(Takes place after Hardcore Heroes: Episode 15)(Summer, nearly a new Moon)
On the Hunt for Lort
Gunter and Bishop, holy men of Astair, are hunting town an escaped murderer named Lort. He was convicted of the murder and cannibalism of more than 10 people in Longcast. The two heroes have been giving chase for a few hundred miles all the way to the outskirts of Fortune, the country seat of Flat County.
It is afternoon as the two heroes enter a small ignominious village 5 miles away from Fortune. The locals look skittish seeing the well armed heroes entering town. A local reports they saw someone matching Lort's description, that of a fat misshapen ugly man with burns across his face, came though town last night. The local also shows the heroes to a graveyard where a recent murder victim is about to be burred, the method and the cannibalism match that of Lort's handiwork as well. The rest of the victim's family had died in a plague a year previously.
Gunter heads inside the temple to pray. Bishop helps the village cleric to dig the grave. Bishop leads a funeral service, then the victim is buried.
The heroes then set out for Fortune. As the sun sets 3 wolves off the side of the road eye the heroes and growl. Bishop casts "Light" and the wolves scatter away.
The sun has entirely set by the time the heroes get to the closed city gates of Fortune. The gate guard lets them in, but says the town has no love of outsiders and they are bad luck.
The keep is on a raised plateau like area within the confines of the town walls. All the other buildings are single-story dingy with dilapidated walls or collapsing roofs. The pair walk down the streets of the town to find a temple to rest in. Bishop tries to talk with people on the streets and gets the cold shoulder.
The party arrive at a dilapidated temple, like most of the other buildings around, as well as some year-old fire damage. Outside the temple a funeral is taking place. The subject of the funeral doesn't appear murdered so our heroes don't interrupt. A Cleric of Voraci, Father Rupert Thorn, leads a procession to the town's crypts. Gunter waits at the temple while Bishop joins the procession.
The crypts are up in the plateau, so they walk up switch backs to get there. Father Thorn denies Bishop entry into the crypts themselves. Bishop is suspicious, but acquiesces. Bishop waits at the base of the switch backs.
Alone in the Temple, Gunter finds the layout reversed that normal, with the order of the gods rotated 180 degrees, giving Voraci and Malkis the spots Martha and Astair typically rest and vice versa, with the minor gods absent. The statue of Astair appears to be blackened like the walls of the temple from the fire a year ago. After praying, Gunter gets a bucket of water to clean the statue.
Afterwards the funeral rites are finished, Father Thorn comes down the switchbacks, Bishop speaks with him about the murderer he and Gunter are hunting down, but the Cleric hasn't heard of any murders or the murderer. They two return to the temple and Gunter is still cleaning the 7-foot statue of Astair. Father Thorn offers the Heroes the Temple's guest quarters to rest in. The guest quarters are long unused and full of bats. Bishop lights a torch and the bats flee the room.
Gunter goes out to patrol the streets as Bishop rests in the temple. All the gate keepers tell Gunter that no one leaves Fortune at night. He returns from the patrol, finishes cleaning the Astair statue, then goes to bed for rest as well.
The Second Day in Fortune
The next day the pair say their prays to Astair then go looking for the taverns for a lead on Lort's location. A townsfolk tells the party that "Clinks" is the nicest tavern in town, but the outsiders wouldn't want to go there.
Clinks is indeed unwelcoming. Gunter asks the patrons of the bar if they have seen someone matching Lort's description and no one replies. Bihop casts "Thought Capture" and sees an old murder that took place in the tavern where the food was drinks were poisoned.
The two heroes leave the bar and the Sheriff walks up to them. Sheriff Dramos blames the 2 outsiders for making Lort flee to their town. He also says that there a murder has taken place on the docks of the River Crux.
The heroes go with Sheriff Dramos to the docks. A man lays down on the docks with a chain around his neck with bite marks instead of cuts taken, and looks waterlogged. The Sheriff explains the man left his nearby house to go to a tavern, but was intercepted before he could get there. The deceased was found first thing in the morning afterwards in the water.
The party wander where Lort could be hiding during the daytime and Sheriff Dramos tells them there are many abandoned buildings, and he doesn't have the manpower to search them all. The party make plans to check in the only Inn in town, as well as the Guard who let Lort into the town. The Sheriff warns them to leave town by the New Moon, which a time of festivities for Fortune that they will be unwelcome for.
