Just before everyone settles down for the night, two more guests are shown into the study. A mountain of a man with very light skin and bright red hair and beard, carrying a large shield and axe, enters and announces that he is Fernhook Redman and that he is here for the professors funeral. I inform the man that he is too late for that bit, as the professor had been buried some days ago, but if he would like, I can show him where exactly the professor had been laid to rest. He accepts, but to my horror, he wants to go this very evenin’! The man cannot see at night, has no clue about the strange things that have been goin’ on, has been travellin’ for months the way he makes it sound (even though the professor only died less than a month ago) and wants to go see the grave immediately. What kinda kooks are showin’ up to my quiet little town?
As I get ready to show the visitor what it is he is here for, another visitor arrives; Kendra announces “Folks, I have the pleasure to introduce Doctor Nim, an associate of my fathers, and the premier physician in Ravengro.” A tall, youthful elf, Doctor Nim carried an umbrella over one arm, a large leather satchel over the other and a modified suit of studded leather lined with vials and pockets that clinked lightly as he moved about the room. Turning to Nim, she asked “but why are you here tonight?” Doctor Nim pointed to the couch, “may I sit?” he took a seat as Kendra mumbled her acquiescence.
Nim glanced around the room, taking in the adventurers who had been in deep discourse just moments earlier. Noticing the halfling, he stated “Lemmy, nice to see you here. I’d hoped the Professor, may Pharasma spare him, hadn’t overlooked you.” He smirked at his own joke and assumed a more serious tone. “Kendra, I’m so sorry to hear about your father’s murder. I came as quickly as I could, though I see I’m not the only one. I’ve cleared my calendar and am willing to assist in any way that I can. I assume you’ve interred the good Professor?” Kendra nodded. “Yesterday.” Nim clasped his hands. “I see. Well, that’s good, I suppose.” Peering at the other men in the room, he asked “I’d like to offer my services. I’m primarily a chirurgeon, but I dabble in alchemy and might prove useful, especially if you’re going to be poking around Harrowstone. Crypt raiding is more my specialty, when I’m not healing the sick, but you have to admit, Harrowstone is quite fascinating, no?”
Nim noticed one member of the group was huddled in the back, trying to be inconspicuous. He got up and walked over to the ranger and touched her shoulder. “Why are you so shy?” The ranger raised her cowled head and drew back the hood, revealing her feline face. “I’m cat folk, and you townsfolk don’t seem to care much for my presence. I didn’t want to alarm you, Doctor.” Nim sat back on his haunches and scanned the room quickly for confirmation from the others. “Cat folk, eh? You look like you’re caught by the lycanthropy curse. I’d like to test something, it won’t hurt.” Nim reached into his satchel and momentarily pulled out a green sprig of an herb. He waved it in front of the rangers face. She looked at it curiously, but otherwise had no reaction.
Nim returned the herb to his bag. “Hmm, not a lycan after all, you’d at least flinched from the wolvesbane. No matter, I’m sure I can fix this ailment in time.” He returned to his seat on the couch. “I don’t need fixing”, the ranger mumbled under her breath.” “So”, asked Nim, “where do we go from here?”
I welcome the Doc and tell him I was about to take the newest arrival to the professors’ grave and ask if he would like to come along and get that part of his trip out of the way? He accepts and we leave the manse and head to the Restlands. On the way, I tell the Doc and Fernoc what all has been goin on in the last few days and to keep them awake and their spirits up, I play them some down-home music on my harmonica. We arrive at the grave, and for once in the last few days, nothin strange happens. The two say their respects, have a moment of quiet and then we turn and head back for the professors’ place.
And then it had to happen, couldn’t go a night without sumpin weird happenin. The Doc exclaims “Did either of you just see that?” Me ‘n Fernhook both answer “No”, to which the Doc says “I must have been seeing things then. Never mind. Let us head back home for the evening. I’m tired and could use some well-deserved rest.” It seems that every time a new person arrives in town, things get weirder ‘n weirder.
