You open the door to find tangled mounds of moth-eaten fabric sitting on several wooden tables, each surrounded by workbenches. Various sewing tools— shears, needles, rolls of thread, boxes of chalk, and other objects lie scattered over the floor, while the arm of what appears to be a skeleton protrudes from a stained heap of fabric to the west.
As you examine the room, a ghostly figure emerges from the skeleton. It appears as a beautiful young woman dressed in a fine tattered and burned blue dress. In fact, most of her appears to be colored some shade of blue, her dress, her skin, her hair...
It regards you for a moment before speaking in a hollow voice, "Are you the new guards from Ravengro, here to replace those cowards who locked me in here to die?"
Small blue wisps of smoke drift out of her mouth as she speaks.
I will post an image of this ghost in the shared folder tonight when I get home.
Oorin clears his throat. "Ah, there will be no more guards, my lady; this place is burned and ruined. Who was it that locked you in here and why? Part of why we're here is to understand what happened during those tumultuous days."
Vesorianna looks surprised at Oorin's words, "No more guards? Then why are you ... I apologize, sometimes I forget myself. I will answer your other question..."
"My husband and I were finishing our evening meal when the Captain of the Guards, a cruel man named Gurtis Vortch, burst into our home. He informed my husband that several of the new inmates had escaped and started a riot on the lower level of the prison. My husband told me to wait, then left with Gurtis. I waited for what seemed like an hour before I could not bear it any longer. I defied my husband and ran to the prison."
"I found it in chaos. Guards were running around, screaming and shouting, and I could smell smoke. I went into the storage area to the west where I found a group of guards surrounding the elevator. They told me my husband had entered the lower level in an attempt to try and stop the rioting. But the men refused to send any more to help him - the cowards left him down there with those murderers, and just stood there as we heard their fellow guards screaming as the prisoners tortured them. I tried reasoning with them, and I tried reminding them of their duty. They all refused, they just stood there, watching and listening as their comrades died in horrible ways. I realized that they were not going to do anything, and I would have to try and save Lyvar myself!"
"I broke away from them and released the elevator, sending it down to the lower level, hoping to give my husband and the remaining guards a chance to escape. In a panic, the cowardly guards pulled me away from the controls while some of their fellows dumped barrels of oil down the shaft, claiming their actions would prevent prisoners from climbing up the elevator lines. But they did not think about the fires started during the riots... The oil ignited in a massive blast that shook the prison. I heard stones falling and walls collapsing, but I never saw the extent of the damage. Several guards grabbed me and dragged me here, locking the door to prevent more of my 'meddling'. They left me here as they fled back to their homes, left me to die as smoke filled the room."
She points behind her to the skeleton, "I sat there, crying myself to sleep as the dense smoke overcame me... in the hopes of once again seeing my beloved Lyvar..."
After a minute of quiet crying, she looks up, "But you said you are not guards... then who are you, and why are you here?"
With a sudden dangerous intensity, she leans forward and asks, "Do you know what happened to my husband's spirit?!"
When the restless spirit of Vesorianna first appears, Roland gasps and makes the symbol of Pharasma over his heart.
"Do you know what happened to my husband's spirit?!"
Roland clears his throat, his voice trembling slightly.
"What do you mean, my lady? What has happened to your husband's spirit?"
"From what I've been told, the influence of some of the prisoners in this place has begun manifesting itself with the village and they are here to investigate it. As for myself and Darren there" she indicates him with a wave of her hand "We were captured by men, flesh and blood men, for what reason we do not know."
"We do not know what has happened to your husbands spirit, madame. But if you could give us more information we may be able to find out."
Vesorianna relaxes as she listens to your responses.
"My husband's spirit was here, trapped within this prison, as I am. He watched over his charges in death as he did in life, keeping them confined within Harrowstone and preventing their escape."
Nodding to Cassandra, "Yes, I remember them. Several weeks ago, there were men around, men who spoke in whispers. I remember hearing a... song. It sounded like a ritual of some kind. Thunder and lightning followed. The storm lasted for hours, drenching the prison with rain and hail. When the storm passed, Lyvar's spirit was no longer here."
"With his loss, the spirits have been trying to escape. I have tried to prevent this, but they do not recognize my authority. They obeyed my husband as warden of this place, but me?" She shrugs with a helpless look.
"I have tried to act in a way that would make my husband proud. But without some tangible symbol of authority, I am not strong enough to prevent the most powerful's influence from passing beyond these walls. Even now, they push against me, testing my strength. I fear I will not last much longer, and when I fall, the horrors of Harrowstone prison will bury the mortal lands in pain and death."
|Karl the Bastard|
By the gods, we cannot let that happen. Karl looks aghast at the very suggestion of more spirits escaping the prison.
Lady Vesorianna, you spoke of a symbol of authority. Do you know of any such symbol? Something we could come to grips with? If we can, we will put the spirits of this place to rest. And you as well, if you would have us do so. We will need your help though.
