Strange Aeons


After successfully enacting the Dreamlands Excursion Ritual, the group of amnesiacs emerged into the middle of a warcamp, in what appeared to be an enormous cavern, in the Underworld of the Dreamlands. Around them, many humanoids were preparing for war – sharpening weapons, strapping on armour, and sparring. As the group appeared, a group of six of the humanoids were chanting and beseeching Nyarlathotep for aid. Seeing the group, the chanters immediately began praising Nyarlathotep for providing help so quickly. One of the strangers approached the group, and introduced himself as Wilkins, a green-skinned Ghoul of Leng.

Wilkins explained that he and his fellow Ghouls were about to embark on a raid, intended to remove a group of Gugs that have settled into an ancient necropolis, that had formerly been the Ghoul's home. The Ghouls had abandoned the Necropolis several years ago, and despite their fear of Ghouls, the Gug's had decided to lay claim after the abandonment. The Ghouls, once they learned of this, consider the occupation to be a desecration of sacred ground, and are on their way to wipe out the Gugs. However, the Ghouls available for the battle were few in number, and Wilkins was concerned they would not be able to carry the day against the Gugs. Thus, they had turned to Nyarlathotep for aid, and that was when the amnesiacs had arrived.

Seeing this as a clear sign of support from Nyarlathotep, Wilkins asks the group to assist them in the coming conflict. After some questions, Wilkins assured the group that they would not need to be involved in the main battle, but instead, could guard a particular strategic place, named the Plaza of Bones, that would otherwise allow the Gugs to freely move their forces around.

The group, seeing opportunity, asked about the provision of a Royal Ghoul Skull as a reward. Wilkins apologised, saying that there were no Royal Ghouls involved in this endeavour. However, as it happened, the Plaza of Bones contained the mausoleum of Scarcrim Vost, a ghoul prince destroyed many decades ago. A number of the lesser Ghouls gathered around seemed a little offended by this offer, and muttered amongs themselves. When the group asked why, the lesse ghouls mentioned that there had been a theft of a jeweled ghoul queen skull several years ago. Some interrogation revealed that the perpetrator may have been a human.

The group agreed to the bargain, and set out accompanied by Ghouls. Soon, Wilkins led the Ghouls off in another direction, giving the amnesiacs instructions on where to find the Plaza.These instructions were easily followed, and the group soon entered a long, wide hallway, held aloft by pillars containing carvings of various bones and skeletons. The floor was also scattered with many cracked bones, becoming more numerous towards the end of the hall. The perceptive group members quickly discerned there were creatures of bone concealed along the pillars, and so attacked. The serpentine creatures, acoompanied by a Bone Golem, were quickly destroyed by the group, and they advanced down the hall, approaching the main Plaza.

The Plaza of Boines turned out to be a large cavern, with many ancient, dilapidated buildings clustered around its edges, built into the walls. A large, square building dominated the centre of the plaza, but the most striking feature were the literal sea of bones covering the floor like a bony snow drift. As the group approached the mausoleum, a group of Gugs attacked, and the amnesiacs discovered just how dangerous the creatures are, the enormous tooth-filled maws situated where most creatures have heads dealing horrendous wounds to those they bit.

The battle was brief, but vicious, with the Gugs almost winning out. But, in the end, they were put down. The group, anxious to be away before more appeared, approached the square mausoleum. Cailyn spotted the signs of an enchanted trap, and waved everyone back to remove it. Unfortunately, she managed to trigger it instead, and a chilling, spectral hand reached out and rapidly slapped her several times, stealing a large portion of her life essence, and left her severely weakened. River rushed forward, and healed the damage, and some of the weakness.

Searching the now-safe mausoleum, the group were able to quickly locate the skull they required, and left the Dreamlands with it. Along with the skull, the group recovered a strange, flanked rod, with several studs along the handle. This was later identified as a Rod of Lordly Might.

The following night, the group returned to the Dreamlands, this time to hunt down the Wamps. They emerged from the staircase in what appeared to be a square in the middle of a large, abandoned city. No life was initially visible. In fact, instead of weeds growing through the cobbles of the square, Cailyn instead observed what appeared to be carvings of weeds, made from a brittle, yellow ceramic. While puzzling over this, a group of humanoids in civillian clothing rushed howling out of the streets surrounding the square, and attacked the amnesiacs. The creatures looked like corpses, and were heralded by a nauseating stench. As this fetid odour washed over the group, Cailyn and Scorcher were overcome, and spent the ensuing fight retching. Luckily, the creatures appeared to be relatively weak, and the remainder of the group quickly finished them off.

As the group recovered from the brief struggle, several other humanoid creatures, in similar state to those that had attacked, timidly hailed the group. When it was clear they were not an immediate threat, the group spoke to them, and they explained their situation. They related how, over a century ago, this city had been a bustling centre in the Dreamlands named Arventon. Suddenly, on one day, a wave of energy had washed over the city, transforming anything not made of stone into the pale yellow ceramic, including the majority of the inhabitants, both human and animal. For unknown reasons, a handful of the citizens were transformed into the creatures speaking to the group now rather than turned to ceramic. Those creatures also developed a powerful hunger for dead flesh, which they were able to sate in the city's large cemetery, turning it into a giant larder. The citizens 'protected' the cemetery by placing a number of the now-statues around the wrought iron fence, and praying to their inscrutable gods. Despite this protection, several weeks ago, the cemetery became infested by bizarre, corpse-eating beasts, that looked like some sort of union between spiders and bats, with webbed feet. Cailyn recognised the description as matching the wamps they were looking for, and so they asked for directions to the cemetery.

Walking the perimeter of the wrought-iron fence, the group soon spied a break in it, and decided to enter this way. As they moved through the ring of ceramic statues, two of them suddenly animated, and began attacking them. A short struggle ensued, but Taber's bludgeoning fists made quick work of the brittle creatures, and the group continued into the cemetary.

Cailyn was able to find signs of wamp tracks and spore inside the cemetery, and the group were then able to track them down, and came across one of the creatures alone. Ambushing the creature, it called loudly, and soon summoned several of its fellows to the swirling melee. Once again, though, the group was able to dispose of these creatures with little effort. To be sure, they removed several of the red webbed feet from the creatures, and then gave the rest of the corpses to the local inhabitants, and returned to the waking world.

