Rise of the Runelords

Foxglove Manor

Racing to Foxglove Manor to rescue their Arwyn from the clutches of the Skinsaw Man, the group rode at frantic speed through the narrow, winding road that led to the coast. The area around Foxglove Manor almost seems as if nature herself has become sick and twisted. Nettles and thorns grow more prominent, trees are leaf less and bent, and the wind seems unnaturally cold and shrill as it whistles through the cliffside crags. The path slowly rose, bending around a steep corner in the cliffs, and then Foxglove Manor loomed at the edge of the world. 
The strangely cold sea wind rose to a keening shriek as Foxglove Manor came into view. The place has earned its local nickname of the “Misgivings” well, for it almost appeared to loathe its perch high above the ocean, as if the entire house were poised for a suicide leap. The roof sags
in many places, and mold and mildew cake the crumbling walls. Vines of diseased-looking gray wisteria strangle the structure in several places, hanging down over the precipitous cliff edge almost like tangled braids of hair. The house is crooked, its gables angling sharply and breached in at least three places, hastily repaired by planks of sodden wood. Chimneys rise from various points among the rooftops, leaning like old men in a storm, and grinning gargoyle faces leer from under the eaves. A solitary light appeared in an upper window, perhaps near the attic, and then quickly disappeared.

As they approached the manor, a few sickly ravens cawed at them from the ruins of an old outbuilding, now burned to its foundations. Tracks ran along the main path to the main doorway, but the party chose to keep an element of surprise and moved to another door on the southern wing. The key taken from the body of Rogors Craesby, the ghast caretaker they encountered at the farmstead, served to unlock the door, and the door opened noisily after forcing it past the swollen, rotting doorframe. Entering into what must have once been a magnificent dancing parlor, Rorrek was swept up by the sounds of a catchy yet discordant Varisian tune that only he could hear. Dancing madly across the room, he was only released when the party quickly smashed the piano in the room to pieces.

Father Zantus scowled and identified it as a haunt, a hazardous region created by unquiet spirits that react violently to the presence of the living. The exact conditions that cause a haunt to manifest vary from case to case—but haunts always arise from a source of terrific mental or physical anguish endured by living, tormented creatures. Foxglove Manor's turbulent history was full of disease, fires, murders, and suicides, despite being only 80 years old, and the spirits of its former denizens must be striking out against the living.

Cautiously exploring the giant house, the party ran across several other such haunts, telling the tales of the various family members that had lived in the house over the decades. Each haunting provided more insight into the lives of the Foxgloves, as did several features of the house itself. The house was still decorated from the life of Aldern's father, Traver Foxglove, who was an explorer of exotic locales and quite the hunter. Stuffed heads of exotic animals and trinkets from as far away as the jungles of Garundi adorned the walls and mantlepieces of the house. The man who constructed the house, Aldern's grandfather Vorel, was clearly invested in dark, necromantic arts. Aquinas was able to decipher that the stained glass windows overlooking the coast told the story of a transformation to lichdom, and the party began to wonder what manner of evil they might need to confront in the house.






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