A Strange Case

As the party returns to Val Royeaux, they learn that a strange string of murders has the city locked in the grip of fear. The guard has imposed a curfew, and none may enter or leave the palace, for fear of the empress’s safety. If the party wishes an audience with the empress, they must first discover the identity of the murderer.

Key Points:

Murderer is a child possessed by an abomination, looks terrifying, etc.

Is killing nobles, party finds the correspondance between Cailan and the Empress.

Room of books of murderers with Soeth’s in it.

Murderer thing can only be killed by Landon,... macguffin? (the knife of the boy’s family? Something?)

Introduction

Although you return to the village, there is no sign of the girl’s father. Undoubtedly, he never intended to pay you, or, at the least, guessed that you would side with Rowen against him. Either way, you’re task is completed for the moment, and there is little else you can do besides return to Val Royeaux, vengeance yet eluding your grasp.

The road back to Val Royeaux is thankfully quiet, and there is no sign of Templars nor pursuit from the village. Arnois is quiet and keeps to her self mostly, visibly saddened by the departure of her lover, but intent on finding her son again.

As you arrive back in Val Royeaux, the streets are hushed and quiet. The guards look at you suspiciously as you enter, seemingly on edge, but let you pass. None of the typical merriment of the streets surrounds you, no jugglers, no entertainers… even the typically busy marketplaces are subdued. Everyone you see, noble and commoner alike, seem to move quickly and hurriedly about their business. Most buildings are shuttered and people speak only in hushed whispers of ‘demons,’ ‘malificarum’, and ‘murderers.’

Soon enough, you arrive back at the Estate of Lady Vallignion, and are quickly ushered into a side parlor where she is waiting eagerly for your report.

“You have noticed it, then? Indeed, a pall has fallen over our beautiful city. You see, shortly after you departed, ...things started to happen. It started simply enough. The guard dogs howling through the streets. Animals turning up mangled and half-eaten. Odd coloration in the fountains. But then… well. Nobles have been murdered. Three, in total. And brutally, judging by the talk of it. It has the entire city terrified… and, unfortunately, the Royal Palace on full lock-down. No one, they say, is getting in or out until the murderer is apprehended.”

The Crime Scene

Maison de Bonne Chance is an upscale gambling house in one of the wealthier districts of Val Royeaux. Until quite recently it was a popular attraction and time-waster for wealthy nobles and chevaliers. However, since a chevalier was found stabbed to death in one of the private side parlors, business has rapidly decreased, and the owners have shuttered it down. Still, a pair of city guards keep watch over the front gate, and there may be more patrolling the halls inside. The structure is moderately large, and two stories in a neo-Tevinterian style. Windows reveal little activity and no light coming from inside the building.

Inside, the halls are interspersed with various private rooms, a main gambling floor on the first level, and numerous tacky-looking marble statues. You hear the distant footsteps of guards making occasional patrols.

The parlor is quiet and dusty. It appears as though few people have been inside since the murder. A few bloodstains still adorn the walls and divans, though the body has been removed. It has all the normal accoutremonts of a noble’s parlor, a few mirrors, a fireplace, an old grandfather clock, couches, a coffee table with a few books scattered about it, not to mention a bookcase or two.For some reason, it seems unseasonably hot in this room.

The fireplace has burnt down nearly to ash completely, but you manage to find a small, crisp, burnt piece of parchement. It reads simply in orlesian: “nail that stops Time”

The mirror is flecked with moisture, as if it fogged over not too long ago.

You are startled to see that a message has indeed appeared into the fogged golden mirror. It states:

“Three needles stand of three different heights. The fat, the tall and the thin. From slow to fast they move to the right. Scott rests not on three, but fifteen.”

The grandfather clock is controlled by a simple gear mechanism that adjusts the time’s calibration while not effecting the swing of the pendulum. Turning the single gear moves the second hand which in turn moves the minute hand and so on and so on.

Near the base of the grandfather clock there is a small area where the wallpaper has become tattered and worn. are three scratches in the wallpaper. They appear to have been made by a claw of some sort…

The Forest

The clock swings out towards you from the wall with the audibly grinding of gears. It reveals behind it an opaque, ovoid portal, milky white and seemingly liquid.

