Lanterns in the Mist

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”.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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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The Stairs of the Moon

Sunday, August 3rd, Ascanor Lodge, Ustalav

The group continues into the Stairs of the Moon interior complex. Before they leave the room, they destroy the canopic stone that binds the vilkacis to the Material Plane. Kendra takes the stone back to the room with the dais, and uses the back of Grewin’s axe to break the stone into two pieces. Kendra keeps half of the stone, and gives the other half to Jean-Baptiste. When the stone is broken, a wisp of ectoplasm escapes, and the overall pall of gloom in the room dissipates somewhat.

Back in the room where Estovian was killed, Abner goes to the pit, and someone calls out. He says his name is Corin. Katarzyna overhears Abner talking to him. He says his spirit is bound to the stone, and he’s been stuck in the pit for 500 years. He was a witch of Hala, who contracted lycanthropy, and his father tried to cure him of it, but could not. He tried to help him by imprisoning him in the pit. He says that they should “return to Hala what is hers”. Katarzyna Feather Falls down into the pit. She uses the magical rope to allow the others to climb down into the pit. Gregore throws one of Jean-Baptiste’s bags down. Katarzyna starts to gather up the bones, but the shackle holding the foot is almost impossible to remove. Abner shimmies down the rope to unlock the shackle. He can’t do it, so Jean-Baptiste and Kendra shimmy down the rope and try their hands at it. Kendra ends up having to shoot the lock off. It is a loud report, and Kendra climbs out of the pit.

Abner and Gregore explore the rest of the room. Abner finds three flasks with liquid in them, newer than the other items in the room. Jean-Baptiste finds unguents and such, but they are all very old and not very hard to come by. Many are toxic extracts of various plants and fungi. There are a lot of surgical tools, all of pure silver, and Jean-Baptiste gathers them up. Abner also finds a small iron strongbox. Abner tries to unlock it, but can’t. Kendra then tries, but can’t. Jean-Baptiste also gives it a try. He finally opens it. He finds a wand and three scroll tubes with fragile-looking moth wings on them. Kendra takes a look at one of the scrolls. Katarzyna looks through Estovian’s spellbook. Kendra says that the scroll tube and the wings are magical. There is an alchemical unguent called Unguent of Timelessness on the wings. Jean-Baptiste speculates that the wand is a Hala wand. Kendra opens a scroll tube, and they open. They speculate that the tubes are preservation tubes. There is a ritual and some information on stars and alignments. Jean-Baptiste reads the ritual to the others. Kendra finds notes from Corin’s father, summarizing the man’s efforts to free his son from lycanthropy. The third scroll tube has a divine scroll. They bring the scroll to Gregore to evaluate. Gregore tells them that the scroll will remove diseases that would remove lycanthropy.

They walk out of the interior complex to go back to the outside of the tower. They see the body of a dead werewolf right outside the door. They loop around the back of the tower. Katarzyna casts Spider Climb and climbs up the tower face. The others skulk by the hybrid werewolves fighting in the decrepit cemetery adjacent to the tower. They arrive at the flat area. There are two wolves ripping open the body of a human, probably a werewolf. Jean-Baptiste recognizes the werewolves as Nightwalkers/Fasmire. The wolves see them and leap at them in hybrid form. Grewin is wounded and knocked to the ground, but the one attacking Jean-Baptiste misses him. Jean-Baptiste shoots one and distracts the other. Abner kills one. Jean-Baptiste shoots the other, but it still attacks Grewin. Abner quickly kills it too. Gregore inspects the dead werewolf. Gregore says it is an undead werewolf called a shadow. Gregore uses Kendra’s wand to remove the damage to Grewin’s strength. Katarzyna asks why they were ripping open the body of the dead werewolf, if it was to become leader of that group. Kendra thins it was the leader of that pack of werewolves. Gregore cuts out the heart and they destroy the heart. Jean-Baptiste starts throwing the bodies of the werewolves off the platform, which attracts more Fasmire werewolves.

Grewin rushes to attack the oncoming werewolves. Gregore also attacks with a radiant energy attack. Jean-Baptiste kills one. There are still werewolves charging. Katarzyna shoots Magic Missile at one that’s attacking Kendra. She then kills the one attacking Abner, while Grewin finishes off the fourth one. Finally the rest of them start climbing up the stairs that wind around the tower. They encounter a dead werewolf on the staircase, and they toss the body off the tower. They get up to the menopteron level. There are three silverhide werewolves in the circular room. They attack. Grewin, Amelia, Abner and Jean-Baptiste are the only ones who can really get in the room. Abner kills the first of the three. Katarzyna shoots one with Acid Arrows, and it attacks her, knocking her prone. Jean-Baptiste bull rushes the werewolf and knocks it through one of the windows. Amelia barrels out of the menopteron and knocks the werewolf down. Grewin kills the one attacking him, leaving only the one attacking Amelia. Jean-Baptiste bravely leaps down onto the exterior staircase and shoots the werewolf. As the last remaining werewolf tries to throw Amelia off himself, he falls off the edge of the steps and off the tower.

Abner tells them that he heard a female werewolf voice say “I think they defeated your men”. They decide to go up the stairs, while Katarzyna Spider Climbs up the opposite way. They emerge at the top of the open-air observatory with megaliths. There is an large, armored male werewolf on the platform, who is apparently Mathus Mordrinacht, and a female werewolf, Cybrisa Dorshanev. Mathus is carrying a longsword. Mathus and Grewin exchange heated words. Mathus hurls a dagger at Grewin. Grewin stumbles backward from the wound. Grewin starts shaking. Grewin seems to undergo a transformation, with black hair, turning into something like a bear. Everyone is shocked by the transformation.

Katarzyna Spider Climbs up to the top of one of the menhirs. Jean-Baptiste shoots at the female werewolf. Mathus attacks Grewin. Cybris casts a spell, hurling lightning at Jean-Baptiste. Kendra shoots Cybrisa. Gregore tries to attack Mathus Mordrinacht, but Amelia gets in his way. Abner then rolls up on Mathus. Jean-Baptiste then runs at her and tackles her. Kendra casts a spell on Abner to give him better accuracy in fighting. Grewin slashes at Mathus Mordrinacht and bites at him, but misses with both attacks. Cybrisa tries to cast a spell on Jean-Baptiste, and he pistol whips her as she does so. Mathus continues to attack Grewin. Katarzyna blinds Cybrisa, but her lightning bolt still hits Jean-Baptiste. Kendra shoots at Cybrisa, after her “broken arrow” attack. Gregore pulses. Katarzyna shoots Cybrisa with Acid Arrows. Mathus attacks Grewin and Abner. Grewin collapses and starts to turn back into his gnomish form.

Cybrisa calls another Storm Burst, but Gregore pulses again. Jean-Baptiste tackles Cybrisa to the ground. He goes to grapple her and she bites him. Cybrisa morphs into a bird and flies away. Mathus focuses on Abner, wounding him grievously. Katarzyna hits the fleeing Cybrisa with a lightning bolt scroll, and she shifts into human form as she falls. Kendra heals Abner. Gregore’s healing spells are exhausted, so he he casts a spell. The spell targets Mathus, who flings away his dagger, which seems to be burning his hand. Grewin rallies and attacks Mathus again, sinking his axe into Mathus’ back, Mathus is incredulous as he stares at Grewin, and falls forward, dead.

Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste notice the crowds of werewolves gathered around the tower. Jean-Baptiste has Grewin cut off Mathus’ head, and they throw it off the tower. They see the werewolves converge on the spot where the head landed, and the wolves start to leave the area. Before long, all of the werewolves congregated around the Stairs of the Moon have left the area.

Jean-Baptiste talks about keeping the heart of Mathus Mordrinacht, but Katarzyna and Gregore are dead set against it. They talk about completing the ritual to reconsecrate the temple to Hala. Jean-Baptiste throws the body of Mathus Mordrinacht off the tower. His longsword and dagger are still on the top of the tower. Abner picks them up. The weapons are of very fine quality. Abner offers the sword to Gregore, since it is his god’s favored weapon. Grewin is loathe to touch the dagger, which is cold iron and therefore extremely dangerous to him. Jean-Baptiste, Abner and Grewin go down to the bottom complex.

One of the Kuunas werewolves approaches them up the stairs. Katarzyna is in awe of him, and addresses him as “Loremaster”. The Kuunas then goes down to the platfrom and starts skinning the body of Mathus Mordrinacht. He asks that Jean-Baptiste return the heart of Mathus’ Mordrinacht. The Kuunas tells them that the Mordrinacht clan is all but destroyed, Mathus was attempting to eat a portion of Kevalka Seyn’s heart to control the clans. The Kuunas says that Mathus would have been unsuccessful. Katarzyna stays with the Kuunas, who is joined by an Set’Ufnar guard. As people start to clear away the bodies of werewolves, the Set’Ufnar growls, but the Kuunas speaks to him in their language and he and other Set’Ufnar start gathering the bodies of the werewolves themselves. The Kuunas leaves a cloak and a mithril chain shirt. Katarzyna is raptly attentive to everything the Kuunas does while he there, and bids a reluctant farewell when he leaves. Jean-Baptiste asks several questions. He gleans from the exchange that the Whispering Way probably took the heart of Kevalka Seyn to the Furrows.

Gregore calls them all back to the top of the tower to complete the ritual to reconsecrate the Stairs of the Moon to Hala. Kendra tells them that someone is going to lead the ceremony. Kendra says that someone who is skilled with rituals should lead the ceremony. Jean-Baptiste is wearing the symbol of Hala. The group decides that Kendra herself should be the one who leads the ceremony. The ritual is accomplished. Kendra, Jean-Baptiste, Grewin and Abner all disrobe for the ritual. A refractive fog starts to drift off the menhirs. The form of the mother goddess appears. She approaches Abner, and gives him a kiss on both cheeks. She then approaches Grewin, and when he looks at her she is gnomish size. She then approaches each of them in turn, and thanks them. As she touches them, they have a vision of a battle with a black-robed individual with a breastplate of bone; the scene then shifted to an underwater scene with tentacles writhing all around. Then they have a vision of a humid area when they are sopping wet. They then see a beautiful but deadly woman with powers of undeath. They then are high atop a spire and they’re fighting a skeletal man with glowing eyes. They also have a vision of how the Stairs of the Moon was desecrated originally.

When the vision ends, they are standing in a glade, in a ring of mushrooms. Hala bids them to “come and drink, and find your respite”. She offers the first drink to Abner. Abner sinks to his knees, and she kisses him on top of his forehead. Then Grewin does the same. The others do so in turn, Katarzyna is the last to drink, but she does so. They all drift into a blissful sleep.

Monday, August 4th, Stairs of the Moon, Shudderwood/Margreve, Ustalav

They awake each feel remarkably renewed. They are back on the top of the Stairs of the Moon. It is the first light of dawn. They all notice that their eyes have turned a luminous silver, even Katarzyna’s. They talk about the shared visions. Gregore casts Gentle Repose on the body of the Whispering Way acolyte and buries the corpse. They also bury Corwin. Kendra casts Detect Magic and discovers that the mithril chain shirt is magical [+1 mithril chain]. She thinks the cloak is a Cloak of Resistance. She also reminds them that there is a Ring of Protection that is up for grabs. They decide Abner should have it, and that Grewin should have the amulet of natural armor. They decide that Abner will get the mithril chain shirt magical armor. The scroll is a Dimension Door. The wand that they found is a wand of Spider Climb.

[All Characters who drink from Hala’s cup gain 1 point of either Wisdom or Charisma, player choice; Characters achieve 8th Level].

Kendra comes up to the top of the tower, and tells them that they need to see something. At the base of the steps, they see Johan’s head on a pike. Katarzyna looks at the wound, and determines that the head was torn roughly off. She determines that it must have been werewolves, who killed him in retaliation for what has happened. Jean-Baptiste discusses the logistics of returning Estovian’s remains to Ascanor Lodge. They make their way back to the lodge.

They arrive at the gate of Ascanor Lodge. There is no sign of Duristan or his bannermen. The gate guards fetch Belik, who comes out to greet them as they come through the gate. Ostovach is there to greet them. Delgros Kroitzcer is also present. Myphina greets Grewin warmly. Ostovach dotes on Katarzyna. Katarzyna asks Belik if he knew that Estovian was a wizard. He said he knew that Estovian “dabbled”, but that’s it. Servants come out bearing drinks and such. They decide they are going to stay one more night at Ascanor Lodge and then leave in the morning. Duristan has not returned.

Belik tells them that he is going to send Estovian’s remains to Courtaud. Ostovach tells them that he wants to come with them. Katarzyna talks with Kendra about him. They decide that Ostovach will come with them.

Jean-Baptiste goes to Markiza Welgory’s room. The serving girl tells him that she is asleep, but that she will give her the message when she wakes. Markiza does talk to him later at dinner. It doesn’t go too well. He makes an indecent proposition, and she slaps him. Her servant does catch Jean-Baptiste’s eye, and signals him to meet the Markiza in a half hour.

Grewin has “the conversation” with Myphina, telling her that he is a werebear. The conversation seems to go well.

Katarzyna spends most of the evening with Mirta Straelock. Ostovach is on his best behavior.

Tuesday, August 5th, Ascanor Lodge to the Margreve/Shudderwood, Ustalav

They all gather up their things and get ready to depart. Mirta Straelock is leaving with the caravan to Courtaud. Ostovach gathers his hounds. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna have a brief conversation with Corvin Tergsvor. They speak with him about the events from the night the Margrave was killed. Jean-Baptiste tells him that they understand that he wasn’t responsible for what happened, and that they won’t say anything. He is contrite for his previous behavior. He gives them an ioun stone. Jean-Baptiste wishes him well.

Katarzyna gives Myphina a hug goodbye, and Myphina tells her to keep Grewin safe. Jean-Baptiste also bids farewell to Belik.

The group gathers their horses and starts off toward the stairs, leading their horses. They arrive at the Stairs of the Moon relatively quickly. Ostovach helps Grewin track through the forest. They hear breaking branches, and the see two ten-foot-tall hybrid werewolves. They are both armored and weapons. They are Vollensag, and they attack them. One goes for Jean-Baptiste, and the other goes for Grewin. Jean-Baptiste enlarges himself and goes toe to toe with one. Abner, Amelia and Grewin do battle with the other one. It does a lot of harm to Abner and Grewin, but Katarzyna fires off a lightning bolt at it and it dies. Abner and Grewin finish off the one attacking Jean-Baptiste.

The group collects themselves and discusses their next step. Katarzyna is concerned about the activities of the Whispering Way and their hand in events. Kendra approaches Jean-Baptiste about his affiliations. Ostovach suggests they get going. They all start on toward the Stairs of the Moon. They see a group of werewolves on top of the tower. They speak with the wolves up top, who are Set’Uthnar. The Kuunas comes out to speak with them. They parley with him for awhile, then leave in peace. They then bury Cilas Graydon on the grounds of the cemetery adjacent to the Stairs of the Moon. Gregore leads the service. Afterward, they continue on their journey. Ostovach’s dogs are happy to leave the area.

The rain continues. Up ahead, Grewin spots what appears to be the scene of a wolf’s kill. He signals for the others to stop. Katarzyna invokes the Margreve Cloak’s invisibility. Grewin moves up ahead to investigate. The others come up to investigate. They determine that they have happened upon the remains of Duristan’s men. Jean-Baptiste notices several figures off in the distance walking toward them. They are werewolves, but they morph back into humans as they approach. They offer to parley. Grewin steps toward the back, and Katarzyna remains invisible. The lead werewolf introduces himself as Rhakis Szadro, packleader of the Prince’s Wolves. The rest of the werewolves come into the clearing. Jean-Baptiste greets them in the Vistani language. Katarzyna remains invisible. Rhakis Szadro expresses regret at the slaughter of Duristan’s men. He says it is the work of the Jezelden, the Demon Wolves. Rhakis tells them that he will help them. Katarzyna emerges from invisibility, and Grewin and two of the Prince’s wolves go to scout for a camp, and they find a spot and set it up as Gregore and Ostovach gather the remains of Duristan’s men. Abner and the Prince’s wolves prepare a rabbit for dinner. Rhakis tells Grewin that he understands why Grewin doesn’t quite trust him.

Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste speak with Rhakis about the situation with the Whispering Way. Rhakis manages to coax Grewin to join them near the campfire. One of the Prince’s Wolves plays a lute, and Katarzyna listens intently. The Prince’s Wolves present are Rhakis (leader), Nikolai, Radu (the cook), Viasaslav (an older wolf), Jan, Tabetha and Emiliana. Jan seems to be interested in Kendra, and Abner watches him intently. Emiliana flirts lightly with Jean-Baptiste. Kendra, Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste spend time with the Prince’s Wolves, but Ostovach, Abner, Gregore and especially Grewin hold themselves apart.

Wednesday, August 6th, Margreve/Shudderwood to Ardeal, Ustalav

They awake in the morning. It’s still raining, so Katarzyna wears the Margreve cloak. They travel very quickly, thanks to the Prince’s Wolves. They arrive at the edge of the forest, looking out at the plains. There is a ferry that carries them across the Vhatsuntide River. The group decides to forego going into Chastel.

View
The War of the Werewolves
Clans of werewolves struggle for dominance in the Shudderwood.

Time goes by, Kendra and Katarzyna purchase more bodies for dissection. Katarzyna also studies Celestial and Vudran, the others research and create items on their own.

Saturday, July 26th, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

They are summoned to Judge Daramid’s house, where they learn that Dragos has managed to capture Alpon Caromac, who had been trying to revivify his dead wife and son. They found all sorts of horrible things in Schloss Caromac. Alpon Caromac told the authorities that Auren Vrood and his cohorts were going down to the Shudderwood to the Ascanor Lodge. They assume that Auren Vrood has taken the Old Hunter’s Path to Ascanor Lodge. Judge Daramid offers to give the party letters of introduction.

Sunday, July 27th, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Katarzyna is gone all night.

Monday, July 28th, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Kendra and Katarzyna are gone for most of the evening.

Tuesday, July 29th, Lepidstadt, Ustalav to the Margreve/Shudderwood

The group leaves for Ascanor Lodge. Judge Daramid gives them letters of introduction. They buy horses to make the journey go more swiftly. They enter the Shudderwood. It’s slow going, and they hear wolves. Grewin guides them around so that there is purchase for the horse’s hooves. The Margreve is as creepy as they remember. Katarzyna asks Grewin to teach her Sylvan and Gnomish, and they have their first lessons on the path. Grewin warns them that there might be ettercaps around, so he and Abner go scouting ahead. Abner and Grewin decide to flush out the ettercaps and drive them back toward the others. While they’re preparing to shoot at one, two others drop down and attack Grewin and Abner. Katarzyna is trapped in webs, but cuts herself out. She uses her Magic Missiles to take out an ettercap, and to wound another that is fleeing. Grewin finishes that one off, and Gregore takes a swing at the one that keeps attacking. The remaining two ettercaps instantly regret attacking them, and try to get away. Kendra shoots at one with her rifle. Grewin shoots his bow. Katarzyna shoots Magic Missiles at both of the fleeing ettercaps, and one of them manages to escape. Grewin tries to hit the fleeing ettercap, and manages to make an almost impossible shot, dropping it.

Kendra spots a ruined old tower. Katarzyna can’t see it. They decide to go check out the tower. As they approach, they hear music. Abner is enraptured by the music, and they go after him into the tower. There are six victims bound up in the sacs. There are goats, horses and two humans. All are dead. Grewin finds a sealed envelope soaked in blood with a wax seal. Kendra sees that it is a reservation for a room at Ascanor Lodge. The male human victim was Etchmoor Draven, a scion of the house of Draven. It is the most recent victim drained. They make their way down the hole, to check out the source of the music.

Katarzyna discovers that the creature under the earth is a weaverworm, a corrupted version of a lamia. The creature attacks them. It manages to paralyze Abner and Katarzyna, but Kendra manages to shrug off the paralysis. The weaverworm wounds Grewin grievously. Abner finally recovers from his paralysis, and attacks, but misses. The weaverworm also claws Abner and Katarzyna again. Grewin finally takes her down. They find 721 gold pieces worth of coins, a potion, and a ring. The ring is one long feather that curves at the end. The group decides that Katarzyna should have the ring of Feather Fall.

The group collects themselves and continues for another five miles or so. They hear the occasional howls of wolves, which is unusual during daylight hours. It starts to rain. It’s kind of more of a drizzle. When they stop, Katarzyna spots a nested doll. It’s old and broken. Katarzyna uses Mending to repair it and put it back. They set up camp. Kendra and Jean-Baptiste go to gather herbs and such. Katarzyna helps Abner with the camp while Grewin goes hunting. Grewin tells them that the animals of the forest are frightened of increased werewolf activity. One of the larger packs, the Dorzhanevs, “the Broken Ones”, settle near the edges of the woods, and pose as simple farmers and travelers. The Jezeldans, or Demon Wolves, is another group, who worship Jezelda, Mistress of the Hungry Moon, who are outcasts among other wolves. There are numerous other werewolf factions in the Margreve, and Grewin and Jean-Baptiste tell them all they know about them during the evening meal. Jean-Baptiste especially seems to know about the doings of the werewolves, and Farren had given him a lot of the information.

They hear singing in the woods, and Jean-Baptiste and Grewin go out to investigate. Katarzyna uses the Margreve cloak to make herself invisible. It turns out to be a group of hunters, and there is a bit of a tense standoff with Jean-Baptiste, but they go off without any real incident. The group has their evening meal and go to sleep. They set watches, with Gregore and Katarzyna not being on rotation so they can prepare their spells in the morning.

During Jean-Baptiste’s watch, he hears Amelia growl. He kicks Grewin awake. Katarzyna also wakes up. There is a scream. Katarzyna invokes the Margreve cloak. Grewin and Jean-Baptiste, along with Kendra, go to investigate the noise, but Katarzyna stays behind, unable to see where the others went because they traveled with such expert stealth. Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Grewin come upon a clearing of sorts, where a group of werewolves are fighting amongst themselves. One set of the wolves have splotchy grayish fur, as though they have mange. The other group are reddish in coloration with a silver stripe. During the fighting, Grewin hears someone proclaim “I will never serve the Mordrinacht.” Grewin spots a figure with a goatee, gathered with a band, who also carries a backpack. A chorus of howls erupts from the gathering. Even Katarzyna can hear it back at the campsite. There are exchanges among the wolves as the group breaks up, then they all shift into wolf form and leave the area. One of the wolves seems to have spotted Grewin, but doesn’t approach.

Five minutes afterward, Grewin comes down to the clearing to inspect the bodies of the dead werewolves. One has had its heart ripped out of its chest. All the dead werewolves have reddish hair, and are in human form. There are no dead werewolves with any indication of mange. There is evidence that some bodies had been taken away. They guess that the Dawn Guard were the losers of this inter-clan battle. They encounter a living werewolf, he tells them to leave. Jean-Baptiste is reluctant to leave.

They get back to camp, and tell the others what they’ve seen. They go back to sleep, but some time later Kendra wakes up Jean-Baptiste silently and confers with him.

Wednesday, July 30th, Margreve/Shudderwood to Maritzka’s Inn, Ustalav

The morning dawns, and they set out for Ascanor Lodge. On the road, Grewin sees a hunter he knows. Grewin warns him about the wolves. The hunter is leaving the forest, and is trying to avoid the conflict.

In the late afternoon, they hear thundering hooves approach. the rider almost collides with them. They greet the traveler, who tells them that he’s traveling to Lepidstadt. He is the mailman they had encountered previously. He tells them that Kevalka Seyn, leader of the werewolves of the Margreve, is dead. She was murdered, but it is not known by whom. They arrive at a place called Maritzka’s. As they approach, the men on the roof call out to them in greeting. They put their horses in the corral. Jean-Baptiste overhears the sentries, who are talking about Grewin, and they’re nervous about his fey nature. One of them mentions the fey that saved Czerwonya, and Jean-Baptiste confirms it. A small boy comes out and tends to their horses. Gregore, Abner and Katarzyna go inside the inn while Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Grewin take care of the horses.

Katarzyna talks to the lady at the inn, whose name turns out to be Maritzka. She tells Jean-Baptiste that the two guys on the roof are her grandsons. She brings them ale, wine and food. Jean-Baptiste pays for the meal, and requests a bath be drawn for himself. Kendra and Abner take the one room that is available, while the others take beds in the common room for the night. Katarzyna, Jean-Baptiste and Amelia have baths. Katarzyna chats with a woman named Tatiana, who is a witch of Hala, and Jean-Baptiste flirts with her. Grewin overhears a conversation, where inn patrons talk about a war, and choosing a side. One says they will “back the Primal” and “no one has consumed the heart of Kevalka Seyn.”

They all turn in for the night. Katarzyna and Grewin chat a bit about the Whispering Way as they’re laying in their cots drifting off to sleep.

Thursday, July 31st, Maritzka’s Inn to Margreve/Shudderwood, Ustalav

They see the priestess of Hala, Tatiana, saddling up her donkey as they come out of Maritzka’s. They continue on the road. They see the pale corpse of a naked man hanging from a yellow oak tree. His mouth is stuffed with purple flowers, and there is a large silver hunting knife buried in his chest. When Jean-Baptiste and Grewin investigate the body, they trigger a trap, and are injured by a hail of crossbow bolts. They cut down the body of the man, who is a dead werewolf, and bury him. They also find the crossbows and gather up the silver dagger and the usable crossbow bolts.

They continue on, and make camp before reaching Ascanor Lodge. The night passes uneventfully, though they do hear baying of wolves.

Friday, August 1st, Margreve/Shudderwood to Ascanor Lodge, Ustalav

In the morning, they get back on the road, and before noon they arrive at Ascanor Lodge. It is a large two-story building, log construction, surrounded by a stout wooden palisade. They enter through wrought-iron portcullis. The guards call down to them, and they tell them that they have letters of introduction. The guards run to fetch someone, who turns out to be a halfling named Belik. Jean-Baptiste talks to Belik. It doesn’t go well. Katarzyna manages to get him to let them in after a brief conversation. A man is leaving as they’re entering, hauling boxes with the heraldic sigil of Ariesir of Ardeal, which is recognized by Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste. Grewin notices a gnomish girl among the servants of the lodge. He is instantly attracted to her.

Katarzyna talks with Duristan Silvio of House Ariesir and Delgros Kroitzcer, the hunstman guide of Ascanor Lodge. Delgros speaks with Grewin, with whom he has some acquaintance. Katarzyna chats up Duristan. He is fiercely dedicated to rooting out werewolves. They agree to accompany Duristan and Delgros on their hunt. They reach the clearing where they were expecting to find a trap that Duristan had set, but they don’t find it. Delgros and Grewin search the area for tracks and clues. They all head out in search of a dire boar.

Before long, they encounter the dire boar. Or rather, the THREE dire boars. Two attack Grewin, and another attempts to hit Jean-Baptiste. Katarzyna Dimension Doors up to a tree, but immediately stumbles and falls out of the tree. Her Feather Fall ring kicks in. The battle rages. Katarzyna and Grewin take down one of them, while Kendra, Jean-Baptiste and Duristan take down another one. Kendra then attacks the last one. It is finally killed, and they look around the area.

Grewin looks at the carcass of the stag that the boars had been trying to drag away. Grewin determines that the stag had been killed by canine creatures. Grewin tells Duristan this. Duristan and Delgros debate whether to camp and try to kill the werewolves. Duristan starts taking silvered bear traps out of the boxes.

They chat with Duristan at night, and he mentions that Corvin Tergsvor is staying at Ascanor Lodge. He also mentions Markiza Welgory of Canterwall, probably from Tamrivena. He also gives them more general information about Ascanor Lodge. They discover that Mirta Straelock is there, with a companion named Crilaum. Madame Ivanja and her girl Niama are other guests, Madame Ivanja is a Vistani. He also shows them his “scar ward”, which supposedly protects one from the curse of lycanthropy.

Eventually they all turn in for the night. They hear a short horrid snarl before they bed down. Then they hear another one on the other side of camp. Jean-Baptiste, Katarzyna and Grewin go to the sound of the first scream, and a werewolf has slain both the hirelings. He tells them “Go tell Estovion that Mathus Mordinacht shall never claim the title.” Grewin yells at the werewolf, and the standoff continues as they discover that the Vollensag werewolves do remember the group’s previous pact with them. Katarzyna is snippy with the growling Vollensag, and tells him that “if he sees Johann, tell him I say hello”.

They arrive at the lodge, and are greeted by Belik. He offers them beverages. They talk to Estovion Lozorov. Myphina Dawnhair is the gnomish maid. Katarzyna sees the interest in Grewin’s eyes and she does her best to facilitate the conversation. They then go talk with Estovion.

Estovion’s office is circular in shape. They are introduced to him one at a time. They exchange pleasantries, but before too long, Jean-Baptiste confronts him about the Vollensag’s charge regarding his involvement with the werewolves. Kendra, Katarzyna, Abner and Grewin largely stay out of the conversation. At one point Belik shows them their rooms. There are only two rooms for them to use, but they are large rooms. Katarzyna, Grewin, and Jean-Baptiste are in one room, Kendra, Gregore and Abner are in the other. Katarzyna helps Grewin get ready for his “date” with Myphina Dawnhair, and then she beds down for the night when Grewin leaves to meet Myphina. Amelia stays in the kennel, where she is pampered.

Meanwhile, in Estovion’s office, Jean-Baptiste waits for Estovion’s return, then questions him some more. He asks about “unusual guests” but Estovion doesn’t have any info. Grewin keeps his date with Myphina. They share an expensive bottle of wine. They sit on a rooftop. They have a sweet date, and hold hands. They are out until about 2 in the morning. Jean-Baptiste is awake, smoking a pipe, when Grewin returns to the room. Katarzyna wakes up, but doesn’t stir, and listens to Grewin and Jean-Baptiste’s conversation about his date. Jean-Baptiste tells Grewin that he spoke with Estovion again and didn’t get anywhere with him. Grewin and Jean-Baptiste have an extended conversation about their theories about Estovion and the werewolves. Jean-Baptiste says that someone has been skinning werewolves. Eventually their conversation winds down, and they bed down for the night.

Saturday, August 2nd, Ascanor Lodge, Shudderwood, Ustalav

In the morning, Katarzyna is the first awake, and eventually they all make it down to breakfast. Grewin’s breakfast plate has a flower on it, and Katarzyna tells him it’s probably from Myphina. They all decide to chat up the various guests at the lodge. Katarzyna chats with Duristan and Cilas Graydon. The only other people in the common room at this point are Markiza Welgory and her companion Ostovach. Kendra and Jean-Baptiste decide to focus on the research in the library.

Grewin goes to speak with Quiene Steymor, the stablemistress. He mentions Auren Vrood, and Quiene seems to be filled with disquiet.

Kataryna explores the hedge maze. Afterward she explores the lodge and sees who she can run into. She talks with Corvin Tergsvor, but he is dismissive and rude. Eventually she makes her way back up to Kendra and Jean-Baptiste, and tells Kendra about Cilas Graydon’s deceased friend, Etchmoor Draven. Jean-Baptiste and Kendra go down to speak with him and tell him about the death of his friend. When Jean-Baptiste tells him the news, he picks up that Cilas is more upset than he lets on. Kendra gives him the letter that they had found on Etchmoor Draven’s corpse. She also tells him that they have his body.

Katarzyna and Grewin talk about Auren Vrood. The timing of his stay here is too coincidental with the death of Kevalka Seyn. They are joined by Kendra and Jean-Baptiste. It is decided that Katarzyna will talk to Quiene Steymor again. Belik arrives with a slip of paper bearing their names. He tells them it’s from Markiza Welgory. It says “some secrets are best left uncovered, leave Ascanor before you too fall prey to its curse.”

Katarzyna talks to Quiene and gets some more information from her about Auren Vrood. He had come through about a week earlier, and she was instructed not to unload or unsaddle their horses, the didn’t even stay the night.

