Toilday, 6 Lamashan, 4743
Having returned to town, the adventurers get their horses stabled and then split up. Tanya the human wizard goes to replenish her collection of scrolls. Gwenllian the human druid goes to hang out with the graveyard keeper Audrahni and compare notes about gardening. Lucia the halfling witch, Emeq the ifrit fighter, and the Udrexa go to the Creekside Tavern to update Horned Fangs leader Jana.
Jana is impressed to discover that the party obliterated the Roadkeepers, a goes to retrieve additional coins to pay them double for their efforts. The adventurers also share their suspicions that the Order of Resplendence was involved in the murder of six Horned Fangs two weeks prior. Jana explains that she had previously clashed with the Order’s leader, Corstela Rostrata, who was offended by the Horned Fangs’ use of a Thassilonian rune as their symbol. Jana offers the party the same 10gp weekly retainer to investigate the Order of Resplendence, so long as they don’t reveal the connection to her.
After meeting with Jana, Emeq suggests that they rest up and patrol the streets that night looking for more of the creatures that Kolton saw. First, though, Lucia travels to the Lady’s Chapel to visit the Pharasmin priest Father Desil Marphan. Finally able to speak about her magic affliction, Lucia explains her predicament and the cleric confirms that she has in fact been cursed. He offer to try to remove it the following day, and asks her to purchase some materials for the ritual. They both express some guilt over her condition, Lucia for getting tangled up with the Roadkeepers and Father Desil for assuming that her ailment was due to dabbling in dark magicks.
The adventurers rest up in the afternoon, save for Tanya who finishes her scroll work and makes an early night of it. The other four party members begin their patrol after dark, starting at the creek and then working their way out from there. When they pass by the circle market, they notice the town clerk Sondra on her way to the tavern. Behind her, two of the hideous creatures they’d encountered before emerge from the two well.
Lucia’s attempt to put the two creatures to sleep has no effect. The adventurers race toward the danger, with Emeq calling out a warning. They aren’t able to close the distance before one of the creatures charges up to Sondra and sinks its teeth in her leg. As before, there is a flare of elemental energy with its bite, in this case a burst of flame. Another one rushes up to Gwen and bites her with a flash of cold energy. Sondra tries to get away from her attacker, but it bites her again, bringing her to the ground where she lies bleeding and unconscious.
Emeq rushes to her defense with rapier in hand, but trips over her body and falls to the ground himself. Udrexa moves up to the creature attacking Gwen and bashes it over the head with her three-section staff. Lucia has her familiar Rita deliver a healing spell to Sondra that wakes the half-elf back up.
The wounded monster withdraws from its fight with Udrexa and retreats back towards the well. The other monster tries to bite Emeq, but he dodges out of the way. Gwen calls down a storm burst that knocks out the wounded creature. Udrexa flanks the other monster and punches it in the back of the head, stunning it. Sondra takes this opportunity to scramble away towards Lucia, trailing blood behind her. Emeq gets up, dusts himself off, and drives his sword through the monster’s cyclopean eye.
Lucia heals Sondra while Udrexa claps mithral manacles onto the unconscious creature by the well. Kolton the vagrant cheers them on from across the circle. Lucia casts light on a stone, which Emeq drops down the well. It falls a fair distance before splashing. Based on the light reflecting off the water, it appears that the well shaft opens up into a larger cavern near the bottom.
Emeq escorts a frightened Sondra back to her house. He feels guilty that she was attacked while going to see him and is extra watchful on the way back. She is shaken by the experience and agrees it is best that she not go out alone after dark. Sondra gives him a peck on the cheek, and looks forward to seeing him tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the others carry the unconscious monster back to Lucia’s hut, where they wake up Tanya to have her interrogate the creature. Speaking in Aklo, she is able to pressure it into sharing information. It is known as a fleshdreg of wrath, and it serves Mozamer, a champion of the Runelord Alaznist. It says that Mozamer is build an army in a lair below Roderic’s Cove in preparation for Alaznist’s pending return.
At Tanya’s prompting, the fleshdreg confirms that there are humans in this army who wear the rune of Wrath. Tanya describes Jana’s appearance and it did recognize her tricorn hat, though it claimed not to know if Jana served Mozamer. Once the party feels satisfied with their information, Udrexa kills the creature and Tanya burns the body. The adventurers are left wondering about what the Horned Fangs might be up to.
Wealday, 7 Lamashan, 4743
The next morning, Tanya visits the boy Kynae Fromperton and gives him the book of Varisian fables that she had retrieved from Mother Nightthrush. She tells him that she may not be able to visit for a while, so she gave him the book to read on his own. Blackberry the halfling baker promises to help the boy read through the stories.
Lucia meanwhile returns to the Lady’s Chapel, having purchased the components for Father Desil. He performs the ritual and removes the curse, but there is no change to Lucia’s advanced age. The priest is confounded by this, as typically when a curse is broken its effects disappear. Lucia is grateful nonetheless, as this has at least given her more time.
At midday, the adventurers gather at the Cove Hall for their meeting with the Port-Governor. Sondra greets them and tells them that the governor is wrapping up her previous appointment.
