We questioned the sheriff further on the details of the previous murders. It seems that two guards on the road into town were attacked by a crazy man. He was ranting about something, which seemed to the guards to involve the nearby barn. They detained the man and went to investigate the barn. Inside a gristly sight awaited them. Three bodies mutilated beyond recognition. Each had the seven-pointed star carved into their chests. One body had a parchment which turned out to be a message to men named Hortwell, Hask and Tabe. It was an invitation to attend a meeting at the barn to consider a business opportunity. “A deal has come about…come to Bradley’s Barn.” It was signed “Your Lordship.” The three men are rumored to be local conmen involved with the Szcarni.
Rain tried to track outside, but found nothing. Agrent being better versed was able to find faint tracks. These were barefoot. Each track showed blood carried away from the scene decreasing as they went along. Agrent bent to smell the tracks and notice the distinct smell of rotting flesh. The tracks lead to the river.
We went to the White Deer Inn to question Ibor Thorn the farmer who found the bodies at the saw mill. He was staring with a black look into his mug, when we arrived. “Ibor Thorn,” Bron called out. Thorn looked up and sighed, “They said someone would have more questions for me. Awful, I can’t get the image of that poor woman out of my mind…I’m going to be sick!” Bron told him to get hold of himself, “Why did you come into town?” Thorn in exasperation, “I already told the sheriff! I don’t want to remember!” Bron told him that he might remember more details in answering our questions. Thorn said he had come into town carrying a sack of grain to be milled. Bron asked for details of his walk into town. “The farm is about a half mile that way on the road to Magnimar. It is the nearest farm to town.” Bron asked how long he had been going to the mill. “Every day for the last fifteen years. That Harker was a greedy sort. Always charging more to grind the grain than the set price. He was stealing from Scarnetti! Maybe he found out.”
Bron asked if Thorn knew Katrine. “Not really, though I did see once in awhile working behind the counter in her father’s general store.” Bron, “did you ever talk to her?” “I don’t talk to girl folk. My tongue gets all tied up!” Bron asked, “Did the mill look the same this morning. “It looked the same outside until I opened the door and saw Harker nailed to the wall!” Bron pressed on about anything he might have seen on his way into town. “Just the militia guards.” Bron returned to asking about what he saw inside the mill. “It was as if someone had carved on his face and then pulled it off!” Bron asked “Was the blood running out of his body when you saw it?” “I was afraid to get close. The woman had blood all over the place…when it’s my time to go, I don’t want to be put in a log splitter!” Bron asked if it was unusual for Harker to be there at night? “He worked from dawn to dusk. Harker opened each morning and closed up the mill every night.”
Bron keep on asking questions. He had to keep Thorn from getting more to drink and not get sick until we were done. “What did you do when you saw the bodies?” “I screamed holy murder!” Thorn mentioned that he saw the note written in blood on the wall. “Been telling anyone I met about the note and Rain!” Rain drew back visibly pale at that. Bron cautioned him not to talk about the note or Rain. Bron asked if he had seen anything strange on the road? “No, but I saw the Sandpoint Devil about five years ago! Kind of a flying horse with these huge teeth.” We asked if he knew anything about the Foxglove Manor House. “No, but we does call it “Misgivings.” Bron thanked him and paid the Innkeeper to keep Thorn supplied with drink today.
The party returned to the river to continue tracking the footprints. At first we had some success, but lost them leading into the marsh on the other side of the river. It was futile to continue, so we decided to go to the Habe’s Sanitarium to talk with the crazy man. Hopefully, he has recovered his wits!
On reaching the sanatorium we noticed a man working in the gardens. He inquired as to our business, to which, we replied out desire to speak with one of the patients. He took us inside and introduced us to Doctor Erin Habe. Dr. Habe was dressed in white robes. He is a wealthy doctor from Magnimar who settled in Sandpoint. Bron explained that Sheriff Belor had sent us to speak with the man brought in the day before. Bron inquired as to the condition of the man. “Alas, he is still very disturbed” replied the good doctor. “We keep him in a robe with long arms that tie down to his body.”
The doctor and one of his men unlocked the door to the main room. We went in and found a clean white room infused with the smell of lilac incense. Next we approached one of the doors leading off the room, which turned out to be the man’s room. The attendant unlocked the door. Inside we found the poor man wrapped in a robe with his arms tied back. He was huddling in the far corner sobbing. Falathar cast Remove Fear on him. Paladin Sampson did not detect any evil. We asked Doctor Habe is he has any bite or scratch marks on him? The doctor remarked that there had been a bite, but it seems to have healed OK. Strabo noticed that his skin is pale and looks gangrenous about the healed wound.
The poor man is muttering about “razors…too many teeth…Skinsaw man is coming!” Suddenly, the man seemed to gather his wits, and he rose and turned to face Rain. “His lordship said you would come. He made me memorize a message for you. He said if you come to his misgivings, you join the pack, he would give up his harvest!” With that he ripped his arms free from their restraints. His face turned green and evil emanated. He attacked Strabo trying to get by to Rain. Strabo managed to trip him. Parlay pummeled him heavily and then backed to the wall pulling his dagger. Bron hit him with his war hammer, which dropped him unconscious. Strabo bent down and shackled the unconscious man. Falathar cast a [i]cure light wounds[/i] on the poor man to see if the effect of being a ghoul could be reversed. It did not have the desired effect.
