I really, REALLY need to learn to shut my mouth. I mean seriously. Ugh. Let me explain.
We arrived in the farmland about ten days after we left Soranton. The rest of the party had been there about two days and were investigating. There was a small village in the center of the farmland that we headed towards first. Upon entering the only inn in town we immediately began to inquire about the recent murders. We learned that:
a)the village and nearby farmland is controlled by an ex-Knights Sanguine member named Abalard Ranesford. (The name Knight Sanguine rang a bell but I didn’t know much about them.)
b)A great number of the people in the village believe that the murders are caused by a wild animal. (As the murders are usually quite gruesome.)
c) There have been 26 murders in the past. (Judging by the size of this village that is quite a lot.)
Of course just as we had gotten the simplest bits of information a local burst into the room and declared that a new murder had just occurred. Perfect. Maybe we could catch the killer? Yeah right. Like we were that lucky. We ran outside and while not looking where I was going I ran into a man on his horse. He was tall, blonde and quite handsome. I mean. He seemed like a very noble type of fellow as he was finely dressed. Okay cut me some slack I spent most of my life around dragonborn who are twice the size of me. The rare sighting of a handsome creature around my own size is a relief. Anyways, it turned out that he was the son of Abalard Ranesford. William was his name and he was off to investigate the murder as well.
So, we took off with him through the farmland. On the way we noticed that the trees had a natural brittleness and looked malnourished. Didn’t seem like a very flourishing farmland…And then we encountered:
Victim: Robert… um yeah that’s it.
mutilated, missing heart and lung, drained of blood, 3 pronged wound in neck, appears the murderer tried to cover up who they killed, completely erased their tracks, victim was attacked from behind.
So from the notes of the grotesque crime scene we determined that the murder was done by something more intelligent than a wolf or any other animal. Hetaera also mentioned that the scene looked somewhat like a kind of sacrifice or possibly a necromantic ritual. Of course we were all a bit astonished by Heteara’s sudden knowledge of religion. Even William looked a bit confunded and he had only just met her. After snapping out of our short state of shock William invited us to his home so we could meet his father Abalard.
When we entered the lavish-in-comparison-to-the-rest-of-the-town home of the Ranesford’s we met a stout man wearing simple but fine clothing. He was introduced as Ivar Cole the steward for the family. He took us up to Abalard’s room where we discovered a sickly looking old man in bed. He was not very happy to meet us and insisted that the farmland needed no help. He was crazy. Absolutely insane. Well at least that is what I figured. He would answer no questions we had about the murders so The Dwarfshak asked about the condition of the trees in the forest. He blamed the brittleness on magic left over from elves that once lived in the area. Figuring we would get nothing else out of him, we left. William came with us and confessed that he disagreed with his father. He knew something was wrong and he was very grateful that someone had finally come along to help him out. He explained to us that there had been rumors of a family curse that he had picked up on in his lifetime. He didn’t exactly know what it meant except that for as long as the Ranesford family had controlled the land (and it was a long time) many bad things had happened. To learn more about this we headed towards the library in the Ranesford home.
On the way we ran into another young man who resembled William except he was much larger and well, dumber looking. He shoved passed us without acknowledgment. William told us that was his brother Josef, the rowdier of the two. We didn’t find much in the library at all. So we gave up and decided to spend the next day interviewing people. After about 40 interviews we were not impressed. People blamed ghosts and specters and werecows. These were pretty much disregarded. Except the werecow that sounded interesting. What we did learn was that the general consensus were not favorable towards Abalard. And unfortunately that was the most interesting piece of information we got. We were pretty down after getting nowhere when William appeared with a map. He had pin-pointed all the locations of the murders. We thought maybe there could be a pattern? No. Not really. It just looked like a bunch of random dots. GAHHH! Still we couldn’t get anywhere helpful.
But of course as we were sitting there wallowing in our lack of progress another man barged into the inn and proclaimed another killing. We rushed out of the keep and towards…
muddy bootprints found, face not mutilated, throat punctured, rope marks around neck.
Okay weird. It was nothing like the last murder. The tracks weren’t cleaned up. It was not specifically sacrificial. It was the polar opposite of the last victim. Hetaera noted however that even if it wasn’t a sacrifice it could be ritual work. We all stood in silence looking at her. Our barbarian was indeed proving to be quite the asset to figuring out this murder. And it surprised us.
