Amidst

posted Nov 2, 2020, 2:42 PM by Stephen Pliska-Matyshak   [ updated Nov 5, 2020, 1:23 PM ]

Dodecitina 25th, Year One of the Reign of High King Ran

After finishing up with the first wererat lair in the Aranciaone family crypt where The Iris acquired a wererat informant calling himself Eravan, they returned to Zek Mruk to collect their payment. Zek notices that Magic possesses the trident the group found in the crypt and accepts this as proof that the wererats have been taken care of. He offers the buy the trident for 350 gold, as well.
Magic: Um, no thanks, but I like it.
Cho Chi: I guess it is yours, Magic.
Tazdar: I'm not particularly interested either way. Keep it if you want it.
Zek Mruk: OK, so be it. If you ever want to be rid of it, you know where to find me.
Dar Kalla: Seems like a small amount of money for a magic weapon.
Eris Drew: That is what I thought Dar.
Magic: Zek Mruk, if there comes a time, you will be my only customer for the staff.
Magic: But, we will collect our other reward.
Magic: The promised one.
Magic bows humbly with the staff.
Dar Kalla: I think we paid more to get our weapons covered in silver than we got paid for this job.
Magic: True, but now we are equipped for other jobs.
Zek Mruk hands each of you a pouch containing the coins promised.
Magic: One-time cost.
Munkustrap von Rumm: Thank you.
Magic: From here, it is profit.
Magic: There were four other locations of wererats that we hope to make arrangements with you for.
Over the next several weeks, The Iris make forays into the locations given by Eravan as other wererat lairs. All of them are completely abandoned by the time they arrive. Eravan's only explanation is that wererats move around a lot. He swears he has not tipped them off as you are paying him enough to keep his confidence. He has clearly been spending the gold as he is now all cleaned up and wearing fine clothes when you meet with him at the appointed meeting places you agree upon.
Dar Kalla: I am still calling him Huggy Bear.
Magic: If he continues to come up with nothing, we can not keep paying him.
Eris Drew: Indeed.
Magic: And he can bring us information.
Magic: And then we can decide if it is worth our time.
Munkustrap von Rumm: He must know where at least one lair is because he must commune with his kind, I imagine.
Magic: That is the new arrangement. Take it or leave it.
Eravan: My word is good. I can't help if they aren't where they said they were.
Magic: Sounds like we agree then.
Magic: It has been a pleasure, but you are no longer necessary.
Tazdar: Maybe someone else is tipping them off?
Eris Drew: Don't you know their route? You spend time with them.
Magic: Come back if you have recent information, Eravan.
Tazdar: Does your former band have any allies who might be watching?
Eravan: What? I haven't been spending any time with them. Sewers and tombs are gross.
Dar Kalla: Bear in mind, friend, if you are now suddenly showing lots of coin and new fancy clothes, your old cohorts will know you betrayed them.
Magic: Yeah.
Eris Drew: So you have just abandoned them. Wouldn't they be suspicious?
Eravan: Precisely why I'm avoiding them.
Eravan: You are the ones that killed all my associates.
Tazdar: Let's do this. Eravan may not be useful to us for hunting wererats any longer, but his curse makes him a useful spy in general. And, his higher wealth allows for access to higher levels of society. I'd like to introduce him to King Ran and see if he can be of use.
Eris Drew: That sounds like a good idea.
There have been no other incidents with wererats reported since the expedition into the tomb.
Magic: Sounds good to me, Tazdar. Anytime with the King is a good time.
Cho Chi: I prefer to keep my distance from royalty.
Eravan: Me? The King?
Munkustrap von Rumm: I doubt a lowly wererat is worth the King's time, but we could try.
Eravan scowls at the paladin.
Tazdar: A spy of his talents is always of use to a leader. However, we cannot exactly bring him to the audience hall.
Eravan: I could be very useful; maybe join The Inquisitors.
Munkustrap von Rumm: You're precisely not useful.
Magic: Let us go up there and try and if they say no, then we can venture elsewhere.
Cho Chi: At least you have career goals.
Dar Kalla: Me tinks he is better fit for the street. He can keep to back allies and tell us what the word is from dark places.
Magic: I will let you all decide then. I have decided I am not paying him.
Munkustrap von Rumm: I agree with Dar. I wouldn't dare insult the King.
Eris Drew: Just because he is no longer useful to us, Munkustrap, does not mean he could not be of use to someone else. He could aid the King with Forget-Me-Not.
Munkustrap von Rumm: Maybe, indirectly, but not directly.
Eris Drew: Either way, he could help him.
Munkustrap von Rumm: Let us be the intermediary between him and the King.
Tazdar: Well, of course.
Tartarus: King? Wats a king?
Tazdar: I'll contact Rael and discuss it with him.
The rumors of a werewolf rampaging through Star Plaza have been spreading like wildfire throughout the city. The first occurrence was just days after clearing out the wererat lair. Then, a month later it happened again. There has been a lot of destruction of property, but no one has been killed or even bitten. As suddenly as the beast appears, it disappears. In both cases, it has disappeared without a trace in alleys.
