The adventuring band voted, we would pursue the Greentallow family murder investigation for Bluto. Each member seemed to have a compelling reason to go, I am also pleased with this decision.
Greengrass, 1373 (Year of Rogue Dragons)
We travel to Bricheon Townshed to meet Talia. She has an alias name she was using at this farm and has the farms son besotted with her. She helps us don some disguises and has arranged rooms at the Left-handed Inn in the Burrows of Heliogabalus in the Bricktop Quarter. The Greentallow Manor is located in the Burrows.
As expected the Burrows is a very pleasant section of Bricktop. The Hin take great enjoyment in food and socializing which leads to a great pastime, gossip. Halorin passes himself off as a visiting family member and starts speaking to the locals reaping the gossip around town.
Greentallow Manor is boarded up and the Greentallows have moved out about a month ago. To a place they purchased in the Downs. The gossip is that Chessa (Mother) Greentallow became pregnant and the whole family started acting strangely. The Greentallows started walking around all bundled up. A new cousin moved in, Cora who looks a lot like Drina (Daughter) Greentallow, and Cora ran off their regular nanny and rebuffs visitors.
After interviewing potential leads, it became clear we needed to search the house. Why the impersonation of the Greentallows, why a pregnancy, and why the house in the Downs? Are they trying to make a profit off the sale of the Manor? The pregnancy goes towards explaining a lot of odd behavior, but Chessa was barren.
The timeline indicates that they did a rush move out of the house when the barrels went missing.
Mirtul 1, 1373 (Year of Rogue Dragons)
We sneak into the Greentallow Manor at night. It was conveniently boarded up so our lights from inside did not give us away and muffled any noises. It appeared they mostly cleaned out items of interest from the home. They left behind a few very deadly and expensive traps. Four things of interest were discovered:
• Letter from the Halfling Downs with the purchase details of the property in the Downs
• Many letters upset about the unfulfilled work contracts
• A secret room, now covered in dried blood, which most likely was used for butchering the family.
• An unused cask, prepared for to receive a spell which could preserve more heads.
We head to the Bricheon Townshed to meet with Talia to fill her in and plan our trip to the Downs.
In reviewing my past journal entries, I once again read the note we found regarding the casks with heads.
“Someone is on our trail, and we needed the goblins to intercept the delivery for the goods to disappear. Trace the goblins back to their lair and wipe them out – no loose ends. The two casks need to be delivered to the stall of Zarkos Dourstone in the Ironspur Trade Center. Middle of the night – no witnesses. Do not bring any spice containers you recover to the trade center – we can’t afford to have anyone making that connection. Once you’ve delivered the goods, use any proceeds from the spices to pay the boys – no tithe – completing the delivery is the guild’s cut. If you fuck up – you better be dead – if not, you will be.”
Mirtul 4, Year of Rogue Dragons
We settle in to a local inn and decide to each use his own special talents to keep an eye on the imposters new home and collect any juicy gossip. The plot thickens and we stumbled on something HUGE.
• “Chessa” is interviewing for a midwife of noble quality, she has rejected many of the Hin who have applied.
• The Duke’s personal guard are about town and this is not the norm.
• “Paldo” is interviewing many of the elders in the Downs, plying them with truth serum.
• Ser Buckthorn remembers that the current royal bloodline of Helmont the 15th is under dispute and the Monks of the Yellow Rose are investigating.
• The Devlin family used a Hin midwife and she could confirm or deny the lineage of Helmont the 15th and she is from the Downs.
Well now some of the pieces fall into place and explains the extravagance and expense used to cover the imposter’s tracks. They are after the Hin Midwife and this is all tied up in the contention for the rightful ruler of the Duchy of Carmathan. Whoever leads the Duchy of Carmathan would greatly influence the stability of the Bloodstone Lands under King Gareth’s rule and right now Helmont the 15th does not support Garth Dragonsbane.
Like a hard to reach itch, that I cannot scratch. Why are the heads being preserved and delivered? I can understand disposing of the heads to support the ruse, headless bodies cannot be interacted with without the most potent magics and bodies without heads are hard to identify. There are two stories here and most likely intertwined.
Mirtul 6, Year of Rogue Dragons
We need to know more and we stick out here, heads above the rest. We meet and discuss what to do and I suggest that I have Nettle, my familiar, assume the form of a rat and scout out the “Greentallows” new home. It is agreed and I settle down that evening near the house and let Nettle scuttles into the Hin’s Burrow. I see “Chessa” out of her body suit and “Cora” mixing vials. “Paldo” and “Rolin” (Father) are discussing the days interrogations. The elder that he doused with truth serum doesn’t know who the Hin Midwife was, but he knew who does, an elder named Merfin…then, poor Nettle is bitten by a poisonous viper. Damit, one of the imposters is an arcanist. Must be one of the women, they always go for the vipers in the cleavage.
I hurry back, as the humans saying goes “The gig is up”. I give my companions the short version and Reed knows exactly who the elder Merfin is and where he lives. Well it is a race now isn’t it and we have to reach him first and we hurry out…
…and we get jumped by Orges, how did they get Orges into the Downs!?! “Look an Elf, we can kill the ones with the Elf!” It was a short battle and I notice a shadow slinking off, I cry out and point and Reed is off like an arrow. Now the town is stirred up, Reed is giving chase to the shadow and we need to get to Merfin’s house now, not later.