Militia Captain Julit Freson exits her office and greets the party. He thanks them for dealing with the monsters at the Circle last night and appreciates the note they left on the corpse. He is posting guards at the well every night and would be interested in talking with them further at some other time.
The five adventurers step into the cramped office of Port-Governor Larenza Thort, where every available surface is is piled high with papers and scrolls. The Port-Governor is a middle-aged woman in a decorated tricorn hat. She has heard very positive things about them, particularly from Sondra.
The party tells her about their investigations, how they dismantled the Roadkeepers, and the growing evidence that the Order of Resplendence was involved in the massacre of the six Horned Flames. They keep the eyewitnesses’ identities secret, but they provide Dolland’s incriminating letter from Corstela. Speaking on behalf of the group, Tanya asks for some sort of official blessing for investigating Peacock Manor.
The Port-Governor is not excited to investigate the richest and most well-connected woman in town. She feels that the evidence they have assembled is troubling, but not conclusive enough to authorize a warrant. She does promise to have the town militia look the other way if there is an incident at the manor.
However, she warns that the Order is viewed as a group of harmless eccentrics, many of whom have family in town. If violence against the Order spills out onto the streets or if word gets out that the party is laying siege to Peacock Manor, it could turn public opinion against them unless there is incontrovertible evidence of the Order’s guilt. Essentially, she says that if they take a shot at Corstela, they had best not miss.
The adventurers also ask to view any blueprints or plans on file for Peacock Manor. The Port-Governor recommends they consult with Sondra regarding the records. After their meeting, the half-elf town clerk takes them to a different records room and tracks down the plans for the manor. While Tanya makes a copy of the map, Emeq keeps Sondra company.
The party loops Sondra in on their concerns that there is a cavern under the well. She offers to research the records of the early town founding to see what it has to say about the well and the cellars of nearby buildings. Sondra arranges a date with Emeq that night to discuss her findings.
After they are done at Cove Hall, Emeq goes to visit Audrahni at the Lady’s Chapel. When she learns about the party’s suspicions about Corstela, Audrahni reveals that she had met the Varisian woman a decade ago, before either had moved to Roderic’s Cove. Corstela had approached her seeking some information, but Audrahni had been suspicious and ony gave her surface level details.
Audrahni says that at the time, Corstela believed that Thassilon had been a utopia for the Varisian people, one that she hoped to reclaim. This was before Karzoug’s return and the discovery of the Therassic Library at Jorgenfist revealed the truth about ancient Thassilon. The elf says that Corstela had some strange magic about her, and warns Emeq to be careful. She thanks him for visiting her so often over the past week and awkwardly gives him a hug.
That afternoon, Tanya, Udrexa, Lucia and Gwen go to bed early in order to get up for a late night reconnaissance of Peacock Manor. At the appointed hour, Tanya and Udrexa circle the perimeter while Lucia approaches from the northwest and Gwen from the south. Lucia uses reduce person to slip between the walls of the fence. Gwen, meanwhile, turns into a peafowl to fly over the fence and infiltrate the grounds.
They identify several entrances: double doors at the front and back, a side door on the northeast side, and stairs leading up to second story doors on the northwest and northeast sides. There are also two small detached structures in the shadow of the main manor. To Tanya’s surprise, they don’t see any guards or sentries on patrol. However, several lights remain on inside the building. The curtains on the windows are shut, making it impossible to see inside.
Udrexa stays behind after the other depart, her monk training having left her with the need for only a few hours sleep each day. She watches the manor throughout the night and sees interior lights go on and off. However, there is always at least one light on at all times, particularly on the ground floor.
Meanwhile, Emeq goes to pick up Sondra for their date. Over a pleasant meal, she shares what she has discovered. There is limited information about the creation of the town well, but it is famous for the incredible purity of its water. The buildings around the Circle all have cellars, and there are no surprises in the records. However, the Creekside Tavern has grown famous in recent years for serving chilled drinks at all times of the year, including the wine they are drinking right now. Sondra wonders if there’s a connection there.
Emeq praises her discovery, assuring her that she is now part of the group. Sondra explains how she has lived in Roderic’s Cove all her life, the daughter of a cartographer and a romance novelist. She has been fascinated by stories of far off places but has never had the courage to travel. Now she is starting to wonder if maybe she could, though she’s also still shaken by the fleshdreg attack.
After a pleasant evening, Emeq walks her home and she gives him another kiss on the cheek before heading inside. They agree that another date would be a good idea.
Fireday, 9 Lamashan, 4743
After a bit of a late start, the adventurers head out to the weekly Circle Market for shopping. There is a steady drizzle of rain, which has dampened turnout (among other things). But they are nonetheless able to make purchases. Tanya collects the custom wand she ordered from Enburg Humblebumble and also trades spells from the rude dwarven wizard Rimi Tenison. Lucia find the halfling witch Nyra and trades a few more spells with her, now with greater urgency as Nyra says she won’t be back for a while.
They also run into Audrahni, looking especially uncomfortable in the rain, who is there to buy an umbrella.
With their purchases done, the adventurers prepare for their next move…