A the party is resting up at the refugee camp, Hobo rides up on his pony. He is quickly brought up to speed with the events that have occurred since the revelation of his name gave him a shock.
After a quick sweep of Clover’s Crossing, the group dons the old Hide from Undead and descends into the tunnels below the Temple of Pharasma. Not far from the entrance they find the tunnels are both man-made and fortified with wooden supports. There is also a well constructed fortification complete with caltrops covering the floor of the narrow passageway.
Four feasters attack the party, apparently not fooled by the magics hiding the party. Ronit’s firebomb and a wave of positive energy from Forthing quickly dispatches two of them. Shiogi downs the third with a solid punch and the remaining one flees into the darkness.
There are several branches in the tunnels, but the group heads towards the sounds of whimpering. Shiogi liberally spreads lighted stones about the caverns as the group moves in. Ahead Shiogi sees the remaining feaster cut the rope dangling from a winch above a pit. A loud scream is heard by all as the unfortunate victim falls to the bottom. Shiogi tosses a stone into the pit and sees a horrid creature covered in sores and vomit slowly making its way over to an injured woman. Hearing the scream, Kelda rushes forward and leaps into the pit, coming face to face with the creature. Shiogi leaves his rope with Ronit and also leaps into the pit. Ronit firebombs the monstrosity and lowers the rope into the pit. With a prayer, Kelda slices the creature in two before it can advance.
The woman is badly injured with a broken leg, and is feeling sick after the encounter with the creature. She says she is Aleece, a member of the Crooked Kin, the “travelling cabinet of curiosities.”
Shiogi follows the path of the fleeing feaster down the tunnels to a river. The rest of the group checks back into the tunnel they passed on the way to rescue Aleece. In this room are rows of tables covered in corpses and skeletons. Inside are two men, cowering in fear from the group. The first is Father Sorvak, a blind priest of Pharasma, who seems to be out of his mind. He is casting Restore Corpse on the bodies, and ranting about caring for his sheep. The second man is covered in sores and wants to know if the group is here to rescue them. Kelda is immediately on guard as he radiates an aura of evil.
The man identifies himself as Aldo and explains that the feasters make Father Sorvak constantly “refresh” the corpses so that they can eat. Aldo is his caretaker, and ensures the father continues to tend the bodies. He reveals that the strongest feaster is Balthazar, a former crusader of the Shining Crusade. As soon as he is left alone, Aldo flees, stealing Forthing’s magical rope in the process.
Leaving Aldo for later, the group investigates the rest of the tunnels and quickly finds Balthazar, an intelligent and armored feaster with extremely long arms. Shiogi and Kelda close in quickly as Hobo uses Grease to slow Balthazar down. The fight is over quickly and the group searches the body and the room, discovering a journal, a library of engineering books, a chain shirt, a broken bastard sword, a silver holy symbol of Pharasma, and 262 gold pieces bearing the symbol of Lastwall.
The journal reveals that Balthazar was in the second crusade, when his squad encountered Doctor Mekelovich and was mutated. His companions included the creature in the pit, and one bard: Aldo. It is also revealed that Balthazar is Father Grimburrow’s brother. When everyone is done searching, the group heads back up the pit and the hunt is on for Aldo.
Ronit and Forthing head towards the river, following tracks, while Shiogi sprints to retrieve the horses. Aldo’s trail runs cold at the river, but on the other side of the river is where the Crooked Kin show is supposed to be camped. Everyone saddles up and heads over to the freakshow where they meet Lydia the 7 foot tall bearded lady, a hunchback, a wolfboy, and Kaleb Hesse, the albino and proprietor of the show. Kaleb thanks the party for returning Aleece, and offers them a reward (+1 dagger shapechanger bane)
Kaleb tells of the ongoing trial “Beast of Leptistadt” to the north, where they were heading to take advantage of the crowds. He also mentions seeing Aldo 5-10 minutes previously, heading north along the road. Kelda and Forthing saddle up, intending to either run him down or flush him off the road. Ronit, Hobo, and Shiogi follow more carefully, finding the tracks where Aldo left the road. Hobo greases Aldo’s boots and Shiogi catches up easily. He initially denies any knowledge or involvement and claims simply to have fled out of fear. Forthing senses something is not right and channels positive energy, revealing Aldo’s true undead state. Aldo tries to flee, but is incinerated by Ronit’s firebomb before he can take more than a few steps.