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Quorum: The Beast in Repose

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((Log taken 1/9/16))

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brinnea looks the guard up and down carefully, removing her cowl when she seems satisfied. A human wearing a sharp-looking cloth outfit stands beside her, as well as an elemental corgi of fire.

[GM]: The setting is Crow Hill, a small town along the river in Duskwood. How did you get contacted to come observe?

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brinnea's sister-in-law has friends in Duskwood, and they passed word to her, who told Brinnea as she moved to Redridge.

[GM]: "The horrors this one has seen...We thought it was the worgen curse at first. But we have to keep him restrained. It is no malady of curse or illness. Except in the mind. We lack a priest to pry inside."

[GM]: "You must understand, our town has our...superstitions."

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brinnea nods. "It's a good thing I brought a priest, then." The man at her side offers the guard a polite bow.

[GM]: "I see...He is this way. We'll leave you alone."

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brinnea nods and follows him inside.

[GM]: The guard, a hirsute man of woodsman stock, reclines at his desk and tosses a key your way.

[GM]: This jail is small, with only two cells. Only one door remains locked.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: The death knight unlocks the door and steps in, only closing it once her companions have followed her.

[GM]: The man, if you could even call him that, has the stubble and skin of an adolescent. His skin is sickly pale, and his hair is lank with sweat. Several wounds under the jacket ooze red into the pale fiber.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brinnea frowns at the wounds, but proceeds to remove her swords from her belt and approach slowly.

[GM]: The man curls into himself, and bares his teeth, like an animal. His eyes are wild and darting.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brin does not react to the odd mannerisms, though the "priest" behind her frowns deeply, observing. Brin speaks to the victim calmly, "Hello, I am Brinnea. What is your name?"

[GM]: The boy growls and lunges for Brinnea!

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brin moves to grab the boy by the arms so he cannot grapple her, but does so not to harm him, either.

[GM]: There is a surprising amount of feral strength in him as he fights the death knight. Of course, he is outmatched.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brin holds the boy steady while searching the room for ways to restrain him.

[GM]: There are straps along the walls. Crude, but effective.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brin holds the boy against the wall, telling her companion to strap the boy in.

[GM]: The boy is strapped in, and grows in his throat, but ceases his struggle, having known the straps previously.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Once he is locked in place, Brin gives the boy a sideways frown and says, "If you prove to me you can behave, I'll untie you. Now, let's try again. What is your name?"

[GM]: He only snaps his teeth at you. You notice, however, some sort of scar tissue inside his mouth from this angle.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brin checks to see if the boy still has a tongue.

[GM]: He does not.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: "Well, that complicates things."

[GM]: He growls.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: She turns back to her companion, and says, "Walther, I need you to look into his mind." Walther, as he has been so named, replies, "I shall try, although I admit it has been some time since I've peered into the mind of one so far gone."

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: He steps forward, and places a wrinkled hand on the boy's chest, hovering over his heart. His other hand is placed on the forehead, carefully so as not to be bitten. The hand on the heart glows with the Light, while the other seems to cast a longer shadow

[GM]: The insight into the boy's mind is disturbing. Images of horrific subjugation and torture at the hands of a lash, and loving praise rewarded for obedience. Being trained to kill with only the rage, nails, and teeth the boy was born with.

[GM]: An overwhelming, childlike adoration for the Master. And a sense of community. Images of trees. But prying into the boy's mind causes a backlash of dark energy. Someone has prepared for this type of inquisition.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther mutters a prayer as he witnesses the terrible tragedy the boy has endured. At the sudden backlash, Walther flinches as his left hand, the one on the boy's forehead, suddenly blackens as if burnt. He backs off, looking down at his hand <c>

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: more out of curiosity than in pain.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: While massaging his wounded hand, he turns back to Brinnea, saying, "The boy has seen much pain. It seems as if he were groomed for murder by some demented master, as if he were a dog."

