Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ballad of the Pigeon God #47 The Mess at Maless Manor

Talis Makolin and Echelon discovered that they were half-brothers, sharing a father, the recently deceased Winston Maless.  Winston actually willed his possessions to his unknown bastard children.  Possibly on the run from the Crown, and their existence threatening their friends in Eding, being unknown sounded like a great option.

So our small group of heroes went claim their great inheritance:
Echelon - Pigeon-loving, former Baron of Eding, now a wanted man by the new evil King... if he only knew Echelon was still alive.  Cleric of  Tshang Kai Shing, eastern god of the sea
Talis Makolin - Lover, Bard, Knight of the Pigeon.  Assumed dead by the King.
Velandro -  A pious priest of Akana with a kobold following.  Also assumed dead.
Mellandria - former baronial scribe under Echelon.  Assumed dead as well, now caught up in the zaniness.

27 OctDec 1071 Town of Omsjik, Kingdom of Crosedes
Echelon and Talis had little issue going to the town hall, presenting minimal amount of proof that they were their mothers' children, and after an exchange of gold for fees and taxes, gained the deed to Maless Manor.

"Lucky for us, Winston didn't come from a noble family or else the transfer of the land grant would be sent to Hydincall.  Thanks to good old Dad being only lecherous gentleman, we can keep out of sight."  -Talis

The following is an excerpt recovered from the travel journal of Mellandria:
27 OctDec 1071 Maless Manor, Town of Omsjik, Kingdom of Crosedes
Well, we finally found the glorious estate.  Akana, did they get taken on this place!!!

It's somehow fitting that these two outstanding characters would inherit a house that a rat wouldn't live in.  I love it!!!

Long ago, this place must have been fantastic, but now its a ruin.
Maless Manor, from its best angle.
I got a creepy feeling as I entered the main hall.  I swear I could hear some thing singing from somewhere in the house.  I thought I was losing my mind, but Talis drew his sword, so I think he heard it too.  I must be alright, but then again it is Talis, so...

We slowly searched the house.  Nothing much is left after a once over of the property.  The second floor was mostly odd libraries of alchemy books and other such useless tomes.  Most had been become mold-ridden and ruined, save at least one about extracting innards from a newt that particularly enthralled Velandro.  

We spent the rest of the afternoon searching the "wonderous estate."  For the most part is is a normal estate... with the exception of it being riddled with secret passages and rooms!!!   One passage lead outside.  Another led to an alchemist's room, but there was nothing there other than a few empty bottles.

Talis, Velandro, and I all decided to spend a few days there making repairs and exploring, much to Echelon's dismay.  He wanted to stay hidden, or even stay hidden here, but he feared constant trips into town to get lumber and supplies would expose us. 

I am getting so annoyed at him.  

1 NonDec 1071 Maless Manor, Town of Omsjik, Kingdom of Crosedes
Thanks to MY invisible servants, we were able to make enough repairs to keep the chill out of the main portion of manor.  We've finally set about the slow task of properly clearing the house."

The house is very odd.   I walked into the pantry after a hard day's work (conducting my servants is very demanding!)  Coming into the dining room I could hear voices and turned to see ghosts sitting at the table!!! Naturally, I screamed.   The rest of the charming party came running, but when they got there the ghosts were gone.

Echelon made some remark about me being a crazy mage.  Talis agreed and they walked out. Velandro tried to comfort me and told me to get some rest.


I am careful so I went the other way out turned out to be the dining room. Again , I encountered ghosts.  Maybe I am losing it.  They sat and talked, although they did not make a sound. .  Fine if they ignore me.  I'll be more than happy to ignore them.

I finally decided to settle in the observatory.  It's not as warm as one of the bedrooms, but I can see the stars at night.

There seemed to be a cold, cold breeze blowing through the room coming near a set of symbols carved into the wall.  As I reexamined the symbols,  it suddenly became clear;  the symbols represented parts of the room!  It look like there was another secret passage, right off the observatory!  I screamed for Velandro.  He's the only one who believes me.

2 NonDec 1071 Maless Manor, Town of Omsjik, Kingdom of Crosedes
After breakfast we moved some pots and junk that was in front of the passageway and easily gained access into the passageway.  It took us to a secret room with all kinds of alchemy potions and something under a sheet.  We pulled back the sheet, and found books.  Magic books!!!

I opened one by mistake and got blasted by a protective spell, but finding a magical tome.  It will probably take month to copy it into my own spellbook.  We also found another book, written entirely in Elvish.  

3 NonDec 1071 Maless Manor, Town of Omsjik, Kingdom of Crosedes
Giving my invisible servants some work to do, I spent my day copying the tome and carefully going through the secret alchemy room.

I found the diary of Titus Maless, who may be Winston's father or uncle!!!

4 NonDec 1071 Maless Manor, Town of Omsjik, Kingdom of Crosedes
After Echelon and Talis pass out from their usual night of drinking and moping about, both Velandro and I get an overwhelming urge to exhume Titus' body from the family plot behind the manor and drag it back to the secret laboratory.  We did so.  I found a page in his book that told us how to bring him back to life with some of the chemicals we saw in the lab.

