We resume our activities right where we left off, with the bulk of the party now standing before a pile of bodies that appears to consist of one dead wizard, one dead demon, and one dead random villager. The group search the wizard and find one very nice dagger (+1) and a lovely gold necklace. As they file these things away the intrepid halfling rifles through the pockets of the random villager — he finds 6CP, and his hands come away smelling like fish. This time it is not thanks to an encounter with Big Annamar.
They poke at the dead demon a bit, while Gwannyn searches her memory to see if she can recall anything about a creature matching this description. After some thought she remembers reading about a creature known as a night stalker, not seen since the time of Tormic Garan, which seems to be a fit. The night stalker is recorded as having been a fairly minor demon, but one which often presaged the appearance of other, nastier beasties. Little more comes to mind at this point.
The party return to the abbey and report their findings to Father Ulric, who looks understandably disturbed and dispatches several of his acolytes to go retrieve the bodies. Attention then turns to Kees and Irun, who had previously been sent to the southeast of the village to follow a small flight of demons that had passed over the town. Desmond runs off in their general direction, and Yorl is soon after dispatched whilst the remainder of the party are asked to help haul the bodies of the recently deceased back to the abbey.
Yorl makes haste through the pastures on the south side of town, eventually hearing what seemed to be the sounds of a desperate combat. He veered in the direction of the combat and soon came within view of two human figures fighting three night stalkers. As he came closer he recognized Desmond and Kees as the human figures. He also saw another human form laying lifeless on the ground; it was no large leave of induction to determine that it was likely Irun on the wrong end of a demon.
Yorl launches himself into the fray, during which Kees proves himself — either through skill, or simple blind rage at the death of his brother — a formidable foe to the demons. The three men manage to slaughter two of the three and grievously wound the third, who flies off. Yorl and Edmund hoist the body of Irun and begin guiding the now-shellshocked Kees back to the abbey; as they depart, they make note of the fact that the fleeing demon headed towards Hildor Bluff.
Edmund, who had stayed behind at the scene of the previous combat with the wizard, attempts to track where said wizard comes from. He is able to determine that his immediate origin was in the direction of the heart of the village, but with all the traffic for the Feast he is unable to get any more precise than that.
The party reconvene at the abbey and generally heal, rest, and prepare for the next day’s festivities. In the morning they rise and discuss their plan for the day. They decide to head to the Vetters’ to express their condolences to the family. On their way to the Vetter homestead they come across a wandering elf that no one had previously seen in town. He introduces himself as Ralauran, a travelling scholar, and ingratiates himself into their company, whereupon he spends the rest of the morning following them around and scribbling feverishly.
They make it to the Vetters’ and find the family in roughly the state one would expect. The lady of the house tells the party that they are more than welcome to stay if they need lodging, but she hoped they would understand if the family preferred to have solitude at this time. The party, being gentlefolk and paragons of virtue to the very last, agree and make their farewells. Edmund has a sudden pang of conscience and hands over 2GP and 6CP to cover burial and other expenses. Desmond volunteers to stay behind and assist the family as they may need, to which they gratefully agree.
They remainder of the party leave and return to the abbey, where they catch up quickly with Father Ulric. He tells them that the wizard they had encountered was one Rellum, the village’s tanner. He lived at the edge of town, a bit isolated due to the unpleasant odor of his labors, but until now he had been known as a quiet but honest and hard working citizen. Ulric further says that the murder victim was a local fisherman name as Norri. In other news, the Wandering Lords and Ladies had this very morning informed Ulric that they would be wandering along, as things in town were getting just too weird for their freakshow to deal with. Yes, that is ironic.
Ulric asks the party to keep as much of the recent happenings under their belts as possible, to minimize the further alarm that the most recent events are certain to cause in the assembled throngs. He then asks one of his acolytes to follow him upstairs, and excuses himself from the group. Edmund gets sneaky and follows him, listening at the door they passed through, but he’s unable to hear shit other than the name of the acolyte: Brother Firth. He rushes back downstairs before he gets into any trouble. The party are growing increasingly suspicious of Father Ulric and his involvement in recent happenings.
