After a brief respite and some bolstering of resolve with our liquid courage, we venture back into the manor and proceed towards the upper level. The first room is apparently the room of the son we have been hearing about in the visions, and after touching a toy bunny I am the target of my first haunt, experiencing a horrible vision of mother and father fighting with a torch and a knife, father’s face broken out in horrible tumors. I am left with a pounding headache, but we glean a bit more knowledge of what happened here at the Misgivings. Ouch.
A sitting room is our next stop, with stained glass windows featuring various creatures – a scorpion, a bat-covered man, a moth with a skull-shaped pattern on its wings, a tangle of vines with bell-shaped flowers, and a young maiden about to be eaten by a dog-sized spider. Scorpion venom, vampire’s breath, tongues of death wing moths, belladonna, and the heart of a maiden slain by poison – the symbols represent spell components used in necromantic magic, if I recall correctly. Its a really creepy way to decorate you den. Still, the room seems comfy enough, if empty, and so we move on.
We find some sort of portrait hall next, the images obscured by years of cobwebs and dust, and Cian begins to clean each picture so that we may see them clearly. Traver Foxglove, a tall and thin man with a narrow face and a thing mustache, may be the man in our visions. Cyralie is also present, a pretty woman with long red hair, with Aldern, Sendeli, and Zeeva (two young girls) sharing the space to the south. Vorel, a tall, middle aged man with long dark hair and a clean-shaven face, Kasanda, a stern-faced brunette with wisps of gray in her short hair, and Lorey (another young girl) are on the far wall.
As the last image is cleared, the portraits suddenly change and shift. While Sendeli and Zeeva’s images seem unaffected, Aldern shifted into a gross ghoul-like creature, Cyralie was smashed and mangled before bursting into flame, Traver’s throat was slit, and Vorel’s grew pustules and boils. The temperature suddenly drops, and an explosion of mold and puss explodes out of the image Vorel, engulfing the room. As quickly as it appears, the cold and mold are gone, and the images return to their previous state. Fortunately, Cian appears to be unaffected by the explosion, leaving us to continue our search.
We find a large bedroom next, where I attempt to kill myself after experiencing a vision of loss after the murder of the woman I love most. Good thing Cian was there to save my from my suicide attempt! After being saved, i myself have to save Beldar from a scary sheet monster before we abandon yet another haunted room. We need to find His Lordship before his haunted house finishes us once and for all!
We quickly bypass a mold-filled room (ick) before searching a bathing room with a weak floor. The final room on this floor is a bedroom that has been demolished, the furniture hacked to pieces the walls gouged and scratched. A single painting sits on the far wall, facing the wall. Of course, Cian enters immediately, while we more cautious folk wait in the hallway. Iesha Foxglove, a lovely Varisian woman, is the image in the portrait, evoking different emotions from each of us. Cian’s anger results in the destruction of the painting, and after a quick look around we head upstairs to the attic.
A bunch of storage rooms comprise the bulk of this attic, but as we are checking things out, suddenly the sounds of a woman’s screams and sobs echo down the hallway. We rush to the door, and Beldar makes quick work of the lock before bursting into the small room. A mirror, an armoire and a small window are all that fill this room, other than the once lovely revenant waiting to murder her would-be rescuers. Or maybe not, as she stands in front of her mirror, crying – obsessed with her new appearance, brought on by her undead state.
The room across the hall appears to have been owned by a Pathfinder, and after experiencing visions of old travels and exploration, followed by the bitter disappointment of losing out on future discoveries after being saddled with a shrew of a wife. We also find a pretty painting, some Shoanti books, and a bunch of maps (dibs), as well as a hidden store of coins and a key. Finally, some loot in this manor house!
Yet another set of stained glass windows greets us in this attic room. The first depicts a dark haired, green eyed, red-headed woman in a black and dress, wielding a jagged iron staff. The second is partially broken, but a handsome man wearing an ivory and jade crown stands in the remains of the glass. A desk and telescope (broken – sad, but mendable – yay) are also present, as well as a trap door in the ceiling, tied closed, the means to operate the opening mechanism long since fallen to ruin. The windows likely depict Arazni, the Harlot Queen of Geb, and Socorro, the Butcher of Carrion Hill – both famous wizards who became liches. Interesting individuals to put in your windows.
The final room of the attic is just another small bedroom. Nothing of interest, and so we return to the room of Iesha, the revenant. Figuring to unleash her upon her murderer, Aldern, Beldar shoots the mirror in order to release her from her mental captivity. It appears to have worked, as she screams her anger at her intended victim and heads downstairs, our party in her wake.
We chase her through the house, down to the ground floor, and watch as she destroys the floor in the room with the mold pattern, enters the floor below, and immediately proceeds down another set of ancient stairs into the depths below even the manor’s basement. I experience a short vision of Aldern discovering these stairs before a ravening horde of ghouls emerge and drag him down with them. I shake myself from the horror and quickly follow my friends as the pursue the revenant into the darkness.
A cave system appears to exist below the manor house, but we have little time to investigate as we rush after Iesha. She charges forward with a vengeance (get it? vengeance for a revenant? ha ha ha!), rousing a group of ghouls in her wake. We are forced to deal with them while Iesha continues to her destination. Fortunately, the ghouls are not much trouble, including the ghastly goblins in the farthest section of the cavern. A stone door holds Iesha up just long enough for us to catch up and catch our breath before she bursts into the inner sanctum of her treacherous lover, Aldern.
Aldern appears repentant at first, until Iesha begins to squeeze the unlife from his body. He struggles to fight back, but is no match for her strength and anger, and with our help he is soon retired to his final death. As Iesha bestows upon him the final embrace, she also drops to her death, her vengeance complete. The Skinsaw Murderer is dead, and his treasures, what little that remain, are ours for the taking. Most importantly, the town will no longer suffer his depredations.
Investigating the chamber, we are able to put the pieces together finally. Vorel was attempting to turn himself into a lich, based upon the evidence we have discovered in our explorations. He appears to have failed, and in doing so his spirit has infested the manor in the form of a necromantic mold. Although we destroy some of the mold, we determine that we will need some more powerful magic to cleanse the manor of Vorel’s presence for good.
We spend a few minutes checking the rest of the tunnels, recovering what we can before heading back to the surface. Beldar manages to find the bodies of a couple wanted fugitives from Magnimar, and we collect enough evidence to prove for the bounty along the way. The basement is also unexplored, and we look around before exiting completely. We discover Vorel’s laboratory, and Cian experiences a vision confirming his experiments into lichdom and Kasanda’s interference. We definitely need to bring a priest back to the manor, so that no family has to go through what has happened here.
Our murderer uncovered and stopped, and being short on ponies and kegs, we head back to Sandpoint. We also need to look into this note from Xanesha, the Mistress of the Seven. Apparently the Sihedron Ritual, whatever that is, was part of the reason for the murders Aldern was performing. If we can get to Magnimar, perhaps we could find these agents and discover what is really going on with this ritual. Whatever it is, it sounds bad.
Hemi is disturbed by what we have uncovered. He agrees that we should probably continue our investigation in Magnimar. There are rumors of unrest in the city – hopefully unrelated to what we our looking into, but it is doubtful that we would be so lucky.