Strange Aeons

Over the Hedge
...and over the hill

https://youtu.be/RXO8eFNSPRI

Fireday, 1st of Rova, an hour before Sundown

Having returned from Caliphas, the group headed first to see Winter. Along the way to the New Chapel, most of the group noticed they were being stalked by a group of cultists. The cultists immediately attacked with their rapiers. During the ensuring fight, several of the cultists demonstrated an ability to channel negative energy to harm, dealing out damage to all in range. The cultists also worked to minimise the effects of Lekovi and Scorcher's spells, attempting to interrupt them several times.  Regardless, the combination of Taber's hard-hitting fists, Cailyn's claws, and River's axe defeated all of the cultists, after which River finished off the few survivors.

Continuing with their original plan, the amnesiacs moved on to the New Chapel. Along the way, they noted that, unlike the last time they had been in Thrushmoor, the people were staying indoors at night, with their doors and shutters securely sealed. Nobody was on the streets now that the sun was down.

Talking to Winter confirmed that life in the town had taken a turn for the worse in the last few days. Now that it was public knowledge that the fort was empty, and that there were no magistrates or watch in town, justice and society had started to deteriorate. People were afraid, and many had approached Winter, telling her about more missing family members. She provided them with a list of at least 20 missing people.

Ready to retire for the night, Cailyn suggested they visibly stay at the fort, to help give the town a sense of normality and structure again. As the group moved through the streets, they were confronted by a very strange sight – what appeared to be the spectral form of an old woman stepped around a corner ahead of them, and approached the group, mumbling something unintelligible. As the group watched, they realised whatever this apparition was, this was no ordinary woman – she appeared to have tendrils and uncanny growths growing from her body. Lekovi recognised the intangibility as a spell effect he could not recall, rather than a natural ability. He also believed this woman to be a human, corrupted by exposure to eldritch things.

Scorcher waited to see what would happen, while Cailyn and River tried to speak to the woman. She ambled closer, and her mumbling became more audible, but not much more intelligible. She was saying something about someone always being a good boy, then approaching close to River, passed one of her tendrils through River's form. River immediately felt some of his force of personality drain away, and felt flat.

The group now sprang into action, but found that, not only was this person incorporeal, something was resisting all of the magical damage they were dealing to it, while it drained the peronsality of anyone it touched. Taber was able to move around behind the creature, and some of his electrical damage was able to affect the apparition, despite the rest of his blows not affecting her at all, and he was able to dodge her touches. Scorcher managed to land a solid hit with a magic missile, but missed with a Scorching Ray. Lekovi began firing magic missiles from a wand at the creature. River and Cailyn both could not seem to harm the creature, until Cailyn, feeling the aura of unnaturalness, realied that perhaps the abberant nature of the creature required something aligned with the forces of Law to harm it. River applied a magical oil to his battleaxe, and on his next blow, the spectral figure discorporated.

Although glad the creature was gone, the group did not feel that this was the last they had seen of the woman. In the aftermath, Taber sketched a likeness of the woman, in the hopes someone might recognise her.

The group continued to the fort, and healed their wounds as they could. They found the fort had largely been ransacked, with all of the furniture destroyed or stolen, and interior doors smashed down. The group bedded down for the night in the donjon. In an effort to make it clear the fort was occupied once more, and in hopes of sending a message of stability to the town, fires were lit on the roof.

Starday, 2nd of Rova, 2 hours before Sunrise

Taber, not requiring much sleep any more thanks to his disciplined control of hid body, stood watch for most of the night atop the roof, while his companions rested in the donjon above. Scant hours before sunrise, he heard a noise out in the darkness. Moving his Dancing Lights to illuminate the area, Taber saw a horrifying sight – what appeared to be a human female head, attached to a set of human internal organs, floating around the fortress. Upon seeing the lights, the thing spoke magical words, and disappeared. Once Taber had woken some of the others, and did his best to draw and give impressions of what he had seen, Lekovi was able to identify the creature as a penanggalen, a horrific type of vampire that spends it's days appearing to be a mortal human, but at night, it's head and entrails separate from the rest of the body. Lekovi was also able to determine from Taber's impressions that the creature had actually cast an invisibility spell, rather than use any sort of innate magic. This also triggered a memory in Lekovi about how the penanggalen inherits most of the capabilities of it's original host, and adds the supernatural abilities to them. Cailyn was also able to determine from Flack that the creature smelled strongly of vinegar.

Not seeing any further indication of the creature returning, everyone but Taber went back to sleep.

Starday, 2nd of Rova, Late Morning

The next morning, the group went to the Sleepless Building first. They found the building busy, with a large number of townsfolk waiting in and around the parlour. Some of the people sported injuries, others simply looked distraught. Either way, there was a definite air of fear and despondence about them, and others the group had seen.

After a short wait, Cessadia ushered the group into her office. Apologising profusely for making them wait, she explained that over the last few days, more and more people had begun approaching her offices for law-keeping services. She had assigned her agents to the most urgent and violent cases, but her resources were overstretched. She also mentioned she had a list of thirty people reporting missing family members – mothers, fathers, sisters, husbands, sons, daughters, wives, brothers. Comparing lists with the one provided by Winter the previous day, the group were able to cross off some duplicates, but there were still at least forty people missing, and those were only the ones reported.

The group promised to do something about the situation, with River championing the idea of going to Iris Hill and storming the place. Taber showed Cessadia his sketch of the strange apparition they had faced the night before, and she surprisingly identified her as looking like Nemira Lowls, although Cessadia also reminded the group that she had reportedly died of the same affliction that had killed Count Haserton Lowls III, the father of the current  Count.

Next, the amnesiacs headed to the High Market, to purhcase some supplies. River and Cailyn went looking for more Oils of Align Weapon, and for other similar options. Lekovi, worried about Vampires, went looking for an armoured neck collar.

Taber approached townspeople around the markets, and showed them the face from his sketch of the penanggalen. He was able to find several individuals who recognised the person. They told Taber that the woman was an out-of-towner, and that they had seen her walking around the northwestern areas of town.

The amnesiacs were also approached by a number of townspeople, begging them to help find their missing family members. The group promsied to do what they could.

River finally convinced the rest of the group that the heart of the matter was at Iris Hill, and that they should storm into the place. Initially approaching the property from the rear, the group watched for a short while from the abandoned stables behind the Hill. Seeing no sign of movement, they moved down, and decided to make their way through the hedge near the gatehouse.

As Cailyn attempted to look for traps on the main gate, she heard voices talking inside the gatehouse. 'Did you hear something?' was answered in an unknown language. The observation hole in the gate slid open, and a man asked Cailyn her business here. Cailyn responded with a story of the Count being declared an enemy of the state, and that he had been executed. Cailyn was here to clean out the manor. The man snorted in contempt and told Cailyn to leave, or action would be taken, slamming the port shut.

Cailyn promptly climbed noisily up onto the gatehouse, trying to gain the attention of those inside. Scorcher, Flack and River clambered their way through the hedge, while Lekovi attempted to climb over it. Lekovi found hedge does not provide much in the way of handholds. Taber waited to see what would happen.

From her vantage point on top of the gatehouse, bow in hands, Cailyn saw several shaped topiary hedges separate themselves from the main hedge, and she identified them as Living Topiaries. As she fired a shot at them, the trio stepped into the closest hedge, and stepped out of the hedge beside the rest of the group.

As River and Scorcher began fending off these creatures, Scorcher with his claws extended, the front gates opened, and three humanoids, dressed in primitive clothing, and wielding wicked battle axes, charged out at Taber and Lekovi. Although they mostly looked human, these raging warriors had eyes that glowed the colour of wet blood, and their teeth appeared to have been filed to sharp points.

Taber flew into action, and began beating them to pulps. Behind the ragers, Lekovi spied another of the cultists, and immedatiely applied his paranoia spell to him. From that point, the frightened cultist began pumping out bursts of negative energy, heedless of those around him that had been allies.

One of the barbaric thugs concentrated on Lekovi, landing several mighty blows. The creatures were also trying to attack with their teeth, and Lekovi's foe managed to draw blood. Lekovi saw that, as the creature licked the blood from his mouth, he looked a little stronger. Taber, meanwhile, having crushed the pair facing him, rescued Lekovi from the one pressing him, with assistance from Cailyn, who had dropped off the roof.

On the other side of the hedge, River's armour was proof against any harm the Topiaries were able to hand out, and River slowly hacked one of the creatures down with his axe, despite it trying to heal itself by consuming the hedge. Unable to harm River, the other Topiaries concentrated their attacks on Scorcher and Flack. Flack was eventually badly wounded, and had to withdraw. Scorcher continued to lay around him with his claws, until Cailyn called out to try fire against the plant creatures. Scorcher's eyes cleared briefly of the red haze, and he stepped back, summoning magical fire. The fire flew forth, engulfing River and the beasts, felling one and severly injuring the other enough that River was then able to finish it off.

Not immediately pressed by other foes, the amnesiacs looted the bodies, and then dragged them into the hedge to conceal them, and spent some time in the gatehouse healing their injuries, leaving them fresh for whatever Iris Hill had to offer next.

