As you open your eyes and look around you, you realize that you’re sitting at a large dining table with seven others. Upon the table sits the remains of a feast. You recognize boiled mutton and soft cheese, pickled sausage with turnips, braised phoenix with dried plums and tankards of what appear to be cider, ale and stout. It appears to have been sitting here for some time. Some of it is beginning to mold and attract flies.
Your memories of what happened are foggy at best. The last thing you remember is having an ale at the Lewd Maiden, a local tavern. It was quite loud with patrons talking, laughing and singing along with the duo of minstrels playing in the corner.
It was quite a strange scene in the tavern. The minstrels and some of the patrons wore what appeared to be black and white paint on their faces. It was as if they were preparing for a war with a neighboring tribe. As the minstrels played there was a tall man with bright red hair walking around the room. The man wore a flowing robe and a star-covered turban with a large feather in the front. As he walked he would sometimes bump into people, excuse himself, and move on.
There were many other notable things happening during the performance. A brown bear stood on its hind legs, leaning against a pole and enjoying an ale. There was a man sitting in a corner drinking, but otherwise not really interacting with anyone. He wore a large, semi-spherical red hat with a random design of white patches on it. Thrinain, the daughter of Count Eldwic, was quite drunk and at the end of the night invited the entire tavern over to her manor to continue the party.
The last thing you remember (and only vaguely) was being at Thrinain’s manor, dancing, and having a great time.
As you are coming to your senses, you realize that the woman at the head of the table is not moving. She is face down on the table with her arms sprawled out in front of her. A dagger protrudes from her back and blood has dripped down onto the carpet. There also appears to be blood staining the table cloth under her face.
The party, all of which haven't really known each other before this, investigate the body of the woman. They lift her head to find that the woman's eyes are missing and her teeth have been extracted. Even so, they recognize her as Thrinain. Nobody remembers what happened. They especially don't remember killing her or seeing her killed. The knife is removed and on the hilt is the following symbol:
While the party looks around the room, they hear noises elsewhere in the manor. It sounds as if someone is opening doors and calling for Thrinain. Before anyone can act, someone tries the door and, finding it locked, pounds on it. They demand that the door be opened and when there is a pause, it is kicked in.
After the door flies open, a robed human and four guards rush in and see Thrinain slumped over the table. They demand to know what happened but of course nobody knows. After a brief interrogation, the robed human offers a deal. If the party will travel to a tomb outside of town and retrieve a large purple gem for him, he will pretend he didn't find them with the body.
The party agrees with the man, who then introduces himself as Larrius, the mage of Count Eldwic. He tells them to meet him at his home and gives them directions on where it is located in town. They are to return within three days with the gem or the town guard will be alerted and they will be arrested.
On the way out of town, the party stops in at the Lewd Maiden to see if they can find out anything about this tomb. It turns out that it is known as the Secret Tomb of Secrets and is the (not so) secret tomb of a mage named Secrets. Upon learning this and also finding out that it's not a great place to go, the party embarks on their short journey to the tomb.
While traveling through the swamp, the adventurers notice something moving among the reeds. As they get closer to investigate, a rotted corpse covered in mud, moss, and leeches rises up to attack. Luckily the creature is slow and before it can attack, it is hit numerous times. It is able to vomit leeches all over Julio the bard before it is finished off.