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Rise of the Runelords #4: Bedtime Stories

12 Feb

monster-in-closet

24th day of Rova, 4712 AR:

The young heroes stood around the mausoleum at Sandpoint Cathedral which was supposed to house the remains of Father Tobyn. Apparently, the goblin raid at the Swallowtail Festival was to create a distraction, while another group of goblins (with another larger humanoid apparently) stole his remains.

On the next day, Toilday, more and more young women were giving Garinn flirtatious looks — he and the other students were becoming the talk of the town.

A distraught Amele Barrett ran up to them with her two children in tow. Ever since around the time of the Swallowtail Festival, soon after she read her son his bedtime stories and tucked him in, she and her husband would hear him screaming in his room. He said there was a goblin in his closet. Her husband scolded the child to “be a man” and not to imagine such things. But on this particular night, their son’s screams turned shrill. They ran in to find that a goblin had stabbed their dog dead and was trying to chew their son’s arms off. Amele had taken her children and run to the young heroes in a panic.

The party reached the house to find it eerily silent. They saw Amele’s husband’s silent form lying face-down in the closet.

When Skaroband pulled him back, they saw that his face and chest had been eaten away. A goblin leapt out of a hole in the floor and jumped on Skaroband, and the party killed it with a series of blows. They told the bad news to a devastated Amele, who was soon escorted by Sheriff Hemlock to stay in the Sandpoint Cathedral.

Graduation

shaylissLater in the week, Skaroband and Sanguinia found themselves kidnapped, with bags placed over their heads, and taken to a secret hideout. There, they negotiated with a faceless voice as to the terms of their “training.” The mysterious voice agreed that yes, his assistants could help them in their training for a fee. For now, they could not be trusted to be more involved in their organization, given that they consorted with the sheriff and a paladin. Only after they have proven themselves useful and reliable, could they learn more of the inner workings of Sandpoint’s underground.

Jaden, meanwhile, pressured Galadriel into apologizing to Alliver Podiker at the Pillbug’s Pantry. The grumpy old man accepted the apology, and agreed to mentor her in alchemy if she would work at his store for the next few days. She enthusiastically agreed.

Toilday was Graduation Day. Galadriel was honored with a scholarship for being class valedictorian. That night, the party (along with many of their fellow classmates) visited the town’s taverns to enjoy that freedom that came with their newfound citizenship.

A sultry and seductive Shayliss Vinder approached Garinn, saying she needed help clearing a giant rat in her family store’s cellar. It looked to be the size of a goblin! Her father, Ven Vinder, was too busy spying on his other daughter to help her maintain the General Store. When Garinn arrived, Shayliss asked him to go down the cellar with her alone. Garinn asked his eidolon, Brutus to watch the store. When Garinn entered the cellar, Shayliss pushed him against the wall and began to kiss him! But as they explored their passions, her father tromped down the stairwell, saw the two, and entered a fiery rage! Ven Vinder pounded the nude Garinn into unconsciousness with his large fists.Ven forbade Shayliss from ever seeing Garinn again.

Unfortunately for Garinn and his friends, Ven was popular and well-respected throughout Sandpoint; this certainly did not bode well.

A Family Affair

Ameiko Kaijitsu

Ameiko Kaijitsu

While our heroes enjoyed a meal at The Rusty Dragon, a furious Tian man slammed open the tavern door. The patrons fell silent and looked sullenly at their meals. This man was Lonjiku Kaijitsu, the town noble who owned the town’s glass factory. He stalked around looking for his daughter, Ameiko. He noticed the youths and went into a tirade, blaming them for the recent problems in Sandpoint, calling them “thugs” trying to stir up trouble with the goblins.

Ameiko entered from the back with a soup ladle, and the two of them argued. When Lonjiku started pulling her hair, Courage and Skaroband rose to her defense. Ameiko hit him with her ladle.

Lonjiku, humiliated and covered in soup stock, was in disbelief.

“You’re as dead to me as your mother,” he said, and stormed out. Ameiko silently looked down at her ladle.

“Looks like I’ll need a new ladle, since jackass stew’s not on the menu.”

The patrons of the bar cheered. Ameiko turned to the youths.

“Looks like I need to thank you once again,” she said. “Tell you what: if any of you need a place to stay, you can stay for a week if you need to. And dinner tonight’s on the house.”

This invitation was timely, for the students were about to graduate this Oathday and attain their citizenship. Skaroband and Jaden moved out of the orphanage at the top of the Turandurok Academy and paid their childhood friends farewell.

That Starday, Garinn walked along Sandpoint’s beaches, moping about his aborted romance with Shayliss Vinder. The rest of them took up Aldern Foxglove’s invitation to hunt for boars in the nearby Tickwood. Aldern bought them horses and, during the ride to Tickwood, peppered Courage with questions about how he became a paladin.

“How did you learn to wield a bastard sword?” he asked. “How can I wield a bastard sword just like youuu…”

On the way to Tickwood, they found a blue mite — just like the mites they had originally seen at the Turandurok Academy a week before — and a goblin lying dead by the road.

