Friday & Satyrday, 5th & 6th of Midsummer
That afternoon, Keela, Senkara, Alyndra, and Cedric returned to the Silex Heights Bestiary, eager to accomplish Irwin’s trials and earn positions among his beastkeepers. The group was lead to an exhibit containing Alice – a terror bird who had just laid a clutch of eggs and as a result had become extremely hostile. Irwin locked the party inside the pen, and informed the group that the eggs would need to be recovered and hatched under controlled conditions. Therefore, their first test was to recover the eggs without harming Alice herself. Thinking fast, Alyndra drew her fiddle and captivated Alice with her music, soothing the savage beast long enough for Keela to locate the eggs and Senkara to smuggle them out without the bird noticing. Impressed, Irwin released them from the pen and led them off to their next task.
The party was led to the seaside pen of Sasha, the Bestiary’s resident sea cat, and immediately noticed a strange chariot-like skiff on the sand next to her. Irwin explained that Sasha had grown lazy and overweight, and in order to give her more energy the group was tasked with hooking her up to her exercise skiff and taking her for a ride around the bay. Despite her domestic upbringing, Sasha was wary of newcomers and lashed out at Keela while she attempted to attach her skiff. The group was finally able to fasten her into the contraption by once again taking advantage of Alyndra’s fascinating performance. With Sasha fastened to her skiff, the party took her out for a swim around the bay, only to be attacked by a rutting male sea cat intent on claiming their ward as his mate. The party was able to dispatch the interloper through judicious application of arrows and clever use of Perin to heal Sasha, and soon returned to the Bestiary for their third task.
For their final assignment, Irwin led the group to the pen of the Prince (the Bestiary’s resident giant scorpion), where they soon learned that the great vermin had recently passed away. The beastmaster promised the party positions on his staff if they could find a new monster that he found worthy of an exhibit, design a pen for the creature, and then bring it back alive. This led the adventurers to consider their options. Their initial thought was to capture Carscylla, the sea drake guarding Eastwatch Lighthouse, and thus accomplish both Irwin’s and Imhistis’ tasks at once, but the prospect of carrying a live but subdued dragon over hundreds of miles seemed far too dangerous. Venomtongue was no longer alive, but Ricardo informed them of primal sea beast called a nothosaur that he occasionally spotted on his outings. Then Cedric proposed a novel solution: the adventurers were already well acquainted with a large and impressive aberration that dwelled directly beneath the Bronslaw Flats…
Convincing Irwin to accept an otyugh as an exhibit was no small feat, but after proposing that Blooroath would be exempt from his food budget, serve as the Bestiary’s communal garbage disposal, and provide a waste management option that he could charge other businesses to use, the party won his approval. Irwin gave the group 20 gp for building the pen (with emphasis on making it smell-proof), but after consulting Wayne about odor control and convincing Blooroath that this new “domain” was an upgrade, the party sealed the deal while remaining significantly under budget. Construction would require four days of dedicated work, but the task was as good as complete.
After their first day designing Blooroath’s new abode, the group decided to use their evening to revisit Carver Lyst’s case with Slade. Since the faceless stalker had been killed, the group was able to convince Slade that the lighthouse keeper’s initial story was true. Slade agreed to revisit the case and work with Carver to clear his name, but in order to make any meaningful progress Carver would have to turn himself in. Uplifted by this news, the group set out for Southwatch Lighthouse to convince their friend that his legal freedom was at hand so long as he cooperated. When they arrived, however, they noticed that Carver’s wife Teya was behaving rather odd. She seemed to have no recollection of their first encounter, and acted as if Carver were actually still on the run. Keen-eyed Senkara noticed that Teya’s ears had a strangely elven point to them, and Keela sent Perin up to the top of the lighthouse to investigate. The party continued to press the issue while the mysterious woman became less and less amiable, until finally the thrush returned screeching that the real Teya was upstairs – the woman in the foyer was an imposter.
Her cover blown, the false Teya used an enchantment to force Senkara to flee. Keela neutralized the threat by casting glitterdust, while Cedric tripped her. The imposter continued to fight blind, using a potion to strengthen her defenses and a hex to try to turn Keela against her companions. The charm failed, however, and soon the witch was surrounded and brought low. The party stripped her of any other magical gear, and proceeded to search for the real Teya. They found her, along with her husband, hanging from the ceiling in the lighthouse tower – both of their throats had been cut. Even more alarming, their 9-year old daughter Isabel was nowhere to be found.
Cedric and Alyndra quickly fetched Slade, and told him what had happened. Upon their return the witch’s magical disguise had faded, revealing that she was in fact Sola Cabaniss, the sister of one of Marisa’s favorite serving girls. The party quickly realized that the witch problem in the Silex Heights was spreading into the Flats, but Slade was in no position to combat such a force. He agreed to summon whatever manpower he could, but requested that the PCs take over as temporary overseers of Southwatch Lighthouse until a suitable replacement could be found. The party agreed, and with heavy hearts moved into the lighthouse, sleeping there so they could pick up the witches’ trail in the morning.