With Shalelu leaving for Crying Leaf, Tsaruqs was spending the evening at the Rusty Dragon with Rorrek, Arwyn, and Aquinas, when their quiet evening was interrupted by Sheriff Hemlock's brooding presence at their table. Sheriff Hemlock confided in them that there has possibly another serial murderer in Sandpoint, much like Chopper during the time of the Late Unpleasantness. The murderer had killed three men in a barn south of Sandpoint, near Cougar Creek, just yesterday. The sheriff had written off the killings as Varisian thugs and con men getting what they had coming after trying to swindle the wrong man. But now a new set of murders had taken place in Sandpoint at the lumber mill, just hours before, and both sets of killings had the same brutal, ritualistic elements that pointed to a single killer. Additionally, the killer had left a message addressed to Arwyn at the murder site:
The party investigated the deaths at the lumber mill, where the mill manager Banny Harker and Ven Vinder's eldest daughter, Katrine, had been slain earlier that evening. Banny had been dispatched in the ritualistic fashion that the sheriff had described, brutally cut and slashed, most of his face missing and his lower jaw removed, and a seven pointed star etched into the flesh of his chest: the same symbol that was on the amulet retrieved from Nualia's body and now work proudly and prominently by Rorrek.
Katrine's death appeared to have been caused by her being pushed into the log splitter after she managed to attack the killer with a nearby axe. The entire murder scene had a putrid, rotting odor, which was magnified tenfold near the blood and bone still on the axe head. Tsaruqs had Ka track the scent, which led him out to the pier, where apparently the killer had entered via a window. Further, a spot across the river showed the barefoot tracks of the killer where he had waited, watching the mill for his time to strike.
Questioning both Ibor Thorn and Ven Vinder provided little additional information on the killing, although the party did learn that Banny Harker had been cooking the books for years, skimming away some of Scarnetti's money for himself. The three bodies from the first murders also provided no further information, aside from the fact that they had been killed in the same fashion and that one of them bore a note, perhaps from the possible killer.
The party also learned that there was one survivor from the first set of murders, a bodyguard for the three con men. When the town guards discovered him, he was incredibly feverish and seemed driven insane. They took him to Habe's Sanatorium for care by Doctor Habe, and Sheriff Hemlock wrote the party a letter of introduction, requesting permission to question the survivor, a Varisian thug named Sevilla Grayst.
The PCs journeyed to Habe's Sanatorium, stopping along the way to examine the site of the first murders: an abandoned barn along Cougar Creek. The murders were rank with the same rotting stench as the mill murders, and the scene was very reminiscent of the other murder scene: lines of blood from slashes, pools of blood under where the bodies had been hung from the rafters, and a set of scattered footprints, both booted and barefoot.
Arriving at the Sanatorium, the PCs were met by an orderly, who went to fetch Doctor Habe. Upon viewing the letter of introduction, Doctor Habe reluctantly escorted the party to the upper level of the facility, where the most dangerous patients were kept. The doctor let the party know that Sevilla was near death, and that a few moments questioning would be all that the man could sustain. Once the PCs saw Grayst, they agreed with the doctor's prognosis, as his skin was deathly white and he was bathed in sweat. Grayst took no notice of the group until he saw Arwyn, launching into a tirade about how his Lordship had described her to him and wanted her to come to his Misgivings, and how jealous he was that the master would devote so much attention to her. Breaking free from his restraints, he lunged at her and was struck down by Tsaruqs and Ka, who crushed him completely in his coils.
His patient murdered before his eyes, the doctor screamed at the group and ordered them to leave. Somewhat abashedly, they left the premises.