6. Richfest 996 AF; Forest outside of Alsyenna
Rurik, Stor and Harsk slowly approach the tree which seems to be at the center of the corruption. The tree sits on a small hill, and Rurik spots a small opening into a case below the tree. Yet the tree – a twisted giant with bulgy tumors and scarred bark – turns around with a screeching sound. It is actually a treant, who unroots his thick roots and stalks towards the heroes. The treant – ususally good-hearted creatures of the forest – seems to have mutated and is infused with dark magic. He conjures a circle of death that sucks the life out of the three heroes. Rurik calls Thyr for help and banishes the treant to Hel, the infernal plane. They bought themselves some time before the Treant will return.
The heroes heal up and quickly explore the cave. They find the source of the corruption: In the middel of the cave lies the rotting corpse of a unicorn, its throat slit. Three rat corpses lie around the unicorn, aligned in a triangle, their heads apparently bitten off. A closer investigation reveals cloven hooves and the smell of sulfur. The heroes conclude that the Old Curse of the Moon was invoked here, transforming three of the Old Blood into Wererats, and a fourth “person” assisted or led them through the ritual.
Stor burns the cave and Rurik blesses it with the divine might of Thyr. Now they set up the battle with the Treant – divine weapons, faithfull hounds, and all spellpower they have. As soon as the Treant returns, the heroes unleash their power and destroy the creature.
Harsk explains the secret behind “Habe’s Fall”. The name refers to a Mage who lived a long time ago in the Province of Alsyenna close to a water fall. His name of elven origin was quite difficult to pronounce, so the farmers and ordinary people shortened it to “Habe”. Harsk recommends to travel the river Argent upstream by boat – many merchant boats use the river as trading route, as well as the trading ships of the Blessed House Ghalland. The herose should disembark where the river Mentis flows into the Argent and follow the river Mentis upstream. Reaching a unique rock formation, they should head east until they arrive at a small hamlet named Trunau. The people there should be able to point them to the water fall.
Harsk wants to further pursue the mother spider and asks the heroes to inform Tartia, a cleric of Thyr who follows Yiviel, the Saint of Nature, or Vesrin, the cleric of Beory, about the corruption in the forest. Then they make sure that there are no additional spider eggs or saplings, and root out what they find. Rurik preserves one sapling of the Treant, though, as evidence. Harsk brings the heroes back to the woodcutter path and dives back into the forest. The heroes head back to the city.
6. Richfest 996 AF; City of Alsyenna
Rurik wants to inform Tartia first. Arriving at the Temple of Thyr, they find the craft work at the alcoves of the saints continuing. An acolyte is tending the flowers at the altar of Yiviel, and Rurik inquires about Tartia. The acolyte informs him that she is out, working with some farmers in the east. She should be easily found heading out Puffing bridge and then going to the farmer Oryn. However, the heroes don’t want to wait and head to the Grove of Beory instead. The grove is an oasis of calm and nature in the city, sourrounded by carefully tended hedges. Small ponds amidst flowery meadows, the occasional fruit tree in between, makes a beautiful place. It seems that several trees have grown together and formed a huge dome in which the temple is placed.
Grove of Beory
Rurik and Stor meet with Vesrin and inform him about the corruption in the forest, the sapling, and the Ratpeople. Vesrin is very concerned that the Old Curse has been cast, and provides the information he has (kill it with silver). He will gather the council of his people and discuss the matter. He shares that all the recent developments – the Awakened, the Ratpeople, etc. – have created a fractioning in the Alsyenna society and weakining of the genius loci of the city. Assuming that these developments occur in other parts of the Realm points to a weaking of the genius loci of the Realm itself, leaving it weak and vulnerable. He urges the Heroes to root out Ratpeople so their curse can’t spread.
Stor and Rurik decide to go shopping next – Rurik gets a silver neclace and orders silvered manacles, Stor orders silvered crossbow bolts and a silver plating for his staff at the only dwarven smith of Alsyenna, Dwirlun.
Meanwhile, the night has fallen and Rurik and Stor visit the Brightstone townhouse. Sam and Tilda are happy to see the young lord again. Tilda prepares a nice dinner meal with fresh stew and newly baked bread. She informs Stor that she inquired all over town about news from Lord Dunstans Keep. Lord Dunstan has fired many servants of the Old Blood, amongst other the cook of the keep. As the cook prepares all food – also the food for the prisoners of the keep – he might know if Lord Brightstone, or a new prisoner, was brought into the keep. The cook Sontar now work in the Wheatsheaf Tavern, which is owned and operated by his sister, Lixiss, in Lower Alsyenna. Stor and Rurik finish their meal and head on to the tavern.
Being the last customers, Stor involves Lixiss and Sontar in a conversation and proposes even to buy the tavern. Lixiss agress without even blinking for a second. Insisting that Sontar has to stay as a cook, she starts sobbing and reveals the truth: She (and others) are extorted for “protection” money by a gang of Awakened thugs. Rurik and Stor promise to take care of this thread and they shake hands on the sale (2.500 GP; employment for Lixiss and Sontar). The heroes ask Sontar to bring everyone who is affected by the thugs into their tavern.
About half an hour later, 12 business owners and craftspeople have assembledin the tavern. Lixiss closes the window shutters and locks the door. Stor and Rurik show their symbols of the Magic Circle and Thyr, and declare that they are here to help. The business owners are relieved that help is here and share their knowledge about the criminals. The boss of the gang – Oenel- has his headquarter close to the river and the border to the slum. He and his three lieutenants recently awakened and developed magical powers, fighting back their competition, and now running in extortion scheme in lower Alysenna. His first lieutenant is Glaral (male), a huge hulking brute, who’se magic is fed by his rage. The second lieutenant is Faylen (female), a petite, unremarkable Old Blood, who taps into her fear to intimidate the people. The third is Lusha (female), an Old Blood of astonishing beauty, who uses her attractiveness to ensnare other people.
Stor and Rurik commit to root these brutes out and make Lower Alsyenna a safe space again.
Other: Tilda is now a contact of Stor.
[this takes up the Aidan Storyline, runs in parallel with Ratpeople-raid, with some creative editing concerning the participating players]