An Ancient Evil

Game Master Celestial Healer

The kingdom of Leyland is in the midst of change. New technology and new social structures are taking the place of the old ways. In the midst of this, an ancient evil is awakening and threatening this prosperous nation. It falls upon a band of heroes to face this menace.


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To Trina's dismay, the constable seems entirely uninterested in food. He seems to regard every passerby as a threat, and appears tense, but does not try to flee.

Those of you at the manor are ushered inside to a sitting a room where, after a few minutes, Lord Wallingham arrives. "I am so glad to see you well," he says. "What have you found?"


46/46, AC 11

He looks to Caladrel for approval and then to a ubiquitous servant of the manor; "Could you see to Nathan and Gindrel, they are tired and not feeling well."

Quietly he moves into the Sitting Room, where once Wallingham has taken a seat Jerry follows suit. Sitting in the chair he relaxes his shoulders releasing a tension he hardly realised he was holding.

A troubled look flows across Jerry's face, setting his features stubbornly. With a glance to the others, then back to their host. "It seems to be worse than we thought." he pauses to let the full implication of the words settle, Jerry's deep cultured voice taking on hushed tones; "Some sort of aeons old spirit resides beneath the forest - mayhaps in a place called 'Devils Hole.' It's malevolence is what's causing the disease." he observes the reaction of the Lord.

"The constable is alive, but hopelessly insane - seemingly possessed or in thrall to this spirit." he concludes sadly; "We've brought him with us. It's not safe for him in the woods, who knows what mischief he'll perform." Taking a deep breath, he has to ask and awkward favour.

"If you could keep him secure, locked up. So as not to be a danger to himself or others. Maybe after we have dealt with the being in the forest.... the might be a chance for him to recover." the nobleman says doubtfully. He puts a hand to his head suddenly dizzy despite sitting down. 'Oh, I suppose the exsanguination takes it's toll."

Composing himself and sipping on the glass of dark rich brandy that has been served, he continues; "We also brought out Nathan, the Ranger & Gindel, the Druid - after sending the Smythes on ahead. It's not safe in the forest or surrounding environs." Then he smirks the confident tones of the aristocracy; "At the moment!"

"If you wouldn't mind putting us up for the night. Tomorrow we'll be on our way and foiling this." he smiles; "Although, given your permission a quick perusal of the library for the Black Sun, may be in order." he adds seeing if Lord Wallingham has heard of them before.


F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

"Did what's left of the Smythe family make it here? They were supposed to bring my pony," Sylvia interrupts impatiently.


Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

"Come now, you must eat, at least a little," she says softly. She's not exactly the convincing sort, by any means; between her appearance and her standoffish nature, she's a far cry from anyone's diplomat. She breaks off a piece of the bread with her tail and eats it where the constable can see. "See? Edible, and not poison. I don't want to hurt you." Unfortunately for her, the image is probably not a relieving one, what with her sharp teeth and all, or the band of green-and-purple flesh that takes that moment to decide to migrate up from beneath her clothing and onto the lower half of her jaw.

Failing that, the tiefling sighs with resignation, then simply sits in the grass and unfolds a travel-worn book in her lap. She holds the constable with one hand and makes a few notes in her personal journal with the other, holding her inkwell with her tail. She jots down the details of the last day, making notes of the constable's babblings back in Nathan's barn, what little the group collectively could surmise about the Black Sun, the strange creatures in the woods, the effects on the local flora as well as people, and so forth. She writes in short spurts, stopping every sentence or two to check on the constable, preventing him from tugging free of her grip while she's distracted.


46/46, AC 11

Jerry sighs softly after his big sppech, the chair seeming remarkably comfortable after the long journey. He glances to the others in the room; "So who wants to spend some time in the library looking at books? The answer to how to seal the prison maybe be in there."

'Or what it is.' he wonders, the confident human taking it all in his stride - but there's just a niggle of doubt as he remembers the dying forest.


Lord Wallingham absorb's Jerry's report with appropriate gravity. "I can see it was a most perilous exploration. And the druid Gindel, you say? I had little hope that he still lived. Wonders never cease." He seems somewhat cheered by this news, but it is not enough to relieve the great weight that presses upon him from the other details of your adventure.

"Yes, you are free to peruse the library, but I suspect you will find little on evil spirits or the like. It is best to shield impressionable eyes from such subjects."

"You are, of course, all welcome to stay here tonight. You are doing these lands a great service. I hope you will join us again for supper, if you are feeling sufficiently well."

To Sylvia he says, "I have received word that the Smythes arrived in the village and are staying at Henley House under the care of the vicar." He adds dismissively, "I had no word of their mount."