Over the next several days, the group, led by Lekovi, completed their research into all of the remaining Dreamlands gifts locations – the Viscount's Ring, the Captain's Tricorne, the Green Stone Idol, and the Ambassador's Heartstone. Eager to complete these quests, the group rushed through the now-familliar Ritual. Sadly, in their haste, they made several key mistakes in enacting the ritual, and an Animate Dream was spawned, immediately attacking the group. The creature proved clever and resourceful, but the confines of the barge did not allow it quite the freedom to move that the Carvanserai had the Dream Shopkeep, and it was soone dispatched. Before it was put down, however, it had managed to inflict a curse upon Taber, unnoticed to all. When the group attempted to sleep that night, Taber was afflicted by horrifying nightmares throughout the night, and awoke exhausted, his willpower weakened. River was unable to reverse the damage, and required another day to re-prepare his spells to properly remove the affliction, although Taber was able to fight the nightmares off during the second night.

Rolling on the River

15th Rova, morning
Refreshed after their last excursion into the Dreamlands, the amnesiacs relaxed as the boat made it's way into the Glass River, and began travelling towards the Sellen River proper. In their easy state, they were a little surprised to see an enormous turtle breach further forward in the river, and begin to aggressively swim towards them. Thinking quickly, Cailyn began calming down the clearly agitated turtle. It responded, and it's massive bulk ended up swimming by the barge, continuing towards Lake Encarthan.

15th Rova, evening
Feeling rested and confident, the group once again performed the Dreamlands Excursion Ritual, but this time using the passphrase for the Enchanted Woods. As they again emerged from the staircase, they found themselves on what seemed to be a giant treebranch, near the top of the canopy of a giant forest. As they stood, looking around, the group was suddenly assaulted by a strange creature, invisible at first, that became visible after charging through them. The creature looked like a horse, with elongated front legs, ending in clawed hands rather than hooves, and having a vaguely humanoid cast to it's features.

The creature bellowed angrily, as it ploughed through the surprised group, knocking over several of them. It immediately turned around, and charged back through the group, attempting to trample, and injuring several. With limited room to maneuver, the group did their best to get their melee fighters adjacent to it. River made use of lunging attacks to get to the thing around Taber's punching form, while Cailyn and her rhino attacked from the other side. The creature, sensing it was in trouble, stepped back and cast a Fly spell-like ability, but was then cut down in the next flurry of attacks.

As the group caught their breath, the rodent-like forms of a tribe of Zoog emerged from their hiding places, and congratulated the group on their victory. Without waiting, the Zoog immediately set to eating the creature, which they identified as a Tikbalang. Their leader mentioned that the creature normally hunted territory further away, but it had come hunting them.

Cailyn asked the creatures if they knew of any Pards in the area. The Zoog leader said that there had been a pard den in the area, but that they had attacked and wiped out the creatures not long ago. When asked, they revealed they did still have a tail left over, and would gladly trade it for a new meal of exotic feline. The Zoogs knew several tigers hunt a higher, sunnier portion of the Enchanted Woods canopy, and readiy gave clear directions to them. Cailyn enquired about their numbers, and the Zoogs said there was a pack of five, led by a larger, stronger tiger.

The group followed the directions of the Zoog, climbing along giant branches, and crossing from tree to tree, never quite able to see the floor of the woods, but steadily moving further towards the top of the canopy. About halfway into their journey, the amnesiacs saw a strange sight – on one of the giant leaves, there was a man, lying unconscious. Looking more closely, they could see the man had been bound and gagged, and was tied to the leaf by sturdy vines, tied to a stake made from giant thorns, driven into the leaf.

While the rest of the group looked on, wondering where the catch was, River moved out to examine the man. As he did so, the leaf collapsed, and both River and the man plummeted down. Taber quickly cast Feather Fall on River. Almost as quickly, Scorcher cast Fly, hoping to be able to reach River before he fell further, but finding he was just short.

As the aerial display started, the rest of the group was now attacked by four invisible creatures. These creatures appeared to be quite small, but their blows were dealing a significant amount of damage. They initially began attacking Scorcher, Lekovi, Taber, and Cailyn, although over the next few rounds, as they shifted about, their attack targets varied. The creatures could fly, but when they did so, the flapping of their wings caused them to become partly visible. Their precise pinpricks also applied a toxic substance that appeared to drain the strength of its victims. Both Taber and Cailyn were hurt quite badly, and Lekovi was knocked unconscious, followed soon after by Cailyn. Cailyn's Rhino and Taber fought on against several of the creatures, waiting for their compatriots to return.

While this was going on, River impacted a pile of acidic fungus below the leaf trap. Scorcher, flying in to rescue the warpriest, also was burned by the acidic spores, After applying a flying spell to River, Scorcher succumbed to his wounds and fell unconscious, but was soon healed by River. River, loaded down with gear, found it difficult to keep up with Scorcher, as the pair ascended to the action above.

Despite having knocked down one of the unseen creatures, Taber slumped to the ground from his wounds and died just as River and Scorcher re-entered the fray. River was well-armoured enough that the creatures had trouble harming him, but they were able to deal damage on occasion, and could hurt Scorcher. Still, the fight was over fairly quickly after River arrived, and things went quiet. After River had healed Lekovi and Caiyn back to consciousness, searching the area turned up a finger with a ring still on it tied to the trapped leaf. Neither Lekovi nor Scorcher were able to determine what the platinum ring with large emerald did, but were sure the magical aura was strong. The group then shook themselves awake, to rejoin Taber in the waking world. There, they found Taber had become afraid of heights.

16th Rova, midday
During most of the next day, Lekovi performed some further research, into their next target, the Skull of Ghoul Royalty. This required much reading through the volumes The Codex of Three Prescriptions, Manual of Silence, and The Unified Manual of Understanding. According to a folio regarding extraplanar undead, the ghouls of the Dreamlands were far more social— though no less wicked— than their bestial kin in the waking world. They had rich histories and large communities led by royalty. A discourse on the dread Plateau of Leng explained that a more powerful form of ghoul inhabited regions where the Dreamlands connect to Leng. These Leng ghouls are shrewder than their lesser kin. Lastly, Lekovi learnt a passphrase that would direct the Dreamlands Excursion ritual to travel to an underground location in the Dreamlands.

Later in the day, the barge was rocked by an impact. As the amnesiacs rushed out of the cabin, they found they were being assaulted by four River Giants. Two of them had hidden, crouched on a sandbank, and were now smashing the barge with great hammers. The other two were shadowed among the trees on the river's edge, rocks in hand.

