

A Death In The Family
Devastating betrayal results in a heartbreaking decision in Caliphas.

Friday, September 12th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Jean-Baptiste spends the night at the Ventriloquist’s Pulpit with a self-centered arrogant kid, Hammond, the other neophyte acolyte of the Palatine Eye. Hammond is not someone who Jean-Baptiste really connects with, but there are lots of resources and books to pass the time. In the morning, he leaves and goes to get a celebratory drink. It takes him a while to find a tavern that is still serving at this hour of the morning. When he arrives at the Lorrimor Townhouse, Jominda serves him some tea. He goes up to his room to sleep, and he has a very restful sleep.

As he’s heading out the door, he hears Victor call out to him. He hands him a small leather bag, with some lunch for him and Lydia. He goes to see Lydia at the University. She is out in the yard, and he sits on the lawn and they eat croque monsieurs and fruit. They talk about Illindri. Lydia has only seen Illindri lucid once. Jean-Baptiste agrees to meet her at 5 pm and they will have drinks before dinner. He returns to the townhouse. There are several people in the kitchen. Victor has some help in the kitchen. Jean-Baptiste goes up to the lab. Gregore is on the fourth level balcony whittling. He is starting to carve a wand. He’s trying to create wands the hold curative spells. Jean-Baptiste stays and watches Gregore prepare the wand. At five o’clock, he goes to pick up Lydia at the University. They take a carriage back to the townhouse. They get a bottle of wine and take a ride around Lepidstadt.

Katarzyna goes and orders her clothes for the Palatine Eye at Leomund’s Fine Garb. She gives the Akiri password to Leomund. He takes her into a secret room where she meets a man named Rogier. They get up to the room, and the man gives Katarzyna’s Palatine Eye name in Akiri to the man in the room, Rogier. A young female servant also attends them. Katarzyna disrobes and takes the robe offered. The man shows her several swatches, which are much more colorful than Katarzyna is accustomed to wearing. She orders two sets of clothing and some jewelry. She promises to have lunch with Rogier at some point. The vestments will be finished within a week. She returns to the townhouse and reads some more in the Journal of the Pallid Seer (two hours of reading). This chapter talks about the Ghost Dancer. She then bathes and prepares for dinner. She is distracted thinking about the book as she dresses for dinner.

Kendra looks through the items that she brought back from Ravengro. She looks through a journal that details a vampire in Darkon, and how Professor Lorrimor killed the vampire. She also looks for items that might help her keep her guns from falling if she drops them. She talks to several craftsmen, but doesn’t find anything suitable.

In the evening, at sunset, they all convene together for dinner. There are live musicians setting up adjacent to the back terrace. Jean-Baptiste speculates that Gregore wants to propose to Jominda, but Gregore tells him that it is not the case. They all have wine before dinner. There are several courses, and all are quite good.

After the last course, Gregore stands up and gives a toast. He gives a lovely toast. He announces that Jominda is pregnant. Everyone has a good time. Katarzyna and Lydia get especially tipsy. Servants take Katarzyna up to her room at the end of the night. She has nightmares, to her consternation.

Saturday, September 13th, 758, Lepidstadt and Thrushmoor, Ustalav

Lepidstadt: Jean-Baptiste awakens early in the morning by Lyrine. He tips her 5 gold. Katarzyna is brought tea by Elly, the servant from the previous day. The tea is Jominda’s special recipe. Katarzyna prepares her spells.

Servants call them down for breakfast. Everyone gathers in the dining room for breakfast. Jean-Baptiste and Gregore are reluctant to leave, so they decide to leave in the evening. Katarzyna takes the opportunity to read some more in her book. She reads about the Pallid Seer helping a Dr. Ilhousen, who is from Nova Vaasa. The Pallid Seer runs a clinic for the mentally distressed in Egertus, Nova Vaasa.

Jean-Baptiste spends the day with Lydia, and they have a picnic out near a lake. They decide that they will be ‘exclusive’. Gregore and Jominda also spend the day together.

When they are all ready, they Teleport to Thrushmoor.

Thrushmoor: They arrive in Ostovach’s room in the inn. They go downstairs to the common room, where they find Ostovach and Abner in conversation. They have a friendly reunion.
Kendra seems someone less than pleased to see Abner. They had stocked the vardo for the journey. Katarzyna climbs in the vardo. They all say their goodbyes to the rather taciturn stablemaster.

They head out from Thrushmoor. While they’re riding, Jean-Baptiste talks to Abner and Ostovach. Katarzyna talks with Gregore in the vardo about the Dream Journal of the Pallid Seer. Ostovach tells Jean-Baptiste that he felt like the dark-skinned woman from the estate was watching him and Abner. He also asks about Jean-Baptiste’s lady friend.

Four hours into their trip, they see a wagon pass coming from the other direction. The man in the wagon greets them somberly. Jean-Baptiste gives the man money, over his objections.

They make camp. Ostovach goes foraging. Abner browbeats Katazyna into helping set up camp. Ostovach’s horse, Wilhelmina, grabs the reins of Shadowmare, Jean-Baptiste’s horse.
Abruptly, Wilhelmina leaves the clearing, and before long Ostovach and Wilhelmina return with venison. Abner cooks some venison steaks.

During Jean-Baptiste and Abner’s watch, they hear a noise. It was like a slight clinking of a chain. Jean-Baptiste taps Kendra awake. Then he wakes up Ostovach. As he does so, he sees five short creatures leaping out of the darkness carrying scythes. They are wearing red woolen caps. Four of them swarm over Abner. Abner is knocked unconscious immediately. One of the creatures dips his red cap in Abner’s blood. Abner throws an axe at one of them. It doesn’t seem to have much effect, though it does hit. Gregore pulses, and brinks Abner back from the brink of death. Wilhelmina attacks one of the redcaps. One of the redcaps attacks Ostovach. Another attacks Wilhelmina, but misses her. A third attacks Abner. Katarzyna goes to the window of the vardo, and mentally asks Raziel (the nosoi) to see if it can do something. Raziel goes out and shrieks at one of the redcaps. It immediately runs way, and when the others see Raziel, they run away as well. Jean-Baptiste tries to attack one as it flees. Katarzyna is able to get another Magic Missile off on one as it flees. They all disappear into the forest.

Gregore goes over to Abner and casts some healing spells. He also heals Ostovach. Eventually they all fall back asleep.

Sunday, September 14th, 758, Thrushmoor, Ustalav to Caliphas, Ustalav

They all arise, and have eggs scrambled with venison cubes. Katarzyna saves some raw venison for Raziel. Katarzyna reads a bit in her book about Lamordia. About three hours later, they arrive in Vauntil. The town marks the boundary of lowlands and coastal bluffs. It overlooks the Raitiso River. The town is full of beautiful flowers and there are cafes and the like. There is also a winery. There is a ferry that crosses the Raitiso River, and Kendra greets the ferryman. He says that they have a forty-five minute wait until they can leave. Vauntil is the last town in Versex before they cross into Caliphas county. They have a lite luncheon at a cafe while they wait. It is a wonderful place. Katarzyna buys some flowers from an adorable little girl named Laura. Jean-Baptiste goes to the general store to buy apples for their horses. The shopkeeper comments on Jean-Baptiste’s Lozeri accent. Katarzyna is very disappointed that she can’t take the wine tour in Vauntil.

They return to their horses and the vardo. Ostovach gives Katarzyna some chocolate. They go to the ferry dock. They get a table on the top deck of the ferry. The crossing doesn’t take long, and they are in Caliphas County. In the vardo, Katarzyna eats scones and chocolate and reads more of her Lamordia book. In Caliphas, the mist rolls in. There is a dark shape on the road ahead. As the rider comes into view, they see that the rider has no head. Kendra asks “where’s your head”. Stepping out from behind the horse, are several sickly, mangy dogs. The headless horseman tells them that he has a missive for them. “Abandon your cause, and turn over the mace, and begone and you shall live.” Jean-Baptiste trades verbal ripostes with the creature, who gives his name as Barliss Rask. Katarzyna can tell that the situation is going south, so she casts some spells on herself and Gregore. Ostovach says the creature is a dullahan. Katarzyna knows that it can call for a person’s death, and can heal itself.

It comes down to a fight. The dullahan tries to attack Kendra with a spell, but she shrugs it off. Katarzyna Spider Climbs onto the top of the vardo. Gregore sends out a powerful blast of Mist energy, hitting the enemy with a powerful attack, but it seems to avoid most of the damage. Ostovach charges on Wilhelmina toward the dullahan. The creature attacks Ostovach as he charges past. Abner attacks one of the undead dogs as it attacks him. Abner is immediately paralyzed by the creature. The other ghoul dog runs at Jean-Baptiste’s horse. It knocks her out cold, but Jean-Baptiste manages to roll free as she goes down. Katarzyna hits the ghoul dog with a lightning bolt, but it attacks Jean-Baptiste and almost paralyzes him. The dullahan attacks Ostovach, doing grievous damage. The second ghoul dog attacks Abner, but even though Abner is prone, it misses him. Gregore attacks the ghoul dog threatening Jean-Baptiste with the raven’s head mace. When he hits the ghoul dog, there is a loud thump, and it shudders and slumps to the ground. Ostovach attacks the dullahan again. The remaining ghoul dog runs over to Gregore and attacks him, but he doesn’t manage to paralyze him either. Kendra shoots at the dullahan. The dullahan continues to attack Ostovach, and Ostovach attacks it back. The dullahan’s horse blows a sickly smoke at Ostovach and Wilhelmina, but it doesn’t have any effect on them. Kendra shoots at the dullahan. Katarzyna uses her Magic Missiles to whittle down the remaining ghoul dog. The dullhan hurls a skull at Ostovach, but it doesn’t seem to do anything. The ghoul dog bites at Gregore, but it doesn’t do much damage, and Katarzyna’s Magic Missile finally takes it out. Ostovach finally kills the dullhan, but its horse is still in a frenzy. Katarzyna hits it with a lightning bolt, but it’s Kendra’s Disrupt Undead that finally kills the creature.

Ostovach lends Wilhelmina’s help to Jean-Baptiste to track down Shadowmare, who ran off during the fight after being attacked by the ghoul dog, as well as the other horses that ran off (Regdar, Countess, and Duke). Before they leave, though, Jean-Baptiste gives him some healing. Katarzyna surveys the scene with Detect Magic. The dullahan’s magical items include a set of full plate mail armor [goes to Gregore], a flail [very evil looking, like a skeletal spine], an amulet [looks like a tribal fetish; done in the style of defense], a leather wrist bangle with a coin [the eyes are slivers of ioun stone embedded in the skull; the skull itself can spin inside the bauble, and if the grooves are aligned properly, they can set off stored spells within the object; bearer of the item can also use Message, Spectral Hand and Vampiric Touch spells; skull eyes glow in the presence of undead; a goodly person cannot carry the item without being damaged by it, but as soon as it’s let go, the level comes back], and a magical ring [ring of protection, weak]. Gregore is literally salivating over the dullahan’s armor. Jean-Baptiste notices that Ostovach seems fatigued from the fight, so he gives him an infusion to boost his morale.

The rest of the ride into Caliphas is much less eventful. The countryside is lush and green. There is a small hamlet called Crossley, mostly a farm and vineyard community. A short while later, they arrive at Caliphas city itself.

Once they are in Caliphas, Jean-Baptiste scouts out merchants to start unloading the trove of valuable items they’ve been collecting. On the way into town, he sees some craftsmen making chairs. Abner and Katarzyna go into a tailor shop. After that, they go to the Crown and Carriage Livery Yard 2 where they seek to park the vardo and the horses. The service is quite extensive. Ostovach assures Katarzyna that the books will be safe in the vardo. They then go into the inn near the stables, the Coast Road Inn 74. It is large and spacious. They all sit down and order wine and food. A young man offers them a newspaper for 5 coppers. They decide to go toward the Pattering Platypus in the Blackwood District, and end up at the Soul’s Easel Inn 86. Jean-Baptiste speaks with a woman working there, Elissa. After that, they continue wending through Caliphas on their way toward the Pattering Platypus. They go through Skane Gate 68. Skane is a Nova Vaasa word. There a lot of people in the purple and red livery of Ustalav. On the way through Eskcourt, they pass the School of Industry, where the exhibition of engines is to be held. They also pass Headquarters of the Caliphas Department of Constables and Investigators 4, at the corner of White Avenue and Shaw Street. Across the street is the White Way Tavern and Club 83. Just beyond is Howell and McComb, Esquire, barristers at law 98. A robust smell emanates from Farasian Nectar 88 where well-dressed people drink coffee. They decide to sit for a few moments. The proprieter is Abdul Ibn Masheed.

After their coffee, they walk over to Eskcourt Gallery. They pass right by it. They also pass Fazir’s, a druggist/apothecary/alchemist 40. They eventually get to the bridgegate leaving Eskcourt. They pass the Capital Glassworks 76. There is darkness in the sky from all the factories across the water. This area outside the curtain wall is known as Leland. Near the bridge is Madame Rousseau’s Silver Stocking, it has two doors. Jean-Baptiste goes in, and discovers that it is a bordello/gentleman’s club. The other door is a lingerie shop. The walk slightly northeast of the Quarterfaux Archives Museum. Before they turn east on the bridge, they see Ilden’s Curios and Arcane House. They also see the Mists and Dreams Tea Room 11. The Vudrani maidservant brings them tea. Jean-Baptiste notices the telltale sent of pesh on the woman. He also notices that the tea is not genuine Akiri tea, but rather a mix of various other teas. They also find the Angelic Imp, one of the establishments mentioned in the Caliphas Cryer. Kendra notices that the building used to be a temple dedicated to Lathander, the Morning Lord. The Angelic Imp is closed.

They go across the bridge into the Blackwood District. The first thing they see is the Blackwood Corner Shop. Across the way is Caliphvaso School for Girls 56. Just south of that is Blackwood Academy 55. They take the small street between the two academies, and find Blackwood Language Academy. Turning south they find the Pattering Platypus 104.

They go into the Pattering Platypus. The owner, Titus, says he is from Australia. The serving woman, who hails from Redhaven, which is different from Australia. Redhaven is from a land called Ozakka. Jean-Baptiste asks her about Oaxaca. Her name is Tamilia. She says she hopes that they stay for her show that evening. They order the exotic foods of Australia, including something called hamburgers with fried potatoes in stick shapes, served with four dipping sauces. While they dine, Tamilia plays the lute and sings for them. The group sits and eats and talks about the various realms. They know that Redhaven is part of Oaxaca, and that Australia, Scotland and the England Empire are part of Earth. After most of the clientele leave, they talk with Titus about Australia. They also talk with a woman named Devon. She tells them that she is from a place called Faerûn. Faerûn is a continent called Toril. Devon tells Katarzyna that Ravenloft is a demiplane. Devon says that the truth of Ravenloft is suppressed by the Cargatane. She says that the demiplane of Ravenloft is also known as the Demiplane of Dread.

As they are walking home, Jean-Baptiste gets nervous, and they hear footsteps behind them. He asks Katarzyna to teleport them back to the inn, and she does so.

Monday, September 15th, 758, Caliphas, Ustalav

They all sleep later than usual. Katarzyna wakes before Jean-Baptiste. They spend most of the day selling the items. They see a magic firearm. They sell everything and put their money in the bank.

Katarzyna goes in the Maiden’s Choir, the cathedral of Pharasma in Caliphas. Raziel tells her that Gregore should not take the mace into the temple. Raziel tells her that the reliquary of the altar contains rare relics important to the church of Pharasma, but some of the items rumored to be contained therein are in fact not present.

After spending most of the day shopping, Katarzyna discovers Haraday Theater is in North Cushing just off Cushing Street. Silver Road leads west. They find Simon’s Dinner Theater 102, the Bull & The Bear 103, Still Steward Orphanage 37, disused and dilapidated building called Haraday Theater 3, Thomas Magore Arms & Armors 94, a watch station 72, and Ustalav Thespian’s Guild 108. They walk along the bay and find the Hound’s Tooth 7, West Cushing General Store 92, the Widow’s Boudoir 44. Kendra goes into the Widow’s Boudoir. They also find the Tower Janoglu, a military outpost with a small lighthouse 64. They go inside the tower and Wrynhyde Greens Inn and Lawn Club 66. Going further down the barrier peninsula, they see a cache of debris 24 and a little boy poking among the debris. They talk to the boy, and Jean-Baptiste gives him a gold piece. The boy says his name is Malcolm. Gregore also kneels down in front of him. Malcolm is clearly afraid of him somewhat. Gregore calms him and heals him of his diseases and wounds. Katarzyna cleans his garments with Prestidigitation. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna give him coin. Then they head toward Castle Golbanz 25. They walk down to the Reaping Rock 26 and the wreck of the Trackless 28 and the Silver Star 27. They can see Castle Borgothi 21 across the strait that opens into the harbor of Caliphas.

They take a boat from Castle Golbanz back to Eskcourt. The boat captain tells them all that 17 is Traitor’s Drop, a spot where bodies were dumped in the past. Back in Eskcourt, they go past an amazing hotel called The Majesty 13. Across from there is Restoration Park 14 and Castle Strieth 15. They then walk to Palace of Voices 10. A young bard named Paolo Caramizta tries to charm Katarzyna into coming back for an ‘audition’ that evening at 10 o’clock. After he leaves, Gregore, Jean-Baptiste, and Ostovach clue her in that he was just trying to sleep with her. She is very annoyed by this.

They also pass the Caliphas City Hall 33, the Mayor’s House 34, Caliphas Courts 35 and Ornislovna Clock Tower 36. They also see the Caliphas Cryer office 99. Fergolin’s Fine Firearms 110 is an establishment that they pass. They see a gnome sitting at a desk. Jean-Baptiste raps on the door, and he comes outside in his stocking feet with his pipe. Jean-Baptiste talks with the gnome about gunsmithing. The gnome’s name is Gonnic Fergolin. They compare their gunsmithing work, and Gonnic’s coat pistol is especially ornate.

They then wander down to Dawn’s Requiem 29. Abner and Kendra go off together to another place for some time alone, and Gregore returns to their inn. So it is only Jean-Baptiste, Ostovach and Katarzyna go into Dawn’s Requiem. Jean-Baptiste pays the bouncer to let them in, and a woman paints henna on their hands. One woman comes up to Katarzyna and says ‘love your bird’, referring to Raziel. Some of the people are wearing inverted symbols of Pharasma. Raziel is not amused.

The serving girl brings a rare wine for Katarzyna and a fancy whiskey for Jean-Baptiste. At some point, a person says they are invited to join someone. The woman inviting them over is Evgenya Zunaida. She is able to see through Katarzyna’s Hat of Disguise. They speak at length. The bar mistress brings them a new bottle of wine.

They all go back to the inn, and have dinner. Jean-Baptiste asks Katarzyna to watch her while he sleeps.

Tuesday, September 16th, 758, Caliphas, Ustalav

In the morning, Gregore pounds frantically on Jean-Baptiste’s and Katarzyna’s doors, and tells them that the mace is gone. He went to sleep with it, and awoke to find it gone.
The group goes through what they know regarding the theft; the mace was stolen, no sign of entry, Gregore was not killed, and the church of Pharasma was not at fault (at least according to Raziel).

Once everyone gets their bearings, they decide that they will try mundane and then magical methods to ascertain who the thief was. Kendra uses her Third Eye to investigate the area. She notices that Gregore’s jewels and coins are on the bedside table and that they were not taken. Next she gains insight into the powerful emotions and other strong disturbances to the area’s ethereal resonance. Kendra senses the previous presence of the Raven’s Head relic. She can feel the strong emotions of faith which the group decides belongs to Gregore as well as guilt and sorrow. They also believe those were Gregore’s feelings given how much he has said he is at fault. To a lesser extent she senses fear and betrayal. Kendra keys in on betrayal but the group believes that was also Gregore’s misguided self-recrimination.
Meanwhile the rest of the group goes off to study their spells or alchemical formulae. They decide that Ostovach will use his Bloodhound ability to see if he can track the scent of the criminal and Gregore will cast Communion to speak with Ezra. Ostovach finishes his devotions early and goes to get them breakfast. Jean-Baptiste investigates the scene and he is able to discern that the window was not used to enter or exit the premises. Katarzyna detects magical auras, but finds none of any note except for a powerful new aura on Abner’s person. Abner has a new dagger the group was not aware of. When Katarzyna questions him about it, he says he traded away his razors, short sword, and much of his share of the coin they had recently received. They do notice that he does not have any of the old items on him. Katarzyna asks to see the dagger but in typical colorful Abner fashion he refuses. Before he puts it away though she senses an aura of Necromancy in the dagger. Jean Baptiste asked Abner if he were stealing the Raven’s Head how would he do it. Abner runs through a scenario.
They talk about how to discover the location of the object and who could have perpetrated such a thing, since it would have to be someone who wanted the mace but was not an enemy enough to kill Gregore in his sleep as the Whispering Way surely would have. Jean Baptiste says that no one they know is above suspicion including lovers and patrons. Katarzyna says “or even any of us”. With a momentary hesitation of surprise Jean Baptiste agrees and Katarzyna asks Gregore if he has any truth spells he could use to clear the people in the room. He says he does but that since he is casting it he could not be cleared. Osotvach is seen to be sweating a bit and moves closer to the door hand clenched around his sword. Jean-Baptiste can’t decide if it is to protect the exit or get ready for a hasty retreat, but just in case he closes the door. The question that Gregore asks is “Did you or did you not have someone take the Raven’s Head mace from my room?” In order Katarzyna, Kendra, and Jean Baptiste are cleared. Abner is asked and mocks the question as ridiculous and says “what do you think?” Jean-Baptiste demands he answer the question and begins intense scrutiny of Abner’s body language and mannerisms. Abner says “No, I did not steal the Raven’s Head”. Both Gregore’s spell and Jean Baptistes scrutiny reveal the statement as a lie.

As soon as the spell reveals Abner is the thief, he goes on the defensive pulling the new dagger and a previously unseen straight razor. Before he can stop her Katarzyna casts Blindness on him. He drops the razor and hurls another dagger from his belt at Katarzyna, but misses badly due to the sudden loss of sight. This leaves him only armed with the new dagger, but they notice that his empty hand and the lower parts of his legs begin to become black and shadowy. Abner begins slowly backing up and verbally alternating between excuses and threats. The party is hesitant to move in even with Abner being blind due to his fighting ability. Jean-Baptiste decides to try and end the standoff and shoots Abner’s dagger out of his hand to disarm him. The dagger clangs to the floor after the loud report of the pistol.

Abner sighs heavily and slumps down on the window sill, his body returning to its original color. Not taking any chances on Abner plunging through the window Katarzyna uses a Web Bolt on him. She then grabs the artifact dagger, and immediately discovers that it’s cursed; she is wracked with intense pain down to her soul. She quickly flings it away.

Jean-Baptiste, Gregore and Katarzyna grill Abner at length. Ostovach mainly watches the situation, and Kendra just shakes her head in disbelief. Abner admits that he stole the mace and gave it to the whispering Way. The group is aghast that he would take it and give it to their most hated enemy given what the Whispering Way is trying to do with it. Abner insists that he did it to protect Kendra. He said the Whispering Way promised to never target Kendra with assassination.  Kendra is almost made ill by the statement and screams at Abner that living while all her friends die is not anything that she would ever have wanted. Abner also reveals that the Whispering Way gave him 5000 marks, 5000 marks worth of gems, and the cursed dagger as payment. They ask when the Whispering Way made contact and he says while the group was away in Lepidstadt and he was alone in Thrushmoor.
They hear a pounding on the door, and the City Guard calls out to them, responding to the report of the gunshot. Katarzyna, fuming, immediately Dimension Doors back to her room. Jean-Baptiste then opens the door. He speaks with the City Guard, they notice the webbed man on the window and tense up. They tell everyone to stay put and call for a detective. Katarzyna goes back to the room where everyone else is and speaks with the City Guard briefly before he leaves. 
A plainclothes detective arrives. He is someone that Jean-Baptiste knows, an inspector James MacMillan, whom Jean Baptiste went to academy with. They speak at length. Jean-Baptiste tells him about the Raven’s Head mace, but does not want to prosecute Abner for stealing it so that the group can handle it. MacMillan is disturbed by everything. He leaves but insists the dagger should go with him. He also mentions that should this become known it will all be out of his hands as the Church of Pharasma holds much power and that even he could be in trouble for this. He asks them to tread lightly and carefully.
The group begins to think about what to do next; how to find the mace and what to do with Abner. Voices call out for retribution, forgiveness, imprisonment, and more, but emotions are highly charged as the group turns on each other a bit. Kendra says she will not leave Abner so that she can make sure he doesn’t escape. Katarzyna questions whether Kendra is objective enough to watch Abner or whether he will manipulate her. Ostovach fearing for the group’s cohesion tells Katarzyna to trust her teammates but the stress is even getting to Ostovach, and his call for calm cohesion comes off as a snappish admonishment.
Katarzyna is extremely upset at Abner’s betrayal, as is Gregore. Katarzyna abruptly leaves the room via Dimension Door again, then Teleports from her room back to Lepidstadt to inform Judge Daramid of Abner’s betrayal. Jean-Baptiste goes down to the common room to get drunk, eventually Gregore joins him. Gregore is stunned that someone he thought he knew well could betray the group so completely. Upstairs, Ostovach has begun a vigil to watch Abner and make sure he does not escape, but everyone notices the barely contained rage Ostovach is holding in. Abner, true to form, takes no small amount of pleasure in Ostovach’s discomfiture. Kendra swings between anger and sadness like a pendulum, goaded and implored in turn by Abner.
In Lepidstadt, Katarzyna speaks with Lydia and Judge Daramid. Daramid gives Katarzyna a note of official custody of Abner, and some magical manacles to keep him in check. Katarzyna contritely takes her leave, solemnly vowing to retrieve the mace or die in the attempt.
Jean-Baptiste and Gregore in their cups decide to look through all of Abner’s belonging for clues, suspicious items or anything else that might help locate the Raven’s Head. They see a great deal of coin and some gems. One of the gems is magic, a diamond. Research reveals that the diamond is a scrying focus gem. Someone on the other end can hear or see anything near it. They inquire where Abner got it, and he said it was prepayment for stealing the mace and that he had it since Thrushmoor. Jean Baptiste makes a deal with the hotel’s owners to put it in an iron pot inside of the hotel security chest.
Katarzyna Teleports back to her room at the inn in Caliphas, and immediately walks across the hall and places the magical manacles on Abner without a word to him or Ostovach. She then hands the papers of custody to Jean-Baptiste, and says “you should read these” and returns to her room without another word to anyone.

Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Gregore return to the room to question Abner. Abner is insouciant and defiant. They don’t learn anything important questioning him. Abner informs them that other than Kendra, he doesn’t care about any of them and he did it all for the coin.

