CROSSINGS

A History of Man

The Major Lift

The party, engaged with the rabid beast, realizes that there is no way of calming it down. Deciding to book a hasty retreat, instead of slaying it, they attempt to run down the hall only for the beast to follow. With their attempt unsuccessful are forced, once again to fight it off.

Luckily, all the noise draws the attention of their friends whom they haven’t seen in quite awhile. Sparks appears at the staircase at the end of the hallway and tells them to flee, Ahl following close behind.

The young warlock casts suggestion successfully and magically influences Bisclavet to leave them be. The party retreats upstairs where Sparks and Ahl lead them to the study. They’ve explain that they’ve been held up in the study for the last few hours while everyone else explored the keep, learning as much as they can from the tomes there.

Barricading the study, both Ahl and Sparks explain that, like the old fortune teller had foretold, the pair were able to find information about the history of the town, the beast, and the mysterious cult that had constructed the summoning circle through Marie’s journals.

Halen, after perusing the journals himself, learns that Marie’s encounters with the beast suggest sentience. That Marie, upon hearing rumors of the beast that murdered the court of Tierkrieger, originally set off as a huntsmaster to slay it but learning of its docile nature, decided upon befriending and learning about it instead. Marie also had some reservations about a group she refers to as a “cult” that had arrived in the village the same time she did and managed to steal some of their research in an attempt to figure out what their goals were. Unfortunately, it seemed that she was unable to and also unable to stop what it was they planned on doing.

Ahl explains that, based on the research that Marie had gathered, that the cult had actually used the beast of Tierkrieger as a convenient excuse. There was a darkness in this town due to the massacre the beast had caused and the cult exploited that darkness in order to create a gateway to another realm. Marie’s death, her sacrifice, was likely the catalyst in the gate’s opening and allowing a great many spirits through. Ahl also postulates that the gate opening has shifted the town into another plane – the demiplane of dread.

The rest of the party, with this in mind, decide to head to bed as Ahl continues his research. When they wake, Ahl tells the group that he believes the beast is a man, a werewolf, cursed in his current form and that not only is the beast a man, but the beast is the original baron of the keep.

With this new information in mind, the group, even more hesitant than before to slay Bisclavet, decide to instead seek help from the cleric in town. Together, Raneth,Halen andBartok attempt to sneak out of the keep and return with the cleric in hopes of relieving the baron from his curse.

As they make their way down the hall, Sparks and Ahl barricading the room behind them, they hear a suspicious sound from nearby, deciding not to risk it, Bartok suggest the group go through a hole in the ceiling. After a few attempts, he makes a makeshift grappling hook that allows them to climb up. Unfortunately, the rope breaks part way up as Halen climbs, bringing a wooden banister crashing down on top of him. As the three heave the obstacle off of Halen, they realize that the sound of the crash has attracted a banshee.

Halen, having been freed from the rubble, unfortunately falls to the Banshee’s wail and an intense battle erupts. Partway through the battle, Halen decides to run back towards the study but as he rounds the corner, another Banshee had appeared and he, once again, falls victim to its scream.

As the battle continues, nearly felling all three heroes, Ahl and Sparks, joining the fray after hearing the commotion, the heroes return to the study in an attempt to reassess their plans.

Deciding on an even stealthier approach, Sparks and Bartok decide to trek off to retrieve the cleric themselves, leaving the rest behind. Ahl, who had been a heavy hitter in the battle with the banshees, and having been without sleep for the night, falls asleep, feeling very much unable to do any more without rest.

Bartok and Sparks manage to succeed in their stealth mission, climbing out of the hole in the ceiling successfully this time right as the morning light begins to crest. Together the two head into town, retrieve the cleric after explaining the situation to them and returns to the castle.

Unfortunately, when they return, they discover that Bisclavet has trapped their friends in the study, both sides stalemating as neither can leave nor enter despite their attempts. The cleric explains that he must have physical contact with the beast to attempt his restoration.
Bartok, handing the cleric the holy symbol they had found in the chapel, concocts a plan to draw the beast’s attention and creates a tripwire that they plan on using against the beast.

As he shouts at the beast to get its attention, Halen, having heard the voice of his friends, casts a spell through song that psychically instills fear within the beast, and in its state of fearful rabidness, ignores Bartok and attempts to flee. Bartok, sensing an opportunity, overtakes the beasts’ position and manages to activate his makeshift tripwire. The beast falls and the cleric, with the aid of the holy symbol and through a truly impressive display of diving magic manages to revert the beast into its wolf form. This change seems to calm the beast entirely, all aggression gone.

Bartok, realizing that the beast is now a wolf, attempts to cast a ritual learned from his youth to speak with the beast. In the ensuing ten minutes, the rest of the party joins them. When the ritual is complete, Bartok learns that the beast is indeed the Baron and that the baron had been afflicted with a terrible curse believed to be caused by his guilt of killing his entire court in a blind monstrous rage he does not remember. The guilt, he believes, forced him to remain in monstrous form, unable to shift to wolf or man. The party also learns that despite being unable to shift back into man, that the Baron did in fact, have control over his monstrous form after the night of the massacre and only loses himself in blind rage once again after the death of Marie and that centuries of madness had driven him to do some truly abhorrent things.

The entire party, to the surprise of the Baron, sympathizes with him and the Baron, grateful, vows to see them home and to save his countryman from the evil that started with him. He helps them pick out books and the party heads back into town in hopes of learning more and finding a way back home as well as a way to restore the Baron to his original body.

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