That Which Can Eternal Lie

The Legend of Kingsport Part 13
The Curse of the Haunted House

After slaying the goblins hiding under a house in the town of Kingsport, you headed back to the Rusty Dragon to consider all the information you had picked up during the day. Over a semi-private dinner, Irena and Kalinda revealed they had learned some news about the Haunted House from sailors passing through Kingsport. The sailors warned that “such conversations are best done out of earshot of the locals,” and they discretely let the two adventurers know about various legends regarding the house, including the tale from the town drunkard, Zerevik Aldren, an ex-pirate captain, who claims to have entered the house before quickly fleeing from a demon or vampire using the house as its lair. The scuttlebutt included the murders of various prominent Kingsport citizens nearly five years ago.

Although Ameiko managed to keep other people from intruding upon your dinner, her father, Lonjiku Kaijitsu, rudely accosted you, after he stormed into the Dragon and angrily demanded for Ameiko. A heated and profane argument ensued between father and daughter, which led to Ameiko smacking her father upside the head with a soup ladle as he tried to grab her hair. Lonjiku coldly responded “You are as dead to me as your mother,” and silently fuming, turned his back on a shocked Ameiko and left the inn. As Ameiko composed herself with a joke, the crowd of customers cheered her spirit and courage.

After a few kind words to Ameiko, you and your comrades decided to split up. Volunder went to offer his support to Ameiko, Kalinda and Whisper went to the Fatman’s Feedbag to talk with more out-of-town sailors, and Irena, Bran, and Tar went to look for Zerevik at the Hagfish.

At the Feedbag, Kalinda and Whisper reached a stalemate with a crew of sailors who badly wanted to give them information but would not do so in public. Then another crew jumped in to seek some action, and the ensuing brawl forced the proprietor, Gressel Tenniwar, and his bouncers to clear the tavern. Meanwhile at the Hagfish, Irena, Bran, and Tar learned about the game of Kissing Norah and found Zerevik engaged in a game of dice with another patron. The three adventurers eventually struck up a conversation with the confused and incoherent drunkard and plied him with drink before taking him outside to try to learn more about his tale of the house. Unfortunately, he was scared by the turn in the conversation and abrupt change in behavior towards him, and the old man fled from the adventurers.

At the Dragon, Volunder and Ameiko shared a number of drinks and toasts, war stories, and displays of battle scars before Ameiko suddenly became serious and opened up to Volunder about the cursed history of the town and the threat of the Haunted House to the citizens of Kingsport. Noting that she was risking much by telling him, the ex-adventurer said that she trusted Volunder, in part because of her respect for his father.

Tomorrow at noon is the Merchant Council meeting. What will take place? What news will spread from the adventures at the Feedbag and Hagfish? How are Ven and Shayliss handling the proposal from Tar?

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The Legend of Kingsport Part 12
A Proposal in Motion

In the aftermath of you and your comrades dispatching the blinking demon, a creature whose behavior left you with some lingering concerns, you warned Father Zantus (Abstalar Zantus) about the demon roaming inside the town. Tar Sighard finished with his prayers and solitary contemplations of his impending doom (the plan to propose to Shayliss Vinder) and joined the party to begin a deeper discussion as a group.

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Impending doom!

After checking on Rob and Tom and learning that Lucretia Scarnetti was still badly injured, you left the cathedral and returned to the Rusty Dragon to continue your planning. When you entered the inn, Ameiko Kaijitsu greeted you and informed you that your meeting with the Merchant Council would happen in two days. In response to you wanting to know more about the meeting, she said that members of the Council wanted to get to know you better, and that some already support you, while others – particularly those more parochial in their views and hostile to strangers – did not. Some members did not know you well enough, which was a major reason for the meeting. She also told you that representatives from the four major families would be present, including her father, whom she was reluctant to talk about, and that she may be attending as a guest. Finally, as one of your supporters, she offered her help and advised you to be open and honest at the Council meeting. Afterward, you and your comrades gathered in private to go over the pros and cons of the marriage plan, before finally calling it a day.

