Rise of the Warlock King

A Mystery in Lanarell: Chapter Eleven

About The Golden Star.

Following their trying night and early morning, the heroes have a satisfying, though not quite as sumptuous as is usual, breakfast before setting out early to the Lanarell City Hall for their appointment with Lord Finthastle. They arrive at the city hall before he does and so they end up waiting for him. When he does arrive he initially ignores them (despite Hoatzin’s attempt to ascertain his identity) for ten minutes before they can go in and see him.

Upon meeting him, the heroes almost immediately realize that Lord Finthastle is full of himself. They settle in and ask him about the ownership of The Golden Star and he lets them know that, with the right payments to cover “administrative costs” he can help them. They agree to these “administrative costs” and he goes to retrieve the appropriate volume of city records. He returns after some twenty minutes had passed and reads to them from the leather bound volume of city records that pertains to the neighbourhood of The Golden Star. After some reading he informs them that the current owner of The Golden Star is Lord Roxin, who purchased the inn a little over a year ago.

With nothing more to be learned from the records they leave Lord Finthastle and the Lanarell City Hall, though they do enquire with the head clerk as to where Lord Roxin lives. The head clerk tells them that Lord Roxin has an estate outside the city, about an hour’s ride south down the Trayal Road. They thank him for this information and then leave.

The heroes decide to return to the estate to ask Eleanor about Lord Roxin. She confirms where he lives and also mentions that he doesn’t come into town very much. She relates what little she knows about him and his standing: he is an older (human) man, the member of a moderately powerful family that is based in and around Feneris; his family came to Lanarell and bought some lands, mainly for farms and the esate, some 60 years ago.

Around this time Nortrix also decides at this time to get the opinion of the common folk about Lord Roxin, so he visits a nearby tavern’s common room and spends some time subtly asking questions. He finds out little that they didn’t already know, but he does learn that apparently there is a yearly party held out at the Roxin Estate (though not for a few months).

Unsure about travelling off to visit the innocuous sounding Lord Roxin, the heroes decide to drop in to have another look at The Golden Star. Upon arriving they immediately notice a foul smell, which they soon discern is emanating from the kitchens. While Grax and Kysmer approach from the hallway, Hoatzin, Kara and Nortrix creep through the bar area. Simultaneously they flung open the two doors that lead into the kitchen to find two foul looking, half rotted corpse standing there. The corpses let out a shriek, indicating that they are undead, and move to attack, though they are preceded by the horrendous stench that they were creating. So bad was this stench that Kara found herself severely sickened. Grax proceeded to summon forth some holy light to try and keep the creatures at bay (to limited success) while the others tried their best to destroy them. After a tense but short-lived battle the two filthy ghasts (as Kara identified them as) lay destroyed.

Cautiously the heroes then re-searched the entire inn to see if there were any other changes. Although Kysmer was able to find some evidence of tracks leading from a nearby sewer entrance to the inn (possibly indicating where the ghasts had come from) they found no other signs of disturbance. Nonetheless they all headed off to the main guard garrison and reported their encounter to Captain Karath, who was very thankful. He didn’t know why the two ghasts would have been at the inn, but he did dispatch some guards to take care of the bodies.

From there they headed back to the estate and had lunch. While there Rag’azzahd updated them on his progress. The journal made mention of searching through the catacombs and recovering a receptacle, though several helpers were apparently lost to the “followers of the spider”. Further, the journal mentions receiving a gift from “The Teacher”, an exquisite shadow blade. Rag’azzahd explains that shadow blades are said to have been made in ancient Qeth, forged from pure darkness by magic long lost. He also mentions that he thinks it will only take him about one day more to complete translating the journal.

Following luncheon the heroes decided to visit Priest Lorith once more to see what he might know about ghasts and to see if the new information they had about the “Ritual of Calling” might be enough for him to figure out what was going on. On their way to visit him Kara purchases some pastries to share with the kind and friendly priest. Luckily they find Priest Lorith available and are able to see him straight away. While they sit enjoying the pastries and drinking hot tea they discuss what they have found. Knowing that the ritual requires a receptacle doesn’t help Priest Lorith determine anything new about what the summoner is working towards. At mention of the “followers of the spider”, whom he identifies as Spider Cultists, he does go and refer to a couple of his books. In one text, Beneath Lanarell (the sequel to the ever popular Beneath Feneris and Beneath Respite) the author refers to encountering Spider Cultists in a vast cavern system off the catacombs. Lorith is quick to point out, however, that this book is highly fanciful and was written for the mass market. No one has ever been able to reliably prove that the Spider Cultists even exist, let alone that they have a presence beneath Lararell. When the heroes ask more about the Spider Cultists he reluctantly adds that they (if they even exist) are believed to venerate an ancient goddess of spiders and caves, known only as the Spider Goddess.

When the heroes then relate that they have also just encountered ghasts in The Golden Star, Priest Lorith is quite agitated. While he admits that undead may exist beneath the surface of the city, as there are apparently many sewers, catacombs and natural caverns down there, he finds it almost unthinkable that these creatures would try to force their way into the light.

Before they leave to return to the Alvenwoad Estate the heroes learn from Priest Lorith the location of the entrance to the catacombs, which is south of the river in Lanarell.

Back at the estate they discuss the merits of visiting Lord Roxin or venturing into the catacombs to confront the Spider Cultists and ghasts. It was decided that the following morning would be a better time to investigate the dark dank places beneath the city and so they all had an early night.

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