Kingmaker in Eberron

Book 2 Chapter 05 - Mary had a Little Lamb

Boudreaux, Marshal for the city of Waterview and country of Valdrik was taken aside by a few of his scouts shortly after returning to town. Something…unexpected happened a few days ago. And the local guards/scouts weren’t quite sure what to do about it.

“Since you were out of town sir we weren’t sure what to do about the situation. But we think there’s been some…murders? We found two bodies. One this morning.Another the previous day. Since we don’t have any kind of coroner’s office or even a proper graveyard we had to settle for what we could find. Folks that could be discreet at least. If you’ll follow us sir we’ll take you to the Scaleri Brothers office.”

A short ways through town led Boudreaux to a small shop with a sign above the door, reading “Scaleri Brothers – Troubleshooters Extraordinaire” with two crossing shovels underneath the writing.

Boudreaux spoke with the brothers, who seemed to be ‘for hire’ specialists willing to take on any job if it paid. A weapons rack against the wall was filled with assorted shovels.

In a small backroom the Marshal was shown two bodies. One of a young boy, not even twelve years old lyind dead on a table, next to the body of a Halfling girl that was maybe in her late teens or early twenties. Both were slightly eviscerated…the markings of a deadly animal attack. The boy was named Beven Inaris, shepherd. He was found in the early morning out in the fields alongside a half dozen dead sheep…but the whole scene was…weird.

The girl was Saki Runthorn, local maid for one of the Inns. She was apparently gathering berries for breakfast after getting off work in the early hours of the morning near the outskirts of town and was attacked on her way home. Boudreaux investigated the bodies and found some…disturbing evidence. There didn’t seem to be anything magical about the attacks but the organs of the two victims…a successful Heal check indicated they were partially transformed into pig organs.
What. The. Hell.

This requires further investigation. Sending word to get the other smarty-pants arcane folks (Alanea, Sidney, and Tarvis) to meet up with him to investigate the bodies Boudreaux went out to investigate the crime scenes. Both scenarios shared some similar characteristics. Vic was alone late at night, attacked suddenly, not given the chance to make a sound. The body dragged into nearby brush and chomped on a bit before the creature left. Other disturbing details revealed that a few of the other ‘sheep’ that were killed now looked like very dead pigs.

The detail that stood out the most however was not the set of paw prints that dragged the body into the nearby brush…it was the bipedal humanoid footsteps that came out of it and were heading back towards town. This was indeed out of the ordinary.

Heading back to the Scaleri Brothers office the others had arrived and were briefed on the situation.

Tarvis, Alanea, and Sidney immediately recognized the two ‘brothers’ as none other than the two surviving bandits from the raid on Oleg’s Trading Post their very first defining moment within The Stolen Lands. Well, they’re not bandits anymore so I guess technically the past is the past…

Ray Scaleri: “Oh god the dwarf isn’t here is he?”
Tarvis: “No, but you’ll have to see him if you want to get reimbursed for your blood stained tables…”
Ray Scaleri: “Ffffffffffff…”

Unknown to most however, the two Scaleri Brothers were totally on Tarvis’ payroll as part of his spy network.

Regardless, Tarvis took another look at the bodies, scanning over them with some detect magic to see if there was anything magical about the attack…and paused as he realized there was an illusion cast over these bodies. There was a faint transmutation aura on these bodies. Whatever had caused their insides to start changing into pig ones was magical in nature.

A heal check by Alanea similarly confirmed that no one had just snagged organs from these two and replaced them with pig ones.

Dox, the Councilor for the nation had the unfortunate duty of letting the families know about the passing of their loved ones. It wouldn’t help anything to start a panic by spreading rumors about what this creature could be before the council could confirm it. The Inaris farming family took the news as well as could be expected after learning their son was killed in an animal attack. Perhaps sadder though was that Saki the maid had no local family. She’d migrated south from Stormreach and gotten a third-shift job at a local inn, working out a deal on a side room for herself. Dead with no one to mourn her loss.

MEANWHILE back at the Scaleri Brothers, Alanea was using her investigative spell Blood Biography to learn more about the deceased. The answer to “how the blood was shed” revealed a few fleeting moments of Saki’s life before it was cut short. The answer wrote itself in Alanea’s notebook “I was walking home from picking berries, and I thought I heard my Great Aunt’s voice. I turned to see where she was but I couldn’t find her. And then I was attacked…”

Alanea paused, going over the facts they had discovered so far…a strange creature most likely a large four legged predator capable of changing its shape. A clever hunter that seeks out those alone and vulnerable. Those signs points to a Lycanthrope of some kind – which is strange in and of itself especially since they’re considered completely extinct back in Khorvaire due to a crusade by the Silver Flame hundreds of years ago at this point. But then again we aren’t in Khorvaire anymore.

But the other bits of information…transforming into pigs…hearing voices of kindly loved ones…it reminded Alanea of fairytale stories. The Three Little Pigs and Red Riding Hood. But those are just stories right? …right?

