Runelords Hensehold

22 Rova 4707 (1/17/2014) – The Swallowtail Festival

from "The Journal of Siȝecraft Ælfsiȝe Ælfwine"

Everyone in the city adjourns to the town square for the opening festivities of the Festival at 10:00 AM. I walk with Tōketsu Kaijitsu and engage him in conversation when possible. He explains what is going on and who the people are as they appear.

Mayor Kendra Deverin opens the fete with a speech indicating this year’s autumnal equinox has special significance as it also involves the rededication of the Sandpoint Cathedral (the Temple of Desna) which burned down years before.

Kendra Deverin – female human Mayor of Sandpoint (citizen of Sandpoint)

Kendra Deverin has served as Sandpoint’s mayor since 4702 AR. Lawmaker, judge, and general peacemaker, she has proven to be both an adept diplomat and stern hand when need be, both skills honed during her youth in Magnimar. With a personal – some say sisterly – style of governing, most of Sandpoint’s citizens hold deep respect for their fiery-haired mayor.

There are many speeches by more locals (Sheriff Belor Hemlock; Father Zantus; Cydrak Drokkuss, a prominent local). Lonjiku Kaijitsu, another prominent local, was also called to speak but was not present due to some sort of personal matter (that many in the crowd seem to recognize and offer sounds of sympathy).

Sheriff Belor Hemlock

Belor Hemlock is the sheriff of the Varisian town of Sandpoint. He replaced the previous sheriff, Casp Avertin, who was killed by serial killer Chopper in 4702 AR. Originally a member of the Shriikirri-Quah tribe of the Shoanti, Belor abandoned his heritage when he took on the role of sheriff, changing his last name from its native Viskalai to the Chelish translation of Hemlock.

Father Abstalar Zantus – male human Cleric of Desna (citizen of Sandpoint)

When the Sandpoint chapel burnt to the ground in 4702 AR, killing the town’s priest, Ezakien Tobyn, his position in the town was filled by his top acolyte, Abstalar Zantus. Though Father Zantus is himself a cleric of Desna, his role as high-priest requires him to be open to other faiths, and he is more than willing and open to assist followers of other gods with spiritual matters.

Tōketsu points out other prominent members of Sandpoint as he sees them.

Cydrak Drokkuss – male human Bard and owner of the Sandpoint Theater (citizen of Sandpoint)

This flamboyant bard is the owner and sole financier of the Sandpoint Theater. Having had to flee Magnimar for reasons unknown, he takes great pride in competing directly with their playhouses on a regular basis.

The Swallowtail Butterflies were released from a cart in the middle of the square and children spent the next several hours trying to chase them down. The Swallowtail Release is a holiday in honor of the goddess Desna, and is held annually on the first day of autumn. It serves to commemorate a legend in which an avatar of Desna fell to Golarion after a fierce battle with the goddess Lamashtu. She was discovered and nursed back to health by a blind child. To express her thanks, Desna transformed the child into a beautiful, immortal swallowtail butterfly so that he could explore the wonders of the whole world for all eternity.

To celebrate this event, priests of Desna release a wagon full of swallowtail butterflies in front of a crowd of believers. It is considered a good omen for a worshiper, if a butterfly rests on him or her for a short time. The day is spent in celebration and can include activities such as feasting, storytelling, and singing. In preparation for this event, larger temples of Desna often have enclosed gardens in which they raise swallowtail butterflies year round. In colder climes, where the raising of butterflies is impossible, faithful will sometimes substitute colored leaves or painted corn husks for the actual insects.

In other causal conversation I learned that the two inns/taverns in Sandpoint are the White Deer in the north of town and The Rusty Dragon (that I’m already acquainted with). There’s several other taverns including Cracktooth’s Tavern (next to the town square), Fatman’s Feedbag and The Hagfish (offering prizes to anyone that can drink Hag Water, whatever that is). I added annotations to my map based on this information.

Lunch was announced and carts and tents were opened to serve the attendees gratis. I invited Tōketsu (To-ket-su) Kaijitsu to dine with me, and we invited Dion (reminding him I owned him a drink) as well. The food at The Rusty Dragon tent was reputed to be the best, so we stood in line there. While waiting to be served I asked Tōketsu about Ameiko Kaijitsu.

Ameiko Kaijitsu – proprietor of The Rusty Dragon (citizen of Sandpoint)

Ameiko Kaijitsu is best known in the town of Sandpoint as the proprietor of The Rusty Dragon, the most popular tavern in town. A member of the town’s small aristocracy, she is the eldest daughter of Lonjiku Kaijitsu. Tōketsu Kaijitsu is her uncle.

