Rise of the Runelords

Ascending the tower

Krac, Renza, Lor, and Bahram appeared at the base of The Shadow Tower in the Underbridge and surveyed the outside for alternative means of entry. The most immediately obvious entrance was a door at the base of the crumbling tower, and the outside of the tower didn’t look stable enough to climb.

As they entered the building, both Krac and Bahram noticed a figure lurking behind a wagon in the corner. At the same time, Renza reached out with her arcane senses and noted several magic auras in the room. All entered the room and fanned out around the wagon; as they called out the figure behind the wagon, it realized it couldn’t ambush the group and stepped out.

A jumbled mass of body parts incorporating as much cow and horse as man, the Scarecrow’s considerable girth was topped by an idiot head that leered and drooled like a grotesque baby. Its face was cruelly stitched, the lips sewn partially together. It was dressed in straw and dung-covered rags that gave off a sickly sweet smell of decay. A trio of pumpkin heads hung on his belt—a closer inspection revealed them to be human heads.

The creature grunted and raised its massive scythe aloft. Bahram yelled at it to come out and face them. It seemed unbothered by his attempts at intimidation.

Lor quipped, “This is why I wanted to come here during the day…so much for that.”

Renza stepped forward and commanded it to cease its attack. The creature glared at her, but made no effort to halt.

Bahram and Krac moved to attack the creature, and Lor and Renza waded in to aid them. Lor levied two flaming attacks at the golem, but it seemed unaffected by her magic. The creature responded by burying its scythe in her chest. She let out a gurgling gasp of air as the scythe pulled free, and she fell to her knees.

Renza stepped forward and unleashed a touch that aged the creature supernaturally, and it seemed to stiffen and begin to crumble.

“Time magic!” Renza yelled. “Time magic will cause it to deteriorate!”

Bahram snorted, “Let me pull out my time magic then.”

Krac strode across the room to flank with Bahram, and the creature unleashed its fury upon him. He took two blows that’d drop any normal humanoid, but he tapped into his orcish heritage to continue standing.

Renza darted in to offer Krac healing as the battle raged around them. Lor, still desperately clutching her hemorrhaging chest wound, stepped forth and offered similar healing magic to Bahram.

“I need you to kill this thing, Bahram. None of my spells are working.”

She paused, giving him a grim look as the battle raged, “I also need you to not die.”

At that moment, Seris arrived through the front door with a look that mixed alarm and annoyance. She began dancing immediately.

Collectively, the group yelled for Seris to join them.

“This will teach you to wait for me next time!” she grumbled.

Krac, renewed with a sense of desperation and purpose, called upon Sarenrae to smite the foe before him. Suddenly concerned, the golem moved to flee, but Krac cut it down before him.

Lor moved forward and angrily kicked it in the head after it landed on the ground. Renza heaved a sigh of relief, while Bahram fell to the ground exhausted, clutching his wounds. They regrouped and mended their wounds and began the ascent.

They tied a rope around their waists and walked with space between each of them to avoid overburdening the creaking, rotten stairs. They reached about halfway up the tower when they heard the bells tolling above them. With an immense crash, one of the bells began tolling, and broke free and crashed down along the wall below it. It smashed into Krac and Seris, but both managed to grab onto the railings as the stairs gave way and left an expansive gap below them.

Both heaved sighs of relief as the others looked on, completely stunned by the turn of events.

Bahram interjected, noting Seris’ gaze up. “Guys, not to take away from this moment, but we’re not alone.”

Lor sighed. “Please don’t say that right now.”

They rigged a rope and began to climb up with renewed purpose. Lor activated her flying magic and flew up while the others climbed.

Renza looked a bit uncomfortable. “I’m not so great with heights, you guys.”

She grabbed ahold of the rope and began the ascent along the rope, climbing hand over hand. When she got halfway up the rope, she miscalculated her grasp and slipped. A look of horror washed over her face.

Seris cast out her hand, and Renza was relieved to feel her fall cushioned by some form of magical protection. She floated down to the floor below and quickly scaled the stairs back up. With the help of some creative rigging, she was able to cross the gap.

When they reached the top, the group was met with three Faceless Stalkers, who promptly ambushed them on the stairs. With difficulty, the harried group was able to dispatch them and continued on to the top of the tower.

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In the shadows

That night, they retired and planned to visit the Shadow Clock the next evening, but on a hunch, Seris asked around town to find out some information on the old tower they’d soon be visiting.