Trina:
The constable continues to draw away whenever you get too close. He seems particularly unnerved by your appearance. He says nothing more but fidgets in his agitation.


46/46, AC 11

"Good, the local vicarage is the best place for them." he glances to Sylvia with a tight smile; "I passed it on the way here, the one with the ivy crawling up it's length."

Touching the side of his neck and absent-mindedly rubbing at the top of the bandage; "A meal would be smashing, though if I might trouble your cooks to include a nice bit of liver. Tad of blood loss..." he adds in explanation.


Lord Wallingham looks at a loss for words at Jerry's request and mutters something to the effect, "We will see if they can accommodate."

He leaves you to retire to your chambers and rest. Supper is, again, a formal affair with many courses. Jerry is pleased to note that liver has been incorporated into the menu. Lady Philomena and Lady Rowena seem very interested in your adventures, although Lady Belinda seems ill at ease among adventurers.

"What manner of monster did you slay," Lady Philomena asks with wide eyes.


F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

"Oh, just... things with tentacles," Sylvia volunteers, not looking in Trina's direction, "We'll probably see worse tomorrow when we return to try to seal the prison. You wouldn't know anything about arcane sealing rituals, would you?" Her eyes search those of their host family with some hope.


46/46, AC 11

"Mr Smitty was out-standing, a crack-shot with the rifled carbine." the noble explains to Rowena, "Although, everyone worked smoothly together. I'm sure tomorrow's expedition will be just as fluid."

Spotting Belinda's discomfort, he looks down at his plate a touch abashed; "I apologise this isn't suitable talk for a dinner. Especially for such a fine repast."


46/46, AC 11

Jerry awaits to see if any of the others gathered for the meal know about arcane rituals or local folklore. Gently tugging at the collar of his newly laundered shirt.

"I wonder if I could interest Trina in a tour of the library, or perhaps yourself Ms Pari?" Jerry asks, knowing his researching skills are limited by his patience.


F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

"Are you kidding? I'd sleep in the library if I could. It's definitely on my after-dinner agenda," the alchemist replies, "Maybe we can learn something about seals there. After all, it seems like some of the Wallinghams might have a taste for adventurous reading." She grins at Rowena.


46/46, AC 11

Jerry's mind wanders at that comment and a certain heat comes to his face. He avoids looking at Lady Rowena, after a slight cough the noble is forced to take a sip of wine.


Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

When the escorts come for the constable, Trina makes sure his bonds are firmly secured before handing him over. Once the burden has changed hands, she at last relaxes, and makes her way into the manor, secluding herself in her room for a long shower and some time for lone meditation before dinner.

She eats quietly, listening to the conversation without interrupting for the moment. When Jeremiah addresses her, she replies with a quiet nod. "Any opportunity for potential useful information is a lead we do not have at the moment," she says plainly, then returns her attention to her food.


While Jerry certainly offered an appropriate apology for the topic of conversation, Lady Belinda appears uncomfortable, and when the meal has ended, she excuses herself.

Lord Wallingham informs you that Longworth the butler sees to the lord's personal library and can assist you in your search. Ladies Rowena and Philomena join you in the library.

"There are few books here that deal with anything other than dull history or things like rhetoric and mathematics," Philomena says with some frustration. "Father insists on wholesome books only. But," she says with a mischievous grin, "there was always an odd one that I do not believe he knew about. Ways of the Ancients it was called. I suppose he and Longworth assumed it was about history, but there were all sorts of dark things recounted in there. If I recall, it is right..." she scans a high shelf and her eyes seem to settle upon a gap between two volumes where another clearly once resided. "It is not here," she says with her eyebrows raised. "Longworth, who has taken this volume?"

The butler's brow furrows as he scans the shelf. "I do not believe anyone has. But of course you girls are always moving the books about."

"We do nothing of the sort," Lady Rowena says, "and I for one do not even recall the work of which my sister speaks."


F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

Sylvia squints at the gap in the bookshelf, then at the butler, then at the two girls. She blinks rapidly a few times, then cocks her head and addresses the young ladies in a bland, conversational tone of voice.

"Lady Belinda is clearly not your mother. Did your mother d--... uh, pass on? And when did your father remarry?"


46/46, AC 11

Never the most studious, as Jerry enters the library he stifles a yawn. Though it was his idea, the thought of a hard nights reading makes his blood run cool.

'Interesting, Philomena seems at ease here and with the supernatural. Whilst at the earlier dinner she didn't, or maybe it was her fathers' presence? Protecting his youngest daughter, especially after their loss.' the noble thinks idly.

