The heroes three stand peering down into the deep, dark, winding stone stair of some ancient construction. We find them torn between following the revenant Iesha Foxglove to whatever doom she might encounter, and finishing the exploration of Foxglove Manor above. The choice seems clear as the house has become increasingly deadly, our heroes get the uneasy feeling of a some malevolent entity that does not want them here. Armed with the knowledge of Aldern Foxglove, the foppish noble Kadira had met before now turned to some kind of ghoulish figure, as the perpetrator of the horrific murders in Sandpoint and its hinterlands, the heroes bravely delve the depths beneath this haunted mansion.
The stone stairs end in a massive cave structure, some parts newly expanded, others made habitable long ago. Anthrogate bends his knees to follow the tracks of Aldern’s undead wife, and leads the group further into the dark and dank caves. Guided only by his darkvision he comes across a pack of ghouls hidden in alcoves along the walls. The fight turns to nightmare as Anthrogate and his companion are surrounded by the lathering jaws and diseased claws of the undead. Charging to the rescue Kadira drills the first ghoul with a well placed arrow, and the cat savages another, while a shining beacon of a gnome rides past the foray and sets up a charge. But there are just to many and before the rest of the ghouls can be put down, several scratches, bites, and wounds dot Anthrogates arms.
Further on, goblins! Yet these are already dead; wide heads with too sharp teeth and long dripping tongues, a sickening gray pallor to their already green skin. These vicious creatures must have been caught and turned by Aldern and set as guards, for as they move quietly in the darkness, they pounce upon Anthrogate and his companion, paralyzing and sickening the two. Again the gnome and archer have to rush to their aid showering the nasty little creatures with arrows and impaling them with tusks. Sickened as they are, the group continues; there is only one way to end this murderous rampage – to kill or be killed.
A dark winding slope ends at a pool of foamy seawater, the currents of the ocean causing it to ebb and froth, and making the slope dangerous to traverse. A door in the wall, about half way down, is smashed apart, the inside of the room pouring out soft candle light from within. Our heroes make their precarious way to the door and peek inside to find an unexpected sight. There upon his knees, the ghoulish Aldern Foxglove sits weeping over the twice dead corpse of his once beautiful wife Iesha. Looking up with grief stricken eyes he screams, “You did this? YOU did this! How dare you make me face this again? I shall taste your warm hearts..” and with that he attacks.
With the first blow, an arrow in his shoulder, the creature shifts and cringes away. “Please don’t do it, don’t hurt me. He will come and then you will all be sorry. He made me do it. The Brotherhood, they wanted it so I gave it to them. I had to, I’m so sorry. What else could I do? Don’t do it or the hurter will come, the Skinsaw Man, and then we are all dead.” With that the ghoulish noble visibly changes, his face twisting into a gruesome grin and in a deep malicious voice he calls out, “I wonder how your deaths will affect your friends? What things you might have done that will go unfinished? What will those broken promises spawn? How will your murders shape the world?” With a final roar Aldern Foxglove takes his war razor to hand and charges into battle. It is thus that our heroes finally put to rest the depraved soul of this once proud noble.
Yet quelling the undead threat beneath the haunted mansion did not relieve the dismal burden of tragedy and loss so pervasive within the building, and our heroes, without the means to overcome the dark forces at play, retreat to the safety of Sandpoint, but not before they secure several leads into why these vicious murders took place. A letter from a mysterious source named Xanesha was discovered among Aldern’s belongings spoke of something called a Sihedron Ritual, an organization called the Brotherhood, and the existence of a townhouse in Magnimar that might hold more clues. Also among his belongings was a key ring with two keys, a tarnished iron key, and a bronze key with head of a lion.
All signs pointing to Magnimar, our heroes make the 60 mile trek to the largest settlement on the Lost Coast after securing aid from Sheriff Hemlock and Father Zantus to look over the haunted Foxglove Manor. Once they arrived, our heroes set about several tasks. First Kadira follows up on an invitation to meet with Sheila Heidmarch, a local Pathfinder Venture-Captain, where she runs into the famous Pathfinder Koriah Azmeren and receives a dismissive glare. While Kadira visits Heidmarch Manor and secures a dinner invitation for that evening, Anthrogate and Tobias make their way to the Avensoar, the garrison for the city watch, to investigate rumors of murders in the city where the tired looking guards greet them with cold stares and instructions to see a Justice Ironbriar of the Justice Court. So, feeling run around, our two heroes wade into the red tape of the bureaucracy of Magnimar, cracking a few heads along the way, attempting to gain audience with the Justice to no avail.
Once the heroes are back together, they compare notes and set about their third task of finding a suitable traveling companion. So they find themselves witness to an underground prize fight between a massive Shoanti and an intimidating Ulfen warrior with an iron mask. Though the Shoanti looks more fearsome, the Ulfen handles him easily and playing to the crowd, shortly ends the match. It looks like maybe our heroes have found their counterpart.
The following morning is a new day in Magnimar that sees our heroes summoned to Justice Ironbriar’s chambers for a short interview from the stern looking elf and instructions to meet with a City-Watchwoman by the name of Kasadei. Meeting this shrewd yet exuberant city guard, the heroes are asked to help solve and put an end to another set of murders here in Magnimar seemingly targeting followers of Sarenrae and cutting out their hearts. Kasadei asks them to meet her at midnight to discuss the nature of the ambush so that they might catch this killer promising a 3000 gp reward for their help.
While waiting for the appointed time, our heroes catch wind of the prize fighter they witnessed yesterday being involved in an epic match with a legendary creature, a Shriezyx. Placing hefty bets on the Ulfen warrior, the heroes take their spots to watch the exciting match between man and monster. The battle is fierce; the huge spider-like creature slinging webs to ensnare its foe brings all its nasty claws to bear on the held warrior, but the Ulfen lands some telling blows of his own. The fight rages on stroke for stroke until the Shriezyx seems defeated and the warrior begins to gloat. But then it rises up and begins the fight anew, striking down the man in the iron mask and trying to climb out the top of the arena. With a howl to the northern gods, the man makes a staggering leap off the side of the cage, floating through the air as if his full-plate had wings, and lands an incredible blow with his warhammer to finally end the monster.
Full of pride at his success, and venom for that matter, the Ulfen and our heroes make their way to collect their prodigious winnings only to find the Sczarni thugs that had set up this fight, have absconded with all the coin. Will our heroes team up with this towering warrior to secure their winnings? Can he be trusted to help catch a murderer at dawn? And who is it that was pulling Aldern Foxgloves strings and what do they have planned here in Magnimar?