Title: Werewolves in Teras
Date: Early Trilan, 1332 Avard
Synopsis: The team discovers the truth about Teras' troubles when they are attacked by a dozen werewolves.
Evening of the 10th of Trilan, 1332 Avard.
Out in the streets of Teras, while the orcs and Greff caroused upstairs in the tavern, Aeron and Corrin looked out across a silent street. There were few people about, and only the mounts made any real noise. The two enormous lizards shuffled, tilting their heads from side to side, flicking their tongues out now and again. The horse stomped his feet, neighed a moment, and twitched his withers, sending the stirrups ringing. The giant spider chittered once, sounding almost like a rattle snake, and then was heard the rasp of chitin on chitin as it shifted position.
Corrin, an expert at remaining unseen, saw that two people in two different alley ways were watching them. She let Aeron know, and the priest held his holy symbol aloft, spreading a powerful blue-white light in all directions, easily illuminating the entrances to the alleys.
Aeron waved, and one of the figures instinctively waved, caught himself, and then edged back out of the light and into the shadows. The other figured waited only a moment, before easing back into the shadows, himself.
Somewhat later, with Arkhan acting as go-between, the team settled on a destination within Teras. The githzerai, Greff, was comfortable crashing with some of the orcs, but knew his team mates would find it a bit disturbing. There was an inn with healers, but it was rather expensive and new; Greff had never been in the place. Aeron, though, knew two priests in Teras he hadn't seen in some years.
The Barinthar was a temple dedicated to Barith and Elinthar, the Harvest God and the God of the Hunt. The middle-aged twins Thurhist and Veldont were average appearing men who both worshipped Barith and Elinthar, switching roles on a random basis as to who would wear the robes of a priest of Barith and who would wear the robes of a priest of Elinthar.
Aeron felt he could trust the two, if they had not changed significantly in the intervening years. He had worked with them a bit in Kur Maeth, as they were defectors from the Inquisition, the same as he.
On the way to the temple, the team passed two members of the city's Guard, an older dwarf and a younger human. Aeron tried to engage them in conversation, but they wanted none of it. Aeron insulted the dwarf, calling him 'oathbreaker' for his unwillingness to even discuss the evil that had befallen the city. The dwarf, angered, told Aeron that he had broken no oaths – but warned him to get out of town, quickly.
The confusing exchange gave Aeron a hint of the dangers surrounding the team. The dwarf was afraid.
Halfway to the temple, they ran into a wall of men holding cudgels and crude clubs. One in the middle held a torch, and despite the frightening appearance of the team's mounts, were looking for a fight. The man with the torch called Greff out by name, holding him accountable for Kagen's execution in Chasadan.
Men came out of alleyways to the side, and from behind, and battle was enjoyed. Greff and Aeron rushed forward on their mounts, Corrin skittering off to one side, while Arkhan and his mount held the rear. Within moments, the team realized there were was a problem.
The leader with the torch was an alpha werewolf, and every last one of the dozen men attacking them were werewolves, as well. The ones to the rear shifted to lupine form, closing in for the kill quickly. The ones to the front shifted into a half human and half wolf form, and used their fangs and great strength.
No matter how hard the team hit back at the werewolves, it seemed little enough. They realized that, without silver weapons to slow the werewolves down, the battle would drag on until someone was seriously hurt. Aeron called for the Guard, though he doubted there would be any answering to the call.
Greff and the leader went toe-to-toe, with several other werewolves assisting the alpha. While the githzerai kept several of the werewolves occupied, the dragonborn and his mount held off several more in the back of the fighting. The sheer size and power of the well-trained mounts made them invaluable.
In addition, Corrin's silik mount, essentially an oversized fungus-eating spider, began to sneak up on some of the werewolves and bind them up in coccoons. Though the siliks had lost their taste for meat and had begun to feed on fungi, they retained their ability to bind up man-sized prey. Corrin's mount seemed aptly named, as Demon took down several of the werewolves.
Greff went down, the curse of lycanthropy flowing through his wounds.
Aeron could only hold his own, using Greff's wildly-lashing horse and his own minotaur lizard mount as a wall against the werewolves.
Everyone concentrated whatever they had on the alpha, and the judgement of Yatindar, the wrath of Xynosalionisis, and whatever gods watched over Corrin all bent their will to the lead werewolf.