In the afternoon, Jean-Baptiste has just finished interviewing Markiza Welgory, and they reconvene at the tower library where Kendra is studying. Kendra finds a book with an interesting note that leads them to the title of another book, Halo of Dreams. The group fans out in the tower library to locate the Halo of Dreams tome. Kendra also finds lots of information on the minor werewolf clans. They determine that the two clans Grewin had seen in conflict in the woods were were the Gnaw Marrow and the Broken Ones. Kendra mentions that the books make reference to a clan called the Kuunas, but no information has been found about them. Grewin spends some time with Myphina, “helping” her with her duties.

Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste confer briefly, then Katarzyna goes to seek out Ostovach. To Katarzyna’s surprise, Ostovach is soft-spoken and accommodating, not rude at all, and they have a pleasant conversation. Katarzyna learns that Auren Vrood and his two companions visited Niama, the Sri Raji dancer in the employ of Madame Ivanja. Markiza Welgory, Duristan, Cilas Graydon/the Margrave and Mirta Straelock arrived after Auren Vrood came and went. Corvin Tergsvor was already at the lodge. He seems friendly toward Katarzyna, but distances himself from her a bit as Markiza Welgory approaches. It’s not clear to Katarzyna whether Markiza noticed the conversation between Ostovach.

Jean-Baptiste goes in search of Madame Ivanja, but first encounters Pauncy Troab, the groundskeeper. He doesn’t seem very helpful, he isn’t surly, just somewhat taciturn and disinterested. He then proceeds toward the guard tower where Madame Ivanja is based. The door opens, and the interior smells heavily of incense. Jean-Baptiste greets Madame Ivanja in the Vistani language, and she bids him enter the premises in the same tongue. He notices the four men who serve Ivanja, who appear to be from the Amber Wastes. He talks with her for a bit, and she confirms that Auren Vrood visited Niama briefly the day they arrived at the lodge.

She also gives Jean-Baptiste a Harrow reading at his request. She tells him that he is bound to his companions, and they are all being manipulated by an unseen force, both in the wood and elsewhere. The thing, or person, has the power to subjugate all the land to its will. While the chance is small, he does have the opportunity to affect the outcome.

She presents the Owl card for Jean-Baptiste. The Owl signifies the guardian of night, the hunter who sees from above. She warns him to beware the patrols of the dead, they seek to find him. She urges him to remember the wisdom of the owl when he comes upon the dead patrol.

She then begins to draw cards for his companions. She tells him that one of his companions is created and tainted by the dark, but not of the dark. Jean-Baptiste speculates that the companion in question is Katarzyna, but possibly Kendra. The card drawn is the Mute Hag, in reversed position. Madame Ivanja tells Jean-Baptiste that his friend seeks someone, and that she should be very careful. She walks a dangerous path, and can be easily consumed by the darkness.

Madame Ivanja continues to contemplate the cards, and says that another of his companions is courageous, but hiding a terrible secret. He may not be able to determine who the companion is. The card for that companion is the Publican. Jean-Baptiste decides after the reading is completed that by process of elimination, this card must represent Grewin.

The Queen Mother card is drawn on Kendra’s behalf.

For Abner, she draws the Midwife, which signifies the barren nature, and one who has a terrible battle with a creature of both worlds.

Madame Ivanja draws the Lost card in reversed position for someone who is very self-assured and secure in his faith. He will confront that which he despises above all else. Great darkness manifests, and he will seek to destroy something from beyond the veil. He should cling to his faith as he battles this foe. Jean-Baptiste thinks that this card represents Gregore.

She also draws the Carnival card, in reversed position. It represents deception and chicanery. It indicates that they are being deceived, that a show is being put on to mislead them.

Jean-Baptiste compliments her on her authentic Harrow abilities. He gives her a handsome amount for her services, then shells out an additional 250 gp for a session with Niama, the courtesan. He has a splendid encounter with Niama, and she also tells him about her experience with Auren Vrood, and mentions the homonculus/creature that was with them. She danced for them. She also tells him that a fourth guest joined them. He was a silver-haired woodsman with a full beard, who smelled like a beast. An hour later she overheard them talking about Stairs of the Moon and the Pack Lord’s Heart. The phrases stuck out in her mind. She also noticed that one was wearing a disturbing amulet, depicting a gagged skull motif. Jean-Baptiste is very complimentary of Niama’s performance.

Myphina and Grewin return to Abner, Kendra and Gregore. Myphina’s hand lingers on Grewin’s as they serve the drinks, and he gives her a shy smile. Kendra finds more information on the Whispering Way, but nothing really new. Grewin pitches in to help, and Kendra finds even more information on werewolf clans from the lands outside Ustalav.

Grewin tells them that he found a note in the kitchens. It reads “my friends, your investigations place you in grave danger”.

That evening, they run into the Margrave/Cilas Graydon. He tells Katarzyna that the fireplaces are all connected, and that an enterprising person could overhear conversations if one is in the right place at the right time.

Grewin spends some quality time with Myphina. She prepares him gnomish food, and it is delicious. She also serves gnomish liqueur. Grewin tries to put her at ease and let her know that he is interested. They kiss. As the evening progresses, they grow closer. Suddenly Grewin hears a scream, and goes to investigate, promising to meet Myphina at the stables later.

Back in the lounge, Katarzyna runs into Mirta Straelock, and they embrace warmly and catch up on events since Katarzyna left Ravengro. Katarzyna is somewhat unnerved by Mirta’s companion Crilaum, a silent individual who radiates power and perhaps subtle menace. Katarzyna can’t determine if there is any romantic involvement between the two. During the course of the evening, Ostovach tells a ghost story. He is clearly not a bard, but he tells this story well, and has obviously told it a few times before. Suddenly the young serving girl Bisthe, the neice of the housekeeper Ruesse, screams and runs into the room. The largest spider Katarzyna has ever seen chases Bisthe into the room, and makes a move to attack her. Katarzyna runs to help Bisthe, and is grievously wounded by the spider before she can act.

Abner and Kendra, as well as Ostovach and Duristan, go to attack the spider. Cilas Graydon also attacks. They attack the creature from multiple angles, and try to keep the creature at bay. The creature shoots quills out of its back, and the spines hit Ruesse, sending her to the ground writhing in agony. At one point, Ostovach lands a solid hit on the creature, wounding it severely, severing a leg. Cilas Graydon severs another leg. Katarzyna has to take her Neutralize Poison elixir as Mirta nervously tries to aid her in her weakened state. Finally Katarzyna kills it with a Magic Missile spell.

Grewin tends to Reusse Webbe, who is nauseated by the spider’s quills. Katarzyna notices that Crilaum, Corvin and Estovion didn’t do anything during the combat. Corvin is obnoxious in the aftermath of the battle, so Katarzyna throws wine in his face. He is put out, but he doesn’t raise a hand to Katarzyna. Mirta grabs Katarzyna away, telling her that composure is the true victory. Katarzyna is unmoved by Mirta’s entreaty, and throws another vessel of wine in Corvin’s face after a second rude comment.

Grewin finds a trail of blood outside the door. He follows it a ways. It leads to the beast pens, and he runs into Delgros Kroitzcer, who tells him that the gargantuan spider was one of his creatures.

Jean-Baptiste and Niama hear commotion outside, and she goes to the window to look out. Jean-Baptiste joins her at the window, and he talks with Grewin, who is out in the courtyard. Jean-Baptiste leaves Niama and dresses quickly, determined to help Grewin look for the source of the blood. Abner calls out from the lodge, and Grewin answers. Abner goes back to the lounge to get Kendra and Katarzyna. Katarzyna’s white dress is covered in blood, but she is almost completely healed from Kendra and Gregore’s efforts. Katarzyna uses Prestidigitation to clean her dress, and while it is still ripped from the attack, it is at least no longer soaked and dirty. Ostovach joins them shortly after. He kisses Katarzyna’s hand, worried for her safety. He takes her hand and Katarzyna bats her lashes coquettishly as he escorts her outdoors toward the beast pens. Gregore remains inside the lodge, tending to Reusee, Bisthe, and the other staff who were discombobulated by the commotion.

Jean-Baptiste comes down to the beast pen, and joins Grewin, Ostovach, Katarzyna, Abner, Kendra, and Duristan. Jean-Baptiste and Grewin determine that the blood trail is a dripping trail, almost as though someone was trying to draw the spider to the lodge. Delgros also concurs. They move forward. Jean-Baptiste notices that the door was broken open. The door leads to a large area of underground holding cells. There is a grizzly bear, a dire wolverine, dire boar, a lobotmized ettercap, and an old dire wolf. They continue to investigate.

Estovion tries to blame the groundskeeper, Pauncy, for releasing the spider. Jean-Baptiste is not convinced. When he is able to talk with the group away from the others, he tells them about his Harrow reading and what Niama had told him about Auren Vrood and the beast-like woodsman. Kendra tells them she discovered that Cilas Graydon is almost universally loathed by the citizenry of Ardeal and Barstoi. His countrymen in Barstoi have even put a bounty on his head.

The group finishes up their conversation and head back into the house. They sit for dinner with Mirta Straelock and Crilaum. Mirta and Katarzyna talk at length about the events of the evening. Katarzyna introduces Jean-Baptiste to Mirta and Crilaum. At one point the chef, Ladimeur, comes out to see how they enjoyed the meal. Katarzyna and Mirta have a wonderful time catching up. Jean-Baptiste takes his leave and goes to see what else is going on in the lodge. Grewin and Myphina have a tryst in the lodge bedroom, but do not spend the entire night together.

Jean-Baptiste goes to look for Amelia at the kennel. As he walks the grounds, he hears Katarzyna on her walk with Ostovach. He goes invisible, then goes around investigating the grounds. Katarzyna and Ostovach have a romantic walk in the grounds. There is much smooching and awkwardness as Katarzyna battles conflicting desires and emotions, and Ostovach’s wandering hands. A half-hour after midnight, Katarzyna disengages from Ostovach and returns to the lodge, her virtue only slightly tarnished.

Jean-Baptiste checks out Pauncy Traub’s shack, but doesn’t discover anything that seems relevant. Abner is waiting for Jean-Baptiste to investigate the third floor of the tower library. He speaks briefly with Kendra, and they look through books relating to werewolves and the Whispering Way. Jean-Baptiste passes by Corvin Tergsvor, who is verbally abusing his long-suffering but largely apathetic manservant. Jean-Baptiste arrives at the library, and Kendra tells him that supposedly the Whispering Way had destroyed the Stairs of the Moon. Jean-Baptiste and Abner get ready to investigate the tower. Kendra tells Jean-Baptiste that she has not seen Estovion since the fracas with the giant spider. Abner easily opens the lock and he and Jean-Baptiste go into the office at the top of the tower. Abner also locates Estovion’s notes and journals. He can’t really make heads or tails of them, so Jean-Baptiste takes a look. Jean-Baptiste discovers that Estovion is decidedly anti-Palatinate, and pro-aristocracy. He thinks that the common folk wanting to elevate themselves above their station is an affront to the gods themselves. There is also a note, dated two weeks earlier, that details Auren Vrood’s arrival. The note mentions that Auren Vrood and his entourage were agents of the Whispering Way. Auren Vrood wanted Estovion to arrange a meeting with the werewolves. Mathus Mordrinacht is Estovion’s “sole ally among the packs, and because Auren Vrood had aided Estovion with some business regarding a spirit at the Stairs of the Moon at some point in the past, he contacts Mathus. There is another entry that notes that Auren Vrood returned after his first visit, which is when he visited Madame Ivanja and Niama. A third journal entry, dated two days prior to the group’s arrival, states that agents of the Whispering Way have attacked the Stairs, and that the pack lord was killed and the lord’s heart was not eaten. Without the heart of Kevalka Seyn, Mathus Mordrinacht is unlikely to gain the fealty of all the werewolf packs. Estovion is concerned that if Mathus is deposed, the uneasy peace with the Mordrinacht will be null and void.

Abner looks for the Halo of Dreams tome, but doesn’t find it. Abner and Kendra switch places, Kendra peruses the journals while Abner keeps watch downstairs. Jean-Baptiste continues to search Estovion’s office for other clues. He does find Halo of Dreams tome. Abner hears footsteps approach. He sees Belik coming down the hallway. Abner stops singing to signal Jean-Baptiste and Kendra that someone is approaching, and also drops a book. Belik greets Abner as he brushes past hurriedly and heads up the stairs. Kendra quickly hides under the desk, while Jean-Baptiste shuts and locks the door, and drinks an Invisibility infusion. Abner tries to delay Belik, but Belik brushes him off. Belik enters the office and grabs a small box, and heads out, sniffing curiously at the lingering scent of almonds, but seemingly unaware of the presence of Kendra and Jean-Baptiste.

After Belik leaves, Jean-Baptiste reads more from the Halo of Dreams, which makes reference to something called the Dusk Moth, that was disassembled to create the Stairs of the Moon. There had been frustratingly vague details in other tomes that point to the actual location of the Stairs of the Moon, and the Halo of Dreams is no help either. Jean-Baptiste finds another tome, one called Alchemy of Rokushima Tayu. Kendra says that Rokushima Tayu is an archipelago surrounded by poisonous seas. The denizens of Rokushima Tayu use pins and needles in their healing arts.

Kendra knocks on Katarzyna’s and Gregore’s doors, they all meet to discuss their situation. Katarzyna and Gregore are filled in on what the others found in Estovion’s library. They mention Adivion Adrissant, and Katarzyna wonders if this is the same person they met at Professor Lorrimor’s funeral, the barber who had acted as pallbearer. They decide to talk to Grewin an perhaps Delgros Kroitzcer to see if they can locate the Stairs of the Moon.

Sunday, August 3rd, Ascanor Lodge, Ustalav

In the morning, they hear a woman’s scream. Abner rushes out of his room and rushes to the source of the noise. He sees Ruesse staring into Cilas Graydon’s room, clearly it was she who screamed. Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna file out of their room too. Abner sees the mangled body of a person, the arms ripped off. Katarzyna goes into the room and starts inspecting the remains. The body appears to have been ripped apart, but it’s not clear how the killer entered, where they entered from, or exactly how events transpired. Katarzyna is dismayed to learn that the body is Cilas Graydon, who had been killed in his nightclothes. Jean-Baptiste tells Katarzyna to go look for Estovion, so she goes to the library first. Kendra stays with the body. Abner investigates the room, the door to the balcony was not locked. Kendra points to Cilas’ wounds, stating that they’re definitely claws and bites. Katarzyna finds Estovion and brings him to Cilas’ room. Jean-Baptiste tells Estovion that he had warned him that something bad would happen, which causes some consternation on Estovion’s part. Estovion goes to get people out of their rooms. Grewin comes running up. Katarzyna inventories the remains, and doesn’t notice anything missing or any signs of predation. Gregore also surveys the scene. Jean-Baptiste insists on gathering everyone and questioning them, and Estovion agrees to the plan.

Katarzyna quickly dresses, Jean-Baptiste and the others do as well. Abner goes to the guardhouse to ask if anyone has left in the last few hours, they tell him that no one has entered or left during the night. Jean-Baptiste and Abner go downstairs and search the rest of the property. Katarzyna remains upstairs to prepare her spells. It takes a couple hours for everyone to gather in the dining room.

Abner and Jean-Baptiste confer with the gathered people, and Jean-Baptiste notices that Duristan has a bemused smirk. Abner and Jean-Baptiste confront Duristan, who says “his prey is close” and that someone in the room is a werewolf. He proposes a test. He picks up a silver fork and stabs himself with it. Jean-Baptiste shuts him down and notices that Crilaum is not among those present. After questioning everyone, Jean-Baptiste determines that Crilaum and Corvin Tergsvor are the only ones who don’t have adequate alibis. Jean-Baptiste is trying to read everyone in the room’s motives, and notices that Duristan is doing the exact same thing. Jean-Baptiste addresses the gathered crowd. He says that he is proposing a test. He hands them each a silver piece and they are to place it on their tongue. Not everyone complies, and Markiza Welgory is especially recalcitrant. Grewin tells Jean-Baptiste privately that his axe glows in the presence of werewolves. Markiza Welgory asks for Jean-Baptiste’s symbol of office, and Abner retrieves it from Jean-Baptiste’s room. She looks at the symbol and places the coin in her mouth. Grewin also lets Jean-Baptiste know that no one in the room makes his axe glow. Estovion takes Jean-Baptiste aside and asks to allow the cooks and servants to start cooking breakfast. Jean-Baptiste warns everyone to stay in pairs, they should never do anything alone. Jean-Baptiste takes Estovion aside, and says that the situation with the werewolves is clearly escalating. He seeks his help in understanding the situation with the werewolves, but Estovion doesn’t seem to know anything.

