The Unquiet Earth

The Forgotten Mansion

After a week of interpretting landmarks, they find the crack in the mountain indicated on the old parchment. The crevasse is choked with rocks, but Delan and Jerrik climb through the long, narrow channel to enter a wide, hidden valley.
Acres of forest spread before them, completely surrounded by steep, jagged hills. The adventurers explore the valley, and are amazed to find an entire manor and small farm, complete with out buildings in the center of the dell. They scout around and find the aged remains of a woodworking shop, populated by skeletons milling about as if trying to continue their living work. Delan and Jerrik attack the undead creatures and are almost forced to retreat when more skeletons come out from the barracks. In a close battle, the heroes turn the tide and rid the woodworks of all its undead residents. They then search and secure the barracks and rest as best they can.
In the morning, they aproach the manor house, set on a hill overlooking the woodworks. The house and gardens are completely surrounded by a high iron fence overgrown with thorny vines. Upon inspection, Delan finds that the gate is not locked in any way, but is help closed by the overgrown plants. He aproaches to hack away the vines, but the vines fight back, grabbing Delan and drawing blood from him to nourish themselves. Delan breaks free and attacks the vines from a distance, eventually knocking the plants free of the gate and destroying their roots.
He and Jerrik open the gate to aproach the manor, scouting around it to find four points of entry on the ground level of the large house: the front doors, the back doors, a glass-sided sun room, and the servent’s entrance, presumably near the kitchens.
Delan and Jerrik decide of the kitchen entrance and Delan picks the lock. They enter the servents’ receiving room, where dry goods, animals, and other items would be processed and devided before taken to their storage locations. The entire north wall of this room is the butcher’s counter, and it is old and filthy, but shows no signs of foul play. Through the only inner door, Jerrik and Delan enter the kitchen. Though the hosue has been in disrepair for at least fifty years, the pantry was well-stocked, and there are rats in the kitchen. Huge, filthy rats, that attack Delan and Jerrik when they enter the room. The heroes dispatch the vermin and search the kitchen, finding a large dumbwaiter to carry food to the second floor and the doors leading to the pantry, wine cellar, and dining room.
In the dining room, Delan and Jerrik are surprised by the ghost of the former kitchen matron, who doesn’t seem to know, but tries to punish “naughty boys” for “sneaking into the kitchen for sweets.” She calls the maids (also ghosts) to help her, but the heroes disrupt the undead ladies, sending them to their rest.
From the dinign room, they enter the entrance hall, finding the main staircase and a thirty foot long shadowbox-style carved recess, depicting a forest, complete with carved trees, leaves, and nymphs peeking from behidn the trees. All of the dining room’s chairs and lots of other small pieces of furniture have been piled up to make a huge barricade for the front door. The back door, directly opposite the front, is similarly blocked. Delan trips on a loose tile in the floor, and more ghosts pour through the wall to attack, this time, it is the butler and his grooms. The heroes disrupt them as well, and search the rest of the lower level, finding the sitting rooms, servents’ quarters (all behind cleverly designed hidden panels in the walls), and the plant-filled sunroom, where Delan and Jerrik destroy some smaller animate plants. They find a secodn dumbwaiter, to haul boiled water from the furnace in the sunroom, and the servents’ stairs.
Delan and Jerrik take the servents’ stairs to the second floor, where they find the upstairs pantry and the rear door to a huge bedchamber. Entering the room, a truly miserable looking ghost sees them and demand they leave his house.
“She will kill you,” he shouts at the party, pushing them backwards with a banshee-like wail and trying to close the doors on them. Delan and Jerrik advance again, but the master of the house continues to try to force them back. The heroes eventually disrupt him, and they see his face relax from a twisted expression of torture to a smooth face of relaxation before he fades away.
Delan and Jerrik search the master’s chamber, his closet and bathing room, before exiting to the main balcony, looking down over the sun room and entry hall. They approach the beautifully carved doors to the upper west wing of the house and the ghost of a kindly old woman greets them.
“Hush,” she says, “you will wake her!”
The ghostly woman’s face transforms into a hideous scowl and she proceeds to try to kill Delan and Jerrik, turnig ninvisible at will and trying to shove them over the railing. She flies around the balcony, disappearing and reappearing until the heroes finally end her, causing her to scream in disbelief and the entire house to shudder.
The adventurers enter the west wing to find a nurse’s chamber, complete with tools of the trade, the beadroom-turned-tomb of the master’s young daughter, now a sunken, dried up corpse, still tucked in bed, with her red hair arranged like a halo around her skull. They find her disused playroom, with a thousand toys that were never enjoyed, and they find the master’s gallery, where a hundred paintings of a red-headed child hang, each showing a beautiful, smiling girl. Delan examines the paintings and discoveres that every single smile is different, while the eyes are all the same. He realizes that each artist saw the child, but none of them ever saw her smile and had to create the expression themselves.
From the nurse’s journal, Delan learns that the nurse was actually a necromancer who posed as a healer to gain access to the sick child and her father’s money so she could perform a ritual in which she would sacrifice the child to gain power and immortality. Somehow, the ritual had backfired—perhaps the girl’s sickness claimed her before the completion of the spell—and the dark energy had engulfed the valley, turning all sentient beings within a mile of the house into undead monsters.
When he returns to Blue Water, Delan learns from Father Morgan that the house belonged to one Master Savrik Carver, an artisan woodworker who had made his fortune by the skill of his hands. He had donated large amounts of money to the church, almost single-handedly funding its construction and had carved the alter himself. Father Morgan had tells Delan that he is certain that Savrik would want the man who put his family to rest to have the house and lands, and agrees to personally go with Delan to bless and cleanse the grounds and put the Carver spirits to rest.



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