Preface: Centuries ago, the Valley of Multae was long uninhabited and widely thought to be a cursed land. Determined to break ground for civilization where all others had failed, Abadarian crusaders embarked on a mission to colonize the valley. They created an organization called the Founders. The Founders constructed the Thresholds, magical gates used to travel to and from Seorsus.
Scattered around the landscape of Seorsus are mysterious shrines. The shrines wield various potential magics, from healing, to increased strength and speed, to the ability to breathe underwater for a time.
Key Pieces of Information from Entry 1: The Nation of Seorsus was under attack by highly organized bands of gnolls. Outlying villagers were being massacred. Citizens were disappearing and reappearing dead, mutilated, and very far from their homes. While some of their methods may have been objectionable, this band of adventurers fought with bravery and used diplomatic means in order to facilitate the evacuation of the Village of Torvent.
Key Pieces of Information from Entry 2: When gnolls attacked the caravan of refugees, they used highly organized tactics. When the battle ended, the hyenas and remaining gnolls retrieved their fallen before retreating. District Police Chief Amelia confided that the police forces were spread too thin and that the western villages were vulnerable to attack. She contracted the group to locate the gnollish camp and deal with the threat. Jaena Adair divulged that her mother, Cassandra, and Ellamere Allard’s husband, Dravo, had been abducted recently.
After searching for several days, the party came upon a cave occupied by ratfolk. Sibyl entered a sealed room that contained creatures called “The Deep Ones.” Something unknown happened to her in the cavern.
Key Pieces of Information from Entry 3 After additional tracking, the group came upon a fairly sizeable gnollish encampment. They engaged in a very lethal encounter and were lucky to prevail. Among the gnolls they killed was the leader of the group that had attacked the caravan of refugees several days earlier.
Key Pieces of Information from Entry 4: The group and Chief Amelia concluded that the maps found in the gnollish commander’s tent indicated that supplies were coming from a keep in the mountains and were then being funneled to camps in Seorsis. Amelia was very confused because no known fortresses existed in that area. The group agreed to travel north to investigate in hopes of disrupting the supply lines. The young ranger from Torvent named Verna joined them on their travels north for reasons unknown. The group discovered that the pouch recovered from the gnoll commander created an illusory storm and sped travel speeds.
After traveling further north, the group arrived at a chasm with no obvious way forward. They located a strange and large square of packed earth and a small cave. In the cave, they saw a small basket.
Key Pieces of Information from Entry 5: The party discovered that the gnolls were being supplied from the mountains. A colossal bird that seemed to be composed of shadow was carrying a very large cage from the mountain to the valley. Once their findings were reported to Chief Amelia, the party was dispatched to the mountains to locate the source of the supplies.
While in transit to the mountain pass’s base camp, the group was waylaid by a primitive tribe of people. The people entreated them to destroy the beasts that had appeared in their temple during prayers. The group discovered that the tribe’s village was situated around a fairly ancient structure with an underground temple. They faced extra planar creatures with bull heads and wings. The group exterminated the beasts and discovered that they had been summoned by the tribe’s ancient prayers. The prayers were in a bastardized form of draconic.
Key Pieces of Information from Entry 6: The party spoke to a group of Vouri in the mountains. Verna chose to go back with them to their home in hopes of finding her Vouri father. As they continued higher up into the mountains, the party encountered a ware bear. The bear gave them directions to a ruined keep. His manner seemed sly and threatening. As they continued on, they came to an arrow-head shaped rock the Vuori told them about. The Vuori had instructed them to turn east, and so they did.
Key Pieces of Information from Entry 7: The party had a difficult run-in with a pair of mountain-dwelling gargoyles, but they were able to prevail. As they pressed on, the weather turned into a blizzard. The party had felt that something had been shadowing them for quite awhile. Wisely avoiding an ambush point, they went off the mountain path. They had a brief fight with a group of kobolds before the creatures surrendered. The kobolds told the group that a terrible entity they called “Supreme Leader” lived in the ruined fort ahead. They said the creature had killed many of their kind and that it could control the weather. Ellamere feared the creature was a winter hag. The kobolds agreed to take the group to the ruined fortress and also confirmed that there were gnolls living further up the mountain pass.
