Rose of Westhaven #13.5: Comes the Demon

IC Date: Monday 11th October 1540

We were down a couple of players again this session, lacking the pleasure of both Sasha and the stout Madok’s company. Rather than abandon the session I decided to run another “side-adventure” for Odhran and William.

  • The Locke Adventuring company is returning from the Dertmoor Stone Circle, with the aid of the sacrifice of Captain Hayes and the knowledge of their new Dwarven comrade they have been able to successfully bind the demonic Lord of Words permanently in the circle.
  • As they arrive in Porthcrawl Sasha heads of with Madok to help him get settled in.
  • Odhran and William begin heading back to the small house currently acting as a base of operations for the Locke Adventuring Company, on the way they see some children play-fighting with each other, one of them is wearing a saucepan on his head and pretending to be Edwin Locke, “shooting” his friend with a stick.
  • Making a comment about the next generation of the Locke Adventuring Company, William continues, reaching the door of their build first. Outside a young child is seemingly waiting for someone, as William approaches he asks them if they’re the Locke Adventuring Company and–after they answer in the affirmative–he hands over a piece of parchment telling them that Captain McCormack paid him 5 shillings to deliver a message to them.
  • Reading the message they discover that Lord Draco Harper has died peacefully in his sleep, apparently free of the burden that his link to the stone circle had placed on him, in gratitude he has left each member of the company 2000 silver shillings. It also appears that Captain Hayes has left the deeds for his house with Captain McCormack, to be entrusted to the care and ownership of the Locke Adventuring Company.
  • Odhran and William head to the Harper Estate where they discover the household is in mourning, the body of the recently deceased Lord Harper is lying in state until the funeral on Sunday (in six days time), they speak to Captain McCormack who tells them that their reward has been placed inside their new building, he escorts them over to the building, giving them the key and the deed.
  • The two adventurers spend a few hours exploring the house, discovering that the old campaigner Hayes was apparently something of a hoarder, they clear out a large tool shed and use it to stable their horses.
  • Over the last few hours William hears a female voice called his demonic name “Atramos” several times, although Odhran appears not to notice it, suddenly William’s eyes roll back into his head and his body begins spasming as though suffering a seizure.

  • William (or more accurately Atramos) finds himself in a forest, inside a circle of blood, he is surprised to find himself in his original demonic form.

  • Facing him is a naked, young woman with bloody runes daubed on her flesh; she reveals herself to be Julianna Harper, daughter of the deceased Draco who is travelling to Porthcrawl with her brother Oscar.
  • She claims that her brother is reckless and will lead her house into disaster, she wishes to form a pact with Atramos to gain his help in killing Oscar, in return she offers to use magic that she learnt as an apprentice of Corbin Thorne to better integrate Atramos into his mortal host body, allowing him to call on more of his demonic heritage.
  • Atramos agrees and the two seal their pact in blood, at which point he is dismissed and returns to his mortal body.

  • Meanwhile–lacking the possessing spirit of Atramos–the dormant soul of the young boy whose body he possesses re-awakens, the young child is terrified and attempts to flee the building screaming but is restrained by a confused Odhran.

  • Exasperated and eager to keep the child quiet Odhran force-feeds him a large amount of booze.
  • There is a knock on the door, one of the town guard has been attracted by the screaming.
  • Odhran first attempts to negotiate with the guard but–as his emotions come more to the fore–black smoke begins to swirl around him and the guard goes for his pistol.
  • As the guard attempts to flee and summon help, Odhran knocks him out with his cudgel.

  • At this point, Atramos returns to his mortal host and–as William–rises from his seat, confused why he can taste alcohol and why Odhran is dragging an unconscious guard into the build.

  • Odhran explains.
  • As they are talking Wulsi Halley–a rogue with a knack for finding out information who the Locke Adventuring Company have paid for intelligence previously–arrives, he tells the duo that he’s heard them asking about the ships in the harbour and that he might have some information for them.
  • William pays Wulsi to forget he’s seen the unconscious guard and then pays for the information on the ship.
  • Wulsi tells them that the three ships belong to the Yorke Family (also known as the White Rose), apparently their family used to have one of their’s on the throne before the current monarchs deposed them, banishing the rest of the family to Scrotland. Wulsi has heard that the patriarch of the family, the war-hero Richard is onboard one of the boats and is seeking to formally ally his House with the Harpers and others (including the Parliamentarians) to make a play for the throne.
  • William thanks Wulsi and the informant leaves.

  • A short time later Odhran decides that–not wanting to kill the guard–he needs some help, meeting up with his tutor the Sage Salazaar he claims that he is trying to help a mentally troubled man and asks the old sage for a herbal tonic that will help the man sleep. Salazaar gives him such a tonic but warns it may cause hallucinations if taken in too strong a draught.

  • Odhran doses up the guard, sprays him with booze and dumps him in a bush far from their building.

  • Whilst Odhran is dumping the guard, William has been experimenting with his increased powers, discovering that he appears to have the ability to mentally control rats, although–as he begins using the power–his body twists and changes, growing a rat*like tail.

  • The two of them then decide that they want to continue exploring the tomb catacombs below the Church of Peaceful Repose, Odhran also wished to take a huge flail–recovered from a previous expedition–to the Dwarven blacksmith Angus Drummond.

  • They drop off the flail, the blacksmith seeming interested in the magical armour worn by William, William agrees to return later to allow the Dwarf to examine it.
  • Returning to the church they find it is now occupied by Archdeacon Mayne, half a dozen priests and what appear to be two men wearing Plague Doctor clothing and masks.
  • At first the Archdeacon is reluctant to allow the duo access to the tombs below the church but they are able to convince him to allow them to have a quick look in there as long as they promise to be gone by nightfall, since the priests have a lot to do preparing the church for Sunday’s funeral.
  • Entering the catacombs the two heroes head to the only unexplored chamber finding four sarchophagi in there, when they open the sarchophagus belonging to a Roland Harper the temperature drops and the spirit of Roland appears claiming to have sent away an ancient blade, hoping that ridding his family of it would earn God’s forgiveness and end their curse.
  • Examining the remains of Roland as the spirit disappears they find the body has a scabbard but no blade, however their are small flecks of a green metal around the edge of the scabbard and what appears to be a fist-sized stone with a cross chiselled onto it shoved into the mouth of the body.
  • Odhran removes the stone and the body begins to rise, sprouting fangs and slowly re-assembling itself.
  • William orders his rats to attack and–whilst the undead creature is distracted–Odhran shoves the rock back into the mouth of the creature, resulting in it tumbling back into a pile of bones.
  • Taking the grave goods they have gathered from the other sarchophagi Odhran and William beat a hasty retreat from the catacombs.