Regardless we don’t want to alert the members of the Silver Flame congregation that could end…badly. Rather than alert anyone by locating some silver weapons, Sidney cooked up some Weapon Blanche and Silver Sheen for anyone who didn’t already have access to a silver weapon.

A plan was slowly forming to catch this clever predator. Guard duty for the city was doubled. A meeting was held by Ogg, Lucius, Boudreaux, and Septim to go over the plan for the evening. There was a wild animal coming – a clever one. Dangerous and a killer. So we’re increasing guard duty for the entire town and are going to be planning patrols to span out in a net pattern to cover the city. So we’re going to go over a few precautions.

Anyone close to retirement? We’re cancelling it temporarily. Do not say things such as “this job is easy”. “it’s almost morning”, “I’ll be right back” – DO NOT GO OFF ALONE – do not play scary tricks on one another, and various other common sense methods of not being picked off one by one by some terrible beast.

With their net of guards, scouts, and patrols working in tandem for the evening (and a successful Kingdom Check by Valerie to inspire the Loyalty of their troops to work together well) the group of Boudreaux (wildshaped into a fluffy harmless sheep with a pink collar labeled “Fluffermuffin” on it), and Dox who had shifted her form into that of an innocent looking young girl named “Annie”would be playing the part of walking her pet sheep in the wee hours of the morning.

The rest of the plan involved Alanea, Tarvis, Lucius, Eleanor and Aurum hiding in a nearby murder blind that covered their scent as well as their bodies.

Sure enough sometime between 2:30 and 3:00 in the morning ‘Annie’ heard a voice call out to her…it was Basilia! She’d received her letter early and had already arrived in town! (Note: Will Savefailed) Not even the protests of the druid in sheep form could prevent the girl from running off so the sheep resigned itself to clinging to ‘Annie’s sock and was pulled along for the ride.

The eager young girl/changeling ran around the nearby corner to meet her idol only to bump into a hairy seven foot tall killing machine bearing a greataxe. And then came the teeth. Flesh-tearing fangs sunk deep into ‘Annie’ and dragged her off her feet. Both Boudreaux and the terrified changeling could easily tell that the creature currently assaulting them was none other than a Werewolf. A werewolf carrying a greataxe!

The rest of the gang quickly leapt out of the murder-blind but couldn’t close the gap to the creature before it let out a howl and brought its greataxe down upon the prone and defenseless girl, nearly cutting her in half.

The fight was brutal. ‘Annie’ spent the majority of the fight slowly crawling away from the werewolf leaving a trail of blood on the ground, but still managing to belt out some Bardic Music to help the rest of the party.
“I am officially declaring the name of this persona to no longer be ‘Annie’…it was so obvious…she is now named ‘Mary’! And ya know what? Mary had…a little lamb…” (Yes, this was her Bardic Music choice)

If not for the timely appearance of some town guards (thanks to Tarvis’ player using the [b]Plot Twist Card: Unwelcome Arrival[/b]) the werewolf probably would have killed ‘Annie/Mary’ with his greataxe. However…

Three guards rounded a corner stumbling upon the situation during their patrol, apparently having gotten lost from the others. Seeing the werewolf attacking a defenseless girl walking her sheep the guards drew crossbows and fired three quick shots at the monster – one even managing to crit! The other two bolts bounced off harmlessly while the third sunk deep into its back, drawing the werewolf’s attention from ‘Annie/Mary’

The werewolf faced the three guards and drew in a deep breath growing almost impossibly large in a distorted body kind of way as it sucked in a great amount of air and finally letting out a massive gust of air from its mouth that sent the guards rolling back and onto the ground and their crossbows going flying away. The gust of air traveled far, finally leaving a large impact in the side of a nearby barn.

What the fuck was that!?

Tarvis, Alanea, and Boudreaux (changing back to his normal self from sheep form) engaged the werewolf in combat while Lucius started lining up deadly shots with his arrows from afar. Eleanor used her impressive speed to swing around the werewolf to setup a flank. The three guards played a quick round of Rock-Paper-Scissors once they realized they would have to engage the slavering killing machine in melee combat. The winner ran off to bring more reinforcements, while the two losers solemnly drew their longswords and stepped into the battle. However, they did realize that they were not quite big enough for this ride but did provide flanking bonuses as well as Aid Another on Eleanor’s AC and To Hit bonuses during the fight.

The strength of the werewolf was incredible. It cleaved through the adventurers carving deadly gashes out of their hides. Missed attacks tore chunks out of the side of the building they were next to. A critical silver-arrow from Lucius (telling one of his family stories as he tends to do when making any attack) and a shocking-grasp spellstrike from Tarvis finally brought the werewolf down. As its breathing slowed and the bulging muscles relaxed, rippled and faded away the unconscious form of a green-skinned half-orc was revealed beneath it all.

Next time on Kingmaker…Crime and Punishment!

Level 5 Reached!
XP Gained – 1000xp each character for Kundal and story resolution.

XP Total and to Next Level

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