After a rough night spent in the Avignon stables, made all the worse by Elrian’s cursed hand, the party followed the Highwayman’s Lute trail to a fishing village on the coast. Heavily wooded, they were able to spy cabins in their midst, and in the distance, three ships in the cove. Warships, according to Kari.
Making for the docks, they passed through what appeared to be an abandoned lumber yard. Investigating the first cabin, Nodnal and Kari discovered a dead body, lying in bed, dressed as a Vistani. He had a hand-shaped bruise on his forehead, and an arrow piercing his throat, seemingly having come up through the bed’s mattress.
On a nearby table, a bulletin, three days old, announced a Celebration of Life was to be held for the son of Amelie Celeste. The young boy had drowned in Camp Clearwater Cove ten years before. His mother was returning to mark the anniversary and the entire village was planning a celebration in her and her son’s honor.
There was also a curious case on the table, round and magical. It contained a salve that allowed one to hurriedly pass through walls. Also curious was a Monster Hunting Manual in a dresser, focusing on Lycanthropes, alongside a hand crossbow and six silver tipped bolts.
Elrian pocketed the salve, while Peron had to return for the crossbow after the others had mistakenly left it behind.
In a second cabin on the property Kari found a woman with a stomach wound. She had died mere moments before. Another corpse lay nearby, dressed in commoner’s clothes. On the table beside him, Elrian recovered another strange magical box. This one was hexagonal. Before he could inspect it, sounds were heard without — mournful howls, and thrashing in the nearby woods.
Making a quick survey of the lumber yard, Kari had found a curious thing — a carved human head, that of a young boy. Worse, Nod had found a small campsite on the edge of the yard. In one of the tents was an eviscerated body. It’s chest cavity exploded as if from inside.
The sounds of the beast drew even nearer. They all gathered in the center of the yard to plot their defense. Then, a woman confidently strode out of the woods in the direction they had heard the beast from. She approached the small campsite and entered one of the tents there.
Peron and Kari climbed the second cabin roof, while Nod and Elrian took up sentry on the first cabin. Elrian took the opportunity, as the sounds of the creature in the woods drew nearer, to investigate the hexagonal box. Once opened, a vicious worm like creature, with a tail spike at one end and horrible fangs at the other, sprang from a sort of extradimensional space within. Elrian and Nod battled the thing, swiftly joined by Kari who leapt across the divide. Luckily they were able to slay the creature and Elrian tucked the case away, in a pocket next to the salve.
While distracted by the worm, a fire had been lit in the campsite. Opting to investigate, Elrian, Nod, and Kari got off the roof, with the half-orc moving around the second cabin to the north and east, while the Tabaxi and half-elf headed south. Peron held his position on the roof.
Elrian saw a curious magic circle about the fire, and he was intent on looking closer, when they discovered the beast was in their midst. Standing move than seven feet, the beast was a human-wolf hybrid, standing on two legs, with coiled muscles and dagger like fangs and claws. In the corner of the second cabin, the creature crouched. Peron stood above the foul thing, undetected. The loup garou had Kari’s scent as he crept around the east side of the cabin. Peron opted to misty step away to the first roof as the lycanthrope pounced on Kari.
The beast was vicious as it tore into the half-orc. Nod and Elrian raced to their compatriot’s aid, but the loup garou was a terror, casting aside the half-elf’s magics and absorbing Nod’s attacks.
Then, the woman stepped from the tent and, in the Ferrant tongue, cast a spell of her own and the loup garou vanished.
“Quickly,” the woman shouted, “we’ve not much time. If you want to live, come with me.”
to be continued