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Underground

https://youtu.be/CwVqOs3Aess

Morning, Toilday, 29th Arodus
Having spent time resting and visiting the markets over the last day, the group prepared to explore the cellars of Fort Hailcourse. First, they spent some time searching all of the areas of the fort, thinking they may have missed something in their haste of the previous day. Sure enough, they discovered a cache of scrolls in the first room they had entered, secreted amongs various books. In the room they had found the Skum sorcerer in, they also discovered a key, attached to the underside of a desk drawer by a blob of wax. Cailyn was able to identify this key as a master key to the fort, and stashed it into her lockpick kit.

The amnesiacs next spent time talking to the captured Skum leaders, Itsqaal-thoal and Deggorhbaatha. Itsqaal-thoal, the clawfighter, refused to acknowledge the presence of his captors, and refused to partake of any food offered. Deggorhbaatha, the sorcerer, responded, and told the group his and the other Skum's name. He also told how his people had assisted capture the fort, but now that they were clearly defeated, he wished to take the remainder of his people and flee, never to return. He confirmed that they had helped kill the Royal Inquisitor about 2 weeks ago.

After some consideration and negotiation, the amnesiacs agreed to allow Deggorhbaatha to enter the cellars to convince his followers to surrender their weapons, after which he would provide information on the contents of the cellar, and then his people would leave town. The goup escorted the Skum sorcerer to the entrance to the cellar, and watched him enter from the top of the stairs. The Skum descended, then turned to the left, and went out of sight into another chamber.

A short time later, the watching amnesiacs saw the door directly across from the stairs down open of its own volition. Lekovi cast Detect Magic, and began concentrating. He caught a sense of magic, but by the time he had focussed his senses, it was no longer detectable. The group waited a little longer, and then moved down the stairs.

The group spread out, with Taber following the route the Skum leader had taken, and River moving across to the door they had seen open, while the rest waited in the first chamber. River looked over the room behind the mysteriously-opened door, and found it full of mundane food supplies of various kinds (dried fish, Smoked fish, hard cheese, dried fruit, corn, oil, wine, vinegar, and other bottled or canned foodstuffs), with another passage leading out.

Taber, meanwhile, found the chamber to the left to contain 3 cells. One of the cells was unoccupied, one contained a pair of mutilated bodies, and the third contained a young man, curled up in the corner. While Taber communicated reassurance to this young man, Scorcher and Cailyn moved into the main room, and tested the bodies to ensure they were not undead, and then searched those cells thoroughly after Cailyn unlocked them.

The young man in the last cell appeared to have been mildly mistreated, and was very afraid. He identified himself as Sholn, who Holissa had asked the amnesiacs to locate. After Cailyn and Scorcher satisifed themselves he was who he said, Cailyn unlocked his cell as well, and let him out. The group asked Holissa what had happened, and he related how he had been knocked unconscious, and had awoken here somet time ago, in the cells. He also related how the people in the cell next to his had tried talking to him at first, but their Skum captors had eventually discouraged any noise. Holissa also said he had not heard anything from his fellow prisoners for some time. Decidinging the young man was no threat, they gave him some food, then escorted him to the front gates of the Fort, with instructions to return to his sister. Some of the group stayed in the cellar, watching for the Skum.

Returning to the cellars, and still with little idea of where the Skum had gone, the group tried the next door leading out of the jail. It was locked, but Cailyn was able to open it (with the aid of the master key), revealing a dusty old storage room. The room seemed to contain a mix of old and broken furniture, archived records, and old uniforms. Examining the records, the group was able to determine they were all at least a century old, despite the mildew setting in.

In one corner of the room, the group spotted a section of wall where the plaster was crumbling away, revealing what looked like the outline of an opening. As the group moved towards it, a ghostly figure stepped out of the wall, moaning, and began attacking the group with a corrupting touch. The translucent figure lithely moved around the room, stepping into and out of the walls to avoid being struck, and threatening the casters in the group. Despite several damaging hits on River and Scorcher, the group were eventually able to discorporate the figure.

After recovering from their ordeal, the group looked closer at the marked section of wall. It appeared that another corridor had been sealed off here at some point in the past. Working together, the group were able to pull the unmortared stone down, revealing another cell. Lying on the floor of the cell was a dessicated corpse wearing little but a loincloth. River and Lekovi examined the body, and were able to determine he had starved to death , but that there appeared to be something in the digestive tract. Cutting the corpse open, they discovered a scarlet and blue ioun stone. Some in the group recalled reading some case notes about a man named Clymes Prett, and decided this may have been him.

Leaving this dead end behind, and finding no other sign of the Skum, the group returned to the pantry with the self-opening door, and moved into the next chamber from it, after searching it thoroughly. The next area proved to be some sort of water storage area, with a number of empty barrels and other water containers. Another passage lead to a door in the north. At this door, Cailyn discovered a trap, connected to the door, and disabled it. Cailyn was able to recover an alchemist's ice vial from the trap.

Behind the door was revealed an opening that led into the well shaft. Above could be seen the well opening, and down below could be seen flowing water. Finding signs of webbed footprints leading from the door to the well, the group surmised that perhaps the Skum had somehow entered and exited the Fort from here. 

With no other sign of the Skum, and no further way forward, the group recovered the body they had found in the hidden cell, and determined to head to Winter to have the body reconsecrated.

With no warning, as the group walked through Thrushmoor's streets, a lithe woman wearing a chain hauberk appeared beside Scorcher, killing him in two blows before anyone could react, and then moving away. Cailyn began firing arrows at the woman, as Taber and River moved to intercept her. Lekovi, thinking quickly as ever, Suggested that the woman go try out the fruit at a vendor's cart, at the other end of the street. Falling prey to his magic, the woman danced around the group towards the cart, but being unable to escape or defend herself, she was soon cut down in vengeance for what she had done.

Reeling from this attack, and with no means to resurrect Scorcher available in Thrushmoor, the group quickly took passage to the capital city of Caliphas aboard a trading vessel bound there. They arrived long after sundown on the following day.

Oathday, 31st Arodus
The group located a temple of Sarenrae with a priest willing and able to raise Scorcher. Finding an opportunity and need to raise liquid funds, the group visited the city markets, and sold off a number of valuable items for cash, purchasing some more needed supplies at the same time. One of these supplies was a scroll that allowed River to remove Cailyn's leprosy infection. After paying the Sarenites for their help with Scorcher, the group then found passage back to Thrushmoor.

Fireday 1st Rova
The amnesiac's vessel arrived back in Thrushmoor the following day, about an hour before sunset.

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Against the Skum

https://youtu.be/yM0kBvKyV40

Early Morning, Moonday, 28th Arodus

The amnesiacs, feeling recovered enough to continue on, ventured out of their temporary shelter, heading for the stairs up to the third floor of the donjon. As they did, undead soldiers on two of the fort's towers started firing ballista bolts their way. Despite feeling some pressure, the group cautiously approached the entrace to the top floor, and opened it. Not entering immediately, the expected attacks materialised from inside the room. Two more scum could be seen, both attacking with natural weapons.

Lekovi was able to catch sight of one of the creatures, and discerned there was somethin wrong with it – he saw it's outline waver. Making a leap to some obscure stories he had heard, he realised this creature was actually some sort of ooze, that had shaped itself into the image of a Skum.

Scorcher, feeling the pressure from the undead-operated ballista, moved out of their sight, trying to get a view of the creatures in the donjon, but found they had backed away from the door. Taber, having been badly hurt, leapt down from the landing, appealing for aid, and was healed by River. Cailyn moved into the room, trading blows with one of the Skum, both of them testing their skills at fighting with claws against the other. The group felt the odds shift when the clawfighter backed off, and drew a wand to heal his companion, and both of them were soon after downed.

After a short rest to reassess their position (and search the room for loot), the group decided they should move down into the fortress, and approach the towers from beneath. Rather than taking the known route downstairs, the group moved over to the unknown second floor room. Inside, the discovered another Skum, this one a spellcaster.

After an initial hit from the Skum, the amnesiacs were able to spoil all of the rest of his attacks, and shortly brought him to ground, despite him becoming invisible multiple times. Securing the Skum, the group went further down into the fortress.

On the bottom floor, the group found the Kitchens, then moved into the front entrance of the keep, and then moved back to the east, finding the Magistrate's office, and finally encountering several more Skum in the dining room to the east of that. A short struggle ensued, but the Skum were unable to inflict any real damage, and a further group of Skum were found to have killed themselves in the courtoom to the east again.

Avoiding the courtyard and moving back to the west, the group found a barracks, and then hooked north into another barracks, which appeared to lead up into one of the towers with crewed ballistas. Finding a few more undead soldiers, the group fought through them, and then through two more brought downstairs by the commotion.

Completing the circuit back to the original records room and dining room, the group discovered a set of stairs leading downstairs. Deciding they were low on resources, they secured the doors into this room, and then retired to catch the night's sleep they had missed out on.

Upon arising, Cailyn discovered the leprosy she had been infected with back at Briarstone had finally taken hold, and found severe damage to her face, marring her features. 

The group decided to acquire some more supplies and tools, and then spent some time interrogating the two senior Skum they had taken prisoner, before exloring the lower levels of the fortress.

