The longest winter

A Home and its possessions

Paths of the dead part 3

The Party:

Elden, the half-Elf Warrior (played as N.P.C.)
Elana, the Chronoid Time-theif (played by Leanne)
Frank, the half-Orc Barbarian (Played by Steve)
Marellian, the half-Elf Cleric/Wizard (Played by Dave)
Rayne, the Tiefling Sorcerer/Rogue (Played as N.P.C.)

The outer gates of Flint-Harrow open up to admit the party; Allowing them access to the area of no mans land. The first thing that strikes them is the Orcs have been busy: The new Orc embassy has been completed in the time they have been away, and dominates the north of the area. To the south, the alms house looks as ramshackle as it ever has, giving comfort that not everything has changed while they were away.

As they pass by the Alms house, movement from the Orc embassy catches their eyes: An Orc guard scurries off suddenly , no doubt to give word of their arrival. A beggar sits outside the alms house, and Marellian moves closer to give him some gold. The beggar catches hold of Marellians sleeve, and in a whisper warns him that there are some people out to make trouble for him in the Township. Marellian asks why he has been given this warning, and the beggar replies that Marellian has always been good to the down and outs, so they kept an eye out for him, to warn him if things were amiss. Marellian thanks the beggar, and the party move towards the inner gate.

The guards at the inner gate are smirking, and one pulls Elden to one side. He tells Elden that the captain is pretty annoyed with Elden for going on adventuring without letting anyone in the guards know. Elden has missed a lot of duty, and the captain isn’t happy about it. The rest of the party are quite surprised by this exchange, as Elden did not tell any of them about his job with the guards. Elden tells the party that they had better continue without him, and rushes off to see if he can placate the captain….

The remaining party members decide that they had best report their news to the council before doing anything else, in case they end up in someone’s bad books like Elden has. Marellian agrees, but insists that afterwards he must go to the compassionate church to report back to his superiors. Frank is quite comfortable with doing this, as he seems to be dreading having a family talk with his wife and father…

The council chamber has only a few members in it. Councillor Kinkaid explains that this is partly due to the early hour, and partly because Head Councillor Ore is on his deathbed, and the others are all squabbling over the upcoming elections. He, Manos, Parathion and Whern seem to be holding the council together at this time of upheaval. He motions the party to begin their report, but they are disturbed by the appearance of a legal advocate. This advocate is here to proclaim that Marellian has been accused of war crimes: that he did shoot a negotiator from the Orcs at the battle of Snowbold lair while the negotiator was under a flag of parlay. That Marellian and his friends did make off with an item of religious and historical importance to the Orcs, namely the death mask of Wild Hunter. These and other lesser crimes have been lodged

Elana moves closer to the advocate, intimidating him a lot, and he explains that he is just the court messenger. The Orc embassy lodged the papers with the court weeks ago, and informed the court by runner when they spotted the party strolling back into town…

The council get the advocate to agree that the party need time to work out a defence for their case, and possibly hire an advocate. The court will not be able to meet until the party finish their important work for the council. After the advocate leaves, the party ask what important work the council has. Councilor Kinkaid just smiles and tells them that they’ll think of something to stall the court. Meanwhile, he asks they finish their recital of everything that has gone on.

After the long recital is over, the council seem shocked at the news. They don’t seem too happy that they will have to rely on Zoastrian; someone thrown out of his guild. None the less, they charge the party with tracking down Zoastrian, and finding out how to vanquish the Dark Water beast. The party tells the council that they will try their best, but they are unsure how to find this elusive figure.

After the council dismiss them, Marellian declares he is going to the Compassionate Church. Having nothing much else to do, the others go with him. Unfortunately, the first person they bump into at the soup kitchen is (now archpriest) Token. He berates Marellian for bringing shame on the church, and tells him he should never have been allowed to stay in the church after the debacle with ‘that hell damned cat’. Marellian has no idea what Token is talking about (The others do though, and remember it was Token who was angry at them back then); as far as he is concerned, Whisper is running around somewhere free and happy…..

The Deacon comes to the part’s aid, telling Token that he is needed urgently in the infirmary. He also informs Marellian that his uncle, Covenas is very ill, and that Marellian should go to visit him as soon as possible. He tells Marellian not to listen to Token: he is a deeply troubled young man who needs better guidance. As far as Deacon is concerned, Marellian has far more compassion than Token will ever have, and it is that which makes him ideal as a priest of the compassionate church, not how well he can say his prayers and recite the tenets. He tells Marellian that although he knows Marellian has done nothing that he should be ashamed of, it would be better if Marellian keeps a low profile while he has a court case hanging over him, and keep away from the church for a while. Marellian is sad at this, but his reply is cut short by a distressed father, who asks the party if they can help him. His young son, Jascen, is missing . He was supposed to be going to a party with a new friend, and never returned. When the man went to the address, a big bruiser told him there was no jascen known there, and there was never any party. He asked the guard to help, but they returned to him saying that although there was a young boy of jascen’s description in the house, he did not answer to that name, and claimed not to know anything about the man who claimed to be his father, telling the guard the poor man was delusional. They told the man not to waste their time.

