The players experience a joint dream sequence which has them infiltrating the castle from the perspective of unknown assailants. Their mission, to acquire Suzan’s heart for some dark agenda.
They awaken to a bloody scene, dead guards and a mutilated Suzan – whose chest was torn open and her heart forcibly removed. Garnet is found sobbing under her bed, despite having fallen asleep with the Queen.
Dulle visits the Queen’s quarter to check on her matron, finding her fast asleep under the watchful gaze of Captain Grey. They discuss the shortage of guards and the dire situation before Dulle takes her leave.
Meredith cleans Garnet and together they enjoy a cold, uninspired lunch. Bard talks to Prince Luther about the guard situation without any concrete resolution.
Bard wishes to test just how dead Suzan is, having Dulle lug her body down into the catacombs to witness the awakening of the cadaver. Unfortunately, after an hour, the corpse remained quite immobile. They return to the castle where Suzan is burned on a pyre in a traditional burial ceremony.
Afterwards the party speculates as to how the aggressor escaped the castle, or whether they even have. They decide that the secret passage was the surest bet due to it’s recent traffic. Upon entering the tunnel Dulle, Meredith, and Garnet take the lead, while Bard covered the rear from the shadows.
Bard spontaneously steps through the veil into some sort of flesh passage, cold to the touch and ripe with the metallic tang of blood. Here Selena speaks to him of her desire for him, for his blood, a key component to her plans. Bard, in the heat of the moment, cuts open his hand in an attempt to use some magic of his own, backfiring spectacularly. He is thrown through the veil, falling from the ceiling in front of the party – he is gaunt and pale, having lost far more blood than a cut on the hand would suggest.
The party opts to turn back after the jarring event, and Bard takes a brief reprieve to restore some of his lost strength. The group then decides to visit the Cathedral Ward to speak with Gilmarr.
The journey to the Ward is uneventful and Dulle and Garnet remain on the Bridge of Stars, while Meredith and Bard enter to seek out an audience with the Arch Bishop. They are met by Sardos who denies them entry and indicates he’s in a meeting, but after Bard has an inquisitive conversation with some peacekeeper guards, Baron Artonin steps from Gilmarr’s chambers.
The Baron is curt and condescending, deflecting most inquiries and asking questions of his own. He reveals that he was brought to light of the Fairfield slaughter and enlightens Bard and Meredith to Hogar’s Hounds’ position as a premier bodyguard organization for merchants abroad. He shows a surprising interest in Garnet, claiming that she is his ward with the passing of her family.
Meanwhile, Dulle is approached by a man who identifies as Malcolm the Merchant, and he proposes an exchange. Her muscle for his information regarding the whereabouts of Ludwig. They agree to a meeting at the Bloody Knuckle that evening.
The party reunites on the bridge and, after a brief discussion about what transpired, they begin to head to the Bazaar when they notice a squad of peacekeepers urgently heading in their direction. The group quickens their step but is apprehended. Dulle uses her clout with the Queen as a means of deterring the peacekeepers – claiming that “Princess Isabelle” is one of the queen’s many wards.
Finally, the group makes it to the Chapel in the military ward, where they are greeted by the priest and his two alter boys. Meredith takes some of the holy water that the clergy has on hand and douses Garnet’s hands, causing one of the alter boys to scream. The spiral scarifications on Garnet’s hands glow blue and begin unwinding. At the same time the boy’s hands develop cuts in the shape of the spiral, and his veins blacken around the hands briefly, before receding and returning to Garnet’s.
At this point the group is to split up with Dulle and Meredith heading to the Bloody Knuckle to meet Malcolm, and Bard staying with Garnet in the safety of the Chapel.
The party awoke to a delightful breakfast provided by Suzan before descending to the throne room to apprise the Royal Family of their progress.
The report was cut short with the arrival of Captain Vivian Grey who reports there had been a new murder in the stables. The scene is grizzly, a man has been flayed alive and left in a ritual circle of runes written in blood. His skin stretched down his back like a cloak. Horses with slit throats add an extra coat of blood to the scene. Did the runes move??
Bard sketches out the scene and takes his leave of Dulle and Meredith to report his findings to the Arch Bishop and to perhaps glean some new information. In the meantime, Meredith and Dulle search the scene more thoroughly and Meredith discovers a family locket revealing the victim’s identity. Baxter Fairfield, a wealthy arms merchant.