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Attack on Fort Hailcourse

Dawn, Moonday, 28th Arodus
Satisfied that they were ready to make their way inside the fort, the amnesiacs gathered in the light woods to the east of the three story donjon, and prepared to move in. Taber and Cailyn went first, accompanied by Pat carrying a grappling hook in his mouth. Pat quickly ascended in a corner between windows, and attached the hook to the battlements just to the east of the donjon. Cailyn and Taber both quickly climbed up the rope. Cailyn turned to signal the others to come on, not noticing the animate puddle of water oozing across the fort’s roof towards them. Taber saw the unusual sight, and silently alerted everyone to the danger.

Looking at the thing, Cailyn identified it as a mildly intelligent variant of a Gray Ooze, known as an Id Ooze. Recalling they are telepathic, Cailyn warned the others. Taber waited for the creature to approach them before engaging. Before it did, the creature shot out a cloud of light towards the pair, but they both fought off whatever effect this was.

While this was happening, River, Lekovi and Scorcher rushed towards the rope, and climbed it in turn. Easily getting to the top of the wall, they also joined in the attacks on the giant amoeba, and it was soon destroyed.

Sensing danger was still near, the group moved over to the second floor entrance to the Donjon. Cailyn checked it for signs of a trap, and then popped the door open, revealing some sort of reading room, with a table, chairs, books, and a large standing mirror. River rushed in, expecting a threat, and was not disappointed when a humanoid creature that looked to be a mirror image of him, save for the short swords the figure wielded, stepped directly out of a mirror in the room and attacked him. As Taber moved to help, several fishmen that Cailyn was able to identify as Skum rushed up a set of stairs from below, and began attacking the group.

Lekovi, eager to try out a new trick, hit one of the creatures with a bout of paranoia, and moved into the room. He was able to identify the creature attacking River in his own form as an extraplanar creature called a Soulsliver, and warned everyone that they could travel via mirrors. Cailyn and Pat followed, attacking both the Skum and the mirrored duplicate of River. Scorcher flung magic from outside the room, and was surprised when a pair of JuJu zombie soldiers attacked him, one firing a bow, and the other charging into contact with a longsword, and knocking him unconscious.

The Skum were quickly dispatched, with the exception of the paranoid one fleeing downstairs, along with a second Id Ooze crawling behind them. The Soulsliver proved difficult to harm, with good defense, and a mirror image effect, while also slowly healing itself from any damage caused. The creature also wielded its pair of short swords to deadly effect, forcing River to use some healing resources to keep the group fighting. Cailyn and Pat turned to the undead soldiers standing around Scorcher’s body. Even once Scorcher was healed, he was unable to contribute to the ongoing fight without endangering himself, and so lay unthreatingly still. With the aid of magic enhancing her claws, Cailyn was eventually able to tear apart the undead soldiers. Sensing danger, the soulsliver tumbled through the mirror and away.

Deciding to use this room as a strongpoint, the group moved a table to cover the staircase while Cailyn locked both doors, and River applied healing from a wand to everyone. A short time afterwards, the doors at both ends of the room were tried, and then rattled and shaken, and finally slammed by something with powerful blows on the other side. The group prepared for an assault, most covering the doors, and Pat covering the staircase. Sure enough, one of the undead soldiers, carrying short swords, nimbly tumbled up the stairs, and into the middle of the group, as one of the doors flew open, revealing two more. Another pair of soldiers were on the stairs, attacking Pat. During the ensuing struggle, one of these soldiers was able to land a killing blow on Pat, and Cailyn moved to block the hole.

Realising the creature in their midst must have actually been the Soulsliver, the group turned on it from all sides, and knocked it unconscious in the space of a few seconds. Meanwhile, the undead on all sides pressed the group hard, but with the use of several temporarily enchanted weapons, and Lekovi making one of them paranoid, the threat was slowly beaten back, and finally overcome, despite both River and Lekovi being knocked unconscious by the tenacious undead warriors. The Soulsliver also proved itself not dead, when it attempted to tumble away from the group, and down the stairs, but its head was sliced off, finishing it once and for all.

After quickly applying healing, and a short conference, the group decided they would continue exploring. Moving down the stairs, they found a similar room to the one they had left, only containing a pair of locked cabinets. Cailyn was quickly able to open them, and determine they contained some sort of collection of official documents for the town. Too many to take in or sort through now, the group decided to move back outside, and climb to the top floor of the donjon, rather than heading into the main part of the fort building.

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Grim Happenings

https://youtu.be/6UH8MQIFaNU

Starday, 26th Arodus
After securing assistance from Cessadia Wrentz in smuggling the captured cultists out of town, the group spent some time looking around town, examining places they had not previously explored, and looking for more leads and clues into the goings-on around town.

While walking from the Sleepless Agency building towards the Depository, the group noticed something at the Fish Market. At the apex of the two-story open-air atrium was a magical light they had all seen before, but drifting around the light was a smaller ball of light. This smaller ball then went into the lantern. Cailyn immediately recognised this smaller mobile light as a Will-o-the-wisp.

Finding this unusual, the group started talking to some of the vendors at the Fish Market, looking for the person in charge. The group were told the Fish Market is basically communal property of the  whole town. Lysie Brilt was mentioned as being the main organiser of the overall fishing industry in Thrushmoor, and that she could be found at the Smokehouse.

The group also asked about the light, and nobody seemed to be aware of anything other than it being a magical light that had been in the town for a long time, and it was known locally as Glowing Jill. They also asked about the Gibbet, and were told it was still occasionally used by Magistrate Tillus Padgett to punish criminals. Cailyn also asked around, looking for any adventuring work, but nobody here seemed to have anything for them.

The amnesiacs next went to the Depository, and again looked around, and asked for anyone requiring work, to no real avail. However, they did spot an attractive young woman, who appeared to be asking people for help with her wagon. The group approached and volunteered, and she led them out of town to where her wagon was, introducing herself as Grimzelda.

15 minutes walk out of town, Grimzelda turned off the main road, onto a small track. Several of the group immediately became suspicious, expecting some sort of ambush. A short distance along the track, they saw a wagon, just off the track, with one axle off, beside a small, boarded-up hut. The group approached the wagon, and asked where the horses were. Grimzelda said her wagon was magical, and so Lekovi started to cast Detect Magic, in an attempt to verify her story. While the amnesiacs were focussed on this, Grimzelda moved up, and touched Taber's shoulder, unleashing a wave of weakening magic. The rest of the group turned to see Grimzelda revealing her true form – that of a Green Hag!

Despite Grimzelda weakening Taber, River and Cailyn, the group were able to quickly defeat her, Taber smashing her skull open with one final blow. A search of Grimzelda and the wagon revealed some valuables, but nothing else of note. The wagon turned out to not be magical at all. Searching the hut, the amnesiacs found a pair of old, withered corpses, but nothing else of interest.

As River opened the door to leave the hut, a blast of foul stench hit him in the face, but he was not adversely affected. Outside the hut, a group of Goblin snakes had surrounded the hut. A short struggle ensued, with one of the amusing highlights being Lekovi Suggesting one of the Goblin Snakes run laps around the hut, after which Scorcher Created a Pit. As the suggestible Goblin Snake completed its first lap, it managed to fall into the pit.

After applying some healing, the amnesiacs repaired the wagon's axle, and then began pushing and pulling it back towards the town. As the road rose on the edge of a swampy area, four wet corpses rose out of the muck and charged towards the group, swinging great axes. In the ensuing struggle, Scorcher discovered the creatures were largely resistant to fire, probably due to their dampness. Although the creatures hit hard, they found it hard to land blows, and were shortly destroyed. One of the axes was also found to be magical. The group again applied healing, and moved towards town again.

The group reached the outskirts of town just as the sun was going down. They saw a lone figure walking along the road towards them. It looked up, straight at Cailyn, and let out an unearthly wail, freezing half of the group in fear. It then rushed forwards, revealing itself as some sort of ambulatory corpse, its face slashed to ribbons by claws. As Cailyn got a better view of the creature, he had flashes of memory where she beat the man senseless, and then slashed him across the face with her claws.

Scorcher, being one of the few unaffected by the fearful wail, created a pit between the creature and Cailyn, along the side of the wagon. River slashed at it with his axe as it attempted to leap over the pit, but landed in it instead, howling it's rage at having been murdered, over food. Showing incredible strength, the creature managed to use its claws to almost clamber out of the pit, but fell back in again. River found the creature was unharmed by the javelin he threw at it, and so backed off, looking for rocks to drop on it. Scorcher clambered up on the wagon, and began pelting the creature with positive energy at every opportunity.

Recovering from her terror, Cailyn moved as far away from the group as possible, trying to give them more time to deal with it. She also tried to draw more on the vague impressions she was getting of having attacked the man, to little avail.

As the effects of the scream fell away, the effect of the pit wore off, and the creature was able to move again. It wailed again, freezing Lekovi and Scorcher. It slashed at River and Taber as it moved towards Cailyn, inflicting severe injuries. Taber punched at it, finding it largely resistant to his blows. As the creature finally arrived at Cailyn, it slashed her with its claws, opening up bloody gashes. Feeling that the creature was getting close to finishing off Cailyn, the group gave their all, and finally felled it. Once the creature stopped moving, Cailyn chopped up the body, ensuring it wouldn't come back again.

