14th Day of the Third Month – 15th Day of the Third Month
Vladimir and Morgan are hired to find a merchant’s child that has gone missing in the tiny village. They speak to several villagers, but only discover that this sort of thing happens once in a while, as life is dangerous on the frontier.
The village herbalist sometimes makes candy, so Vladimir and Morgan decide to pay him a visit. Vladimir notices what looks like a bit of bloody rope behind a curtain, but the village guards come to roust the adventurers before they can find out more.
Sneaking back in at night, they enter the herbalist’s hut and find a small chest full of children’s trinkets (worth 250GP, apparently). When they try to search the herbalist’s room, he awakens and cries out in the darkness. Vladimir clubs him unconscious while Morgan sets fire to a different hut to create a distraction. Vladimir finds the bloody rope (which looks to have been chewed by human teeth), and then both adventurers flee the village.
Lacking other clues, and suspecting that the people in charge might be in on the conspiracy (how did the guards know to find them, and why were they angry to begin with?) the they have the merchant return to town, with the adventurers hiding beneath the wagon. Unfortunately, the wagon is turned away, as somebody has murdered the herbalist, slitting his throat, which is weird, because the herbalist was alive when Vladimir left him.
Still bereft of clues, the adventurers try interviewing the farming peasants outside of the village walls. They don’t get much information, until Luta Kolbrand, a pregnant peasant, whispers to the adventurers that she’s already lost one child, and won’t lose her new one and tells them of the secret sacrifices to the well. Only the village headman (Sato Akira) and some of the other farmers know about the sacrifices.
Luta sneaks the adventurers into the village and down the well. It’s full of small bones and it feels haunted. The twisting tunnels eventually upon upon a cavern with a large, crudely carved statue of some sort of bloated toad, surrounded by corpses posed in positions of reverence. As the adventurers investigate, one of the “corpses” rises, revealing buggy eyes, clawed fingers, and makeshift priestly garb. It attacks Morgan, so Morgan and Vladimir attack back. Vladimir strikes a lucky blow, but not before the toadspawn slashes Morgan across the face, killing him.
Vladimir, exhuasted and hurt, leaves the cleric and gathers the toadspawn’s corpse, thinking it might be the missing boy. Sneaking back to the merchant outside of the village, dripping slime and carrying a corpse over his shoulder for a mile, Vladimir is quite displeased to find that this wasn’t the child he sought.
Promising (half-heartedly) to return and try again, Vladimir gathers his belongings and goes in search of hardier companions.
NEXT: Trying Again