When Father Ulric returns, Raluaran asks him if he may spend some time in the abbey’s library; Ulric agrees, and instructs Brother Firth to accompany the elf to the library, muttering to him sotto voce, “you know what to watch for.” This does little to alleviate their suspicions. For his part, Ralauran thumbs through some old tomes and finds reference to a “Castle Vyn”, which was built by the three evil brothers, and is located near the Tomb of Saint Garan. The castle is recorded as having had one tower which contained an unholy portal known as the Demon Gate, through which night stalkers and worse things are said to have passed. The legend is that Castle Vyn was destroyed during the battle with Tormic Garan, and that its ruins were somewhere near his tomb.
The morning passes without to much more event, and the village gathers for the daily noontime feast. The meat and bread is delivered; there is still no alcohol provided, but as with previous days many people are providing their own. Some way through the meal voices get raised a few benches down from the party. It would appear that two of the members of the Wilder Company, Kyl and Wergen the Axe have come to a heated argument. Wergen challenges Kyl to a duel and some suspense ensues as Kyl determines the terms. Many around him counsel caution, and, while his hand hovers briefly over the red dagger indicating a duel to the death, he instead draws the white one for duel to first blood.
When lunch is complete, the setting is cleared and preparations made of the Test of the Bow. This comes in the form of an archery contest, shooting three arrows at three successively distant targets. Big Annamar comes in looking the best (especially to Edmund) with three points. The increasingly impressive Kyl scores two. Sir Havad harrumphs at having scored only 1 point. The party fare no better, with Yorl scoring 0, and Desmond and Gwannyn 1 each.
Upon completion of the Test, Wergen and Kyl prepare for their duel. As the onlookers gather, Kyl looks paler and paler. However, he rapidly gets the better of Wergen once blades are loosed and is declared the winner after drawing blood with a slash of his sword. Wergen, who is not seriously injured, huffs off looking slightly abashed, and the assembled cheer Kyl and his surprising martial prowess.
While this is happening, Yorl slips away and heads towards Rellum’s home and shop to do a bit of snooping around. He finds his way to Rellum’s workshop and, whilst poking around there, discovers a trap door on the floor. He lifts this and drops down into what appears to me a small magician’s workshop — there is a desk with candles and various small trinkets on it, and a built-in bookshelf with a couple of tomes. In the drawers of the desk are a few scrolls that appear to have had spells transcribed on to them. Yorl pockets these and hurries back to the rest of the group.
With the days festivities complete the party huddle up to discuss what they’re going to do with the afternoon. They reflect upon what Ralauran learned earlier about Castle Vyn, and think a good next step would be to locate the Tomb of Saint Garan and investigate that. Its location is readily determined, as all the villagers seem to know where it is. The party gird themselves and head into the woods at the foot of Hildor Bluff.
After a brief search they find their way into a box canyon that meets the location and description given by the local yokels. It is roughly a hundred feet across and several hundred wide. One end holds the ruins of a small stone building, the other has a large plaza with several crumbling statues and a door carved into the side of the mountain. Directly ahead is an open area leading to a field of boulders that have fallen from the walls above.
The party begin circling towards the ruined building when they are winged by several arrows coming from the jumble of fallen rocks. A brief combat ensues with several clusters of orcs hiding behind the boulders; the party are quickly victorious, and pillage the orc corpses, finding 9 rusty short swords, 6 short bows, 9 leather armor, 18 copper, 3 silver, and 70 arrows. They poke around the area and find a crude campsite. Edmund studies the remains and says that the thinks the orcs had been present for a little over a week. All notice that the orcs wore a red, circular pendant which Ralauran identifies as the sigil of the Blood Moon Orcs; these orcs are thought to be the descendants of grunts for the three evil brothers.
The party explore more. The ruins turn out to be that of a small tabernacle or other meaningful place. It has what must once have been a nice tiled floor, and in the middle is the crumbling statue of Saint Garan.
