In the Belly of the Beast

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In the Belly of the Beast

Postby A.J. » Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:52 pm

The sun is setting in the West and the Grinning Lion is not quite bustling at its peak. In fact, there is little traffic in the popular inn just now. The evening's entertainment won't be starting for a couple of hours, so the folks here now are mostly working to prepare the place for the later rush.

That's actually what he's looking for. He'll get something to eat, he figures, and then... well, he ain't sure yet. The boar walks lazily up the street, not having anywhere in particular he needs to be nor any time limit to be there. Nolan, similarly unencumbered, sits easily in the saddle, the halfling looking up and down the street.

The tall thin man known as Rubious Wyvernjack walks along, a smile on his face as he is just that kind of person always looking toward the positive.

Heitmann came down from the inn to get food and drink for the night...

There's but a pair of barmaids serving the floor currently and while not slow, service is not as brisk as normal. For those that frequent the place regularly, they seem a little short-handed perhaps?

Heitmann noted the short handed staff.. and placed his order.. his meal was simple.. bread, beef, and collar greens. A tankard of mead ordered with his meal. "Good evening Nolan."

Nolan dismouts before he steps in, and places his own order--prettymuch the same. Nolan nods to Heitmann, looking around. “Evening.”

Once Rubious steps inside he orders an ale and takes a seat glancing about.

A pipe was produced and lit.. puffed on a couple of times as Heitmann sat back in his seat and waited for his meal.

Nolan apparently doesn't smoke, but he relaxes, watching the scene. “We may be awhile. They seem busy with something.”

Heitmann puffed on his pipe... "I have nowhere to be, and no hurry to arrive there."

The man entering looked, in a word, disheveled. Like he'd rolled out of bed an hour ago, thrown on the same clothes for the third day in a row, and not done a damn thing with the shoulder length blond hair. He also had the infuriating quality of somehow pulling the look off - and paradoxically looking as if he resented being able to do exactly that. If he drew looks on his way to the bar to request an ale Julius didn't pay it any notice.

Orders are tended to soon and brought up soon enough. Aside from the 4 of you, there were perhaps a half dozen other patrons in the large establishment.

Nolan nods to the two strangers. “True enough.”

Rubious looks to his wench when she arrives, "Seem short of people, everything ok?"

She pauses and blinks. "Er... yes, m'lord," she dips, and she moves off, glancing back over her shoulder for a moment once she's a ways off, but then turns to attend another table.

Nolan blinks. “He doesn't look frightening. I wonder what's got her worried.”

Heitmann took a moment as his mead arrived and sipped it.. "Yep. Seems a bit curious, doesn't it?" he doesn't look concerned.

Julius smiled wearily at the woman at the bar, but this was par for the course for him. He then occupied himself with a staring contest directed at his drink, as if he was having some sort of existential internal argument about the nature of ale. Which he was.

The barmaid who delivered Julius' drink disappeared almost immediately after serving him, into the back. That left just a single barmaid working the entire tavern floor.

"There goes another," Heitmann said as he puffed on his pipe. "Perhaps someone whom is easily not notice should go have a look and see how our meal is progressing?" He coughed a bit and took another sip of his mead.

The woman working the bar returned shortly thereafter.

Julius stares hard at his drink, somewhat not paying attention to the tavern around him.

Rubious grips his mug and stands walking to the bar, he speaks quietly. "There is a mouse in my ale."

The barmaid blinks, turning to Rubious, "What?" she asks, somewhat breathless, but grabs the mug with little fear and eyes it.

Nolan nods, speaking quietly to Heitmann. “Something's got them more than worried.”

She sets the mug down not-so-gingerly and snorts. "Here now, I've no time for games boy," she shakes her head and points the other barmaid in the direction of another waving patron. People were starting to get impatient.

Heitmann pulled on his pipe. "So it seems." He nodded towards the door in the back.

Rubious looks to the woman and moves to step around the bar, motioning her back having sensed something is wrong.

“I think we'd better follow suit....” Nolan suggests, and he hops down off his stool, following the paladin.

She follow Heitmann's gaze. "One of the girls is with child, downstairs," she says. "Midwife's 'avin' a 'elluva time. It's not lookin' good for her." She looks up at the heavens for a brief moment and then back at them. "I need te get back te work now. Will there be anything more for the gentlemen?"

Heitmann stood and sighed a bit as the barmaid spoke of such things. "Then you are in luck, I am a paladin of Helm and can assist in such things."

