The barkeep who brought the whiskey speaks up, "There is a... a church of Desna just down the road a little ways. Well its more of a lodge or a hostel. There is a crippled old man who runs it who has been a follower of Desna all his life." The bartender rambles a bit, "He used to travel the open roads till he lost his legs in an accident several years back. Had to settle down in one place then as he couldn't get about like he used to."
"They might be able to help us out there.
Alma, Markov--why don't you two run down there and see if we can get that old cleric to come help us; I'm sure that our friends will be happy to pay the fee associated with it.
Irina and I will stay here in case they come to or anyone else attacks."
The church, such as it is, is easy to find. It is a single story building sitting on a large lot. When you knock at the door a voice cracked with age calls out, "Come in, come in. The door is open." Opening the door you find a well lit hallway of perhaps 40' in length. Rooms open off the side of the hallway, dark heavy curtain in place of doors. An older man in a wheelchair is coming down the hall toward you. A cheerful expression on his face. "Welcome, come in and tell of your travels."
"Thank you good sir. I am Alma of the Mitril Rose. And this is one of my companions Markov. We need your aid. There has been an attack of Werewolves. Will you come aid us, lest those attacked turn into Werewolves themselves?"
"Werewolves in the city? Nasty creatures they. I encountered some of them many years back. That wasn't anywhere near here though, and I'd just as soon not face such things again. Though I suppose I'd just pray to Desna that she cleanse them with her purifying fire if I did meet 'em. Of course without my logs my days of travel are at an end I'm afraid. Desna still smiles upon me though. Lots of travelers come to rest here, and tell me of their journeys. Seems the world is both as dangerous and exciting as it has always been." He seems to catch himself rambling on, "Anyway, about your friends, I can't help them tonight. I'm going to need some time to prepare if you wish them cured. Best if you bring them here where I can watch over them tonight, and I can help them better after my morning meditation and prayer. I must tell you though, it is going to require some cash to purchase a few herbs and some holy incense to invoke the goddesses blessings. Three hundred and sixty gold for each of your friends who has been bitten I'm afraid. It can't be helped I'm afraid. Bring your friends here though and I'll prepare some rooms for them that they may rest."
One of the young men who is still pale from the loss of blood speaks to Irina, "I think we are indebted to you for saving our lives. If there is anything we can do for you..." he trails off as he looks down at Carise, her head cradled in the others lap. He takes a deep breath and shudders. "We lost a few friends a year ago to werewolves, way up in the mountains. Its enough to cure a man of the taste for adventure."
"Right now, you can rest yourself. No point you killing yourself from strain after I've gone and patched you up. As for later, we came here looking for you. Carise, actually. We have some questions that need answering, and when the time comes, I'm sure you will be cooperating."
Irina's tone leaves no room for any other outcome.
With Alma's return the two young men get up and make an attempt to lift Carise but stumble as they do so, expressions of pain on their faces, hands moving to feel tenderly at their recent wounds. One of them exclaims with a grimace, "I'm going to break open this wound if I try that again."
Meanwhile the bartender begins unceremoniously pulling the dead out the back door, grunting a bit with the effort.
At Alma's words the two men look at each other before one speaks up. "We'll take care of Carise here certainly." He gestures to the old woman lying unconscious on the floor. "She will have to cover her own costs, but I'm sure she is good for it."
The other man, with a grin on his face, puts one arm around Irina's waist and heads out the door towards the church at a slow pace.
Alma picks up Carise's slim form easily and follows out Irina out the door.
The other bar tender enters the room at that point and says to Warren, "Any time you or your friends want a drink, its on me. Tonights not the first time someone's been stabbed in my tavern, but that's the first time the place has been attacked by monsters. Should be quite the tale." He doesn't seem sure if that will be good for business, and if it is if he wants that kind of business. "A man ought to feel safe when he kicks back for a mug of ale." Seeing everyone has headed out the door though he calls to his partner, "Dace, help me carry the old woman here." The two of them hoist the woman up in their arms and follow the group over to the church.
