Before we climbed the stairs to the second floor of this house, I decided that it might be a good idea to go and grab that scarf from the study to use as a mask. I just had a feeling that we might run into more of the creature that emitted that puking stench, and I figured it would help. Once I grabbed that, I made another attempt at talking the mage into joining us through the house, but he was content sitting in the room with the piano in it. Not wanting to waste too much time on him, I just shrugged and head back to the stairs with the others. I swear that on my way though, I heard him squawk followed by the sounds of him running out a door again.
As we reached the top of the stairs, we heard footsteps following us, but there was no one actually there. This caused us to all pretty much run through the door into the hallway on this second floor. Another staircase going up was found through a door way immediately out of the stairwell that leads to the ground floor. The next room looked like that of a child’s room. It contained a bed and a toy chest which just had a number of old dolls in it. For some reason, Seoni freaked out and collapsed on the big guy, then got right back up as if nothing was wrong. It is very strange, the way this house affects us. It’s worth mentioning that when we looked out the window in this room, we noticed more of the sickly looking ravens outside. A LOT more of them. They all seemed to have their attention on something outside…
Moving on, we found a room containing a number of family portraits on the walls. Each of them looked like they were the generations of the Foxgloves, if I were to guess. While snooping around the room, the temperature suddenly dropped to where our breath was crystalizing in the air before us. Not long after, the mold and decay in the room increased ten-fold, affecting even the pictures, making them look rotted and beaten. Almost as if the pristine pictures switched to reflect each family member’s death masque. At the same time, a poisonous cloud filled my lungs, and after a short coughing fit, I noticed what looked like fungus and spores on my skin. Not the easiest thing to ignore. I spent a lot of time from that point on scratching my arms and face as much as I could, and it just didn’t seem to actually do anything. No one else that I could tell was affected in the same way. Although I did notice that Seoni and the gnome were scratching a bit as well.
As quickly as the poisonous cloud came, it went, and the room was back to the way it was when we first entered. Through other doors, we came into a bedroom that contained a desk with a dark stain on it. I walked over to inspect the stain when I felt the temperature drop again. I believe that I’ve gleaned enough from the rest of this house to realize that when something odd happens, leave. So I did. Without looking back, I went to the next room, which turned out to be some sort of music room. Instruments lay all over, including a large golden harp. Oh, how I would have loved to have been able to carry that fine instrument out of there, as I am sure that it could fetch a pretty copper or two. About the time I entered this room I heard Seoni mention that she wanted to check on the mage, so she ran down the hallway and we could hear her footfalls as she went down the stairs. But it DID seem that the footfalls were a little delayed…
I can’t even really remember anything about the next room that we went into because it was basically just covered in dark green, blue, and black mold. None of us stayed in there for very long. I was already itching enough as it was. Next we found a bathroom. When the gnome and the big guy went inside there to look around, the floor gave way! The gnome was able to jump to safety in time, but the big guy landed in the bathroom below us with a loud crash. The gnome and I waited for him to take the stairs to get back up to where we were. I could hear him grumbling about “stupid moldy floors” the entire way. He is about as quiet and subtle as a Tarrasque.
Into another room we went, and this one had the look of a tornado going through it. Broken and smashed items littered the floor everywhere except for one thing. There was what could only be a picture on the far wall, but it was turned around facing the other way. After a brief discussion, as we are now fairly wary of anything this house has in it, we decided how best to view the picture. Looking out the window, we could see the mage and Seoni aimlessly wandering around. The gnome called down to the mage and asked him to look at something, then held the picture up to the window. Suddenly, he attacked Seoni with one swipe of a dagger. He missed, but it still happened. Too shocked to do anything about it, we just put the picture down, and proceeded to the stairway leading further up.
The stairs came out into a smaller hallway that had a dankness about it, this could have only been the attic. Doorways littered the dust and cobweb strewn hallway, and each room was essentially a storeroom of some sort. At least until we got to a room with stained glass windows. Each window depicted a man in various change of form. From dapper young lord, to a ghoulish looking fiend, each window represented a step in a horrid change. Very little else was in this room. And it wasn’t long after our being in here that the big guy decided to leave fairly quickly as well. Unfortunately, he chose one of the windows as his exit. I wish I knew what caused him to do that, but once again, he was falling. Lucky for him, he impaled himself on a weather vane. If he hadn’t, he would have fallen about another 200 or so feet to a rocky death below. Have I mentioned that this house is on a cliff? I think I did. We were able to pull him up, and bandage him a bit. He offered no comment to our curiosity of why he did what he did, but I believe it is safe to assume it had something to do with this house. We’ll try to keep him away from windows from now on. We continued on.
