The second morning Strabo prepared the final batch of holy water needed for the fungus. The party prepared for battle hoping there wouldn’t be any surprises this time. We returned to the well. Agrent check for new tracks and did not find any. Erlig anchored ropes, which Parlay and Sampson used to lower the party down. First to go was Agrent,
who quickly noticed Falathar using his slippers to walk down the side of the well. They were followed by Erlig who had cast spider climb on himself. They reached the opening without incident. Agrent called up to those at the top, “No monster, come down.”
Once the entire party had reached the cavern we moved out to the room with the fungus. “The smell hasn’t gotten any better,” sighed Rain in resignation. Strabo “Thong-nose” pulled the panties over his nose once more after moistening. Seeing everyone staring at him, “What?” Sampson used detect evil and did not detect any in the area. We moved carefully with Agrent leading with Bron next in line. Sampson led the remainder of the party a few paces behind.
Upon reaching Foxglove’s room we found it as we left it. Sampson and Strabo began pouring the holy water over the fungus. It seemed to recoil at the touch of the water. It was as if the holy water burned the life out of it. In a short time the fungus was truly dead. Sampson could not detect any evil in its remains. We withdrew from the room and retraced our steps to the well. Erlig cast spider climb on himself again, while Falathar put his slippers on again. Together they climbed to the top of the well. There Erlig checked to make sure the ropes were still securely tied off. Satisfied the ropes were OK; he called down for the others to climb up. They assisted the others in their climb to the surface. To
everyone’s relief no one slipped on the way up.
We made our way pack to camp and gathered the horses. Once they were saddled and packed we mounted up and began the return trip to Sandpoint. We traveled until evening and made camp near an abandoned farm. A watch was set for the night, which seemed to be uneventful. The next morning each did their morning devotionals and broke their fast with a hot meal. Spiritual and physical hungers satisfied we mounted up for the ride
We reached town and were greeted by jubilant people everywhere along our route. Cries of “Our Heroes” and “Sandpoint’s saviors” rang out from the crowds. We stopped at the stables to care for our horses. The owner of the stable would have none of that, “Ye’ have
saved the town, the least the town can do is take care of your mounts.” He waved us off and motioned to the crowd of young boys who had gathered and followed us through town. “You lad can help me with the heroes horses provided you mind your manners.” The boys quickly moved up to take the horses, “I’ll help with the Paladin’s,” “Me, I’ll take the cleric’s,” and so on. An older boy moved up to Rain and bashfully asked, “May I have the honor of caring for your mount?”
Bron led the party to the sheriff’s office to make our report. He recounted the party’s success in clearing Foxglove Manor of the evil there. After describing the final fight Bron pulled out the letter to Foxglove detailing his “mission.” Sheriff Balor exclaimed,
“Harvest, are they talking about harvesting people?” Bron seemed to agree, but Strabo pointed out it was the fungus being harvested. “The victims were killed for some ritual and for pleasure,” he related. “That really doesn’t make me feel any better,” was the stunned sheriff’s reply. He inquired what type of ritual, and Bron suggested that we send for Father Zantos.
The sheriff sent a deputy to fetch Father Zantos. The good father was not long in coming. Balor and Bron showed him the letter and asked about the ritual it mentioned. A horrified Zantos, “The Sihedron Ritual is any old time ceremony. It takes their souls. I can’t raise them from the dead. Their souls are gone!” He then asked about the fungus. “They used it to it to increase their numbers,” Strabo replied. The sheriff and father asked a few more questions ask to any further dangers, but were assured by the party’s answers that the threat was neutralized for now.
The report having been made Falathar suggested that go to the Rusty Dragon for food, ale and a hot bath, “not necessarily in that order.” Erlig, Sampson, Cameo, and Falathar did just that. Strabo instead went to the Pixie’s Kitten to clean and “refresh” himself. Agrent, Parlay and Rain went out to set up camp in the nearby forest using the stream to bath. On their way back to town Agrent wondered aloud, “I no see why they take bath in building when there is good clean water and sand nearby.”
They found the rest of the party in the common room at the Rusty Dragon. A food and ale enough even to satisfy a dwarf’s appetite was enjoyed by all. We discussed the events and wondered what our next move should be. Strabo wants to go to Kaer Maga. It seems there is a special whip there he wants. “Kaer Maga, more like Care Maggots,” snorted Bron. “It is run by the Naga, the serpent people. Ya’ll not find a more foul and dangerous den of thieves.” Erlig and Falathar were for finding the group behind Foxglove’s evil mission. Parlay had other ideas to which, Bron enjoined, “You should really have some unified mission.”
