B10 – NIGHT’S DARK TERROR
16 FYRMONT OF 1005 AC
FOGOR ISLE. THRESHOLD.
Desmond Sylicerius, the highest ranking Knight of the Order of the Griffon in the city, presided over the Clerical Court of Threshold and, in the absence of Baron Sherlane, he was also in charge of administering justice in the city. He was dressed in a long white robe, simple and comfortable, and whose only adornment was the emblem of a rampant Griffon embroidered in gold thread, at chest height. His squire waked him a couple of hours before dawn, his presence was necessary for a matter of utmost urgency. After washing his face with the cold water from a bowl, he wore the robe and put on a pair of leather loafers.
Now he was in the Town Hall, sitting on an uncomfortable wooden chair, half asleep, shivering and trying to put together the pieces of the story that the group of adventurers, arrived in the city two days before, was telling him. They were in a sorry state, covered in slime and stinking sewage from head to toe and they had still visible the signs of recent injuries. The abomination in particular, that bizarre creature covered with golden scales, had his right arm dressed by a makeshift bandage. But the bandages were so soaked in blood that red traces marked a long trail on the floor. He did not remember to have seen another human, the day of their first meeting. His face was swollen and one eye so bruised that he could hardly keep it open. He was kneeling in front of others, his head bowed and his hands tied behind his back. “Your warm milk, my lord.” The squire had approached the bench, silent as a weasel nearing the prey. The Knight barely looked, took the steaming cup, poured in the contents of a metal flask taken from the large robe and began to enjoy the invigorating drink. After a couple of short gulps he continued from where he had left off. “So you say that this man, this Sligh, was in the company and in the pay of that other individual, this Gonthak …”
“Golthar!” Marjana corrected him. “And with them there were also other men of the Iron Ring.” Like her comrades, the young girl was weary and exhausted by the events of the night before and ill concealed the intolerance for the annoying attitude of the lord Knight.
“And a woman too, a priestess named Jolenta. I have established that she is a follower of the Immortal Brissard, by her sacred symbol ” Titus pointed out with emphasis.
“Brissard?” Desmond asked, puzzled. “Yes, my lord. I’m not surprised that you do not know Him. He is a minor Immortal whose cult has spread especially in the continent of Alphatia and its eastern colonies. He preaches the domination of the strong over the weak and the enslavement of the latter. Not surprisingly, one of his followers is affiliated with the Iron Ring, a criminal organization with slavery as its main activity.”
“Indeed.” The look of the Knight of the Griffon quickly passed from the young Thyatian to the man kneeling at his feet, and his expression did not conceal in any way the contempt that the noble of Karameikos felt for this scum, a human trafficker.
“Back to us and your story. You came out from the inn of the Crossed Swords through the sewer pipe draining into the Windrush River, after engaging and killing that green thing and … “
“A troll!” Adrik prompted him, still bearing on his body the visible marks of the sharp claws of the monster.
“A troll, sure” Lord Sylicerius hastened to point out, now fully awake and realizing that his guests were tired, tried and consequently irascible.
“I became aware of a figure watching us from the shadows of an alley”. It was Dan this time picking up the thread of the speech. “He matched the description of sergeant Arthol and his men, guarding the Gate South, of the man who came to take Jolenta, the day before we arrived in town. Despite knowing that it could be the umpteenth trap, hatched against us by Golthar, we had no choice but to follow him.”
“It seems more than obvious that it was a trap.” Desmond didn’t split hairs this time. “Indeed, my lord. The man we followed was an infamous criminal named Vokos, active in the Isle of Fogor and who helped Golthar in his operations here in town. The most worrying aspect was that the offender was infected by lycanthropy, as well as some of his henchmen. “
“Lycanthropy …” Lord Sylicerius’ face literally whitened at the thought that the contagion could spread in “his” city. “However, this man confirmed that there should be no risk of spreading the disease since Vokos was the infector and we managed to kill both him and the other wererats affiliated to the gang” Marjana intervened noticing the concern in the face of their interlocutor.
“Golthar and Jolenta logically were there, waiting for us, in the Vokos lair.” Dan had resumed the story. “They were not alone, there were a dozen cutthroats with them, slavers of the worst kind, in addition to our guest, here, Sligh. I suppose you’ll know how to make him talk, and especially to discern the truth from the lies that a man of that sort will attempt to tell you. “
“Don’t doubt of that.” the Knight of the Order of the Griffon immediately reassured him. “We’ll take him overs and, if the Iron Ring has other affiliates here in Threshold, better that they flee away as soon as possible lest they fall into the net of the Justice of the Grand Duchy. And what of you? “
“We will leave today.” Stephan said, not being able to contain, even for a moment, his desire to resume the search of ancient Hutaaka. The others exchanged quick glances. Dan replied again. “We managed to defeat Vokos, his wererats and several men of the Ring but Golthar and Jolenta managed to escape on the back of a winged creature. According to information in our possession they are directed to the north, to the Black Peaks and we intend to follow them and catch them, if possible, and to bring them to the justice of the Grand Duke. So yes, we’ll leave as soon as possible and we’ll follow the course of the Windrush River until we’ll find the Yellow Wizard and his mate “.
“Hence the Black Peaks is a wild land, not fully under control of Baron Sherlane and the Grand Duchy. They are dangerous lands infested by ferocious tribes of humanoids. Gnolls in particular.” Then, realizing the effect that his words could produce in the group of adventurers, Lord Sylicerius hastily concluded. “I don’t want to discourage you. You know your stuff, as you have amply demonstrated, and … “
“No problem lord Knight” this time it was Adrik talking. “If neither the green brute in the sewers nor the wererats of Golthar could kill us, it will certainly not be the “dog heads” to feast on our bones.” The dwarf was unique in that too: in being able to always find the wrong joke to say at the wrong time.
- A chain arranged in the shape of an horizontal eight.