Oathday, 20 Lamashan 4707, late afternoon
With all of the cultists apparently down, the party proceeded to provide minimal first aid to the remaining ones, while also disarming them and tying them up. Six cultists plus Ironbriar were alive, but they all remained unconscious. Declan noticed that Ironbriar had two fresh puncture marks on his neck, and several more similar marks that were in various stages of healing. A detect magic spell revealed that all of the cultists’ masks were magical, and Charrone could tell that Ironbriar’s mask also had an evil aura. Examining the masks, McGregor could tell that all of them enhanced the wearer’s senses, at the expense of tearing at the wearer’s psyche. None of the Sandpoint Heroes dared to try on one of the masks.
Looking through the workshop, the party realized that bloodstains covered the wooden floor. It wasn’t immediately obvious due to a fresh layer of sawdust. At the workbenches were many sharp woodworking tools, but many of them were also bloodstained, and some had odd bits of gristle or bone stuck in them. Inside a closet was a small stone idol of the evil god Norgorber, and two dozen black velvet robes. All of the robes were also bloodstained. In a wooden barrel in the closet were several pieces of miscellaneous clothing, both men’s and women’s, many cut apart, and all stained with dried blood.
Zandu found another locked door in the workshop, and picked the lock. Inside was a cramped, but neatly-ordered office. It took him a moment to recognize the strange framed leather artwork that adorned the walls. When he did, he felt his skin crawl, and he couldn’t tear himself from staring at the horrific artifacts. Sixteen preserved human faces, skillfully excised from their corpses, were carefully stretched across wooden frames with black thread, and hung on the walls in neat rows.
On the desk were a folder of legal documents and a large folio. The documents turned out to be a surprisingly well-detailed dossier of the eight current and former members of the Sandpoint Heroes: Zandu, Charrone, McGregor, Declan, Durrok, Halfred, Larissa, and Ted. All of the dossiers detailed the characters exploits, typical battle tactics, and known magical abilities. Durrok’s was the least-detailed. The one on Larissa listed her current location as “unknown,” and Ted’s status was listed as “sacrificed for the Mistress.” It was clear from the dossiers that Ironbriar knew that the adventurers had already been to Foxglove’s townhouse at the meeting in his office in the Pedement Building earlier that day.
The folio contained a bunch of unrelated documents: newspaper clippings, theatre tickets, legal documents, pages torn from personal journals, and other such items. The dates of the papers seemed to go back more then a hundred years. Charrone suggested that they were momentos from people that the cult had slain over the decades. Zandu found one very interesting note folded among other mundane documents: a bearer’s letter of credit from the Bank of Abadar in Oppara, dated 4688, for the sum of one thousand gold ducats. “Hey— these don’t expire!” said Zandu.
Also in the desk were several books. Most were mundane, but three were quite interesting: an illustrated hand-written text written in Skald called Linnorms of Ulfenheim, an illustrated and gilded book of Chelaxian folk tales, an unnamed wizard’s spellbook, and a thick leather text handwritten in a conplex code comprised of Elvish, Draconic, and Infernal characters. McGregor took a look at that book, and thought that he could probably decipher if given enough time.
Meanwhile, Charrone, Halfred, and Durrok went to check out the lower level of the mill. The one door was open, and the room was deserted. The room was the waterwheel mechanical room, which held a lot of dangerous-looking, moving machinery. Halfred saw a lever labeled “Emergency Stop,” which he pulled, but the level snapped off. Durrok noticed that the mechanisms behind the lever were all rusted solid— the lever obviously hadn’t been thrown in years. “If anyone had been here, they either ran off or joined the fight,” commented Halfred.
Charrone found a couple of children playing outside. She wrote a quick letter, sealed it with her signet ring, and handed the kid a gold piece. “Hey— if you would bring this to the Temple of Iomedae, give it to one of the priests or paladins, then come back here with them, I’ll give you five more!” The kids took the money and the letter and ran off.
Searching the rest of the sawmill revealed more treasure that the party claimed. While waiting for the paladins to arrive, Ironbriar regained consciousness. “Listen— you are all in a lot of trouble. Can you imagine the amount of time I had to take to infiltrate this cult? I was just about to bring formal charges against them!” Nobody believed him. “Okay— how about this: I am a very wealthy man. If you accompany me to the Bank of Abadar, I can withdraw a lot of money for you. I would just ask that you let me go.” Nobody took him up on that offer either.