Jean-Baptiste, Abner, Katarzyna, Grewin, Kendra and Gregore meet and talk about their next steps. Grewin goes to find out if he can trace/track the missing Crilaum. Grewin returns after a short while and says that Crilaum is definitely not on the grounds of Ascanor Lodge. He says that Crilaum’s scent was lupine, but mixed with other things. Crilaum’s ordinary gear was still present at the inn, but his valuables and a book were not among the effects that were left at the inn.

They decide to visit the Stairs of the Moon, which Grewin says is within a couple of hours of Ascanor Lodge. Katarzyna goes to change her clothes, and Grewin goes to speak with Myphina. Kendra cleans her guns. They discuss whether to try to procure silver weapons from Estovion or Delgros Kroitzcer. A long discussion ensues, in which Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna debate whether to focus on the werewolves or to focus on the Whispering Way. Jean-Baptiste is adamant that the Whispering Way is irrelevant to their current predicament, and Katarzyna doesn’t try to convince him otherwise, though she remains convinced that the Whispering Way is the axis around which all the events revolve. Kendra rejoins them, and they ultimately decide to head toward the Stairs of the Moon before it gets too late to travel. During the conversation, Myphina comes in briefly and talks to Grewin in hushed tones. Grewin tells the others that Estovion has left Ascanor Lodge.

Katarzyna goes to visit Mirta Straelock. They have a nice conversation, but Mirta is clearly saddened by the departure of Crilaum. Mirta is determined to leave Ascanor Lodge with as many guards as she can hire. Katarzyna urges her to wait until they can escort her back to Lepidstadt personally, but Mirta doesn’t want to tarry at Ascanor Lodge any longer.

Jean-Baptiste and Abner go to Estovion’s office. They smell the faint smell of burning in the air. They chat with Belik, who says that Estovion left without any guards. Jean-Baptiste tries to intimidate Belik into giving them more information. Belik admits that Estovion had him place the notes that they received to throw them off the scent. Belik says that Estovion told him that he would create a diversion, which turned out to be the spider attack, and that Belik was to search their rooms to discover why they had come.

Duristan approaches Jean-Baptiste and Abner to ask if he can come with them. Jean-Baptiste grudgingly allows him to come along. He also hands out silver weapons, even giving Katarzyna silver daggers, which she handles gingerly.

They gear up and head toward the Stairs of the Moon. Grewin leads the way. The Shudderwood blurs into shadowy hues as the trudge forward. They are beset on all sides by the ominous sounds of the forest. Grewin stops them and says there is something in the forest around them. Katarzyna immediately casts Mage Armor on herself. They hear something very big moving through the forest. They continue forward. They come around a bend, and massive wolf is standing in the middle of the road. He confronts them, and Katarzyna talks to him, and he seems to be somewhat willing to listen. Johann himself comes out of the forest and assumes human form. The wolves don’t seem to want to let them pass, and Johann actually attacks one of the other wolves, the first one from the path. Their fight is highly charged and they throw each other great distances across the forest, breaking stout boughs and branches and knocking down small trees.

Another wolf charges at Katarzyna, and Jean-Baptiste stands in front of her and shoots the wolf, but it plows into him anyway. The wolf misses with his bite attack, but does manage to get a claw into Jean-Baptiste. Katarzyna shoots a lightning bolt at the charging wolf, but it doesn’t seem to be cognizant of anything except attacking Jean-Baptiste. Abner also strikes it with a flank attack, and it rounds on Abner. It misses with both its attacks, and Jean-Baptiste shoots it in the back while Katarzyna shoots it with a Magic Missile. Abner manages to take it down, then Gregore takes a look at Abner and Jean-Baptiste. Gregore suggests that they both take wolfsbane, so they do. Johann and the other wolf have by now moved quite far from their current position, and are deeper in the forest. Katarzyna wants to help Johann, but Kendra reminds her that in their wolf forms, they are unlikely to be able to tell the two wolves apart, and that they should probably just try to escape the area. They hear the sounds of combat all around them in the forest. Jean-Baptiste and Abner notice that Duristan is no longer with them, Grewin goes off in search of Duristan, while the others head toward the clearing.

They enter the clearing and see the Stairs of the Moon in the waning light. There is a tense standoff as several wolf packs face off against each other. Katarzyna notices that the staircase is currently occupied by Dorzhanevs. Other wolf clans charge out of the forest at them. As a group of wolves breaks into the clearing, they see the group in the clearing, and head in their direction instead. Gregore and Grewin are hit, but the wolves that attack Abner and Kendra miss their targets. Katarzyna blinds the wolf attacking Grewin. The fight continues, and they manage to defeat the attacking wolves with a little help from another group shooting from the forest, they assume it is Duristan and his guardsmen. They decide to charge up the stairs. They fight more wolves as they trudge their way up. As they get up to the flat level of the Stairs of the Moon, they see a floor mosaic with images of the Dusk Moth and the goddess Hala. They decide to head back they way they came, and to circle around to where open archways lead to the interior of the tower complex. As they’re making their way around, they see a Kuunas werewolf, and Katarzyna is eager to talk with him, but they’re headed the opposite way, so just sort of waves to the wolf. It’s not clear whether it takes any notice of her. They make their way into the complex through the archways, and find themselves in a columned room. Bones and the remains of animals festoon the the columns and floor of the large room, and there is a raised dais and stairs that lead deeper in the ruins.

As they make their way up to the dais, a ghostly creature attacks Gregore, and goes inside his body. Gregore undergoes a transformation and seems to be beginning to take on the form of a werewolf. An intense battle takes place inside Gregore, but he manages to push the creature out. The spectral werewolf creature then tries to possess Grewin, again failing to dominate him. Gregore throws a beam of searing light at the creature, doing a great amount of damage to it. Kendra is the creature’s next target, but it fails to overcome her formindable protection from such attacks. Abner rolls up on it and does a considerable amount of damage. He quickly hits it again, doing even more damage, and they hear a small cracking sound as the creature dissipates.

Kendra tells them that it is a vilkacis, something she had heretofore thought was simply an ancient superstition of the Shudderwood. It is a cursed undead werewolf. Kendra says that it may not have been destroyed, that it’s essence may have gone into a canopic stone, which is similar to a lich’s phylactery. They aren’t able to locate the item in the vicinity. They continue down the hallway, and Abner checks the left door for traps and such. The left door leads to what was once a private quarters, now empty, with a broken portcullis just beyond the door from the hallway, a rather strange arrangement. Jean-Baptiste sees footprints in the room, as well as a corpse lying in a crumpled heap in the corner. It is wearing blackish robes. Kendra breaks out the crystal skull and opens her third eye. The skull does not detect undead creatures. The body is female, and it’s wearing an iron ring, and Jean-Baptiste removes it. It’s etched with strange symbols. They are runes of the Whispering Way. Kendra pulls a small satchel from the corpse’s other hand. There are onyx stones in the satchel. She says they’re the main material components of animating undead. She also finds a small scroll tube. It is a map of Ustalav. Katarzyna is eager to see the map. There are several sets of coordinates marked on the map. One of the coordinates is Ravengro, another is Ascanor Lodge, and a third is Lepidstadt. A fourth set of coordinates indicates a location on the other side of Ardeal, in the Furrows.

They decide to open the other door. It turned out to be trapped. Gregore and Katarzyna are wracked with pain from the trap. Katarzyna knows that it will plague them for an hour, but won’t do them any real harm (but could still be quite troublesome). Katarzyna tries to cast a simple magic detection spell, but it fails. They see a poorly-concealed secret passageway. After they remove the stones, they discover Estovion in the passageway beyond. He’s brandishing a wand, and has a nasty bite on his arm, presumably from fending off a werewolf. He admits that he summoned the spectral werewolf the previous night to attack them, but instead of killing them, killed Cilas Graydon. Estovion goes to make an arcane gesture, and Abner attacks him. Estovion steps backwards one step and vanishes. A startled and confused dire wolf appears in the corridor in his place. They attack it. Jean-Baptiste spots Estovion and warns them that he is behind them. Katarzyna whirls around and see him, as he casts a spell that causes black tentacles to erupt in the room and attack them. Katarzyna is easily grappled, and Gregore and Kendra are as well. Abner and Jean-Baptiste manage to avoid the tentacles, and Jean-Baptiste charges at Estovion and knocks him to the ground. Grewin successfully evades the area of black tentacles, and Gregore escapes the grip of the tentacles and moves toward the safe zone before he is grabbed again. Abner and Jean-Baptiste grapple Estovion. Grewin knocks Estovion in the head. Jean-Baptiste tries to completely restrain Estovion, so that he can’t move any more. Kendra manages to break free of the black tentacles. Abner and Grewin kill Estovion, and Jean-Baptiste releases the body, exhausted by the intense struggle with wily old man.

Katarzyna detects magical auras while the others search Estovion’s belongings, and she spots a magical amulet, the wand he had been brandishing, a stone with runes that they assume is the vilkacis’ canopic stone, a spellbook and spell component pouch, a scroll, and a ring. Estovion also had a non-magical longsword, keys to Ascanor Lodge, and his clothing. Kendra thinks the wand shoots acid arrows. She gives it to Katarzyna. The amulet gives a protection charm in the form of natural armor. The ring is a ring of Protection. The spell component pouch generates any needed spell components under a certain gold value. Katarzyna also peruses Estovion’s spellbook, taking special note of the Conjuration spells it contains.

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Lair of the Demon Serpent
The group confronts Xanesha in the Shadow Clock Tower of Lepidstadt

Sunday, July 6th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Kendra and Katarzyna are not at breakfast when the others come down. Abner is present, but distracted. Jean-Baptiste talks about the Nazeri Consortium, which could be a cover for a group called Anaphexia, a group of monks. They also talk about the sawmill, and Abner leaves to go upstairs, followed by Gregore. Abner knocks on Katarzyna’s door, and asks her where Kendra is. Katarzyna assures him that she is fine. Gregore notices a strange garment in Katarzyna’s room, but doesn’t remark on it. Katarzyna rises and gets ready for the day.

There is a meeting called, attended by Abner, Jean-Baptiste, Gregore, Katarzyna and Grewin. They talk about the sawmill, and the Nazeri. Before long, Kendra returns. Gregore, Grewin and Katarzyna are set to investigate the sawmill. Abner decides to stake out the sawmill. Kendra goes to her library, and messes about in her notes. Gregore decides to work his hypnosis with Illindri. Jominda tries to help, but the language upsets her. Kendra stops by and looks in on Illindri and Gregore. Gregore ushers Jominda out, and Kendra tells Gregore that the language Illindri is speaking is Abyssal. Gregore asks if it’s possible to understand what she’s saying, and Kendra tells him that Illindri’s speech references Abbadon, a plane associated with demonic beings. Kendra promises to do more research, since she doesn’t speak Abyssal. Kendra then goes up to take a nap. She does tell Gregore that Nazeri doesn’t really lead to their goal, but the sawmill is a solid lead. She confirms that the Beast is definitely the scapegoat for the murders, and probably for the theft of the Sea Sage Effigy. She promises to look for language research on Abyssal.

Katarzyna transcribes a ritual for Liza. She completes the transcription and gets ready for the investigation of the sawmill.

Grewin and Abner arrive at the sawmills on the river. The sawmill they are targeting is on the eastern bank of the river, the northernmost one. They observe the seemingly innocuous sawmill operations, the building itself sits on pilings over the river. There are three stories above the main mill. It strikes Grewin as odd that the mill has so many floors above the main floor. Grewin tries to take a closer look. Amelia is left with Abner. Grewin manages to sneak into the mill. He observes the operation of the mill for a half-hour, and then returns to Abner. After a while, Abner sends Grewin back to get the others.

As evening approaches, Gregore goes up to Kendra’s room and wakes her up. She gets ready for the evening’s investigation. She is looking rather disheveled. She greets Jominda and Gregore. They talk about the plan to investigate the sawmill. They also talk about daemons and demons. There are three classes of infernal beings. Tanar’ri are chaotic creatures. Baatezu are more organized and stratified, and they are more subtle and insidious in their actions. The third class is the daemon, or yugoloths. The yugoloths will associate with either Tanar’ri or Baatezu, and they are infamous for their double-dealing and their highly-specific contracts. The realm of the yugoloths is known as Hades or Abbadon. The four horsemen of the Apocalypse are associated with the yugoloths. The big trade in the Grey Waste is in souls. The four horsemen use many methods to collect souls, but there is one type of yugoloth/daemon known as the Arrow Daemon. They are the seducers of the yugoloths. They are not like a succubus, in that they prey on a person’s lust, they are more sinister in that they make a person fall completely in love with them. The arrow daemon uses the love as a means to an end, then crush them and create complete dispair and misery in the victim. Gregore asks if Illindri might be suffering from such a thing, but Kendra speculates that the daemon that was seen by Vistani was such a yugoloth, and that Illindri’s innate sense of self-preservation from the daemon is what caused her condition. She tells him about something she read in the works of Dr. Ilhausen. She talks about automatic writing, which Gregore recognizes as what Kendra was doing the previous day. Kendra can detach her conscious mind, and allow the spirits of the area to speak through her writing. Dr. Ilhausen’s work is similar, in which the subject is hypnotized and allowed to free-write. She also tells Gregore after some research, that the language of the Baatezu (Infernal) is related to the language of the yugoloths. The language of the yugoloths is highly situational and specific, and no mortal has ever mastered the language above a pretty basic level.

In the evening, Grewin has returned to the townhouse. Victor cooks dinner for everyone. It’s…edible. Kendra prepares a sandwich for Abner, that she wraps up to take with them. She also makes a sandwich for Grewin. They arrive at the bridge, and Grewin decides to lead them in an indirect way to the sawmill. They meet up with Abner, and it’s just turning toward dusk. They see a lot of people leaving, and even more people arriving at the mill. Katarzyna reconizes one of the “workers” entering the building, who is actually a half-elf known as Ironbriar, who is a judge in the Beast’s trial (the others are Ambrose Khard, the chief justice, and Embreth Daramid). Gregore and Katarzyna go to tell Judge Daramid about the sighting of Judge Ironbriar at the sawmill.

At judge Daramid’s house, Gregore tells her about Judge Ironbriar. She rings a bell, and calls for a wagon. She goes upstairs and dresses quickly. She returns and they head to her stable house. They ride to Justice Ambrose Khard’s home. It is an estate house, and they arrive at the common room. She notices Gregore’s scarab pin, and remarks on it. They are ushered inside, to the judge’s library and trophy room. There is a large gold scarab sculpture, and in the center of the back is a tiger’s eye. Ambrose comes down and greets Embreth. The judges confer in a corner of the room. Ambrose instills in them a need to bring in the judge alive, and with proof. Gregore asks where they should bring the prisoner.

They leave, and Judge Daramid drops Gregore and Katarzyna closer to the sawmill. They make their way back to Grewin, Kendra, Jean-Baptiste and Abner. They resolve to sneak up to the sawmill. Abner goes to bar one entrance from the outside, while they contemplate going in through the other doors. Kendra uses her divination to determine the history of the sawmill. Grewin is disconcerted by the appearance of Kendra’s “third eye”, to say the least. Kendra intones her incantations quietly. Kendra tenses suddenly, and then she pulls her hand away. She tells them that she has had a vision of pain tinged with evil glee. Katarzyna and Kendra cast Mage Armor on themselves as Gregore straps on his shield. Abner returns from barricading the other door, then they proceed toward the other entrance to the undermill. There is lots of noise down in this part of the complex.