Just a few minutes after arriving back at the keep we were notified that a whole family had been murdered in a small house in the forest. Great. So we once again suited up and headed towards the house.
Upon approaching the house the smell of rotting meat pierced our noses. We all cringed a bit when William noticed something. His brother was riding away from the house and into the rest of the forest. We noted this but soon dismissed it to investigate the home. On the first floor we found the bodies piled up. Six of em. The Dwarfshak told us that he believed them to be poisoned. William and I headed upstairs to look around a bit more. I still thought he was cute. But the horrible odor and ominous threat of another murder happening at any moment didn’t leave much room for those kind of thoughts. We had barely made it up the stairs when I heard a commotion downstairs and the smell of burning. William in a panic jumped out of the closest window. I ran downstairs to see what was happening. Undead. Frakking undead. EVERYWHERE. A few curse words may have escaped me at that point. We tried to fend them off but the house was on fire and there were to many to kill and escape on time. So we tried the William maneuver and jumped out the window on the second floor. The fire killed the rest of the gross zombies.
William believed that it was a trap. Maybe whoever or whatever was causing these murders thought that we were getting close and they didn’t want us to interfere anymore. So they gave us a distraction- Wait. A distraction? F*SK. That’s right. While we were gone two more murders had taken place. One murder was like the first we investigated and the other was like the second murder we investigated.
After some discussion we came to the possibility of there maybe being…two murderers. We took another look at the map and drew some lines. After a few hours of connect the dots we came up with a pentogram and a hexogram pattern. Hetaera then deduced that possibly the two murderers were working against each other either casting an offensive or a defensive ritual. That was brilliant…We all cheered for our genius barbarian before finally realizing that two more murders were bound to happen tonight. We pin pointed where we thought it would be and booked it to that location.
We soon heard a woman screaming and the sound of boots trudging through the dirt. That is when we came upon… Ivar Cole? William was astonished. We had caught one of the murderers in the act. The steward of the Ranesfords. We asked him why he would do such things but he was in hysterics and kept asking us “How could you do this? Do you have any idea what you have done?” We decided to take him back to Abalard but of course it couldn’t be that simple. Wolves appeard with blue flames for eyes and their skin decayed. The Dwarfshak and Hetaera took Ivar on their horse while I jumped on the back of William’s horse. He told the others to follow him. He knew what he was doing. We went as fast as we could away from the wolves as they chased us but there was a river up ahead. Aha! Undead cannot cross running water. That was good thinking on William’s part. I knew I liked him for a reason. We of course outran the wolves at that point and reached the Ranesford home soon after.
We burst into Abalard’s room, Ivar in our custody and he sat up straight in bed. He began yelling at us and started asking the same questions that Ivar was asking just a few minutes before. William finally stood up to his father and demanded to know what was going on. So as it turned out, Abalard was behind half of the murders. Ivar carried them out but Abalard told him what to do. Many many years ago an ancestor of Abalard had stolen a book of spells from…an illithid named K’ylthryuluk. Yep. A mind flayer. Just like I had guessed leaving Soranton. (Hence my frustration in the beginning of this log.) Well it seems after all these years that mind flayer hasn’t let go of that grudge and wants his book back. Problem is, if this specific mind flayer gets a hold of this book, terrible, terrible things will happen. The murders caused by Abalard and Ivar were to ward off the effects of the other murderer. The illithid. And of course we just broke the ward. So the mindflayer has a clear pathway to the library where the book lies. Oh but wait. What the mindflayer wants isn’t even here! Yeah! Abalard told us that the book has been hidden in the city Chimera. So the mindflayer will be here in a few hours to get something that’s not here…Wow.
So here we are now. Preparing for battle with A FRAKKING ILLITHID. Ugh. I can’t believe this is happening. I of course couldn’t spend this night maybe going on a peaceful date with the intelligent noble boy right? Well. Now that I think about it. This will be quite the experience. Fighting a mindflayer! It’s exciting! And it will be even better if we live through it!
Wish us luck,
Zetkin Severine Trix