We adjourned to a grove of trees on the south side of the square. Ro joined us (after being intrigued by jugglers for what seemed like hours), as did another unusual acquaintance that I learned was named Kodlak Deadeye. I had time to learn more about these interesting individuals.

Tōketsu Kaijitsu – Male Alchemist (Grenadier)

Tōketsu is a lithe blue-skinned giant (6’-10" and 286 lbs.) with red eyes that smolder faintly like coals, long arms that end in four-fingered claws, a mouth full of wickedly sharp teeth and a pair of tusks jutting upward from his lower jaw. His silvery-white hair is pulled back into a topknot and two long horns protrude from his brow. A sinuous blue tail sways back and forth in time with his mood; languidly moving side to side when he’s calm and twitching nervously when he’s on edge. I noticed during the battle with the goblins Tōketsu used his tail to retrieve his bow – amazing!

It is difficult to judge his exact parentage or age but overlooking his more monstrous features, he appears more human than not and there is a certain youthful air to his demeanor. His malevolent appearance is belied by eloquent manners, a strong sense of humor and a boyish enthusiasm when talking to others about his latest alchemical breakthrough or listening raptly to stories from afar. I asked further about Tōketsu’s heritage and learned that his mother was human. He has never met his father who is likely a spirit creature called a yokai, more specifically an oni. Kami and oni are both yokai, creatures from the spirit world that have manifested in our world, but while kami are agents of balance and mostly benevolent in nature, oni are destructive or greedy beings that disrupt nature and trouble the world of men. Unfortunately, it is likely that Tōketsu’s birth father was one of the latter. Tōketsu has inherited from his parentage the ability to shapeshift – fascinating – but he’s hesitant to tell others as their fear and prejudice of his natural form generally puts them at disease to know he could appear as human.

He is dressed plainly in the style of an ascetic monk from the East and wears an overly large straw hat which conceals the upper half to two-thirds of his face. The only decoration he displays is a large string of wooden beads which he wears about his neck. I inquire what the beads are for. “They’re prayer beads used to help purify the mind and clear away distractions. I use them when I pray to Yamatsumi, the Mountain Lord.”

When traveling in the wild, he is lightly armored and carries a great bow that he handles with the ease of one accustomed to using it. He also carries a variety of odd-looking glass and ceramic vials in a pair of bandoliers that crisscross his broad chest. I learned during the battle with the goblins that Tōketsu uses the vials as grenades that explode for fire damage. He was very effective during the battle.

Finally, he carries a great kanabō, a massive wooden club sheathed in iron with iron spikes on one end that is nearly as tall as he is. Its hilt bears strange runes or foreign-looking characters of some kind. I learn from Tōketsu that the runes are Senzar, an ancient language spoken predominantly by kami (benevolent nature spirits). The kanabō was a farewell gift from the yamabushi that Tōketsu studied with back in the East several years ago. The characters are a prayer to Yamatsumi for strength, protection and renewal. It was a sign of the monks respect but also a bit of humor on their part as there is an old saying in Tian Xia, “like giving a kanabō (iron club) to an oni.” Which means giving an advantage to someone that already has the advantage or making the strong stronger.

Tōketsu has lived in Sandpoint for as long as anyone can remember. He isn’t quite hated by the locals but many are distrustful of him and maintain their distance unless they have need of his wares. He is related to one of the town’s founding families (the Kaijitsu) and while he is not exactly a favored son, the connection appears to be enough to prevent any of the townsfolk from doing anything too rash no matter how they might actually feel about his presence here.

Understanding that the Kaijitsu clan is one of the founding families of Sandpoint, I ask Tōketsu to tell me all he can. He doesn’t volunteer much more than I’ve already heard. Tōketsu was adopted by Lonjiku’s father, Rokuro, many years ago. Tōketsu and Lonjiku aren’t close but he and Ameiko get along quite well. He politely suggests that if I have any more questions about the Kaijitsu clan it would be appropriate to direct them to Lonjiku as he is the current head of the family. I sense I may have offended Tōketsu. “If I have offended you I offer my apologies. I have only arrived in Sandpoint this morning and I am unaccustomed to talking with humans. I’m curious about everything but I mean no disrespect.” Risking yet another social error I attempt to bow slightly to Tōketsu, just as I saw him bow earlier today. Although I’m sure I did not do the ritual correctly I hope he takes it as a sign of respect and attrition and forgives any transgression I have done.

