Day 8: The Duke
That morning in the inn there were rumors that the Duke Tenenbrae himself had been assaulted just that night, and was wounded in the battle. The party suspected that Lucian might have had something to do with it, and speculated that he might be a secret vampire.
The party split up, with Grimriver heading to meet with the Mother Superior at the Church of Pharasma and the rest of the party going to meet with Duke Tenenbrae.
Kendra, Bodine and Lucian arrived at the Duke’s manor, and Lucian introduced the party to the Duke. Immediately after introductions Lucian awkwardly left without a word, leaving Kendra and Bodine to covered for Lucian’s rudeness. The Duke was very sickly, and could barely stand by himself. The party asked about the attack but Duke Tenenbrae was not forthcoming with details, stating only that he had been attacked by a hooded figure and that the Duke was barely able to fight him off before the assailant fled out the window.
Bodine wasn’t buying the Duke’s story and suspected that something was off about the man. He went up to the Duke and feigned a trip as he inspected the Duke’s wounds, placing his hands upon Duke Tenenbrae’s shoulder. The momentary contact with enough for Bodine to detect that the Duke was infected with Vampirism! Bodine politely excused himself and Kendra and the pair of them made to leave the manor.
As Bodine and Kendra left the Duke’s bedroom they both heard some banging coming from one of the side bedrooms. Kendra opened the door to investigated the noise, and caught Lucian fornicating with one of the Duke’s maids! Lucian seemed unfazed by the interruption but left in a hurry, leaving the maid unsettled and unsatisfied. Kendra consoled the maid and asked her about the Tenenbraes, and the maid was very forthcoming with information about the Duke and his family. The maid talked at length about the strange daughter who often sleep-walked late at night with her creepy, eyeless doll, and that the Duke’s son was tormented by nightmares and that the father tried unsuccessfully to treat his son’s condition with sleeping potions. The maid also noted that she was constantly cleaning the daughter’s room of sand. Bodine convinced the maid to provide the party with information about the Duke and his family in return for a promise of convincing Lucian to return to her for some fun.
Kendra and Bodine noted that the description of the daughter strongly resembled the Sandman that they had fought in the village the previous day, and both strongly suspected that she might be the spawn of some unholy union between a Sandman and the Lady Tenenbrae.
Meanwhile at the church of Pharasma Grimriver met with Mother Superior Agnis. When asked about the disappearance of the Duke’s wife and daughter, the Mother confided in Grimriver that a younger Lady Tenenbrae had sought to become a nun at the church, but she was rejected and instead married the Duke. The Mother further suggested that the reason the Lady had been rejected from the church was because she was tainted with evil, but the Mother was reluctant to go into further detail. Agnis asked Grimriver to investigate the Lady Tenenbrae and her daughter, and destroy them if they were indeed as evil as she feared. Grimriver agreed.
As Grimriver exited the church several town guards approached him and asked for his aid, mistaking him for a cleric of the church. The guards asked if Grimriver respected the secrecy between the town foreguard and the church, which Grimriver found odd but nodded in agreement. The guards brought Grimriver into the fort and to a guarded room where two guardsmen lay, unconscious and gravely wounded with claw marks. Grimriver quickly set to work and closed their wounds with magic, but the two guards remained feverish and unconscious. Grimriver asked the captain of the guard what had befallen his guards, but the captain refused to speak of what happened and ordered that Grimriver swear on the Pharasmin bible that he would speak to no one of the wounded guards outside of the church. When Grimriver balked at the order and asserted his authority with the church the captain threatened to arrest the inquisitor. Grimriver reluctantly swore himself to secrecy in front of the captain, and left the fort in a bad mood.
Back at the inn Lucian stated the he was bored with the town and the he wished to leave, but Bodine and Kendra convinced him to stay for a while longer to investigate the strange goings on with the Duke. Lucian talked at length about the nobility in town and how they had lost most of their wealth, and were borrowing heavily to maintain their appearance, and that the town is full of overzealous militia. Lucian also let slip that his family was nobility, but that he had little to no contact with them.
Lucian and Kendra speculated that the Duke may have contracted vampirism from one of his lenders who was using him as a “feedbag”. Lucian also suggested that the master vampire would have a psyonic link with the Duke, and that a psionic user might be able to tap into their connection.
After some discussion, the party agreed to stake out Duke Tenenbrae’s manor. Grimriver met the party back at the inn, and they informed him that they determined the Duke was a vampire. Grimriver was eager to destroy the vampire, but Kendra convinced him to take the stealthy approach in order to route out any other vampires.
That night at the inn Kendra and Bodine noticed that Lucian was attempting to slip out into the night. Bodine decided to trail Lucian and followed him into the market square and then to an abandoned building. Lucian ducked into the boarded up building and shortly afterwards Bodine heard some crashing inside. Bodine entered the building and ran headfirst into a group of ghouls! A battle ensued in which Bodine and Lucian deftly dispatched the group of ghouls, but the two of them were gravely wounded in the process and were forced to retreat down the street and back to the inn.
Lucian and Bodine made it back to the inn and tried to sneak up to the rooms without attracting attention, but Kendra and Grimriver both noticed their wounds and attempted to question the two. When Lucian refused to answer the party’s questions about why he was galavanting around at night and fighting ghouls in abandoned buildings Grimriver confronted the man, and even broke down his inn door when Lucian refused to open it. Lucian reluctantly consulted with the party and revealed that he was following up on a lead and that he did not want to involve the party for fear of their safety. After Grimriver and Lucian resolved their differences the party, minus Lucian, went to stake out the Duke’s manor.
The party camped outside of the manor late into the night, becoming drenched and chilled in the storm. Just as they were prepared to give up and leave they saw a figure exit from the Duke’s bedroom window and escape into the night. The party attempted to follow the figure but lost him in the storm. They went back to the manor and found that the room was empty and the door was locked from the inside. Grimriver and Bodine examined the bed and found that it was covered in shedded skin, pus and bodily fluids, suggesting that someone, or something, had undergone a metamorphosis here.
The party waited, hidden, in the bedroom for the figure to return, preparing to fight a vampire. The figure returned a few hours later, and turned out to be a foul, shape-changing vampire doppleganger! A fierce battle ensued between the party and the creature, but the party prevailed in striking down the beast.