Rise of the Runelords
Built by Vorel Foxglove in 4624 AR, it was one of the first houses built along the Lost Coast. It has served as the home of three generations of the Foxglove Family, and is located about three miles from the Lost Coast road, about halfway between Sandpoint and Magnimar.
The manor was once a magnificent structure, but now the place has earned its local nickname of the “Misgivings” well, for it almost appears to loathe its perch high above the ocean, as if the entire house were poised for a suicide leap. The roof sags in many places, and mold and mildew cake the crumbling walls. Vines of diseased-looking gray wisteria strangle the structure in several places, hanging down over the precipitous cliff edge almost like tangled braids of hair. The house is crooked, its gables angling sharply and breached in at least three places, hastily repaired by planks of sodden wood. Chimneys rise from various points among the rooftops, leaning like old men in a storm, and grinning gargoyle faces leer from under the eaves.
Decay abounds inside the manor. Ceilings sag, plaster swells, and timbers rot. Doors are often wedged shut by dampness and rot. Mold and stains mar walls and floors, often in strangely unsettling patterns.
Each of the four floors of the manor contains a room in the same eastern location with stained-glass windows overlooking the Varisian Gulf. Proud of his accomplishments, yet knowing he couldn’t brag of them to most folk, Vorel instead decided to commemorate his personal path to lichdom with the banks of stained-glass windows, using symbolism and metaphor instead of facts and figures. The four stages of his process are meant to be read from attic to basement:
- These windows depict a diverse array of animals and plants—from north to south are a large pale and ghostly scorpion, a gaunt man holding out his arms as a dozen bats hang from him, a moth with a strange skull-like pattern on its wings, a tangle of dull green plants with bellshaped flowers, and a young maiden sitting astride a well in a forest while a spindly spider the size of a dog descends along a string of webbing above her.
- All five of the subjects in the windows as classic spell components for necromancy magic (scorpion venom, vampire’s breath, the tongues of deathwing moths, belladonna, and the heart of a maiden slain by poison). Those spell components have ties to several known lich apotheosis formulae.
- Second Floor:
- The northern window depicts a dark-haired woman with pale skin, large green eyes, and a black-and-red gown; with both hands she wields a jagged iron staff. The southern window’s lower half has been broken and patched with canvas; what remains of its upper half depicts a handsome man dressed in regal finery and a crown of ivory and jade.
- The stained-glass windows here once depicted the two wizards who most directly inspired Vorel’s research into the secrets of lichdom. The northern window depicts Arazni, the Harlot Queen of Geb, while the southern one depicts Socorro, the Butcher of Carrion Hill.
- First Floor:
- Each window depicts a monster rising out of smoke pouring from a seven-sided box. From north to south are depicted a gnarled tree with an enraged face, an immense hook-beaked bird with sky-blue and gold plumage, a winged centaurlike creature with a lion’s lower body and a snarling woman’s upper torso, and a deep blue squidlike creature with evil red eyes.
- The stained-glass windows here depict the third step of his procedure—the construction of his phylactery. Vorel built his phylactery from body parts harvested from four exceptionally long-lived monsters—a treant, a roc, a sphinx, and a kraken.Tthe runes on the box are necromancy-related, that the monsters seem not to be emerging from the boxes but rather being drawn in, and that their snarling visages express not rage, but rather fear.
- The northern window depicts a thin man with gaunt features drinking a foul-looking brew of green fluid, while the southern one shows the same man but in an advanced state of decay, as if he had been dead for several weeks. His arms raised and head thrown back in triumph, his rotting body turns to smoke and spirals into a seven-sided box.
- These final windows depict Vorel Foxglove taking the potion he brewed to catalyze his transformation into a lich and then showing his new undead body bonding with his phylactery.
- Foxglove Manor is over 80 years old, and has been the seat of the Foxglove family the whole time. Some sort of tragedy struck the family a few decades ago, and no one’s lived there since. Common rumor holds that the place is haunted.
- Foxglove Manor is known as the “Misgivings” by some locals, particularly by Varisians. It certainly has a bad reputation—sightings of strange lights in the attic windows, muffled sounds of screaming from above and below, and even rumors of a huge bat-winged devil living in the caves below the manor are but a few of the tales told about the place. The Foxglove family lived there as recently as 2 decades ago, but then a fire burned down the servants’ building, Cyralie Foxglove was found dead—burnt and dashed on the rocks below the cliffs behind the house—and Traver Foxglove was found in his bedroom, dead by his own hand. The children, including young Aldern Foxglove, were sent away to be raised in Korvosa by distant relations.
- Aldern Foxglove recently returned to live in the manor, but he had a hell of a time hiring locals to aid him in the reconstruction and repair of the old building. Until Aldern moved back in, the place was cared for by a man named Rogors Craesby (a retired innkeeper who lost an ear in a bar fight many years ago) who came in 3 days a week from Sandpoint to air the place out, check for squatters, and make minor repairs.
- Foxglove Manor was built decades ago by Vorel Foxglove, a merchant prince from Magnimar. He and his family lived there for 20 years before the entire family perished from disease. The surviving Foxgloves of Magnimar shunned the place for 40 years, until Traver Foxglove moved back in.