We decided to follow up on who was collecting bodies. So, we took the body of the half orc to the drop off location, and sent the signal for a pick up. Eventually, a carriage came for the body, which we followed back to a mortuary. We knocked on the door, but there was no answer. We picked the lock and entered into the reception area. While searching the reception, we heard footsteps upsatairs in the roof top garden. Zarine’s familiar, who was scouting outside, was able to see a man in the garden release a messenger bird, and then attempt to hide himself. Zarine sent her familiar to follow the messenger while we climbed the stairs to confront the man.
The stairs led up to a well-furnished bedroom, which opened up into the garden. We were able to sneak up on the man hiding there, and capture him. He called himself Artend, and claimed that once Mary found out, she was going to kill him. Apparently he was the owner of the mortuary, and had been furnishing Mary Black with unidentified bodies…for a price. He was able to give us a description of Mary, dark hair and light green eyes, as well as her tall, blond assistant. Mary had been collecting bodies for some time now. She has learned to make undead creatures from body parts, using Chaos magic to bind them together.
A search of Artend, the bedroom and reception uncovered a ledger detailing the pick-up dates and payments received for the bodies Artend sold to Mary, a key to a safety deposit box at Stross Holding Company, a dagger, an amulet of natural armor +2, a spell book and a magic tome called “Magus Rising”, which details a series of pact which can be used to bind imps. We also uncovered a secret door.
The secret door led to a small room containing a trough full of body parts. When we entered the room, the parts animated, and oozed out of the trough to attack us. We destroyed the undead abomination just as a group of people entered the loading dock of the mortuary. They had come to burn the place down, with us in it! They all wore masks that were enchanted to give the image of a carved, wooden skull, and were worshippers of Zagul, a being of the nether realms. After a protracted battle involving pitch-spitting undead spider creatures, we defeated them and prevented the building from burning to the ground. In the process, we attained 6 blood tear necklaces and two scrolls of Animate Dead.
We left the mortuary and turned Artend over to Cmmdr. Bonaduce. At about that time, Zarine’s familiar reported that it was able to follow the messenger bird to the plantation district, near the Jaltos and Stross houses. Unfortunately, it was chased away by a wyvern, so it was not able to find the exact destination of the messenger.
The next morning, we went to the Stross Holding company to open Artend’s stong box. It contained his payments from Mary Black, around 10,000 gp pieces. Interestingly, they were all in ancient coins, like the ones we found in the ruins.
Three days passed with everyone performing various chores, leading to the evening of the masquerade ball, hosted by Jaltos in our honor. This was especially irksome for Zarine, as she had accidently double booked this eveing. She had promised to attend with Both Bonaduce and Chambers. All of the town notables were present, including members from all of the Houses, Bethany Razor, Xalen, Hargrove, Thaladin Creed, and even Vincenz.
The evening was progressing swimmingly until Zarine’s familiar noticed that Ratmen were sneaking into the compound, carrying packets some strange powder, possibly poison. Shortly thereafter, Granan noticed that the protective runes surrounding the courtyard had been altered. Instead of keeping things out, if triggered, they would now keep things trapped inside. As we tried to convince Bonaduce of the potential problems, the hired performers began their play. Bored with the play, Zarine decided to scout around compound. Granan joined her. While prowling about, Zarine is attacked and capture by a couple of Devourer worshippers, who plan on taking her back to make her their “queen”.
Just as her screams reach the courtyard, the runes got activated, trapping all but Granan and Zarine in the courtyard. All of a sudden, a huge worm-like amalgamation of body parts erupts from the ground, right in the middle of the courtyard. It lets out an ear splitting screech, which panics many of the guests. Avidian, Ironforge and several of the guests engaged the horror, while Tobin went to work trying to disable the runes. Eventually, he is able to lower the barrier, and with the added assistance of the guests, we defeated the creature.
In the meantime, Granan and Zarine after dispatching the cultists came across a group of servants, who were confined to their beds from illness. While Granan was attempting to tend to them, they began to transform. They developed a sickly pallor, and then body parts began to sprout from their bodies. Granan called upon the power of his god to heal these poor, stricken innocents. However, something went wrong. His hammer began to glow red with the power of his god, which began to fill the room. Unfortunately, he was not able to control the power, which began to drain him of his life force. In the process, the servants were utterly destroyed, and Granan passed out.
The evening ended with clean up, healing and the counting of the dead. We lost 13 people in the fight, including the leader of House Bariman.
Amulet of Natural Armor +2 (Ironforge)
Spell book (Tobin)
Key to safety deposit box (Avidian)
6 Blood tear necklaces worth ~500 gp each
2 scrolls of Animate dead (Granan)
~ 10,000 gp
+2 Dagger of Wounding (Tobin)