The Sun, The Moon, and the Piper's Song

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Summary

Adventure:The Sun, The Moon, and the Piper's Song
GM:Jacqui Smith
Session: Winter 808
Night: Tuesday (until July 29th)
Level: Medium

Party
  1. Phaeton
  2. MDK
  3. Rowan
  4. Ben Gaul
  5. Eltan

Scribe Notes

Session One (Snow Business)

1st Frost 808 WK

Well, I thought I was in real trouble now. A matronly, and stern looking nun, known as Sister Bertha, had arrived from the High Abby of Diancecht in Caledonia and informed me I had to accompany her to see the High Priest. I really felt like an errant schoolboy that was being sent to the Headmaster's office. However, I was told that I could select some companions to come with me so I asked for volunteers.

Once in the meeting room, I explained the situation. On my last outing to the Isles of Freedom (cf Skin Trade) I got into situations where I had to bend my pact almost to breaking point and, even though the objective was to stop a plague, Diancecht had not been pleased. I now had to perform penance by performing three Great Acts of Healing, one of which had already been done. I presume the High Priest knew what the second one was going to be.

We introduced ourselves. Vanderhan also showed up bearing coffee. He was thinking of coming too but wasn't sure he was able to make it. It looked like he was doing a stint with Guild Security for experience.

Sister Bertha, who was also a Master Healer and Namer, had booked us passage on the Merry Damsel, a cog. The trip should take a week. So we organised ourselves. Rowan became the Military Scientist and I was the scribe. No party leader yet, in fact Eltan suggested rotating the duty i.e. the first up every morning volunteers someone. Seemed like an interesting idea.

Before leaving, I obtained a six pack of restoratives from Grizelda

The trip was fairly uneventful. A storm brewed up on the third day but only MDK was showing ill effects. Ginger pills and acupressure dealt to that.

8th Frost

Sailed up the Firth of Lorn, towards Stuart country. Our landing was the fishing village of Stonehaven, much to Eltan's relief. He then cast Lessers on all of us, each one lasting two weeks. Sister Bertha had a cart waiting for us and we set off, over the hill, and into a valley near Castle Stalker. In the valley below was a collection of buildings, the major one being the abbey. This was Kirkton Diancecht and the abby was the High Church of Diancecht for Caledonia.

We arrived just in time for dinner, marked by the sound of mournful wailing, the sound of the bagpipes. We were given a bath, got our clothes cleaned then presented ourselves for dinner. All the acolytes were wearing brown robes although, at the High Table, there was an elderly man wearing white robes. This was the High Priest, Cormagg Stuart. I was feeling rather conspicuous in my white robes and was wondering if I should be wearing brown instead.

We had an audience with him after dinner. He told us of a plague but the details were hazy. It was located in Brendan's Bridge inside Glen Lorne, located over the Firth from the abbey. He also asked us to be as non-violent as possible.

Night was spent in quarters at the abbey.

Session Two (Who Killed Cocky and Robin)

9th Frost

Next morning, we took the ferry over the Firth then headed inland, accompanied by Sister Bertha. Night was spent at a waystation. I did a Reading the Night Sky Ritual with the question "What is the nature of the plague?". What I got as an answer was "Once bitten, twice cursed. Examine a victim, you'll know the worst" That suggested lycanthropy.

10th Frost

We carried on the next morning, moving through a forest, finally arriving at the village of Brendan's Bridge about mid morning. There were a large group of people in the middle of the village and it appeared that they were having an argument about who was going somewhere. It turned out, one of the villages, Angus, was out gathering firewood and he discovered a body, that of Robert MacIntosh, a shepherd. The body was in bits and pieces and was surrounded by dead sheep.

After Eltan bolstered us with Strengths of Stone, just to be on the safe side, we headed up there to have a look, with one of the village boys as a guide. Sure enough, we found a decomposing and chewed up body that had been dead for close to three weeks. There were teeth marks on some of the bones. Meanwhile MDK found the corpse of the dog. Residual between it's teeth indicated that it had attacked whatever had killed it's master. A DA told us that the residual came from a human.

Just then, we heard howling ... and we were rushed by a pack of large wolves. They were on us before I could get a Wall up so I had to switch to Bolts of Starfire. Two of the wolves breathed ice on us so I went for the theory that they were creatures of ice so conjured up red bolts. Meanwhile, Ben had changed to tiger form and was attacking one of the big wolves. It soon turned into a dogpile of two wolves, a tiger (Ben), a bear (Rowan's) and a dog (Eltan's). MDK was attacking a third, Eltan was on a fourth while Rowan and I were providing support. Sister Bertha also had ranged healing and was using it to keep us up as well as keeping the boy safe behind a ridge.