Darren is clearly struggling to maintain his cool in the presence of the ghost. They weren't kidding about the haunted part...
Finally, he says after being silent for so long, "We will do our best to help you, if you give us some direction as to what we should do. Nobody should have to suffer what you suffered, and if it is indeed possible to reunite you with your husband's spirit, we shall strive for it in honor of your bravery."
Shanoa's mouth gapes open as the ghostly woman speaks and all the pieces start fitting into place. The problems in town DID come from the prison, and this spirit is all that's keeping it from getting worse...and the restless dead are trying to destroy her!
"The markings outside; those must have been from the ritual that banished her husband's spirit. I think Karl has the right idea. If we can find some symbol of authority the restless spirits here would recognize then that would settle them down. The only other options are to bring the Warden's spirit back, which I know no way of doing. Or to lay all the spirits here to rest which seems well beyond our ability to do."
Oorin turns back to the spirit of Vesorianna. "You have my thanks in doing what you can to keep these spirits held here. I will echo my friends question, do you know of any symbol that the spirits here will respect? Without such a symbol, how long do you think you can keep them at bay?"
"What type of symbol would the spirits in here respect, or fear? A badge of office perhaps, or a truncheon or other weapon specific to your dead husband? Ant of which I must assume is interred along with his remains on the level below."
Vesorianna's gaze raises slightly, as if she is looking over your heads. Her eyelids seem to flutter, and her eyes twitch...
"I do not know in what form or shape the symbol will appear to your eyes. To my senses, I see it as a golden light in the darkness that infests this prison. The only direction I can provide you is that it is something that would have mattered to my husband during his life... As his body now lies below, it is there you should begin your search."
Her gaze returns to normal and she looks upon Oorin, "I believe I can hold them for another few days, a week at most. There is one inside this prison, the most powerful, who has the ability to steal my very essence. Unfortunately, he has begun the process, and once he has spelled my name, I will be no more."
"I knew it! It's your name on the statue in town!" Suddenly Shanoa looks horrified. "We have very little time! And we must further into this place..." Subconsciously, she reaches down for the reassuring feel of the flasks of holy water at her waist and allows them to clank audibly.
"How deep are we, and how much deeper can we go?" Darren asks, looking around a little worried. Then his face becomes resolute, "Either way, we must continue. If you are already being undermined," he says, looking at Vesorianna, "then there is no time to lose."
|Karl the Bastard|
We'll have to hope that the Watch will prevent Gibs from spelling out any more of Vesorianna's name. Karl says with a worried frown. Although, if the spirits of this place can get one man to do their foul work, I don't know what would stop them from getting another... He shakes his head, unwilling to consider just how many townsfolk may be under the sway of the ghosts of Harrowstone.
My lady, he addresses the spirit once more, Can you give us any information about these ghosts? Perhaps weaknesses, or ways to lay them to rest? The more we know about our quarry, the better chance we have to hunt them down and send them to Pharasma's court of bones. We have found some of their weapons and tools, if that helps.
He shows her the Lopper's axe, and the Mosswater Marauder's hammer.
Vesorianna nods as Shanoa speaks, "Your insight is correct. Once my name is spelled, I will cease to exist..."
Turning to Darren, she says, "Sir, you are on the main floor, and the main cells are one level below. Another floor is above us, containing a few cells that were used for the less dangerous criminals. Of course, in this place, all of the criminals were deranged and evil, so less dangerous is a relative term."
"And yes, half-elf, I am sure another tool can be found in town. The victim need not be an evil man, simply weak of mind."
"As for the other spirits, I sense them all, but there are five who pose the most immediate threat. They are tied to this place, but also to what brought them here. The items you have were important to the criminals in life, but those same items can be used against them in their current state of undeath. Using such items against them would ensure their true death, and the safety of Ravengro and the surrounding areas."
"In that case," Oorin muses, "I think we should investigate the upper floor first. While it's hard to ignore the impulse to rush down and face the five as soon as possible I don't think that would be the best plan. I would hate to miss something important just because we were too eager or inattentive."
|Karl the Bastard|
Thank you for your aid Vesorianna, we'll take our leave of you now and do our best to help you safeguard this place.
Once the others are ready, Karl leads the way up the stairs towards the upper level.
As the group moves upstairs, a high-pitched laughter echoes off the stone walls. A voice soon follows, "Shaaanoooaaa! Shaaaanooooaaaa! You came to see me! You must love me, because I love you. I love you like I love all my children. I am your Father, you know!" ::hehehehe::
"Shanoa! I know that old fool survived, but this time I'll take your body and kill him with your teeth. But you will do the killing. And your friends too, you will tear them to pieces with your teeth. Your beautiful teeth... Hurry, my love, I want to give you a hug, and kisses, and bites! Lots of bites!" ::hehehehehehe::
The laughter seems to echo for another few seconds before the prison once again grows quiet.
