1 Tinyura – 7 Tinyura of the year 72
The morning after their encounter in the crypt with the necromancer Morden, the party set out in pursuit of him; the day was cool and clear, excellent for tracking. They were able to follow his trail to the Gray River, where they were forced to ford several times as they tracked Morden; while Akora had no issues with crossing the river, both Deuspugno and Emmerick had to be rescued on occasions. Eventually the trail turned west from the river, crossing an island in the river.
As the party followed the trail through the forested island, the sky gradually grew darker, even though it was still afternoon and several hours before dusk. Eventually both of the moons passed in front of the sun, resulting in a double eclipse, a phenomenon not seen since the year Naxos rose to power. Iñaka, more steeped in superstition, prophecy, and astronomical phenomena, was very disturbed by this occurrence; consulting the prophecies handed down among the Acalani, he found a passage that appeared relevant:
The darkness of the Sisters shall initiate the spread of gloom over all the land, and only the Sufferer can avert its supremacy
The party continued to follow Morden’s trail, using torches to light the way in the gloom of the double eclipse, and in time found the horse Morden had used; the trail ended there, although Pug was able to sense a residual magical energy from many hours previous. The party’s best guess was that Morden had used either a teleport or shapechange spell. With the trail having grown cold, and the eclipse ending about a half hour before sunset, the party proceeded to a fishing village along the river several miles away.
The party rented the storeroom in the local tavern for lodging and sold Morden’s horse, netting a gold for it. The night was uneventful, as was most of the following day, until the afternoon when two Hosca warriors faced off in the street. The aggressor, wielding a flail, attempted to strike Emmerick with it when Emmerick supported the other warrior, but instead the aggressor managed to strike himself in the back of the head. The other warrior sliced him with his sword, and the rest of the party made short work of the aggressor, while the other warrior was feted for killing the man who had been bullying the village. When Emmerick cleaned the blood off his sword after disemboweling the aggressor, Pug smacked his face with a hand covered in the man’s blood.
The next day the party took a barge ferry down to Recco, population approximately 12,000, a journey that took two days; upon arriving and disembarking upstream from the city, the party was denied entry to the city. Since their previous visit, the party found that a plague had broken out in the camps south of the city, and no one was to enter the city until the plague was dealt with. The disease was killing about 1 in 10 people it infected, and the city guards were terrified of contracting it.
It was not noted by the party, but one of the Acalani prophecies was:
An illness will finally occur just outside a city during fall
The party proceeded to the camp, taking precautions to avoid catching the plague. When they arrived at the camp they observed the dwarves, situated along a stream that flowed into a small lake, appeared to be unaffected by the disease. They met the dwarf Torelgen, a well-respected fighter, who introduced them to the dwarves’ nominal leader, Habrod. The dwarves, after having been exiled from Recco and having their property claimed by Mannik’s men, were charging for access to clean water. The humans outside the city, most unable to pay for the clean water, were instead drawing water from the lake; the party determined this was most likely the source of the disease, as the lake was probably contaminated. The dwarves informed them they had dispatched a party to the coniferous forests in the Hosca Kingdom to obtain the pillowbark, an herb that flushes infection, which when combined with overlord’s tea, a potentiator, would provide a curative potion. After Emmerick obtained a cart and barrels, he filled them with fresh water from upstream of the dwarves, delivered them to the priestesses that were caring for the sick, then searched the banks of the Gray River for overlord’s tea. He found a large growth of it, enough to prepare the potions, and also delivered it to the priestesses.
While Emmerick was obtaining water and overlord’s tea, Pug was using his contacts with the Burning Fists to get more information on what was happening in Recco; he received useful information on several potential contacts, including an independent investigator named Sentia and her uncle Theuderic, as well as additional details on the murders occurring in the city, which appeared to be of a sexual nature instead of fueling magic. The women had been assaulted and mutilated, and their bodies were dumped after the killer was finished.
Meanwhile, Akora was meeting with Habrod about their exile from Recco and what they planned to do going forward. Informed that the dwarves were scapegoated by Mannik for infringing on his less than legitimate businesses, Akora proposed the dwarves establish a new settlement, either at the ruins the party had previously found near Kell’s keep or on the island in the river between Recco and Roskilde. Habrod was reluctant to do either, on the basis that the former was too isolated for trade, and the latter would still make them susceptible to Mannik’s control, as bridges connected the island to the twin cities.