“No offense was taken Alf-san. It is I who would be guilty of poor manners if I were to speak out-of-turn about the family when it is properly the right of Lonjiku-dono to speak of such matters.” Tōketsu returns my bow – just a bit deeper. Is this a sign of respect or something else? Oh, if only I had studied cultures more!

He lives in an unused mill about two and a half miles southeast of town on the edge of Boggy Creek, a comfortable distance outside of town which suits both Tōketsu and the townsfolk just fine.

He makes his living as an apothecary and chemist, selling a variety of herbs, pesticides, alchemical remedies (e.g., alchemist’s kindness or soothe syrup), alchemical tools (e.g., alchemist’s cement or candlerods), and fireworks for festivals or other special occasions.

I ask Tōketsu if he is familiar with the Old Light, the ancient ruined light house on the northwest of Sandpoint. “Yes, I am familiar with it.” I ask if he’s ever visited it. “No. In fact, no one has. There’s a door but no one can open it.” This intrigues me very much. Perhaps there are remnants of Thassilonian lore waiting to be discovered? I ask if someday we could visit the Old Light together to see if we could gain entry. “Perhaps.”

Dion Stout – male human Oracle of Cayden Cailean

I note when talking with Dion that he has cloudy eyes. He seems to see all around him well, but has difficulty seeing farther away. He tells me his story – as a young man he felt the spirit of Cayden push him to wander the world, bringing the joy of Cayden to others and helping good people wherever he can. He has taken a particular interest in the healing arts.

Ro (Male Human Fighter)

Ro explains his proper name is Roland but he generally prefers Ro. Ro doesn’t indicate much more about himself.

Kodlak Deadeye (Male Vanara Ranger)

I’ve seen this man around the festival for a while, mostly in the more crowded areas talking with people or doing dexterity tricks for the kids.

Kodlak, from a distance, seems mostly human but up close I see that he has a short layer of fur covering his body and his feet look more like hands than feet. He seems like an amiable fellow, not having a problem with anyone and never making a scene. Though since he is equipped with a well-worn longbow and halberd I doubt that anyone would go out of their way to mess with him. He has a full pack on his back that seems ready for travel at a moment’s notice; he wears a shirt of chain with weathered traveling clothes.

In further conversation I find out that he is a Vanara, a type of intelligent, monkeylike humanoid that generally lives in deep, warm forests and lush jungles. A vanara’s body is covered in a thin coat of soft fur that can grow lengthy hair on their head just as humans can. Vanaras have long, prehensile tails and hand like feet capable of well-articulated movements. Typically, a Vanara stands slightly shorter and weighs slightly less than a typical human.

Kodlak was found at the edge of the Ashwood, also known as the Dark Forest. The Ashwood is a large Varisian forest bounded to the west by the Skull River, to the north by the sheer face of the Storval Rise, and to the south by Lake Syrantula. It also forms the western border of the domain claimed by the city-state of Korvosa. It has one of the darkest reputations of any woodland in Varisia, and is said to be haunted by ghosts and werewolves. Because of this, the Church of Erastil patrols the borders of the forest regularly to make sure that none of these terrors can escape to torment the neighboring towns and hamlets.

Kodlak has only been in Sandpoint for a week. When I inquired what he does he responded he is a monster hunter. I immediately asked if elves where considered monsters by him and he responded “No”. He’s hired to find monsters and deal with them. I stated that there were no monsters in Sandpoint. Tōketsu responded “There’s the Sandpoint Devil”.

“The Sandpoint Devil? What’s that?” I replied.

“A local legend. The Sandpoint Devil prays on people on the roads.” Before Tōketsu could respond further Father Zantus takes the stage. There is a loud “boom”. I turn to see the Father with a look of satisfaction on his face. A stray dog, asleep under a wagon, starts from the thunderstone noise and bolts across the town square. Immediately there are screams from around, but outside of, the town square. Then, a cackling and we can hear a song being chanted:

Goblins chew and goblins bite.
Goblins cut and goblins fight.
Stab the dog and cut the horse,
Goblins eat and take by force!

Goblins race and goblins jump.
Goblins slash and goblins bump.
Burn the skin and mash the head,
Goblins here and you be dead!

Chase the baby, catch the pup.
Bonk the head to shut it up.
Bones be cracked, flesh be stewed,
We be goblins! You be food!

