The party continues to explore the Misgivings.
They meet a ghostly woman, Iesha Foxglove, in one of the upstairs rooms. She starts ranting about Aldern and how he’s going to pay for what he’s done. She heads down to the main floor, tears up some floorboards and jumps down to the cellar.
The party follows her down (but choose the stairs over jumping). They enter a kitchen and are soon attacked by massive swarms of rats.
Moving on, they come to a room which appears to have once been some sort of arcane workshop, although it now lies in ruin. A row of soggy books sits on the northern end of a workbench along the western wall. At the other end of the workbench, what looks like three iron birdcages sit, each containing a dead diseased rat. To the east, two stained-glass windows loom. The northern window depicts a thin man with gaunt features drinking a foul-looking brew of green fluid, while the southern one shows the same man but in an advanced state of decay, as if he had been dead for several weeks. His arms raised and head thrown back in triumph, his rotting body turns to smoke and spirals into a seven-sided box.
Next, they come to a room with a pit. Piles of broken stone, dirt, and a few ruined pickaxes line the edges of this room. The floor in the middle of the room has been torn up to reveal an ancient set of stone spiral stairs, obviously of much older construction than the surrounding basement, winding deep into the bedrock below. A foul stink, like that of rotten meat, wafts up on a cold breeze from the darkness.
The party descends and the stairs end in a limestone cavern. The walls drip with moisture, and swaths of black and dark blue mold grow in spiraling, tangled patterns on the floor, ceiling, and walls. Rubble and broken bones clutter the floor, and a rhythmic sound – like the breathing of some immense creature – echoes through the cave from three tunnels, one to the north and two to the west. Of the two western tunnels, the southernmost one seems to be a relatively new creation.
They head down one of the tunnels and come to a cave that stinks of rotten meat. The source of the horrific smell is readily apparent – a swath of carcasses is strewn about the floor of this place. A large undead, ghoulish dire-bat – a skavling – attacks but the party sends it to the grave for the last time.
They continue down the tunnel which opens into a vertiginous gulf, a cathedral-like cavern with a roof arching thirty feet overhead and dropping into a sloshing pool of foamy seawater fifty feet below. A steep stone ledge winds down to these surging depths, its slope glistening with moisture and mold. A stone door stands in the northwestern wall about halfway down the slope. The ghost of Iesha Foxglove is at the door, screaming for Aldern. She smashes the door open and moves inside. She can be heard arguing with somebody when, all of a sudden, her body is tossed back through the doorway and into the pit. A bunch of ghouls protect the path to the door but the party destroys them all.
Going through the door, the air in this damp cavern reeks of a horrific stench – a foul combination of decay, brine, and mold. The cave contains a rickety table, its damp surface cluttered with all manner of what appears to be garbage: empty bottles, bits of clothing, crumpled bits of paper, used rubbers, some dirty old gitch and more, lying in neatly organized rows. Drutz recognizes these bits of junk as his own discarded items. A painting leans against the far side of the table, facing a large leather chair that sits nearby. This chair’s high back and cushion are horribly stained by smears of rotten meat and its arms are sticky with blood. A smaller table sits against the southern wall, its surface heaped with plates and platters of rotten, maggot-infested meat. The horrific stench of the room seems strongest to the west, where the cave’s wall has been overtaken by a horrific growth of dark green mold and dripping fungi. At the center, a patch of black tumescent fungus grows, its horny ridges and tumorlike bulbs forming what could almost be taken to be a humanoid outline. What appears to have once been an exquisite puzzle box the size of a man’s fist lies smashed on the ground at the fungoid shape’s feet.
Aldern Foxglove sits at the chair.
But, not this Aldern Foxglove the party once knew. Aldern Foxglove, once a handsome and cultured nobleman who had a way with the ladies , is now condemned to an unlife of unending hunger, driven to eat the flesh of those he once might have called friends or lovers. His transformation into a ghast has ruined his mind, yet his former personality was not completely destroyed – at least, not at first. To deal with his increasing madness , Aldern developed a split personality. He alternately refers to himself as His Lordship, the Skinsaw Man, and the Hurter. He spends his days conversing with himself as His Lordship, fearing the arrival of the Hurter, whom he regards as an entirely separate person. His Lordship is a frightened creature with a nervous twitch and a quick, excited voice. The Hurter appears in times of stress or excitement – a hateful, murdering cannibal who seeks to continue his harvest of living flesh. It is this personality that is most tied to Vorel’s spirit, yet despite its feral and savage hunger, it is the Skinsaw Man that is, perhaps, the most dangerous . This personality seeks to find salvation and purpose and is slowly becoming the dominant face in this tortured soul. In time, Aldern the Hurter and Aldern the Lord will be gone.
Aldern sits in his chair as the party enters, His Lordship in control for a few moments. When he sees the party, his eyes widen in a mixture of fear and delight, but when he sees Drutz, the object of his obsession, he staggers to his feet.
“No! You were supposed to die! You still live ! "
All hell breaks loose.
The party fights a difficult battle against Aldern.
By the time they are finished exploring the Misgivings, each of them has contracted some combination of Vorel’s Phage (turn into a ghast), Ghoul Fever (turn into a ghoul) and/or yellow mold poison (constitution damage). A visit to High-Priest Abstalar for some healing is in order.