UP: Great Lakes
Last week, a large company of citizens set out from Vesper to Buccaneer’s Den. Their mission: to investigate reports coming from the island concerning a possible haunting there. Even before the group could travel through the portal west of Vesper to Buc’s, a squad of brigands attacked, obviously trying to strike fear into the travelers and, perhaps, deter their journey. The scheme failed and the party continued on its assignment.
In Buccaneer’s Den, the group met two workers from the Peg Leg Inn, Allele and Tutter. Both admitted they had never seen a ghost or had a supernatural encounter themselves, but Tutter said that the bathhouse wenches were all insisting they had observed some spectral visage passing by the windows. Tutter recounted one unexplained incident in which a table of baked goods was overturned. He said he’d lost a day’s work from that and had followed a trail of crumbs into the jungle behind the inn. When asked to retrace the trail, he obliged. As the gathering followed him around the lakeshore, a second wave of brigands came at them. The battle was furious and bloody. It was all too clear that there was something in the area the brigands did not wish to be discovered. As their corpses were perused for clues, a useful discovery was made: a rune inscribed with the words "poor sod".
The crew made use of the rune and quickly opened portals. The destination was the caves beneath the island. After a bit of scouting about, a camp was found in a far corner of the cave. Here, the "ghost" was exposed to be not a ghost at all, but a raving lunatic of a man named Cutty. Attempts to query him were met with a mixture of lucid answers and incoherent screaming. Sifting through his rambling, the adventurers learned that he had once been in the employ of Trevor Beckett, an ignominious villain who met his bitter end not a full season ago.
Cutty told that he had been a member of the brigand raiding party that had visited the Romni camp, corroborating the tale told by the gypsy girl, Tatia. During a fight with one of the Romni men, Cutty noticed that his sapphire ring was missing. Beckett lost a silver necklace as he assaulted one of the Romni women. According to Cutty, these items were used as talismans by which a curse was placed upon the brigands and their leader. Again, this corresponds with information gathered from Tatia. Cutty stated that he was familiar with gypsy curses, having been involved with a gypsy woman once upon a time. From this he knew that until the curse was lifted and the ring returned to him, his dark fate was sealed. He described a hunger for bloodshed that gnawed at him incessantly, voices echoing in his head provoking him to kill. The effects of this have obviously driven him to madness. When it was clear there was no more information to be gained from him, the group thought the most humane thing to do for him was to take him to Empath Abbey. There, Brother Dittimus took Cutty in and agreed to care for him.
Many people from the expedition then traveled to Britain where the Britannian Affairs Committee was meeting. This coalition of concerned citizens listened as a man named Lag told of his encounters with Tatia, the Romni girl. He had met her at the edge of the swamp following one of the brigand and undead ambushes. Able to gain her trust, Tatia has confided in Lag several times, telling him of the mistreatment of her people, how the brigands came to torment them and of her mother’s death at the hands of Robert d’Guy. The curse, he relayed, was brought as a way for the Romni to avenge themselves both against the brigands, longstanding antagonists of theirs, and the citizens of the realm, who they believe to be their persecutors and oppressors.
Combining the information received from Cutty with the knowledge Tatia had conferred to Lag, the committee formulated a theory. For some time, it has been conjectured that the brigands had been raiding the graveyards of the realm in search of something. It is a safe assumption, based on the facts uncovered, that the items sought are the personal belongings collected from the brigands during their raids.
Many questions remain unanswered, however. Where are the gypsies? Search parties scour the lands looking for them and, as of this writing, no trace has been found. Where is Tatia? The last recorded sighting of her was reported by Alec DeLeon of Lionel who said she came to him asking for protection. Why does Tatia wish to break the curse? If her people have been victimized by Sosarians and brigands, why would she wish to aid the enemy? Why would the gypsies grant to their assailants what is, fundamentally, immortality? The brigands, when slain, rise again in undead form, continuing their murderous rampages. There is many a tale of days of old when wizards sought the dark magics that would allow them to do this very thing. To view this as a punishment for wrongdoing hardly seems reasonable.
Deliberation as to the connection between these occurrences and the recent news of the wisp-like beings Ashabti and Sashabti has been discounted for lack of evidence.