In the morning, Sir Jasper Korvaski, the Mercantile League manager, formally invited you to the Merchant Council meeting taking place the next day at noon, but he did not offer too much other information. Fortified from a night’s rest, everyone went to call upon Ven Vinder at the general store and have Tar ask for permission to marry Ven’s adopted daughter Shayliss. Skillfully and heroically diplomatic in the face of his plain hostility, Volunder StoneShield and Tar conveyed the party’s apologies over the misunderstanding and Tar’s desire to do the right thing and marry Shayliss. Ven expressed his appreciation for the apology and said he would need time to consider Tar’s offer and check with Shayliss. However, Ven was extremely dubious about how Tar would enter into matrimony while in service to his deity, how he would provide for Shayliss, whether he would settle down in Kingsport, and other practical details of the proposed union.

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Ven is dubious.

You then spent most of the day gathering information, mostly to prepare for the Merchant Council meeting, but also to learn more about the town in general and perhaps pick up some local legends, such as the Haunted House. As you were regrouping to share what you found and have dinner, you ran to the aid of a woman screaming for help on Main Street. Her son showed signs of goblin bites, and after she took you to her house, Brannigan Stryker raced inside and discovered her husband stuck in a hole in the floor of a closet, his legs sticking out and his upper body down inside the hole. When Bran and Tar yanked the dead man out, you found that his face and torso had been eaten … and immediately a goblin jumped up from the hole and sliced Bran with a nasty looking knife!

The samurai responded by nearly beheading the vicious creature, and in a flash, Volunder leapt down the hole into a crawl space under the house and confronted three more goblins hiding there.
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Goblins!

Irena and Bran followed Volunder to battle the goblin fugitives, while Tar and Kalinda Nwosu watched over and secured the makeshift entry into the crawl space. Whisper (Tiatha Thistlewood) rushed outside the house, and after locating the filled-in burrow that the goblins used to get under the house, she guarded against their possible retreat in that direction.

In an exciting and fearsome combat, Volunder was triple-teamed and gashed by each goblin, but the dwarf lord soon had his revenge, impaling two goblins on his greatsword. Along with deadly strikes from Irena with her hands morphed into massive claws and Bran with his katana, the goblins were quickly slain. Lord and Captain bellowed in victory! StoneShield! StoneShield! StoneShield!

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The Legend of Kingsport Part 11
An Engaging Resolution

After regrouping with your comrades, you sought Jubrayl Vhiski at the Fatman’s Feedbag to hear his advice on how to make amends with Ven Vinder and his daughter, Shayliss Vinder. After settling into the notorious tavern and eyeing the locals – scoundrels and sordid sailors – and meeting the proprietor, the enormous Gressel Tenniwar, you enjoyed a delectable dinner before Jubrayl joined you at your table. His suggestions essentially were to apologize profusely without offending them further, and donate a hefty sum of gold to benefit the town according to Ven’s wishes. Additionally, you could try to turn the tables on Shayliss and ask Ven for her hand in marriage. In return, he wished to know more about your business in Kingsport and potentially enter into a mutually beneficial arrangement in the future.

With a fair amount of discussion, hard persuasion, and ale, Tar Sighard was convinced to be the lucky suitor wishing to marry Shayliss. Between meditating, fainting, and drinking heavily to steel himself, the poor man was out of sorts but still agreed to do the deed … in the morning when he would be refreshed after a full night’s rest. Leaving him to his prayers, the rest of you pursued the unsettling sight some of you perceived lurking around the town. After sensing its presence near the cathedral, you split up in your search and discovered it at the edge of the cemetery. Blinking in and out of reality at random, the monstrous creature sprang upon you!
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Rather than let it devour you one by one, you quickly assembled yourselves for battle, and through your combined strengths, dispatched the horrible cuniculus demon. In the end, Bran beheaded the monster with a perfectly timed strike, and a sheet of blood sprayed the samurai as his reward. An instant later, the demon, its blood, and all other physical traces vanished entirely.

