Wealday, 24 Lamashan, 4707 A.R.
<content to come>
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.
Below is the letter Sandru wrote to Galfin before leaving for Riddleport.
Toilday, 25 Rova, 4707 A.R.
Rising early, the heroes prepared for their morning hunt with Lord Foxglove. They met him in the mounting yard outside the Rusty Dragon—along with Steel’s mighty warhorse, Foxglove had procured horses for the other members of the party, along with a pony for Valjun, but the gnome was absent. They waited for him to arrive, but his brother Huvic came running up in his place, saying that Valjun had been taken ill and would not be coming. Aldern was disappointed, but set out nonetheless.
The party—including a dozen or so retainers and hunters that Lord Foxglove brought along—took the northern route to the Tickwood; with reported sightings of the Sandpoint Devil above Devil’s Platter nobody wanted to take any chances. The journey was only a couple of miles, but at their leisurely pace it gave the heroes and Lord Foxglove time to get to know each other. He asked about their background, and they about his; he explained that while he was indeed born into the nobility, he considered it little more than an accident of birth, and that he was no different to the common man—not entitled to anything purely by the fact of his social position, and able to provide employment for many who were less well off. He said he took his obligations to the people seriously.
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. (more…)
Sunday, 23 Rova, 4707 A.R.
Having witnessed the death of his master—the exiled Knight of Lastwall Cayden Ryder—on the border with Belkzen, the mercenary known as Steel arrived in Sandpoint seeking Cayden’s brother Erik, intending to inform him of Cayden’s passing.
In Sandpoint itself, the Swallowtail Festival was in full swing. The rogue Galfin picked a few pockets as he idly waited for the Sandpoint Games to begin, until he was eventually caught trying to filch Steel’s purse. After a brief exchange, with Galfin providing the much bigger man with directions to the Rusty Dragon, the men parted with little more than heated words. Galfin went to place a bet on the horse race to be held later in the day, betting on an outside chance—a stallion named Shadowmist—rather than the favourite after checking over all the horses as they waited in the stables.
Elsewhere, Valjun, the gnome printer, watched as the nobles of Sandpoint paraded down Main Street on their horses, on their way to attend the Festival’s opening speeches. The crowd’s rapturous applause, in combination with vapid possessiveness on the face of Titus Scarnetti in particular, drove Valjun from irritation to outright anger. The gnome quietly intoned a few syllables and flexed his fingers imperceptibly. The horse reared and dumped Scarnetti unceremoniously on the muddy road—to the uproarious laughter of the common folk. Scarnetti, however, did not see the amusing side of the situation, and demanded that the person responsible for spooking his horse be found immediately, but Valjun slipped away before he could be spotted.
At his lodgings at the Rusty Dragon, Reza stared critically at his reflection in the mirror, as he did every morning. After several minutes of examination, he could find nothing out of place, and began to make his way downstairs, intending to join in the fun and frivolity of the Festival. He ran into Steel on the stairs, and the two exchanged a nod before going their separate ways.
In the frontier region of Varisia, the days are becoming shorter as the exuberance of summer gives way to the more solemn autumn, and attention is given to the serious matter of storing food for the winter. In the coastal town of Sandpoint, however, the townspeople are planning one last hurrah before the weather turns colder.
The Swallowtail Festival—an annual celebration sacred to followers of the goddess Desna—is about to begin. Sandpoint is a melting pot of cultures, with Chelaxian colonists mixing with those of Shoanti and Varisian heritage who have chosen to settle in the town. On the whole, life in Sandpoint is rather peaceful, especially when compared to the brutal regime in Korvosa, the cutthroat anarchy of Riddleport, or the political turmoil of Magnimar. Sheriff Belor Hemlock and Mayor Kendra Deverin have worked hard to make Sandpoint a place of tolerance, but not everyone shares their views on egalitarianism; at the most recent Town Council meeting firebrand nobleman Titus Scarnetti tried (unsuccessfully) to have the Festival altered to include an acknowledgement of Asmodeus as part of the official proceedings.
Unfortunately for the citizens of Sandpoint, this year’s Festival is destined to descend into horror and madness as past wrongs are inflamed by present passions, and the town is plunged into an uncertain future.
Where are the heroes who would put their lives on the line when Sandpoint needs them? Who will shoulder the burden, become a defender of Sandpoint, and perhaps set themselves on the road to greatness?
Stand up and be counted. Discover your destiny. Become a Hero of Sandpoint.