Wealday, 28 Arodus, AR (Absalom Reckoning)
Teela-Luna finds a parchment pinned to her door in the ship’s quarters. The elf rips the planted note and reads the flourished writing. “What’s this…a missive? It seems Ferrum has a job for us. It would be nice to be back on land again. Let’s see what this is all about.” Teela climbs the stairs leading to the map room and opens the door. “Well, it looks like we’ll have company Zoar.” I quickly scan the table as I find myself a seat among the others while Ferrum announces the nature of our task.
Miro Talbot introduces himself and his beloved riding dog Samson, who listens intently. ("I didn’t expect him to bring a wolf as well, but “Delilah”, appears eager.") Cole Delaney, a half-elven summoner if I’m not mistaken, announces himself and his fascinating choice of companion, a powerful looking feline he calls Rigby. The wiry human woman next states her name as Vivian Winters. The sibling of Samantha, our ship’s shaman of life. So unlike her sister, this one goes by the name Lady Iron Fist down in the sparring room. And the other elf in the party, Jace the witch. I hear he’s bad luck. “We’ll just have to take our chances, won’t we Zoar?” She shrieks in reply as she clutches my shoulder and ruffles her crimson tipped feathers.
So the briefing was very short. We’re to disembark at Magnimar and search for our contact, a bookkeeper, in Ordelia. We are to meet at a tavern called The Drunken Dog, to hear what the job entails from a Magnamarian official. Sounds simple enough but I’m not convinced this is a job for me. Either way, we’re to gather our gear and set off out onto those folding boat the following day.
Oathday, 29 Arodus, AR (Absalom Reckoning)
We’ve reached the Drunken Dog without any delays. The tavern was empty except for a few patrons and a barkeep. A bespectacled, brown haired woman calls us to her table in a mousy voice, as we soon found ourselves sitting with Jaminda Aniki, our contact. She glances around before she quickly offers us the job to investigate a missing tax collector by the name of Elias Kyle, whom we later found to be her brother-in-law. She fears that he’s been waylaid by bandits or worse. It has been a month ago and his last letter from Galduria two weeks past, stated he will take the Lost Coast Road to Ravenmoor and return within the next week or two. Our task is two fold, return with Elias Kyle and the back taxes of 500gp he supposedly have collected. If successful, she will award us each 200gp. We agreed to her terms and with a quick description of Elias, a short and stocky, red haired man of Ulfen descent with a broken nose and facial hair, we gear up for the overland journey. The party has bought horses with the exception of Miro and myself, who opted to rent a steed due to dwindling funds.
The day was uneventful as we took to the road and we camped for our first night with a dinner of venison and rabbits. “It seems the party has a bloodthirst that needs sating… a poor coyote met its end in the hands of our brutish brawler. I’m glad to be out in the wilds again!”
Fireday, 30 Arodus, AR (Absalom Reckoning)
The next day, I spotted a worn out grave marker with the name “Gibson” as we crossed the path towards Galduria. No other marker was to be found luckily as we finally reached the town known for its Twilight Academy of unconventional arcane casters.
Cole found no leads yet of our missing tax collector, but Jace wasted no time in investigating the academy, while Miro scares the local children with stories of wolves. We stayed at a tavern of modest accommodations, the Guinea Fall, but the Treeback tavern provided with a more positive confirmation of Elias’s passing. Tongues began wagging as Cole charmed the proprietor with purchases of various local specialty teas. He found out that Ravenmoor and its population of 150 townsfolk is led by a mayor, Andretti Kriegler. This backwater town is not well liked and is just left alone by other towns. Jace on the other hand gleaned from the locals that Ravenmoor had a history of bad luck from growing crops due to its locale. That all changed with the passing of a cleric of Desna. Their lives then improved a bit despite the harsh environment.
Starday, 31 Arodus, AR (Absalom Reckoning)
The next day we head off and abandon the main road to reach the Lampblack River towards Ravenmoor. The presence of more flies and mosquitoes buzzed above our heads in droves of dark clouds.
At night as we made camp and went to our respective tents and tree to rest, we we’re attacked by giants ticks. The vile vermins inflicted their diseased bites on some of the party and horses. Vivian and her horse suffered the most, with near death results and loss of strength the next morn.
Sunday, 1 Rova, AR (Absalom Reckoning)
We hasten our journey to find a cleric of Desna in Ravenmoor but instead encountered a stirge and his owner, Ornigaard. The boy called out for his pet Applesauce, and showed us back to his house through the ferryman and his tales of the “wolf in the water.” We reunite Ornigaard with his father Vioric who informs us more about Ravenmoor. Despite our initial misunderstanding, Cole smoothes things out and Vioric explains to see the mayor for rooms for staying the night and for Alexi the doctor for Vivian’s condition. We inquired about Elias, both from Vioric and Ornigaard, even the ill-tempered ferryman. No leads other than what the ferryman claims he didn’t see him leave via his ferry, which made him curse more.
