Finding the Shadow:
The party (Ophelia; Filbert; Aria; Rhogar; Kelwin (Erin)) was anxious for activity after spending a (virtual) long Winter in High Reach so decided to accompany Rhogar to Edinborough to assist in his two bounties: one the mysterious burning of a house on the main road the Fall before and the mysterious disappearances of townsfolk from the village of Edinborough. The Party wanted to arrive in time to talk to some of the townsfolk so they set out toward Edinborough before first light and traveled through the day to reach Edinborough about an hour before sunset.
Upon arriving at the village the townsfolk seems somewhat dismayed to see a Dragon Born walking into their town: The villagers went in their homes, doors slammed shut, windows were shuttered, children screamed and hid, old men lost control of their bladders, old women made signs averting curses and bad omens, young women fainted, young men curled into fetal balls quivering, cats hissed, dogs barked, birds died when passing overhead, sheep saw Rhogar and swooned, insects stopped chirping, milk soured, bread fell in ovens, water boiled, dark clouds formed overhead, thunder boomed in the distance, distant sounds of four horsemen could be heard galloping toward the town, the earth quaked, frogs rained down from the sky, rain water turned to blood, the sun was eclipsed, stars fell from the sky…
Ok maybe only the villagers shut their doors and shutters. But they were not accustomed to seeing anything like Rhogar.
A village guard came up to Rhogar and asked him what his business was in town. Rhogar explained that he was here investigating the bounty posted in High Reach. The guard took the party to the village guard building. A small unimpressive block building with one set of cells in the common room that served as entry, meeting room, jail and office for the guards. The middle aged Sergeant of the guard was at a small rough desk in the back of the room and didn’t even look up when the party entered.
Rhogar stated his intention to investigate the two bounties and the Sergeant asked about the House that burned the prior Fall… (Apparently, the road on the way to High reach is in the Guard’s jurisdiction) he seemed to recognize that he was speaking to a Dragon Born capable of igniting fires. Rhogar stated that he had seen the house before it burned… then that he had seen the house from the inside before it burned… and that there was strange stuff inside… and then after questions by the Sergeant revised his statement that he had only seen it from the outside as he passed it on the road. The Sergeant was very interested but then Rhogar asked more immediate questions about the mysterious Shadow Creature terrorizing the village and vanishing townsfolk. The Sergeant dropped his line of inquiry about the burned down house and described the events of people vanishing in the night. The Sergeant also informed the party of a church to the west and a house where a monk and his apprentice (the same errand boy that had delivered the bounty flyers to High reach) lived to the southwest (both about 3 hours walk from the village).
The party determined that they should position themselves to observe the village that night — Rhogar and Filbert climbed on a roof while the balance of the party walked about the village during the night. After a few hours the party heard a crash from a few houses away. Rhogar lept from roof top to roof top in pursuit of the sounds and Filbert joined the party on the ground. Kelwin donned his mask. The house where the sounds came from was locked but Rhogar saw that a back second floor window had been broken in. Rhogar dove through a ground floor back window, injuring himself slightly with minor cuts, while the rest of the party was at the front waiting for Filbert to pick the front door lock (which took multiple attempts). Rhogar heard sounds of a struggle from the upstairs back of the house and ran up the stairs to investigate. He saw a shadow figure leap out the broken window and a woman bleeding seriously from neck. Rhogar immediately applied direct pressure to the wound calling for help. Kelwin heard the struggle and the call for help and ran around the building just in time to see a shadow fleeing to the West. He let an arrow fly and heard it satisfyingly hit his target. He started in pursuit but waited at the edge of the yard for his companions. Kelwin took off the mask.
Rhogar saw that his companions were not arriving fast enough to save the woman on the floor so he struggled in his pack for some of the healing moss Aria had given the party members. Unfortunately, he let go of his hold on the woman’s bleeding throat and she bled to death while Rhogar was searching for the moss. Just at that moment the village guard (5 men at arms with spears) arrived. They arrived just in time to see that Filbert had opened the front door with thief’s lock picks, Aria and Ophelia were standing ready to enter the house. Three guards stopped at the front and arrested Filbert, Ophelia and Aria because they looked guilty of illegally opening the front door.
