Castle Whiterock — Chapter 0: Filth Beneath Cillamar, Part 1

Characters

  • Emmeline Forthwrought, self-taught apprentice mage
  • Frevia Arden, nature adept, herbalist, and healer.
  • Imra Shadomantle, elven expert and troubleshooter for the less legitimate business of House Shadowmantle
  • Melanie Shadowmantle, adopted aristocrat daugther of house Shadowmantle

These four women were brought together at the house of Thomas Kerrwin, a merchant familiar to them all. Kerrwin was pleased to see they all knew each other, as he was hoping they could help him with a problem. Thomas' son, Joran, had been missing for two weeks after accruing a heavy gambling debt. Joran owed a bookmaker named Evrik the Braid to princely sum of 3,000 gp, and Thomas wanted the group to pay the dwarf off and return Joran to his home. The party agreed and set off for Myna's Bones, a tavern in the Warrens of Cillamar which Evrik was known to frequent.

So early in the day, Myna's Bones was nearly empty, save for a few sour-faced regulars and a table of rowdy thugs and a bald dwarf with a long braided red beard. Imra recognized Evrik the Braid by reputation, and he clearly knew of her. The dwarf was cordial, but when Melanie offered him the payment Kerrwin had sent them with, he claimed that Joran owed additional "interest." Evrik implied that the party could settle the debt by performing a job for him, but he didn't know if they were up to the task.

Menlanie bristled at the snub, and Evrik and his men stood against her. Imra suggested that they test the group's abilities. The dwarf seemed happy to oblige and sucker-punched Imra, kicking off an old-fashioned tavern dust-up. The fight was short, however, as Emmeline stepped forward and cast color spray, knocking Evrik's men unconscious and blinding the dwarf. Melanie and Imra took turns pummeling him, and he finally surrendered when his wits returned. Clearly, the group was more than capable of handling his job.

Evrik informed them that someone was distributing inferior goods and passing them off as his merchandise, sullying his name. If the group would find who was responsible and put an end to their operation, he would clear Joran's debt and see the lad safely home. Evrik believed they could start with the refugees in the shanty town on the edge of the Warrens or wait until the market opened that night at the Rogues' Court.

Imra decided they group should start with the refugees, so they headed off for the shanty town. As they passed down a narrow street, they were set upon by a pair of desperate, hungry-looking men seeking coin. Frevia tried to scare them off with the ghost sound of a guard patrol, but this only spurred the men to finish them quickly. One cut Imra deep, but Melanie and Frevia were able to finish the pair off with the help of a daze spell from Emmeline. They stripped the men of their gear but tended their wounds and left them with some food.

At the shanty town, the group found a number of refugees were showing signs disease in the last few days since a man in dirty clothes distribute free blankets. A few young men had worked for the man moving goods at his warehouse, and they gave the group directions to the location.

When they reached the warehouse, the group decided they would approach as charitable volunteers. Unfortunately, the man was not entertaining visitors, and he and his guard dogs attacked them when they entered. The fight was fierce, but another color spray from Emmeline left the man in black incapacitated while the group dispatched his dogs. They tied the man up and questioned him, learning that he served Narrimunâth, the rat god of disease, and someone named Grenda. At these names, Melanie remembered a story she'd heard from a servant about a rat idol somewhere deep in the Warrens.

Melanie sent a runner to her estate to fetch a wagon, and then the group turned the man in black in to the Lantern Guard. The guardsmen were able to give them directions to the rat idol, but the group decided to rest at the Shadowmantle estate and recover their strength. The next day, they ventured back into the Warrens and located the idol in a shadowed square: a filthy fountain whose statue had been warped by weather or magic to resemble a giant rat.

As they examined the idol, Melanie noticed someone climbing up from underground down a side alley that emptied into the square. As she raced toward the figure, he metamorphosed into a hulking, furred shape with a hideous rat-like face. From another alley, a pair of dire rats with blackened, bony protrusions poured out at the party. Once more, Emmeline's color spray incapacitated the wererat, but the dire rats got a few nasty bites in on the group, including a hit on Melanie that burned with fiendish energy. After dispatching the rats, the party felt emboldened by their experiences so far, and turned to question the wererat.
This isn't actually what Evrik looks like, but he'd certainly want you to think it is.

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