Sheriff Hemlock shares a bloody envelope discovered at the murder scene. It is addressed to Lem and a note within reads: “I’ve seen your bloody handiwork, now you’ve seen mine. Join the pack and the streets will run with blood!”.
Hemlock leads the group to the Sandpoint Lumber Mill and shares what he knows:
- The bodies were found by Ibor Thorn as he arrived for his morning shift.
- The victims were Banny Harker, the mill operator, and Katrine Vender.
- It’s a well-known secret that pair were lovers despite Katrine’s father Vin’s objections.
- Both Ibor and Vin are being held at the garrison, but neither is a strong suspect.
- These are not the first recent killings: a few days ago a trio of con men were found slaughtered in a barn south of town. A survivor of that attack is being treated at a sanitarium outside of town.
- The mill is owned by the Scarnetti family. The Scarnetti’s are the most ruthless of the Sandpoint nobles and are suspected of being involved in criminal activity.
- The mill has been a source of discord around town lately as the operators have been running the noisy facility around the clock to the chagrin of their neighbours.
The party investigate the Mill. Katrine has been split in two by the log splitter. Harker has been badly mutilated; what’s left of his body hangs from hooks from the rafters. Cage identifies gouges from claws amidst the cuts from a blade or blades. The killer also carved a seven-pointed star on Harkers chest. An unusual scent permeates the air which is identified as the odour of undeath. A bloody axe is found and Cage is able to determine that the blood on the head belongs to either a Ghoul or a Ghast. Further exploration uncovers muddy footprints leading from the river to the dock. On the opposite bank Lem finds more prints in a clearing in the marsh; it appears the killer strode from the river to the clearing and hid in the marsh before entering the mill via the dock.
Next they question Ibor and learn Katrine and Harker would often used the Mill for their private ‘meetings’. Ibor shares that Harker was a greedy sort and may have been skimming money from the mill. Even with the noise issues, the illicit hook-ups and the potential pilfering he can’t conceive of anyone capable of the horror that Ibor witnessed.
Rye visits Shayliss, and her story is much the same as Ivor’s; Harker was cheap and loved money, but he did care for her sister. A visit to the Mayor regarding the Mill’s operation proves fruitless.
The party meet Titus Scarnetti and it goes poorly; the nobleman thinks very little of Sandpoints heroes and shows it. He refuses to help in any way, but does seem to be surprised to hear that Harker, who he professes to like, may have been skimming.
The next morning the party gather to visit the sanitarium when an old farmer arrives in a frantic, half-mad state. He rants about walking scarecrows eating the livestock, the dogs, even the people. The Sheriff calms Maester Grump enough to learn that there had been trouble of some sort at the Hambley family farmstead recently; the farm had gone dark and the family had not been seen, and strange sounds emanated from the rows of corn.. A group of local farmers had gone to the house to investigate but had been attacked by ‘scarecrows’. The situation has spiraled out of control Grump has come looking for help.
The Sheriff sighs and looks toward Lem, Cage and Rye yet again…