Evergreen Vale

39 - The Flesh Remade

Having battled past a pack of warped goblins, the party continues to the gate of the Slave Market district of the Black Pillar. Along the way, they are joined by Nix Cranford, a rogue of Kiri’s acquaintance, from Enigma Keep. Having joined the army in search of new lands and experiences, he was sent as a runner by the CelGuard detachment, with the news that troops have entered the Temple district and linked up with the remaining priests of Bane. Determined to to reach the palace first and plumb its secrets, Sir Delba pushes the party harder to complete the mission at the Slave Market.

Arriving at the gates of the forboding obsidion fortress that controls access to the Slave Market, the party runs directly into multiple swarms of warped goblins, hobgoblins, and a large, multilegged beast feeding on carrion. Pieter is disturbed by strange sights and sounds at the edge of his perception, and by a curious combination of revulsion and understanding as he watches the Warped Ones. Sir Delba calls up Sir Amory the Black Wolf and his knights in support of the attack. They are further aided by a mysterious humanoid seemingly composed of shards of unidentifiable matter, who battles the warped ones with magic.

As the allied forces become fully engaged, Pieter pursues his private vendetta – Sir Jared, a knight accepted into Sir Amory’s service, is one of the men who killed his family, and may know the whereabouts of the mastermind of the murder. Pieter throws a flask of alchemist’s fire, catching Jared in the blast, then shoves him into an alley while pretending to help him. He is taken aback when Jared quickly rounds on him, ready to fight, and kicks gravel in his face. A desperate struggle ensues in the narrow alley, with Pieter demanding to know the whereabouts of his nemesis, and Jared gloatingly refusing and announcing that he had long been expecting Pieter’s attack.

Pieter notices, to his consternation, that Jared’s wounds appear to be slowly healing, but finally manages to strike a serious blow with his enchanted short swords. Jared lurches back, snarling, and then undergoes a horrifying transformation, revealing himself to be a werewolf. He savagely claws and bites Pieter, who, enraged and desperate, calls on the magic of his shortsword, the Verminblade, to summon a dire rat to aid him. Its powers were enhanced by the dwarves of Ironhome, who reforged it with the strange metal from the sky, but Pieter receives a fresh shock when it summons, not a dire rat, but a hovering, amorphous blob of flesh, eyes, and gibbering mouths, seemingly kin to the other warped abominations.

Meanwhile the rest of the party is locked in a deadly battle with the Warped Ones, killing many but being hard-pressed themselves. Finally, one of Sir Amory’s other knights is seriously injured, and reveals that he too is a werewolf. At Sir Amory’s command, he and all the knights shift into wolf-men and attack the Warped Ones with renewed ferocity. Between the werewolves and the heroes, the remaining Warped Ones are quickly dispatched

Unnoticed in the alley, Pieter, setting aside all thought of gaining information, defeats Jared and brutally finishes him off. Fearing Sir Amory’s reaction, and his mind reeling at the repeated shocks he has taken, he commands the obedient gibbering mouther to consume the corpse of Sir Jared, shortly before Lady Kiri arrives and kills it. The heroes and Sir Amory’s people warily regard each other in the sudden calm.

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frostwalker

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