[In the corner, someone who may have had one or two too many declares – “I’m the mayor of this inn!”. Mayor JD demonstrates his leadership by adding an order of pretzels to the party.]
21st of Ascending War, Evening
It’s been a long day investigating, and the party finds itself in their most recent inn – The Charming Oyster. It’s a busy night, but not crowded – in the background, a bard recounts the tale of an ancient battle between Albany and an army of Dragonborn. Snatches of gossip indicate that their may have been another, recent, murder in the now-empty Reilly household. And, as a reminder of their recent actions, another group can be overheard as discussing a dust-up in Bournmouth, that involved a boy’s death at the hands of a feral Bear.
Almorn apparently has had a few too many, and without prompting, jumps into a slurred speech:
“So, so guys I been thinking. So like – uh
So you may not know this, but I wasn’t always a ranger, like I am now. I used to be pretty different. Different priorities, you know? Uh.
oh yeah. But when those goblins attacked my village, I realized then, like, what really matters? And so I left, to find a straighter path, less materialistic, more honest. And I was good for a while, but these murders, they’ve got me in a bad place, you know?
And I just wanted you guys to know…you’re the best.
(drinks) Really the best.
Uhm, also – what was that place, ambertown…umbear…Umberton! We, we gotta help them. When a village is under attack, man, you can’t just let that slide, you know?”
Salob awkwardly pats Almorn on the back, and gets up from the table on some errand.
Suddenly, there’s a scream outside, and a loud commotion.
The party scrambles outside, and finds the street has cleared out, except for a pack of monsters. A Hellhound, a huge bulking dog, with mottled molten skin and burning eyes, flanked by two flying Imps. They catch sight of the party, and rush in to attack!
The imps start by flying just beyond reach, and turning invisible. The hellhound runs in, and unleashes a bellowing fire breath attack, severely burning all but Salob, who is still in the bar. Sikram turns to his bear form, and attempts to batter back the hound, and the two imps descend on him and start biting and scratching.
Salob exits the bar, and immediately asses the situation. In a fluid motion, he draws his longsword, and charges the hellhound. The swords crackles, and on impact with the hound, explodes a thunderous crack, sending the hound flying backwards, sparks crackling near the wound. The dog bounces, but then rolls to its feet. It runs around, dodging the other members of the party, and picks out the easiest target – Almorn. Still dazed from the fire, a strong bite to his torso drops him.
Frambard starts whispering, a strange bizarre language no one understands, accompanied by occasional arrhythmic plucks of his lute. The dog starts to yip, and then howl, scratching at its own head, and then runs off, before falling over dead. The fire in its eyes and skin goes cold, and it collapses to a pile of ash.
The imps break free of Sikram, and start to attack Reyacrogan, who is soon overwhelmed. Salob comes to Reya’s aid, but the battle is looking grim, with all the warriors exhausted and bleeding. Frambard plays an impish lullaby, and both of them glide down to the ground and snooze lightly.
Sikram returns to his humanoid form, and conjures some berries to heal the party. Salob takes a handful of the berries to Almorn, and revives him with a glowing finger. Almorn refuses the berries, though, instead staggering to his feet. He limps over towards one of the unconscious imps, slowly preparing his crossbow as he goes. He puts crossbow directly to an imps head, and sends a bolt through its brains. The rest of the party then surround the other imp, and quickly finish it off.
Frambard considers for a moment, and then ponders aloud – “This is really odd. Hellhounds usually travel in large packs, not alone like this. And why are Hellhounds and Imps traveling together? And in the mortal plane? I don’t think this is a random happenstance, they may have been summoned”
The party makes its way back in to the inn, and settles in for the night – Frambard and Almorn in their own rooms, and Reya, Salob, and Sikram sharing a suite.
22nd of Ascending War, early after midnight.
Frambard has the same nightmare as earlier – his father calling out to him, and then a hook slitting his throat. This time, however, when his palm is opened, Frambard can make out the object – a bloody Order medallion. Looking up, the figure is now Hook. He walks back, smirking, to three shrouded figures, with glowing Order medallions. They turn and walk away. Frambard wakes with a start – a hooded figure is standing over his bed, shortsword at the ready!
Thinking quickly, Frambard lets out a scream like a Gnomish housewife. The rest of the party wakes up, discovering assassins over Reyacrogan and Salob as well. Sensing Frambard’s fear, Sikram bounds out of the suite to his aid. He returns to his druidic form, and starts a chant. The assassin’s blade heats up, burning his hand, and he drops it. Frambard uses the opportunity to attempt to sleep his opponent, but he fails.
In the other room, Salob grabs his sword, and performs a quick blessing. Salob and Reyacrogan attempt to fight off their assailants, but they seem to be outmatched.
Almorn stealthily exits his own room, and sneaks along the shadows, unseen by all. At this point, Melisande bursts in to the inn, and yells – “Guys! Run!”. She then turns into a wolf, and bounds up the stairs, hoping to help cover a retreat.
Sikram attempts to Thunder Wave Frambard’s would-be assassin out the window, but the assassin deflects the brunt of the blast. Frambard uses the opportunity to rush out the room. The attacker follows right after him, though, and soon overtakes him, bringing a powerful kick from behind – enough to send Frambard over the railing’s edge! Frambard, however, was expecting this. With a deft maneuver, he bounces off the assasin’s foot, somersaults once in the air, and lands on his feet on the floor a story below. After a moment to catch his breath, he runs out of the Inn to safety.
Reyacrogan has fallen in battle, and Salob won’t leave him behind. Salob manages to grapple one of the assassins, and throws him through a nearby window, shattering it. Almorn appears suddenly, and with a cold fury in his voice, shouts “FLEE!” at the other assassin. The assassin is clearly shaken, and runs out of the room, and down the stairs. Melisande bounds after, and bites him in the leg. Salob lays hands on Reyacrogan, stirring him back to conciousness. “I think it’s time to leave this one”, says Almorn. He grabs a rope from Reya’s pack, and quickly ties it to a bedpost. Reyacrogan slides down the rope. Salob and Almorn throw the remaining packs out the window, then Salob picks up Almorn and exits the Inn by means of the window.
In Frambard’s room, the remaining assassin has turned around, to finish off Sikram. Sikram charges the assailant, and mid bound, transforms into a bear. He bear-hugs his opponent, and his momentum carries him through the wall on the opposite side, and they spill out into the street below.
While not defeated, the assassins are now scattered, and have lost the advantage of surprise and isolation. What comes next?