The party ended session 3 in the back of Father Young‘s wagon along with former Sheriff Bartl’by and the captured cabalist. Afraid to return to his house, Father Young took the adventurers to an isolated temple on the beach a few miles outside of Hondar. The party interrogated the their captive for information.
The Cabalist appears to be in his mid-twenties, tall, hairless, and has tribal tattoos all over his body. Interestingly, he also appears to have the brand of the Wardens upon his shoulder. He was a Warden, while working for the Cult. The Cult had him keep an eye on/protect Mumford during the expeditions. When the Mumford Massacre occured, he escaped.
The Cabalist claims that he has no fear of death, which is a good thing for him because he’s dead either way. His masters can track his every move, and they will hunt him down and kill him now that he was taken prisoner. He jokes that they’re probably on their way now.
He doesn’t give specifics, but he mentions that things are worse than we could ever fathom.
Why were you in the morgue? Cleaning up someone else’s mess. People up the chain of command forget the basics of sublety; they’re out of practice.
Who? I don’t know. Some mage, most likely. I’ve never seen a rogue cut down a block of ice that thick.
What did you want with the body? Again, someone else’s mess. I was to take the body out of the freezer and to dispose of it.
And the dragonscale? I was told that if I am ever caught, I am as good as dead. The dragonscale was the honorable and easy death. Now I get to look forward to having my insides eaten by ravens. If I’m lucky.
What kind of cult is it? You know, death, magic, money, power. Cult stuff? Aren’t all cults the same? (smile)
How’d you join the cult? I was approached by the cult when I was mortally wounded in the middle of reaver territory. They told me that they could save me, but that all of my allies would have to die. It was really an easy choice.
What do they have you do? Thuggish work, really. I’m not adept enough to be kept in the loop on what’s really going on. I clean up messes; I am the fall guy. As you can plainly see. But don’t get me wrong, I’m a bad man who has made some bad choices. I’ve had my share of murder, rape, kidnapping. The whole 9 yards. I’m looking forward to death – to some rest.
Look, what I can tell you is that these mages do not rely solely on the magic that we know. They draw power from the darkest recesses of your psyche, your nightmares and fantasties, as well as from the leylines. If you want to confront them, prepare to confront yourself.
Not much more was revealed before the captive began maniacally laughing. He could feel the presence of his dark masters and, sure enough, they arrived. Kazuo was the first party member to feel an evil psionic presence, but within moments the entire landscape transformed for everyone. The sand became white, powdery bone; the water became thick and blood red; the columns of the temple transformed into twitching pillars of flesh and teeth; and the comet on the horizon erupted with flames. The sands gave way beneath them and turned into a vortex. From the sands, a vile abomination of body parts emerged – twisting and convulsing as it climbed its way out of the ground. Although Byrne put a few arrows into its heap of flesh, it did not appear hurt. Within moments, the mound of body parts began to form familiar, yet perverted shapes. Three figures came out of the vortex: 1) a slender, naked Rokugani female with hair down to her ankles. She had sharp teeth and a projectile tongue. 2) a hulking warrior in full-plate armor with blonde hair and a bushy beard. He wielded a massive great maul. 3) a barrel-chested old man with sagging features and dead eyes. He wielded a smith’s hammer. Each of the monsters attacked the party but were quelled, but not before killing the captive.
After some time to gather their wits, the adventurers hatched a plan. Father Young and Sheriff Bartl’by left together for a secret Union of Light base of operations. Father Young needed to report the findings to his superiors. He encouraged the party to continue investigating and to avoid suspicion of Bartl’by’s escape. He suggested heading to the outpost city of Landerwood because the judge has recently been killed and replaced there. He suspected that if the cult had anything to do with the sheriff of Hondar, they might be vying for power in other political positions in Aerna. Father Young promised to get in touch with the party when he knew more.
The party returned to Hondar and slept in the inn. They were awoken the next morning by Ulfang, who had been convening with a legal commission. They decided that there could be some correlation between the events in the bloody ravine (the three-clawed victims) and the rogue wizard [[S2: Investigation in Maple | Martin Laudet]] (his alchemical silver knife). There were reports of a werewolf siting in a town called Aegyern, to the west of Saint’s Rest. The commission dispatched an elite team of Vindicators to investigate.
The party decided to leave Hondar and to head towards Aegyern before hitting Landerwood. Aegyern was a small, fortified town at the bottom of a small valley. (Think Refuge Point of Arathi Highlands.) Therein they met the Vindicators, a specialized group of Occult Slayers named the Ghosthunters, and the town leaders. One magister in particular seemed very uncomfortable around the leader of the Ghosthunters. Once the party was alone with the Magister, he confided in them that he knows Fyssis the Astronomer and that he is in desperate need of their help. The werewolf sightings are accurate, but a werewolf was not the cause of the slaughtered peasants; the Magister himself is the wereworlf, who went out to investigate the disappearances and was discovered by the Night Watch. Now they think he did it and want the werewolf’s head mounted on a pike. He implored the party to go into the woods and find the real culprit.
The party was accompanied by the Ghosthunters to a fork in the road. One direction led to the sight of the most recent slaughter, where evidence could be gathered. Another direction led to a nearby cave complex where the werewolf was rumored to reside. The party chose to investigate the caves and came upon a ravine in a thick woods. At the center of the ravine was mighty tree, half-felled by a gargantuan obsidian great-axe with glowing orange runes. The tree was guarded by a corrupted dryad, presumably corrupted from the evil of the weapon. She was also accompanied by brachiating Reavers and two horned devils. Combat was intense, but the party ultimately won and retrieved the axe and the devil corpses. The party is now en route back to Aegyern.