Cailyn, Taber and River quickly rushed to the prow of the barge, and began attacking the giants in the river. Scorcher launched fireballs at the Giants on the shore, who retaliated by throwing boulders at him. Cailyn was soon knocked to the ground by the massive blows from the Giants in the river, while Taber and River avoided most of the blows, dealing harm to them. Lekovi assauted the minds of the creatures, while Scorcher continued to trade missiles with the giants on shore. River was soon required to fall back from the front lines to heal Scorcher, who jumped down behind the cabin to avoid further harm. The shore giants had also started wading towards the barge, and soon climbed up on the deck, just as their other kin were felled. After another short struggle, these two were also knocked down.

That night, the group again prepared to enter the Dreamlands.

Following in Footsteps

6th Rova, Late morning
Turning to other areas of the Iris Hill mansion, the group descended into the rough hole dug under the carriage house. At the bottom, they found the hole opened out into a natural cavern. Inhabiting the cavern were two Elder Things. Thanks to a Comprehend Languages spell, a dialogue was started between the creatures and the group, and some explanations were made. The ancient creatures explained their nature, and their history, revealing they had arrived on Golarion millenia ago, during the Age of Serpents. They spoke about how they arrived here, in what would become Thrushmoor, in pursuit of their enemy, the Flying Polyps. The Polyps were the ones responsible for erecting the Star Stelae in Thrushmoor, and also, at a second site on Golarian, far to the south. An alliance of Serpentfolk sorcerers and priests and the Elder Things fought the Polyps here in Thrushmoor, eventually driving them off. These Elder Things had remained behind in hibernation while their kin left, in case the Polyps ever returned. After talking with the Things, food was brought to them, and they were left to rest and recover their strength, before they returned to the stars.

The amnesiacs next checked over the mansion again, ensuring they had not missed any information or loot. Finally satisfied, they took the trunk of books from the main bedroom back to the Sleepless Agency, and began researching Lowls journals for clues. After a solid day of research, Lekovi was able to determine that Lowls had spent considerable amounts of time and effort journeying through the Dreamlands, a vast and relatively stable section of the Dimension of Dreams. He learned some of the basic rules of that place from Lowls entries, and learned of his goals too – he planned to reach a mysterious hermit known as the Mad Poet. The Mad Poet had a reputation for being dangerous if not appeased, and Lowls had focused his investigations on how best to do so. Lekovi also learned that Lowls first destination had been a caravanserai in a vast Dreamlands desert. Here, he planned to talk with other dream travelers to gain information about how to locate and deal with the Mad Poet. Lastly, Lekovi was able to piece together the Dreamlands Excursion Ritual Lowls had used to travel to the Dreamlands, and how to use it to travel to the caravanserai.

Thinking it would be best to be protected while they undertook such a dangerous ritual, the group settled down in the Sleepless Agency, and tried it out. With some preparation, and the purchase of some materials, the group was able to rely on Scorcher and Lekovi to carry out the ritual with a high chance of success, and they did so. As they walked around the staircase, it enlarged, and dropped down below floor level. Walking down the staircase, the group emerged into a blindingly bright, hot waste, with a large building in front of them. Behind, there was no sign of the staircase any more.

The building appeared to have been long deserted. Through the large entrance (wide enough for pack animals), they could see no movement, and drifts of sand and tufts of weeds indicated abandonment. Also, the northeastern corner of the building appeared to have collapsed.

Moving inside, the group found entrances to the building to both sides of the front gate. They first checked the doors to their left, finding a collapsed corridor, and an abandoned guard station, with a barred door at the end. Behind this door, they found an ancient cell, and leaning against the wall was a rusty scimitar. Expecting trouble, Cailyn moved in, looking for traps. Finding nothing suspicious, she expectantly collected the scimitar, but nothing untoward happened. Returning to Lekovi and Scorcher, they were shocked to discover the weapon was a +1 Vorpal Scimitar…that such a valuable item should just be lying about was unbelievable!

Going back to the opposite door, they found a quietly cool, but well lit corridor, a twin of the collapsed corridor. It lead away to the west before turning a corner south. At the north edge of the corner was a doorway, with a tattered curtain hanging in it. The group approached the curtain, and upon entry, were greeted by a gaunt man with sunken cheeks. He straightened as the group entered, and enquired after their journey, and whether or not they needed supplies, although he bemoaned the lamentable state of his wares. Looking around, the group could see nothing but empty shelves. Taber also noticed that the man's robes appeared to trail off at the bottom into smoke, as though he were insubstantial. Lekovi, disconcerted, attempted to read the man's thoughts. The man resisted the intrusion, and started fighting the group.

The group found the man was indeed incorporeal, and difficult to harm. He was also easily able to fly through the solid walls that bottled the group up, and attack whom he pleased. The creature was also easily able to run it's hand through the solidest of the group's defences, it's chill group almost causing the hear of it's victim to stop. The touch also seemed to apply some sort of magical influence, that drained the mental strength of the victim. Several of the group became affected by this affliction. The fight ranged about the corridor, and eventually out into the open courtyard. The group was hard pressed, but eventually defeated the creature, at great cost in pain. Almost all of the group had suffered from the curse as well. The room they had found the creature in also turned out to contain a mighty treasure, casually hidden under a pile of rags – 5 enormous emeralds, and a magical gem of seeing.

A little shaken, the group returned to the corridor, and explored further south. The corridor contained several statues each holding a dry bowl, which appeared to have once been a fountain. In a mirror to the northern area, the corridor bent to the east, with a doorway in the south, a curtain covering the entrance. Parting the curtain revealed an elegant dining room, with a few plates and a pitcher stacked on a sideboard, all covered in dust. Fascinated by the pitcher, River advanced into the room to examine it. Several in the group then heard the sound of conspiratorial whispering, and after a short pause, a haunt triggered. Ghostly forms appeared throughout the dining hall, mimicking conversations of the past: a wealthy night hag with elaborately coiffed hair made imperious demands to human servants; three surly, turbaned humanoids conferred over a detailed image of the moon; and a group of hooded ghouls examined a human head made of terra cotta. Their voices grew in volume, and echoed in an overlapping, unintelligible cacophony, until several members of the group were overcome by feelings of discord, and turned on their allies. River, Cailyn's companion, and Lekovi, all attempted to harm their former friends. After a short struggle, the haunt was dispelled, and the afflicted amnesiacs calmed down.

