Starday, 15 Lamashan 4707
Early the next morning, Declan, Charrone, and McGregor conferred with Brother Zantus about what should be done with the house. The conclusion was that 80 years ago, Vorel Foxglove had tried to become a lich, but failed (which always has dire consequences), and that his evil spirit must have possessed the entire house. The patch of mold in Vorel’s inner sanctum, where the heroes finally defeated Aldern, was most likely the source of the spirit. McGregor suggested that the broken seven-sided box they saw underneath the mold was most likely the remains of Vorel’s phylactery. Zantus concurred.
Declan suggested that Zantus help them exorcise Vorel’s spirit from the house, or else the house will just possess somebody else. Zantus agreed, and said that the spell dispel evil would most likely banish Vorel’s spirit back to the Great Beyond. Declan said that he was not yet attuned sufficiently with his goddess to be granted that level of divine magicks. “I’m not, either, but I do have this…” He opened up a locked golden coffer, which was filled with scroll cases. He removed one of the cases, opened it up, and looked through the scrolls inside. “Aha. Here it is.” He removed a scroll from the case and put it in another, plainer case, and then put the rest back.
The party, plus Zantus, returned to Foxglove Manor, arriving mid-morning. They went straight to the chamber below the house. Several haunts that they’d seen the previous day manifested again, but this time, they were ready, and between Declan, Zantus, and Charrone were able to channel enough positive energy at them to prevent them from doing any harm. In Vorel’s lab, the evil patch of fungus had completely grown back. Declan read the incantation from the scroll, and he could feel the positive energy from the heavens course through him and at the center of the corruption. The purplish humanoid-shaped fungus gurgled like a drowned man, and ripped itself off the wall! It took two staggering steps toward the clerics, but then collapsed into a pile of dust. The remaining mold on the wall crackled with positive energy, and also dried up.
Charrone felt for the presence of evil spirits, and for the first time in the house, did not feel any.
The seven of them then took several hours doing a careful search of the house. They found a few more valuables, which they secured, but did not find any more clues about the Brothers, Father Skinsaw, or the Wanton of Nature’s Pagan Forms. Satisfied that the exorcism was complete, they returned to Sandpoint.
Sunday, 16 Lamashan 4707
The next day, the party prepared to travel to Magnimar. Zandu and McGregor purchased new horses. Declan did some research in the cathedral library, and found a reference to “Father Skinsaw”— apparently, Father Skinsaw is one of the aspects of Norgorber, god of dark secrets. This aspect of Norgober seeks to change the world through the deaths of key people through the holes such deaths leave in the fabric of society.
The smith Das Korvut also approached Halfred, to inform him that the mithril he’d ordered for that suit of armor had finally arrived, and that he would start work on it tomorrow. It would probably be at least a month before it would be ready, though, as mithril is a difficult metal to work.
Zandu spoke with Sheriff Hemlock, and informed him that he intended to join the Sandpoint Heroes as a member, rather than as a liaison to the town watch, and that they all planned to leave for Magnimar in the morning. Hemlock smiled, and said, “That doesn’t surprise me. I thought you’d outgrow this town at some point. You’ve been a great watchman, and I wish you luck! You are coming back eventually, right?”
Moonday, 17 Lamashan 4707
The party set south on the Lost Coast Road shortly after sunrise. The rain finally broke, and the sun shone through broken clouds on a cool and windy day. After about an hour on the road, the macadam pavement gave way to muddy ruts, and after two hours on the road, they had passed the last of the farms and entered wild territory. Sill, the Lost Coast Road was fairly well-traveled, and they passed a few small villages. They stopped at the village of Brentwood near noon, which had a surprisingly well-appointed tavern for such a small place. “Yeah, these villages tend to pop up where travelers are likely to stop,” said Halfred. Still, they passed few other travelers on the road itself.
Two hours later, the party was following the road through a small but dense woods. Up ahead, they saw that a pike had been propped across the road, and that three horsemen and two pikemen stood behind it. As they approached, one of the horsemen and the pikemen approached. They all wore the livery of the Magnimar Elite Guard.
“Hello, travelers!” said the horseman. “I’m Lieutenant Crabtree of the Magnimar Guard. How are you today?” The pikemen, who actually held guisarmes, stood by gruffly.
Charrone replied, “We’re fine. What is going on here?”