The other two guards rushed up to the room where Rhogar stooped over the dead woman’s body. She lay motionless in a huge puddle of blood and because of her violent neck wound much of her blood was covering Rhogar. Perhaps the sight of a large Dragon Born with his hands and body covered in the woman’s blood and his hands positioned near her neck, where he had moments before been holding the woman’s neck to staunch the flow of blood, looked a little suspicious. The two guards looked horrified but quickly arrested Rhogar and marched him down the stairs to the other three party members. Ophelia seeing that the guards were not going to relent, cast a spell on the guards to convince them that their energies should be directed elsewhere. While they were confused and talking to themselves about other activities: Filbert; Ophelia and Aria joined Kelwin in the woods behind the house. These four party members moved 10 points toward chaos because they did not volunteer to walk to jail with the guards. Even Kelwin, who was not with the guards and saw the guards as being in the wrong to detain them from pursuing and apprehending evil. Rhogar determined that he should stay with the guards to convince them that he was a gentle soul just trying to help.
The guards took him back to the village guard house where they locked him up and decided to have a feast and drinking binge because the Sergeant was convinced he had solved two crimes in one night: Rhogar was obviously guilty of murder and he was so evasive about the burned house he must have burned it down also. The Sergeant looked through his paperwork to see if there were other unsolved crimes he could close with Rhogar’s execution.
The other party members were fortunate that Filbert cast a spell to assist in finding the spent arrow and the blood of the creature Kelwin hit. The black blood of the creature was glistening and stuck to a tree along with the arrow. Filbert carefully cut away some of the bark with his dagger and carefully folded it to show to the guards hoping that this proof could save Rhogar.
When the party arrived at the guard house about 30 minutes later the guards were all very intoxicated and Rhogar was downcast and despondent in his cell that his party members had deserted him and that the guards had described in detail how they were going to execute him for all crimes in the village. (Author’s note: The party rescuing Rhogar is going to become a reoccurring theme in this adventure.)
Filbert showed the bloody bark to the guard sergeant and convinced him that it was the blood of the creature that had killed the woman. While discussing this with the Sergeant Filbert lifted the cell keys from one of the guards. The Sergeant saw the blood but as he was not aware of what kind of blood Rhogar may have was unconvinced it was proof Rhogar had not been the murderer. Kelwin convinced the Guardsmen that if we show that Rhogar’s blood is different than the blood on the bark the Sergeant should let Rhogar go so they could find the real killer. The Sergeant agreed so Filbert offered Aria his dagger (not the one with the black blood on it) to cut Rhogar. Aria gleefully accepted the dagger and advanced on Rhogar with a gleam in her eye. Kelwin saw that sticking a Dragon Born may not have the desired effect hoped for so offered that perhaps the bleeding wounds Rhogar had experienced by jumping through the window would have the same effect to compare blood? The Sergeant agreed and Aria reluctantly returned the dagger to Filbert.
Comparing the blood proved that Rhogar wasn’t the killer so the Sergeant offered to let the Party spend the night in his jail for free. The guard couldn’t find his keys so Filbert helped him by showing that the keys were on the floor at his feet. (where Filbert dropped them) Rhogar pushed one of his drunk guards into the cell and locked him in. The party decided to spend the night in a tavern instead. As they walked in (around 11pm) the tavern guests and townsfolk were stunned to see Rhogar with the blood of one of their own covering him. The Guard sergeant explained the issue and everyone slept well that night. Aria made potions.
The next morning everyone gathered to eat breakfast and Kelwin cast “detect magic” on the dagger blood. It was determined that it was Lycanthrope Blood (were-beast) After some twists and turns the party followed the blood trail to the ruined church (Kelwin put on his mask) where they found two monks. An older monk named Jonathan and the errand boy, monk, Jeremy. The older monk had scars on his face and a white eye cloudy from an injury. Searching the church the party found that Jeremy was sensitive to silver, the older monk had taken a vow of silence, and there was a steel door in the basement that covered a cell. Jeremy confessed that he had been bitten by a lycanthrope and that Jonathan locked him in the cell on nights with a full moon. Jonathan’s wounds were from Jeremy when he locked him in the basement cell. (Kelwin took off the mask)
The party decided to test Jeremy’s story and spend the night at the church.
The party gained 225 experience points.