During a short rest, River examined the pitcher again, and found it was indeed magical, and had the properties of a decanter of endless water.

Moving further along the eastern corridor, the group found another curtain-covered doorway, this time to the north, behind the courtyard. This room turned out to be a bathhouse, with two empty baths, and one filled with still, black liquid. Studiously avoiding the liquid, the group searched the rest of the room. Finding nothing of value, they turned to leave, but as they did so, the liquid suddenly boiled up out of the bath, revealing itself as an ooze-like creature. It expanded quickly to a large size, but it's tendrils whipped out and around up to a full twenty feet away from the creature.

Again, the group found this creature difficult to harm, and it appeared capable of healing itself. Several times, it engulfed and swallowed Taber and River. Despite them quickly cutting their way free, the holes in the creature closed up, and it swallowed another. Despite fighting hard, the creature eventually killed River, Cailyn and her pet, and Taber. Scorcher and Lekovi had also been badly injured, but were able to wake themselves up from the dream before dying.

Back in the basement of the Sleepless Agency, the group all found the wisdom Drain suffered in the Dreamlands had followed them out, and those who had died had become permanently mad. Realising they needed time to heal from these conditions, the group decided to move forward with their plan to travel by boat down the Sellen River towards the Qadiran city of Katheer, with a stop in Cassomir to find Lowls associate, Miacknian Munn.

7th Rova, Early morning
The group purchased some final supplies, and then went to the docks, looking for a captain and vessel they could take passage with. Upon arrival, they witnessed an exchange between an auburn-headed halfling woman, and a far man in an ill-fitting harbormaster's jerkin, about the way some cargo had been loaded onto the woman's vessel. Sensing opportunity, the group stepped in, and offered to help redistribute the load, in return for discussing passage. The woman introduced herself as Skywin Freeling, and happily accepted both the aid and the commission, reducing the group's fee if they promised to help defend the vessel. They agreed, and Skywing welcomed the group aboard her barge, the Sellen Starling. After the work redistributing the load of rare hardwood timbers, Skywin also introduced the group to her dozen crew, and two other paying passengers, Gossa Kelkin and Wreben Malliver, a pair of scholars returning to Cassomir after a sabbatical in Ustalav.

When the tide was right, the captain ordered the barge to push off. Being a shallow draft vessel, the Starling left Thrushmoor, and hugged the coast, running north east around the coast of Lake Encarthan, travelling towards the Glass River. The group spent the time healing their various mental injuries, with aid from River.

9th Rova, late afternoon
On the afternoon of the third day, the barge drew close to the town of Illmarsh. Captain Freeling let the crew know she did not intend to put in at the forsaken town, where no ship receives a friendly welcome. As if her words were a command, a chill fog rolled in off the lake, causing the crew to mutter darkly. The fog forced the Starling to hug the coast of Avalon Bay more closely than preferred, and in fact close enough to sight the dilapidated wharves of Illmarsh.

The amnesiacs, expecting trouble, were on deck, weapons ready. As the rotting timbers came into view, Cailyn and River saw cloaked figured on the wharves, about 200 feet away. The figures were passing a long, barbed chain from one wharf to the other, rendedring the jetties unapproachable by ship. Captain Freeling laughed at this, saying they hadn't planned on staying anyway. Lekovi and Taber spotted, about a quarter mile off in the fog behind the Starling, a longship with red sails. As soon as it was glimpsed, the ship was swallowed by the fog and lost to view. As everyone strained to see the vessel, a different threat presented itself…out of the mist suddeny swam a pack of Vooniths. They quickly swarmed up on board the barge, attacking the group, but despite their ferocity, were quickly dispatched.

14th Rova, evening
Finally feeling whole again, with all sign of mental illness  gone from the group(other than the normal), Lekovi again led them in performing the Dreamlands Excursion Ritual. Eager to avoid the Formless Spawn, the group entered the courtyard, and used a secret door at the back of a storage space they had spotted the first time, and explored the rest of the bottom floor of the caravanserai. They found the blocked off eastern corridor to be a mirror for the western, although this time with an actual door in the south wall, wedged open by a book. Pushing the door open, the room beyond proved to be some sort of office, with a low table and several dozen ledgers, and a steep staircase leading up.

The books proved to be quite brittle to the touch, crumbling at first handling. The books were filled with cramped handwriting in an unknown language, and even a comprehend language failed to decipher the writing. Taber and Lekovi, knowledgable on language, felt that whoever had written in these ledgers was illiterate, and was only mimicking written text.

Finding nothing of interest, the amnesiacs next climbed the stairs, finding they led into a tidy, sparsely but tastefully decorated, office. Framed paintings of several landscapes hung on the walls, including a many-spired city with marble walls and brass gates, a windswept waster beneath a distant, ominous mountain, and a gloomy port city constructed primarily of basalt.

Standing behind the desk in this room was a large man dressed in tattered yellow robes. He looked up in surprise at having visitors, quickly turning to an expression of delight. It was apparent that this man recognised the group, although when asked, he could not recall from where or when.

The man introduced himself as the Yellow King. His manner of speaking was a little addled, and full of large words. He spoke of various specialised subjects as though his audience were experts, and revealed himself to be no small expert on a number of esoteric subjects. When the group asked for further information on their goal, he said that he was desconstructed from a greater whole, and that the process could be reversed with the group. He advised that the group could retrace Lowls's steps to regain their memories and whole selves. The King could not call all of those steps, as it was 'after his time', but he knew the outcome – Lowls spoke with the omnious yet perspicacious prophet, the Mad Poet. The mad Poet had unimaginable power in the Dreamlands, but was fickle, and required a proper collection of gifts to placate and approach. The King also said that Lowls learned some truths from his time with the Mad Poet so mind-shattering, that it caused him to come into being. He deems it serendipitous he does not know what those truths are. The King lastly said that Lowls identified six or seven gifts to present to the Mad Poet, and that he recalled writing them down on the flyleaf of Dichotomous Translations of Aklo Syntax, although he couldn't recall what they were. He said Lowls had painstakingly scoured his tomes to research each gift, leadning where to find it in the Dreamlands and then dreaming of that location – he suggested the amnesiacs do likewise. Once they have their collection of gifts, if they return to him, he will lead them to the Mad Poet's oasis.