[GM]: Walther gets a chill down his spine, and the distinct feeling of being watched.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brin's frown grows deeper. "Someone put a ward in his mind?" she gestures to Walther's hand. The man sighs, saying, "It would seem so. A dark, powerful one, at that."

[GM]: The boy collapses, insensate.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brin grunts, "Walther...," but he had already swung around, attempting a healing spell to cleanse any negative effects of his prodding.

[GM]: The mind is surprisingly blank, as though a large chunk of function and memory had been scooped loose. In fact, Walther seemed to realize that a great deal of function was missing at the first probe, now, more.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther winces at the realization. "It would appear his mind is mostly lost to us. Whoever placed the ward on his mind left a failsafe for removing memory if someone went looking for them..."

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Colin seems unconcerned with the drama going on, content in chewing on a bone that cracks under the heat and pressure of his mouth.

[GM]: The boy looks around, his expression relatively blank.

[GM]: The priest gets the impression of a word, summoned forth by the boy's remaining willpower, something burned into his mind.

[GM]: "The Beast in Repose"

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther says the words out loud, more to himself than to anyone else. Brin raises an eyebrow. "Wonder what that could mean."

[GM]: This boy clearly bears features similar to the locals. You are not yet aware of the circumstances in which he was captured.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther continues to massage his hand. The blackened parts start to mend themselves, giving way to living tissue again. Walther says, "It would be my guess that whoever took this boy intended to craft him into a weapon, one controllable and expendable."

[GM]: Perhaps that is the case.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brin replies, "He seems to be from around here. We ought to find out if anyone knows of recent disappearances." She looks at the boy sadly. "I doubt we'll get much else from him in this state."

[GM]: The officer knocks at the door. "Ay-uh, you get what you needed? S'posed to send the boy off ta Stormwind, an' the medical wagon's here."

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brin looks around at the guard. "We got all we could." Looking back at Walther, she says, "That's our que." The two head out, returning the keys on their way.

[GM]: Orderlies come in and collect the boy. The sheriff looks at you. "Prob'ly for the best."

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: On the way out, Walther whispers to Brin, "Perhaps I ought to shift the guards' memories slightly. Wouldn't want anyone asking around hearing our names right now."

[GM]: Do you?

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: The death knight does not visibly react to his remark, but replies in a hushed voice, "Seems a little unnecessary to me." Walther says, "Lord Moors always covered his tracks in such ways. He was widely considered rather good at his job."

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brin reluctantly gives him permission. Walther weaves a spell that very subtly alters the guards' memories so they cannot seem to agree on who exactly came to see the boy.

[GM]: The orderlies aren't really focused on you as they load the boy easily and sedately into the back of the wagon.

Walking away from the asylum, Brinnea says to Walther, “So you worked with Moors on his missions, then?” Walther remained silent, though he reluctantly nodded. “Then perhaps you know something about a letter he left me in a shack not too far from here. A letter regarding my daughter.”

Walther tried to hide his thoughts, but sweat poured down the side of his face despite the bitter cold of the night air. “A letter? I’m sorry, it doesn’t sound familiar to me. What did it say?”

Brin looked up at the stars as they were swallowed up by a blob of shadow: a black storm cloud, invisible in the dark night sky. She replied, “He told me never to give up hope, and that someday my faith might be rewarded.” A rain drop fell on her face. Then another, and another. Soon enough it was pouring. Walther drew an umbrella. Brin just let the rain wash over her. “Secrets can be dangerous things, Walther Vayne. We shall endeavor to find what truth is hidden in this land of shadow.” The pair of them vanished into the dark of the night.

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((Log taken 1/21/16, setting is a patch of farmland and the ruins of a village in Duskwood. The time is night.))

[DM]: Despite your investigations, you have encountered yet more disturbing details.

[DM]: There have been yet more disappearances, and attacks by slavering beasts.

[DM]: Survivors of these attacks are often recovered in the same state that the boy was in.

[DM]: Where do you investigate from there?

