The adventure resumes late evening on the 17th with the party in Priv Arianrhod’s longhouse, discussing what to do with what are now evidently cursed or tainted objects liberated from the bog wights we dispatched. Presto suggests taking them to the Imperial Church, but acknowledges they will almost certainly be destroyed if we do so. Erdudfyl, preferring to avoid any Imperial entanglements, seeks alternatives, asking if Theodosia or Rhys have any ideas.
Rhys suggests returning them, Theodosia suggests there is someone in her caravan that would know something about these objects and may be able to assist. Presto doesn’t seem thrilled with that idea, but agrees. We divide the dark objects amongst ourselves, so nobody is holding more than one at a time, in hopes of avoiding the paralysis Rhys experienced in the bog, then turn in for the night.
Come morning, Sergeant Rhys arrives at the longhouse to report that the residents of another house have gone missing in the night, with similar carnage as observed after previous disappearances. When questioned, he reports that this marks the 11th household that has met such a fate, along with many other residents of the village. Who or whatever is taking residents from the village is getting bolder. Erdudfyl purchases a short sword from the village armory, having found a need for a second melee weapon.
The party notes that if Priv Arihanod had requested Imperial help with the problems plaguing her village, said help should have been provided, but we have neither seen nor heard any evidence of Imperial assistance.*
Presto and Erdudfyl fill Theodosia and Rhys in on the situation here in Ruiger Moor, the legend of Queen Eimhear, and the details of what we discovered when we visited her defiled tomb, before asking Theodosia if she knows any relevant bardic lore. What she knows fits with what we had previously been told, that Queen Eimhear was renowned for defeating The Enemy, and was later entombed beneath the Devil’s Beacon Mountains, bound to return upon when The Enemy returns and the forces of the living need a leader.
Not wanting to carry around a cursed blade, Erdudfyl asks Priv Arihanod if there is any place in the village where these dark objects can be secured while we continue in our efforts to free Ruiger Moor from the curse on the village*. She agrees to safekeep these objects for us; Erdudfyl stores the bronze longsword, Rhys stores the bronze scale mail, and Theodosia opts to retain the bronze spear. Erdudfyl is slightly suspicious of that decision, but does not make an issue of it.
The party discusses what to do with the day. Presto indicates that he will visit the church. Erdudfyl immediately indicates that she will not be joining him. Theodosia goes with Presto, Rhys stays with Erdudfyl. Upon arriving at the Imperial Shrine, the party finds a building with a large domed central chamber, with several smaller side chambers visible from the outside. After some time passes, Presto and Theodosia emerge from the shrine and rejoin the party.
The party decides to explore the standing stones we’d previously been told of but were discouraged from visiting, but do not know exactly where those are, or how to find them. Theodosia approaches Sergeant Rhys in pursuit of information, and gets more than expected.
Sgt. Rhys fills in some details of the events of the past month, helping to establish a timeline, and provides directions to the standing stones, but reiterates that travel in that direction is very dangerous this time of year. He does not know what the cause of the attacks on the village are, or who or what is behind them. He indicates that the farmers suspect the miners suspect the craftspeople suspect the militia, and that hope in the village is waning.
Theodosia asks about the village children and what they are saying about the attacks. Sgt. Rhys indicates that nobody has asked, as children can not be trusted. Family is the bedrock of village life, and keeps people honest, but children apart from their families are not always honest. When asked about the earliest losses, he indicates that the first person reported missing from the village was a girl named Glenys Miner, not a child but not yet a woman, who had been spending a lot of time with the mercenaries in the days before she went missing.*
Before heading out for the standing stones, the party discusses this new information. Erdudfyl is suspicious of the mercenaries, the timing of their arrival just before the troubles in the village is a bit too much of a coincidence for comfort. Presto suggests that perhaps the mercenaries are the ones that despoiled the barrow of Queen Eimhear, and may have killed Glenys if she learned too much of their activities. Rhys wonders if Arihanod and the mercenaries together are somehow responsible for the situation the village faces.
The party prepares to venture out to the standing stones.
Things we believe are facts:
A band of about a dozen mercenaries arrived in the village about 3 weeks ago.*
Today, only four mercenaries remain in the village. It is not clear if the other mercenaries perished or simply left.
People started disappearing from the village about 2 1/2 weeks ago.*
10 days ago there was a bandit raid on the village. The mercenaries helped defend against the raiders, and their services were retained by Priv Arianrhod.
The village has been reduced to less than half the population it had a month ago.
Priv Arihanod is keeping secrets, both about her feelings about the Imperials, and about her knowledge of the curse upon the village.*
* indicates a potential clue.