Secrets & Riddles

More Questions than Answers

The mystery deepens as our heroes search for answers

Through the evening, Ivan and Serin examine the notes they receovered from Professor Kirov’s body. As they read through the pages, they discover one of the pages, containing what appears to be some key information, is missing. Unfortunately, they can’t make sense of the remaining information, though everything confirms their plan to travel to the standing stones the professor had been studying.

As the evening winds down, a bard takes the stage at The Ghoul’s Jawbone, once again enthralling the audience. After the bard’s performance and the tavern has begun to empty out, the pair heads off for a good night’s sleep before meeting Professor Peskow.

They awaken early for a morning meal and the Professor arrives as expected. She’s surprised by Kirov’s murder and proves helpful in deciphering the notes. With the professor’s help, the heroes learn about the existence of a book given to Kirov by someone named “Longstride”. Hoping to find this book, they opt to search Kirov’s office at the University. Professor Peskow offers to check for the spare key and meet them at the university. With that, she takes her leave.

With a little bit of time, Ivan and Serin decide to check in with Calina at The Magic Maidenhead. On the way to the docks district, Ivan and Serin are halted by a city guardsman. A little nervous at first, but recovering quickly when the guardsman asks them to take the next avenue over, they inquire about what’s happening. Looking down the street, a man sits sobbing on a stoop under guard and a woman’s body lies in the street.

The guardsman tells them the man flew into a rage the night before, beating his wife to death. The couple looks familiar to Ivan and Serin, but neither can place them for certain. With nothing they can do, the pair continues on to The Magic Maidenhead. Once there, they help Calina with some of the opening chores and ask about “Longstride”. Not recognizing the name, they ask her to keep an ear out for information which she accepts.

From the Maidenhead, the pair heads to the University and Professor Peskow meets them at the office, key in hand. As she tries to open the door, it seems jammed. Forcing the door, they discover the office has been ransacked. Searching through it, they discover what was once a hidden compartment ripped open and empty. The window frame has deep gouges from what appears to be claws. Finding little else of use, Serin and Ivan decide it is time to go meet with Pavel’s cousin, Vlad.

Stopping for some provisions for their week on the road, Serin and Ivan start on the trade road toward the Tusk Mountains and the Vieland Militia outpost to the west. Throughout the first day, neither can shake the feeling of being watched. The first day passes without incident, as does the night. Breaking camp, the group continues, noting the build-up of a storm in the mountains on the horizon.

Making camp the second night, the pair sees, against the sunset, a lone figure watching the camp. Stoking the fire as a distraction, Ivan and Serin sneak around to the figure. As they get close, they startle it, but quickly assure it they mean no harm.

Questioning the creature reveals they are being followed something else and have been since the night of the murder. Lacking any kind of description from the figure, a roughly humanoid creature standing nearly eight feet tall and with necrotic skin that appears sewn together in places, they learn only that this lone figure is both terrified of the other creature but also that it provides the figure with food on occasion. As Serin and Ivan ponder their next question, the figure, suddenly spooked, turns and runs into the night.

Serin and Ivan return to camp, taking turns at watch again. The night passes without incident, and the pair breaks camp and continue the journey toward the outpost. The feeling of being watched persists and the gathering storm begins to drop a steady drizzle. The moisture in the air and cooler weather results in a thickening fog blanketing the area. Camp is again set as the daylight retreats, but the fog remains.

Ivan’s final watch of the trek passes without incident. Serin, however, notices shadowy figures moving in the fog. As the creatures approach the camp on three sides, Serin wakes Ivan. The creatures give a yip of anticipation, identifying them as gnolls. A thinly veiled threat and offer to not hurt them if they come quietly for “work” is declined and the three gnolls attack.

Serin incapacitates one, but the hyena fights off the effects of the spell, leaping at Serin and dropping the sorceror quickly. Ivan takes a hit from one of the two gnolls surrounding him, but returns blows injuring one. The hyena, too distracted by its hunt, stands over Serin, while Ivan successfully blocks the first spear aimed at him, but is stabbed by the second. He returns blows again, but is blocked. Trading blows a final time, Ivan drops one of the gnolls, throwing the other into a panicked retreat.

Acting quickly, Ivan stabilizes his companion and stands guard the remainder of the night. The pair survives the night, though badly beaten, and complete the trek to the outpost the following morning. Arriving near mid-day, they are admitted and ask to see Vladmir. They are sent to the clerics and told that Vladmir will meet them there.

Vlad meets them at the hospital building and the two relay the events thus far. Vlad, saddened by news of Kirov’s death, is willing to help, but first, he needs to rescue some local frontier folk from a band of gnolls. The lair lies at the base of the Tusk Mountains, a half-day’s travel west.

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