Later, Abner and Kendra talk while Ostovach watches warily. They share a bit of a tender moment, and Ostovach’s expression darkens. Sensing possible trouble, Ostovach knocks on Katarzyna’s door soon after, and asks if she will help watch Abner whenever he needs to leave, because contrary to what he said earlier he now believes Kendra indeed may be susceptible to Abner’s manipulations, and Katarzyna agrees to help. 

Upon Ostovach’s return and sensing his anger, Abner ridicules him mercilessly as the conflict between the two of them finally comes to a head. Kendra asks Abner to stop and for a time, he complies. He then tries to persuade Kendra to come away with him, where they can forget all the tribulations with the Whispering Way and be happy, without Ostovach and the others driving a wedge between them as they have lately. Abner asks Kendra if all is lost between them, and she tearfully says she doesn’t know, but doesn’t think there is anything Abner can do to make things right. Jean-Baptiste joins in the vigil and witnesses at one point where Ostovach goes to speak with Abner. Jean-Baptiste cannot understand what is said but can tell that Abner responds in a mocking tone and Ostovach punches the wall next to Abner’s head, followed by Abner chuckling at Ostovach.
At one point, Katarzyna goes to reassure Gregore. She tells him that he is not to blame for the loss of the mace, that only Abner is to blame. Though her words are warm, her demeanor is cold, as it has been since Abner’s duplicity came to light. Gregore does not seem consoled, but he murmurs in response as Katarzyna takes her leave.
Later, they all meet to discuss what they will ultimately do with Abner. Jean-Baptiste puts Abner to sleep with an infusion so that he won’t overhear their conversation. They decide that Abner probably will not help them recover the mace, or that he won’t be able to. They discuss locking him up, but they all know how easily Abner can escape most situations. Finally, Ostovach and Jean Baptiste tentatively and regretfully suggest executing Abner. Jean-Baptiste explains the likelihood that with nowhere else to turn, Abner will be very susceptible to being seduced by the Whispering Way. Abner, he argues, knows the secrets of all of his teammates; the people they love and where to find them. Ostovach continues that it is only a small step from love to deadly obsession in regards to how Abner feels about Kendra. He further mentions that the Whispering Way have vast resources at their disposal and could help Abner break out of any prison if Abner wasn’t able to break out by himself. One by one, Gregore, Katarzyana and Kendra reluctantly agree. Gregore’s expression is unreadable, and Katarzyna’s voice is flat and cold. In Kendra’s despair her assent is barely audible, her eyes glassy with tears.

In the ensuing discussion, they determine that there must be no body left. Not only for the sake of evidence, but to keep the Whispering Way from being able to question Abner’s corpse. After a somewhat grisly visceral method is brought up by Ostovach, Katarzyna suggests the use of a new spell that she believes will kill and consume the entire body. They agree to use the new spell.

After a few minutes of preparation, Katarzyna Teleports herself, Ostovach, Jean-Baptiste, and the still sleeping Abner to a point outside of town on the road that Katarzyna is familiar with. They startle some travelers on the road with their sudden appearance but Jean-Baptiste is able to bluff their way out of a serious confrontation, claiming that their sleeping friend is merely drunk. After the travelers move off, they carry Abner’s sleeping body off the road toward the sea. When they find a draw from the cliffs down to the sea they stop. Jean-Baptiste removes the manacles, and he and Ostovach pensively regard Abner’s sleeping form. Katarzyna takes a moment to compose herself, then uses her Disintigrate spell for the first time, killing Abner outright and destroying his body completely. In a quiet, flat tone, Katarzyna informs Ostovach and Jean-Baptiste that it was the hardest thing she’s ever had to do.
After a few moments, Katarzyna, Ostovach, and Jean-Baptiste walk back to Caliphas, unable to Teleport due to Katarzyna’s trip to Lepidstadt earlier in the day. They arrive at the gate in the afternoon. They make their way back to their inn, and Katarzyna immediately informs Gregore that the deed is done. Kendra is very drunk when they return. Katarzyna retires to her room without a word to anyone else. She allows Raziel to comfort her somewhat, but she is very disturbed by the day’s events. 
Without informing the others, Jean-Baptiste goes out that afternoon disguised as Abner, and cashes out Abner’s accounts from the bank. He then takes the coin and adds it to the group’s common funds.
That night, each person in their own way grieves the loss of a former friend and comrade, and confronts the choices they made that brought them to this point.
Wednesday, September 16th, 758, Caliphas, Ustalav
During the night, Katarzyna has a nightmare about killing Abner. In the dream, Abner is how he was when they all first met in Ravengro. Unlike the scene under the cliffs of Caliphas, Abner is awake, and screams “no” as Katarzyna kills him. 
At 9 a.m., Ostovach knocks on their doors. They all go downstairs for a somber breakfast. Jean-Baptiste informs them of the previous day’s errand. They discuss the possibility of Jean-Baptiste trying to infiltrate the Whispering Way disguised as Abner. Kendra will try to locate the mace through ethereal resonance. Meanhwile, Raziel tries to look for magical auras by flying over the city.

Ultimately the three of them, Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Katarzyna stroll through town, looking for any sign of magical or ethereal attenuation. Kendra notices areas of ethereal resonance at the Widow’s Boudoir, an upscale villa on the outskirts of town, and a small stand of trees outside of town. They also see the site of the burning of the witch Oothi, a famous local bogeyman. They also see Vaj Morant Cemetery. There are mausoleums set into the stepped hillside, with ancient stones with the names worn away. There is a strong sense of despair coming from the Steel Steward Orphanage. Kendra also notices a disturbing resonance at 67, a small island with a manor house on it. It is Suteflori Island, the home of one of Caliphas’ elite families. About a hundred years prior, a girl named Destiny Zazvirog, a young ballet ingenue, flooded the house with dangerous gases, killing everyone inside. The manor house has been haunted ever since. They also sense strange resonances elsewhere in town, as is to be expected in a town the size of Caliphas. 
In the industrial sector of town, they see a spectral form of a woman, with a dagger in her chest. The area is Ipston’s Cross, which is famous for a church called St. Ipston’s church. Kendra senses strong negative emotions from St. Ipston’s church. Also in this area they encounter a malnourished mastiff. Jean-Baptiste feeds it by painting a hunk of food with the paint set. The dog immediately takes to Jean-Baptiste, and follows him. 
They continue wending their way through the industrial, poor side of town. They meet some grimy children, who tell them about a very evil-feeling place called Brookman’s Alley where a haunt named Timmy will attack those who don’t know the correct hopscotch sequence. It is the site where a young boy Timmy was stoned to death by a pair of twin sisters named Yarri and Yevett while playing hopscotch. They abruptly find a seemingly abandoned bag of coins in plain view on the edge of a fountain near the docks. They do not figure out who left it or why. It has 207 marks in it. Jean-Baptiste decides to take it and add it to the party’s common funds.
In the mercantile district, they meet Madame Camille, who sells Jean-Baptiste a hat for Katarzyna, and forces a somewhat taciturn and humorless Katarzyna to smile, though it’s clear there is no real warmth behind it. 
They continue to investigate the impoverished part of town until dusk. They return to their hotel, and Gregore and Ostovach talk with them. They help Jean-Baptiste take care of the malnourished mastiff, Ostovach especially takes a liking to the pitiful creature. Katarzyna, Kendra and Jean-Baptiste then begin preparations for the evening. They had long planned to attend the performance at the Haraday Theater, and are loathe to miss the chance to make contact with the people there, in spite of the terrible loss they had just suffered.
At the Haraday Theater, they meet Abraun Chalest, who responds to Katarzyna’s Akiri greeting. He takes them up to his theater box, where they exchange pleasantries. They watch the show, “I, Strahd”, though it is unclear how much they able to really experience the performance. During the show, Abraun tells them to return the next day for a special meeting of “likeminded people”.

The Lost Girls
The party find the squalid town of Illmarsh rotten to its core.

Monday, September 1st, 758, Illmarsh swamp to Illmarsh, Ustalav

They group arrives in Illmarsh in the afternoon. The squalid town is dominated by its wharves, its fishing trawlers departing each morning and returning each evening. Tough times are starting to hit the townsfolk, and Illmarsh has a pervasive unhealthy odor; plagues and epidemics have started here in the past. On a house near the outskirts of town (10), they see a complicated doorbell assembly. They also see a piston half-buried in the sand. Jean-Baptiste speaks with a rather surly man. They then go to the Bountiful Catch Inn. There is a bronze statue of a sea captain at a ship’s tiller in the center of the town square. The figure is Cassius Undiomede, first lord of Illmarsh. Also on the town square is a three-story structure (20), the town hall. The townsfolk in the square all stare at the newcomers with suspicion. On the west side of the square is a tavern (6) called the Wall-Eyed Kraken. Abner goes into the tavern to check it out. Just south of the tavern is the general store (7).

On the south end of the square is a stone temple with a large portico (11) that also prominently features stained glass windows. The portico features a statue of a mermaid with a trident, looking out to sea. The religious order occupying the temple is the Recondite Order of the Indomitable Sea. Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna and Kendra go into the building, which turns out to be some kind of temple for a Tepestani religion, worshiping Manannán mac Lir. Kendra briefly goes into the main room, and has a quick look around.

They continue wandering through the town. They encounter several grimy children, who flee as they approach. They pass a small building, with a garden on the leeward side, some of it with box planters and swampy, marshy planting beds. They see a sign that indicates that it is an apothecary. Katarzyna calls out to a woman working among the planters. They go inside the apothecary, and Jean-Baptiste speaks with the woman, Jallene Halrush, about her wares. She tells them that a stranger had stayed at the Inn recently, but when Kendra asks her about the stranger, she becomes wary. Jean-Baptiste speaks with her about her herbs and concoctions, and she mentions a plant called dead man’s head. It is very toxic and volatile. They are large orange spheres, semi-translucent, covered in thick veins. Jean-Baptiste knows that it is a very useful item, and he also knows that there are three items he can make with it. Arsonist’s Friend is one such, but it’s very dangerous and hard to make. Dead man’s head also is a key component of Dead Man’s Wrath, an item that can be used as an explosive thrown weapon. Fire Belly Poison is the third item, which has a spicy taste. The woman sells Jean-Baptiste some of the herb, and he invokes his influence ability on the woman, nudging Katarzyna’s foot to get her attention before he does so. Her shoulders slump slightly and her eyes glaze over. Kendra and Katarzyna notice spiders come out of his Jean-Baptiste’s sleeves and pants. One lands on Katarzyna’s foot. The women are rather put off by the display. The herbalist, who has some slight fey features (they later learn that Jallene is a half-elf from Sithicus), takes Jean-Baptiste to another room. When Jallene returns to the others, she asks Katarzyna if she would like a love potion to use on Jean-Baptiste, evidently the herbalist is quite impressed by him. Katarzyna declines the offer.

They leave, and travel north through the buildings until they come to a long building that appears to be a boatwright’s shop. Katarzyna sees a large shape out at sea. She talks to Jean-Baptiste and Kendra about it, then they are approached by a man coming from around the shop. Jean-Baptiste asks the boatwright about islands near the coast. He says that a no-good killer named Kardis is probably out on the island, left there as punishment for his crime. Jean-Baptiste asks the man if anyone had come to Illmarsh recently, and the man says that someone is still there. He informs them that someone named Lucas had shown up awhile back, and that he is staying at the inn. Jean-Baptiste gives the man a gold piece for his help.

They pass the long jetties of the fishing fleet, then go up to a small building, which turns out to be a rather empty fish market. Grewin takes Flandelene to the outskirts of town while the others go to the Bountiful Catch Inn. There is a tavern inside the inn. Katarzyna’s nosoi companion flies up to the rafters as they enter. A paunchy, balding man talks to them as they enter. He is rather brusque and taciturn, offering minimal conversation as he serves them unappetizing food. When Kendra casts a minor spell in the common room, one of the men at an adjacent table runs out of the inn. His companion goes after him. Shortly thereafter, the sherriff, Rill Anders, comes in and caustically tells them that they are to appear before the mayor. The hostile innkeeper takes their plates before they are finished, and they go outside and look for the stables. They find a stable boy named Ryan. Katarzyna inexpertly flirts with him a bit, trying to get some information, while Jean-Baptiste looks for a pale horse, evidence of the dark rider. Ryan is rather taken with Katarzyna in spite of her lack of seduction expertise, and tells her that there have been disappearances in Illmarsh lately, and that’s probably why the sherriff was so abrupt with them. Jean-Baptiste does not find the pale horse, so they go to the town hall to see the mayor.

They enter the town hall accompanied by Sherriff Rill Anders. Jean-Baptiste tells him that he should have simply mentioned ‘the situation’ here in Illmarsh, and it would have made their meeting go more smoothly. The sherriff is as receptive to Jean-Baptiste as the innkeeper, that is to say, not at all. Inside the office of Mayor Greedle, the old man seems somewhat flustered and out of breath, with a unique speech pattern. After some brief pleasantries, he dismisses the sherriff and closes his office door. He then tells the group that he needs their help to investigate the Recondite Order of the Indomitable Sea, who the mayor suspects of being behind the disappearances they had heard about. Mayor Greedle officially deputizes them, but asks them to proceed undercover, using the cover story that the dark rider stole money from them. Everyone agrees to the arrangement, since it helps their own agenda to investigate the town, and doing so under the aegis of the mayor makes their task easier.

They leave the town hall, and head directly over to the temple, but are stopped as they enter by a priest named Johann. He is quite cross with them, and refuses to allow them to observe their holy rites. Everyone is suspicious of the priest, but the group leaves without incident. They fan out and scout around the outside of the building. They regroup in a nearby alley, and discuss what to do next. They ultimately decide that Jean-Baptiste will use an invisibility infusion to go inside and observe their rite, and then report back to them. If he does not return quickly, Katarzyna will take the others into the church with Dimension Door and deal with the priests forcefully. Jean-Baptiste uses his infusion, and returns to the group a wtihin a few minutes. He tells them that the priests are not worshipping Manannán mac Lir at all, but rather some unpleasant deity called Dagon. The priests have altered the statue of Manannán mac Lir in somewhat subtle ways, and its revised form is holding an octopus.

They move away from the immediate vicinity of the temple, and head back in the general direction of the town hall, where they have a brief conversation with Sherriff Anders. The sherriff is as brusque as ever with them, and they soon part ways. The group decides they will enter the temple surreptitiously using Katarzyna’s Dimension Door. Ostovach and Abner will take up positions and wait outside on the portico, ready to engage when they hear the sounds of combat. Once everyone is ready, Gregore, Jean-Baptiste and Kendra go through the Dimension Door with Katarzyna.

The four find themselves in a chamber adjacent to the anteroom. There is a stained glass window, an altar, and much to their consternation, there are four acolytes in the room, in the midst of their rites. The acolytes immediately attack. Two acolytes concentrate on Jean-Baptiste, and two attack Gregore. Kendra shoots her flaming musket, causing a loud report, probably alerting other acolytes to their presence. Katarzyna blinds one of Gregore’s attackers, helping the beleaguered cleric. Ostovach hears the sounds of combat and rolls in shortly thereafter, helping Jean-Baptiste with his two attackers. With a blind attacker on Gregore’s side and Ostovach distracting one of Jean-Baptiste’s attackers, the acolyte’s strategy to focus on the bigger threats falls apart quickly. Jean-Baptiste lands an especially devastating hit with his rapier on one of his attackers. Katarzyna’s Magic Missile kills one of the acolytes outright. A second one falls to Ostovach’s blade. As they are turning the tide of battle, Abner taps Katarzyna on the shoulder, indicating that she should follow him. She leaves the last two surviving acolytes to be finished off by the others and follows Abner.

Abner and Katarzyna round the corner and go into the main room of the chapel, where Katarzyna’s nosoi companion seems to have mesmerized four acolytes in that room with some sort of hypnotic aura and music. Just as Abner and Katarzyna take in this tableau, another acolyte rushes out of a doorway on the south wall of the room. He sees Katarzyna and Abner, targeting them with a spell, an ice storm that rains hail and snow on them. Katarzyna quickly returns the favor with a lightning bolt. Abner slowly makes his way over to the cleric, having a hard time closing the distance because of the snow from his spell. Jean-Baptiste and Gregore rush into the main chapel at that moment. Katarzyna hits the cleric with another lightning bolt, and he in turn casts his own spell, sending a wave of water rushing at Abner. Jean-Baptiste rushes at the cleric, skidding gracefully on the ice and knocking the man down. Gregore dispels the lingering magic of the ice storm, making it easier for them to move about.

Suddenly, the four acolytes break free of the nosoi’s fascination, but they are immediately hit with Waves of Fatigue from Katarzyna. They are slowed and tired. Kendra rounds the corner about the same moment. Katarzyna fires off Magic Missiles at the beleagured cleric again. Kendra fires off a Ray of Frost at the cleric, but it misses and hits Abner. Abner and Jean-Baptiste attack the cleric again.

At that moment, a massive portal opens, akin to a Dimension Door, and a giant creature steps through. The cleric casts another spell, yelling at them to “fall”. Kendra, Abner and Ostovach all fall down. Gregore casts a spell that summons a dire ape. Jean-Baptiste shoots at the cleric again, while Katarzyna is grabbed by the creature from the Dimension Door. It knocks her out of the fight easily, and it drops her on the ground. Gregore Pulses, and brings Katarzyna back into the fight. She is immediately attacked by the fatigued clerics. Katarzyna breaks the enchantment from the cleric’s attack on Kendra, but it doesn’t work on Abner or Ostovach. Jean-Baptiste shoots the cleric with his pistol. The giant creature attacks the dire ape, wounding it severely.

Kendra uses her wand to attack the giant creature, but it fails. Jean-Baptiste shoots at the cleric again. Gregore Pulses, and the nosoi attacks one of the acolytes. Ostovach rolls up on the cleric and finally kills him. Abner shakes off the effect of the cleric’s spell. Katarzyna fires off a lightning bolt, and hits the giant creature. Unfortunately, she also kills the ape with the attack. Katarzyna hits the monster with another lightning bolt, and it whirls around to face her. Gregore casts Spiritual Ally. Ostovach rolls right up on the creature, while Abner moves to flank it. The creature ignores them both and barrels into Katarzyna, knocking her out of the fight again. Kendra quickly runs over to Katarzyna and uses the wand of healing to get her back in the fight. Jean-Baptiste uses his infusions to enlarge himself. Katarzyna’s awareness is short-lived, as she is immediately killed by the creature right after she regains consciousness. Kendra dives onto Katarzyna’s bloody body and grabs the wand of Acid Arrow from her belt. Gregore bolts over to Katarzyna and breathes grey mist out of his mouth and into Katarzyna’s. Her eyes widen as she snaps awake. Gregore gives her a tight smile, and they both quickly rejoin the fight. Ostovach and Jean-Baptiste both swing at the creature. It quickly grabs Jean-Baptiste, but he manages to break free. Katarzyna rapidly fires off two lightning bolts from scrolls, less powerful than her studied versions, and weakens the creature significantly. Jean-Baptiste pursues the weakened creature as it crawls toward the altar wall. He runs up on the back of the creature and plants his blade between two of its chitinous plates, finally killing it. As quickly as it began, the fight is over.

Jean-Baptiste can see that Katarzyna is very distracted and upset, so he focuses her attention toward the back wall of the temple. Katarzyna absentmindedly mends and cleans her blood-soaked dress as they walk toward the wall, but blood still covers her face and drips from her hair. Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Katarzyna inspect the wall, but don’t find anything. When Abner looks at it, he shows them a specific spot that he thinks will activate a mechanism. When Jean-Baptiste applies pressure on the spot, the entire wall shifts and moves in a complex pattern, creating a large opening that reveals a hidden chamber behind the wall.

In this room, clearly the inner sanctum of the acolytes of Dagon, there are disturbing carvings and runes throughout. There is a baleful eye surrounded by tentacles and runes, presumably the unholy symbol of Dagon. Ostovach shows them gold symbols from the acolytes, which Gregore guesses are also holy symbols of Dagon. They are abstract designs, similar to runes or glyphs. Kendra and Katarzyna examine the symbol and determine that it is a particularly ancient form of Aklo.

Jean-Baptiste examines the stone statue, which has a fish-like face. Abner calls them over to the room just north of the hidden altar room. There are several headless corpses in the room. Abner goes to unlock the south door while Katarzyna examines the bodies in the north room. She determines that the some of the bodies look as if they had their life force drained, and it looks like their heads exploded, as if something burst out from within. The people clearly did not die in the room, since there isn’t enough gore to account for the missing heads. One body is unlike the others, the clothes look to be those of an urban merchant. Katarzyna searches this body, and finds a ceramic egg, just like the one they found on the body of Clanartas Viliras. Gregore breaks it open, showing them the now-familiar gagged skull symbol. Jean-Baptiste pushes over the stone statue.

Abner calls them over to the south room. They hear Abner speaking reassuringly to someone, and when they enter, they see two figures huddled on a bench. Katarzyna rushes over to them. They are afraid of her bizarre bloodied countenance, so she calls Gregore over to take a look at them. Jean-Baptiste also talks to them, and he is much better at reassuring them than Katarzyna tried to be. The couple, a man and a woman, tell Jean-Baptiste that they were at the temple to give their daughter to the “neighbors” down the bay. And because the neighbors hadn’t shown up to the fostering, Father Albor Voltiaro took their daughter to Undiomede House, which is a ways further south of Illmarsh. It is the ancestral manor of the Undiomede family. The first lord of that manor was Cassius Undiomede, the subject of the statue in the center of the Illmarsh town square.

While Ostovach and Gregore comfort the traumatized couple, Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna investigate the rooms that they didn’t enter earlier. In the north room that lies between the acolytes altar and the hidden room of headless corpses, they see an opulent chamber, clearly the private quarters of someone of importance. There is a chest laying on the floor on its side, and shattered bits of glass lay all about with bits of liquid still pooling in the curved shards and seeping into the floorboards. Katarzyna doesn’t detect any magical auras in the room until Abner opens the chest. He holds up two blue glass bottles, two potions in brass vials, a feather which has a magical aura, and a small statue, that looks like a bizarre tentacled beast. There are two other statues as well. All are made of a strange reddish gold that Abner refers to as “fish gold”, which is mined in the sea.

Ostovach opens the door to the south room that the powerful cleric had emerged from. It appears to be a barracks of sorts. Katarzyna joins him, and walks over to the west wall and opens the door. This room is a small chapel, much like the one on the north side of the temple. Ostovach and Katarzyna look through the desk and bookshelves in the barracks. Abner finds secret doors in both the barracks and the head priest’s private quarters, that lead to the rooms north and south of the dark altar room. Jean-Baptiste finds an old discarded copy of the holy book of Manannán mac Lir, a remnant of the previous tenants.

As they are investigating the complex, they are joined by Sherriff Rill Anders and his men. There is a bit of a tense standoff, until Mayor Greedle shows up. He slowly walks through the rooms they discovered. When Katarzyna tells the mayor that Father Voltiaro took the girl to Undiomede House, he tells them that the dark rider went in that direction as well. Mayor Greedle also tells them that the “neighbors” are a race that live in the sea. The neighbors have had an understanding with the denizens of Illmarsh that has been in place longer than the mayor has been alive, involving this transfer of female children to the neighbors. They talk about heading to Undiomede House to track down the missing girl and Father Voltiaro, and find out where the “neighbors”/sea folk went.

Jean-Baptiste continues to search the temple complex. He finds slugs in the bottom of the pool. Gregore is continuing to tend to the frightened couple, with Katarzyna providing what help she can. Kendra inspects the room of headless corpses, looking over the scene in detail. While Jean-Baptiste is observing the pool in the east room, the slugs climb out of the pool toward him. He yells out, and Kendra comes running. She also yells out and Katarzyna rushes to see what’s happening. The creatures lurch toward Jean-Baptiste. Everyone fans out and positions themselves to attack the slugs. Kendra kills one quickly, but the remaining slugs immediately leap at her. Two of them manage to leap onto Kendra, and to everyone’s horror, a slug starts burrowing into her skin, while the other looks like it’s trying to crawl into her mouth. They all desperately attack the slugs as they burrow into Kendra. Katarzyna tries to help Kendra using her anatomist’s knife, but does more harm than good. Gregore manages to get the one that was crawling into Kendra’s mouth. The other one disappears inside Kendra’s chest, and she starts convulsing. Jean-Baptiste gives her a potion of Cure Disease, which makes her retch. She starts to vomit the creature out, and it lands on the ground. The creature immediately starts to dessicate on the ground. Gregore heals Kendra of much of her damage, and she is very grateful, though still quite shaken from the experience. Katarzyna takes Kendra gently aside, and suggests that they head back to the inn to bathe and get some sleep. Mayor Greedle stops them and offers them coin as a reward, but Jean-Baptiste insists that they don’t need any recompense, only the authority to pursue their quarry.

Katarzyna and Kendra walk back with Abner to the Inn, but Abner decides to return to the temple to check and make sure they didn’t miss anything. Katarzyna and Kendra both have baths and change their garments. While Katarzyna bathes, the nosoi helps her by picking bits of bloody tissue out of her hair. She notices that it no longer looks like a masked whippoorwill, but a raven.

Jean-Baptiste speaks with Gregore, who tells him that he thinks the townsfolk are fully indoctrinated in accepting the ‘neighbors’ arrangement. Townsfolk arrive and start helping reclaim the temple. One of the bodies is the son of Father Albor Voltiaro. Gregore takes the couple back to their home. Jean-Baptiste decides to go looking around outside, and Ostovach goes with him. He comes across a few houses, but the inhabitants are not very receptive to them. Ostovach and Gregore hear a humming at one point, and it calls out to them. It introduces itself as a “friend”. It’s an elderly female voice. Jean-Baptiste is immediately wary. He looks in the direction of the woman’s voice, and hears sloshing in the swamp, but doesn’t see anything out in the darkness. Ostovach tries to hide as the voice nears, but Jean-Baptiste can clearly see him. Ostovach tells Jean-Baptiste that they should go, that they are weak. They try to run away from the woman-thing, but she pursues them. Jean-Baptiste manages to outpace her. He hears the familiar sound of Magic Missiles, then hears Ostovach cry out in pain as they continue barrelling through the swamp. They make it through the treeline, and the voice and the sloshing subside, no longer in pursuit. A raspy cackling laugh hangs in the air as they retreat. As they approach Illmarsh, Jean-Baptiste gives Ostovach some magical healing. Jean-Baptiste thinks that the creature they narrowly escaped from was a hag.

Katarzyna beds down for the night. When the raven flies over to the headboard, it reverts to its nosoi form. She hears a rapping at the door, but when she goes to see, no one is there. Abner hears the same knocking, and he speaks with Ostovach in the hallway. Abner and Katarzyna demur his offer to have a drink in the common room, but Gregore joins him and Jean-Baptiste. Jean-Baptiste tells Gregore about the experience with the hag in the swamp.