"She don't need ye stickin' yer sword about and fussin'," she comments, "Why, that's 'ow she got inna trouble inna first place, I wager." She waggles her finger. "Jes 'ow d'ye plan on 'elpin' eh?"

Nolan chuckles. “Not much I can do, but they say paladins have a bit of talent for such things.”

Julius goes rather tense. His approach up to where Heitman and the man stood was quiet, and he seemed to be half-hearted about doing it at all. He didn't make eye contact with anyone, at all. "..I can heal her, if it comes to that."

Rubious looks to the woman, "Point to the trouble." Voice low.

There is a long wailing cry and suddenly a middle-aged woman bursts forth from the back of the Lion, screaming at the top of her lungs. She is followed by another woman, both of them seem to be sprayed across their upper bodies in blood! Their wailing follows them out of the tavern and into the streets! Apparently, no pointing was necessary!

Heitmann glanced to the man and then to the barmaid and then a wail..

“Dammit.” Nolan draws his sword. It'd be a respectable sword for a human--for a halfling, the thing is nearly as tall as he is. And he runs for the stairs. Fortunately, he needs less room for a three-foot sword than others do for 6.

As there is likely not enough room for the great sword out comes Rubious' hammer!

Demetrius had just come into the Lion when a woman or two pushes right past him. “Wha?”

Nolan finds an open door at the back of the kitchen that leads down into what he can only imagine is the Lion's storeroom.

Looking, Nolan spots a bloody hand print on the doorjamb, likely left from one of the fleeing women.

Rubious makes it past Nolan and through the door, and begins descending a stair that looks to go down quite a ways.

Heitmann drew his rapier and hopped over the bar, closed to the door... and beyond descending down with Rubious.

A scream erupts from below.

"I hear something,” Rubious comments, “not sure what? Ready?"

Heitmann makes it to the stair just behind Rubious.

Julius was up and behind them - but he was also unarmed and unarmored. That, and muttering as if he was taking to someone. "Okay, look, I know this has been a really dodgy start to things, I know I probably come across as ungrateful, but this might be really important from the sound of it so if you could- I mean- If you could please help, these men might need it, and-" The blond human tensed visibly again before the pleading segued into hesitant prayer, and he moved up behind them.

Demetrius, having just gotten off the watch patrol, and in uniform, he blows his watch horn to note this place of aid, and follows the others in, a weapon goes into his hands as he moves- Watchmen here.... “What's going on?” he asks the others.

The half dozen or so patrons who had been startled by the barmaids' movement but mostly hadn't noticed what was going on now instantly panic and begin flooding toward the door as Demetrius blows his horn.

Rubious looks to the sound of the watchman horn then to the halfling, "What do you think?"

“I don't know I just got here,” Demetrius replies.

“People hurt,” Nolan explains, “Don't know much beyond that.” He heads down the stairs and into the room, sword ready as he looks for the trouble... or more blood.

Rubious will continue down carefully as well.

Nolan continues down the stairs a bit , and what lies beneath is revealed a bit more. It's possibly the largest storeroom the Hin has ever seen. It's a good 2 stories tall, and aisles and aisles of supplies are readily visible. Casks of oil and wine, shelves of grain and bread and other perishables. They go deep into the well lit cellar. It is mostly because these shelves run from floor to ceiling that Nolan can't see much beyond them. It will require venturing further inward.

Rubious, pulling shield from back and readying, proceeds carefully, eyes alert.

As Rubious gets his shield up, bringing up the rear behind the halfling, it's a curious sight. Now, what does Heitmann do?

He moved forward.. moving around the halfling to take the lead.. Heitmann's character comes to the fore as he places himself between the others and... whatever it is they face.

Julius is rather grateful that the attempt worked, and as he follows behind the other two he starts chanting something again. This time however he uses the spidery words of the Arcane, and it comes to him infinitely more easily.

Demetrius folllows the rest down with Watchmen issued gear, a light sword and his own cold iron harpoon at ready, his ears ever listening for for his fellow Watchmen to get here.... soon, he hopes.

With nothing to see yet, Nolan will head down the stairs and into the open room. With Heitmann going straight, he'll take a right.

Nolan spies what he assumes to be the ale and wine stock. A few dozen casks, from the looks of it. The air here is cool.

Those moving down the stairs notice the far back of the room seems very well lit, and the light filters through the shelving and such in your direction.

