Butchers Among Us #2
With our friends challenging the reigning champions of the town of Brineshear, we find ourselves beginning with a drinking contest. The contenders? Our dear mechanical friend 42, the captain of the Harmony Luck (Horizon), and the Brineshear dockmaster (Temperance Waystes). The contest is well fought but even the two most fearsome women in drinking this side of the Ant Province are incapable of beating 42’s natural (or perhaps unnatural) constitution.
Still, it is a good time and Usagi wins a few coin from some of the other patrons of the Good Frog Pub. Afterwards there is some relaxation and some discussions with the contestants. Temperance is quiet, staring into an empty corner at unseen memories or thoughts. This is quickly interrupted by Usagi after following the dockmaster’s eye and catching a brief glimpse of what is truly happening. A family trait, Temperance sees the dead on occasion but has never been able to do much about it and her calling in life was never that of a priest or seer. In fact, her ability only really presents itself when she gets well sloshed and, while not normally a problem, things are different right now.
You see, the sight that caught Usagi’s attention and troubles the dockmaster is that of a specter writhing in agony as it is gripped and torn by gruesome thorn-covered vines. Upon hearing this the two wonder if, perhaps, this is linked to the sightings of undead.
As this happens, a strange bird with a tall hat makes their way from the pub to follow up on the possibility of strange magic lingering with the Harmony Luck. After hearing the talk spread through the tavern as the newcomers came in and began drinking, their interest became piqued. Interestingly enough, they were not the only one seeking to check out the Harmony Luck with signs of scuffle still fresh…
Of Ghosts & Psychopomps
In the quiet port of Brineshear, Deacon Gravesong seeks some clue…anything that might be connected to recent problems that might reveal what one earth he can do about it. It is he who our mysterious bird, a corvus from Atlazan, discovers in their own search. As the two ponder what might have occurred here and how such things might happen the discussion circles back (as a few have now) upon the sighting of birds when and where they shouldn’t be. Using their differing studies of arcana and religion the two agree that these are likely psychopomps.
More specifically the messengers of the celestial order, and they decide that attempting to summon one would be the best bet. Our new friend, Orin Athame, asks if the deacon would like to perform such a ritual at the witching hour to empower the calling, but Gravesong declines. Apparently he has neither performed the ritual nor is confident in the vagueness with which his calling will go out. Nevertheless they agree to meet at high noon the next day, just around the time our other heroes are meeting the Deacon.
Cyril, Sparrow of Brineshear
Usagi, 42, and Orin all end up meeting outside the local temple. Orin is forthcoming and wonders if the other two shall aid in the ritual, but does not realize such was going to happen. Truth be told, Deacon Gravesong had not yet decided upon that course. It was only in his discussions with the corvus that such was finalized.
Taken a bit aback, the two reassure 42 and Usagi that this is the safest time to do it and that their presence after seeing these psychopomps a number of times should aid the calling. Hoping to help those souls in need, the two agree and a ritual is begun. Ethereal winds blow and the sound of birds flocking to the rafters is heard. The messengers of the dead have been summoned.
A single representative, small in stature but with a confident and deep voice, Cyril speaks for the rest. He tells of dark magic and lost souls. Those who should not have died and too many for the local ankou to guide. An interesting conversation proceeds with each of our three heroes agreeing that this is worth investigating but wondering how to deal with the problem. Cyril assures them that he will be their guide and leads them, almost immediately, out of town.
Along the paths inland of the salty marshes along the coast, the trio is lead by our little sparrow. They encounter a strange mist and see many souls, once again twisted and writhing in agony due to the clutching briars. Knowing there is little they can do but defeat the cause of this, they trudge on. Eventually they reach a point where Cyril will go no farther. Up ahead is a ruined shrine and the smell of blood and rot wafts down the path. Cultists stand atop it and a body has recently been added to the sacrifices. Knowing that this is the source of the undead and lost souls, our party prepares to ambush the cultists mid ritual…