Terror on the Farm
The party returned to Sandpoint after getting what information they could out of the bodyguard at Habe’s Sanatorium and were ready to begin plotting their next step in solving the murders of Sandpoint. During their talks, they were approached by Sheriff Hemlock as he was glad to see them. He told the group that a new development has happened while they were away as some of his men picked up a crazed farmer who came into town. The man was talking nonsense but it seemed to be too coincidental for the sheriff as he took the group to the garrison. Once there, they saw a bewildered man as he was mumbling to himself.
The man’s name was Maester Grump and he worked on some of the Southern Farmlands. He began to recite stories of scarecrows coming to life and attacking people, feasting on their corpses like crazed animals. “They even ate the dogs!” Maester Grump screamed as he rocked back and forth reciting an old nursery rhyme to calm himself down. Sheriff Hemlock leaned in to talk with the adventurers, telling them to take some of his words with caution as he could smell booze on the farmer’s breath when they picked him up. Either way, if what he said about the Hambley Farms had some shred of credibility to it then there was certainly a threat.
The group of adventurers decided that they should check out the farmlands before moving towards the Misgivings. Before they left though they still wanted to conduct some research and gather some things. They asked around and were able to determine that Foxglove Manor is over 80 years old and that a series of tragic events happened where most of the Foxglove family was killed in the home with Aldern being shipped away to Korvosa to live with distant relatives after that. Recently, Aldern has returned to the manor in hopes of repairing but has had no luck as many of the locals believe the place to be haunted. After gathering some information on Foxglove Manor, Roccal went to the general store and purchased a tent that the party could use while out traveling.
They began their trek to the Hambley Farm which was quite a ways away. As they passed the various farms they saw the more South they got the less populate the farms were. By the time they arrived at the farm it was nighttime and the moon casted a faint light across the cornfields. The corn stalks grew tall and made it hard for the party to see much as they slowly navigated the winding paths between the fields. The group came across a scarecrow and as they examined it the thing began to stir and struggle against its bonds. Maiwyn moved towards it and pulled the mask off to reveal a monstrous face as it shrieked at them while stuck on the post. Rion reacted and let loose two arrows into the things head killing it outright. With the body dead they examined it closer and determined that it was a ghoul.
They looked at each other and began to ponder amongst themselves. Who would dress ghouls up as scarecrows and put them on posts? It was an odd thing to do. A bit further down the path they noticed another pair of scarecrows. Rion took aim as he let an arrow fly and it hit dead on but there was no reaction. Xiha moved in and pulled the burlap sack off to reveal it was in fact a normal scarecrow. If it wasn’t scary enough to have ghoul scarecrows in the field apparently they were not all ghouls and some regular ones were mixed in. While they continued to explore they found another scarecrow as it began to squirm and struggle. Rion quickly shot another barrage of arrows into it as the scarecrow stopped moving. However it seemed off and when they went to investigate it they saw that it was in fact a normal person, now dead with two arrows in the chest.
It appeared the shoot first and ask questions later method wasn’t going to work as now even living people were disguised as scarecrows. The cornfields were turning into a sick twisted game for them to figure out what was going on. The group proceeded deeper and deeper into the corn fields as more ghoul scarecrows appeared, jumping off their posts and attacking them. Rion managed to get in good position to unleash arrows while Xiha and Maiwyn took the front line and clashed with the ghouls. They didn’t pose much threat and even handled a group of patrolling ghouls that came at them through the corn. Eventually they made their way to what appeared to be a farmhouse and a barn.
Inside the barn it was quite a gruesome scene. The floor was littered with bones and half eaten carcasses of livestock and even some humans. The smell of rotting flesh was strong in here as they tried to check to see if anything else was in there. There didn’t appear much as they left the barn and made their way towards the farmhouse. The farmhouse looked off putting as the front door was slightly ajar. Roccal went through and saw the living area quite deserted but when he turned the corner and entered the kitchen he saw a different sight. There on the floor was a decaying corpse of a man, flies circulating around his body, jaw destroyed and face mutilated. On his chest was the carving of a seven pointed star similar to the sawmill and the merchants. The Tiefling also saw a parchment on the man’s tunic and took it to read, seeing that it was another note to Maiwyn. After he read it, he turned the note over to Maiwyn as it seemed this was another gift to her.