Akora organized a meeting between the dwarves, led by Habrod, and the human elders; he negotiated a deal where the human exiles would pay a flat fee of 10 gold to the dwarves for ongoing access to clean water and another 10 gold for the curative potions the dwarves were developing. The deal was accepted by both sides, and Pug was approached with a request to attempt to heal some of the people in dire straits, nearly dead from the disease. One of the dwarves gave him an elixir that provided additional resolve and advantages to healing attempts, which he took to help with his healing attempt. Unfortunately his spell failed, creating a backlash that instead killed three of the patients.
About half an hour later Pug started seeing strange creatures; it started with a blue dog, and included several other animals. Each time he would catch one he would have a near-orgasmic experience and became obsessed with catching the creatures only he could see. It culminated with him chasing agold dragon hatchling as Emmerick talked to a priestess of Aligern to get him something to help Pug sleep, and Emmerick instead knocked him unconscious for most of the night.
While Pug was unconscious, as it was still early evening, Akora and Emmerick paid a fisherman to take them across the river to Roskilde, a city of about 3,000. There they heard more about Mannik and his unpopularity, the plight of the dwarves, and the other happenings in Recco. They rented a room at an inn and the following morning met with the dwarven cartel in Roskilde. The dwarf leader was hesitant to accept the exiled dwarves from Recco, as their business was running smoothly and would benefit better from the dwarves being reestablishing themselves in Recco.
When Pug awoke, he was greeted by a direwolf snarling in his face; over the next several hours he continued to experience nightmarish hallucinations of all the creatures he had caught the previous day, including that of a giant dragon attacking the city. Akora was unimpressed with Pug’s inability to resist taking any mind-altering drugs offered to him, and Pug suspected that the potion had incorporated seer’s mushroom as one of its components.
The party rested most of the day, and that evening snuck into Recco using the river. They rented a room for the night at an inn, and the following day began searching for Sentia. They had little luck until Pug talked to a private investigator, posing as a husband who suspected his wife of cheating on him, a fiction that Akora and Emmerick found laughable when they overheard it from outside. The investigator gave Pug enough information that he was able to locate her, and after her cautioning them to not openly voice suspicions of Mannik’s involvement told them what she knew. The killer had been active for months, and had recently killed a priestess of Aligern after the dwarves were exiled from Recco; the authorities were attempting to claim the killing was unrelated, as the previous victims were lower class women, but the latest victim was killed the same way and had been outspoken against Mannik’s actions of late. Her temple had also been desecrated prior to her murder, an apparent warning that went unheeded.
The party ultimately decided the best course of action would be for Pug to pose as a new street priestess named Kagan, setting Kagan up in an area that most bodies had been found in, and they would spread the word about her among Mannik’s men. Pug purchased vestments, a wig, and makeup kit, items that would be ready the following day, and while he returned to the inn Akora and Emmerick went to a tavern near Mannik’s keep. They began talking about the new priestess spreading lies about Mannik, something that attracted the attention of the off duty guards, and one of them persuaded Akora to show him where Kagan was usually found.
On his way back to the tavern, taking a circuitous route, Akora stumbled upon the body of a mutilated woman. He was almost immediately accosted by four city guards, who attempted to take him into custody, but Akora resisted and took the broadsword of one of the guards. In a very bloody fight, he managed to kill three of the guards and knock the fourth unconscious, who he brought to a nearby inn.
Emmerick arrived shortly, having been searching for Akora and followed the trail he left, and Pug was summoned. The party brought the guard to the cellar of an abandoned building, where they interrogated him, using torture on several occasions. The guard knew little of value; his captain had changed the patrol’s route at the last minute, the authorities were not investigating the murders, and he had only a few names for the party. They were Dietrich, the district commander of the city guard who was supposedly well paid by Mannik; Reginar, who usually brought directives from Mannik, as Mannik was rarely seen, but other people than Reginar were known to bring orders; and Dagaric, rumored to be the killer but off limits to authorities. Swayed by the portrait they had found of the guard’s wife, the party ultimately decided to release him, with the warning that they would hunt him down if he told his superiors of what had happened. The party then retired to their third inn in Recco to recover from the night’s ordeals.
Body Count: 7 humans
Baller Moment of the Week: Pug smacking Emmerick’s face with a blood-covered hand.
Fuckup of the Week: Pug killing three plague victims he was attempting to heal.
Running Body Count: 25 humans, 19 creatures, 36 undead
Inspirations for the week’s events: