Dorod

A Suspicious Sacrifice

Adventurers uncover an insidious holiday in Glensfield.

Before they left Silk Town, Elmer Mudd gifted the volunteer spider-killers with a 20 foot long rope composed of a single enormous silk thread the town harvested from the largest spider they ever reared. The rope is looped at each end and bound in an iron cuff. It will stretch to five times its normal length, and they have yet to find an upper limit to its tensile strength. But it is flammable.

Artur returned to Ena Jarropulllin’s apothecary shop to say goodbye, but found her absent. In her stead, a note welcomed him, and inside he found three vials of pink liquid that smelled faintly of rose and were labeled as health potions. He gratefully took them and left a note in his wake.

The spider-killers prayed at the travel shrine of Fharlanghn for good speed and safe travels as they made their way back to Rhyryburg with their cargo of silk and seeds. They indeed made unnaturally good time for such heavy cargo. The first night they camped on Embankment Road, and were met by a stranger in the dark.

She introduced herself as Missy Mottles, cousin of Ena. She told the returning Rhyryburgians that her cousin said they wouldn’t be leaving until tomorrow and that she might be able to travel with them for safety. She didn’t expect them to head out today, so she took off after them as soon as she returned from the swamp with her cargo of snails. She explained that she hunted snails at dusk in the Sloughwallow and sold them to Hog’s Cross along the Embankment Road.

When the heroes arrived in Hog’s Cross, they found the stables filled with large lizards with saddles, and the inn almost entirely occupied by a rowdy band of drunk soldiers led by a reputed hero named Darrius “The Goat”. The large lisping man revealed that he was a deputy of the Order. Artur gambled for a treasure map, and lost Barley’s spider charm. Rhiannon traded back for it with her set of rainbow crystal dice. Kvothe investigated the possibility of acquiring a lizard mount, but was unsuccessful. Athas came into conflict with the Goat, causing the party to beat a hasty retreat. Before they left, Missy Mottles stopped Shirak for a talk. She stayed behind with the soldiers, favored by Darrius.

A hooded figure from the corner followed them out, revealing himself to be a mohawked gnome of indeterminable age. He had a small one-wheeled wagon with him with a wooden cover over the top. The travelers stopped to allow the gnome to catch up, and introduced themselves, offering to escort him to Rhyryburg, after he revealed that it was also his destination. He told them that he planned to do some experiments in the swamp there. He eagerly showed them what was in his cart as well, flipping the lid off. Lightning arced down in a constant barrage from the otherwise-clear sky until he let go of the cart and it tipped over on its single wheel, shielding its interior from the sky with the wooden side panels of the cart. The lightning ceased immediately, and the gnome showed the travelers an obelisk nearly a foot tall of pure hexicite.

The gnome told the travelers that he planned to use it to curb the population of venomous snakes and poisonous frogs in the swamp, and to test electrical dampening effects. They decided to turn him in to the Goat’s men, expecting them to imprison him as per Order teachings. The travelers were shocked when several soldiers rode out on their lizards and brutally murdered the gnome on the Embankment Road after only a brief interrogation. The soldiers left his body and the body of their comrade on the road for the travelers to go over, as they promised, but confiscated the obelisk.

Kvothe, Shirak, Rhiannon, Atrur and Athas arrived in Rhyryburg after dark, greeted by several bored porters for the seeds, mayor Cynthia and a number of children and outriders. The returning heroes brought back the funds allocated for the seeds, having secured them via alternate means. This delighted the mayor, and might allow Rhyryburg to spend it elsewhere.

The heroes had some well-deserved rest in actual beds and visited loved ones. They learned of a man selling off parts of a gold dragon carcass and went to investigate. Athas served as a bodyguard for Francis, the salesman. He secured dragon bone for a special project. Artur and Shirak purchased scales. Rhiannon was more interested in the seed-merchant Horg. She placed an order of Lesser Greenmoon Ivy for the town using the funds they’d saved in Silk Town.

Athas learned that Oscar, his cousin, was at Holey Hill, where he went to hunt down a fugitive. Oscar was traveling North through Rhyryburg, and had come from Glensfield. He left a sending stone with Khammisu, which infrequently receives messages. Rhiannon and Artur learned from Chispa about a large pack of feral dogs from the prisonlord lands that made a den in the Sloughwallow. Khammisu copied a spell into his apprentice’s spellbook. He also assigned Kvothe to determine what was causing the glimmerfin near Glensfield to produce scales that burned green.

