Remnants of Thassilon

Scary scarecrows, and the new release of an ancient evil

Sheriff Hemlock introduces the rusty coven to the exhausted farmer who had just arrived in Sandpoint telling a fantastic tale of scarecrows coming alive and eating everyone (and their dog). If it wasn’t for the recent evidence of ghoulish activity in the area, the rusties might have been inclined to dismiss the man as a drunk confusing old folk songs with reality. But in light of what they had just learned at Habes sanitarium it seems clear that the nearby farmhouses are in dire need of help.

Wasting no time, the heroes set off to Henly’s place, the last known whereabouts of trouble. Dharma and Olga ride together, followed by Squall and Helia on Kaielea’s horse. The swashbuckling captain herself is on foot, slowing down everyone but not by much.

With all their haste, night has fallen by the time the heroes make it to the outskirts of Henly’s farm. It is dark, and the only way to the farmhouse is through narrow pathways between tall bushels of corn. The rusties make their way in, nervous but hurried, led by Olga who knows every second count if they are not already too late. Suddenly they come upon a gruesome scene. What looked like a mundane scarecrow, turns out on closer inspection to be a body, tied to a post and showing signs of violence. Olga rushes forward to check his vitals, and as she does the figure lets out a shriek and jumps down from the post to attack her. It is too late, the poor farmer is ghoulified beyond recognition. Dharma rides forward, Epona almost knocking the terrified dwarf out of the way, and separates the undead from its head.

The party make their way through the corn fields towards the farmhouse, occasionally encountering undead scarecrows, who manage to bring out a grim mood even if they don’t present much of a challenge to the experienced fighters. Shortly, the heroes arrive in view of the farmhouse, and a large barn. They proceed to the barn, led by Olga, who is wondering if there are any survivors who are not too far gone. Dharma follows Olga, wondering if the poor farmers’ souls can be brought peace by destroying their undead remains. Kaielea follows Dharma, wondering if the poor farmers’ possessions can be brought peace by selling them to people who can still use them. Squall follows Kaielea, wondering if the ghouls are a threat to the field mice and fruit flies in the area. Helia brings up the rear, wondering why they are all wasting time and energy trying to help people who are not her.

The barn is dark and empty. Unless one counts the random body parts strewn about, remains of a ghoul’s dinner. They heroes move on to the farmhouse. They hesitate at the front door, but only for a second. Olga cries out to the occupants, identifying the party as a rescue force from Sandpoint, but no answer comes from inside. They enter the house and begin to search the bedrooms when four ghouls jump from behind cover and attack. Most of them are easily dispatched, but one proves to be more a more stubborn kind of ghoul, and Keliea and Olga spend a few terrifying seconds completely paralyzed by the creatures rancid touch and staring death, literally, in the face. The nasty creature is finally dispatched with missiles, both magical and mundane, and good old fashioned steel.

The stubborn ghoul is dressed differently then the rest. On his body they find a key, marked by the symbol of a noble house. A search of the upstairs room finds no survivors, but they do find the body of Henly the farmer, and recover a small plain key from his person. A blood trail leading from the back door to the barn explains the fate of the rest of the Henly family.

The heroes continue to search the corn fields, finding more ghouls and, to everyone surprise, even two survivors. Both men are clearly infected with the ghoul fever, but father Zantos is able to cure them, when he arrives on the scene a few hours later. He also identifies the heraldic symbol on the key they found. It is the crest of the Foxglove family, whose rich descendant Aldern is rumored to be working on restoring the family manor in the area. He is also rumored to have, at one point, pursued the lovely Dharma romantically, although she claims ignorance of such matters.

The party returns to Sandpoint with the grim news of the massacre at Henly’s place, and a suspicious involvement of the noble Foxgloves. Messengers are dispatched to warn all farms in the area, and a brave messenger rides to request Foxglove’s honorable presence to Sandpoint.

Bored and greedy, the rusty coven decides to take a day trip to the old goblin fort to see if they can get past that mysterious golden statue. After performing some mysterious magic on the thing, Hellia informs them that it is a secret door. One that can be opened by inserting a coin to a slot.

Inside, they find a couple of rooms with implements of torture and various body parts. They also come across a ghostly apparition, repeating some cliched rousing war speech ad noseum. Everyone is very surprised by all this.

The last door is locked with a mysterious mechanism. It is also held closed by magic which is too strong to overcome, despite Olga’s best efforts. But when they finally think of searching the rubble in the torture room, the heroes find a key that will clearly fit the bill.

Apprehensive but greedy, the rusty coven open the locked chamber and look inside. The large room is empty, save for some magical candles in the corners, am eerie fire pit in the middle, and a large carving of the Sahidron symbol on the south wall.

When Kaielea moves around the room, she feels, more then hears, a swift creature moving about. She then hears magical words, followed by more common ones: “They want to hurt me. You are my only friend, you must protect me from them!”

Sensing that something is wrong, Hellia cast an impressive spell into the room. It looks very similar to the one used to find coin slots in hidden doors, but this one also blinds Kailea. Meanwhile, Squall transforms herself in to a big lizardlike animal, and Olga creates an extradimensional pit in the corner of the room where the invisible foe is presumed to be hiding. Hearing a thump, Hellia casts the coin slot spell again, into the pit, and this time the cloud of golden particles settles on a the shape of a large wolf-like creature – the demon Malefeshnekor.

The stunned Rusties watch as the barghest floats up from the pit, and then blinks out of existence only to appear behind them all, next to the exit. They all try valiantly to delay the demon, but Malefeshnekor has had enough of that place. He jumps and bites and blinks through anything they throw at him, and in a moment is out of sight, heading for the surface.

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