Our adventures in Sandpoint begin! (Sunday, Rova 1st, 4707 AR)
The crowd gathered for the opening speeches of the Swallowtail Festival was quite respectable, by anyone’s reckoning, with many visitors in town and even many of the more reclusive farmers making the trek with their families to celebrate with the town of Sandpoint.
Mayor Kendra Deverin had a friendly attitude and excitement about the festival and town proved contagious as she welcomed visitors to town and joked that even Lars Rovanky managed to tear himself away from the tannery to attend (to everyone but Lars’ amusement). Sheriff Belor Hemlock made an address which managed to kill the mood a bit, calling for a moment of silence for those who had lost their lives during the Late Unpleasantness. Fortunately, Cyrdak Drokkus was more that up to the challenge of bringing the crowd’s mood back up with his rousing anecdotes as he delivered a not-completely-irreverent recap of the recent times and long process that the town went through to finance and built the new cathedral. He threw in a bit of indulgent self-promotion at the end, inviting everyone to stop by the Sandpoint Theatre the following evening to check out the new production (one of his own), called “The Harpy’s Curse,” and revealed that the lead role of Avisera the harpy queen would be played by none other than the famous Magnimarian diva Allishandra! Concluding the opening ceremonies was Father Zantus, who stepped up to give a short speech thanking everyone for coming before officially declaring the Swallowtail Festival under way.
At Noon, the crowd reassembled just outside of the new cathedral. Father Zantus and his acolytes brought out the wagon, gave a short parable, and released the thousand Swallowtail butterflies into the air in a spiralling riot of color to a great cheer from the crowd. Throughout the rest of the day, children tried to catch even one of the butterflies, but none were able.
Lunch was provided at no cost, as each of Sandpoint’s taverns brought their best offerings in an innocent competition of food, though in the end it was Ameiko Kaijutsu and her remarkable curry-spiced salmon and early winterdrop mead which were the people’s choice.
The revelry continued throughout the rest of the day, until the sun finally began to set, and the consecration of the new cathedral began. Once again, the people gathered, and Father Zantus took the central podium. Using a thunderstone to gather the people’s attentions, he prepared to recite the Prayer of First Dreaming…
Suddenly, the sound of an explosion rang out, followed by a bloom of flame and smoke from further south in Sandpoint. Then, a woman’s scream pierced the air. A few moments later, another scream rises, and then another. Beyond them, a sudden surge of strange new voices rises – high pitched, tittering shrieks that sound not quite human. The crowd parts, and something low to the ground races by, giggling with disturbing glee as a stray dog gives a pained yelp, then lies still. A raucous sound of strange singing begins, chanted from shrill scratchy voices…