Two paladins of Iomedae, (Trenton the Strong-Armed and Lydia Theldrik) arrived about then. Charrone filled them in, and they went upstairs to where Ironbriar was being detained. Lydia cast a spell (McGregor identified it as dispel magic), and Trenton said, “He was using magic to mask his aura. He serves an evil god, who has granted him power.” At that, Ironbriar remained silent. Lydia turned to Charrone, “I assume that you called us because you don’t trust the city authorities. We all know there’s a level of corruption in the Hall of Ushers, but to have a member of the Justice Court be the leader of a Skinsaw Cult is beyond the pale. You were right to come to us. We don’t have any civil authority in this situation, but the commander of the Elite Guard is a personal friend of mine. Let me go to General Odinburge right now. He’ll know who to trust in the city government.” At that, Lydia ran off.
It was not quite an hour later when a large party of city guards arrived on horseback, bringing a prisoner transport carriage along. Two members of the Justice Court, and three members of the Council of Ushers were with them. Three more paladins of Iomedae had also arrived separately. The officials questioned members of the party separately, and appeared to be satisfied with their answers. The six cultists plus Ironbriar were loaded into the transport, and were taken away. General Odinburge said to the party, “You have done this city yet another service. I will be sure to mention your heroics to the Lord-Mayor.”
After that, the party returned to the Shield and Sheepdog for a well-deserved rest.
Fireday, 21 Lamashan 4707
McGregor spent the day in his room deciphering the coded text. He figured out the key to deciphering it, and thought that it would probably take him a few more days to fully decrypt the writing.
The rest of the party met with officials to discuss the case against Ironbriar and the cultists. They also did some shopping. Halfred asked around for a master weaponsmith who could enchant his ranseur.
Starday, 22 Lamashan 4707
McGregor continued deciphering the text, and found it to be Ironbriar’s personal journal. The earliest dates were from more than 100 years ago. The rest of the party did some more shopping and sight-seeing in town. Halfred found the craftsman he was looking for, and hired him to enchant his ancient Thassilonian weapon.
Sunday, 23 Lamashan 4711
McGregor continued to decipher the text, while the rest of the party did their own things. Most shops and offices were closed on Sundays, so several people went sight-seeing.
Moonday, 24 Lamashan 4707
McGregor completed deciphering the text. The text told the story of Ironbriar’s arrival in Magnimar 125 years ago as a young and angry Forlorn elf, and how he entered city politics and rose quickly through the ranks. It also told of his disillusionment of how the city ran, and how he joined a fraternal organization called the Brothers of Seven 100 years ago. The Brothers turned out to be a front for a cult of Norgorber that venerated his Father Skinsaw aspect: a cabal of murderers who used selected killings to craft society to their own ends. The text mentioned the necromancerVorel Foxglove was once a member of the cult, and that the Brothers helped finance his manor house.
The text mentioned scores of names of members past and present. It also detailed over 200 murders committed by the cult over the past 95 years. More recently, Ironbriar recorded his meeting with the angry priestess Nualia Tobyn nine months ago, and that the Brothers provided her some assistance with her plans to burn down Sandpoint. Most interesting was mention of the arrival six months ago of another priestess, referred to alternative as “X” and “Wanton of Nature’s Pagan Forms.” She taught the cult a new murder ritual— the Sihedron Ritual— that could “trap the victim’s soul for Father Skinsaw.” The text also mentioned that “X” and Ironbriar had become lovers, and that she was living at the old Shadow Clock in Underbridge.
McGregor made notes of his translation. Upon conferring with the rest of the party, he made a copy of his own translation notes, but deliberately left out the part about “X” and the Shadow Clock.
Toilday, 25 Lamashan 4707
The party went to the Arvensoar to turn over the text and McGregor’s copied translation notes to General Odinburge. “I’m not much of a linguist,” he said, “but if your notes are true, there’s enough here to send Ironbriar to the gallows. I’ll be sure this gets only to the right people.”
McGregor spent the rest of the day copying spells out of the recovered spellbook into his own.
Wealday, 26 Lamashan 4707
McGregor continued to copy spells, and the rest of the party purchased new equipment. Signs indicated that this “Wanton of Nature’s Pagan Forms” might be a vampire, so several pieces of equipment that are effective against vampires were high on the list.
Oathday, 27 Lamashan 4707
Shortly after dawn, the party suited up and marched to Underbridge to the Shadow Clock. They gazed at the decrepit, teetering 200-foot tower built directly underneath the giant-sized Irespan. The clock face proclaimed it to be (falsely) quarter past three.