Light, Palaxia, Dwork, and Maledictus get 2,050 experience.
A. Small Resistance
A few days after the Caggan “incident,” Light, Palaxia, and Maledictus were summoned at dawn to meet with Razelago at the Ash House. He was in his office as usual, but he was not alone – with him stood Dwork, an orc carrying a large pack laden with cooking pots and utensils.
“After the events of the other night, the archbaron and I thought it wise to bring in some additional assistance for you. We brought Dwork in from Remesiana after we’d heard about Caggan; the suspicious death of a beloved local figure in your custody is not going to go over well with Longacre – perhaps that was even Caggan’s goal in attacking you.”
With Dwork in tow as a newly-inducted deputy, the party returned to the Sheriff’s office, only to discover that someone had thrown an impressive handful of horse dung at the window sometime during the night. However, before they could investigate further, one of the archbaron’s guards approached with news that the Castle Gate had been found standing open that morning. Since the archbaron’s latest decree required that the Castle Gate be closed at all times, the party went to investigate.
The gate was once again open when they arrived, and Maledictus and Dwork work together to reclose it. Exploring the watchtower revealed that the pulley mechanism controlling the gate has been severed, as well as a trapped rope ladder leading to the roof of the tower. The culprit was discovered to be a tiny vaguely feline humanoid covered in shiny black fur. It screamed, “You need to get out of my tower and stop closing my gate! The humans stopped taking care of it, and now I have to! I don’t need their help!” and began hurling flames at the party. The battle commenced (sans Palaxia, who was summoning her phantom, Bob), and eventually Light caught the caught the furry beast in her unholy energy, causing it to drop to the ground.
The party took the creature’s body to the nearby home of Bo and Gramel Dent, the former guardians of the Castle Gate. They were distraught at the sight of the limp furry body. The party learned from the Gramels that Pocky was a house spirit that lived in the gatehouse, which the Gramels occasionally gave warm milk or pancakes to placate it.
On the way back to the Sheriff’s office, Light and Maledictus spotted a flyer for the Glorious Reclamation tacked to a tree and tore it down, and Palaxia ordered Bob to clean up the dung that had dried on the Sheriff’s office window.
The following morning, as the foursome reached the Sheriff’s Office, they found another handful of dung splattered on the window. Bob noted small footprints and drops of dung leading to Kemmaino Market, and the party went to confront the dung-hurling miscreant. They found the Kemmainos’ 12-year-old daughter, Jemmy, doing tricks with a ball out the front of the market. The girl was intimidated into confessing that she had done the deed, pleading “I’ll do anything, just please don’t tell my parents!” Light smiled kindly at her and told her that they would never tell her parents as long as Jemmy came to them with any interesting information she discovered. Jemmy quickly agreed and escaped as soon as she could into the relative safety of her parents’ market.
B. Special Delivery
The foursome was awakened by a knock at the door of the Ash House – it was Mr. Ingoe, uncharacteristically early. “Package for you,” he said. “It’s moving. Thought you should look at it.” He led them north of the town to the Longacre docks on the Whisper River. The crate in question was a 2-foot cube, stuffed with hay. Occasionally it shifted, as if something alive were inside.
Palaxia ordered Bob to look inside the crate, which rocked violently at his approach, and a beak lashed out between the slats to attempt to peck Bob’s face. He described the beast as having the body of a rooster, the wings of a bat, and a long scaly tail, which was identified as a cockatrice. Although the address on the box only read “Sheriff’s Office,” Mr. Ingoe reassured the party that no one would have ever done something like this to Rhona Staelish, the previous Sheriff.
Thinking that “petrification by cockatrice” was an appropriately cool sentence for any traitors in Longacre, they dragged the crate back to the Sheriff’s office and stashed it in one of the two jail cells there. On the way back, they spotted another Glorious Reclamation flyer on a tree and tore it down.
C. The Armory
Light’s clever idea of recruiting Jemmy Kemmaino as an information source came to fruition a few days later, when Jemmy came with news that she’d seen Bo and Dent Gramel sneaking into the Longacre Armory a few minutes ago. Maledictus, Palaxia, and Light had visited the armory before and knew that the building’s doors were locked with a heavy chain and padlock, so the Gramels were likely up to no good.
Bob slipped through a wall in incorporeal form and spotted the Gramels sorting and organizing the armory’s impressive collection of weaponry. Unfortunately, he was also spotted by the Gramels, so when Maledicus, Palaxia, Bob, and Light broke in through the front door, they had the giant ballista on display loaded and aimed at the first person who came through. However, the giant missile whistled harmlessly past Maledictus, and the battle turned against the Gramels, ending with both of them captured.
The party tried to question first Bo, who proved tight-lipped, and then her husband Dent. Despite Bo’s order for Dent to say nothing, he cracked when the party forced Bo’s face down onto their cockatrice crate and told him that if he didn’t talk, his beloved wife would be a statue. Through Bo’s cries of pain as the cockatrice’s bites caused her flesh and bones to stiffen and harden, Dent told what he knew: they had been approached by Rhona Staelish with the key to the armory and a request to gather weapons to arm the townspeople. They were supposed to take the weapons back to their home and hide them there. He did not know what was going to happen with the weaponry after that. However, as punishment for their previous recalcitrance, the cockatrice was allowed to fully petrify Bo, and Dent was thrown in prison.
D. The Archbaron’s Justice
The group wisely decided to tell the Archbaron about the townsfolks’ attempt to arm themselves as soon as possible. He was quietly furious. “Every day more of Longacre’s citizens turn to the rebel cause – not because they’re afraid, but because they haven’t been given enough reason to fear. Make them afraid. Give them an example of what happens when I am displeased.”
