Lack Of Initiative

Act 3: Suspicion in Stradesberry

In the afternoon, the party arrive at Stradesberry, a thriving fishing town in the middle of the Evermoors. The town is completely surrounded by a 10-foot high cobblestone wall, and the party must go through a rigorous customs check before they are allowed to enter. A half-elf named Dart Slipfoot examines all their belongings and even tries to take the package of rosewhitle from them before he is stopped by an elderly woman named Rita Gary. Mrs. Gary says she is the wife of the Chairman of the Casters, a group that rules the town. She chastises Dart for being so rough with the visitors, and instead introduces them to a human named Fortin, who is the town’s Constable and the head of The Watch.

Fortin takes the party on a tour of the town, beginning in the Genteel District. He shows them the houses The Watch owns, a house with a gravestone in the yard, and the preparatory school, which is owned by a very friendly halfling couple. Topiary quickly notices that the Constable’s tone is not altogether sincere, and that he is subtly threatening them. The Constable repeatedly says that the safety of the town’s residents and, in particular, the children, is paramount. Fortin also introduces the party to a beefy-looking goblin named Lank, who is another member of The Watch. Fortin instructs Lank, in the goblin language, to keep an eye on the party. Gristlemonger hears this and translates for Unruhk.

As they walk, Fortin also describes the nature of the illness afflicting Stradesberry’s children. The town’s residents have been calling the illness “Gravedigger Fever,” because it makes the children sleepwalk out of their homes and then dig anywhere they can find. Four children have been lost so far – one fell down a well and others have wandered off into the swamp that surrounds the town. Supposedly for the town’s safety, classes at the preparatory school have been cancelled and other extra security measures are in place.

The Constable leaves the party at the Temple of Tymora, where they finally meet Cleric Celkit. She quickly ushers the party into the basement of the temple, not wanting to be overheard by the townspeople in the temple’s main level. Celkit tells the party that she has no idea what is causing the Gravedigger Fever, but she suspects it is not a naturally-occurring illness. She says she will try to create a potion that will temporarily prevent the symptoms of the fever using the rosewhistle, but she appeals to the party that they must find the real root of the problem to ensure the children are safe.

From Fortin and Celkit, the party also learn that there is a fancy gala being held at a large estate in the Genteel District tonight by a family called the Correlios. The wealthy residents of Stradesberry attend this gala every year to raise money for the less fortunate people of the town. Celkit has two tickets to the gala which she offers to the party, saying the gala may be a good place to meet people and hear gossip.

When the party asks Celkit why the town is so obsessed with the safety of its children, and whether it had any problems in the past, the cleric mentions the “hag incident.” She explains that, six or seven years ago, a hag who had taken up residence outside of the town kidnapped three young women. When the women’s father and other town residents went to get them back, there was a violent battle with the hag. In the end, the three daughters died as did the hag and several other townspeople. Celkit did not yet live in Stradesberry at the time, so she is fuzzy on some of the details. She tells the party there is a statue of the three women in the center of the town and it is dedicated to their memories and the memories of the townspeople who died in the battle with the hag.

Celkit also explains that the children of the town believe that the hag is still alive. When the party ask her how they can earn the trust of the children to speak with them about the hag, Celkit laughs and explains that all the children of Stradesberry are obsessed with playing roller derby. They’ve divided themselves into two teams – the Beefy Brawlerz and the Magic Misfits – and have plastered handmade signs for their teams all over town.

Finally, Celkit cautions the party against speaking openly against The Watch. She says that Fortin and the other members are vain and want to be seen as the town’s heroes. The cleric suspects that The Watch might even go so far as to manufacture dangers for the town so that they can solve these problems and solidify the town’s dependence on them. Celkit thinks that if the party can solve some problems that The Watch have been unable to solve, they may ingratiate themselves with the people of Stradesberry in a way outsiders usually can’t.

Now in the late afternoon, the party heads for the Cypress Creek Pub, where they hope to find another member of The Watch. Celkit told them that Edgar Halfwhistle is often found at the pub and that they might be able to get some more information out of him if he’s in the right mood. Pamplemousse enters the pub first, asking the barkeep for Wizard Tower Ale. When the barkeep explains that they don’t carry this ale, Unruhk carries two kegs into the pub and the entire party attempts to sway the barkeep and the pub’s patrons to try Glowkindle’s brew. While Pamplemousse’s initial attempt is unconvincing, Aribi manages to talk the barkeep into buying two kegs.

Meanwhile, the halfling Edgar Halfwhistle has been sitting on a barstool, playing his lute, and flirting with Pamplemousse. When Edgar mentions that he is going to the gala tonight and has managed to secure a “plus two” so that he can bring two dates, Aribi and Pamplemousse both express interest. Edgar looks over Aribi and Pamplemousse and declares that he wants to keep his options open in case some prettier ladies come along. Unruhk steps up to Edgar, towering over him, and assures Edgar that he wants to take Aribi and Pamplemousse to the gala. Edgar quickly agrees.

The gala’s dress code is black tie and ballgowns, according to Edgar. He tells Aribi and Pamplemousse to freshen up and meet him outside of the Correlio Estate at 8 o’clock, and also tells them where they can find a tailor.


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