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The Legend of Kingsport Part 10
Restoration, Reputation, and Rumor (GM summary)

It is the day after the second attack on Kingsport. Rob severely injured herself in the battle by leaping off the wall to help her liege defend the fallen gate, and Tom has sunk into a despondent stupor. Casualties and damage were high in the south part of the city, and Lucretia Scarnetti was among the gravely wounded. Many of the citizens expressed their appreciation for your valiant and successful efforts in protecting the east and north sections of the city. Also, some of you saw Evan Orm providing aid in the aftermath of the attack, but he was not too keen on talking with you.

Early this morning Sheriff Hemlock (Belor Hemlock) left for Magnimar to recruit more militia forces, and during breakfast at the Rusty Dragon, Ameiko Kaijitsu alerted the party that the Merchant Council would be inviting them to a meeting so the Council could become more familiar with them. You also learned from her that Morton Zyman and Evan Orm were known acquaintances, so some of you sought to find out more and possibly meet with Zyman. During your exploration of the town, you picked up some local rumors, heard different tavern songs ( Sea Shanties mostly), and learned that Zyman was a scholar of Varisian ( Varisia) history, art, and engineering. At Cracktooth’s Tavern, Kalinda Nwosu also encountered your nemesis, Shayliss Vinder, as Kalinda was attempting to intimidate information from a kitchen boy. Jubrayl Vhiski then warned Kalinda that Shayliss and her father would turn the town against the party, and he offered to help the party get right with them.

Meanwhile, Irena and Volunder StoneShield investigated the southern outskirts around the town and discovered that multiple groups of attackers joined up in the surrounding forests. They also encountered Shalela Andosana, who was scouting for further threats. She reluctantly spoke about the Haunted House and warned that talking about it would put Kingsport citizens in jeopardy, and she was not willing to endanger them. She said it would take an extreme amount of trust for any of the townsfolk to speak about the house with the party. Before continuing her mission, Shalela asked Volunder give a gift to the elven hunter and the other archer in the party. On the way back to the Rusty Dragon, Irena shared information with Volunder about his father, Lord Alforge StoneShield.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party went to visit Morton Zyman, and the town locksmith, Volioker Briskalbeard watched them case the scholar’s house before letting them know that Zyman was at a meeting with Mayor Deverin (Kendra Deverin). After going to the town hall and dealing with the second-rate clerk, the four adventurers started back to the Rusty Dragon, when Tar Sighard and Whisper (Tiatha Thistlewood) both saw, or thought they saw, a strange malevolent creature on the edge of their perception …

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Pete? Is that you?
Here comes Peter Cottontail

Happy Easter!

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The Legend of Kingsport Part 9
Attack on Kingsport - continued (GM summary)

Apparently the other town defenses were less stout than yours, as you heard the sounds of continued fighting to the north and south. Although weary after holding the eastern bridge, you hastened toward uptown and the northeastern wall to reinforce the militia. Atop the wall, swordsmen clashed with goblin zombies while archers fired arrows at the advancing forces down below. You aided in protecting the wall, but goblins blasted apart the wooden gate to the road. Through the smoke and debris, goblins and goblin riders rushed in haphazardly to ransack Kingsport and attack its defenders.

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Several of you received fearsome wounds during the battle, including Rob in her overzealous attempt to reach the gate, but you successfully defeated the attackers with only marginal damage to one building.

Now what has happened in the south?

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True Shot
by Kalinda

My arrows are flying true. I am being the warrior my father raised. But the beings we are assiduously being victorious on are being unimaginable, unearthly, unnatural. The warrior Kalinda is being tested. I am thinking this is the desire of the Great Being and then I am thinking that I am not yet being sufficiently knowledgable for this combat.