She was able to discover the 250 foot tall teetering structure stands above all other buildings in the Underbridge, its clock face permanently frozen at 3 o’clock.

Dubbed the “Terrible Stairs” by locals, it took ten fatal attempts by foolish daredevils trying to climb the decaying steps before the city moved to close down the tower permanently. Today, the tower stands in defiance of the order—too massive to safely and affordably demolish, yet too well engineered to tumble down on its own.

The only other useful bit of information was a nursery rhyme a drunk old man creepily sang for her with gusto at a nearby tavern:

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 you’re fast asleep,
Mumble Mumble Scarecrow
Will find you good to eat.

Slightly unnerved, she returned to her group to share the news, and after ruminating on what this all might mean for them tomorrow, they retired for the evening and prepared for their encounter with Xanesha.

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I'll trade my justice for your injustice
Not a fair trade, but...oh well!

Thinking quickly on her feet, Seris suggests taking the justice to Renza’s home to continue their interrogation.

They commandeered a cart outside of the mill and place the prone body of the justice inside. From there, they wheeled the cart to Renza’s townhome in the Capital district.

She answered the door, but before she could react, the group ushered the elf inside and then piled in and barricaded the door. They quickly explained the situation, but when Renza heard who the prone man was, she quickly protested.

Lor, Seris, and Bahram all crowded her, talking over one another to explain the importance of figuring out what he knew.

“We should keep him unconscious while we try to decipher the writing in his logbook,” Seris explained, adding, “Which I can do if you give me the space and some quiet.”

Lor offered to help, and the two of them retreated to an office upstairs. Renza and the others discussed what to do with the justice. She reminded them of the grave legal penalties for assaulting and extorting a justice, despite their claims of his guilt.

They were unconvinced, and ensured he was properly restrained. They kept him unconscious and complaint for three days while the two women worked on the cipher upstairs. What they found was exceptionally puzzling and assuredly damning evidence.

The cipher used a mix of Draconic, Elven, and Infernal characters. It revealed the methodology of his cult’s machinations, and went on to reveal that “Lovely Xanesha” had stolen his heart and provided him with a new method of murder. The book revealed he’d visited her dozens of times at a site in northern Magnimar called the Shadow Clock.

The ledger also indcated that Ironbriar had received payment from the Red Mantis for delivery of “Vorel’s Legacy.”

With this knowledge in mind, they awakened him with healing magic and promised to turn him in to the authorities. Lor dispelled his enchantment (after two attempts at the spell), and he promptly began begging for his life.

He explained that Xanesha was responsible for all of the murders, both in Sandpoint and in Magnimar, and that she was using the Brothers of the Seven as patsies for her own plans. With his only bargaining chip already deciphered, he instead turned hostile and spat in Bahram’s face. Enraged, Bahram unceremoniously clobbered him in the nose. After the justice’s nose began to freely bleed, he sputtered out—“But wait, I can tell you about the forces which reside there. That should account for something, right?”

Lor interjected, “That won’t stop us from turning you into the authorities. You abused your power and deserve punishment under the very system you professed to hold dear when you took your office.”

Ironbriar scowled, “Nevermind then. If you won’t let me go, I have no interest in revealing anything to you.”

“We could just kill you,” Bahram and Seris stepped forward, clearly eager to kill such a corrupted man.

“Fine! Deliver me to my justice—not my death, and I will share this with you.”

He went on to reveal that at the Shadow Clock, there resided a golem called “The Scarecrow,” three faceless stalkers, and Xanesha herself.

An hour later, they delivered him, masked, to the Pediment Building, where the city justice court and the offices of the Lord-Mayor resided.

They demanded an audience with Lord-Mayor Haldmeer Grobaras, citing valuable evidence in the cases of murders plaguing Magnimar. They were ushered into a small antechamber, where an aide met them and inquired what sort of evidence they possessed. When they explained their findings and produced the translated logbook, the aide could not hide his shock, and disappeared from the room.

Ten minutes later, the Lord-Mayor himself arrived and asked the group to explain every detail. They relayed most of the information they could recall, or they believed would be relevant for the lord-mayor, including their findings at the Misgivings and their exploits in Sandpoint. He was astonished to hear of a group so capable delivering the very mastermind of the murders to his doorstep.

Thoroughly impressed, the corpulent lord-mayor asked for them to end the threat this Xanesha posed, and each of them would be rewarded for their civic service to Magnimar.