Abner opens the door, and Grewin enters the sawmill. He instructs Amelia to protect Katarzyna. Gregore also enters. One of the workmen spots Gregore, and yells out to him. A scuffle ensues. Abner enters the fray. Grewin points to the razors on a table, which are the same as the one that Abner is carrying from Aldern Foxglove. Grewin and Gregore confront the people who come in to engage them. They’re dressed in red, wearing masks depicting a deformed face with a single bulbous eye. They attack, but they don’t do a lot of damage. They are all killed except for the one that Gregore had paralyzed with a Hold Person spell. That one is tied up and his items taken away. They all have holy symbols and masterwork battle razors. Grewin has Amelia guard the door at the top of the stairs. Kendra uses her divination, and is clearly disturbed by the masks the men were wearing. She tells them that the mask is similar to Aldern Foxglove’s, but has different properties. It gives the wearer the ability to cause fear in the target, and to see the blood coursing through people. It also attacks the psyche of the wearer, it fills them with a similar energy as is represented by Isphet. Gregore tosses Kendra a holy symbol, which turns out to be for the deity Apep. Gregore interrogates the captive. He admits that Ironbriar is on the premises, probably upstairs crafting love letters to his new mistress. He also asks about the framing of the Beast. The captive mentions a Lord Skinsaw. He also mentions Xanesha, an Akiri woman who is a priestess of Apophas. Xanesha seems to have enthralled Ironbriar. He tells that the murders are committed in a specific way, to serve Xanesha. He admits that they are the Skinsaw Men, and that they have been committing the murders, and that Lord Skinsaw requires the murders to destabilize the world and bring about a true chaos, where those that are strong will survive. Abner checks over the prisoner one last time, and then Gregore gags him. Abner binds the prisoner VERY well. They also decide to barricade the door that leads out of the basement. The captive tells Gregore that there are anywhere from eight to twelve others in the mill besides Ironbriar.

They leave the basement, and decide to work their way up the stairs. They briefly return to talk to the captive. Gregore asks if there are any people who aren’t followers of Apep/Apophas. He says that at night, all of them are followers. Gregore signals to Abner that all targets are fair game. Abner, Katarzyna and Grewin climb up through the chute, which takes them up past the ground floor and up to the first floor. Grewin also makes his way out. They overhear the people talking about Ironbriar and Xanesha. The cultists are working the lumber as they’re talking. Grewin sneaks around looking for the stairs down to the ground floor. He is caught, but he tries to fast talk his way past them. They escort him through a door on the north side of the room, and he sees an open room that is open to the loading area of the room. There is no one in the room. The guy unlocks the door to find Gregore waiting for him. Gregore slams into him, wounding him greatly on the first hit, and the guy steps back and casts a Mirror spell. Kendra rolls in with a cudgel and pummels the guy, but hits the false image. Grewin manages to finish the guy off. Abner stabs one of the guys upstairs. Abner attacks another one, and they flank Abner. They both get in serious hits and Katarzyna hears a hoot of glee from the attackers. Gregore, Grewin and Kendra roll in, and Gregore and Katarzyna take them out. Gregore sees that Abner is dying from the attacks , and so he starts working on creating a protective barrier while he gets to work saving Abner. Kendra shoots the attacker coming down the stairs, shooting his leg completely off. Katarzyna moves to the doorway, to get a look at the situation. Several of the clerics upstairs Pulse with negative energy, and Katarzyna casts a Web to keep everyone up there locked in place. This buys Gregore some time to work on Abner. Gregore is able to perform surgery on Abner with Kendra’s help. Judicious use of Pulse helps get Abner back up to health.

Katarzyna Spider Climbs up on the roof to check out the possibility of attacking from that direction. There is a rookery. There is ink and parchments. Clearly these are messenger birds. She looks around for roof access. She goes back down and tells the others about the layout. Abner comes up to the roof and manages to unlatch the trap door. Katarzyna goes back down to talk to the others, and they decide to block the rookery trap door from the outside, so that when the Web spell ends, no one can escape that way.

They wait for the spell to end, then Grewin casts his Stone Call spell. Katarzyna casts another Spider Climb on herself. The clerics upstairs hit them with their spells. They roll up to the second floor and engage Ironbriar and his minions. Kendra shoots at Ironbriar multiple times. Ironbriar raises one of the fallen clerics. During the battle, Grewin summons a dread dire badger. Ironbriar easily takes Katarzyna out of the fight with a Confusion spell. The badger attacks Grewin at one point, but doesn’t manage to hit him before Grewin sends him back. The fight goes well for the most part, and Abner takes him down finally, even though Abner has been seriously wounded in the fight. Ironbriar is not killed, so they subdue him and truss him up. Abner and Katarzyna check the other rooms on the level. Katarzyna finds nearly two dozen Skinsaw robes in a closet on the second floor.

Ironbriar is searched. He has a mithril shirt, a wand with magical aura, razor with magical aura, and a Reaper’s Mask with magical aura. The barrel on the second floor contains some magical items. There is a bowl with three potions [brown liquid, Barkskin +3], burlap sacks [300 gold crowns], a crystal decanter with obsidian stopper, and small wooden box containing three diamonds. The strongbox contains books, sea charts, maps, pamphlets, forgotten school of magic called Alchemyc. There is a leather bound book with red and green intertwined snakes, it turns out to be a spellbook. A beautifully filigreed tome, the Syrpents Tane: Fairy Tales of the Eldest, has beautiful illustrations that have a fey look them, but it’s somewhat disturbing. There is also a slim volume, a ledger, written in an amalgam of three languages. One of the languages is Baatezu, the others are Draconic and Elven, which Gregore doesn’t know. Kendra is the only one who can decipher the book.

Katarzyna goes up to the third/top floor, followed by Grewin and Gregore. It is a shop, with lots of sawdust and tools about. There are two tables, and a ragged man strapped to a crossed bar frame in the shape of an X. There are double doors at the end of the room, inside is a room with gruesome trophies made of human flesh, and a trap door in the ceiling that undoubtedly leads to the rookery above. They take the beggar down from the cross, and put Ironbriar on it in his place.

Kendra sits down and invokes her third eye. She takes 10 minutes and uses a ritual to learn additional facts about Ironbriar. She stands up at the end of the ritual, then grabs some implements and starts using her phrenology to examine Ironbriar. She determines that he is a cleric of Apophas of the 6th rank. He doesn’t care about law or chaos. He is 95 years old. She also determines that he is under the effects of a charm spell. The spell is at least as high level as what Katarzyna and Gregore can cast. Gregore successfully breaks the charm, then wakes up Ironbriar. Ironbriar is angry at Xanesha, a very attractive Akiri woman who is responsible for all the Skinsaw Murders in Courtaud and Lepidstadt. She was using the Brothers of the Seven to her ends. They confront Ironbriar about his activities. He tries to weasel his way out of it. Katarzyna manages to get him to tell them that Xanesha is in the Shadow Clock Tower. The Shadow Clock Tower is in the northwestern part of the city, on the street that leads to the Spiral Cromlech ruins. He mentions Xanesha’s friend Auren Vrood, a colleague of hers from Ravengro. They speculate that Xanesha and Auren Vrood have manipulated events. They take Ironbriar into custody and gather up all the evidence to bring back to the judges. Kendra is fixated on the revelation of Auren Vrood’s identity. They also take the other prisoner and the poor unfortunate vagrant with them, for incarceration and medical attention, respectively.

They return to the townhouse. Everybody is quite tired, but it takes a while for them all to wind down.

Monday, July 7th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

The next morning, they all awaken quite late. Victor is brought up to speed, and at 10 in the morning, a messenger arrives at the townhouse. He carries a missive from the High Court of Lepidstadt requesting their presence as soon as possible. Gregore manages to remove the curse on Abner. Kendra shows Grewin the Syrpent’s Tane book. It tells of the Tane, notorious twisted fey. The Jabberwock is one of the Tanes mentioned in the book. Grewin is intrigued by the book.

They take a carriage ride to the High Court of Lepidstadt. Farren is not there, but Ironbriar is, and they take their statements. The depositions last until about noon. Judge Daramind greets them and tells them that Dragos and Jean-Baptiste are helping in the investigation. She tells them that the Council will convene to discuss the case against the Beast, which will probably be dropped. She wants them to take care of Xanesha, she can’t spare any of her people.

Grewin, Kendra and Katarzyna grab lunch. They have tall steins of beer. They meet back up with Abner and Gregore at the townhouse.

They decide to head out the following day. Katarzyna and Grewin go to visit Liza. Katarzyna brings the transcribed ritual and Grewin brings the Syrpent’s Tane to show her. When they realize that it’s getting toward evening, they take their leave and return to the townhouse.

Abner and Kendra go to stake out Xanesha’s lair. The rest of them remain at the townhouse. Katarzyna and Grewin stay up later than they intended, having wine and playing cards and chatting about all sorts of things. Victor prepares them dinner, and it is AWFUL. Katarzyna successfully convinces Victor that she enjoyed the meal, but Grewin is not as convincing.

Tuesday, July 8th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

They are awakened early, and Katarzyna is fatigued. Victor makes them breakfast, and it is AWFUL. Katarzyna again convinces him that it is palatable, but Grewin and Gregore don’t bother to try to hide their distaste. They finish their preparations and get ready to assault the Shadow Clock Tower. The tower is 180 feet tall. Katarzyna casts Mage Armor. The Barkskin potions are doled out to Abner, Katarzyna and Grewin. They enter the clock tower. It is hollow on the inside, 65 feet square. They check out the bottom floor, and look for an entrance to some sort of subterranean structure. Gregore is looking for evidence of disturbed earth or other tracks. He finds that there has been quite a bit of foot traffic through the area. Gregore picks up the trail and follows it to the northeast. The path leads to a giant grotesque creature, that Katarzyna and Kendra identify as a lifespark flesh golem. It attacks Gregore. It is a HUGE creature. They keep it at bay, and Katarzyna uses her Elemental Aura to burn the creature. It slows it for a few rounds. Abner shoots it with Kendra’s guns. The group finally takes it down, but it’s a tough fight.

In the aftermath the battle with the flesh golem, they debate whether they should pursue Xanesha immediately, or wait until the following day. Gregore convinces the group that they should disengage, and return the next day. Kendra is most reluctant to leave, but she acquiesces. Abner remains behind to watch the tower, and asks that whoever comes to relieve him simply walk out in the street, and Abner will join them there. He asks that the person not seek him out.

Kendra suggests that they update Judge Daramid. Grewin and Gregore hear the sounds of wagons an what sounds like a lot of troops. They walk down the toad toward the center of town. They come across a militia with horses and wagons. The leader introduces himself as Lord Marshal Tarmand. He is tasked with cordoning off the clock tower, setting up a perimeter. Judge Daramid has asked that they stop by her house.

They arrive at Judge Daramid’s house, and they are told that she is at court. They head to the courthouse. They are shown inside, and they are ushered into the chambers with Daramid and an unknown judge, as well as a bound and gagged Ironbriar. The gag has runes on it. Judge Daramid tells them that Xanesha is a priestess, and is very powerful. She has creatures that work for her in the tower, some are shapeshifters. Ironbriar is under a geas of sorts, and he tells them that Xanesha is a minor sorceress. She purports to be a servant of Apep, but he believes that she serves another organization with its own aims and goals. In her true guise, she looks like a half-snake, half human hybrid. Kendra talks about an ancient civilization that has fallen away to the Mists, and the creature is known as a lamia. Ironbriar tells them about Xanesha’s abilities, and they are quite intimidated by the information. Xanesha is powerful almost beyond reckoning. Xanesha’s staff reminds Grewin of an ancient fey weapon, the strike causes utter despair upon all it touches. Gregore asks Ironbriar to describe Xanesha’s lair in the clock tower. There is a room with the bells, and a rookery, and above that is where “the angel” resides, and she does not stir from that area. Before they leave, Judge Daramid pulls Gregore aside and has a private conversation with him. Gregore then leaves for the Temple of Ezra as Kendra and Katarzyna go to do more research on Xanesha.

Gregore speaks with the Sentire of the Church of Ezra, telling her all about Xanesha and the threat she represents. The Sentire then tells Gregore that Dragos’ soul has been claimed by another, that he is lost to Ezra. Dragos is now a servant of Pharasma. Gregore also peruses the library, but doesn’t learn anything immediately useful from the books. He then returns to the townhouse.

At the townhouse, Kendra is doing her automatic writing. while Grewin is watching with consternation. Gregore tells Katarzyna about the books at the Temple of Ezra, and she tells him that they will go as soon as Kendra is done with her divination attempt. Kendra comes out of her trance, and Katarzyna helps her decipher the writing. The souls of the dead had much to say about Xanesha, she has killed many people. After going through all the writing, they determine that the spirits had died in silence, unable to scream out. Other clues lead them to think that they need a way to overcome a Silence spell. Katarzyna informs them that she can try to dispel the magic with her own spells.

There is a knock at the door. It is Dragos and Jean-Baptiste. Dragos greets them all warmly. Jean-Baptiste and Dragos had been investigating the Sea Sage Effigy. Jean-Baptiste, Kendra and Katarzyna go to the Temple of Ezra to investigate the lamia. Jominda is tasked with finding herbalistic approaches to counteracting mind control effects and invisibility, etc. Grewin accompanies her on her excursion, but Jominda struggles with the effort. Dragos goes to the Temple of Pharasma to see if he can learn anything useful from his new affiliation.

At the Temple of Ezra, Kendra, Katarzyna and Jean-Baptiste discover information about the lamia. That night, they all have dinner and Kendra shares what they’ve learned with the others. Kendra tells them that the lamia is highly resistant to magic, and they are immune to mind-affecting spells. She also has the ability to affect the mind with her strikes, and suck away their mental balance. They would have to be able to strike her without her being able to do anything about it. Jominda tells them that she hasn’t really been able to do much to help, but she has one concoction that will allow them to see invisible things. Dragos says that the Pharasma clerics don’t have information, but would assist with scrolls and potions.

Wednesday, July 9th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Dragos brings the group scrolls and potions. 2 scrolls of Dispel Magic cast at 9th Level; 6 potions of Heroism; 3 potions of Bull’s Strength; 6 potions of Owl’s Wisdom; and a scroll of Stoneskin. They spend a bit of time discussing the strategy of the attack. Jominda gives them six See Invisibility potions (they last for about 20 minutes).

Judge Daramid comes to the townhouse in the morning. She looks wan, and accepts a tumbler of scotch. She tells them that Judge Ambrose Khard had sent Sir Morgan into the tower. Sir Morgan leapt to his death soon after. He wasn’t in the tower very long. She also tells them that the Council of Vieland is deeply involved. There is concern that the knowledge of Xanesha’s presence might cause panic. They discuss the attack plan, Gregore is insistent that they attack the witch that day, since she has presumably used some of her spells to defeat Sir Morgan.

Jominda brings the potions of See Invisibility, clearly labeled. Victor and Katarzyna have a sincere conversation, she tells him to do whatever he wants with her items if she doesn’t return. Kendra and Abner come downstairs, they’re holding hands and looking uncertain. Abner and Grewin have a smoke together. Kendra pours everyone a bit of expensive scotch. Kendra proposes a toast, “to good friends and allies, there’s no one I’d rather be doing this with”. They all concur wholeheartedly. They have a last meal together. Victor speaks briefly with Gregore, and vows to continue his care for Illindri. If Gregore falls, Victor will see to her care, and will also work with Jominda as long as she is willing. Jominda gives Gregore a very long and tearful goodbye hug.

They set out for the clock tower, to what many of them think may be their doom. It is late in the afternoon when they leave. They make their way across town. Katarzyna asks Gregore about the Dimension Door gambit, and he says she will know when to use the spell, and to save Kendra and anyone else who is nearby. They cast their spells to prepare. They are greeted by the chief of the guards, and Katarzyna shows him their papers. They are allowed through, and they make their way inside the tower.

Inside, the marching order is Grewin, Abner, Katarzyna, Dragos, Gregore, Kendra and Jean Baptiste. At one point, Dragos falls through two levels of stairs, but catches himself before he falls through all the way. He is behind the party, but he is not killed. Another section of stairs falls away under Abner and Grewin, and Katarzyna uses the magic rope to help the others cross the new gap. They hear the sound of a massive bell, crashing down toward them. The bell hits Dragos and Gregore on the way down. It hurts Dragos quite a bit. He miraculously survives, but is very hurt. Jean-Baptiste runs down to help him. Kendra heals him a bit. They all hold position until Kendra, Dragos, and Jean-Baptiste can catch up to them. They continue up the stairs.

