In which the Heroes return from Thistletop, visit Magnimar, and discover a murderer is loose in Sandpoint....
While taking sometime out after their return from Thistletop, the Heroes were approached and asked to testify at Tsuto’s hearing in Magnimar. They agreed, some with more enthusiasm than others; Tientrich was nervous about going to such a big city but had business with an armourer there, Marius seemed disinterested in sights he had seen many a time, Belor was distracted by his association with Shayliss, Krolm was enthusiastic about the possibility of the new experience, and Jon was keen to see justice done.
They also were approached by Father Zantus, who asked first Jon, then Belor and Marius if they would be willing to speak to his congregation about good their good deeds and encourage such upstanding behaviour. After being turned down by those three, he less enthusiastically accepted Tientrich’s offer to address them. His reluctance was clearly misplaced, as Twitch’s stirring speech about the need to lead a natural life and not become drawn in by the illusions of “civilised” society met with resounding applause while Krolm smiled on.
Prior to leaving for Magnimar, Ameiko joined the group for drinks at her establishment, bemoaning her inheritance of the glassworks. She explained that the goblin attacks have left her short of those with the expertise to run the factory and the cost of bringing in people from Magnimar is prohibitive, however she does not wish to sell up the family business that her father “put his life into” (she probably didn’t intend the pun). She is much happier just running the Rusty Dragon. The characters offered to escort help back from Magnimar, however Ameiko did not seem interested in the offer, but stated she had enjoyed the opportunity to vent her concerns to someone.
Upon reaching Magnimar the Heroes played tourists for a little while under the rather bored direction of Marius, taking in the sights of the ruined bridge, the park, and the aquarium. The latter two were of significant interest to Twitch (he had been quite uncomfortable in the close confines of so many people and tall buildings), however his exhortation to the people in the park to leave the city if they truly want to get in touch with nature met with little enthusiasm. He had more enjoyment out of the aquarium, seeing creatures that he had formerly known only from texts rather than by experience. At Tsuto’s trial Krolmnite and Marius both gave evidence, and the combination of the gnome’s enthusiastic recollections and the city-dweller’s more succinct descriptions seemed to be enough for the jury, as without further evidence from the group Tsuto was sentenced to life in the Hells.
Returning to Sandpoint, Marius was a little disconcerted to find his boots had been stolen from his room. However, as he still had his good boots didn’t pay it too much heed, assuming it was simply a barefooted vagrant who could not afford shoes, given the muddy footprints on the floor.
That same day, Twitch met with some local farmers of the area, brothers Eugeni and Iconu. The two men visited the druid while he was tending his fields, and warned Twitch of some strange beast which was hunting in the area at night, and had killed several livestock. Twitch promised to look out for the beast.
That night, Jon realised that the notes he had taken from the scholar Lyrie’s research at Thistletop had gone missing, and there was a suspicious smell of feline urine in the room. On speaking to Ameiko it was confirmed that a woman matching Lyrie’s description had indeed booked a room at the establishment, and had asked not to be disturbed. Marius looked through the window of her rooms but saw nothing. Returning to the others they decided to quickly enter through the room’s door, Belor a little disappointed that Ameiko’s master key meant he did not need to force the door. Tientrich waited outside below the window in case the woman were within and tried to make an escape that way, and hence was not caught in the fiery magical explosion that engulfed his companions. Fortunately all had been wary and escaped the worst of the trap, and were fir enough to aid in extinguishing the flames. Jon, feeling a little guilty that they had brought this on Ameiko in addition to the troubles she had described to them, generously covered the cost of repairs to the Rusty Dragon.
In need of distraction from the events, the group entered the Fatman’s Feedbag. Belor enthusiastically went to the tables, enjoying having the funds to now sit with the high rollers, while Tientrich noticed Orik at another table, and sat there to speak to him, fortunately not at a high-roller table, the Shoanti druid having no idea how any of these games actually worked. While Orik said all the right things, he was not sure that the mercenary was being one hundred percent honest with him, particularly in light of his admission of an infatuation with Lyrie. Jon and Krolm, who had been observing, obviously felt the same way, and all three had decided independently to follow the man when he left.