The party return to the temple and find that Father Thorn is already preparing for the funeral of the dead man, and he also warns the outsiders about leaving before the new moon rises.
The two decide to check out the inn in town, "The Hanged Man". As they arrived they find the day is oddly ending already, times seemed to escape them.
Inside "The Hanged Man" is a nervous innkeeper with no guests. Gunter and Bishop interfeer with the innkeeper to force him to talk. Bishop casts thought capture and the innkeeper is thinking of a specific room. Bishop tells Gunter to check out that room, but before he can get inside, there is a smashing sound as whoever was inside, likely Lort, breaks the window and flees into the streets.
Gunter chases Lort as Bishop questions the innkeeper. The Innkeeper was afraid for his life. Bishop hits the innkeeper to the ground with his mace, then tells the innkeeper that he is luck to be alive, and warns him not to impede the law again. He then casts Cure Light Wounds then leaves to follow Gunter and Lort.
Gunter corners Lort on the docks, who is holding a woman hostage. Lort throws the woman into the water where there are crocodiles and runs away. Gunter saves the woman and lets Lort escape. Bishop catches upo with Gunter and the two continue to search for Lort, but can't find him.
In the dark of night, the two return to the inn to look for clues in Lort's room and only find a coin pouch, which they decide to donate to Rupert's church. There is no sign of the innkeeper around. They follow a blood trail from his head wound to the basement. In the basement are crates and cages full of rats. Then behind one of the boxes pops out Lort holding a meat cleaver. Lort standing over the dead innkeeper, who Lort is eating. The two heroes attack Lort. Lort sinks the cleaver into Bishop's torso. Gunter takes out Lort.
Bishop stabilises the unconscious Lort, then sees to his own wounds. Upstairs is Sheriff Dramos arrives. Gunter explains what happened to the Sheriff, but insists there be a trial to take place, the Sheriff reluctantly agrees, saying the trial will take place at the temple.
Bishop and Gunter take the unconscious Lort to the temple. Sheriff Dramos, Father Rupert Thorn are there waiting. The tied up Lort is woken up. Bishop, pretending to be Astair, asks for Lort's testimony, Lort only gives insults, Bishop then sentences Lort to death.
Gunter gets out his executioner's block, but Sheriff Dramos stops him, saying they have their own way of executioner people in conquest. Lort is impaled vertically by a 12-foot pike and the base of the pike is buried in the ground, so his feet dangle above the ground. Gunter happily watches as Lort dies in agony.
The Sheriff tells the party that now their job is done, they must leave town before sundown tomorrow, the New Moon is tomorrow.
Day of the New Moon
In the hot morning the pair leave Conquest, but their plan is to double back to observe what is going on tonight. The two return to the village they were at a few days ago and ask about the festival, but find the village being evacuated. A villager tells the party they always leave town when there is a New Moon.
Bishop prays for guidance, but gets no information.
At sunset they head back towards Fortune, they see strange lights (red, purple, & blue) illuminate the city from a distance. Balls of light are also seens appearing and disappearing over the city of the same colours. As they get closer they hear strange sounds eminating from the town half a mile away, almost like laughter.
The two arrives at the wooden city gates and they are locked fast with no one at the gate house. The sound of wailing distraught souls can be heard on the other side. Gunter climbs the wall and sees the whole city is lit up with the red, purple, & blue lights. The wails seems to be coming from the entire city. He sees no one on the streets.
Gunter goes down and opens the gate from the inside for Bishop. The two sneak down alleyways to spy on what is going on. They see swarms of people wailing in the street, rocking back and forth, wearing black and white robes, with painted faces. The first check the keep and see no activity going up and down the path up to the keep. They decide to check the temple.
The temple appears to be the hub of activity. A purple light passes by the party then somehow the crowd know that the party is there. The crowd shambles towards them. Gunter gives a speech about the people turning from their dark way.
Sheriff Dramos arrives on a horse with a sword drawn, saying he told them to leave. The Sheriff charges the party. The party kill the horse, but not before it overruns them. The Sheriff is thrown from the horse but Gunter is knocked out. Bishop casts "Command: Kneel" on the Sheriff. The Sheriff recovers and drives his sword into Bishop.