The Lorrimor Legacy

6: Monumental desecrations
The Haunting of Harrowstone

With Kendra and lunch arrives Beija Thorus, a gimp Gnome touched by the spirits of the dead and here to repay her debt to the deceased professor. While they eat lunch the ladies are brought up to speed, and when Kendra takes her leave Beija trades places with Luna for escorting her home while the rest spend the rest of the day (and half the night) researching the remaining three prisoners they know so little about.

It is nearly midnight when they stop, but the only additional clues they find relate to the Piper of Illmarsh and his modis operandi. To placate Aaron Narsius dispatches his pet flaming skeleton, discovering the hard way that they explode when destroyed. Though they are merely injured, the paperwork is set alight and they are forced to flee.

Back at the house, they begin readying for bed. Kendra scolds them, having waited up with worry, and sets off for the kitchen when a knock at the door rouses concern. Before she can be stopped, the innocent Beija opens the door and is nearly struck hard by the undead corpse of Professor Lorrimor himself! Everyone is shocked, and Kendra & Beija give out little screams, but few spot the nervous twitch or gleam of madness slipping into the edge of Narsius’ eye. Before their mentor turned zombie can do harm though, Narsius brings the mindless corpse under his control. After some argument it is agreed that the Professor must be escorted back to his grave and reintured by Narsius, while Aaron runs ahead to get Father Harrowgrim to oversee things.

As they are heading out, however, Nisca spots lights gathering down at the town square, then advancing in their direction, so they send Narsius out the back way with his undead charge. They then head out to distract the arriving Sheriff Caeller and his deputies, who had come out to investigate the screams. Kendra and the others persuade them she had had a fit of histaria from a nightmare, and after they have taken their leave Aaron hustles to the church while the rest head off to catch up with Narsius.

They soon find Narsius, standing alone and seemingly stupefied on the southern bridge. After a few frustrating minutes he comes to with no recollection of what happened. Desperate to track down the missing professor, Ozric leads them on the first, most recent tracks he can find leading away from the bridge, which in turn takes them further south along the river… to the Harrowstone Monument. As they approach Nisca’s nose catches the sent of blood on the rain-swept wind, and her Dhampyr nature spurs her on, but also gives them warning that something ahead is freshly dead.

But instead of the professor they find Gibs, the leader of the rabble that had disrupted the professor’s burial. Dressed only in his nightcap and gown, with bloody razor in hand and a dead dog at his feet, he screams “you shan’t stop our escape! She WILL die again!” as he charges! The old soldier proves almost more than they can handle, but they manage to subdue him, noting that he had added an “S” in dog’s blood to the “VE” already there just as they’d arrived. Dragging him back to the town jail and filling Caeller in on the facts as they saw them, the Sheriff agrees to lock him up and bring this issue before the Town Counsel at the meeting the following night, recommending they come as well.

Meanwhile, Aaron had been banging on the church door when he spotted a shadowy figure lurching into the Restlands, and had sprinted after. He had almost caught up with the figure, and managed to identify it as the zombie Professor, when another zombie burst out of a nearby grave and pummels him into unconsciousness.

When the rest of the gang arrives, they find Father Harrowgrim leaving the Restlands, the unconscious Aaron on a stretcher, and hear of how he had been found & rescued by the recently awakened Acolytes. Narsius and company bring the Father up to speed, and so all return to the Professor’s grave, where – following Narsius’ last instructions – the Professor’s body patiently waits. Giving the Paladin healing for his injuries in Pharasma’s service, Harrowgrim sends them home to get some much needed rest and to tend to their injuries from this busy night.

The following day, while Beja tends to the injured and Aaron tidies up the Lorrimor place, Nisca heads into town to chat with Sheriff Caeller. The Sheriff is out, however, off investigating claims of the recently conscious Gibs that he has no recollection of being out last night and his accusation that they must have set on him while he slept at his home and are trying to frame him for their own crimes.

As she is heading back, she notes there seems to be a slight change of attitude amongst the populace of Ravengro. The son of the owner of the Laughing Demon calls out to her, telling her tht she should bring the rest of the gang by for a round of free drinks. At the General Store they give her a free mince pie to take back to feed her injured friends. Word is out about Gibs capture, caught red-handed mutilating Old Samson, the town mongrel, to desecrate the Harrowstone Monument, and the locals appreciate what the gang has done for them.

Back at the Lorrimor place, while Narsius is away taking confessional with Father Harrowgrim, the gang decides to pull out the planchette and use it to talk to what spirits their may be lurking about the Lorrimor home. After asking the spirits what is animating the dead, the bronze device jerks to life and drags their hands through each number until settling on the number 5. Thinking it through leads to only one conclusion, the five notorious prisoners of Harrowstone they keep hearing about must be behind these dangerous hauntings…

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5: Haunted Doorways
The Haunting of Harrowstone

It is the morning of the 6th of Gozran when again the company (consisting of Nisca, Narsius, Lune, Aaron & Ozric) sets out. First they visit with the local smith, a surly old dwarf by the name of Jorfa, and Aaron manages to persuade her to give him a discount on repairing his sword. She takes enough of a liking to him she proves willing not only to cut them a break (which still leaves them broke), but tells them a little about the town’s early days and shows them the magic rapier & shield she has hidden for “special customers.” Until the work is done (in about a week, the smith states), Aaron contents himself with the Executioner’s Scythe as his primary weapon.

