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Number of posts : 761
Registration date : 2007-04-26

PostSubject: Return To Darkshire   Mon 18 Feb - 13:25:40

Return To Darkshire

So we elected to return to gloomy undead ridden TransylDuskwoodvania. I tried to get a delay so that our return would be 28 Days later for added authenticity but was outvoted in favour of continual thriller references by Toby.

The cursed Manor Mismantle and the tragedy of fifteen years previously was central to the mystery that drew us back. The horribly massacred family, the mysterious sword, the pentagram, the disappearance of Stalvin; all added up to a whole lot of questions to which we desired answers. Even potion fixated Plainsweaver wished to know and it takes an awful lot to get him to change the subject from alchemical experimentation of late.

Such talk is of course frowned upon by the good folk off Duskwood who usually accompany such frowning with flaming firebrands, pitchforks and cries of ‘Die witch’ and other such quaint local phrases. The rich tapestry of local culture and customs across the world continues to give unending delight and amazement to us all.

Apparently, magic displays bring forth similar displays of traditional folk pageantry so my usual source of income producing Puderillo from a hat and sawing the odd peasant in half will not be featuring on my agenda for this visit. I warned Lutzbar to mothball her Debbie Macgee outfit as well.

There was another survivor of the attack all those years ago: One of the four brothers was away at the time and returned to enjoy the position of chief suspect in the brutal murders. He remains in town however having avoided the lynch mob and we visited him at the town hall after Plainsweaver’s painstaking research indicated his whereabouts.*

*He asked the Tauran barkeep at ‘The Dark Monk.’

The elderly clerk Daltrey* was there with Tobias, the survivor. We noted that the town hall had recently been the subject of a break in, a window had been smashed in by thieves possibly equipped with heavy claw like equipment, possibly built in. Werewolf-like Wargen are common in these parts, originally bred as an antidote to the local undead, inter species relations are frosty to say the least and the human and Wargen co exist by avoidance of each other in an atmosphere of suspicion and recrimination.

*Who like many of his generation had an awful stutter*
*That joke was terrible even by my standards. I apologise.

The Wargen had stolen records Q-Z from the town hall, apparently this included personal records on Stalvin and Top hated Tobias who we questioned at some length. We discovered:

Stalvin was not the oldest son, so did not stand to gain from murdering his family unless he killed Tobias too.
Tobias was less than a year older than Stalvin
The sword found at the scene was definitely his, made by the family blacksmith who had died with the other servants of the household. It had been presented to him on his ninth birthday.
Stalvin was a skilled swordsman.
Stalvin had not been above consorting with the local population.
The undead problem had only arisen a few years after the massacre.
Regular child murders every two or three years had been going on for a period coincident with Stalvin’s ninth birthday.
There were rivalries with other local noble houses, but nothing of a scale to justify such an act.
It is said that a nearby kingdom is now wargen controlled.
Ravenhill Cemetery is the source of the undead who roam the land.

We checked the records of the murders, but could find no common link – not time or phase of the moon which might suggest a ritual, no common link other than age under twelve. Plainsweaver meanwhile had been overwhelmed by a sense of evil whilst studying the sword and I discovered a mark on it when studying it magically. I recognised the language as titan, suggesting that the sword had a link to Segurus, noted and only evil titan and as a near godlike creature, not a good person to add to your wish list of arch nemeses.

Woodwanker meanwhile went a wandering whilst on guard duty as we slept in the cursed mansion and guess what? In the morning we awoke to news of another murder. Same MO as usual except that the last murder had been only months before and this was a double murder of a man and child. This murder was therefore off timetable. Yet another mystery.

Woodwanker confessed to us his desertion the night before. He claimed he had gone to check out a light in a nearby cottage but had found nothing there. Still no cause for suspicion, except that said cottage had acquired a new blood and gore themed décor overnight and was clearly where the victims found in the centre of town had drawn their painful final breathes. A tincey bit worrying. The local Paladin CSI did not exactly show much sign of causing any undue stress or worry to any passing murderers who might be watching* and we decided to intensify our investigative efforts.

*Woodwanker in particular seemed unconcerned

The wargen might have something to say and we headed west at the suggestion of Daltrey to see if we could find anything out from them. We tracked down the very wargen party that had raided the town hall and were able to persuade them to allow us to look at some of the records they had taken.

Stalvin’s records were there and we discovered his journal which included his none too flattering views of his family (snobbish) and Tobias’s fighting skill (not good except unarmed). He talked about the sword being presented to him at age nine. Key pages were missing however. The conversation with the wargen revealed that they too suffered child murders which they attributed to the humans. They took the records to protect the identities of humans who were actually wargens still living amongst them. It seemed obvious to us that Tobias was one such.

We returned and confronted him with this which he vigourously denied, sort of.* He further suggested that we seek the missing pages in the rotting orchard for reasons which I forget but would involve us having to penetrate an area particularly infested with the living dead common hereabouts.

*The GM deployed highly sneaky semantics at this point; ‘How dare you suggest such a thing?’ and ‘Whatever gave you that idea?’ are not actually denials.