- The Goblin Song, Pathfinder Adventure Path #1 (Burnt Offerings)

Goblins emerge from their hidden caches within carts, wagons and tents and throughout the town square. They immediately start to attack, taking the town by surprise. The startled stray dog is caught and collapses, a goblin slitting it throat mid-stride. As everyone in the town square looks on in horror the goblins emerge and advance, attacking the townspeople with no compassion. Luckily, under the shaded grove of trees I and my newfound compatriots had dined for lunch, was on the opposite side of the main attack.

Kodlak (much to my surprise) responded before me, drawing his bow and placing himself in a position to begin raining fire upon the goblins. I was second to act, closing the distance between me and two hapless goblins threatening the crazy harmless wizard named Sanliss. I fell one with Burning Hands, only damaging the other. First blood (not counting the dog) and the first time I have used magik in combat! I may not be a good sorcerer, but my Burning Hands are still somewhat effective. Sanliss murmurs “Thanks”.

Tōketsu acts next, throwing a vial from his bandolier that transforms into a grenade of fire when it impacts. He kills two goblins – very effective. Ro and Draethor, across the plaza eating and talking together, were interrupted and attacked by a handful of goblins. The townspeople run away from the goblins. Dion Stout maneuvers into position and throughout the battle chants and channels energy to heal the wounded – me amongst them – many times.

I notice Sanliss yell “Don’t touch me!” at the goblin I wounded but did not fell. The goblin – who was moving towards Sanliss with fell intent – turns around and retreats. Draethor yells a primordial scream and charges towards the nearest goblins. Argentus moves towards another group of goblins. There’s a human – apparently not a townsperson – that begins moving from the south side of the square towards the north. It’s unclear what he’s trying to do but I get the impression he’s listening to the goblin’s song.

The battle rages. The goblins seem inspired by the Goblin Song demonstrating courage against superior odds that I could not have imagined. They press their “advantage”. Kodlak attacks another with his bow, I attack two more with Burning Hands. Tōketsu continues to throw his grenades to great advantage, usually felling at least one goblin and damaging others in the explosive splash. Draethor and Ro combine forces to flank a group of goblins to the west. Sanliss often yells “Don’t touch me!” and his words are taken as declarative commands to the goblins he yells at. Argentus engages the goblins in physical combat and at some point grows to twice his size (Sanliss may have touched him first – I can’t be sure.) The human I do not recognize begins to sing and I feel inspired – he may be a bard.

A second wave of goblins arrives from the north. These goblins bear torches and begin to burn buildings in their wake. Two do not bear torches. Rather, these two hang to the back and are singing the song I describe above. The song seems to give the other goblins inspiration and courage, so much so they do not realize they face a determined resistance and refuse to flee. I note Father Zantus is attacked by goblins but the damage seems superficial. I believe he’s signaled the goblin strike with his thunderstone and is a traitor to Sandpoint. The rank and file of the goblin attack likely do not realize this and attack him in earnest. This will help his cover story and betrayal.

Tōketsu, Kodlak, Ro, Sanliss, Dion Stout, Draethor, Argentus (enlarged) and the unknown human continue to press the attack. Argentus is downed, rises up, only to be downed again by the goblin assault. Father Zantus flees the attack. One of the chanter goblins drinks a potion – likely a type of healing – after his partner is downed. With only two goblins left I yell in goblin, “Drop your weapons, surrender and we’ll spare you.” Sanliss immediately counters in goblin “We will not show mercy to you”. Does Sanliss want these goblins dead so they cannot speak? Is he involved with this treachery?

The goblins continue to fight until there is only one left. He wisely drops his dog slicer (as I learn it is called) and I take custody of him.

Draethor and Argentus run to the northeast along Church Street, towards the Northgate area, pursuing goblins that had pursued townspeople from the square. Kodlak begins climbing a building (perhaps to get a better view). Tōketsu runs to the south. Ro grabs the goblin in a bear hug. After a few moments we hear a scream from Draethor “Ro, to me!” Dion Stout immediately runs towards the cry, followed shortly by Ro, Sanliss, Tōketsu, Kodlak and the unknown human. I find out later they defeated eight goblins, including two riding goblin dogs, and rescued a townsperson named Aldren Foxglove (but were too late to save his dog).

Aldren Foxglove – Magnimar noble

Aldren Foxglove is a noble from the city of Magnimar. He is originally from the Sandpoint area and returns there fairly often to hunt boar in the area.