They arrive at the level of the bells. Three of the four bells are still in place. Above them is a jumble of gears and clockworks, frozen and incomplete. There is staircase along the outside of the tower. They hear something that sounds like someone who is in trouble. Abner quietly goes to investigate the sound. He returns, and tells them that there are two tied-up guardsmen. They are all skeptical that they are what they appear to be, but Katarzyna is concerned that they might be legitimate captives, but even she thinks it’s unlikely. They untie the captives. They are exactly what they expected to be, the polymorphed creatures from Aldern Foxglove’s townhouse. The group sees them turning to grab weapons, so they attack before the creatures can ready their attacks, and one of them falls before it can attack. The remaining one attacks Dragos. Grewin attacks it on the other side of Dragos, and it turns to attack him. There is a brief skirmish, and the second ones falls.

They see Xanesha in the opening at the top of the stairs. She taunts them, but they don’t rise to the bait. They use their long-term potions, and Katarzyna casts the scroll of Stoneskin on Grewin. The third bell falls, and they make their way out to the outer staircase. The stairs are very slick and rickety, and Jean-Baptiste falls. It happens quickly, but Abner assures them that Jean-Baptiste had taken his Feather Fall elixir. He’s out of the fight, but he won’t die. They go into the rookery level, there is another staircase that leads up to the angel statue. They cast spells and drink potions, then proceed toward Xanesha’s lair.

They arrive at the angel statue level. there is a small lounging area, upon which rests the fearsome form of Xanesha. Kendra shoots at what appears to be Xanesha, but it is an illusion. They spy Xanesha slithering up onto the statue, but as she flies in the air, and prepares to cast a spell, Katarzyna dispels her magic and she falls to the floor of the top level. She looks upon them with cold rage, and targets Katarzyna with a spell, but it fails to harm her. Dragos enters the fray to engage Xanesha. Kendra shoots at her, doing a fair amount of damage. Xanesha goes to cast another spell, and Grewin hits her. Xanesha then looks at Abner and tells him to stab himself in the throat, but the spell appears to fail since Abner doesn’t stab himself. Gregore and Katarzyna use their magic to severely weaken Xanesha. Xanesha viciously attacks Grewin with her spear, but does minimal damage. Dragos swings on her and lands a solid hit. Katarzyna dispels the magic on Xanesha’s mask and spear, and Abner lands a solid hit just after. Dragos goes to attack, but fails, almost dropping his weapon. Kendra shoots her, doing greivous damage, and Grewin also hits her, wounding her severely. Xanesha attacks Abner, wounding him greatly. Gregore and Kendra heal him for most of it, but Xanesha attacks Abner again immediately. She misses him twice, but lands a decent hit. She attacks Abner again moments later, and runs him through with her spear, seemingly killing him. Gregore drags Abner out of the way, letting his Spiritual Ally takes his place. Gregore heals Abner, getting him back on his feet. Xanesha’s mask regains its power, and she targets Grewin with a spell, but it doesn’t do any harm. The battle continues, and she rounds on Dragos, She lands a solid hit. Finally, the Silence spell breaks, and Xanesha casts a spell. As she does so, Grewin and Gregore attack her, and what looks like a portal starts to form, but dissipates. The attacks take Xanesha down, and the group catches their breath. Katarzyna is amazed that they were able to win the day. Moments later, Jean-Baptiste manages to rejoin them at the top of the tower.

They search Xanesha’s corpse and the upper level of the Shadow Clock Tower. Xanesha’s spear is known as the Impaler of Thorns, an ancient magical weapon, dating from before the Mists. She also wore the Medusa Mask, a magic, gold-plated iron mask with crystal eyes. It too has nasty magical properties. Xanesha had worn a snake scale tunic, with magical properties including a resistance to poison. She also wore a Ring of Protection. Around her neck she wore a medallion, featuring a skull with a gag in its mouth, its magic grants the the ability to scry on or control the voice of the wearer, and can also bestow false life, and casts Gentle Repose. They also find a long tube among her pillows. Inside is a list, which has a lot of names on it. The list is titled “souls needed”. Some names on the list are people from Courtaud and some are from Lepidstadt. One of the names is Radu Velocic, a councilor from Vieland. Others are names from the murders that they investigated. There is another note from Auren Vrood.

After Katarzyna is satisfied that they’ve taken stock of everything, she Dimension Doors down to the bottom with Abner and Grewin. The others make their way down the stairs or use Jean-Baptiste’s Feather Fall elixirs. They are warmly received by the assembled townsfolk, including Victor and Jominda. There are lots of people, and some are coming out of nearby houses. They bring a wagon, and the body of Xanesha is placed in the cart, and the townsfolk are amazed at the sight of the lamia’s corpse. The wagon takes the corpse to the courthouse, and they draw up with the cart. People are building a wicker man to burn Ironbriar and the Beast. Embreth steps down and looks at the corpse of Xanesha. People in the square are shocked at the sight of the body. The group are invited into the courthouse to give their account of the battle. They all present the items and other evidence they found in Xanesha’s lair. Radu Velocic faints when he sees his name was on Xanesha’s list. He sits down, and aides bring him sherry. He is effusive in his gratitude toward them. They stay at the courthouse for a couple hours giving statements, and Radu Velocic invites them for dinner to properly thank them.

They return to the townhouse, where Victor has arranged to have food brought in, and baths drawn for them all. There are two ladies present, dressed in maid’s garments. Katarzyna greets them. Shann is one of the maids, and the other is Abby, and Katarzyna makes sure to make them welcome. Katarzyna is shaking from all the activity of the day, and the maid helps her relax. Jominda helps Gregore in his bath, but she also spends some time with Katarzyna. Spa specialists come and give them massages and to style their hair. Victor also arranges for someone to take care of Amelia, and she receives a nice grooming job. A local inn chef prepares them a wonderful venison meal, with candied apples and twice-baked potatoes. There are bards, and other entertainments, and Kendra breaks out the good scotch again. Judge Daramid also visits them, and offers them Invidian cigars, though Katarzyna does not partake, not wanting to affect her singing voice. They have a grand time. Embreth tells them that if the Xanesha’s spear, the Impaler of Thorns, is up for grabs, she wants it. Kendra tells Katarzyna that the emblem on the medallion Xanesha wore is the sigil of the Whispering Way.

The party is convivial but finally winds down, and they all turn in around 3 a.m. They each have dreams. Katarzyna dreams that she is reading her spellbook, and the writing is gone, but in its place is the sigil of the Whispering Way and illuminated script. It says “You have been looking for me, you have been following me. I will strike you down, and I will find you.”

Thursday, July 10th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

The morning dawns, and they awake to wonderful aromas downstairs. They congregate in the dining hall. There is a missive from Radu Velocic inviting them to dinner that evening. Katarzyna reads it aloud to everyone. Gregore reminds them of one thing that Xanesha had said, “the Crown will be finished”. They also talk about the Sea Sage Effigy. Ironbriar had said Auren Vrood was the one interested in the Sea Sage Effigy. They all talk about Xanesha and the next steps. They decide that they will have to follow up on Auren Vrood and the Sea Sage Effigy. Kendra and Katarzyna go dress shopping. Abner and Grewin go shopping for smokes, and then Abner goes to purchase a suit in the Canterwall style. Abner and Gregore don’t purchase new clothes. Kendra and Katarzyna order a dress for Jominda as well.

Before the evening’s festivities, Gregore offers to fix the massive scar on Abner’s face. Abner allows him to try. Gregore casts his spell, and Abner’s appearance is restored. His eye is still missing, but his appearance is markedly improved. Abner is grateful, and tells Gregore so. Abner even shaves for the night’s festivities. Kendra also thanks Gregore for what he had done on Abner’s behalf. They all get ready for the evening, and everyone is delighted at Abner’s transformation.

There are two carriages that take them to dinner. There is a sumptuous feast. Everyone who is anyone is there, the high priests of Ezra and Pharasma, Dragos, Jean-Baptiste, all the councillors, Farren, and other notables. There is dancing and revelry. Katarzyna forces Grewin to dance. Liza is also there, and she chats with Grewin. At one point Radu Velocic asks to speak to them privately. There are cigars, and there is another person present. Radu Velocic talks to them about the list of people found in Xanesha’s lair, and says there is a trend. He says that his clerk will write them out to draw funds from the Bank of Lepidstadt. The checks he writes for them are for 6,000 gold pieces each. They are all quite taken aback, and effusive in their thanks. Abner and Kendra leave the party a bit early, since he’s being more liberal in his drinking than previously. Grewin is looking for an excuse to leave early in the evening, and Jominda and Gregore leave a bit later. Dragos also leaves early. Katarzyna is the last to remain, and enjoys the party until the very end, and wakes up at the councilman’s house the next day.

Friday, July 11th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Grewin is the first to awaken, and Amelia is insistent about something. It seems like she wants to go for a run. On the way out of town, he runs into his gnome friend Tallyn, who is with three other gnomes, two males a female. Tallyn asks Grewin to come back for dinner that night at 6 to celebrate his victory over Xanesha. Grewin agrees, then continues his morning exercise with Amelia. Afterward, he returns to the townhouse and speaks with Victor briefly, then speaks with Gregore. Kendra shows him a carved animal skull, and Grewin is impressed with the artifact. Kendra tells Grewin that it has a mystical aura of some sort, but she can’t place it.

Grewin goes to open a bank account. He gets a 500 gold piece signet ring (emeralds and platinum). He has tea with Kendra while they’re out and about. They also head over to the University, he smokes herb with the university students. He heads over to where the clockmakers.

Jean-Baptiste is off with Dragos. They are investigating Auren Vrood.

Katarzyna awakens at Radu Velocic’s home, and she is feeling poorly. She takes a carriage back to the townhouse. Katarzyna tries to have breakfast, but can’t keep it down. She goes back up to her room and takes to her bed until the early afternoon. Later she converses with Kendra. Kendra suggests that Katarzyna learn Celestial and Vudran/Rajian. They practice Akiri with each other. Abner comes by and they chat with him a bit.

Katarzyna goes to the Temple of Pharasma. She asks about the type of spell that would be needed to restore Abner’s eye and throat.

She also goes to the bank to open an account. She gets a 500 GP signet ring (emeralds and platinum) and buys checks. The fee is 20 GP per month. She gets a loaner ring until her actual ring is ready. She returns to the townhouse, and tells Abner that they have an appointment at the Temple of Pharasma, where they will cast a spell of Regeneration on him to restore his eye and throat.

Grewin spends the evening with the gnomes. One is from Darkon. Another works at the guns shop, the “Art Of The Musket”. Another gnome tells Grewin that he is from Toril, but Grewin can’t place the name. They dote on Grewin and Amelia. Grewin arrives home, and Abner is still up, waiting for Kendra and Katarzyna. Abner tells Grewin that Gregore and Jominda had only gotten home around midnight. They talk about their next steps. Abner thinks they should have a meeting the next day to talk about it. They hang out until two or three in the morning, and Abner heads out for a walk.

Kendra has Katarzyna change into her “darkest clothes”, and so Katarzyna does so. They go to Les Corbeaux. There is a group that does anatomical dissection. Kendra and Katarzyna go down an elevator that is in the back of a water closet, they are greeted by a woman named Gabrielle. They “order” an adult male human corpse. Gabrielle takes them to a corpse of a man named Walden. Katarzyna and Kendra dissect the body and determine that the man had a fatty liver. They haven’t determined what caused it. Katarzyna is disappointed with her performance. They meet other researchers, a woman named Bertha. They have a glass of claret. Bertha is a “grey” necromancer. There is a man named Jacob, who seems like he’s from Ardeal, and the owner of the bar, Max. There is also a bartender named Rialdo, a rather suave type. Les Corbeaux has four floors, the main floor, the dissection theater, a floor for living quarters and a smoking parlor. At the end of the night, they decide to stay for one last drink. Kendra and Katarzyna have a glass of absinthe (made in the old way, with opium) and Bertha joins them and tells them that she thinks Walden was an alcoholic. The absinthe does a number on Kendra, and Katarzyna makes sure that she makes it home without incident, arriving back at the townhouse at 4 in the morning.

Saturday, July 12th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

In the morning, Grewin rises around 9. He goes downstairs and Gregore and Jominda are having breakfast with Illindri and Victor. He also spends some time on bow practice.

Kendra and Katarzyna are late risers. They head downstairs. Jean-Baptiste tells them that he and Dragos had fought an evil gnome named Grine, Grewin thinks instead of a gnome, it may have been a dark fey creature called a dark creeper. Grine was a priest of a god of poison and murder, as well as a vivisectionist. He had a companion, a man without skin. Grewin has never heard of such a thing. There were also flesh golem hounds and vats of chemicals. They also found a ledger of people who purchased cadavers, a Dr. Brada and Auren Vrood. Dragos arrives at some point, and tells them that he is going to investigate some activity purported to be the work of the Beast of Lepidstadt. He tells them that their paths won’t cross for awhile.

When Katarzyna mentions that she is going to have Abner’s eye regenerated, Gregore seems insulted that she would consult the Temple of Pharasma before asking the Ezrites. Katarzyna is confused by this, and she has a long conversation about it with Kendra, Abner and Grewin. They also talk to her about her social obliviousness. Katarzyna and Grewin talk with the clerics at the Temple of Ezra, and they are unable to cast the spell they need, so she decides to keep her appointment with the Temple of Pharasma.

Abner, Grewin and Katarzyna decide to take a boat, to explore the vicinity of Schloss Caromac. It is a very nice boat ride. There are many metal towers and such around Schloss Caromac, and it’s a beautiful scenic boat ride. They are given spyglasses to use to get a better look at the picturesque castle. They have a lovely time, and head back to town in time for dinner. They stop by the townhouse first to change into their nice clothes. There is an outfit on Grewin’s bed for him. There is a colorful vest, slacks, and a shirt.

Dinner is as St. Monde de Trois, a restaurant of some repute. Everyone except Dragos is planning to go to dinner. Grewin wears his new duds, and Kendra, Katarzyna, and Jominda wear pretty dresses. A bell rings, and Victor answers the door. The carriage has arrived to take them. The seven of them (Abner, Kendra, Gregore, Jominda, Jean-Baptiste, Grewin and Katarzyna) all pile into the carriage and head to St. Monde de Trois. It is a lovely dinner, with good food and good wine. Katarzyna spends a good deal of time chatting with Jean-Baptiste, trying to see if he is interested in her, completely overanalyzing him in the process.

Toward the end of the meal, Katarzyna feels her muscles seize. Abner throws up, and everyone around the table is clearly sickened as well. It seems clear that they’ve been poisoned. Gregore casts Lesser Restoration on Jominda and Katarzyna. Katarzyna pushes past a startled serving girl and finds the kitchen. She collapses while in the kitchen, and she is carried back to the table, where Grewin manages to stabilize her. Kendra, Jominda and Jean-Baptiste also have a tough time of it. Jominda especially fares poorly, and Gregore is beside himself when she takes a turn for the worse and collapses. Katarzyna is seething, angrily looking about for the person who poisoned them. Grewin determines that the first thing they ate, the soup, is the item that was poisoned. Jean-Baptiste also examines the soup.

Katarzyna goes outside and sits down on a bench outside. A constable arrives, and tells Abner and Katarzyna that he is there to investigate. Katarzyna is suspicious, given how quickly the man arrived at the scene. They go back into the restaurant, and Katarzyna is attacked by the constable, who seems to be trying to attack her hand. He does injure her hand, but she launches a lightning bolt at him, doing a fair amount of damage to him and the building across the street. Abner hits the guy and takes him down, who turns out to be some kind of creature. The skin on the guy’s face peels right off, much like the creature that was described to them before. The serving girl returns with three guards, and they all draw down on them. They all return to the inside of the restaurant, and the guards drag the body in with them. A guard pulls some bits of skin out of the dead guy’s pouch, and Grewin recognizes the face of their carriage driver as one of the creature’s faces. The creature is a skin stealer, a dark fey. Katarzyna is fuming. She tells Kendra what happened. The guards discover that the constable who attacked Katarzyna was a real constable that was apparently killed by the skin stealer.

