Rise of the Runelords

Some Eventful Nights

With so many leads to follow-up on, how can you choose just one

Enraged that their winnings are not readily available, and watching the assembled crowd scatter like roaches, our heroes find themselves without money, but with plenty to do in Magnimar. Several items need some looking into and there is a meeting at midnight with Kasadei, a city guardswoman who has asked for the heroes help in catching a murderer.

When they meet up with Kasadei at midnight near the Shadow, she explains the situation and gives all the details she has gathered so far. The killer seems to strike at dawn against priests of Sarerae who commune with the Sun goddess during their morning Dawnwalks. Her plan is to set up an ambush with a decoy and the heroes hiding to swoop in and capture this vicious criminal who has been ripping out the hearts of their victims. After a small amount of convincing, Tobias is chosen as the most priestly of the group to be the decoy and sets his path at dawn down a deserted street in Underbridge. With everybody in place and several squads of guards a couple blocks away ready to charge in and capture the murderer, everything is set and Tobias makes his stroll down the way.

Suddenly the gnomes footsteps fall silent, but everyone can see him walking with a black shadow trailing after him. With a gleam of dagger and flick of a wrist, a wicked arm shoots a dangerous blade toward the gnomes heart over his shoulder, but doesn’t bite. Something is off here, an easy target has just become harder than it should be. Looking around the red haired half-elf sees the trap being sprung as arrows rain down on her from above, and a monster of a man with an iron face rises from a drunken stupor in the alley threatening with a menacing hammer. The murderer tries to get away yelling and screaming but no sound can be heard until just as suddenly as the sound disappeared, it cracks through the dawn, screams for the Scarlet Son to help her. With that, what looks like a particularly graphic decoration on the building comes to life and spreads its broad bat-like red wings and takes flight.

This new threat flies over the rooftops and savagely slashes at Kadira, effectively taking away the groups ranged support, while the red-haired murderer races around a corner trying to escape the trap, but she runs into splinters of wood and the massive barbarian Hjalmar crashing through the fence to cut her off. The battle enjoined, this murderous wretch decides she is mightily out classed and tries to make a run for it, dodging a lance from the now mounted gnome, and a hammer blow from the barbarian, which only serves to deliver more destruction on the already ruined fence, she squirts away and around the corner. But she is not out of the woods yet, for racing among the rooftops, Anthrogate and Taalkan see the fleeing culprit and pounce from on high cutting off her escape. As more screams of aid pierce the morning air, the Scarlet Son, a hideous red tinted fiendish gargoyle, disengages Kadira and makes a swooping dive to catch its partner and make good their escape, but the valiant efforts of the heroes keep the murderer on the ground while the gargoyle makes its escape, but not before Anthrogate sinks a bolt into its flank as it flies off.

Without a second thought, Tobias kicks his boar into gear and charges off after the fleeing gargoyle. Keeping sight of the beast just above the rooftops, he twists down one alley, knocks over some refuse as he and his boar and Taalkan rush down a street keeping up with the monster. After a harrowing ride up and down the streets of Underbridge, waking no small amount of good folk, the gnome comes to an old abandoned shrine. Decrepit and dilapidated the monster surely swooped in through the many holes in the buildings roof and the residual of its evil marks this as the spot. The gnome charges the door with lance lowered and blasts though sending timbers and shards of wood in all directions, and there the gargoyle perches, licking its wounds upon the broken alter attended by some foul undead. A charge finds the wight spitted upon the gnomes lance, and a second smites the fiendish gargoyle. All enemies at his feet, the gnome stares about in wonder at this glorious moment, with the only witnesses to his greatness his boar, and Anthrogates leopard companion.

The woman called Zadendi is the one responsible for the murders of the Sarenites, and once she is handed over to the Avensoar, our heroes can now focus on finding out what happened to the money they bet on Hjalmar the previous night. To that end the heroes track down Hjalmar’s agent and press him for answers. When he tries to escape, a boot through the door and quick thinking stop the scared man from fleeing for his life. In short order he offers to set up a meeting with the leader of the largest local Sczarni gang called the Gallowed, a man named Jaster Frallino, whom he had been working for setting up the illegal underground fights. Surely he would be able to make reparations for our heroes.

Now with a path to get what they are owed, our heroes make their way to the townhouse once owned by Aldern Foxglove in search of clues to further their investigation in the Sandpoint murders. Searching the grounds, and going room to room, the heroes find the building boarded up, secured, and abandoned, until they reach the second floor. Peeking into what would be the dining room, Anthrogate finds Aldern and his wife Iesha enjoying a fine meal, shocked to see intruders. Put off by this turn of events, Anthrogate closes the door and backs away, thinking this some trick of the mind or haunt like he found several times in the haunted Foxglove Manor. Kadira, feeling brave, stuck her head in and nearly got it taken off by the two faceless stalkers who had been adopting the Foxgloves, but now reverted to their natural hideous forms. A short battle and then a more thorough search of the townhouse later, our heroes find the hidden lock inside the lions head mantle piece and discover the last of the Foxglove secrets.

Due to journals and the deed to Foxglove Manor, it would seem that an organization called the Brothers of Seven had been the money behind the construction of Foxglove Manor, and the recipients of 200gp every week for Iesha’s “trip” on Oathday at a place called the Sevens Sawmill at Midnight. Being as it was Oathday, and closing in on Midnight, the heroes made haste to the Sawmill located over on the Yondabakari river.

The place seemed abandoned when the heroes made their way in, with nothing but the machinery whirling away in the darkness. Each level of the 4 story building showed more of the typical use of a sawmill; buckets for cut lumber, saws, and work tables with plenty of sawdust and shavings to go around, the smell of fresh cut lumber heavy in the air. Ever so silently Anthrogate explored the upper stories while the more armored of the party waited for some sign of life within the dark building. It wasn’t until Anthrogate found a terrifying scene, one where 2 dozen cultist around a bound man splayed out on one of the many work tables. An all too familiar scene except he had only seen the aftermath of one of these sacrifices. Standing over the man was the cult leader, dressed in decadent robes, and a gruesome mask made of human skin, carving a seven point star into the dying mans chest. Charging into the fray with a battle cry, the melee was soon joined by the others where cultist after cultist was mowed down by arrow, lance, hammer and axe, tooth and claw, until all that was left was the cults leader. It would turn out that it was Justice Ironbriar, a respected elven judge whom the heroes had run into before, and his affiliation with this foul ritual would begin to make waves in Magnimar. Peppered with arrows, the man finally succumbed to his wounds and ceased the fight.

Searching the cults hideout produced more questions than answers, some loot procured from previous victims, and several rare treasures in the form of books and ledgers. So, lacking the magical means to question the Justice or decipher the ledgers, our heroes turned him over to the Avensoar, the second murderer they had caught in 24hrs. What secrets might this man spill after some hard questioning, and who pulls this puppets strings?

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