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Finally...answers
Interrogating the Skinsaw

Searching throughout Justice Ironbriar’s office, the rest of the mill, and his person, the group found several items of interest:

On Justice Ironbriar:
Wand of Cure Light Wounds (12 charges)
+1 mithral chain shirt
+1 buckler
+1 short sword

masterwork hand crossbow with 10 poisoned bolts (drow poison)
Reaper’s mask

In the closet downstairs and on the cultists:
Three potions of barkskin +3
A beautiful crystal decanter set with an obsidian stopper (worth 300 gp)
A tiny wooden box containing three poorly cut diamonds (worth 200 gp)
A total of six Skinsaw masks

In his office, they found a footlocker filled with oddments presumably lifted from his victims over the years:
A fair number are of a historical nature, including books, sea charts, etchings of vast rock formations and dolmens accompanied by maps, several pamphlets discussing a “forgotten” school of magic known as “Alchymyc” (which both Lor and Seris recognize immediately as nonsense), and a fine painting depicting a city carved from a vast frozen waterfall with towering ice cathedrals and domes (worth 200 gp).

Near the bottom are several books. The first is a wizard’s spellbook emblazoned with two entwined snakes—one red and one green—that contains the following spells:
blink, cat’s grace, chill touch, enlarge person, fox’s cunning, grease, haste, lightning bolt, mage armor, magic missle, scorching ray, shocking grasp, shrink item, spider climb, and web.

The second is an old and beautifully filigreed tome containing numerous hand-drawn illustrations and entitled The Syrpent’s Tane: Fairy Tales of the Eldest (worth 500 gp).

A slim volume near the bottom of the chest serves double-duty as a ledger and journal in a cipher.

The group managed to find a trapdoor leading up to the roof as well, and after climbing to the top, Rickben noted a timber cabinet with three silent ravens inside. A nearby table held a tall bucket of bird feed, a quill, and a vial of ink. He immediately deduced they were messenger ravens, and so to see where they were trained to fly, he released them and watched them as they flew unerringly to the north at full speed. He squinted his eyes to keep them in sight and noted as they flew under the Irespan to alight atop the Shadow Clock.

Returning back down to the top floor, Krac Kazul mused aloud that he thought Justice Ironbriar was under the effect of some enchantment spell—that he could sense something about the way the elf’s words seem to be forced. Lor looked down, reaching out with her arcane senses, and confirmed Krac’s suspicions. The elf was indeed under the effects of powerful enchantment magic.

They quickly tied him up, and then set out to interrogate him, moving quickly to avoid the possibility of ambush by the returning cultists.

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On the trail of the Seven

In order to ascertain the scope of the cultist infiltration, the group set out on a reconnaissance mission two days before infiltrating the Seven’s Sawmill.

After seeing a small cadre of cultists exit the mill and don masks, Rickben trailed them, flitting in and out of the shadows to avoid detection. He observed them travel throughout the Grand Arch district as they spied in people’s windows before they stopped in front of the Foxglove town home and lingered for just a little too long. They meandered throughout the district throughout the rest of the evening.

They decided, based on this intelligence, that they’d plan their infiltration of the sawmill for the night and returned the following night.

Each of them waited surreptitiously in the center square outside of the sawmill for the cultists to leave, and after they crossed the bridge to the north into the Keystone district, the group moved into the sawmill grounds. They appraised the windowless mill from the outside, and ventured closer after seeing no guards.

Seris traipsed downstairs to investigate the basement of the mill while the others moved around the outer walkway. There she was met with a cold stare and a equally cold reminder to leave the grounds. When asked a series of questions, the fairly nondescript man suggested Seris speak with the mill manager and turned back to his task.

The group moved to ascend the stairs back up to the entry walkway to avoid further suspicion.

Seris, Krac, and Rickben entered the mill and began searching for clues as to the cultist’s true purpose. They began ascending the stairs in the mill, quickly realizing the true purpose of the place seemed to match their expectations—both a base of operations for the cult and a functioning sawmill.

Lor and Bahram remained outside to explore the exterior of the mill for any clues. As their companions ascended the floors inside, Lor took to the sky to see if there were any alternate forms of entry. Atop the mill, she spied what appeared to be a rookery, but as she flew closer to inspect it, the mill workers ascended from the undermill and tried to ambush Bahram.

