We decide to head back to town, so as we can sell of the gear we just found and try and catch up with Alyara, the cat-lady and see ifn she got any information about Gibbs fer us. We split up, with a few of us sellin’ the loot, while Fernhook heads to Father Sourpuss to see ifn he can fix the barbarians recent health issues. After we are all done with our current tasks, we are to meet back at the Professors house, to rest and recuperate fer the evenin’, plannin’ on returnin’ to finish clearin’ out the prison in the mornin’. The cat-lady tells us that Gibbs didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, and there were no more letters spelt out on the memorial, either.
26 Calistril, 4710
I wake up and notice that while the Docs bed doesn’t appear to be slept in; he is downstairs lookin’ completely refreshed, so he must have woken up early to start breakfast. Huh, didn’t even wake me up when he got out of bed; I must have been really tired last night.
We all meet downstairs, have a nice, large breakfast and decide that in a few hours we will head back to the prison and see if there is anything else we need to cleanse of evil. So far we have met the ghosts of four of Harrowstones’ worst inhabitants, so we figure there must be one more somewhere in there. We all get our things together and head back on up to the prison; as we arrive, it seems as the spooky doors, chairs and such are still active, tryin’ to scare everyone, but it’s not working much anymore. We head on back downstairs, figurin’ on clearin’ out the area where we last were. Entering the torture chamber through the back of the iron maiden, we start to exit the room when we hear Alyara yell out “Kendra!” Here we go again: Kyxerus, Fernhook and the paladin attempt to hold back the cat-lady as she rushes towards the open lid of the iron maiden. After a few moments, she seems to settle down a bit, not rearin’ to go towards the torture device anymore, and Fernhook works on tearin’ off the lid to the iron maiden, stayin’ out of the way of it tryin’ to eat him. As they do this, me and the Doc head on around the corner and find the wheel that controls the iron gate barring the hallway to this cell area.
Moments later, the rest of the group meets up with me and the Doc and we head on down the only hallway remainin’ that we haven’t emptied out yet. As we enter into “The Oubliette” hallway, the cat-lady opens the door, lets out a whelp of “scary burnin’ skeleton” and she enters the room, releasin’ an arrow into the critter. Fernhook, Ky and the paladin all enter the room, to lay the creature to rest. It takes them a few moments, but the skeleton stops movin’ n’ burnin’.
Before we enter into the room proper, I use a few spells to check out the room from a distance- globes of light illuminate the room and I am able to see a form of some creature in the bottom of the oubliette, but before I am able to determine what it is, the rest of the group, as foolhardy as ever, rushes up to the edge of the pit. The Doc and I closely follow and moments later a ghostly form rises right up out of the ground, gives me an evil grin and touches me across my chest with its sick, wispy hand. Pain instantly shoots through my body as a dark red cloud rises from my chest where I was wounded and slowly engulfs the ghost form. Ky, Fernhook and the rest of the group draw steel and “attack” the form, with their weapons not doing much of anything. After a few seconds of the critter flowin’ ino the floor and walls and suckin’ the ghost blood out of anything it touches and the party swingin’ and throwin’ and shootin’ and not doing much of anything, I decide that I have had enough of this damned place and rush back to the surface, yellin’ “I’m outta here” as I go.
I wait outside the doors of the prison, hopin’ they all return and ifn they don’t, I will head to Lepidstadt and finish off what the Professor wanted us to do with the books. A half an hour or so later, the rest of the group emerges from the prison, proclaim they have cleansed most of the evil taint from the prison and ask if I can determine the magical properties of a few items that they hand over to me. “of course I can” I retort, and get to work lookin’ over the items and gleanin’ what I can from their magical auras. We then head back to the Professors’ house to calculate our next move.
26 Calistril, 4710
The paladin and Ky determine that they will attempt to cleanse the rest of the prison of its haunts while we wait the last few weeks, finishin’ up our oath of the Professor to watch over Kendra fer the month after his will readin’. During this time, I “borrow” the Docs breakin’ n’ enterin’ tool kit and jiggle open the last book we found in the box a few weeks earlier. Readin’ through it, I can’t make hide nor hair of it, as it is written in some sort of code. As the Doc works with this kinda stuff in his alchemy workin’ and such, I hand him the book and after a day, he is able to decipher it enough to understand it is a book titled “Manual on the Order of the Palatine Eye”- it appears to be a book about a secret society with interests in all things political and arcane. It also contains a scrap of paper no one noticed earlier, askin’ that the tome be returned to Embreth Daramid, in Lepidstadt. Great, another book the paladin will want to burn and that we hafta lug across the countryside to get our “inheritance”.
20 Pharast, 4710
It has been nearly 3 weeks since the prison has been cleansed and Ravengro has returned to its usual thriving self; the birds seem to chirp louder, the countryside seems a bit brighter and even the air seems a bit clearer. We haven’t had any dead walkin’ around issues and the townsfolk seem to be a bit more chipper and happy to see the foreigners; they even seem happy to see me! Kendra has told us that she intends on stayin’ in Ravengro and wishes us well on our journey to Lepidstadt. We have purchased a cart and some horses, survival gear and plenty of rations for our week-long journey north.
20 Pharast, 4710
We say our goodbyes to the townsfolk and Kendra, and head out for Lepidstadt. The journey should be rather bland as the path we are taking sees little activity, specially from bandits and such. As we leave Ravengro in our shadow, I feel rather giddy, as I will be returnin’ home; I just hope the constable fergot that little incident from a few years back, the one that ran me off to quieter pastures in Ravengro.