Tazdar: Eravan, can you see if you can find us any specific details on the werewolf attacks in the meantime?
Magic: Maybe one of us got bitten and has been mistaken as a werewolf.
Eravan: I can do that. Anything to keep getting paid.
Magic glares at Tartarus.
Tartarus: I don't know.
Cho Chi: I don't think we could be mistaken for a werewolf.
Tartarus: Hmm, I never seen werewolf.
Munkustrap von Rumm: How could one of us be mistaken for a werewolf? We're not werewolves.
Tazdar: Good. I'm hoping that whoever is transforming won't notice you in your rat-form. If you see a commotion, change, and follow.
Cho Chi: Let's go check out the alleys where the werewolf disappeared.
Eravan: Are you sure you aren't part wererat, Tazdar?
Eris Drew: If Tartarus was a gigantic wererat, he might not know. I mean he is huge and could be mistaken for a werewolf because of his size.
Tazdar: I'm a soldier. We all know how to be rats when we need to be.
Tazdar smiles.
Magic: Eris, we might need to watch these two companions of ours.
Dar Kalla: Where is Star Plaza? In Plaza Heights?
Tartarus: Me, rat? No, no, no.
Eris Drew: Do we not already watch out for our companions, Magic?
Magic: I don't have your healing touch, Eris.
Magic: Or your armor.
Magic: I mean we need to keep a closer eye.
Tazdar: I have a contact who might be of use. I'll be back. Hopefully, with him in tow.
Magic: Under the full phase of moons.
Eris Drew: I know what you meant.
Magic: It does sound like good fun!
Dar Kalla: What kind of damage was done?
Magic (magically projecting): This Just In! Majestic Wares Is Having A Sale On Werewolf Packs. Get One Or Get Eaten!
Magic joins Munkustrap to find Rael.
Munkustrap von Rumm: What is in your werewolf packs?
Magic: Backpack, powdered silver, silvered dagger, steel mirror, a vial of holy water, a set of manacles, 15 feet of chain, lock and key, 3 torches, 10 candles, a flask Of oil, tinderbox.
Magic: By the way, I am looking for partners on this.
Magic: Help with holy water.
Magic: Or the smithing of silvered weapons.
Magic: Just a tip, not too elaborate.
Eris Drew: Wouldn't you need a cleric for holy water?
Magic: Aren't you a cleric?
Eris Drew: Yes.
Magic with a sly smile.
Magic: Turn water into gold, Eris Drew.
Munkustrap von Rumm: She knows of alchemy?
Eris Drew: Not yet.
Tazdar and Eris make their way down to Nightfield and Sark the Blind's shelter. They find him sitting on his crate in his alley.
Tazdar: Well, Sark, you're nothing if not consistent.
Tazdar: Nice to see you again, friend.
Sark the Blind: Ah, the hoblgoblbin. How are you doing, Tazdar?
Sark the Blind sniffs.
Tazdar: Quite well, thanks to you. I don't need to hide my face any longer.
Eris Drew remains silent.
Sark the Blind: Got the leave of the King, did you?
Sark the Blind: Who is your friend?
Tazdar: I'm hoping I can return the favor. I've made myself a vassal of the King as he is the mightiest warrior I've ever witnessed.
Tazdar: And this is Eris, a member of my new band.
Eris Drew nods.
Tazdar: She's trustworthy in a fight and out of one. Eris, this is Sark.
Sark the Blind: She's a quiet one.
Sark the Blind stands and approaches.
Eris Drew: Not normally.
Sark the Blind: Ah, there you are.
Eris Drew: I would rather let Tazdar speak as he seems to know you quite well.
Tazdar: Not as well as I'd like. But, I come with an opportunity that I hope will help me repay the favor you did for me.
Sark the Blind: We have a bond of sorts.
Tazdar: The city finds itself beset by a werewolf and I believe your ability to perceive could be of great use.
Sark the Blind: I've heard about this werewolf. I hope it stays on the other side of the river.
Tazdar: Yes, they're a nasty lot. We've been hunting wererat bandits of late and the resistances of even those small rodents can be a great pain.
Eris Drew: It doesn't seem to come out too often. I suspect it wouldn't go beyond the river.
Sark the Blind: So, this opportunity?
Tazdar: No one seems to be able to find the creature, so I'm hoping your senses would be able to detect it.
Tazdar: I'm sure your nose could spot him, even in humanoid form.
Sark the Blind: A distinct possibility.
Tazdar: If you help us stop him, you would gain great notoriety and honor, as well as a fair bit of coin in reward from the city I'd wager.
Tazdar: I've seen you fight as well.
Sark the Blind: This would really be a great opportunity for an apprentice of mine. He isn't around today though.
Eris Drew: Your apprentice?
Sark the Blind: Yes. This halfling has been learning to use his other senses. I've been training him.
