Cougar River Killer
Toilday, 23 Lamashan, 4707 A.R.
<this post is a draft, to be tidied up later; please ignore the repeated tense changes for now>
In the early morning, the group heads out on another boar hunt with Lord Foxglove, who has returned to Sandpoint specifically to visit the party. Amongst his news are that he is recovering from his bronchitis, and that he has taken up a new weapon–a greatsword.
They head to Tickwood. On the way the party learns that Lord Foxglove is married to a Varisian woman, someone from an itinerant Varisian caravan, all of whom he took in when he encountered them in a storm one night. “Met that night, betrothed by the next morning,” Foxglove explained his romance. He is also happy to hear that Steel has started seeing Ameiko, although when he suggested that Steel might “settle down and retire” the mercenary just laughed at the idea.
When the party tracks down a boar, Steel manages to graze it with his spear, and Lord Foxglove–seeing the opportunity to use his new weapon–draws his greatsword and cleaves its head from its shoulders. The party is surprised to see his level of skill with such a large blade–and they note that it is made of mithral.
Upon returning to Sandpoint, the group discovers that Sheriff Hemlock has asked them to come and see him upon their return. They do so, leaving Aldern to take the boar carcass to Ameiko for preparation.
In Hemlock’s office, the party learns that there has been a murder at an abandoned barn down Cougar Creek. Three men, notorious swindlers, murdered. Although the Sheriff isn’t displeased to see them dead–he ran them out of town around eight months ago after complaints that their games of chance were crooked–he is concerned that his young Watchmen simply aren’t up to the task of investigating what he hears is a rather grisly murder, and asks the party to go check it out themselves. He says there is a witness, but that he is a madman not likely to speak any sense.
They agree to check it out, and head down Cougar Creek, eventually coming across the barn Hemlock had mentioned.
There they discover:
- The men had wounds consistent with a slashing weapon–possibly claws–that killed them.
- The men were tied up when they were killed. The fourth man–the madman–was tied up somewhere where he could watch the whole thing.
- The act was perpetrated by someone who killed the three men and then walked down to the creek, where any signs of passage vanished.
- The men had been dead for around two days before being discovered.
They party also interviewed the Watchman who had been on the scene to begin with. He explained that the deranged man appeared to have burst from the barn after they had passed, on their regular patrol through the farmlands. He also said that his partner–the man who had been with him when the murder was discovered–had gone back to Sandpoint to report the murder, then returned with orders to transport the deranged man to the Sanatorium rather than bringing him in for questioning in Sandpoint itself.
The party accompanied the guardsmen and the bodies back to Sandpoint, and then went to The Fatman’s Feedbag (after Valjun questioned the Sheriff’s competence in allowing a witness to be sent to the Sanatorium, and the Sheriff told him in no uncertain terms that unless Valjun wanted to do all the paperwork to send back to Magnimar, that he should butt out or stand for election next year) to uncover what they could about the dead men’s ties to the Sczarni.
At the inn, Steel saw Vachedi seated at a table in the corner. It seemed the burly Shoanti man was watching Steel as he drank.
The group discovered the following:
- The men were indeed run out of town eight months ago by the sheriff, after they took Ven Vinder for most of his money. When Vinder complained to the Sheriff, Hemlock took action, but Ven never got his money back. He would not be unhappy to hear of the men’s demise.
- The three of them had in the past been very well off, but Sheriff Hemlock’s hardline attitude and the fact that Magnimar’s freedoms were being progressively ceded to the infelxible rule of Law, meant that after they spent their money and were hungry for more, they had little choice but to seek out other forms of income. Apparently they had been dealing with ever-more-unsavoury characters. One man remarked that he wasn’t overly surprised that the three of them had ended up dead.
- The three of them were clearly not closely affiliated with the Sczarni.
Having established some basic facts, the group went to bed.