Finally giving up on dragging the wagon, the group quickly went back to their quarters, and rested.

Sunday, 27th Arodus
Having at least partly recovered from the weakness inflicted by Grimzelda the previous day, the group resumed exploring the town. They first visited the Booklayer, breaking into the building, but finding nothing of interest, other than a few moldering books. While on that side of town, the group also visited the Gibbet, and then went to the Smokehouse, and spoke to Lysie briefly about Glowing Jill. 

The group next investigated the Old Manor, approaching it from outside the town. They found the two storey building had been converted to a large stables, although there were no horses or people in sight. Finding nothing else of interest, the group climbed to the top floor, and spent time watching Iris Hill.

The amnesiacs were able to see the rough layout of the grounds, surrounded by a 10-foot high hedge. They also were able to see a man dressed similarly to the cultists they had captured the previous day walking around the gatehouse on occasion. Over the course of several hours, they did not see any sign of many other people, apart from a shift change at the gatehouse. As the sun went down, the group moved to the Silver Wagon for dinner.

While comparing notes about the recent disappearances in town, the group also started talking to the crowd in the pub. Several people talked about how the town had changed recently, with the Town Watch walking off the job, and the magistrate, priest, and Count Lowls going missing. The waitress, Holissa, overheard, and told the group that her brother, Sholn, had gone missing just that day, from the High Market. She mentioned that she had tried to report the crime at the Fort, with no success.

The group decided they should investigate the Fort prior to Iris Hill, and so decided to survey the fort. Cailyn skulked through the trees around the Fort in the darkness, and noted all of the various arrow loops and buildings.

View
Have you seen the Yellow Sign

https://youtu.be/MEHVDNGnIZk

Oathday, 24th Arodus

Looking for a direction to take next, the group began by speaking with Cesadia Wrentz. Cesadia suggested that perhaps the group deal with Elgrior, to help reduce the atmosphere of tension prevalent in the town. The group found Elgrior, and were surprised when he decried them aloud as agents of the Briarstone Witch. After spending some effort talking him down, the group convinced him to accompany them to Winter, at the New Chapel. Winter agreed to look after Elgrior as best she could for them. In talking to Winter, she mentioned again that she had not seen the Royal Accuser since leaving for the Asylum, and was worried. She mentioned that he was supposed to meet her at the Sleepless Agency upon her return, but Cesadia had said that she had also not seen the Royal Accuser since the day Winter left, but that he had talked about visiting the magistrate at Fort Hailcourse.

After talking to Winter, the group also spent a little more time examining the mural that was on the side of the Sleepless Agency. Taber procured some red paint and a brush, and experimented, painting over most of the mural, to see if anything would happen, but nothing did.

Following their next lead, the group went to Fort Hailcourse. They found the Fort closed up, and there was no sign of anyone about. After knocking on the front door, and waiting a short time, Taber decided to climb up the front wall. As he reached the battlements, a spyhole opened up in the gate, and the rest of the group was addressed by Constable Barawyn Cesyll.

The Constable asked what the group wanted, and told them the Fort was closed, by orders of Magistrate Tillus Padgett. The Constable also confirmed that the Magistrate had left town, leaving her in charge.

Sensing the Constable was about to end the conversation, Taber decided to try and find a way inside, and spotted a door into the towers nearby. Moving over, he opened the door, but was surprised to see, inside the tower room, what appeared to be an armoured warrior, just standing there. As soon as the figure saw Taber, it shouted loudly “Intruders”, and charged into the dorrway, slicing at Taber with a sword. The Constable closed the spy hole, and Taber punched out at the warrior, only then noticing the person appeared to be a moving corpse! Taber backed away towards the battlements.

Down below, the group began to take up positions to provide support to Taber. Cailyn sent her pet rat swiftly climbing the outside of the tower, and then attempted to follow, but found the wall difficult to gain purchase on. Lekovi, Scorcher and River started trying to assist Taber with his assailants, to little effect, thanks to the cover from the battlements.

Seeing another armoured assailant rushing out from the second tower, Taber decide to retreat, and climbed back down the front wall, leaving them on the edges. The armoured corpses drew bows, and began shooting down at the group. Demonstrating more strategy than expected, they also called for reinforcements, and started targeting the obvious spellcasters. Other figures appeared behind arrow loops beside the gate, and joined in the fusilade.

Trying to escape the ranged assault, half of the group moved over beside the left tower where Cailyn was trying to climb up. Having no luck with the wall, and seeing the archers attacking the lightly armoured casters, Cailyn started firing back to get their attention. Breaking the group's illusion of shelter, a fifth bowman started shooting from the next tower around. Quickly running out of resources, the group decided to back off from this unexpected resistance, and fled back into the town. They were not pursued, and returned to their lodgings to recover.

 

Fireday, 25th Arodus

The next morning, River found he had thrown off whatever magical affliction he had picked up, and had rested successfully. Feeling a little unsure of where to go next, Cailyn led them to places they had already spotted earlier.

They approached the Old Chapel, having heard rumours of its abandonment several decades ago, and suspecting some sort of haunting. They found no signs of anything untoward in the decrepit, old building. Moving back towards town, they also went to explore the Wailing House. After questioning some children playing near the house, the group located what looked like a cellar entrance at the back of the house, and made their way down. They found the cellar to be dark, but could see what appeared to be a small skeleton over in one corner of the underground chamber. As the group approached it, they were surprised to see a ghostly figure slide out of the wall and attacked.

River immediately identified this apparition as a Spectre, but not wanting to alarm anyone, loudly identified it as a ghost. Over the course of the next few moments, the group found that they were having a hard time hurting the insubstantial phantom in the cramped confines of the basement, as it effortlessly touched them and drained part of their life away. Sensing the danger they were in, River ordered everyone out, as he bravely drew the creatures attention. In short order, everyone had left the cellar, and the spectral figure did not them.

Although everyone made it out alive, every one of the amnesiacs had been touched by the spectre once during the short struggle. Not wanting to risk having to repair permanent life force drain, the group assessed their options to repair the damage. After talking to Sentilar Ruoy, and realising the Alchemist could not help them, they pooled their resources, and purchased several restoration scrolls from merchants in the High Market. Not wanting to risk wasting these, they approached Winter, asking her to cast them on the group, which she did. The group returned home and rested again.

 

Starday, 26th Arodus

The following day, the group once again began to explore the town, looking for some clue or explanation for the disappearances. Examining the mural on the side of the Sleepless Agency again, the group found that the mural had been renewed, apparently over the top of the paint. Intrigued, the group looked more closely at the murals, and tried to determine any sort of pattern to their appearance. Plotting them on a map, they found that the murals were spread fairly evenly across the town, but…they were also all in spots which would allow fairly complete coverage to all of the important areas of town.

Looking for other inspiration, Cailyn led the group to the first Star Stelae, on the south western edge of town. The group found the large, dark stone monument to be marked with unidentifiable runes, very different in style to the carven stones they had examined earlier on Briarstone Isle. Going to the second monument, the group noticed that the flat faces of both faced inwards towards town, and tried to work out what they might be indicating, or what other significance they might have. They were able to work out that the Stelae were not directly facing each other, and briefly postulated a there might be two others, before settling on them being a trio, and that a third might be at Iris Hill.

As the group were discussing the implications of this, dark portals suddenly opened up on the walls of buildings around the group, and four men wielding saps rushed out and began assailing the group. As the portals closed behind them, new murals had been etched into the surfaces they had been on. Despite the unexpectedness of the fight, the amnesiacs quickly overcame their attackers, capturing several of them, and taking them back to the Sleepless Agency for interrogation.

Each of the captured men had been carrying light but expensive equipment – rapier and sap, chain shirt, several potions and oils. They were also dressed in fine clothing. Every one of them was also wearing a medallion with a strange symbol on it, which Lekovi and River were able to identify as The Yellow Sign, symbol of the King in Yellow, Hastur.

The interrogations of the assailants (sprinkled with them often asking the group if they had seen the yellow sign) revealed that they had been sent to capture the group, and return them to their leader, Melisenn Kororo, at Iris Hill. The group recognised the name of Melisenn as also being named in notes found at Dardelia's grotto. Deals were made with a pair of the attackers to allow them to leave the town in return for this information, to which they agreed.

View
Strangers in a Strange Town

https://youtu.be/M122HxEqTqk

We started with our group of amnesiacs completing some shopping for much-needed upgrades. Wands, armour, weapons, all were bought and ordered from out of town merchants at the High Market. (River actually ordered a custom set of armour – Full Plate, I believe?)

Following the shopping, the group made their way out of town, and found a place to set up camp in the wilderness, on the way to the grotto they had planned on investigating. Nothing untoward accosted the group during their rest, but when they arose the next morning, River revealed he had once again suffered nightmares all night long, and was not feeling very rested. Examinations showed no physical symptoms, but Lekovi discovered a moderate magical aura of the Illusion school. (Note – the GM said faint Enchantment at the time, but this was incorrect) Unable to do much for River, the group packed up camp and moved out to where Tolli had told them the grotto where he had seen the light was located.