Tazdar: Actually, I think both you and your apprentice would like to meet a woman in our group. Her combat style reminds me a bit of yours.
Tazdar: Speed like I've not seen in my old soldiering days.
Eris Drew: Does he go by the name Fennimore?
Sark the Blind: Why, yes! That's him.
Eris Drew looks confused.
Tazdar: Oh, we know him. He joined us briefly for our first job.
Tazdar: Disappeared in a scuffle and I haven't seen him since.
Sark the Blind: He is sneaky that way.
Eris Drew: He was a companion of mine he helped with a chain devil some time ago.
Eris Drew: He was quite interesting.
Tazdar: Well, if you feel he could help and if he's willing, we'd welcome the assistance.
Sark the Blind: Well, he is out and about doing his thing, so it looks like you have me. I am at your service.
Sark the Blind bows.
Tazdar: Excellent!
Tazdar: It will be good to work with you, Sark.
Sark the Blind: Lead the way.
Eris Drew smiles at Tazdar.
Tazdar: Gladly.
Munkustrap and Magic make their way over to the castle to find Rael Octavius.
Magic (magically projecting): The Best Defense Is A "Majestic" Offense! Werewolf Protection Packs For Sale! Majestic Wares!
Magic (singing): Off the find Rael, the wonderful Rael of "The City."
Several citizens stop Magic along the way to inquire about his werewolf packs.
Munkustrap von Rumm: Are you sure you won't be too busy hanging posters and hawking your wares to go to the castle?
Magic: Eris is hanging the posters and I do the vocals.
Magic: Teamwork makes the dream work.
Magic smiles all chipper.
Magic: Having a level head like yours around makes sure I stay on task.
Munkustrap von Rumm: What's your profit? Those packs look expensive.
Magic: You sell them to a neighborhood.
Magic: A street that sticks together thrives together.
The pair finally make it to the castle where they are stopped by the guards at the gate.
Munkustrap von Rumm: I'm not familiar with that saying.
Magic: If your neighbor goes down, you pick up their part of the pack.
Magic: I had been thinking they are a bit pricy.
Munkustrap von Rumm addresses the guards. "Munkustrap von Rumm here to see Rael Octavius."
Magic: Go on in. I will be right there.
Castle Guard: And the manner of your business with Master Octavius?
Munkustrap von Rumm: This is concerning the rumors of werewolf activity going on in the city. I intend to put a stop to that nonsense.
Magic (magically projecting): Werewolf Protection Packs! Buy Together or Die Together!
Munkustrap von Rumm clenches his jaws briefly.
Munkustrap von Rumm: And this is my compatriot, Magic.
Magic gives a thumbs up.
Castle Guard: Oh, very good, Sir von Rumm. You may enter.
Magic smiles and turns to repeat his sales pitch.
Munkustrap von Rumm leans in toward the guard and taps his temple twice with his forefinger.
Magic turns to follow.
Magic: But, but, but.
Magic: No, I get it.
Magic turns back to the street.
Munkustrap von Rumm: He is very energetic. Forgive him.
Magic (singing): Here I go again on my own.
Castle Guard nods.
Magic (singing): Down the only road I have ever known.
Castle Guard: Enter, bard.
Magic (singing): But I made up my mind and you SIR ARE SO KIND.
Munkustrap von Rumm walks through the gate motioning for Magic to follow.
Magic (singing): Here I go AAGGGAGAGGAIIIIIIIIN!
Magic runs inside.
Magic motions a lock and key across his lips to Munkustrap.
Magic winks.
Munkustrap von Rumm looks confused.
As the pair make their way through the inner gate, Rael is descending the stairs from the palace.
Munkustrap von Rumm: Seeing Rael, Munkustrap bows in greeting.
Magic prestidigitates things clean as he goes.
Rael Octavius: Sir Munkustrap, Majestic, what gives me the honor of your presence this fine day?
Magic motions the lock and key across his mouth again and motions to Munkustrap.
Munkustrap von Rumm: We are here to find out more about the werewolf rumors spreading throughout the city and how we can help.
Magic: That is why we are here?
Magic: YES!
Magic back to silent and confused.
Rael Octavius: Oh. This is quite good timing. There has been a great deal of discussion about this in court.
Magic thinking this was about the wererat.
Munkustrap von Rumm: What is the consensus among the court?
Magic wide-eyed.
Rael Octavius: It needs to be dealt with, of course. The Inquisitors have not been successful in tracking it down.
Magic: Munkustrap, pssst. Who are the Inquisitors?
Munkustrap von Rumm: We can talk about that later, Magic.
Rael Octavius: There has been a lot of debate on whether mercenaries should be pulled into this search.
Munkustrap von Rumm: Any leads we can follow?
Munkustrap von Rumm: It is my sworn duty as a knight of the city to protect it at all costs.
Rael Octavius: I am not privy to the secrets kept by them, but I may be able to get The Iris involved since you are already offering.
