July 2021 events - a murder mystery

EM KincaidEM Kincaid Posts: 190Event Moderator
The story so far...

Many years have passed since Lysander Gathenwale led his trusting team of explorers on their final, ill-fated mission. Lysander's plans to sacrifice them to his dark master in Khaldun was only partially successful. They were most certainly sacrificed, and their cursed forms roam the halls to Khaldun to this day. However, the rewards that Lysander had expected never arrived. No power. No fortune. No fame, no heralded position in the new kingdom. Instead, he was forever cursed to shuffle up and down the corridors, killing any unsuspecting explorer - eternally making new sacrifices to Khal Ankhur.

Lysander had been a fairly successful explorer up to this point. His many homes and castles were the envy of Britannia, and the treasures on open display within those homes were the talk of the town. So, when word of his demise reached the ears of his relatives, needless to say, they were horrified.

Horrified that he might be forever caught in a state of half-death. Horrified that he might never actually die. And, of course, if a man does not die, then he leaves no legacy. And, if there was no legacy... well, they wouldn't get a share in Lysander's riches, would they?

And so it came to pass that the kin-folk of Lysander Gathenwale petitioned the king. Repeatedly. Every day, and twice on Mondays. Eventually, after sending the Black Watch to investigate Khaldun, and receiving reliable confirmation of Lysander's condition, King Blackthorn decreed that he was, for all normal intents and purposes, dead. There were those who speculated that the king was well-versed in the matters of the undead, but they wisely speculated quietly, and out of earshot.

Thus, one sunny Saturday afternoon, the reading of Lysander's will was announced. Many people gathered to see if they were lucky enough to be named. Others queued up at the Royal courts, desperately trying to change their last name to "Gathenwale", with many of them getting it wrong, some with quite unfortunate results.

And then, after much to-do and waiting about, the Executor of the Estate stepped up to the podium in the House of Commons, cleared his throat, and began to read.

"I, Lysander Gathenwale, being of sound mind and body, hereby declare this to be my last will and testament. 
This reading should not ever have taken place. That is has means that I was almost certainly wrong.
I would never have admitted my error in life. To me, that would have meant a lack of faith.
And so, I admit it in death.
My death means that Khal Ankhur rejected my offering, and claimed my soul. And so, I have no need for my worldly riches.
To UWSP Town, I leave my collection of server birth rares.
To Inga, my trusted housekeeper, I leave my house. She took better care of it than I ever did.
To Bo, trusted teacher, I leave my bane dragons.
To Zora, I leave my clown shoes and squirty flower.
To Flavin, my gardener, I leave my treasury of unique seeds.
To ...."

At this point, the sounds of commotion were heard outside, and the Royal Detective burst in.
"Halt! These proceedings are unlawful! The King has decreed that the estate of Lysander Gathenwale is to be confiscated, while his treachery in the dungeon known as Khaldun is investigated! Disperse! Disperse! Disperse at once!"

As those in attendance reacted - some complaining, some obediently getting up to leave, there was a horrible gurgling sound from behind the detective. Turning, he saw the Executor falling to his knees, clutching at his chest. The Executor's eyes rolled back, and he fell forwards with a final gasp.
Nobody had been near him. But, a strangely dressed crowd marched past outside, chanting the name of Khaldun's lord... "Khal Ankhur! Khal Ankhur!"

The Royal Detective took the names and addresses of all present, and dispatched them to investigate the suspects. Unfortunately, none of those in attendance were skilled in the art of interrogation, so all that was left of the suspects was a pile of loot, and some strange scrolls. 
The contents of these scrolls are presented here for completeness, and in the hope that someone might spot a useful clue. The investigation will continue on Saturday!

  • This scroll is a receipt for a very large bank transfer. It seems that Lysander was in the habit of paying for the Royal Tax Collector's Trinsic trade post rental. How curious. The total on the receipt is one half platinum. That's a lot of rent. The co-ordinates don't seem to match anywhere in Trinsic, either. Curiouser and curiouser. Checking the co-ordinates, you find that they point to the entrance to Khaldun. Why would anyone place a trade post there?
  • You find a very uninteresting shopping list: Turnips, onions, carrots, milk, bread, deadly poison, wheat, mushrooms.... wait. What? Deadly poison?
  • Inspecting the item, you find bloody fingerprints all over it. However, you also find a fresh leg of lamb in the backpack. That complicates matters. Whoever heard of a murderous one-legged lamb?
  • Lysander, Lysander, what a fool. He thought Khal Ankur picked him to rule. Now he dwells within Khaldun's halls, dead explorers mock as he crawls.The great Khal cares not for his aims, only for those he brought - all now slaves.
  • Deadly poison (Bucs Den variant) : 300 nightshade, One giant beetle, A plague beast lord, Mandibles of a rune beetle, Grizelda the Hag's sunday roast.  Take one giant beetle, and use it to crush the nightshade. Mix well with the mandibles, and dip in the brain of a plague beast lord. Stir well, in a counter-clockwise direction. Leave Grizelda's roast in the sun for a week, and crumble into the mixture. Cook over a low flame elemental for half a day. Administer to victim within 72 hours.
  • Last will and testament of Lysander Gathenwale :   I, Lysander Gathenwale, being of sound mind and body, do hereby declare this to be my last will and testament. I have no further use for worldy goods, and hope you all choke on them.  Yes, to use the back-street term, you can have "my stuffs", but I have cursed one in three items. Good luck surviving. Fool. Go to the guard tower outside Britain, and tell the statue of Khal Ankhur that he is your master.
  • Good and loyal servant. Know that I consider poison to be a woman's weapon, but that should not be an obstacle in this case. Your task is to taint the fields of Britain, ready for our master's rise. I will venture to Khaldun, and make the sacrifice. When I return, the fields should be tainted enough to bring down a curse on the entire kingdom. The ingredients do not take long to grow. Seek the second copy of my will - encoded within its lines are the essence of the curse. Reading it to a roomfull of sacrifices will hasten Khal Ankhur's rise.
  • Please remember to water the plants. You know I despise wilted plants. - L.G. 