Bron pulled out Foxglove’s letter, “We need to bring the people who turned Aldern into that monster to justice.” It was pointed out that all of us were in need of further training. Not all of which would we be able to obtain here in Sandpoint. We would have to travel to
Magnimar to complete the training. “We can investigate the group behind this there once we complete out training,” suggested Erlig. Agrent suggested that, “Kizzy could pretend to be Foxglove using his new hat.” Bron asked if it would be as Foxglove before the transformation. “No, Foxglove long tongue. We capture and torture them to answer questions,” Agrent wisely proclaimed. “No torture, I’ll not stand for it,” a clearly upset Paladin exclaimed. Agrent assured him, “Strabo good at it, no blood not even a drop. They will answer.” The entire group agreed to this.
The next day the party went its various ways in town to train. Cameo and Agrent went to Cameo’s grandmother for instruction. Agrent turned to Cameo as they walked there, “She good with nature.” Strabo went to the Pixie’s Kitten to “train”, while Bron, Sampson, and
Parlay trained at the barracks. Erlig met with a local mage to study. Falathar asked Blossom to teach him how to escape from devices, etc. She was happy to pass on her knowledge and even more happy at the five-hundred Gold he paid her.
After two weeks we had received all the training we could at Sandpoint. The weather was terrible with not ships leaving. Finally a break in the weather looked to last long enough for the voyage to Magnimar. We quickly booked passage on the first ship to leave. The
seas were anything but calm, but no storms interrupted our passage. We reached port safely and booked rooms at the same inn as before. We continued our training the next morning with the fighters training at the citadel. Cameo, Erlig and Falathar found it very expensive to learn new spells. It seems the Master of the Golum Works had left town traveling to Korvosa to sell the golums he had prepared. This left the remaining mages very busy and charging a ten percent premium for teaching. Falathar arranged to learn the profession of a scribe. He found that the cost of learning new second level spells along with two new skills far more than he had in gold. He approached Bron knowing him to practice
frugality as only a dwarf can. Falathar explained his fiscal shortfall and asked if Bron could loan him twenty-four hundred Gold. Bron was only to happy to help out his companion, “Means I won’t have ta carry so much meself.”
We had completed our training and visited the market place to see if any items might be useful. The Paladin Sampson was surprised from behind struck by a loaf of bread. “A challenge good sir – engage,” by a young lad who was wielding the loaf. Rain called out, “A
Gold Piece on the kid.” Falathar struck up a merry tune on the flute to accompany the mock fighting. Samson was quite enjoying himself pretending to be overwhelmed by the prowess of the lad. An older man came running up huffing who shouted out, “Young Master Flesson how dare you. What would your parents think of your accosting strangers in the street?” The man well dressed stopped, “What is the second rule of engagement?” The lad stood straight, “choose your opponents wisely.” The man challenged, “Does he look like a ‘wisely chosen’ opponent?” The young man glared back, “You are not my headmaster Soul Dragon.” With that the boy turned and flashed out of sight into the crowd.
The headmaster turned to Samson, “My apologies he was taught properly even if he chooses to ignore those teachings. I am Mertus Soledragon, may I ask your name?” Our Paladin with a short bow, “Sampson, Paladin of Iomedae.” “No, he called Justice,” said Agrent shaking his head. The headmaster expression turned serious, “If I might trouble
you, I have disturbances happening at my school. It is a couple of miles outside of town. If your companions are fighting folk they would be most welcome.” Agrent asked him to come to the Inn so we could talk about it, but the headmaster couldn’t stay. “I have to get back to the school. If you will come to the school tomorrow I will pay one-hundred Gold for each of you. I have plenty of empty rooms for you to stay in while you are there. So many students have already been withdrawn by their parents due to the disturbances.” Falathar was able to sense that the man seemed to be telling the truth and really had
need of us. Sampson, “My party needs to rest. I will see if they will come.” “Wonderful, come for lunch tomorrow,” the headmaster called out as he turned to go.
We continued exploring the market place with Parlay looking to buy a masterwork shield. Eventually, he was able to find a shield that would meet his needs. Falathar left his friends to report in at the Pathfinder Chapter House. There he was assured that his reports had been received and forwarded on to Absalom. In fact, a message from the Pathfinder Grand Lodge in Absalom was waiting for him. Falathar took the letter and saw that it was from
Shevala, Pathfinder Captain at the Grand Lodge in Absalom. It still bore the wax seal unbroken. In it Shevala noted that I had inquired about Venture Captain Eando Kline. “I have enclosed a copy of his notes for your eyes only. After you have read them you are to burn them. Do not let anyone else see the contents.” She commented on his reports and wished him success. He carefully folded up the letter and placed it back in the envelope with the unread notes. Falathar looked up at the Pathfinder watching him. “Venture Captain Shevala wanted me to know that my reports have been received.” Patting the envelope, “She has sent back notes on how I can improve my reports. Imagine, being
critiqued by Shevala herself.” The other Pathfinder turned away satisfied that nothing interesting had been entrusted to this initiate. Falathar could wait to get back to his room at the Inn and discover what Kline’s notes held.