Rise of the Runelords

Asylum Seekers

The Skinsaw Murders, Part 2

Moonday, 23 Lamashan, 4733

 Amelia makes her way to the garrison and encounters an angry group of mostly Varisian protestors. She learns that the mob has gathered because the fortune teller Madame Mvashti has foretold an avalanche of destruction raining down on the town, a doom which Nualia heralded. The frightened locals hope that by getting rid of Nualia they can prevent this disaster.

Inside, the party finishes questioning Ibor Thorn. Lea and Zavian trade words with Nualia, then Lea promises the Vinder family that they will track down the killer. Marcus avoids interacting with them. Outside, Amelia convinces the crowd that hurting Nualia will accomplish nothing.

The rest of the party emerges and Lea insists that there was no murder. The adventurers decide to consult with Madame Mvashti. Marcus is curious if she could learn more from his ranseur. She lives in a fine old house in town, which is decorated with innumerable charms, wards, and tokens.

Mvashti communes with the ranseur and then performs a harrow reading. She believes that 5 years ago, the well underneath Sandpoint flared to life, releasing a burst of wrathful energy that took hold in the souls of three people already nursing great anger in their hearts—the three points of light seen at Kaijitsu Manor, Chopper's Isle, and the old chapel. But Mvashti warns that the well flared up because of an even greater, more distant ripple of magical energy, one which portends doom for Sandpoint, Varisia, and even Golarion itself. She then invites them to breakfast.

Amelia finally has the opportunity to inspect the note with her name on it that was pinned to Banny Harker's body. She suspects it might be connected to Aldern Foxglove, but "he is a bit too much of a coward to do that." Lea and Astrid wonder if it might be someone else from Amelia's past, though she can't think of any likely suspects.

Lea suggests returning to the barracks to speak with Nualia again, something Zavian is eager to do. Based on Madame Mvashti's reading, the paladin describes how the surge of wrathful energy could have pushed the aasimar over the edge. Nualia insists that she simply saw the light of Lamashtu's truth.

She recounts her sad story of being isolated from the rest of the town because of her celestial looks, while being raised by a strict and unfeeling  father who planned to send her to a Desnan convent when she came of age. As a young woman, she was courted by a Varisian named Delek, seemingly the only one who would treat her as a normal person. They held their trysts in the smugglers' tunnels below town, but when she became pregnant Delek called her a slut and skipped town.

Locked up in the chapel by her father and forced to pray nightly to Desna for forgiveness, Nualia fell into a coma after giving birth to a monstrous, stillborn child. In her dreams, Lamashtu spoke to her and she listened.

When she woke, she had the strength to forge her own path to rid herself of her celestial taint. She burned down the chapel, then fled south to Magnimar where she fell in with the Skinsaw Cult, a band of murderers who helped her find and kill Delek. The mysterious leader of the cult, a dark haired Varisian woman, gave her the Sihedron medallion as a parting gift when Nualia returned north to deal with Sandpoint.

Nualia denies any knowledge of the current murder spree or the purpose of carving the Sihedron rune onto victims.

Zavian lingers behind after the rest of the party leaves, urging Nualia to seek redemption for the crimes she committed in Lamashtu's name. He tries to establish a connection with her based on their shared celestial heritage. Time will tell if succeeded.

Marcus, meanwhile, visits the Sandpoint General Store to check in on Shayliss and her mother. He tries to build a rapport with Solsta, and ends up selling her a club for self defense.

The adventurers ponder their leads regarding the killing and pool their knowledge of ghouls. They realize that ghoul fever is contagious and that the sole surviving victim of the other murder might be infected. They decide to make haste for Habe's Sanitorium.

It takes several hours by horse and cart to reach the facility, which lies at the base of a rocky outcropping called the Ashen Rise. It is a cold and rainy trip through a fairly empty countryside before they arrive at the facility.

The adventurers are forced to talk their way inside, as Dr. Erin Habe and his tiefling staff are very reluctant to welcome visitors. Habe finally consents to having the victim, Grayst Sevilla, brought down from his room for a brief conversation.

Grayst is in the very late stages of ghoul fever and seems barely able to stand—until he spies Amelia. He relays a message from His Lordship, who promises to end the "harvest" if she will join him at his "Misgivings." Grayst then lunges at Amelia and has to be knocked out.

The party starts to question Habe's treatment of the man, while Habe demands that they swear silence on what they have seen. Finally, the doctor rushes over to pound on the basement door, calling for help, while his tiefling orderlies attack the party. A squad of zombies soon shambles out of the basement, followed by the necromancer Caizarlu.

Caizarlu casts a stinking cloud spell in the room, but suffers an arcane mishap and is teleported into the center of the party, where he is swiftly laid low. With the wizard captured, his undead destroyed, and Habe unconsciously, the party decides to spend the night at the madhouse.

Marcus recognizes Grayst's comments about the Misgivings as referring to the old Foxglove Manor south of Sandpoint, long abandoned and said to be haunted. The adventurers figure that will be their next stop.

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