The group had the 2nd half a major fight this week, this time WITH the bandits they had been fighting with AGAINST the sudden undead horde that had assaulted them. The fight demanded that both sides fought together since the undead were indiscriminate in who and what they were killing. Both parties had their strong points in the fight and when it was over, a truce continued where the group came up with a way to integrate the bandits back into society.
From there the group then went into an investigative bent to track down what and where the undead beacon came from and why it fired off now. While they were learning about the decimation (not the right word, since it was much more than 1 in 10) of the Raugeri family, there was just shock at how so much horror (some of it fire borne!) could befall a family in such a short period of time.
Write up follows:
The bandit leader, Castus, called up a flaming sphere and rolled it into the pit and through one of the opening along the wall – bottlenecking the undead in there. Four of them made it out through the flames and pressed forward. Another of the druid’s up top called to the camp dogs and three of them burst from the house and slid down the steep slope to the bottom, lining up with Marcus as well as the bandit fighter (named Torquil), growling and bristling. Two other camp dogs ran to the south side of the pit where a bandit there shouldered his bow and pulled out a 50’ length of rope. He quickly made a yoke out of it and draped it over the head of the 2 dogs standing by. Then a bandit sorcerer touched the rope and it thickened and grew tougher.
Flimflam called out to his hippogriff who flew from the house and slammed down in the pit, in front of the opening where it immediately began savaging the undead there. A number of finches and a hawk dived from the top of the house and assaulted the “slept” druid and sorcerer in the pit, waking them up slowly. Zeta was popping as many goodberries as he could, pulling himself to the pit where he and another archer dropped a second rope down to help ferry people out.
The skeletons and skeletal animals ripped out amongst the party trapped in the pit, boney claws and fingers tore and scrabbled and twisted, trying to bring the living members of both groups. Quintus and one of the bandit sorcerers tried to disrupt the undead but the flashing ensorcelled rays went wild, nothing really hitting. And from above, every person able to plied bow and blunt arrows, trying to knock the undead back.
Flimflam cast jump on Whosea and called Sanford back to him, the fox clambering into his lap. Then the oversized dog LEAPT all the way out of the pit in a single bound, clambering his way to the top in a spray of earth and falling dirt.
The battle was on as the party did their best to hold the ground. One of the druids tried an animal summoning but ended up with a 5’ viper – no use in this sort of fight. Torquil motioned for Marcus to “get out of here”, the elven fighter/wizard thanking the doughty warrior and then ran for the ropes, along with the druid in the pit. They climbed and pulled and twisted, the dogs up top and Zeta and the archer helping out.
Castus roared for everyone below to “watch out!” and then called upon Gaia, dropping a localized sleet storm on the entire right hand side of the pit, the buffeting wind, snow, and ice causing the undead there to stumble and fall. With the sleet storm brewing, Castus lost control of his flaming sphere but not before it consumed another two skeletons. However, a skeletal bear was now in the fight – and from the other tunnel, 4 skeletal archers and a more zombies were coming out.
One of the dogs took an almost mortal wound and went down with a howl. More of the figures below were now out on the ropes and Torquil tied the rope to the unconscious dog where it was lifted to safety. The undead continued their assault and arrows fell like rain from above. The bandit fighter was shot by undead archers and was losing blood quickly. Zombies were rising and falling in the icy sleet and Torquil aided a second dog to the ropes, tying it on him so he could be lifted free.
The sleet ended and the last dog held off the undead long enough for another to come down. With sure and quick moves Torquil hastily tied it around the last canine and holding on himself and using his free hand to block undead attacks with his shield, the two of them were lifted to safety. Once up top the party did not stop in their barrage of arrows. But something strange happened. The undead became calm and slowly shuffled back into the tunnels, no longer paying any mind to us.
We went into the Estate home where everyone pooled their healing, getting the bandits and the party back to full. We talked with Castus who admitted that they do not need to do the banditry anymore. Heatherfield was well off and there was much prosperity around. Most of the original bandits had stopped with the new found wealth the city was experiencing and had gone back to the city with real jobs. These last nine all had prices on their heads and Castus wasn’t going to risk any of them.
The party then explained who we were and what we were doing. They had heard about our efforts with the other bandit group we had helped to remove and filled us in a bit on the Grey Havens and Marilee Jerinston (the leader of it). She’s a bit crazy and her 2nd in command is cold and worse. Castus and the others want to settle down and it took minimal dealing to have them disband. It is contingent on them getting a letter of amnesty and Lord Geyzer of Heatherfield is ill-intented to supplying it. However, the party is going to implore to Baron Ceril Taugis of Shakun to write such a letter and pardon, which should solve the problem.
