Lost in the Mists
The people of Miredus found their spirits low following the deceit of the Briny Pig. And how could they not? There went the new hope of escape! But the citizens are used to having their hopes dashed and life quickly returned to normalcy. The heroes returned to their duties quickly, but many were still shaken by their experiences.
The stillness of their evening patrol was shattered by a shrill scream. Our players raced through the streets and came upon a ghastly sight. They found Joanas Rerkis, former executioner of Tobias IV, hanging from the second story window of his home. It did not take a seer or justicar to figure out what had happened: poor Joanas had evidently hung himself and joined the ranks of Miredus’s suicides. But the heroes were not convinced and began to investigate. The presence of odd bruises on the body and the scent of necromantic energy led the players to deduce that foul play was involved.
It did not take long to piece together this sad story. Vosk had a lieutenant named Nathan DuRay, an cruel man who monitored the new army of Miredus for desertion during the siege of Strava . During Vosk’s coronation , his other advisers died or vanished but DuRay remained. He had fled from the city and gathered a small gang of cutthroats to his side. While the new Council was trying to organize the city for their new circumstances, DuRay stated attacking farms and attempted to assassinate Councilman Farley. He failed in this attempt and was captured by Magistrate Matthew Rivers. After a quick trial, DuRay and his followers were put to death. Their executions mark the only of their kind since Miredus came to the Mists.
The party suspected that DuRay had returned from the grave to reek vengeance on his killers. However, this was strange due to the length of time between DuRay’s death and the current suspected murder. Garret deduced that the undead DuRay was unlikey to have been sated with one death. Putting DuRay’s bones to rest with fire and salt may stop his crimes.
They then raced towards the cemetery on the outskirts of the city, but learned that DuRay and his men were not buried with the fine people of Miredus, but instead buried under the very tree that they hanged from. The heroes made their way to that lonely hill top with the old gnarled gallows tree. Much to their surprise, the necromantic powers of DuRay animated the tree itself! In a twist of irony, the tree was now driven to inflict executions of its own, with its very vines becoming natural nooses. The bodies of DuRay’s men clawed their way out of the dirt and joined the attack on the heroes. Goodman was incapacitated and Zephyram almost ended up hanging from a tree like DuRay, but the heroes defeated the hangman’s tree and the reanimated scoundrels.
After the fight, the heroes unearthed the grave of Nathan DuRay and found the bones to have been recently desecrated. No doubt this was the cause of DuRay’s spirit rising…but who could have disturbed the villain’s bones? Who indeed. The heroes decided that the next target would be Councilman Farley and Magistrate Rivers. They decided to race to Magistrate Rivers’ home, only to find him hanging from the rafters in his basement. How predictable. Rivers had been dead for several hours, perhaps he had been dead for a day or two. The heroes then went to Farley and warned him that he was to be next. Farley offered himself as bait so that the heroes could stop the murderous phantom.
Around midnight, the specter struck. From the rope of a fallen chandelier, a rope golem sprang to life and attacked! The animated noose attempted to kill the Councilman, but was stopped by the heroes. DuRay’s agent was soundly defeated and now the heroes had to find his spirit and stop the killings.
While the Councilman was secured by his bodyguards, the party began searching for the source of the golem. Garret informed the group that the hangman golem was had to have been created by something, and the source of the necromantic magic vanished quickly without sunlight to burn it off. This suggested that the golem was created by a living, non-magical being…likely the same being that disturbed DuRay’s bones. The party rushed off and followed the trail of moldy grave earth to its predictable source.
Once at the cemetery, they found the poor groundskeeper slaughtered. At least that apparently exonerated him of any wrong doing! On the trail of their prey, a strange thing occurred: the shadows snuffed out the light and ghostly moans were heard from the tombs. It was as if our story didn’t have enough supernatural dread and the writers wished for more. Barlow sought his stars for guidance, but saw only the face of the grim Masters. Poor Barlow, he thinks he can see the way home but he may continue to find it ironically obscured. As quick as this haunting was upon our cast, it was gone and they found themselves at the freshly dug graves of Rivers and Joanas. A maddening series of hateful whispers revealed that DuRay was with them. The specter spat curses and tales that Vosk had seized power with some evil magical aid, possibly by a devil named “Taus”, but in doing so he drew the attention of some other “Master” which brought Vosk and Miredus to the Mists. DuRay betrayed the architect of his resurrection and named the mad merchant named Giles as his tormentor. With daring threats from Goodman and Barlow, DuRay raised the bodies of Rivers and Joanas and the three of them attacked our heroes. A tough fight, but the party utilized the blinding light of the Morning Lord to stop the ghost and his zombies.
The heroes then sought out Giles to confront him. They found the merchant in a crumbling house near the sea, obviously quite mad. Giles spoke of his previous involvement in some cult to the Elemental Chaos, but now claimed a new group of Dark Masters. He tearful giggling revealed that he sought their dark blessing, but once Barlow chastised him, Giles laughed. Giles claimed that the heroes were to supplant Vosk in this dark realm; the heroes disagreement brought only cackling. Once he began attacking, the party put him down like a rabid dog.
With this grim affair over, the heroes were left with more questions than they had started. Who were these Dark Masters and what did it mean for their escape from the Land of the Mists?