Homecoming Party Gone Wrong
OR: Evildoers End Elegant Evening, Endure Equine Escapades Ending in Ephemeral Escape
Our Heros arrived at the Aria estate and it was announced that there would be a party to welcome home the eldest son that evening. Although the Lord was away on business, and Pho Mai (Tho Mai’s younger sister) was still away at boarding school, Lady Ariana and the Aria’s Majordomo Jarvinius were more than capable of organizing the feast. Everyone in the group was given formalwear by the house, and individuals spent the time before the party in their own individual ways.
While Della was off looking for “mysterious things” Niko was talking with Jarvinius and showing him his family token, which contained a likeness of his parents. The majordomo makes some comment and Niko notices that the picture of his father has a striking similarity to the paintings of Lord Aria hung around the grounds. Jarvinius made a hasty, somewhat suspicious retreat. Some of the other members of the party learned more about the fishing village to the north, hearing that it is a very old town somewhat known for the presence of “shipwreckers” aka false lighthouses and the bandits that salvage the wreckage. After a bit of time everyone went to change into their formal attire and the party was started.
People were dancing and eating, Zed was playing some “Hot Licks”, Tho was macking on some noble’s daughter, it was your fairly standard soiree. Eventually Della notices that Lady Ariana is missing, and then the rest of us notice that Tho Mai was also missing. One of these two events would turn out to be slightly more nefarious than the other. A hint, it was the one that didn’t have anything to do with a quickie in a hallway. It is at this point that Our Heros were informed that Steve Gondrian had just been found dead, his throat slit, just outside the main ballroom. So much for the fancy party.
The group walked outside to take a look at the body, Akenara used his (awesome) medical skills to determine that Steve had defensive wounds, it looked like he was held from behind and there were signs of a struggle. While most of the group went outside to investigate, a few were left behind to stand watch at the door and make sure no one left the party and to see if anyone inside started acting strangely. Someone did indeed start acting strangely, unfortunately it was Della. Asking the girl Niko had been talking with to try to get him to leave his post for… reasons? Anyway she failed, Niko was a good boy and stood his post, and the girl was creeped out and went away.
Once Della made it outside she used her tracking to find out there were 3 sets of footprints heading towards the stables, two large and one small. It seemed like Lady Aria was being abducted. Our Heros followed the footprints to the stables where they found all of the horses had been cut loose and/or stolen, along with a few more murdered servants. The group knew the kidnappers would start to outpace them so they decided they needed horses to try to catch them. Some of the group would continue following the path, the rest would try to go beg borrow or steal whatever horses they could find.
After a few successful bartering / charming / intimidating rounds three horses had been acquired, and it was decided that everyone could double up and they could still make good time. Eventually the group made it to the bank of a river, where it appeared the bandits had gotten onto a raft and started to head downstream. After a short stop a water mill (that is, a mill powered by water that is used to turn hard water into soft water, and separate some water from other water) and a temporary attempt to befriend a cat Our Heroes found themselves on the outskirts of a fishing village. They also saw a row boat heading out towards an anchored ship with black sails on a single mast that looked very fast. Akenara then yelled out a thaumatically boosted reassurance to Lady Aria and a threat to the bandits, in response Zed heard a few muffled cries reaffirming that the Lady was still alive. The crew of the sailing vessel called out for the rowboat to hurry up and get back, since they were obviously terrified of the yelling dwarf.
Will Our Heroes find out who the ship belongs to? What could these bandits want with Tho Mai’s mother? What would have been the name of the cat found at the water mill? And is that guy done with the party’s cloaks yet? Find out the answers to all of these questions (or none) next time!