Monster in the Closet
Moonday, 24 Rova, 4707 A.R.
The next morning, the group assembled in the taproom at the Rusty Dragon for some breakfast and to discuss yesterday’s events, but their food had barely arrived before a member of the Watch—one of few who hadn’t been badly injured in last night’s raid—came to their table and asked them politely to head to the Town Hall where Mayor Deverin would like to see them. The four companions hastily scoffed what they could and made their way there, with Steel offering Ameiko his apologies that he may have to delay their sparring session until tomorrow. Ameiko just laughed and said he was going to need the time to practice.
In the mayor’s anteroom, the group was surprised to find the other three people who had defended the new Cathedral from the goblin attack—a human woman in half-plate armour, a pallid elf in a black pleated robe carrying an elven longsword, and a Tian human man with a head shaved bare save for a single long braid at the rear, which he had wrapped around his neck like a necklace. The woman introduced herself as Maia, and her companions as Ffynn and Wei.
It transpired that the three adventurers had been making their way down the coast from the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, and had been in Sandpoint thanks to pure happenstance. The two groups shared ideas about what might have caused the goblins to band together and mount such an audacious attack, with the newcomers agreeing that something or someone powerful had to be motivating the goblins to work together. Galfin asked Wei about the weapon he was carrying—little more than a short wooden stick with an attached leather thong, that he looped around his thumb. Wei explained it was used in grappling techniques and joint locks. Galfin asked for a demonstration, and was gasping on the floor with a very sore left elbow in short order. He got up just as an aide opened the door to the mayor’s office and ushered all seven of them in.
Inside, Mayor Deverin thanked them for their help in defending the townsfolk against the goblin raid, and brought to their attention a troubling fact that had been kept secret until now—during the raid, someone had made their way into the boneyard and had excavated the grave of Ezakien Tobyn, the beloved town priest whose death in the Sandpoint Fire alongside his adopted daughter Nualia had been the final coda to the Late Unpleasantness five years ago. Father Tobyn’s remains were now missing; it seemed that the entire goblin assault, by somewhere between 40-50 goblins from at least two tribes, had been nothing more than a diversion designed to distract Sandpoint’s inhabitants while a second group entered the boneyard.
Mayor Deverin tasked Galfin, Steel, Valjun and Ren with the investigation of this crime in conjunction with Sheriff Hemlock, as many members of the Watch had been badly wounded in the goblin assault, and the town’s militia simply weren’t up to such a task. She told the heroes that they needed to maintain the utmost discretion; if the townsfolk heard that Father Tobyn’s grave had been desecrated on top of the trauma caused by the goblin assault, some people in town might begin looking for scapegoats.
The mayor also informed the assembled adventurers that further investigations had revealed the goblins used four separate entry points to the town—they had climbed ropes up the cliff at Junker’s Edge, a ladder had been left propped against the wall of the boneyard, some had made it through the north gate (which had somehow been unlocked), and a wagonload of goblins had been left just south of the Cathedral Square. It was the last item that perplexed everyone the most—the goblins in the wagon had somehow kept quiet for the entire day, which did not match up with a goblin’s lack of self-control. In short, it appeared that the raid had been facilitated by someone with inside knowledge of Sandpoint, but the mayor asked the assembled heroes to keep everything to themselves for the time being.
Our four intrepid heroes left for the boneyard, while the other three adventurers remained with Mayor Deverin to receive further orders.
In the boneyard, the adventurers began to look for clues. Father Tobyn’s grave had indeed been excavated—his coffin was missing, and the hole was surprisingly deep, with smooth sides. Reza quickly came to the conclusion that the digging must have been done magically; the attack hadn’t lasted long enough for it to have been done with shovels and picks. In the disturbed dirt around the grave, Galfin picked up a number of small footprints he recognised as belonging to goblins, along with another set of footprints that looked like they belonged to a humanoid—something the size of an elf or human. The heroes speculated about whether they could belong to a hobgoblin, but whoever owned the footprints, it was clear that someone was directing the goblins in their efforts.
The tracks led to the north wall of the boneyard, where it appeared the goblins had somehow manhandled the coffin up and over the wall (hence the ladder) and into the light forest beyond. The heroes tracked the footprints as far as the Turandarok River, where they vanished amid the loose stones of the riverbed. Troubled, the heroes returned to Sandpoint, where they informed the caretaker, Naffer Vosk, that they had completed their investigations at the grave site. Vosk filled the grave back in, and worked carefully to replace the grass, so that to a casual inspection, the grave looked undisturbed.
