The group arrived on a lonely road in a thick forest with moon high and full. They were greeted by three strangers.
Magda, the ancient leader of a group of Vistani nearby and their contact with Nightwing Restorations.
Zanos, Magda's grandson, who's smirk and dark eyes reveal nothing to anyone.
The Benadanti, a werewolf with a silver muzzle, who is Magda's guardian.
There is a powerful scent of smoke in the air, but the group decides to follow Magda.
They learn that Camilla, the flesh golem they are seeking, has escaped from the clutches of Otto Braunstein because she is in love with Otto's brother Adolph.
She warns them to tread carefully in the local village, because two strangers were brutally murdered in their rooms at the Silver Stag Inn three nights ago. The villagers are more guarded and weary than usual.
As Magda talks, Vespa, goes for a walk with Zanos and she seeks out the source of the smoke. They fine a local farmstead and all of it's barsn burning to the ground and profane sigils painted in blood on the land. The fire is still to hot to investigate further but they are certain that several people and animals died in the blaze.
Everyone turns in before the Witching Hour.
In the morning the paladin, Xander, asks if there is anything they can do for her and she confides that she'd like him to visit a monk at the Rookery, named Samual. He's been painting disturbing paints that Otto Braunstein is paying a handsome sum for. She is worried that the young man is dealing with forces far outside of his understanding.
The group arrives at the village in the morning in time for the daily market and met the local Sheriff, Rudolph.
After talking with Rudolph they find out about the two strangers from Freeport who were murdered and mutilated in their room. He tells them that Roger, the owner of the Inn, says that Tanarak Kurst reacted oddly at seeing the two men eating in the main room of the Inn and that he is wanted for question but he hasn't been seen since the night of the murders. To make matters worse, his deputies, Serena and Dodger are at the Kurst farm because it was burned down last night and there is a real concern the rest of the family died in the blaze. Rudolph also mentions that he's going to speak with Homer Ryle, who is Tanarak's apprentice and is betrothed to the oldest Kurst girl, Penny.
Druic, a fighter/warlock and Murph, a bard decide to go talk to Serena and Doger at the farmstead.
They find the farm and all of it's barns burnt to the ground. All of the animals apparently died in the fire and they find the bodies of all seven Kurst children and their mother, Apricot. The bodies all have their throats slit, their left arms torn off and their hearts have been removed. There is no sign of the arms or the hearts.
Serena, Dodger and the villagers who accompanied them are overwhelmed.
Serena, a 2nd Level Wizard, convinces the others locals to take a break and grants Druic and Murph permission to examine the bodies.
Murph casts Speak With Dead on Penny and learns that three strangely shaped men in heavy clothes with their faces hidden and a powerful dog attacked their home and slaughtered her mother and the twins before they killed her. She remembers the smell of the sea all around them.
As they finish the ritual they spy a golden-eyed raven watching them. Druic decides to cast Chill Touch as it flies away, hitting it and forcing the bird to land. But as it lands it grows larger and takes on a humanoid shape. It explains that it is Tanarak's familiar, Isis, and that he is hurt. It also warns them to be careful with necromancy spells and tells them to decapitate Penny after using the spell on her. Finally, Isis tells them to speak with Homer Ryle and if he vouches for them, she will lead them to Tanarak.
Meanwhile, Xander and Vespa head to the Rookery, a monastery devoted to the worship of the Raven Queen. They ask to meet with Samual and our also introduced to the Rookery's Abbot, Luger Van Zant.
Abbot Van Zant quietly explains that he is worried for Brother Samual's sanity and health, but also makes it clear that Otto Brauntein's patronage in sponsoring Samual's art has been exceedingly beneficial to the monastery and the their work in the region.
Finally, Xander and Vespa meet with Samual who explains that almost two months ago he began being visited nightly by his "muse". Each visit "inspired" him to paint her, though on her first visit his only canvas was the wall of his room and the only paint, his own blood.
Each painting is always a disturbing portrait of his beloved muse. Within the first week of her visits to him, Abbot Luger, in one of his regular visits to Otto Braunstein's home for tea, revealed the young monk's work and Otto demanded to see the work and became Saumual's patron. Samual knows that there is something wrong with him, but knows that money Mr. Braunstein is providing the Rookery is helpful to many people in need. And he admits that he isn't sure he would want survive without his muse visiting each night.
Vespa asks to see his room. There is a fresh painting from the night before of a hauntingly beautiful, but also very disturbing. The portrait seems to drain both Vespa and Xander of stamina (failed their Wis saves and suffered a level of Exhaustion). Xander decides to you his divine sense and detects an undead directly under Samual's room.
Immediately, Xander is contacted telepathically by the undead, a female who expresses regret for Samual's exposure to her presence. She accidentally revealed herself to him, but knew that if she didn't continue to visit, he might do something terrible.
Xander asks who he is she is. Her answer is Camilla, the Bride of Braunstein.