Project Dolphin

S2: Investigation in Maple

After delivering baby Aladdin in Thorn, the party sets off for a small village known as Maple, which Lord Benegard indicated might be the epicenter of a series of unusual disappearances. Upon the party’s arrival in Maple, they notice a Cuthbertine soldier speaking to the Nightwatch and the party overhears that he is bearing news for Ulfang AEthelwulf. The party sneaks by the guards and enters the local tavern. Ulfang immediately begins investigating the disappearances by asking Mister Samson, the head of the local Nightwatch and the deputy of the Sheriff of Hondar. Samson indicates that the women disappeared without a struggle, as if they walked out of town on their own volition. All of the women were young, single, and beautiful. While discussing the investigation with Samson, the party is approached by a halfling member of the Nightwatch named Gared Lightwalker. He suggests that the party speaks to Catherine, a poor woman on the edge of town, whose daughter is of marrying-age. In addition, Gared hands Ulfang a note from his brother indicating that he should head to Hondar to report on his findings in the Ravine. The party thanks the halfling and departs for Catherine’s house.

Catherine indicates that her daughter, Felicia, is infatuated with a local scribe named Martin Laudet, who lives in a cottage not far from the village. The party speaks with Felicia and decides to investigate his cottage. They ride up to his cottage and notice immediately that a wizard’s raven familiar is masquerading among a murder of crows. Tipped off by the unusual sight, the party sneaks up to the house. Ulfang takes the lead while Kazuo and Byrne hide in the forest nearby. Ulfang is invited inside by Martin, who appears kindly and smart. They converse about a variety of topics before Martin goes outside to fetch some herbs for his tea. While alone in the house, Ulfang opens a locked door and discovers a gruesome scene. Once the door was opened, Martin and his familiar are alerted to the intrusion and they prepare to attack. Martin returns to the house and pretends to be ignorant of the intrusion while he casts Summon Monster II. Once his earth element attacks Bryne in the woods, the ruse is over and the fighting begins. Martin is killed in combat with the party.

The party searches his house for evidence. In the locked room, they discover women who are bound and gagged, kept in bird cages. One has had her arm severed off, presumably upon a stone altar at the center of the room. Upon their search, the party inadvertently opens a drawer in the altar containing 4 animated severed left hands and 1 inanimate left hand. The hands attack, clawing the party, before being defeated. Under the final hand is a small alchemical silver dagger.

The party leaves the scene and returns the women to town. Samson suggests that the party reports their findings to a committee in Hondar and Gared Lightwalker reveals that he is a worshiper of Pelor. Gared indicates that if they need any help, he’d be glad to be of service to a good cause. They escort Mary back to Thorn before making their way back through Maple and into Hondar.

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The Adventure Begins

Our intrepid adventurers first gathered at the final resting place of Chief Vindicator Mumford, following his famed Grand Funeral Tour ‘42. Ulfang AEthelwulf, a Warden of the Woods, Byrne Maerncas, an oathbreaker, and Kazuo Ushigome, a devilishly handsome foreigner, had all come for their own reasons, but were soon united by trouble on the road. Spotting a pair of wounded travelers being interrogated by Order members, the trio opted to investigate. While Byrne’s brand went thankfully unspotted, Ulfang’s personality was more than sufficient to put the men into a bad mood. After a healthy dose of petty squabbling, it was determined that the Order had no intention to infringe on the Wardens’ jurisdiction in the first place, and Ulfang headed for the woods with his new companions in tow.

In the woods, Ulfang followed the tracks left by the caravan’s attackers and soon, a large wolf. Upon arriving at the scene, however, it was discovered to be a massacre. The raider’s bodies were stacked like kindling, and the only survivor was a mysterious pregnant woman, covered in blood. The party made haste to exit the area, whilst Kazuo, the only one smart enough not to dismiss his horse, lent it to the hysterical woman. Soon, it became clear they were being stalked. The enormous wolf whose track’s Ulfang had spotted emerged from the brush, surprisingly nonthreatening in the way only giant wolves can be. Before the meeting went any further, however, a negro pygmy Kazuo had discovered up a tree leapt down, beheaded the creature, and fled. Slightly confused, the party departed the forest with a bit of wolfmeat, and found their horses grazing at the forest’s edge.

Continuing on to Maplethorp Thorn, the trio headed directly for the local tavern, relying upon the bartender’s unique exposure to help identify the woman. He soon declared her to be Sara, a gyspy woman that had passed through town a scant few months ago. After both the bartender and Fyszus, the Celestine scholar Ulfang befriended at the funeral, allayed the party’s fears of nefarious parentage, the woman soon went into labor. Ulfang assisted in the birth, Kazuo stood awkwardly by with a bucket of water, and Byrne went gloveshopping before having a drink. Though the child was well, the mother perished, and the party left the town to follow Ulfang’s heathen traditions and bury her near the woods. A short while into the burial, they were attacked by a trio of reavers. Though they were quickly dispatched, reinforcements were not far behind. Ulfang and Kazuo fought bravely, and Byrne shot Kazuo in the hand. It totally wasn’t cool.

DM Addition: While at CV Mumford’s Estate, the part was alerted by Lord Benegard that women have been disappearing in the area. He suggested to Byrne that he should investigate a town called Maple. While in the small hamlet of Thorn, a bartender alerted the party to a strange nobleman who arrived a few weeks ago. He claimed to be on a quest to find his princess. He cited omens that she would be the most beautiful women in the small village. He befriended a girl named Mary, convinced her to marry him, and they left never to be seen again. Thorn is NOT the town originally suggested by Lord Benegard; perhaps the same nobleman is behind the disappearances there too.

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