Arathiel Horgold, a Mercykiller paladin, is leaving the Jail after work on the evening of the 6th of Revolvis when he is approached by Madamme Lis, owner of a Lower Ward brothel. Lis tells Arathiel that Santana Elofson, one of her girls, was found dead and the patrolmen won’t tell her what happened. Agreeing to look into the matter, Arathiel and his partner Tzenka Sobol go to the Black Sails Inn, where the body was found, and speak with the Harmonium officers. They learn that Santana was the seventh victim of the Goatswood Flayer, a serial killer in the Hive and Lower Ward known for removing their victims’ faces and jaws.
On the 17th of Halcyon the killer strikes again, killing Grace Von Kedra, a tiefling and Doomguard factioneer. Arathiel and Tzenka go to the crime scene and, though the body has already been removed, they find a sticky black ichor intermixed with blood near the door.
The Triad of Order agree to use a Justiciar to bring the Goatswood Flayer to justice and Arathiel is chosen. Factol Mallin leads the ritual that binds him to the killer.
On the 11th of Nimbus, the Flayer’s ninth victim Cordell Lockery is found in the Goatswood district of the Hive. Arathiel and Tzenka go to the Mortuary to investigate the victim’s body, which has had its jaw and the facial skin removed, consistent with the Flayers’ other victims. They determine that the facial skin was removed with an expert level of precision, and note that the removal of the jaw prevents the use of a Speak with Dead spell. They additionally notice a series of small needle-like punctures along the victims’ skull.
At the scene of the crime, an alley off of Radagast Street, the pair learn from the Harmonium that the victim had two sets of wounds: a puncture wound in the neck, believed to have killed him, and an active defense wound on his left hand, believed to have been caused grasping for the killers’ weapon.
A trail of blood leads into the alley, and the pair find a bloody glass shard 5 feet from the largest pool of blood. Intermixed with the blood, they find more ichor. The trail of blood and ichor leads through the Hive and down Hiverunners Road, where it ends abruptly in front of a small home.