The party was led by Agrent and Rain on foot tracking, while the rest of us followed about twenty-feet back on our horses. There were two paths leading from the road, neither of which seemed to be heading directly to the farm house. Even though the fields had been harvested, the corn stalks remained standing about six-feet high. Agrent and Rain found a path leading to the southwest with many footprints. Some were booted, but most were barefoot. Remembering the bare footprints at the sawmill smelled of rotten flesh, Agrent bent down to smell these footprints. To his relief they did not smell of rotten flesh. His relief was not to last long.
Suddenly, the Paladin detected evil coming at us from all sides. Out in front Agrent and Rain were startled by sounds of crashing through the stalks coming towards the party. Parlay started to move his horse back towards the road so as to have more room to fight. Erlig prepared by casting Protective Ward about himself, thereby boosting the armor class of all within ten-feet. Rain spun about and ran towards the party. The Bard Falathar broke into his song, which immediately heartened all. Agrent decided Rain had the right idea, and he turned to run back! Bron “Tis no way to be fighting atop a horse!” So he jumped down and drew his war axe. It was then that twelve ghouls rushed into view. Their ghastly green faces set on our destruction! Sampson had been holding for a target. Seeing the first ghoul he charged ahead on horseback and dealt a solid hit with his sword. Cameo cast mage armor on himself and readied for combat. Strabo sent a bolt from his crossbow into a ghoul.
Parlay scored a critical hit on a ghoul, which dropped it in its tracks. Erlig prepared to send color spray into the ghouls, but was holding until they came within range. Rain now safely with the party sent an arrow into a ghoul. Agrent cast shillelagh and prepared for battle. Falathar sent an arrow into one of the ghouls. Sampson’s second swing dropped his ghoul. Bron managed a hit on the nearest ghoul. Now, the ghouls had moved close enough to attack. First, Erlig sent color spray into three, two of which, dropped unconscious, blind and stunned. The unaffected ghoul tried to run by Parlay to get to Erlig. Parlay had a different idea using his ranseur to strike a solid blow. One managed to bite and claw Falathar inflecting serious damage. That ghoul then tried and failed to bite and claw Parlay. The next ghoul came at Parlay too. It missed in its bite, but one claw scrapped him for a minor wound. The ghoul coming at Rain managed to bite and claw her leaving her paralyzed and bleeding. Strabo managed to get his horse to charge down a ghoul. Cameo sent a magic missile into the nearest ghoul, which seemed to score solid damage. Two of the ghouls attacked Bron without any success.
Parlay tried to urge his horse to run down one of the ghouls going after Cameo without much luck. So he used his weapon to hit the ghoul again and dropped it in its tracks. Erlig sent a Magic Missile into one. Meanwhile, Agrent finally ready swung at his ghoul dropping it. Falathar pulled his rapier and stuck a ghoul. Sampson used his horse to knock a ghoul prone that was attacking Bron. Bron then hit the next ghoul! Strabo tried a second time to run down a ghoul, but the horse wanted nothing to do with it! He then used his whip to trip the one Bron hit. Cameo sent another Magic Missile, which did not seem as effective as his first! It managed to nick him with a claw. A second ghoul missed Cameo completely, much to his relief. One of the ghouls knocked down, managed to stand back up.
Parlay struck one dropping it, and then tried to ride between one of the ghouls and Cameo. However, his horse had better sense. Erlig tried to repeat his earlier success with color spray, but both ghouls were unaffected. Agrent dispatched one of the unconscious ghouls. Falathar managed to stab another with the rapier. Sampson managed to run down one ghoul and hit another killing it. Bron dropped his ghoul dead with a solid hit. Strabo got his horse to dance on a ghoul. One of the downed ghouls managed to stand up again. Another managed to bite Cameo, which left him paralyzed and bleeding. A ghoul managed to bite and claw Falathar. Fortunately, he is an elf or he would have been paralyzed! Parlay was bitten, but saved.
Parlay moved up to protect the fallen Cameo and struck the nearest ghoul killing it. Erlig switched back to use magic missile with a solid impact on another ghoul. Agrent managed massive hits with club and klar killing yet another ghoul. Falathar tried to impale one with his rapier, but missed badly. Bron swung and dropped his ghoul. Parlay dropped the last ghoul. Falathar stopped singing to conserve his voice.
Strabo used his healing kit and skills to clean the wounds of possible infection. Paladin Sampson used his lay on hands skill on all of the wounded. Falathar cast Cure Light on both Rain and himself. We then set about collecting the ghouls’ bodies some of which were women and children. We used our horses to drag them towards the farm house.
We reached an intersection where the path diverged. It was then that anther scarecrow was seen next to the trail. Strabo reacted first with an arrow, but missed. Rain had more success hit with her arrow. The scarecrow screamed its death cry and slumped down. We found it was a woman turning into a ghoul. We added her body to the others and drug it to the house.
Upon reaching the house we searched the barn first. It has a unique feature. A massive twelve-foot high stone head canting of to its side forms one wall of the barn. Falathar was stunned to see its features are Thassilonian, but badly worn down by time. Inside we found a tangled stack of bones and the partially eaten bodies of cows, horses, and humans. The paladin did not detect any evil in the area. Our horses would not go near the barn. We moved the corpses into the barn with the intention of burning it and the bodies together. Cameo took umbrage at our suggesting we burn a perfectly good barn. Several of the party argued with him explaining that animals would not go into it again, but he persisted. The bodies are diseased and birds and vermin will become infected if they eat the flesh, still Cameo argued for sparing the barn. His arguments fell on deaf ears.
Rain, Agrent, Parlay, Sampson and Falathar moved to check out the farm house. One door is off its hinges and another stood open. No sounds came from within. We entered what seemed to be the kitchen. There we found the corpse with a parchment pinned to the tattered remains of a tunic. It read:
Take the fever in to you my love.
It shall be but the first of my gifts to you!
Parlay moved to continue his searched, but was interrupted by something coming at him. It was a ghoul, which Parlay attacked successfully with sword and klar. Rain sent an arrow into from the other side of the room. Agrent and Strabo attacked it at the same time. Strabo tripped it with his whip, while Agrent impaled it on his klar. The poor creature died hanging there. Its clothing though tattered seemed to be better than what a farmer would wear. We searched further and found a set of keys on a ring. Falathar wondered aloud if it might “be the caretaker from Foxglove Manor?” It was then he noticed a curious flower surrounded by thorns embroidered on his tunic. Rain recognized it as the “foxglove” flower, which confirmed Falathar’s assumptions.
We conducted a thorough search of the house. In the bedroom Rain noticed the floorboards creaked in one spot. She bent to examine the boards and found she could lift a section out. There she found a small chest. The keys on the ring did not open it, but we had found one on a farmer that did. Inside were 34 pouches carefully arranged inside the chest. In each we found 100 silver pieces. It must have been the life savings of the Hambley family, who had all been slaughtered by the ghouls and his lordship.