On seeing one figure carrying another in the distance (and then the pair collapse) the townsfolk burst into concern and some into panicked exclamations. Stiko Telyavitch, acting in his Role as Judge gave a loud stirring speech assuring the crowd that all was in hand and being taken care of while the Sheriff Benjan Caeller was interjecting that it was the groups responsibility to maintain order. While there were a few who dashed off to help Ezekiel Dawnstar carry Father Grimburrow into town, the crowd were mollified enough that they didn’t turn into a confused mob.
Ezekiel had found two corpses pale white and drained of blood where Father Grimburrow collapsed but he had more pressing and immediate things to handle in saving the life of the old priest.
Meanwhile two late coming beneficiaries to Petros Lorrimors’ Will had arrived in town. One Kron, son of Vald (a Kellid from the tribes in the north of Ustalav who had once saved Petros Lorrimors’ life) and Arranis Tallstag (an elven linguist who had worked for the professor on previous projects). They were picked as outsiders by the villagers and introduced to Vashian Hearthmount. He read to them a copy of Petros Lorrimors Last Will and Testament and then introduced them to Kendra (and Jominda Fallenbridge, who as tending to Kendra after the shock of her fathers body being stolen by grave robbers). Kendra extended to them the same offer of food and shelter that she had extended to the others.
They rejoin the Spring Festival and cooking competition in time to see the old and young priest being escorted into town by worried villagers (who try to help in their own clumsy way). Arranis follows the villagers back to the Temple of Pharasma where his offers of help (given his expertise is that of a translator) is politely refused.
At length Father Grimburrow is put to bed and seems to be resting as comfortably as can be expected but does not seem to be regaining consciousness any time soon. Brother Ezekiel Dawnstar is informed that he is the ranking member of the clergy and will have to act as TEMPORARY leader of the Temple).
Back at the Towns Spring Festival things are, for the most part, going well Yaria Breezesong regals the town with her wide range of songs backed up by a beautiful singing voice. She attracts the notice of many of the villages unmarried young men. Kron and Arranis are able to introduce themselves to the other people mentioned in Lorrimors will and join in the festivities. While Arranis finds it hard going to make friends with the villagers (everyone knows Elves steal children), the half Elven Addylyn finds favor with the village children, telling them stories of the wild and animals.
Ezekiel Dawnstar, waging a campaign to win Kendra’s regard, and assisted by ‘wingman’ Andrei Dezsőfi return to the house to make some warm mulled wine for both Kendra Lorrimor and Jominda Fallenbridge and to make conversation. While Ezekiel seems to be making some small headway (though Kendra is still in distress over recent events), Andrei’s efforts seem to fall somewhat flat.
Its around this point that ale gets the better of several of the villagers – they resent Stiko who they say feels he is so much better than them but turn on the Kellid Kron, whose people have been responsible for raids for centuries. A fight ensues that ends with Arranis trying his best to aid the barbarian (by dropping one of his foes when he punched one of the villagers in the kidneys) and then fighting another attacker to a stand still while Kron faced down four townsfolk. Mighty in combat he shook his foes with punches and by bashing two villages together before going into a rage and crushing the maxillary cavity of his enemy, leaving the man unconscious and choking to death on his own blood.
The fight ends with Sheriff Benjan Caeller’s intervention and a confession from one of the villagers. The severely wounded villager is stabilised by Luminita Agon-Savar and then carried to the temple for more long term care. Kron, the Victor, finds favour in the eyes of some farm girls, The Diesdorfer Twins,and is escorted to one of the barns on the outskirts of town to enjoy the sweet rewards they have to offer.
With that the evening of the 22nd of Calistril winds to a close with Kron staggering in several hours later.
Back at the Lorrimor house Arranis is sporting a black eye, the badge of his courage in helping Kron. Jominda Fallenbridge confesses that in addition to being the towns Apothecary she also also acts as a doctor of sorts. She says that she can help the bruising and, accompanied by the still trying to get in to her good books Andrei, heads back to her shop.
Andrei watches quietly as she grabs the needed ingredients but notes the dilapidated condition of the shop. He also notes a crate from the Silken Purse (the towns Pawn shop and financial institution), some straw packing strewn of the floor and an elaborate set of glass laboratory equipment.
