On the way back from Magnimar, I come up with a brilliant plan to increase our ability to stay hydrated. I begin to work on drawings for the new Keg Kart, which I will likely patent later. It might take a bit of time, though, as we are exceptionally busy being heroes and whatnot.
Back in town, little has changed. The standard Sandpoint Devil rumors have cropped up, including burned mills and lost cows, but I’ve heard them all before, and even started my share. While a wild, drunken Devil Hunt does sound kind of appealing, I think a good night’s rest might be better, after our long trip. The progress on our new brewery looks acceptable, and so we return to the Rusty Dragon for a night of relaxation.
Cian seems to have better plans, as the lovely Shayliss Vinder, daughter of the general store owner, and local harlot (at least according to rumor) is asking for some help with rats in her basement. Wink wink. We’ll check in with him in the morning. Meanwhile, I should work on a hook up myself. I wonder where Ami wandered off too? She is so dreamy!
After a standard night of debauchery, including Beldar successfully drinking from Nora’s tank at the Hagfish (woo hoo!), we are woken early by Sheriff Hemlock, who needs our help. Apparently there has been a murder, and he believes we can help him solve the case. Two victims were found at the sawmill, and they are in gruesome shape. Although this is terrible, it is even worse in that this is the second set of such murders. Apparently we are known to the murderer, as he has left a scrap of parchment with my name on it. Inside are the words, “We have spoken of this before, my master. Now it begins. Join the pack and it will end. (signed) Your Lordship.” I have no idea what that means, but it was found pinned to the sleeve of the latest victim.
It seems as if someone is trying to pin a crime on me, or at least implicate me in these heinous actions. We of course agree to investigate. No one pins things on me except my tailor! Off to the mill we go, to see what we can see.
Amid the sawdust and blood splatters, it is obvious that a struggle occurred here several hours ago, sometime in the middle of the night. Two bodies lie in gruesome state. The victims are Katrine Vinder and her boyfriend Banny Harker, a mill worker and the daughter of the local general store. Harker is affixed to the wall by several machinery hooks, mutilated, his lower jaw missing and his face carved away. A seven pointed star is also carved into his chest, crude but familiar. Katrine’s mangled remains are on the lower floor of the mill, pieces scattered throughout the split lumber – she apparently fell, or was pushed, into the log splitter. One of the sets of footprints in the spatter is barefoot, and there seems to be a lingering stench to the tracks.
A hand axe is embedded in the floor, covered in bloody finger marks. Some foreign substance is located on the blade, and it wreaks. It appears to be flesh and fragments of bone, and the stench of rot is almost overpowering. Definitely a “ghastly” smell – I suspect it is a ghast. Maybe someone got a shot in on the attacker before they were killed?
The body of Katrine, while in a poor state, appears to have been ravaged by the splitter machinery. Banny, however, has been carefully carved on and disfigured. He was also attacked by something with claws, approximately human sized. Both bodies have been mangled beyond the possibility of a Speak with Dead spell, perhaps even on purpose? The killer may have knowledge of spellcrafting.
Next, we head over to the jail to talk to Ibor, the handsome young man who discovered the body. He confirms that Harker and Katrine have been meeting at the mill for their trysts, hiding beneath the sounds of the mill. Ibor was a home sleeping at the time, and discovered the bodies in the morning. Vin, the father of Vinder, appears completely broken by his daughter’s death, and his innocence is obvious.
Having exhausted our avenues of investigation here, we decide to look into the next set of murders. Three local con-men were apparently murdered, and a fourth, a local Varisian thug named Grayst Sevilla, left crazed by the events. The bodies had the same symbol carved into their chests, as well as being mutilated in a similar manner to Banny. They were only identifiable by the note on one of the bodies, signed by Your Lordship again, enticing them to their deaths with promises of riches. We appear to have a serial killer on our hands…
The sihedron symbol is reminiscent of Thassilonian symbols, and so seeking out Brodert Quink seems like a good idea. Sure enough, he goes into a historical lecture of the symbol’s origin. Approximately 8-10,000 years ago, the Thassilonian Empire was ruled by powerful wizards, based upon the archaeological evidence. We get hear all about the Old Light being a war machine, which is super cool, and hopefully replicable by me, as well as other great feats of their civilization. The Sihedron Rune is one of the most important runes of Thassilon, representing the seven virtues of rule, as well as the seven schools of magic recognized by Thassilon (minus divination, which they thought was dumb). Quink suggests that the use of the rune indicates the murderer might have been a scholar. Also, the symbol could represent the seven sins, as the symbols changed meaning during the fall of Thassilon.
The first set of victims were lured to their doom by Greed. The next two were victims of their Lust. Could the killer be choosing his victims based upon Sins? If so, he’s got a lot of potential victims to choose from next.
After reporting our findings to Hemlock, we decide that the next stop should be the sanitarium, where a potential eye witness currently resides. An hour down the coast will take us there. We fill the pony keg, place it on said pony, and off we go!
Reaching the sanitarium, we meet the caretaker Habe, who is not pleased about being disturbed. Fortunately, after many threats of sticking around and ringing his bell for eternity, followed by pleas for assistance, Habe finally submits to our demands/requests. Two orderlies arrive to retrieve Grayst and bring him to us for questioning. He looks terrible, and might have ghoulie fever or something. However, when he sees me he snaps out of his craziness long enough to pass on a message, apparently from Your Lordship once again. “You should come to the Misgivings. Soon. To meet the pack. We have something to show you. Something wonderful.” Then he wigs out and tries to eat us. Joy. I’m really starting to hate this Lordship dude.
According to my memory, there is a dilapidated manor to the south of here known as The Misgivings. That seems to be a likely spot from which a murdering crazy Lordship could perform his work. We quickly return to Sandpoint and inform Hemi of our progress and our plans. Of course, while there, we find a farmer informing Hemi that his scarecrows are animating themselves and taking the farmers and their families, as well as the barnyard animals. Hambly farm appears to be the source, as the local farmers attempted to confront the problem themselves before being killed. Of course, these farmsteads are very near The Misgivings, as Old Foxglove Manor is known. The events could be related.
Wait, Foxglove Manor – home of the family of Aldern Foxglove, our hunting friend? Could he be a part of this madness? The place has been abandoned for 20 years, and its history is marred with tragedy for the Foxglove family. Aldern has recently been attempting to reclaim the manor for his family. Of course, the Foxgloves are associated with the Brothers of Seven, that secret gentlemen’s club from Magnimar that is either a group of merchants or thieves, depending on the stories. They have even been known to make nighttime trips out to the manor, even during the years it lay empty. What are we walking into here?
Well, we are off to find out, with a stop at the Hambly farm along the way for good measure. We must be the bravest group of heroes Varisia has ever seen! Right? Right?