7 NonDec 1071 Maless Manor, Town of Omsjik, Kingdom of Crosedes
It took awhile to figure it out, but we (I) did it, and wow, it worked!!!  Three days had passed since I started doing this and the other two idiots in he house haven't even noticed!  I had hoped one would eventually notice so they wouldn't lose the last few shreds of respect I had for them. 

With the correct combination of alchemical powder applied to his corpse, and the proper incantation recited, the essential salts of Titus Maless coalesced together and his body was brought back to life!

Titus immediately asked us where his son Winston was.  I was speechless to my success, so Velandro caught the resurrected man up to his family tree, and how Talis and Echelon were most likely Winston's heirs.  

8 NonDec 1071 Maless Manor, Town of Omsjik, Kingdom of Crosedes
We hold a family reunion, as I hid all the books we found into my backpack.  Titus told us of his quest for eternal life, and the need for his "death".  He asked about his books (and guessing them lost -- yes!) and just departed without another word.  

He did, however, smack me on my ass on his way out.  Most definitely Talis is related to this bunch.  

After that odd encounter, there was a serious discussion on getting the manor finished.  The rest of us wanted to hire workers for a few days, but Echelon was completely distracted. Kept wanting to look for Zabty.  "If the Dread Lord is looking for him, he's got to be important."  Talis and Velandro thought it wise for us to stay out of sight awhile longer.  I was all for staying at least another month.  

We split the vote.  Echelon and I stayed, to deal with the new work, while Talis and Velandro left to check on the Chateau and find some leads on Count Zabty.  They would return in a month, if not sooner.  If they didn't come back within a month, Echelon and I would leave.  

9 NonDec 1071 Maless Manor, Town of Omsjik, Kingdom of Crosedes
Talis and Velandro left, and everything was happy again, when Michael showed up.

Tonight, while I was copying my spells, he jumped down from the ceiling. He scared me at first, but I think I scared him more.  I agreed to keep him safe and a secret from the others.  I'd bring him food if he behaved. Everything was happy again.

7 DecDec 1071 Maless Manor, Town of Omsjik, Kingdom of Crosdes
Echelon wanted to leave, but I thought it would be wise to leave someone in charge of the workers.  I introduced him to Michael, and gave him a plan.  We left a hidden message for Velandro and Talis where we went, in a passage by the billard room.  We left a message from Norm with Michael and Charlie, the foreman.  If he only gave me money for Michael to pay the workers, we could leave.  

Echelon yelled at me, told me no, and just sat there.  I shocked him, took the needed gold, handed it to Michael, threw Echelon over his horse, and left.  

I think Echelon and my relationship took a turn for the worse, but someone had to zap some sense into him.  I actually hope we find Talis and Velandro before one of us hurts the other.  

GM Notes: This episode mixes a boatload of questions with a boatload of crazy.  First off, our presumed-dead heroes decide to check out, and ultimately remodel, the ancestral manse.  A safe place to hide and gather their wits about them.  Smart. 

But while the Maless half-brothers have a bonding montage, Mellandria gets miffed at them and she and Velandro decide to dig up Grandpa Maless!  Is the Manor effecting them?  Is it the spirit of Titus?  

Then Mell goes off the reservation when she goes re-animator on Titus!  The brothers are okay with this. The lawful good cleric of the God of Law and Order is not only okay with this, but an accessory to the act!  And to top that all off, they let the recently resurrected Grandfather leave without saying a word!  

No one dared looked at the gravestone in the cemetery, but Titus died while Winston was in his late teens.   His son was supposed to conduct the ritual, but he quickly left without saying a word, and never went back.  The manor staff informed the authorities of Titus' death, a funeral was conducted, and the last of the staff left when the money ran out.  

In the midst of the renovation, Echelon realized that the most pious man left in Crosedes was Count Zabty, the half-orc fallen paladin that they had rescued from the Spider-People.   With the centuries in stasis, he might know about the curses, prophecies, the return of the God of Goodness and Light.   Like every other person they rescued, he kept a low profile and only performed acts that helped the community.   He might have the low-down on White Plume Mountain, the Dread Lord, etc...

Finally, there is the curious case of Michael.  As a GM, I completely blank on who or what Michael is.  In fact, before I edited Mell's journal entry, early on, she sometimes confused Michael with the work foreman.    Was he an elusive squatter who simply needed food and warmth during the winter months.  Was he some wandering fey creature who encountered the manor?  Was there some charm cast about Mellandria, or perhaps there was an honest romantic relationship hidden between the words on the journal?   Your guess is as good as mine, but Echelon might have been wise to not agree to put him in charge of Maless Manor.  

Unfortunately, for him, Mellandria has tasted forbidden power.  What she does with it is anybody's guess.

Below is an updated map showing the location of the Manor, Norm's road to Ruuna, the Cult of Light's Camp.  The Barony of Eding really just runs from the near side of the lake, near the Chateau, up the road to Elmshire, and not much more.  The southern border follow the Ruuna Road and dips south at across the forks of the river until about halfway to Alasku.  Northern border is essentialy a straight line across from the Chateau and Elmshire.   Most surrounding land is part of the Duchy of Draloite, which his administered by a Duke, but owned directly by the Crown.  

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