The party agree they will help the man, and set off for the house. Marellian casts detect magic, and is sure that the place reeks of necromancy. Rayne sends her Raven round to look in the windows, and through it’s eyes spots a very large and fat man who seems to be a butler behind one of them. She sends it round the other side of the house, and spots a young boy who matches the description the man gave them. He is reading a very thick book: something that no child of eight from a poor family would be able to do, even with the new school recently founded by the compassionate church….

The party decide to keep watch on the house, to see who comes and goes from it. They use Rayne for her superior hide in shadows and her bird familiar for this task,while Marellian decides it would be best if he went to see Covenas.The others decide they will go with Marellian, as they would be too conspicuous watching the house.

Upon arriving at Covenas’ house, they find the door is open, and Marellian walks in to find the family retainer, Wilson. He is carrying a tray of hot food, which he was about to take in to Covenas’ sick room. Marellian accompanies him, while the others have a gawk about the place.

Covenas is lying in bed, ashen faced. He sees Marellian and beckons him over. Wilson puts down the tray, and retreats, to give them some privacy.

Covenas grabs hold of Marellian’s hand, and apologizes to him. He explains that as a young man he idolized the General, and when the General died, he used his arts to make a clone. something was flawed, however, and the clone turned out nothing like the General in manner, being evil and mad. The clone managed to flee before Covenas could do anything to change it, so instead he concentrated on figuring out what had gone wrong before he made another clone. The second clone he made was better, but it still wasn’t the general come again: That clone was Marellian…….

Covenas asks Marellian to forgive him, but dies before Marellian can answer. Numb, Marellian opens the door to admit Wilson, who tells Marellian he will take care of the funeral arrangements . Marellian agrees, and walks out, with the bemused party members wondering what has gone on.

Marellian is shocked: his whole life has been manufactured. Numbly, he follows the others, as they decide now would be a good time fro Frank to be re-united with his family…

Frank’s wife, Maula, is glad to see him, and she is heavily pregnant. Frank wonders how when he’s been away from so long, but she reassures him that they made the baby before he left. She is sure that it will be a son. Frank remembers the words of Bagrob in his out of body experience and shudders. He goes to look for his father.

The Old Half-Orc is glad to see his son, but Frank is worried. He asks his father about his decision all those years ago to go to the human priest. His father tells him that the priests of the Half-Orcs told him that it was for the gods to decide if the infant lived or died, and they would not help, so he rushed his wife to someone who would. Frank asks him about the things Bagrob said about his ancestor, and his father maintains he had no idea.

FRank asks his father to help him, and they agree to visit one of the priests to discuss this curse and try to lift it together. Frank says his goodbyes for now, and the party head off to meet up with Rayne.

Reurning later to Rayne, they find from her that a man and woman came out of the house. They seemed to be interested in several beggars, before returning home with one of the beggars in tow.

Deciding it’ now or never, the party break in: Rayne picks the lock, and opens the door carefully. The room behind the door is dusty and unused. Tracks lead through the dust, leading towards a corridor. Rayne creeps forwards, while the others examine the room. The floorboards are rotten, and damp stains the walls. They realise that they will have to tread carefully.

Rayne listens at a door, and hears the noises of two people in the room behind it. It seems from the noise that they are engaged in sexual intercourse. One voice tells the other that it is much more fun in this new body. Rayne quickly tells the others what she has heard, and Marellian realises that the people in the house are all victims of some kind of possession, similar to a magic jar spell. This means that the party will have to disable them without hurting them.

The party come up with a plan: Marellian’s colour spray spell will be able to knock them out, and the others can tie them up. Sadly, Marellian forgets to watch his step, and steps on a broken floorboard. The couple in the room hear the noise, and jump out of bed, but Marellian is able to cast the spell in time to knock them out before they know what is going on. The others tie them up in the bedsheets, and Rayne picks the door lock to lock them in.

The next room they come to finds the young boy that Rayne’s familiar saw earlier asleep in bed. Rayne once again uses her lock picking to lock the door, and they move on. They come to a long hallway, with a door on the opposite side, and stairs down at the end. Rayne sneaks over to the opposite door and hears the voices of a boy and a girl. The boy calls the girl ‘Mother’, and tells her that this body was the only one they could get for her. He explains that a young body will last her longer. Rayne sneaks back to the others and explains what she’s heard, and they use the same technique again to disable the pair of possessed children. Marellian hopes there aren’t too many more, as he’s running out of spells.

They proceed down the stairs, to reveal a large room. The large butler is holding a struggling down and out, while a slender man holds a wand, and chants. A swirling, insubstantial figure floats about the beggar, seeking ingress. Hurriedly, the party step in to free the beggar.

During the fight, Rayne manages to break the slender man’s wand. At once the swirling form breaks apart, and drifts downwards into the floor. The big man and the slender man both fall to the ground in a faint. When they awaken, they are mystified as to where they are and what they have been doing. Marellia surmises that breaking the wand broke the spell of possession. He interrogates the slender man, who admits that he broke into the old house in search of treasure, and the last thing he remembers was picking up a black gemstone. Marellian organises a quick search for this gemstone, but it is nowhere to be found.

They return Jascen to his relieved father, and make sure that the others are fine, then return to dig up the floor of the house. Under the floor they find the bones of several humans, which they gather up for cremation in the temple. Hopefully this will prevent further possessions. Marellian tells the homeless men that they have saved if they need anything to go to the compassionate church and tell them he sent them. The party head off to find Elden….

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