Magic: These are the mercenaries you are looking for, Rael.
Rael Octavius looks at Magic.
Rael Octavius: You are a bit distracted today, Majestic?
Magic: Yes, yes I am.
Rael Octavius: You let me do the persuading in court and you will be fine.
Munkustrap von Rumm: Well, feel free to pass along to The Inquisitors that The Iris is available to help hunt down this werewolf. We just need information like a lead of some kind.
Magic performs the lock and key motion again across his lips, then unlike the first and second time, throws away the key.
Rael Octavius smirks.
Rael Octavius: The areas of the destruction are well known. I am sure some of you are probably already looking there though.
Magic nods in agreement with his lips tightly sealed.
Munkustrap von Rumm: Some of my compatriots are already scouting the areas where the werewolf attacked.
Munkustrap von Rumm: I hear that they left no trace though.
Rael Octavius nods.
Rael Octavius: There are some clues, but as I said I have not been informed as to what these are.
Munkustrap von Rumm grimaces slightly. "Oh, and Magic here is selling werewolf packs to ward off werewolves."
Magic nods with a huge, giddy smile.
Rael Octavius: I have heard his advertisements. It has helped spread awareness, actually.
Magic finger guns at Rael.
Munkustrap von Rumm: Maybe we need a curfew to keep people indoors at night when the werewolf is most likely to attack.
Munkustrap von Rumm: I assume the attacks were at night anyway.
Rael Octavius: Measures are already being put in place. It may put a damper on New Year's though.
Munkustrap von Rumm: That would be sad indeed.
Rael Octavius: Well, if there is nothing else, I will pass on your offer to the King.
Munkustrap von Rumm: That would be most excellent. Appreciate your help in this matter.
Rael Octavius: Then I bid you farewell. You may hear something regarding this very soon.
Munkustrap von Rumm bows, "Farewell."
Magic plays his loot on the way out.
Cho Chi, Tartarus, and Dar find their way to the latest area of destruction.
Cho Chi looks around for clues as to what is doing the damage.
Dar Kalla: What kind of damage was caused?
The group finds that repairs are already underway, but it was obvious a lot of windows and more fragile parts of buildings and fences were smashed.
Tartarus: That would be fun.
Cho Chi: It doesn't look like a werewolf did this to me.
Dar Kalla: Can we find any witnesses?
Cho Chi: Hey, did any of you workers see anything?
Tartarus finds a trail of destruction.
The workers have no information other than the rumors.
The proprietor of this shop was one of the folks that described the assailant as a werewolf.
Dar Kalla tries to follow the trail.
As the barbarians follow the trail, Cho Chi notices tufts of fur and bits of skin in some of the detritus as they go.
Cho Chi picks up the errant fur and looks at it closely.
Just seems to be course fur or hair not unlike that of the beasts you have encountered in the past.
Cho Chi: Since whatever the creature is disappeared, she looks up and down for escape routes or more fur.
Cho Chi puts the fur in a pouch.
The trail leads to an alley that is strewn with debris.
The debris is mostly various types of waste, some far less pleasant than others.
Dar Kalla looks for a hidden doorway or access to sewers.
The alley is a dead-end and smells like the sewers vent here.
Dar finds an open sewer grate that has hair or fur stuck to the edges of it.
Dar Kalla: Look! Dar finds...furry stuff!
Cho Chi: Maybe we should get help before investigating the sewer.
Cho Chi compares the fur.
Dar Kalla: You no fun!
The fur found earlier matches this fur.
Cho Chi sticks both furs in her pouch.
Dar Kalla: Did the wolf attack only during the full phase of the moons?
Cho Chi: We could try by ourselves, but we probably would die.
Cho Chi: Dar do you want to go down and investigate a little further?
Dar Kalla: We go find udders den. Dey would be angry if we hunt wolf wit out dem!
Dar Kalla: Dar have fun speaking tongue!
Cho Chi: Good plan. I'm glad you thought of that.
Dar Kalla: Dar from cold wastes.
Cho Chi: Let's find the others, quick.
The group all converge at The North Market near The Rogue Spoon Inn.
Magic (magically projecting): Sharp Teeth Will Not Make Me A Feast! Buy A Werewolf Protection Pack To Slay The Beast! Now carried at Majestic Wares!
Cho Chi: We found a sewer entrance that may help us find the terror.
Dar Kalla: Dar draw GOOD MAP!
Eris Drew: Should we go into the Rogue Spoon so we can discuss our findings.
Dar Kalla shows a sheet of blank paper with a big X in the middle.
Eris Drew: And I am terribly hungry.
Munkustrap von Rumm: I'd rather not go to the Rogue Spoon.
Dar Kalla: Vulgar Unicorn?
Eris Drew: How about the Fiery Stag?
Cho Chi: I think we should go down in the sewers.
Munkustrap von Rumm: The Fiery Stag sounds good to me.
Magic: Shouldn't we go to where Cho Chi and company found and talk on the way?
