Gloop Monsters and Meenlocks

Spy Master,

Xanathar gets his mine back. Well, if they convince anyone to go back there. The ghosts are probably still hanging around. But we cleared out the mine. The whole town was full of ghosts who kept showing us dead people, or people dying. Red got real mad at the ghosts, I wonder what they showed him.

There were gloopy monsters that kept splitting when we hit them. Nevi said they were puddings, but they didn’t taste good. Must have gotten left out too long. Then there were bad faeries from the shadows. Nevi said they’re mean locks. Like warlocks or something? But he said it’s spelled Meenlock. They were very mean though. They killed everyone in the town, or they were everyone from the town? I’m not sure, but one had the mayor’s signet ring, so maybe both? They’re gone now though. We took care of them.

We took some stuff from the town and the mine, though. Red divided up the spoils, so I included some of that for you. Is this how it’s supposed to work? Are things okay for everyone now? Winter seems pretty quiet in the city.


Rats, Bats, Wolves, and Ghosts

Spy Master,

Red says I’m supposed to give you money whenever I do big jobs. I don’t understand, but you always take care of me, so it makes sense to pay you back. I helped the Big Guy with a job, but I don’t think we got paid for that. There were some wererats bothering some of the city guard at their tavern in the field ward, so Orange yelled at them to go away. Orange can be real scary, so they stayed away after that.

Red has a new job for us. He says that Xanathar used to have a platinum mine up north, but it went dry, or quiet, or something. Wants Red to go up, clear it out, and reclaim it for him. Red heard that there was an explosion in the mine, and missing villagers. Something about a creeping darkness. It’s a long trip, but everybody agrees to go along. Winter in Waterdeep is boring.


Journal Notes

Thomas and his family are really nice. They took us up the river.

Nevi seems to like the Serafin druid person. They talk about how to get to Maren.

Some dire wolves got hungry, but we scared them away with lots of fire.

We stayed at a place called the Bored Weasel. Lucas used to live near the mine. He lost his wife there. He says Astrovorn might give us good directions or a map. Asks us to put flowers on his wife’s grave for him. Astrovorn sells those, too. Says there’s a pendant in the tree by the mayor’s house that we can have if we do this for him.

Astrovorn has a really pretty shop for the middle of winter. I wanted to buy flowers but everyone was in a hurry.

I don’t like mountain blizzards, but made it to Vermillion.

We found some shiny stuff at the blacksmith and wand shop. When we found the cemetery, the Big Guy held a full on funeral for Lucas’ wife. After, we found an old cart in the road beyond, with a dead horse. They say its dead a year ago, but then get all paranoid about where the body is and how many they were. Doesn’t matter, they’re dead. Everyone here is dead.

Most of the buildings are empty, so we go check the Mayor’s house. It’s the biggest one. It’s all dusty, but not ransacked or anything.

Then I saw Basher in a spoon! He wasn’t there, but I saw him! I couldn’t use my words to explain, it was too scary. He went away, but I kept that spoon and kept looking. Other people started seeing people who weren’t there, too. Red started shouting about ghosts messing with everyone. We stole a bunch of things from the ghosts. There were lots of good books in the library. I don’t think ghosts can read.

Then they all want to go look at the mine. It’s late, I just want to sleep. Not here, though, somewhere without the ghosts. Found a room full of bats. Bats are bitey when they get woken up.

Blue Alley Mostly Isn’t

Journal Scrawlings on a slightly burnt and bloody page

Catbard’s Mert is still after the beheader from the docks. Oh no, she wants to go looking for him. In a magical alley! That people don’t come back from. The Big Guy says it’s full of magic and monsters and an evil mage. Why is my new flock so bent on finding the guy? Job’s done. At least she’s letting us go back to sleep until morning.

Blue cobblestones – source unknown.

Not an alley. Hallway. No way back out. Green light ahead.

Double doors – Gallery of people dying in portraits. Dart traps.

Another hall – more pressure plates.