Two more blasts of ice breath and I was stuck with having to use my powerstone to power my spells. Fortunately, one bolt caused a wolf to dissipate. The others were managing to deal to the rest. Finally ..... it was all over.

We DAed the wolves. They were short lived sentient, their GTN was Lupus Hibernae (Winter Wolf) and their Plane of Origin was Stygia, the Fifth Plane of the Nine Hells. So, there had to be a summoner involved.

Finally we got the body of the shepherd and his dog back to the village for examination then burial. The residual in the dog's teeth indicated that there was lycanthropy curse on them, specifically wolf. So, was there a werewolf in the village? And .. how were we going to find the summoner?

Incidentally the next full moon is on the 14th.

Session 3 (Where oh Were?)

The examination took place in the small clinic attached to the local church, in the attendance of Sister Kenner. We also found out that the village had 100 people in it, with 50 more in outlying farms etc. Once the examination was complete, we headed for the inn.

Conversation stopped when we walked in and, for a while it would have been possible to hear a pin drop. Most of the occupants were human although there was a dwarf and a halfling as well. MDK went over to talk to the dwarf and discovered he was the village blacksmith. Meanwhile I was in the process of getting a map of the village from the innkeeper. Rooms were organised and dinner, a meaty stew, was had.

11th of Frost

Eltan's plan was to go and see the village priest, Father Cormack, but discovered he wasn't in. He had left early to visit the outlying farms. Meanwhile I gave the woodcutter's body one last check before pronouncing it ready for burial.

Our plan was to basically wander around, checking as many villagers as possible to see if there was anyone else that was cursed. We also wanted to get some supplies so our next stop was the general store. There, we met Osgar MacKintoch. Eltan and MDK was talking to him while I was checking the shelves, looking for wolfsbane, when MDK suddenly applied a sap to Osgar, knocking him out. It turned out that Osgar was also cursed with lycanthropy so we dragged him off to the church, initially explaining to Sister Kenner that there had been an accident.

Sister Bertha confirmed that there was a curse in effect. I thought I was going to have to start an eighteen hour ritual but Sister Bertha had a special one that would do the job in an hour. So, that was applied. Meanwhile I examined him for bite marks but found none. We did however discover that the curse had been caused by a wiccan spell, at MA 23. Probably Damnum Magnatum.

When we questioned him, he told us he had no recollections of being bitten or anything unusual. He had been delivering supplies to a few of the outlying farms. His last stop was the McClaren place, where the lady grew apples, and made the most delicious mead in the valley. It was fortunate that his horse knew the way home. I finally confessed to Sister Kenner exactly what was going on.

We suspected the mead for a while and Eltan bought the remainder of the stock .. all three bottles. Meanwhile I remembered I had been drinking mead the previous night, but there was no curse on me. So, that theory was busted. So .. which witch had Osgar offended?

The next stop was the smithy where we arranged for some silvered sling bullets and arrowheads. Daggers would take longer.

Our wandering through the village finally led us to the carpenters, where we discovered that one of the sons was also cursed. We explained that we had detected the start of a disease that was better treated as soon as possible so we took him to the church to be de-cursed. He had been nowhere where Osgar had been when he had been cursed, instead collecting wood from the McClarens, who were located in a completely different direction. So I guess we're dealing with a wandering wiccan with a bad temper.

We had been detecting a lot of 'Blessing the Unborn Child' spells as well but they were traced back to Sister Kenner. Those spells had a different MA than the curse, so she was initially eliminated as a suspect, although there was the chance that purification could raise her MA high enough to match.

We also discovered that Brigetta McCulloch, the wife of the tanner, had gone missing three weeks ago. She had gone to collect hides from a hunter family in the forest and hadn't come back. The tanner had looked for her, but no one had been home so he assumed they were out hunting. Also, since him and his wife had argued intensely earlier, it was possible she had run off.

Session Four (High in the Hills is a Lonely Wiccan)

It was getting late by now, beside, being winter, it was getting dark early, earlier than Seagate. So we headed back to the inn. Most of the patrons were giving us some rather odd looks, and in a few cases, sour ones, but the innkeeper was friendly enough. To our surprise, he said that in our honour, dinner was haggis .. and it was going to be traditionally piped in. For some odd reason, while I was attempting to convince my companions that a haggis was a creature that lived in the wilds of Caledonia, Rowan remembered something she had to do.