Cho Chi: I found some fur and Dar found some fur on the sewer grate.
Magic: We can eat when we finish as a celebration.
Magic: Do you need a ration?
Eris Drew: I always need food.
Munkustrap von Rumm: Well, we should discuss and plan for what we could expect in the sewers before we go into them.
Cho Chi: We can talk all you want, but to learn more requires investigation.
Magic bows like Cho Chi.
Eris Drew: I agree with Munkustrap.
Munkustrap von Rumm: What did you learn so far?
Tazdar: I brought a friend along to help investigate.
Magic: It is like you all don't want to catch the werewolf.
Magic eyes party suspiciously.
Cho Chi: I expect it will be similar to the wererat warren.
Tazdar: This is Sark. His perceptiveness should be very useful.
Dar Kalla: Is only one wolf, no?
Sark the Blind suddenly stops short of the group sniffing the air.
Munkustrap von Rumm: Werewolves are considerably more dangerous than wererats.
Cho Chi: Hard to tell.
Magic sees Sark sniffing the air...suspicous.
Cho Chi: Please to meet you, Master Sark.
Sark the Blind beckons Tazdar to follow him as he backs away a bit from the group.
Tazdar follows.
Sark the Blind -> Tazdar: I think we have a problem.
Tazdar -> Sark the Blind: What do you mean?
Magic eyes the two suspiciously.
Sark the Blind -> Tazdar: There is a lycanthrope among you.
Tazdar -> Sark the Blind: I was afraid that might be the case. We had several bitings while hunting the rats.
Eris Drew: I am sure they just need to discuss something, Magic. They will tell us when they decide to.
Tazdar -> Sark the Blind: Can you tell who?
Cho Chi watches how Sark the Blind moves about.
Eris Drew whispers to Cho Chi.
Sark the Blind -> Tazdar: I will need to meet each separately, but carefully.
Eris Drew: I believe he is blind.
Tazdar -> Sark the Blind: Very well, I know just the man to make that happen. One moment.
Tazdar walks over to Magic.
Magic eyes Eris and Cho Chi as they whisper suspiciously.
Cho Chi: He moves like a Master.
Eris Drew smiles and rolls her eyes.
Magic is being suspicious of everyone right now.
Munkustrap von Rumm taps his foot impatiently.
Tazdar -> Magic: My friend Sark is blind and a bit overwhelmed by this large group. Do you think you could coordinate getting everyone to go and introduce themselves one at a time? He needs to get a feel for their scent and sounds individually to be able to differentiate.
Eris Drew: He does, he says he has an apprentice.
Magic: Okay everyone, I have figured out that Sark is blind.
Magic: And we are overwhelming him with our scents.
Eris Drew: We are aware of this, Magic.
Magic stares at Tartarus.
Cho Chi: Hey, Magic, what is in your werewolf packs?
Magic: Oh well, maybe we should say hello one at a time then.
Eris Drew: His hearing fine. He just cannot see us.
Magic: Backpack, powdered silver, silvered dagger, steel mirror, a vial of holy water, a set of manacles, 15 feet of chain, lock and key, 3 torches, 10 candles, a flask Of oil, tinderbox.
Magic: Why do you ask? Do you want one?
Magic almost out of breath.
Eris Drew: We may all need one, Magic. If we are to go hunting this thing.
Sark the Blind continues to stand apart from the group taking in his surroundings.
Cho Chi: Just curious right now.
Eris Drew: It would be beneficial.
Magic: Cho Chi, maybe you should talk to Sark first?
Magic: You are thoughtful, unlike some of us.
Sark the Blind pulls a flask from his pouch and takes a swig before replacing it.
Eris Drew sneers at Magic.
Dar Kalla: Dar want hunt wolf!
Sark the Blind starts at the exclamation.
Munkustrap von Rumm: Tell us about your friend, Tazdar.
Magic: Maybe Sark can sniff him out if we are nice to him and talk to him one on one first.
Tazdar: Sark is a former gladiator and excellent fighter. He can't see, but his senses are very sensitive. We just need each of you to introduce yourselves apart for a moment so he can get a feel for your scent and sounds, to differentiate.
Tazdar: Munk, if you wouldn't mind being the first. I know you're familiar with the niceties of introductions as a noble.
Munkustrap von Rumm: Of course.
Sark the Blind: I have already gathered a lot of knowledge of your group. Only one of you, the one with giant's blood has not spoken yet.
Munkustrap von Rumm looks faintly surprised.
Tartarus: Mhhhh?
Sark the Blind: Approach as you will.
Tartarus: Ok?
Cho Chi moves closer.
Tartarus walks over to him.
Munkustrap von Rumm approaches Sark. "I am Munkustrap of the von Rumm family. A pleasure to meet you." He then steps out of the way.
Sark the Blind tilts his head as if trying to distinguish some sound.
Tartarus waves a hand in front of his face.
Eris Drew: Tartarus, what do you think you are doing?
Tartarus: Is he blind?