The group now awakened, and returned to the waking world. From here, they pored over Lowls's tomes, and found the list of gifts.
Viscount’s signet ring
Feline tail (blue and purple mottled fur)
Skull of ghoul royalty
Green stone idol of a water lizard
Night hag ambassador’s
Captain’s tricorne
Red webbed foot

Further research into the books Monuments of the Forest, Tigers and Flies, and The Wise Harmony turned up information about the Feline Tail gift. According to a naturalist’s papers, felines with blue and purple tails are called pards, and they can be found the Dreamlands’ Enchanted Wood. One of Lowls’s diaries indicates his intent to seek the advice of zoogs, a race of intelligent rodent-like creatures native to the Enchanted Wood. Zoogs are carnivores and particularly enjoy feline flesh; Lowls assumed the zoogs would know where to find pards. Lekovi learned the proper phrase that allowed him to use the Dreamlands excursion occult ritual to reach the Enchanted Wood. They determined this would be their next exploration destination.

Cleanup, on Iris Hill

Starday, 2nd of Rova, Early Evening

The amnesiacs arrange a ship to transport them to Caliphas, and leave immdiately.

Moonday, 4th of Rova, Early Morning

After arriving in the Ustalavic capital, the group visited the markets, to convert several items from their stash to currency, and then carried the body of River to the local temple of Sarenrae. They quickly arrange a revival and restoration, and almost immediately returned to the docks, to arrange passage back to Thrushmoor.

During the trip back, River was able to request a spell from Sarenrae to cure Lekovi’s Blindness.

Oathday, 6th of Rova, Dawn

Upon arrival in Thrushmoor, the group visited Winter and Cessadia to check on the situation in town. Both said that things had quieted down, and that the level of disappearances had certainly decreased, but that there were still a few people reported as going missing. The group then returned to Iris Hill.

They found the gates closed, but not locked, nor trapped. Inside the gatehouse, they found the bodies of several Kuru and cultists. All had died of various wounds, and been exsanguinated. River, taking no chances, decapitated each of the bodies to ensure they did not rise again.

The buildings all appeared to be in roughly the same condition as when the group had left. The windows on the top floor of the mansion were still open, the doors still closed on the buildings. A quick sweep of the outbuildings showed no change. Moving into the main building, the group moved cautiously through the areas they had not explored before, finding nothing living.

The rear-central portion, which was the main entrance, proved to contain a large collection of artworks and curios. Searching through everything here revealed little of monetary value, but several items of interest, including

  • Portraits in various artistic styles of the counts, their wives, and a few relatives and domestics wearing all kinds of expressions and outfits lined the walls. A portrait in a freestanding picture frame on a small tea table with a single chair features Lowls as a child (“Haserton at age 5, 4681 ar,” is written on the back of the frame) posing near a kitten at the foot of a luminous window, seemingly terrified. Fromt he artwork, Taber was able to deduce that the painter intentionally created a frightening situation for the child and then expended great efforts to seize his wide-eyed expression.
  • Marble busts of scholars from the Sincomakti School of Sciences, including three effigies of academically renowned ancestors of Lowls sit on small plinths. The sculptures with the Lowls name on their bases had been smashed against the floor and damaged.
  • Small-town perspectives of Thrushmoor and a half-dozen large paintings of the surrounding landscape hang here. The large pictures included a historic piece, in which the first settlers of Thrushmoor were shown living in two clusters of huts on low hills, hard at work to reclaim the surrounding land from the swamps. The three Star Stelae had been depicted almost as an afterthought. The picture also showed the Iris Hill Stelae, and that Iris Hill was originally shorter.
  • Statuettes of dragons, giants, and strange beasts littered the shelves. Among these was a poorly executed, 1-foot-tall, clay figurine of an elephant-legged, multimawed, tentacled aberration. Cailyn felt this creature looked eerily familiar, but neither she nor Lekovi could identify it.
  • Set on an ebony pedestal was a human skull that has been marked with elaborate carvings of geometric shapes and lines. Small, worked garnets were set in the teeth, and a thin line of silver ringed the eye sockets.
  • Porcelain and ceramic dishes, jugs, teapots, and vases, some of which were of excellent quality, were kept in a glass showcase. A small ceramic vial contained a silvery metallic dust. Lekovi found this to be magical, and was able to identify it as Dust of Appearance.
  • Worthless, bizarre, and sometimes grotesque souvenirs from across Ustalav and beyond were displayed here: coffee cups made from uncapped monkey skulls; a stuffed three-eyed bat; multicolor-dyed freshwater sponges; a mummified ogre’s ear; and more.
  • A battered shield hangs on a wall, bearing the device of Mendev. According to a plaque fixed under it, the shield belonged to Fassimar Lowls. The shield was a nonmagical heavy steel shield.

Lastly, and most prominently, a man encased in a field of amber light was discovered, facing the entryway. The man was dressed in similar well-to-do clothing to the other cultists the group had encountered. Lekovi and Scorcher were able to identify the amber field as the effects of a Sepia Snake Sigil.

The third room on the bottom floor of the house contained an impressive library – the entire room was lined with ceiling-high shelves, all laden to the brim with tomes, scrolls, and stacks of paper, sagging under the weight. Amber-coloured crystal lamps were fixed to the walls, with more on central tables and a desk.

The books in the room contained many widely known books on common areas of knowledge. Many related to matters within Ustalav, but others detailed subjects from throughout the Inner Sea region. Two crates near the fireplace contained several printed copies of two books written by Count Lowls – A History of the History of Versex and The Stars Are Not Among Us: An Undeniable Refutation of the Works of the Doomsaying Pseudo-Scholar Dr. Henri Meirtmane. On top of the crates was an envelope containing a letter signed by a Miacknian Munn, which had apparently accompanied a delivery of alchemical goods. In the letter, evidently answering a question posed by Lowls, Mun confirmed that “It seems that the Mad Poet you met in your dream journey was right. The book you seek, the Necronomicon, is located in a special collection called the Mysterium in the Qadiran city of Katheer, though it is written in Necril. If you can find a way to retrieve it and bring it to me, I can certainly help you translate and research it. I look forward to seeing you again, my old friend.”

Among the more mundane works were a number of research books regarding dreams and how to manipulate them. These books discuss methods by which an individual can choose to appear in someone else’s dream; one even includes an overview of the Dreamlands. Notes and marked pages indicate that Lowls was using dreams as a method of research, wherein he would project his consciousness into the Dreamlands to meet with people and creatures there. One such figure is someone he refers to as the Mad Poet, who offered to show him the way to a forgotten city in return for sacrificing his assistants’ minds.

