Lord Tovran had asked the rest of the party to lodge at his keep.
“You will be my guests and have my hospitality. Your services to Vrim are worthy and I wish to repay you in at least this way.”
When the party reformed they had been to the Whalers’ Retreat to find their arrangement settled by Lord Tovran and a message from Arthur.
“Lorco is looking for you lot. He seemed a little annoyed.”
Walking into the keep felt strange. They were moving up in the world. Guards eyed them carefully but were respectful. It was the retainers, Lord Mikhail Tovran’s knights, who were a little snide, but only the one named Freyald. They ate lunch and were entertained by a bard but Lorco’s annoyance was tugging at Kalista’s conscience.
“We should try and catch him. If he only left this morning he can’t be more than 6 hours ahead of us at most.”
Don’ agreed and they quickly assembled their gear setting off at once. They pushed hard across the foothills of the Great Frost Mountains and did indeed catch Lorco on a wide mountain trail. His distinctive hat giving him away.
Lorco was with Dalldra, the Corssiff mercenary, and another plain looking man, Artan – who bore the trappings of a wizard.
That night they slept in a Secure Shelter that Kalista conjured and were waited on by an unseen servant. It was a restful night not having to stand watch outside the warmth of the campfire. Heavy shutters made the hut defendable and strong. When they arrived at Highgate Monastery they were wary. A vampire queen was no trifling enemy. Even Jonas would be challenged, it occurred to the dwarves Aenir and Kellor, and would be careful in his approach.
Bear tracks were in the snow. Fresh and deep.
“It must be a big grizzly,” Don’ said checking them.
The creature had been lairing in the old stables. Inside the monastery they found it abandoned but in pretty good repair.
“Wait.” Felghanis was looking at the doors ahead. “I sense undead in there. Four of them, and strong.”
They carefully opened the doors and saw a large room with four translucent figures circling a raised pillar-like sconce, chanting in distant haunting voices. Lorco called to them and they talked.
“Bring us the abbot, let us have vengeance, for taking the bowl of Ath-Voarnus,” the ghost hissed.
Artan knew of Ath-Voarnus. It was a spirit, of sorts, that could prevent ageing and increase vitality to those that gave it services. Ath-Voarnus longed to be made physical and lured people to it wherever it went.
“Sumbrad told me of this in the Red Stagg. He is pursuing what he claims to be the cultists of Ath-Voarnus and looking for their hideaway & temple.”
“Another complication, then, it seems.”
They talked at length and then settled in to wait for the bear. It would be worth a lot of coin.