Tuesday, September 2nd, 758, Illmarsh, Ustalav

The next morning, they all rise at various times. Gregore knocks on everyone’s door and heals them as needed. Down in the common room, they have breakfast, served by the prickly innkeeper, and talk about their next steps. Ostovach decides to go to the general store to get bug repellent, and Katarzyna goes with him. The rather uncivil merchant has several magic items, for which he asks exorbitant sums. Katarzyna declines, and purchases the insect repellent. They leave, and run into the others, Ostovach informs them of the merchant’s attitude and his magical wares.

Abner is suspicious, so he breaks into the unoccupied room of the only other person staying at the inn, joined by Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna and Kendra. They determine that the guest is probably NOT an import/export agent as he claimed. They also discover that he probably had some sort of altar set up in his room.

They gather their gear and skirt around the swamp, taking a few minutes to reach Undiomede House. There is a stream of water coming from the front door of the house. Katarzyna casts her protective spells. Abner spots a cemetery near the manor. There is an area where the wall of the house is missing, and Abner goes in to check it out. There is rotten furniture, but little else of note. In one of the rooms, there is a giant boulder set into the wall, with runes inscribed upon it. As they quietly approach the northeast corner of the house, they overhear a conversation between two people inside the house, one of whom has a baby tucked under his arm. Katarzyna overhears the guy threatening to harm the baby, and she fires off a Glitterdust spell to incapacite them. Jean-Baptiste and Ostovach run around the house to the collapsed wall and into the hallway on the other side of the door to the room. Kendra shoots the man sitting on the bench, and Abner breaks in the door.

Abner goes over to the acolyte holding the baby and attacks him with his straight razors. Jean-Baptiste breaks open the door, and Ostovach rolls into the room and catches the baby as the cultist drops it to draw a weapon. Ostovach rolls away from the cultist, clutching the baby to him and keeping his back to the cultist. The robed cultist rounds on Abner, and strikes him for a grievous wound. Gregore casts Burning Disarm on the attacking cultist, causing him to drop his weapon. Katarzyna casts a Web Bolt at the blinded cultist. Gregore tries to cast Hold Person on the cultist, but it doesn’t work. The blinded cultist manages to break free of the Web Bolt, and Jean-Baptiste shoots at him almost as soon as he stands up. Katarzyna casts Stoneskin on the baby, as she takes it from Ostovach so he can continue the fight. Jean-Baptiste shoots at the blind one again, and he hears a banging noise as something comes barreling down the hallway. Jean-Baptiste tells the others that “we’ve got company—fish man”. Kendra sees the creature, a female humanoid monster of aquatic derivation, coming down the hallway and shoots it with her gun. Ostovach gets up and draws his other sword, advancing toward the monstrous fish-woman. Gregore comes in through the window. The blinded man casts a spell, and wounds everyone with negative energy, including the baby. When the other cultist goes to cast a spell, Abner scores a nasty hit. Gregore tells Katarzyna to get the baby out of the room, and Katarzyna runs out of the room with the baby, fishing through her gear for a potion to pour down the baby’s throat.

Inside the room, Abner attacks the prone cultist. Gregore Pulses, and it heals them, including the baby. The fish-woman strikes Ostovach, knocking him past Jean-Baptiste, wounding him severely. Ostovach lands on his back, stunned. Jean-Baptiste drops Ostovach’s sword on his prone, but conscious form, and Jean-Baptiste attacks the fish-woman. The fish woman ignores Jean-Baptiste and attacks Ostovach again, and the blinded priest unsuccesfully tries to do so as well. Abner attacks the blinded cultist, and kills him. The frenzied fish-woman continues to ignore Jean-Baptiste, and kills Ostovach outright. Jean-Baptiste thinks the creature might be a brine-born, or swamp giant. Gregore tends to Ostovach, breathing life back into him the same way he had saved Katarzyna the previous day. He tells Kendra to get the baby from Katarzyna, and protect the baby so that Katarzyna can rejoin the fight. Kendra immediately runs to Katarzyna, who is hiding behind a ruined outbuilding. Katarzyna hands off the baby and runs back to the room.

Abner is attacked by the brine-born. A mist emanates from her mouth and wafts over to Abner. Ostovach stands up, and Gregore Pulses. Katarzyna zaps the brine-born with a Magic Missile. The brine-born speaks another spell in Abner’s direction. Gregore casts Searing Light at the brine-born, while Ostovach fires off an arrow, which seems to have little effect. Katarzyna fires off another Magic Missile, finally killing the brine-born, and Abner immediately severs its head. Katarzyna immediately runs out of the house back to Kendra and the baby, and tells Kendra that the coast is clear.

Abner immediately sets about searching the bodies of the slain villains. The brine-born was wearing an item of special note, a fish-gold armband [WOTW p.32]. Gregore tends to Ostovach, and Katarzyna brings the baby over to Gregore. He examines her, and lets them know that she is healthy. After he is healed, Ostovach offers to take the baby back to Illmarsh, so Katarzyna hands the baby off to him. He promises to return as soon as he can hand the baby off safely to someone in Illmarsh. With the immediate danger past, Katarzyna goes in and looks at the large boulder in the hallway wall. She notes that the rock is inscribed with Aklo runes.

Meanwhile, Jean-Baptiste continues his exploration of Undiomede House. He calls out to Katarzyna, and she leaves the hallway and enters a large rotunda with rough-hewn stone columns. The columns are actually the standing stones of a druid ring, called menhirs. Kendra enters the room and looks at the menhirs as well. When Katarzyna looks at the menhir at the northeast corner with Detect Magic, she notices that it is similar to a Phase Door. Kendra notices that the stone is inscribed in Aklo. She also notices that some portions have strong druidic markings, and that there is a depression where some sort of very specific object would be placed, possibly a key of some sort. Kendra also recognizes a symbol of Shub-Niggurath. Gregore tells them that Shub-Niggurath and Yog-Sothoth (the being from Carrion Hill) were ancient gods. He also mentions the reality warping goals of the Whispering Way. Jean-Baptiste urges Abner to go up the staircase, who finds a door at the top of the balcony. Jean-Baptiste and Abner go through the door, where they find a room with a low hearth and an elegant painting and other items, but there is a man with a trident in the room.

The man bears a resemblance to the son of Albor Voltiaro, and he is wearing a large helmet. Unsurprisingly, a fight ensues. Kendra and Katarzyna are still downstairs, so they have to hurry up the stairs. Albor Voltiaro hits Abner with a spell that knocks him out of the fight quickly. He attempts a Slay Living spell on Katarzyna, but it dissipates before it reaches her, for some unknown reason. They continue to lob spells and bullets at Albor Voltiaro. Eventually, they prevail, but Albor Voltairo’s head explodes in his final moments. Their elation is short-lived, as they realize that Albor Voltairo’s body has become another type of creature that is still fighting them. Katarzyna launches a lightning bolt at the creature. The nosoi takes off from Katarzyna’s shoulder, and tries to attack the tentacled creature, but misses. Jean-Baptiste manages to land a solid hit with his aberration-bane sword. The fight continues, and Katarzyna gets another good shot at it with a lightning bolt. Jean-Baptiste takes it down with his next attack.

Abner and Jean-Baptiste take potions to recover from the ability damage caused by the creature. Katarzyna investigates the room, looking for magical auras. She finds several items of interest on the corpse of Albor Voltairo. Looking at his body, she notices some unusual anomalies. Katarzyna decides to do a quick incision to look at his thoracic cavity and abdominal viscera. While Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Katarzyna quickly dissect the body, Ostovach returns.

Gregore wonders aloud about Shub-Niggurath and Dagon. They aren’t related gods, and he wonders why Albor Voltairo would be involved with both. Ostovach hefts the trident, and points out to Katarzyna that it appears to be made for a creature with longer, webbed fingers. Abner shows them some smoking pipes that he found. One of them, a scrimshaw pipe, is carved in the style of one of the images in the Pnakotic Manuscripts. Kendra translates the Aklo cartouche on the pipe, and to no one’s surprise, it is the name Shub-Niggurath. This leads to a protracted discussion in which Gregore, Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna and Ostovach talk about the demiplane of dread, Ravenloft, the Mists, Ossumbra, Grewin’s home plane, the hound archon, Scotland, the Dark Tapestry, and the Whispering Tyrant. There are so many tantalizing threads and mysteries, but for the moment, tying them together is elusive.

They continue to investigate the upper floor of the house. In the first room, they find a portrait of Claudius Undiomede and his son Manus. Kendra tells them that Claudius’ ancestor Cassius Undiomede was a pirate, and the lord of Versex decided to ennoble Cassius so that he could tax Cassius’ fortune.

Katarzyna opens a door, and there is a room with a collapsed east wall. The next room is a nursery, and west of that is a large office. Just off the office is Claudius Undiomede’s bedroom, with his wheeled chair. This room has a staircase that leads to the cupola. Abner ascends the stairs, and sees some crates and objects off to the side of the stairs. In the bedroom, Jean-Baptiste sees what can only be described as a tear in the fabric of reality. Coming out of this rift are two hellish hound creatures, who immediately attack.

The group faces off against the two creatures. Ostovach and Abner close with them and attack, and the creatures attack them in return. One uses a gaze attack on Abner, causing his skin to become greenish in hue and oddly distorted. The other one uses the same sort of attack on Ostovach, and it’s even more harmful. Jean-Baptiste attacks that one, and manages to wound it, but it’s not the devastating attack he was hoping for. One of the hounds leaps away from Abner and jumps into the void that it came through originally, then reappears through another rift in the wall behind Kendra, hitting her with its attack. The other one, fighting with Ostovach, rapidly blinks out of existence, almost too fast to keep track of. Gregore desperately summons the hound archon, who arrives almost instantaneously.

Abner attacks, wounding his target slightly. The hellhound jumps at Abner, moving away at the last moment. The attack doesn’t seem to affect Abner, but he is disoriented for a moment. The other one tears into Ostovach, or tries to, but it runs into the wall, stunning it for a moment. The hound archon immediately attacks the stunned creature. Jean-Baptiste attacks it as well. Katarzyna touches it with her Grave Touch ability, weakening it. Abner attacks the other one, wounding it again. Katarzyna uses her Grave Touch again, frightening the beast. Abner’s target leaps through the ceiling, jumping through and causing new rifts, while the other one also makes a leap toward a corner into another rift. The light in the room seems diffuse and otherworldly, but within the span of a few moments the room seems to return to normal.

Katarzyna goes to talk to the hound archon, who engages all of them in conversation about the hellhounds. He says the group is marked by Dagon by carrying his items. Katarzyna tells the hound archon that they are hoping they can find a way to get him out of “Ravenloft” so he can return to his home plane. When Katarzyna mentions Ossumbra in the discussion, the hound archon says that he can travel back to his home plane from there. Katarzyna tells him as much as she can about their experience in Karpad and the shadow mirror realm that led to Ossumbra. The hound archon tells them that he had been trying to travel to Lamordia, having heard that there is a way to leave Ravenloft in that realm. He bids farewell to Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste and the others, then speaks privately with Gregore, and leaves.

Abner goes and retrieves the bundle from upstairs, which contains a book. Kendra is able to read the cover, it is the name Shub-Niggurath. They discover that they have found the Book of Abstruse Geometries, stolen from Sincomakti University. It seems to be a book for summoning all sorts of dimensional shamblers. There are other items of interest in the book, including spells for teleportation and planar travel. Katarzyna is especially interested in the spells.

Abner and Jean-Baptiste go up the stairs to the cupola and widow’s walk. They find the corpse of a cultist, who had been brutally crushed in a depression in the floor of the cupola. The roof of the cupola is retractable, and is currently open to the sky. As they ponder the fate of the hapless cultist, a shadow passes over Jean-Baptiste and Abner. They hear a loud shriek as the great winged creature flies off into the diffuse fog hugging the swampy landscape. Downstairs, Katarzyna, Ostovach and Gregore hear the shriek, and they bound up the stairs to the cupola level. Ostovach sprints up to the cupola first, and Jean-Baptiste fires his gun up through the open roof of the cupola. The winged creature hears the report of the Jean-Baptiste’s gun, and it quickly flies back to Undiomede House. The creature barrels at the three gathered on the open cupola, but Jean-Baptiste dives through the trap door in the nick of time. The creature grabs Abner, but Ostovach attacks the creature as it passes by with Abner in its clutches. Ostovach rips through the creature’s wing, keeping it from flying away with Abner. The creature careens into the cupola, and drops Abner, almost landing on top of him as it falls, but Abner adroitly rolls out of the way. Katarzyna pops up on the cupola level and hits the creature with a lightning bolt. She rapidly fires off another one, then runs back down the stairs. Kendra pops up from below and shoots it with an Acid Arrow, and Jean-Baptiste fires off an acid bullet. The creature ignores all of them and focuses its attacks on Abner and Ostovach. Abner attacks it again, and finally manages to kill the creature. The creature thrashes around, knocking Ostovach down as it spasms in its death throes. Katarzyna runs back up when the sound of thrashing subsides. She inspects the body of the slain creature, which bears a strong resemblance to the dragons of the Scotland book. Ostovach notices Abner’s disheveled appearance, and uses Prestidigitation to clean Abner’s gore-soaked garments.

They return to the ground floor and continue to explore the manor house. Abner finds a small room in the hallway that turns out to be a privy, and a small bedroom with a narrow bed. Katarzyna looks at the surfaces of the menhirs in the hallway, which have the now familiar Aklo writing. Abner finds another room to the west of the small bedroom, clearly used mainly for storage with old crates and desiccated food storage. Kendra goes into the room, and spots signs of a scuffle in the room. She also sees signs of blood. Abner looks around, and finds a saddlebag in the room. He opens it, and finds a box in the saddlebag. There is also a broken box on the floor nearby. The broken box looks like it may have once held a small statue.

Ostovach and Katarzyna go into the other room, the westernmost door. It seems to be a carriage house. They both freeze as they hear a sound coming from the stalls. Katarzyna motions for Ostovach to check it out, and he drops his sword as soon as he sees what’s making the noise. It is a piebald mare, that looks like she hasn’t been fed in several days. He starts soothing the mare, and gives her an apple. Katarzyna approaches to get a closer look at the mare, but it’s clear she prefers the company of Ostovach.

They finish exploring the house, and decide to stay there for the night. They decide to use the second floor room in the northeast corner of the house, the memory of the fight with the hellhounds is too fresh for them to stay in Claudius Undiomede’s bedroom. Katarzyna reads as much as she can from the Book of Abstruse Geometries. Abner and Jean-Baptiste while away some time trying to remove a particularly fine painting from the wall, getting it ready to transport.

Wednesday, September 3rd, 758, Illmarsh, Ustalav

The night passes without incident, and they awaken and prepare for the day. Ostovach is down in the carriage house, tending to the piebald mare. Katarzyna casts her preparatory spells, including casting Stoneskin on Ostovach. They are all gearing up to go through the Phase Door in the menhir down in the rotunda. Jean-Baptiste places the keystone amulet on the menhir. It seems to match up to a series of runes. They see a shimmering image of stairs leading down beyond the menhir. Jean-Baptiste activates the portal and Abner goes through. Jean-Baptiste removes the amulet as he goes through, which closes the Phase Door before the others can proceed through it. When Jean-Baptiste reseats the amulet on the other side, it opens the portal so that the others can come through. The tunnels are damp and cramped, ranging in height from five to fifteen feet. It appears to be natural stone, with a few signs of being worked in places. There are some stalactites, but no stalagmites on the floor of the cavern or the stairs.

The stairs open to a wide natural cavern. An alcove to the north contains a glass tank. Inside the tank stands a perfectly preserved corpse of a man. There is a smell of compost emanating from the tunnels to the west. Katarzyna recognizes the corpse as the person who was featured in the statue in the center of town, Cassius Undiomede. There is also a bell, and a lectern with a book on it. A quick glance reveals that it is the journal of Cassius Undiomede. Ostovach gently snaps his fingers, alerting them to sound coming from the south tunnel. Abner quietly scouts down the tunnel, and he hears garbled vocalizations as he moves forward.

Before Abner can proceed very far, they are attacked by a huge amphibious creature, and combat ensues. Other amphbious creatures enter the fray. Gregore summons a giant feline creature. Jean-Baptiste goes running down another tunnel. Moments later, he comes running back, shouting that there is a giant mutated plant creature down that tunnel. Katarzyna goes down the tunnel until she can see the cavern, and throws a Web spell into the area, though she doesn’t see the creature that Jean-Baptiste mentioned.

After defeating the fishy creatures, Katarzyna and Ostovach go down the tunnels in the dark to scout ahead, Ostovach using a special ability to adapt his vision to see in the darkness. They find a large open chamber with a sizeable pit, and the mournful sound of a woman singing emanating from the pit. They return to the main chamber and tell the others what they’ve seen.

The group returns to the chamber, noticing patches of bioluminescent violet fungi, and there are bedrolls and what appear to be dressmaker dummies strewn about all over the floor of the cavern, several are child sized. Katarzyna casts Spider Climb on herself and climbs across the ceiling to look down into the pit on the far side of the room. Abner also approaches the pit, and looks down to find a naked woman cradling a baby and singing to it. Jean-Baptiste and Abner investigate the raised platforms. Jean-Baptiste takes a closer look at two of the dressmaker dummies, and discovers that they are in fact the dessicated remains of a woman and a baby. Jean-Baptiste goes to the pit and climbs down the ladder. He sees that the woman’s skin has a slightly orange hue. Jean-Baptiste talks to the woman, but she doesn’t remember her name and is clearly delirious. Jean-Baptiste sees that she is cradling the desiccated remains of a baby, which looks like it might be a hybrid of a human and an amphibian. Jean-Baptiste calls Gregore over to try to help the woman. Jean-Baptiste, Gregore, and Katarzyna realize that the woman is pregnant.

They eventually decide to explore the south tunnel leading from the room with the delirious woman. The tunnel goes 250 feet, then opens up into a cavern. There appears to be some kind of throne setup in the back of the chamber, and a chest near the center of the large room. There is a desiccated fish man on the ground near the small alcove to the west. Toward the throne, they see a well with colored energy emanating from it, glowing and swirling up into the chamber. Ostovach, Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste are fascinated by the colors, and are overcome by listlessness and ennui. Abner approaches it, and is attacked by the creature, and his skin starts to sizzle. Gregore breaks the enchantment on Katarzyna, and tells her to help the others.

They battle the creature, and eventually defeat it. When Katarzyna goes to examine the area from which it emanated, she sees that it was leashed to the cauldron by a chain that was affixed to the floor. Abner goes over to the chest and opens it. He notices that there is a set of matched rapiers. They are heavier than he expects, and they appear to be made of cold iron. There is an etched detail of demons falling under the sword. There is some kind of shield device where the haft meets the guard. The rapiers are magical as well as the leash. Kendra thinks that the creature is known as a “color out of space” that lives in the same voids as the Dark Tapestry hellhounds and similar creatures.

They all notice that they are dehydrated from fighting the energy creature, and a bit worn out. All except Ostovach, that is. They reason that because Ostovach was under the spell of the creature during the fight, it was immune to its side effects. Katarzyna and Kendra look at the leash of force, and Kendra thinks that it might be able to be worked loose.

There is coinage in the chest. It appears to be pre-Ustalavic. In a small compartment is a sort of book. Jean-Baptiste looks at it. It is covered in wax. It looks like it might have at one time been a military payroll ledger for a country called Cheliax. Kendra says that at the end of the Shining Crusades, that Kaldor and Mendev imprisoned the Whispering Tyrant. She thinks this may have been the prison of the Whispering Tyrant. This causes them all to wonder if that is the case, where is the Whispering Tyrant now? There is still the matter of the other tunnel leading off from the cavern of the dessicated corpses.

The group decides where to go next. Gregore is loathe to leave the shambling mound webbed up behind them. Kendra decides to use her Mind’s Eye to look down the western tunnel. Katarzyna reviews the journal of Cassius Undiomede. He talks about his first meeting with the Neighbors. The text doesn’t describe them, but makes reference to submerged tunnels at the bottom of Avalon Bay at the base of the Tern Rocks. Later entries detail his lordship and the Fostering Pact. “I can only ensure the health and prosperity of Baytown by giving up my daughters and the daughters of my heirs”.

They decide to go into the shambling mound chamber and destroy it before moving on. Gregore heals Abner from the earlier fight. They decide to attack it from both tunnels. Kendra, Abner and Katarzyna attack from the west tunnel, while Ostovach, Jean-Baptiste, and Gregore attack from the east tunnel. Katarzyna drops the Web spell in the chamber, and the group rolls in to attack. The floor slopes down toward the north of the cavern, which is submerged under fetid water. A grotesque mound of mold and spores rises up to meet them. Gregore advances on the creature first, followed by Kendra, Jean-Baptiste, Abner and Ostovach. They defeat it, but Abner is wounded badly. Gregore tends to him, as Katarzyna examines the helm that is found on the other side of the cavern. It is a strange helm, that allows the wearer to see and breathe underwater. Kendra uses her third eye to determine that it once belonged to a marine officer named Thomas, who fought against the hordes of the Whispering Tyrant. The activating phrase is “always faithful”.

Gregore starts doffing his breastplate, which was damaged by the shambling mound. He uses a Make Whole spell to restore the dented armor. Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna and Ostovach dissect the shambling mound. They find some small bits of bone. Katarzyna is able to determine that the bones are from female individuals, and that there are some fragments that look like they are from children.

Gregore works with the pregnant woman, and manages to bring forth one of her more competent personalities, who calls herself Melissa. They manage to get her clothed and ready to travel. They activate the Phase Door and leave the cavern complex. They return to the house above, and gather their items and prepare to leave. Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste go to the family cemetery near the site. They see only a few graves, including the most recent one for Claudius Undiomede, who died 40 years ago. The oldest grave is for Cassius Undiomede, but it is sunken. Since they had already seen where the remains of Cassius Undiomede ended up, the condition of his grave is not unexpected. Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna and Gregore regroup at the house and talk about what it all means. Gregore mentions Judge Embreth’s note, and speculates that this is all part of the Whispering Way’s plans to destabilize the Whispering Tyrant’s prison.

They decide to go back to town, and take “Melissa” and the piebald mare back to Illmarsh. They ask at the town hall, and are told that Mayor Greedle is not there, but they are welcome to try his home. When they arrive at the mayor’s house, the door is ajar, and Gregore goes in to to investigate. Gregore does not find the mayor, or any significant amount of blood. Jean-Baptiste also investigates the area. Katarzyna keeps Melissa outside while the others investigate the house, to keep her from being traumatized by anything they might find. Jean-Baptiste searches the scene and finds very little evidence, but he does find a fish scale.

The sherriff arrives, and starts an argument with Jean-Baptiste. They leave the house and decide what to do next. Clearly the mayor has been kidnapped. Gregore takes Melissa back to the inn. The others also retire to the inn. Jean-Baptiste spends the evening reading Arisid’s Journal.

When Katarzyna retires to her room, she goes to start reading the Book of Abstruse Geometries. She hears a voice in her head, that says “be careful”. Surprised, she looks over at the nosoi, who is currently in the shape of an ordinary bird, cleaning its feathers. It speaks to Katarzyna in Celestial, and tells her the it can bond with her if she wishes it. Instead of reading, as she had planned, she spends the rest of the evening performing rites and rituals with the nosoi’s instruction. During the night, Katarzyna wakes up in the middle of a summoning circle. She hears a haunting melody.

Gregore deals with issues related to Melissa/Sarah, who keeps cycling through her personalities. He also meets Layla, a personality who seems to be about six years old.

Thursday, September 4th, 758, Illmarsh, Ustalav

In the morning, Gregore talks with Abner and Ostovach about helping Melissa/Sarah/Layla with her issues. Ostovach knocks on Katarzyna’s door, then Jean-Baptiste’s, and informs them that they will be meeting for breakfast soon. Katarzyna helps Melissa get dressed into decent clothes. The others discuss what to do, and Ostovach suggests letting the town herbalist, Jallene Halrush, take care of the girl while they’re out. They go to her shop, and Gregore speaks with Jallene. She agrees to take care of Melissa/Sarah/Layla.

They go next to see Horace Croon. He is very upset to learn the truth about the Neighbors and the daughters of Illmarsh. He agrees to help them go to Tern Rocks with Croon’s submersible. He asks for Ostovach’s help in preparing the ship. Kendra and Jean-Baptiste go the general store, where Katarzyna had spied the magical items. Jean-Baptiste uses his strange ability on the shop owner. The spiders spread out across the floor. The man agrees to sell them the portable hole for 3,000 GP. The man chats with Jean-Baptiste a bit, his tongue loosened by the strange ability. He mentions that his family has not been “blessed by Dagon” with daughters they could give to the neighbors. After they leave, Jean-Baptiste tells the others about this disturbing conversation.

They return to the Lonely Key where Ostovach is helping Horace Croon. They see the submersible fully out of the water for the first time. Horace Croon ushers them onto his boat. Ostovach and Gregore are not going to be in the submersible, so Katarzyna casts Stoneskin on them. Gregore has the helm of swimming, and he plans to cast a spell on Ostovach to help him breathe underwater. Gregore tests the helm in the shallow water by the boat. He tells Jean-Baptiste that he will probably need a spell to help with the cold.

Kendra mentions something called a soulgate, and says that they should talk about it more later. As they sail out toward the Tern Rocks, it starts to rain. Katarzyna ducks under the submersible to avoid the rain. Jean-Baptiste and Gregore spot something in the water as they get closer. Gregore asks Horace if he has ever encountered a sea creature with large tentacles. Katarzyna’s nosoi tells them it is the Watcher in the Deep. It comes belowdecks and talks to Katarzyna, and she gives it some morsels of food.

Horace Croon maneuvers the Isenglass to the Tern Rocks, and they see the bodies of criminals decomposing in their shackles on the shore of the desolate islets. He shows them how to operate the submersible, and gives them air breathing tubes with a single breath of air in it. He then shakes the mens’ hands and kisses the ladies’ hands, and bids them good luck.

They descend in the submersible. When they are almost to the halfway point, they see a leviathan coming toward them, flanked by two sharks. Katarzyna uses her Feast on Fear ability to target the leviathan, but it has no effect. Jean-Baptiste turns himself into an aquatic creature to engage the sharks and the giant squid. Kendra and Katarzyna are horrified to see that the giant creature casts a spell, launching a lightning bolt at Ostovach. The two sharks then attack Ostovach, but he eludes them for the moment. Jean-Baptiste prepares spells to allow himself and Abner to leave the diving bell and join the fight. The leviathan latches onto the diving bell. It squirts ‘unholy blood’ into the diving bell. Everything inside the diving bell is covered in the thick black blood. Jean-Baptiste dives out of the bell and uses Enlarge Person on himself, and battles the creature. Katarzyna causes one of the sharks to flee. Ostovach and Jean-Baptiste manage to kill the leviathan as it tries to flee.