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brinnea spots the ruins of some farm-related settlement in the near distance and motions for her companion, Walther, to follow her there.

[DM]: You approach the settlement. Even in Duskwood, it is dark, and something it's calling you.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: The two of them are mounted, the knight on a steed of undeath and shadow, the man of cloth on a living mountain horse.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brinnea stops to survey the area before entering any of the buildings.

[DM]: It's quiet, with a crackle in the air. It begins to shower, and lightning crackles overhead. The wind in the trees carries a faint note of howling wolves, tinged with the scent of unwashed bodies.

[DM]: You have heard of continued disappearances from near here. But this is the first settlement to have completely fallen off the map, and out of communication.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther huddles under his cloak, shivering from the cold. Brinnea dismounts, assisting her friend in doing so as well.

[DM]: You see something move, a cross between a dog and a simian, between one of the nearby buildings.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: "Best stick together around here," Brin says softly. Walther nods in agreement, and the two move towards the origin of the sudden movement.

[DM]: A woman, stripped of her clothing, snarls, and paws at the earth as she slinks out of the dark. Her eyes are wild, the pupils drowning out the iris in an idiocy of black.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther cringes at the sight of the woman, mouthing some prayer. Brinnea remains stoic, saying, "Another one, eh? Guess we should add her to the tally."

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther sighs deeply, drawing the staff from his back. He points it at the wretched woman, attempting a spell which will put her to sleep temporarily.

[DM]: You see a few more of the tormented slither and lope from among the buildings, hissing at you. They all look similarly...agitated.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther pauses.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: His eyes widen. "There's more than usual out tonight..."

[DM]: They begin to rush for Brinnea and Walther.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brin steps forward, drawing her blades. "Stay behind me!" she shouts to Walther, rushing in front of him.

[DM]: You're caught a little off guard as a red-headed boy of about fifteen lunges into your blades. He gets bloodied, but his body prevents you from bringing the weapons to parry the woman and a dark-haired, hirsute man.

[DM]: They claw at your armor, and get a few sharp nips in. They fight like animals, or the possessed.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brinnea grunts under the pressure of the attack. Walther winces, his human form quickly traded for his hulking worgen body. Light and shadow dance around him as his staff calls forth a shield around Brinnea's body.

[DM]: The creatures are relentless, but naked and crazed, mount little defense for your ensuing counter attack!

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brinnea pushes back against the relentless attackers, her blades consuming all warmth around them. The air freezes, and her slashing attacks break flesh and bone alike.

[DM]: The creatures are startled, and back up. Like coyotes, they form a ring, readying their pack for the next onslaught.

[DM]: They are fixated on Brinnea, giving Walther space to work his magic.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: The worgen weaves a shadowy web between each foe, attempting to inflict internal wounds to slow them down.

[DM]: The creatures scream, a horrible, overlapping sound that nonetheless fails to hind the breaking of branches and the movement beyond the pitter patter of rain.

[DM]: They lunge forward, throwing all of their weight against Brinnea at different angles, their speed absurd for their forms.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brinnea attempts to freeze the air, forcing it to swirl around as a tempest of frost to tear flesh from bones, and force the attacks to slow.

[DM]: A crushing wave of ice rips them backwards, causing them to howl again in pain. You can see reinforcements arriving.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brinnea death grips one of the off-guard ferals towards her, attempting to slay them, sapping their life force to heal her wounds, as well as use the body for a meat shield.

[DM]: They fall upon the body, guaranteeing its death as surely as you may have.

[DM]: They rip the poor woman to pieces, leaving them exposed for your next attack. They spend their action devouring and mauling the corpse.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther weaves shadows into Brinnea's blades, offering them greater cutting force and reach so she can strike at more of these beasts at once.

[DM]: The confidence inspired by teamwork may not have been enough to save you from the pair of tormented who leap from the eaves of the nearby shack.

[DM]: They bring Brinnea to the ground, clawing at her weapons, instinctively aware of the danger they pose.