A rug in the corner of the room was discovered to be hiding a locked trap door. The group decided to leave it locked while they checked the rest of the house.

Moving upstairs to the second floor, the group again found little had changed. The various bodies were still lying were they had fallen, although all proved to have been exsanguinated. The contents of most of the rooms were as they had been, except the personal effects had been cleared out of the northernmost room, which had originally contained the vat of vinegar.

The amnesiacs then moved upstairs to the attic, from the main bedroom. The stairs up seemed to have been unused for a very long time, as evidenced by the piled dust and cobwebs. The attic itself was a large open space, directly under the roof, 15’ tall along the roof line, with the beams, trusses and rafters visible in the dim light from a few dormer windows. Several crates were scattered around, and several ugly, fibrous plants in clay pots. The air smelled of dust, mold and decay.

The only inhabitant of the area appeared to be an old woman, dressed in shabby black dress and black veil. Even in the dim light, the woman was clearly not normal. Tentacular protrusions were visible, poking out from the dress, and one side of the woman’s face was clearly not human any more. The group recognised the woman as a physical version of the spirit manifestation they had encountered previously in town.

On seeing the group, the woman backed away, and shouted at them to leave her alone, and not look at her. She covered the unnatural side of her face with her arms, and backed away. River and Scorcher attempted to calm her down, but their efforts proved futile, and she soon lashed out at the group. The group reluctantly moved in, and surrounded her, but found that their blows were largely ineffectual. Her unnaturally rubbery flesh appeared to resist the attacks that did land.

The woman did fight back, but also found it difficult to harm anyone in the well-armoured group, especially after Lekovi applied a psychic effect that swapped around the input from her senses. Eventually, a blow was landed that knocked the woman out. Not knowing what else to do, the group restrained her unconscious form for later transport to Winter. A search of the room located a folding leather pouch hidden in one of the potted plants. The pouch was full of gems and jewellery.

Finished with the main part of the mansion, the group now returned to the trap door in the library, and descended into the depths of Iris Hill.

The trap door led to a set of stairs, which eventuall opened out into a wine cellar. The doors were locked, but Cailyn made short work of the locks. The shelves in the room were neatly stacked with glass and clay bottles, tiny kegs, decanters, mugs and crystal goblets.

A long corridor led out of the cellar, past a door, and ended in the centre of a wider cross hallway. The door, unlocked, led into a side room that appeared to have been used as a cell. Two heavy wooden pallets with manacles were present, but little else. The wider hallway walls were covered in tapestries, one of which had been defaced with another Yellow Sign of Hastur. A set of double doors were at one end of the hallway, while another corridor at the other end led into a smaller room, containing a coffin.

Cailyn went to the double doors, while River went to the room with the coffin. River saw the room was some sort of storage facility, but standing in the room was a rotund man, wearing a black coat, with a dead-looking expression on his face. He immediately moved to attack the group, and River and the others were filled with a sense of gloom and repulsion. The man reached out and touched River, draining some of his life essence, and revealing itself as some form of unliving monstrosity.

Taber and the two spellcasters moved to support River, Scorcher opening by launching a Fireball into the room behind the creature, destroying most of the room’s contents, and setting the rest ablaze. Lekovi attempted to interfere with the creature’s attacks unsuccessfully, while Taber and River pounded on the creature.

As the rest of the group engaged the creature, Cailyn continued checking the door she was beside, and detected a sound of movement behind it. Fearing ambush from another quarter, she threw the door open, and found a humanoid dressed in Qadiran-style elaborate clothing, with turned-up toes on her boots, and a hood and face covering. Something about the woman did not seem to be human, as she had talon-like nails, and something about her shape under the clothing just…seemed wrong. Cailyn made her companions aware of the danger, and moved to engage, but was surprised when the woman bit him, draining some of the speed from her limbs. Lekovi looked, and identified the creature as a Denizen of Leng, and extraplanar near-humanoid from the otherworldly domain of Leng, a place rumoured to be found only in a dimension of dreams.

As the rest of the group finished off the rotund undead creature, they moved down to assist Cailyn in fighting off the Denizen of Leng, who proved a tough opponent, but was soon slain. As she died, her body disappeared, along with her clothing and possessions.

Further exploration showed that the room the Denizen of Leng had inhabited was a crypt. The walls were decorated throughout with finely wrought Pharasmin symbols, culminating in a seven-foot-high bas-relief of the goddess’ face on the southern wall. Seven sarophagi were arranged around the room, and dozens of burial recesses riddled the walls. Three of the sarcophagi were uncovered. The recently-dead body of a woman in rich clothing lay on one of the sealed sarcophagi, with a strange device attached to her. Cailyn recognised the woman as the missing royal accuser, Omari. Lekovi was able to identify the device as Confabulation Plates, which would allow communication with a dead person or plant. The group activated the plates, and confirmed Omari had not had time to gather any evidence against the Count, and that she had been slain at the fort.

Searching the crypt turned up a number of long-dead ancestors and servants of the Lowls family. Inside one of the crypts was a longsword, that turned out to be magically enchanted. As well as being enhanced, it glowed with a pale purple light when picked up. Cailyn was also able to determine that the large bas-relief sculpture of Pharasma was designed to swing out of the way, revealing a staircase descending further into the hill.

The group went back to the earlier areas first, and continued exploring the former storage area. Although the contents had been mostly destroyed by the earlier fireball, a melted lump of silver was located amongst the wreckage. A length corridor stretched east, and another north from this area. The eastern corridor ended at a well. The northern corridor ended at an ice cellar. Despite earlier caution, the group failed to notice a glyph of warding placed on the corridor leading to the ice cellar, and set it off, harming River and Cailyn. A ladder from the ice cellar led up to the kitchen.

Backtracking to the crypt, the amnesiacs descended to the lowest level of Iris Hill. The staircase opened onto a short corridor, which then ended at a much longer cross corridor. The northern end led into a circular chamber, and the southern end led into a large rectangular chamber. Moving first to the north, the group found the third of the Thrushmoor Star Stelae, standing on a platform of natural bedrock. Unlike the other two Stelae, this one was glowing with a pale, yellow light. Blood stains, old and new, and bloodless body parts marred the floor surrounding the monument. Despite the gore not being fresh, the room stank strongly of blood. The remains showed that, clearly, a large number of people had been killed in this room over a lengthy period of time. This was likely the resting place of the missing people from the town.

