Rova 23-Neth 6, 4707 AR
With a wide-eyed city watchman trying his best to do what he was taught in the academy, Grennel began to “take statements” from our five heroes. Ayra, wishing to speak with the dead Justice Ironbrier chose to go last, and Lindin lead Grennel upstairs for the interviews to provide Ayra solitude.
The justice’s spirit in death was strong and wasn’t particularly helpful. He did inform the half-elf cleric that his Mistress will “feast on her flesh…” But, beyond that he proved a difficult subject to question.
But, upon discovering that the rookery above the mill was used for communication between Ironbrier and his Mistress, WNPF, the group decided time might be against them and, asking Watchman Grennel, found out where the Shadow Clock was located and headed towards it.
Grennel, wise beyond his years, decided he’d “stay here…lock down the crime scene until back-up gets here…” Then wished the heroes “Good luck!”
Little did they realize, they’d need all the luck they could get…
Pushing forth to the dark, dingy, hopeless poor Magnimarian neighborhood known as “the Shadow,” the heroes found the decrepit old clock, abandoned many years ago. Shady eyes followed the group as they traveled through this neighborhood’s streets, but no one barred their passage.
The clock tower, a dilapidated testament to attempted improvement, sagged in its age nearly one hundred eighty feet above the dingy streets of the Shadow, nearly touching the cyclopean Thassilonian ruin of the Irespan. The clock’s hands stand frozen at 10:00, almost in a mocking smile to the destitute souls below. Reaching the oddly sturdy door, the group found it locked, but only momentarily as Erekhil hastily picked the lock open.
Entering the darkness of the tower, Erekhil quickly got his Everburning Torch lit and discovered the rotting remains of an old office and storage area, above, about 120 feet up, in the light streaming through the broken mortar, four large brass bells hang.
Quickly, however, the group found themselves assaulted by a towering thing of horror, stitched of man, horse and cow and wielding a large scythe. This magical creature sliced Erekhil’s torch in half, leaving the room black then continued to punish the sell-sword.
Deivon cast a Light spell on a coin, providing some illumination, then the group went to work. The creature proved hearty and as adept at absorbing punishment as it was at dishing it out. Quickly, Erekhil fell to this beast’s scythe, Bahne, with a dwarf’s toughness, still stood, but was suffering.
Weapons did not seem to effectively wound the beast, and Deivon’s spells were negated by the magical spark that gave the golem life or, worse, actually healed what wounds the creature suffered. Lindin abandoned his bow for his adamantine longsword, relying on the rare metal to deal the maximum damage.
Still, the creature proved difficult to damage.
Bahne, having little luck with his bastard sword, took out his chain and tripped the creature, with Erekhil, healed, getting back in the fight. With the creature supine, the group took advantage of its focus on getting up. Weapons slashed, Lindin delivering a powerful blow, and the beast was tripped again.
Slowly, the group turned the tide with his razor sharp weapons flashing, Erekhil sliced deeply into the creature’s neck. As the beast moved, its head sagged then separated from its body; its life spark extinguished.
Quickly recovering, and receiving healing, the group took stock of their situation. A ratty cloak hanging on the creature’s back was revealed to be a Cloak of Elvenkind. Odd coins and jewels were found, but the group’s focus was on the rickety old stairs that will take them upwards, towards the Mistress.
Working together, the group ascended the old stairs when, suddenly, one of the huge brass bells came tumbling down, wounding some of the party, but those wounded were able to grab onto something or someone to prevent themselves from falling almost 100 feet to the ground.
In the shadows, flickers of the swamp creatures fought in the Foxglove townhouse could be seen taking positions above, and our heroes advance ever upward.
Arrows rained down on the group from one Faceless Stalker, as two of them worked together to block the stairs. The battle, while frantic, was brief, with Bahne quickly gaining the upper hand for the group by leaping over a ten-foot wide gaping space in the stairs and barreling the two Stalkers barring the path over.
Swiftly, Erekhil leaped the space, also, and took the fight to the Mistress’s guards and the dwarf and human sliced the guards to pieces. Lindin, meanwhile, went arrow to arrow with the enemy archer, with Deivon providing additional ranged attacks through his magic; killing the last Faceless Stalker.
Ayra used her magic to see what was on the floor above. It was the old, rusted out clockworks.
Then she magically peered at the floor above and found the top of the tower, the roof missing in places and the floor in terrible disrepair. In one corner, however, expensive rugs and furs were meticulously arranged.
Upon arriving on the top floor, Ayra detected a Silence spell cast over part of the room, and Lindin discovered a letter, addressed to each of the heroes, form Your Mistress. Leaving the silenced area, the group went towards the ledge to read the condescending letter.
As they read, in the air outside the tower, wisps of smoke began to form into the shape of a powerful demon. Panic filled our stalwart heroes, suddenly not-so-firm in their resolution to apprehend the mastermind behind the murders, they thought, “Maybe it’s time to go…” and these paragons of valor turned to flee. But, Ayra and Lindin saw through the illusion created and steadied their fleeing companions resolve.
Suddenly, appearing in the midst of the group was a large half serpent woman wearing a golden mask and wielding a darkwood spear. The eyes of the golden mask glowed an ominous green as it caught Erekhil’s eyes and Erekhil, unable to shake off the effect of the magical mask, was turned to a pale, grey stone.
Xanesha, Wanton of Nature’s Pagan Forms, taunted the stone Erekhil then turned her considerable ability to inflict pain on the remaining group.
Her spear struck Bahne, which emitted a disturbing howl, filling the group with a sense of dread, unease and hopelessness, then she followed that with a brutal attack on the cleric and ranger.
Furious combat followed.
