The first Pasot died in his sleep. The second took a mysterious fall. The third, outright strangled. With three dead priests in two months, the Church had begun to worry. Perhaps the growing sentiment of heresy had given the townspeople of Tirrock the bravery to murder their Drathor Pasots in a meek show of force against the Church’s authority. Or perhaps something more sinister had dug roots into the rural town.
Whatever the cause, there was trouble afoot, and it needed to be taken care of before the church had a scandal to deal with. Inquisitor Belmonte and Valentyne of the Circle of Five were tasked in tandem to find and solve the issue. Zjen, a member of the city watch of Culuh handpicked by its master of defense, was sent in posing as an ordinary wanderer looking for work to act as an informant and gather information on the townsfolk.
Several weeks into the operation, Belmonte and Valentyne, along with friends Master of Mint Lusterlind, Master of Defense Stormcaller, and envoy Aldo, arranged a meeting with Zjen.
The night air had an unusually bitter nip as the agents rode into town. Belmonte went straight to the chapel to investigate, while the others found Zjen at the only tavern in Tirrock. The informant explained that it wasn’t just anti-Drathor sentiment corrupting the town, but perhaps a fully developed demonic or infernal cult. Lusterlind happened to meet an old acquaintance of his from back at court; Marshal Sharif was staying the night in town while traveling back to Culuh from his doomed expedition to Sonbah.
Two years ago, the Marshal rounded up a band of two hundred soldiers to answer a plea for help from a small outpost of the Red Order in the east. He successfully defended the fort from marauding steppemen for the better part of two years, but “for every one we killed, two more took interest in the conflict,” and the Order had no choice but to abandon the outpost. On their return trip, the band was caught off guard out in the open plains; Sharif believes he was the only survivor of the ensuing massacre. He has been pursued by a band of steppemen throughout the journey home.
At the chapel, Belmonte and Stormcaller found the remaining resident acolyte stabbed to death in his bed. The church building was otherwise abandoned.
Immediately upon rendezvousing at the tavern, a group of about a dozen locals drew arms and attempted to seize the agents, who resisted and won brief control of the building before the townsfolk sprung preinstalled summoning potions placed throughout the bar, calling forth a small horde of an unidentified evil extraplanar creature. The agents escaped from the tavern through a second-story window.
They decided to head to the manor of Lord Equair Jebek, which sits on a nearby hill overlooking the town. If the Lord Equair was a fellow victim of the cult, they could protect him. Were he affiliated, he would be arrested. However, the townsfolk had banded together at the manor and rushed the agents at first sight. Four professional soldiers on horseback drove the agents back, and they decided to abandon town and ask for a more sizable force to return with. Zjen was lost in the scuffle with the horsemen.