Moving back to the southern end of the corridor, stepping into the large rectangular chamber immediately set off another glyph of warding. The room itself resembled the courtyard of an ancient, subterranean palace, with columns supporting a 30-foot-high cloister dome. In the middle of the floor, a tile mosaic of the Yellow Sign emitted a thing, yellow vapor that filled the room with a faint odoyr of chrysanthemums. The vapour rose to the concave dome of the vaule, through which an image of the minarets, towers and spires of a mysterious city silhouetted against a yellow sky could be seen. The image swayed softly with a slow alternation of light and darkness, to the sound of invisible pipes and strings. At the far end of the chamber, a marble throne sat within a semicircular apse. A floor to ceiling band of gilded mosaics decorated the walls, depicting a fantastic urban landscape populated by figures in flowing robes and full-face masks.

As strange and fantastic a sight as this was, the room was also deserted. A search of the room revealed little else, although stashed behind the throne was an ancient book, written in Aklo. Lekovi recognised the 10 pound, 500 page book as a copy of the Pnakotic Manuscripts.

At this point, the group feel they have reached the end of a stage of their journey, and must prepare for their next steps. Perhaps reflection and research would provide some clues as to what those steps should be.

Assault on Iris Hill

Assault on Iris Hill

Starday, 2nd of Rova, Late Morning

The amnesiacs strode boldly across the grounds of Iris Hill, planning to investigate the outbuildings before moving onto the mansion itself. They visited the closest building on the left first, which turned out to be guest quarters, followed by the stables beside it, a bathhouse across the grounds, and then the kitchens and servants quarters beside the main house.

Entering the guest quarters, the group is surprised to find a well-dressed couple, seated at a table, sipping wine. The pair, although clearly not expecting company, greet the group, and invite them to join them in drinks. When River remains hostile, the young woman resorts to quickly casting a Suggestion spell upon him, suggesting he leave the grounds. As River turned and exited the building, the rest of the group swarmed in and efficiently slaughtered the pair. A search of the building turned up a trunk, locked with keys found on the male from downstairs. Cailyn unlocked and opened the trunk, and a magical trap exploded, leaving Cailyn shocked but still walking. Inside the trunk were discovered two dozen nobles' outfits, a dozen bottles of wine, and a box of jewelry.

The next building around was clearly a set of stables. The group split as they approached, some going through the main front doors, and others through the side door. Cailyn, moving towards the side door, walked through an area strewn with dirty straw. With no sign of a source, the sounds of a horse whinnying became audible. Everyone stopped to see what was happening, and a spectral horse attempted to run through Cailyn, but she nimbly stepped out of the way. After this manifestation, Cailyn searched the straw, and discovered blood stains throughout the straw, and a filthy, bloodstained meat cleaver underneath. The cleaver was taken out and blessed, and the group felt the presence had been cleansed.

Inside the stables, the group discovered a recently-dug hole. Shining lights down the hole, it became clear that it was a shaft leading straight down into the ceiling of a large cavern. Deciding it was better to clear the rest of the building first, the group moved upstairs.

A door at the top of the stairs led into a bedroom. In the centre of the room was what appeared to be a man-sized pitcher plant. As the group examined the plant, it expelled a cloud of spores, and several of the group felt strangely light-headed, and unsure of what they were doing, and began hallucinating. Scorcher felt as though he were melting, and tried to hold his body together. River felt as though he had shrunk to a tenth of his normal size. The rest of the group moved as quickly as possible to cut down the plant. As they did, the creature lashed out with tendrils, dispensing more of the spores on anything it hit. Luckily, none of the rest of the amnesiacs fell under the influence of the spores, and Scorcher was able to fight off the effects quickly. The carnivorous plant was eventually destroyed.

Searching the bedroom, and the lounge next door, turned up several interesting items, including a shrine with incense and a ledger. Behind the shrine was a tapestry, draped to conceal a yellow sign, daubed on the wall in ochre.

As Cailyn opened the ledger, a magical, transluscent serpent attempted to bite her, but she was able to dodge the attack. Lekovi identified this effect as a Sepia Snake Sigil spell. The ledger proved to contain records of many transactions for the manor house. Most interesting were the recent firing of all of the former house servants, and the purchase of slaves from a vendor named Weralai. There was also information about a purchase of a large number of books several months prior, including such titles as Argument Against Reality, Delusion: A Pact with Sanity, Esoteric Delves into the Waking Mind, and Mystical Sites of Eastern Casmaron.

From here, the group decided to leave the hole in the stable unexplored for now, and moved on. The building across the grounds was a bathhouse, and a quick magical search turned up several bars of enchanted soul soap.

Back across to the last and largest outbuilding, the amnesiacs found a kitchen, being used in only the most basic manner by a group of Kuru tribesmen. Taber rushed in to face this threat. Reacting almost as quickly, and eager to use his new abilities, Scorcher launched a fireball into the room, injuring most of the Kuru, and burning Taber as well. The others moved in, and helped mop up the few surviving cannibal tribesmen.

Little of value was found in the kitchen or pantry, and the evidence was that most of the food in storage had been allowed to rot. Evidence of several questionable types of meat were found throughout the kitchen. The servant's quarters on the floor above proved empty, and so the group moved onto the main building next door.

Using the closest entrance to the kitchens, on the northern wing of the mansion, the group entered a dining room, where several well-dressed cultists were seated. They quickly drew weapons, and Taber rushed to block them in. Echoing the events in the kitchen, Scorcher again unleashed a ball of fire, again singing Taber. Despite there being a number of the cultists, thr group were now used to their tricks, and quickly dispatched them.

Rather than moving on to the rest of the bottom floor, the group used a set of stairs leading up from the dining room into a sitting room. As Cailyn stepped into this area, she and others in the group heard what sounded like a quiet snickering. As the group tried to determine what this threat was, a large transparent creature attacked Cailyn, and wrapped tendrils around her. The tendrils were covered in sharp tubes that drew blood out of Cailyn. As the blood flowed into the creature, it became visible, the transparent organs circulating and containing the fresh blood revealing a terrifying, floating, writhing mass of tentacles around a fanged maw, similar to a flying squid or octopus. Identifying the thing as an aberration, Cailyn let it have her arm, and proceeded to tear into it with her claws. Taber and River stepped in to assist, and the creature was shortly slain.