With a glance to Rowena, trying to intuit if her words are false, or if she truly doesn't recall the book.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7

"Oh, I'm sure it'll be about." Jerry languidly notes, remembering that though the butler can be counted for discretion it's the Lord to whom he owes his allegiance.


Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

Trina begins scanning the shelves quietly, looking for the tome mentioned, hoping it's merely been misfiled - compared to the alternative of being taken, which given the current circumstances could prove troublesome, if it's as filled with forbidden lore as Philomena seemed to hint.


M Elf Druid 4 {AC 19, T 13, FF 17, HP 28/28}

Caladrel tries to focus on the conversation in the library but he is distracted by thoughts of the ailing druid. Surprised by Longworth and Lady Rowena's reaction to Lady Philomena's question, Caladrel tries to assess the truthfulness of their statements. Sense Motive: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17


Caladrel:
You don't detect any dishonesty.

The girls are somewhat taken aback by Sylvia's forwardness. "Last year," Lady Rowena says. "They were wedded in town and the feast was here."

Lady Philomena appraises Sylvia's question. Then she remarks with a girlish grin, "I do not believe Lady Belinda has touched a book in her life." Lady Rowena scolds her for the insult, although you sense she was actually rather amused by it.

Jerry gets the sense that while Lady Philomena does not share her older sister's love for adventure, she is a curious and intelligent girl, very much at home in the family's library.

Trina's search if the shelves does not turn up the book in question or anything else terribly useful.


F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

Sylvia snorts appreciatively at Philomena's snark, then begins pacing, hands behind her back, as she continues to question the daughters. "Well then, if that's the case, help me out a bit. Assuming everyone here is being truthful - that your father does not know about this book, Jeeves here has not touched it, neither of you has misplaced it - who else has had access to it? And when was the last time either of you perused the tome?"


"I recall it was here when we first came for the start of the season," Lady Philomena explains. Many lordly families have two residences: a country estate for the summer and a townhouse in the capital for the winter. "I recall seeing it as I was looking for some light reading."

"You probably settled upon the encyclopedia," Lady Rowena cajoles.

"It was here then," Lady Philomena says, unperturbed by her sister, "but is not now."

"There have been countless people through here," Lady Rowena says with some frustration. "Maids, footmen..."

"Now understand, I run a tight ship!" Longworth interjects defensively.

"...not to mention a large crowd for the garden party," Lady Rowena finishes.


46/46, AC 11

Looking around the room his brows furrow, pulling lines across his forehead. 'They shouldn't speak so about 'Linda. Even no matter how they feel.'

Jerry stops the scowl from forming upon his face, for he likes the sisters even if they are upset with their step-mother. Approving the change of direction to the location of the missing tome. Jerry nods to the butler; "Of course you do. The magnificent estate is a credit to you and the Lord both."

"It was a pity, I couldn't attend the garden-party." he says to the sisters, with an apologetic air. "I had heard it was well attended by notables and one of the high-lights of the season. Many a happy couple have met at such." He waits to see if Philomena is forth-coming with any gossip or potential assignations she might have heard of.


"There were many familiar faces and a few of Lady Belinda's friends I did not know," Lady Rowena says.

Returning to the topic at hand, Lady Philomena offers, "I do not know who removed the volume or why, but if you are looking for that sort of information, the scholar who wrote it is still an emeritus professor at the University. Professor Allerman. I understand the University retired him before his time because they did not care for his research, but he is still around that place. Perhaps if you continue your exploration you could bring your findings to him."

It would take you a few days to reach the University by land, or a solid day by train, switching at the capital to different line.


F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

"Bah! We have the primary source right here. I think we should push on with our plan to visit the Devil's Hole tomorrow and gather data. We can consult with Professor Allerman if we have difficulty with identifying or solving this problem. I'm certain all will be clear once we see the source, though," Sylvia volunteers, still in pacing though.


46/46, AC 11

"Ms. Pari is correct." he says, surely something the alchemist hears all the time.

"I am no scholar or sage, but we have to investigate it whilst we are in the area. I'm sure we can put this creature back to sleep easily." he adds confidently. "However, we can present our findings to him."

Jerry looks to Sylvia, "Maybe it'll enable you a Professorship?"


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F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

Sylvia snorts. "Professorship? Why would I want one of those?"

After a brief pause, she says softly, as if to herself, "Do you really think so?"


46/46, AC 11

"Well for someone of your obvious talents, it's inevitable." he adds off-hand with the flick of his wrist; "This could just expedite the thinking of those stuffy curmudgeons. Get some fresh thinking in the stifling halls of academia."