Bard discovers that the Pallid Eye has known of the existence of Magic for some time and that they have investigated previous flayed victims in the past, though none in the capitol, and Gilmarr himself attests to the occurrence happening every year at the onset of summer for the last thirty-five years. Bard leaves his sketch with the Arch Bishop and returns to the party.
Upon Bard’s return the party debates between finding and questioning Baron Artonin or following the lead of Baxter Fairfield. They opt to head to Fairfield Manor in the Haven Ward while the lead is still warm.
They are met with house guards who bar their path. Dulle demands to see the person in charge and is brought face to face with an uncaring, almost apathetic captain. The party is granted access to the manor and are surprised by the lack of servants, especially after being told there was to be a garden party that evening.
Heading upstairs the group meets a beautiful young woman clothed in an immaculate red dress. Her name is Selena and she is the Merchant’s mistress who claims to have been waiting for her patron for many hours. She is pleasant but lacks any information of substance.
Returning to the foyer Bard attempts to coerce a servant into a room for interrogation, the servant attempts to brandish a dagger, but Meredith grabs his wrist. At that point the remaining servants and guards reveal themselves to be a hostile force and attack the investigators.
The ensuing combat is bloody, but the party comes out victorious with only minor bruising. The captain manages to bowl over Dulle and retreat to the kitchen, with Bard in hot pursuit. Upon entering the kitchen, the Captain is nowhere to be seen. Faced with the choice of the backdoor or the cellar Bard runs to the back door as Meredith and Dulle enter the kitchen.
Bard exits the Manor and locks eyes with the retreating Selena, who has a very smug smirk on her face. He chases after her onto the rooftops of the Haven Ward. Dulle and Meredith descend into the cellar and are met with yet more gore-ridden victims. The entire manor’s staff, including the missing butler and the lady of the house, are piled in the center of the room with their throats slit. The captain surrenders to the party, but Dulle runs him through after gleaning some information about his loyalties. Amidst the carnage Garnet Fairfield cries over the corpse of her mother and Meredith discovers the Hound Coin on the captain’s body.
During Bard’s pursuit, Selena throws herself from a rooftop. As Bard reaches the edge and looks down he see’s nothing but a drop of blood that slowly evaporates into nothingness. Meredith retrieves the whimpering child and the party reunites.
The party returns to the castle grounds and find the corpse of Baxter is missing. The child says she sees invisible footprints and shares her vision with the group via some mysterious means. They rush into the castle to discover the location of the body and the safety of the Queen. The footprints lead down to the mouth of the sewer in the tunnels and then vanish.
After a brief dialogue with Gort in the tent village the party retreats to the castle to rest.
Tasked with investigating the mysterious disappearance of the King by Archbishop Gilmarr and advised to start by heading to the castle.
Ludwig the left handed nabbed one of Bard’s coin purses, a swift pursuit follows by Dulle and Meredith through the bazaar and into the rooftops of the Haven ward.
Chased into the sewer system by the party, Ludwig is shot in the left leg by Bard and is pulled to safety by henchmen, Bard’s purse is returned unceremoniously.
The party leaves their quarry and returns to their primary task. They reach the castle and are informed the Elena the Black has murdered five servants without explanation.
The Queen and Prince express their concern over the missing King and grant the party free reign of the castle for their investigation.
A chest is discovered in the king’s quarters which contains notes pertaining to Kolstad’s independence. Meredith is left to pour over the writings while Bard and Dulle go to investigate Ludwig’s whereabouts.
Dulle and Bard head to the shadiest part of the Haven Ward and enter the Bloody Knuckle tavern where they discover Ludwig’s reputation as a true scoundrel, but little else.
Meredith feels a cool breeze on the nap of her neck and investigates, uncovering an ancient passageway under the castle. She follows the narrow, dark corridors finding blocked passages, the perforated corpse of a King’s honor guard, and the entrance to the sewers.
Dulle and Bard return to the castle and uncover Meredith is missing, they find the trap door and proceed down into the tunnels where they meet up with the wayward Friar halfway through the labyrinthine tunnels.
Reunited the party ventured into the sewer and discover a ramshackle shanty village set up in the murk and grime of the sewers. The residents of this tent city pay them little mind and most ignore them. Bard questions one and discovers the location of the community’s leader, Gort, who is delirious in a state of waking sleep.
Gort sheds some light on a mysterious stranger garbed in red that visits annually and has done so for 60 years. He also mistakes Bard for his missing son Gavin. Afterwards the party returns to the castle for a meal and much needed rest.