Double doors – Blade trap.

Library – Tables trapped with gas.

Broken door stops it.

Trapped door into the kitchen. Dead things in the dining room.

The entire parlor is a trap.

So is the kitchen – whirlwind of cutlery and flatware and pots and pans.

The library is lovely though. Found a Dwarven Dictionary.

Gaming parlor – must play or get burned.

Coat room – pit trap.

Downstairs ball room – extravagant dancing blade trap. Stage has sandbag and mirror traps.

Loads of treasure. No beheader. Orange stole a gaming table.

Death and Harvest

The castle begins shifting back almost as soon as Lord Tepish and Stephen leave. Several of the group go on a mad dash to see what can be salvaged before it all disappears. They return with weapons, armor, money, and a couple floating stones. This seems wrong, I wonder if the castle will reappear whever he’s going without these things. I wonder if he will be upset with us. Perhaps I won’t ask for my boon right away.

We all take a well-earned rest and in the morning, we begin to plan the recovery of mine and town. Dalish thinks he knows what Stephen was on to with Great Grandpa Skull. Klyce plots up ways to cover the hole I apparently made in the mine roof. And the rest of us head into town.

I help with setting up for the Harvest Festival, especially making the Green Witch for this year. Making a quick stop by the seamstress to pay her more for her trouble, and ask she make me matching masks and a black velvet one to cover my hideous face. Nat goes to the grieving families and recruits the dead, or performs the funeral for them. Remy helps with organizing and rebuilding destroyed homes and buildings. Gerhardt stays up at the castle, working to refine mana through his alchemy.

Three days before Harvest Eve, townsfolk find Nat and bring her to the Green Witch. Someone has stuffed a dead body inside with a dagger in her chest! There’s a note on it, that Nat sends HeyHey to go look at for her. “Break the Bones” Nat tries to calm the crowd, assuring them we’ll find who did this and bring them to justice. Some of the crowd wonder about cancelling the festival, but We Can’t Do That!

Offerings to the Green Witch cannot be removed. I offer to stay with the body and the Green Witch until the festival, to keep anyone from adding more. Nat casts a gentle repose on the girl, and Klyce stays nearby, guarding as well. I sit and pray, first to the Dawnmother, but only recieve a sense of anticipation in response. The Green Witch is even less responsive to my pleas.

The all return to the Green Witch with no good information. No one saw anything except a woman in a cloak moving around at night. The girl simply got out of bed, got dressed and walked out. Nat offers to try asking the gods more forcefully than I can, and goes into a trance. When she awakens, she says they were vague as always.

They told her Natalie Rathbone is responsible, could it be an ancestor? Conflice when we go below to Old Town is inevitable, but victory is not. It is not how we can survive, but whether we will. It may or may not be connected to the ritual we intend to perform. And the safety of her people is uncertain.

The group heads up to the castle to rest, drink orange juice, and divy up what is left of our mana. Klyce and I continue standing guard through the night, but it’s no use. The next morning, three more dead bodies are found, not in the Green Witch, but around town. There is even bloody graffiti saying Break the Bones. People are even more upset, convinced the festival is cursed. I try to convince them that the Green Witch will bless them if they just carry on. The festival is not cursed, and we will prove it, if they just wait a little longer.

Nat and Remy come back from the three murder scenes and fill us all in. One looks like a ghost did him in, white hair and terrified expression. One had his throat ripped or blasted out in the street. Another is just dead, not a mark, except for lingering necromancy, on him. Nat also tells us she had a dream of her and Stephen at the Festival, and then him stuffing her into the Green Witch as it was set ablaze. We’re fairly sure, now, that the one behind all this is the one burned all those years ago, come back for revenge.

Klyce and I take a daytime nap while the rest of the group researches the Rathbone family line. They don’t manage to find many records of that time, even ripped out pages in the family library. In the early evening, we go with Nat into town to talk to her people, encourage them, and let them know we are going to help. We break up into groups to patrol the town. Klyce and I stay up all night while the others take shifts. Dalish stays by the Green Witch since he still cannot walk.

