The TIP reacquaints themselves with Jonathan Sorrow, who made a deal that had a unbearably high cost.
We begin at Shoreline Manor with Markus Sunspire, Rodrigo, and others arriving the next day.
We arrive from the Twin Spears, and Gregory awaits. He’s snacking on items in the pantry, but we need to get to business. Ren asks him further about what happened to drive the Bagsville-Sackineses away from their home.
“The spirits came alive. Haunting, hungry spirits.”
The conversation goes on, with Gregory mentioning stories of taxidermy and other interesting pursuits. It’s tough for him to recall his experiences, only remembering hungry spirits in the shadows.
Giacomo is quite familiar with the shadows, being a warlock affiliated with this sort of thing. Rinn follows behind.
Giacomo asks, “Did they watch him?”
“Yes yes, with large blinking eyes.”
Giacomo uses thaumaturgy to invoke some shadows. Gregory has a great fright!
“Did it look like that?” Giacomo grins.
“It seems quite accurate, yeah.”
Rinn seeks information about who specifically would be able to use thaumaturgy. She knows that there are a few spellcasters that are able to conjure this, and potentially more lethal means would be possible.
They turn the discussion to the butler of the home, Jonathan Sorrow, who is the magic-user responsible for scaring his wards away.
Ren asks, “Did you do anything to make him mad?”
“Business as usual. Lost a caravan, blow to the finances. He scheduled it. He lost the caravan. He’s usually good about things like this. We tried to woo you with tarts - we figured Mr. Keene would be keen to those things.”
“What was in the caravan?”
“Goods, things, that sort of stuff.” Gregory doesn’t know much, and is focused more on the inflows and outflows of revenue.
Ren weighs their options. Either fight or find the caravan. She asks Rinn her options, with Rinn preferring things not to escalate to violence. The caravan could be anywhere, and as long as Jonathan is open to conversation, there might be a way to talk to him.
With that, they head to sleep, intent to go in the morning.
The next morning, we head over to the Bagsville-Sackineses. The grass looks blighted, there are clear spots in the snow. The trees are dead.
Rinn notes that this is the result of dark magic. Sacrifices at play, really bad stuff. Ake just strolls in, nondescript. The rest of the TIP enters gingerly behind.
The central foyer awaits. Seated at the stairs is a human male, a little bit glum. Ashen faced, black hair, tangled. His eyes are jet black, but otherwise, he looks normal. At his lap is an ironwood shaft in dark wood. He looks at Ake and sighs,
Ake replies, “Getting there.”
“No. How far did you go?”
“Haven’t tried it yet.”
“How far!?” he yells out, voice echoing in the chamber. “How far did you go? How far did you take it?”
Ake is taken aback. “A mystic is gone.” This is not the answer that the dark sorcerer is seeking.
“How far did your little elf legs travel to get here?”
Ake looks to respond, but Jonathan dashes away. Ake turns to follow, but the shadows in the room are thick and hard to wade through. They impede his movement as he tries to travel up the stairs.
Giacomo sees this and doesn’t know what’s happening. Rinn doesn’t know either.
Ren shouts over, “Are you okay?”
“I appear to be fine.” As he gets closer, Ake gets harmed.
“How far did you go?”
J answers, “Two weeks.”
“Two weeks, you carried his power, and his secrets, and his prophecy, and extended his reach.”
“Are you talking about Simon? The thing that lives in the house?”
“Is what you call it? Then yes.”
“I knew you were going to be trouble. Should’ve taken the caravan job. I saw it.”
“Speaking of taking things, where’d you get that staff?”
“I needed it. Needed it to help with something.”
Rinn interrupts the conversation, sensing the growing malice in this young man.
“I’m worried about it being free!” they say.
He tells Rinn, “I see you, lost coin, you will never find your way home.” He turns to the rest of the group, “Do you think I muddle around here because I like it?”
Jonathan unveils that he traded something with the demon too. He traded his sight for an alternative revenue stream. He suggests us to stay put and never leave, to protect the town, and beyond, from the demon and its imminent release.
Ren says that we can’t do that. She tells Giacomo the story of how the demon came out of the bed to convince him to understand.
Dorian comes in. “I wasn’t part of all of this.”
“All secrets are gifts. You were part of it.”
Giacomo asks about the front yard, the spooky shadows. “Whose work is this?”
“Mine. Now listen, one way or another, you’re going to stay put.”
Dorian replies, “That doesn’t really work for me. Now, isn’t there an option C? Where Simon isn’t a problem anymore. I don’t think releasing him is a good idea, but I don’t really know how to bring him back either. Now, do you have any idea on what to do about this?”
“We don’t want to be locked in.”
“Eventually, I’ll die. Eventually, we’ll die. Eventually, he’ll die. He is inside all of you right now.”
Rinn and Dorian deliberate on how they’re affected. We head out and discuss what to do next. Do we kill him? Do we figure out how to trap the demon? We need more information.
Rinn says, “Surely there must be a way to disconnect ourselves.”
Giacomo asks, “What’s your plan?”
“I don’t have one. That’s not the point. The point is to keep it inside.”
So our options are to undo what’s been done, banish Simon, or just die.
“I don’t know. I don’t trust you though. Ake is the servant of nightmares, according to Jon.”
The group looks pointedly at Ake. “He’s sheepish.”
“I didn’t know there was a name to my dreams.”
“Well yes, I do now.”
“What do you dream about?”
“It’s strange. Figures. A blob.”
“Does it talk like this, <Georgian accent>”
“Well that’s a demon.”
After more deliberation, Dorian decides to take action and put an end to this.
Dorian puts an arrow into Jonathan.
Jonathan summons the darkness and restrains us. A whirling field of shadows surrounds.
Jonathan summons and draws power from the staff. Green fire erupts from the staff. He casts a fireball!
Rinn is knocked out immediately.
Giacomo retaliates by hexing and eldritch blasting him.
J suddenly turns into a huge boa constrictor and rushes up to the dark wizard. She wraps yourself around him, and crushes him. The shadows begin to creep away.
J has in her clutch a young wizard, about 19 years old. She puts him down and Ake grabs the staff. J runs over to Rinn, and brings her back up. J gives Rinn some aloe.
Dorian checks to see if he’s dead. He’s still breathing.
What should we do? Now that he’s alive, we need to figure out what to do. The staff might be magical. Rinn tries to detect magic, but instead summons very wild magic. The ice knife pierces the staff. The magic comes from the stars, and is overwhelming. Rinn suddenly turns blue, and is incredibly terrified by J, who just seems to be the most intimidating thing around. Rinn runs up the stairs and screams as J goes up to console them.
Dorian prods the staff, which is merely cold to the touch.
J continues to pursue Rinn, who is mortified. They jump out the window and rather than fall, ascend straight up.
Everyone except for Ake comes up to check on what’s happening. Meanwhile, Rinn and Giacomo chat in the sky.
Get J away from me!
Giacomo asks what’s going on and why Rinn is blue?
Rinn sees this, and, again, is mortified! They immediately faint. They remember their encounter with Voltamar, and simply can’t handle it. Giacomo doesn’t know what to do.
As this happens, Ake approaches Jonathan. He kneels down and stakes him out, cold and efficient.
Ake and Ren have a quick chat about restraining Jonathan, then head over to Rinn, who is floating to the ground. We crowd around them.
Dorian and J turn around to the foyer, where they notice that he’s dead. J shouts what has happened?
Ake is interrogated. He stays silent. Then after heading outside, he says.
“I did what I needed to do.”