We travelled through the orchard concerned mowing down a large number of zombies who attempted to stop our process in a fairly shambolic way.* Leaving their corpses in our wake we entered the farmhouse in the middle of the orchard and searched it. Plainsweaver heroically found a couple of bottles of wine, but Lutzbar came across the missing pages in a chest. We all piled upstairs enthusiastically to view Jen’s impressive chest.** The documents within threw a disturbing light on the final days of Stelvin.

*To be fair, this was the way they did everything though.
**Though Plainsweaver made his excuses and left at this point

The journal revealed that Stelvin had killed the family physician who he had caught attacking a servant girl in the stables. He had also had to kill the injured girl, allegedly a mercy killing. He was also planning to lead a rebellion against the local nobility. Revelation followed revelation: He referred to his narcolepsy and sleepwalking, although he didn’t make reference to his terrible dyslexia which was obvious from his journal entries. He also mentioned feeling different after these killings, possibly something to do with his sword.

After the massacre he records finding himself in the forest covered in blood. He name drops Garrius, noted necromancer as a person he wishes to visit. The final entry said: ‘Drums, drums in the deep.’ But this had been crossed out and replaced with ‘I AM CONSUMED BY DEATH’ in a different hand, possibly hinting at a slight personality change.

Returning to Tobias he interprets this new information – the physician was in attendance when their mother died delivering the youngest* son, Michael. Tobias believes that the physician was a necromancer who groomed Stelvin from his ninth birthday with a view to Stelvin taking power and controlling the area. Stelvin killed him once he felt able to seize his own destiny and travelled to Necromantic school** under Garrius to finalise his training in the dark arts after destroying his own family.

*OK so it’s obvious but we always need stuff spelling out so maybe you do too
**Almost certainly called Ghoulwarts or something similar

Where would Stelvin be found now? Well Ravenhill cemetery was likely, but Tobias had a plan up his sleeve. Well a little bit down from his sleeve actually, on his finger. His family signet ring, worn by all the Mismantles could be used as a locator. We all put on the family rings which Tobias had gathered after the murders, and sure enough they magically pointed west which would be right for Ravenhill. We set off and after a long journey found ourselves at the Mismantle Mauseleum.

We descended into the tomb and reached the chamber containing effigies of Tobias’s parents and Stelvin. Tobias’s place was there too, though the future occupant had made no plans to stay on this visitation. Tobias transformed into his wargen form to uncover the tomb of Stalvin and opened it, revealing the corpse within. Dead.

We checked the other tombs, revealing the skeletons of the parents, then Stelvin rose from his tomb and attacked. He was a powerful necromancer and summoned a great number of skeletons to his aid and cast several powerful spells that might have had fatal consequences for their targets had they worked at full efficiency. As it was we would have been hard pressed but for the aid of Tobias, and Fuq Nosia fell near mortally wounded as the skeletons swarmed around us.

I bravely concentrated on the necromancer* realising that his defeat would remove the undead menace and Plainsweaver and Lutzbar did good work against the powerful daemonic necromancer. I was seriously injured by the idiot Woodwanker at one point who went a bit berserk. Tobias it was who perhaps appropriately struck the final, fatal blow against his 200 hit point brother.

*OK so I was invisible most of the time but it’s the thought that counts.

I heroically helped heal Fuq Nose, saving her life for almost no gratitude. I further suggested to Tobias that he should exploit the death of his brother to bring together the Wargen and humans in common cause against the undead. He was reluctant, pointing out that we had no proof that Stalvin was the murderer/ responsible for the murders and probably not wishing to confirm the locals’ worst suspicions of his family.

We did as a result however get rewarded with the deeds to Mismantle Manor. Great: an opportunity for a great wizard like me to live and work in a town where the penalty for a conjuror changing a jack into an ace is a fiery death. And the food is rubbish. I dream of the days when at least 29% was horsemeat.

We need to re name the manor: My initial vote was for Tara, but I don’t think anyone understood it, and besides, I don’t think we’ll always have it. Other nominations include:

Meerkat Manor (Retains the alliteration but not terribly relevant)
Murder Manor (More relevant perhaps but…)
Pentagram Central (Nice to incorporate a bit of daemonic heritage?)
Absolutely No Magic Going On Here Towers (Too subtle?)
The Admiral’s Rest (Sound’s like a pub, but I like this one, reminds people that I am an admiral)
Mega Mansion One (A bit Judgemental?)
The Black Manse (A bit Hammer Horror?)
Hammer House (OK that’s a lot Hammer Horror)
Big Brother House (In honour of Tobias of course)
House of the Rising Son (No, we don’t want him rising again)
24 Acacia Avenue (Too zany)
Nelson Mandela House (Too plagiaristic)
Bleak House (Too Dickensian)
House of Usher (Too Unstable)
House of Cards (Even more unstable)
Our House (No that would be Madness)
The House at Clack’s Corner (This would probably be Pooh poohed)
Fuq’s Caff (Too rude)


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