With Arranis’ and his eye seen to, everyone heads to bed for the evening.
Some people experience a disturbing Dream of despair a few hours before dawn.
An hour before dawn on the 23rd of Calistril the entire house is roused by a loud banging on the front door and sounds of villagers moving past the Lorrimor house.Sheriff Benjan Caeller, again full of spiteful accusations and recriminations demands that the party accompany him to the village monument.
On arrival they find many of the village clustered around the monument, which has been defaced with a large “V”. The group assure the sheriff that they can account for their whereabouts (tactfully omitting Krons’ absence) and that the desecration of the towns landmark may well be the work of another person. The sheriff orders the towns people back home while the group (and sheriff) examine the site. A decapitated rat is found and it seems the killing stroke was done with an extremely sharp instrument. The party then too turn in for what is left of the darkness before the dawn.
At dawn, led by an outraged and irate Ezekiel, they confront Sheriff Benjan Caeller. While his half orc sister looms over her short priest sibling menancingly, Ezekiel demands that the lawkeeper cease his kneejerk accusations of the group. He points out that the desecration of the town monument could have been done by anyone, including a mischievous child hoping to stir up trouble at the town festival. Caeller grudgingly admits they may well have a point. Ezekiel then adds that they can be a help to the sheriff and offer whatever aid they can.
The rest of the day is spent in rest and research. In conversation with the townsfolk its discovered that Jorfa worked on the iron fastners that held the masonry together and lied earlier when she said she had nothing to do with Harrowstone prison. Confronted by this factiod she says that she hid the truth for her own reasons and that when the group knew the right questions to ask, she’d answer them. Andrei was interested to know why the monument was located by the river and spent some time looking into that. Townsfolk (and Jorfa) admitted that the village had shifted somewhat since it was first established and in the last 50 years or so had rebuilt old houses closer to what was now the towns square and away from the monument.
Arranis Tallstag spent an hour or more with the purple tome from Petros Lorrimors’ Will, trying to open its lock but was defeated by its complexity.
The group then headed up the hill towards Harrowstone to examine the corpses. As discovered the day earlier they were pale white with blood loss and with several bloodless puncture wounds, the corpses seemingly being out of towners from their clothing (something later confirmed by Sheriff Caeller, who said he didn’t know them). Curiously they had been untouched by the local wildlife.
Arranis Tallstag, having knowledge of diverse creatures identified the wounds and method of death as being consistent with Stirges. Interestingly some of the wounds were larger than normally seen with regards to stirges.
On the end of day of the 24th Ezekiel finally comes upon Petros Lorrimor’s last diary entries. It lays out his concerns that the Whispering Way were active in the area around Ravengro and particularly Harrowstone prison. It also mentioned a false crypt in the Restlands, the towns boneyard, where there was a possible cache of equipment the Professor had accessed. Setting off for the Restlands in the growing dark of dusk, the group was witnessed by several of the townsfolk.
To gain access to the Restlands Arranis Tallstag managed to pick the simple lock with little effort.
On heading into the Restlands proper the group witnessed rows of corpse lights marking the way from the gates to graves. Graves that all seemed to date back to the fire of Harrowstone. Two members of the group saw (or thought they saw) things that made their heart grow chill. A message for them alone perhaps? The appearance of the corpse lights generated fear in some of those who witnessed them, leading to a frantic escape through the tombstones with one of the party stumbling over a grave and bashing their head on the tombstone.
Access to the Crypt was easier than thought. The locking mechanism had been melted by acid and then reset to make it look undisturbed. On entering they found an elaborate tomb, complete with statuary and a mosaic floor. On further entry they found a set of foot prints in the dust that led to a raised bier… and four giant centipedes that had seemingly taken to using the crypt as a hideout. A battle ensued with both Andrei and Kron taking minor wounds and being affected by their poison but it was over nearly as quickly as it began as the adventurers overwhelming the insects by weight of numbers.
Within the funeral bier they found the promised stash of items, most of them magical, and gathered the Loot and headed back to Kendra’s house.