Jean-Baptiste maintains his amphibian form and continues his descent. Abner returns to the diving bell. The diving bell continues to descend as well, and it is hot and oppressive inside. There is a dome of dully shining grey metal on the seabed below. The diving bell settles on the seabed floor, then Croon lifts it so that it is five feet above the seabed. Katarzyna is instantly buffeted by the weight of the ocean as she exits the diving bell, taking a fair amount of damage. The nosoi stays in the diving bell. They come to a place where a sort of permeable membrane allows them to enter a space with breathable air. Abner swims with Kendra to the cave entrance, and Ostovach carries Katarzyna. Gregore still has the helm, so he simply walks along the seabed to the cavern entrance. Abner and Kendra arrive at the portal first, and he pushes her through before him. Jean-Baptiste maintains his fish-man form. Gregore and Ostovach are last to enter the cave. Ostovach tells them to wait, and he returns with his armor. Eventually Jean-Baptiste’s spell ends and he reverts to his natural form. Katarzyna contacts her nosoi and asks if everything is okay, and it gives her the all-clear.

They walk 60 or so feet down the cavern passageway. There are jars with some sort of bioluminescent fungi. The enter a dark room, with a repulsive fishy smell and a sickly green glow in the feeble light of the lantern. It is an enormous area, and Jean-Baptiste gives them all darkvision, except for Katarzyna, who already has it. Ostovach puts away the lantern. They hear a bubble sound, and they see a rend in the fabric in reality as two hideous creatures emerge from the rift.

They immediately attack Abner and Jean-Baptiste. Katarzyna hits it with two Magic Missiles, and it teleports away from Jean-Baptiste and reappears near Katarzyna and attacks. Kendra shoots one, doing grievous damage and killing it. The other creature immediately disengages from Abner and Gregore and attacks Kendra. Katarzyna hears movement on the other side of the cavern and goes to investigate. She sees a group of attackers amassing, so she throws a Web on them. She then hits them with Waves of Fatigue. Meanwhile, the others continue to fight the other outsider, finally felling it. Ostovach asks the others if they’re okay. He calls out to Katarzyna, but she doesn’t answer right away. They do see a huge flame as Katarzyna sets the Web ablaze with Burning Hands. Eventually a couple of the creature emerge from the burning webs, but they are different from the others they’ve faced. Their skulls have been cut away to expose the brain. Katarzyna throws a lightning bolt down the hallway, killing the two creatures lumbering toward them, and the bolt continues down to cavern. There are a few standing at the end of the hallway. There are about eight of them, some who don’t seem fatigued, but it’s clear they have been through a harrowing experience. Katarzyna throws a Glitterdust down the hallway, blinding a few of the fatigued fish-men. Jean-Baptiste kills one of the two that ran up to engage. Kendra shoots at the other and kills it. She then goes down the hallway and uses Burning Hands to finish off the fatigued group in the hallway. Ostovach kills the last remaining opponent.

In the cave complex beyond the hallway, the group finds carvings depicting ‘deep ones’ fornicating with human women. In one of the chambers they find a baby blanket with some residual fish scales. In the next cave, they fight a creature they later identify as a zill, then they face off against a hellhound. After these harrowing fights, they are all hit with a Flame Strike, and Gregore struggles to keep them all in fighting shape. Subsequent to that, they battle a deadly dretch. Eventually they confront a cleric or oracle of Shub-Niggurath, and defeat him after a strenuous fight. Kendra is almost killed at one point, but a remarkably lucky blow from Katarzyna of all people manages to save her from death. They quickly deduce that the cleric of Shub-Niggurath had summoned the creatures. Among the items discovered after this fight, they find a grime-encrusted mace, which they discover is very effective against undead. It had once been used by a Warrior of the Shining Crusade who fought the Whispering Tyrant. It is a holy relic of the faith of Pharasma, and it has been missing for a long time. Gregore decides to hang on to it and use it, and no one objects. The group thinks that the mace might have something to do with the Raven line in the Whispering Way poem.

Kendra uses her third eye to investigate the tunnels nearby. In one, she sees a creature feeding corpses into some sort of machine. In another, she sees a giant creature with a bizarre body, like an animal, with arms and legs each seemingly comprised of an entire human body. It is difficult for her to describe to the others, but she tries. Everyone blanches at her description. Continuing her scouting, Kendra sees another cavern, this one containing a statue. They decide to rest and regain their abilities, in case they are heading off to face more troublesome foes. They fight the two creatures that Kendra has seen with her third eye, the ones feeding corpses into the machine that rendered them into some sort of grotesque pulp. They find Mayor Greedle’s body, and the bodies of several other individuals. One of the bodies was clearly one of the girls held captive by the fish-men. During the night, they fight a creature that attacks from the hallway.

Friday, September 5th, 758, Illmarsh, Ustalav

They break camp in the grotto room, and gear up and get ready to continue through the complex. Abner inspects the corpse-pulping machine. To his horror, Abner’s hand gets stuck in the machine. Katarzyna wonders aloud what the actual purpose of the machine is, what use the cultists would have for the pulped remains of the lobotomized people. Abner manages to get his hand out of the machine, though he is injured, and manages to remove one of the crystals that powers the mechanism. Gregore tends to Abners injury, and Abner continues trying to disable the device and retrieve the other three crystals.

Jean-Baptiste inspects the doorway at the east end of the grotto room, and cautiously looks through the permeable membrane into the large chamber beyond. He returns to the others, and tells them that the doorway leads under the dome that they saw from outside when they were underwater in the submersible. There are four of the migo creatures in the room, and one of them is pulling the brain out of a seemingly deceased human body.

At the doorway, Katarzyna and Kendra creep up to the edge of the permeable membrane, to see for themselves what Jean-Baptiste had seen. They see the four migo, and the unfortunate human having his brain removed. They return to Abner and Gregore, and Abner gives Kendra one of the crystals from the device. She inspects the crystal, and tells them that it is a very rare mineral, one she has never seen in person, and that it might not be from the realm of Ravenloft.

Jean-Baptiste hands Katarzyna the silver wand. It appears to be crafted of an unknown alloy and crystal, and it requires two hands to use. Katarzyna is unable to learn anything useful from it. Kendra offers to commune with spirits to discover the properties of the wand.

Abner wants to eliminate the two migos in the passage just north of the grotto room, after he disables the corpse-pulping device. He is finally able to remove the last crystal. Jean-Baptiste wants one of the crystals, and so Abner gives him one.

They go to the north hallway. Abner tries to assassinate one of the creatures before it can react. Unfortunately, the attempt does only a small amount of damage, and the creature whirls to face Abner. Kendra strides into the hallway and shoots at one of the creatures. It grabs her, and Katarzyna shoots it with a Magic Missile. Ostovach attacks the one threatening Abner. Gregore pulls out the healing wand and uses it on Kendra. Jean-Baptiste runs in and stabs the one attacking Kendra. Kendra attacks the migo again, and Katarzyna shoots it with Magic Missiles again. Jean-Baptiste also attacks it, and finishes the creature before it can react. That leaves just the one engaged with Abner. It attacks Abner four times. One of the attacks makes Abner drop one of his weapons. Gregore calls out that they’ve got company, and he runs out and engages the two other migo outside. Gregore hits one of the ones outside, and Jean-Baptiste swings and misses. The migo inside the small room attacks Abner and Jean-Baptiste. It tags Jean-Baptiste, but he quickly kills it.

Abner picks up his weapon, and runs out of the room to face the other two migo. Jean-Baptiste attacks one of them as well. Finally Katarzyna’s Feast On Fear ability affects one of the creatures and it flees up the north tunnel. Ostovach switches its attack to the other migo. Katarzyna sees the migo that had fled running back down the hallway, covered in blood. It falls down, and is dragged back into the darkness beyond. Meanwhile, Abner finishes off the one inside the room, while Ostovach finishes off the other one out in the hallway, Gregore then heals the others.

Kendra again attempts to describe the creature in the chamber that presumably attacked the fleeing migo. Katarzyna asks the nosoi, still in the diving bell, if the description sounds like anything it had ever seen, but it doesn’t sound familiar.

Abner and Jean-Baptiste are very curious about the creature in the north room, so they take the lantern and go forth. Katarzyna and Gregore have reservations about facing the creature. Abner, Ostovach and Jean-Baptiste go down the tunnel, and get a look at the creature. They get a look at the room, but don’t see any sort of creature in the room. The room is filled with an appalling stench. Jean-Baptiste creeps into the room, moving deeper in, goading the creature into revealing itself. Abner goes back to the bodies of the migo, and cuts off the head of one of the creatures. Jean-Baptiste launches the severed head into the abbatoir, hoping that it will lure the creature out of hiding. Nothing happens. Abner gets another one, and throws it in. Again, nothing happens. They decide to leave the cavern. Before they can, though, the floor erupts and giant stone spikes shoot out of the floor. Katarzyna and Kendra are out in the main chamber when this happens. Jean-Baptiste and Abner are able to satisfy their curiosity as the creature comes into view. They all run out of the room, injuring themselves on the floor spikes, and as they emerge into the hallway, Katarzyna throws a Web spell into the tunnel. Gregore comes out limping and gritting his teeth. He asks Katarzyna to use Prestidigitation to clean his boot, which is filled with blood. Jean-Baptiste and Ostovach enthusiastically describe the creature to Katarzyna, who listens with bemused patience. Gregore doesn’t seem the worse for wear, so they get ready to go further into the complex. They decide to explore the “brain room” next.

The walls of this room are lit with a subtle glow. This room is rectangular in shape, unlike the natural caverns elsewhere. Abner immediately wants to destroy all the jars with brains in them. Katarzyna urges caution. She notices magical auras on the jars. Gregore counts the brains, and there are 14 brains, and he tells them that they are still alive. Kendra stands in front of one of the jars, and she hears the sound of someone speaking coming from the jar with a tinny sound. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna come over, and Jean-Baptiste and Kendra are able to determine the function of the knobs on the jars. One of the knobs controls the clarity of speech. They can also speak into one of the tubes. Jean-Baptiste and Kendra speak with one of the brains. Katarzyna looks at the rest of the brains, and notices that there are human and fishfolk brains. She looks at all the brains and tries to glean information about them. Jean-Baptiste continues to talk to the brain in the jar. The brain that Jean-Baptiste is speaking with is named Matilda. She tells him that the last thing she remembers was being at home in Illmarsh, baking a pie. Jean-Baptiste promises to get her a new body. She tells him that if he cannot, then he must destroy what is left.

Katarzyna counts 5 brains that belong to the fishfolk/deep ones. She talks with Jean-Baptiste and Kendra about what to do next. Abner impulsively wants to destroy the empty canisters, but Kendra and Katarzyna again stay his hand. They try to talk to several of the brains, but five of them are completely unresponsive or speak in gibberish. Jean-Baptiste marks the canisters with unresponsive brains. The seventh brain they speak with seems to be Mayor Greedle. He is barely coherent, but he speaks to them in plaintive tones about stopping Shub-Niggurath. Jean-Baptiste wants to speak with one of the fishfolk. After trying a couple jars, he finds one that can speak coherently, and the fishman tells Jean-Baptiste that he wanted to bring something called Cthulu to this world, but instead brought the migo and the color-out-of-space. The fishman says that they had been shipping all the brains to the Dark Tapestry through the druid circle at Undiomede House. He is unrepentant and abrasive in his conversation with Jean-Baptiste, so when they are done talking, Jean-Baptiste has Abner destroy the canister and the brain inside. Abner is unable to break the glass, but he does open the latch and dumps the brain out onto the floor, killing it.

They decide to attack the group of migo in the domed room. Katarzyna tries to start a conversation about tactics, but is quickly shut down. She does, however, cast Stoneskin on Gregore and Ostovach. Gregore tells them about Goldana, who faced the Whispering Tyrant. They are all inspired by his speech. Jean-Baptiste then starts a discussion about tactics, and they all listen. Is is then that Katarzyna suggests sneaking in first and throwing some area-of-effect spells on the migo, softening them up for the others. They all agree to this approach.

Katarzyna tries to sneak into the room first to hit them with Waves of Fatigue, but one of the migo sees her, and she has to defend herself from its attack instead. The others immediately join the fray. Ostovach rolls in and attacks the migo on Katarzyna, followed by Jean-Baptiste. Other migos attack, and at the same moment, the head of the corpse on the table explodes in a rain of gore, and grotesque slugs writhe and churn out of the cranial cavity. Ostovach manages to kill one of the migo, and shortly thereafter Kendra kills a second one. Katarzyna, blocked from attacking or casting spells because she is behind the others, casts Spider Climb on herself so she can get a better view of the room. She sees an appalling sight, the mass of slugs has become a creature pulsating and coalescing into an amorphous mass with tentacles. Jean-Baptiste also sees it, just as he kills one of the migo. “Oh my god, we have a god,” he quips. He shouts to the others that the huge creature is a manifestation of Shub-Niggurath, as he rushes to engage another target. There is an eerie chanting as the creature continues to metamorphose. Katarzyna and Kendra can understand the Aklo incantation, “the way is laid bare for you, come Shub-Niggurath”. They pass this information along to the others, in breathless shouts as they move about the room.

The fight continues. Kendra casts Gravity Bow on her weapon. Gregore casts Angelic Aspect, forming his now familiar wings of Mist. Shub-Niggurath, or rather the newly formed avatar of the dark god, attacks Abner and wounds him severely. Katarzyna hits the abomination with a Lightning Bolt, but it doesn’t seem to do any damage. The creature continues to attack. Jean-Baptiste attacks and hits it, as does Abner. Kendra uses her Gravity Bow and True Strike, and she appears to do some damage to it. Several of the group see disturbing dark shadows and the terrifying silhouette of giant tentacles in the murky water outside the dome. Katarzyna’s spells are ineffective, so she stays out of the fray, as Abner, Gregore, Ostovach and Jean-Baptiste attack the writhing avatar of Shub-Niggurath. Kendra hovers in the background, waiting to dole out healing to those who need it. Kendra heals an ailing Abner, who had borne the brunt of several of the creature’s attacks, and Ostovach attacks it again. Jean-Baptiste attacks it a final time, and all the chanting Aklo voices reverberate into cacophony, as the creature lurches and falls down, dead.

Without waiting to catch his breath, Ostovach goes over to the body and grabs it and a bin, and some other items nearby. Abner also starts taking stock of the room, while Gregore eyes his comrades to see if anyone is severely injured. Within moments, they hear ominous noises as the glass dome above starts to crack. They all decide to make a hasty exit through the permeable membrane between the domed room and grotto room. The esoteric equipment in the room is also starting to spark and overload, and eventually water starts to trickle in through the larger cracks. Jean-Baptiste is the last one in the room, curious about the strange equipment and trying to find some means to identify its function.

In the bin retrieved by Ostovach, there is a scimitar. It has a magical aura, emanating moderate evocation magic. It has very small serrations, and an inscription that says “fear the way, for we will have your blood”. With Kendra and Katarzyna’s abilities, they determine that it has the ability to cause wounds that won’t close, causing the target to bleed continuously. Abner claims the scimitar with considerable enthusiasm. They also find a chain shirt, wrought from two different types of metal. The pattern of links resemble roiling clouds. This item also has the telltale aura of magic, this time having an aura comprised of conjuration and illusion magic. Kendra determines that it is a suit of Shadow Mist mail, and that it was a legendary suit of armor worn by the prince of Barstoi. It is said that it could turn the prince into a fog cloud. Ostovach is the ultimate recipient of the item, after a brief discussion. They also find a leather belt with a bronze buckle featuring a bull’s head and a sunburst, as well as Akiri glyphs. The belt is magical as well, having the property of moderate transmutation. The Akiri glyphs translate to ‘renewer of life’ and ‘strong bull as Mother Hathor’, with Hathor being the god of strength and fertility. Jean-Baptiste becomes the wearer of this belt. The other noteworthy items in the bin are a puzzle box and a scroll tube. The box, which Abner carefully opens, contains the Sea Sage Effigy, which gives off a magical aura of strong divination and transmutation. There is a diamond worth five hundred gold pieces, 155 platinum coins, and a Whispering Way amulet. The scroll tube contains a note. It reads

“Necrophageous secrets whisper, through chronicles of Raven’s tongue.”

“These words now familiar to you are your next task, take the Sea Sage Effigy to G.L. in Illmarsh and exchange it for the legendary mace, then join your partner in Caliphas and the Carrion Crown can finally be completed for the glory of the Whisperer. A."

They leave the grotto room, and return to the room with the brains in jars. All of them have lost access to whatever strange assembly imbued them with sustaining power, and they learn to their dismay that all the brains inside the jars have died. They talk about the logistics of trying to bring back Greedle, but ultimately decide that it is impractical and probably wouldn’t succeed anyway. They also talk about trying to dispel the permeable membranes throughout the cave complex, to flood the entire enterprise and hopefully kill the abomination in the room north of the hallway, the last loose end. They also talk about dealing with the creature directly. Jean-Baptiste is loathe to deal with it, but Ostovach is eager, having an especial dislike for such creatures. They also talk about using Katarzyna’s Dimension Door to leave the complex, and they ultimately decide to split up. Katarzyna takes Kendra and Abner back up to the Tern Rocks with her Dimension Door, and Katarzyna takes the box with the Sea Sage Effigy with her, as well as the scroll tube. The plan is that Katarzyna will bring the other three back with another casting of Dimension Door after they have satisfied their curiosity about the cave complex and the last remaining creature. Jean-Baptiste also asks them to try to locate some kind of a pipe, so that they can span the permeable membrane with an opening that will allow the influx of water in a relatively controlled manner. Since she has several castings of Dimension Door, Katarzyna plans to use one of them to give them the pipe, if Horace Croon has one that is suitable.

Up on the Tern Rocks, Katarzyna, Kendra and Abner see Horace Croon on the deck of the Isenglass, and after they wave to get his attention, he rows over in a small dinghy and takes them back to the boat. Croon tells them that the Watcher In the Waves had filled the water with tentacles while they were away. Croon gives them a pipe, and Katarzyna uses Dimension Door to try to give the item to Jean-Baptiste. He says it’s not big enough, so Croon takes some time and crafts a larger pipe.

Meanwhile, down below, the domed room slowly fills with water, and the sparking machinery finally shuts down completely. The permeable membranes keeping the water out of the caves start to give way. Gregore, Ostovach and Jean-Baptiste frantically push through the membranes and swim away from the caves as fast as they can, donning their water-breathing items as they do so. Jean-Baptiste again takes the form of one of the fishfolk, Ostovach dons the breathing helmet, and Gregore uses one of Jean-Baptiste’s infusions to breathe underwater. Gregore and Jean-Baptiste manage to swim clear as the water finally rushes into the air-filled complex, but Ostovach is pulled into the caves with tremendous force. Jean-Baptiste watches in horror as Ostovach disappears into the darkness.

In the Isenglass, Kendra, Abner, Katarzyna and Croon see a massive air pocket erupt from the water’s surface. Katarzyna and Kendra quickly surmise that the dome has collapsed, and that the permeable membrane doors have failed. Katarzyna empathically links to the nosoi, who confirms their hypothesis. Gregore eventually manages to swim to the diving bell, where he talks through the nosoi and tells the group in the Isenglass that Ostovach was sucked into the caves and that Jean-Baptiste went after him. Katarzyna is very nervous, as is Croon, and they all wait for what seems an eternity, until the nosoi tells Katarzyna that it sees a person swimming out, holding a limp body. When Jean-Baptiste and the inert Ostovach arrive at the diving bell, the group above begins the process of raising it.

Inside the submersible, Gregore examines Ostovach, who is alive, but unconscious. Gregore is dismayed to discover that Ostovach has suffered a broken spine, as well as numerous broken bones, lacerations and internal injuries. Gregore does what he can to stabilize Ostovach’s condition, but his ability is limited by the constraints of the diving bell. Two hours pass as they raise the diving bell, which finally breaks the surface of the water. Croon rows out to them in the dinghy, and Jean-Baptiste and Gregore drag the limp form of Ostovach onto the boat. The nosoi also breaks the surface and flies up and away.

Gregore asks for Kendra and Katarzyna’s help to try to heal Ostovach. Katarzyna starts tackling the worst of Ostovach’s injuries, using her skills as an anatomist to set bones and repair deep tissue wounds. Croon has a healer’s kit, and Katarzyna and Gregore make good use of it. Gregore and Katarzyna have to perform a trepanning on Ostovach to relieve pressure from his brain swelling. Gregore also calls Abner over. He tells Abner to take a coin and beat it into the thin shape of the bit of skull that he removed. Abner quickly makes the metal plate. Katarzyna gets busy making incisions with her adamantine surgical knife, directed by Gregore. Between Gregore, Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna, with assistance from Croon, Abner and Kendra, they dress Ostovach’s wounds, covering the trepanning incision with the bit of bone and the metal plate. Kendra then uses the healing wand to help Ostovach along with the healing. Abner also continues to work on hammering the dent out of the helmet. Just when they think they’re finished, Gregore notices a yellow tinge to Ostovach’s skin. He tells Katarzyna that there is a bone fragment piercing the liver. Katarzyna makes an incision just beneath the rib cage and Gregore removes the fragment. Kendra has to use the wand several times to assist in the surgical effort, as various bits of flesh are cut away and stitched back together. Katarzyna makes judicious use of her Prestidigitation cantrip to keep all the items and implement clean and free of contaminants.

It’s about 6 p.m. as they raise anchor and head back to Illmarsh. They are eager to get Ostovach back so he can rest in relative comfort. They cobble together a stretcher to keep Ostovach immobilized. A couple of hours later they arrive at the wharf, and they manage to make their way to Croon’s house around 10 p.m. Gregore and Jean-Baptiste get Ostovach ensconced in the main room, near the fireplace so he can stay warm. Kendra and Katarzyna decide to sleep in the main room as well, watching over Ostovach in case his condition changes during the night. Both women are rather tired, so they quickly fall asleep. Jean-Baptiste stays up with Horace Croon for a bit. The nosoi hovers near Ostovach, its medicine mask more ornate than usual. It sings a low dirge.

Saturday, September 6th, 758, Illmarsh, Ustalav, Teleport to Lepidstadt, Ustalav

They awaken early, Gregore prays to Ezra and Katarzyna prepares her spells. Gregore checks on Ostovach as soon as he finishes his prayers and ablutions. Gregore starts casting a spell called Rapid Repair. Katarzyna watches intently. Gregore makes a small incision to remove the metal plate in Ostovach’s skull. He then sets the skin back together to let the skin knit together magically. Gregore has Jean-Baptiste remove the straps on makeshift stretcher. After a few moments, Ostovach opens his eyes and blinks. He is stiff, but he seems okay. He is happy to be done with the harrowing ordeal. He tells them that he was awake for most of his bones being broken as he was carried through the caves. Other than a small patch of hair that was crudely cut for the trepanning, he looks none the worse for wear.

Shortly thereafter, Croon wanders into the main room in his smallclothes, and shuffles toward the kitchen. He catches sight of the others in the common room, all staring at him with quizzical expressions, so he hurriedly returns to his room for a robe.

Jean-Baptiste tells the others that he wants to confront the people of Illmarsh about their collusion with the fishfolk. While the others finish their preparations to leave, he walks into town and locates Sherriff Rill Anders. Jean-Baptiste gives him the abridged rundown of everything that happened with the fishfolk. He tells the sherriff to gather the townfolk at high noon.

At noon, the group returns to the town hall, where only the sherriff, the surly innkeeper and Jallene Halrush have assembled. Jean-Baptiste nevertheless delivers his rousing speech to the three people present.

After the trio of townsfolk disperse, the group discusses their plan for their next steps. Kendra wants to head directly to Caliphas, to track down “A” and the other riders of the Whispering Way. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna want to use one of Katarzyna’s newly learned spells to rapidly travel to Lepidstadt. Katarzyna wants to speak with Judge Daramid, to fill her in on all of the major things that have happened since they left the city weeks prior, and Jean-Baptiste wants to speak with the judge as well. Gregore wants to travel with them, and he wants to bring the young girl they rescued from the fishfolk’s lair under Undiomede House. There are quick farewells as they break into two groups, bound for two different destinations. Kendra gives Katarzyna a warm hug, and a hastily written note to give to Judge Daramid.

Lepidstadt: Katarzyna, Jean-Baptiste, Gregore and “Sarah” use a Teleport spell to travel to Lepidstadt. They arrive at Kendra’s townhouse without incident. Sarah is a bit freaked out by the experience, but Gregore calms her down quickly. Gregore and Sarah head downstairs, where they hear whistling from the kitchen. Gregore speaks briefly with a suprised Victor and a delighted Jominda. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna hear the reunion in muffled tones upstairs.

Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna also speak with Victor, then walk to Judge Daramid’s house, enjoying the rare chance to take a moment and just be in the town. They arrive at the estate, and they enter after a brief conversation with the butler. They are shown into the parlor, where they await Judge Daramid. The butler asks them if they want refreshment, and he has servants bring tea and biscuits. When they greet Judge Daramid, Jean-Baptiste greets her with a strange Aklo greeting. Embreth is perturbed by this greeting, and her eyes dart accusingly at Katarzyna, who is also looking at Jean-Baptiste with concern. The moment passes, and they turn to talk of the groups exploits since leaving Lepidstadt. Embreth is devastated to learn the Farren is dead. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna trip over each other trying to tell her of all the things that have happened. Embreth is very disturbed to learn of several of the things they’ve run across, most especially Arisid’s Journal and the mace they describe. Abruptly, Judge Daramid asks Katarzyna if she will vouch for Jean-Baptiste, and Katarzyna says that she will. She then asks Katarzyna to leave while she questions Jean-Baptiste alone. She does insist that Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste have dinner with her that evening. Judge Daramid questions Jean-Baptiste at length, in the same way that she had questioned Katarzyna and Kendra before him. She seems somewhat more at ease with him after hearing his answers.

Meanwhile, Katarzyna goes out shopping for a bag of holding. She also pops back into the townhouse to let Victor know that they won’t be there for dinner. He is crestfallen, but she tells him that they will be there for breakfast. Katarzyna’s shopping odyssey first uncovers a mind-master’s eyes. They look like thin-faceted ruby crystal contact lenses, that allow the wearer to ensorcel or beguile monsters or people. She also meets someone who knows someone who has a belt for sale. It is one that allows one to attain physical perfection in strength, nimbleness and agility. It’s tempting, but she doesn’t have the money for it (65,000 GP). She also finds someone willing to sell a Staff of the Dark Flame (45,000 GP) and a ring of wizardry (100,000 GP), but they are much too expensive and really unsuited for her. She also finds a ring of the ram, which grants the wearer the ability to command a force energy ram at a distance of 50 feet. It currently has a full set of 30 charges. The ring is 8,500 GP.

As she is making the rounds of all the local peddlars and collectors in Lepidstadt, a strange man takes her into a shop, where he asks her if she is affiliated with the Lepidstadt Government, her answering in the affirmative ends the would-be transaction. She continues shopping, and runs across a Gunfighter’s Poncho, from the mainland, which gives a bonus to AC due to the amount of luck of the original wearer, and once per day the wearer can negate a single ranged touch attack. It costs 14,000 GP. There is also another cloak, which is for sale at a bar that is failing. The bar owner gives Katarzyna a sob story about a sick wife, which she quickly recognizes as a bargaining tactic. The cloak is made from the skin of a manta. It is a cloak that imparts some of the abilities of the creature. While swimming, it can turn the wearer into a manta ray. It imparts swimming and underwater breathing abilities. The man wants 7,500 GP for it. Katarzyna also runs across an old witch, who is selling an ioun stone. It is deep red and spherical, and it increases the users ability to dodge things. The witch is asking 6,000 GP for it.

