The Vampire of Echowood Vale did something to anger the local vampire ruler in Harrowfaust, so the word went out that the vampiric gaze and overwatch was removed from Echowood Vale. If mortals were to slay the Vampire of Echowood Vale, the Powers That Be would not retaliate.
Word went out through the underground network of secret symbols known as “Twitter” and found some desperate monster hunters ready to take the opportunity to cut this cancerous monster out of the World Between for good.
- Ty, a bandit (Mark) first got the word and spread it, using pigeons.
- Sunnhilde, a purifier (Kristy) was traveling with Andor the Bronzed, a zealot (Simon) and they got the word while waiting in a seedy tavern.
- Kail, a Scarabaen questing knight (Michael) heard from a nun, who whispered the news to him while they were in bed.
- Ragnell, a fighter (Shaun), heard the news as he looked for work in the taverns.
- Maeve Galbraithe, an assassin, (Iris) got word through strange means.
They met in the Frolicking Veal, agreed to go out the next day, and spent an uneventful night.
After a couple hours of walking into the valley, along a road that sometimes clung to switchbacks on the shoulder of the hill rather than penetrating deep copses of trees, they found themselves looking at the tall tower of Echowood Vale. It had a shallow moat for protection, but no walls. It was defended by a ramshackle cadre of minions, who intercepted the incoming monster hunters and told them to go away.
They weren’t even done talking when Sunnhilde shot one in the face, and a general battle broke out where the minions fell back to defend the bridge but instead got tossed off by Ragnell and Andor, with those who ran to warn others picked off by gunfire.
The mighty men shoved the door to the castle manor off its wormeaten frame, bursting into the place. They shot down some more minions, and set to exploring.
A Stony Reception
Upstairs they found a room bathed in red and green light from the stained glass, with a statue of a preacher, a ruler, and a mother cradling a baby. They were waiting for it when the statues came to life, the preacher brandishing the mast like a weapon, the ruler whipping around his rod of office, and the mother gripping her ferocious stone baby by the ankle and swinging it around with abandon.
The hunters got kicked around a little, and Andor was knocked senseless, but they broke the statues and opened them up, smashing the warpstone gem at the center. Also they threw the bitey stone baby out the window.
They explored the place, following the paths leading up and up, until they neared the top of the highest point. Crossing a narrow stone bridge 120 feet up, they encountered another stone construct that tried to hurl them from the bridge, but they dispatched it and continued on.
They found a bedroom, with a signet ring; an old place, undisturbed by the new occupant. They triggered a manifestation of Lady Echowood, who resented the cancer of the vampire and its creatures, but was bound to serve; she slammed the room shut and unseated it from the World Between briefly, then she vanished and released the doors and windows. Only now it was night.
Also, there was a horrible buzzing and nasal whining that penetrated their ears and set them on edge; somewhere, something was playing a supernaturally loud bagpipe, with great gusto.
Hounds of Hell
They continued exploring the rooms and towers, unnerved by howling. Upon opening a door to the courtyard, they were assaulted by a big black dog with glowing heat in its mouth, and a spray of gunfire settled it. They saw another down a dark corridor and shot it too.
All’s Well That Ends Well
They followed the sounds of the bagpipe and found the creature of the night proudly puffing away on the monstrous thing as he stood by the throne from which he ruled the ruins.
Maeve lined up her shot and assassinated the oblivious vampire with a single bullet before it even knew they were there. It was falling to dust before its remains sprayed across the floor. Even though the bagpipe burst, the monster hunters took pains to break the drones and make sure the hellish thing would never speak again.
After that, Sunnhilde went back up to the tower and opened a way to the World Above, allowing the ghost of Lady Echowood release (and they kept the signet ring.) Andor the Bronzed led a search downstairs, finding the vampire’s crypt and making sure there were no lurking surprises.
They left as the sun came up, their work finished.