To be continued...!


  • EM KincaidEM Kincaid Posts: 190Event Moderator
    Part two...

    The Royal Detective stared at the clues. Some were absolute gibberish. Some form of code, perhaps? If so, he could not see a pattern. Still, he sent those ones to the Cryptographers, in the hope that they might crack the puzzle. Now, to the rest...

    The payment to Trinsic was curious. Investigation revealed that there was most definitely no trading post, either in Trinsic, or near Khaldun. However, several witnesses had observed the Royal Tax Man collecting a large chest from Trinsic bank, and hiring a cart to take him, and the chest, to Britain's farmlands. So, on to Britain.

    There, he began to interrogate the farmers. That was more difficult - and potentially dangerous - than expected. The farmers all had a sickly glow to their faces, and were extremely antagonistic when questioned. After having several pitchforks thrown at him, the detective decided to assign the interrogation to the Black Watch. 

    Black Watch scouts reported strange sights in the fields. 
    Farm hands were pouring unidentifiable potions on the partly-grown crops.
    Farmers were walking in slow circles around the fully grown ones, and chanting strange incantations. 

    A very worried farmer's wife approached one of the scouts.
    "Hail! Are you with the Crown?"
    "I am, madam."
    "My Gobnait - he's gone all funny in the head. Ever since that toff with the chest showed up, and hired him to grow crops for him. He's not right. And there's this letter from that fellow - take a look."
    The scout looked over the letter. There was enough there to concern him. He thanked the woman, tried to reassure her that help would be coming, and headed back to Blackthorn's castle, to meet with the Commander.

    "Sir!" he bellowed, entering the Black Watch barracks, "I have a clue! This is not good! They are cursing the crops, in the hope that all of Britain will fall under their sway!"

    "What?" asked the Commander "Let me see that!"

    The scroll revealed much. The directions for cursing the crops were clear. But what would trigger the curse? It didn't matter - it was plain that the farmers had to be stopped, and hopefully helped.

    Troops were dispatched to the fields, in the hope of restraining the farmers. Sadly, it was not to be. The farmers fought like wild dragons, and dark creatures, and undead, burst from the ground of their fields. Zombies, rotting corpses, cursed shadow creatures, and risen bones. The troops struggled for many a long hour to hold them back, but were eventually victorious. 

    Further clues were discovered.

    Clues found on Saturday:

    Orders, by Lysander Gathenwale

    Good farmer! I have need of your services! I am planning a great surprise for all of Britain, and your farm seems ideal for growing the crops that I am after.
    In the backpack my servant provided, you will find some special potions. These were made by a grandmaster alchemist and gardener, and are guaranteed to produce some of the most wonderous crops ever seen. Your name will be legendary!
    Add the brown potion to the soil, plant the seeds, and pour the orange potion over the crops as they begin to grow, one drop per plant per day. When fully grown, speak the incantation provided over the crops. I will return with payment.

    Dear Nuala, by Gobnait the farmer
    Dear Nuala,
    Thank you very much for your lovely present of a partridge in a pear-tree. We’re getting the hang of feeding the partridge now, although it was difficult at first to win its confidence. 
    It bit the mother rather badly on the hand but they’re good friends now and we’re keeping the pear-tree indoors in a bucket. Thank you again.
    I have come into good fortune! That Lysander fellow has employed me to grow a huge crop of something he jovially calls the soul plague of Britain. I think they’re cashew nuts. Yours affectionately, Gobnait

    The binding of Khal Ankhur, by Krajov of Khaldun
    Hear my words now, neophyte. Your desire to be counted among those the great Khal smiles upon has been noted. This favour will not be bestowed lightly. Prove first your worth by presenting a fitting sacrifice to our master. 
    First, bring those fools who “adventure” with you to the master’s realm. There, you will present them to the cursed, and they will feed his unending hunger. While that is in progress, you will approach the farmers of Britain.
    A curse will fall across the land, grown from their own crops. All who eat thereof will fall under the master’s sway, once the curse is intoned from the proper place. I will tell you how and where soon.

    The cursing of Britain, by Krajov of Khaldun
    Well done, student. Your service to the great Khal has not gone unnoticed. Now that the crops have been planted and treated, you need to be patient. Ensure that the farmers follow your instructions to the letter. 

    The investigation continues next weekend!

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