Some persuasion is needed in order to persuade Grumblejack to be medium sized long enough to be teleported by the Erinyes, appearing safely in the foyer of the inn with the rest of the Posse (sans Fitch, who's still ritualling away thrice daily). As promised, he is immediately turned back to what he feels is the minimum acceptable size for a Grumblejack, which is large.
The party adopt the traditional “buff up and charge” approach, with Creel making sure to cast a communal “protection from cold” in a pre-emptive defence against the wintery powers of the witch. Sam takes the opportunity to cast Stoneskin, although being stingy she eschews materials in favour of taking health and str damage, gulping a potion to restore her health
Dostan Alfson, the devoted half elf, sees the party coming up the stairs, rages, and charges! He lands a solid blow on Adelea but her stoneskin reduces the damage. Grumblejack and the erinyes start smashing open doors to look for Elise, with Grumblejack bellowing “ROOM SERVICE! Hur hur hur”
Sam casts hold person, and says “Adelea, will you do the honours?”
Adelea does the honours with a swift, though messy, coup de grace.
Trik somehow manages to sleep through the cacophony of screaming, charging, fighting, spellcasting, coup-de-gracing, door smashing and bellowing of “ROOM SERVICE!”. They say that sleeping longer is good for your health but it doesn't seem likely in this instance.
Creel starts bashing a door with his mace, but stops when he hears Elise's voice from the room directly across the corridor, asking “Dostan! What's going on?”, jerking his head in that direction. His comrades pick up on the clue. Grumblejack smashes the door open, and an erinye moves in to hit Elise with a sword. (Dostan does not answer, because he's lying in a crumpled and very dead heap on the floor of the corridor).
Sam uses suggestion to convince Trak that Elise has been possessed by the demon and he must stop her casting spells at all costs.
Trik wakes up. Well done, Trik!
Adelea calmly says “you really, really, shouldn't have betrayed us” and swings her sword in a whistling arc, starting somewhere down by her feet behind her. It cleaves the treacherous witch fully in half.
Trak rolls out of bed away from Adelea but she follows up and brutally slashes him with her sword. Unaware that this is precisely what she's hoping he'll do, he grabs for his bow and she swings wildly for him again, but in her excitement she's forgotten she's inside an inn, and her sword sticks firmly in the ceiling. Trak draws back an arrow to fire point blank at her, and she lets go of her sword and punches him full in the face. He slumps to the ground, bleeding heavily.
Trik Rackburn calls out that he wants to parlay, and is able to persuade Sam that he genuinely believed Elise's story that the 9th knot had betrayed Thorn. Seeing the Erinyes, servants of Thorne, and having heard what Adelea said through the wall, he is able to put 2 and 2 together and realise Elise had lied to him. He is still loyal to Thorn's plan and offers to join the Ninth, if they will only give his brother the chance to join up too.
Creel stabilises the ranger, pausing only to shoot burning rays at Elise's familiar until he finally catches it with one, and it tumbles out of the air of the increasingly scorched room.
The Erinyes teleport them back to the Horn the following day after selling some loot. Creel “interviews” Trak Rackburn in his torture room.
“your love has fled and left you for dead, and your brother has betrayed you”
She was the love of my life! She would never leave
“she faked her death and used a potion of gaseous form to escape!”
You lie! You killed her! She loved me and you killed her!
“look at your situation, you have nowhere to turn but us!”
You want me to work for you now?
“No I want you to work for Thorn. Join us”
Fine, OK then. I'll work for you. Give me my gear and I'll patrol the forest for your enemies.
“Nah, don't believe you”. Creel stabs him in the thigh and his life trickles out.
Sam has a very difficult conversation with Trik Rackburn, and persuades him (truthfully) that the Knot had no choice but to kill Trak as he was still infatuated with Elise. They gave him a fair and honest chance to join them, which is what they promised Trik they'd do. He signs on with the Ninth.
A note from the Baron notes that the town is buzzing like a hornet's nest, with conflicting rumours that a group of adventurers found and killed the serial killer, or the serial killers smashed into an inn and killed some adventurers, or something else happened involving demons and trolls.
He also mentions that his research has confirmed that Sir Valin Darian, acting commander of the fortress of Hamarhold in the (permanent) absence of the (very dead) Duke, is a cousin of the King and therefore a descendant of the Victor. His spies are yet to find a descendant who isn't forted up in the most secure fortress in the region though…
Juko Five Croaks, a boggard tribesman, approaches the Evil Posse of Evil with a shopping list. He requests 3500GP for some masterwork spears and food to help the tribe as hunting hasn't been great, and they've suffered with attacks and monsters.
Sam gets Zikomo to summon the tribe, and addresses them, with Juko standing to one side. She states “This one says you need more food and more weapons, is this true?”
Zikomo mutters something to the effect that that might allow the tribe to flourish more.
A column of hellfire roars from the ceiling and incinerates Juko where he stands.
“There's some food, and there's a spare weapon. Does anyone else have anything to say? No? Good”
It turns out that hungry boggarts are more vicious, so that works out pretty well.
The Evil Organisation earns its keep by intercepting a message from the Abbess, pleading from help from the capital city of Matharyn to attack the foulness growing within the Horn. No help will be forthcoming.
With the Duke dead and fear everywhere a crime wave hits Farholde
A local merchant, unclear on the exact aims of the Evil Posse of Evil and their Evil Organisation but aware that they exist and are powerful, contacts them to see if they'll do some assassinations for her. It turns out that at 1000GP a pop they will cheerfully kill people for money. Grumblejack, sent along to aid in the last and most difficult assassination, just fails to achieve success, but escapes without injury. The other five are efficently processed.
The silver dragon strikes against the Baron's manor, but the Posse's spies alert them just in time to warn him and get him to safety. With the Baron off-balance and shaken, Sam is able to persuade him to drop the tariff he is taking off the top of the magic item shop sales.
Reports afterwards indicate the dragon to be a young adult, a fearsome foe indeed. Can our party, even reinforced with their assorted minions and allies, hope to stand against it?
Week Twenty Four
A fair comes to Farholde, increasing the prices the Posse can get for selling items. Sam takes advantage.