Rise of the Runelords

Misgivings

Oathday, 10 Lamashan 4707 continued

Striking out for the manor the group went to the south bank of Foxglove River and following it through the rain approached a run down manor. There didn’t seem at first glance any evidence of there being any noticeable effort to renovate the place.

The group passed a foundation of an building that seemingly was burned down some time ago. A crumbling well beside it. A group of sickly looking crows flew down to rest on the foundation stones but flew away quickly when shooed.

The group gained entrance into the place the inside being musty and damp with mildew and mold rampant in some places but still the group was finally glad to be out of the persistent rain. Almost instantly, Drazz smelled burning hair and flesh, but it was momentary. The entrance way contains the moldering heads of various game mounted on the walls with an impressive preserved manticore in the middle of the room. After some searching around, the group noticed a woman sobbing seemingly coming from the upper floors so without hesitation the group went forward up the stairs to the right.

It was on the second floor that the group began encountering odd happenings. Entering what seems to be a child bedroom, the sound of a child draws you in. Gus has a vision of a child who thinks his parents are coming to kill him. The vision was so real that for a brief moment he believed himself to be someone else. Luckily he was able to shake off the effects before any damage was done. Going on, the group find some sort of conservatory with odd stained glass windows blocking what would normally be a breathtaking view of the Varisian Gulf. In this room was a diverse array of animals and plants: a ghostly scorpion, a gaunt man whose outstretched arms supported a dozen bats, a moth with a strange skull like pattern on its wings, and a young maiden sitting in a forest with a spider descending beside her. Continuing on to the next room, Ulfin is overtaken with the feeling of boils and tumors erupting on his face after hearing a child voice ask “what’s that on your face mommy?” Clawing and scratching enough to do himself harm, he was dragged from the room where the effect ceased. Zelkerut figured out that this house was indeed haunted by some spirit and that this was the cause of these effects. It is a form of undead energy and has some sort of a focus in the place that, if exorcised, will eliminate the evil spirits from the house. But what was the focal point?

The next room was seemingly a master bedroom that has been torn apart: furniture smashed, mattress shredded, paintings torn to peices…expect for one. That one was facing the wall. Turning it around, Gus was suddenly enraged with misogynistic hate…not finding a woman to attack he leaps to the window and throws himself out of it in blind rage. The group goes down the stairs to see if he was injured only to be assaulted in the entrance hall. The preserved manticore comes to life as a fiery apparition whose face changes to present a young woman. It strikes out with its phantom stinger to inure Drazz and set him on fire.

Gus joined the group and with a renewed respect for what this haunting was capable of, set out intending to be more careful. From then on the group encountered the following…

Ulfin was swept into a fitful dance in the music room when Zelkerut touched the piano. Through his eyes, he saw Iesha Foxglove, wife of Aldern Foxglove, radiant in beauty but in moments seemingly strangled in his arms.

A diseased rat caught in a washtub that the group put out of its misery as it squealed and squeaked in an effort to climb the wall of the basin.

A lounging room where oblivious to the fact there was no breeze the dust in front of the fireplace was being disturbed as if someone were pacing back and forth (this was avoided.)

A dining room with four more odd stained glass windows each depicting a monstrous beast rising out of smoke pouring from a seven sided box: a gnarled tree with an enraged face, an immense hook-beaked bird with sky-blue and gold plumage, a winged centaur-like creature with a lion’s lower body and snarling women’s upper torso, and a deep blue squid-like creature with red eyes.

From here, Zelkerut and Gus proceeded to look through a cozy library where they found furniture knocked about and bookends in the shape of fantastical winged creatures, one of which was missing a wing. Ulfin and Drazz held back and met then as they came back to the main hall through a drawing room (uneventfully.)

