We were down Xiph and Neuman this week, and Envyus was in and out, so this writeup is mostly Shamus- and Aisling-centric. Also, I should note that the cherry on top for the night requires a bit of context: Before we got in the game, we were discussing our beverages of choice. Somehow, The Most Interesting Man In The World came into the discussion, and we spent a few minutes riffing on it. “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do…” and all that good stuff. Anyway, writeup:
The party went to go find the captain of the guard, who sent them off in the general direction he thought the werewolves might have come from. After several hours of searching the woods, they located what appeared to be the wolves’ den. There were two guards outside, so the party retreated to discuss how they wanted to proceed. While they were discussing this, things took a turn for the silly as Shamus began to mouth off and Aisling tried to throw him up a tree.
Needless to say, this activity alerted the guards to the party’s presence. They came to investigate and ended up grabbing Aisling and Shamus while everyone else scampered up into the trees as quickly as they could. One of the guards recognized the party from the fight at the church earlier, and both were suspicious. After the first social encounter we’ve ever had that worked the way it was supposed to, the party agreed to enter the den without weapons.
Instead of the den of monsters that they had been led to expect, they instead found what resembled a refugee camp, with most of the inhabitants sick and/or severely malnourished. The guards escorted the party to speak with the chief, who, upon finding out that Father Myst had sent them, grew furious. He ordered the party to come with him and brought them down a narrow passage towards a makeshift curtain.
The chief stopped at the curtain, then turned around to face the party. “Did that priest – no, that’s not right,” he said. “Did that madman tell you what actually happens at the Center?” The party shook their heads. The chief snarled “Allow me to show you,” and pulled back the curtain.
The first thing that hit the group was the smell of blood and decaying flesh. As they adjusted and their heads cleared, they saw that the center of the room was occupied by a man lying on a makeshift operating table. Huge patches of his skin had been completely removed, exposing the muscle and bone beneath. His arms were broken and bent in multiple places. One of his legs had been amputated, and the other was rotting away. He was still alive, and, mercifully, unconscious, breathing rapidly and erratically.
The party stood in stunned silence while the chief continued to speak. “I’ve been trying to do what I can for him, but I’m no medic. He somehow managed to escape from the Center a few days ago, along with a few others. Myst’s private goons hunted them down, and he was the only survivor. He’s the only reason we know anything about what’s going on down there.”
Shamus started to look over the body to figure out how to heal the poor man, but trailed off. Aisling’s tattoos began to glow again as his rage overwhelmed him. “We are doNe,” he snarled. “He muST paY.”
The chief smiled grimly. “That’s the plan,” he replied. While Aisling calmed down and Amusel and Shamus finally collected themselves enough to begin healing the man on the table, the chief outlined a plan to assault the Center and break out the prisoners. The goal was to minimize unnecessary casualties – the bulk of the city guard didn’t know what actually went on inside the Center, and there was no need to kill those who weren’t knowingly complicit.
Alfreish is situated on two opposite riverbanks, with a bridge connecting them. The werewolves were on the east side, while the Center was on the west. The original plan had essentially been to try and kick in the front door, empowered by that night’s full moon, and push through the guards and civilians towards the center. Aisling suggested an alternate option – run a rope across the river a hundred yards south of the town and have everyone else climb across.
The chief agreed to this, and decided to start the raid an hour after sundown. This left the party with some time to kill, so they made their way back to the village to see what they could do to help prepare. As they entered, they noticed a large commotion. A large group of guards had surrounded some unseen person or creature and were making their way towards the Center. The party tried to get a look at the prisoner, but saw nothing beyond a brief flash of red.
After Shamus told the captain of the guards to prep for a werewolf attack by placing all of his guards in the wrong place, the party went down to the riverbank to wait. After the werewolves appeared and they all made their way to the other side, Shamus came up with a plan – tie the werewolves up, loosely enough that they could easily escape, and bring them into the Center posing as prisoners. This went off without a hitch, and they all found themselves inside the Center.
The ground floor of the center was a clean, comfortable looking prison, but it was also conspicuously empty. Once inside, the werewolves broke their bonds and transformed. The guards inside were able to sound an alarm before the wolves tore them to shreds, and the party found a secret entrance leading down into a dungeon.
Once inside, they made their way down a long, narrow hallway, passing by cramped cells filled with corpses, creatures that were about to become corpses, and a few that had become feral thanks to their horrific treatment. As they approached the end of the hall, they two guards speaking with each other about the new prisoner that had been brought in a few hours ago. The conversation went something like this:
“Hey, did ya see that new prisoner? She’s kinda cute…”
“Yeah, I saw her. I might just have to pay her a visit… offer up some extra rehabilitation on the side, if you catch my drift.”
The party charged immediately.
Aisling made quick work of one, vertically bisecting him with a few precise strikes, while Shamus, as usual, took a more tactical approach. He noticed that some of the creatures locked up in here were straining at their bars and reaching through, so he carefully positioned himself before bullrushing the psychopath into one particularly vicious creature’s reach. The guard was immediately dragged screaming through the bars as the creature started to tear at him, before falling silent as the room was filled with the sounds of crunching bone. Shamus calmly walked back towards the party, stating, “As a Paladin, I don’t always sacrifice people to ravening beasts, but when I do…”