While the others were saving Aldren Foxglove, I begin interrogation of the captive goblin – explaining anything he does to help will make his punishment lighter – while having him search the bodies and put them into a pile for later disposal or a pyre. I learn the following:

  • He is Gint of the mighty Birdcruncher tribe (the group that was lying in ambush).
  • The second group is the Mosswater tribe (the group that contained the goblin pyros).
  • The Birdcrunchers wear feathers; the Mosswater do not.
  • It is unclear what tribe the chanters were from.
  • The Birdcruncher tribe lives in caves to the west.
  • Gint is very careful with the bodies of the goblins from the first wave (the Birdcrunchers) but he throws around and kicks the bodies of the Pyros (the Mosswater).
  • A “longshanks” is a medium humanoid. “Longshanks” is a specific humanoid that instigated the goblins to attack.
  • There are “many many” goblins involved in the assault.
  • “Longshanks” has united goblin tribes that detest each other for the assault.
  • “Longshanks like you leads us. Don’t know name, but he say we can’t lose.”
  • Does he mean an elf? Sanliss is an elf…
  • “He (Longshanks) have secret mission to where longshanks waste bodies and bury them.”
  • This is likely the Boneyard behind the Cathedral.
  • What is the secret mission? I need to keep an eye on Father Zantus to make sure he doesn’t try to slip away.
  • “Don’t know why we fight with Mosswood scum like these (and Gint kicks a pyro), but Longshanks says we have to.”
  • “Longshanks says we should attack Sandpoint and we cannot lose. We burn and eat you longshanks!”
  • I ask how Father Zantus was involved “Who?” I point out the Father and Gint says “Slow Food but he have hard skin.”
  • I ask who was responsible for burning down the Desna temple years ago. Gint’s only reply “Whaaa?”

I instruct Gint to loot the bodies before piling them up. Most of the items from the goblins are poorly made and not worth anything. I do find the following:

  • 40 gp
  • Two (2) pots of Sticky Gel
  • Potion vial (full)
  • Potion vial (empty)

Observations
The thunderstone from Father Zantus was the signal for the goblins to begin the attack. Either the Father has been enchanted or he is involved with the goblins.

Others in Sandpoint could be involved in the treachery. Who can be trusted? Could the recent influx of visitors be involved?

  • Sanliss commanded many goblins “Don’t touch me!” always in Taldane (not Goblin), and they obeyed his orders. Sanliss speaks Goblin – how did he know they would understand Taldane? The only goblin that retreated was from Sanliss. Sanliss urged the two remaining goblins to fight to the death instead of being taken alive and answering questions. He’s a local but an outcast – and he’s an elf (a “longshanks” like me). He was the last to leave The Rusty Dragon on purpose.
  • Argentus is also an elf (a “longshanks” like me). When Tōketsu approached in The Rusty Dragon I noticed Argentus’ brow furrow and a scowl appear but then disappear in the blink of an eye. When Tōketsu greeted him he did not respond in any way and prepared to leave immediately. When we left The Rusty Dragon Argentus politely says that he forgot about another obligation and excuses himself saying he’ll catch up with Dion at the festival and hurries out, walking surprisingly quickly in his armor. Did he recognize Tōketsu? Does he have a vendetta against the Kaijitsu clan? Could he be behind the goblin attack and view the Kaijitsu clan, as city founders, an obstacle?
  • Draethor has looked like he expected to be attacked at any moment. Did he know an attack was coming? When Tōketsu approached at The Rusty Dragon Draethor’s right hand went behind his back to grip the hilt of his strange, long-bent knife and he stopped drinking as well. He was sure to let Tōketsu go first when we left The Rusty Dragon.

The Chopper and the Temple of Desna burning both occurred five years ago. This is the same timeframe Kendra Deverin became mayor, Belor Hemlock replaced Casp Avertin as Sheriff (due to the former’s murder at the hands of the Chopper), and Father Abstalar Zantus replaced Ezakien Tobyn (who died in the burning of the temple).

Desna’s followers delight in exploring the world and experiencing new wonders. While her alignment is Chaotic Good her followers are Neutral Good, Chaotic Good and Chaotic Neutral. Her portfolios are: Dreams, Stars, Travelers and Luck. Here domains are: Chaos, Good, Liberation, Luck and Travel. Is it possible Father Zantus is Chaotic Neutral focused on the Chaos domain?

Where is the Mosswood?

What about caves to the west?

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