He was more than prepared for them and flew into a rage, cleaving the cultists as Lor descended from the sky to aid him. With a wrathful finish, Bahram unceremoniously murdered the last standing cultist outside. The two of them handily dispatched the group of cultists just as their companions reached the top floor of the mill. A frantic whisper sounded in their ears from Seris upstairs, and the two of them raced to join their friends.

Three cultists materialized and began their assault on the heroes on the top floor. As the battle began to rage, they heard the sounds of spells emanating from a room in the back, and the door flew open to reveal an Elven man dressed in finery and armor, wielding a shortsword. As he finished an incantation a giant crocodile appeared in the room, moving immediately to attack the heroes.

The Elven man demanded to know who had invaded their sanctum and thrust his holy symbol aloft, which channeled the divine wrath of Father Skinsaw. He launched spell after spell into the group of heroes, attempting to force them out of his base.

As the battle raged on, Lor and Bahram arrived winded at the top of the stairs and joined the melee.

Seris succumbed to a dazing spell, and began to babble incoherently in the corner.

“Can’t let the carrot gods find us!”

Lor gaped, shrugging “I don’t even…”

Rickben and the others moved to surround the man, who a cultist cried out and revealed as Justice Ironbriar.

They downed the three cultists, the summoned crocodile, and then moved to flank the man. He began spewing vile insults and threats as he noticed he was surrounded and retreated down the stairs, but he was unable to make it down them before succumbing to his wounds.

The group stabilized his wounds and began searching throughout the room for clues.

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A new viewpoint
Welcome to Magnimar

Travel to Magnimar was uneventful, and the group’s arrival in the sprawling city was met with little to no recognition, much to Rickben’s disappointment. He looked about, overwhelmed by the large city’s grand construction. Bahram and Krac were immediately uneasy and on guard, but Seris took to exploring the new locale with gusto. Despite her origins in Magnimar, Lor was indifferent, and seemed more interested in solving the mystery they’d come so far to track down. While traipsing about town, Seris managed to glean that a disturbingly familiar series of murders had been plaguing Magnimar for weeks. She uncovered that merchants, politicians, crooked guards and moneylenders had all been showing up dead—their bodies mutilated, faces missing, and chests carved with seven-pointed stars.

After selling many of the spoils of their travels, the group resolved to visit the Foxglove townhouse and discover the connection between Aldern Foxglove, this mysterious cult—the Brothers of the Seven, and the series of horrible murders in the city. The next night, they set off to the Grand Arch district, where they knew Foxglove’s town home to be.

Outside of the home stood Renza Zomar, appraising the features of the house and peering about with a vague air of suspicion. Lor called out to her and introduced herself and her companions as adventurers who were investigating murders in Sandpoint, and they discovered they had a common interest in the interior of the home and what secrets it might hold. Renza indicated she had been following the cult and its activities within the city, and noted that the group must be the “Heroes of Sandpoint.” Rickben beamed with pride.

Seris sidestepped them and deftly unlocked the front door, and they went inside quickly to avoid the prying eyes of passersby. Not more than a minute inside passed before the voices of a man and a woman called out to the new visitors. When they opened the door into the foyer, everyone but Renza was shocked to see perfect likenesses of Aldern and Iesha Foxglove. The heroes exchanged confused glances between each other, but the pair waved away their concerns and indicated they’d be preparing a dinner for the group, and that they should stay. The two inhabitants of the house walked into the kitchen and closed the door behind them.

Moments later, the doors burst open, and two bipeds with faces composed of whorls and slits began lashing out at Bahram and Krac. A melee erupted in the small room, with the heroes closing in to flank the unfamiliar creatures. As the tide of battle turned in the heroes’ favor, one of the shape changers smashed out the window and fled, just its companion was subdued. They gave chase out into the backyard and ran it down.

Renza provided two powerful healing spells to Bahram to soothe his wounds, and the group gazed on, incredulous. Lor asked Renza where she’d learned how to heal wounds so efficiently, and she admitted she was an oracle that could control the ebb of flow of time and fate.

Impressed, the group broke off and returned into the home to investigate. Seris had already bolted for the upper floors, and had managed to locate a secret cache with a deed indicating the Foxglove family’s involvement with a group called the Brothers of the Seven.

They agreed they’d visit the sawmill as soon as possible to answer their lingering concern about the cult, and offered Renza the opportunity to join them and answer her own personal curiosities. She agreed.