Agreeing to meet up with Kendra again for lunch in the prision courtyard, they head up to Harrowstone. Rather than pick up where they left off, they decide to scout the parameter of the Prison itself, and find that the foundations are covered in Varisian runes splattered with blood, runes only a few weeks old. The name of Warden Hawkran keeps popping up, leading Narsius to wonder if whomever is defacing his memorial in town might not also be behind this.

On the far side of the prison they find a cesspit that Aaron insists on investigating, but outside of scaring some rats and making himself sick & stinky, little is found to interest the expedition. While Aaron is washing up at the nearby murky lake eating up a corner of the building & much of the courtyard, the party is nearly taken by surprise by a trinity of skeletons, which they dispatch through spells and bullets in short order. Narcius is especially pleased when the skeleton now under his control bursts into flames and wanders about as his own personal human torch.

Heading back around and through the main entrance the gang is dismayed when they are separated from Narsius’ new toy after sending him down a hall, only to have all the doors close at once, trapping them in the foyer. After several attempts at breaking free and having more doors shut & seal themselves from them, Nisca discerns that an undead spirit of some sort is responsible, so they trigger it again and Narsius dispels it (at least temporarily) and they exit to rejoin the ever-burning bone-man. The corridor proves to give access to several offices, and a treasure-trove of prison-records. They spend the time until Kendra arrives with lunch organizing and reading files, eventually finding out names and details about the Loper & the Splatter Man. Hearing Kendra calling, they head out, only to find themselves again trapped by the doors. Nisca mentions recollections of similar haunts that lurked in her mother’s castles back in Celiphias to Narsius, who pulls out a vial of holy water with which he sprinkles the foyer. THAT seems to do the trick!

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4: The Piper of Illmarsh
The Haunting of Harrowstone

Rejoined & refreshed by Kendra, Luna & a picnic lunch, Aaron & Ursus redouble their efforts to break down the door and it breaks under their methodical and patent exertions a half-an-hour later. Leaving Ursus & Kendra outside on the headsman’s balcony (to “keep Kendra safe…” and give Ursus a chance to rest), the rest of the company heads in.

Not long after they begin their exploration of the West Wing prison-cells several amongst them hear a strange piping noise, followed by the surprise onslaught of over half-a-dozen Skeletons. Ishara is so startled she runs wildly away, and right into the midst of the nearby cafeteria, startling a nest of Stirges who proceed to attack & feed. Nisca also looses her nerve and flees briefly, while Narcius finds himself entranced by the music, paralyzed as he sees the ominous advance of the phantom piper – if not for the fast action of Aaron dragging him to safety, he might have been overwhelmed by the skeletal hoard.

Though thrown into disarray as they fight on so many fronts, the party manages to rally, with Ozric & Luna running to Ishara’s aid to drive off or kill the stirges. Narcius shakes off the stupor he was trapped in once out of the west wing, and – despite sudden multiple perforations from unseen forces invokes his necromantic gifts to take control of several of the attacking skeletons. By the time the others have rallied to his aid, the Corpse Mage has over half the undead under his control and they manage to destroy what he does not master in short order. But as Nisca overcomes her fear to return to lend a hand, the piping begins again. Kendra races in behind her and shouts to Ishara to run forward and activate the Haunt Siphons, and between the two of them and their magics the Piping is quelled.

Retreating back to the Lorrimor House to recuperate & lick their wounds, the next three days are spent fighting off filth fever while doing research and chatting up the locals in hopes of finding out more about the mysterious Piper of Illmarsh (the source they have deduced for their harrowing troubles up at the prison). While little information relating to that seems forthcoming (the Town Hall refuses to give them access to their records, as does the church, and little can be found on the topic in the libraries of the Lorrimor House or the Unfurled Scroll), they do discover the local children know an interesting rhyme that obviously hints of the five prisoners’ proclivities, and hear an interesting story from the local Apocithary of how the warden’s wife supposedly still haunts Harrowstone. Ishara gets quite excited to find the Unfurled Scroll holds a Manual covering the construction of Flesh Golems, but conversely (and more relevantly) Aaron discovers a second letter (“E”) has appeared on the Warden’s monument outside of town.

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1-3: Our story so far...
The Haunting of Harrowstone
Part 1: The last will and testament of Professor Petros Lorrimor.

Our heroes filter in over the last few days of Pharast and begin as Pallbearers, carrying their former friend and mentor in his coffin into the Restlands. Aaron, Ishara, Lune, Ozric, Narsius & Ursus all take a poll, while Nisca walks ahead providing comfort to Professor Lorrimor’s daughter Kendra. Behind trail a small collection of local friends, including the local tavern-keeper & a number of local councilmen, none of whom prove very useful when the processional finds it’s way blocked by an unruly mob.

