Exhausted the party made their way back to the Three Rings intent on sleeping off a day of being water-logged. Rullik and Ihro had a different way to deal with a stressful day though and began a long
night morning of drinking and other vices.
When everyone awoke mid-day they made a startling discovery. On one of the tables was a note held in place by a familiar silver dagger with a Harrow deck sprawled out beside it. Holding his head from the hangover Rullik read the note aloud, or at least he attempted to.
“Aye, ow, that’s what kind er’ trouble we were gettin’ into last night. Seems that boy’s run off on some kind o’ Shiver binge.”
Squip and Zeveran tried to read the scrawl but combined the friends could only make out a few words.
“At least he left us Zellara’s-” Zeveran’s words were cut off by a feeble call for help. Eyes widening, Squip ran to untie Mungo from the bedposts.
While the companions spoke amongst themselves about what to do next they failed to notice the Elven maiden that was sitting in a corner of the inn; half scoffing, half smiling she approached everyone and introduced herself as Synthrish, devotee of Nethys. She explained that since the outbreak of the plague she was sent by the church of Nethys as their representative to Edward Montaigne. In his best wisdom, he sent her to the Three Rings to find the intrepid party to assist their study, research, or acquisition of a cure to the Blood Veil plague.
The party then spent most of the day recovering and getting to know Synthrish. Zeveran even took the time to explain to Mungo the advantages of the bow over the sling and convinced the singing halfling to venture out into the city to purchase one. Later that evening while Squip prepared dinner a young Varisian woman wandered into the Three Rings, obviously exhausted and overwhelmed, the woman kept her composure and addressed the adventurers asking for the one in charge. Rullik began to raise his hand while both Mungo and Zeveran greeted the lady; she looked to the three confusedly before throwing herself into a chair.
“Please, my brother! I need your help! I saw you leaving Citadel Volshyenek and sought you out…please….”
She could hold it in no longer and the young woman broke down for several minutes. Zeveran and Mungo attempted to comfort her and she looked to them with swollen eyes, tears staining her face.
“My name is Deyanira Mirakova and my brother Ruan has gone missing. I begged the guard for help but they sent me away claiming there was nothing they could do and that they had no bodies to spare. Fortunately one of them took pity on me, and told me I could find you here at the Three Rings. She said you might be able to help, that the Field Marshall had relied on you in the past.”
Mungo recognised the name immediately as a young and popular Varisian man who was quite the talent with the ocaraina.
“About a week ago he was asked by the Carowyns to perform at a gala they were having at their manor. Why they decided to hold such an event at a time like this is beyond me, but because they are such heavy contributors to the arts here in Korvosa Ruan didn’t dare say no. But he never returned from the party that night, so I went to investigate and the gate and was locked tight and a putrid smell wafted in from beyond the walls. I have no idea what happened but I can only expect the worst! Please you must find him, I don’t have much but season tickets to the amphitheatre. It’s all I have….he’s all I have….please
Zeveran reassured her and took down the address to Carowyn Manor in South Point. The companions decided to investigate the following morning after a good night’s rest.
Finding the manor was easy enough and when they arrived they discovered a locked gate just as Deyanira described. Rullik and Squip headed around the side of the manor and began hacking away at the large hedge only to be met with aching hands as their weapons struck the wrought iron gate hidden within the foliage. Meanwhile Mungo decided that climbing the wall and unlocking the gate from the inside was the better option.
The manor was still, no sign of the owners anywhere. Just around from the entrance the companions discovered two bodies dressed in finery covered in boils and buboes larger than any they had seen since the blood veil first appeared. Zev checked the front door and it easily swung open. Cautiously the party entered while Synthrish and her elemental held back; within the manor walls they witnessed a gruesome spectacle, a mockery of the events only a week prior. Piles of disease laden bodies lay in the corners of a small dance hall while in the center of the room three couples…zombies all of them…danced with jerking motions and stiff joints in the eerie silence. Enthralled the party watched, but only seconds later the zombies turned slowly towards the living then rushed forward in a frenzy. The companions had little trouble dispatching the undead aristocracy and began to search the house. Again they found more of the unliving mockingly imitating their previous existence; a servant and two masters. Rullik’s axe found it’s mark as did Zev’s finely crafted sailor’s hook. Meanwhile Mungo began cautiously checking other rooms and calling for Ruan and found emptiness. Suddenly from the upstairs there was a wailing and Mungo was struck with a screaming bolt. Synthrish heard and came inside to investigate and sent her living cloud of lighting upstairs to find the perpetrator. And then another bolt went screaming past Squip’s head followed by mad giggling. The more they looked the more zombies they found but no sign of the one shooting at them. Mungo then opened a set of double doors and there he saw a squeamish sight; a dinning table full of rotting food, eight corpses and four of them going through the motions of eating. The little Wererat slammed the door quickly and called a warning out to the companions as the walking dead began trying to force their way through the door. Suddenly a harlot-harlequin appeared in the middle of the dinning hall and sent another bolt flying, this time straight through Synthrish, and then she ran laughing maniacally through the double doors to the dinning area only to release the zombies within. The three warriors of the group set to halting the oncoming wall of gluttonous aristocrats and when it was over stood quietly, breathing heavily, listening for any sign of the harlequin and her crossbow.