Rise of the Runelords

The Seven's Sawmill

The Skinsaw Murders, Part 8

Moonday, 13 Neth, 4733

Having survived an ambush, Lea cleans up and then helps Ameiko continue fixing up the Kaijitsu villa. By the time the rest of the party shows up, their efforts have begun to devolve into a soapy sponge fight.

Zavian and Marcus decipher the hidden messages in the fake deeds to the Blue Bunyip. The more recent of the two documents, found at the Foxglove Manor—the Misgivings—includes an alert to pass on word about Lea and Amelia, but to otherwise leave them alone. The older message, hidden in the Foxglove townhouse, details a dead drop outside the Blue Bunyip, as well as instructions on how to meet up with someone called Miior in the Mushfens.

Lea, Amelia and Astrid go to investigate the dead drop. It’s located under a waste crate in a narrow alley behind the tavern. Amelia checks it for traps, and then Lea reaches down to pull it out, setting off the trap. Amelia is hit with a poisoned dart, but makes use of antitoxin.

Lea inspects the dead drop, finding a collection of scrolls but up with different colored ribbons. They scoop up the scrolls just before Brodi emerges from the Bunyip’s back door. Astrid ducks into the shadows, while Lea sweeps Amelia up in a kiss to hide the half-elf’s face. They pose as bubbly teenage lovers Aware that she is the only one who hasn’t met the dwarf, Lea does the talking, pretending to be a love struck teenager looking for a quiet place to make out with her girlfriend. She’s compelling enough that the dwarf tells them to get a room (and suggests the Blue Bunyip).

Lea, Amelia, and (stealthily) Astrid retreat from the alley. Lea makes Amelia promise never to tell Ameiko about this incident. They hear Brodi suddenly shout in anger and quickly make themselves scarce.

On their way back to the Kaijitsu villa, they pass by a display of unusual creatures from the Lord-Mayor’s Menagerie. The beasts include a peryton from the Kodar Mountains, which looks like a cross between a deer, a wolf, and a vulture. Amelia thinks it’s cute, but the other two women are grossed out.

After returning to the Kaijitsu villa, the ladies turn the dead drop scrolls over to Zavian for inspection. Meanwhile, Lea and Amelia go shopping with Ameiko, Astrid, and Shalelu. Amelia and Astrid pressure Lea in buying expensive clothes. Shalelu and Astrid commiserate about the overwhelming nature of the big city. They also discuss the Isandari, who Shalelu describes as snooty and standoffish even by elven standards.

With the girls out shopping for clothes and Marcus off to buy spells, Zavian stays at the villa to inspect the scrolls using the cipher for the deed. They are reports from informants for the Rushlight Society, focused mostly on merchant traffic and security movements, but also reporting on sightings of Lea and Amelia.

Once the party regroups at the villa, Marcus suggests they visit a new restaurant he saw. As they travel through the city streets, however, they spy the peryton flapping loose over the city streets while guards and the beastmaster chase ineffectually after it. Lea casually tosses a pebble at the peryton and manages to bounce the rock off its antlers.

The creature whirls around and gives her the evil eye before flying off. Lea feels a strange sensation and realizes that the peryton has stolen her shadow, marking her as prey. The furious paladin gives chase, letting nothing get in her way. She dodges past a spooked horse and charging through a manure spill. Scooping some shit off her armor and tosses it in the peryton’s eyes, causing it to blindly crash into a brick wall.

Ameiko soothes the creature with a song long enough for Lea and Shalelu to bind it up. Arriving a few minutes later, the beastmaster thanks them and is ultimately persuaded to pay Lea a 200gp reward for catching “Vincent.” He forces the peryton to release Lea’s shadow and apologize to her.

After Ameiko cleans Lea up with prestidigitation, Marcus leads them to the newly opened restaurant the Cursed Sword. The stone building has a martial theme, structured like a barracks mess hall with damaged weapons and armor hanging from the walls.

There, the party encounters the mercenary captain Viorian Dekanti. Lea and Zavian confront her about Tsuto, the prisoner she’d escorted to Magnimar who seems to be out on the loose. Viorian insists she handed him over to Justice Ironbriar’s people, and seems to be telling the truth. She demands that they retract this insult to her character, and offers her company’s assistance in catching or killing the fugitive. Lea offers to cover Viorian’s dinner in recompense for the insult, which the mercenary heartily takes advantage of. “More wine!”

Viorian also asks about Astrid’s sword, as she likes collecting them. Astrid learns that Viorian encountered Eldrin and his elven rangers a couple months ago. The mercenary managed to discover the location of their camp in the Mushfens. She also directs Amelia to the smith who made her armor, after Marcus determines that it is the genuine article under all the golden gilding.

Tired from their escapades at the Foxglove townhouse and elsewhere, the party takes an early rest, especially so that Zavian could recover and replenish his divine energies.

