After the epic battle against the haunting spirit of the Piper of Illmarsh, a battle that would make poets weep, the party ventured into the Mess Hall. There they encountered several stirges, likely drawn by eerie lament of the Piper, arriving too late to aid their ghostly master. The leathery insects were swatted like flies and the group continued around the upper floor of the prison, including the Kitchen and Eastern cell block.
But it was in the deluxe cell of the Western block that they found another point of interest, a long-dead red-headed skeleton and a wrapped sheaf of papers, Father Charlatan’s journal. Reading this journal unleashed the haunt, which then attempted to draw Elsbeth into its grasp. However the paladin was able to detect the haunt’s evil presence and the group’s combined might was able to quickly put the false priest’s spirit to rest.
On their way back to the first floor, the group heard voices calling to them from the gate to the prison grounds and ventured outside to see who it was. Deputies Trestleblade and Vrodish greeted the party and informed them that the memorial statue had again been desecrated in blood, this time with the letter “R.” Not only that, but several zombies had risen the night before and attacked the town. The deputies and temple acolytes were able to hold back the undead, but Riff was injured and under the temple’s care. The party walked back to town, Mirram heading to speak with the village mage and teacher, Alendru; Elsbeth to see Father Grimburrow; Taras and Galifreyna to inspect the statue grounds.
Elsbeth loaded back up with holy water and potions at the temple, speaking with Father Grimburrow about the happenings in town and the prison. On the way to the schoolhouse, Mirram ran into Pevrin grumping about in the town square. From him she learned that the annual Jestercap festival (Halloween, Devil’s Night and a county fair all rolled into one) had been canceled by the council to protect the city folk. Mirram approached Zokar to see if he would host a smaller get-together at the Laughing Demon tavern; something he quickly agreed to, if Mirram could secure the council’s permission. She tracked down Councilman Muricar and offered for the party to stand as extra security for the celebration. The council agreed to go ahead with the plan. Mirram continued on to the schoolhouse to obtain some scrolls from the old wizard.
Searching the statue and nearby woods, Galifreyna and Taras were able to follow some tracks into the woods to a small cabin. Pounding on the door in the name of the sheriff, Taras found himself face to face with an enraged Gibs. The argument quickly turned to threats and then violence. Galifreyna advised Taras to attempt to capture Gibs and not kill him and the two set upon the old soldier with non-lethal attacks, except for one purposeful rapier slash from Taras. Shortly before being knocked unconscious, Gibs shouted out in a deep, powerful voice “You shall not prevent our escape! The woman will die again!”
With Gibs unconscious and tied up, Galifreyna summoned the sheriff and Elsbeth to the cabin. The sheriff located a bloody war razor and waterskin behind the shack’s wood pile, and Gibs was taken to the town jail and put in a cell. Mirram spotted the group on the way into town and joined them. At the jail, Elsbeth and Sheriff Caeller got into a heated argument on the proper method of investigation of crimes, apprehension of suspects, and the boundaries of the law. Time will tell what becomes of this disagreement. In his cell, Gibs vehemently denied any knowledge of the ongoing desecrations, despite the evidence found at his cabin.
Late that night, the party were awakened by a heavy knocking on the front door of the Lorrimor house. Opening the door, Galifreyna was faced with the zombified corpse of Professor Petros Lorrimor. She slammed the door shut, shouting to awaken the others, and sought out her new armor. Elsbeth returned to the door to confront the zombie; Taras ran to the back door to sneak around the house; and Mirram attempted to console the rather shaken Kendra. The zombie beat the crap out of the party before being beheaded by Galifreyna. They took the body (and head) to the temple and had the acolytes rebury the body, Father Brimburrow casting Consecration over the ground.
The next day, the party tended to various needs about town, selling off some of the items founds at the prison, trading others for newer equipment. That evening the townfolk began to gather, first in the inn and tavern, but shortly expanding out into the town square. Zokar and Pevrin had spent the dat preparing a variety of dishes and drinks, while Sarianna had brought together several musicians from the local citizens. The party visibly raised the spirits (not the ghostly ones) of the town, bring a bright moment of joy into their lives during these dark, disturbing times. Even Kendra, who had previously been talking of selling her home and leaving the town, ventured to the crowd and was cheered by the celebrations.
The next morning, the group returned to the prison and clambered down into the pit, using a knotted rope secured to some rubble. Touching down in the flooded cavern below, they were assaulted by howling cries of pain and terror, the phantasmal voices of the long dead prisoners who perished in the fire. As the cacophony retreated, two ectoplasmic humanoids rose from the water and attacked. Their slimy attacks left Taras shaken, but the creatures were put down in short order.
The group left the remains of the lift chamber and found the Central Dungeon Chamber. This room holds the end of the staircase filled by the deadfall…and the home of several skeletons. 8 of the boney undead rose up and attacked the party, quickly surrounding them. In a moment of glory, Mirram called forth holy power and destroyed all but one of the creatures, the final one bursting into flamey bits a few seconds later.
We ended here, still early in the day, the group having cleaned off the brass plaques with the names of the dungeon areas. “The Oubliette” is to the north. To the west lies “Reaper’s Hold.” To the south lies “The Nevermore.” And to the east once stretched the now-destroyed “Hell’s Basement.”