The next day, Athas and the town butcher competed in a contest to see who could butcher the dragon best. The crowd declared Athas the victor, but he good-naturedly offered half the pay and work to the town’s butcher anyway. The sludge from the rotting carcass flowed into the river in a large oily mass.

Rhiannon gathered Artur and Shirak to take her to Glensfield so that she could purchase the greenfire for the Nuptial and try to convince the increasingly isolated hamlet to celebrate with them. Kvothe joined to do some ecological research, and Athas accompanied them to investigate the path that Oscar took, an perhaps discover where his magical lantern was lost.

The heroes of Rhyryburg traveled half a day to Glensfield, where they found few buildings, sheltered worshippers of Beory, and Glen. In the hamlet, evidence of the tragedy that befell them two years ago still stood; the burnt mill hadn’t been repaired. Kvothe found a magical porcelain lamp covered in beautiful green seafoam and wave decorations, and stoppered with a thumb-sized tourmaline. He solidly connected it to the glimmerfin phenomenon in the area. Shirak swam to collect it from the bottom of the Rhyryn. Rhiannon bought the green fire from Glen.

The next morning, amid farewells to the townsfolk, the heroes feigned leaving. Shirak and Kvothe had already snuck away to spy on Glen’s barn and Kvothe was in the middle of reconnoitering the barn through his familiar’s eyes when the others joined them. He had found an infant, a legless woman bound in ropes and Glen. They decided that they had to act, thinking that he was about to sacrifice the child atop the woman. They kicked in the barn doors and made ready to take Glen down, when a knife sailed into his chest from about waist level. The Gardener had thrown it. They tied Glen up, freed the woman and learned that her name was Hen and her child’s was Jack. The healed Glen, not wanting his blood on their hands yet.

Afterward, the heroes decided that it would be best if they showed the villagers of Glensfield what their patriarch was doing, rather than kill him there and risk their ire. A third of the small hamlet followed them back to Glen’s barn, where the captors began announcing his crimes. These included sacrificing people, raping Hen, keeping prisoners and dark rituals.

Glen, having undone his bonds, stood up, despite Rhiannon’s sword at his throat. He pushed her back, gambling that she wasn’t willing to kill him in front of his crowd. After clearing the gag from his mouth, he denounced the claims that he had raped Hen, or sacrificed anyone (yet). He said that he had saved Hen from the fire two years ago, and prevented her from bleeding out after she lost her legs. He says that the baby boy was already in her belly. He also explained that the stone in his barn provided fertility and protection for the croplands in every direction for thirty miles by the grace of Beory, including Rhyryburg. He said that he had protected them so far, but had no more oxen to sacrifice after peelhoof took them. He said that he had only sacrificed his own cattle before, drenching human effigies in their blood and burning them upon the stone. He wanted to cure the blights, and overpower the curse afflicting the land by sacrificing a human child’s blood- he’d already tried using his own.

Another member of the crowd spoke up, saying that he knew of the ritual and had helped several years ago when they were still using oxen. He said Beory truly did bless those that performed the rite upon the stone. Athas, sensing that the crowd had not yet been won over by Glen, and might be soon, and enflamed by Glen’s own words, ran his longsword through the patriarch’s throat. Glen fell back, bleeding from the neck upon the stone, a fitting human sacrifice, though not much of a ritual. Almost immediately the ground at the base of the stone began writhing with pale tendrils, new leaves and creeping fungus. The ground shook. The heroes herded panicking villagers out of the barn.

They heard scraping sounds from within as the distant quaking continued. They could see a huge canopied silhouette in the distance, a dark cloud spreading below it in the midday sunlight. It was traveling parallel to town and seemed uninterested. Some suspected undead within the barn, having registered necromantic magic on the stone. They attacked through the far doors, finding three effigies that had come to life, malevolent energy burning in their eyes. They took many blows, straw filling the air and embers flying as Kvothe barraged them with bolts of fire, inadvertently setting the barn ablaze as well.

It was during the battle that Artur discovered that the “health” potions that Ena left for him did not seem to provide any healing.

After searing the life from the effigies’ frames, the firebugs fled the increasingly hot barn, avoiding the flaming fields outside and running to Glensfield. Shirak carried Athas, who sustained injuries to his leg and limped badly. They encouraged the villagers to flee with them to Rhyryburg, and the terror stricken populace almost unanimously complied. Only a few stayed to fight the fires and save their town, while most were urged into panic by the armed strangers. In the distance, black smoke mixed with a distant purple cloud against a vivid blue sky. The tremors in the ground faded with distance.

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