Rise of the Runelords
The Late Unpleasantness is the term coined by the locals of Sandpoint in regards to two terrible events which, though unrelated, occurred in such a close timeframe that they will be forever linked in the town’s history.
Over the course of a month in late 4702 AR (roughly 5 years before the start of the story), 27 grisly murders occurred in Sandpoint by a killer who came to be known as Chopper. Each was found with the same wounds: deep cuts to the neck and torso, hands and feet severed and stacked nearby, and the eyes and tongues missing entirely.
Chopper had an uncanny knack for eluding traps, and pursuit quickly wore on Sheriff Casp Avertin and the town guard. Avertin in particular took to drinking heavily. Eventually, however, Avertin cornered Chopper mutilating his latest victim. In the battle that followed, both sheriff and killer were mortally wounded, Avertin landing a telling blow before falling himself. Chopper escaped, but then-guard member Belor Hemlock found both the victim and the sheriff, rallied the troops, and followed Chopper’s blood trail.
The trail led to the stairs of Stoot’s Rock, the home of eccentric, yet popular, sculptor Jervis Stoot, whose bird carvings adorned most houses, and many other structures, in Sandpoint. At first, the guard assumed Stoot would be yet another victim of Chopper. Yet inside and below the house, guards found a horrific alter to a vile demon lord of winged creatures and temptation whose name they dared not speak aloud. Atop the altar were the tongues and eyes from 25 victims, excluding Avertin and the body laying in what is today known as Choppers Lane.
As well as the body parts, Stoot himself was found dead at the base of the altar, having plucked his own eyes and tongue loose in a final offering. The guards collapsed the entrance to the basement, burned Stoot’s house, and did their best to forget. Stoot himself was burned on the beach in a pyre, his ashes blessed and scattered in an attempted to stave off an unholy return of his evil spirit.
But as fate would have it, Sandpoint would soon have another tragedy to bear, one that almost eclipsed Chopper’s rampage. A month after Stoot’s discovery, a terrible fire struck Sandpoint. The fire started in the Sandpoint Chapel and spread quickly, As the town rallied to save the church, the fire expanded to the North Coast Stables, the White Deer Inn, and three homes. In the end, the church burned to the ground, leaving the town’s beloved priest Ezakien Tobyn and his beautiful adopted daughter Nualia dead.
All that remains of Stoot are ragged scars on buildings and figureheads where owners used hatchets to remove his once-beloved carvings. The homes and businesses ravaged by the fire have been reconstructed, and the Sandpoint Cathedral is ready to be consecrated. With it, Sandpoint hopes to finally put the Late Unpleasantness behind them.
UPDATE: Perhaps the Unpleasantness isn’t as behind Sandpoint residents as they hoped.
Through the journal of Tsuto Kaijitsu, it has been learned that the Sandpoint Cathedral fire was, in fact, started by Nualia Tobyn, who faked her own death in the blaze. Reasons for the fire, as well as Nualia’s plans for the future of Sandpoint, can be found in her character detail.