Led by Gibs, a disgruntled veteran, the mob is outraged that a “necromancer” such as Prof. Lorrimor might be buried in Pharasma’s graveyard, and Osric, Narcius and Luna’s attempt to calm them down only outrage them further (“let these freaks & foreigners tell us who can & can’t be buried in our backyard? Never!”), but they are put to route when Nisca draws herself up to her full, aristocratic height and puts the fear of their betters in them before any real damage to either side is done. Only one is taken, falling early on to Ishara’s sleeping magic, and he gets to hear Father Grimburrow’s full lecture himself when the elderly priest arrives to be properly shocked by the mob’s scandalous behavior.

The precessional reformed, they continue on to put the Professor in the ground, and as the service concludes, each of his old friends says a few words, sharring their memories of the dead man who has brought them all here. Later, they reconvene to listen to the will at the Lorrimor home, where they continue to get to know his daughter Kendra better, as well as each-other, had find out the details of the Professor’s demise. Councilman Vashan arrives to present the will, informing them all that while Kendra inherits the majority of the Professor’s affairs, he has left them with 100PP each, presuming they can watch over his daughter for a month and deliver some library books back to the Lepidstadt University at the end of that time. After the Councilman leaves, Kendra pulls out the collection of books, and they find the Professor has left to them his Journal as well. The Journal holds many curious hints, not the least of which seems to be suggestions that the Whispering Way had come to Ravengro with a sinister interest in the old Harrowstone prison, that he had visited a hidden catch left behind by Pharasmian ghost hunters before he died, and that these and other factors may have led to his death.

Part 2: Crimes not Forgotten.

The next morning is spent arguing while dealing with hangovers from the wake the night before, and much of that argument revolves about how to spend the next month. In discussing what they’d learned the night before, Aaron & Narsius prove veritable founts of lore regarding the history of Harrowstone (and it’s five last, most famous prisoners) & the Whispering Way. In the end, Kendra shows Nisca around town while Osric & Luna reconnoiter the Restlands, Narsius & Aaron wander up to look at the Harrowstone walls, and Ursus & Ishara sleep in.

At the Restlands, Luna’s Eildolon is spooked by finding her mistress’ name on a gravestone dating 50 years ago, but the words vanish before she can draw attention to it. Osric & Luna find the mausoleum wherein the ghost-hunting gear is supposedly hidden & note the lock is already rusted & broken before returning to join the others.

Everyone meets back at the town square before retiring for lunch at the Laughing Demon. After another rousing debate of etiquette vs. expediency, Aaron persuades them to talk to Father Grimburrow to seek permission to retrieve the ghost-hunting cache from the Mausoleum. THe Father proves reluctant, but he reluctantly agrees once Nisca weighs in and provides some assurances that she will provide oversight. Except for a brief bout of trouble with some centipedes thinking of them as potential snacks, the Party retrieves the gear with little trouble. While everyone else returns to the Lorrimor house so Kendra can figure out what their treasure is and what it can do, Luna drops by the church to update the Father on what they found and has a strange encounter with ghostly wagon-tracks heading up to Harrowstone. Back at the house, Ishara notes that the symbol on the box containing the spirit planchette is the same as on one of the books in the chest they’ve agreed to take to Lepidstadt – the seal of the Palatine Eye.

Part 3: Strange days in Ravengro.

The following day they find Sheriff Caeller at their door with a couple of deputies, asking their whereabouts two nights before. Turns out the Harrowstone Monument to all those who died in the fire 50 years back had been vandalized. Kendra vouches for their alibi, and the Shriff takes his leave, but leaving their curiosity piqued. After spreading around the gear recovered from the previous night’s excursions, the gang follows Kendra to the Monument, where they find a large “V” scrawled in blood at it’s base. Recent rains has washed away any tracks though, Osric discovers. Sending Kendra back to the safety of the house with Luna and Ursus for company, they push on for Harrowstone.

As they enter the prison grounds Osric scouts ahead, only to fight off an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia and the sensation of being on fire, a condition that disorients him only momentarily. After nearly a half-an-hour turns up nothing searching the smaller of the two buildings on the prison grounds, they are re-joined by Ursus and head up to explore the outer wall, upsetting a massive rat’s nest in the process. Fighting off the swarming rodents, they find little of interest and head back down and across to stairs leading up to the westernmost balcony of the Prison proper. While Ishara works on unlocking the door to the second floor, a scythe is lifted up from a nearby block of stone by two skeletal hands and attacks! Nisca puzzles out that this was once Harrowstone’s place of execution, and the scythe the tool thereby – not that useful, but a marvelous distraction from the sunlight finally pushing out from behind the clouds. Working together they manage to alternately wrestle it to the ground or otherwise distract it enough for Narcius to batter the haunt away with his magics. The lock proves too hard for Ishara, so Aaron & Ursus set about struggling to batter it in…

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