The party rolled into Carrion Hill and immediately noted the tense atmosphere. They discovered a flyer directing them to the Crown Manor to discuss an opportunity to save the town and earn rewards. Upon arriving at the manor, they were met with Mayor Heggry who outlined the sitch for them.
“As you may have heard, the first of these attacks occurred early this very morning, when something huge came up from below in a part of the Tangles called Slipper Market. It partially destroyed a building and killed a half dozen locals before retreating into the ruined structure. The guards were swift to reply, led by our own Commander Garus, but when they arrived, they were slaughtered to the last.
“Since then, the thing has moved on, surfacing no less than three times in different parts of the city, crushing buildings from below and slaying anyone it finds inside. I’ve got the entire force of the city watch in reserve, and with each new event they respond quickly, but the damage is always done by the time they arrive. Already there is talk of war and invasion, but I still believe that what we face is a single horror. If we can only figure out what it is, we might be able to defeat it. And this is where your group comes in—the horror has moved on from its initial point of entrance, but if you can explore the ruins in Slipper Market, perhaps you can find some sort of clue to tell us what it is we face.
“I cannot spare any of my Crows to aid you, for they are needed in keeping order in the streets, but if indeed you can find something… anything… about this monster from below, I will pay you handsomely: 2k gold for solid information, and twice again that amount for aiding in defeating the horror.”
The party accepted his challenge and headed off to the Slipper Market area where they discovered the demolished building and several guards wandering about aimlessly. They also interviewed a neighbor, Tarrig, who described what happened.
“As every morning, the Slipper Market was awake early. The merchants set up stalls in the two hours before dawn and prepare their wares, and that was when a terrible something came crashing out of Marshan’s house. There were an awful lot of screams, and the entire house shook as if some great invisible hand had taken hold of it and was trying to push it into the ground or crumple it in its fist. I ran for the watch, but by the time we’d come back, it was all quiet. Wasn’t more than a few heartbeats after the guards entered Marshan’s home that the shaking and the screaming began again. Some of the guards ran back into the street only to be lifted into the air by something unseen and crushed most horrifically; it left behind only a few bodies, whatever it was. The house has been quiet ever since, but that doesn’t mean that the
This house belonged to Old Man Marshan, a retired adventurer who sometimes had visitors late in the night. No one in the Slipper Market had ever been inside Marshan’s house or knew him well. The side of a single-story wooden house has collapsed outward into this ten-foot-wide alley, adding to the clutter and refuse. The roofs provide some shelter from the rain, leaving swaths of blood and gore on walls here and there. The hideous smell wafting out of the ruined building is stomach-turning. Perhaps the strangest is the huge spiral-shaped smear of blood on the wall opposite the partially collapsed building—sheltered by the rain, this ominous rune rises high on the side of the building, as if something enormous had used a broken and bleeding body as a brush to paint its mark. It appears to be significantly different that the spiral that grace’s Pharasma sigil.
A DC 20 Knowledge (religion) check is enough to identify the strange spiral as a symbol associated with both magical portals and the Dark Tapestry, the dark region between the
stars where ancient gods are said to dwell—this check is also enough to reveal the association with the Old Cults, those who worship these ancient beings. The body parts here are all that remain of the corpses of Captain Garus and two of his three sergeants.
Stairs inside this building lead down into an ancient crypt area. The party finds remnants of a cultist camp down here, along with the long-dead and forgotten burial tombs. They also discovered a small group of Dark Creepers.
Deeper into the cavern, The mangled and bloodless bodies of two old men dressed in dark robes lie where the monster left them. Keeper Baskerwhel was a hunchbacked swamp druid—his body floats face down in the pool of sludge. Keeper Marshan, a goggle-eyed cultist who moved all the way from Illmarsh to meet his eventual doom here, lies atop the hill, slumped
against the eastern side of the altar stone. Both bodies are bloodless and twisted like rags and covered with deep incisions.
The three tunnels on the northern half of the cave once led to other catacombs and complexes under Carrion Hill—it was via one of these that Oleg’s group discovered the Sunken Grove. The Keepers blocked off these entrances with iron bars to prevent access to the grove by other creatures.
Keeper Baskerwhel’s body wears a filthy cloak of protection +1 and a ring of swimming. His +1 scimitar lies at the bottom of the pool. Keeper Marshan’s dismembered corpse wears bracers of armor +1. His wand of chill touch (15 charges) lies nearby.
The book propped open on the altar, despite being stained and damp, is in relatively good condition—it is a copy of a rare tome called the Pnakotic Manuscripts. This cavern contains what looks to have been a campsite for five, judging by the number of empty bedrolls along the walls. A few shelves with scattered books on them, a fire pit, and even a crude wooden table provide the furnishings for the site.
Of the three Dark Creepers, one died, and the other two gave up info on which way the monster went.