The group once again started out travelling from the chapel to the Orpiment Apostle camp, and towards the kitchens, intending to deal with the reported haunt. Along the way, in the previously dark scary room, they encountered a cloud of Vampiric mist, and quickly slew it. As the group went to leave this area, Lekovi realised that somehting was wrong, and apart from feeling weakened, discovered he had what appeared to be some sort of tumours growing from his already homely face.
Arriving at the kitchens, the group found it unexpectedly abandoned, the three stone hearths cold. Around the far hearth, a makeshift line of rubble appeared to denote the area of influence of the haunt. Sensing light and noise in the former preparation area to the south, the group moved in and found it had been repurposed to become a kitchen for the camp. Seeing the cook distraught and overrun, Lekovi helped out, and cooked a surprisingly masterful meal of potato cakes out of the stock of potatoes, bacon lard and dill. During this time, Cailyn smuggled as many of the huge bags of potatoes as possible into Lekovi's Handy Haversack, for delivering back to the chapel camp, while the rest of the group spoke to the cook, Ivory Garidine, about conditions here, and the haunted kitchen.
While the cooking and conversation was going on, the rubble-blocked southern doors were banged and rattled by something strong. With a pause between, both doors were tried by this unknown force. Ivory Taking this as a sign of a threat to investigate, the amnesiacs looked for a way to make progress, remembering there was another door into the courtyard from the camp. Moving to this exit, the group found the windows from the camp facing the courtyard were all barricaded, and four Apostles were on guard duty. They did not seem concerned about the amnesiacs wanting to go out the door, and when asked, said they were on guard duty against the monsters, and that they sometimes heard hooves.
Stepping outside, the group found that the mist was relatively thick, and it was once again raining heavily. Shortly after they went outside, there was a tremendous clash of thunder so loud, that most of the group was deafened.
Cailyn looked for signs of tracks, and found that there were a confused mix of booted and unshod humanoid prints. In addition, there were hoof prints (unshod hoof prints, upon reflection), which seemed to appear and disappear in some places. There also appeared to be a path that led around the edges of the courtyard.
From out of the mist appeared a trio of what later turned out to be Ghouls. As they attacked, the group quickly reacted, but were unable to apply much in the way of strategy thanks to the heavy mist. As they did begin to defend themselves, from a different direction out of the mist, River was charged by, of all things, a Unicorn! Despite being almost impaled on the things horn, River and Scorcher fought bravely against it, while the other three were able to fight off the Ghouls, allowing one of the three to escape. As the group started to shift to concentrate on the Unicorn, it suddenly disappeared into the mist, with a popping noise that Lekovi identified as the Unicorn's Greater Teleport ability.
The group decided that dealing with the solitary Ghoul was more important than the Unicorn (which Cailyn felt was probably just misguidedly defending its home). Realising the Unicorn had only attacked those off the path, the group skirted around the edge of the Courtyard after the Ghoul, following it along the path, but forced to travel slower. As the thunder rang out again, the group found the door into the north west corner of the asylum, and Cailyn was able to see fresh tracks leading in.
Disaster almost struck the group as they followed the trail into the halls, and blundered into a carefully laid ambush. A wall, carefully prepared, was purposely collapsed on most of the group, and from several different quarters, the group was set upon by a veritable horde of Ghouls led by a Ghast with a severed hand hung around its neck as a grisly trophy. During the prolonged struggle, Cailyn was knocked unconscious and paralysed, and things looked bleak for a time, but the group won out, slaying all of the foul creatures.
Exploring, the group made another horrifying discover in the room to their north, stumbling across what looked like a larder. Several makeshift cages contained partially-eaten human corpses, and a crate concealed a black labrador/alsation cross puppy. Cailyn adopted the puppy, and named it Shadow. Lekovi discovered magic on one of the corpses, and retrieved a magical heavy shield, which replaced the newly constructed shield River had been wielding.
Exploring further north, they found an open door to outside, and in front of it, a strange reptillian creature, later identified as a Voonith. The group were able to quickly dispatch it.