Another examination of the body revealed a rusty iron key in his pocket. While they were examining the key they heard shrieking as a group of ghouls ran down the stairs from the floor above. Behind them was another figure also decaying and missing one ear. Roccal identified it as looking like a ghast and the group moved into position to deal with the threat. Xiha and Maiwyn took the front as Roccal stayed back to hex the creatures coming at them. Rion would fire arrows while moving around in position to flank the ghouls.
Rion snuck behind one of the ghouls, killing it with his dagger as they were making their way through the ghoul group. However this put him in a precarious position as he was face to face with the ghast. The ghast lashed out with its sharp claws cutting into Rion as the rogue felt his body stiffen with the paralysis. His body rigged, he had no place to go as the ghast advanced on him and opened his decaying jaws wide as he bit and ripped part of Rion’s face and throat off. The human’s body fell to the ground lifeless as he was killed, preserved by the gentle repose of the medallion around his neck. Xiha reacted to the death as he struck the ghast and swept its legs, knocking it down to the ground. With the power of Bull’s strength and Protection from Evil the Fetchling continued his assault on the ghast, using his Boar style to tear at the flesh. With a quick pivot he tore part of the ghast’s flesh around its chest revealing the rib bones and using his endowed strength ripped one of them off and stabbed it through the foul creature’s eye. The body fell limp as they had finally defeated the ghast.
With the threat taken care of they checked the ghast and saw he had a key around his neck with a strange flower and thorn emblem on it. Maiwyn gasped as she recognized the emblem from some of Aldern’s clothing and equipment. It was the Foxglove emblem. They held onto the key as they looked at Rion’s body trying to figure out what to do. Roccal had a crazy idea as he cast a spell and transformed the dead rogue into a small statue. This would preserve the body and make it easier for them to carry him as they looked for a way to bring him back. Before they left, they went up the stairs to see what else was at the farmhouse. An inspection of the master bedroom revealed some loose floorboards and Xiha pulled them open to reveal a wooden coffer. They tried the keys and saw that the rusty iron key worked, unlocking the box to reveal 34 leather pouches all neatly organized. Each pouch contained 100 silver for a good amount of coin. They took the money as they decided the farmhouse was clear and made their way back to Sandpoint.
The next day, the party awoke and tried to figure out what to do for Rion. As they left the Rusty Dragon tavern they saw the guards were busy across the street as the murderer had struck again. The owner of the boutique, Hayliss, had been killed and Roccal investigated the scene to confirm what he had thought. Another seven pointed star adorned the corpse of the mutilated woman. Meanwhile, Xiha went to the cathedral to talk to Father Zantus to see if he could resurrect Rion. Unfortunately the cleric of Desna didn’t have the resources to do it but told him that there was a cleric in Magnimar that could do it for them. Xiha thanked the man for his help as the group gathered and were preparing to head to Magnimar when suddenly one of them realized there was another option.
It was a gamble but it was the cheapest way to bring their member back. The downside was it wasn’t sure what he would come back to. They went to the Feathered Serpent to see if there was a scroll of Reincarnation in stock and with luck there was one. With a quick purchase they took the scroll and made their way back to the Rusty Dragon, deciding to have the ceremony in Maiwyn’s room. Roccal took the statue back out and removed the spell as Rion’s body laid there. Maiwyn took the scroll and began to cast it, preparing the ritual as Rion’s body began to fade and a new one formed next to it. When the light faded they saw another human body there, features different as the eyes slowly opened. It was Rion and by the grace of the divine he had come back as another human. He slowly got up, still weak from coming back as he thanked the group for everything.
However they needed to get him to Magnimar where they could find someone to heal him and get him back to his full strength. But they also had a major issue on hand. The murderer had struck again and if they waited any longer he might keep killing and somehow, Foxglove manor was involved. They would need to go to the Misgivings and discover the truth of the manor.