They are brought back to the townhouse. Grewin starts to make some tea, but Victor takes over, and brings some up to Katarzyna. She is on her bed, wearing her dress. Grewin and Kendra come in, and Kendra uses the wand to restore the damage from the poison. Grewin and Amelia sit with Katarzyna for awhile. Everyone gathers in Katarzyna’s room. Kendra tells them that have probably been foolish to think that they could expect no retribution from the Whispering Way.

Sunday, July 13th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

They spend the day researching the items they’ve found. The snakesin tunic is evaluated, and they learn that the Impaler of Thorns is an ancient weapon with a despair effect. The Medusa Mask grants a bonus to gaze attacks. The Whispering Way medallion does the same thing that Katarzyna’s False Life spell does. Kendra and Grewin go to the University to see about recharging her wand, and they also go to the gun shop.

Grewin goes to visit Judge Daramid to offer to sell her the Impaler of Thorns and the Medusa Mask. She is interested in the Impaler of Thorns. While he’s there, Embreth offers Grewin chocolate. She gives Grewin a pound of chocolate in powdered form. She tells him to heat up milk and add the powdered chocolate. She thanks Grewin for all he has done for Lepidstadt. He is welcome to come back any time in the evening.

Monday, July 14th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Katarzyna brings Abner to the Temple of Pharasma to regenerate his eye and throat. It costs 1000 gold pieces the spell. Katarzyna is very pleased that Abner has regained something he lost, and is very happy that his face and voice have been made whole again. She knows Kendra will be pleased as well

Judge Daramid sends word that the value of the Impaler of Thorns is 9000 gold. She says she can either pay them 7500 gp or trade another item. They decide to pick up a firearm for Kendra with special abilities.

Abner gives everyone a potion of Neutralize Poison. They also give up the Medusa Mask to Lepidstadt University in exchange for 8,000 GP.

The snakeskin tunic goes to Kendra. Abner is quite impressed with how Kendra looks in it.

Tuesday, July 15th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

Katarzyna spends the day scribing scrolls of Lightning Bolt. Kendra buys all sorts of bullets for her guns. They learn that the poison was from a dark reaver.

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The Beast of Lepidstadt
Murders in Lepidstadt echo the murders in Courtaud; the group investigates.

Saturday, June 28th, 758, Courtaud, Ustalav

The group has just arrived at a ghastly cavern, a grisly scene with a rickety table piled with ornate silver platters heaped with rotting meat and crawling with maggots and other vermin. Amelia is loathe to enter the chamber, but Grewin manages to coax her through. Pearl simply won’t enter the chamber, and flees, as does Silvio. There is a horrific stench, and a shape that appears to be a sort of humanoid amid an area of black mold and fungus. Propped on a stained and sticky chair, they see a painting of Iesha Foxglove that appears to have been reworked into some sort of semblance of Katarzyna, using grotesque scraps of skin and what appears to be Katarzyna’s own hair. They draw up short, as they see Iesha Foxglove standing facing another chair. The chair is facing away from them, so they can’t see who is seated there. Iesha threatens the figure in the chair, but draws back suddenly. As they face Iesha Foxglove, it occurs to them that she is not the direct source of all the noise they had been hearing, the incessant moans and cries they had echoed through the tunnels underneath Foxglove Manor. They also hear the ghostly player piano, somewhere in the distance. Suddenly a figure rises out of the chair holding a long bladed weapon. It is a ghastly sight, a finely dressed but grotesque form who can only be Aldern Foxglove.

The hideous form of Aldern Foxglove greets Katarzyna, but Grewin tells him to begone, and the figure appears to shift into another persona. He is holding what appears to be a leather mask, which he places on his face. Katarzyna attacks with a Web Bolt, but he easily avoids it, whereupon Grewin attacks him. Aldern speaks to them, making reference to Zadesha and the Skinsaw Man. Grewin thinks the creature is sincere in what it’s saying, it’s telling the truth as it knows it. The mask seemed to change the appearance of the creature. His face seems to change to resemble Grewin’s face. He slashes at Grewin, hitting him, and also bites him on the face. Grewin fights back, trying to keep the creature at bay. Katarzyna calls on a strange sacred power, and weakens the creature slightly.

The creature attacks Katarzyna next, but misses. Abner runs out of the room, and they hear rushing water and battle outside the chamber. Grewin tries to release Iesha Foxglove, but hits the chair instead. Outside the cavern room, Abner is beset with ghouls and an oversized undead bat. Abner’s abdomen is ripped open by the first attack, and he’s bleeding profusely as he cries out in pain. The ghoul pulls him out into the chamber, and he is knocked out by the bat. Gregore pulses, and comes to Abner’s aid. Kendra helps Katarzyna attack the Skinsaw Man/Aldern Foxglove. Katarzyna is paralyzed by the Skinsaw Man, and is taken out of the fight, while Kendra fights valiantly to save Katarzyna. Gregore and Grewin fight to save the badly wounded Abner. Grewin manages to release Iesha Foxglove from the mirror’s influence, and she immediately charges at Aldern Foxglove, knocking Kendra out of the way to reach him. Grewin continues to try to hold off the other creatures. Gregore manages to remove Katarzyna’s paralysis. Iesha Foxglove quickly kills Aldern Foxglove, and once he is dead, her face softens, and she says “thank you”, to Katarzyna as she slumps down and immediately begins to decompose. Once Aldern is defeated, everyone focuses on the other combatants in the vestibule outside the cavern room. A moment later, Grewin finally decapitates the undead bat that had been harrowing them. Abner claps Grewin on the shoulder as he catches his breath.

They all take a moment to assess their situation. Kendra points at a wall that has a vaguely humanoid shape on the wall with a broken box at its feet. Kendra picks up the box and it looks like the box depicted in the stained glass windows in Foxglove Manor. Kendra realizes that the box might be a phylactery, and speculates that Vorel Foxglove was trying to become a lich, but failed. Aldern Foxglove had obviously discovered his hidden sanctum, and had somehow become the creature that Iesha had just killed.

Among the items they find in the room is a magic-imbued mask, crafted from bits of human face skin. The mask grants the wearer an increased ability to avoid being seen, and also allows the wearer to take on the appearance of another person, granting an advantage to attack that person. They also find a war razor imbued with minor magic, as well as two rings. The first ring enhances a person’s ability to jump, the second ring Katarzyna is unable to identify at first, but is later discovered to be a minor protection item.

Abner finds a small silver key ring on the table, with two keys. The smaller is bronze with a roaring lion head. Abner finds erotic drawings, featuring Aldern and Katarzyna as the subjects, which Katarzyna finds extremely distasteful. Jean-Baptiste also finds a silver locket, which he tosses to Katarzyna. Grewin hands Katarzyna a note, trying to do so surreptitiously, but Katarzyna is completely oblivious to that attempt. Grewin tells her that he was trying to keep the note from Jean-Baptiste. Katarzyna hands the note to Kendra, who notes the seal, which features a winged undead. The note reads:

Aldern,

You have served us quite well. The delivery you harvested from the caverns far exceeds what I had hoped for. You may consider your debt to the Brotherhood paid in full. Yet still, I have need of you and when you awaken from your death, you should find your mind clear and able to understand this task more than in the state you lie in as I write this.

You shall remember the workings of the ritual, I trust. You seemed quite lucid at the time, but if you find after your rebirth that you have forgotten, return to your townhouse in Lepidstadt. My agents shall contact you there soon – no need for you to trouble the Brothers further. I shall provide you with a list of the proper victims for the ritual in two days’ time. Commit that list to memory and then destroy it before you begin your work. The ones I have selected must be marked before they die, otherwise they do my master no good and the greed in their souls will go to waste.

I warned you that the enemy agents may be coming through Courtaud from Ravengro. I told you to send me word when they do, NOT write love letters to them! Now their attention is on our endeavors. Get rid of them!

If anyone else gets in your way, you may do with them as you please. Eat them, savage them or turn them into your pawns – it matters not to me.

— Xanesha, Dominus of Isfet

At Kendra’s suggestion, they decide to perform a seance in the room with the phylactery, to hopefully learn more about what happened and possibly release the spirits bound to Foxglove Manor. Kendra clears off the table a bit. Kendra, Katarzyna, Jean-Baptiste and Grewin all perform the seance. They ask where they need to go to release the spirits bound to Foxglove Manor, and the planchette tells them “Here”.

The strange skin affliction she and Katarzyna have contracted is worsening on Kendra. Nevertheless, Kendra has Jean-Baptiste and Gregore move the remains of Aldern and Iesha onto the table. She borrows the war razor from Abner, and slices a bit of the mold off the wall to begin a ritual. After a few hours, Kendra tells them that holy water or fire will remove the immediate effects of the disease in the area, to keep it from infecting others. She also tells them that a Hallow or Consecrate spell would cleanse the house of the evil magic.

Gregore starts praying and sprinkling silver dust around. They hear a pounding, and sounds of voices. Katarzyna hugs Kendra as the sounds gather in intensity. Katarzyna grabs Grewin’s and Marshall’s hands. The humanoid shape-fungus on the wall breaks free of the wall, howls with an unholy sound. It seems like it’s trying to say something. The mold dessicates, and then falls to the ground. The house appears to be freed of the malevolent spirits.

From the letter they discovered, Kendra recalls that “dominus” is a ranking in a cult. They decide to clear the rest of the house. Jean-Baptiste picks up a wand from the pile of ash that had been the mold. It is a wand imbued with the Knock spell, which Jean-Baptiste decides to keep. They explore the rest of the cavern complex, finding a a room with a mound of body parts that was clearly the bat’s lair. There is also a large pool in the main cathedral like cavern. Grewin investigates the pool, but doesn’t find anything noteworthy.

They continue to investigate, and Jean-Baptiste identifies the body of the man as a known brigand, Chaz Redshiv Belger. Grewin searches the body and finds 56 gold pieces, as well as a pearl ring. He also finds a magical hat and an adamantine sword on a body in the cavern. Katarzyna immediately recognizes the hat as a Hat of Disguise. She takes posession of that item, and uses it to improve her human disguise. The main effect is to make her eyes a more human-like blue with distinct iris and sclera, rather than the featureless black that marks her as unnatural. The hat also imparts a more healthy skin color and more vibrant hair color, though still in the same color range as her natural hair.

They head back to the stone spiral steps. They find themselves back in the basement. They find an arcane workshop. There are stained glass windows, depicting a gaunt gentleman drinking an arcane brew and the same man in an advanced state of decay, laughing in triumph. There are books, cages, and other debris. The books deal with necromancy and the creation of undead. The cages are from Pug’s Contraptions in Lepidstadt.

They continue through a very long corridor to a large kitchen with a huge oak table. There are corpses of burned rats from the earlier encounter with the plague rats. Grewin finds a silver salver, crystal decanters, and a silver dinner set. Grewin also finds an urn in the back of one of the cupboards. There is a dried pine cone on top of the urn. Grewin removes three pinecones and underneath, he finds three violet garnet stones. Kendra informs Grewin that the silver service is of exceptional silver from Verlich, and the design is 200 years old. Grewin decides to take the silver and crystal with them. They check the rooms adjacent to the kitchen. They find a ruined wine closet, a small servant’s quarters, and the disgusting remains of the rats’ lair, formerly the larder.

They return to the attic. There is an observatory, and there are two stained glass windows and a ruined telescope. Kendra identifies the people in the stained glass windows as Arazni, the Harlot Queen of Geb, a lich from a desert empire. The male figure is Socorro, the Butcher of Carrion Hill, who served the Whispering Tyrant. They take a bit of time to investigate the widow’s walk as well.

They investigate the room across the hall from Iesha’s room of captivity. It is full of books and objects. There is a fine painting of a bullfight. It is called Throw Down In Swynetown. It is worth over 500 gold pieces. The books are mostly local history, about Vistani and older barbarian tribes, as well as maps and other items. Katarzyna grabs as many maps as she can. There is a maps of the Core before the Grand Conjunction, also a map of Akiri, Bluetspur and all sorts of other lands. Katarzyna asks Kendra about Bluetspur. Kendra knows a lot about it, and they discuss it at length. As evening approaches, they finish up their work and leave Foxglove Manor. They are loathe to make camp near the manor, so they camp several miles away.

Sunday, June 29th, 758, Courtaud, Ustalav

The party awakes and Gregore and Abner tend to Kendra first. Gregore cures Kendra with no problem, and subsequently heals Katarzyna on the second attempt. Jean-Baptiste returns to town to try to find a priest of Pharasma willing to help heal the disease before they can return to Courtaud together. They spend the day at camp, and Katarzyna cleans all their clothing and equipment to remove all the contaminants. They also take stock of the items they’ve collected and redistribute them.

Jean-Baptiste is able to coax a priest to come out to the campsite. He doesn’t have all the spells he needs, so Katarzyna persuades the priest, Michal, to stay the night and help them in the morning. He manages to heal Silvio, but Pearl will have to wait until the morning to be healed, though it imperils her to wait. Katarzyna and Michal stay up chatting for much of the evening. Kendra spends a lot of time poring over the letter they found in Aldern Foxglove’s cavern lair. The night passes without incident.

Monday, June 30th, 758, Courtaud, Ustalav

Katarzyna awakes before the others, feeling Pearl’s life slip away as the owl succumbs to the ghastly phage, before Michal is able to use a spell to try and save her. Katarzyna burns the remains, at Gregore’s urging. Michal does manage to heal Abner’s ghoul fever. With everyone healthy and non-contagious, they decide to head back to Courtaud. Katarzyna and Michal decide to make a date for that evening.

Katarzyna and Kendra spend some time in the midmorning at the natatorium, bathing and having wine. Katarzyna is suddenly struck with the reality of Pearl’s death, and is subdued and melancholy. Kendra does her best to distract Katarzyna. They have a bard play the violin, and chat in Akiri. After their spa treatments, they walk over to the dress store and they buy new dresses. Kendra buys a sumptuous gown.

Michal picks Katarzyna for her date, and they have supper at a dinner theater. It is an underground place, with a satirical comedian. They also go to another club where there is music. Michal is a complete gentleman, and sweetly kisses Katarzyna goodnight. Katarzyna is rather giddy as she returns to her room, and quickly falls asleep.

Tuesday, July 1st, 758, Courtaud, Ustalav

Katarzyna awakes feeling melancholy again. The death of Pearl still weighs on her mind, and the euphoria of her date with Michal has dissipated. She hearkens back to Aldern Foxglove, Leromar Horgan, and Gharen Mhuricar, and a deep pessimism sets in with regard to Michal. She tries to shake it off, and joins the others in the common room.

Jean-Baptiste investigates Isfet, a concept associated with Akiri religion and the deity Apep, who is associated with death/destruction/oblivion. Kendra, Gregore and Grewin also help in the investigation. Gregore thinks everyone should make haste to Lepidstadt, to return the books and get more information about the letter. Gregore helps Marshall overcome his unease from his experiences at Foxglove Manor. Jean-Baptiste asks Farren if he can accompany Gregore’s group to Lepidstadt to investigate all the goings-on with the Whispering Way. Farren writes letters of introduction for Jean-Baptiste and the others. Jean-Baptiste purchases a horse. At some point, Gregore asks Katarzyna to identify the brooch he got from Professor Lorrimor. Katarzyna consults with Kendra, who is rather pensive when she sees the brooch. Katarzyna returns to Gregore and tells him that the brooch will defend him from unseen attackers. Gregore spends time replenishing his spell components and such. The rest of the day passes without incident as everyone gathers their belongings and finishes up their business in Courtaud.

Wednesday, July 2nd, 758, Courtaud, Ustalav

The group settles all their affairs in Courtaud, and prepares to depart for Lepidstadt the following day.

Thursday, July 3rd, 758, Courtaud, Ustalav to Lepidstadt, Ustalav

The group sets out in the morning for Lepidstadt. It takes the entire day to travel to the city, taking the coastal road. Katarzyna continues to use the Hat of Disguise to make herself appear more like a normal human.