In the night, I come across a young man wandering in a daze. I wake him up and help him back home, after taking a knife from his hands. Not long after, HeyHey comes flying up and I follow him off to find Mummy Dalish, Nat and a badly bleeding child. The boy has apparently bitten his own thumb off when MD took away his bucket of paint. I heal his thumb back on, but it looks a little funny, and Nat takes him home.

Come morning, we all have breakfast and a short rest before gathering up everything we need, and heading down to Old Town. Klyce makes quick work of the blockage he had put in place, and quickly morphs into a giant scorpian once we get inside. The boys throw up light and we walk into a darkness even more opressive than last time.

In the center of town, we toss up more light and spread out to allow Dalish to work. He has to repair the ritual circle before we can do anything else. Klyce’s scorpian body is helpful in clearing the space. Nat and Gerhardt help him redraw damaged sections. Remy and I offer magical guidance in making the necessary alterations. It takes some hours, but the circle is ready in plenty of time.

As it grows darker, and dusk settles outside, the time has come. Dalish and Nat will perform the ritual while the rest of us must protect them at all costs. Angry, restless voices whisper all around us. Nat appears to be arguing with herself, but I’m too far away to hear what is going on. Then a ghostly outline dives into Nat’s body, and a smoky blackness coalesces into an inky, large humanoid form.

Secrets, Harvest Close, and Family

Maribeth shared her secrets with me. When we were back at the Native village, an old witchwoman gave her a gift, and promptly passed away. That’s why there was lightning in the sky before we ran away. Maribeth said it showed her strange spirit things, and there were towers and books and things. It sounds very strange to me.

James told us his secrets, too. He’s been having dreams of the sea, and he’s really scared. We’ll protect him, though, we always do. Remy has secret dreams, too, since he lost his eye. He says they’re someone else’s dreams, or memories maybe. They’re all about war, but not war dreams. More like dreams about someone experiencing war. He says he can feel things, but he’s not seeing a war played out, no battles or anything. Then Remy tells us all about his family are old nobility and he was trained as a Knight of the Realm, even though there aren’t Knights or Kings anymore.

Kendrick tells us that someone else went missing last night, so we all head into town to solve the next problem on our list. Asking around, we find out that Brucey Dickenson was his name, and he left sometime before dawn. Brucey had been telling people that he had strange dreams, too, but he know one knew what about. He was just a baker’s apprentice who walked down to the shore and disappeared into the mist. None of the disappeared people came from the same area of town, and they were all sorts of different people. I ask the folk I talk with to send anyone speaking of strange dreams up to the castle so we can protect them. It seemed like a few of them even listened to me.

We spend the rest of the day discussing plans to protect and/or follow James. Dalish thinks we ought to tie him to the bed and to Dalish himself, to keep him from wandering off. The others think we should just set watch and follow him down to the sea. We can’t solve the problem if we don’t know what is calling these people. Gerhardt even sets an alarm outside Dalish and James’ room. Naturally, us being all prepared, nothing happens that night.

In the morning, it’s Harvest Close Festival. We all get decked out for a Festival Day, some of us more than others, and have a nice breakfast before heading into town. Some of the boys are still frightened of the orange juice, and I really don’t know why. It’s delicious!

The town has a huge Wicker Witch in the square, once green and now turning brown, that farmers are placing offerings in. There are games around and dancing and a stage for some competitons. There will even be a talent competition that evening. It’s so exciting, I can’t wait to see what people do. There are archery, pie-eating, arm-wrestling, and drinking competitions throughout the day.

We all wander around a bit until the Pie Eating competition starts, then head back to the stage. James, Dalish, and Gerhardt decide to enter against three townsfolk. It’s all fun until people start puking everywhere. Why would people do this?! I watch, but just barely, until Dalish finally wins out over everyone, and even that by only a few seconds. That was disgusting! I am Not watching the drinking contest, as I’m told it ends just about the same way.