They cross the canyon towards the large plaza, where they find several more statues. The plaza itself focuses attention towards the carved doorway. Two large, tightly sealed doors with what the party recognize as the seal of Saint Garan are situated therein. There is a carving above the door which the resident scholars are able to translate as “Come ye humbly in the dark, for night brings entrance.” The party briefly discuss matters, then decide to wait until nightfall to attempt entrance to the tomb.
Night falls, and the party attempt to convince the tomb to open; no amount of kneeling before it in the dark is successful until someone utters the word “night”, at which point the doors slide slowly apart. The party enter. The tomb smells musty and moldy, and has quite obviously not been entered in a very long time. There is a circular stair downward which ends in a rectangular chamber about 50′ × 70′ with a hall passing out the other side. There are a number of alcoves on each side; each alcove has a statue above it and a bench at the foot large enough for two or three people to sit on. The statues are all of Saint Garan, dressed as a warrior.
On the walls are paintings representing scenes of cataclysmic battle. Upon studying these, they notice something interesting. The paintings all show battle between two large forces. One is always presented in tones of darkness and shadow, and clearly meant to be presented as the malignant force. The other, though almost always shown outnumbered and slightly bedraggled, is painted in tones of lightness and virtue. It is this army that contains demons and other unholy looking creatures. The party are not quite sure what to make of this, and begin to perhaps question their perspective.
Regardless, there is little for them to do but press onward, so onward they plow. They enter the next room, a round chamber with a very large effigy of Saint Garan in the middle. Around the perimeter of the room after 6 other statues of Saint Garan; all are made to look slightly older than the statues in the previous chamber, and he is dressed more as a leader than a warrior.
As they look around, a light comes from the large statue in the center. He has opened his eyes, and the light is beaming from them. I low, rumbling voice says “Show me the sign.” Thinking fast, Ralauran hands Edmund a scrap of parchment on which he had drawn the crest of Saint Garan. Edmunds presents this scrap and, thankfully, the large statue seems satisfied. He closes his eyes and returns to his long repose.
The party find the room to be empty aside from this and have no apparent other exists, until the dorf looks more closely and find a hollowed-out section of wall on the far side of the room. It’s a small matter for her to find and trigger the switch. Beyond, a circular stairway again leads down. Gwannyn is very impressed by the quality of the stonework.
At the bottom of the stairs is a room about 25’ wide and 15’ deep. The back end becomes a slightly raised, hemispherical section, in the center of which is a large, back sarcophagus with numerous gems embedded in it. Gwannyn begins working on a Detect Undead. The first round confirms the presence of undead near the sarcophagus; the second identifies it as being of moderate (2-4HD) strength. Edmund has been approaching the sarcophagus and, as he gets near, it slides open. Out of it rises a shadowy figure representing a human warrior. Edmund, not realizing he’s facing a wight, attempts to run it through with his rapier, to no effect, but his dual-wielded +1 dagger does make an impact.
The wight takes a massive swing at Edmund, who manages to escape being level-drained to death by only the tiniest of margins. Ralauran casts Magic Weapon on Yorl’s sword. Edmund, continuing to be oblivious to the mortal peril he’s in, and the very narrow margins by which he escaped death last round, takes another swing with his dagger, and makes contact once more. Yorl runs in with his now magical sword…. and makes brutal contact, dissipating the wight. Edmund flexes his small muscles and writes legends about this in his own mind.
From the wight the party claim a magical suit of plate mail, decorated with the coat of arms of Saint Garan. His sarcophagus is relieved of 15 onyx (5gp each), 10 emeralds (15gp each), 5 rubys (50gp each), and one diamond worth 150gp.
As they look about the rest of the chamber the party find a large mural done as a triptych. Each painting shows a battle similar to the previous paintings upstairs, but set before a castle on a cliff that looks much like the descriptions of Castle Vyn. From the top of the castle’s tower shines a light illuminating the scene below. Each of the three panels shows a different figure leading the army of demons: one is in the robes of a wizard, one is dressed as a cleric, and the third is a figure in familiar looking armor… bearing the crest of Saint Garan.