Katarzyna returns to Judge Daramid’s estate after several hours of shopping. She rejoins Embreth and Jean-Baptiste as they are finishing up the long interview, and they all sit down for dinner. They are joined by Mikael at dinner, and Judge Embreth tries to subtly encourage discourse between Mikael and Jean-Baptiste. Katarzyna is uncharacteristically quiet at dinner, but Mikael seems to like Jean-Baptiste. The night runs pretty late, with lots of drinking and talking, and Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna return to the Lorrimor Townhouse in a hired carriage.

Illmarsh: After Katarzyna, Gregore, ‘Sarah’ and Jean-Baptiste leave for Lepidstadt, Kendra, Abner and Ostovach discuss their next steps in Illmarsh. Ostovach tells Kendra that Jallene Halrush, the apothecary, wants to travel with them to Thrushmoor, so that she can get out of Illmarsh for good. Ostovach and Kendra discuss the logistics of making their way toward Caliphas, whether it’s better to travel overland or to take a boat back to Kamover. Horace Croon reminds them that he owes them all some coin. He gives Kendra 5,000 GP in gold bars. Horace Croon also agrees to take them to Kamover in the Isenglass. Kendra notices Sherriff Rill Anders watching them load their belongings onto the Isenglass.

They set out in the afternoon, and Croon tells them that the trip should take about 8 hours in total. There is a squall that blows in around 3 in the afternoon, and Jallene is quite seasick. They arrive at Kamover around 9:30 in the evening, so they decide to stay in the Isenglass for the night rather than venture into town. They feel the boat turning in the wind, making an arc in the water around the anchor.

Sunday, September 7th, 758, Kamover, Ustalav; and Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Kamover: In the morning, Croon is greeted by Marley, they are obviously well-acquainted and amiable with one another. Kendra greets Marley warmly. Marley sends his boat over to help them ferry their things from the Isenglass to the Kamover shore. The fishermen help Jallene and Kendra to the shore, but Abner bullies a young man named Thomas who tries to take Kendra’s hand to help her out of the boat. Marley tells them that Mags is up if they want breakfast. Mags tells Kendra at breakfast that a man named Ebron and his wife have already traveled through Kamover, stating that they were moving away from Illmarsh/Baytown.

Abner and Ostovach go to deal with the vardo, then realize that they can’t dispel the magic that placed the vardo in the tapestry. They remember that the spell is scheduled to automatically dispel the following day, so they decide that they have to stay another night in Kamover. Kendra tries to have some items made by the local blacksmith, but the items are beyond their capabilities. Ostovach works with the piebald mare they rescued from Undiomede House, and she seems to be responding quite well to his efforts, both in health and attitude.

They all spend the day resting and recuperating and cleaning all of their items to rid them of the stink of Illmarsh. Kendra takes a hot bath. Mags brings out a product called “down bay cleaner” that will rid their belongings of the stench of Illmarsh. Jallene also avails herself of the cleaning and relaxation. Kendra and Abner spend the evening with Marley, drinking whiskey, until they fall asleep on the floor.

Lepidstadt: Victor prepares a wonderful breakfast, and Jominda joins Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna for breakfast. Gregore is still sleeping. Jean-Baptiste talks with Jominda, having never really spent time talking with her one-on-one without Gregore. Jominda wants to have lunch at a new place. She also wants to have a spa day, and Katarzyna is enthusiastically on board with the plan. Jean-Baptiste is less enthused. Jominda tells them that her friend Lydia will join them. Jominda goes up and passes Gregore in the hallway, and sends him down to breakfast. Jean-Baptiste goes to the University of Lepidstadt after breakfast. He speaks with his friend and teacher Lazaro about the Sinkomakti University in Rozenport. Lazaro gives Jean-Baptiste a Palatine Eye greeting when they part ways. Katarzyna spends the morning reading the Book of Abstruse Geometries, preparing spells, and getting ready for lunch with Jominda, Lydia and Jean-Baptiste. Victor arranges a carriage, and they pick up Lydia on the way to the restaurant. Lydia lives in student housing, but it is the upscale sort. Lydia is clearly either an elf or a half-elf, and she makes no effort to hide her distinctive elven ears. From her stature, it’s clear that she’s not an Ustalavic half-elf. She is pale, with long brown hair, quite pretty and well dressed. She is originally from Darkon, where Jominda is also from. She has been going to school in Ustalav for three years, and before that she studied in Lamordia.

They arrive at Malenia’s spa. They offer saunas, mud baths, and hors d’oeuvres. There are also bards playing music. They are given robes and relinquish their clothes as they decide on their spa services. Katarzyna opts for a mud bath, while Jean-Baptiste decides to go for the sauna. Jominda joins Katarzyna in the mud bath, while Lydia joins Jean-Baptiste in the sauna.

Lydia is incredibly knowledgeable about the law of various domains, and Lydia and Jean-Baptiste have quite a connection. They have a lively conversation about all sorts of subjects, and lose track of time in the sauna, until an attendant suggests they take a brief swim in a cooling bath. Lydia tells Jean-Baptiste that she is 82 years old, and that she is not a full-blooded elf.

Meanwhile Jominda and Katarzyna quietly enjoy their mud bath and wine. After the mud bath, Katarzyna opts for a massage. Jominda and Katarzyna mainly talk about Gregore’s exploits since they left Lepidstadt before. Katarzyna is sure to fill Jominda in on everything Gregore has done, especially his most heroic moments, including how he saved her and Ostovach from certain death in Illmarsh.

Eventually, the four of them regroup for lunch. Gregore joins them for lunch as well. Jominda mentions that they’re having dinner at the townhouse, and Katarzyna invites Lydia to dinner. Jominda kicks Katarzyna under the table, and Katarzyna realizes her faux pas. After lunch, Katarzyna and Jominda go to get pedicures, while Jean-Baptiste and Lydia go for a walk by the river, followed by a leisurely boat ride.

Things take a romantic turn for Jean-Baptiste and Lydia during the boat ride after lunch. Gregore, Jominda and Katarzyna spend the afternoon shopping, and Jominda introduces Katarzyna to a new parfumerie in the posh shopping district. Katarzyna buys more clothes and two bottles of perfumes with distinct scent profiles, though both are based on floral essential oils. Katarzyna also gets in a couple hours of reading before dinner. At one point Jean-Baptiste questions Katarzyna about the magic items she found the previous day, and she gives him all the information on the items that she can recall. Jean-Baptiste also has a discussion with Jominda about poisons, though he take pains to make sure they are not overheard. Jominda also inquires about Jean-Baptiste’s opinion of Lydia. Jominda asks Jean-Baptiste if he is going to go pick up Lydia for dinner, and he assures her that he will do so.

True to his word, Jean-Baptiste walks over to Lydia’s boarding house and escorts her back to the Lorrimor townhouse. They compliment each other and fall into an easy, comfortable discussion. Without realizing it, they take a more circuitous route back to the townhouse than they need to, loathe to end their private discussion.

Victor prepares a superb meal, and everyone is impressed by his work. He prepares a warm broth of cloudberry, roasted bone marrow, langueston roasted with a lavender vinaigrette, and everything is inspired by the cuisine of Nova Vaasa. Jean-Baptiste toasts Victor’s efforts. Dessert is moss cooked in white chocolate. There is also white wine. There is also brandy after dinner. Katarzyna, Lydia and Jean-Baptiste also sing after dinner, and make exceptionally good music together. Lydia impresses everyone with her knowledge and abilities. The evening goes late, and Katarzyna is the first to retire. Jominda and Gregore are next to go to their room. Victor excuses himself to clean the kitchen with the hired staff. Lydia asks Jean-Baptiste to take her up to the rooftop deck. Eventually Lydia agrees to stay the night with Jean-Baptiste, and they take their connection to the next level.

Monday, September 8th, 758, Kamover, Ustalav; and Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Kamover: Kendra awakens in Marley’s house, but Marley and Abner aren’t present. There is bread and smoked fish on the kitchen table, obviously meant for her to break her fast. She hears noises coming from the barn, so she goes out there. She finds Abner, Marley and Ostovach preparing the vardo, which had apparently rematerialized from the ending of the spell. They spend the rest of the morning preparing to leave Kamover. They set out for Thrushmoor in the afternoon.

Lepidstadt: Jean-Baptiste walks Lydia home in the morning, and tells her that he wants to see her again. He agrees to meet her for lunch, since they are planning to leave the following day. Jean-Baptiste then goes in search of the cloak of the manta that Katarzyna told him about the previous day. He finds the man Katarzyna mentioned at a bar called Manannán mac Lush. The barkeeper, whose name is Seymour, tells Jean-Baptiste about his wife Laryn, who is very ill. She apparently has gangrene in her leg, and has already had her foot amputated in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease. Jean-Baptiste is quite sympathetic to the man’s plight, and decides he wants to help, regardless of the cloak. He goes back to the townhouse to speak with Gregore, and asks if he would be willing to help the Laryn. Gregore promises to do what he can, but he would need help from another, more powerful cleric.

Gregore prays to Ezra, then he and Jean-Baptiste go back to Seymour’s bar. Gregore asks Jean-Baptiste to keep Seymour occupied while he tends to Laryn, who is burning up with fever. Gregore tends to Laryn for a while, then comes downstairs when he has done all he can. He tells Seymour that he had to cut away more tissue from the poor execution of the amputation of her foot. Seymour rushes upstairs to see Laryn, and they are crying with happiness that she is clearly no longer in danger of dying from gangrene. Downstairs, Gregore and Jean-Baptiste talk about how to help Laryn with her amputated foot. Gregore suggests to Jean-Baptiste that he should consider buying the cloak from Seymour, and letting him decide whether to use the money to have her foot regenerated by a cleric of Pharasma.

A couple hours later, Seymour and Laryn come downstairs. They are still overjoyed and excited, having resigned themselves to a painful and unavoidable fate and receiving instead an unexpected reprieve. Jean-Baptiste offers to create a prosthetic foot for Laryn, and spends some time doing so. The result isn’t perfect, but it works well enough, and Laryn is able to walk tolerably well on her first try. After a few tentative steps, she tells them that she thinks she will need a crutch for awhile. Eventually Jominda arrives at the bar with a bunch of cleaning supplies and other items to help out. She also gives Laryn a drought to allow her to rest. Jominda has to burn a lot of the bed linens and such, since everything in Laryn’s sickbed is contaminated.

Jean-Baptiste realizes after a bit that he’s an hour late for lunch with Lydia. He rushes over to the university as soon as he realizes. He doesn’t find Lydia immediately, but he asks around and finds her in the library. He explains why he was late, and she is quickly mollified by his explanation of the events that transpired with Seymour and Laryn. They sit out on the lawn and eat cheese from a street vendor. They chat for a bit, and promise to meet again that evening at Manannán mac Lush.

Jean-Baptiste spends the rest of the afternoon following up on Katarzyna’s information about the man who approached her the previous day. He doesn’t have any luck with that, however. He then returns to Manannán mac Lush, but Seymour and Laryn have gone out and the bar is empty when he arrives.

Jominda returns to the townhouse and knocks on Katarzyna’s door. She tells Katarzyna about Seymour and Laryn. Katarzyna is absently contrite that she dismissed the man’s story as a ploy to sell his magic item. She tells Jominda that she will meet them for dinner at Manannán mac Lush, but Jominda can tell that Katarzyna is much more interested in getting back to her reading than having a conversation.

Jean-Baptiste goes to Judge Daramid’s house to pick up Lydia. The butler ushers Jean-Baptiste into the salon, where Embreth and Lydia are engaged in conversation. Embreth tells Jean-Baptiste that she thinks very highly of Lydia. Embreth decides to meet them later at Manannán mac Lush. Seymour has several of his friends at the bar when they arrive. Seymour serves Jean-Baptiste Tepeshtani whiskey. Jominda and Gregore arrive a little while later. Laryn greets Jominda warmly. Jominda tells Jean-Baptiste that she tried to knock on Katarzyna’s door before they left, and that Katarzyna was too engrossed in her book and didn’t answer any of her knocks. Jean-Baptiste is talking with Seymour when the bar suddenly goes quiet. Jean-Baptiste looks around and realizes that everyone is taken aback by the arrival of Judge Daramid. Mikael also arrives. Lydia eventually sings a song for all of them. Eventually everyone except Katarzyna finds their way to Manannán mac Lush. Even Victor shows up. Jean-Baptiste borrows the cloak of the manta from Seymour, and gives him gold to hold as collateral.

Lydia has to leave earlier than the others, and Jean-Baptiste walks her home. He returns after the evenings festivities, and shows up at Lydia’s apartments. Lydia is sleepy, thinking that she would see Jean-Baptiste ‘later’, not ‘later that night’. She pulls him into her house and they curl up together and go right to sleep.

Meanwhile, Katarzyna spends most of the day reading the Book of Abstruse Geometries. She gets in a full day of study on the book, learning a great deal and making it over halfway through the tome (26 hours in). She loses an hour giving Jean-Baptiste instruction on what he needs to do to pass his initiation rite into the Order of the Palatine Eye. Katarzyna can tell that a weaker mind than hers would be adversely affected by the contents of the book, and that her own will might be challenged while finishing the book. She’s so engrossed in the book that she forgets all about dinner at Manannán mac Lush, though in truth she didn’t feel like socializing anyway. There are spells in the book that detail summoning creatures from other planes, as well as contacting other planes. Katarzyna is especially intrigued by these. Eventually she falls asleep.

Tuesday, September 9th, 758, Thrushmoor, Ustalav; and Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Lepidstadt: Jean-Baptiste wakes up early at Lydia’s apartments, but she has a full day at the museum. He promises to see her later in the week, thinking that he is headed back to rejoin Kendra and the others in Thrushmoor. He returns to the townhouse, where Katarzyna is up and preparing to leave for Thrushmoor. Gregore, Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna talk about what to do next, and they decide that Katarzyna will return to Thrusmoor alone, and bring Kendra back with her. Ostovach and Abner will remain in Thrushmoor until the four of them return, probably on Saturday. After that, the six of them will continue their journey to Caliphas. Jean-Baptiste asks Katarzyna to bring back a book, Matreus’ Lost Expedition to Vechor. He also gives her the cloak of the manta ray to put in the vardo.

Jean-Baptiste has the day to spend in Lepidstadt, so he goes to buy a nice set of clothes to replace his travel-worn items. He also goes to the library during lunch, and finds Lydia out on the lawn talking with two of her fellow students. He makes plans to see her after her work with Judge Daramid that evening. They plan to have a dinner together, just the two of them. He spends much of the afternoon crafting acid bullets for his guns. He goes to Judge Daramid’s house to pick Lydia up at the end of her work day. He speaks with Daramid as well. They end up eating dinner at the same restaurant where Jean-Baptiste and the others had been poisoned weeks earlier. Lydia talks some more about her upbringing, her half-elf woodsman father and her shy wood elf mother. She also tells him about Necropolis in Darkon. Jean-Baptiste tells her about the Lopper and his missing years. He also mentions that he has a book on Vechor. He doesn’t go into detail, but does talk about the events in Feldgrau in vague terms. He also talks about Grewin, who was from ‘somewhere else’. She tells him that she has been to places that no longer exist, that are where the Shadow Rift now exists. Jean-Baptiste relates that Ustalav itself was once apart from Ravenloft. They decide to spend the night together again, this time at the Lorrimor Townhouse. They run into Gregore and Jominda, who are concerned that Katarzyna hasn’t returned as expected. Jean-Baptiste says that if Katarzyna doesn’t return the following day, they’ll figure out some other way to get back to Thrushmoor and rejoin the others and find Katarzyna.

Thrushmoor: Katarzyna arrives in Thrushmoor without incident. She teleports to the Star Stelae in the center of town, and she is alone in the misty meadow when she arrives. She makes her way to the inn that they stayed at on their previous visit. She speaks with the innkeeper, and learns that Kendra, Abner and Ostovach had arrived the previous evening. And while Ostovach had risen early and gone out, Abner and Kendra had not come down for breakfast yet. Katarzyna orders breakfast and sits down in the common room to wait for the others to assemble. Abner comes down first, and speaks awkwardly with Katarzyna, followed by Kendra moments later. They have breakfast, then Katarzyna finds Ostovach at the stables and tells him what’s going on. She then grabs the book for Jean-Baptiste from the vardo. She and Ostovach talk about arranging a visit between him and his sister, who lives in Marian Leigh, a town that Katarzyna hasn’t been to and therefore can’t teleport to. They talk about possibly moving his sister to Ravengro and having Ostovach visit her there. She could live in the Lorrimor estate, and they would introduce her to the people in town that they trust. They talk at length about the logistics of making that happen.

Katarzyna stays in Thrushmoor the rest of the day, and gets to know Jallene a little better. She also hangs out with Kendra and Abner, but things are rather tense between her and Abner. Every time Abner makes a suggestive joke, Katarzyna is put off by it, not realizing he is joking and finding him crass. The rift between them widens.

Finding little to occupy her time in Thrushmoor, Katarzyna returns to the vardo and rummages through the book collection. She picks up the Dream Journal of the Pallid Seer, and spends six hours reading it. It talks about the Nightmare Lands, the Nightmare Court, and a shaman named Mulonga, a member of the Nightmare Court. She finds the book fascinating, but like most of the books she’s read lately, it is rather disturbing in the things it describes.

Wednesday, September 10th, 758, Thrushmoor, Ustalav; Ravengro, Ustalav; and Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Thrushmoor: Katarzyna has nightmares, but can’t remember them the next day. She assumes that reading the Dream Journal of the Pallid Seer probably caused the nightmares. She talks with the nosoi about the book, and it checks it out. It asks if the book is magical, and Katarzyna checks. Katarzyna also enlists Kendra’s help. Kendra does her third eye seer trick to inspect Katarzyna and the book. She takes out calipers and does a phrenological exam. She also takes out her crystal skull and looks through it. She gives Katarzyna the all-clear, but says that there is some ‘stress’ in her aura.

Ravengro: Katarzyna, Kendra and Ostovach teleport to Ravengro. They arrive at the Lorrimor Estate. It’s quite dusty. Kendra is concerned that Tresselblade appears to not be living there anymore. They walk to the town square and speak with Luthko Avanaki, and learn that Tresselblade is no longer living in Ravengro, and is no longer the acting sherriff. The new sherriff is a new guy in town, named Lance. There is also a new herbalist in the shop space vacated by Jominda. Katarzyna also speaks with Father Grimburrow at the cemetery. Ostovach sets up lines of credit with the vendors of Ravengro, and sends his message to his sister in Marian Leigh to have her come to Ravengro. They make arrangements for his sister to stay at the Lorrimor estate, and Marta and Luthko Avanaki agree to prepare the place for her arrival. Kendra and Katarzyna renew their ties with the people of Ravengro, running into Mirta Straelock and Gharen Muricar in the town square. After a few hours, Kendra, Katarzyna and Ostovach wrap up their activities in Ravengro and teleport back to Thrushmoor.

Thrushmoor: Kendra and Katarzyna immediately gather their belongings, say their goodbyes to Ostovach and Abner, then teleport to Lepidstadt.

Lepidstadt: Jean-Baptiste and Lydia awaken and have a bit of a lazy morning together. She wants to go feed the ducks, and they do so. They part around 11 am, and make plans to see each other that night. They talk about going to a dance hall. She mentions a very tricky dance called the Dance Of The 23 Steps. Jean-Baptiste plans to spend the rest of the afternoon at Lepidstadt University’s library researching the Dark Tapestry and Aklo. The Aklo tome references the Thassalonian Empire, and makes references to places he’s not familiar with. There are references to Emperor Xin and the Fall of Thassalon. There are people called runelords, who were tied to various absolute sins like Wrath, Envy, Sloth, etc. Jean-Baptiste gets so caught up in reading that he doesn’t realize how much time has passed. He and Lydia decide to spend the evening at the music hall. She wants to stop by her home to change, and Jean-Baptiste wants to stop by the Lorrimor Townhouse to check to see if Katarzyna has returned.

Eventually, in the afternoon, Kendra and Katarzyna arrive at the Lorrimor Townhouse. Katarzyna is feeling poorly, so she lays down for a nap in her room. Jominda comes to her with tea and sympathy. She gives her a tea that will help her fatigue. Kendra has a happy reunion with Jominda. Feeling better, Katarzyna continues reading the Dream Journal Of The Pallid Seer. Jominda comes in and asks Katarzyna if she is going to come to the dance hall with them. Katarzyna won’t say no outright, but Jominda can tell that she really wants to stay in and read. Jominda tries again later, but Katarzyna doesn’t want to stop reading. She reads it into the night, getting in about 8 more hours of reading. Katarzyna reads about dream seeds, and people who get trapped inside of their dream seeds. Most people’s dream seeds go away when they awaken. She learns about another member of the Nightmare Court, called The Dancer. It also mentions someone named Dr. Illhausen, who works at the mental institution. She is over halfway through the book when she finally falls into a fitful sleep.

Kendra asks Jean-Baptiste to help her with something to draw him away from Lydia. She talks to him privately about him taking his oath the next day. She tells him that she is going to go to see if she is required to do anything for the meeting. She also runs him through some practice on Aklo. Kendra talks to Jean-Baptiste about the book Katarzyna is reading, but they don’t seem too concerned about its effects.

Jean-Baptiste, Lydia, Kendra, Victor, Gregore and Jominda all go to the dance hall. The music is pleasantly loud, and they all take a much needed bit of relaxation. Lydia is a GREAT dancer. Everyone has a wonderful time. Jean-Baptiste and Lydia have another romantic night together.

Thursday, September 11th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Katarzyna is fatigued again when she awakens, and avails herself of Jominda’s tea again. She talks with Kendra about what they have to do that night for Jean-Baptiste’s oathtaking ceremony, and Kendra goes to Judge Daramid to find out what they need to do. Kendra informs Katarzyna that she will be challenging another member to advance her position, while Katarzyna will be expected to perform usher duty. Kendra gives Katarzyna her vestments as well as Jean-Baptiste’s vestments.

Jean-Baptiste and Lydia part ways, and he sets about preparing for his ceremony that night. Kendra goes to Jean-Baptiste to give him the rundown on what he needs to do to prepare for his oathtaking. Kendra seems concerned about how Jean-Baptiste is coming along with his Aklo. She spends most of the day drilling Jean-Baptiste in Aklo, at the same time she spends time using Jominda as practice for her phrenology. Jominda manages to escape from all the goings-on, and she and Gregore go out and get away from all the shenanigans.

A black carriage arrives to pick them up. Kendra, Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste are alone with their thoughts as they approach the cathedral. They have a comically bad Aklo conversation in the carriage, and before long they arrive at the Ventriloquist’s Pulpit.

The building is dilapidated, and they are met by robed escorts who bring them to a room where they leave their cloaks. They go to the changing area, where to everyone’s surprise they see Lydia and a man unknown to them. They exchange greetings, and Lydia and Jean-Baptiste fall into conversation. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna change into their diaphanous initiate garments. Initiates and ushers always wear the sheer robes that conceal nothing, but others in the order wear more elaborate and more modest attire. The man and Katarzyna are given the duties of watching the door and guiding people to their seats, and are told to remain silent as they are led out of the room by a higher-order acolyte. Lydia and Jean-Baptiste are alone in the dressing room. She asks him under her breath if he is really joining the group.

Before the ceremony, everyone gathers briefly in an antechamber. Lydia calls Jean-Baptiste over to speak with Judge Daramid. Embreth is talking with Kendra, admonishing her that she might not be making a lot of friends by being so aggressive in her challenges. Kendra is unconcerned by any perception of impudence on her part, and is eager to get to the challenge.

They are all in a giant room. Katarzyna guides Jean-Baptiste down to his seat. Mikael is also present. They talk about contributions to the society. They call out for Meshkenet (Katarzyna) and Amsarsatarta (Kendra) to take a bow for their accomplishments in recovering Arisid’s Journal, and keeping his scandalous revelations out of the hands of the lay population. After this acknowledgement, there are two challenges. Kendra’s challenge is the second challenge. Her opponent has chosen to do battle with Kendra in the sphere of phrenology, which worries Kendra. Attendants wheel out three skulls. Kendra and her opponent are each to examine the skulls closely, and write down their observations for each skull. Kendra need not have worried, as her phrenology observations earn her a perfect score of 15 points. Her embarrassed opponent earned only five points. It’s not even close.

After the challenges, there is a small ceremony in which they recognize the passing of Inspector Farren, and give recognizance to several members who move up in rank. Katarzyna/Meshkenet is advanced to Archangel, and is given robes, so she goes to change. She then returns to the room.

After the rankings, it’s time for Jean-Baptiste’s testing and oathtaking. First, they ask who speaks for Jean-Baptiste Harrow. Katarzyna/Meshkenet intones that she speaks for him. To the surprise of many present, Daramid and Mikael also vouch for Jean-Baptiste. Finally, Jean-Baptiste is asked to step forward. The male usher hands Katarzyna/Meshkenet a blindfold, which she places on Jean-Baptiste. Jean-Baptiste then begins the rite. He is asked a series of questions, which he answers well enough to satisfy the assembly. His final question is the one he asks, “What shall I be called?” Sebek-hu is Jean-Baptiste’s name in the Order.

The Road To Ilmarsh
Death stalks the party as they travel south from Carrion Hill.

Saturday, August 23rd, 758 Carrion Hill to the road south, Ustalav

Jean-Baptiste tries to get another key made for the book chest, but can’t in the time alloted. He does have a lock made for the other chest. He gets three keys, and gives one each to Kendra and Katarzyna.

They all gather and get ready to leave Carrion Hill in their new vardo. Katarzyna, Gregore and Ostovach ride in the vardo. Grewin sits beside Ploog on the running board. Jean-Baptiste rides his horse, as does Abner. Kendra rides her horse.

In the hills, a group of about eight guardsmen ride up to them. They are wearing green and black livery. Jean-Baptiste rides over to the guardsmen. They talk about the vardo. Two of them enter the vardo, where they speak with an annoyed Katarzyna. They return to their lieutenant. They continue their journey, and see a group of Pharasman priests, with gags in their mouths, clearly having taken a vow of silence. After awhile, around 10 pm, they arrive at their campsite.

Ostovach goes and gets a hare, and Abner cooks it extremely well. Katarzyna has managed to get in about six hours of reading on her Dark Tapestry book. It is extremely wet outside, so they try to bunk inside the vardo as comfortably as they can. Ploog sleeps on top of the vardo. Abner sleeps on the front of the vardo, while Kendra and Katarzyna sleep in the bed inside. Several of them set watches.

