On the way back to Sandpoint Sevilla died. The Heroes carried his body back to town, where they saw a small group of people milling outside the temple. Some farmers had come down with a plague-like illness after being attacked by a large flock of ravens. Father Zantus and his aids were run off their feet helping. Krolmn offered his assistance.
The next morning the Heroes headed toward the farms. On their way they came across Farmer Grump and a small girl, Manda. Grump related his tale of walking scarecrows and how they attacked the farms, killing Manda and Grump’s family, even the pet dog. The sightings of scarecrows matched the necromancer’s map labelled “Recent ghoul activity.” The Heroes hurried to the farms, where they found a scarecrow stalking the cornfields.
They fought off the scarecrow, then came across three more hanging in the field. They unleashed their spells and Krolmn attacked before the scarecrows acted... only to find these three were simple, mundane scarecrows.
The Heroes then became aware of sounds in the fields, and realised they were being hunted. They made a dash for the farmhouse, barricading themselves in as a dozen ghouls emerged from the cornfields. Twitch held them off with a flaming ball while the others battled an undead which had been hiding in the farmhouse. After defeating it, they found a key hanging around his neck. The key bore the heraldic device of the Foxglove family.
At that moment the other ghouls struck, smashing through the door and climbing through the windows. The Heroes retreated up the stairs to face the ghouls in smaller numbers. After a bloody battle they were victorious. Downstairs they found the corpse of Farmer Crambley, the Sihedron Rune carved into his body.
After returning to town the Heroes asked around and found the Foxglove Manor was located several miles to the south, past the farms. They immediately set out to the manor.
Inside the manor the Heroes suffered visions depicting the manor’s past, including the murder of Iesha Foxglove by her husband Aldern, who the Heroes had saved from the goblin attack on Sandpoint and subsequently joined on a boar hunt. Jon also concluded that the house was once home to a wizard who attempted a ritual to transform himself into a lich. The sorcerer was unsure if the wizard had been successful…
In the attic of the house the Heroes found the undead Iesha Foxglove, now burning with a desire to revenge her murder. Upon release she charged downstairs, looking for her husband. The Heroes followed her into the basement of the house, and further below, into old caverns. Here they were attacked by more ghouls, and then came face to face with the undead Aldern.
Aldern was a successful merchant, recently returned to the Lost Coast. Rich and popular, he secured a townhouse in Magnimar and set into motion his claim to the family manor. But Aldern Foxglove had trouble finding skilled labourers and servants to aid him in restoring his family estate. Because of previous unfortunate events involving Aldern’s ancestors, Foxglove Manor's reputation as a bad place had taken root in local superstition. Worse, the manor's cellars were infested with rats. The job was enormous, from the need to patch the leaky roof in dozens of places to dealing with the strange and repugnant fungus that grew so tenaciously in the basement.
One night after arriving home late from Magnimar, Aldern found his wife Iesha and one of the carpenters together in the library. Making a wildly inaccurate guess at what was going on, he brained the man with a statuette from a shelf, causing Iesha to fly into a frenzy. When Aldern recovered from his rage, he found he'd strangled his wife to death with her own silk scarf. In a growing panic, Aldern disposed of the carpenter's body by throwing it down the nearby well, but he couldn't bring himself to do the same with Iesha. Instead, he wrapped her corpse in a sheet and hid it in the attic, locking the door and intending to return later to deal with the evidence. He then fled back to Magnimar, seeking help from old family contacts – the Brothers.
The Brothers promised him they'd take care of his problem, asking him to avoid returning home to his manor while they went to work. Aldern kept up a brave face in public, but in truth, he was slowly being driven bankrupt, both morally and financially, by the Brothers. Every week, they demanded more payments in return for their services, while at the same time providing him with the flayleaf he had become addicted to, drawing him further and further into their control.