[DM]: The ones eating their compatriot stand, and press the attack on Walther.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther mutters a prayer of salvation, and from his staff, a nova of great Light flashes forth, forcing the foes to step back.

[DM]: The creatures are blinded, and recoil. The two on Brinnea continue to claw at her weapons...

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brin's defense

[DM]: The horrifying strength of the creatures bears down on you.

[DM]: You feel your armor begin to shriek as they claw and bite the metal.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther moves to force the wretched beasts off Brinnea, sending a star of light and shadow through their bodies, both burning and eating away at their bodies from the inside.

[DM]: They are thoroughly wounded, and turn to flee into the dark woods.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brinnea stands, her weapons still prepared for any further attacks.

[DM]: The duo attacking her continue to do so!

[DM]: They continue to press her down.

[DM]: You successfully drive them back. One of them is knocked unconscious by your backswing.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther quickly weaves shadows to repair Brinnea's wounds, though it is a rush job meant to keep her standing more than anything.

[DM]: Combat has subsided, and you have an unconscious feral in front of you. The others lurk elsewhere in the village.

[DM]: This problem seems to be growing with time.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther puts a large furry hand on Brinnea's shoulder. His level and tempered voice is now a scratchy, powerful growl, "We should withdraw. At this rate, we'll be overwhelmed." Brinnea reluctantly agrees, sheathing one of her blades.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Using her free hand, she drags the unconscious feral onto her nearby mount and prepares to fall back.

[DM]: You do so.

[DM]: What do you do now?

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Once safely away from the ruined village, Brinnea speaks to Walther, "This problem is growing out of hand. At this rate, they could pose a serious threat to Darkshire, or worse."

[DM]: That does seem to be the case. Walther nods.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther's beastly form subsides as he replies, "And I doubt slaying more of those creatures will cause the problem to subside any further. More will take their places until the head of it all is cut off."

[DM]: What could be causing this, you can't help but wonder?

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brinnea finds a spot on the side of the road to halt their gallop. She dismounts, placing the feral on the ground, face-down as she binds its hands and feet with sturdy rope. She props it against a lamppost.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: "May as well try and see if we can learn anything from this one," she says to Walther as he joins her.

[DM]: You snagged the hairy man.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: The older man removes a glove and kneels on weak knees to press his hand against the unconscious man's forehead. He peers into the man's mind, searching for anything useful from his memories before any counter-measures stop him.

[DM]: You see that phrase again. "The Beast in Repose," and the image of a small town. "Balcress" comes to mind.

[DM]: You see an image of men and women in robes gathering up outsiders (or so you feel,) and trussing them up, before placing them in cages.

[DM]: Then the psychic feedback shuts you out with an immense burst of pain.

[DM]: You can't help but feel like...something saw you in there.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther shakes off the displeasure, drawing back his hand. Despite having done nothing physically to exert himself, he is panting and greatly fatigued. He relays all he saw to his companion.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brinnea ponders all Walther gleaned from the man's mind in silence. After a moment, she finally says, "I am not familiar with Duskwood's older settlements. Is Balcress one of the ruins?" She asks this of Walther, who is knowledgeable in such matters.

[DM]: It's an older villa and vineyard.

[DM]: Renowned for its reds. But it was razed during the first war.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther says as much, and would likely be able to point it out on a map, or at least the rough area.

[DM]: That seems to be the case.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Brinnea looks over the map, nodding. "If this is where they are originating, we likely cannot besiege it alone."

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther exhales deeply. "Perhaps it is time we considered asking them to help." Brinnea shoots him a strangely angry look.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: "They owe us nothing, why would they help?" she asks. Walther says nothing. She continues, "If anything, they'll try to take me again, or worse. They think I'm the dangerous one!"

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: Walther replies quietly, "Have we a choice?" Brinnea goes quiet.

[brinnea-Ravenholdt]: "Very well. I'll make the arrangements. We're paying the Empire a visit."

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