Coming into the church again the old priest ushers Irina, Alma, Carise and the young man past a curtain into a side room. Two candles provide light At the back is a single cot to which he motions to Alma to lay Carise on. The priest then kneels down next to Carise and begins dressing and cleaning her wounds with bandages and water from a small bowl at the side of the cot. He asks over his shoulder, "Last time I had a run in with werewolves was in Elmunt forest. About 8 years ago now. Nasty creatures. Nasty bite too. I think anyone in there right mind would prefer death than be bitten and left alone. Desna willing though we'll get your friend here cured of this disease. Fortunate it happened here in the city. If it'd been out in the wilderness she'd be just as good as dead. Well if you call werewolves in the city fortunate I guess. Bad news that. That's the problem with lycanthropes of course, they could walk around right under our noses and we'd never know it till they bite ya."
As Warren and the barkeeps come into the hall he pokes his head out and calls out, "First room on the left there." The first 'door' on the left is another curtain and leads to a similar room with lit candles and a single cot. The barkeeps lay the old woman down then excuse themselves. "I'm sure once the city guard shows up they will want to ask everyone some questions tonight. We'll send them your way."
Irina makes a face and grips her stomach. Turning to the priest, she asks, "Do you have anything for nausea? I think I'm coming down with a case of self-righteous-paladinitis-by-proxy. I believe the symptoms include attempted feelings of inadequacy and lots of bile."
Alma, you'll need to make a int check to decipher what she means by that... :)
The old priest chuckles as he continues his work. "Would a shot of brandy do? I traveled with a paladin once. Stubborn as a mule, no sense of humor, but not a bit of guile in him. Always considerate of those around him, placing them before his own needs or desires. Its not an easy path they choose, and some are better suited to it then others, but I can't fault them for their desire to bring good into the world." With only a brief pause between words, "Well I think I've got her cleaned up, let's she if we can get her conscious now. Always better to clean them first, folk don't like coming to and finding themselves covered in blood." The old man offers up a prayer to Desna and the glow of healing energy flows into the woman. She wakes with a start and the old main kindly restraints her from rising from the cot. "You need rest still if you wish for your wounds to heal. Your friends are here with you though."
Looking around Carise stutters out, "Bloody werewolves." Despite her pale face she looks furious. She closes her eyes again to rest.
The old man rises, "Well lets look to the other patient then." As he makes his way out of the small room Carise's two friends ease themselves to the floor next to her cot.
Irina, Markov and Warren:
Immediately after the old man enters the other room you hear a small gasp and catch part of an exclamation from the priest, "...it can't be."
Pushing past the curtains you see the old man kneeling by the side of the old woman. As with Carise he is busy cleaning her wounds, but with far more tenderness and care then he did with Carise.
He looks up at you as you walk in, his cheeks slightly moist. "This is an old friend of mine, Baroness Lillian Duluth. If not for her I would have given up hope after I lost my legs. I'm not sure what she was doing in a seedy place like The Dwarven Spirit. Her.. guardsman, Jarvak? He didn't make it did he?"
With an amused smile the old priest says, "Go and bring him here. There is a cure for that. Though I understand its not very pleasant. Leaves one feeling weak and dizzy for a time. Well go on now." and he pushes you out of the room.
Pushing past the curtain into Carise's room you find her two friends sitting on the floor with their backs against a wall. Carise has her eyes closed, but they open as you enter. She sits up tenderly. One of the men speaks up, "Carise needs to rest."
She waves him to silence, "Its alright Tyoc, I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight anyway." She takes a deep breath, "I'm sure you want to ask all kinds of questions. You are probably going to be disappointed in the answers, but I'll answer what I know."
She leans forward on the cot intently and her eyes come alight with anticipation, "Someone wants as few witnesses around as possible. Oh, they can't cover up all of it, but they want as few details available as possible. What is your particular concern with these werewolves?"
You don't sense any deceit in her, though you expect it is going to take some prodding to get her to divulge everything she might know. She will likely hold back information if your questions aren't direct.
Shrugging slightly, Warren answers her question openly, hoping that doing so will make her more open to his. "We had a run-in with them a while back--some of their friends want us dead for not entirely known reasons.
Which details to what are they trying to cover up, and how did you get involved with it?"
Her eyes shift briefly to Alma then back to Warren, "I sift and sort through information and share the important pieces for those who are seeking it. And I connect buyers and sellers of unique, hard to find items. That is how I am involved in it, they came to me." Her voice drops to a near whisper. "They wanted to hire an assassin. Not a mere thug, but a professional killer." Her mouth twists in a half smile, "Perhaps they hired one to kill you off. Seems odd though that they should want you dead but you don't know why. Did you offend them? Or take something that was rightfully theirs?"
