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Of Blackness, Madness, and Mayhem - Part 4
Inside of Vern's Head

Hahahahah, you’re USELESS!

Well so are you! I haven’t seen you suggest anything overly helpful, and your sad attempt to end a curse nearly cost Davros his life!

Yes but at least I tried something. Better than your idea to set the piece of cloth around his neck ON FIRE! Because that TOTALLY would have worked.

Thank goodness it didn’t come to that.
I’m beginning to notice that a few of these haunts are somewhat thematic. They all seem to have something to do with a past event, or personality trait, or flaw in the character of the Foxglove family. And they only seem to affect someone who shares that flaw.

Ah, you mean like the mad little monster seeing mad massive monsters?

Something like that, though I think her madness is the shared trait here, not her monster like qualities. And it seems that Pitticus is more related to his fascination with combustibles than anything else. Mine is somewhat confusing… worry, rage, and some sort of festering disease. I’m not sure what this old house is trying to tell me.

That you’re a very flawed creature?

Oh shut it. Truth be told I’m more worried about these stained glass windows… the story is of someone who became fascinated and attempted to achieve Lichdom. I’m worried that more than once the ritual was tried, and that perhaps one may even have succeeded…. So many questions as we continue forward… I hope we can solve this soon though.

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Of Blackness, Madness, and Mayhem - Part 3
Inside of Vern's Head

Thank goodness for the healing magics of the temple. I’m glad I decided to get that bite checked out, I was so NOT looking forward to going through ghoul fever, again.

That would have come close to being as devastating to you as I suppose all this killing has been for Aneira? Considering her fervor for life and the fact that so much of this killing has been done ‘in her name’ and ‘for her honor’… but yes your near brush with a disease you’ve been exposed to before must have been hellish! Perhaps you need a black blanket instead?

Haha… maybe? It is cold in here. Odd since we aren’t far from Sandpoint and I’ve never felt it get this cold there. Well, save for that witch Rizzah’s place. Food must be fantastic there if she treats all her customers that way. Thankfully by the time I found myself there I’d already gathered the information needed. And so we find ourselves here, in Foxglove manor…

I wish I had studied more of the spiritual magics than just purely the arcane. There is much magic here and I can feel that it is such but it’s nature… feels somewhat foreign but familiar all the same.

Why didn’t you?

Well my master was only just starting to look into the spiritual and faith based magics and had only gotten really rolling with contagions when I killed him. After that, I didn’t want much to do with the spiritual and religious magics. I don’t know that I’ll ever want anything to do with them to be honest. I’m much more at home with the Arcane.

Well you’ll just have to leave that to Aneira then. And apparently the good doctor…

But are you choosing now to not discuss the most worrisome event of these last hours? I thought I was the only one up here with you and suddenly I was pushed aside, subdued, and forced to watch as some woman’s consciousness invaded and took over! Then either you chose to ignore me or she kept my voice mute to you but I could not get through to you as you foolishly snatched up that goblin and made a bolt for the hill.

Don’t worry, I wasn’t ignoring you, I simply couldn’t respond. It was definitely an odd feeling, being somewhat aware of what was going on but at the same time so immersed within it that on top of not having any motor control, I also felt as though I was sharing feelings… strong feelings… with Kasanda. That I needed to get her daughter Lorey to safety and suddenly Bugga was… not.. Bugga? But Lorey instead, and I knew I had to get her out!

Well steel your mind better in the future or I myself will be forced to take action. It would be in poor taste to allow my host to get himself stupidly killed.

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Aneira's Story 13

All signs point to Foxglove manor as the source of, or at least the next step in the mystery of the killings. With that, I’m beginning to fear the worst as to who Your Lordship could be. The locals of Sandpoint had informed us of the Manor’s grizzly past, about how its been abandoned, how Foxgloves past have come to reclaim it, to never be seen again. This had me thinking now about the convenient appearance of our supposed benefactor, Aldern Foxglove. I can’t help but to recall our previous exchanges, specifically on the road to the boar hunt, days previously. He had shown interest in me more so than the others, and I shrugged it off, genuinely not interested. I pray that this is not the case, though everything that has happened up til now points to that. Only time will tell as we move towards the Manor and explore.