Eris Drew: Yes.
Tartarus: He got weird eyes.
Eris Drew: He can hear you, however.
Cho Chi sees Sark flinches almost imperceptibly when Tartarus waves his hand. He is clearly trying to hide his reaction.
Eris Drew: And smell you.
Sark the Blind: Yes. And I could feel that massive hand.
Cho Chi: Tartarus, enough of that. It is rude and unbecoming.
Tartarus: It's not that big.
Tartarus: You're just small.
Eris Drew: It is rather large, like the rest of you.
Cho Chi: I am Cho Chi, lately of the Billiken's Temple.
Eris Drew beckons for Tartarus to come.
Dar Kalla: Can blind man help find wolf creature?
Sark the Blind: Pleased to meet you, Cho Chi. Tazdar mentioned you, though not by name.
Eris Drew: That is precisely why he is here, Dar Kalla.
Magic says to himself' "I didn't know Cho Chi's last name was Lately."
Eris Drew eyes Magic.
Cho Chi: Your senses are very keen. We found some hair and skin in our investigation this morning. Perhaps it will tell you more than it told me.
Cho Chi: Would you examine it?
Magic says to himself, "Maybe he can sniff it like a werewolf."
Sark the Blind: I can.
Cho Chi glares at Magic.
Eris Drew looks at Magic. "That is what he is here to do."
Cho Chi hands the pouch containing the coarse fur to Sark.
Sark the Blind takes the pouch and retrieves some of the fur, taking in its scent and feeling its coarseness.
Sark the Blind nods.
Cho Chi waits silently and calmly.
Sark the Blind: This is definitely tinged with the essence of lycanthropy.
Eris Drew walks over.
Cho Chi: Can you tell anything about the creature's normal form?
Sark the Blind continues to handle the fur.
Sark the Blind: This doesn't seem coarse enough to be lupine.
Eris Drew: Could it be a large wererat?
Eris Drew: Or some sort of werecat?
Magic leers hopefully that he was correct all along.
Sark the Blind: Possibly.
Tartarus is very confused about the big words.
Cho Chi: I still think we should examine the tunnels.
Eris Drew: Odd. Cho Chi, would it be useful to speak with the owner who reported the sighting? Maybe they would be able to tell us something about it.
Sark the Blind: I believe there are a few more that I need to meet.
Tazdar: Dar, why don't you go next.
Dar Kalla: I be Dar from the dread waste. Me smell maybe no so good. I pledge my sword to your defense.
Sark the Blind: You have the scent of ancient feathers. May your spirit soar.
Magic approaches Sark after being sure he is clean as a whistle and smells like roses in springtime.
Dar Kalla: Many thanks, friend. May light guide you in darkness.
Magic: My name is Magic and yes, I can do magic as well. I am often left out of the fray so if you need to run, head my way. Although I can not heal you, I will give you a pep talk, just to be clear.
Sark the Blind: Ah, the source of magic that is flitting about. I have heard your distant calls.
Magic: I feel welcomed by such praise.
Magic bows like Cho Chi.
Sark the Blind: Very good. I have some information to share with my friend Tazdar before you go running off to kill a lycanthrope.
Eris Drew steps away.
Magic: Before WE go off, you mean?
Magic: Gesturing for him to come with us.
Tazdar: Sure, Sark let's chat briefly.
Cho Chi moves away.
Magic walking backward.
Magic follows Cho Chi bowing repeatedly to show much respect.
Sark the Blind turns, having Tazdar move around him so Tazdar can remain facing the group.
Tazdar: So what have you been able to detect?
Magic (magically projecting): Majestic Wares Cares. Werewolf Protection Packs For Sale.
Sark the Blind -> Tazdar: The giant-blooded one carries the curse. I imagine his hybrid form would cause him to be mistaken for a werewolf.
Eris Drew: Here, hand one over. I will go put one on the wall over there.
Eris Drew points to the wall.
Tazdar -> Sark the Blind: That makes sense. He was bit more than once.
Magic: Ah, used all the ones I gave you already.
Magic a huge smile crosses his face.
Eris Drew: Well, of course.
Sark the Blind -> Tazdar: I imagine it will be a challenge to get him to a temple.
Magic scurries to find a few more in his enchanted backpack of awesomeness.
Tazdar -> Sark the Blind: He hasn't killed anyone yet, so the first course will be to try and fix him, but if that fails, silver will cure the problem.
Magic: Here you go, Eris Drew.
Tazdar: Magic, could I borrow you for a moment?
Magic handing over the last of his advertisements.
Magic: Sure, good buddy.
Magic: If this is about the loudness, I will be quiet as soon as we head off as to not spook the were-something.
Tazdar -> Magic: Okay, so Sark has detected that our lycanthrope is actually Tartarus.
Magic -> Tazdar: Do you want me to knock him out now or later?
Tazdar -> Magic: I'm not sure we can convince him to go to a temple to be cured, so I have a plan.