Doctor Habe couldn’t understand what happed to the poor man. Strabo explained that he had been bitten by a ghoul, which finally turned him into one. We decided to seek out Father Zantos. Dr. Habe sent one of his men to fetch the good Father. Meanwhile, Strabo took a sample of the man’s blood. When Father Zantos arrived he confirmed the man had ghoul fever. We asked if he could do anything for him? “Well, I do have a scroll of [i]restoration[/i], but it is so expensive.” He and Strabo returned to the temple to retrieve the scroll. We checked Agrent’s wound from the farmer, but it still looks to be OK.
On their return Father Zantos cast the spell using the scroll. The effect was immediate. The man’s skin returned to a normal color. He is resting and looks much better. Bron donated 500 Gold pieces to the Priest. We placed the unconscious, but recovered thug in a hand cart.
We took the main road back to town. The road was busy with farmers and their families straggling into town. We overhead one farmer singing:
…Scarecrow… Will find you good to eat.
We inquired with those with him if he had been bitten. “No, he is very disturbed. Things have come out of the croplands to attack. They look like scarecrows.” They told us of the Hambley place. Something had happened so a “group of men went in, but only Old Grump came out! The Hambley folk attacked them. They all looked green and crazy. They even ate the dogs!” Strabo noticed the smell of strong drink coming from the old man. The old man keeps mumbling the old Varisian nursery rhyme. We learned that their farms are one day out on the road to Magnimar. Bron and Strabo checked the people to make sure no one had been bitten.
We returned to town with the farmers. Two days ago walking scarecrows came out of the night. The Hambley farm was empty by the morning. It is about a half-day’s journey from Foxglove Manor, which they refer to as the Misgivings. The Hambley farm is one of the largest in the area. We heard the rhyme again and again:
Mumble, Mumble, Scarecrow
Alone in the maze.
Sleeping the day time
Stitched man he stays.
But when the moon she rises
Up Mumble gets.
He shakes his hand at first,
And moves his feet the next.
And when the dog is snoring,
And when you are fast asleep.
Mumble, Mumble, Scarecrow,
Will find you good to eat!
We reached the town and left the recovering thug in the jail. Mayor Kendra and Sheriff Belor met us and insisted we come in to talk. They need us to investigate and find the source of this new trouble. We went over the recent events and the origination of the seven-pointed star. We discussed Foxglove Manor and the locals referring to it as the Misgivings. We then tried to talk with the thug, but he is as crazy as before. At least he is no longer trying to attack everyone. The party agreed with the mayor and sheriff that the matter seems to be centered on the manor house. We agreed to go out and try and find the source of the problem.
Erlig and Falathar stopped by Father Zantos and asked him for potions. He had two potions of Cure Light, which he gave us. They each gave him twenty-five gold and thanked him. Father Zantos gave us his blessing and we move on. Falathar visited the alchemist, a gnome named Vesnutt Parooh. He asked Parooh if he had any Alchemist Fire available. “Why, Yes I do! How many would you like?” Falathar bought three for sixty gold. He and Bron each bought six Tanglefoot Bags for a total of 300 gold each. They distributed these among the party.
Meanwhile, outside the Fat Man’s Feedbag Strabo had been approached by a group of Varisian men. One of them, Jubrayl walked up, “I got a message for you!” He handed Strabo a note. “Now get out of here!” Strabo left to read the note. It just had “Bring Him” written on it. Strabo recognized the handwriting (it is from his boss, the high priestess of Calistria, Shorafa Pamodae in Riddleport).
The party decided to ride their horses to cut the travel time. Erlig didn’t have a horse, so he inquired at the stable as to the cost for horse and tack. “I can let you have that one for 100 gold.” Erlig asked, “How much to rent it for a week?” “100 gold” was the answer. With a sudden understanding, Erlig decided to “buy” the horse and tack.
We left the next morning planning of traveling about two-thirds of the distance the first day. We continued to meet farmers making their way into town. Later in the afternoon Bron suggested we go to the Hambley farm. On our approach we noticed the large farm house sits close to the road. There were three scarecrows in the field near to the road. Several of the party took notice and were uneasy about the scarecrows. Parlay was first to act by shooting a flaming arrow into one of the scarecrows. We heard an “augh” and the scarecrow’s head slumped to its chest. We could see that it was a human with straw stuffed into cuffs, neck and pants to make it look like a simple scarecrow. The skin had that awful green tinge to it. Rain shot the second scarecrow, only to see her arrow pass through it. It really was a scarecrow. Bron tried shooting the third, but missed. While Erlig was loading his crossbow, Falathar launched an arrow into the third scarecrow. It popped up his head hissing at us. It leaped down to attack us. Parlay attacked it with a mighty swing dropping it in its tracks. It fell face down. Strabo examined it and found it was fully turned into a ghoul, while the first was in the latter stages of turning. We then moved up to search the farm house.