The party elected to wait until darkness fell to approach the Baron’s manor. The streets were eerily quiet as they made their way through the village and eventually to the mansion without being seen. Rather than take the front entrance, they discovered a small door at the back of the house. Leaning in to listen at the door, Francisco was able to detect off-key singing as well as the unmistakable smell of food cooking from beyond the door. This presumably was the entrance to the kitchen.
Luck continued to favor the group and they were able to enter the room unimpeded, where Onika Zordal quickly incapacitated the surprised cook with a sleeper hold. Tying him up in the storeroom, they left Ismark and Ireena behind to ensure that the man stayed unconscious while the rest of them searched for Creed.
A’Nonce and Francisco proceeded to quickly explore the ground floor of the manor, avoiding those areas where human voices could be heard. For the most part, the first level was unremarkable, though the foyer was filled with bundled twigs and sticks of varying sizes stacked haphazardly against the otherwise well appointed walls. The party deduced that these bundles were to be used at the upcoming “Festival of the Blazing Sun” they had seen advertised in the town square.
Choosing the servants staircase in the rear of the house adjoining the kitchen, the party made their way up to the second level. They were again able to remain silent and avoid detection, though there were a couple of tense moments; the sound of an armored guard tromping through the hallway towards the main stairwell, and the growling and snuffling of what sounded like one or more large dogs.
The first few rooms they explored were fairly unremarkable, however an odd, full-length mirror in what must have been the lady of the house’s dressing room gave the party an uneasy feeling they could not explain. Ever curious, A’Nonce pressed a hand against the glass and found it unnaturally cold to the touch. Time was of the essence however so rather than investigating further, the group continued their search for Creed.
The master bedroom held a perfectly preserved wedding dress on a manikin and also a trapdoor in the ceiling leading to the attic. A’nonce opened the trapdoor and quickly peaked in, revealing a dusty but otherwise empty room devoid of any signs of life. Closing the trapdoor, the group resolved to first finish exploring the 2nd floor.
The hallway where they had earlier heard the sounds of a patrolling guard held several more doors. Ever cautious, the group methodically investigated each of these. The first revealed a bedroom filled with dolls; all of which bore the likeness of Ireena Kolyana. Onika Zordal recognized the handiwork of Gadov Blinsky the toymaker immediately and explained in whispered tones what had occurred earlier at the toymaker’s shop.
Across the hall, the faint smell of pipe smoke wafted under an oaken door and a man could be heard speaking in soothing tones to one or more dogs, which as of yet had not smelled the intruders (probably thanks to the aforementioned smoke). Leaving this door closed, the party made their way to the end of the hall where they heard a moan of pain, the rattling of iron chains, and Creed’s unmistakable voice saying “You still haven’t bothered dying yet?” in a sarcastic tone.
The door was locked but proved easy to pick, and sure enough, Creed and an unknown man were shackled to the far wall of what must have originally been a closet but now served as a prison…