Four young fillies (who are the very best of friends): Wry Sprout, Bitta Whately, Lace Leaf, and Tulip Seed, set out to have a picnic one fine day near the mill pond. As dinner time approaches, the fillies are nowhere to be found, and soon many members of the town join the search.
Hurryup Ann, Aurora Jane, JoNeigh, Autumn Gallery, and Jimmy eventually found the girls hiding in a dilapidated tool shed on the abandoned site of the Old New Acres farm and mill. The girls were nearly catatonic with fear and provided little help in describing what had happened to them.
Investigating further, Hurryup Ann became lost in an unnaturally moving fog, a fog which would not respond to JoNeigh’s attempt to dispel.
The next day, Hurryup Ann and each of the fillies awoke to find themselves covered in odd-colored mushrooms, similar to patches that had started spreading from the old farm.
Lots of solutions were suggested in answer to this, but plucking the mushrooms only seemed to make the problem worse, and the typical battery of folk remedies made little headway against the fungus. The short version is that, thanks to a lucky break and to Jimmy’s desperate/cute obsession with corn and corn-related products, it was discovered ultra-sweet corn syrup not only washed the mushrooms off, but cause them to disintegrate. A high-pressure corn syrup gun—which Jimmy happened to have handy and in perfect working order on his farm (don’t ask)—was deployed in an effort to curtail the spread of mushrooms from the old mill.
Adjacent to the tool shed is a cemetery—natch—that hasn’t been maintained since the old mill was discarded in favor of the new mill. Upon investigation and much poking around, several loose horseshoes and nails were found to have been disturbed from the plots. Whether they were specifically buried only shallowly, or had fallen from the markers to by buried over time was never discerned. Aurora tried to appease any restless spirits in the area by making sure they were each accorded a nail and by laying bunches of flowers on the sites, but this only made her queen of the mill pond frogs. Somehow. We’re still working on that one.
Many of the tombstones bore a motto which had been defaced, "The gate may be _______ shut.”
Joneigh was investigating some hoofprints and an apparently recently discard pry bar other near a dense patch of brambles on one side of the cemetery when she noticed a stone structure inside the brambles. Hurryup Ann insisted on uncovering the object, and discovered that it appeared to be a sarcophagus. After much debate, the lid was pried off to reveal a set of stairs descending toward an underground chamber.
Scattered on the stairs of the secret entrance were more nails, which Aurora carefully collected in a field: no way is she touching anything that might give her mushroom herpes. The hidden space below the cemetery turns out to be an ancient place of power for some degraded and horrific elder cult—natch—because the walls are covered with depictions of pony sacrifice and other equally off-putting scenarios. Among the ritual accoutrements left in positions of prominence were (the change in tense is appropriate) a moldy old book and a ceremonial dagger whose hilt was (are you sitting down?) made from the horn of a unicorn!
While Joneigh investigated the book and the knife, Aurora read the names on the burial plaques ranged around the ritual area (this means it isn’t a fake sarcophagus after all, it’s just bigger on the inside). Suddenly, a wild apparition appeared! The ghost of a long-dead pony cult member, Juanita Whately (great-great-grandmother of HurryUp Anne’s cousins) who had released the mysterious mushroom-producing fog in the first place, put the whammy on Aurora, (who failed her Magic roll rather spectacularly, the same way she does everything). Using the siphoned-off life-force of the unicorn, the ghost strengthened her own form. The sarcophagus lid slammed close, apparently trapping everypony inside the chamber.
While Hurryup Ann argued with the ghost, JoNeigh investigated the compartment where she had found the book. Aurora, barely alive or awake, did not contribute much to the conversation. Jimmy, meanwhile, had been finding old tools scattered on the floor, and noticing that one solitary but solid horseshoe nail appeared to be imbedded in one ectoplasmic hoof of the ghost, decided to try knocking the nail loose with the rusty old hammer he had found. This caused the ghost to disintegrate and appear to flee into the burial vault bearing Juanita’s name.
Thinking that maybe something could be done to the ghost by, say, blasting her dessicated corpse with fire, should some suddenly become available, Jimmy wrenched off the slot’s cover…
…and suddenly it became apparent where all the loose nails had come from: the corpse’s horseshoes! Jimmy and Autumn realized that the motto on the tombstones had been, “The gate may be nailed shut” which had been left by Weyland Whately as a clue that the horseshoe nails had power over the ghost. Since Aurora was in no condition to be starting any fires, considering the ghost’s attack had left her at Death’s door, knocking loudly, a great deal of effort was instantly expended to hammer the shoes back into place, neatly trapping the ghost back in her corpse. They were some kind of long-term spirit ward. Job well done!
As all this excitement is going on, Aurora was given a very mean choice by the GM: maybe possibly die right here, or utilize the life-force stored in this here canopic jar in which are interred the teeth of Weyland Whately, husband of the dread Juanita, who late in life had turned his back on the cult, and had been killed while trying to undermine the cult’s machinations. Since no one wants to die on her first adventure, Aurora rather reluctantly accepted the life force and survived.
But what to do with the old book of forbidden knowledge (entitled “Unnameable Things”) and the gristly knife? Remember what was said earlier about that change in tenses being intentional? Eeyup. Burn them both! Joneigh, overcoming some deep-seated aversions and cherished beliefs about the sacredness of knowledge, set the whole lot aflame until it was all ruined beyond further use.
Meanwhile, the population of Brindlebury, who the hero and heroines had been far too busy to inform of their discovery regarding corn syrup, were about to burn the four fillies at the stake for the greater good of the community.
Luckily for everypony, that turned out not to be necessary because, even though the GM is evil, he’s not THAT evil. And Arctica’s elite ghost-busting squad called from out of town also turned out not to be necessary, a situation at which she seemed moderately proud of the investigators.