Write up follows:
The group reconvened just west of the warehouse district and short of the Lost Children of Tyr Orphanage. They spent a few minutes catching each other up with what they had learned and discovered before heading off to pay their respects and then go visit the Regurin Demesne and hopefully have some answers from the smuggler in captivity.
The Orphanage had seen better days and was in need of some repair but the children were well fed, dressed comfortably, and seemed in good spirits. The Matron of the LCoT was a rotund woman named Amade and she was cheerful and appreciative to the group’s presence. There were about 15 kids ranging between 4 and 9 that came out to meet the group, of which the majority of them were human, with a few Halfling and half-orc children in tow.
Valarie spent some time with the half-orc children who were impressed with the Half-orcish Druid, asking her tons of questions about her tusks, skin color, hair, and just how big she was. The rest of the group talked to Amade who let it be known that any donations go to “food and clothing for the children first”, followed by sundry items, repairs, and then placement costs and fees if there is anything left over to help give the orphans a trade to learn or a family to place with. There were 3 others at the LCoT, the head cook, and two adjuncts. Everyone worked hard but it was a labor of love.
After taking the tour, Magnus wanted to make a tithe and donation to the Orphanage and offered Matron Amade 10 golden crowns. She literally had to stop she was crying so much at the generous amount. This spurred on Deja to match Magnus’ offer. And then Between Talion and Val, their combined offering matched Magnus’ again!
And Veldryn gave 7 nobles.
Effectively, the party gave the equivalent of 3,000 days of common labor costs to the Orphanage. More money than they typically would see in 3 months. The kids were thrilled, the staff was pumping hands in thanks, and Matron Amade could not stop her tears of gratitude. We left eventually after 45 minutes, promising to return, and feeling good, headed off to see Sir Archibald.
Eventually the elder landholder and Councilman met with us and seemed pretty excited. The Justicar and Inquisitor had been working on Sanbalat for 17 hours and had gotten most information they were going to get from the rude smuggler. The group was brought down to the basement, and then the sub-basement where we were then led to a large chamber outfitted for torture. Sanbalat was suspended over a Judas’ Cradle, arms bound, legs bound, fingers twisted. He had pincer marks and burns on his body but still managed to sneer at the group before they even began getting information.
The boat that would load the material from Saltmarsh was a merchant vessel called the Sea Ghost. It would sit far off shore and flash a signal to know if there was to be a pick up. Long and short flashes would answer from here and the Sea Ghost would either wait, prepare to be loaded, or waved off for a few days. Then it would go to the Haunted Mansion where it would unload the stolen goods to Sanbalat and his people, and eventually a third party would come and get the supplies from the smugglers and continue on their way to Dunwater.
The Sea Ghost’s Captain is a man named Siggurd Snake-eyes, a brutish cutthroat, and his command staff was his first mate and Bosun. He had a crew of 8 more smugglers and had been known to consort with some feral Lizardmen, having a few on board to help keep order. This meant 14 people on the Ghost. Our party was 5, 6 if you included Magnus’s new squire and former smuggler, Darveig.
Sir Regurin was willing to have a jolly boat at our disposal if the Sea Ghost came back…and two men along with it to pilot the vessel and aid the group should they want some help on board. The captain of the boat was a man named Will Stoutly, a former marine and fighter during the Usurper’s War, and the other would be Ned Shakeshaft who asked for the chance to help. This would bring us to 8…vs 14. Better odds, especially if we had the luxury of surprise.
Sanbalat was then led out of the dungeon, taken outside where the Regurin Demesne came to act as witness as the Inquisitor carried out his sentence and Sanbalat was strung up on a prepared rope, sentence as announced, and he was hung from the neck until dead. He was to stay there until the evening and then taken down and buried in the potters grave at the cemetery.
The Council offered us a reward for taking out the Sea Ghost and were allowed to keep anything we found on the vessel but the vessel and any contraband must be returned to Saltmarsh. We agreed and left.
From here we went off to the cemetery so Veldryn could talk to Hjarlod, the town Speaker, but also to get permission to look at Grabbi Ogansdottr’s grave – the leader of the Order of the Kraken who was captured and tried two years earlier and then buried here. Hjarlod was not sure about digging up the body but Talion managed to sway the intoxicated undertaker and the group joined him in the cemetery where they all started to dig. In a short time they had hit wood and managed to dig the coffin free. Then ropes were attached and it was lifted out of the ground. The cover seal was still in place and it was busted free and the cover lifted.
Inside was Grabbi’s clothing (Boots, breeches, silk shirt, headband) all sitting on top of heavy stones – but no body. Crap?! Where was she? The group was trying to figure out the mystery and Hjarlod was pissed since he was duped in the matter. But eventually they discovered the head of the coffin wall was not pegged in place – 5 of the 6 wooden pegs had been drilled free, leaving on which could be knocked out and knocked back into place.
The feeling was that after she was taken down, placed in the coffin, and it sealed up, Hjarlod remembered it suddenly started raining that night and the burial was put off until the next morning – where the coffin was then placed in the ground and covered over. Someone most likely drilled the pegs free and took the body, closing the coffin back up and leaving the seals in place to throw off any sense of tampering.
Was she alive at that time? No one knows, it’s been two years. The group did have the thought that perhaps Siggurd Snake-eyes and Grabbi were one in the same, or maybe related? Using the Bifrost Crystal, Veldryn meditated over the stone until she could hear the sound of Hel speaking to her. She asked if there was a relation and got a resounding no.
The rest of the group was heading back to the Regurin Demesne to let Sir Archibald know about Grabbi not being here while Veldryn stayed and got Hjarlod’s commitment to helping her raise the bones of the dead alchemist she had taken from the mansion as a skeletal servant tonight before the group was planning to board the Sea Ghost.
As for Sir Archibald, he took the news of Grabbi poorly, wondering did the Undertaker have something to do with it? The group assured the Councilman that it wasn’t the case and there was thought that she had faked her death. Spells? Maybe. The town’s notary, Pinelaquin, “Lack” could better answer that. The party picked up Veldryn and went to the notary. The half-elf sage and sorcerer did comment that there were some spells that allow the person to feign death, and it could last for some time, many hours even.
We deduced that Grabbi had either cast it or had it cast upon her, and then after being interred in the coffin, either was spring by one of her followers or managed to drill her way out and escape. It also explains how the Order of the Kraken continued to function almost as a whole even though it had been supposedly attacked and disbanded earlier.
The group was to head back to the Wench and rest before seeing about going to the docks this evening and keeping an eye out for the Sea Ghost if it’s going to actually come tonight.