Toilday, 14 Neth, 4733

A few hours after midnight, the party sets out to investigate the Seven’s Sawmill, an impressive wooden structure along the shore of Kyvet Isle in the southern part of the city. Marcus spiderclimbs up the side of the building and finds a mysterious elf in a red robe fussing about in an office on the fourth floor. Marcus doesn’t recognize the elf, but notes that he has a family resemblance to Tsuto. After setting the Nualia vivicar to guard the exit to the undermill, the rest of the party bashes down the door in a police raid.

Finding no one downstairs, they head up to the second level where they find mill workers inspecting piles of finished lumber project. Zavian and Lea demand to see the mill’s records. The mill workers seem friendly, but they start to move to flank the party. Lea and Astrid challenge them, and a fight breaks out as the workers produce large war razors from up their sleeves.

On the fourth floor, the elf hears the sound of the door being bashed open. He checks out the window, but doesn’t see Marcus, and then leaves the room. Marcus bashes open the window, which startles some ravens roosted somewhere overhead. He calls his familiar Ash up to question them. Ash says that they are messenger ravens who carry information to the “snake lady tower.” Marcus tells Ash to ask them about the tower’s location and then follows after the elf.

On the second floor, the mill workers lay into the party, but though their razors are fearfully sharp they have trouble getting through Lea, Zavian, and Astrid’s armor. Amelia hangs back and hurls glitterdust, blinding one of the attackers.

Outside of the elf’s office, the fourth floor is a workshop littered with sawdust. Seeing no one there, Marcus heads downstairs to the third floor. This chamber features two chutes for logs to be drawn up from below and two other chutes leading to the saw blades.

In the shadowy far corner of the room, Marcus spies a human man in a red robe fumbling to pull on a strange mask showing a deformed face with a single bulbous eye. He is armed with a war razor. Marcus holds up his Magnimar City Watch badge and tells man to drop his weapons and surrender. When the man fails to comply, Marcus inflicts blindness on him.

But the lone cultist is not so alone after all. Two more cultists emerge from the shadows by the door to try to seize hold of the wizard, but he fights them off. Another cultist reveals himself from across the room and fires a hand crossbow at Marcus, but the bolt is deflected by the half-elf’s shield spell.

Finally, the elf himself reappears, wearing a different mask that looks as if it is made from a single strip of skin bound together in a spiral shape. He casts a spell and Marcus feels his muscles tightening with paralysis, but flexes his limbs and shakes it off.

“All the important people are up here!” Marcus calls out.

On the second floor, Astrid and Lea bring down three of the mill workers. A fourth one makes a break for the stairs but is caught with a hold person spell from Zavian. The blind worker, meanwhile charges at Lea but runs into a pile of lumber and falls over. While the others rush upstairs, Lea lingers to knock the man unconscious.

Upstairs, the cultists continue to have difficulty penetrating the party’s armor and then attempt to fade back into the shadows. Amelia uses more glitterdust to try to expose them, in the process blinding a cultist and the elf. The Rune Wardens advance into the room, where Zavian is ambushed by two more hidden cultists. The blinded cultist tries to force Astrid into the saw blade chute.

The elf, meanwhile, frees himself of the blindness effect and falls back towards the cultist that was blinded by Marcus. Amelia hits him with more glitterdust, but doesn’t blind him again.

One of the cultists tries to command Astrid to drop her weapons, but she resists his compulsion. Lea arrives and bull rushes another cultist into the saw blade chute, but the masked man braces himself inside the chute above the spinning blades. Zavian tries to kick him in, but the man seizes hold of Zavian’s boot. The boot comes off and the man falls in, leaving the aasimar with a bare foot.

Another wave of cultists comes up from below, attacking Amelia. She casts grease and Lea rushes to her aid. Zavian, meanwhile, races downstairs before his hold person spell wears off on the mill worker below.

Marcus and Astrid close in on the elf, who proves to be skilled with his gleaming short sword and is protected by so many layers of magic he seems nearly impossible to hit. He babbles to Marcus: “I know why you’re here! You’ll not take her from me! She is mine, and you are merely food for Father Skinsaw!”

The remaining blind cultist attempts to assist, but can’’t hit a damn thing. The elf starts lecturing him. “Once we’ve slain these intruders, you are out of the cult, Arthur!”

“Hey, man, I’m blind here,” Arthur protests, taking another swing.

“Bit more to your left,” Marcus says helpfully, moving to Arthur’s right.

“Thanks, man!”

Over by the stairs, Lea strikes down one of the two cultists. Amelia warns her to get out of the grease spell, then ignites the oil on the floor. The second cultist catches fire and Amelia finishes him off.

Downstairs, Zavian knocks out the mill worker who was caught in his hold person spell, but is attacked by another cultist. Lea goes to his assistance and together they bring down the zealot.

Unable to get through the elf’s magical armor, Marcus switches to magic missile, while Astrid looks for an opening. Finally, she seizes one and runs through the elf, leaving him bleeding on the floor. Arthur surrenders, while Lea hastily patches up the elf and the Rune wardens take stock of their victory.

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