The alpha, already heavily weakened by Greff, fell. Two others raced to carry the alpha off to safety, and the pack of werewolves split.
Aeron, wasting no time, helped lead the team after the alpha, ending his life forever. Two other werewolves were killed, and four were bound up in coccoons, unable to escape.
Taking the sudden opportunity, they threw Greff over his mount, threw the coccooned werewolves on the remaining mounts, and made best speed for the Barinthar temple.
The 'temple' appeared as little more than a large barn surrounded by rich farmland, on the northern edge of the city. A knock on the inset door of the barn's big doors was answered by Thurhist. Aeron explained their situation, and had the inset door slammed in his face.
Despairing, the team seemed not to know what to do, when suddenly the big doors opened, and Thurhist bid them enter the temple, and quickly. Once they were inside, Thurhist closed the temple doors, sealing them off from prying eyes.
Veldont, identical to his brother, quickly took control of Greff. The brothers had been preparing for such an occasion for weeks, and had a book of rituals prepared to ward against lycanthropy, and cure those infected.
Aeron had been infected and cured at Rustos, and Thurhist let him know that the next time he was infected, it would be even more difficult to remove the curse. In the meantime, Veldont would spend the next mark removing the curse from Greff, while the others recovered.
Thurhist explained that they had tried to get word out, several times, but none seemed to believe them – or if they answered the request for aid, either died, or left unsatisfied that there were werewolves in Teras.
In all the battle with the werewolves, the only time they had made a sound was when the alpha had fallen, and even then, it had been a quiet yelp.
The alpha, for Thurhist recognized him, was one of Amreth the Gaunt's leftenants. There were other leftenants, and close to a hundred such werewolves within the city. Amreth had been made a lord by the duke, and the duke seemed to back Amreth and his 'men'. Some suspected that the duke was somehow under the sway of Amreth, though none knew how.
Thurhist wrote a letter for the team, and told them to give it to Captain Grel of the Tarnished Torc, a sloop tied up on the river docks. The priest told them that Captain Grel could be trusted with the letter, and he would get them out of Teras before the werewolves could return and attack the team en masse.
Once Greff's curse was removed, the team was loaded up with what supplies the brothers could give them, and ushered out of the temple. Both brothers being priests of Elinthar, a large menagerie of animals assisted in thwarting the werewolf scouts long enough to get the team to the docks. Hordes of bats, a family of skunks, raccoons, a swarm of rats, and more helped distract the scouts and the dockmaster long enough to get the team and their mounts onto the Tarnished Torc.
Captain Grel proved true to Father Thurhist's word, slipping the docks silently and then tacking upriver in the dark, getting well aways from the city in the red-lit cloud light. After a mark or two of moving dangerously in the dark, Captain Grel had the ship heave to for the night. He let the team get some rest, while half his crew stood watch.
Come the dawn, the Tarnished Torc began moving upriver again. The dangers of river traffic were many, from scrags (river trolls) to eudella lilies to night spiders to pirates. Usually the traveling was safe enough, but the dangers were still there and still real enough for the unwary.
Just after sunset, using Aeron's symbol of Yatindar to provide light, they made the town of Avath. The town was set up as a midway point on the way to Mount Rilan, and was a palisaded place with a strong garrison. The baroness was a strong warrior who frequented the town's sole tavern and inn, and was just inside the door when the team walked in.
The Eleven Shields tavern and inn was one long, low building with several fireplaces along the wall at intervals. The long structure could easily accommodate two hundred people in the main room to sleep, with a few select rooms near the bar and kitchens for well-paying customers. Minstrels sang, barmaids made the rounds, and a tough dwarf tended the bar along a bench that put him at eye level with human patrons on stools. Nearly everyone was armed, and yet there was a relaxed atmosphere that seemed instantly free of the werewolf threat that infested Teras like a disease.
The team let their guard down a bit, and set out to drink and relax, before talking about their next steps.
Evening of the 11th of Trilan, 1332 Avard.
Sommer made a beefed up barley soup that was delicious. As for the adventure, I was wondering whether the team would decide to face the problem in Teras, or continue on with their mission. There was some discussion there, as Dave felt it important to deal with the evil before moving on, while Sommer argued for completing the mission for Meridian Explorations. We'll see what happens, next time.
All characters have 32,000XP, and are 12th-level. Level up!