The Chronicles of Fallwater Bay

Session Two

For Anya, it was a long week of slow healing. Fortunately, with the help of a good healer, she was able to recover from her grievous wounds and avoid a serious scar on her face.
For Ristor, it was a quick week of having extra cash for the first time in a long time.
For Ramon Scorpio, it was a week of surviving. Ramon had only barely escaped from his homeland. He wasn’t even sure how he had come here. But here in Fallwater Bay, his ability to book passage had run out and so he had stayed. Fallwater Bay seemed nice enough, and he felt he could be anonymous here. And try to make a difference. Unfortunately for Ramon, he had no cash and needed to live. So, he sought out whatever work was available. Eventually, he noticed a notice for adventures and followed up. This lead him to the Delicate Dancer and Alexander Tremont. Tremont told Ramon that the adventure he had initially advertised for had already been handled, but that he was looking at further work in the near future and might need a strong fighter to protect his magic expert. Hearing that he might have an opportunity to protect someone and earn some coin, Ramon enthusiastically agreed to return when summoned.
Two days later, Ramon received a message that his services would indeed be required. He rushed back to the Dancer, stopping only long enough to wet his hair at a trough to make himself presentable. Arriving, he was directed into a small meeting room and told to wait. After a few minutes, a young woman entered. Dressed in stylish but inexpensive clothes, she stopped and stared at the stranger. Ramon soon decided to break the silence.
Are you, by any chance, a magic expert?
Well, yes. I am.
Oh Good. I have been hired to protect your body.
Ok…… My name is Anya.
Ristor soon arrived and introductions were made. Finally Tremont arrived, this time with both his servant and the real Prester in tow. Even a week later, Prester looked the worse for wear. However, at least he was alive. Tremont immediately got down to business.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the sheriff has assured me that all of the smugglers have left the mansion, and that it is not likely the will return. However, there are still two issues in the house that need to be addressed. You found two areas with magic that might be an issue. The first is the bone room in the basement, and the second is the magical portrait you found on the first floor. Before I can begin the necessary renovations, I need to be sure those are not threats. Since you, Anya, have been identified to me as an expert on magic, I would like you to return to the mansion and determine exactly what is happening and deal with any magics that might be a problem. I would like for Ristor and Ramon to accompany you as guards and assistance in case something goes wrong. I will pay the same rate as the first missing, ten silver each. Are you all interested?
Curiosity about what was happening and need for wealth combined to get the group to quickly agree. Once again, they began the trek to Brighton Manor. Along the way, Ramon was filled in on events and a plan was formed. The party decided to deal with the basement first and the picture last. After a few uneventful hours, they arrived at the house and proceeded to the basement.
Ramon was barely convinced that there was anything wrong with the room, and soon volunteered himself to go in the room and see what was wrong. Anya wasn’t pleased at the idea, as she hoped to difuse the magic without setting it off. However, Ramon’s plan had the virture of being faster and not really being stoppable as he wandered in. Standing in the room, he turned back to Anya and Ristor at the door. “See, there is nothing to fear” he said as the entire floor started to move. In moments, six of the skeletons had formed together and stood up, rushing anything living in range. Quickly, battle was joined.
Ramon rushed back to the door, turning to defend it from the advancing zombies in order to protect Anya. Ristor moved up to his side. Anya stood behind them, blasting with her magic. Anya’s magic seemed to have little effect on the creatures. Ramon fought defensively, protecting Anya. Ristor meanwhile seemed to have the skeletons number, and proceeded to begin smashing them down one by one. The situation seemed well in hand, but Anya was impatient to help and her magic didn’t seem to be doing the job. So, she pulled our her flail and slid into the room to join the fray. Her swing bounced off the skeleton she hit. The skeleton returned the blow with one of its own, leaving Anya badly wounded. Anya fell back while Ramon and Ristor continued to hold the door and eventually destroy all of the skeletons. By the time they were done, Anya had bandaged herself and Ramon was not happy.
“Anya, it is my job to guard you. I cannot do that if you rush into the enemy. From now on, you need to stay behind me. In fact, maybe it would be better if you stood at the other side of the room, as far away from the battle as possible.” Anya was not happy at the concept of not being part of the action, but did agree she seemed to be easy to injure, so she agreed to let Ramon remain in front.
With the threat averted, the party searched the room, finding a small hidden panel in the back of the room. Opening the panel, they found another room. This room appeared to be a laboratory, long disused. Sitting at a table surrounded by beakers and vials sat a robed skeleton, slumped over with two clenched fists. Ramon poked the skeleton with his sword and it fell to the floor, unmoving. Having established that the room was safe, the party again searched it. Anya found the remaining notes of what appeared to be a necromancer. Opening the clenched fists of the skeleton, they also located a small black stone in one hand. The other hand appeared to have once held something, but it was clear it had long ago been removed. With the notes, the stone, and the books she had already read, Anya began to piece together what happened. She realized that this was part of a ritual to summon a reserve of necromantic energy, possibly with the idea of making oneself a lich. But the ritual would also have required a specially prepared vial that was not present. The party surmised it may have been what was removed from the skeleton’s fist. The rest of the lab equipment was worthless and much of it was broken. Feeling there was nothing else to find, the party did a quick search of the rest of the building and then moved on to the painting.