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The Return
The escape from madness

After escaping the madness at the Foxglove Manor, the group returned to Sandpoint to report the success of their exploration. Krac and Seris immediately ventured to city hall to speak with Kendra Deverin and Belor Hemlock. Both listened with grave intent at the news, but Sheriff Hemlock extended his hand, smiling and appreciative. Seris stepped back slowly and Krac interceded to enthusiastically shake his hand, glad to have the focus on him for once. Seris asserted they’d still have to wait a day or two to verify their results.

Rickben and Lor broke off to visit the Sandpoint Cathedral. A middle-aged acolyte answered the doors and they informed him they needed to speak with Father Zantus. He disappeared, and moments later Father Zantus appeared in a blood-stained frock. He asked them what was wrong. Lor couldn’t stop staring at the blood.

Rickben interjected and explained “I ate some fungus.” Father Zantus immediately asked him what possessed him to do such a thing?" He went on to explain what happened in the caverns below the Misgivings, and Father Zantus listened with intent.

He went on to explain that while they were away, Bethana had been injured by an attack that night, but was recovering. Everyone heaved a sigh of collective relief.

Everyone converged on the Rusty Dragon and passed out. Hemlock approached them on the second day, after everyone was able to get some rest, and awarded the group five hundred gold as a token of Sandpoint’s appreciation.

Belor beamed “I hope you understand you’ve done Sandpoint a great service at great personal risk to yourselves” and walked out of the Rusty Dragon. Glancing around at one another, the group decided they had to return to Thistletop to defeat Malfeshnekor—the barghest that lived in the basement.

They returned to the basement and, with some serious effort and grave risk, they were able to defeat the barghest. After returning to Sandpoint, triumphant, the group rested several days and left for Magnimar to investigate the reach of the Skinsaw cult.

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Misigivings Part 3
The horror continues

The group continued upstairs into the attic, now fully aware that spirits of the deceased stalked them through the manor. Seris and Lor continued up into the private study, where Seris slowly started to feel a nagging sense of bitter disappointment and regret. She quickly realized memories of fantastic locales were taunting her—reminding her of the life she could’ve had if she’d not married her shrill harpy of a wife. Fully aware these memories were not her own, Seris shrugged them off and moved throughout the room, locating a stash of rare paintings, collectibles and scrolls.

Meanwhile, Krac and Bahram ventured into the observatory and found another stained glass window—this one depicted a dark-haired woman with pale skin, large green eyes, and a black-and-red gown; with both hands she wielded a jagged iron staff. Krac suddenly began to feel uncomfortably hot, and believed he had suddenly caught on fire. A mental suggestion insinuated the only way to put himself out was to plunge himself from the attic and into the ocean water below, but Krac ignored it and the sense of heat passed.

All of them walked down the hallway together, where the sounds of a woman’s sobs issued forth from behind a door. Seris tried the door; it was locked, so she bent down and picked the lock with relative ease. When she gingerly swung the door open, inside a woman sobs at the sight of her own reflection. They tentatively crept inside and push the mirror askew, at which point the woman stood up and shrieked, “Aldern! I can smell your fear! You’ll be in my arms soon!”

Overcome with fear, the group cowered in the attic room as the woman with sunken eyes shouldered her way past down the hallway. Recovering from their momentary shock, they followed her to the ground floor and bore witness as she furiously clawed her way through the wooden floorboards. She dropped to the basement below, and they ran for the stairs to catch up with her.

In the kitchen below, Krac discovered a crack in the wall and heard a peculiar sound moments before a swarm of slick rats burst forth. Once again, Lor stepped forward and unleashed a gout of flame, slaying most of the rats and dissipating the rest. They rounded the corner and descended into Vorel Foxglove’s workshop, where Seris and Lor poked about the ancient tomes on his aged desk. As Lor opened the pages of a book, she froze in place and thoughts suddenly flooded her mind. She experienced a series of visions chronicling the various stages Vorel went through in his quest to become a lich, from researching the works of previous liches, to gathering the components for the lich transformation potion, to building his phylactery, finally culminating in a vision of him taking his potion and doubling over in agony as his body began to rot away. As he doubled over, Seris was overcome with a blinding shame that a loved one would do this himself, followed by a burning rage that she was stopped before finishing the ritual. She buried the emotions, and snapped free of her trance.

