After speaking to Ivanja and her employee Neama about the visitors they received, our band reviewed the facts that the visitors were supposedly 3 nobles from Cotard, but Neama had revealed previously they sounded like Southerners from Caliphus. She had also noted that one had an imp and an amulet of the gagged skull that we know is of the Whispering Way. One of the visitors was a silver-haired woodsman that we are certain is Matheus. There was mention also the pack leader's heart and the Stairs of the Moon.
As we stood in the yard speaking of these things, combining it with knowledge we had gathered from the libraries and Estovian's hidden stash of knowledge, we began planning which werewolf pack we should speak to as allies against Matheus and the Whispering Way. Then a scream caught our attention.
We ran into the lodge to find a gargantuan tarantula attacking. It appeared to have broken through the large windows and had began attacking those in the sitting room.
Kovun and Victor began attacking it, and honestly were the only ones seeming to do damage. I shot it with my crossbow. Nara tried her magic. Amara was trying many of her things she does. Nathan punched it and slid by it to go protect ladies in danger. I granted Victor's sword the ability to stun the beast if he made one of his solid attacks. By Pharasma and Iomedae, he did not fail. With the creature shaken, I raced up with the mighty Whippoorwill and sliced into it with a killing blow.
Only Nathan was in the sitting room with the trapped residents when the spider fell. We began cutting are way through and then I left Silent Death in the hands of Amara to continue the butchery. We sought to save the Margrave and the other who was bitten in the skirmish. The antidote dagger did not work. Rusa began calling for her friend Azra.
Azra came and healed them. She is a curious but gifted healer who worships both Pharasma and Desna. As a side note, apparently someone had removed her tongue some time ago, so she hoots and signs to communicate.
Delagros arrived to say that he had followed the spider's tracks back to the pens that hold the hunting stock for the lodge. Most of us left with him to follow the spider's tracks and find what had happened. Nathan, following good instincts, slipped upstairs and cased Estovian's room. He later reported he had searched the room and then journeyed to the private library in time to see Estovian escape through a magic portal.
Meanwhile, the rest of us followed Delegros to the pens and found that the spider had been let out and a trail of blood left as a lure to lead the spider to the lodge. We then found Poncy, the stable boy, had possibly released the spider. I could never convince the others of this, but I am both proud and ashamed of my next actions. Victor and I began to question the boy. I remembered my training. It fit like a perfect but tarnished glove. Keeping in mind that this time I was more certain of the facts and the evidence was more substantial, I allowed myself to walk the path of the questioner/accuser. I applied the pressure and Victor was able to coerce the answers from him. Poncy confessed to releasing the spider on Estovian's orders. Poncy felt such allegiance for Estovian for asking him in. Estovian had promised this would secure their safety. As we returned to the lodge, we discovered that Estovian had sent the porter, Belik to rummage though our stuff.
We gathered the group and shared our information. After much discussion, it was decided that Duristan would accompany us and lead us to the Stairs of the Moon. Azra would accompany us as a possible source of information and way to talk to the tribes we encountered. We set out and encountered a pair from the Primals, or as they call themselves, the Vollensag. They allowed us to pass, only because Azra was with us, but would not promise others would do the same. Finally, we arrived at the staircase.
We all ponder how to approach. I ponder how much Estovian is involved with the Whispering Way. It is certain he might have some connection with the Silverhides and Matheus, but I keep remembering how his journal spoke of his trepidation of the visitors to Ivanja. Could he still be a possible ally in some respect who was confuse at our arrival and assumed we were going to haul him in for his crimes against the order? Can he be redeemed?