We first decided to seek out the town’s doctor so that Vivian can recover. It appears that Vivian was not the only one needing his remedy. I paid a hefty sum to get some treatment, as well as an extra dose for emergency. Now to seek out the mayor and inquire about Elias Kyle.
The mayor’s house is one of the few buildings that are two storied in Ravenmoor. Upon reaching the front entrance, we are met with a caretaker who we later found to be the mayor’s own brother, Leonard Kriegler. He was adamant to not let us in the manor with out invitation from Andretti himself. Vivian nearly came to fisticuffs until Andretti showed his face behind closed doors. He informs us about how he believes that Elias Kyle took off with the tax money to Riddleport. He found him unsavory as he caught him stealing from his wares of alcohol and had him leave the following day. With no other words to say, Andretti invites us to attend a more festive event, the Founder’s Festival, which is to occur this very night. He gives us permission to investigate further regarding Elias’s disappearance and walks off towards the fairgrounds, leaving us to decide where to search.
The party wasted no time and split our efforts in finding Elias. We found the town’s neglected church of Desna with its missing bell from its tower. After a quick search, we inquired with the town’s blacksmith, a muscular bald man, who also happened to own the general store. He and his wife were tight lipped but their daughter, Shell, was giddy with excitement. She was chosen to participate in the Founder’s queen contest and was thankful to Cole for mending her dress. No mentioned of Elias from any of them.
An abandoned farmhouse and its adjacent barn was investigated by Vivian and Miro. They found a scarecrow in the image of Desna at the front of the house. With Delilah’s help, a deformed and stunted humanoid skeleton with sharp fangs and extended eye sockets was also found. All in all, a dangerous looking place as Vivian found it to be, having fallen in one of the old floorboards.
The amphitheater was composed of a ring of black stone pillars and benches that has an altar with an effigy of Desna made of wicker. It appears the townsfolks worshipped Desna under the stars but neglects her image to the numerous spiders crawling all over her form.
At the mill house, Vivian makes another friend by the name of Dorev, the miller. Using the misshapen skeleton head she took from the abandoned farmhouse, she spooked the miller into offering no information regarding Elias and was promptly dismissed from her property. The weaver/tailor was entirely an opposite experience. Alzina was a very pleasant old woman who offered her hospitality to everyone, even playing along with Cole’s compliments. Despite the flirting, she gave no clues as to Elias’s whereabouts.
Losing patience, Vivian encounters a townsfolk and demanded information on her found skeleton head. This resulted in her attracting several bystanders and getting into more trouble by the locals. She is soon routed out of town with hurled stones and curses while Cole attempts to smooth out any troubles with the mayor. Miro and Jace quietly sends a note via Kier, the latter’s raven familiar, to Vivian informing her to meet at the abandoned farmhouse later that evening.
We found ourselves caught up in the revelry as tempers cooled while we mingled with the locals in celebration of the Founder’s Feast. Saul Pescu arranges the festival’s competitions. The Raven’s fight where Kier fights with Soot, and wins the match. The Starknives toss or Falling stars where Saul produces the rusty exotic weapons to use against bales of hay as targets. The miller, Dorev enters the contest as well as Miro, and myself of course, among other locals. I let Miro win the contest to gain his confidence back, but not with a run for his money. There was the Fire jumping contest or Dreamer’s leap, where Jace finds himself landing on fire but Cole gracefully floats over the roaring flames, winning the contest. They also joined the Three legged race which a friendly rivalry with the locals, Daniel and Gibson ensued.
The announcement of the catch the Greased pig contest drew crowds the likes of myself and the others. We find Vioric joining in with Miro and several other townsfolks. A few of us noticed the sickly pig and questioned the outcome of this contest. After an exhilarating play of various tactics, I ended the game with a squealing pig in my grasp. All of a sudden the pig collapses into a fit of jerky movements as it sprouted an extra set of legs and several flytrap like vines which quickly tried to snap at me. The monstrous thing was finally put down, which is no easy feat. The locals reaction to the thing was a mix of familiarity and fear. Vioric explains that the village gets bad animals like this sometimes. The festivities quickly resumed and the psycho pig is disposed of. The party is presented with local specialties the likes of stirgeblood sausages, smoked tick legs, fried silkworms, flayleaf salad, swamp mushrooms and the usual fares of roots and tubers with our supply of venison.
The three families presents their daughters to recite the Founder’s tale and the blacksmith’s daughter Shel wins the contest. She sits between the mayor and Cole along with the rest of the party. No sign of Leonard and Andretti explains he’s gathering the taxes for us to collect. During the celebration, we learned that the abandoned farmhouse belongs to the Chenowitz, one of the founding families that died out before Eola returned with Desna’s blessings. Vioric explains the tale of unfortunate births that happens on occasion. That these babies are deformed and sent out to survive on their own, explaining the origin of the misshapen skull. Maybe it’s time to seek out Vivian at the Chenowitz farm.