15 Firstfall 9:29
The story begins as the party set out with Ser Hayder, a templar of the Chantry, on the road to Duskhollow, where they are tasked with investigating the burning down of the village’s chantry. During the journey there, the party was stopped by a group of bandits led by a sleezy man named Jigge and a slow, oafish man named Jhog. Dindi loaded his bow, and warned the bandits that if they came any closer, he would fire. One of the bandits, a burly fellow named Gorter, accepted the challenge, and without a word, Dindi loosed his bolt, killing Gorter instantly.
Combat broke out. One of the bandits, a leather-clad highwayman named Doddle, crept out from a bush and fired a bolt at Bartle with pinpoint accuracy, nearly ending Bartle’s adventuring career before it had begun. Terrowin was able to mend Bartle’s wounds before he bled out, and the bandits, clearly outmatched, began to flee. Before he could escape, Dindi beheaded the fleeing simpleton, Jhog, and mounted his head on a stick in the middle of the road.
After a discussion whether to follow the fleeing bandits to their lair, and pondering the question of what to do with the bodies, the party continued their trek towards Duskhollow. When they arrived at the village, the group wasted no time in starting the investigation of the church. Terrowyn determined that the veil, the wall between the physical world and the dream realm know as the Fade, had been torn here, and as Bartle rifled through the rubble for valuables, a horrible flaming dog leapt from the floor and knocked him unconcious.
Fearing for Bartle’s safety, Ranelle revelealed herself as a mage, magically healing Bartle’s wounds. Cash Money brought her maul down on the hound, crushing its skull. Terrowyn explained that this dog was an abomination, a creature possessed by a spirit of the Fade. The party reported what they had learned to Ser Hayder in the Burning Mabari Inn, and questioned Mother Devi, one of the few survivors of the chantry fire. She claimed not to remember that night, but Dindi was suspicious. While the others slept, Dindi kept a close watch on her room.
During the night, Dindi heard a scuffle down the hall. One of the patrons of the inn was being dragged of by shadowy figures. Dindi began to shout for his companions and the men moved to silence him. The group arrived and together they defeated the kidnappers, leaving one alive for questioning. Cash Money intimidated him into giving up the phrase “the outskirts of town” before he went into a catatonic state. On his person along with a small pouch of coins, they found a note ordering the merchant’s abduction, and in place of a signature, they found a burning heart. Before they settled down for the night, the party checked to see why Ser Hayder hadn’t responded to Dindi’s shouts. They entered his room to find him murdered. While the window was open, Dindi determined that it wasn’t the source of entry. Terrowyn chose to collect Ser Hayder’s armor with the intent of returning it to the Chantry.
16 Firstfall 9:29
The next morning, the party explored the outskirts of town where they found an old abandoned inn. Dindi had a vision of people being loaded up in a wagon and being shuttled out of town. Looking at the ground he found wagon tracks, and in those tracks, he found a strand of elfroot which both he and Ranelle identified as only growing in the Brecillian Forest.
They entered the inn and with some difficulty they found a secret passage located in a large bronze statue of Andraste. The passage led to a chamber where the group found Beswill, the innkeeper of the Burning Mabari along with his wife, Clara as well as a few thugs and Mother Devi. The party launched an attack without a word, and to the party’s surprise, the mother began casting spells. The party killed all of them except Clara who immediately entered a kind of catatonic state, similar to the bandit the night before.
The party went to the town’s mayor with news of Mother Devi being a mage, and he was astonished, telling them that she was his spiritual advisor and she had cautioned him that the abductions were just frightened people leaving. The party then went to explore the Mother’s room, where they found her personal journal. Upon searching it, the party found mention of taking the prisoners to a “Ser Nualia” on behalf of a group called “the Burning Heart” so they could be charmed. The note mentioned that some of the charmed people were returned to town, and that some were taken elsewhere.
The party resolved to venture into the Brecillian Forest, with the mayor promising 25 g to each member of the party for the safe return of his citizens and the stopping of whoever is abducting and bewitching them.