Key Pieces of Information from Entry 8: Whilst traveling in the mountains with the kobolds, the party came upon two partially eviscerated kobolds who had been thrown down upon the trail from a great height. The group continued to be shadowed by figures that the kobolds professed to know nothing about. After accepting bribes, the kobolds agreed to tell the party about the numerous traps at the keep and in their warren.
After carefully traveling across the dangerous ice flow, the group reached a keep encased in ice. They were able to bypass the ice and enter the keep. While they inspected the foyer, they were attacked by a mass of vines that penetrated the skin of Sibyl, Eshrin, and Cormin. The group destroyed the vines with fire and explored the ground level more fully.
Eshrin was able to find five journals which chronicled the founding of this research station in the mountains. It sounded as though it was some manner of observatory and that the project was staffed by Desnan researchers.
Six months in, the weather began to turn foul. It worsened precipitously over the next five months. Eventually, a figure referred to only as “She” appeared. She demanded obedience from the researchers. They refused, and it seems evident that “She” killed them. Upon hearing the description of “She,” Ellamere identified her as a winter hag. The group reviewed their capabilities and decided they needed better outfit themselves before they were able to defeat her.
Key Pieces of Information from Entry 48: After arriving safely back in Regunt, Eshrin sent a message for Bartholameau to meet him at his office and set off for Chief Croft’s office. He made his report about the terrible loss of his four companions. After the debriefing, he was introduced to Xander Grantham, paladin of Iomedae. He was told that a vision had brought Xander to them. The chief told Eshrin that Xander could be trusted completely and bade the paladin assist Eshrin in whatever way he could. When Eshrin and Xander went to Eshrin’s office, they were met by Bartholameau and two newcomers. These men were an elegant elven man named Sal and a large nomadic warrior named Farraj. After a great deal of back and forth and bargaining, it was agreed that all four of the men would join Eshrin in his quest to root out the evil plaguing the land. Eshrin did, however, have deep reservations about whether Bartholameau would be able to handle himself in combat.
The group met with Chief Croft. It was decided that an announcement would be made to the populous about the deaths of the other wardens. Eshrin was to be on hand to provide some sense of safety for the people. The rest of the newly assembled group was to be there to quell any rebellions that might arise amongst the fearful citizenry.
During the night, a masked man visited Eshrin while he was sleeping. He convinced Eshrin not to scream out. He told Eshrin that he would be there whenever he needed help. Eshrin informed him that the sort of vigilantism he was involved in was illegal. As soon as the vigilante left, Eshrin got up to write about the visitor in his report. He did not mention the visitor to his companions in the morning. Farraj, who had been sitting on the rooftop, saw the man leaving the inn and hoping across rooftops. He also failed to mention the visit to his companions in the morning.
The group met with the Citizens’ Advocacy Group on the following morning. There were a few shaky moments, but they agreed to back the group with whatever support they could provide.
Key Pieces of Information from Entry 49: During Emperor Blackwood’s announcement to the people about the deaths of the wardens, trouble broke out. Several party members did a fine job of calming the vast majority of angry crowd members. Unfortunately, about a dozen people insisted upon resorting to physical violence. In order to pacify two foes, Xander struck them with a blunted blade. One badly injured man tried to flee, but Farraj pursued. He hit the man hard enough to knock half a dozen of his teeth out. Luckily the man received healing before he died. The rest of the rioters quickly surrendered after that show of force.
