A small miscalculation

There is little to tell.

We rode from Sandpoint to Magnamar, fighting off a gang of three trolls on the way. We were a little short of fire – a situation I have somewhat remedied. The trick to dealing with trolls is to keep them down once they go down, but we managed well enough.

Once in Sandpoint, the more stealthy of us went to investigate the residence of the very late Squire (Lord? Sir? Whatever!) Foxglove, and Aeona and I went shopping. Much to see, of course, but we were not offered any difficulty.

Vik, Bahlek and Zoran returned, reporting that the place had been boarded up. They were keen to investigate overnight, but I was adamant that we ought to present our credentials to the local authority and proceed that way. By credentials, I mean that we had requested a letter of introduction from the Sheriff of Sandpoint.

That evening, we listened to gossip. I seems that Mangamar, too, has had a series of ritual murders. How wide does this plot extend?

Next day, introductions made, we visited the Foxglove townhouse, one constable doughnut in tow. We knocked, and the door was answered by … Aldern Foxglove himself! And his wife! What strange doings were afoot here? Both we knew – or thought we knew – to be dead!

They explained the boards on the windows – they were expecting renovations, it seems. An … odd explanation. The well-to-do do not generally oversee tradesmen in person. They invited us into a parlour. Two of us accompanied and – when our group was split – they attacked. My calls that they were under arrest going unheeded, we fought, we being careful to knock them out rather than kill. They did not fight as civilised humans would, forgoing weapons they struck us with their hands with unnatural strength. When they were subdued, our arcanists pronounced that they were very likely not human.

We secured them, and searched the house for evidence.

We found a small cache of documents, detailing that the residence near Sandpoint had been financed mainly by the “brotherhood of seven”, and was to revert to them after a mere hundred years (which I suppose may seem a long time to a human). The parallels were too obvious to miss – the seven points of the Sihedron rune, the letter stating that a “brotherhood” was involved. But all very thin and inconclusive.

We also discovered that the woman Aisha (Aldern’s wife, or rather the someone who seemed to be her) would make periodic payments to be collected at a sawmill at midnight.

We returned to the Magnamar authorities. The “brotherhood of seven” are, it seems, a merchant company. All above-board. Regardless, we requested leave to investigate this sawmill further. During the afternoon, the more bookish of us went to the registry office and investigated, but discovered little of substance.

That night, we visited the sawmill. A large building full of machinery powered by waterwheels. The first two floors held nothing of interest to anyone except perhaps an gnome of engineering bent. We discovered a hidden closet full of some sort of robes and mention of the god of murder and assassination – Norgorber. On ascending the stairs to the top floor, we heard a scream – exactly the kind of scream that would be emitted by someone having a seven-pointed star being carved into his chest.

Bursting into the room, we found it full of perhaps eight or a dozen cultists led by what was plainly a priest. The fight was straightforward – Aeona dropped a Silence spell on the whole area, and without their spellcasting the cultists were easy meat.

And wasn’t there just one very unhappy DM at the table that night? All these guys were equipped with Command, which just doesn’t work in a Silenced zone. Absolutely correct action by Brett, there, when dealing with a roomful of religious cultists (ie: spellcasters).

We had the drop on them, and Zoran simply walked through them to get at the main guy – no AAOs because they were flat-footed. That put him in a nasty spot. As soon as I was able, I moved Durak in to take some of the heat off him. At one point, I used my extremely cheesy interpretation of the rules to have Durak make a 5-foot step, use lay-on-hands to remove his own fatugue, resume his defensive stance (free action) and then make a full-round attack.

Oh, speaking of cheese, I need to have Durak talk about Vik.

The cultists fleeing, including their leader, we ran in pursuit – Vik teleporting down. Which I will write about in a moment. I being slower than the rest, opted to make an opening in the wall by which I was standing and walk through. This proved to be a small miscalculation, as I plummeted down into the river wearing full armour. It took a moment for me to find a pier with handholds, but I managed to drag myself up out of the water before my breath let out. By that time it was all over.

An eventful night. But we have aside from flushing out a nest of these cultists (and let us not make light of that, we have saved one man’s life, at least), we have discovered little but that we are working against a large, organised group, associated in some way with the cult of Norgorber. How this relates to the runelords of ancient Thassilon, I cannot say.

I am most concerned about Vik. One of the two sisters, Vik’s art mainly concerns the summoning of creatures from – well, from wherever such things are summoned. It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the red-eyed slavering of these creatures. Clearly Vik, though not evil in herself (yet), is having some sort of truck with the lower planes.

Last night, she summoned a being which she calls her “eidolon” and – for want of a better word – clothed herself with its substance. This being has all the red-eyed, bewinged, fanged ferocity one would would expect of a demon. But despite its appearance there was not the stench of evil coming from it. I simply don’t know what to make of it.

I should speak to her first, I think, before acting. But act I suspect I shall have to do.

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