Magic -> Tazdar: Okay, I can use magical sleep.
Eris Drew takes a poster and walks over to the nearest building. She pulls out her dagger and uses it to spread the poster flat against the wall.
Tazdar -> Magic: Actually, that's not a bad idea, but he does have a lot of stamina. It may be hard to put him to sleep without some damage.
Magic -> Tazdar: If you jump him, I can knock him out.
Tazdar -> Magic: My thought was to offer him a friendly duel to test our might, but that I request we both go get a ritual blessing from the temple first in accordance with giant tradition.
Tazdar -> Magic: I don't think he's smart enough to know that's a lie.
Magic -> Tazdar: I am in.
Magic -> Tazdar: Maybe the master here can recommend we go for information.
Tazdar -> Magic: My thought, as well.
Tazdar -> Magic and Sark the Blind: Sark, are you willing to back us on this play?
Sark the Blind -> Magic and Tazdar: I am.
Tazdar -> Magic and Sark the Blind: Okay, let us begin then.
Magic -> Tazdar and Sark the Blind: Yeah, Sark it is a good plan?
Sark the Blind -> Magic and Tazdar: Under the circumstances, yes.
Tazdar: Okay, I think we will have to wait for nightfall to make any progress on this further if my knowledge of lycanthropes is correct.
Tazdar moves back to the group.
Eris Drew: So, what's the plan?
Tazdar: We can re-convene here just before dusk and see if Sark picks up any scents that remind him of this fur.
Tazdar: In the meantime, Tartarus, I've been very impressed with your strength. My powers also come from the Giants and I would like the opportunity for a training duel with you. It's been weeks since I've seen proper combat.
Magic: Can we head to the Temple for that?
Magic: That place would be a cool arena.
Magic: What about if Dar fought too?
Eris Drew: We can also get food now, right?
Tazdar: I believe it would be traditional to get a blessing in advance, to ensure that there are no mishaps that result in fatal injury.
Tartarus: Food?
Magic: Can Sark give that blessing?
Magic: Yes, yes, Tartarus. Big feast if you win.
Eris Drew claps her hands and rubs her hands together.
Cho Chi: A temple would be good.
Tazdar: I don't believe so, no. We need a cleric of significant standing.
Tazdar: A temple would be best, yes.
Dar Kalla: Is it good to hunt wolf at night?
Tazdar: Loser can purchase a large meal for the winner. Sound fair, Tartarus?
Cho Chi: I am familiar with the Billiken's temple. I have little experience with others.
Eris Drew: Any food is good food.
Tartarus: Food.
Magic: There is food at the temple.
Magic: That is what we are trying to say.
Tazdar: Can I take that as a yes?
Tartarus: Yes.
Magic: Thank you.
Magic: Now follow us.
Eris Drew: What, like bread?
Tazdar: Perfect, Cho, can I discuss your temple with you on the way? I'm curious about it.
Magic: You will be surprised, I promise.
Tazdar -> Cho Chi: So, who at your temple can remove a curse? We'll need that done for Tartarus.
Cho Chi: Sure, you can ask me. About the Temple.
Tazdar -> Cho Chi: Could you run ahead and prepare that? This is a ruse to get Tartarus cured. It's him.
Magic: Start from the beginning.
Magic: Why is it called a temple and not a house or a church.
Cho Chi -> Tazdar: Sure. I will run ahead and talk to the abbot.
Eris Drew: Well, that is just common sense? There are many deities, Magic.
Tazdar -> Cho Chi: Excellent.
Eris Drew: So, therefore, it is the temple of the Billiken and not a church.
Cho Chi slips away from the group.
Cho Chi runs to the temple.
Eris Drew: The Billiken is a small god that looks like a chubby baby. He is the god of the way things ought to be, which is why I too spend time at the temple. Of course, for a very different reason than Cho Chi does. Did I miss anything, Cho Chi?
Eris Drew takes off the Billiken necklace and hands it to Tazdar.
Cho Chi -> Abbot of The Billiken: Abbott, I have need of your guidance.
Tazdar accepts and studies it.
Abbot of The Billiken -> Cho Chi: Of course, what is it?
Tazdar: Cho is going to run ahead and have things prepared for us, I believe.
Cho Chi -> Abbot of The Billiken: One of my friends in service to the City has been cursed as a were-creature. My other friends are bringing him here. Who here can cure him.
Magic listening intently.
Tazdar -> Munkustrap von Rumm: The Lyrcanthrope is Tartarus. This is a ruse to get him de-cursed. I'll need you to help watch him and make sure nothing goes wrong until we're done.
Magic comparing Eris's actions to this description.
Munkustrap von Rumm -> Tazdar: I will keep an eye on him.
Abbot of The Billiken -> Cho Chi: Oh my. Let me prepare.
Tazdar -> Munkustrap von Rumm: Thanks.
Magic wonders how Cho Chi and Eris could be so vastly different and go to the same temple.