Back at Eshrin’s office, Wilhelm provided a potentially important lead. He explained that Archibald Fisher, the last scion of a wealthy family, had died under very strange circumstances. On the night of his death, he had been heard yelling: “No, I won’t wear it! Get that thing away from my head!” It was also recorded that Archibald was obsessed with some possession that had belonged to his grandfather. The family’s main estate is said to be but a half day’s ride from the arboretum.
The party set out for the arboretum and stayed overnight in a fairly sizeable town. During the night, whilst he was on the rooftop, Farraj saw a shadowy figure. He said it was wispy and insubstantial. It was on a rooftop just a few buildings over. When it saw him, it dropped to the ground.
On the following morning, Sal, Farraj, and Bartholameau climbed the building to see if they could see tracks on the rooftops. The three scouts did find a slight disturbance amongst the moss and dust on a nearby rooftop. The men dropped down to the street where Farraj had seen the shape drop. They followed tracks to a rather ordinary looking shed. The footprints seemed to stop there.
The group arrived at the Bloomington Arboretum late that evening. Before dawn on the next day, the group headed over to the arboretum with a number of tourists to witness the “morning sprout.” The group was told that the bulb in the center of the arboretum was called the Lorde bulb. Eshrin identified it as the same kind that had been in the marsh. The bulb in the arboretum was only three feet high. The party learned that the bulb acts as a brain for all of the other plants at the arboretum and allows the botanists to communicate with every plants there. Apparently the morning bloom, in which giant dandelion-like plants release seeds into the air, helps to aid in this communication.
While Sal distracted the attendants with questions, Farraj studied the bulb carefully. When he placed his bare hand upon the bulb, he asked in Sylvan how the plant found itself that morning. A tingling sensation rushed up his arm to his jaw. Then he experienced a tide of sensations about how all of the plants were feeling.
Key Pieces of Information from Entry 50: Sal attempted to gain an audience with Dr. Bortion, the head of the arboretum, without tipping his hand as to who we were. Eshrin ruined this by firmly stating that he was with the police and needed to speak with the doctor as part of an investigation. Sal made it clear that someone was spying on Eshrin and that it was safer not to reveal where we had been or what we knew. Eshrin did not seem to see the merit in this argument.
We were told that Dr. Bortion was indisposed due to the very recent death of his young child. We were told that the doctor’s second in charge, Dr. Ludimere, could see the group soon.
While we were waiting for Dr. Ludimere, Sal learned that Dr. Lorde had an estate roughly an hour’s walk from the arboretum. Sal and Bartholameau decided to go and check it out.
Through communing with the plants, Farraj became aware that a shadowy, smoky creature had recently been sensed at the outer limits of the plants’ awareness.
As Sal and Bartholameau were walking, a black carriage with the banner of Pharasma passed them. Bartholameau doubled back to follow it while Sal pressed on to the Lorde estate. The carriage stopped at the arboretum. It left again as soon as Dr. Elizabeth Lorde retrieved her husband.
Eshrin, Xander, and Farraj went to visit Dr. Ludimere. He seemed quite astounded at the similarity between the Lorde bulb and the plant sample Eshrin had gathered in the bog. Dr. Ludimere promised to deliver a report about the disposal of any past bulb prototypes, a list of recent and current employees, and a note of any unusual occurrences that had happened in or around the arboretum within the last few years. He also confided in the men that Dr. Lorde’s estate now belonged to his daughter. He said that Ms. Lorde could be quite difficult, but he promised to make an introduction after he had compiled his report.
Sal went to the Lorde estate. He had a run-in with a very sour caretaker. The man flatly and rudely refused to allow him entry despite Sal’s charming demeanor.
When the group reconvened, Sal told them that Ms. Lorde had thrown her fiancé out of her home a year or so ago over some ugly altercation. Bartholameau revealed that a man working at a southern research station had his entire project’s worth of orchids die overnight. He said there were no signs of footprints, and he did not know what happened.
We went out to check the research station where the orchids were. We discovered that all of the other plants were still alive and well. Farraj found a fresh footprint. Inside the shed, he found a footprint that was half cut off like the one we had recently seen in our travels.