After we arrive back at the house, Kendra tell the new guests that they are more than welcome to stay here at the house, to which Fernhook explains that he welcomes the offer, but will take up residence at the inn for the evening. “OOOH, I wouldn’t do that” I tell Ferhook. “Lots of strange happenins goins on, specially at the inn”. “I will be OK, little one” intones Fernoc, and he turns, grabs his gear and heads for the inn. “We will be lucky ifn we see him in the mornin’” I say.
20 Calistril, 4710
In the morning, I am awoken by the Doc makin’ breakfast; he is a very good cook as well as a healer. I get out from under the bed (Kendra really needs to have the floor under the beds cleaned up), wash up and head downstairs to assist the Doc in makin’ breakfast- by assist, I mean sample all the goodies he is makin’. As I head downstairs, I notice a quiet, yet somber, sound of fiddle or mandolin or some such stringed instrument wafting through the air. I can’t place the tune, but it is definitely the type of song to be played at this sad time. I also notice that the room that Rachelindria had occupied the night before is empty; her stuff is gone and her battle turkey as well. How strange…
When I reach the kitchen, I see that the Doc has noticed the tune as well and has a perplexed look upon his face. “The sound has been heard all over town, not louder or quieter at any area.” That IS very strange. “Shall we go check it out?” I ask the Doc. “I’m not sure. With all the things goin on lately that you have described, I am fearful of what it might be. I would prefer to stay inside, much safer here.” “Oh, come on Doc, no need to be a feardy cat.” I head for the door, stop at the exit and wave the Doc to come along.
As we head towards the town square, we see horror upon horror- what appears to be recently entombed dead bodies walkin’ about, attackin’ townsfolk, eating animals and livestock. The Doc says we should stick to the edges of the buildings, while I would prefer the direct route, but as the Doc won’t go otherwise, I follow his directions. As we skirt around the edge of town and enter the main square, we see Scooby, the town mongrel, surrounded by a few of the children, a few I recognize from earlier in the week. They are wavin’ around sticks and other objects, tryin’ to keep what appear to be “hands” scribblin’ around, tryin’ to grab the dog and the children. I then notice that the cat lady had also joined us, sneakin’ behind us, all wicked-like. I also see the newest arrival to town, the red-haired Fernhook, across the town square.
“Don’t let those thingies hurt Scooby or the children” I shout. The Doc and cat-lady hold back for a second, trying to determine the best route away from the town square. “We have to save the children. Those things are disembodies hands. While strange, they are easy to take care of. Hit them with sticks and rocks and other whackin’ things.” With this bit of advice, the Doc decides to throw one o’ his vials, which happens to explode in a rain of acid, all over the “hands”, most of it hittin’ Scooby though. “Don’t hurt the dog, you fool” I shout, as the cat-lady runs in and tries to help the children. I draw my sling from my belt, twirl it around and toss a sling bullet into one of the “hands”, shattering it and it falls off the back of the dog. At this time, Fernhook runs from across the square and stands in front of one of the “hands”, lookin’ unsure of what to do.
One of the critters jumps up and latches onto Scooby’s neck, causin’ the dog to yelp and bite at the hand. Fernhook swings his shield about, squishin’ two of the hands that were about to grab some of the girls and the Doc tosses another vial of hurt, finishin’ off the rest of the hands. I run up and check the girls and the dog, find they are goin’ to be okay and tell the children to follow me, I will lead them to their homes safely. The Doc, cat-lady and Fernhook decide to follow me; safety in numbers again.
A moment after leavin’ the town square, we run into Ky and the cleric as they exit the Ravengro General Store. They regale us with a wild tale of dispatching an old couple (supposedly a pair of bazombies, the families grandparents come back from the grave) and fighting a “shadow” from the closet (probably just an old coat or something- EVERYTHING is evil and undead to these two). With all the dead roaming around, I mention the idea of checking out the graveyard; while the rest are frightened of this idea, they agree it is probably the best course of action. Amazingly, the music is still playin’, no louder or quieter than it was at the professors’ place.
As we head to the Restlands, we start to cross over the river, using the covered bridge. On the other side, we see one of the local young boys, perched upon one of the postin’ poles, two dead folk scramblin’ to grab him. Nearby, upon a large skeletal beast, is another dead man, this one all decked out in armor and everything. With my expert knowledge of history and local lore, I realize these are a group of ruffians that were hanged fer their misdeeds many, many years ago. For some dumb reason, the townsfolk figured it would be wise to just bury them near the shore line of the river, hopin’ that in time they would just be fergottin’. As I rush forward to try and protect the young lad, Fernhook runs past me, swings his large axe and misses the dead folk. The leader of the group, astride his mount, gallops forward, attemptin’ to harm the northerner.
