Bron and Parlay were hailed by a captain of the guard, Acacia Uriana. “Are you in Paladin Sampson’s party?” Bron and Parlay smiled at each other, “Sampson’s Party – Yes!” “Please tell him that his father wants to see him.” They inquired as to who was Sampson’s father. “Why, Commander Ismeir Odenburg, the head of the guard!” Bron did relay this to Sampson upon his return to the inn. Bron then left to find a masterwork war hammer.
Paladin Sampson went to his father’s office at the guard’s headquarters. His reception was cold, “The temple informs me that you went in for a magic blade. You are a Paladin. You have no need for a magic blade!” Sampson tried to explain that he wanted to “improve my ability to hit.” His answer fell on deaf ears. His Father admonished, “You need to pray more. Iomedae’s Paladin that used that weapon gave it up to fight the demons. I find your spirit lacking!” An admonished, but unrepentant Sampson returned to the Inn.
The entire party decided to return to Sandpoint via a wagon caravan. Several of the party members worked for the caravan to pay their passage. Falathar chose to pay for his passage. Remembering the meager fare provided on his last caravan, Falathar asked the Innkeeper to prepare a basket for him. It consisted of 8 fine cold meals that would travel well. He also had 4 bottles of fine wine included. He considered the forty-four gold well spent. “If I have to travel, it should at least be in civilized comfort!”
The trip started out uneventfully, but on the second day that peace was interrupted. The caravan approached a point where the road dipped through a ravine. A manor house was barely visible towards the sea coast, which looked to be in a crumbling state of disrepair. It is set back two miles from the road. Falathar was riding in one of the wagons when he spotted the trees of the ravine filled with black birds. Something was strange about their appearance. He called out to Agrent as he strung his bow in readiness. The birds rose up as one and raced towards the caravan. All of the party outside had been alerted by Falathar’s call and braced to meet them.
The birds looked to be undead and dove to attack the party. Everyone that was outside took some small injuries from the birds. Rain managed to down several of the birds. Sampson sprayed holy water against the flock dropping a good number. Agrent was able to down the few remaining birds.
A farm house was visible just off to the right of the road. It seemed very still – no smoke, no animals and no movement visible. It was late in the day and we decided to camp at the cottage. Rain and Agrent scouted ahead. They found the crops recently harvested. They hailed the house, but received no answer. Inside the cottage was torn apart. We found the bodies of a horse and cow in the barn. The bodies had been chewed on. Sampson tried to detect evil, but found none. Rain climbed the roof as a lookout. Agrent found the farmer’s body outside. We came running to find Agrent being attacked by a ghoul. Erlig sent a Magic Missile into the skull. Rain was next putting an arrow into it, which dropped the ghoul.
Parlay built a huge bonfire in the courtyard to burn the bodies. Agrent found a second set of tracks leading off towards the ravine. Sampson, Rain, Parlay and Falathar followed Agrent. They provided cover while he searched. The others stayed behind to guard the caravan, which consisted of a Varisian man and his daughters.
Agrent followed the tracks down into a ravine. There was a stream at the bottom swollen by the pouring rain. Rain tried to move along the stream, but slipped and fell into the raging water. She floundered and slipped repeatedly under the surface as the stream raced along! Agrent dove in and finally caught her and brought her back to shore. The rain had obliterated any remaining tracks, to we returned to the cottage.
Back at the cottage Sampson tried to cure his wounds using his Paladin’s skill to lay on hands. It had no effect. He cleaned his wound using holy water, but saw no improvement. Bron tried to bind up the wounds, but still no improvement. Sampson was definitely worried about the wounds being cursed. Falathar cast Cure Light on himself with immediate success. He then did the same on Sampson. Meanwhile, Agrent moved off to perform a Shoanti ritual ((something to do with dancing bare-ass naked in front of a roaring fire after drinking some of Falathar’s wine, I thought)). We set the watch and slept the night undisturbed.
The next morning Falathar pointed out the Manor House, which he recalled belonged to the Foxglove family. The family had experienced bad luck over the years. Aldern’s father and mother had died at the manor. The children were taken to Magnimar to be raised and the manor house had been left abandoned. Falathar seemed to recall hearing something about Aldern recently having been trying to reopen the estate. He had been hiring people to spruce up the manor house and put the estate back into production. The manor served for eighty years as the seat of the Foxglove domains. The rumor is that the manor is haunted. Falathar also recalled that a party of rovers was attacked in the area about three weeks ago.
Falathar is all for investigating the manor house. Several of the party were dead set against doing so, but a few seemed receptive to the idea. That was until Falathar related the legend about a monster that dwells below the cliffs behind the manor. Then the entire party joined in opposing the idea. “We will come back later,” barked Bron.
The party continued the journey and arrived in Sandpoint the next day without any further incident. Bron accompanied by the party reported to Sheriff Belor. We relayed the outcome of Tsuto’s trial and the attack on the road. The Sheriff has his hands full and orders Bron to lead an investigation into murders committed over the last two nights in town. He directs Bron to go to the sawmill where two were murdered last night. He also informs Bron he fears a greater evil that goblins has descended on Sandpoint. He showed note found at the scene:
you will learn to love
me, desire me in time
as she did. Give
yourself to the pack
and it shall all end.
The note looks like it has been written in the victim’s blood. The sheriff sent us off with the instruction, “Keep Rain’s name out of this. The town is worked up and some might blame her!”
We moved off to the saw mill, which presented us with a ghastly scene. The bodies of a young man and woman were still fresh. The man has a seven-pointed star carved in his chest. It is the symbol that represents all of the ancient Schools of Magic. The girl was Katrine Vinder. It looks like she was forced into the log splitter, where her body remains. The man’s had been hung on hooks set in the wall and tortured. His lower jaw is missing. There are several small claw marks on the body, which reek with the scent of rotten flesh. There is a tattoo of a raven. We found an axe with bloody finger marks along the handle.
The sheriff informs us the previous night 3 men were killed in a barn. Each with a similar star caved into the bodies. Falathar asked if the sheriff had found Wyrick yet. The sheriff heard that he might have gone off to Riddleport. Falathar then asked if the sheriff had seen Lyree come back through town, but he hadn’t seen her.