After the zombie attacks of the night before, it was good to wake up to a normal sunrise.
While Thorg, Belor and the professor all stayed at home with kendra, Brother Olegg and I decided to get some things done.
First, we were going to re-inter the burnt remains of the zombie brothers and Professor Lorrimor. Then we were going to go talk to Father Grimborough to get the list of all the prisoners who died in the fire at Harrowstone.
On the way, we met Giles, a troubadour who said he’d be willing to sing our praises to the townspeople if we threw a few coins in his cup during his performance later in the day.
Next we met Jorfa the Smith at the Ravengro Forge. Many of her goods were very nice, but she certainly wasn’t. Brother Olegg bought some iron spikes to be polite.
Next we saw young Pevrin posting a notice from the Sheriff…there’s been another letter added to the memorial monument. It now reads “VE”. There must have been another animal killed. I hope it wasn’t a cat! Pervin, who is the son of that weird inn-keeper Zokar with the not-so-funny food, ran off like he didn’t want to talk to us. That was rude.
Anyway, we finally made it to the Restlands, and Olegg thought he saw someone off in the bushes, perhaps watching us. But I think he’s just jittery because we’re going into a graveyard. Strange that a gravedigger would feel that way, but, you know, humans. I tell him he’s crazy and we move on. We put the remains to rest and then we head to see Father Grimborough.
Boy! What a jerk! He totally accused us of raising those dead and said we’d be in big trouble if we weren’t careful and that he’d use Agon of Truth the next time we talked. I’m not sure what that means, because I was totally distracted by his ugly face. He slammed the door on us and we didn’t get the names of the prisoners.
We decide to try to use the records at Town Hall, and so we asked about the Town Council, which is made up of four people. All humans, I think. Typical.
Anyway, the four are Vasian Hearthmount, Merta Straylock, Shanda Ferrivan and Garrcan Murakar. We decide to ask Kendra about it.
On the way home, we go to drop some coins in on Giles, only to find that he’s being attacked by some stirges! They try to suck his blood and a small child’s blood, but I save everyone with some help from Old River.
Old River is a the dog who lives under the gazebo in the middle of town, and he’s pretty much the only decent person I’ve met here in Ravengro, besides maybe Kendra. Olegg heals him up and I got him some good food to help replace the blood that one stirge sucked out of him. Old River is the best!
The Sheriff arrives late and questions us about our heroics. I’m still waiting for him to say “thank you”, when the Apothacary Jominda Fallenbridge walks by and the Sheriff gets all googly about her. I think that if I can go over and get her to get sweet on the Sheriff, the Sheriff will be nicer to us. But Jominda turns out to be totally rude too! What is it with this town?!
We make it back to Kendra’s. By this time the Professor has finished his reading and is taking a break from mooning over Kendra, and he suggests we talk to Merta. As a former shopkeeper, she’s likely to be the most knowledgeable about the people in town.
She seems to be reasonable, and lets us use the Town Hall. Unfortunately, it turns out to be full of books. Boring! So I go shopping. The Silk Purse has some shiny stuff in it, but it’s pretty dull with the big lugs guarding everything, so I leave. Belor, Olegg and the Professor are buried in books, happier than bullettes in a sheep meadow, as they say. But I’m still bored, so I mope on the front steps for what feels like 800 days. When they’re finally done they come out arguing about the filing system and saying we have to come back tomorrow! I think I’ll sacrifice myself to some demon lord now…that’s got to be better than all this.
We go back the next day. And the next. I think again about the demon lord option, but I don’t know any demon lords, and the only place I could learn about them would be in books.
We’re starting our fifth day in this town and the only person who’s interesting is Old River! He’s feeling better now and is very nice to us, even the smelly half-orcs. Old River doesn’t need any stupid books and scrolls.
Anyway, the “scholars” managed to learn something about the prisoners who died in the fire at Harrowstone. Five of them were pretty bad. The locals have all given them fun and clever names, but as I learned more, it was less fun and clever. It was mainly creepy and scary, so I went to talk to Old River again. He has a fun and clever name that doesn’t involve death and blood.
The Professor thinks the stirge attack has something to do with one of the dead prisoners, the Player of Illmarsh or something. He tells this to Merta, and all of a sudden everybody in town is completely scared and upset. One minute I’m going to get some food for me and Old River, and the next thing you know there’s a Town Council meeting to be held at Town Hall that very evening and everyone in Town has to go.
Oh, I almost forgot: during the long, boring age that the others were doing research, I took a few minutes off one night to sneak down to the monument by the river to see the “VE”. Wouldn’t you know it, it was a cat that got killed this time!
On the way in and out of Kendra’s, I noticed that some folks are definitely watching the house and our movements. I let Olegg know that he’s got more to be afraid of than just graveyards, and that everyone should keep their eyes peeled.
Late in the afternoon, before the meeting, Olegg decides he needs to fess up to Father Grimborough about the stuff we took from the crypt. This is a stupid idea, but apparently one core to Olegg’s religious beliefs. Grimborough gets very upset when he learns that we have taken things he didn’t even know that he owned, and this also has to do with his religion. I want to say something rude, but it’s bad luck to mess with priests.
Thus, Grimborough shows up at the meeting madder than a dwarf after a good shave, as they say. He’s calling us all sorts of names, and making accusations that, while I’m not sure I fully understood, seemed pretty bad. But the Professor totally shuts him up with some smart words. It was awesome! Unfortunately, he then ruined it by talking even more and more. I think that made some people stomp out in anger, because you can only listen to so much of this stuff, as I well know.
Grimborough makes some vague threats, and as soon as he leaves all the nine Hells break loose! Suddenly the whole Hall is on fire, the doors are jammed shut! People are screaming and then the windows break and some flying, burning skulls come cackling into the place, which I’m pretty sure is never a good sign.
But I took charge to save the situation. The first thing I did was to put the Professor, Olegg and Thorg in charge. The skulls were soon gone, and Thorg had demonstrated that the door was in fact jammed shut. There were some ghostly hands holding it shut, so I shot them with one of the cool arrows we found.
Now that the doors were open, I let all the people out and got a bucket brigade moving. Olegg and Belor tried to help, but despite them we managed to save the Hall.
In the end, the Town Council was able to recognize that flying skulls setting your buildings on fire when you’re inside them is the kind of problem they need to fix. So, they’ve asked us to investigate Harrowstone and put the restive spirits to rest before anyone else gets hurt.
They’re going to pay us pretty well, and I’m pretty sure we won’t have to read anything for a while. I’m really excited about going! I’ve never seen a real ghost before, except for those hands. I’m sure it’ll turn out fine, and that I’ll be back talking with Old River again soon.