Eris Drew: I go to the temple because I think the world should be a certain way, which is much different than Cho Chi does. I go to study the philosopher rather than the guardian.
Munkustrap von Rumm -> Tazdar: Wait, the werewolf raising hell in the city is Tartarus?
Tazdar -> Munkustrap von Rumm: Unsure, but Sark is able to tell that he's cursed from his scent.
Magic: Isn't religion fun.
Munkustrap von Rumm -> Tazdar: Very well.
Munkustrap von Rumm: Lehnbor over all.
Magic: It can mean anything you want as long as it justifies your actions, maybe I should become religious.
Cho Chi -> Abbot of The Billiken: Where would you like me to bring them.
The group arrives at The Temple of The Billiken and Cho Chi guides the group to the flats between the temple and the cemetery where the Abbot awaits their arrival.
Munkustrap von Rumm -> Tazdar: Is he a werewolf or a wererat?
Tazdar: My people follow one of two gods usually, though I always preferred Maglubiyet to Nomog-Geaya.
Magic: Bless you.
Magic: Do you need a tissue.
Magic: Are you getting sick.
Tazdar -> Munkustrap von Rumm: A rat, but at his size it looks like same.
Magic: Right before your fight? Can you go on?
Tazdar: Haha, my people's tongue is very dissimilar from yours.
Eris Drew: Indeed
Magic: Yes, we have different shaped mounths for sure.
Tazdar [Goblin]: But it has a certain verility don't you think?
Tazdar: Hahaha.
Magic [Elvish]: And a howdy-do to you too.
Eris Drew [Quori]: I can speak that one.
Cho Chi: Abbot could you provide a blessing for Tartarus here. He is a very strong fighter.
Munkustrap von Rumm: Let's not waste time.
Tartarus [Giant]: Am I the only one who speaks giant?
Munkustrap von Rumm gestures for the party to go into the temple.
Tazdar [Giant]: I understand you, friend.
Tartarus [Giant]: Aah, big people talk.
Abbot of the Billiken raises her arms and begins a chant.
Tazdar [Giant]: I spent many years in the hills where the giants live during my exile. I learned much from them.
Munkustrap von Rumm [Celestial]: Eris, let's not encourage them.
Magic: Right this way! Boys and girls, monks, fighters, barbarians, and paladins of all races and sizes! This was to the greatest fight since Dar Kalla's was last in the ring!
Tartarus [Giant]: Mmh, I'm part giant folk.
Magic: The room is flying with emotion.
Cho Chi puts a finger to her lips.
Eris Drew [Celestial]: Why not? Celestial is such a pretty language.
Magic: As differnt dialect and words are flying around the room.
Abbot of the Billiken [Celestial]: By the power of that which should be, remove this curse from our fellow petitioner.
Magic: I can't speak a lick of it, but it sounds interesting.
Cho Chi: Ssh, the blessing.
Tartarus [Orc]: How about orc?
Tazdar: That one I don't know.
Tartarus [Orc]: Any body understand that?
Tartarus: Alright
Abbot of the Billiken: The blessing has been granted.
Tartarus: What?
Magic: I think things are heating up. There is a priest on the battlefield.
Munkustrap von Rumm bows to the abbot. "Many thanks for your kindness."
Cho Chi: Thank you, abbot.
Tartarus: How did you know I was asking?
Magic: Blessing the fighters before their fight.
Tartarus feels an odd shiver during the blessing.
Tazdar: Yes, indeed, thank you.
Cho Chi bows.
Magic: Tartarus is speaking in tongues or maybe he is just dumb.
Magic: Thank you, indeed!
Cho Chi: Abbot please call upon me and my friends should you have need of us.
Magic: TAZDAR ARE YOU READY?
Tartarus [Giant]: Mean, noisy man.
Magic: It isn't your turn yet.
Magic: But it sounds like TARTARTUS IS READY!
Eris Drew: They will both fight well.
Tartarus [Giant]: Shut up, I know.
Magic: Alright just give me the word and we will begin, Tazdar!
Magic: Are you ready!

After a spectacular match between Tartarus and Tazdar, which ends in a draw with both fighters collapsing in exhaustion after twenty minutes of grappling, punching, and throwing, Grand Master An Soo Yong, having been attracted by the sounds of combat, commends the fighters for their tenacity and endurance. Acolytes attend to each of the fighters and they recover quickly.

Dodecitina 27th, Year One of the Reign of High King Ran

A couple of days later, several couriers from the palace make contact with each of the members of The Iris informing them that they are requested to be vigilant in the area of the last two werewolf attacks on the last day of the year. This day is always a Darkday and often triggers lycanthropic transformations. The High King is hoping that with The Inquisitors, The City Watch, and a few mercenary groups in place, the werewolf can be dealt with.

Dodecitina 28th, Year One of the Reign of High King Ran

The Iris scope out an area of Star Plaza on the 28th fairly certain that no werewolf will appear and the day is uneventful. The four-star sun returns on New Year's Day without incident.

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