Moments later, the rest of our little band finds their nerve and rushes forward to help Fernhook and the kid still perched upon the postin’ pole. The Doc chucks another of his bottles of pain, hittin’ the mounted dead man, and splashes a bit on everyone else around him, includin’ Fernhook; Doc needs to be a bit more careful with then there vials. After a bit, Fernhook whomps the dead guy on the horse, both of them dead critters fallin’ to a heap at Fernhooks’ feet. I tell the child to run along home as fast as he can and lock the door when he gets home; this ain’t no place fer a kid like him to be right now.
First, new arrivals come into town for the professors’ funeral. Then, people start seein’ ghosts and such, and now there are deceased critters and other insane stuff happenin’. It was nice and quiet just a week earlier. You can’t tell me that these people didn’t bring it with em. Gotta get em out of town soon, before there is no town left. Oh, and the music is still playin’.
As we near the graveyard, one of the acolytes runs up to us, out of breath and all. He tells us that the chapel has been overrun, Father Sourpuss is missin’ and that one of the council members is being accosted by “something”, as well. I decide that the councilman is on the way to the graveyard so we should stop to help there first. As we arrive, he is running’ out the front door, slammin’ it behind him. A moment later, some weird ghost thingy comes THRU the door, leaving a slimy trail behind on the door. The apparition looks similar to the councilman, except fer hatchet stickin’ out of the back of its head. The councilman says somethin’ about he didn’t do it, and hides behind a flower pot.
The Doc seems to be gettin’ his dander up, as he immediately throws one of his vials at the ghosty thing. This causes the thing to ferget the councilman and turns on us. After a time, with my expert advice on how to handle the creature, we survive the encounter. Afterwards, the councilman spouts off something about the ghosty bein’ his grandfathers’ ghost, bent on revenge fer sumpin he didn’t do. “It was my father that killed him and left him in the nearby woods. It is just coincidence that I and my father look alike. My grandfathers’ ghost must have mistaken me for my father.” We tell him to get back inside his home and lock the door, though it seems now that that won’t keep everything out.
As we reach the graveyard, we see what look like the remains of an acolyte lying near the entrance. As I go to check on him, we are accosted by a ghoul-wolf, some sorta half-dead wolf critter. As usual, we dispatch the critter and enter the graveyard. Upon the hill, at the end of the way, I notice a lithe figure jumping and dancing around, playing a fiddle. All around, we see the graves either erupting with dead walking or the dead trying to get out. I lead the group forward, protectin’ them as much as my little frame can.As we get to the hill, we lose sight of the dancer, but combat a bunch of skeletal figures. With my expert knowledge of these creatures, the group dispatches them rather quickly; they seem to be getting’ braver ‘n braver as we go. We again catch sight of the dancer, who happens to be a female elf, wearing tattered and torn clothing and the remains of a straight jacket. I remember a tale of an elven female resembling this one who had her entire adoptive family of gypsies murdered many decades ago. After the massacre, she was taken to a local institution, catatonia setting in on her. The tale pretty much ends there, so no damned clue as to how or why she is here, playin’ around with that fiddle.
She makes her way to the back side of the hillock, and we lose sight of her. Many more dead arise from the ground and my companions make short work of them. I, however, receive a mighty gash across my arm, tryin’ to protect the Doc. I doubt it will be the last time that happens, though. We catch sight of the elven woman, and Kyxerus is able to grab her. As he does, she goes limp in his arms, and the cat-lady decides to stab her anyways. Gonna hafta keep an eye on this one- sneakin’ around, stabbin’ helpless folk.
After I get a look at the fiddle, I remember a legend of a goat-legged creature that would arrive in a small town and ask a random stranger to play his fiddle- the fiddler would become enchanted to never stop, magically altered to not need food, drink or rest as long as they are allowed to play. While the fiddle is played, the dead rise in the local area. The cleric has another bright idea to destroy the fiddle instead of giving it to those that might be able to control or protect it from others that would use it for harmful effects. As such, the barbarian takes a few whacks at it with an axe and splinters the instrument. The remains of it are gathered, for what purpose, I don’t know. Shame, it was a beautiful instrument, too.