Xander went to visit the cleric of Pharasma about the Lorde child’s death. She told him that the cause of death was asphyxiation due to foreign particulate matter. She said the Madame Dr. Bortion had been investigating dangerous plants in the field and had her young child with her. The cleric said the child’s death appeared to be a tragic accident and nothing more.
The circumstances of the child’s death were all anyone was talking about when Sal and Bartholameau attempted to ask questions in the taverns.
In the morning, Xander broached the topic of whether the group members wanted to be resurrected if any of them should die. Through an agonizing round of questioning, cajoling, and forcing his companions to focus on the question at hand, he managed to secure the answer that everyone would like to be brought back if they died. Xander said that he did not fear death. He told his companions to resurrect him if they felt that they still needed him.
The group dressed as respectfully as they could and attended the reception before the Bortion child’s funeral. As we stood in respectful silence, Sal began to get twitchy. He whispered that something was “off” about Madame Bortion’s appearance. He walked away and came back a few moments later. He whispered that there was some sort of magic on the mother and on the casket. Sal pressed Xander to see if she was evil. Xander detected evil, and he discovered that the woman was bone-deep evil. The coffin also had something evil within it.
Eshrin detected magic discretely from afar. He informed the group that there was a faint necromantic aura upon the casket and a moderate one upon the woman. He also detected illusion magic upon the woman and transmutation magic upon the casket. Xander emphatically demanded that we get the people away and destroy the evil immediately. Sal said he could easily divert the people.
The group paused only long enough for Sal to divert some people and for Xander to retrieve his armor. A hasty plan was hammered out wherein Eshrin would cast dispel magic on the woman. This was supposed to reveal the evil creature lurking beneath the illusion.
We approached the casket. Eshrin cast dispel magic, and nothing seemed to happen. Farraj rushed in like a hell-bound dervish. He bore down on the grieving mother with a vicious cry of: “Sarenrae’s justice is upon you!” He brought his massive earth breaker over his head and crashing down right on top of the woman. She crumpled and landed in a pool of her own blood.
Xander stared for a moment in utter disbelief. He yelled at Bartholameau to open the casket as he rushed to heal the woman. Bartholameau did not open the coffin. He stumbled blindly away from the carnage and half shrieked: “Whoa, dude, what the hell?” The husband was in tears as he tried to drag his bleeding wife to safety. The Pharasman cast a spell to cure the woman of more of her injuries.
Farraj flipped the lid of the casket open and revealed the body of a dead baby. There was no obvious malevolent object or creature. Then he turned and ripped the necklaces from the woman’s neck. Xander grabbed the manacles from his pack and wrapped Madame Bortion up in an iron grip. He also yelled for someone to get the cleric away before she healed the woman anymore.
Bartholameau was still frozen with shock, so Xander roared in his face to get him moving. This seemed to galvanize Bartholameau, who moved over and pulled a wig off the woman’s head. Oddly, the hair underneath was the same color.
Eshrin tried to move toward the coffin when a bright spot of red blossomed on his robes. He cried out in pain, but we could see no attacker. He whirled and cast a great many balls of snow at the air.
With tears still streaming down his face, Dr. Bortion yelled at Xander: “Unhand her you devil!” He drew a dagger and tried to stab the paladin. The Pharasman was yelling about blasphemy in a near-apoplectic fit.
Farraj hurried to Eshrin’s aid and swung his hammer wildly. Xander plead with the cleric to understand that this woman was evil. Bartholameau began to briskly wipe at the woman’s face. Eshrin was stabbed again and looked to be quite badly injured.
Dr. Bortion looked extremely confused when he looked at his wife after Bartholameau was through wiping away her makeup. The cleric also looked stunned to see the imposter before her.
Farraj swung his hammer again and connected with something. Despite the solid blow, we could see no blood. Xander laid hands upon Eshrin and healed him.
