The printing press that the party acquired for Tamlyn Theruvial was quickly put to good use by the librarian. All party members received a copy of the new local journal, The Beacon, which Tamlyn began publishing for Fort First Light citizens. The party’s journey was spurred by the information they found in the journal, which describes a local holiday called The Eve of Shadows. Eager to participate in the festivities, the party donned costumes that they purchased from local shops. Dogloth wore a simple cloak, Crunky wore his newly acquired tiger mask, Ruby dressed as Red riding hood, and Even worked dressed as a centaur, and Freezus (I forget what Freezus dressed as. An Icebox?)
The party began the Eve of Shadows at The Broken Barrel, where Even and Freezus regaled the tavern with songs and tales, ultimately forming the band, Killer Carriage. Afterwards, the party began to participate in the tradition of “frightening” others with their costumes in exchange for small treats. The party largely split themselves between the temple of Waukeen and the Ardent Company shop, both of which were handing out potions and small items. Most of the party bluffed their way into receiving multiple items by visiting the locations repeatedly, pretending to be different people who were just wearing the same costumes. Somehow, it worked, and several potions and small items were acquired.
After this, the player’s decided to test their courage at the haunted house on the hill, mentioned in their copies of the Beacon. Legend said that on the Eve of Shadows, the ghosts of the house would stir.
After asking Tamlyn for the exact location, the party took a walk north of town to where the house was. As they ascended the hill, the shadows seemed to grow more solid around them. When they entered the estate, the shadows grew around them, forming the structure of the once magnificent mansion. At the front of the mansion was a large fountain, and as they party approached, the spied the ghostly form of a young elf, who was waving her hands and saying something quietly. Even was able to translate what she was saying from Hakkari, and told the party that she appeared to be blessing the water of the fountain while cursing the house itself. She disappeared as they approached.
The party drank from the clear waters of the fountain, and found them to be unusually sweet. They bottled some of the water, believing it to have magical properties, and made their way into the house. As they entered, they found themselves in a large dining hall, where they say the ghost of a young girl who asked the party if they had seen her sister, before disappearing. Upon investigating the room, the party found human bones in the ashes in the fireplace. They also discovered that the antlers had been removed from the stuffed moose head, bloodied, and then placed on a vandalized altar of Torm at the far end of the room. Even used his bardic knowledge to reveal that bloodied moose antlers are the symbol of Cas, a demigod of spite.
The party made their way through a heavy curtain, which led to the kitchen area. From there, they headed north, into a small tunnel which led to a guard tower. Two ghostly guards attacked, shouting that they were sworn to defend the Brath family. The guards proved to be a difficult fight, and after the first ghost was dissipated, Even cast illusion spells to make it appear as if the little girl from earlier was in the room. This caused the second guard to stop fighting long enough for the party to gain the upper hand and drive him away. The party returned to the kitchen through the tunnel, hearing the bale of hounds from the courtyard outside.
Again in the kitchen, the party investigate the kitchen, where they found a pantry stocked with dry goods. In this pantry was a large dumbwaiter, which was locked. There was also a room under the main stairs here, in which the party found the corpse of a bespectacled youth clutching a wand of owl’s wisdom. As they approached the door to the west, they heard screams coming from within. They screams slowly died away. The door to that room was barred from the party’s side, and when the party opened it, three creatures attacked. The creatures looked like charred corpses that appeared to glow like coals from within. The creatures attacked by grappling party members, and allowing the heat from their bodies to burn the party. Once they were defeated, the party searched the room they had been in.
The room appeared to be a servant’s quarters. It looks as if a card game was being played here. Upon closer inspection, the party noticed that although their were four chairs, five hands of cards had been dealt. They then found a child’s size stool overturned under the table. Next to the stool was a slightly singed toy wolf, which the party took with them.
Having completed their investigation of the lower floor, the party returned to the main hall and made their way upstairs. Once upstairs, the party found themselves in a large hallway containing several doors. A set of glass doors on the left led to a balcony. There were three doors against the north wall. They opened the first, revealing the bloodied ghost of a dwarf who swore at the party and attacked. The party defeated the ghost, and searched the room, revealing architectural plans and a letter which contained the following:
“Mr. Gagrit, while we appreciate the plans you have submitted, I am afraid that we cannot change the architectural plans for Fort First Light at this time. I’m afraid my team has long had our plans approved by the Kingdom, and major construction has begun on Fort First Light, as you are aware. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. – Adrienne Skipsilver”
The party took the plans with them, as well as the two scroll cases they found in the bedroom chest. The next room was a washroom. Glissa inspected the mirror and found a hidden mechanism, which revealed a sliding wall panel, revealing a narrow secret passage way that led to secret doors into each bedrooms and a ladder to the third floor. The party returned to the hallway, where Glissa found another secret door. Entering the room, they found a coffin filled with dirt and containing an eyeless corpse. In the corpses’ heart was a wooden stake. Faced with the first corporeal body in the mansion, the party deduced that the corpse was likely a vampire, and cut its head off to be safe. The corpse turned to dust.
