The party heads north to Vyborg in pursuit of the Vecna followers whose plans to sacrifice Tio in a dastardly display of dark arts had been thrown into disarray by the Bolt. After four days of travel, the party arrives in Vyborg. The light of mid-day provides a clear view of the small town, nestled in the foothills of mountains and surrounded by the city’s legendary forests. Viborg has a thriving timber industry that accounts for a good portion of the city’s trade and provides thick, study wood for the town’s infrastructure, which blends almost seamlessly with the heavy woods.
The Bolt arrives at an Inn made of cross sections of timber, three stories high. They seek Branslav, the weapons dealer, and consider entering straightways, but are worried that the sight of a Tiefling might compromise their plans to catch ze’s would-be killers. Nor and Tio decide to remain in the woods and groom the nits from each others hair while the rest of the heroes head to Inn’s bar to look for the weapons dealer and sell the frosty morningstar – the spoils of a recent battle. Before Gyest, Tkar and Torrinn depart, the party has a brief discussion of how they might approach Vecna’s followers, should they find them. Perhaps the party will pretend to deliver a chained or caged Tio to them?
At the bar, a sedate crowd sips ale, relaxing to the lute and fife stylings of “My Heart Will Go On.” Tkar approaches the bartender and asks where he might sell a morningstar. Fortunately, the Bartender has no need of such an item and directs Tikar to Bronslaw’s place – a shop and home 3 or 4 building up. Tikar “tips him nicely” and surveys the room.
He spots some semi-official looking people in green garb scattered about the premises. Tkar sips his mead while Torrinn ask, “what’s up with the stiffs?” The Barkeep replies: “this ain’t no winesink. That’s the tavern guard.” Torrinn asks if dragonborn could be hired as guards. The Barkeep thinks it over and says, “Yeah, but we won’t hire Fey” and offers to introduce Torrinn to the owner of the place, Ike Turner. Torrinn thanks him, but before any meetings can take place, Torrinn, Gyest and Tkar decide to head out to the arms dealers house.
Bronslaw’s place turns out to be an ancient, moss-covered building with a heavy, closed door. Knocks on it lead to the opening of a knot-hole and a voice informing the visitors that the shop is in fact closed. Tikar and Torrinn, however, name-drop Oloramas. They are so smooth that Bronislaw opens the door and invites them in.
Bronislaw is middle-aged and scarred, missing three fingers on his right hand. Turns out Bronislaw fought side-by-side with Oloramus in the Baron’s Charge, a famous battle in King Havard’s War. He also lets the party in on some gossip that’s been floating around Vyborg about the arrival of 3 men several days hence. Two waited with a horse-drawn cart while a giant, pale third man bought provisions at the inn. Tongues wagged: “He looks like he’s on death’s door.” The other 2 wore moth eaten robes, told the innkeep they were waiting for to do business with some people from Shorehold that they expected to arrive shortly. Branislav says to go to the blacksmith’s house north of town and perhaps our heroes will find the three mystery men.
Torrinn, Tikar and Gyest mull this information over and decide they need a rest. Branislav won’t house them, although he will buy the Morningstar for 3400 GPS, so they decide to pick up Nor and Tio and stay in the Inn for the night. Upon request, Branislav gives them some old chain and shackles.
Bronislaw says the blacksmith’s house is a couple of miles north and east. Abandoned nigh on twenty years ago, it’s little more now than a run down cabin and a long neglected forge.
The party heads back to the woods, where they tell Nor and Tio all. On the way to the Inn, Nor, now without lice, gives a brief lecture on King Havarard’s War, where, during the Battle of the Golden Crescent, Esorian tropps beat back a larger Disanzian force by using a risky wedge maneuver. They were led by the Baron of Three Rivers Keep.
After a restful and uneventful night at the inn, the party heads north. After some time, they encounter rusty, unlit lanterns lining the path, which then opens to a clearing – a small structure at is far end. A thin pillar, like a staff, protrudes before them. It’s topped with a head of some sort, complete with translucent eyes. Tio rolls an arcana check — the place reeks of magic.
Oh the brave tomfoolery of the Dragonborn! Torrinn charges ahead. The staff glows, then emits a blast of energy. People stumble! Needle-sharp groundspikes! Torrinn makes it to the door of the house, where a chompface monster chomps off his face and swallows it. Gyest and Tikkar get hit with a ghoul’s dart-bone. It’s cold and it rots. Torrinn and Gyest are attacked by a power that makes them crazy afraid. Everyone fights long and hard.
Eventually, the Bolt emerges triumphant, but one of the foes manages to escape into the woods.
The party picks over the dead. They find that 2 hooded figures have facial tattoos that look like skulls, nasty robes and a rod each, made of bone.
Tio guts the chompface monster to extract Torrinn’s old face, which ze then wears over ze’s own.
In the house itself, under a table, the party discovers a small, locked steel chest. Gyest picks the lock and finds 600 GPS. Tio says the money was stolen from zem, but no one is interested in justice.
In the main room, the party also finds two hard-bound copies of the “Path of Whispers.” It’s written mainly in the common script and contains prophesies about Vecna’s return. One copy opens to a page, marked by a strip of linen, that tells of a conflict between Vecna and the Orcas (?) and details the ritual use of Abyssal bloodlines in turning Orca’s power against himself. The ink is old, but on one page, there’s a drawings in newer ink: concentric circles with a black triangle center. Then sets of Abyssal glyphs, which the party has come to recognize as the hallmarks of the Cult of Vecna. Tio and Noor study the books. Tio reads well through Torrinn’s eyeholes.
Finally, GYest urges the party that it is imperative for the party to pursue the surviving cultist.