Continuing to search the second floor, the group found what seems to have been the family gallery with pictures of several generations of the Foxglove family. Gus and Ulfin entered the room and cleared the cobwebs away from the painting. Upon clearing the final painting, most of the paintings transformed into horrific images and the temperature of the room dropped such that rime formed along the walls. The effect culminated in an explosion of fungal and tumor-like growth covering everything (and everyone) in the room and then disappearing in the blink of an eye. The paintings and their transformations are noted thusly:

Vorel Foxglove, Traver’s father. Painting erupts into tumors of fungal growths and is the center point from which this spreads to the rest of the room.
Kasandra Foxglove, Vorel’s wife. Transforms into a mishapen tumor-ridden corpse.
Lorey Foxglove, daughter of Vorel and Kasandra. Transforms into a mishapen tumor-ridden corpse.
Traver Foxglove, Aldern’s father. Image grows pale as a long cut appears on his throat, blood pouring down the painting and wall below it.
Cyralie Foxglove, Traver’s wife. Transforms into a charred, blackened corpse mishapen and bent as if all her bones were instantly broken.
Aldern Foxglove, son of Traver and Cyralie. Flesh darkens with rot and decay deforming his image into a ghoul-like monster._
Sendali Foxglove, daughter of Traver and Cyralie. Image does not change.
Zeeva Foxglove, daughter of Traver and Cyralie. Image does not change.

The group continued up to the attic of the house where they found several storage rooms including equipment and materials that were to be used in the repair of the house but seemingly not touched for some time. Drawn to a room down a corridor, the group came upon a humanoid creature kneeling, stairing into a mirror sobbing. Zelkerut determined that the creature was a type of undead known as a revenant which typically stays on this earth to revenge its death against the person who killed them. No amount of talk or other distraction seemed to break the creature from its pitiful gazing at the mirror. Leaving the creature be, the group searched the small study where Zelkerut was overcome with regret and remorse of an exicting life derailed by marriage to a “shrill harpy of a wife.” Finally the last room of interest was an observatory of sorts where two more of the odd stained glass windows were presented: a dark-haired woman with pale skin, large green eyes, and a black-and-red gown; with both hands she wields a jagged iron staff. The southern window’s lower half has been broken and patched with canvas; what remains of its upper half depicts a handsome man dressed in regal finery and a crown of ivory and jade. (It was in this room that later Drazz feels compelled to thrown himself out of the window to the churning waters 200 feet below.)

The group, having surveyed the upper levels of the house descends into the basement where they discover hoards of foul, diseased rats. You dispense with the shrieking monstrosities and push on to discover a workshop of sorts behind a strong, iron door. Avoiding the inner part of the room, the group finds a set of stairs (much older than the house) exposed since someone uncovered them by smashing their way through the floor. Descending Ulfin is overtaken by a vision of ghoul pulling him but sustaining very real injuries. The stairs ended up in a limestone cave where three tunnels led into the dark, damp depths of a set of caverns.

Exploring the caverns, the group encounters a skaveling – a hideous undead bat – which seems to have been menacing the locals by looks of all the bodies. Of note, Drazz identifies one of the bodies as being of the notorious one-armed bandit Shaz “Redshiv” Bilger, suspected of organizing the robbery of nearly two dozen merchant convoys along the Lost Coast Road over the past decade. The one arm and the the distinctive white and black pearl ring he wears are enough to identify him. In addition, the group finds another entrance into these caverns by way of the well seen on the approach to the manor. Continuing into the depths of the cavern, the group comes across a couple of groups of ghouls (including a group of goblin-ghasts) that are handled easily. Finally, the group meets who they beleive to be the Skinsaw Man that Grayst Sevilla was referring to – a hideous ghast dressed in wretched finery. Seeing Gus, he screams that everyone as supposed to die and jumps to attack. In the middle of the fight, he falls to his knees and begs the group to save him…through wracking sobs he claims that “they made him do it”, the “Brothers”…the “Seven”…it was their fault…they made him kill. In the blink of an eye, his demeanor changes and he comments on how your deaths will change the world…leave things you would have done undone, then attacks with a renewed furor and fight until he finally falls.

Among the things remaining from Drazz’s initial fireball, a partial note lies among burned sketches of Gus in various poses. The note is addressed to Aldern and discusses some noteable things. While searching the room Gus is over taken with a desire to eat of a section of the mold that is growing along the south wall. Before anyone can stop him, he does but is quickly restrained by his comrades.

To be continued…

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