Sunday, August 24th, 758 Road to Hyannis, Ustalav

They head into the mountains. It is much cooler here than it has been. There is movement in the woods, and Ostovach and Grewin go into the woods to investigate. Kendra sees their horses unattended on the road. Kendra calls out, and she joins them as they come out with a doe. They spend some time preparing it for travel.

They arrive at the Diremark mountains. They crest the hill around 1 in the afternoon. It gets more lush as the trail descends toward the Danver River. They see smoke coming from Hyannis in the distance. Around 3 they reach the edge of the Danver River. They arrive in Hyannis around 5 in the evening. It is a gathering of forlorn shacks, a rather depressing sight. There is an inn called The Hag’s Breath. There are mining helmets acting as sconces. They sit down and order drinks, and Jean-Baptiste orders a round of drinks for the bar. A man named Pol approaches them. He chats briefly with them. He is rather strange in demeanor.

Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste share a room with two beds, and they talk about the Journal of Cygnus. Abner and Kendra share a room, and Gregore and Ostovach share a room. Grewin and Flandalene also share a room.

Monday, August 25th, 758 Hyannis to Rozenport, Ustalav

They rise early, and get ready to get back on the road. Jean-Baptiste leaves another round for them for after their work day.

They get back on the road. They are all itchy. Gregore “delouses” them with magic when they’re about a mile outside of town. Around 1 in the afternoon, the see two riders approach. Jean-Baptiste recognizes a mark of Lepidstadt University. He rides up and speaks with them. He talks with them about the university at Sincomakti in Rozenport. The two gentlemen are Jonathan and Lawrence, and they speak for a while with Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Katarzyna. The two gentlemen take their leave after a pleasant coversation, (other than some tension between Abner and Lawrence) and the group continues onward. They arrive in Rozenport around 5 pm. They look around for a nice inn. Katarzyna and Kendra get a room with piped in water. They stay at the House of the Seven Gables. Abner and Jean-Baptiste split another room. Katarzyna and Kendra have baths and put on their nice dresses before coming down to the common room. A man buys Katarzyna and Kendra Mordentish brandy, and he introduces himself as Robert Cunningham. They get along famously with Robert, and he invites them all to join him for dinner. They also go out for late “experimental theater”, and by this time Katarzyna is quite inebriated, so Kendra takes her back to the inn. Jean-Baptiste, Grewin and Ostovach join Robert for some opium, which is greatly affecting to the first-time partakers. They refer to this experience as “chasing the pegasus”.

Tuesday, August 26th, 758 Rozenport, Ustalav

Katarzyna and Kendra wake first, and go down for breakfast around 10 or so. Abner is there as well, nursing a hangover. At the opium den, Jean-Baptiste, Grewin and Ostovach awake around noon. Katarzyna and Kendra go to the library at Sincomakti University, thinking Jean-Baptiste is already there, but he isn’t. They meet a professor, Jean Thalman, who worked with Petros Lorrimor. They come to a room that is locked, and Jean Thalman tells them that it is mainly for university staff and students. Kendra offers a generous donation to the university. They meet Henri Meirtmane, the dean of expeditions. He brings them to his office, and offers them tea. It takes about an hour to set up the endowment, and the dean says that they will set up a new section of the library in Professor Lorrimor’s name. They are told that the book of Abstruse Geometries had been stolen recently.

Jean-Baptiste checks in with Abner, who tells him (grudgingly, sleepily) that Kendra and Katarzyna have gone to the library at the university. Jean-Baptiste, Ostovach and Grewin have breakfast, then Jean-Baptiste checks in with Ploog. He then goes to the university, and speaks with the man at the front desk, who is less than welcoming toward Jean-Baptiste at first. Kendra signs in Jean-Baptiste, who speaks briefly with Henri Meirtmane. Katarzyna and Kendra check out the “locked room” of books. A young student joins them, and chats briefly. His name is Garren, and he is studying “unseen energies”. Kendra finds a book called “Navigating the Mists”. Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna and Kendra discuss a concept that Kendra runs across in a book, something called the “prime material plane”. They discuss it as length, and a girl named Melanie tells them about a book recounting tales of people who appear out of the Mists.

Katarzyna, Jean-Baptiste and Kendra are reviewing the books they’ve studied at the Rozenport university library. They then return to their rooms and review their findings. Abner is finally feeling okay by evening, and Kendra goes and checks in on him. Katarzyna goes downstairs to have dinner, and joins Ostovach, who is already down there. They are joined by Gregore and Jean-Baptiste, and finally Kendra and Abner. They discuss their findings at the library. They talk about their next steps, and whether they’re going to leave the following day. In his room, Jean-Baptiste sees movement at the window. He sees a crow flying off. It lands on an adjacent roof, then turns into a cat, and runs away.

Wednesday, August 27th, Rozenport to Thrushmoor, Ustalav

They awaken and prepare to travel. Katarzyna notices that the food that Ploog has laid out inside the vardo is going to fall onto the floor as soon as it starts moving, so she puts it away properly. Abner tries to climb onto the top of the vardo, but breaks pieces of it off in the attempt. Katarzyna is inside the vardo reading during the majority of the trip, engrossed in her book on the Dark Tapestry. Grewin calls out to them at one point, telling them that he has found bloody footprints in the road. One of the tracks appears to be of a small child. Katarzyna is instantly alarmed at this. They decide to go after the person. They follow the tracks several miles. The child’s footprints are intermittent, disappearing for long stretches. At one point Grewin holds up his fist to signal them to stop. He and Abner and Katarzyna stealthily advance. There are two men in a clearing, with cloth wrapped around their heads. They’re also wearing heavy clothing, and speaking a strange language. Kendra recognizes the language as Faresian. This is the language to a country adjacent to Hara-Kir, known colloquially as the Amber Wastes. Katarzyna accidentally reveals herself to the two men, and one of them seems to cast a spell on her, which she shrugs off. He sees that she is unaffected by the spell, so he casts another spell. It strikes her and stuns her. Combat ensues, and it goes poorly for several of them. Jean-Baptiste gets off a good shot, but then his pistol jams. Kendra lands an impressive shot. Finally Katarzyna kills one. Doing so seems to release Flandelene from some sort of restraint spell, and she barrels into the second assailant. Grewin rejoins the fray as well. Jean-Baptiste notices that Gregore is engaged with a dire panther of sorts, down the hill. Katarzyna uses a Magic Missile to kill the other attacker, and Flandelene continues to beat his corpse against a tree. Katarzyna kills the panther with another Magic Missile, while a shadow continues to fight Abner and Grewin. Grewin manages to kill the shadow.

Abner inspects the body of one of the men. He finds an amber amulet and some rings. Katarzyna looks at them, and determines that they’re not magical. Ostovach also finds a bag with some other items. It contains traveling gear and a small wooden chest. Meanwhile, Ostovach starts beating the bushes looking for the child. Katarzyna joins him, telling him that the two men had been arguing and pointing toward a small waterfall. Ostovach strips down to his smallclothes and wades over to the waterfall. He pokes his head through the waterfall. Katarzyna strips off her riding dress and swims over in her shift and bloomers, and they crawl down a tunnel behind the waterfall looking for the child. Katarzyna thinks she sees movement in a small grotto that they come to, and she moves toward the sound. She sees a small boy, but he’s not human. She coaxes him out of the grotto, and when they come through the waterfall, she calls out for Gregore. He comes over and looks at the boy. Kendra asks his name, which he gives as Yanni. Yanni asks Grewin in Sylvan if he is a “fey brother”. Grewin comes over and talks to the boy a bit in Sylvan. The boy had been captured by the two men, and he had been chained up by them. He managed to escape, and then he used the trees to travel among them, using a special ability of his fey kind. Grewin brings Yanni over to Flandelene. They speak with Yanni for a bit. Grewin then speaks with Flandelene. Yanni seems most attached to Grewin and Katarzyna. When Grewin leaves, Katarzyna sits on the bank of the creek with Yanni and entertains him with Prestidigitation.

They all walk back to their wagon, which takes a while. Ploog is very relieved to see them. Katarzyna introduces Ploog to Yanni. Ploog gives Yanni some candy, which makes Yanni nervous. Katarzyna reassures him, and he happily accepts the candy.

They make camp, and Katarzyna, Kendra and Yanni sleep inside the vardo. Abner climbs up on top of the vardo.

Thursday, August 28th, road between Rozenport and Thrushmoor, Ustalav

In the morning, Ploog cooks breakfast at the campsite. Yanni takes his leave of them before they break camp, jumping into the river after saying farewell to them, especially grateful toward Grewin and Katarzyna.

Around midday, they meet a group of troops heading north on the road. The captain inspects the vardo. Katarzyna is rather icy toward him, but he makes a cursory inspection and leaves. His corporal calls out to him and they look at the pelt of the dire panther that is on the side of the vardo. He tells them that they might need to pay a fee to import it into Thrusmoor.

During the trip to Thrushmoor, Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna repair the pistol that had misfired the previous day. Katarzyna is unfamiliar with the process, but since Jean-Baptiste is repairing it inside the vardo, she’s curious and tries to help him with the process.

Arriving in Thrushmoor, they pass a livery stable (26), General Good’s (14), and the Silver Wagon Inn(25). They stop at the livery stable, where Ploog takes care of the vardo, repairing the damage to the shutters. They then pass Lucia’s, a tailor shop (15), and spot a manor house of some kind (5). They also come upon Highmart (6). There is a Star Stelae in the green area between Highmart and the manor house, three monoliths situated in a triangular formation. Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste examine the runes on the obelisks. They continue down the road and see a building surrounded by dwarves, a smithy of sorts (4). Jean-Baptiste goes into the smithy. They learn that the shop is called Binter’s Smithy, and the female dwarf introduces herself as Kletta Binter. Jean-Baptiste buys all nine of the shields that are for sale, and a strange bullseye lantern. Kletta Binter recommends her cousin’s son Tallis, who can mount the shields to the vardo. Katarzyna purchases three exceptional wind chimes from Kletta.

They move down the road to a place called the Rum Ration (16), an ‘unseemly’ place according to Katarzyna. They then come to a halfling place (3). A halfling named Thomas has a conversation with Jean-Baptiste in the halfling tongue, and he arranges for them to have halfling food. Abner talks with Thomas about living in the Core, Thomas is from Darkon. They go across the street to a converted vardo, where they order food from a halfling lady. They have a very satisfying meal, and speak about the dark riders having passed through in the past week.

They then cross the bridge, and walk along the shore, where they see many fishing boats. They then go over to the New Chapel, which features Pharasman iconography. The priestess appears to be in a disagreement with two well-dressed men. They then pass a shop called Hasok’s Studio. Hasok tells them that Tryllis Mevane is the High Priestess of Pharasma, and the only priest of Pharasma in Thrushmoor. They go inside the studio, and he offers them tea. Jean-Baptiste speaks with Hasok, as Katarzyna wanders through his gallery. Katarzyna sees many disturbing paintings in the studio. Jean-Baptiste smokes some green tobacco with Hasok. Katarzyna tells the others that they need to see the paintings. They talk about the Wailing House on the island.

They move on down the road, and pass a fish smokehouse (13), and a place called the Sleepless Building. They go in, and speak with a pretty blonde woman named Cynthia. She tells them that the Sleepless Building is Ustalav’s most famous detective agency. Jean-Baptistes asks if they’re hiring. Katarzyna is a bit confused about the business.

After they leave the Sleepless Building, they go to the bridge, and see a plaque that reads “Versex’s oldest fish market, ca. 69”. Abner sees a giant amber-colored lantern, and points it out to the others. They see a sign that calls it “Glowing Jill”.

Across the bridge they spy a book shop. Katarzyna tries to cast Detect Magic, but the shopkeeper sees her. He asks her to leave, so she goes up the hill to the Star Stelae. Jean-Baptiste continues to look through the book shop.

Katarzyna walks down to a gibbet at the shore of the island. There is a pirate in the gibbet, and he speaks with Katarzyna when she is rejoined by Jean-Baptiste and the others. They give the man some water, then walk down to Pier 19. A young boy named Matthew tells them that a stevedore disappeared from the dock a few months back. Jean-Baptiste uses an infusion to levitate a few inches above the ground, picks up Katarzyna, and has Katarzyna use her staff to push off and they make their way down the very rickety dock. Abner carefully picks his way down there as well. They investigate the rotting pier and the boat at the end, but find nothing of note.

Back across the bridge, they find a depository of some sort (24). There is a man talking to a wagon driver. He sees them, and tells them that it’s a coal and timer storage, as well as an icehouse.

They then make their way down to The Stain, a beer garden. They then go up toward Iris Hill. On the way, they see Marrid’s Smoke (17). Iris Hill has a stable. Jean-Baptiste, Gregore and Abner consider cutting across the lawn, but there are tall hedges surrounding the estate. They speak with a woman named Mellicent, and accountant for Count Lowls. She tells them that Count Lowls is away on an adventure. They speak briefly with her about books and the Dark Tapestry.

After they leave Iris Hill, they wend their way through Thrushmoor, passing Marrid’s Smoke shop and a house with a red and white pole. They then make their way to Fort Helicorse. Jean-Baptiste talks to a soldier there named Malkus. He asks him about the Old Chapel, and they discuss Hasok’s paintings, and the Wailing House. Jean-Baptiste also asks about the two dark riders. He also asks about Ilmarsh. There is a mayor in Ilmarsh named Greedle, appointed by Count Lowls.

They then head back to the Silver Wagon Inn. They speak with Dina Gallegos. She tells them that Ploog has already arranged their lodging. Katarzyna goes up to her room to freshen up. In the common room, a young boy named Malerie tells Jean-Baptiste that one of the soldiers told him to tell them that they should ask at the stables about the dark riders.

Katarzyna returns to the common room, and Jean-Baptiste tells her about the boy. They decide that a small group consisting of Jean-Baptiste, Ostovach, Abner and Katarzyna will go to the livery stable. A cartwright is fitting a new wheel to the axle of a hay wain. The men go to the hay wain to help the man lift the wagon. As they do so, Katarzyna is stabbed by the old man twice, dropping to the ground unconscious. Jean-Baptiste, Ostovach and Abner fight the ghouls. Jean-Baptiste goes over to Katarzyna and pours an elixir down her throat. She sputters awake, just as the creature says “at least I got one of you for the Whispering Way”. Abner continues to stab the cultist, killing him. Katarzyna fires a lightning bolt at one of the ghouls, and is horrified to learn that the body she just destroyed was Ploog’s.

Back in the Silver Wagon Inn, Kendra hears a loud thunderclap. She looks around at the rest of the common room, then goes to the door. She looks across the way to the livery stable, where the others are fighting the ghouls. She sees Katarzyna stumble backward, and she runs out the door into the mud, joined by Gregore. They run across the street, and Kendra notices that Ostovach is on edge as the others are looking at the remains of Ploog on the ground. Gregore informs them that Ploog cannot be revived. He does tell them Ploog’s soul is at least able to find its rest. Abner stands up, and shows them a strip of paper. Katarzyna opens it and reads it. It is from “A”, and it says that he wants them to weigh in on the effectiveness of the assassin, as he’s considering reanimating him. Kendra reads the note, then passes it to Jean-Baptiste, who angrily crumples it up after reading it. Jean-Baptiste crushes the skull of the deceased cultist. Katarzyna absent-mindedly cleans her bloodstained clothing with Prestidigitation, which disturbs one of the guards.

Malkus, the guardsman from Fort Helicorse, arrives on the scene. The priestess of Pharasma, Tryllis Mevane, also arrives. She looks at the remains of the ghoul, and recoils in horror. Abner inspects the items on the corpse of Clanartus Viliras, the assassin. Abner sees a bone dagger, and asks Katarzyna to check it for magical auras. She does note a magical aura on the item. There is a maker’s mark on the dagger, with the name Nalthazzar. Abner finds a magical mithril shirt and a bunch of other items on the body of the deceased. Among the items is a ceramic egg of some kind. A guardsman stops Abner from looting the body.

Ostovach calls them over to an area inside the livery stable. He shows them several black horses, who look like they’ve been ridden hard. Jean-Baptiste tells Malkus that the horses are probably those of the black riders. Kendra goes into the office adjacent to the livery stable. She sees a notation of a transaction to exchange two horses. She also notices that four days prior, there was a slight change to the handwriting in the ledger.

Gregore reminds them of the late hour, and tells them that he will see to Ploog’s remains. Ostovach says he will help. Tryllis Mevane takes the body back to the Temple of Pharasma. Jean-Baptiste insists that they burn the body of Clanartus Viliras. Malkus goes back to the inn, with a wink to Abner that he can do what he wishes with the assassin’s belongings. Abner then loots the body of Clanartus Viliras. Katarzyna returns to the Inn, followed a few minutes later by Kendra.

Jean-Baptiste pulls the wagon containing Clanartus Viliras’ body around the back of the livery stable, and examines the body closely. He sees that the man had clearly been in disguise, with a wig and prosthetic makeup. He puts the body back in the wagon. Abner stashes his looted items in the vardo. They then return to the Inn for the night.

Friday, August 29th, 758, Thrusmoor to Kamover, Ustalav

Katarzyna has strange dreams, a lot like when she was at Foxglove Manor. There are images of feathers, and of people moving the dead on litters in an abbatoir, the faceless people carrying the bodies through a grand doorway. There is the sound of thousands of birds cawing, like at Carrion Hill. Katarzyna notices the face of Ploog among the dead being carried through the gates. Katarzyna goes toward the grand door. She sees the litter bearers carrying the bodies down a long circular ramp that leads down. A rush of birds flies in from the ceiling. Several of them alight all around Katarzyna. A curiously quiet bird alights on her shoulder, and she tries to shoo in away, but it stays with her. The bird doesn’t seem dangerous, so she accepts its presence. Katarzyna tries to go down the ramp with the litter bearers, but the bird squawks and flaps its wings, blocking her path. It eventually leads her to a small doorway in the abbatoir away from the grand doorway and the spiral ramp. There’s a tunnel beyond the door. The bird hops down the tunnel, and Katarzyna follows it. The bird leads her out of the tunnel, and as she emerges from the tunnel she awakens in her room at the Silver Wagon Inn.

Looking around the room, she sees a bird perched on a dresser, cleaning its feathers. When she addressed the bird, it pulls its head from under its wing, and reveals that it has a leather mask. Katarzyna speaks with the bird, which seems to be able to understand what she’s saying. There is a faint aura of magic on the bird’s mask. As in the dream, the bird seems to pose no discernible threat. Katarzyna accepts its presence, though not without qualm.

Abner and Kendra awake and dress for breakfast. Jean-Baptiste is also at breakfast when Katarzyna comes down for breakfast, the masked bird perched atop her shoulder, much in the same way Pearl once did. Jean-Baptiste tells Katarzyna that the bird is a nosoi, or psychopomp, a “least avatar” of the goddess Pharasma. Grewin and Ostovach are not at breakfast. The folk gathered at the Inn are quite put off by Katarzyna and the nosoi. After breakfast, they head to the New Temple, to see the priestess about the presence of the nosoi.

Ostovach is at the Temple, having helped the priestess during the night in the preparations for Ploog’s funeral. Ostovach tells Katarzyna that the priestess is inside the temple. Tryllis Mevane is kneeling in prayer, and Katarzyna stands behind her. When she turns around, she is taken aback by the presence of the nosoi. Katarzyna tells the priestess about the dream she had. Tryllis tells Katarzyna that the ramp leads to the realm called the Boneyard. Katarzyna tells the priestess that since Pharasma has chosen her, Katarzyna wants to be sure to pay the proper respect to the goddess. Tryllis agrees to help Katarzyna with the proper prayers and such, but must first attend to the business at hand, the burial of Ploog and the other man killed at the livery stable.

Tryllis presides over the funeral of Ploog first, with the funeral of the deceased stablemaster to take place directly afterward. Ostovach mumbles an awkward eulogy for Ploog, as does Jean-Baptiste. After the eulogies, the nosoi lands on Ploog’s body, and bends it beak toward his ear. While the bird is near Ploog’s body, they hear birds cawing outside the cemetery. Then the nosoi returns to Katarzyna’s shoulder.

Tryllis gives a sermon, and they decide to stay for the sermon. There are only a few people in the chapel. The sermon deals with a man named Gerard from Thrushmoor. Gerard loved Pharasma, placing her above all other gods. Asmodeus came knocking at the knight’s gate in the form of a young girl, and sought refuge in the home of Pharasma. Gerard was corrupted by the girl, but he was unwavering in his devotion to Pharasma. He broke his signet ring in two, giving a broken half to his wife bidding her to remarry if he does not return in five years. He left his wife with a promise to return in five years. He went to Sophus, Stormhaven, and Hara-Kir. He encountered Asmodeus, wearing the cape that Gerard had lost to the girl five years before. Asmodeus was compelled to return Gerard to his wife and his house, where he sees his wife bring out the broken signet ring, just as she is about to remarry. Gerard and his wife are tearfully reunited. Thus ends the sermon.

Tryllis prays with Katarzyna for a while, then gives Jean-Baptiste some incense and tells him that he can rejoin Ostovach. Jean-Baptiste goes with Ostovach around the back of the temple, not on consecrated ground, where the remains of Clanartus Viliras’ body is to be burned. Ostovach talks with Jean-Baptiste about someone in town, Sentilar Ruoy, who is impugning the name of Tryllis and the faith of Pharasma, and that as a result Tryllis doesn’t have any help at the chapel. Then Ostovach goes to the Inn to get some sleep.

The group reconvenes outside the temple, discussing where to go next. In the road, they see a black carriage coming their way. The woman from Iris Hill, Mellicent, is in the carriage. She nods slightly to them as she travels past. They try to determine where she is going, but they can’t see any obvious destination based on where the carriage is headed.

Jean-Baptiste goes over to Hasok’s studio, but there is no answer when he knocks. He then goes to the fishmonger’s place, to ask where the Sentilar Ruoy’s shop is. He gives them instructions on how to get there.

They go to the healer’s shop straightaway. It is a small, wide building, with faded maroon paint and two circular windows. They enter the building, and they see candlelight through drawn curtains. There are crowded shelves on every wall, overflowing with curious items for sale. Jean-Baptiste looks at the items in the shop with interest, as does Kendra. They are greeted cheerily by the halfling Sentilar Ruoy, but Jean-Baptiste and Abner take an aggressive tone with him straightaway, with Katarzyna taking a more conciliatory tone, and Kendra and Gregore remaining mostly silent. The conversation seems to reach a reasonable conclusion, though without much of a resolution. After this discussion, Jean-Baptiste looks among his wares for items to purchase. Kendra, Katarzyna and Abner leave the shop at this point, while Jean-Baptiste and Gregore remain inside. Jean-Baptiste has a strange experience as he’s negotiating the purchase of some items from Sentilar Ruoy. He makes his purchase and leaves the shop.

Outside the shop, Jean-Baptiste and Gregore rejoin the others, and Jean-Baptiste tells them that Sentilor Ruoy is unlikely to trouble Tryllis any further. They return to the Silver Wagon Inn, to settle their bill and gather their belongings for immediate departure. They decide to head toward Ilmarsh. Ostovach sleeps in the vardo, while Katarzyna reads some more in her book of the Dark Tapestry.

Around 7 o’clock, they see a small village. They enter what appears to be an inn, the Hook and Sinker. Jean-Baptiste speaks with the ample-bosomed tavern lady named Mags. She tells them that they are in the town of Kamover, and that Ilmarsh is a ways further. A fisherman enters the bar at the same time, and speaks with Jean-Baptiste. He says that they’re likely to have trouble getting the vardo to Ilmarsh. The man gives his name as Old Marley. He is very garrulous, and regales them with all manner of tales, including the Monster of the Bay. The barkeep offers them chowder and food. The food is excellent, and Katarzyna comments on it to Mags.

They get rooms at the inn. At some point Katarzyna goes up to her room to finish reading the book of the Dark Tapestry. She absently claimed the only bed in the room.

In the common room, Jean-Baptiste buys a round for the house. Later, he joins Katarzyna in their room, and he finishes Arisid’s journal. On the bed with Katarzyna, Jean-Baptiste shows Katarzyna the last few entries in Arisid’s journal, and confronts her about the Order of the Palatine Eye, telling her that he knows that she and Kendra are members of the Order. Kendra overhears them, and she joins in the conversation. She tells Jean-Baptiste that Arisid should not have written so openly about the Order in the journal, doing so is expressly forbidden. Katarzyna opines that Arisid might be betraying the Order, or might be infiltrating it. Katarzyna does mention in passing to Kendra that at least they had followed Farren’s wishes with regards to introducing Jean-Baptiste to the Order. This is the first time Jean-Baptiste was even aware that Farren had been a member of the Order. He wonders aloud if his own father had been a member of the Order.

Eventually the talk winds down, and they all fall asleep on the bed, with Abner, Gregore, and Ostovach asleep on the cots nearby. Grewin and Flandalene had bedded down outside.

Saturday, August 30th, 758, Kamover, Ustalav

In the morning, they all awaken to a windy day. Katarzyna awakens refreshed, untroubled by dreams. The nosoi is still present, though. Kendra examines the items they’ve collected and identifies their properties with the help of the spirits she sees through her third eye. The mithril shirt was worn by Laharin, who was felled by the assassin Lazario. She also examines some other items, including the ceramic egg found on the body of Clanartus Viliras.

They all go down to the common room for breakfast. There are eggs, biscuits and baked fish. They get their stuff together and get ready to go. The fishermen are all gathered near the shore, likely debating whether to go out on the choppy waters. Marley sees them and comes over to them. He tells them that it’s an 8 hour trip to Ilmarsh. He says that it’s unlikely that their vardo will make the trip, and he’s happy to keep it for them. Katarzyna thinks they should leave the vardo, but others are more reluctant. Gregore tells them that he has a spell called Treasure Stitching that might be able to transport the vardo. They decide to use Marley’s barn to take the wheels off and use the spell. Unfortunately, the vardo falls as they’re trying to take the wheels off. The rear axle is damaged. Gregore has to cast a Make Whole spell in order to repair the damage. The damage costs them a four hour delay, and Katarzyna uses the time to read some more in her book of Dark Tapestry. Finally, around 2 in the afternoon, the vardo is ready to have the Treasure Stitching spell cast.

There is another traveler in Kamover this evening. Mags talks with him, laughing at something he says. Abner spends some time with him, a man named Russel. Abner learns that he is a wine merchant.

Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste spend the evening reading again. Katarzyna starts Arisid’s Journal, while Jean-Baptiste starts reading the book of the Dark Tapestry. Before he turns in for the night, Gregore casts his Treasure Stitching spell on the vardo, and brings the blanket inside and shows them the blanket with the vardo stitched in. Katarzyna is quite taken with the image. At one point, Jean-Baptiste takes Kendra and Katarzyna aside to show them something. He speaks to Abner about his weapons, asking about the value of them. Jean-Baptiste is convinced that the weapons are not worth nearly as much as Abner thinks. Abner doesn’t agree, and jumps back and draws his weapons, sure that Jean-Baptiste is trying to attack his mind with some kind of spell. There is a tense standoff, and Jean-Baptiste explains how he had inadvertently influenced Sentilar Ruoy the previous day, and that he had tried to do the same thing with Abner as a test. Katarzyna tells them that she thinks it’s an enchantment or domination spell-like ability. They discuss the possibilities. Gregore tells them that it might be a boon from a god. Jean-Baptiste asks Katarzyna to participate in an experiment. He tries to invoke the ability to make her kiss him, but it doesn’t work. They both realize that there was no magical energy associated with it. They assume that if it is a power that can only be used once a day. Eventually they all turn in for the night, using the same room as the previous night.

Sunday, August 31st, 758, Kamover to Ilmarsh swamp, Ustalav

In the morning they decide to leave for Ilmarsh after breakfast. They see Russel asleep on one of the couches in the common room. Mags serves them crab omelettes for breakfast. They gather their belongings and get on the road. Jean-Baptiste is very complimentary to Mags, and gives her more coin. Abner buys some wine from Russel.

It’s a cool foggy morning. They get on the road. Katarzyna rides with Jean-Baptiste on his horse, Abner rides with Kendra, Ostovach rides his horse, and Gregore rides one of the draft horses. Grewin and Flandalene make their way as well, without the need for a horse. Jean-Baptiste notices that his horse is a little harder to control than normal. When Katarzyna is on the horse, the nosoi leaves her shoulder and flies ahead, but returns to her shoulder when she dismounts.

At one point in their journey toward Ilmarsh, Ostovach holds up his hand, and grabs his bow. He walks over to an area of the bog, weapon drawn. He waves them forward, and they see a wounded deer trapped in the bog. Ostovach wades out to the animal and slits its throat, after patting it reassuringly. Ostovach asks Katarzyna to dry his clothing, and she does so. They mount up again and continue. Gregore gets thrown from the draft horse. Katarzyna cleans his clothes too. Gregore decides to walk for awhile. It is a very uncomfortable ride for Katarzyna, so she dismounts and walks for awhile.

They decide to make camp in the evening. Ostovach finds them an almost ideal camping site. Katarzyna asks Gregore if he can do anything for the discomfort from riding, he says it’s not really something he can do anything about. Abner gets a fire going for them. Jean-Baptiste goes in search of alchemical ingredients.

During the night, they set watches. Ostovach has the first watch, Katarzyna has the second watch, and Abner has the third watch. On Katarzyna’s watch, she fails to notice creatures in the forest creeping up on their position. She fires off a lightning bolt at one of them. A swarm of the shadowy creatures descends on them. Several of the group are wounded by the creatures. Gregore pulses, and the shades flee. Jean-Baptiste kills another one, and they wait for a few minutes before they determine that the creatures aren’t coming back.

Monday, September 1st, 758, Ilmarsh swamp to Ilmarsh, Ustalav

The group is much more watchful the rest of the night, and they awaken early. They get going, and Abner spots tern rocks out in the bay. There is a single-masted trawler fighting against the whitecaps. There is a single person on the deck of the boat. Jean-Baptiste flies over with Abner, while Katarzyna uses Dimension Door to bring Kendra, Ostovach and Grewin over to the boat. Gregore uses his angelic aspect to fly over to the boat. Ostovach falls into the water, so Katarzyna uses the animated rope to help him back onto the boat. They fight with the sail and the tiller and manage to get the boat steered aright. The boat captain shouts at them to throw the rope over to the dock. Abner manages to get the boat tied to the dock.

The boat captain is wearing a leather smock. He gives his name as Horace Croon. He says he was conducting experiments out by the tern rocks. The storm passes as quickly as it arrived. Horace says he is an inventor and explorer of the unknown. He says he is from Ilmarsh. Katarzyna asks if he had seen any strangers in Ilmarsh. Jean-Baptiste describes the dark rider. Horace mentions that he did see such a rider, but that he isn’t aware if the man stopped in Ilmarsh or continued toward another destination. He also shows them his submersible, a curious contraption that looks like a large metal fish.

They get back to their horses after saying their goodbyes to Horace. They travel a little further to the river, and cross it without incident. They arrive at Ilmarsh in the afternoon.

The Creature of Carrion Hill
Carrion Hill offers many answers, and many new questions.

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”.

Dark Victory
A major win, and heartbreaking losses for the heroes.

Wednesday, August 13th, 758, Feldgrau, The Furrows, Ustalav

The group continues their exploration of the ruined city of Feldgrau, slowly making their way through the darkened ruins of the undead-infested town. They are still in the ruined mill, where they had defeated Adimarus Ionacu. Rhakis takes the symbols of Jezelden from the two former Demon’s Wolves, which they grudgingly allow. Katarzyna goes up the ladder to the loft where the Demon’s Wolves had been kept at bay with the Web spell. Abner goes through the remains of Adimarus Ionacu [breastplate, bastard sword, unholy symbol]. Gregore joins Katarzyna in the loft area. Jean-Baptiste and Abner join them, and Gregore asks Jean-Baptiste to determine if the floor is safe to walk on. He reassures them that it should be safe. Katarzyna finds two human hearts in a bowl. She speculates about them, thinking that they are werewolf hearts. Gregore leaves the loft, and Katarzyna asks him to send Rhakis up. They talk about the hearts, and he tells her that one is likely a werewolf heart, the other is probably human. He doesn’t know why Adimarus would have kept the hearts, unless it was related to the worship of Jezelda.

They finish up at the mill, then move out. The werewolves head out in one direction, with Kendra to support them. Gregore, Jean-Baptiste, Grewin, Amelia, Abner and Katarzyna go toward the south of the ruined town. They run across various buildings and debris. They see a red glow in the distance, and hear the sound of a festrog. They hear and see two festrogs, and a spellcaster. Jean-Baptiste tells them to fall back around the corner. A pitched battle with the two festrogs ensues, but the evil cleric is too far away for them to see. Katarzyna goes off in search of her, and lands a solid hit on her with a Lightning Bolt, but is immediately Blinded by her. Jean-Baptiste, Ostovach and Abner quickly arrive on the scene. They attack her, and Abner finally stabs her in the back, killing her.

Jean-Baptiste manages to remove the blindness on Katarzyna and the curse that had sapped Grewin’s strength. Abner and Katarzyna inspect the body. They see that she has stitches in a circle around the crown of her head. Grewin suggests that there might be sigils on her skull. Katarzyna cuts away the skin, and they see scoring on her skull. Katarzyna can’t make out the meaning of them, but Jean-Baptiste determines that the markings are some sort of invocation or binding to a deity named Osiris. Osiris is the god of death and the afterlife of the Akiri. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna look at the writing in greater detail, and determine that the writing is actually a spell, a variation of a spell called Canopic Conversion. The spell ostensibly transforms the viscera of the spell’s subject into mummified remains. The only way to know is to check the abdomen of the dead priest. Grewin notices that the body seems to be undergoing some sort of change, that she might be coming back to a semblance of life. Before Katarzyna can even finish suggesting it, Gregore smashes the face of the corpse, and Katarzyna severs the hands from the body. Abner searches the body of the dead cleric as Katarzyna continues to investigate the corpse for other clues. She discovers that the heart is missing, but doesn’t find any other incisions or Akiri writing. Significantly, there weren’t any incisions or scars on the abdomen before Katarzyna began her examination, so the Canopic Conversion clearly affected the organs without showing any effects externally. The cleric had a thin dagger of sorts, which is actually an adamantine surgical knife, Katarzyna decides to keep the blade. Abner finds some vials among the cleric’s effects. The decide to go into the Inn before returning to the base.

They make their way through town toward their camp. On the way, they hear voices. They all freeze in place, and recognize that the room where they had obliterated all the stored skeletons had been discovered. Abner and Grewin sneak forward. Gregore speaks with Jean-Baptiste, and the two of them move forward to face the new threat. Gregore uses his Shield of Ezra as he advances toward them, calling them out in the process. A short fight ensues, and the two are hopelessly outmatched and easily defeated. One of them is taken as a prisoner for questioning. A wand is found that grants a measure of control over undead. Katarzyna doesn’t want anything to do with it. She gives it to Jean-Baptiste, who is eager to use it. Gregore tells Jean-Baptiste that he would need the ability to channel negative energy in order to use the wand.

They return to their camp, and Rhakis, Kendra and Vasislav are the only ones who returned from their day of scouting. They had run across Acreitia, and she killed four of Rhakis’ wolves, including the two Jezeldans. Katarzyna notices Grewin’s growing discomfort, and as she talks with him, he tells her the he can no longer hear Hala, and that being cut off from her is wearing on him.

Jean-Baptiste and Kendra have discussions about the Canopic Conversion spell and other items. They retire for the night, and set watches.

Thursday, August 14th, 758, Feldgrau, The Furrows, Ustalav

The party awakens and breaks their fast, and those who prepare spells do so. Rhakis takes Grewin aside, and they have a conversation that seems to clear the air between them. Kendra and Katarzyna also discuss various matters. Grewin seems much more receptive to the Rhakis and Vasislav than before, and even shakes Vasislav’s hand.

They make their way through town, south of their camp, and come to a solid bank of fog. Gregore is taken aback, and tells them that they have encountered the Mists. He suggests that they make their way back to more normal terrain. They trudge up a hill looking for another obelisk. Because they have the lantern hooded as they approach, they are attacked by shadows. They uncover the lantern and defeat the shadows, then move on toward what appears to be a green light. It turns out to be another obelisk. There are two priests at the obelisk, and they engage them in combat. One of them raises several corpses during the combat, but they defeat them all. They then turn to the task of knocking down the obelisk. Jean-Baptiste approaches Kendra and Katarzyna about the scroll that has the instructions to inscribe the runes onto the obelisk. Jean-Baptiste wants to destroy the scroll, but Kendra and Katarzyna think it’s hasty to do so without having more information. Katarzyna gives the scroll to Kendra, and takes herself out of the discussion, highly annoyed with Jean-Baptiste’s stubborness.

The group is pleased that the combat didn’t consume too much of their resources, and they decide where to go next. Jean-Baptiste and Abner speculate about the layout of the obelisks, and the probable locations of the other enemies. Grewin also contributes to the discussion, but the others mostly stay out of the conversation. Ultimately they decide to head generally north, and they run into some structures. They follow along the edge of the wall, and follow it in an easterly direction. They come to a building. Ostovatch volunteers to go into the building, which turns out to be mostly empty. They investigate the environs of the building. The lantern seems to brighten, and Katarzyna alerts them to the proximity of undead. They spot a female undead form, who tells them that “her lord has sent her” and that she could “have them for the feast”. They make quick work of her. Abner spies a wedding ring, and appropriates it.

They continue on. They go around some other buildings and skirt around rubble. They see various ruined structures and gardens. They come to a building that looks like an apothecary or somesuch. They find four vials of antitoxin, a jar of restorative ointment, and a small jar that contains dust. Jean-Baptiste identifies it as Dust of Appearance. There is also four ounces of saltpeter and a pound of realgar. He also picks up some vials and jars and they all leave and continue searching the environs.

They head east. They come to a barrier of Mist. They return to a northerly and westerly direction, and feel like they’ve come close to the central tower. They hear a voice say “ENOUGH”, and Kendra tells them that it’s Acreitia. Acreitia is ghastly looking. They immediately attack, with Katarzyna launching a lightning bolt at Acreitia and one of her four minions. Abner then rolls in. Acreitia then attacks Abner. She is fighting unarmed, but in a very acrobatic way. Her four minions all swarm around Abner, but they fail to land their attacks. The battle rages, and three of her minions are quickly dispatched. She continues to attack Abner. She takes him down, but her subequent attacks don’t land as she had hoped, and Grewin finally takes her down.

Ostovach and Katarzyna investigate her corpse, and they find a magical belt. Kendra takes a look at it, and discovers that it’s a monk’s belt that enhances her physical strength. Abner, Ostovach, and Jean-Baptiste cast lots for the belt. Jean-Baptiste wins the lots, and tosses the belt to Ostovach.

The party returns to their camp after defeating Acreitia. Abner is feeling unwell having been drained of a portion of his essence, as was Ostovach. They vote on whether to stay and rest, or resume their efforts after restoration on Ostovach & Abner. They decide to recuperate for the rest of the day, and continue the fight the next day.

At night when Abner is on watch, the party is attack by fifteen flaming skeletons, one attempting to come into the building. Abner and Grewin attack, Jean-Baptiste pulles a wand and Gregore casts a healing pulse and explodes several of the skeletons, unfortunately injuring Abner and Grewin. Kendra goes out with the lantern, and Rhakis goes and scouts further. They return shortly, see nothing more. Gregore heals them all again. Rhakis and Vasislav resume their watch.

Friday, August 15th, 758, Feldgrau, The Furrows, Ustalav

Gregore restores Abner and Ostovach to full ability, while Grewin and Amelia patrol outside of the building. After an hour of preparation with paste, blood and diamond dust, Abner and Ostovach are back to fighting form.

They decide to check the north and south obelisks, to make sure they don’t restore the runes. Skeletons are trying to put up the south obelisk, and they encounter one patrol, but they don’t run into any cultists.

Jean-Baptiste suggests going to the pit before checking Acreitia’s house. They go to the pit, and Ostovach takes the lantern and goes down followed by Grewin, Kendra, Abner and Jean-Baptiste. The ground is a writhing mass of black soil and arms and legs, and other body parts. Abner attacks with his weapons, then Gregore with his Searing Light, which damages it immensely. Then Grewin attacks with an Undead Bane arrow. The creature looks as if it is running, but it is an illusion, actually it is approaching. It slams Gregore, paralyzing him as he is stunned, and he falls to the ground and sinks into the soil. Jean-Baptiste is held firm. A short while later Gregore is brought back to the surface by undead hands. Jean-Baptiste is also released. From the pit, one of the voices says “Go, we cannot resist too long. Free us!”

The party quickly doubles back to the top of the pit, and eventually Gregore awakens. He tells them that “the fog has been lifted”, that the dead spoke to him. He tells them that they need to destroy the engine that is raising the dead, and Auren Vrood is the key, he needs to be destroyed.

The party then goes to search Acreitia’s home base, where they find a map and a magical paint set. Jean-Baptiste takes a special interest in the paint set, and proceeds to test its properties. First he paints a cooked pheasant, and the paint set produces a three-dimensional version, but it’s tiny, because the painting was smaller than a real pheasant would be. He then paints normal sized bread, which it reproduces perfectly, and the bread is perfectly edible. He then creates an Auren Vrood-killing arrow, but the new arrow is not in any way magical. Jean-Baptiste then attempts to paint a live chicken, but the creature is dead when the paint set creates it. He then creates a cache of wine, and a coin. The wine is excellent, but the coin is common tin, painted gold. Finally, Jean-Baptiste creates a piece of darkwood. The party then discusses the possibilities of using the paint set, an several people turn in for the night during the discussion.

Jean-Baptiste finds a vial, and he dumps the contents out. It appears to be a human heart. He picks it up, and it smells of embalming fluid. A large section of the heart is missing. Rhakis shifts and turns hybrid, and eats the heart, which is the heart of Kevalka Seyn. Rhakis spasms, and drops to the ground, shifting back to human form. He says that a piece is still missing, and the group surmises that Auren Vrood has the missing piece.

Back at their camp, Jean-Baptiste paints a feast for them using the paint set. They have a splendid meal, and they turn in for the night, knowing they will face Auren Vrood the next day.

Saturday, August 16th, 758, Feldgrau, The Furrows, Ustalav

In the morning, everyone prepares for the impending showdown with Auren Vrood. Jean-Baptiste paints a semi-mechanical hand for Ostovach, to help him use his weapons more effectively. The hand functions rather well, and while it is not as good as having his hand restored, it does help him a great deal. Grewin picks spells and tends to Amelia, and Katarzyna selects Lightning Bolt and Dispel Magic spells for the fight. Gregore prays to Ezra for his spells. Grewin receives Cure Heavy Wounds and Valor with elixir and Ostovach receives Cure Moderate Wounds with elixir. When they feel they are ready, they set out for Auren Vrood’s stronghold, the Old Tower.

They arrive at the Old Tower door to find it is barred from the inside. Katarzyna uses Dimension Door to take herself, Ostovach and Gregore into the tower, whereupon Gregore lifts the bar to open the door and let the others in. Inside the foyer, there are two exits on either side, one covered in a cloth. They investigate both adjoining rooms, then travel back to the foyer. There are doorways in both these rooms next to the one just entered. They take the south doorway, which leads to a large round room with a wall in the middle, and stairs leading to an almost non-existent second floor, much of the floor having fallen in.

Skeletal archers attack. Jean-Baptiste quickly ducks through the opposite door and sees a tent in the back of the room. Amelia is hit by an arrow. Grewin fires off a spell, and sees Auren Vrood on the ruined remnants of the second floor. Skeletal hands reach for Amelia and Grewin. Rhakis goes up the stairs while Gregore Pulses, but none of the undead are destroyed outright. Ostovach and his hounds attack the skeletal hands, while Katarzyna uses Hold Undead on the claws.

Abner and Jean-Baptiste are about to rush into the room and up the stairs when Auren Vrood flies down from the second floor. Jean-Baptiste and Abner rush Auren Vrood, but he avoids Jean-Baptiste’s attack. The attacks come quickly, and Auren Vrood responds with a negative energy spell that severely damages the group, while bolstering and healing his undead minions. Rhakis takes the fight to Auren Vrood personally, and the attacks continue unabated. The group seems to be holding their own, but then Auren Vrood releases a Circle of Death spell.

Amelia dies instantly, as does Silvio, Vasilav, Ostovach’s hounds, and Ostovach himself. Everyone is stunned by the powerful negative energy and by the death of their companions. Katarzyna is in complete shock. Abner and Gregore can feel that they too almost died from Auren Vrood’s lethal spell. The party redoubles their attacks against Auren Vrood, with Gregore and Auren Vrood trading pulses of negative and positive energy. A grim-faced Katarzyna sends a lightning bolt at Auren Vrood, and he is finally defeated. As with the other Whispering Way cultists they had killed during their time in Feldgrau, Auren Vrood’s jaw is melted away with acid as he dies. The tower is suddenly quiet as the party realizes that they have prevailed over Auren Vrood, but paid a terrible price for the victory.

The party quickly recovers from the jarring end of the fight with Auren Vrood. Jean-Baptiste decapitates the necromancer’s body. Kendra rushes over to Silvio. Grewin is inconsolable, weeping over Amelia’s body. Abner goes over and holds Kendra. Katarzyna runs over to Ostovach. He is bleeding from his eyes, nose and mouth, and he looks pale and gaunt. She calls to Gregore to help Ostovach, and Gregore goes to one knee and begins praying, and he Pulses. There is no response from Ostovach. He is gone. The scope of the grim harvest is quickly realized. Vasislav is dead. Amelia is dead. Silvio is dead. All of Ostovach’s hounds are dead. Katarzyna can only stare blankly from Ostovach’s empty gaze to Grewin, Kendra, and Rhakis. Only Rhakis meets her gaze, and he gets up from where he knelt next to Vasislav’s lifeless form, walking purposefully over to Jean-Baptiste. Grewin walks over to Katarzyna, who is closing the eyes of the deceased Ostovach. There is a cold determination in Katarzyna’s eyes, and they share a wordless moment of grief.

Jean-Baptiste starts going through Auren Vrood’s belongings, with Rhakis’ help. They find a rod, a wand, a quarterstaff, an amulet, a cloak, a ring, a spellbook, and a spell component pouch, in addition to his regalia of the Whispering Way. Rhakis tells Grewin to be vigilant, as he and Jean-Baptiste go to investigate and make sure that the area is clear. Jean-Baptiste and Rhakis find a scroll tube and a chest. Rhakis finds another piece of the heart of Kevalka Seyn, but tells them that the heart is still not complete. Jean-Baptiste finds the Carrion Crown poem inside the scroll case. He begins reading it alound, which causes Kendra to convulse and speak the poem at the same time that Jean-Baptiste is reading the words.

Upon the ashen pathways tread
Softly, as the whispered dead.
As mortal flesh doth rot and fail
To leech and maggot, ebbing frail.
Unhallowed words cannot be spoken,
With whispered oath, death lies broken.
Shed fear, shed life, shed pain, shed time,
Eternity seized shall soon be thine.
First spirit torn from Grave-Lady’s grasp
Be rent and sown as soured ash.
Soft the spiral song reverses,
Judgment lost, damnation surges.
Keeper of the damned’s soul take,
With packlord’s heart the beast shall wake.
With Men of greed their lies flay
And flesh be wrought in disarray—
Stillborn cocoon, to blessed decay.
A hundred slain lie innocent,
Grind bone and marrow to cement.
Craft now a skull of splintered graves,
Unmake life, unmake the slave.
Where history churns dream to blister,
Necrophagous secrets whisper
Through chronicles of Raven’s tongue -
A legacy of fear unspun.
Blood spilt atop the Iron Thorn
Invokes that which cannot be born.
Arise the Tyrant now unbound,
Bearer of the Carrion Crown!

Abner finds items inside the chest, including 50 pounds of silver dust and a sheaf of papers. Jean-Baptiste takes the sheaf of papers, handing the outer letter to Katarzyna, which she reads aloud. Jean-Baptiste then reads the enclosed letter. It is addressed to Professor Charest, and it involves the activities of the Whispering Way, signed by “Embreth”, who Katarzyna speculates is Judge Embreth Daramid. Jean-Baptiste, Kendra, Katarzyna and Grewin talk about the information in the letters, trying to decide what to do about the information contained in the letters. Grewin approaches Gregore, who is still in his praying vigil. Jean-Baptiste says that there is one thing they have to do, and that is deliver the letter to Professor Chalest. Kendra looks through the other papers, and finds instructions for stealing the heart of Kevalka Seyn, and for constructing a skull made from bones harvested at Feldgrau. There is also a note to send the Sea Sage Effigy to a town called Thrushmore, as part of a trade for a second artifact whose nature remains undisclosed. Auren Vrood was also to aid Acreitia in her task to deal with the “ley lines” in Feldgrau.

Grewin talks at length with Rhakis. Rhakis tells them that he must return to the Margreve. He promises to observe the sanctity of the Temple of Hala/Stairs of the Moon.

Gregore stands up from where he had been praying, and his feet are shrouded in mist, or rather, seem to have become mist. Gregore tells them that Ezra has granted him the power to bring back the dead. He says that it will be quite costly to do so. Kendra chooses not to raise Silvio. Grewin is undecided about Amelia, but brightens at the prospect that Gregore will be able to bring her back. They all agree that there is no question about Ostovach being raised, but Rhakis chooses not to have Vasislav brought back. Rhakis tells them that Vasislav would be cursed if he returned, and Rhakis would not consign him to that fate.

Gregore tells them that restoring the dead back to their full ability will be costly as well. He mentions that they also have to hurry, or the spells might not work, the longer that the soul is ‘beyond’, the harder it is to bring the subject back. Kendra is furiously going through Auren Vrood’s notes and papers. Gregore requests Grewin and Abner’s help in preparing the area. Grewin tells him that their priority is to get their horses in preparation for leaving Feldgrau, and Rhakis agrees to help him retrieve them. Katarzyna and Abner set about moving the bodies for Gregore.

Kendra wishes to do a séance, and asks for help. Katarzyna agrees immediately, and Abner agrees as well, Jean-Baptiste agrees also, but has to look for some things first. Katarzyna uses that time to prepare the bodies of Ostovach, his hounds, Amelia, Vasislav and Silvio. Since Vasislav, Silvio and the hounds are not going to be raised, she prepares them for proper burial. Kendra does automatic writing as she prepares for the séance.

Grewin and Rhakis find where their horses had been left. All have vanished, except for the corpse of Kendra’s horse. Grewin does find tracks from the others leading away. Rhakis shifts into wolf form. It takes them eight hours to find the horses that had bounded off, but they able to get them back under control. They decide to camp for the night with the horse, having travel well outside of the environs of Feldgrau. They know their return trip won’t be as strenuous or lengthy since they will have the horses, but they decide that it’s best not to travel in darkness.

Jean-Baptiste and Gregore confer quietly, then go to Acreitia’s lair in search of something. Jean-Baptiste finds a couple of zombie-like remains. He finds the body of Inspector Farren. He and Gregore bury the remains. Gregore returns to the lair of Auren Vrood and tells Katarzyna and Abner that Inspector Farren is dead. Katarzyna can only nod.

Kendra begins her séance. They see a vision of Auren Vrood preparing the sheaf of letters they found. They see cultists swarming through Feldgrau, raising the dead. They see Acreitia directing cultists to raise the obelisks. The see Vrood placing items in the chest, including the heart of Kevalka Seyn. They also see a fragile skull composed of hundreds of bone fragments. He also puts a statuette in another chest. The chests are given to two riders, one to Thrushmore, and one to Carrion Hill. Thrushmore and Carrion Hill are both south of Feldgrau, and both are aligned with the magical energy of the ley lines.

Gregore informs them that they will have to keep the bodies of their fallen companions from coming back as undead. Katarzyna carefully and respectfully takes care of that unpleasant task for Silvio, Vasislav, and Ostovach’s hounds. Gregore helps prepare Vasislav’s remains, since a werewolf has multiple ways he could come back through undeath. Katarzyna handles Silvio and the hounds on her own.

Eventually exhaustion gets the better of them all, and they sleep. Katarzyna expresses concern for Grewin and Rhakis’ continued absence, but they reassure her that the task of retrieving the horses will probably take them a good while.

Sunday, August 17th, 758, Feldgrau, The Furrows, Ustalav

Gregore sequesters himself with the remains of Ostovach after praying for his spells. He starts speaking with the dead, and asks Ostovach if he wants to return. Ostovach says he does. Gregore then waits for Grewin to be present to speak with Amelia. Rhakis and Grewin arrive back at around 10 in the morning.

Gregore addresses them as they are gathering their gear. He tells them that he has enough components for one raising. So they have to decide who comes back, Ostovach or Amelia. The problem is keeping the bodies from turning to undeath before they can be raised, and they have only until early evening to raise both Ostovach and Amelia. After some deliberation, Gregore proposes to travel through the Mists through either the ethereal plane or the plane of shadow, in the hopes of reaching Carrion Hill or Thrushmore quickly enough to raise the second subject. He warns though that there are risks and dangers. With this knowledge, Grewin agrees to ask Amelia if she wants to return. He and Gregore go away from the others, and when they return, a teary-eyed Grewin tells them that Amelia misses them all and loves them, but wishes to remain where she is. So they prepare to raise Ostovach, and Rhakis agrees to take Amelia’s remains back to the Temple of Hala in the Margreve when he departs.

Gregore begins his ritual to raise Ostovach. He says the proper prayers and incantations, and mist begins to emanate from Gregore. The mist goes into Ostovach’s mouth, and his gauntness is diminished. Ostovach sharply breathes in and his eyes fly open as he’s brought back.