At this point the bandit’s sorcerers took us to the root cellar where we saw a now revealed glyph to Hades on the wall. It was not there yesterday. No one had been down here. There was thought it might be a beacon – something put in place years ago but triggered now. We then (a few of us) went to look at the pit. The two tunnels were older – natural limestone with some working to smooth them out. It appeared they met up with each other a bit further on. And there were more of those small symbols to Hades on the wall – at around the 2’ or so height. Goblins? We aren’t sure. Maybe it’s something about the Estate? Emblazoned on the front door was the name “Raugeri”. We were going to check it out at town tomorrow since beacons for undead is not something either us or Castus and Company thought was a good idea to have just sitting around.
We took all our belongings and the bandits took theirs and we all went to another Estate home where we settled in and shared what food we all had with one another. Castus and company were going to go to Dairymeade and spend the next few days there until we could get a letter from Baron Taugis. From there they would be pardoned and would go on to Shakun. So at 8:30 AM on Watermonth the 19th we bid them a fond farewell and headed ourselves back to Heatherfield.
We sent a missive via aviary to Baron Taugis and then ate breakfast. From here we went to the Hall of Records where a magistrate was willing to help us out for a price. Gold. And keep it coming.
The Raugeri family was maybe 25 years ago a very well to do local merchant family, dealing in livestock. They owned 4 Homesteads at their height and were one of the only families in town to have the patronage of the Silverhair family of Woodhelven, an influential trading elven clan. However, through our research, the next 11 years or so had a number of terrible strange events misfall the family line.
· Last height of their influence was maybe 25 years ago (year 156) – big fire @ main family home killed patriarch Krithius, 4 of his family members (brother, brother’s wife, eldest daughter, granddaughter), and 2 visiting dignitaries from Woodhelven.
· Darius (eldest son – 9 months later (157)) died in a hunting camp, got drunk and fell into a fire – burned to death.
· Maria (wife – 1 year later (158)) died in her kitchen with her daughter and 3 cooks when a chimney had a blowback and suffocated them all.
· Thalius (youngest brother – 8 months later (159)) died from lung sickness from too much pipe smoke.
· Tremont (next eldest son – 1 year, 6 months later (160)) died when the glassworks exploded, taking him and his son out, and the 4 members of the glassworkers working there.
· Ulara (Darius’ wife – 4 months later (161)) died in her sleep, no cause listed (She was 42).
· Orina (Thalius’ only daughter – 1 year 9 months later (163)) disappeared during a ride with her handmaiden and a suitor named Boris – no sign, never returned. Horses returned to family stable on their own 4 days later.
· Castius (youngest child – 1 year, 2 months later (164)) and wife Flaria, and their only child all died along with their home staff of 7 during a bad break out of “Feverchill” pox. It is noted that only the town’s former physician and the town’s former Sheriff were the only ones to die during this outbreak (although over 50 were reported sick – no one else passed away).
· Shortly after Lea (Darius’s elder daughter – 2 year, 6 months later (166)) married a minor merchant’s son named Karent, their home was burglarized, the two slain, along with their household staff of 2. Family dogs were taken and never seen again. No real goods seemed to be missing.
· The last one was after Senia (Darius’ younger daughter, 1 year, 4 months later (168)) had wed a guardsman named Torg Bracken – she had complications during delivery and died. Torg was bereft with grief and killed himself that night by hanging and drinking hemlock. Their child was named Selene. It was thought that the child died during the birthing.
At that point the Raugeri family line has come to an end and the Estates and Homesteads reverted back to the local lord. There were 13 girls admitted to the Heatherfield Orphanage during that year and we were going to check them out soon to find out if Selene survived. The Raugeri family was noted for black hair and blue eyes – traits that we would hope to find.
The Magistrate did uncover one item of interest. The Silverhair clan of Woodhelven sends a annual stipend of support to the Thanach family here in Heatherfield – a peculiar and not normal situation. According to the tax scrolls, this has been going on for 11 or 12 years so far. The Thanach family is a known for dog breeding and their family head is listed as Crastori and his wife, Oona. They have 4 children but none of them are the right age to be mistaken for Selene (from low 30’s to mid 20’s). We were going to see them tomorrow.
We went to the Orphanage next and investigated there – getting much information on the girls from that time, but none of them were panning out to be the missing (if even alive) Selene. The group split up a bit with visits to various shops and even the Half and Helf Brothel took place (hooray for Zeta!). Flimflam prepared a number of Goodberries (we had gone through many of them today thanks to the fight with the bandits and the undead) and the party was getting themselves ready for bed.
We awoke the next morning early, readied ourselves after breakfast, and on Watermonth the 20th @ 8 AM prepared to head off to the Thanach family and learn what we could there from Crastori and Oona.