When Seris was deemed safe, they moved to the basement stairs, which led further down into a cavern below the manor. Moments after Lor stepped onto the stairs, she experienced a sudden vision of Aldern, sweaty, filthy, and wild-eyed, digging away at the stone floor of the room with a pickaxe. With each swing he grunted, “For you.” As the vision ended, Aldern broke through into the staircase and a horde of shrieking ghouls rose up to pull him into the darkness below before they turned their lambent eyes on Lor. To everyone around her, Lor appeared to lift into the air shortly thereafter, jerking and thrashing as if being shaken by a mob. Claw and bite marks suddenly appeared upon her flesh, and then she unceremoniously plopped to the floor gasping for breath. The group crowded around to ensure her safety, and with some quickly applied healing magic, they continued further into the caverns below.

Iesha destroyed the door to Vorel’s laboratory with ease, and they followed her inside. Upon seeing her, Foxglove shrieked out in grief and fell to his knees, begging forgiveness from his murdered wife. For a brief moment, as Iesha caressed his sallow cheek, it appeared she may be willing to forgive—yet a moment later, she shrieked in rage and began clawing at Aldern.

At that precise moment, the group moved forward into the room, and Aldern shifted his attention to Lor.

“You! You’ve come to me! I knew my letters would sway your heart, my love! Let us consummate our…our…hunger!”

As the fight erupted and Iesha began to lay into Aldern, he spared a moment to bow to the party and exclaim, “I wonder how your deaths shall affect your friends. What things might you have done that will go unfinished? What will those broken promises spawn? HOW WILL YOUR MURDERS SHAPE THE WORLD?”

He attacked with renewed vigor, but it was cut short by Iesha burning hatred. She ran him through with her razor sharp claws, and Aldern collapsed. She looked solemnly at the group gathered before her, smiled briefly, and then crumbled to dust.

With Aldern truly dead, they looked about the caverns for clues regarding Aldern’s obsession, and spied a note. Glad to be free of their obligation to the horrific manor, they gathered their wits and left The Misgivings—hopefully for the last time.

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Misgivings Part 2
A journey through evil

Piling up into the crowded hallway, the group made their way to the upstairs hallway, and meandered into Aldern’s bedroom. There, Lor was flooded with a vision of her mother, wielding a torch, and her father, festering with tumors and wielding a long knife, both struggling to kill each other. Rather than flee in terror, Lor recognized the haunt for what it was, and they left the bedroom.

Down the hall, Rickben entered the guest bedchamber, and heard a child’s voice, quivering with fear, ask “What’s on your face, mommy?” Overcome with a sudden sense of paranoia and dread, Rickben began to desperately claw at his face, and then fled the room.

Meanwhile, Seris and Bahram decided to walk into the portrait gallery. As they walk down the lines of portraits, gazing at the various depictions of the former occupants of the house, the room came down with a deathly chill—their breath frost in the air and fingers of rime slithered across the walls. The figures depicted in the portraits suddenly shifted from paintings of the living to horrific depictions of the dead. Kasanda and Lorey slumped into misshapen, tumor-ridden corpses. Traver grew pale as a long gash opened his throat and blood washed down his chest. Cyralie blackened and charred, and her arms, legs and back twisted as if broken in dozens of places. Aldern’s flesh darkened with rot, his hair fell out, and he deformed into a ghoul-like monster. Both Sendeli and Zeeva’s portraits frosted over, but otherwise remained unchanged. Vorel’s portrait erupted into a sudden explosion of fungus and tumorous growth and washed over the entire room. Seris leapt out into the hallway, but Bahram stood firmly in the center of the room and inhaled the fungal cloud. He hacked as it coated his lungs, but then just as quickly—it was gone.

Disturbed, they continued into the bedroom from the gallery. Seris shuddered, and was suddenly overwhelmed with the conviction that she had just killed the person she loved most. Overwhelmed with despair, she moved to the desk and retrieved a silver-handed dagger. Before she brought it across her neck, she broke free from the spirit, dropped the illusory dagger, and fell sobbing into Lor’s arms. Out of earshot, Bahram taps Krac’s shoulder and chuckles, “Girls, man…”

They took a moment to collect their wits and continued to the musician’s gallery, where Seris spied another of the stained glass windows. This one depicted a ghostly scorpion, a gaunt man with a bats hanging from his arms, a moth with a strange skull-like pattern on its wings, a tangle of dull green plants with bell-shaped flowers, and a young maiden sitting astride a well in a forest while a spindly spider the size of a dog descended along a sting of web above her. Noting a strange connection between the stained glass below and this one, they continued on, unclear of the actual meaning.