This, however, was not to be, as a brawl broke out in the room. Jon, Twitch, and Krolm made for the exit, while Marius did the same with a Halfling sailor in tow. Belor, however, enthusiastically threw himself into this advancement in the night’s entertainment, leaving hastily only when the town guard arrived. Orik did not do so well in escaping, and after being beaten was last seen being arrested by the guards.
Outside, Marius was feeling unwell, and discovered a wound on his arm that he could not explain. Suspecting some kind of mild poison, he shrugged off the effects and returned to his room with his companion. Not poison, nor the discovery of one of his gloves now missing on his return, could distract him from his quest to improve interracial relations in the town.
The next day the Heroes decided to set a trap of their own for whoever was breaking into Marius’ room, with Twitch setting a small magical fire trap on the door, and Krolm a more mundane but equally effective one on the window. They had planned to watch the room for signs of anyone entering, however they subsequently were approached by an emissary from the noble Titus Scarnetti, who was keen for them to join him for dinner. They did so, their host arriving late from “business”, which had somehow involved getting blood on his gloves in the observation of the sharp-eyed Twitch.
Dinner was an interesting affair, with Titus revealing his main interest in inviting them was for assistance in dealing with some kind of giant living under a bridge and interfering with trade. He expressed a strong view during proceedings that giants, and in fact any people who did not meet his strict guidelines, were not welcome in Sandpoint, though he did admit he was happy for them to spend their gold there. He blamed moral laxity for the current troubles afflicting the town, drawing parallels to The Late Unpleasantness. The Heroes agreed to investigate this giant, negotiating a fee of some 3500 gold pieces for their intervention. Scarnetti reluctantly agreed to the figure, hinting there was more to be had if they could convince Ameiko to sell him the Glassworks.
Before leaving the estate, Krolm spoke to Titus’ horse in an attempt to discover what the noble had been up to to explain the blood on his gloves. The horse spoke highly of its master, and stated that they had gone deer hunting in the forest prior to returning to town.
Returning to the Rusty Dragon it was evident that another attempt at Marius’ belongings had been made, the spell on the door having been discharged, however there was no sign of the culprit, and Marius’ gear was untouched in another room.
The following day the group were approached again, this time by Sherriff Hemlock, who wished their aid in investigating a double murder at the sawmill. With trepidation the heroes arrived to find the body of Katrine mutilated by the block splitter, and that of her beau Banny Harker mutilated by a more deliberate hand, hung up on a wall with his mandible missing and a seven-pointed star carved on his chest, with several scratch marks also evident on the body. In addition, a note had been left on the corpse addressed to Marius, from “his Lordship”.
We have spoken of this before, my master. Now it begins. Join the Pack and it will end. Your Lordship.
The bodies had been discovered by another worker at the mill, and both he and Katrine’s father were in custody, though Hemlock did not suspect either of the heinous crime. On investigation of the scene, bloodied footprints were found leading to the pier.
Hemlock also explained that three other bodies had been found the day prior in a remote cottage in a similar state, however little had been thought of it initially as they were local undesirables who tended to find themselves mixing with a nasty crowd. One however had been in possession of another note from “His Lordship”, this one inviting the three into a shady-sounding business deal to make them wealthy. Another man, Grayst Sevilla, had been found wandering near the scene, and appearing unhinged had been incarcerated in an asylum.
The heroes proceeded to question the mill worker, discovering that Harker had been skimming money from the operation, and that the mill was owned by none other than Titus Scarnetti. He was unsure whether Scarnetti knew of the deed. Little was gained from speaking to Katrine’s father, with him stating he did not know of his daughter’s affair, although this seemed at odds with Shayliss’ previous admission to Jon that he was distracted by her sisters’ behaviour. Jon encouraged the man to look carefully after Shayliss’ welfare in light of these events.
With this line of questioning seemingly exhausted, the companions determined to speak next to Sevilla.