With a glance to Caladrel he adds; "Plus it'll help the land recover from these depredations." The noble reaches up to rub the collar of his shirt, from the soft itching therewith.


Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

"I agree with Sylvia," Trina adds. "I would be most interested in speaking with this professor, but after the current problem is attended to - we complete our promised duty to the lord first and foremost, and that way we also have all the available resources and information already on hand, rather than operating on conjecture and the half-mad babblings of the constable."

She frowns slightly at Jeremiah's fidgeting, then shakes her head and speaks in a lower voice. "See me before you retire for the night. I'll make you a poultice for that wound that should help you recover a bit from the anemia."


46/46, AC 11

Jerry looks around the library, concerned at the missing book - however glad of the information. His natural instincts are for action over words, thus he looks to his companions.

"If we cannot find the book perhaps it's best to retire for the night. We have an early start on the morrow?"

He bows to the ladies of the household and awaits another's response.


"Yes of course," says Lady Rowena. "You must be well rested."

The comfortable beds of Wallingham Manor are a comfortable respite after your trials.


46/46, AC 11

Before Jerry retires for the evening, he takes Trina up on her offer. Knowing she's an expert healer, that he skills maybe needed to prevent infect or assess the fang marks.

To uphold all the bounds of proprietary, the nobleman goes to the drawing room where the door is left open. 'To be alone in a bedroom with a young lady would be most improper.' he thinks to himself. 'Especially if I am to be half-unclothed.'

Near the fireplace, it's embers burning low but giving the spacious room a warm glow, Jerry takes off his pale shirt. Revealing tautly muscled torso of one who no longer revels to excess, combined with martial training to provide smooth lines of sinuous grace. About his upper chest are what looks to be crude dark tattooed whorls. However on closer inspection they are delicate and intricate curves that in their own language depict a history of the tribe. The shapes flow with the lines of his body, enhancing his impressive physique.


Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

Following the dispersal from the library, Trina returns to her chambers to fetch her medicinal equipment then makes her way to Jeremiah's abode. Finding the door open and the young nobleman waiting inside she simply knocks twice on the doorframe before striding in, assuming he left it open as implicit welcoming for her.

If he's standing when she arrives, Trina gestures for him to take a seat, then sets her bag down on a desk or shelf if one is available (or the floor if not) and gets to work, mixing alchemical unguents and herbal remedies in small bottles and grinding the final resulting mixtures into a thick paste in a small mortar, not speaking while she works. She occasionally glances over at him, studying him - both the injury an the strange tattoos, something she hadn't expected on the clearly noble-raised Jeremiah - then going back to her work. The eyes on her tendrils however are much less discrete, often staring for minutes on end before rolling back into their lids and shutting or turning their attention elsewhere, the tentacles themselves coiling and unflexing from time to time, almost as if bored with waiting for the healer to do her work.

Once finished, she then applies the paste gently around and onto Jeremiah's wound, then wraps his chest tightly with bandages, checking multiple times to make sure the bindings are tight enough to hold but not hamper the flow of blood through the wound.

Heal: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22 vs DC 15 (Long-term Care). Jeremiah recovers HP and Ability damage overnight at double rate.

"There, finished," she announces almost an hour later, and begins packing her things. "Leave it be for the night, and try not to rub or pick at it, but remove it in the morning and wash. I'll apply a new coat and bandages after breakfast, before we leave again."


F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

Sylvia passes the rest of the evening in baffled silence, uncertain if Jeremiah is mocking her or if someone has finally recognized her genius. She does scour the library minutely, even sniffing at the gap in the bookshelf to see if she can get a whiff of any distinctive scent.

Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20

Afterwards, she retires to her room to sleep the sound sleep of those who are utterly confident of their own brilliance, arising early in the morning to brew up a fresh batch of mutagen, extracts, and bombs.


46/46, AC 11

Jerry sits and remains seated under the kindly ministrations of Trina's art. The ointment stings, but he doesn't allow himself to wince. Instead taking the burning pain, absorbing it as a test.

"I thank you." he says gratefully; "As we discussed, you truly are an exemplar of medical practises." As he rises and dons his shirt, with a meticulous caution.

