Falconbridge

Chapter 4: A Bump in the Night













Kaspar watched Brandos fold his hands and bow his head in supplication, beginning the last of the lengthy prayers that would unlock the divine powers of his god. The gnome stood with his arms crossed, leaning against the trestle table that held the body of Father Francis. Somewhere in the darkness of the church naive around them a scuffling noise and several desperate squeaks indicated that Ssibliss was nearby and had probably caught a mouse or rat.

Brandos’ voice raised slightly and then settled into silence as he climbed to his feet, dusting off his knees. Kaspar stepped towards the uncovered corpse of the baker’s wife, Kella Brinewood, to better observe the proceedings. He and Brandos had carefully considered the questions that would be asked of the body. The spell was only powerful enough to compel the shade to answer three questions so they had to be cautious to maximize the information.

A shudder ran through Kella’s broken limbs and shattered torso. Her chest lifted in the plain white shroud that had been sewn about her, as though she were taking breath. Kasper’s pulse quickened as he watched the distant, dead eyes snap open and the head twist towards the young monk. Her mouth opened as she awaited his queries.

Kasper knew that they were not truly communicating with the spirit of the dead woman, but merely with the memories that were imprinted on the flesh of her corpse. He absently played with a corner of the sheet that had covered the body while Brandos asked the first of their questions…

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Kaspar, Sir Tristan and Ssibliss warily watched four mercenaries enter the Lucky Penny Tavern before heading to the church to meet with Brandos. They wanted to question the latest victim of whatever had killed Father Francis, the baker’s wife, Kella Brinewood.

They met Brandos and while Sir Tristan waited outside they used Speak With Dead to find out more information about the assailant. Ssibliss hunted rats in the deserted naive of the church while Brandos and Kaspar went to a pair of trestle tables containing the earthly remains of Kella and Father Francis.

His first question: What caused your death?

Her response: The boy, Jaccob.

His second question: Why?

Her response: Revenge.

His last question: Who is Jaccob?

Her response: Jaccob Miller, The Tormented One.

After leaving the church the party headed to the Lucky Penny Tavern to observe the mercenaries from the Company of the Iron Wolves. Kaspar cautioned that they must not cause a fight with the mercs. Inside the tavern they observed the four northmen as they grew drunk and gambled. One of the men disappeared with a young barmaid and when she returned crying the party was hard-pressed to remain calm, but cooler heads prevailed and they left without incident.

They returned to the Red Dragon Inn just in time to hear a drunken patron warn the tavern master that things would be getting worse in Namaran before they got better. Curious, Kaspar waited until the others had gone to bed before questioning the innkeep about Jaccob Miller. The man grew pail at the name and refused to answer any more questions.

In the morning they met with the Bailiff, Emil Krafton on the streets. They questioned him about Jaccob Miller and he told them of the death of a boy named Jaccob Miller thirty years ago. A group of children were mixed up in it somehow; the recently deceased Father Francis and Kella Brinewood as well as Sir Darlow Colebrook; Robert Daughton, a fisherman; and the innkeep, Henry Miller, who was Jaccob’s older brother. Another boy, Olin Vars, was also involved, but he disappeared shortly after Jaccob’s death.

As the party continued to gather information, Ssibliss took the opportunity to break into Akkad’s Tower, the fortress of Namaran’s lord, Baron Fenton Farling. He climbed in through the privy, which emptied into the lake, and scouted the building floor by floor. He observed the gouty old Baron before stealing several items and retreating from the tower.

Brandos gave what succour that he could to the monks and questioned them about the boy Olin Vars and the events surrounding Jaccob Miller. He learned that the death coincided with the burning of the old monastery. He was shocked to learn that the monks now lived in the barns behind the burnt out monastery, removing the animals at night to make their devotions.

In the afternoon word came that the dwarves had experienced troubles in the mines. The party decided to divide with Brandos and Sir Tristan remaining in the village to watch after Henry Miller and Robert Daughton while Ssibliss and Kaspar headed to the mines.

Upon arriving they found that a party of dwarven miners had been attacked by something in the depths and four dwarves were now missing. A party led by Rurik were scouring the maze of tunnels but had not yet returned. Guildmaster Balag knew little else about what had happened.

Rurik and his party returned in the early evening with the broken corpses of two dwarves. They could not find the culprit nor the two remaining dwarves.

Eager to return to Namaran village, Kaspar asked Balag if he could take Rurik in anticipation that Jaccob would once more harry the village this night. Balag relented and they set off.

In the meantime, back in the village Brandos and Sir Tristan watched as a party of fifty mounted mercenaries arrived in the village and began rounding up the two dozen monks of Saint Brisbee. Fearful of the mercenaries’ superior numbers they mounted their horses and road to find their companions at the dwarven camp.

When the party was reunited they met the mercenary column riding down the road with their captive monks. Powerless to do much they stood aside and let them pass. Instead they returned to the village hoping to encounter Jaccob.

That night, as they sat in the taproom, hew and cry went up that there was a fire north of town at the hamlet of Tyndel. Cursing their luck, the party mounted up and sped across country towards the home of Sir Darlow Colebrook. They found the small keep fully engulfed in flames. Brandos asked the keeps steward after Sir Colebrook’s children and learned that it was suspected that they were still inside. Without pause, Brandos lept from his horse and braved the inferno to find them. He was badly burnt but managed to heroically save both boys.

In the morning, as the last of the flames were extinguished the gruesome toll of the night became apparent. Lady Colebrook was found dead amongst the ruins. Her husband was found shortly after, his broken body woven amongst the branches of a scraggly tree a few hundred feet from the scorched remains of his keep.

Chapter 4: A Bump in the Night
optimus_mush

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