At the Inn
I had a thought today that given everything that’s been happening and Ameiko being gone, the Rusty Dragon, despite being filled with the rest of the party feels empty, and none of us have had a half decent meal. I hope that everybody will appreciate the gesture. Also, a priest at the temple showed me a prayer book. I’d heard of these before but none like this one. It almost seemed like a collection of war stories, though they were not depressing or ominous. Rather, the stories, upon reading them, leave me with a feeling of empowerment and bravery. I wonder if the others would be receptive to listening to some of these stories after dinner…

At Foxglove Manor
Something is definitely not right at this place. Sarenrae’s Light guide us. How I didn’t realize at first is beyond me, but the house is undeniably haunted. Sarenrae’s Fire protect us. I cannot bear to relive what we’ve seen up to this point. Sarenrae’s Truth protect our minds. I do not wish to be in this place any longer, but I know that we must press forward to uncover the truth about whats happening in Sandpoint.
Aneira’s grip on her holy symbol tightens

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Oriedesme's Prayer

/Esme the Peacemaker kneels. Her longsword is before her, slightly pitted and dinged by the work she has done this long night, but she is satisfied with that. Her gear maintenance kit is laid out around her, nearly like wings in the symmetrical arrangement to her left and right, and her armor encircles her from behind; it too will see work this night. The statue to Iomedae, the Lady of Valor, is in front of her, and the candles below are the only thing lighting the otherwise empty main worship chamber of the temple. It is past midnight, and the cleric returned only thirty minutes ago.

Picking up the whetstone, she puts it to her sword, and delves into her thoughts for the night. The only sound in the dark, quiet temple is that of the blade being cared for. Shhhhp, shhhhp, shhhhp. It is a sound so consistent and practiced that it creates a meditative atmosphere./

Holy and righteous Inheritor, look upon your servant and grant me your quiet. /Shhhhp/

I have learned the weight of my sword; my heart guides it, and is the true source of my strength. It is just a tool. My heart remains true; my heart remains strong. /Shhhhp/
I have faith in you, Light of the Sword. I have channeled your strength through my body, and have shone in the ways of your legion. My actions bear your dignity. /Shhhhp/
I have led the charge, and have held the line. /Shhhhp/
I have returned safely. Those I entered with are safe; none needed to sacrifice their safety for all. None left behind. /Shhhhp/
I have guarded their honor to the best of my abilities, and the trust I placed in them was rewarded with our successful return. /Shhhhp/
I have allowed all creatures encountered the mercy due them. I ensured swift exit from life, when necessary. /Her whetstone catches on a burr due to her hand’s trembling, but Esme quickly steadies it against the blade and runs it along. This stroke is quicker. Shhp/
I have refused no challenges from those able to make them. I honored my enemy by bringing my full ability to our battle. /Shhhhp/
I have suffered no dishonor. /Shhhhp/
I have been temperate, awaiting the last possible moment for action, when necessary. My behaviour was moderate. I have upheld Iomedae’s perfection. /Shhhhp/

/The longsword is returned to its scabbard. The hour does not permit a full address to the scored blade; tomorrow has further work for the cleric, and she will need rest even more than a fully-repaired weapon./

/Her focus turns to the armor. A rent in the shoulder and the join of the upper right arm are signs of forced entry; a ghoul had attacked her while the group battled through the dark field, and her cloth-bound shoulder shows that it had done more than pierce armor./

I beseech you, oh Lady of Valor… I beseech you in fervent concern for my friend Aneira and her peril-fraught path toward the truth that all pursue. Our talks have shown a fear which prevents complete abandon to the demands of justice, but she is young, and the trials which she faces are enormous. I pray for you to instill her with your fervor and valor.

She needs to be more than herself in the face of these trials. I did not know what she spoke of in prior discussions up until I faced it myself. Holy Inheritor, help her realize that she does not have time for half-measures. To be the brightest light means that some will shy from the brilliance. She must not stop to prop up those who cannot withstand such purity.

I know she does not thirst after your own holy purpose, but The Healing Light does not look upon things in a very different way from your own tenets. She seemed displeased by my report on the events of the fields, but I know that I am touched with holy purpose. Your direction is one I chase beyond all other possibilities.

I am charged with keeping the dead in eternal rest by your decree, and I pursue it with determination for your glory. An undead plague cannot be tolerated or permitted to rage unchecked, and your command toward that end means that… /Esme pauses and wipes her brow/ … that sometimes those not yet consumed by the affliction are thrown upon the fire with the remains of the impure. We press on in your glory.

/Esme abruptly rises, wiping her hands on her apron as she crosses to the altar. Wine is behind it, likely for communion (but one can never be sure, with some priests). She opens the top and takes a drink, breaking her silence./

“… Goddess, forgive me.”

/She takes a second mouthful and returns to her equipment with the bottle. The task is incomplete./

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Aneira's Story 12

There’s been so much happening in this little town. So much more than what I first thought. What seemed to be a goblin incursion turned out to be a front for something else, something… evil. Through all of this, somehow I’ve become involved beyond just lending my aid to the people I’ve come to call friends. These murders, committed by vile undeath it seems, have left runes that are not unfamiliar to us. Worse yet, we found a note addressed to me, whose contents leave me feeling scared and alone, despite being surrounded by these people.