The emphasis on the word "teeth" is quite pronounced, and it leaves all of you with an uneasy feeling for some reason.
Assuming the group continues up the stairs...
The group continues up the stairs and finds a landing. To the north, several large tables and benches lie stacked in a jumble. From the light streaming into the room, you can tell a large section of the wall has crumbled away from this part of the upper floor.
To the south, the group sees a large "room" containing several benches and a table, all sitting behind iron bars. From the furniture, it was apparently used as a guard post when the prison was inhabited.
Additionally, there are several other hallways leading to other parts of this floor.
Map update when I get home from work.
Shanoa freezes and sucks in her breath sharply. As the laughter dies down, she calls out loudly "Who are you? Why do you know my name?" Her voice is trembling as she continues in a much lower voice, "It's...it's that thing that attacked the priest, Grimburrow. This isn't some mindless undead we're dealing with here, but a malice far more dangerous."
She tries to steady herself using the wall for support as they climb the rest of the stairs. It's obvious that she's a bit shaken.
Darren's sword is out in a flash as the voice resounds through the stone passage. Standing combat ready, he waits for the echoes of Shanoa's response to die off, then says, "Whatever it was, it seems to consider you its child. Is that a new development, seeing as you've encountered this malicious spirit before? Why would he claim to be your father?"
"Forgive me if I'm stepping over the line, but as I still don't know you so well, I must ask: it couldn't possibly be true, could it?"
Shanoa shakes her head. "No, my father is alive and well in Lozeri north of here. More likely this is a deranged and demented mind made more so by years of death and isolation. That doesn't make him any less dangerous though. He possessed a corpse in town - inside the temple of Pharasma - and killed an acolyte there, almost killing Father Grimburrow in the process before I put it down. I imagine he wants revenge for that."
|Karl the Bastard|
Don't worry Shanoa, with all of us working together and with Darren and Cassandra's aid, we'll put this shade to eternal rest. Well, we will as soon as we figure out which way to go next.
Karl peers around hoping to spot some clue or warning sign before they proceed.
Take 10 on perception for 21.
Cassandra look at Shanoa with a question in her eyes. "A most dangerous spirit indeed if it can manifest itself in a temple of The Lady." Cassandra will wander over towards the set of bars and examine the area.
Perception check: 1d20 ⇒ 8
|Karl the Bastard|
Cassandra, you don't see anything suspicious.
As the rest of the group gets close to the guard station (T1), you all notice there are two sets of cell blocks - the eastern cells (T6) and the western cells (T4). All of the cell doors appear to be shut.
You also notice a door with a large barred window which leads to a cell that is significantly more spacious than the others (T7).
|Karl the Bastard|
Karl looks around, somewhat unsure before moving to the door behind the stairs (the one on the eastern side of the map, halfway between T5 and T6, but a little to the left of both.)
He listens at the door, wary for surprises.
Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (17) + 11 = 28
|Karl the Bastard|
Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (10) + 11 = 21
Do you hear that buzzing to the northwest? Almost sounds like locusts. Roland, Oorin, do either of you have anything to get rid of bugs?
Karl puts hand to the vial of acid he carries with him, and looks around.
Roland is out for a few more days so I'll run him for now.
Roland gulps and looks toward the sound, "I'm not sure, let me check... Ah yes, this will do nicely." He pulls out a vial of alchemist's fire.
Arthur cocks his head to the side and nods grimly. Gesturing to his katana, "Perhaps this will work?" He takes a few steps toward the noise before brandishing his weapon in a ready position.
Everyone can clearly hear the buzzing now, and it seems to be getting louder.
|Karl the Bastard|
Oh, that's not good.
Karl pulls out one of his javelins and prepares to throw it at any oversized insects that should care to make an appearance.
Cassandra whispers a brief prayer as those around her feel a sense of calm envelope them, bolstering their courage.
Casting Bless on the party, +1 Morale bonus on attack rolls and saves v fear.
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20
1d2 ⇒ 1
As the group prepares, a large stirge flies around the corner and attacks The Slaughter Priest. Fighting through his defense, the stirge latches on to the front of his armor and begins draining his blood!
Please roll initiative and tell me what you want to do. The stirge is currently grappling The Slaughter Priest.
Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19
Trying to get a bead on the stirge itself, Oorin shoots his Xbow trying to avoind hitting The Slaughter Priest.
Attack: 1d20 + 4 - 4 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 4 - 4 + 1 = 14
Damage: 1d6 ⇒ 5
|Karl the Bastard|
Initiative: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23
Karl hurls his javelin at the stirge, hoping to kill it before it can seriously harm Arthur.
Attack: 1d20 + 3 - 4 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 3 - 4 + 1 = 9
Damage: 1d6 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
initiative: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
"Get off of him!" Shanoa shrieks as she rushes towards the pair, tightening her grip on her morningstar and swinging at the creature.
attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
damage: 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10