The haggis, was actually a stuffed sheep's stomach .. sort of like a fat sausage, and had a rather interesting flavour, especially when washed down with mead. Rowan returned a short while later and we found out that she had rigged the wells, church door, and inn door to set off Bound Speech telling anyone who was cursed to seek out a healer. She had also set up some beads to react in proximity to a lycanthrope or a wiccan.

After dinner, I retreated to our rooms to do a Reading the Night Sky ritual. The question was, "Where are we most likely to find the source of the curse" What I got was a voice which sang "High in the hills is a lonely wiccan ... " It was annoying in two ways ... it was an answer I had sort of expected, and the voice sounded like Brigetta .... *sigh*.

Night passed without incident.

12th Frost

We discovered early that Brother Cormack was still missing. It was possible he had decided to stay the night somewhere so, after reassuring Sister Kenner we would keep an eye open for him, we set off to follow some leads.

The first stop was the MacLaughlan farm. I told the farmer we were from the Church of Dianceht on a routine health inspection. At that, he put the crossbow away and let us in. It was discovered his wife was cursed but there was no magic. However, Sister Bertha discovered she had been bitten by a wolf at the night of the last full moon. She was greatly relieved to have the curse lifted.

Next was the Olgivie farm. We had to go back through the village and up another road to get there. No curses but we did manage to cure Granny Olgivie of her arthritis.

Following that, the MacTavish residence of husband and pregnant wife. Brother Cormack had been here yesterday so they were a bit surprised to see us. No curses. Mother and child doing well.

Further on up this road we saw what appeared to be a small longhouse with a rather large door. Surrounding that was an apple orchard. This proved to be the home of Morag Basalt of the Rockbiter clan, beekeeper, and brewer of apple meads and ciders. I was rather surprised to find out she had heard of me until we found out she was Grizelda's cousin and they communicate often. No college, no curse, last spell to impact Earth Healing'. Hm .. wonder who the Earth Mage is?

She hadn't seen Brother Cormack, in fact, she told us that they don't see eye to eye .. and that's not because of the height difference. She did tell us that Cormack and Kenner were actually husband and wife, and their daughter Morianney McFee, had gone missing about three years ago to seek her fortune. We didn't think she had turned up at the guild, although if she did, it was under a different name. She had run away rather than be forced to marry Osgar.

There were no tracks heading back to the village as we left, so we continued on up into the hills. The first shepherd's hut was empty but, eventually we found some sheep and a shepherdess. She was cursed, last spell to impact was Damnmagnatun, rank somewhere between 10 and 15.

Just then, it started snowing ... and there seemed to be no natural reason for it.

Session Five (Snowflakes Keep Falling On My Head)

As the snow fell, three large humanoid creatures rose out of the snow and moved into the attack. Sister Bertha DAed them as Gigantus Nivosus (Snow Giant) and they were also from the plane of Stygia. They had a talent that was similar to the effects of a 'brain freeze' as Eltan quickly found out. The shepherdess was absolutely terrified and was cowering among her sheep so Rowan protected her with a circular wall. Ben was in tigerform attacking one while MDK was taking potshots at the one who was tearing into a stunned Eltan. My attempt at shooting the third one with a red bolt, who was advancing on our position, had no visible effect. Just then, a fourth one rose out of the snow and we could hear a cackle in the distance.

Rowan stepped forward and bravely smacked it in the face with Eylor, blinding and stunning it. My attempt at putting a coruscade on her fizzled. Eltan, meanwhile, had recovered and had received healing from Sister Bertha. He was holding his own and tossed me a scroll case which I deftly caught. Inside it was a scroll of Quickness, three targets, so I quickened myself, Rowan and Ben. I really should get quite a few Quicknesses when I get back, preferably triggerable investments as they go off faster, but scrolls will do in a pinch. Maybe I should get Trollskin and Banishment investeds as well. Meanwhile Rowan had activated Bear who was also in the fray.

I coruscaded Rowan but, by now it was soon apparent that the fight was nearly over. Ben had taken a rather nasty chest wound but he had already taken one down and was tearing another to bits. As each creature died, it vanished, and much to MDK's annoyance, their weapons vanished too, even if they had been dropped. Bear was also badly damaged but Ben was able to fell that one before Bear was destroyed. The last one retreated back into the snow.