A door led from the sitting room, to a spinal corridor running from the northern to southern wing of the house, many doors and windows on either side, and a marble wash basin at the near end. Taber, taking the lead, could hear creatures scampering somewhere out of sight, under the floorboards.

While concentrating on the sound, Taber also noticed that all of the windows in the corridor were closed, and the shutters nailed shut. Recalling their visit from the penanggalen the previous night, Taber began tearing the nails out, and wrenching the shutters open, to let fresh sunshine wash through the corridor.

Three doors opened from the corridor to the west, and each opened onto a bedroom. In the closest one, the group discovered a large wooden vat, apparently containing vinegar, based on the smell coming from it. Again reminded of the penanggalen, Taber continued wrenching open the windows in the room, while River smashed the vat, emptying the vinegar onto the floor.

A more detailed search turned up five glass vials and a notebook on the bedside table. The glass vials each contained sticky residue of a chemical. The notebook contained a lengthy series of notes about his suspicions that Ulver Zandalus was the key to discovering Neruzavin, the lost city in Casmaron that holds three Star Stelae similar to those in Thrushmoor. The last entries in the notebook contain data on each of the amnesiacs, identified by name and accurate details of race, gender, height, and weight. Several scrolls and other items were recovered as well.

The next bedroom along contained little more than several valuable items, including a pearl of power, and a stone of alarm.

The third and last bedroom to the west appeared to have once belonged to a child. The majority of the room was covered in dust, save a single chair in the middle of the floor.

A door at the end of the hallway showed stairs down to the first floor.

Across the hallway from the last bedroom was found what appeared to be the main bedroom of the house. Containing a sumptuous four-posted bed, it was decorated in pseudo-Qadiran style, with intricate patterns carved in the wood paneling, and the bed had a minaret-like canopy. The room also contained an ebony writing desk, and an L-shaped armoire. Doors led to a private study, and stairs up. A quick exploration while Taber wrenched open all of the windows revealed several things of interest.

On the study desk was a collection of notes and books, which would take time to sort through, but there was mention of Ulver Zandalaus and Briarstone Asylum. Amongst the collection was a slim red spellbook (containing the wizard spells blindness/deafness, dancing lights, detect thoughts, eagle’s splendor, expeditious retreat, gust of wind, hypnotism, illusory wall, mirror image, owl’s wisdom, protection from good, and shield).

A small, lockable trunk was also found near the door to the sudy, inside of which were a large number of esoteric books, and several other items. The titles of the books included Atop the Valley’s Soul, The Codex of Three Prescriptions, Curses of the Black Lake, Dichotomous Translations of Aklo Syntax, Elements Through the Spirals of Time, Emotions of the Past, The Falling Silk, Festival of the Snake, The Forgotten Servants, The Illusion of the Weeping Ones, In Admiration of Keeping Pacts, Manual of Silence, Men and Vultures: Denizens of the Darkened Depths and Dead Skies, Monuments of the Forest, The Shadow’s Ship, Shards of Sight, Spiders of Sin and Sky, Theological Agreements of the Kingdom, Tigers and Flies, The Unified Manual of Understanding, Voyage of the Rainbow Servant, and The Wise Harmony.

Feeling that they had exhausted a large portion of their resources, the amnesiacs decided to barricade the bedroom, and rest and recover.

Starday, 2nd of Rova, Late Afternoon

While Scorcher and River slept soundly, Taber meditated, and Cailyn and Lekovi kept watch while they began sorting through the documents from the study. They found the following.

A notebook held an account of Lowls’s interviews with Ulver Zandalus, which took place in Briarstone Asylum. Though Zandalus was mute, Lowls would interview him while he drew his charcoal drawings of the mysterious city, and during the process details would emerge which Lowls would interpret. In later interviews, Count Lowls made use of magic to read the man’s thoughts. Through this process, Lowls was able to learn about a distant lost city in some nameless desert that reportedly featured three Star Stelae, identical in shape and arrangement to those in Thrushmoor. In the last pages of the notebook, Lowls stopped relating what he learned from his interviews with Ulver, and began writing with maniacal fervor about his obsession with the city and his belief that its discovery alone could repair his academic reputation.

An annotated map showed Lake Encarthan and the lands to the south. The count had drawn a route from Thrushmoor to Xer, traced a line down the Sellen River to Cassomir, and then marked the coast to Katheer.

A draft of the equipment, supplies, and number of slaves the count planned to purchase for the final leg of the expedition was found scribbled on a piece of parchment.

As the shadows began to lengthen towards twilight, the observant sentries heard the sounds of quiet voices beneath them. Thinking quickly, Lekovi used Detect Magic to scan below for any sources of dweomer, and discerned a source of moderate magic. Picking this emanation source as his target, he attempted to read the thoughts of the manifester, and immediately felt a backlash of razor-sharpness from the alien mind he touched. Stunned, he reeled, finding he had taken physical damage from the mental assault.

Hoping to still allow the two sleeping casters to recover the spells, Cailyn prepared to climb out the window, and down to the bottom floor. Taber, alert for trouble, noticed what seemed to be a small heat shimmer in one corner of the ceiling, and pointed it out to the others. Cailyn recognised this distortion as a scrying sensor. As they discussed what action to take next, a number of loud footfalls were heard on the stairs from below. As they reached the door to the hallway, and found it locked, the group heard the loud thuds of axes striking the door. Realising they were about to be assaulted, Scorcher and River were woken, and began quickly preparing themselves for a fight. River threw on a spare chain shirt, deciding he did not have the time to don his full plate. Scorcher cast several prepatory spells, as the axes continued to fall on the outer door. When that door fell, the footsteps moved outside the bedroom door, and it too began to shudder under axe blows.

As everyone concentrated on the door, Scorcher was suddenly attacked by a gaunt hound that appeared from thin air, floating in the air over him. The thing tore into him with frightening speed from above, a whirl of claws and teeth.

A fierce battle ensued from this point, eventually involving half a dozen cultists, two different spellcasters (one of which escaped), the hovering, swift creature, and another winged beast. All bar one of the enemy were felled, but in the process, Lekovi was struck permanently blind, Flack was cut down, and Flowing River was killed outright due to precise strikes from the last pair of cultists.

Taber, Scorcher, Cailyn and Lekovi quickly gathered the spoils of the battle, and fled the mansion, planning to once again travel to Caliphas for healing.

Over the Hedge
...and over the hill

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.


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.

Against the Skum

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.

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.

Grim Happenings

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.


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