They arrive at Lepidstadt in the early evening, around 7 pm. Kendra offers to put everyone up at the Lorrimor townhouse near the University. Gregore is eager to find Jominda and Illindri. It turns out that Jominda and Illindri are at the Lorrimor Townhouse. Victor is there also. They hear Jominda and Illindri having a lesson in the Jitska language. Gregore goes into the room, Victor sees Gregore first. Jominda sees Gregore and hugs him close. She also hugs Katarzyna, Kendra, and Abner. Katarzyna tells Jominda about Dragos’ recent demise. Jominda tells them all that the Crooked Kin are in Lepidstadt. Gregore and Abner bring Jean-Baptiste up to speed with regard to Illindri’s mental state.

Gregore tells Jominda and Victor about some recent murders in Lepidstadt. Jominda tells them that they think they’ve captured the people responsible. She says there have been mutilations. The description of the murders sounds a lot like the murders in Courtaud. They are convinced that “the Beast” is the murderer. Gregore lets Jominda read the letter they found at Fox. Kendra tells them that she’s going to go out and run some errands. Gregore brings Dragos’ body into the house, and puts it in a place where it won’t be disturbed.

Victor prepares food for them. It is REALLY not good. Barely edible. Victor is clearly displeased with his performance. Katarzyna tries to hide her disappointment, but fails. Victor is noticeably perturbed by Katarzyna’s poorly-concealed reaction to his cooking, even though he himself knows it is of poor quality. Victor leaves them and goes up to prepare the rooms with all the portable bedrolls and such. He then leaves to run errands. Gregore and Jominda go to an inn for the night, and Jominda lets Katarzyna have her room.

Kendra is gone for about an hour, she brings back some really nice tobacco. She tells Grewin about a lecture about Lamordian inventions to be held at the University early the following morning. Katarzyna wanders in, and Kendra tells her that they need to return the scarab book to Judge Daramid in the morning after the lecture. Eventually the conversations taper off and everyone retires for the night

Friday, July 4th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

In the morning, Kendra and Grewin go to the lecture. Victor tries to prepare breakfast, but it is his worst attempt yet. Kendra and Grewin make the excuse that they have to get to the lecture, and abstain from Victor’s breakfast. The lecture on Lamordian science is being held in the Vollny Science Building. Grewin and Kendra are both fascinated by the lecture and the sample machines.

When Jean-Baptiste comes downstairs, only Katarzyna and Victor (and Illindri) are present. Katarzyna tries to put on a brave face with regards to breakfast, but Victor sees right through her, and sulks. When Jean-Baptiste goes up to look for Illindri, he runs into Abner coming out of Katarzyna’s room. He hands Jean-Baptiste a sandwich. Jean-Baptiste checks on Illindri, finding her asleep. He is unhappy that he can’t help her, a feeling rather familiar to the others.

Jominda and Gregore spend the morning together, and they stop at the Lorrimor Townhouse to check on Dragos’ remains, still fresh thanks to Gregore’s use of the Gentle Repose spell. Kendra and Grewin both come in at the same time. As they arrive, Victor is distracted, so Katarzyna abandons her breakfast and heads back up to her room.

After they all finish their morning preparations, Kendra, Jean-Baptiste and Katarzyna go to return all the books. They visit the professor of antiquities, Dr. Montaigne Crowl. They see craftsmen fixing things inside the museum. Dr. Crowl tells them about a break in that occurred recently. The only item missing is a relatively minor artifact known as a Sea Sage Effigy. There is an Akiri tablet in the room as they all sip claret and discuss the matter. Katarzyna reads the tablet, and it appears to be a spell tablet. Jean-Baptiste asks Dr. Crowl about the theft of the Sea Sage Effigy. They also present the books from Professor Lorrimor’s house. Dr. Crowl is rather disturbed by some of the books. The book of Zon Kuthon and Serving Your Hunger are particularly upsetting. He also peruses the Umbral Leaves, to his consternation. He rings for the key to the vault, and has the books placed inside. He writes out a receipt for the books. He tells them that the Sea Sage Effigy is a small murky green stone statuette depicting a green tentacled creature. Dr. Crowl tells them that the Beast had been apprehended at the University, but that the Sea Sage Effigy was not found on the creature’s person. Dr. Crowl shows them a rendering of the Sea Sage Effigy.

After the conversation with Dr. Crowl comes to a close, Jean-Baptiste decides to meet up with Abner to follow up on some clues from the Courtaud murders. Katarzyna and Kendra take their leave of Jean-Baptiste and Dr. Crowl and take a carriage to Judge Embreth Daramid’s townhouse near the city center. They discuss the Order of the Palatine Eye during the carriage ride. They are ushered into the Judge’s home, and they wait in her vestibule for a few moments. The butler ushers them to a salon, where a majestic and commanding elderly woman, Judge Daramid, greets them. Kendra and Katarzyna have a long discussion with Judge Daramid, and the judge asks if she might speak with Katarzyna alone. Katarzyna tells the judge all about their activities in Ravengro, Karpad and Courtaud. Kendra rejoins them after about an hour, and Judge Daramid gives Kendra the money that was promised for the return of the book. She then tells Katarzyna to have her group come to dinner that evening.

Gregore and Grewin go to return Dragos’ body at the Temple of Ezra. Grewin talks with Victor, and they retrieve the wagon and take Dragos’ body to the Temple of Ezra. The bailey greets Gregore, who tells him all about Dragos and how he died at the Witch’s Teat Inn. They talk about the possibility of raising him from the dead. Gregore goes to pray to Ezra, and spends some time speaking with the priests about what happened in Ravengro, including everything about the Whispering Way. The bailey tells Gregore that they should share the information with the priests of Pharasma. Grewin sits on the front steps of the temple smoking, idly making fetishes of Hallah.

Gregore and Grewin go the Temple of Pharasma and speak with the priests there. The priest gives Gregore a missive from the Temple to use in other areas where the Pharasma faith predominates. They talk about the Whispering Way, who think that undeath is the purest form of existence. To the followers of the Whispering Way, living creatures are pitiful and pointless. They seek out people of promising talent and corrupt them. The Whispering Way has historically been plagued by infighting, which is one of the reasons they haven’t been more of a problem in the past. Tar-Baphon, the Whispering Tyrant, once united the Whispering Way, but the organization predates him. Grewin mentions that there is a heirarchy, and mentions Aldern Foxglove might have turned himself into a ghoul to “perfect” his form following the principles of the Whispering Way. Gregore also shares the information in the letter with the priests, but they aren’t able to make any conclusive connections. They talk about the murders in Courtaud, and also the abduction of Warden Lyvar Hawkran’s spirit from Harrowstone Prison in Ravengro.

After Kendra and Katarzyna meet up with Jean-Baptiste, Gregore and Grewin, they return to the townhouse, and Kendra doles out the money from Judge Daramid. Grewin gives his share to go toward raising Dragos. Jean-Baptiste also decides to chip in toward the effort. Jominda and Gregore go shopping in the afternoon, while Jean-Baptiste goes to the University to see if there are any new developments in alchemy or firearms, and to pick up alchemical components and such. Abner meets up with Jean-Baptiste, and informs him that he has located Aldern Foxglove’s townhouse.

Later in the day, they all get ready to go to dinner at Judge Daramid’s home. Everyone except Victor goes to dinner, Victor stays behind to look after Illindri. They arrive at Judge Daramid’s townhouse, and the butler shows them into the salon. They are all greeted graciously by Judge Daramid. Gregore and Grewin see what appears to be the largest wolf skull they have ever seen in the salon. Judge Daramid asks that they call her Embreth. Jean-Baptiste and Gregore introduce themselves and make small talk with Embreth for a few minutes. Jean-Baptiste decides to “cut to the chase”, but Embreth shuts him down. Katarzyna peruses the library while the Judge chats with the others. Gregore asks Embreth about her career in Lepidstadt. She tells him that she has been a judge for 20 years, and had been an advocate for 10 years prior, and was an inspector for 8 years before that. Gregore asks if Judge Daramid had any knowledge of Shanda Faravan, the councilwoman from Ravengro, but Embreth tells him that she has never heard of her. Jean-Baptiste talks about Farren, who turns out to be a dear old friend of the Embreth’s. He also tells Embreth that his own father, Jean-Pierre Harrow, had been instrumental in apprehending the notorious murderer known as the Lopper. The selfsame Lopper whose ghost had been defeated at Harrowstone Prison. Embreth had known of Jean-Pierre, but she tells Jean-Baptiste that she didn’t know him personally.

They sit down to dinner, and there is a string quartet playing for them. Gregore notices that Jominda is feeling uncomfortable. Kendra and Katarzyna try to make her feel more at ease. They are served a Canterwall-inspired meal of Beef Wellington as they regale Embreth with stories about their case in Courtaud. The meal is truly exceptional, and features dishes from all over the Core, including a cream cake from Borca. The table is cleared, and Davis, the butler, brings out scotch and cognac, as well as cigars. They are also offered smoking robes, so that the cigars don’t imbue their garments with their scent. As the evening progresses, Kendra and Katarzyna focus on the skeleton specimen, Kendra determines that it was a male human, about 32 years old, who was an experienced fighter.

At long last, Judge Daramid says “so, let us speak plainly” as she looks directly at Jean-Baptiste. She tells them that she is concerned about the Beast, the creature that is to be executed (presumably) for the murders in Lepidstadt. She doesn’t think it is capable of such things. She wants the group to look into the string of murders, to see if the Beast is even connected with them. Gustav Kappel is the advocate for the Beast, but she has no confidence in him. She tells them that if they get arrested for minor indiscretions while investigating the events, they can drop her name, but not for anything really serious.

At the end of the evening, they bid Embreth good evening, then the return to the Lorrimor townhouse to change and retrieve their gear and weapons. They make their way over to the Foxglove townhouse in small groups. Abner, Kendra and Jean-Baptiste go in one group, and Gregore, Grewin and Katarzyna go in another group. Grewin has the keys. He tries the iron key, and it opens the townhouse front door without any trouble. Grewin, Amelia, Gregore and Katarzyna step inside the house. Gregore notices that there is dried mud on the floor in the entryway. The windows are boarded up on the ground floor. The townhouse is cold, dark and empty. Shortly, they are joined by Jean-Baptiste, Abner and Kendra. There is a door to the right that they investigate first. There are shelves with hunting trophies scattered all over the floor, as if the room had been ransacked. Gregore moves into the room. Katarzyna follows close behind. They hear flies buzzing around. Kendra pulls out her divination skull. Gregore opens the door further down the wall, and they enter what appears to be a dining room and kitchen. To everyone’s consternation, Kendra uses her dagger to slit the skin on her forehead, and as she does so it becomes an eye in the middle of her forehead.

They see a bit of light coming from somewhere to the south and they hear someone calling out to them. Grewin and Abner move to hide in the shadows, and Gregore hides the light from his coin. Katarzyna calls out to voices. A person steps forward, and she appears to be Iesha Foxglove. She calls over her shoulder for Aldern Foxglove. It is a very strange conversation as Katarzyna and the ersatz Iesha dance around each other. Katarzyna is considering all the possibilities, when suddenly, “Iesha” and “Aldern” give each other a significant look, and attack Katarzyna. They stab her from both sides, almost incapacitating her on the first hit. Grewin attacks “Iesha”, and she attacks him at the same time. The bodies of the creatures impersonating Iesha and Aldern morph and change as they attack. Abner manages to kill one of them, and the other moves to attack him. Jean-Baptiste and Grewin manage to kill it before it can seriously harm Abner. Grewin peeks out the front door to see if anyone has noticed the sound of Jean-Baptiste’s gunshots, but it doesn’t look like there is any activity outside, other than a single shadow moving in the distance.

They continue searching the townhouse. They go upstairs. There entire townhouse is in disarray, including slashed paintings of Traver Foxglove, Cyralie Foxglove, and the chidren. There is nothing noteworthy on the second floor, so they head up to the third floor. They find a mantle sculpted with lions, and Abner finds a keyhole. They use the second key to open the lock and find a hidden cache, which contains 200 platinum coins and a shallow wooden case. The case contains a number of pieces of paper. It seems to be some kind of financial records connected to Aldern Foxglove. They also find the deed to Foxglove Manor from the year 692, when the manor was first built. In 792 ownership of the manor would revert to “the brotherhood”. They decide that they have retrieved everything of note in the townhouse. The Nozari Consortium is mentioned in the documents, but no one knows what it is.

Grewin hears noise downstairs, and he quietly tries to move down to the first floor. Abner and Katarzyna go out the window, and Abner decides to create a diversion so the others can escape. Grewin sends Amelia barreling out the front door, and she rushes out. Katarzyna Spider Climbs onto the roof. Kendra climbs out the window too. Grewin, Gregore and Jean-Baptiste are still in the upstairs room, so Jean-Baptiste prepares infusions of Levitate and Invisibility. He gives the Levitate to Gregore, who grabs Grewin and goes out the window, while Jean-Baptiste takes the Invisibility infusion and goes downstairs. Katarzyna climbs over the neighboring rooftops and makes her way toward the Lorrimor Townhouse. Gregore and Grewin take the back alley behind the townhouse and make their way away from the townhouse. Jean-Baptiste is the last to leave the house, finding the two guards in front of the townhouse difficult to elude. He ends up placing a stuffed head from the trophy room on the floor in front of the door, then heads upstairs. He climbs out the second floor window and drops down to the street level. He peeks around the front of the building, and checks out what’s happening. He turns visible and talks to the guys in front of the townhouse. The guards talk with him for a few moments, wary of a Lozeri inspector but still cordial. The others manage to elude the town guard, and return to the Lorrimor Townhouse separately. They decide to turn in for the night, and discuss their findings in the morning.

Saturday, July 5th, 758, Lepidstadt, Ustalav

The next morning they awake to the smells of breakfast. Abner is cooking, so it smells infinitely better than Victor’s recent attempts. Abner has made individual quiches for everyone, and they all enjoy their breakfast. A letter comes in the morning for Gregore, it is from Dragos. Dragos informs Gregore rather matter-of-factly that he has been raised by the brothers at the Temple, but he has been given tasks by the Ezrite order, and can’t rejoin them just yet. Everyone is relieved to hear that Dragos is alive again, but Katarzyna is somewhat bothered by the fact that he didn’t return to them in person to bid farewell.

Abner asks Jean-Baptiste to accompany him to a mill mentioned in Aldern Foxgloves financial ledger. They spend most of the day looking for the mill. It is on the eastern side of the city, on the river. They meet some people in an alley, and ask about the Nazeri Consortium. It is an order of silent Pharasman monks from Ulcazar, according to one of the men. They head to the Temple of Pharasma to check it out. They learn that there had been a monastery of Pharasma in Ulcazar, but it’s been defunct for awhile.

Grewin, Gregore and Katarzyna go to the Temple of Ezra. They speak to the anchorites, who confirm that Dragos has been raised, and has been sent on a mission for Ezra.

Katarzyna returns to the townhouse, where Kendra is engaged in some sort of odd supernatural writing. She spends the day reading the book on Matreus’ ill-fated expedition to Vechor. Gregore goes to the town records hall. He is looking for information on the owners of the sawmill. He shows the deed for Foxglove Manor. He and Jominda go shopping for garb the is more appropriate for rubbing elbows with nobility.

Grewin spends the rest of the day exploring Lepidstadt. He overhears a lot of talk about the Beast. He discovers that there are gnomes living in Lepidstadt, but isn’t able to find any right away. He hears about a gnome who owns a clockwork business. Grewin heads over to the Sign of the Clockwork Wink, and is greeted by an elderly gnome. There is a giant eye lens in the shop, and the elderly gnome introduces himself as Tallan. They chat for a while, and Tallan serves Grewin mushroom soup for dinner.

In the evening, Kendra and Katarzyna go to keep Kendra’s appointment. When Gregore and Jominda return to the house, Victor and Illindri are the only ones present. Victor tells them that Kendra and Katarzyna had gone out, and that no one else has returned yet from the day’s activities. Jominda tells Gregore that she still feels like she’s the new person in town. Before long, Grewin arrives back at the house, followed by Jean-Baptiste and Abner. They all compare notes on the day’s activities.

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