While Sister Bertha dealt to Ben's injuries, Rowan counterspelled her wall. The shepherdess was still absolutely terrified and nearly catatonic. Her curse had been on even before the last full moon and MDK discovered that her aura matched the tissue retrieved from the dead dog, showing she had been in wereform at least once, and possibly responsible for the deaths of Cocky and Robin. That incident had deeply traumatised her and injuries of the mind is something I can't cure. My recommendation, and one that Sister Bertha agreed with, is that she spends time at the temple of Diancecht for long term therapy. I put her to sleep and she was carried off the hills. It would be wrong to leave the sheep behind so we took those too,

It was late so we spent the night with Morag Basalt, who told us that the shepherdess' name was Graine McKintoch. The sheep were put in a pen around the back and, while Sister Bertha tended to Graine, I started working on Ben's injuries. My current hypothesis is that we are dealing with a psychotic and possibly deranged wiccan with a greater summoner familiar. Oh, and Morag's cousin, Wulfgar, is an Earth Mage.

Session Six (By the Light of the Silvery Moon)

13th Frost

The morning was spent healing Ben up to a stage where he was able to travel. Once that was done, we headed off back to town.

When we got there, we discovered another commotion, being a young man who was going on about the village well being 'hexed' as it talked to him. Yes he was cursed, as of two weeks ago. So both he and the shepherdess were taken to Sister Kenner for treatment.

  Villager - "The well has a hex on it"
  Rowan - "I'd rather call it a blessing"

He told us that he had been in the forest. east of the village getting wood. since he was a lumberjack, and had been with his brother. He didn't remember anything unusual so I tried DAing him to determine if there were any gaps in his memory that had been caused by an external influence. So much for that theory. Also Brother Cormack had still not returned and Sister Kenner was getting concerned.

After the healing had been completed, we took Sister Kenner aside and asked her about her daughter. She was rather reluctant but we were insistent. She had left home after she was rejected by Oskar, who she fancied. Sister Kenner had no idea where she could be now. So we asked about places that people would avoid. She directed us to a journal written by Andrew McPhee which detailed his explorations in the area. The journal mentioned a location in the mountains to the north-east of the village which was listed as a strange place. There were two pillars of ice, looking like frozen waterfalls. Beyond that were the remains of a stone circle marked with the symbol of the Cailleach, the Old Woman of Winter. It was an ill omened name and the place felt evil, so he didn't hang around. However, it was sounding like a really good place for a deranged wiccan to be.

While I was getting a description of the missing daughter, Ben had slipped off to get more information from the innkeeper. Meanwhile Eltan and MDK were having a talk with Oskar. He said that he had rejected Morinnay's advances because she wasn't his type. She had wanted him to go with her to her 'secret place' but he had refused. Unfortunately he didn't know where it was.

I had to finish off Ben's healing before we could do any further exploration and, by the time that was complete, it was getting late. Plus, I felt we had to stay near the village as tonight was the night before the full moon, and lycanthropes come out on the full moon and the nights on either side. This was the first night.

Rowan possessed an owl golem and went for a fly. I also put wings on MDK. A bit after midnight there was the howl of a werewolf so they headed off towards one of the outlying farms. There, they saw a savaged pig and a wolf form heading away. Rowan followed the wolf while MDK inspected the house. There, she found a terrified family, with the husband bitten and savagely attacked. So he went back to get the rest of us.

I went down to the farmhouse while the others dealt to the werewolf. Rowan had trapped it in a Bubble of Force so they strung a net around it and carried it out. Meanwhile I discovered that yes, the man was cursed, but the curse had not yet taken hold fully. But, just as a precaution, I rendered him unconscious for the next six hours. Hopefully he would not wake up until after moonset.

Once the werewolf was hanging up from a tree in a strength enhanced net, MDK and Eltan went to fetch Sister Bertha to do the quick curse removals. I was trying to see if I could use Light spells to nullify the effects of the moonlight and reverse the change to wolf form but I was having no success. Maybe I need to make my spell brighter. It was also apparent, by the time the others got back, that Sister Bertha was not used to all hours callouts. Still, I have to admit, she's not used to being an adventurer.

We couldn't find any magic on the werewolf that caused the curse so he had to assume he had been bitten at the last full moon. He turned out to be a hunter.