Sure enough, the grotto was there, but it was in the face of a small vertical rise, fronted by a beach. Cailyn immediately found a tree not far from the edge to tie a line to, and took watch while the others started climbing down. River and Taber went first. While Lekovi was still climbing down, River stepped into the cave mouth, trying to get a better look into a side passage that was beside a larger wooden barricade. As he did so, his foot snagged a tripwire, triggering a large wooden spike coated with some form of sticky paste to fly out and impale him. As this took his and Taber's attention, the vines covering the cave wall opposite suddenly showed it was animate, and stepped out, wrapping themselves around River, and choking the breath from him. As Lekovi struggled to descend the rope, Scorcher nimbly climbed around him and to the small beach. Seeing a traffic jam, Cailyn instead moved off to the edge of the beach, trying to see inside the cave. Finding the way mostly blocked due to the height, Cailyn then hopped down to some rocks at the inlet's edge. Taber stepped in to help River, flailing his staff at the vines.

River was now able to hear, further inside the cave, what sounded like a voice, but could not make sense of what it was saying. Ripping himself free of the vines, he moved further into the cave, closer to the side passage. Taber also moved up to threaten the vine, while Cailyn used her bow, and Scorcher sent blasts of magic into the cave. Lekovi struggled to climb the rope, and eventually managed to drop the last few feet to the beach. Most of the group could now hear the sound of spellcasting coming from beyond the wooden barricade. Both River and Taber saw a translucent image of what looked like a giant mushroom with a mouth full of teeth appear beside them, and it bit River, knocking him unconscious, just after he had finished off the Assassin Vine.

Taber, reacting quickly, used magic to stabilise River. Lekovi and Scorcher waited to attack the mostly-unseen foe, Lekovi recognising the creature as a Phantom Fungus. Cailyn moved in, trying to protect River from further harm, and clawed at the invisible fungus, finally bringing it down. Taber, sensing more of a threat from the main cave, moved up to the barricade, and attempted to pull it aside, needing a little more time to budge the surprisingly heavy barrier, while Cailyn applied a syringe of healing to the downed River.

From the larger cave beyond the barrier came a pair of what appeared to be wolves, covered in some sort of plant matter. At the back of the cave was a woman, dressed in armour and carrying a wooden spear, her hands glowing with magical fire. The group made short work of the wolves, and then found that the woman was covered in large thorns that stabbed at them anytime a blow made contact with her. Still, after a short struggle, the woman was knocked unconscious.

Searching the cave, the group were able to discern that the woman had been making alchemical items at a workbench against one wall. An open wooden crate contained a number of magical and nonmagical alchemical items, ranging from poisons, to drugs, to healing and buffing potions. A folded note on the worktable was revealed to be a request for “more of your dreaminducing brews, as well as more of that oil,” signed by a person named Melisenn. On one of the walls of the cave was a strange design, drawn in some sort of ochre – a spiraling mass of tendrils with two long, descending tails. River was able to identify the design as devoted to the Great Old One Xhamen-Dor, also known as the Inmost Blot, some sort of fungal deity.

After securing the woman, the group woke her, and began to question her. She revealed her name as Daridela Cornett, and that she had resided in this cave for several weeks, after travelling to Thrushmoor to find another soul who was following Xhamen-Dor. Her aim had been frustrated, though, when she found her quarry had left town. Instead, she had begun selling alchemical supplies to a group that visited her at her grotto from time to time. Despite River's constant urging to kill Daridela, the group decided to take her back to town. Searching the rest of the caves, the group located a chest with some valuables and personal items in it, which was also protected by a poison needle trap, but Cailyn was able to resist its effects. The chest also contained quite a large stash of gold.

As the group made to leave the grotto, they were attacked from the inlet by some sort of aquatic giant (identified later as a Salt Water Merrow). The creature's long arms enabled it to land a number of blows on various group members during the engagement, but clever use of some of Lekovi's long-held scrolls (of Deja Vu) forced the creature to little damage before it was finished off. The group spent a little time healing, and then led Daridela back to town.

The group travelled into town via the south road, past the New Chapel. As they did, they found that a large, angry crowd had gathered outside the studio of the half-elven painter they had met the previous day, Lelwyn Hasok. The mob were yelling for Lelwyn to face them, and accusing him of painting the murals found over the town. Lelwyn protested in his awkward way, and Lekovi scanned the thoughts of the townspeople, confirming they were afraid, and taking their fear out on the most visible target. Scorcher attempted to calm the group down, but one of the townspeople threw a rock at Lelwyn. Cailyn tried to cow the group into leaving, but was also unable to turn the tide. Finally, Scorcher was able to get through to the mob, and convince them to disperse.

Grateful, Lelwyn invited the group into his small dwelling to thank them. He explained to them again how he was looking after the Chapel while he hunted out a reward for them. The reward turned out to be a Bag of Holding containing a pile of gold coins. While the group talked to Lelwyn, Taber looked around the artist's small studio. In amongst the various portraits and views of the bay, one of the pieces of work in particular caught his eye – a large, unfinished triptych, showing sketches of 5 people in full figure, their faces indistinct and incomplete. In the background, three different cities flow seamlessly into one another under a yellowish sky. Looking more closely, Taber realised the the figures depicted in the painting were uncanny renditions of he and his companions! The sketches were so accurate, they even showed River in his usual supine position! When Taber began motioning to everyone else, Lelwyn looked at the sketch, then back at the group, and exclaimed 'They're you!'.

After looking over the artist's work, the group asked how this had happened. Lelwyn explained that he had he seen each of them in his dreams over the last few nights, and was immediately inspired to put brush to canvas. The painter says his visions (which he can’t quite remember all of the details of) gave him the sensation that “Thrushmoor’s destiny somehow depends on them.” Lelwyn ecstatically offered the PCs 10 gp apiece if they agree to return and sit for his unfinished triptych, which they did. Lelwyn also explained that the house next door to his studio was also owned by the church, and that in his capacity as caretaker of the chapel, he invited the group to stay there while they were in town. He also reiterated that he had not seen the chapel's attendant priestess for several days.

After this unsettling turn of events, the group continued on to the Sleepless Agency, intending to hand Daridela over to Cesadia Wrentz. Outside the building, they paused to look over one of the murals they had heard about, on the wall of Agency's headquarters. Looking closely, it appeared that the mural had not been painted on. The mural looked like charcoal, but did not appear to have been applied with a stick of charcoal. The application instead appeared to have somehow been applied evenly across the surfaces it was on, almost as if a stencil and spray paint had been used, only with carcoal.

Inside, the group spoke to Cesadia, and handed Daridela over to her custody. Cesadia said she would arrange for transport of the prisoner to Caliphas, which was several days journey away along the coast.

After leaving the Sleepless Agency, Lekovi was hailed by a man passing on the street. A short conversation ensued, during which the man revealed his name was Keldrin Mon, and that he was a drinking buddy of Lekovi, but hadn't seen him in several weeks. After arranging to meet him at The Silver Wagon for a drink once he was off shift, he also mentioned that the last place he had seen Lekovi was poking around Pier 19, and that it had looked like Lekovi had shoved a bundle of some sort up under the pier.

Eager to perhaps find a clue to their past, the group rushed over to Pier 19. As Lekovi and Taber moved out onto the rotting jetty, a disgusting mass of eyes, mouthes and formless flesh undulated out from under the surface of the pier. Thinking quickly and eager to test his new spell, Scorcher placed an extradimensional pit under the creature. Unfortunately, it jumped away, and Taber, eyes fixed on the dangerous thing, did not, and tumbled in. Lekovi cautiously backed away from the pit, throwing bursts of magic at the thing. Cailyn sent Pat, his Rat animal companion, into the water after the thing. The thing gibbered, sending the rat, Cailyn and Scorcher out onto the edge of madness. River waited, and struck at the thing as it swam out of the bay. Cailyn, in confusion, fired an arrow at Scorcher, but missed him, while Taber attempted to climb out of the magical pit. Lekovi again sent magic at the creature, as did Scorcher. Surrounded by Cailyn and and River, the creature attmempted to bit at them, inflicting little damage, and the pair were able to badly damage the thing. Scorcher was then able to finish it off with another burst of magical energy.

View
End of Dreams

https://youtu.be/Dim8ko9FBE8

Refreshed from another night in the Chapel, the group prepared to confront Ulver Zandalus. After performing some research into the Dimension of Dreams, the amnesiacs headed off towards the camp. Before leaving, Shadow tried to tag along, once again snapping at one of the children. But Cailyn was firm, and told Shadow to stay.

As the group entered a hall leading out of the Asylum's entrance hall, a group of Apostles in Orpiment rounded the corner, and accosted the group. After a short exchange of words, they attacked, and the group quickly defended themselves. After Lekovi bepselled a pair into slumber, and River sliced up a third, the fourth one distracted Cailyn, and then knocked her unconscious, before Taber finished him off. As the fourth Apostle hit the ground, his form morphed into something else. Caitlyn was able to identify the thing as a Faceless Stalker once she was back on her feet again.

