North Houston Rise of the Runelords

The Late Unpleastness returns?

Ghoul Fever

Fireday, 3 Lamashan 4707 AR

The Heroes of Sandpoint returned home after successfully defeating Nualia and her minions. As their fame grew, a young Half-Orc Bard named Erdbeden approached the heroes at their favorite local watering hole, the Rusty Dragon. Erdbeden introduced himself to the group by his human name, Peregrid Fook. He asked to join the adventurers on their future quests so that he could chronicle their exploits. When questioned, the group inquired about Peregrid’s fighting skills. Peregrid, answered that he was very good with a long sword. Content Not Found: gaithan suggested that Peregrid and Remicus engage in a mock fight to test Peregrid’s alleged skills. The slightly inebriated Remicus offered the bard the first swing and was staggered as Peregrid rendered a massive, non-lethal blow with his long sword. Remicus shook off the cob webs from the blow, and warmly welcomed the young bard into the group.

After last call, the group headed outside as the other patrons filtered out. They heard a familiar, high-pitched scream from the Northwest. It sounded like the Sandpoint Devil. The very intoxicated heroes made their way in the direction of the scream, waking up the entire neighborhood as they passed. A constable on patrol halted the heroes and asked them to return to the quarters for the night so that the remainder of Sandpoint could get some sleep.

The next morning, as the heroes stocked up on supplies or slept, another constable approached them to inform them that Belor Hemlock was looking for them. The suddenly sullen group, concerned that exploits had been slightly over the top quietly filed into the Sherrif’s office. A grim Hemlock entered the room and informed the group that a murderer had taken up residence in Sandpoint and that by the gruesome remains that were left, this was no ordinary murderer. What made the case even more curious was that the murderer was apparently acquainted with one of the Sandpoint Heroes. Sheriff Hemlock handed over a note found on the body of one of the victims with Remicus’s name on it.

The heroes were speechless for a moment. Sheriff Hemlock tried to reassure Remicus that he was not under any suspicion, but he was concerned that if word got out, the town may turn on the heroes. Sheriff Hemlock deputized the heroes so that may investigate the murders in a more official role. Also, he added that this was not first murders to occur. A few days earlier, 3 local con men were found murdered in the same gruesome manner. A fourth person at the scene was left alive but was in a terrible mental state and currently was being held under the care of Erin Habe at the Saintly Haven of Respite just south of town. The con men were lured with a note

The heroes began their investigation at the Sandpoint Lumber Mill the scene of the latest murders. As they arrive, they reassured the crowd that had gathered to not fear, “The Heroes of Sandpoint will track this murder down.” A murmur of approval rippled through the crowd. Entering the lumber mill, the heroes found a gruesome scene. The mill was coated with sawdust strewn with footprints and splashes of blood. Sagittel Novathar checked the floor carefully and discovered that a struggle took place several hours ago and further, one of the tracks not only was barefoot, it smelled of rotten meat. Carved on the chest of Banny Harker is a 7 pointed star. It is the same rune found on the medallion Gaithan took from Nualia. Peregrid used his Blood Biography spell to question the deceased Harker. Harker confirmed that the murder took a place the previous evening. He was working late at the mill when an unknown attacker overpowered and killed him. The heroes then turned their attention to the body of Katrine Vinder, which was left in a mangled heap near the log splitter. A hand axe was embedded in the floor as if it were dropped. The bloody handprint on the handle matched Katrine’s hand. Also, the strong smell of rotten meat hung heavy over the axe. Peregrid and Geoff were overcome by a wave of nausea due to the smell, but Geoff acted quickly to cure himself and Peregrid. Peregrid used the same spell as before, and learned that Katrine discovered a ghoulish creature desecrating Harker’s body; she attempted to attack the creature but was pushed into the log splitter.

The search continued outside as Sagittel followed some tracks outside to the edge of the dock. The tracks led from a muddy spot on the mill side of the river, up onto the dock, up the side of the mill and into an upstairs window. The group then crossed the river and discovered an area across the mill that afforded a concealed location to watch the mill. Tracks led from the river to the concealed area and back. The party proceeded to investigate both sides of the shoreline to the north of the mill up to the cemetery but found no more tracks.

The heroes than turned their attention to questioning Grayst Sevilla at the The Saintly Haven of Respite, otherwise known as Habe’s Sanitarium. The owner of the Sanitarium, Erin Habe was a little uneasy when the party arrived. He grudgingly allowed the party in and the led the group to the room Grayst was kept. As the heroes entered the room, Grayst was mumbling incoherently, occasionally saying things like, “razors”, “too many teeth”, and the “Skinsaw man is coming”. When Remicus entered the room, Grayst’s eyes bulged and he said:

“He said, He said you would visit me. His Lordship. The one that unmade me said so. He has a place for you. A precious place. I’m so jealous. He has a message for you. He made me remember it. I hope I haven’t forgotten. The master wouldn’t approve if I forgot. Let me see…let…me…see… He said that the bodies you are finding are signs and portents; that when he is done, you shall be remembered forever and the Misgivings shall be your throne!”

