Over the Crown of the World

18: A very peculiar party!

Feast of Ravenmoor

As the Festival truly begins Mayor Kreigler takes his leave of the Sandpoint Heroes, leaving them to wander about and enjoy the festivities. They again run in to the beautiful young maid Shel Lupescu, as well as the Stirge-shepherd Viorec Korzha, and after a few rounds of vigorous dancing (wherein both Kaitlinn & Atem show their skills), they persuade the visitors to give the various competitions a try.

The first event is the Dreamer’s Leap, where contestants jump over a bonfire. Both Kaitlinn and Atem show their acrobatic talents, though Atem flourishes with his training as a fire-dancer. Following that, Kaitlinn joins the “Falling Stars” Starknife-throwing contest, but is rather shocked to find herself beaten by a clearly drunk local, the aptly names “Lucky Eddy.” Taking a pause, the gang takes in some of the Raven fights before all joining in the three-legged race. Much to Kaitlinn & Atem’s surprise, they end up loosing to the excellent teamwork of Khoren & Shel.

The last competition, the Great Greased Pig Chase, takes place just before dusk. Kaitlinn & Atem again hop in, along with another cheerful yokel, while Khoren hangs out to watch. After spending several minutes trying (and failing.. and falling in the mud.. repeatedly…) their trial ends as Kaitlinn finally manages to catch the sickly (and possibly drugged) pig.

Which promptly dies, much to her surprise.

She is more surprised, however, when a plant sprouts from the dead pig’s spine and bites her. As she falls backward, more vines quickly sprouting and entangling her, Atem steps up to rain down many blows on the increasingly unpig-like creature, as it continues to transform, growing an extra set of legs and yet more plant-like growths, it’s eyes becoming an inky-black. Atem is disturbed by every blow he lands, as visions of hell (and an unnatural hunger) fill his mind with every punch he lands. As Khoren hustles to join them, Kaitlinn manages to sneak a knife free and shanks the monster, causing it to squeal with inhuman rage, and fly away as rapidly as it can, swiftly vanishing off above the swampland to the south-west. While the locals are horrified, they don’t seem particularly, a fact Shel dryly explains as “though the Dream-tender does it’s best to protect us, some bad magic poisons the land, and some times that poison gets in the beasts. Not much for it.”

Once things calm down and the sun sets the Feast begins. For their successes in the competitions, the Sandpoint Heroes are invited to sit at the Mayor’s table, where they partake in a wide variety of exotic (and disturbing) dishes, and listen to the town’s history as recounted by three maids in white (one being Shel). Afterwards the Mayor and his advisers amongst the town elders discus who of the three should be crowned “Founder’s Feast Queen.” With a little nudging from Kaitlinn, that proves to be Shel, a fact that makes her parents ecstatic, and Kaitlinn and company find themselves showered with the family’s thanks.

Not long after the townsfolk break off to head home for bed, while the Mayor leads them back to his home (though Kaitlinn argues against it, her suspicions raised about the odd community, Atem wins out in arguing for comfort and the security of solid walls. Bedding down for the night, Khoren wakes up later to a faint rapping at his door. Shel, it turns out, wands the handsome swordsman to sneak out with her to an old farmhouse known as a secret trysting-place for young lovers – after much batting of eyelashes, he agrees, leaving his companions to their own dreams.

Near the old farm-house though they are taken by surprise by four stirges, along with two strangely robed figures armed with sickles and sporting mosquito-masks. Though he.puts up a good fight and manages to take down all the stirges, they weaken him enough that the poison on their sickles, along with Shel’s own shocking betrayal during the fight, prove to much – he is forced to surrender just before the poison knocks him out, as whispers of Shel’ thanking him for his noble sacrifice in taking her place as the chosen one follow him into unconsciousness…

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