The painting remained as creepy as they remembered it. At first Ramon could not understand what was wrong, but then even he began to see the faint movement and grew uneasy. As Ramon and Anya discussed whether to take the painting down, Ristor was staring right at it. That was when the image on the painting seemed to step out of the painting into the room. The figure was spectral, and seemed to be the image of death itself. Ristor screamed and ran from the room, not stopping until he reached the outside. Anya and Ramon both viewed the creature, feeling sick in their stomachs but avoiding panic. They tried talking to the creature and at first, it did not seem to respond to them. It did seem clear the creature did not want them there. Eventually, the creature did speak a single word, in a deep whisper. “Leave!” It repeated the phrase while gesturing at the two. Anya asked if removing the picture would help the creature. At that point, a look of rage came across the creatures face and it lunged at her. Its touch was not harmful, but it’s touch felt like the chill of the grave. Anya and Ramon finally decided they needed more information to do anything and left, finding Ristor so they could plan their next step.
Anya remembered seeing an artists name on the painting, so the group decided that they would need to find out about the painting by finding the artist. Ramon and Ristor followed up on that lead while Anya did further research on the notes she had located. Realizing they knew nothing about Art, the valiant warriors went to the most artistic person they knew, the proprietor of the Delicate Dancer. Florin was not happy to see them, but when they seemed enthusiastic about the arts, he soon warmed up to them for at least a moment. After much discussion, it was eventually revealed that while the artist himself was dead, his assistant still lived in town. Florin was even able to provide an address. They rushed over to meet with the man. Now in his late 50s, Benton Hawkins was no longer an artist, just a talented carpenter and housepainter. Luckily for the two, he was having an off day of work and was happy to talk to someone. Once they began explaining what they were looking for, Benton immediately recognized the work. He remembered all of the odd instructions about how the paint strokes had to be placed on the canvas. However, he also was quite certain the painting was of Lord Brighton, not of his sister Elissa. This greatly confused our valiant heroes, and they went to find Anya to share the news.
Meanwhile, Anya went to the local news office to read up on the mysterious deaths of the Brightons. Much of what she read was speculation, but it was clear that the sherrif at the time had found both sisters and the cousin dead in the house, and that no cause of death was ever found. The sisters were buried in town in the family mausoleum. The Cousin had been claimed by his closest kin and taken for burial in their own family plot a few towns over.
Getting back together and comparing notes, the party began to suspect that there might be a conspiracy at work with the disappearing items and unexplained deaths. It was possible, they reasoned, that Tremont purchasing the property had upset someone else’s plans. Unsure of who they could still trust, they decided to talk to Benton again and see if there was any chance that one of the Brightons might have survived. Benton, happy to have guests, invited them to dinner. After much discussion, it was clear that all of the bodies had been publically seen, and that there was little likelihood of a death being faked. Speculation now turned to the necromancy going on. Perhaps Elissa or Larissa were trying to become immortal. Perhaps they had even killed their brother for his magic. The party decided that they would need to see the state of the bodies to see if there was any trace of necromancy left. Waiting until they were sure no one would be around, they snuck into the cemetery while there was still light in the sky and sought out the Brighton mausoleum.
The mausoleum was old, and no longer well tended. The door hung loose, and it was difficult to determine if it had recently been used. Sneaking in, the party soon located the resting places of Larissa and Elissa. They decided that they would first check Larissa’s crypt. Opening it, they were shocked to discover it full of fresh remains, which appeared to have been partially eaten. After further checking the crypt, they found bits of buttons and uniforms that indicated these were probably the remains of sailors, quite possibly the two missing from the Pembroke. The party re hid the remains until they could figure out exactly what was going on. It was also clear that none of the remains in that crypt were old, leading to the question of where Larissa’s body was now. Elissa’s crypt, a much larger affair, was full of what appeared to be her desiccated remains. Now even more confused, the party decided that the only way to really get to the bottom of the mystery would be to get the records from the time of the original deaths. Trusting no one at this point, the decision was made to sneak into the records office late at night to grab what could be found without getting caught.
The records hall is the first floor of the Mayor’s residence, but late at night it is basically untended. Ristor, using his unique skills, was easily able to open the lock and get inside unnoticed. Ramon followed while Anya kept watch. The search was not easy, but Ristor soon realized that the records they were looking for would undoubtedly be in the very back where the oldest records seemed to be. A quick search of that area revealed a large box simply labeled “Brighton Estate”. With little time, Ristor grabbed the whole box and they snuck out of the office. Meeting up with Anya, the party retired to review their prize and see if they could finally get to the bottom of the mystery.
So now, there are many mysteries, and few answers for the party. What will the box hold? How will they react? What really did happen thirty years ago in this sleepy little fishing town? The party hopes to figure it out next time.

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BigTom

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