The Watcher of the Mists

The Doll's House (part 2)

Session 65 (part 2)

Exploring the rest of the house revealed a few interesting facts. First, Black kept a meticulously tidy home, and apparently lived there with his mother. The eldre Mrs. Black, however, was not at home. Both Black and his mother had bedrooms off the same hall that adjoined each other. Both rooms had almost identical furnishings, although they were mirror images of each other. Black’s closet was full of distinguished-looking clothings that befit a prosperous artisan; his mother’s clothing was that of a matronly woman of upper-middle-class conservative taste. There was a mannequin head in Black’s mother’s room— the kind that would hold a wig. In both rooms, the party found personal journals. Both journals described completely mundane day-to-day life. They often described similar events from different perspectives. Zandu notices that the handwriting in both journals was very similar.

In the pantry, Halfred mad a grisly discovery. Opening a trapdoor that he believed to lead to a root cellar, he discovered an earthen pit that was unnaturally cold. Inside the pit were a collection of body parts, all expertly removed as if by a skilled surgeon. The pile contained arms, legs, torsos, the head of a young human woman, and a few excised organs. None appeared to be decayed, and it was hard to tell how long they had been there.

They found the stairs to the basement and descended. The basement was a single long room, mostly filled with old odds and ends, including a few porcelain dolls. A painting faced the wall. Turning it over, the adventurers saw that it depicted a stern-looking matron with five children: a sullen-looking, bespectacled teenaged boy and four much younger girls. A chair was in the middle of the room with a dropcloth thrown over it. Zandu noted that there was something bulky in the chair. Halfred pulled off the cloth to reveal another grisly discovery: a huge humanoid figure sat there. It was made of flesh stitched togehter, most likely from several different corpses. It wore a white wig, a blue matronly dress, and bright red dancing shoes. Suddenly, the corpse’s eyes snapped open, it made a lound inarticulate roar, and attacked! It stood at least seven feet tall, and attempted to pummel Halfred with its fists!

Halfred, however, wasn’t surprised by this sudden assault, and while he did take a couple of punches, he drew Fang of the Desert and defended himself. At about this time, four of the porcelain dolls animated and attacked too! McGregor identified the corpse as some kind of flesh golem, and the dolls had the spark of life indicative of soulbound dolls. Between Halfred’s and Zandu’s blades and McGregor’s and Declan’s spells, the creatures were destroyed.

Searching through the odds and ends revealed a few valuables that the party pocketed. They also discovered several volumes of Mrs. Black’s personal journals. The journals reveal that Mrs. Black doted on her four daughters, but never thought highly of her son. However, about ten years ago, all four daughters died suddenly. Mrs. Black blamed her son for the girls getting into his alchemical reagents and poisoning themselves. The journals then detail the thoughts of a woman descending into madness, first believing that her children were brought back to life as porcelain dolls, and then berating her son for creating magical abominations that only appeared to be her dead children. And then, abruptly, the journals snap back into sanity, merely recording the mundane life of an upper-middle-class matron. Zandu noted that the handwriting seemed to change about that time, too.

Zandu then found a secret passage that led to a worked-stone passageway. The passage ended at a disturbing-looking door: a huge porcelain doll’s face. McGregor reported that it radiated both abjuration and illusion magic. When Zandu examined the door to determine how to open it, the door started shouting insults at Chrysalis Black— filthy and vitriolic invective that challenged Black’s intelligence, competence, and sexuality. Through the shouting, Zandu was able to find the mechanism to open the door.

Beyond the door was a scene from a nightmare. A large chamber was filled with horrifying alchemical and necromantic experimental equipment. Two metal dissection tables each held a nude human corpse. One was partly dissected. The center of the room was dominated by a huge machine that buzzed and whirred. Sparks of blue energy shot from some kind of crystal at its top. Connected to the machine by a series of haphazardly-arranged tubes and wires were six glass-and-metal chambers that were filled with a sickly greenish fluid. In each of the chambers was a humanoid figure. In the back of the room was a much larger metal and glass vat that stood at least fifteen feet tall, and it was also connected to the machine. Two gigantic syringes hung from the ceiling on swivel arms. They were both pointed at the central vat. And standing on a dais behind the vat was Chrysalis Black— dressed in a matronly blue dress and wearing a woman’s wig of shoulder-length platinum hair!

Black shouted at the party, “No! Not at the moment of my glorious triumph! They laughed at me at the academy, but I’ll show them! HA HA HA HA!!!” He then threw a big lever on the dais, and the central machine whirred, and twin beams of green energy shot at the vat. More of the greenish fluid pumped into it as well, and the whirring sound increased.

At that, the party attacked. Black had apparently warded himself with several magicks, and the first wave of attacks failed to phase him. The ceiling-mounted syringes swiveled around and fired fluid at Halfred. The fluid was acidic and burned him, and also attempted to cloud his mind, but the Ulfen warrior shook off the effects. Black got off several spells, just as Halfred and Declan closed to confront him. McGregor examined the central machine and worked to shut it down. From inside the vat came the sound of something huge pounding at the inside.

Then, the large vat exploded, showwering everyone nearby with the green fluid. A horrifying monstrosity made of flesh, metal, and porcelain reared up on four legs and raised its three arms and two tentacles in the air. It then began to cough and wheeze, lashed out wildly, and collapsed into a pool of goo. “No!!!” shouted Black, “You killed it! I’ll destroy you for that!” However, Halfred was ready and slashed him across the chest when he attempted to cast another spell. At that, Black disappeared with a loud “whoosh!” McGregor identified that as a triggered teleport effect. “He must have set that up ahead of time, to teleport away if he ever got hit!”

McGregor managed to power down the machine and freed the figures in the chambers. There were six people inside the chambers. All were alive, but badly drained of their life essences. After healing them as best they could and also giving them some of Black’s clothing, the people explained themselves. Three claimed to be Pathfinder agents that were investigating Aspis Consortium interference at the Golemworks. Three others (all of whom were ethnic Varisians) claimed to be simple couriers that had brought a delivery to the Doll’s House, but Black had asked them in, then ensorcelled them.

While McGregor and Declan asked questions, Zandu went through Black’s desk in the lab. He found an interesting letter, dated that day. The letter appeared to be using coded language, and Zandu surmised that it was from the head of the local Aspis Consortium chapter to black, authorizing him to send the Sword of Lust to a client in the city of Kaer Maga.

The party led their rescuees back upstairs, and Zandu went outside to call the city watch. The Aspis agents that the party had subdued and tied up were all missing, although the bodies of the two that they had slain were still there. The guards took the PC’s statements, and after an hour of questioning, let everyone go.

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Haladir

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