Rise of the Runelords

Nualia's Fate/A New Threat

One door shuts, and still more evil creeps in.

We pick up with our brave heroes down deep in the dungeon below Thistletop before a barred door and a woman’s voice behind. After a few tense minutes of back and forth, the woman opens the door and reveals herself as a bedraggled elven woman surrounded by various sundries more consistent with an archaeological dig than a dungeon dedicated to evil. The woman introduces herself as She Who Weeps for What Was Lost (SWWWWL), a learned individual about some of the relics uncovered beneath Thistletop and employee of Nualia. Markedly ignoring her as a non-threat, the heroes move down the staircase behind the propped open secret door, further into the island.

Below Anthrogate finds a strange room, canted to the west, as if some ancient event threw this level off center, that bears tipped statues of a man in robes with a book and a glaive that SWWWWL seems very familiar with. The walls bear soot on the lower parts, but the room is otherwise empty. Stealth seems impossible with a boar riding gnome paladin in the group, but efforts are made and the next door reveals a strange hall with a trap. After some work, and no lack of distraction from the milling group of heroes behind, Anthrogate figures out the nature of the devious device which involved two portcullis’, slashing glaive statues, and a dropping floor, then he disarms the thing making it safe to pass.

It is beyond that the heroes find an odd occupant in the next room; old enemy for some, a potential ally for others, dangerous to all. A dapper looking man stands in his small clothes asking a goblin advice, of all things, on a set of robes. In surprise he challenges the intruders and recognizes Kadira as an old associate. This is Rygg, a master manipulator who went missing from the last groups first assault on Thistletop, that all assumed was dead. It turns out that he now seems to have some interest in the imminent goblin attack on Sandpoint. Before Kadira can pierce him with arrows though, he mesmerizes her with a spell and sets about her companions attempting to turn their favor while Killjoy, his loyal goblin servant, and his goblin dog set about to defending their master. The battle is fierce, but eventually the gnome paladin recognizes the threat that the sorcerer is and Kadira finally breaks free from Rygg’s spell to pepper him with arrows while SWWWWL whispers of wrathful tidings in her ear. It is an ignominious end for the seductive sorcerer.

After their ordeal with the traitorous sorcerer, the heroes come to a room that is a sight to behold. An L shaped room that bears an immense stack of golden coins one way, and a pair of double doors bearing skeletons at the other end. After a quick investigation of the coins, and some failed greedy intentions by the dwarf Anthrogate, it is agreed to proceed through the skeletal doors. But as the team moves to the doors, SWWWWL slips a couple coins from her pouch while she examines the door, and places them into two well hidden slots. Instantly transported away, the coins trigger the secret door, and the stack of coins grinds noisily into the ground. With the way apparent, our group of heroes courageously charge through, and stumble into something truly evil.

There before a set of intricate doors kneels a beautiful woman with silvery hair and comely form. Her armor shaped well, covers all but her midriff with dark symbols, and the bastard sword on the ground beside her seems quite deadly indeed. It would seem that our heroes have found Nualia for as she finishes the divine ritual to her patron, the Mother of Monsters, Lamashtu, she raises her arms, one strong and smooth of skin, the other red and angry as if formed from a demon. With a flash of divine light, the doors part from the center and slide silently open. Nualia takes up her sword, and bathed in that same divine light, turns to the heroes.
“Now, at long last, you will know the power of the Mother. You and your town will become burnt offerings unto my rebirth out of this cursed form! Behold the might the Mother has given me!” And with that she wades into battle.

With but two blows, she downs the dwarven ranger; with another parted the head from the boar the gnome was riding; and from there she presses her advantage into the group of heroes that seem powerless to stop her blade from claiming all their lives. But worse is the shadowy shape darkening the open doors. A crushing despair comes over the heroes that only some can resist to fight on. Arrows, axe, lance, and spell all brought to bear upon the priestess, and only just were the heroes able to defeat their foe. The dark essence retreats behind the closing doors as Nualia’s soul was claimed by divine flames, leaving not but her worldly possessions clattering to the ground including her Sihedron Medallion.

With the will and heart of the attack on Sandpoint removed, all that remains is to remove the teeth from the slathering monster that is a goblin army. Showing proof to the gathered goblin chieftains, and a few threatening arrows and bolts, the goblin army disbanded into the surrounding hinterlands. It would be some time before another would be able to gather them in such numbers as to threaten Sandpoint again.

So after some much earned rest, a shopping trip to Maginmar (which also yielded an invitation from Sheila Heidmarch of the Pathfinder Society), and a good deal of adulation from the townsfolk of Sandpoint, all seemed well with our heroes. That is until rumors of ghouls found their ears and once more our heroes sallied forth to combat this new evil. And ghouls they found, in a plenty, beneath the Pauper’s Graves, many bearing an interesting mark, a seven pointed star, one the heroes have seen before in the Thassilonian ruins they had recently been exploring. But the horror of this new evil wasn’t truly revealed until they returned to Sandpoint.

Sheriff Hemlock summoned the heroes to ask for their help for it would seem that there is a murderer on the loose, and he struck just last night at the mill leaving a chilling note for Kadira. Further more, this seems not to be the first instance, for three nights ago three con men were found brutally murdered as well. It turns out the bodies were only found because of a raving man accosting some of the Sheriffs men on patrol. While the raving man, one Grayst Seville was remanded to Habe’s Sanatorium, the scene of the murders was singular in nature since each of the three bodies had a seven pointed star carved into their chests.

So our heroes set out to investigate the murder scene at the mill and found several clues therein:
-Muddy bare footprints leading from the river up the pier and into the mill
-Poor Katrine Vinder violently and viciously murdered with the log splitter
-A suspicious bloody ax embedded in the floor near the log splitter smelling of rotten meat
-Banny Harker’s body suspended by hooks, seven pointed star carved into his chest, face removed as well as his lower jaw

Several leads remain that Sheriff Hemlock would like help following up on:
-Ibor Thorn, the co-owner of the mill who found the murder scene is in a holding cell
-Ven Vinder, Katrine’s father is being held as the Sheriff’s only suspect as of now
-Grayst Seville who was sent to Habe’s Sanatorium located on the leeward side of the Ashen Rise
-The prominence of the seven pointed star rune and its ultimate meaning here

A murder mystery is afoot. Can the heroes work through the clues to find who is responsible before they strike again?


Morgoran Morgoran

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