Arrows flew ineffectually against the half-serpent woman who easily dodged the most powerful of Deivon’s spells and laughed off Bahne’s attempts to slice into her body. Even with the group’s skill, there was little that seemed to hurt the evil creature. She easily carved her way through them, leaving them bleeding and feeling their lives slipping away, but, determined, our heroes continued this uphill battle.
Erekhil, frozen in stone and an unwilling spectator, began to regret his trip to Sandpoint as he watched the Mistress, stab the life from Deivon as he attempted to cast another spell, his body slumping lifelessly on the floor.
As she controlled the battle, inflicting pain at will, Xanesha’s ego began to rear its head. Forgoing killing blows, she taunted the overwhelmed group, stealing wisdom from the cleric. Passing up a coup de grace on the Varisian sorcerer, she shifted her body to have a clear path to push the stone Erekhil over the ledge, mocking the group’s impotence the whole time.
Xanesha overlooked the damage done to her, confident she could end the fight whenever she chose, and continued to taunt, rather than finish off her foes.
But, as long as one of our heroes had life in his or her soul, they still had a puncher’s chance and Xanesha, Wanton of Nature’s Pagan Forms, allowed ego to dictate intellect a few moments too long.
Then, it was Lindin who delivered the punch.
Pulling two arrows from his quiver and drawing his bowstring, with a quick prayer to Cayden Cailean, Lindin launched the arrows directly into Xanesh’s throat and mouth. Blood sprayed thickly, and her tongue and jaw were pierced by the arrow. A look of confusion, then surprise, then shock showed on Xanesha’s face as her imminent victory suddenly turned against her.
Inside the stone that was Erekhil, his brain registered that Lindin’s attack was AWESOME!!!
Bleeding profusely from that attack, Xanesha fled the tower to cast spells out of range of melee weapons. Bahne took a mighty hack at the Lamia Matriarch as she flew away, but she retaliated with a Scorching Ray blazing forth from her hand.
Lindin followed his attack with another well placed duo of arrows. Xanesha twisted, so close to victory, she then fell from the sky, falling to the earth 180 feet below.
Bloodied, but unbowed, our heroes survived the encounter.
Lindin and Bahne rushed downstairs to the body, chasing away street urchins who appeared to watch the show. Lindin offered one a gold piece to find Undersheriff Godfrey and bring him to the tower and off the urchin went.
Pulling the body into the tower, the ranger and fighter went through her gear as the remaining three, Deivon now conscious and Erekhil no longer stone, searched the upper floor. They found a list entitled “The Chosen” and on it was the Lord-Mayor, along with a highly detailed schedule of his affairs. It appeared he was to be the next victim of the murder cult, and very soon.
Gathering gear and spoils of their combat, the group waited for the undersheriff, who never appeared. It seems the poor street urchin took his gold and left.
Piling Xanesha’s corpse into a wagon, and covering it with her expensive rugs and furs, the group made for the Mayor’s Office in great haste, arriving to find Godfrey waiting for them along with the Lord-Mayor. Telling of their adventures and the conclusion of the investigation, Lindin informed the mayor that he was next on the murderers’ list. Upon hearing this news, the Lord-Mayor fainted.
The crimes solved, our five adventurers were celebrities. A healthy reward was gifted by the mayor to each of them and a feast was held in their honor; it was majestic.
They spent a week in Magnimar, enjoying their celebrity and spending their reward, but then they headed back to Sandpoint to get on with their lives.
The following weeks proved uneventful.
Titus Scarnetti was up to his old tricks, this time withholding wood from the carpenters as retaliation for our heroes investigating his property. Of course, as his camp made clear, with a public apology from the five so-called Heroes of Sandpoint, Scarnetti could probably procure more wood from his contacts to help the poor carpenters. The guild, standing by their dwarven colleague, wouldn’t even consider asking the group to do that.
Early fall turned into late fall, and the cold chill of winter hung in the air. Lindin was kept busy organizing his new home, coordinating his life with his new housekeeper, the halfling, Bella Gruntfoot and training Bahne’s new horse, Rosu, in combat techniques. He also began a quiet romance with Shayliss Vender.
Even with the blossoming relation between Ayra and Deivon, the half-elf still wasn’t allowed in Madame Niska’s home.
The group became spokespeople for a new brew from Two Knight Brewery, “The Noblest Five;” drank their fill in town; told tales of their adventures and generally passed the time. The month of Lamashan and the beginning of Neth appeared to bring little adventure to our adventurers but the rain and chill of winter.
That all changed on the damp evening of the 5th of Neth, when Magnimar Guard Captain, Sir Evered de Quintus, arrived in Sandpoint urging our heroes to return to Magnimar with him because the Lord-Mayor has use of their skills.
After a poignant parting between Shayliss and Lindin, our heroes rode hard to Magnimar arriving in the evening’s darkness, and hurrying to the Lord-Mayor’s office. He was waiting for them. It seems something is odd in the mountain fortress of Fort Rannik, home of the Order of the Black Arrows, and Lindin’s childhood friend, Guntrhed Ullen.
There had been no contact with the fort for over a week; Sendings went unanswered; and the aged mayor of Turtleback Ferry, the town closest to Fort Rannik has confirmed that no Black Arrow has been seen for several weeks.
The Lord-Mayor urged the group to mount an expedition to the fort and report their findings. Lindin didn’t hesitate to accept the mission, and his comrades immediately joined him. The dwarf, half-elf and three humans headed out into the cold and dreary night to get their supplies and prepare their mounts to depart at first light for the eleven day journey to Turtleback Ferry and Fort Rannik.
Adventure had found The Heroes of Sandpoint.