Bartholameau stopped the woman from grabbing her wig as the invisible attacker fled. A shadowy figure retreated to the shade of a nearby tree. Then it disappeared.
It took everything they had for Eshrin, Xander, and Sal to convince the cleric and Dr. Bortion to examine things further. Dr. Bortion finally agreed to hear us out at his lab. After divesting the woman of her foul trappings, the whole group of people went to the lab. We told Dr. Bortion all about the plant in the swamp and about the plant growth spell in the child. After hearing all of the evidence, he agreed to an autopsy of his child.
When the cleric and Xander opened up the baby, they found a strange red tuber in the place of his spine and brain. They surgically removed the tuber and placed it in a magical specimen jar. As the cleric and Xander sewed the child back up, they both seemed deeply shaken by the terrible experience.
Sal was very eager to aggressively interrogate the woman. He was emphatic that she would not answer questions through gentle interrogation. Xander was equally emphatic that the group would not use torture. Xander asked the woman to repent of her sins. She said she would confess to everything once she was brought before a duly appointed judge. Farraj raised the concern that she was buying time to escape. Bartholameau said that the Praesidium would use torture to get information if that is what it came down to.
Eshrin said that Xander should serve as judge. He reasoned that Iomedae was the goddess of valor, justice, and honor. He said: “who better than a paladin of Iomedae to know the law and to administer it justly?”
The entire group contributed during the questioning of the woman. She said that her name was Xael Noth. She never seemed to truly lie, but she did her best to avoid answering certain questions completely. She confessed to the murder of Elizabeth Bortion and her child. She also confessed to a host of other crimes. She said she had disposed of the doctor’s body in the woods near the research station. She admitted the amulet and anklets had been illegally obtained. They allowed her limited control of two shadows and a ghost. She said she did not know who had tried to kill Eshrin.
Xael Noth said she kept an office in Crent. It was clear that she knew Jay, but she said she did not associate with him. When the group had no further questions, Eshrin produced a confession for her to sign. Xander sentenced her to death. He promised to make her death as quick and painless as possible. He drew forth a gleaming blade, struck her through the heart, and killed her.
Farraj immediately leapt forward to cut off a hand and a foot. He feared she could rise again undead. The group decided to be as cautious as possible and had the body cremated.
Key Pieces of Information from Entry 51: As the group returned to the inn, it was clear that word had spread about what had happened at the graveyard. All manner of rumors were circulating, and the townspeople gave the group a wide berth. While the rest of the group retired to our room, Sal went out to try to explain the situation to the people. Whilst in the room, Xander and Bartholameau had a heated disagreement about whether Bartholameau was prepared to adventure with the group. Angry words were exchanged.
In the morning, a messenger arrived with the reports from the arboretum. Eshrin perused them and found nothing immediately concerning. As there was a letter of introduction to Ms. Lorde included with the papers, we departed for the Lorde estate.
The very cantankerous caretaker was once again disinclined to let us in, but the letter from the arboretum did the trick. Once inside, we met with Isabel Lorde. She was as unpleasant as local rumor suggested. However, once she learned that the theft of her father’s research from the house could be tied to other crimes, she eagerly shared information with the group.
When she had finished describing the half-elf man named Ali who had stolen the items, Farraj let us know he felt that sounded exactly like Alistar, the messenger for the Citizen’s Advocacy Group.
As soon as we reached town, we departed for the estate of Archibald Fisher. We rode for half a day and arrived at a well-tended estate. We were greeted by an elderly servant who proved most helpful.
The man, who seemed to be the butler, helped us to find Archibald’s diaries. He also showed us a red bladed sword that bore enchantments similar to those that were on the gnoll king’s axe. The estate was filled with Krigori artifacts. Eshrin informed us that the Fisher clan had been a powerful group of warlords until Archibald’s great grandfather had married a witch. Then, they immediately fell from power.
