The Midnight Macabre
John – I’m going to start giving titles to these sessions, the Midnight Macabre fitted perfectly with the players’ actions. *My attempt at foreshadowing! <Insert Dramatic Music>* Session 8 was a longer than normal session, I’ll try to keep it short.
Iarno was defeated and had surrendered to the party. Wendell quickly bound Iarno’s hands and Kitty made an immediate beeline for Griska’s stack of barrels, rubbing her hands gleefully. Merric and Aurelia joined her. Between the three of them they discovered that the larger barrels were full of various alcohols and would be difficult to move. However, they did come across several bottles of Caskbranch Whiskey and a large number of small barrels containing Elendran Pipeweed, an illegal drug.
The trio started to move the smaller barrels out of the basement. On the trip up Merric noticed an insignia on the bottom of the barrel, and his blood went cold. The insignia was McGregor’s, a crime boss that Merric knew personally. He immediately changed his mind about the drugs and wanted to burn them instead, an idea that Aurelia agreed with as this would hurt Griska’s hold on the town.
Whilst this was going on Wendel and Asterin briefly interrogated Iarno but were unable to get much from him. Satisfied that Silar would have more of a chance Asterin picked up the Glass Staff and explored the secret room. She quickly discovered a locked safe. Iarno informed them that it belonged to Griska and he was not entrusted with the key. But the group had a young burglar with them did they not?
Wendel escorted Iarno outside to inform Kitty about the safe. Whatever argument she had concerning the burning of the drugs evaporated and she dashed back inside to try to unlock it. Wendell looked on as Aurelia and Merric stacked up the barrels to prepare to burn them, something which Wendel wholeheartedly agreed with. He was impressed with their decision, perhaps there was more goodness to this crew than he realised.
Kitty made short work of the safe. Inside were four sacks that were almost overflowing with gold dust. Kitty was like a kid in a candy store, or more like a young thief with a pile of gold before her. She snatched up the first large sack and made her way upstairs. Asterin examined the safe further and discovered a rolled-up paper which, upon closer inspection, appeared to be the infamous deed to Tresendar Manor. She stored this quickly within her robes before anyone could come back.
Upstairs Kitty announced her find to the group and requested help with all the sacks of gold, running back down the stairs. Merric was only a step behind her. Wendel looked around, Aurelia had gotten the fire going and stood back away from the smoke. He called her over and after handing her the rope, asked her to watch Iarno while he went to help bring up the remaining loot.
*The player Asterin immediately cried out when Wendel did this. Wendel’s player was like “What?” To the players credit, they let the next bit unfold perfectly with no breaking of the roleplay.”*
Aurelia calmly babysat Iarno. Iarno smiled at her, “Would you kindly remove these restraints?”
Aurelia replied, “Of course. Honestly, I don’t even know why you would be restrained.”
Iarno smiled politely and when Aurelia turned back to the fire, he drank a potion and disappeared. Asterin had neglected to tell her party members that Aurelia was under the effect of a charm person spell and as such Aurelia didn’t see Iarno as a threat.
*Well that was completely unexpected. I made sure Iarno took advantage of the slip, but honestly I had no idea where he would go from here. Perhaps to Tresendar Manor to grab hidden supplies and to escape town.*
The party were furious when they came topside to see that Iarno had escaped and immediately began trying to look for his tracks. Asterin berated herself for not informing the group about Inaro’s spell. Kitty refused to leave the loot stating she would find a way to get it back to town, then promptly broke into the barn to “borrow” a horse.
*I started to laugh openly at this point and the players couldn’t understand why. Kitty is a very wealth orientated character and was fixated on the, very heavy, bags of gold. Horses can carry things. Wait and see.*
Not wanting to give Iarno any more time to get away, the group had found his tracks and were hot on his heels. After a few failed survival checks and retracing their steps it was clear that they had lost him in the dark. *Tracking in the middle of the night is no easy task.* It was at this point the question was raised, “Where would he go?” The party knew he wouldn’t go back to Griska and correctly deduced that he would make his way back to the Manor.
*Doh! Clever little players.*
It was about this point that the Charm Person spell expired, Aurelia was furious and now out for blood. They sprinted to the manor and flew through the corridors coming upon Iarno unawares in his chamber. Having learnt from last time he was not taking any chances, he immediately cast misty step around the group and ran.
But alas he didn’t get far enough. Aurelia, hot for blood, smashed him with a max damage Eldritch Blast as he fled and Asterin quickly followed up with a Fire Bolt which was also a critical hit, setting both Iarno and the nearby rack of RedBrand cloaks on fire. No-one cast Charm Person on Aurelia and got away with it. Wendel stood agape as the group decided how they were supposed to hand Iarno over now. Merric just smiled and brought his axe to bear severing Iarno’s head from his body. Wendel was horrified.
