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 The Late Unpleasantness: 5 Years Ago

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Dragon Master
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Posts : 171
Join date : 2010-02-13
Age : 48
Location : Hogtown, Fl

PostSubject: The Late Unpleasantness: 5 Years Ago   Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:06 pm

The Late Unpleasantness
When Jervis Stoot made clear his intentions to build a home on the
island just north of the Old Light, locals paid him no mind. Jervis had
already garnered something of a reputation for eccentricity when
he began his one-man crusade to carve depictions of birds on every
building in town. Stoot never made a carving without securing permission,
but his incredible skill at woodcarving made it a given that, if
Stoot picked your building as the site of his latest project, you seized
the opportunity. “Sporting a Stoot” soon grew to be something of
a bragging point, and Jervis eventually extended his gift to include
ship fi gureheads and carriages. Those who asked or tried to pay him
for his skill were rebuff ed—Stoot told them, “There ain’t no birds in
that wood for me t’set free,” and went on his way, often wandering
the streets for days before noticing a hidden bird in a fencepost,
lintel, steeple, or doorframe, which he’d then secure permission to
“release” with his trusty hatchets and carving knives.
Stoot’s excuse for wanting to move onto the isle seemed innocent
enough—the place was a haven for local birdlife, and his claim
of “Wantin’ ta be with th’ birds” seemed to make sense. So much
so, in fact, that the guild of carpenters (with whom Stoot had maintained
a friendly competition for several years) volunteered to
build a staircase, free of charge, along the southern cliff face so
that Stoot could come and go from his new home with ease. For 15
years, Stoot lived on the island. His trips into town grew less and
less frequent, making it something of an event when he chose a
building to host a new Stoot.
Sandpoint was no stranger to crime, or even to murder. Once
or twice a year, passions fl ared, robberies went bad, jealousy grew
too much to bear, or one too many drinks were drunk, and someone
would end up dead. But when the bodies began to mount fi ve years
ago, the town initially had no idea how to react. Sandpoint’s sheriff
at the time was a no-nonsense man named Casp Avertin, a retired
city watch offi cer from Magnimar. Yet even he was ill-prepared for
the murderer who came to be known as Chopper. Over the course
of one long winter month, it seemed that every day brought a new
victim to light. Each was found in the same terrible state: bodies
bearing deep cuts to the neck and torso, hands and feet severed and
stacked nearby, and the eyes and tongue plucked crudely from the
head and missing entirely.
Over the course of that terrible month, Chopper claimed 25
victims. His uncanny knack at eluding traps and pursuit quickly
wore on the town guard, taking particular toll on Sherrif Avertin,
who increasingly took to drinking. In any event, Sherrif Avertin
himself became Chopper’s last victim, slain upon catching the
murderer in a narrow lane—known now as Chopper’s Alley—as
he was mutilating his latest victim. Yet in the battle that followed,
Avertin managed a telling blow against the killer. When the town
guard found both bodies several minutes later, they were able to
follow the killer’s bloody trail.
A trail that led straight to the stairs of Stoot’s Rock.
At fi rst, the town guard refused to believe the implications, and
feared that Chopper had come to claim poor Jervis Stoot as his
26th victim. Yet what the guards found in the modest home atop
the isle, and in the larger complex of rooms that had been carved
into the bedrock below, left no room for doubt. Jervis Stoot and
Chopper were the same, and the eyes and tongues of all 25 victims
were found upon a horrifi c altar to a birdlike demon whose name
none dared speak aloud. Stoot himself was found dead at the base
of the altar, having plucked his own eyes and tongue loose in a
fi nal off ering. The guards collapsed the entrance to the chambers,
burned Stoot’s house, tore down the stairs, and did their best to
forget. Stoot himself was burned on the beach in a pyre, his ashes
blessed and then scattered in an attempt to stave off an unholy
return of his evil spirit.
As fate would have it, the people of Sandpoint would soon have a
new tragedy to bear, one that almost eclipsed Chopper’s rampage.
A month after the murderer was slain, a terrible fi re struck Sandpoint.
The fi re started in the Sandpoint Chapel and spread quickly.
As the town rallied to save the church, the fi re spread, consuming
the North Coast Stables, the White Deer Inn, and three homes. In
the end, the church burnt to the ground, leaving the town’s beloved
priest Ezakien Tobyn dead.
All that remains today of the once-loved Stoot carvings are
ragged scars on buildings and fi gureheads where owners used
hatchets to remove what had become a haunting reminder of a
wolf in their fold. The homes and businesses ravaged by the fi re
have been reconstructed, and the Sandpoint Chapel has fi nally
been rebuilt as well. With the consecration of this new cathedral,
Sandpoint can fi nally put the dark times of the Late Unpleasantness
in the past.
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