Session Six (A Frosty Reception)

14th Frost

Next morning, we were discussing means of trying to find out where exactly this frozen place was. I pulled out my Dalran Special Crystal of Vision and got a vision of it. Looking at the shadows told me the orientation of the view. Eltain with a Coruscade and StarWings on then flew up over the village and I changed the view through the crystal to look in the rough direction we thought the village was. Once we were able to see him, I attempted to calculate exactly how far and in what direction we had to fly to get there. I believe I got a fairly accurate answer although I probably could do with more knowledge of Navigation and Rangering. Mathematics can only go so far.

We flew to the site on Wings except for Rowan and Sister Bertha who used a carpet. As we landed in front of the cave that had the two frozen waterfalls on each side of it, a large winter drake and three smaller ones came out.

   Large winter drake - "In the Name of Winter - Begone!"
   MDK - In the Name of the Seagate Guild of Adventurers - Sod You Jimmeh!"

With that, battle was joined. Ben rushed forward and smacked into the large creature, whom Sister Bertha determined had a GTN of Draconis Tempest (Storm Drake) and the little ones were Vipera Hibernae (Winter Wyverns) All of them had Stygia as their Plane of Origin. I got a Quickness off on Ben, Eltan and myself before being attacked by one of the wyverns. MDK was up in the air shooting wyverns.

Finally, with a lot of teamwork, two of the wyverns were taken out with the third trapped in a Bubble of Force. Everyone then teamed up onto the Storm Drake who soon vanished.

We then entered the cave. It was dark in there. MDK went in first and nothing seemed to happen. So the rest of us followed. What we saw was Morianney preparing to sacrifice an unconscious Cormack on an altar. As we got closer to put a stop to this, three ice creatures stepped out of the walls. Also her imp familiar moved into the attack.

Session Seven (The Piper's Song)

The ice creatures were proven to be some sort of undead especially when my Sunray hit one of them. Unfortunately, they were also rather resistant to subsequent blasts, and it was firing Ray of Colds back at me. It was a competition to see who would run out of spell fatigue which, unfortunately I lost, mainly because they were in consecrated ground to the Calleigh.

By the altar, Eltan had bravely gone into close with Morianney and a second of those ice undeads. At least it was stopping her from casting at us. Rowan sent Bear in to get Cormack off the ice alter, a task made more difficult by the fact that he was frozen to it by ice manacles. Rowan's Owl was engaged in aerial combat with the imp, and as her stone golem proved in effective against the undead Rowan sent it to help Eltan with the witch while she was in the process or creating another one.
The third ice undead was being whalloped by Ben, and shot by MDK

That ice demon finally went down freeing Ben up to help Eltan. Meanwhile Owl had been knocked out of the sky but Rowen countered by trapping the imp in a force bubble. She then took over the attacks on the ice undead I was having trouble with freeing me up to take a healing potion followed by a restorative. Bear managed to prise Cormack off the altar while the other two elementals were quickly dealt with. I went in there and rendered Morianney unconscious. Guess the Temple of Diancecht is about to get another long term patient

The last thing we had to do was to deconsecrate the area. That was done by a combination of Cormack's bagpipes, Sister Bertha's singing and my attempt to drum. This ritual was successful and the ice started to melt normally.

There was some mopping up to do to make sure there was no more lycanthropes about but after that, I had to spent time at the Temple of Diancecht, learning rituals I should know such as making holy water and consecrating ground, as well as Sister Bertha's quick remove curse ritual.

Well, that's two down, just one more major act of healing on Diancecht's service to do.

Mil Sci

Watches: Two 6 hour watches paired, with Three 4 hour watches.

          6 hours: Ben then MDK 
4 hours: Eltan, Rowan, then Phaeton

The Village People

  • The Saucy Salmon Inn
    • Brendan McAllister - innkeeper
    • Fionna McAllister - Brendan's wife
    • Fionn (brewer), Brenda (barmaid) and Roderick (stableboy) - Brendan and Fionna's children
  • The Kirk
    • Sister Kenna (wiccan, priestess of Brigid)
    • Brother Cormag
  • Smithy
    • Duncan Hammersmith (dwarf journeyman smith)
  • General Store
    • Osgar McIntoch - storekeeper (was infected)
  • Carpenter
    • Niall Ogilve
    • Angus & Artair (sons - Artair was infected)
  • Woodcutters
    • McClaren
  • Apple cider maker
    • Morag Basalt - giantess, beekeeper. Distantly related to a guildmember.