I believe that here would be a good time to catch up with what Seoni and the mage were doing while we systematically searched the house. According to her, she DID attempt to talk the mage into coming back into the house and help us with searching it. We were looking for Foxglove, or at least evidence that he had something to do with the murders in town and the surrounding area. Which, honestly, simply being in this house kind of proved that he was involved in some way. You can’t live in a place that’s in this kind of condition and NOT be an evil bastage. Anyway, the mage was still refusing, mumbling about mysterious music and manticores. At one point, he tried, but as they were walking through the room with the piano, he burst into dance for about a minute, and then they both ran back out again. She mentioned how that over the course of their standing outside they noticed that more and more of those sickly looking ravens were appearing. And they just all perched somewhere watching them. Of course, I already mentioned about the mage going out of his mind for a brief moment. They heard the big guy fall through the floor, and chuckled to themselves as they asked if he was all right. The birds continued to gather and watch them, which was really starting to creep them out. They heard the crash of the big guy flying through the window and the squelch of his landing on the weathervane. They were able to get a vantage point that allowed them to watch us drag him back up into the room.
It wasn’t long after when the birds started to show some agitation, and began to mobilize. Being towards the back of the house, they were not able to get inside before the birds attacked. Luckily, the mage had a spell handy. He was able to cast a web that encased him and Seoni, and blocked the ravens from getting to them. Next, he cast some sort of inter-dimensional spell and Seoni and he climbed up into it. Just before enveloping himself completely in it, he ignited the web, which killed a good number of the birds, but there were still hundreds squawking and flapping. They were forced to bunker down there for a time.
Later, after we compared noted, it turns out that the birds attacked them right around the same time that we opened a door to find a fairly unhappy undead-looking woman. The gnome told us that she was called a “revenant”: an undead who is basically created out of hate and will destroy anything in their paths to get at who they seek vengeance on. This particular one seemed to think that I had something to do with her original demise, as she launched at me immediately. We all took one swipe at her, and suddenly her face dropped as she stared at the scarf I had tied around my face. I was shocked into inaction. Unfortunately, her pacifistic ways did not last. She lashed at me, grabbing the scarf from my face and proceeded to rip it to shreds. I had to let out a sigh. While it wasn’t really something I wanted fashion-wise, it had a utility purpose. Next, she lashed out at me a few more times, severely wounding me. It was at this point that I felt it necessary to find somewhere else to be. I may be a heroic fighter, but I’m not suicidal. Running down the hallway, I entered a room that we had been in and slammed the door behind me, barring it as best I could to keep her out. I know the big guy and the gnome were more than capable of handling her from here.
Bracing the door, I listened intently to what was going on outside. I heard the sounds of a short battle, then another door slamming, followed by the shuffling of feet approaching the door I was on the other side of, then going down the hallway towards the stairs. After a minute, I opened the door and went to the room where the big guy jumped from the window because the door was now closed knowing full well that we had left it open. They pulled me inside, and we waited another minute and since nothing happened, the big guy tore out of the room and ran down the hallway to chase the creature. The gnome and I figured we should check that last door before going further.
Inside the room, it looked almost like a library of sorts. Books were everywhere along with skull-shaped candle holders. They actually may have been skulls, I really didn’t inspect them. It wasn’t long after being in there where I heard the sound of pages turning, and no one was holding a book. I left the room. The gnome was searching still, however, and when he came out he was holding a few scroll cases.
Headed back to the ground floor, we got there as the big guy was standing over a hole in the main rooms floor. He said that the undead thing tore a hole here and jumped down. We figured that now would be a good time to get the rest of the group back together and we went hunting for Seoni and the mage. One look out the door and we could tell the ravens were all in a tiff. We tried two different doors and five windows before we were finally able to tell where they were. A quick plan was laid out to get them inside safely. The big guy jumped through a window and ran around like an insane person and while the ravens were distracted, Seoni and the mage came down from their inter-dimensional pocket and rushed to the “safety” of the house. The big guy soon joined us unscathed.