I am being caught unawares and my companions are being no more prepared than am I. There is living a shadow force that is lurking beyond my senses but is calling me as well. I am thinking it is being a part of my mother’s pointed-ear baring. Perhaps Whysper can be telling me more of this feeling.

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Letter to Lord StoneShield
by Bran

My Lord StoneShield,
There is little doubt now. Volunder is your true heir. My duty is clear—I must find others of like mind who are willing to serve. Rob and Tom are with us. Rob is a true soldier and understands duty. Tom—I was unsure if Tom would prove worthy at first, and though I still believe he has his faults, I do believe he will find a place in our army. We will together take back the land and holdings of the StoneShields of Hook Mountain. But we need others…

“The warrior who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.” – the writings of Lord StoneShield

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Memories
by Whisper

Demon begone! The evil, choking stench of that foul creature brings water to my eyes as I try not to gag while the forgotten memories crowd my mind forcing out all reason.

It is getting dark, I should go back soon but I haven’t ever been this far and how jealous will Keegan be that I have explored someplace new that he has not been yet. I cannot wait to see the look on his face when I tell him! I just hope he keeps his mouth shut and does not say anything to Mama & Papa.

There are too many of these rotted trees around, it must mean I am getting closer to the swamp. Maybe I should go home now. Gran warned me about playing near the swamp, and I am hungry, afterall. I suppose I can come back here tomorrow.

Wait! What is that over there? I thought I saw something move… yes, there in the trees! Perfect chance to practice my sneaking. Just stay quiet behind this tree and carefully peek around…. blood red eyes looking back at me. What is that thing? Oh no! It sees me.

Cold. I feel so cold. I cannot look away from those burning red eyes. MAMA! HELP! No sound comes out. PAPA! There is only silence and then the crunch of snapping branches as the creature slowly moves towards me.

Run! My feet are anvils. I wish Keegan was here. That smell. Worse than skunks or rotting carcasses. The smell burns my lungs. The thing is getting closer. HELP! PLEASE! I have no voice. The thing laughs at me. A sound that is worse than the smell. I am going to die. I know it. My eyes will not close. It comes closer. MAMA! PAPA! It reaches a claw out and I feel the needle sharp nails before they even touch me. I scream. I hear the hellish shriek. I had no idea I could make that kind of noise. No, wait, that is not me. That is the creature screaming.

The thing is dead. Who are all these people? Where did they come from? Hands touch me, a soft voice whispering in my ear. Mama? No, it is not Mama. This one is …. human? What is a human doing in Kyonin? I do not understand her words but I like her. I hope she never stops talking. There are more humans and some that look like elves but look human too. And that one over there, so short, like someone squashed him. I wonder if he has a face underneath all that hair?

And then they are gone. Along with my memory

Until now.

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The Legend of Kingsport Part 8
Attack on Kingsport (GM summary)

You and your comrades have successfully repelled the undead forces assaulting Kingsport at the eastern bridge. During the previous evening and earlier today, you learned more about Kingsport, now officially renamed Sandpoint, and its citizens … and they learned more about you. Tar Sighard certainly learned more than he wanted about Shayliss Vinder and her cellar. After being warned this morning by the elven hunter Shalela Andosana of an impending attack on the town, Mayor Deverin requested your aid, despite opposition from Titus Scarnetti and other townsfolk.

After masterfully executing your plan of defense, you have a moment to survey your fallen enemies. You note that they were obviously animated dead but unusually fast in their movements. Even more strange, though, was the one creature that emerged from the magical darkness and wore a tattered black cloak that did little to cover its pale and mottled skin and gaunt frame.

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After it conjured forth a stinking cloud of poison fumes to engulf half of you, Volunder (Volunder StoneShield) heroically leapt from shore onto the bridge to grapple with the monster. Along with some creepy hissing, the creature defended itself with long sharp claws and a deadly necromantic touch, and it took the combined might of Volunder and Bran (Brannigan Stryker) to slay the surprisingly tough foe. You do not know what it was, and you are filled with wonder and loathing as it rapidly decays into dust.

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