Deciding they had taken enough punishment for one day, the group retreated to the chapel, concealing the puppy as they moved through the Apostle camp. They gave the stock of potatoes to Winter, and Lekovi prepared a fine meal for everyone from it. After a night of rest and recuperation (during which time, Cailyn constructed more makeshift weapons),. Lekovi's tumorous affliction was treated, and started improving. The group then set out again. Despite Shadow clearly wanting to follow, Cailyn instructed her to stay with Winter, who reluctantly agreed.
The group set out, and returned to the tower they had been told contained one of Zandalus's lieutenants. Entering, they were again beset upon by a trio of Ghouls, which were again quickly dispatched. Examining the tower itself, the group found that it contained a ruined set of stairs leading up to an upper floor. The remains of the stairs looked relatively easy to climb, and Taber scrambled up first.
The top floor room, largely open to the elements from broken windows, contained a wide array of crates and older medical equipment. In the centre of the area, Taber spotted a figure, wreathed in heavy yellow fog, hiding amongst the crates. In a silent exchange of gestures, Taber assured the figure he meant no harm, and then lowered a rope for his friends. As Cailyn climbed up, the figure approached closer, and all of a sudden, the pair engulfed by the fog felt like going to sleep…shaking this influence off, they found the man attempting to slam it's fists into Taber and Cailyn. After a quick struggle (during which, River was unable to even begin climbing up the ruined stairs), this man was killed. Examining the body afterwards, Lekovi was able to determine that the insides had essentially been scooped out and replaced by a portal, presumably to the Dreamlands. The yellow fog appeared to be substance from the Dreamlands, transported through this portal. Almost immediately after the death of the creature, the group could see the fog in and around the tower beginning to lessen.
Out of new areas to explore, the group went back to familiar ground, returning to the kitchen. Approaching the marked hearth, an empty cauldron suddenly boiled and tipped over, releasing an ethereal puddle of water from which rose a cloud of spectral vapour. Despite having left behind any food after a warning, Scorcher and Cailyn felt their stomachs churn as they approached, as though the food in their stomachs was being affected. Quickly applying positive energy, the group suppressed the haunt, but were unable to find any trace of the body. Talking to Ivory again, they discovered the previous head cook had an office that was in an area that had collapsed. After some digging, they were able to find his body, and give him a burial.
Tackling the other loose end, the group went back to the courtyard, and circumnavigated it following the path. In the southwestern corner of the courtyard, they discovered a body, formerly quite handsome, albeit very thin. Before they could investigate much further, the Unicorn appeared out of the mists and attacked. Despite numerous efforts from Cailyn to calm the beast down, it was eventually put down, and as it died, the body dissipated into nothing. Examining the body, Lekovi and Scorcher were able to find it wore a Ring of Sustenance.
At a bit of a loss for other objectives, the group traveled back to Dr Elbourne, intending to reconnoiter Zandalus's second floor stronghold. While the majority of the group stayed with Elbourne, Taber walked up both sets of stairs, finding one blocked, and the other leading to a room with a trio of apostles playing cards at a table, and a decrepit old woman lying on a pallet. Making noise enough to catch the attention of the Apostles, they told Taber to take off. He complied, going back to Elbourne's office.
A brief chat with Elbourne identified the woman as Aggra Loomis, a 70 year old woman responsible for the bodies with bagged heads above the stairs, and also for a number of similar murders in Rozenport 40 years prior. Now wary, but feeling confident, the group all ascended to the upper floor, and were attacked by the thugs. Aggra displayed surprising strength and agility, by leaping to her feet, and catching River in a chokehold. Before she was able to capitalise on it, River slipped out of her grip, and she and her thugs were quickly slain.
Moving into the next area around collapsed walls, the group found it largely open to the elements. Inside were three of the mist-spewing creatures they had already encountered. After a short fight, all three were killed with little loss to the group. Feeling out of resources, the amnesiacs once again retreated back to the chapel, feeling they were close to finally meeting Ulver Zandalus.
Current date – 23 Arodus 4717 AR