Fyrsson stepped bravely into the Ollentor’s bedroom. There were no signs of the monstrous rats which had overrun the rest of the house, but with a furrow in his brow — whether due to a hangover or concentration and disbelief — crossed towards the door on the opposite side of the room. Light cascaded in through the three windows creating speckling and broken shadows and lighting the two shrubs on either side of the Ollentor’s bed, which looked in dire need of watering: dessicated and barren sitting in their pots. He turned, beginning a shrug to the wary party peering in the door when the shifting of light played tricks on all of your eyes, darkness seeming to pull away from the wall itself and slide soundlessly towards the religious Dwarf. And then, the impossible happened: hands materialized from the floating silhouette and grasped for him.
Crying out in alarm and warning, Eldorin gestured, materializing bolts of energy which lanced out towards the thing of nightmares and tore it apart. As silently as it came, it went. Even more unnerved, the party passed into the room and began a concerted effort to dispel and inspect the shade cast upon the floor and walls. Aemeri, concerned with the well-being of the shrubs, pulled his waterskin out to refresh the plants. Manifesting not only life, but a strangely humanoid shaping, the branches struck out and caught in his armor, barely missing his exposed skin and the proffered waterskin.
On edge, Eldorin blasted the other shrub with a firey bolt incinerating it summarily, while Jethrael leaped to the Warden’s aid and diced the truly living plant into kindling utilizing his dual blades. A nervous laugh overtook the party as, once more, silence and seeming safety fell upon you. As unsettled as your spirits were, there was a basement to investigate, so cautiously, you tread down the staircase into darkness.
Familiar chittering grew from a rumor to a reality as you passed down to the basement landing. As the unnatural rats reared their heads to your threat and you prepared for another engagement, a pile of dust in the corner began swirling of its own accord — and nary a draught to caress the accumulation — and formed into a diminutive man-shape with glowing sockets where eyes should have been. With a whisper which raised the hackles, “it” swept across the floor and motioned widely with its “hands,” which brought Aemeri to collapse and a number of the rats roll onto their backs. The remaining rats assaulted Fyrsson as the defended the doorway with Nilbud nimbly darting in to strike at the massive beasts and swarming pests.
After prolonged engagement and Nilbud’s seeming knack at extermination, the rats were no longer threatening the home, but that dust-thing still lurked down below. Spotting him with a well-thrown torch by the Trailblazer, the party prepared to fight this thing only to be surprised by four more materializing around them, identical to the little dust-man who had lost an arm to a deft strike by Jethrael. One blew dust down the stairway, blinding a couple of the party, but as quickly as they appeared, they collapsed with a two-handed downward blow onto the originator’s ‘head’ by the Halfling.
The danger abated, you took time to inspect the room, finding a cot in one corner which hid a clear vial of “necrotic power” as informed by Eldorin, and Aemeri searched well, finding a small sachet containing dust in the corner where the dust-creature had materialized. Noting the magical properties contained within the packet, the party headed upstairs to ask the Ollentor’s about visitors…
Over bread and bleu cheese, Wart and Uniss informed you of an aged traveler, leaning upon a gnarled cane, easily of eighty years, who wanted to avoid the danger and crowded nature of the taverns and inns of Worthen and asked to stay a single night with them before he headed west on his travels. Paying in an ancient mint of gold, the man named Walter rose early and set westward without breaking his fast. Within days, the rat issues began.
Informed, but only enough to pique your curiosity, the party needed to inspect the attic to ensure that the danger had truly passed. There were no rats, nor dust-men aloft, instead you were beset by a spider of prodigious size and its web full of children, swarming for food.
Utilizing the clear vial in a move of desperation as the spiders had easily laid low much of the party in the first approach, the revived group attempted a second-time to defeat the arachnids. This time, the swarming spider’s children climbed Aemeri — covering him from head to toe in a black, churning second skin of thousands of eyes and arms — yet he remained unhurt, chanting softly to the Druidic spirits which he claimed as his own. Meanwhile, the party dispatched the parent, and slowly, carefully denied it reproduction and removed the babies from the smiling, unharmed Warden of the forest.
Beaten, but not broken, you assembled in the main room of the house with your minds racing. Had this Walter had any part to play in the affliction that beset the Ollentor home? Was this an issue that Worthen would be suffering as a whole very soon?
With a Writ from Piter Greatworth in hand, you have the power of the King now, but are warned of riots which have broken out throughout the capitol…and still, the people behind the man who had tried to assassinate the last Greatworth are at large. Is it the Hurch Gang, as your captive claimed? Is it another underworld element, like the Curious Crows or The Nicks? Or is it someone or something else you have yet to discover?