He demanded that the group take a known rebel and execute them in front of the whole town. “Leave the body for the crows,” he adds “a continuing reminder of the consequences of insurrection. Show my people the price of treason.”
The group decided to execute the two deputies they’d captured in the square in front of the Church of Iomedae the following dawn – a veiled insult toward the Iomedaeans and the Glorious Reclamation, as dawn is considered a particularly holy time in that faith. Meanwhile, Dwork would be using his “cooking skills” on Dent Gramel on a torture rack at the same time. The archbaron’s guards spread the word, so that by the time the execution was to occur, a huge crowd had turned out. Loud cries were heard over the crowd, and the party recognized the deputies’ wives amid the onlookers, sobbing helplessly as the prisoners are marched in by the party. Maledictus stationed herself at the base of the scaffold and Palaxia seated herself on the petrified body of Bo Gramel. As the rest of the group reached the top of the scaffold, the crowd fell quiet and Light began to speak:
“By order of the Archbaron of Longacre, anyone suspected of Sedition will be immediately incarcerated and interrogated. Anyone found guilty will be summarily executed. Their sins will be purified by way of fire. Anyone harboring rebels or found to be withholding information will subject to penalties up to and including execution. Traitors to the Crown can expect no mercy!
“However, the benevolent Archbaron offers rewards to those who prove themselves loyalty. A reward
will offered to anyone who provides information that leads to the apprehension of traitors, their
whereabouts or their leaders.
“Here we have three such criminals. Dent Gremal, you are guilty of sedition and withholding information from lawful authority. Meric Borin and Sedric Walter, you are guilty of attacking lawful authority.
“In the name of Archbaron Fex of Longacre, and under the Lawful Rule of Her Infernal Majestrix Queen Abrogail II of the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune, you have been found guilty of treason. The penalty is death by hanging and burning. Effective immediately.”
But before the trapdoors in the scaffold could be tripped to hang the prisoners, a horse charged into the square, carrying a figure in shining plate armor. Feathered wings rose from the back of her armor and her helmet was a silver mask sculpted with feminine features – the same as the one seen at Allamar’s sermon. She tugged violently on the reins, causing her steed to rear, and shouted:
“People of Longacre, will you let another of your neighbors be murdered by tyrants? The goddess Iomedae and the knights of the Glorious Reclamation are with you! Rise up! Save your friends, your town, and your souls!”
The scene bursts into chaos as four rioters began climbing the scaffolding to free the imprisoned deputies. The crowd roared like a wounded beast, and the mysterious figure began to sing a song, exhorting the rioters.
Light, Maledictus, and Dwork held the rioters off the scaffold while Palaxia and Bob attacked the knight. Light channeled her unholy energy, setting the deputies and rioters on fire as well as several innocent bystanders. Immediately, the townspeople fled the scene, and the rioters and the knight were quickly brought to justice. Palaxia removed the angel-faced helm from the knight, hoping to reveal the identity of the Angel Knight, but recognized, even though the disguise was truly excellent, the face of the last surviving barmaid from the attack on the Last Stand Tavern.
It was in front of a much smaller crowd that the execution was completed, and the bodies of the two deputies and Dent Gramel were chained and displayed as a warning.
The party brought the barmaid to Archbaron Fex, who cast a spell on her to force her to tell the truth. She confesses that Rhona Staelish had asked her to keep an eye on the town after the fight at the Last Stand and that she thought pretending to be the Angel Knight might rile people up enough that the two deputies could escape.
E. The Resurrection
The next few days, everyone kept their head down. When the party walked down the street, people darted into their homes and businesses. No more posters were spotted. Dwork noticed the unusual event: one of the bodies of the deputies was missing from its gruesome display in the church square. An investigation revealed a scrap of fine fabric, white and yellow, which Light recognized as the colors of the faith of Iomedae.
They immediately turned their attention toward the church. A walk of the church’s perimeter revealed no other entrances or exits besides the double doors in front, as well as an unused grave marker propped against the back wall of the church – it bore the name of the executed deputy and a birth year, but no death date.
Bob slipped through the wall in incorporeal form and spotted five members of Sword Knight Allamar’s congregation waiting in the narthex. However, he was spotted as well, and when the party forced the church door, they were arrayed waiting to attack. They were disposed of quickly, and the party fanned out to explore the church.
Palaxia and Bob went to search the Priestess’s office, where they found a short note reading “To undo wrongs and recover your loss. Do what you must, but after, if your spirit is willing, join us at the fort.” The note is signed L.V. The broken wax seal on the note contains the impression of a strange symbol – the sword-and-sunburst of Iomedae combined with the emblem of Cheliax.
Meanwhile, Light, Maledictus, and Dwork opened the doors to the church sanctuary to find a horrifying scene. Sword Knight Allamar, sword drawn and shield up, was backing against the wall of the sanctuary, pleading, “Please, no, this isn’t how it was supposed to happen. Please, Merek, it’s Tilleavia.”
Menacing her from in front of the altar was Merek, but… different. His teeth were long and sharp, and the dark red mark the noose had left on his neck stood out against his deathly pale skin. The stench of death and rot filled the sanctuary. When the trio entered, he turned to you and snarled.
Allamar took this opportunity to flee into her private shrine in the back of the sanctuary and let the party take care of the nasty undead. Palaxia made her way over to the sanctuary while Maledictus and Dwork beat at the ghast, and it was the combination of her scythe and Bob’s fist that finally put the spirit to rest. Then they turned to the priestess.
She had a good defensive position in the doorway between her private shrine and the sanctuary which she took full advantage of, but she fell to the superior numbers of the party.