After checking to see that Luce is fed, watered, her paws are in good condition and that she's stabled properly. Only then will Jerry retire for the night, despite not getting a good game of billiards in with Rhodes.

~~~

Once morning awakes, Jerry rises early. Leaving his leonine companion for a sleep in, he ensures that everything is packed for the journey and puts out his travelling shirt to be laundered and fixed.

Then fully awake he heads down to the mornings repast.


Lord Wallingham again joins you at the breakfast table, along with Ladies Rowena and Philomena. They have a somewhat somber air about them, noting that they are more aware than ever of the dangers that you are headed into. When the meal has ended, they wish you safe travels and good fortune.


Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

Trina wakes and performs her normal morning rituals before heading down to breakfast. She is quiet and thoughtful as usual during the meal, only speaking up to inquire how the Smythes, the Constable, Nathan, and Gindel have fared overnight. Otherwise she takes her breakfast in her usual observational silence.

Following the meal she repeats the process of the prior night, mixing a new remedy and applying a new bandage to Jeremiah's mending wound. "It should stay in place beneath your clothing and armor, and after today I do not think you should need another, unless of course we run into more creatures like those from yesterday. We'll tackle that trouble as we find it though." Once assured her work is suited to her standards she excuses herself from Jeremiah's chambers so the cavalier can continue his preparations for the day, and makes her way back to her own quarters, changes out of her dress and into her traveling clothing and armor, and exits the manor to wait for the others out on the grounds, enjoying the beauty of the new morning.


46/46, AC 11

Jerry enjoys the breakfast, taking some measure of contentment as his senses are heightened at the prospect of death that stalks the forest. With a bow to the ladies, Jerry smiles; "Though no need to be so melancholy, it suits thy countenance not." his words are honeyed with a confident tone.

Afterwards he lets Trina fix the wound in the study. Before awaiting the others in the stables.


Lord Wallingham is able to inform you that removing the victims from the vicinity of the wood has prevented their conditions from progressing, they have not recovered. The problem may need to be addressed at its source.


46/46, AC 11

"Thank you, you concern for your holders is self-evident and does you proud." Jerry says gratefully, knowing that some nobles forget their responsibility to the people. That status goes both ways, with duties and obligations for each.

Running his hand through his hair, as the soft breeze blows the cavalier mounts up on Luce and looks to the others. "At least we know the way now, progress should be much quicker."


46/46, AC 11

"So Ms. Pari, are you taking just your pony? Or will the mule come too." he muses, knowing that they are heading into a cavern and neither will be safe outside.

The cavalier, nods to Smitty and his impressive long-shot carbine. Glad to see the dwarf after the previous days escapade. The mornings' light flits over his riding shirt, following the muscular curves emphasised by the well-tailored cloth.


Any other activity before you set out?


46/46, AC 11

Jerry checks to make sure the group have provisions, maybe a tent and it least some canvas and bedrolls. He does wonder about a compass or other way to locate where they are headed but quite quickly dismisses it, especially with the urgent look in his Lordships visage.

Thanks to Trina's healing hands and the liver combined with brandy Jerry is recovering from his blood-loss.


F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

Sylvia makes up enough potions to refill her complement for the day. I think she had to replace a bomb or two.

"I was planning to take the mule to carry my lab. Without it, I have to take my portable kit. I'm not going without one, that's for sure. If we get stuck for a day or two, I need to be able to create things that go boom." She ponders a moment. "I guess the pony can stay here, especially if you're bringing that dratted cat."


46/46, AC 11

Jerry eyes go wide and him mouth goes into a tight line, he looks to Sylvia with dark eyes. "Luce is a very lovely lioness. She's a faithful friend." he adds in a controlled manner, whilst he briskly moves away to his saddlebags for a final check.


Lord Wallingham sees you off, and you again set off across the pastoral countryside surrounding His Lordship's manor. Having taken the route before, you easily find your way to the Smythe's farm, still affected by the mysterious blight, and the twisted wood beyond. Its bare branches seem to beckon you onward.


46/46, AC 11

"We should probably check the doors of the Smythe's, maybe even their barn and stables. Just in case a refugee is there? Or a looter." he says pulling the lioness to a halt, keeping his distance from Sylvia. 'Or maybe even their daughter.' he thinks darkly knowing how some superstitious people can lose their humanity in dire circumstances.


Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

Trina winces then nods. "Good idea. I'd like to have a look inside myself this time regardless. Just in case."


46/46, AC 11

Jerry slips from the saddle and loosely ties his reigns about a farm post. Luce rubs the side of her mouth and whiskers against this scratching pylon. With little regard for caution, Jerry strides upto the farm building and he waits to make sure someone is watching around the area. Then he knocks upon the front door, firmly but not aggressively.

After waiting a minute he tries the door handle.


F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

"But... but we got everyone out already..." Sylvia protests futilely, then subsides as Trina backs Jerry. With a shrug, she stays on the path outside, holding the mule's reins and waiting as patiently as she possibly can for the two to check out the holding.

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