She again glances briefly at Alma, then with a touch of heat in her voice, "I'm not actually in the business of facilitating contracts for hired killers, and only one other time has anyone even approached me seeking for such. Oh, there are plenty of scorned or jealous lovers who think if perhaps they rough someone up a bit that their life can go back to what it once was. Or petty merchants who think if their competition has something unfortunate happen to their business or shop that they can get ahead. That's not a safe line of work though. Someone always has second thoughts and becomes fearful you'll rat them out. As if I'd care what happens to them in their miserable little lives." She grunts, "Or decides to preemptively remove you just because they asked."
"I didn't ask for a name. It's better not to get to involved in that sort of thing."
"I hardly think your the sort who would want to hire an assassin, or get one to do your dirty work. And like I said, I don't involve myself in such deals. You want to follow up on this though?" She opens a small pouch at her waist and fishes out a single coin, which she tosses at Alma. "If you want to track this down, and I say your a fool if you do. In the old part of town, on beggars row, there is an unused well. It dried up years ago. Put a drop of your blood on that coin and drop it down the well. He..., he can answer your questions then. He'll skin you alive though if you try and play games with him or waste his time. But drop it down the well and wait, he will come and find you."
While the coin seems to be a standard gold coin, its make, inscription, and image are not ones you are familiar with.
Carise's mention of 'he' is uncertain, as though that is not the appropriate label to apply.
Feeling that Carise continues to be somewhat vague, Alma lowers his voice in a cold and matter of fact manner."What did the person or people look like that you were dealing with? The information you provide may save your life, as we may not be around next time to prevent your untimely death."
Without even a flinch she flashes a grin at Alma, "Your quite handsome with that look. Eyes storming over like you are about to fly into a rage, yet maintaining that cool self control that is expected from one of your rank and standing."
"Now let me think." she says idly, running a finger down one side of her face from her temple to her chin. "One was a rough looking man, had several fresh burns on his face. He had a companion with him, better dressed, more refined. He kept a hood pulled low over his eyes, so I couldn't see his face. A bit of orange stubble on his jaw though. Also had a nasty cut on his left arm that hadn't fully healed. Which is odd as given how he was dressed he certainly could have paid for a healer."
"As for HE?" Her voice gains a smoky edge, "Show me those pretty eyes again, it's enough to make a girl swoon with delirium and I might let something slip out."
"Excuse me a moment..." Irina mutters, she shoves past Warren at a run like a woman about to be violently ill. Before she can make it out into the street however, gales of riotous gut-wrenching laughter reaches your ears. It quickly fades as she finally makes her was outside, and cuts off as she closes the door to the shrine.
She returns a short while later, red faced, with puffy and red eyes.
A slight pout on her lips Carise continues, "I can't give you the information you need. Sure, I could tell you he is of average height, brown hair cut short, gray eyes, dressed in a commoners clothes. Now run along and accost every person in the city who matches that description. I'm sure you'll uncover your villain eventually."
"Now quit spluttering, my blood won't help you, and I prefer a man who can handle his own crusades." she says with a mocking smile.
As you turn to leave Carise calls out one last comment. "Paladin, perhaps you should give that coin to your friend for safe keeping." She tosses a look at Irina. "I'm not sure you have the wisdom to deal with him." She lets out a small giggle, "He'll gut you if you try those eyes on him."
The priest stutters for a moment at Alma's suggestion. "Well.. um.. you are welcome to spend the night here if you like. But if you are looking for a reward you'll have to talk to the city guard about that. I am but a humble follower of The Great Dreamer. Mayhap in the morning she might see to heal some of your wounds, perhaps in exchange for some needed repairs to this old place I could seek her blessings in your behalf."
"Baroness Duluth is awake and would like to speak with you if you are willing."
Chuckling at the priest's response to Alma, Warren nods to him as he leaves the room. "Of course we will help you with whatever needs to be done, regardless of the blessings that may come from it."
entering the baroness' room Warren formally takes her hand and kisses it, "You wished to speak to us, Milady?"