But the Brothers never went to Foxglove Manor to hold up their end of the deal. Instead, their patron Xanesha informed Aldern that one final task remained before him. It was a simple task, really – return to Foxglove Manor, catch one of the diseased rats that plagued the cellars, and return with it to Xanesha for her to study. Eager to finally be free of his debt, but nervous about returning to the scene of his crime, Aldern swore off the flayleaf, cleaned himself up, and headed north. He lacked the courage to go directly to Foxglove Manor, though, and instead continued on to Sandpoint, where he attended the Swallowtail Festival.
When the goblins raided the town, Aldern's life was saved by the Heroes of Sadnpoint. Aldern grew obsessed with Marius, realising that here might be someone he could use to climb out of his pit of depression. Ever a master of deception, he maintained his facade of being a successful local noble while he nurtured this new obsession. Yet when he finally returned to Foxglove Manor after his stay in Sandpoint, he had difficulty finding any rats. When Aldern searched the basement, he heard a strange scratching from under the sagging floor in a central room. Assuming the sounds to be the rats he sought, he dug through the floor and uncovered an ancient stairwell, one that led to a hidden laboratory under the manor. In these caverns, he finally discovered not only the rats he sought, but the source of their affliction: a disturbing patch of fungus that grew along a cave wall.
Harvesting both, he unknowingly exposed himself to latent necromantic contagions, and by the time he returned to Magnimar with the samples secured for Xanesha, he had already all but succumbed to a potent form of ghoul fever. Xanesha recognized the sickness for what it was and encouraged its growth. Her influence lives on in Foxglove's undeath. She taught him the Sihedron ritual, and once his transformation was complete, sent him back to Foxglove Manor to build an army of ghouls.
Face to face with her killer, Iesha launched herself upon her husband and the two fought viciously before Aldern was triumphant. Not letting the ghast recover the Heroes attacked him and managed to defeat the monstrosity. Amongst his possession were found Marius’ missing items, and also a locket containing a small cameo of Marius. It became obvious Aldern was obsessed with the rogue.
In Aldern’s ledger the Heroes discovered links to Magnimar. The links were supported by a letter addressed from Xanesha.
The letter outlined Xanesha’s plans for Aldern, to murder citizens of Sandpoint according to a list of names, remembering to carve the Sihedron Rune upon their corpse. Xanesha warned that without the Sihedron ritual ‘the greed in their souls will go to waste.’
The Heroes travelled to Magnimar. At the gates they were detained by guards, who recognised the Sihedron Amulet worn by Belor. Captain Licot appeared on the scene, and asked who the Heroes were. Distrustful, Marius gave the false name of Tommas, Belor provided Sir Dickius of Sandpoint, and Jon mumbled Master Haroldt. Krolmn assumed the guards knew of his fame so provided his real name, while Twitch didn’t see the point in lying and did likewise. Licot took them aside and explained that there had been a number of murders in the city, each victim found with the Sihedron Rune carved on their body. It seemed like Sandpoint and Magnimar shared the same murderer – the Brothers and Xanesha? The Heroes told Licot much of what they knew, and he took notes to pass on to the investigators.
After finding lodgings, the Heroes visited the Foxglove townhouse. The house was boarded up, so Krolmn left a magical alarm on the door and they headed to a nearby tavern for food. At nightfall Krolmn was alerted the door to the townhouse was opened, and the Heroes rushed to the townhouse. Marius climbed to the top floor and entered a window, then lowered a rope. Downstairs he could hear the sounds of cooking.
The group crept downstairs, and Marius and Krolmn investigated who was in the kitchen. To their surprise it was Aldern and Iesha, both very much alive and in good spirits. Although seemingly hidden in the shadows, Aldern spotted the two and welcomed them as his old friends Tom and Krolmn. He invited them to dinner, and asked where their companions were. The others joined them downstairs, and he greeted Dick, Harry and Tientrich.
Apart from the two Foxgloves being alive once more, the Heroes wondered how they knew the false names they had provided to the town guards, but not their real names which Aldern was previously familiar with…