Daxis was not one for secrets and mystery, and threatened Mirandra if she didn’t tell them the truth. Anlon quickly pointed out that there must be something amiss with the young lady, as everyone the party had met so far was trying to get as far away from Murtigen forest as they could, while Mirandra wanted to go deeper in. Mirandra relented and showed her true form. She was a hideous night hag, shriveled and disheveled. She explained that her sisters were under the control of Count Stuval, a man who had been Gluttony’s familiar, who sold his soul for the chance that Gluttony would bit him and make him a vampire. Mirandra wanted her sisters free from Stuval’s control, and she would need to find Stuval’s pact item, an item that meant something to him in his human life, when he made his agreement with Gluttony. The ruins they were now facing were what was left of the Stuval family.
The party walked in and began exploring the grounds. Count Stuval’s family was clearly wealthy. The grounds had servant’s quarters, a blacksmith with a high quality forge, and a three story manor. Anlon was busy admiring the forge and checking out the craftsmanship of whoever worked there, while Daxis found a well made crossbow on the wall. Aeros noticed that Montgomery started acting a bit strange. He seemed distant and aloof. Firinic figured that Montgomery had been possessed, but before he could do anything, Montgomery tried to polymorph him. Anlon exorcised the spirit from Montgomery’s body. The party would remain on their guard.
The party searched the manor. Count Stuval’s pact item had to be in the manor, probably well hidden. The first floor was a library filled with all manner of magic scrolls, with both holy and arcane magic. Count Stuval was a powerful practitioner in the magical arts it seemed. On the second floor, Firinic found Count Stuval’s bed chamber, and found a personal diary, detailed Count Stuval’s life. The count was a low level noble, not too high on the feudal food chain in Gluttony. He made a pact with Lord Gluttony, hoping that Gluttony could cure his ailing wife. Count Stuval studied all sorts of magic to try and cure his wife who had come down with a strange illness. In the end, the Count made a pact with Gluttony. Save his wife, and he’d become Gluttony’s familiar. Gluttony accepted, on one condition: that he devour everyone at the Stuval manner and drink their blood in Gluttony’s name.
Just as Firinic read the last page, he felt a cold presence enter his body. Daxis and the rest of the party had caught up to Firinic. Firinics magic was powerful, and with the poltergeist in control, the party struggled to exorcise the ghost from his body. Just then, several other ghosts walked into the room through the wall. They were the tortured ghosts of Count Stuval’s family, who he had devoured in exchange for Gluttony’s magic. The party fought off the vengeful spirits. Eventually, the party made it to the third floor, and discovered a magic mirror which was a portal to….not even Firinic could figure that part out. But it must have had something to do with Count Stuval’s pact item. Firinic activated the portal, and the party was transported to an underground dungeon.
Daxis, Acedia, and Aeros were on one side of the underground dungeon, while Anlon, Firinic, and Montgomery were on the other. After searching around for awhile, Anlon found a woman, clearly dead, but perfectly preserved somehow, lying on a dais in the middle of a large chamber. Was it Count Stuval’s wife? He didn’t have too much time to ponder that question, because he was set upon by the guardian of the chamber, a gorebull with menacing horns. Daxis and his group traversed a dark pit and used Acedia’s flying carpet to traverse the distance, rather than hopping across the wooden posts jutting out from the ground, leading into endless blackness. At the far end, there was a room filled with treasure beyond the wildest imagination. Daxis, knowing better than to step even one inch into the room, used his mage hand to grab an ivory figurine which was sitting on a pedestal in the middle of the room. Predictably, the room filled with a noxious yellow gas. Daxis and his group were well ahead of the gas, traversed back over the pit, and started running down the hall. Eventually, the two groups came together and fought off the gorebull. Daxis realized what Stuval’s pact item was, his wife’s wedding ring. Daxis took the ring and the figurine, and the party barely managed to escape as the entire underground structure filled with the poisonous gas.
The party made it back to the third floor of the manor, finally breathing fresh air again. They had finally gotten the pact item. They could use it to weaken Count Stuval, free Mirandra’s night witch brethren, and end the zombie threat once and for all. Count Stuval was located in a cave in the middle of the forest. The party made their way there, being sure not to be seen by any undead. After all, the undead were now all under Count Stuval’s power, and he could see through their eyes. The party found the underground cave where Stuval hid. There was a back entrance through a series of underground caverns. Acedia fell off her magic carpet into the underground river, and the current began to carry her. Aeros tried to save her, but was caught up in the current himself. Daxis, cursing under his breath, commanded the carpet over and used it to save his compatriots.
The party eventually found the central chamber where Count Stuval was waiting for them. The walls of the cave were lined with people, stuck to the cave walls, tendril like masses draining them of their life energy and feeding them into…Gluttony? The cavern was massive, and the bottom was over 100 feet down. Aeros looked down and did not see the face of Count Stuval, whose face he saw in a portrait back in the mansion, but rather the pale, vampire face of Lord Gluttony. Firinic was overcome with an intense hunger the likes of which he had never experienced, as if he hadn’t eaten for a month, and Montgomery was attacked by bats and spiders that seemed to appear from the dark. It appeared Lord Gluttony wasn’t entirely dead; his soul found a willing host in the body of Count Stuval, but Count Stuval himself was rotting and undead.
The party entered into fierce battle with Lord Gluttony. Aeros used Count Stuval’s pact item, and separated Gluttony’s soul from Count Stuval. Gluttony retreated into the shadows, while his night hag slaves fought against the party with their powerful magics, at least until Acedia implanated paranoia into one of the hag’s minds and convinced her her sister was trying to destroy her. Aeros and Anlon lept down, over 100 feet, while Firinic made use of feather fall to slow his comrades’ descent. Count Stuval was a formidable opponent who could summon zombies at will and who had terrible psychic powers to overcome his enemies. Gluttony was there too, and he tried his best to possess Daxis’ body. “I need a host who’s heart is as black as night. You’ll do,” said Gluttony as he reached out for Daxis. Anlon summoned the power of the god of the dwarves, and banished Gluttony, only momentarily. Count Stuval was a difficult opponent, however, the party was victorious. Acedia delivered the final blow to Stuval. For a moment, their minds locked, and Acedia saw the count’s life fly by, from his time as a young man, to when he became Gluttony’s lackey.
At the end, Gluttony was released from banishment, and made one last attempt to inhabit Daxis. Daxis crackled with black lightning, a war was being fought inside his body. After a few moments, a deep voice boomed, but it wasn’t Daxis’ voice. “This one is reserved for another.” Gluttony’s spirit was forced out by some unknown entity, most likely Daxis’ patron. Gluttony was destroyed, his soul banished into oblivion forever. The entire cave lit up as the people whose life force was being drained were finally freed. Acedia quickly found Arin, who was unconscious from the ordeal. He could now lead the party to the red orc.