I’ve spent so much time at this temple when we’re not outside Sandpoint, trying to break up whatever might come next. The priests and clerics here have been so helpful and selfless. They’ve gone out of their way to listen, talk, and pray with me. It makes me think about the other people of this town. If I’m going through this so hard, with such a strong connection to Sarenrae, I can’t imagine what others in this town may be feeling. It’s time that I break this cycle of sadness and start to bring hope to others. Sarenrae’s fire burns with me, and though I sometimes fail to see that, I must bring the Dawnflower’s message to anyone who will listen. She is my guiding light, and she will see me through.

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Of Blackness, Madness, and Mayhem - Part 2
Inside of Vern's head

That poor couple, but at least they are able to rest. The end stages of Ghoul Fever are… shiver… Best not to dwell on that experience. Yes, what matters is they faced their fates bravely and yet were spared a restless existence, unlike so many others on that farm.

I am now beyond a shadow of a doubt with regards to Aneira’s guilt, she has no involvment with this at all. Agreed, it makes no sense at all for someone as devoted to Sarenrae as she has proven to be to be even remotely associated with someone peforming this kind of magic. That house was something else though, you did a good job keeping your stomache in check, unlike that pitiful display at the sawmill.

Speaking of pitiful scratches at his shoulder, I can’t believe I got bit! I don’t feel anything now, but that’s no garuntee they didn’t pass on the fever. This means wasting time getting this thing checked out and dealt with as soon as we’re back in town.

I wonder if the ghast we ran into was the cause of the murders or just another tool. It was certainly vicious and had murderous intent but something tells me that we have more ahead of us. Perhaps we’ll find out what has caused this whole mess when we eventually search Foxglove manor.

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Of Blackness, Madness, and Mayhem, Part 1
Inside of Vern's head

Well… this is going to be interesting. How are you going to going to get any information from this group if you can’t even keep your lunch down over something as simple as a mutilated coprse?!? Ah well at least you somewhat re-established yourself at the looney bin. Though perhaps getting a fight going there might have endeared you to the group more… hard to say though.

What isn’t hard to say is that whoever is doing the killing definitely has a thing for Aneira… Either an obsession, infatuation or just a deep desire to please her… though they don’t seem to know her all that well apparently. Haven’t spotted anyone who fits the bill yet though there are some rumors.

Whatever it is, I know she’s not behind it though. The killer is using ghouls and ghasts to do their dirty work… which is not a way to impress a follower of Sarenrae and sits very far in the opposite direction of her morals so far as I can tell. Looks like we’re on the move again though…

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Bugga's Story 7

1/It is several days after the battle with Malfeshnikor. Bugga and Mister Sniffles walk the Lost Coast Road back to Thistletop from Sandpoint in the early afternoon heat. Good news is coming with them!

Bugga had spent some time the previous day negotiating a trade agreement with mayor Kendra Deverin to keep her new tribe supplied with food (and distractions), and is bringing the delivery collection instructions back to her fledgling tribe. Of course, this presents another opportunity for her eidolon to question her motives, and he is not hesitant to do so./

Mister Sniffles: We just do not understand why you do not desire to remain. This is everything you could have wanted. Is this more of your ‘feelings’ that you say you have?

Bugga: Yes, it is. Bugga wants gobrins to be safe, but Bugga wants–

Mister Sniffles: To go find–

Bugga: NO! SHUT UP!

/Bugga stamps her foot again, and they stop their progress. She has been doing this a lot, lately. She is also upset a lot, lately./

Bugga: Gorn’s gone, Bugga knows this! This isn’t news! Mister Sniffles is dumb if he thinks that’s all that Bugga thinks about! Why does Mister Sniffles not know Bugga if he says Bugga startin’ to be more like him? Bugga thought you’d stop bein’ mean!

Mister Sniffles:

/The eidolon seems to pick its words carefully./

Mister Sniffles: … Becoming alike or not, We do not understand your motives. There are few reasons to leave now because of the stability you built, aside from the guess We made. We were… simply curious whether or not you would… begin to enjoy your possible rest? You are queen now, and can choose a consort, you know. What about that bodyguard?

/Bugga ’hmph’s and remains silent./

Mister Sniffles: … Maybe a different approach, since your ego is growing faster than you are these days and needs no further help: what is out here that so interests you that you would continue to spend time with these remaining ones? When being a queen and having a mate are options for you now, as well? Were these not your longest-held ambitions?

/The goblin grins./

Bugga: Bugga’s story doesn’t end on a throne. Bugga’s story is about learnin’ more, about bein’ more. Bugga’s curious about Mister Sniffles, actually… Bugga wants to know about hiding like Mister Sniffles does.

… Bugga will put it this way: it’s possible to end Bugga’s story as the biggest gobrin queen of the biggest tribe in this place, this Sandpoint. BUT! Bugga could be an even bigger queen if Bugga travels and learns magics! The mix-maker, Dizzy Kaboom: Mister Sniffles probably sees that he wants Bugga to be happy after Gorn… left. Well, Bugga’s learnin’ about fire from him! Then, there was the lady in the cage: she had her humie friends come and they thought Bugga was special! DIDN’T MISTER SNIFFLES SEE THAT, TOO??

So! Bugga will keep learnin’, until Bugga is the BIGGEST! QUEEN! EVER!! And nobody will be able to stop Bugga because she will be POWERFUL; really powerful, not just with tricks but with REAL POWER! And Mister Sniffles will teach Bugga… And Bugga will teach everyone.

… Even Gorn.

Mister Sniffles:

… We did not expect this.

/Mister Sniffles is silent for a bit. When Bugga asks why…/

Mister Sniffles: We were thinking. We… need to learn something from you, too. The tongue of these others, the tongue your Gorn taught you: We need it in order to learn from the books for you. You have said that the books have the secrets but that you cannot read them… well, We can brave those dangers, and tell you the secrets.

Bugga: But–!

Mister Sniffles: You have seen Us die! We are beyond such things! Do you not think words are also beneath Us? The legends of your people may be true for you, but they mean nothing to Us!

We shall both learn, together… and We swear this: your dream will be Our dream. We never cared much for your ambitions before because they were things about the dancing one or foolishness, but this… this is worth more openness. Perhaps you are ready for the Second Contract.

Bugga: What does–

Mister Sniffles: In time; in time. We will get there. Our dreams are the same, now… and we can share more than dreams. We shall share your ambition, and We will make you a queen beyond compare.

… We will teach you how.

Bugga: … Okay. Yes, Bugga accepts this. What does Bugga do first?

Mister Sniffles: For now…? You need only trust Us.

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Ragnuk's Thoughts
Queen missing, humies need help, ominous...

Humies is idi…stup…du… unintelligent! Why fight shadows? Can not hurt with pokes and slashes. Then when finally escapes… hurr durr let us go back! Okay, shiny helmet was worthy prize but maybe not worth being a shadow ourselves.

Besides, shadow and crab is not mel-fishin-ichor. He I wants to see worse than wanting to stab open humie heads to pour some smart juice in…

When Queen came back she made all right again! She is so wonderful! She killed last shadow just by beings there! And her gold opened the secret gate! And she finds secret rooms!

Contents of the rooms is ominous… but I’m sure once we find mal-fresh-nicor she convince to join her big goblin tribe. And if not, humies make short work of him. Worries though that we not find the big goblin yet, just some demon… but I am sure Queen makes short work of him too!

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An introduction to Ge'vern
Ge'vern's recent history prior to meeting our adventurous band...

That last town was rather disappointing, so many rumors, so little truth. And that vile succubus of a woman! Promising me the spell book of Varen Evendis, and when I return to her, beaten and bloody, with evidence of the demise of her husband and his lover… she hands me a book of Varen Evendis’ demise! No spells, no insight into the magics of the world, nothing of use!! It was delightful watching the guard haul her away when they received an “anonymous” tip into their investigation of her husband.

It sounds like there may be someone practicing powerful magic in a small town called Sandpoint. To be honest, it sounds like a summoner, but I’ve never heard of one being able to summon as many monsters as the stories say. On top of that, it sounds as though there are stories of Goblin bands rallying behind this magic. No mere summoner would be able to do this… in all likelihood the stories are just exaggeration, but if there is someone with that much power anywhere near Sandpoint, which I genuinely doubt… but perhaps…

After a few days travel

Well this is just perfect, I get word of magics in Sandpoint only to find that the temple guardians have dispelled them!! What’s worse, no one will tell me what was going on! I’ve caught word from the guards of something called a Runewell, and the appearance of demons and sinspawn. I wonder if someone might have discovered a site for some very old magic. That would be exciting! From what I hear there’s a group of adventurers around here somewhere who may know more. I’ve heard they’re staying at the Rusty Dragon but haven’t been seen in a couple days, I suppose I’ll have to get a room there, or near to there and just wait.

Perhaps I can peruse The Curious Goblin… what an odd name for a bookstore. With a name like that I doubt they’ll have anything I’ve not already seen, but you never know…

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