In the Tickwood, they were attacked by a wild boar. Aldern entered the fray wielding a bastard sword he had brought just for the occasion, with which to impress Courage. But he fared badly and was gored by the wild beast. Skaroband landed some well-placed critical strikes, and the party killed the boar. Skaroband demanded some of Aldern’s admiration as well, once he came to consciousness.

Courage helped revive Aldern, who looked at him with amazement.

“My hero!”

Skaroband spit at the ground in disgust.

Echoes from the Hinterlands

LycanthropeBack at the Rusty Dragon, they gave the dead boar to Ameiko to prepare for a large feast. While there, Sheriff Hemlock summoned them to a meeting with the Fists of Justice and Shalelu Andosana, the elven ranger who patrols the Sandpoint Hinterlands. Shalelu was paying an unexpected visit, which caused the townspeople some alarm.

There, Shalelu explained that the group that had raided the Swallowtail Festival had goblins from all five tribes surrounding Sandpoint. Normally, goblins don’t work together — apparently, a leader had stepped in who was coordinating their activities. Also, they had been getting bolder raiding people on the roads leading out of Sandpoint, and just yesterday one family’s farm was burned down by the runty beasts.

Apparently, Sandpoint needed to prepare for a larger raid. Sheriff Hemlock and the Fists of Justice were to go to the city of Magnimar to ask for reinforcements to the town guard. The party — now naming themselves The Pathfinders — were to stay visible in Sandpoint to keep the townspeople calm.

“Your mere presence will be reassuring to the populace. They seem to have taken a liking to you,” Sheriff Hemlock said.

The Pathfinders agreed. Jaden, meanwhile, found in Shalelu the mentor he had been looking for to teach him the ways of rangers.

Shalelu gladly went with the party back to the Rusty Dragon, where the party to enjoyed a meal of freshly-killed boar meat. Shalelu shared valuable intelligence on the goblins in the region before bidding them good night.

Then Shayliss Vinder, wearing an unassuming robe, entered and tapped Garinn on the shoulder. They snuck out into the night. Sanguinia and Courage chose to follow.

To their surprise, when they turned a corner they found Shayliss on the ground, with a tiger on top of her and ready to bite. They ran forward to save her from the horrible beast. When they delivered it a grievous blow and it fell aside, they gasped in shock as the beast transformed back into Garinn!

Garinn woke up.

“What… what happened? Where am I?”

His friends, cautiously and with suspicion, helped him up. Shayliss had long since left screaming into the town.

Garinn told them he had never transformed into a tiger before. They looked up at the sky and saw a full moon — what had happened was now all too clear. Ameiko now stepped out to see what all the commotion was about.

Garinn started to twitch and transform back into a tiger. Ameiko, coolly and with nary a word, knocked him unconscious and said he should be kept locked up tight in her inn. Sanguinia and Courage thanked her for understanding.

A Mysterious Rendezvous

The next morning, on Sunday, they awoke to an urgent rapping on their doors at the Rusty Dragon. Bethana Corwin, a halfling maid in Ameiko’s employ, stood in the hallway with a worried look on her face. She handed them a note.

“Ameiko is missing! And I found this in her room.” She handed the party the note:

tsuto-note

Bethana explained that Tsuto was Ameiko’s half-brother. When Lonjiku’s wife, Atsuii, gave birth to Tsuto, his obviously-elven features gave away the fact that she had been unfaithful to Lonjiku. Dishonored, Lonjiku disowned the child and gave him up to Sandpoint’s orphanage in the Turandurok Academy. Ameiko befriended him in secret, but a terrible argument between them in which he struck her caused her to leave and become an adventurer. One year later, Ameiko returned to attend their mother’s funeral. At the funeral, Tsuto made it widely known that he believed Lonjiku had killed her. Lonjiku struck him, nearly breaking his jaw, and Tsuto left and had never been seen since.

Since then, Ameiko tried to reestablish contact with Tsuto. This note seemed to tie Lonjiku with the recent goblin troubles.

“I don’t know what is going on, but I don’t like the sound of any of this,” Bethana said. “And with the sheriff gone you’re the only ones I can ask for help!”

The Pathfinders agreed to investigate. They scouted the rendezvous point where Ameiko was supposed to meet up with Tsuto — the Glassworks Factory. There, in the main glass-production room, they saw a horrific sight: in addition to several of the factory’s employees lying around the room in various stages of dismemberment, Lonjiku Kaijitsu was strapped to a chair, long since dead, with molten glass poured down his throat and all over his body. A dozen goblins stood around the room, vandalizing the place and playing with molten glass. When they attacked the party, the youths did a more-than-adequate job defending themselves, and several of the goblins fell.

“Hey! It’s those longshanks from the Festival!” one screamed. They panicked and ran out a back door, not before the party picked off a couple more with their bows.

——————————————————-

XP at the end of the session:

Courage: 1,882
Galadriel: 1,732
Garinn: 1,762
Jaden: 1,732
Sanguinia: 1,832
Skaroband: 1,882

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