As they looked for somewhere to stash the bodies, Taber pointed at a path outside the trophy room they had never visited. As they opened the door to the path, a strange sound was heard. Everyone paused, and then a mass of pale, wriggling things, a cross of worm and hairless bat, broke from the ground and took to the air in a swirl of pallid flesh. They quickly engulfed half of the group. Knowing how to deal with these abominations, Cailyn threw an alchemist's fire, only to have it catch on the doorframe. Taking the hint, Scorcher stepped up and used magical fire to destroy the swarm, finding just the right spot to not harm any of his group.

After dusting themselves off, and finishing the disposal of the bodies, the group continued back to the Orpiment camp. There, they found that the Apostles seemed to be gathering for war. All of the able-bodied Apostles were arming themselves. Rushing in to speak with Dr Elbourne, they asked what was going on. Dr Elbourne told them that Ulver Zandalus had discovered that the scary dark room was now empty, and had worked out that another camp lay in that direction. Dr Elbourne implored the group to go and deal with Zandalus now, before he could lead the raid. Heeding his words, the group hurried upstairs to Zandalus's chamber.

The room at the end of the hall was plastered with thousands of charcoal sketches, similar to the like they had already seen in Losandro's office, and the Oneirogen room, containing images of swirling skies, empty cities, towering monoliths, and threatening figures cloaked in mist. Standing in the back of the room was Ulver Zandalus himself, a gaunt man, with a ponytail of long and exceptionally straight white hair. He wore multiple patients' gowns that had been shredded and stitched to create a layered robe. His arms and much of his chest were exposed, revealing lines of charcoal and yellow chalk streaking his flesh, the most prominent of which was a yellow flame on his forehead, similar to that of the Apostles.

Upon seeing the group, Zandalus's eyes went wide, and his mouth fell open. A voice like tempest wind hissing over broken glass sheered from his split, motionless lips, as though something other than Zandalus himself spoke from inside his body. “You're supposed to be dead. I already, killed you” it hissed. “Why aren't you dead?” And with that, Zandalus began casting a spell.

Acting quickly, both Scorcher and Lekovi prepared spells in reaction to Zandalus actually casting and interrupted his spell, while the other three moved further into the room. Taber charged ahead of the others,  striking Zandalus firmly with his three section staff.

The three melee combatants of the group continued to back Zandalus into a corner, as Lekovi and Scorcher magically assaulted him. Zandalus was able to throw off most of Lekovi's attacks, but Scorcher's constant force missiles combined with the melee attacks soon felled Zandalus. As he fell to the ground, a thick yellow fog began pouring out from all of Zandalus's orifices, and even wounds hat had been opened in his body.

Not sure what to do, the group tried covering the body, slashing it more, and covering it in alchemist's fire, but the fog kept pouring out. Suddenly, from out of the fog stepped a form familiar to the entire group – the Tatterman! Laughing, he rasped “Zandalus dies, and I am free. Free to kill…free to kill you!” and immediately lashed out with his war razor at Cailyn. A feeling of dread washed over everyone, and Scorcher, Taber and River all felt very afraid of this creature. Cailyntried slashing back, but found it very difficult to get purchase on the creature. Even when she did, most of the damage was resisted. River and Taber also tried to hurt the creature, doing some damage, but the wounds began to close almost immediately. Lekovi was able to positively identify the creature as the Tatterman, and from what he knew of it's legends, told everyone that it was a spellcaster of some power, and that it had no particular resistances to anything. Lekovi then attempted to psychically command the Tatterman, who looked at Lekovi and said “You will die last.”

The Tatterman's aura of fear intensified, and Taber and Scorcher were immediately struck with fright. River would also have been affected, but a talisman around his neck glowed with power, and he stood his ground. Taber and Scorcher both fled down the hall, back to the former lair of the Oneirogens. Trying to prevent them from running, Lekovi threw a sleep spell between them, but both of them shrugged it off. The Tatterman attempted to throw magic around, but failed to concentrate sufficiently. Cailyn, unsure of what might hurt the creature, drew Red Destiny, but could not land a solid blow. River dropped his shield, and applied silversheen to his battleaxe. Off in the distance, Taber wrapped the silver chain of a Shelyn holy symbol around his fist, ready for when he overcame his fear.

The remaining four combatants danced around each other for almost a full minute, trying vainly to land telling blows on each other. The Tatterman threw out several enchantments, including a lullaby, and vanishing from sight briefly, and finally a touch of terror on Cailyn, causing her to also flee the room, just as the other pair recovered. The Tatterman managed to put River to sleep, but Lekovi quickly woke him, while assisting the others to land blows. River, concerned at how difficult it was proving to hit the creature, used a wand of bless he had recovered earlier. Finally, with Taber's silver-wrapped fists, Lekovi's silver dagger, and River's silversheened battleaxe, the tide began to turn aginst the Tatterman. Still fighting, the Tatterman critically hit Lekovi, and knocked him out. The Tatterman suggested River hand over his axe, but River fought off the trick. 

Just then Cailyn returned to the fight, launching arrows at the Tatterman. The Tatterman tried the suggestioin the trick on Taber, and Taber handed over his silver necklace. In retribution, River landed a critical hit, doing a grievous wound, and felling the Tatterman. Cailyn began searching the items that had been hidden under Zandalus's bed, River began some healing on Lekovi, and Taber went to examine the body of the Tatterman.

It was during this examination that the Tatterman suddenly lashed out at Taber with his war razor, to everyone's surprise! Reacting quickly, River, Taber and Cailyn again smashed their weapons into the Tatterman, this time inflicting grievous wounds on the creature, and it finally lay dead, and the yellow mist around the asylum began to clear at last.

The most interesting item found in the crate under Zandlus's bed was an ancient book entitled The Chain of Nights, which had been mentioned in Administrator Losandro's journal. Lekovi was able to later read the book, and determine that the book contained a number of spells, and a ritual for removing natural nightmares from someone. However, the ritual warned that if the cause of the nightmares was an extraplanar being, then instead of harmlessly dissipating the bad dreams, the creature would be summoned. The ritual also explained that if it went wrong, a backlash of damage would be inflicted on the recipient, and if that damage was enough to kill the patient, they would be turned into an Oneirogen. From what they had seen, Lekovi believed Zandalus had purposely failed the ritual to turn patients into the Oneirogens they had encountered.

The team of amnesiacs then gathered the few items remaining in Zandalus's den, and returned to the chapel. They found all of the Apostles in Orpiment standing around in a daze. Finding Winter back at the chapel, the group quickly went outside, and discovered the road from the asylum down to the small dock clear, and a boat waiting. While Winter and Captain York began ferrying the survivors across the waters of the bay to Thrushmoor, the group went to the corner of the island to examine the standing stones they had read about.

They found three ancient monoliths at the site, covered in Kellid runes and ancient pictures. On the smallest of the three menhirs, they found a large rendition of what appeared to be the Tatterman. The other runes and images were undecipherable, but Taber took a rubbing for later.

Upon returning to the dock, the group found the boat ready to ferry another load of people, and Captain York asked the amnesiacs to hop in. He rowed the 15 minutes to Thrushmoor, and the group disembarked on the shore, to find Winter seeing to the group of refugees already there. Cailyn took the initiative, and sought out the local Church of Pharasma, and led the way there. 

At the church, there was only one person – a half-elven painter named Lelwyn Hasok. Talking to the painter revealed that the local priestess, Trilliss Mavaine had been missing for several days. Cailyn asked what other healers were in town, and Lelwyn directed her to Sentilar Ruoy, the alchemist at the HealersHouse. Travelling across the town, the group tried to convince the halfling alchemist to come help the refugees, but Ruoy refused unless he was promised payment from someone official, like perhaps a Royal Inquisitor. Ruoy also offered to sell the group potions to cure the Filth Fever a pair of them had. Heading back the way they had come, the group found Winter at New Chapel, and Cailyn asked for her Inquisitorial Seal. Winter explained that she was not actually an inquisitor, and only helping out the actual Royal Accuser, named Omari. She explained that Omari had planned on meeting her at the headquarters of the Sleepless Agency, the Sleepless Building. Feeling a little frustrated, Cailyn led the group next there.

The group was met at the door of the Sleepless Building by a young woman named Meg. She looked a little taken aback, but asked the group to wait in the lobby while she fetched her mistress. The head of the Sleepless Detective Agency entered the lobby a short while later, and introduced herself as Cessadia Wrentz. Lekovi and Taber saw a subtle change in the woman's attitude as she lay eyes on the group, leading them to believe she had some hard feelings about them. She brusquely addressed the group, asking what they wanted. Cailyn asked after Omari, but Cesadia refused to give any information, saying she did not trust anyone in the group enough to do so. She also seemed skeptical over Cailyn's claims of memory loss, and informed the group that perhaps if they wanted to prove they were indeed trustworthy, they should look into the disappearances that had recently plagued the town. Cailyn asked for a lead, and Cesadia suggested they look into the claims of a local fisherman named Toli Remsatter of glowing lights seen along the shore of the bay at night.

