Last night, the party camped on the north banks of the White River, just upstream from the dam that does double-duty as a ford on the old road to Kalton Manor. It used to do double duty as a bridge, but the sluices have long since been clogged by muck and silt.
The party arrived at Kalton Manor late in the afternoon. Yesterday’s journey had been frustrating. The sky has been threatening rain for days, which is one thing. Waiting until the caravan of wagons cleared Harken Forest to make good on the promise is another, entirely. Waiting until the dark just before dawn to begin the downpour? That’s just mean.
After a breakfast of cold leftover whatever, the party set to crossing the river at the ford. Swollen with rain, the river strained at its banks and poured over the dam. Working carefully, the caravan made it safely across — save one wagon that plunged over the edge into the slower-moving waters below. Tempers flared, but the decision to press on to the manor and come back for the wagon once everyone had a proper rest was deemed sound.
Pressing on up the road to the Manor, thanks are offered to whatever fortune the Lord Kalton spent on infrastructure. The road is made of smooth stone, and well-fitted together. With scrublands and brush to the left, and a bluff overlooking the White River’s run into Fens to the right, the party climbs up the hill to the manor.
As the sun begins to set over the Ogrefist Hills, an outcropping of the Harken Forest approaches the road, and the road coyly winds around it, bending to the south. As you round the bend, the manor looms before you, starkly lit by reds and oranges from the west. It sits on a formation of dark stone that juts out from the forest. The roof is intact, the frame seems to sit square, and you couldn’t ask for a more solid foundation than the very bones of the earth. Unfortunately, the windows have long been smashed, the door has been kicked in and hangs awkwardly from it lower hinge.
This, then, is home.
The wagons are brought around behind a ruined tower, to what turns out to be the servant’s entrance. After a quick check of the house to make sure nothing is lurking or lairing, the most suitable room for sleeping is deemed to be the servant’s quarters on the first floor. There’s no windows, a good door, and a fireplace. The beds are ancient straw-stuffed affairs, but the the bedframes are solid enough. It’s been a week since you’ve slept on anything better than the cold ground, so there’s no complaining.
Something goes wrong on Dr. Karl McAllister‘s watch. The fire in the fireplace gutters and spits, nearly plunging the room into darkness, before flaring into a baleful, eldritch green. Backing away from the flames, Karl is shocked to bump into his friends — they should be sleeping! And yet, here they are, weapons drawn and expressions slack and emotionless. There’s enough time to cry out before they pin him to the table… and plunge a dagger into his chest. The three seem satisfied, then confused, then horrified.
The flickering flames in the fireplace take the form of an apparition who bellows ‘GET. OUT.’ — what else?