- In the words of Blodwin -
We said good bye to Kendra Lorrimor and after some quick purchases of mounts and a wagon, we departed Ravengro headed roughly a hundred miles to Ustalav’s capital city of Lepistadt. It took the better part of a day for hilltop on which Harrowstone rests to leave my sight, but it shall be quite a bit longer before the events that took place there are forgotten. We cleansed the place – it seems – and ended the immediate threat to Ravengro, but we’ve yet to meet any of the Whispering Way in person. Unleashing Harrowstone’s terrifying spirits seemed only a small part of a larger plan.
The roads were quiet and the travel uneventful until near night of the 3rd day when we heard arguing upon the road ahead. We approached and saw a traveling carnival of sorts…a group of entertainers that some would call freakish. Collectively, they were called The Crooked Kin and one of their number had wandered off the road after hearing some singing from the forest. Some time later, their giant of a man named Trollblood had also entered the woods to look for the lost girl. Neither had been heard from.
Stephan immediately offered to aid them and we ventured into the woods. With Varrik following their tracks, we found Trollblood in short order. He was surrounded by a group of goblins and near death. The goblins were dispatched quickly enough and Trollblood saved, but the young girl was not with him. During the fight with the goblins, Cy was attacked by something with large fangs and a poisonous bite that could disappear. We waited for it to show itself and when it did, Arlad called it a “Phase Spider”. It looked like probably the largest spider I’ve ever seen, but with the face of a fanged human woman. It would not be reasoned with, so it was slain. Unfortunately, we found the body of the missing girl a short distance away, already drained of life by the wicked phase spider.
We returned the body to The Crooked Kin and spoke to Caleb, their leader. While they were all distraught about the girl’s death, they were still thankful for our efforts and they rewarded us with an heirloom dagger meant for fighting lycanthropes. We shared dinner with them and stayed in their camp. We discussed their plans and learned they were also going to Lepistadt. They expected large crowds there because the trial of the Beast of Lepistadt was beginning soon. We asked what that was about and they said a strange beast that had been blamed for almost every bit of misfortune and strife for the past few years had been caught during a break-in at the University. He was to be burned alive after a hasty trial.
As we arrived in Lepistadt, I marveled that the cosmopolitan atmosphere in the city. We knew that 3 of the Professor’s books were to be returned to the University anyway, so we went there first. We were admitted to see Professor Crowl right away and he took the news of Lorrimor’s death in stride, but offered condolences nonetheless. We returned the books and asked about the break-in at the University. He showed us around and was more than forthcoming with details. The only object missing with an idol called The Seasage Effigy, an obscure statuette of a tentacled creature about which little was known other than it had little monetary value.
The Beast was described as a 9-foot tall behemoth made of sewn-together body parts. It was known to have great strength, but little in the way of guile of delicate capabilities. It rampaged through the small auditorium and into the workshop where it was eventually cornered and caught by a large host of city guard. Varrik tried to glean some details of its path via tracking it. As he did, Cy spotted that one of the tall, thin windows into the workroom had been opened recently. We took this to be the path by which the Seasage Effigy made its exit from the University.
The next stop was the deliver the final book from the Professor’s collection. We sought out Embreth Daramid, a judge on the City Council. She lived not far from the University. When told of the death of Professor Lorrimor, it was obvious that she was hiding her feelings behind a steely exterior. She was pleasant enough and paid us immediately in accordance with Lorrimor’s last wishes. We asked her about the trial of the Beast and she offered to double our reward if we cared to help her with a problem. We agreed to hear the offer.
Daramid is one of 3 judges that were to preside over the Beast’s trial in just a day or two. She was concerned that the Beast was not going to receive a fair trial. We had also picked up on this, since he seemed to be the scapegoat for all kinds of ill events. She said that if we could work with his appointed barrister to help present at least some evidence that might give the Beast a fair trial, we would be rewarded. She truly wanted justice to be done and di not wish to see this pitiful being punished for crimes he did not commit. For some of us, the issue of fairness carried less weight than the monetary reward, so we all agreed to help. After all, we had determined that The Beast seemed to be an arcane construct called a Flesh Golem and thus not a creature with a soul or capable of reasoning…but we were wrong…