The soldier seemed to be looking over the party carefully. “Well, you see, Magnimar has now imposed a toll on the Lost Coast Road. It’s… twenty ducats per person, and thirty per horse, so that’s…” he paused, as if to calculate, “…three hundred gold ducats for you all to pass. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
“Um, what?” asked Halfred. “I’ve been traveling this road for years, and I’ve never heard of a toll.”
McGregor said, “Hey, how about you just take five gold each instead.”
Ignoring McGregor, the soldier said, “Yes, well, it’s new. It doesn’t seem to be very popular, but orders are orders. I’m sure you could understand, m’Lady?” he added to Charrone, apparently recognizing her heraldry.
“Of course, if it’s a legitimate order, we’ll pay,” said Charrone. Halfred look at her like she was insane. “We’d just need to see the order letter.” Now that they were closer, Charrone noted that the heraldry of the guards wasn’t quite right. “Huh— I thought that the Magnimar Elite Guard’s second quarter blazon was scarlet, a gryphon rampant; yours appears to have a lion rampant in that quarter.” She paused. “The order letter, please?”
McGregor said, “How about ten gold each instead?” Everyone continued to ignore him.
The soldier smirked, and whistled loudly and raised his arm. Four archers made themselves apparent in trees alongside the road, each about 15 feet up. All had arrows nocked and pointed at the party.
McGregor said, “Fifteen gold?”
Halfred laughed. “You know, how bout you just call off your little bowmen right now, and we won’t kill you.”
The smirk left the soldier, and he dropped his arm. Four arrows whizzed into the party; all either missed or bounced off armor.
“Right. ATTACK!” shouted Charrone, and she charged her warhorse at the soldier, striking him with her sword. She then reared her horse, which struck him with its hoof. The footmen were ready, though, and attempted to dismount her with their polearms, but the paladin managed to stay in her saddle. Halfred was struck by an arrow from the mounted archer behind the pike, and McGregor noticed that the other mounted soldier cast some kind of defensive spell.
The fight was on! Halfred and Charrone took on the leader, while Durrok fired at one footman, and Zandu engaged the other, all while under fire from the archers in the trees. The spellcaster, who they now could see was a human woman, cast lightning bolt, striking Zandu and McGregor. However, both managed to shake off most of the effect, and McGregor countered with a fireball of his own. This dropped both of the hoses from under the sorceress and the archer. Zandu dropped one of the footmen, and after the other managed to slash Halfred, he skewered him right back. Halfred’s strike was particularly gruesome: his mithril ranseur punched right between the plates of the footman’s armor and straight through his abdomen, severing his spine. The man collapsed in a bloody heap. McGregor hit the sorceress with a scorching ray, interrupting the spell she was casting. At the same time, Charrone sliced the leader across the face, knocking him out, and Declan knocked a sniper out of a tree with a fire bolt.
With the leader down, the archer and two snipers fled into the woods, and the sorceress and the other two snipers surrendered. Upon interrogation, the party learned that this was the remains of the Bilger Gang, a notorious band of brigands that had been plaguing the Lost Coast Road for years. However, since Shaz “Redshiv” Bilger himself had gone missing (actually, Halfred still had his head in a bag), Garl Drenditt had taken over and was trying out a new plan. “Hmm,” said Halfred, “What a great plan! Next time, demand a smaller toll from heavily armed people. You might live longer. Oh, wait— you’re not going to get a next time!” The sorceress refused to identify herself, but the party heard one of the snipers refer to her as Neela.
The heroes provided first aid to those bandits that still lived, and also healed the bandits’ horses. The lashed the bandits to their own horses, and led them down the road.
At dusk, they arrived at the village of Garret’s Landing, where they checked in to the Flaming Tankard Inn. They bought the poorest provisions possible for their prisoners, and kept them under guard.
The night passed without incident.
Toilday, 18 Lamashan 4707
They set off again the next morning. As the day wore on, the land became more and more settled as they approached the city of Magnimar. They also began to pass more and more travelers on the road.
Three hours past noon, a troupe of town guards stopped the party to inquire why they had prisoners (and to make sure they weren’t slavers). When shown the fake Elite Guard uniforms, let them continue on. “At the main gate, tell the guards that you’ve captured most of the Bilger Gang, and you’ll be escorted right to the Arvensoar. You’ll need to make a statement there. You’ll probably be asked to testify at their trial.”
The party arrived at the East Gate just at sunset.