The group heads to the “mansion” and encounters Chief Boyageti. He is heading back to town after his long absence to tell everyone about how he has discovered the solution to the town’s woes, Mother Sabrina has showed him the path of the penitent Pharasmans. He is covered in strange flanged swirls, similar, but not quite Pharasman. Unsure about what to do with him, the group continues on after being told about giving an offering at the temple.
At the end of the “road” the temple is there, with a ring of large trees and an area for making the offering. Before any decisions can be made about the offering, the trees attack. Hangmen trees that have been encountered before! The group narrowly escapes being devoured, only to encounter 3 Erinyes posing as servants of Pharasma. When the group doesn’t fall for it, they attack.
The group is split up when Shiogi goes inside and the rest of the group is cutoff by the dreaded black tentacles. Inside Shiogi meets Mother Sabrina, a Handmaiden posing as a priestess of Pharasma. After a tough fight, a search of the area reveals that illusions were in place and the temple is actually a ruin. Also, the handmaiden is a servant of Mahathala, an ex-servant of Pharasma, now a minor illusion deity. The handmaiden was trying to corrupt the town to follow Mahathala. Mahathala is also the one who provided the altered recipe for the Carrion Crown, using the Raven’s Head mace as an ingredient. Definitely some bad blood!
On the lower floor, we find the circle of thorns with an inscription about the perilous path. We head back to town to gather our minions and report to the Chief and the town that the child stealing will stop and Pharasma doesn’t want anyone carving their flesh.
Mugluk finds the withered hand and we head through the gate.
On the other side we find a vampire standing guard. A quick hold spell and a stake take him out of commission. Shouta scouts ahead and finds a linnorm in the caves ahead. We question the vampire and find out he is being compelled to help the linnorm “Savage Sovereign Hagmouth” but that he does so solely because of the compulsion. He was a paladin of Iomedae before he was made undead and wants to be free. He gives us information about Hagmouth and we face off, with the creature’s lava breath being a bit more fearsome than we had expected. Shouta lead off with a well-fired volley at the amulet that was binding Halloran to the creature’s will.
Halloran was saddened that he was not able to get the killing blow, but pleased to be free.
After collecting the spoils and bringing the minions along, it was once more through the gate, with Halorn in tow.
Through the gate we found 4 Knights of Ozem camped nearby, with a possessed woman staked to the ground. They shared that they had rescued her from the nearby Witherleaf and were taking her to be exorcized. We offered to do it the next morning, as we were going to allow Halloran to greet the dawn with honor and needed the rest to prepare the proper spells.
We spent the night surrounded by burial mounds of the ancient heroes of Witherleaf.