Tarsakh 19, 1373 (Year of Rogue Dragons)
After destroying the demonic threat of Wormgnash and the demon bile, the party spends the day in the now-abandoned Surinak Manse. They attack and slay the felldrake resting in the gardens before thoroughly searching the mansion. The key to their larger quest was right in front of their eyes the entire time, a painting in the lobby showing the morning sun lighting up the Surinak Hunting Lodge, with a depiction of Selune and her Tears setting over the Galenas. Judging by the painting and the carefully rendered positions of Selune and the Tears of Selune, the Hunting Lodge (and another piece of Slaughtergarde) would be just across the Galenas from Ostrav and the Surinak Manse.
The party spends the next day packing up the extremely detailed records of the Surinak’s demonic sacrifices before making their way back to Ostrav. Meeting with Mayor Trinelli, they have an extended interview where the mayor asks for all details of the mansion and possible threats. She then orders the town guard to quarantine the mansion in preparation for its eventual destruction. With the records moved into town hall, Sandra visibly relaxes and explains that for many these records will explain what happened to missing grandparents, aunts and uncles, yet some of the gnome, dwarven and elven citizens have even closer ties to family members who disappeared. In addition, the records will be used to pass judgement on the Surinaks posthumously and legally revoke any claim the noble family had on Ostrav.
Tarsakh 21, 1373 (Year of Rogue Dragons)
The next morning, Mayor Trinelli rings the town bells and summons the townsfolk to the northern square. In the northern square, the party sees a body swinging form the gallows. They also see a stage set up near the gallows where Mayor Trinelli stands, waving for them to approach. The guards usher them on stage while the crowd gathers. Once the crowd thickens, Mayor Trinelli explains that the heroes have been working under her guidance and have saved the town from a horrible, demonic menace. That they braved the Surinak mansion and found records of the sacrifices made by that evil family. That as soon as they go through the records, she will be contacting the families affected with news of their dearly departed. She again thanks the party to thunderous applause, and lets them know that even though Ostrav is somewhat insular, if they ever choose to settle down, they would be welcomed in the town with open arms.
As the curious citizens began to disperse, with many a thank you and claps on the back for the heroes. They find themselves near the gallows to see that it was a rail-thin teenager, maybe a young adult. His body had the purple cast of demon bile, but it looks to have been all burned away. His open mouth turned completely purple, he may have ingested the substance. Near the gallows they spy Nixa Volsetti, the young warrior they freed from the goblins, around her is a small group of obvious friends, close in age to the swinging corpse. As you approach, some of her friends leave, but she introduces you to Nolaria Wintren, acolyte of the House of Nature and Morvinarr, who you met when he returned to the Witches’ End Tavern last night. She points to the corpse and “introduces” you to Gellion, the apprentice alchemist and once the de-facto leader of their group.
She explains, "When you freed me a few days ago, I tried to locate the other apprentices. I found Gellion’s home filled with the bile stuff, but I knew from you all that I could use cold iron to burn it off. From there, I traced Gellion to an abandoned warehouse. I got the guards this time and we managed to free the rest before they were killed. Apparently Gellion thought that demon bile grew best on sacrificial victims. He kept ranting about some “Lord of the Locust Hosts” and kept asking if we heard the buzzing. When the guards caught him, Nolaria was able to burn the demon bile out of him, but his mind had snapped. This is what happens to “unsavory elements” in Ostrav. I’m not sure what we’re going to do next, but this town seems stifling and the town walls seem to close in each day."
Tarsakh 23, 1373 (Year of Rogue Dragons)
The heroes finally reached “home”, the Northern Vaasan Gate, midday on the 23rd of Tarsakh, Telmuth and his day staff were cleaning up and getting ready for the influx of patrons later in the evening. A few merchants, peddlers, adventurers and various other people sat at different points in Muddy Boots and Bloody Blades, but the place was quiet.
Telmuth pulled up a chair and offered rounds of drink in exchange for the story of their adventures. As Bethel and Lindara brought rounds of drinks, the party told Telmuth of the demon bile, the goblins’ Highfort, the haunted mansion and Ostrav’s missing apprentices. His friendly and casual questions showcased a man very familiar with the adventuring life and a seemingly good judge of adventures and adventurers. As people start trickling in during the afternoon, he ends with a suggestion. “Show up tomorrow morning for the Board, I think there’s a long-term job that would be right up your alley.”
The night goes on, the drinks get poured, and the feast is served. After days of grind, it feels good to let go a bit, knowing you’re surrounded by the armies and paladins of the Vaasan Gate. Stumbling to your room late at night, the heroes find a note asking them to head up to Ironhead’s Tavern on the eighth floor. Ironhead’s is a much quieter place, and many adventuring groups go there to plan, out of sight and earshot of the crowd.
Heading up to Ironhead’s, they are met by Bluto Fleetfoot. He explains that Angus has finally gotten the magical casks unsealed and is now able to unseal any that they find. In one cask they found five heads of various Damarans, though they haven’t identified them yet, but the second cask was different. It contained the heads of a hin family. A man, woman, girl, and boy. The hin were obviously related, and on some preliminary investigations, they learned that the family was the Greentallows from the Burrows neighborhood in Bricktop.
Bluto let them know that he, Angus and Talia, are too well known throughout the city to investigate this themselves. He again asks for their help, saying that Talia can meet the at the Brychen farmstead (“has the boy wrapped around her little finger, poor sap”) and disguise them so that they could avoid detection for several days if they don’t visit their normal haunts in the city. They could enter the city disguised, investigate the Greentallows disappearance and get out before anyone was the wiser.
The heroes let Bluto know they would think about it and inform him of their choice in the morning.