With cries of, “Finally! Something tangible!” the mage decided to actually join us for the rest of the exploring. We jumped down the hole and found ourselves in what used to be a kitchen. Dirt and mold covered everything the eye could see, and there were large cracks in one of the walls. When I went to inspect one of the cracks quickly, two packs of rats erupted from it and attacked us.
It took a few minutes, but we eventually eradicated the rats, and picked the best direction that we thought the undead went in. After another hallway, we found a library with more haunting stained glass windows and an alchemy lab of some sort. Not wanting to lose the revenant, as we’ve already wasted enough time, we continued through another door which brought us to stairs spiraling further downward.
Once in the caverns, we were met with a few directional choices, and simply picked one and went. We found a small cubby/clearing with some mold and a very nice-looking pick-axe buried in the wall. When the gnome grabbed the pick-axe, the mold erupted and a poisonous gas released into the air, which definitely affected a few of us. We backed into the main cavern until it cleared. Then hugging the wall this time, went further down the pathway.
Not much farther in, we were greeted by a few ghouls. One of which was sporting what looked like a stone wing in its forehead. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that this was a victim of a horrible crime before he was turned into this creature. Regardless, we dispatched them quickly enough with no injuries to any of us. We got a chance to look around in this area, and it looked like a feeding ground. Bones littered the floor. Some with rotting meat on them, all with what could only be human-like teeth marks in them. What a grizzly sight.
Pressing on, we were able to hear the sound of sinister moaning, and what could only be a battle of some sort from further down the hall. Continuing to advance, another group of ghouls came out of the darkness at us. Once again, they went down with little to no effort from us.
Further into the dark oppressiveness of the cavern, we found ourselves in a larger one with a sizable body of water in the center. The sounds of battle had ceased by this point, but we were sure we were going in the right direction. On the other side of this cavern we could see a number of pathways that all lead out. We walked by each of them, just to take a quick peek into them. From one came a number of ghouls that looked like they were goblins at one point. They exuded a stench that caused me to begin puking uncontrollably for a long time. Man how I wished that the scarf I grabbed earlier was not torn to shreds by that revenant.
Somehow, without my help they managed to take the goblin-ghouls down, and once my stomach calmed down, we went through the only door there was in this cavern. A small hallway leaded us to a room that looked like it was used for alchemical experimentation. A large patch of luminescent mushrooms was in the center of the room, with the body of the revenant next to it. Also, there was a very sickly looking Aldern Foxglove. His eyes immediately locked onto Seoni and he mumbled something about her joining him, then he attacked us.
I attempted to position myself around him to more effectively hit him. No matter what I did though, I just couldn’t seem to find a weak spot on him. After he took a hit or two from us, he broke down and begged for us to save him. He told a sad tale that explained what had happened to his wife and why there was a ghoul with a broken stone wing in its head. He went on to describe that he had contact with some group called the “Brothers of 7” or something, and mentioned something else to do with poison. His begging stage did not last long, as soon enough he took a mask from a pocket, placed it on his face, and attacked us once again.
Seoni positioned herself so that he could not get at her, as he seemed fairly intent on killing her. We were able to keep him occupied though. I noticed the mage sneaking around the battle, I’m assuming trying to find a better vantage point much like I had, but then I saw him rummaging through the desks there. What a time to pick to loot!
I sustained heavy injuries from Foxglove, but unlike with the revenant, I knew that I needed to be in this. Besides, I really couldn’t see where to go, and we didn’t fully clear out everything before we got here. So I may have just run into something else when I was weakened so.
After what seemed like ages, he finally fell. I slumped against the wall while the rest of the group searched around for anything of importance or usefulness. I heard someone mention something about burning or stamping out the mushrooms, which I think was a good idea, as they kind of looked sinister to say the least. But I don’t know that was done, as much of this part is a fog due to the damage I took from Foxglove.
A letter was found which points to Magnimar. I guess I know where we’re going now. Anything to get us out of this godforsaken house.