During the course of our investigation, we went to the mausoleum to inspect the tombs of the past three Fisher scions. Curiously, we noted that the expansions connected to the grandfather’s crypt were built together. They were not built in such a way as to facilitate later expansion beyond Archibald’s death. It should also be noted that Eshrin found Protection from Evil spells and something akin to Detect Undead on the doors to the crypts.
Archibald’s crypt was strangely bare of the personal belongings a wealthy man would normally be buried with. The butler told us that Archibald had amended his will asking that he not be buried with these things. We also noted that Archibald’s crypt was inexplicably smaller than it should have been.
The father’s crypt had the belongings one would expect. Farraj noticed that the lock on a briefcase was broken. Eshrin examined the business papers therein. He noted that they stopped at paperwork for a nearby gold mine the family owned.
The grandfather’s crypt delivered quite a shock as his body was not entombed within. The ceiling of the crypt contained the Fisher sigil of an eye pierced by a sword. There seemed to be a socket in the carving where something was missing. Eshrin said it bore moderate transmutation and moderate necromancy magic. Bartholameau noticed a maker’s mark in the crypt for a society in Vergen.
Once we closed the tomb, the servants provided us with a letter of introduction to the family’s Pharasman friends. We traveled to a nearby village to speak with the daughter of the Pharasman who buried Archibald. Her name is Jody Cooper. Ms. Cooper readily provided us with burial records for the family. The grandfather’s were absent. After further research, she learned that burial preparations were cancelled at the family’s request.
Farraj had an impassioned outburst about the grandfather being an undead monstrosity that was walking the earth. This, of course, caught the complete attention of the Pharasman. Sal quickly explained that the body was missing and explained what we had seen at the mausoleum. Jody said she wanted to help in any way that she could. She said she had friends in the society that had built the mausoleum, and she volunteered to speak with them. Xander was nervous about her traveling alone. The group agreed to escort Jody to and from Vergen after we had explored the mines.
At first light, we departed for the mines armed with schematics and two keys. The butler had told us one key opened the front gate. He did not know what the other key opened.
Key Pieces of Information from Entry 52: The party entered the Fisher gold mine in search of clues. We reached the foreman’s office without incident. As we approached the office, we noticed a disturbance in the earth near the edge of the structure. Farraj warned the rest of the party that he heard noises from within. When he opened the door, he encountered an extremely large scorpion. While Farraj was handily dispatching the scorpion, thousands of its babies erupted from the ground. They swarmed Bartholameau and Xander. Eshrin burned many of them with a fireball, and the rest retreated.
Inside the office, there were a few notes pertaining to the closing of the mine. The notes clearly indicated that the leftmost shaft was to stay closed in preparation for the arrival of the proprietor. The extra key that Archibald Fisher’s butler had given us didn’t fit anything at the office.
As we neared the end of the left-hand shaft, the ground became soft and dusty. The soil became thicker as we moved forward. Farraj bent to examine it and said that the soil was not native to Saorsis. Eshrin said this was similar to but not the same as what he had seen at the Copperchop mine.
As we rounded a corner, we saw a solid iron door. The key opened the door, and we entered to investigate. Once inside, we saw three shapes move in the back of the room. Then a screeching voice said: “You are not of my blood!” The sands rippled, and the door slammed shut.
Without hesitation, Eshrin cast a spell. A thundercloud appeared over the head of the shape that had spoken. It didn’t seem to do the creature any harm. The creatures were oddly devoid of features but uniform in color. As Farraj and Xander got close to two of the waxy figures, the creatures’ features contorted to mirror their foes. Unnatural blue light spilled from their eye sockets.
The party fought a pitched battle with the two waxy warriors and another waxy spellcaster. Eshrin identified the creatures as constructs and advised the group to use fire. Each time the creatures were struck, shards of material exploded out into their attackers. The spellcaster hexed Farraj in some way. Each time he struck a blow, he injured himself as well.