They entered the master bedroom shortly thereafter, and noted a large painting flipped so the back faced the room. Bahram walked over to the painting and turned it around, noting a beautifully rendered painting of Iesha Foxglove. Lor immediately felt a pang of sadness, and Bahram a sense of fear. The emotions faded quickly, but Bahram became dizzy and staggers. An instant later, the dizzy spell passes, but he began to feel an overwhelming hatred of women. He tries to bring his weapon down on Seris, who immediately adopted a defensive stance. Concerned for their friend, the group moves forward and tried to subdue him. Krac roared, unsettling Bahram enough as he swung his greatsword that he missed her. He started screaming at Seris, spouting obscenities. Still filled with rage, he struck Seris twice, after which Rickben darted in and disarmed him. Seris, suddenly fearful for her life, grabbed the sword and tumbled free of the room. Bahram suddenly stumbled back, apologizing profusely.

They walked back down the hall into the musician’s gallery, and spied a stocking underneath a chair. As they approached, the chair moved, and Seris heard footsteps walking away across the wooden floors. Curious, she picked up a paperweight on the desk in the room and hurled it through the window. The house unleashed a furious shriek, and Seris was suddenly overcome with supernatural abject terror. She fled downstairs as fast as possible, tearing past her allies and body-checking the front door to be free of the place. She fled across the grounds, running as fast as her feet would take her. The group gave chase, and noticed a swarm of carrion birds—eyes gleaming with malevolence—coalesce and give chase. Lor stepped forth and immolated the undead birds with magical fire, and Seris regained her senses moments later.

Still resolute, the party turned about and ascended the stairs to the attic.

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Misgivings, Part 1
The wrath of the past

After Lor’s recovery, the group set out into the Sandpoint Hinterlands to find Foxglove Manor and locate Aldern Foxglove.

They arrived at the mansion after a few hours’ travel, feeling uneasy because of its dilapidated exterior and clear sense of foreboding. After appraising the exterior and the ruins outside of the mansion, they entered through the parlor. Lor walked over to the piano in the parlor and checked to see if it still worked. After striking the keys, Bahram suddenly began to dance with an unseen partner. He dipped and whirled to an unheard tune while the others stood by, mouths agape. He struggled against the effects of the spirit, and managed to glimpse the image of a beautiful woman whose countenance quickly darkened from frivolity and joy into bruise and pain. Bahram managed to break free of her grasp, and with an exhausted sigh, he collapsed to the ground. The others crowded around to ensure his safety.

After a brief pause, they continued on down the hallway and entered a lounge. Krac noticed the ground disturbed, as if something was pacing back and forth before the fireplace. As he approached to inspect the anomaly, he was struck with a concern about what his husband might be doing on those late nights. A thought entered his mind that Seris was in danger, and he had to get her out of the house as soon as possible, but he quickly quelled it.

Convinced this place was haunted by pure malevolence, Seris expressed a desire to leave immediately, but was convinced to stay by the others. They walked through the dining room and discovered a massive stained glass window curiously placed in the best spot in the house to see the beautiful view to the ocean. It seemed to depict four fearsome beasts being drawn into a box, which Lor quickly identified as a necromantic ritual.

Seris led the way beyond into the library, and all followed. When Bahram entered the room, a scarf sitting upon a large chair in the center of the room flew out and wrapped itself around his neck with a shriek. Unable to resist the effects of the haunt, Bahram succumbed to its malevolence. He saw an image of Aldern standing over him, strangling him to death. He felt himself in that moment to be Aldern’s wife—Iesha—and fell unconscious after the scarf about his neck took its toll. Lor stepped forward and returned him to life with her healing magic.

Seris picked up a bookend from the library and threw it into the stained glass window. The house reacted violently, and a sense of vertigo overcame Seris. The floorboards beneath her rattled, and the house groaned about her—the house was clearly unhappy at her rash action. A little rattled, Seris continued into the drawing room, where she glimpsed the image of a women in the reflection of the window.

The group continued into the parlor, where a large statue of a manticore stood facing the entrance to the house. As Krac approached the statue the group could smell brimstone and smoke. As Krac got closer, it animated and flames burst forth to engulf him. His clothes singed, but with him largely unscathed, the group decided to head upstairs.

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