21 Pharast, 4710
We are bedded down fer the evenin’ when we hear the Doc shoutin’ something about critters coming into camp. We all wake up to find we are surrounded by wolves. These critters don’t usually come into someone’s camp like this, so I look around and in the distance I see a wolf, one much larger and more cunning lookin’; a worg leads these critters. In under a minute, Fernhook and Ky have slaughtered the wolves and the Doc pincushions the worg. As it is nearly dawn anyways, we stay up. Fernhook takes the time to skin the worg and other wolves, their pelts will be worth somethin’ in Lepidstadt. We will be headin’ on in a few hours.
23 Pharast, 4710
We have travelled for 2 days since the wolves and other than normal flora and fauna, we haven’t seen anything, not a soul. It’s rather lonely on the road, so I use the time to try out a few new tunes on my harmonica to liven the mood. Again, we set down for the evening and again, during the night we are awoken. Only this time, it’s not to the Doc yellin’ and such, it’s due to a horribly loud explosion causin’ an ear pearcin’ shriek. I wake up to find the rest of the party staggering to their feet, cupping their ears and lookin’ angrily at the Doc. I ask them whats going on and they don’t seem to hear me. What did the Doc do, drop one of his bombs into the fire or sumpin? Anyways, I see the Doc doesn’t seem to be worried about bein’ deafened and he is lobbin’ arrows out into the grass outside of the camp. I toss my globes of light that direction so as I can see better and out of the dark, I see the shapes of bipedal hyena-men, better known as gnolls. It takes a minute or so, but we are able to dispatch them, even the paladin seemin’ to be a bit bloodthirsty. These people I am travelin’ with do not seem to care much for others; I understand attackin’ and dispatchin’ ghosts and protectin’ yerself from wolves, but these are living critters, they might have just wanted to share our fire or sumpin; but these “heroes” don’t care much fer askin’ first. At least the Doc don’t seem as crazy as he did a few weeks back. But he and the paladin do seem to be a bit more “chummy” than they seemed back in Ravengro- that or I just didn’t notice the furtive looks they cast upon each other. And they now seem to WANT to share a tent every evening. Strange.
24 Pharast, 4710
We have travelled a bit closer to Lepidstadt, and I am getting’ antsy to get back to my place of birth. Wonder if any of my old friends will still be hangin’ around or ifn the constable has rounded em up. Will hafta look em up after we get to town and give these damnable books to the rightful owners. Ifn I had “borrowed” these books, I would have been ran down the river to spend time in Harrowstone, but the Professor borrows them and its all well and good; typical halfling discrimination- we ain’t all thieves and rapscallions. Anyways, we will be there soon and all my hopes will be found out.
As we round a bend in the road, we come upon a small collection of carts, wagons and a small group of fellow travelers. I realize who these people are and they, unlike us, are rather famous. These be the Crooked Kin, a travellin’ sideshow act. They seem to be all gathered up into a small group, and I notice a few of em seem to be cryin’ and wailin’, spoutin’ off about someone named Aleece havin’ gone missin’. As we roll up to em, they see to turn and notice us and one of them strides on up to us, an albino human with red eyes and long white hair, dressed in gaudy striped trousers and wearin’ a tall tophat. He shouts out “Ho there, travelers. I am Kaleb Hesse and we are the Crooked Kin.” Alyara steps forward, I guess she feels at home with the freak show and blurts out “why are your friends crying?”
Damn, these foreigners really need to learn to not stick their noses in other people’s business; we have places to see and things to do. “We are but a travelling sideshow act, and we had stopped for a bit to rest our horses. After a spell, we realized that one of our own had come up missing. None of us are really experienced in the ways of the wild and are afraid for her wellbeing.” Kaleb retorts. Alyara says that WE will look for her and asks where she was seen last; damned cat-lady needs to learn to keep her mouth shut and not volunteer for others.
Alyara, the Doc, Fernhook and the paladin head off in the direction of her last known whereabouts and trudge off into the nearby swamp. Ky and I decide it would be best to stay and watch over our horses and gear- while the Crooked Kin may be somewhat famous, I still don’t trust em. Nearly an hour later, those that went off to look for the child, return carryin’ the remains of a little pin-head girl and Fernhook has the remains of a large “spider” over his shoulder. As he plops it on the ground, I see that it is not a spider true, as it has a FACE! As they tell us of what transpired and the combat with the critter and its tactics, I remember what the critter is called; a phasespider. The group of “heroes” explains what they encountered and say they are sorry for the Kins’ loss. The Crooked Kin grab up the little girl and trudge off to their camp, mourning their loss. Kaleb thanks us for our assistance and as a reward he hands over a shiny dagger, claiming that it is magically ensorcelled against ‘thropes and such critters. So now I see why these guys keep helping others so much; they aren’t as altruistic as they make themselves out to be; they are just greedy and require payment for their deeds.
Kaleb invites us to join their camp for the evening, offering food and warmth as well as entertainment. We join their camp and I attempt to liven up the mood and play a happy little ditty for them. During the evening, I see that the Doc has escaped off into the arms (all four of them) of one of the freaks, to which the paladin seems to bristle a bit from. Kaleb tells us that their troupe is on the way to Lepidstadt as well. He figures with the trial for the “Beast”- I heard rumors they finally caught the scourge of Lepidstadt- going on, this would be a good time for the Crooked Kin to ply their trade and make some coin. He explains that while they have travelled all over Ustalav, they really have no skill in outdoors livin’ and ask ifn we would accompany them to Lepidstadt. As usual, the “altruists” of our group accept their offer, and we will now travel with the Crooked Kin; maybe they will keep the cat-lady? She seems happier with them……