Once the waxy outsides of the creatures were obliterated, ghostly figures appeared. The battle raged on until a very badly injured Farraj destroyed the ghost he was facing. Instead of waiting for much needed healing, he rushed on to aid Bartholameau against the spellcaster. Both men struck solid blows against the caster, and Eshrin continued to providing spellcasting support against both remaining foes. The spellcaster used more magic, which put Farraj to sleep. Bartholameau was able to strike two mighty blows against her before he too fell asleep.
At that point, Eshrin let fire with more magic missiles directly into the crone’s face. A strange essence began to leak from her. In a forlorn voice, he said: “This is exactly what happened before. Everyone was incapacitated one by one and died.” Hearing his companion’s despair, Xander broke away from his ghostly combatant. He invoked the will of Iomedae to smite evil. He reached the now flying spirit of a crone and struck her with his sword. The blow struck true, but it didn’t seem to do her as much harm as it should have. Xander looked thunderstruck for a moment. In a confused voice, he said: “She is not evil? I thought all undead were evil.”
While the battle raged on, Sal shook Farraj awake. Farraj grabbed his hammer. He took a blow from the spirit for his troubles. He struck her, more wounds erupted in his skin, and he fell unconscious. Blood poured from his body and stained the sand beneath him.
As Eshrin and Xander eyed the spirit with deadly intent, she cried out: “Stop! I surrender!” The other ghost disappeared then. Xander hastily channeled energy to keep Farraj alive. He called out to not harm the ghost unless she made any aggressive movements. Bartholameau had roused then. He pulled out his wand of cure light wounds and cured Farraj. Sal followed suit. We watched the ghost as it retreated to a small orb in the sand. The orb was shaped like an eye, and it had a faint purple aura.
Sal was able to speak with the ghost in the orb. The spirit told Sal that her beloved family had made this place for her. She identified herself as Selma of the Fisher clan. She offered to assist us because we had spared her. Sal explained that we were there to figure out what had happened to her family. He said that he would not harm her if she could give us answers and that we would help if we could.
Selma spoke of her son, Vidigast. He was grandfather to Archibald. She said that both her son and her great grandson had sought her aid. They sought vengeance and council. She said that she had made a blood dagger for her son and a blood sword for her great grandson. The dagger was of the purest crimson and was much more powerful than the sword.
Sal asked if she knew about the cultists. Selma related to us that they sounded very much like the ones her great grandson had sought. She said he had gone east in search of them. Her son, Vidigast, had gone west. He had spoken of a great horn. Sal and Eshrin conversed and decided that this horn was likely a large mountain to the southwest known as the Beast Horn Mountain.
Selma said she needed just enough soil for the eye to be submerged in in order to manifest. Sal offered to take her back to Krig. Selma strenuously objected. She said she was exiled from Krig, and she begged us not to take her back.
As we were discussing logistics, Farraj must have recovered from his fatigue and fully realized what we were saying. He most adamantly argued against letting Selma’s spirit survive. He yelled that it was unnatural and that she must pay for the crimes she had committed in life. The entire group worked to convince Farraj not to destroy the spirit.
Farraj was not swayed by words that Selma had aided us, that all could be redeemed, that the spirit was not evil, or that Sal had given his word. Feeling that he did not have another choice, he relented to the reasoning that she may yet lead us to much greater evil. He threw angry words at Sal and Bartholameau. He said: “I saw Xander enter the battle and exhibit bravery. I saw Eshrin casting spells.” Then he pointed at Sal and Bartholameau and said: “These two are suspect. I saw no bravery from them.” Xander reminded him that Sal had risked himself to heal Farraj and that Bartholameau had run ahead to engage the enemy.
At the end of things, everyone had agreed that the group would take some dirt and house it elsewhere. The eye Selma is housed in was placed back in her son’s empty sarcophagus. Selma very generously gifted her earthly belongings to the party.