Ignoring the mess they had left behind, the group went topside and back to the inn. However, the inn’s front door was locked. Mulling over how to proceed the party started to hear a strange mix of noise getting closer. It was a combination of cursing, horse neighing, hoof beats and scrapping noise. Around the corner struggling to ride a draft horse, with several sacks tied together being dragged behind it was Kitty cursing and swearing as she tried to control the horse.
*Kitty is city bred young teenager, has no idea how to pick a horse, how to saddle one or how to even ride one. She was completely out of her element and had spent all this time trying to ride a draft horse with a harness meant for holding a plough not a person. She ended up roping all the sacks together, dragging them behind her while barely holding onto the horse. Did I mention the roads are dirt/mud based and the sacks had left a clear track from the farm all the way to town?*
The players were half laughing and half groaning at their young thief. Kitty was exasperated and exuberant at having gotten the gold to town, until the party pointed out the tracks. Merric & Aurelia came up with a very macabre solution. Grabbing Iarno’s head, they proceeded to pour as much blood as they could get out of the head at various points along the road. Trying to make out that someone had dragged a body to the town square, instead of a bunch of sacks.
*Okay I’ve roleplayed some weird things in my time but bloody hell.*
Poor Wendel was just aghast at the whole affair. Asterin and Wendel helped Kitty carry the sacks the rest of the way to the orphanage to avoid making any further tracks. Once complete they smacked the horse on its way, which promptly ran back towards its home. Morning wasn’t far off so the party spent the early hours removing as much mud and blood as they could.
*Especially Aurelia and Merric who were both covered in blood and mud.*
The next day the group made an early start splitting up. Ignoring the confused townsfolk staring at the blood in the street, Asterin, Kitty and Wendel took the sacks straight to the Miner’s Exchange while Aurelia and Merric went to hand in Iarno’s head to Sildar. With the value orientated Kitty on their side, Asterin and Wendel were able to net a cool 1000 gold pieces for the gold dust. Except for Kitty’s share, the gold would be kept in trust at the exchange until the party needed it.
Asterin choose to keep the Tresendar Manor deed as secret and Halia was tad disappointed about it still being missing. Sildar was overjoyed at the group stopping Iarno once and for all, paying them handsomely. He also advised them of a new lead concerning the location of Cragmaw Castle. A druid by the name of Reidoth who had extensive knowledge of the area may know its location, but he travelled around a lot. The group should enquire with the Alderleaf family who were good friends with the druid and may know his current whereabouts.
*Hint hint, nudge nudge. You know the main quest?*
Before meeting back at the orphanage, Asterin had a quiet word with Wendel. She realised he wasn’t coping with how certain members of the group were acting and apologised for her sister indicating that, “It is just the way Aurelia is. She doesn’t mean anything by it.” Wendel gave a non-committal response and the group met back at the orphanage. Here they met Sister Garaele who oversaw both the orphanage and the nearby Shrine of Luck. After Kitty made the introductions, Sister Garaele spoke to Wendel about the group meeting a banshee on her behalf and asking her a question. She handed over a jewelled silver comb as a gift for the banshee.
*Okay this distraction was my fault.*
Bidding the group farewell, Kitty informed them that it had been fun, but she would be returning to Neverwinter soon with the caravan that was arriving later today. If they wanted to get in touch with her, they could leave word at the North Orphanage if they were ever in Neverwinter. She then announced she was going to go find a bed and disappeared upstairs.
The group feeling the effects of missing a full night’s sleep made their way back to the inn, got themselves cleaned up, fed, and went for a sleep. They awoke later that afternoon with the arrival of the caravan that Kitty had mentioned, as it pulled into the town square outside of the Lionshield Coster. Curious the group made their way down and met the caravan’s owner Latesh, a male Tiefling.
The caravan was well stocked and he was able to equip Asterin with some ring mail and shield. He also introduced them to a new town arrival, Elenora, an eccentric female half-elf who was an alchemist that had come to setup shop after accidentally burning her old shop in Triboar down. Wendel bought an herbalist kit from her, after discovering Wendel knew how to use one Asterin bought one herself in the hopes that Wendel would teach her and enquired about the price for a book on herbalism, but didn’t have the funds for it.
Satisfied with their purchases the group made their way back to the inn, but Wendel spotted someone in the caravan who was looking at him rather intently. She wore a tricorn hat and appeared to have a messenger bag on her side, she immediately turned her head when Wendel noticed her. With the caravan over and done with we called the session to an end.