[Campaign Journal] Castle Xyntillan Session VIII: Wine & Spirits

Session VIII
Adelaide, “knight stientist”
Lou Norman, mad scientist
Astaire “Hester”, wizard
Tugtar ‘the Bringer’
Jamila, loving mother, mysterious archer

Spiritday, 1:00 PM

It’s raining heavily, and wind sways the treetops. The party stands on the western shore of the castle grounds, and looking at their surroundings, decide to explore the vineyard west on the Xyntillan estate. A dreary trek in the rain ensued, squelching in the muddy path fields of weedy pumpkin patchs and cornstalks. Past the fields, a stone bridge led to a dark forest, which lay between the party and the vineyard. Going around the forest to the left, Astaire, Tugtar and Jamila came upon the vine-covered gazebo they’d seen from a distance earlier. As Astaire and Tugtar approached, an elderly form in the gazebo bid them to come out of the rain, but when she saw their muddy clothes and unfamiliar faces, revealed herself as a vicious harridan, breaking her already-broken parasol on Tugtar’s head. Astaire objected to this treatment but the horrible woman berated Astaire and started clawing at him, and momentarily seizing his wrist in a icy grasp, draining his energy. Adelaide made the shot from her crossbow and fired a bolt right into the shrivelled woman’s chest, killing her. Lou stepped up into the gazebo with his torch, stepping over the body. Green vines on the lattice in the gazebo began to uncurl towards Lou, nimbly stepped backwards out of their way– and right into one behind him. There was a couple scratches but Lou managed to wrangle his way out, and the party ran into the woods, while Adelaide killed the vines from a distance. Astaire checked out the gazebo and found a good ol’ healing potion. Back across the woods (not through them), the party made their way to the vineyard, where they happily spent some time trying to find some good grapes among the vines. The rain continued as the party moved on to check out the garden shed behind the winery, then into the winery itself.
Astaire: “I need some wine!”
Lou: “There’s creeps everywhere we go.”
Dissapointingly empty of wine, the party poked around the empty bottles and display cases, Adelaide dropped a silver coin into the rusted coin-operated “Marvelous Malévol Mechanical Band” in the corner, only to be treated to a screeching detuned performance. Headed down the stairs, large casks of wine greeted the party in the torchlight. Trying the taps, the party finds some good wine, and Astaire discovers suspicious hinges on one of the casks- a secret door! Tugtar turns the spigot and unlocks the door, revealing a dank rough-hewn corridor within. At that moment, Adelaide opens the seventh tap, pouring out the menacing whisps of a ghost! Jamila, Tugtar, Adelaide and Astaire all bolt into the false cask, while Lou, sensitive to danger, runs back up the stairs and out of the winery. Removed from his party and unsure what to do about the likely loss of his protegé, Lou dejectedly picks for grapes in the vineyard while the rain pours.
Meanwhile in the dank corridor, the party drank a toast to survival, and then walked and walked, burning out a torch and needing to light a new one as they wound on. Eventually the cave widened, became sandy, and opened a ways from a sandy lakeshore, a mile north of the castle. The party hatched a plan to create smoke for Lou to see, and Astaire went with Lou to drag in some wet driftwood to burn. Across the lake through the rain, the pair faintly saw a headless woman sprint along the shore. They hurried back to the cave, and started the fire.
Eventually Lou accepted that he must move on, and went back to the gardening shed to try the miracle gro plant food on the grapevines. The ‘dirt’ caused them to grow and fruit immediately, but the discovery was short-lived as Patrice Malévol, grizzled and holding a battleaxe, demanded Lou’s business. Patrice was suspicious yet unsure, but after Lou failed two persuasion rolls and ran, she gave chase, yelling to her berserkers to “get him!” Lou ran straight back into the winery, doing the last thing he wanted to do- face the ghost, and maybe escape. Down the stairs he went, and looked right into the ghost’s baleful gaze. He aged ten years on the spot, and panic took Lou right back up the stairs, running right into Patrice, who was amused at Lou’s panic. Her six berserkers stepped into the winery, took Lou’s sack of items, and laughed with their boss at Lou’s plight; that is, until the ghost came up the stairs. A healthy young berserker turned to face the ghost- and aged 50 years, dropping his sword with a cry as his body withered.
Patrice: “I’m not afraid of a ghost! Berserkers, attack!”
In the distraction panic-striken Lou jumped out of Patrice’s grasp and ran, ran, out into the rain past the vineyards, past the fields. He walked along in a stunned silence, his only dream of sweet safety in Tours-En-Savoy. As he walked, he noticed a thick trail of smoke out on the other side of the lakeshore…

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