One of the assistants recognized the term Misgivings as the local name of a run-down and abandoned estate further to the south – a place called Foxglove Manor. After his speech, Grayst collaped and began to moan. Suddenly he shrieked, broke free of the old straitjacket holding him and lunged for Remicus. Fortunately, the party was able to subdue the creature. The unconscious creature’s condition was checked, and it was discovered that he was suffering from Ghoul Fever due to a bite on his neck. When questioned, Habe admitted that he knew Grayst was suffereing from the malady but wanted to observe the disease more closely. Fr Zantus was summoned but he was not able to due anything to help Grayst. The heroes reluctantly ended Grayst suffering permanently. The heroes arrested Habe and his two assistants for allowing Grayst to suffer without care and imprisoned the group at the Sandpoint Jail.

At the jail, the heroes found a distraught Ven Vinder also incarcerated. Sheriff Hemlock told them that Ven had become quite upset when he learned of Katrine’s death and that for Vin’s safety, he had locked up the shop keeper to keep him from doing anything rash. Gaithon was able to comfort Ven and assured him that the Heroes of Sandpoint would find Katrine’s killer, and bring that being to justice.

As it was getting late, the party’s last stop was the home of Brodert Quirk. Mr.Quirk was an expert on all things Thassilonian. He identified the figure as the Sihedron Rune. He observed that the Rune was symbol of power and that the fact that the killer carved it into the flesh of his victim may mean that the killer was some sort of scholar. Of course, he reassured the party he of course was innocent. The investigation concluded for the night, the party resolved to visit Foxglove Manor the following day.

Starday, 5 Lamashan 4707 AR

The plans to investigate Foxglove Manor were interrupted when a farmer, Maester Grump stumbled into town. He found Sheriff Hemlock and the heroes preparing for their investigation. The clearly distraught Grump was mumbling a Varisian nursery rhyme about stalking scarecrows as the heroes entered the room. He told the heroes that the southern farmlands have come under siege by foul walking scarecrows that stalk the night. His fellow farmers had narrowed the source of the scourge to the Hambley farm. A group had decided to investigate, but when they did, they were attacked by foll that looked like corpses but fed like starving animals. “They even ate the dogs!”

At the sheriff’s request, the heroes agree to investigate Farmer Grump’s story. They headed south to the Hambley farm where they encountered a grisly site. As the group moved close to a scarecrow, it began to wail and struggle against its bonds. The group lifted the bag over the head of the struggling scarecrow and found that it was an undead ghoul. They made short work of the ghoul but they were now leery of other scarecrows that they could see in the fields. As they made their way toward the Hambley farmhouse, 3 ghouls burst out from the fields and attacked the heroes. The heroes easily dispatched the undead and continued to make their way to the farmhouse.

Carefully, the heroes entered the dilapidated farm house. They saw a body on the floor. It was the mutilated body of Crade Hambley. Carved onto Hambley’s chest was the now familiar Sihedron Rune. Also, pinned to his tunic was another note addressed to Remicus second note. Finally, a rusty key was found in Hambley’s pocket. The party searched the remainder of the room but did not find any other meaningful clues.

The heroes continued their search in the back bedroom. When they entered the room, they were attacked by 3 ghouls with a 4th ghoul in the back directing them. Geoff and Gaithan used channeled their positive energy against the ghouls as Saggitel, Remicus and Peregrid attacked with their weapons. The party only suffered minor injuries as they were able to defeat the ghouls. A search of the lead ghoul uncovered an iron key around the ghoul’s neck on a leather cord. The key bore a heraldic symbol of a curious flower surrounded by thorns. The symbol was identified as the Foxglove family crest and the group surmised that the ghoul was the late Rogors Craesby, the caretaker of the Foxglove estate. As the Saggitel searched the room, he found a loose floorboard under which a stout wooden coffer was hidden. Hambley’s key was used to open the coffer and reveal 34 pouches containing 100 silver pieces each.

The party searched the remainder of the rooms in the house and the barn. In the house’s kitchen, blood stains from a great struggle were found but no bodies. The barn yielded a grisly scene of bones and partially eaten carcasses, mostly cows or horses but also the remains of some of the human farmers. The party then explored the surrounding farmland to rid the area of the remaining scarecrow ghouls, in all they found 11 ghoulish scarecrows and two human survivors who had been bitten but not yet succumbed to ghoul fever. The heroes led the two survivors back to Sandpoint so that Gaithan could heal them.

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