As I search the graveyard for Father Sourpuss , the rest of the group happens to find him and a few acolytes stuck in a crypt up on the hill- the doorway filled in with what appears to be a rockslide. After they are dug out, they say they entered the crypt to prepare it for use and turned around to find the doorway filled in. We then head back to the Professor’s place to rest up and do some more research on whats going on. After a few hours, I head back to my room at the inn, hopin’ the weird stuff has moved on- as I enter the commons room, I see a group of farmers’ playing cards. One of them goes to lay his hand down, and the cards burst into flames! While a bit dazzled, I hear the sounds of screamin’ coming from what would be the basement, if the inn had one. After the screamin’ stops, the farmers are all amazed at what just happened, but I notice the cards appear to be normal now. Not gonna stay here ever again and head back to the professor’s house.
As things haven’t been “quiet”, I decide that while I am staying at the professors’ house, I will do what I can to keep everyone else safe. Best way I know is safety in numbers; as such, during the evenin’, I sneak into the Docs’ quarters and sleep under his bed. I need to be as close to him as possible if I am to protect him while he is in town, being one of the few people that don’t treat me like I’m a child just cuz of my size.
21 Calistril, 4710
I decide to do some more research; The barbarian tells us of his evening he spent in the inn- he woke up during the night in what appeared to be a jail cell, sparsely furnished, with no door. He sees his name written upon the wall in what appears to be blood. As he awakes from his dream, he finds himself back in his normal room with one new addition, his name written on the wall in blood, all but the last letter scribed- Fernhoo. He haggled with the innkeeper and got his money back and vowed to never sleep there again. Damned innkeeper never let me off with payin’ him fer room ‘n board; gotta be cuz the big guy is human.
I spend the next two days doing more research. Goin’ over all the information we have gathered from the professors’ study, the papers Ky brung back from the sheriff’s office and the papers the cleric got from Father Sourpuss, I still am unable to coax anymore information from the papers.
23 Calistril, 4710
During the evening, the group leaves me to the research and goes out and about. After a few hours of goin’ over the same ole books, I get tired and head back up to bed- under the Docs bed again- and during the evening, I am awoken by the Phantasma cleric, saying they are following what a ghost bird told em to do. I tell him they are nuts and I’m staying right where I am.
The next morning, they return, all beat up and everything and tell me some fantastic story about some brain-critter trying to eat their heads and about saving a local girl from being eaten by a flock of birds. They give me a ring to look at; it displays the crest of a local family of little renown and influence.
24 Calistril, 4710
I spend one last day researchin’ and finally get the papers to coax out the last bit of information on the 5 very bad men that were held in the prison before it burnt down: The Splatter-man is up to displayin’ the words in blood on the memorial, or at least that was used to do before being captured and placed in the prison. Everyone else gets the idea that everythin’ goin’ on has somethin’ ta do with the Whispering Guys and the remains of Harrowstone Prison. If the Splatter-man is up to his old tricks, then we are in fer a bit of trouble. Ky suggests we head to the memorial and see if anything was left on it during the night; unbeknownst to me, they have been stakin’ out the memorial at night to see if anyone has been vandalizin’ it in the ways of the Splatter-man.
As we head to check out the memorial (up to 3 letters have appeared so far- VES), the cat-lady spots some tracks leading away from the memorial. We follow them a ways and they lead to the shack of Gibbs, the old farmer from the area. The Doc enters the building under the pretense of doing house-to-house searches due to the dead walking incidents, which Gibbs doesn’t buy and gets irate over. After trying to talk to him, Gibbs tells us to leave his property- other than not sleeping well the last week or so, he hasn’t left his shack, and definitely has not been to the memorial recently. As we leave, we decide to spend the evening spying on the memorial, hoping to catch the culprit in the act; the guests to my quiet, little town determine Gibbs is the guilty party. of course, its one of the townsfolk doin’ everything, it can’t be someone from out of town….