During the night, the party received a missive from the Praesidium asking us to return when we could. It said there was a package at Eshrin’s office.
On the way back to Regunt, the people were very wary of the group. It was clear word had already spread about what had happened in Bloomington.
At Eshrin’s office, Wilhelm produced and opened the package that had been delivered. It contained a scarf. It was not the crimson and silver of the warden’s scarf. This scarf was crimson and black.
When we reached the Praesidium, we were greeted by William. He warned us that news of what had happened in Bloomington had reached the city. He also said the Courtwright brothers’ home had been raided, and they had been arrested. They were being charged with treason. He said they were being charged based upon Eshrin’s reports. The case had yet to go to trial. William promised to get us a meeting with the investigator.
When we spoke with Chief Croft, he said that five of the same scarves Eshrin had received had arrived at the Praesidium. Five had also arrived at the Royal Residence. Xander gave a report. He made it clear that the vast majority of the mess at the graveyard had been his fault. Chief Croft said the police could do damage control. He said: “I must remind you that we are asking you to uphold the image of the police force.” Xander gave him an abashed: “Yes, sir.”
Eshrin produced Xael Noth’s signed confession. We told the chief we hoped it would solve a good many unsolved crimes for him. The chief took the paperwork with interest.
Farraj expressed his concern that Xael Noth’s shadows be dispatched. Xander assured him the priests at the Praesidium could take care of it. Farraj sourly said: “Are you sure they will destroy them and not make some deal with them instead?” Xander took a deep breath before assuring Farraj that they would be disposed of.
We expressed our desire to question Ali, and the Chief gave us free reign to do so. Farraj chimed in that we must be the ones to raid Xael Noth’s office in Regunt. Again, the chief did not object. We began discussing the Courtwright brothers. Chief Croft expressed his outrage at their insidious behavior. This sparked a heated and uncivil exchange between the chief and Sal. The chief said: “They are on government retainer. Their accounting does not hold up. There is no record of the order placed for the printing press.”
Sal shot back: “They’re airheads! I know them. They lose stuff all of the time. I won’t let you do this!” The chief was quickly losing his temper.
Eshrin jumped in and said: “This is an important lead. I have seen their house. It is very disorganized. We would like to look over the house and the records, please.” In a commendably neutral tone, the chief said: “You may have access to the files, house, and prisoners. It is the records on our side that do not add up. The vast amount of wealth they have, even from government and private contracts cannot be reconciled.”
Xander changed the topic of conversation to politicians and even elicited a laugh from the chief. After we cleared up the fact that Sal had never joined the police force, a contract was drawn up. He was absolved of any past crimes he may have committed in the field, and he signed the same agreement Xander had signed.
Farraj asked about Ali. The chief said he was a fixer on the social scene. He said he was not unpleasant…for a socialite. Sal huffed in offense. Nigel laconically said: “Try to be civil about your questioning.” We all nodded, and then we were dismissed.
It was very easy to track down Alistar. He keeps a very nice office. The door was labeled with the words: “Introductions & Courtesy Services.” We stepped into a busy lobby and were greeted by a friendly receptionist. Farraj elected to guard the back exit so Alistar would not try to flee. After a bit of a debate between Bartholameau and Xander about which of them Farraj was angrier with, Bartholameau agreed to go out with Farraj to make sure no one was seriously injured.
After a long series of questioning about Ali that grew more and more pointed, Alistar would not confess to anything. It was clear that he was trying to hurry things along and that he was growing nervous. Sal and Xander could tell that he was withholding information. They also shared a look that said they had no idea how to get at the information. Finally, Xander insisted that Alistar accompany them to the Praesidium immediately for further questioning.
Alistar was very unhappy and nervous about this turn of events. He was not led out as a suspect. He walked along with the group to the Praesidium. There, the group passed on the information they had to a skilled interrogator who agreed to do the questioning. The group was also informed that we had permission to search his office and home for evidence.