In the next bedroom, the party was attacked by a spectral half orc. The half orc attacked relentlessly, draining strength with his ghost touch. Dogloth was reduced to being feeble-bodied, and would have died had Even not cast invisibility on him to hide him from the ghost. The battle continued for several rounds and left the party weakened. The party healed themselves at the fountain outside and returned to the room, where they discovered several treasure maps in the bedroom chest. Glissa and Even took some time to copy the maps, then burned them, releasing the ghost from the item that bound him to this world. When the maps burned, the ghost appeared and ask that one of the party strike him down to release him. Dogloth struck the ghost down, and as a reward for letting him move on to the next life, Dogloth gained “ghost touch” for his weapon.
The party moved to more rooms to the east, discovering a library. In the library were several scrolls, a curious book called “Rune on Runes,” and several architectural plans that appeared to be final drafts. The party burned these plans, causing the dwarf ghost from earlier to be released from the house, leaving behind a bloody headband.
The next room was a gallery, filled with small statues and several oil paintings. The paintings that largely depicted a regal looking man, a beautiful woman, and two little girls. Someone had gone to each painting and covered the man’s face with blood.
In the master bedroom, the ghost of a woman sat admiring her reflection in the mirror. She asked the party if they thought she looked beautiful, and they said yes. When Glissa spoke, the woman became enraged, and attacked, casting fire spells until she was defeated by the party smashing her mirror. Once the mirror broke, the ghost was released to the next world. The party took the mirror, which allowed them to disguise themselves. In this room, they found the guards’ contracts, which they then burned, releasing the guards into the next world. The guards appeared to thank the party for freeing them, and left them with an enchanted sword and shield. The party also found the dumbwaiter key in the bureau, which they took. Before leaving the third floor, they checked the upper level of the gallery, which contained a broken statue of an elven woman.
The party returned to the first floor and unlocked the dumbwaiter. They took the dumbwaiter all the way down, which seemed as if it was going several stories deep underground. When they stopped, they found themselves in a stone room that contained a iron door with a small grate in it. Looking through the door they saw the flickering of torchlight and what appeared to be jail cells. They heard someone talking, saying:
“What’s that sweetie? No, I don’t think we should go upstairs. There’s so much work left to do here. No, I know Mommy’s up there. It’s the time of year for her to be restless again. But remember how she hurt you? Remember what she did? You’ll be safe with Daddy. Always safe with Daddy. Besides, we have new friends to play with!”
They then heard a second person begging for their life and screaming, only to hear the screams suddenly stop. Even, reacting to what he heard the man say, disguised himself as the little girl from upstairs, then walked into the room. There he saw the cells filled with mangled body parts, tables with corpses on them, two dormant flesh golems, and a handsome man in mages robes with a small, moving, cloth bundle on his back. The man saw Even and ran back to a rear room after activating the golems. One of the golems seemed poorly made and fell apart immediately. Crunky rushed into the room to attack the remaining golem, and Dogloth went into a barbarian rage. Crunky chugged a haste potion and attacked with his greatsword, and Dogloth struck with his axe. Ruby snuck around the golem and hit it with a powerful sneak attack, spilling its guts to the floor. The golem was soon done in. Dogloth rushed to break down the door the mage retreated to, and he broke it down. Ruby heard the mage say “wait, I can help you” and tried to stop Dogloth, but his rage was too great. He struck down the mage, finishing the battle. From the bundle on the mage’s back crawled an undead little girl. She was unable to speak, but the party assumed she was the sister the other girl was looking for. The party took the mute child up to the bedrooms, and took her in to the room where the corpse of the other girl was. Here, the two sisters reunited, and their smiling spirits were released to the beyond, leaving behind their stuffed toys, a wolf and a bear.
The party searched the house for any missed items, then walked back they way they came. As they passed the fountain, they found a unusual silver coin in the spot where they had seen the elven ghost previously.