The Chopper

When Jervis Stoot made clear his intentions to build a
home on the then-nameless tidal island just north of
the Old Light, many worried that he’d break his neck
climbing up and down the isle’s cliffs . Jervis had already
garnered something of a reputation for eccentricity
when he began his one-man crusade to carve depictions
of birds on every building in town. Stoot never made a
carving without securing permission, but his incredible
skill at woodcarving made it a given that, if Stoot picked
your building as the site ofhis latest proj ect, you s eized
the opportunity. " Sporting a Stoot" soon grew to be
something of a bragging point, and Jervis eventually
extended his gift to include ships and carriages .
Those who asked or tried to pay him for his skill were
rebuffed-Stoat told them, “There ain’t no birds in
that wood for me t’set free,” and went on his way, often
wandering the streets for days before noticing a hidden
bird in a fence post, lintel, steeple, or doorframe, which
he’d then secure permission to “release” with his trusty
hatchets and carving knives .

Stoat’s excuse for wanting to move onto the isle
seemed innocent enough. The place was a haven for
local bird life, and his claim of "wantin’ ta be with th’
birds " seemed to make sense-so much so, in fact,
that the guild of carpenters (with whom Stoat had
maintained a friendly competition for several years)
volunteered to build a staircase, free of charge, along
the southern cliff face so that Stoat could come and go
from his new home without risking life and limb. For
15 years , Stoat lived on the island. His trips into town
grew less and less frequent, making it something of an
event when he chose a building to host a new Stoat.
Sandpoint was no stranger to crime, or even to
murder. Once or twice in a year, passions flared,
robberies went bad, jealousy grew too much to bear,
or one too many drinks were drunk, and someone
would end up dead. But when bodies began to mount
in late 4702 AR, the town initially had no idea how to
react. Sandpoint’s sheriff at the time was a no-nonsense
man named Casp Avertin, a retired city watch officer
from Magnimar. Yet even he was ill-prepared for the
murderer who came to be known as Chopper. Over
the course of one long month, it seemed that every day
brought a new victim to light. Each was found in the
same terrible state: body bearing deep cuts to the neck
and torso, hands and feet severed and stacked nearby,
and the eyes and tongue missing entirely, having been
plucked crudely from each head.

Over the course of that terrible month, Chopper
claimed 25 victims. His uncanny knack at eluding traps
and pursuit quickly wore on the town guard, taking a
toll on Sheriff Avertin in particular, who increasingly
took to drinking. In any event, Sheriff Avertin himself
became Chopper’s last victim, slain upon catching the
murderer in a narrow lane-known now as Chopper’s
Alley-as he was mutilating his latest victim. In the
battle that followed, Avertin landed a telling blow
against the killer. When Belor Hemlock, then merely
a town guard, found both bodies (Avertin’s and the
penultimate victim) several minutes later, he rallied
the guards and they were able to follow the killer’s
bloody trail.
The trail led straight to the stairs of Stoat’s Rock.
At first, the town guard refused to believe the
implications, and feared that Chopper had come to
claim poor Jervis Stoat as his 26th victim. Yet what the
guards found in the modest home atop the isle and in
the larger complex of rooms that had been carved into
the bedrock below left no room for doubt. Jervis Stoat
and Chopper were one and the same, and the eyes and
tongues of all 25 victims were found upon a horrific altar
to a vile demon lord of winged creatures and temptation
whose name none dared speak aloud. Stoat 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 lower chambers,
burned Stoat’s house, tore down the stairs , and did their
best to forget. Stoat himself was burned on the beach in
a pyre, his ashes blessed and then scattered in an attempt
to stave off an unholy return of his evil spirit.

The Chopper

Rune of the Riselords ClintWilkerson ClintWilkerson