The group left, and decided the next logical place to go was The Silver Wagon. At the inn, they could get some food, take lodgings, and start talking to the locals. As soon as the group set foot in the inn, the barkeep spied them, and began shouting at them that they had been told to leave and not to return. Asking why, the proprietor said they knew damn well they still hadn't paid their bar tab, or made up for starting the bar fight, or any of the damages they had done. Handing over a pouch of 50 gold, Cailyn asked if this would be enough, and if they could have some warm food. Dena begrudgingly accepted the coin, and had them shown to a table, and given some 'cabbage soup', but refused to let them stay in the inn. Lekovi read Dena's surface thoughts, and confirmed she did indeed not like the group at all, and that they had been taken to jail after the bar fight.  Attempting to talk to some of the patrons, the group found themselves ostracised after their entrance, but were eventually able to find that Toli would more likely be found at the local tavern, The Stain.

Relocating to the Stain, the group found some people to talk to, including Toli. Toli was happy to talk to the group about his experience – how he noticed a light glowing from a small cover along the shore, about a mile out of town. The amnesiacs asked for some details, and took note of the location Toli had described. Toli also mentioned how the town was a little on edge, due to the coming of the Briarstone Witch, just like Elgrior Nasmeth had been saying. When the group asked about Elgrior, Toli pointed him out, outside the tavern.

The group saw Elgrior, a grimy man in shabby clothing, carrying a signboard emblazoned with “The Witch is coming!”, and shouting “Doom is coming! The second vanishing is upon us! Pray for your salvation that the Briarstone Witch doesn’t take you!”. Moving outside to talk to Elgrior, the group saw the tavern keep watching the man disapprovingly. The group talked to Elgrior for a short time, hearing how he was convinced the Briarsone Witch was returning, and that anyone who dis not pray for salvation would be taken in the second vanishing. Elgiror also told the group how the local government were conspiring with the Witch, as evidenced by them all being in hiding. He espoused how the officials were just waiting for the vanishing to happen, so they could then come in and take all of the spoils. Elgrior was also adamant that they would not take his beetle collection! Lekovi offered Elgrior a tinfoil hat, and then the group watched him wander off, shouting to everyone along the way. 

The next stop for the group was to do some much needed provisioning. Determining that they would likely have to live rough for a while, Cailyn went looking for camping supplies and magic. Food was available from the Fish Market and Farmer's Square. The group scoured the High Mart, and found that supplies from outside town would allow them to purchase common items (anything up to 2000gp). River went to visit the local smith, Binter's Smithy, and found that Kletta Binter ran a respectable business selling copper and lead ornaments. She did not stock any weapons or armour, or materials for making them, but she was willing to hire out her second anvil to anyone who wanted to use it.

After stocking up on various items, and offloading a few unrequired things, the amnesiacs left town, looking for a camp site…or perhaps they were searching for the cave?

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Yellow

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The group once again started out travelling from the chapel to the Orpiment Apostle camp, and towards the kitchens, intending to deal with the reported haunt. Along the way, in the previously dark scary room, they encountered a cloud of Vampiric mist, and quickly slew it. As the group went to leave this area, Lekovi realised that somehting was wrong, and apart from feeling weakened, discovered he had what appeared to be some sort of tumours growing from his already homely face.

Arriving at the kitchens, the group found it unexpectedly abandoned, the three stone hearths cold. Around the far hearth, a makeshift line of rubble appeared to denote the area of influence of the haunt. Sensing light and noise in the former preparation area to the south, the group moved in and found it had been repurposed to become a kitchen for the camp. Seeing the cook distraught and overrun, Lekovi helped out, and cooked a surprisingly masterful meal of potato cakes out of the stock of potatoes, bacon lard and dill. During this time, Cailyn smuggled as many of the huge bags of potatoes as possible into Lekovi's Handy Haversack, for delivering back to the chapel camp, while the rest of the group spoke to the cook, Ivory Garidine, about conditions here, and the haunted kitchen.

While the cooking and conversation was going on, the rubble-blocked southern doors were banged and rattled by something strong. With a pause between, both doors were tried by this unknown force. Ivory Taking this as a sign of a threat to investigate, the amnesiacs looked for a way to make progress, remembering there was another door into the courtyard from the camp. Moving to this exit, the group found the windows from the camp facing the courtyard were all barricaded, and four Apostles were on guard duty. They did not seem concerned about the amnesiacs wanting to go out the door, and when asked, said they were on guard duty against the monsters, and that they sometimes heard hooves.

Stepping outside, the group found that the mist was relatively thick, and it was once again raining heavily. Shortly after they went outside, there was a tremendous clash of thunder so loud, that most of the group was deafened.

https://youtu.be/ZK85OXiValM?t=23s

Cailyn looked for signs of tracks, and found that there were a confused mix of booted and unshod humanoid prints. In addition, there were hoof prints (unshod hoof prints, upon reflection), which seemed to appear and disappear in some places. There also appeared to be a path that led around the edges of the courtyard.

From out of the mist appeared a trio of what later turned out to be Ghouls. As they attacked, the group quickly reacted, but were unable to apply much in the way of strategy thanks to the heavy mist. As they did begin to defend themselves, from a different direction out of the mist, River was charged by, of all things, a Unicorn! Despite being almost impaled on the things horn, River and Scorcher fought bravely against it, while the other three were able to fight off the Ghouls, allowing one of the three to escape. As the group started to shift to concentrate on the Unicorn, it suddenly disappeared into the mist, with a popping noise that Lekovi identified as the Unicorn's Greater Teleport ability.

The group decided that dealing with the solitary Ghoul was more important than the Unicorn (which Cailyn felt was probably just misguidedly defending its home). Realising the Unicorn had only attacked those off the path, the group skirted around the edge of the Courtyard after the Ghoul, following it along the path, but forced to travel slower. As the thunder rang out again, the group found the door into the north west corner of the asylum, and Cailyn was able to see fresh tracks leading in.

Disaster almost struck the group as they followed the trail into the halls, and blundered into a carefully laid ambush. A wall, carefully prepared, was purposely collapsed on most of the group, and from several different quarters, the group was set upon by a veritable horde of Ghouls led by a Ghast with a severed hand hung around its neck as a grisly trophy. During the prolonged struggle, Cailyn was knocked unconscious and paralysed, and things looked bleak for a time, but the group won out, slaying all of the foul creatures.

Exploring, the group made another horrifying discover in the room to their north, stumbling across what looked like a larder. Several makeshift cages contained partially-eaten human corpses, and a crate concealed a black labrador/alsation cross puppy. Cailyn adopted the puppy, and named it Shadow. Lekovi discovered magic on one of the corpses, and retrieved a magical heavy shield, which replaced the newly constructed shield River had been wielding.

Exploring further north, they found an open door to outside, and in front of it, a strange reptillian creature, later identified as a Voonith. The group were able to quickly dispatch it.

Deciding they had taken enough punishment for one day, the group retreated to the chapel, concealing the puppy as they moved through the Apostle camp. They gave the stock of potatoes to Winter, and Lekovi prepared a fine meal for everyone from it. After a night of rest and recuperation (during which time, Cailyn constructed more makeshift weapons),. Lekovi's tumorous affliction was treated, and started improving. The group then set out again. Despite Shadow clearly wanting to follow, Cailyn instructed her to stay with Winter, who reluctantly agreed.

The group set out, and returned to the tower they had been told contained one of Zandalus's lieutenants. Entering, they were again beset upon by a trio of Ghouls, which were again quickly dispatched. Examining the tower itself, the group found that it contained a ruined set of stairs leading up to an upper floor. The remains of the stairs looked relatively easy to climb, and Taber scrambled up first.

The top floor room, largely open to the elements from broken windows, contained a wide array of crates and older medical equipment. In the centre of the area, Taber spotted a figure, wreathed in heavy yellow fog, hiding amongst the crates. In a silent exchange of gestures, Taber assured the figure he meant no harm, and then lowered a rope for his friends. As Cailyn climbed up, the figure approached closer, and all of a sudden, the pair engulfed by the fog felt like going to sleep…shaking this influence off, they found the man attempting to slam it's fists into Taber and Cailyn. After a quick struggle (during which, River was unable to even begin climbing up the ruined stairs), this man was killed. Examining the body afterwards, Lekovi was able to determine that the insides had essentially been scooped out and replaced by a portal, presumably to the Dreamlands. The yellow fog appeared to be substance from the Dreamlands, transported through this portal. Almost immediately after the death of the creature, the group could see the fog in and around the tower beginning to lessen.

Out of new areas to explore, the group went back to familiar ground, returning to the kitchen. Approaching the marked hearth, an empty cauldron suddenly boiled and tipped over, releasing an ethereal puddle of water from which rose a cloud of spectral vapour. Despite having left behind any food after a warning, Scorcher and Cailyn felt their stomachs churn as they approached, as though the food in their stomachs was being affected. Quickly applying positive energy, the group suppressed the haunt, but were unable to find any trace of the body. Talking to Ivory again, they discovered the previous head cook had an office that was in an area that had collapsed. After some digging, they were able to find his body, and give him a burial.

Tackling the other loose end, the group went back to the courtyard, and circumnavigated it following the path. In the southwestern corner of the courtyard, they discovered a body, formerly quite handsome, albeit very thin. Before they could investigate much further, the Unicorn appeared out of the mists and attacked. Despite numerous efforts from Cailyn to calm the beast down, it was eventually put down, and as it died, the body dissipated into nothing. Examining the body, Lekovi and Scorcher were able to find it wore a Ring of Sustenance.