Stepping through the portal, the liquid parts for you, and you feel a tingling sensation before finding yourself in darkness on the other side. As your eyes adjust, you find that you are in a deep, dark forest, tall trees looming over you give your surroundings a cavernous appearance. Directly ahead, you can see a brief slope leading down to a small clearing in the woods.

“What have we here, my sisters? Little flies, snared in our web?

“Meatier fare than that, I think. These are juicier morsels, sisters mine.”

“They seek The Rake, as the Dark One promised. See? One amoung them bears the gift, though embraced it she has not.

The Underground

Crib / Street

Walking through the door, it seems you have arrived back at the Alienage of Val Royeaux. It is dark outside, a new moon in the sky. The streets are deserted, save for a child’s crib, rocking back and forth.

Scene is the alienage, a crib left in the middle of the street, rocking back and forth. Inside the crib is the following note.

As I prepare to take my life, I feel it necessary to assuage any guilt or pain I have introduced through this act. It is not the fault of anyone other than him. For once I awoke and felt his presence. And once I awoke and saw his form. Once again I awoke and heard his voice, and looked into his eyes. I cannot sleep without fear of what I might next awake to experience. I cannot ever wake. Goodbye.

(In Elven) ‘Dearest Leanne, I have prayed for you. He spoke your name.’

Once they read the note, the room starts to close in on itself.


Ship

As you enter through the door, you nearly trip into a small sailboat. It seems you are now on a calm sea, stretching out in all directions. A few yards ahead is the wreckage of a large sailing vessel.

Sirens call and then attack them on the boat.

I have experience the greatest terror. I have experienced the greatest terror. I have experienced the greatest terror. I see his eyes when I close mine. They are hollow. Black. They saw me and pierced me. His wet hand. I will not sleep. His voice (unintelligible text).


Rocking Chair

At the end of this hallway sits a rocking chair, with a black envelope resting on top of it’s seat.

Written in Landon’s handwriting

He came to me in my sleep. From the foot of my bed I felt a sensation. He took everything. We must return to Fereldan. We shall not return here again at the request of the Rake.


Bedroom

You find yourself in what appears to be an Orlesian woman’s bedroom. A line of braziers lead the eye to a rich, luxurious bed with red satin sheets. From the braziers wafts the scent of pleasing incenses, and beautiful woven tapestries hang from several of the walls.

Once they get the note, the room catches on fire.

You have failed us. You have doomed us. You slut. You whore. I curse the day I gave birth to you. You are filth. See what your lust has wrought.


Forest

You find yourselves in a dark forest. In the distance, you can hear the sound of various animals and wild-brush, the snap of twigs and the hooting of owls. A stable-looking bridge lies ahead, leading over a sudden drop and thick foliage.

Plants come alive, start attacking

Written in Ancient Tevene

I cannot live without you anymore. I do not care what the magister’s say. I will meet you in the forest tonight, at our special place.


Aravel

You seem to have entered into a Dalish Aravel, the land-ships that dalish tribes use to transport themselves. The hard oak walls are inviting and cozy, a wooden table with two chairs at either end lies in the center of the room, and a small cot lies in a corner. Along a nearby wall lies shelves and shelves of expensive and delicious-looking wine.

Have to drink enchanted wine to get the key out of the bottles, wine is actually blood, etc etc

In Elven

This is my last (unintelligable). The quick and the (unintelligable)must not mix. It only brings disaster. A curse be on (unintelligable) if you refuse my warning, boy. You must undo what you have done. Take the blade. Slay the girl… and the Rake.


Door

In this hallway is a heavy stone door, that seems to be built into the very walls of this place. On it are several dim glowing stones, and slumped in front of the door is the corpse of a young man.

The blade chose me. I am the one who must… I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Maker forgive me. Maker forgive me. Maker forgive me.


This room appears to be very fine and elegant Dalish drawing room. Luxurious divans and couches lounge in front of a crackling fire place, and a small black envelope sits on a polished wooden coffee table.

Living Room covered in blood written “He is the Rake”

Snakes swarm out of the floorboards

A Strange Case

The Two Thrones Amsterdam