Afterwards, the heroes went to see Aldern Foxglove at the Rusty Dragon, as he had requested. He thanked them all again for their assistance in saving his life—even if his hunting mastiff had fallen in the fight against the goblins before the heroes’ arrival—and asked if they would like to accompany him on a hunting expedition to the Tickwood tomorrow. Everyone agreed, although Valjun’s was agreement was grudging. He also offered everyone a reward: he would be happy to buy them a gift. Steel asked for a warhorse, while Galfin asked if Aldern would fund the repairs to his father’s scimitar. Aldern agreed to both, while Valjun and Reza contemplated what they might ask for.
Ameiko came over from the bar, sidled up to Steel and asked him archly whether he was avoiding their sparring bout. The big man blustered and told her that come Hell or high water, he was going to fight her at dawn on Wealday. She agreed, spat on her palm, and the two of them sealed the agreement then and there. More than a few of the patrons seemed keen to turn out and watch.
As the group settled down to lunch, their meal was interrupted by a hysterical woman bearing an infant, with a small child following along. When she calmed down enough to speak clearly, she explained that her husband Alergast was dealing with a goblin that had been hiding in her son’s closet. She tearfully asked the heroes to go and help her husband. The heroes interrupted their meal for a second time that day and ran to help.
The house was ominously silent when the heroes arrived. They made their way upstairs, and into the child’s room, where a man lay face-down with his head and shoulders inside the closet. When the heroes pulled him out and rolled him over, they discovered his throat had been slit, and that something had eaten away the flesh on his face and upper chest. The ‘something’ turned out to be a ravenous goblin that had been hiding beneath the floorboards; it came out spitting and shrieking something about ‘my meat’, but the heroes quickly dispatched it. Unfortunately there was nothing they could do to save Alergast’s life.
When Amele Barrett arrived back at her house, she broke down into tears at the sight of her dead husband. In her distress and anger, cradling her husband’s corpse, she told the heroes to get out of her house, saying they should have been “more thorough in their ‘heroing’”. Galfin turned on his heel and left, his conscience clear. The others followed somewhat more reluctantly, some of them finding it difficult to shake off the thought that the children would now grow up without a father.
As they finished their lunch, the heroes speculated about who—or what—might be behind the mobilisation of the goblins. After a wide-ranging discussion, their thoughts turned to Titus Scarnetti; rumours were already rife that the destruction by fire of several grain mills in the region—all competitors to the Scarnetti Mill in Sandpoint—had been ordered by the Scarnetti family. Perhaps, the group reasoned, the Scarnetti family was in for a pinch, in for a sail? The goblin raid was bound to wreak havoc with trade, property prices, public confidence… Maybe the Scarnettis were the ultimate masterminds behind the plot? The group resolved to consider the idea further when they had the opportunity.
In the afternoon, Galfin sought his foster brother Sandru, and asked him about the Sczarni, saying that he was thinking about getting in touch with them to learn more about them and his heritage. Sandru told him in no uncertain terms that the Sczarni were bad news, and that he should stay away from them—but knew that his headstrong foster-brother was unlikely to listen.
Meanwhile, Steel sought out Erik Ryder at his farm outside Sandpoint. Erik took the news of his brother Cayden’s death stoically, but it seemed there was much more to the story than Cayden had told Steel about during their time together—apparently Cayden had been accused of some crime, and instead of facing the charges, he fled. Under Lastwall law, his closest relative faced the charges in his place, and in the end Erik had been exiled from his beloved homeland. The bad blood between the brothers was decades old, and Erik’s attitude to his brother was by now more one of bitter disappointment than anger, but he still needed time to mourn. He told Steel that when he was ready, he would invite the young mercenary back for a longer discussion.
Later, the heroes returned to Mayor Deverin’s office to give her a report on their investigations. They relayed the information they had found so far, and said that they had a working theory that implicated Titus Scarnetti.
Mayor Deverin looked troubled…but did not deny that it might be a possibility. She said, however, that she could not be involved, even tangentially, with any investigation the heroes might conduct, and left them to pursue their own leads.
That evening, over a blessedly uninterrupted dinner, the heroes hatched a plan to break into Scarnetti Manor this Fireday, while Titus was busy visiting the opening night of The Harpy’s Curse and the consecration of the new cathedral, which had finally been rescheduled.
Satisfied with their day’s work, the heroes retired to bed.