At a bit of a loss for other objectives, the group traveled back to Dr Elbourne, intending to reconnoiter Zandalus's second floor stronghold. While the majority of the group stayed with Elbourne, Taber walked up both sets of stairs, finding one blocked, and the other leading to a room with a trio of apostles playing cards at a table, and a decrepit old woman lying on a pallet. Making noise enough to catch the attention of the Apostles, they told Taber to take off. He complied, going back to Elbourne's office.

A brief chat with Elbourne identified the woman as Aggra Loomis, a 70 year old woman responsible for the bodies with bagged heads above the stairs, and also for a number of similar murders in Rozenport 40 years prior. Now wary, but feeling confident, the group all ascended to the upper floor, and were attacked by the thugs. Aggra displayed surprising strength and agility, by leaping to her feet, and catching River in a chokehold. Before she was able to capitalise on it, River slipped out of her grip, and she and her thugs were quickly slain.

Moving into the next area around collapsed walls, the group found it largely open to the elements. Inside were three of the mist-spewing creatures they had already encountered. After a short fight, all three were killed with little loss to the group. Feeling out of resources, the amnesiacs once again retreated back to the chapel, feeling they were close to finally meeting Ulver Zandalus.

Current date – 23 Arodus 4717 AR

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You Get What You Pay for

https://youtu.be/dZBAmSFCmQ0

While half of our group of amnesiacs rested up, Taber, Cailyn and Lekovi visited the library, and dug into the wealth of information stored there. Initially looking for information about the standing stones on the northwest of Briarstone Isle, they uncovered some unsettling details about Briarstone Asylum's and Thrushmoor's history, along with several references to The Tatterman and the Briarstone Witch. With some effort, these three also moved a solid table into the chapel, to use in making weapons to fight the Nightgaunt. After rejoining the other two amnesics, River and Lekovi attempted to identify the last few items recovered from Adminiatrator Losandro's office, without success, before setting out again.

After examining their map of the Asylum, the group returned to the front door. Finding the door stuck, most of the group began planning ways to open them. Upon spying Flowing River unshipping an axe, the others quickly decided on a plan involving rope, and the door was yanked open. Those near the door spied several indistinct shapes moving in the mist, and heard what sounded like a giant stomach gurgling. As they tried to make out more detail, what appeared to be a pile of corpulent flesh rolled out of the fog, and lashed out at the group.

Cailyn quickly lobbed a flask of alchemist's fire at the creature, setting it alight. Lekovi, seeing the thing burning, realised he had read of these things before, and identified them as Hungry Flesh. He relayed how these piles of tumorous flesh regenerated and grew larger if they were cut or stabbed, unless they had first been burned. After a quick struggle, the creature dissolved into a disgusting mix of liquidised flesh. Several more creatures were seen approaching the open front doors, and Scorcher slammed and barred them securely closed.

Sensing a relatively easy way to practice their skills, the group resolved to lure the piles of meat in one at a time to destroy them. They readied themselves in a defensive formation, and River rushed forward to open the door. As they concentrated on the foe that moved in, none of the group noticed a lurking shadow elsewhere in the room, and as soon as they were all otherwise engaged, the Spring Heeled Jack they had encountered and imprisoned earlier leapt out, stabbing Cailyn in her kidneys.

Recovering quickly, Cailyn turned to meet this new threat, while her allies continued to deal with the tumescent ooze. Expecting the tumble in, the Jack slashed at Cailyn again, and even the ooze tried to lash out. River, seeing the danger, also moved over to threaten the dark fey creature. The Jack leapt out from between the pair, throwing out a blaze of fire, sending Cailyn crashing to the ground, while the flesh pile grabbed and overran Lekovi.

River stooped to heal Cailyn, while Taber and Scorcher continued to wound the flesh creature. Lekovi was badly wounded, and fell to the ground, just as Taber felled the creature. Concerned for his friend's welfare, Taber used strange magic to staunch the bleeding.

The Jack, sensing an opportunity, leapt in and gleefully retrieved his knife from Cailyn. Holding it to the sky in triumph, the Jack didn't see Scorcher throw a color spray in his direction, and he looked directly at it. Immediately stunned and blinded, the Jack dropped his precious knife. River moved in, and cleaved his skull.

Barring the front doors again, the group retreated once again to the chapel to rest and recover resources. The three spellcasters tried to scavenge scribing supplies, and between them, were able to find enough for a single low power scroll. Cailyn, fearing the Nightgaunt, carved wooden javelins from the table.

Heading back out the next day to the second courtyard, the group found that the fog was a little thinner, partly due to strong winds blowing. Cailyn and Taber spread out, trying to draw the creature out, and sure enough, it swooped down at Taber, grabbing him. Cailyn did not at first detect the creature over the howling winds, but the rush of her allies towards it clued her in. Thanks to a sudden windstorm, the creature was unable to lift its victim aloft, and was trapped on the ground, where River was able to rush in and slice at it. Trying to move past her friends to an open spot of ground, Cailyn was unable to evade the Nightgaunt's talons, and was also held fast in it's grip, although it then quickly released Cailyn, but lost its grip on Taber.  Scorcher sent an Enfeebling Ray towards the creature, but it evaded, only to be smashed down by Taber's staff.

Feeling that the tide had turned, the group spread out into the courtyard to explore, but found nothing of value. They did discover a wooden shed in one corner of the courtyard, and entered it. Inside, they found some garden tools, and stairs down. Curiously, the walls and stairs ended at some sort of gigantic open space. Dropped rubble sounded out that the floor was at least 200 feet down, and sounded leathery rather than stone.

The group then decided to explore new territory, and walked to the formerly dark 'scary room'. On the other side, they found something surprising – another settlement. This large open area contained many makeshift tents that appeared to have been made from many different scraps of cloth and other materials, small fires burning in front of some of them. Corpses, their heads wrapped in cinched bags and pillow cases, adorned the walls, dried blood on the walls beneath them. Large staircases were visible to the upper floor. People sat around the tents and fires, some dressed in yellow robes with chalked flames on their foreheads, all showing at least some small amount of yellow-dyed fabric in their clothing. Taking this in quickly, the group ducked back out of sight, and redressed with some of the yellow robes they had already recovered.

Stepping back into sight, the group was approached by a handful of thuggish-looking people, holing improvised weapons. Before anything could develop further, a blond man dressed in ragged doctor's outfit. Introducing himself as Wren Elbourne, the man quickly ushered the group away from the crowd gathering, into what appeared to be a makeshift hospital, screened off from the rest of the camp. Shooing away a pair of patients with minor injuries, Dr Elbourne began an in-depth conversation with the group. Dr Ellbourne's side of the conversation is just below – after hearing all of this, the group has found several new avenues of action, including the nearby haunted kitchens, and the northwest tower.

Who are you? “I’m Doctor Wren Elbourne. I study and treat diseases of the mind. I only started working at Briarstone a week ago, and was excited for the job… that’s hard to believe now.” 

Who is Ulver Zandalus? “He’s this lot’s leader and the one responsible for all this. I hear he used to be just a quiet artist who had bad dreams. I don’t know how else to explain it, but something let his dreams loose. He convinced a bunch of patients that he’s some sort of prophet and that he can lead them to the land of dreams. That was enough to start a riot. Soon after, those strange mists rose outside and an earthquake caused much of the asylum to fall apart.
We’ve been trapped here ever since.”

Where is Zandalus? “He and his closest followers keep to what remains of the halls upstairs. No one is allowed up there,
though. Zandalus’s thugs stand guard, but worse, that weird mist collects up there like a snake in a hole. Who knows what they do in that fog? But we all hear the chanting and screaming…even though we try not to.”

Who is the Tatterman? “A lot of people are having the same dream of a gaunt thing in yellow rags hunting them. They say if he kills you in your dreams, he reveals what you really are. Sometimes that’s a corpse, sometimes it’s something worse. Regardless, everyone is terrified of sleeping, fearing the nightmares. Worse, they say that the Tatterman works for Zandalus. It’s all the more reason not to defy him, lest he send his dream assassin after you.”

Who are the people wearing yellow? “Zandalus calls them the Apostles in Orpiment. They’re his followers. Some have bought into Zandalus’s creed that dreams are prophecies and that Zandalus’s visions foretell the coming of a great change, but most are just scared, former patients who need treatment.”

What is the fog outside? “Zandalus found some way to breach the border between dreaming and wakefulness. The fog is a result; it’s like spillover from whatever dream realm he’s tapped into. But the fog isn’t the problem, it’s the things that came along with it. Weird things, like from nightmares. The worst seem content to keep to the fog, but I’ve seen strange forms slip into the asylum—figures I can’t rightly describe.”

Why are people having nightmares? “If all that’s happened here wasn’t reason enough? I can’t be sure, but everyone’s suffering from the same bad dreams, me included: mostly visions of bleak skies and empty cities. Some say they’re the dreams Zandalus used to have, that now that they’re free of his head they’re infecting everyone else. Some say the Tatterman brought them, and he’s haunting all of our nightmares. Others think they’re visions of what’s beyond the fog. But who can truly say?”

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