Sunday, August 10, 2008

Runelords Recap: Part Three

Brodert took a long sip from his glass, finishing it off as the story's break came to an end and people began to locate their seats once more. Ameiko had cooked up some snacks and everyone seemed content to stay as late as need be to hear the end of this chapter in the story. "Last we left our heroes," Brodert began, "Blayne the rogue had gone missing, Deanda the druid was being targeted by some strange man calling himself 'The Hunter', and a Dwarven monk by the name of Kraca had shown up on the hero's doorstep with news.

Apparently, the monk had been on his way to Sandpoint when he came across a half-crazed farmer in the nearby farmlands, yelling out nonsensical words, before finally running into a tree. The dwarf was able to transport the man the rest of the way to town, but no sooner did the famer arrive then he started spewing nonsense again. Kraca said that Sheriff Hemlock had sent him to tell them.

The heroes made quickly for the room where the man was being held, chanting over and over again a strange and unsettling Varisian nursery rhyme with a scared and shaking voice.

Mumble Mumble Scarecrow
Alone in the maize.
Sleeping in the daytime,
A stitched man he stays.

But when the moon she rises,
Up Mumble gets.
He shakes his hands at first
And moves his feet the next.

And when the dog is snoring,
And when your fast asleep,
Mumble Mumble Scarecrow
Will find you good to eat.

After calming the man down, the farmer launched into a breathless recount of his troubles. Something about the Hambley farmhouse, a group of farmers set to destroy the evil within, and the lot of them being devoured. 'They even ate the DOGS!' Farmer Grump exclaimed before falling back once again into his nursery rhyme.

So far, the adventurers had not been able to gather many clues. When dealing with the insane bodyguard in Habe's Sanatorium, Jaime was able to identify the Ghoul Fever that was sweeping through the man, though they were able to get little information from the sickened fellow, save for a phrase he kept repeating over and over again. 'The Skinsaw Man is coming…'

The adventurers decided that they needed to investigate the Hambley farmhouse themselves. Sheriff Hemlock suggested they take along a handful of Sandpoint militia members, just in case they needed the backup. The heroes agreed, and welcomed Anthony, Briar, Jade and Kayla to their party. Kiikii had made good friends with the guardsman Briar at the beginning of their investigations, so he was happy to see the man tagging along. Jade, the more beautiful of the two sisters, quickly captured the heart of Slavla – despite her having been deaf from birth. A setback Slavla intended to quickly remedy.

Mounting their horses, the group set out for the farmlands, and made quick work of the beasts that inhabited it. They fought toe to toe against ghouls and wicked undead creatures – striking down the strange beasts that had taken over the Hambley farmhouse.

There they found another strange note to Deanda, but nothing that told them for sure where they would find their murderer. Following up on one final lead, the party advanced on Scarnetti Manor. The Scarnetti's owned Sandpoint Lumber Mill and it was common knowledge that the man who was murdered – one of the millers there – had been embezzling money from the Scarnetti's profits for years. If they'd found out about it… well… word on the street was that the Scarnetti's could be pretty ruthless.

What they came upon when visiting the Scarnetti home was not at all what they expected however. A young child answered the door that seemed initially unwilling to allow the adventurers enter. He was the young Aaron Scarnetti, and when he finally did open the door they saw why. Both his father and mother laid murdered behind him – the Sihedron Rune carved into them. A note clung to the man's coat.

'Deanda, you continue to ignore my invitations my love. Did you not sense my need for you that evening we hunted? ~The Hunter'

The heroes set off at once for Foxglove Manor…

The manor, also known locally as 'The Misgivings', had earned its nickname well. An ancient and decrepit old building that looked perched to commit a suicidal leap off of the cliff it perched upon.

One of the most dangerous places our heroes had ever visited, their laid no real enemies here for Slavla to impale, or for Nakor to bash the skulls of. No, here all they faced were the unsettled spirits of Foxglove manor – reaching out for vengeance after ninety years of pain and suffering. As our adventurers advanced through the manor, they found themselves facing the hauntings of tragic moments past. They filled the walls and chambers of this building, threatening to drive them mad. And in these adventures, our heroes slowly learned the history of this tragic manor.

The heroes learned that Foxglove manor was built by Vorel Foxglove – Aldern's great great uncle. When it was built, construction of it was partially funded by a group known as the Brothers of the Seven – a secret society – with the understanding that the manor house would revert to the Brother's control after 100 years.

During this time, Vorel sought to become a lich. However, in the time of his great transformation, Vorel's wife Kasandra interrupted the ritual causing a great magical backlash – consuming Vorel in a storm of disease and tumors. Kasandra tried to escape, but she and her children quickly fell victim to the disease as well and perished.

Forty three years later, Vorel's great nephew and his wife Cyralie moved into the manor and had their son, Aldern. As the spirit of Vorel worked to drive the family mad, Cyralie – in a fit of insanity – burned the servant's quarters only to be thrown from the window of the observatory by her husband when she tried to burn the manor. Traver killed himself when he realized what he had done – leaving Aldern to his strange future.

Making their way through the manor, our heroes faced the ghosts of the many who had passed away in this haunted place. When they came upon the spirit of Ireena, a strange woman they knew little of, they followed her with haste as she cried out to Aldern in anger. Their journey was deterred however, by the large number of ghouls in the lower catacombs - some of them with the bodies of goblins.

Carving their way past a great spider, and many ghouls, finally the group came upon Aldern himself. The man had gone mad, and had given himself over fully to the ghoul fever which had a hold on him. His lower chambers were riddled with mementos of Deanda, and high above his alter to her hung Blayne – his jaw removed and the Sihedron medallion scribed painfully upon the thief's chest.

Fueled by the death of their dear friend Blayne, battle was joined…"

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