They all welcome Ostovach back, and Katarzyna clumsily tells him that his hounds are dead. Gregore restores a bit of Ostovach’s lost ability. Katarzyna, feeling poorly for having so tactlessly informed him of his hounds’ deaths, asks Ostovach if he wants to return to the Margreve with Rhakis, or if he wants to remain with them and press on. He agrees to travel with them as far as Carrion Hill, at least. Grewin offers to smoke a pipe with him. Ostovach is unsteady and still getting his bearings as he walks with Grewin. As Rhakis is preparing to leave, Katarzyna gives Rhakis a missive for Judge Daramid, and Grewin gives him a letter for Myphina. Jean-Baptiste also sends a letter.

The bed down for the night, resolved to leave Feldgrau for Carron Hill as early as they can the next morning.

The Shadows of War
The heroes travel to the Furrows, fighting cultists and werewolves.

Thursday, August 7th, 758, Ardeal, Ustalav

At noon, the group runs across a Vistani caravan. They take one look at the group, and steer away. Eventually they come to an old abandoned farmhouse. There are four wolf humanoids hanging from the tree. Jean-Baptiste tells them that he doesn’t see werewolves, but rather skeletons. Katarzyna tries to detect magical auras, but doesn’t see any. Jean-Baptiste and Grewin approach the hanging tree. Grewin and Jean-Baptiste warn them away. Katarzyna hits it with a lightning bolt, and it gives chase. They make short work of it before it can attack them, then they investigate the abandoned farmhouse. Katarzyna investigates the bodies inside the farmhouse. Jean-Baptiste and Grewin hear what sounds like a child in the bedroom. Abner tries to open the door. They call Gregore in when they hear the sound. They manage to break into the closet where they find the bones of a small girl. They decide to dig graves for the deceased trio. Rhakis and the other Prince’s Wolves set up camp while they deal with the situation.

Friday, August 8th, 758, Ardeal, Ustalav

The next morning, Ostovach is hunting for breakfast. This is the night of the full moon. They are concerned about the effects it will have on Grewin. Grewin allows himself to be shackled. As the moonlight touches him, he changes into a bear form. He allows them to observe his transformation. Gregore doesn’t want to observe the effect. Abner also opts out. Katarzyna watches for awhile. They all turn in for the night, keeping watches.

Saturday, August 9th, 758, Ardeal, Ustalav

Grewin reverts to his normal form as the sun rises, and he is exhausted. The wolves are sleeping in their wolf form. Gregore helps Grewin out of the shackles and helps him get dressed. They push on through the day.

Sunday, August 10th, 758, Ardeal to the Furrows, Ustalav

Rhakis Szadro tells them that they are getting close to Feldgrau. He tells them that they could arrive in the evening, if they wanted, but he knows that Grewin is tired. They decide to press on, and they arrive at the boundary of the Furrows around two o’clock in the afternoon. They quickly realize they are in The Furrows. They see evidence of the War Without Rivals. Jean-Baptiste knows about the town of Feldgrau, and he shares with the others. Rhakis tells them that he believes that they’ve arrived at the village. They decide to circle around the town.

They come upon a ruined farmhouse with two outbuildings. They approach with caution. Grewin finds tracks of wolves and humans coming into and out of the buildings. They investigate the buildings. The southernmost building is a collapsed pile of rubble. They approach the second building. Kendra looks for undead in the area, but doesn’t find any. Jean-Baptiste tells Gregore to be ready to cast a light spell when they break down the door. Abner opens the door, and they see candlelight in the room. Abner gingerly walks into the anteroom. Rhakis and Katarzyna walk into the next room. There is a dead cultist on the altar. Jean-Baptiste sees that there are sigils of Jezelda among the unholy symbols carved into and around the sacrifice. Jean-Baptiste destroys the altar. Gregore says prayers. They then move on to the next house. The other house is pretty empty, and they set out for another building on the outskirts of the ruined town.

They slowly creep toward the building. There is an oversized shed and an obliterated main building. Abner opens the shed. It’s horrible, but Abner isn’t fazed by it. There are four large skeletons and eight standard-size skeletons. The four large skeletons are armored and in battle-ready poses. The group attacks the undead and destroy them quickly, but Jean-Baptiste uses his gun, alerting anything nearby. Rhakis tells them that he hears his companions baying. Grewin and Abner see hybrid wolves approaching. Rhakis goes to join them, and Katarzyna, Abner and Kendra go with him. Rhakis and the other wolves greet each other. They go into the dyer’s shop with the other Prince’s Wolves. The wolves tell them that they have found where the ghost is, in the Inn. Adamaris Ionacu, leader of the Jezeldans/Demon’s Wolves, is nearby. He is in a cluster of buildings to the south of their current location, near the town square. The cultists are gathering forces of undead. Their leader wears a bone breastplate, and he is stationed in the tower near the town square. The wolves tell them that there has been a lot of activity among the Jezeldans and the Whispering Way.

Jean-Baptiste and the others stay in the shed and search for clues and items. Jean-Baptiste and Ostovach investigate the cemetery, and discover that all the graves have been opened and the bodies exhumed. It seems like all the graves were opened within the last few weeks. Grewin watches both groups from the street. Jean-Baptiste tells Grewin that there is at least 100 graves exhumed. Gregore tells them that the people who died in the War Without Rivals would have died elsewhere, and would not have been among the graves in the cemetery. They decide to break for the night, since Grewin and Gregore are fatigued. They set watches. It’s a creepy night for all concerned. They hear wolves howling during the night.

Monday, August 11th, 758, Feldgrau, The Furrows, Ustalav

The next morning they discuss the strategy moving forward. They decide to try to thin the ranks of the Jezeldans and Whispering Way cultists before facing Arren Vrood. Jean-Baptiste and Grewin agree to make a sweep around the town starting in the building west of their position.

They set off in the direction of the first building. They come to the chandlery, and Ostovach and Rhakis are overcome by something, and they hurl themselves at the iron vessels in the room. They yell out something about fire. Grewin and Katarzyna hear the commotion and rush into the room. Grewin is also overcome by the presence in the room, and does the same thing that affected Ostovach and Rhakis. Jean-Baptiste grabs Grewin and tosses him out of the chandlery. Gregore pulses, and heals them for a bit. Gregore’s pulse seems to disrupt the haunt, and Katarzyna rushes to Ostovach’s side.

The next building is the blacksmith’s forge. Kendra and Jean-Baptiste go into the room before the others. Katarzyna enters the room next. There is a pool of blood that is leading toward a door. Abner peeks into the room, and there are two dead cultists in the stairwell, and at the top of the stairs is Duristan Silvio Ariesir, lately of Ascanor Lodge and the Shudderwood. He tells them how he arrived at Feldgrau. He says his people are in a building closer to town. Kendra and Katarzyna go up the stairs with Duristan to survey the town.

Grewin and Jean-Baptiste quickly realize that Duristan is a werewolf. They let Abner and Rhakis know, and then go up and clue in Kendra and Katarzyna when Grewin asks flat out “when were you bitten”. Duristan transforms into his wolf form. They all surround him and attack him, and finally Jean-Baptiste takes him down with a major blow. They quickly loot his body, 20 silver arrows, a composite longbow [magic—goes to Ostovach], a light steel shield [magic—goes to Gregore], a silver longsword with runes [magic—goes to Gregore, Gregore’s existing magic longsword goes to Ostovach], studded leather armor [magic], and a potion. The potion is probably some kind of healing potion. Grewin tries on the studded leather armor, it resizes, much to his surprise and delight. Ostovach is VERY pleased with his new equipment.

They regroup and continue on. There are some destroyed buildings they rifle through. They then come to a modest homestead. A dead Whispering Way cultist and several skeletons lie dead on the floor of the home. Suddenly Jean-Baptiste shoots the wall to one side. Grewin and Abner attack the creature, which turns out to be some kind of spellcaster. Katarzyna halts three of the undead creatures in the room with her. Grewin and Katarzyna shatter the skeleton that wasn’t Halted by Katarzyna’s first spell. The female goes down after Jean-Baptiste knocks her down as she tries to cast a spell. They then take down the three remaining halted skeletons with no problem. Jean-Baptiste tells Abner to tie up and gag the woman, who is unconscious. Jean-Baptiste searches the body and finds a breastplate [magic], a scythe [magic], a black pearl [magic], small onyxes, vials of some kind of light yellow liquid [magic—Unholy Water], potion with a solid blue oily liquid [magic—strong curative spell]. Jean-Baptiste dumps the unholy water out of the flasks and saves the vials to reuse later. Kendra examines the pearl. She can’t readily identify the item, so Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna examine it. Neither of them is able to ascertain what it does, so Jean-Baptiste attempts to activate it blindly. The pearl seems to affect him briefly, but it doesn’t seem to do anything. He gives the pearl to Gregore, telling him that there is a chance he could use it. Gregore puts the item in his pouch.

They pick up and move on to the next room. It is unremarkable, so they continue forward. Grewin and Ostovach look into the room, Ostovach puts his hand up, and he and Grewin approach the building with stealth. Grewin also goes stealthily. They overhear someone talking. They overhear someone saying something like “you’re too loud my sweets” and some incoherent growling/choking noises. Grewin pulls himself up on a windowsill and looks into the room. Inside there is a creature feeding on another creature. Grewin goes back to the others, then they sneak back to the building. Grewin opens the door, and they roll in to the room. There is a sort of massive troglodyte, which we later learn is calledfestrog.jpg a Festrog- some sort of udead ogre or small giant made into a somewhat bestial form) a couple of skeletons, and a woman with black armor. Gregore pulses and destroys the two skeletons, but not before one of them gets a good hit on Ostovach, chopping his hand off. Everyone is horrified when this happens. Katarzyna destroys the festrog and blinds the mage, then the others lay waste to her. Ostovach, deprived of vengeance against the skeleton that severed his hand, lands a solid hit on the blind mage, knocking her to the ground. She pulses with negative energy twice in rapid succession, raising all of her fallen minions in the process. The newly raised festrog attacks Abner, but it misses with all its attacks. Katarzyna hits it again with a lightning bolt, but it manages to avoid most of the damage. Ostovach attacks the prone mage, then Amelia and Grewin attack her. Abner and Grewin’s attacks take her down. The festrog then goes after Abner. The skeletons attack Amelia and Ostovach, but miss. Amelia and Grewin then focus on the festrog. It finally goes down on Gregore’s last Pulse, which also destroys the skeleton again. When the fight is over, Katarzyna rushes over to Ostovach and Abner rushes over to Kendra, and Jean-Baptiste returns with the first woman they fought.

As they are taking stock, Grewin notices an inky greyness outside, which causes him some consternation. He points it out to Jean-Baptiste. Gregore is also staring out at the Mist. Gregore tells Grewin that he first took it for the presence of Ezra, but isn’t sure now. Amelia retrieves Ostavach’s severed hand, and Katarzyna and Gregore tend to Ostavach.

They decide to stop for the night and return to their base camp. They hear frightening noises. Abner and Jean-Baptiste explore the vicinity of the building. They hear large footsteps getting closer. They encounter a large creature, which chases them. They hear screaming, and find two robed humans attacking a female werewolf. Grewin, Katarzyna and one of the Princes’s Wolves run toward the screaming. The werewolf tells them that the werewolf being attacked is Emiliana. Abner attacks one of the attackers, and a fight ensues. Abner kills the man attacking. Jean-Baptiste neutralizes the female acolyte, while Katarzyna and the werewolf take Emiliana and go through a Dimension Door back to the building they’ve been using as a home base. Katarzyna alerts Gregore to Emiliana’s condition. He immediately starts working on her.

Jean-Baptiste and the others are still on the battlefield, and they notice the fog coming in. Jean-Baptiste tries to talk to the female cultist, but she is uncooperative. He threatens her. Abner searches the corpse of the other cultist. He finds a nice short sword. They head back after a few moments.They hear the festrogs in the distance, but are unmolested by them. Grewin also goes back into the base. Jean-Baptiste brings the woman into the base. He asks Katarzyna to use Prestidigitation to clean his sodden garments, but she is upset with him for some reason and does not do so. There are three small books that resemble spellbooks. Katarzyna puts them with her other stash of spellbooks. Gregore is unable to save Emiliana. One of the werewolves attacks the cultist that Jean-Baptiste brought into the cabin. The situation escalates until Rhakis cuts through the chatter, and makes the other werewolves back down. The female cultist finally relents, and tells them that they’re too late. The temple is full of undead. There are about 10 festrogs out in the area. Before he continues interrogating the first cultist, he has one of the werewolves wake up the other cultist. When the newly awakened cultist refuses to cooperate, he tells the werewolves that they can kill her, then continues to interrogate the first cultist. Katarzyna doesn’t like what’s happening, so she leaves the room and goes upstairs. The cultist tells Jean-Baptiste that Arren Vrood is in the temple, surrounded by undead. Jean-Baptiste and the cultist trade insults. Gregore goes upstairs to see what’s bothering Katarzyna, and tells her that Arren Vrood is in the temple. Later, he brings some food up to Katarzyna. Katarzyna tells Gregore that she doesn’t approve of Jean-Baptiste’s methods in interrogating the cultists.

Downstairs, the interrogation continues. The uncooperative cultist won’t say anything, so she is killed, her throat is slit by one of the werewolves. The blind cultist says that Vrood is a necromancer and priest, and his priestess Acreitia is in the temple with him. She also says she doesn’t know much about the machine that connects to the Hell, and Gregore thinks she means the Abyss. She says that the curates control the festrogs. The cultist tells Jean-Baptiste that there are two pylons associated with the Infernal Machine, the device Arren Vrood is using to connect to Hell. Eventually Jean-Baptiste apologizes to Rhakis.

During the night, during Abner’s watch, the walls start to shift, and Abner is alarmed and goes to wake up Jean-Baptiste. They are in an unfamiliar environment. It is very dark for the others, very bright for Katarzyna, and makes it very difficult for them to see beyond a very small area. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna venture into the darkness toward a dim green light, tying themselves to a rope and investigating a body at the point of origin of the light. The light turns out to be a lantern, which emits a lantern.jpgstrange green light, and there is a corpse nearby. Katarzyna also sees a metal skull, and Jean-Baptiste grabs it. Grewin is looking out at them, and notices that the green light increases when Jean-Baptiste picks up the skull. A creature made of gloomy darkness attacks Jean-Baptiste. He recognizes it as a shadow. Katarzyna Turns the shadow, and they make it back to their base.

Gregore asks for Jean-Baptiste’s help in spreading an alchemical mixture around the perimeter of the rooms. He is using a consecration spell to lessen the oppressive nature of the environment and hopefully keep the undead at bay. Jean-Baptiste then goes to Kendra and removes her blindness. Gregore then goes to help Grewin overcome his feelings of despair. He then goes to Katarzyna and tries to talk to her, but she is not receptive to him. Kendra calls attention to the skull they found, and Katarzyna realizes it is a Whispering Skull. It is similar in function to an ioun stone. Katarzyna notices that it speaks in many voices, and one of them is Vudran, which she knows. Kendra takes a look at the effigy. She can’t really tell what it is. Gregore suggests that they all try to get some sleep. Katarzyna has trouble getting back to sleep. Jean-Baptiste gives her an infusion to help her sleep.

Tuesday, August 12th, 758, Feldgrau, The Furrows, Ustalav

The next morning, they awake and prepare for the day. They decide to head toward the cemetery, to disable one of the pylons of the Infernal Machine. Katarzyna notices an aurora in the sky when she hoods the green spectral lantern. Grewin is guiding them. They run into an undead child. Grewin is upset when she reaches out for him and dissipates. They battle the undead creatures that are attacking the girl. They then try to reconcile the girl’s spirit. They lay her to rest in the best way they can, with Gregore taking the lead. Gregore digs a grave for the girl. He takes the poker with him, he says that he has to “cool” it before 24 hours passes, otherwise the haunts will re-coalesce. The girl’s home seems to have regained the aspect of the real world/Ravenloft, rather than the aspect of the Hell dimension.

They make their way to the warehouse adjacent to the cemetery. It has taken on the metal and rusted aspect of the Hell dimension. There is a huge wrought iron gate, which they open. Jean-Baptiste notices that the green light seems to cause the bodies on meathooks to writhe. They decide to look into the cemetery through the wrought iron fence around the perimeter of the cemetery. They run into a festrog, and one bites Grewin and swallows a bit of his shoulder which seems to regenerate the wounds on the festrog. They defeat the festrog and see an obelisk. At that moment, Katarzyna hears the whispering skull warn her that there is something behind her. She whirls around and shoots her would-be assassin with a lightning bolt. Grewin goes up to the obelisk and starts turning the wet earth to mud. They fight three acolytes at the pylon. The pylon starts to luminesce, but not from the effect of the machine. The three clerics are a tough fight, and Abner and Grewin are each blinded during the fight, but Gregore helps them regain their sight. Gregore sends the wings of Ezra to attack the last cleric. He also hits her with a Terrible Remorse spell. After they are defeated, Katarzyna is able to determine that the cleric’s rings have a combination of abjuration and necromancy magic.

They take stock of the pylon as Grewin’s spell dissipates. Katarzyna and Kendra look at the pylon, and notice Akiri heiroglyphs on it. Katarzyna casts Spider Climb in preparation to climb the pylon. Katarzyna suggests eradicating the runes on the pylon that are written in blood. Jean-Baptiste reads the heiroglyphs, which refers to the Akiri Book of the Dead. Gregore decides that cleaning off the runes with holy water will disrupt the spells. Katarzyna and Kendra help clean off the runes. Jean-Baptiste determines that it would take a considerable effort of physical strength to pull down the pylon. Jean-Baptiste creates an infusion of Enlarge Person, and they try to pull down the pylon. A festrog attacks during the attempt. After Katarzyna Turns the one surviving festrog, they manage to knock down the obelisk. They then return to the cabin where Ostovach has been waiting. They discuss where to go next.

They decide that Kendra will go with the werewolves, while the others look for the second pylon. Grewin leads them south through town. Katarzyna carries the lantern. Ostovach is hindered, but he is ready to fight with his good arm. Grewin leads them through, and they hear festrogs the whole time. They run across a haunt, of a woman being raped by a soldier. Abner is overcome by a bloodlust from the pool of blood coming from the woman and turns a malevolent eye to Grewin. Ostovach throws his longsword at the spectre hitting it directly in the chest, and it dissipates. Jean-Baptiste looks for the woman’s bones, but Abner finds them in the fireplace. Jean-Baptiste gathers up her bones and puts one of her dresses with her, and aims to bury her before a day has passed.

They hear a festrog very close by, and they all hide quickly. A human and a festrog enter the room with a lantern, but Katarzyna had quickly shaded their lantern before they came in. Everyone manages to hide, and they leave them be. They wait a few minutes, then Grewin guides them on their way. They pass a doorway, and Grewin notes a warm glow coming from inside the room. It appears to be a corral for undead skeletons. Katarzyna Turns them and they all cower to one side of the room, and Gregore Pulses to destroy them all at once.

They continue on. They decide to go down an alleyway. As they come out of the alleyway, they continue to move toward the south part of town.

The group moves on. As they’re walking in the dark (overly bright for Katarzyna), Jean-Baptiste and Abner notice some writing on the wall. In red paint, it says “no peace”. The paint looks fresh. They also find runes written in blood. There are also bones stuck in the wall. necromancy003.jpgThere is a skull in the wall covered in all sorts of alchemical symbols, and Jean-Baptiste pulls it out and crushes it. There is a black wisp of energy that is released from the skull, and they each have brief flashes of what feels like memories coming from the skull. Katarzyna realizes that some of the symbols are planar in origin, while Jean-Baptiste realizes that the symbology is associated with the Hags of Tartarus, who trade in souls and have been associated with the binding of angels and demons.

They continue on, and they run across a small garden, now completely obliterated. Lining the garden is a short ‘fence’ made of barbed wire strung between femur bones. They see movement in the ground, and Jean-Baptiste throws a rock at the ‘garden’ and they see what looks like a body trying to get out of the garden, that is swathed in blankets of earth and cockroaches. Katarzyna casts Burning Hands on the garden and the cockroaches. The roaches come at them. Gregore Pulses, and kills all the roaches, and reveals a network of vines and roots in the denuded garden. The roots look like veins, and where a plant would be looks like a heart among the vines/veins. There is a creature underneath the network of vines, writhing in pain. Katarzyna shoots the vines with Burning Hands again. Abner strikes two of the hearts. The vines disappear. Katarzyna gathers up the bones of the boy.

They get their bearings, and Jean-Baptiste believes he knows where they are in town. They go into another building. Abner leads them through the building. Abner opens a door for a closet. They then go into another room. It is the kitchen. They go through the other door, and are back in the main room. They then go through another door. It’s a bedroom, and there are restraints on it. They then go through an archway and up some stairs. As they’re coming down the stairs, they overhear two voices. Katarzyna fires off a lightning bolt as she sees her companions getting ready to fight the two people walking outside. The woman is killed by the lightning bolt, as the guy pulls the woman in front of him to absorb the brunt of the blast. He sends a fire blast at Ostovach and Amelia, then Abner backstabs him. Jean-Baptiste then stabs him with a rapier from behind, and kills him, stabbing him through the eye. As he dies, he starts to bleed through his eyes and mouth, with the blood almost like an acid. Jean-Baptiste examines the body. Katarzyna joins them out in the street. Ostovach moves the bodies out of the street, at Katarzyna’s behest. She tries to get rid of any obvious signs of a struggle. Gregore opens the door nearby, and Pulses. He kills many of them, and when Katarzyna asks if he got them all. He says there are still some left, so he goes in to deal with them. Jean-Baptiste and Gregore wade in and deal with the armored skeletons, and Abner rolls in and helps to destroy the skeletons. They decide to knock out another room, then return to their ‘camp’ to rest so that Gregore can regain his healing spells. They return to their base of operations.

Back at the camp, Kendra and the remaining wolves are quite the worse the wear. They were set upon by the other wolves. They discuss the planar nature of the runes and such, that she also encountered during the day. Kendra starts her ritual of automatic writing. Kendra tells them that the skull was an ancestor skull, and that it wanted to talk with them. They decide to have a seance. Kendra starts chanting.

They all share a vision. In it, they see Count Neska giving the order to kill all of the inhabitants of Feldgrau. They also see young Arren Vrood emerging alive from the mass grave in the town square. Margrave Cilas Graydon was in the vision as a young lieutenant to Count Neska, but he was reluctant to carry out the Count’s orders. Count Neska was exceedingly cruel.

Rhakis tells them that in their excursion, they discovered the location of the Demon’s Wolves. They discuss taking care of the Demon’s Wolves next, since they continue to harry them. They spend the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing and planning for the next day. Abner prepares a very tasty meal for them, though he has little to work with. The night goes by uneventfully, though they each have disturbing dreams and awake with a start several times.

Wednesday, August 13th, 758, Feldgrau, The Furrows, Ustalav

They have a decent breakfast, thanks to Abner. The first objective of the day is to bury the remains of the child they found the previous day in the garden of bones. Grewin is able to get them to the cemetery easily. They decide that Abner, Jan, and Grewin will reconnoiter the area of the pylon. They see cultists at the pylon, inscribing runes. Grewin and the werewolf Jan return to the group, to tell them what’s going on and plan how to proceed. Katarzyna, Gregore and Amelia are going to use Katarzyna’s Dimension Door to arrive at the pylon, waiting for the others to get into position. As soon as they arrive via Dimension Door, they attack. Abner comes out of hiding to attack one of them, but the guy spots him. Jean-Baptiste shoots one, and Kendra shoots the same one. Katarzyna uses a Lightning Bolt on the third one, wounding him a great deal. Gregore goes after the one Katarzyna hit, and finishes him off. Amelia attacks the one Abner attacked. Ostovach attacks the one that was shot by Kendra and Jean-Baptiste, but misses. Rhakis and his werewolves attack them also. At the end of the first round of combat, two of the cultists are dead. Immediately thereafter, Abner kills the third one. Abner then tells them that others are coming. They decide to move the bodies away and wait for the others to arrive. Jean-Baptiste washes off the runes that the cultists had been painting onto the obelisk. Jean-Baptiste manages to remove all the implements that the cultists had been using. A werewolf approaches Rhakis, and tells them that a festrog and a curate are approaching. Katarzyna Spider Climbs to the top of the obelisk. They hear the festrog before they see it. The curate steps into the light. She is immediately killed by the groups attacks coming from all directions, Katarzyna’s lightning bolt finishing her off. The festrog attacks Amelia, but the group manages to take it down before it can do any serious harm to anyone. Jean-Baptiste inspects the items that the curate was carrying.

They decide to head toward the building that had been identified by Kendra and Rhakis the day before as the lair of the Demon Wolves. Everyone is in pretty high spirits from their successful conquest of the cultists and the festrog. They discuss strategy for dealing with the Demon’s Wolves. In the end, they decide to investigate the building adjacent to the Demon Wolves’ lair.

They head toward a building that turns out to be the Feldgrau Inn. The sign is moving in a non-existent breeze. They go into the Inn, and they’re met by the spectral form of the innkeeper. They try to talk to the haunt, but he hangs himself in spite of their efforts. He then strikes out at Jean-Baptiste. Katarzyna, Kendra and Gregore hit the ghost with magical attacks, and the creature attacks Gregore next. The creature lets out a moan. Grewin is panicked by the moaning, and drops his weapons and flees. The creature gets a good hit on several of them, but they finally strike it down.

They check out the inn. Jean-Baptiste finds some loose floorboards at the front desk. There is a metal strongbox in the compartment. Jean-Baptiste opens the box, which contains coins and a small ring box. The coins are covered in blood. In the ring box is a jeweler’s loupe. They find the ledger, which is very old. Ulkris Sedmyr is the name of the innkeeper.

They then go to the building known to be inhabited by the Demon’s Wolves. They discover that the building is a mill. As Grewin enters the building, a wolf attacks. Grewin is wounded severely on the first hit. They fight the two wolves at the door. Katarzyna Spider Climbs up the outside wall of the mill, but the windows are so grime-darkened she can’t see through them. Grewin is severely wounded again. The battle rages for several moments. They eventually take down both the wolves. Grewin asks if one of the wolves is Adimarus Ionacu. A voice comes from the second floor, and says “No”.

Adimarus Ionacu speaks with them briefly, trading barbs and boasts, and finally comes down to face them. Katarzyna immediately places a Web spell in the area around the ladder that Adimarus dropped down, trapping Adimarus’ allies in the room above. The all converge on Adimarus and attack. After a contentious struggle, Abner gets off an amazing shot and kills him outright, stabbing him through a gap in his armor, under his arm. At that moment, Adimarus’ acolytes break through Katarzyna’s Web spell and peer down into the main room. As they look on, Rhakis cuts out the heart of Adimarus Ionacu and eats it, proclaiming his dominance over the remaining Jezeldans. The two Demon’s Wolves are now ostensibly under the control of Rhakis, but the atmosphere remains taut with aggression among the wolves.


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