We wander around a bit more and some of us find a few bites to eat for lunch. Then we head to the Archery contest. Nat and Remy decide to enter, but they are far outmatched by the local hunters. Next up is the Arm Wrestling competition. Nat and Klyce decide to enter, just for the fun of it. Nat actually wins her first round, and unsurprisingly, so does Klyce. Klyce goes up against a local blacksmith next, and through a very intense and exciting bout, actually comes out on top. Nat somehow ends up in the final round against Klyce, and while she loses, she gives a good showing first.

Next we head over to the edge of the festival where a bunch of Traveling caravans are set up. Nat introduces us to her mother’s family, and they welcome us warmly. We exchange stories of our recent adventures, and they tell us of a coming storm. Nat tells them of the plant creatures, but they are unfamiliar. They pass on news of the Royalists heading back to the Old World, afraid of the wizards. We ask them about henges and the old gods, but they say that’s all Old World stuff and invite us to relax and dance with them.

We have a lovely time dancing, and even get James and Dalish to put on swishy skirts to dance like Nat’s aunties. Just before we leave, we ask about getting our fortunes read. They say they won’t read the boys’ fortunes, but they’ll read for Maribeth, Nat, and me. Maribeth comes out with a nice sachet of tea, as does Nat. But then Old Baba invites me into her tent.

She asks what I want to know about, and I tell her about my magic having no apparent source. And about my dreams where the ground has a heartbeat. She asks if I have Native blood, but my parents have never said such a thing. Not that they would, it wouldn’t be Proper. Baba takes my hands, and we sit around her glowing orb. And then… and… well, it all goes horribly wrong.

The wind starts blowing through the tent, and around in circles, blowing everything around. I try to apologize, but I’m not doing it. I try to ask her what’s going on, but she just holds my hands and stares harder at the globe. It starts glowing brighter, and brighter, and brighter! Until it Explodes! Baba falls back and I keep apologizing and yelling for Nat to come in. When she does, Baba yells at me to Get Out!

I ran all the way back to the castle in tears. All the way in and back up to my bedroom, and threw myself into bed. Maribeth and Nat followed me all the way, and sat with me, trying to find out what happened. I tell them about the wind and the glowing and the explosion. It was all my fault. No, I didn’t do it, but my magic doesn’t make any sense. And I shouldn’t have asked her about it. I shouldn’t have exposed her to things that don’t even make sense to me. It was wind and light, and it Must have been me. And she must hate me for breaking her globe!

Nat and Maribeth do their best to calm me down. Nat says Baba was just surprised, she’s not mad, and she has plenty of other globes. It’s okay, it’s not my fault. They wonder if the source of my magic was just trying to communicate with me, and just didn’t know how. Maribeth gets some tea from the kitchen and we all decide to have sleepover in my room.

That night, James goes for a walk. Dalish and the others come and get the three of us, and we all follow him down to the coast. We hear whistling in the distance. There’s a light in the mist, and when it approaches, we see a nicely dressed young man. With glowing red eyes. I levitate James up in the air to keep him from going to this spectre. Nat says it’s his brother Stephen. Said brother recognizes Nat and runs away from us.

The chase is on, but I have to keep James safe, so some of us just walk quickly while others run after him. Eventually, we all get to a cave in the cliffs. Nat and Klyce muscle a big stone out from the entrance so we can get in. While they’re doing that, Nat tells us that Stephen was too young to be a useful zombie, so he’d just been lying in repose in the catacombs below the castle. I can’t carry James anymore, so we wake him up before we head in and down.

We find ourselves surrounded by burned out buildings after awhile. Nat says that some years ago, a Harvest Festival went horribly wrong and burned down the village. Great Grandpa Nathaniel ended up burying the town so that they could forget and rebuild. The people who died in the fire where buried with the town. It seems that they’ve all become shadows, we discover as a handful attack us and have to be put down again.