Rubious moves to close the distance with the halfling, weapon and shield ready.

Heitmann moves forward towards the witch he thought he saw. As he moves forward, he sees various standing dividers made of thin paper and wood as well as what looks like several shadowy individuals before him...

Julius advances just a little further into the room before he once more begins murmuring something. It comes in two parts - once, where he begins in the Arcane language he began with before - and then that abruptly stops leaving him looking downright furious. He continues in simple, but quiet, Chondathan, once more in that beseeching tone from before.

Dem moves to back up Heitmann.

Nolan'll come around the edge of the stacks, moving further to the right and then forward to come at the source of light--and trouble--from a different angle.

“Did you hear Gurgling just now?” Demetrius asks Heitmann.

Nolan spots something that looks an awful lot like a thing of flesh, but so disfigured as to have no legs, het it trudges forward, claws scraping the ground and it moves just ahead!

Heitmann nodded at the question.

From somewhere ahead, the worst retching sound you've ever heard.

Rubious decides to be bold and brave like Lathandar and picks up the pace, no evil was banished by waiting! "Bah! mannequins."

Heitmann had figured as much.. pistol drawn with rapier held.. he made his way forward and detected for evil... He hissed under his breath as he felt his stomach churn and he spoke quietly.. near Rubious.. "Purge.. the unclean," his teeth clenched.

Julius has less than useful talents for this until their quarry is found, so he finds himself simply creeping inward further - up closer to Nolan at the moment. Trying to keep his eyes and ears open, but woefully untrained in spotting small details with either.

Dem moves up again wanting to see what this mystery finally is and double hopes his watchmen allies get her doubly soon after waht Heitmann said.

As the trio of Heitmann, Rubious, and Demetrius makes clear the well lit, lower portion of the room, they come upon perhaps a dozen or so mannequins, suddenly realizing they're not real people. A few of them are clothed like wizards, the others various other character types. This must be the dressing area for the actors as they go upstairs on stage. All sorts of props lie about. Not far off, is a raised section with what looks like a platform to lift up to what must be the stage above along with various catwalks.

You also each encounter, in your own way, a pair of creatures unlike anything you've seen before... and one of them, on hearing your approach, shambles over to nearly pin Demetrius against one of the many wooden partitions in this area of the room! The other is wandering toward the raised platform to the south! More retching noises come from behind them!
Seeing the monstrosity to the south Rubious bangs his hammer on his shield and quick steps to close the distance.

Nolan steps forward with a heavy overhand slash to attack the creature nearest Demetrius! A little too quick, really, the blade whistling past its side to almost strike the floor. But he moves with the motion of the swing, circling around the creature.

Heitmann moved forward the destination clear.. he moved up next to one of the marionettes and pointed his pistol letting it crack free at Thing Number 2. "For the lord Helm!"

The explosion caused by the firearm in close quarters leaves untrained ears ringing.

Despite the fact that the metal missile hits the creature dead between the eyes, it has absolutely no effect and simply ricochets off the thing in a random direction!

It looks like it's going to be one of those days.

Julius ends up rapidly channeling some quick burst of the Arcane - which the creature evidently gives no shits about whatsoever. That failing to work, he instead musters up something far more complex - something his odd, haphazard casting appears to barely keep a handle on, and channels it straight into Nolan.

Nolan feels a burst from the magic of Julius, allowing him to attack immediately! His muscles move almost without his control--but apparently the assistance startles him somewhat, and he whiffs again.

"It resists Helms divine fire! Bludgeon the beasts!" Heitmann calls.

Demetrius steps away from the thing he flanks, and tosses his cold iron harpoon at the foe, and then draws another into his hands.

Nolan whiffs, perhaps over excited by the surge of magic he received from Julius, and Demetrius' harpoon clatters across the floor as it misses... and the creature sludges forward after him!

The other one makes for Heitmann, its sludge-like body sucking and sticking to the floor as it trudges forward!

Demetrius manages to remain unharmed!

Nolan grunts in frustration--dammit, he ought to be in the saddle!-and sets his feet the way he's been practicing, advancing smoothly to make another swing. This time he bites into the creature's... skin? whatever, leaving a gaping wound. A gaping wound that makes the creature's earlier stench seem pleasant and emits an unnatural heat--judging by the smell, the heat of unnatural decay. It shudders and the edges of the wound jiggle and it makes strange, sickening noises...

Rubious puts the hammer down into the creature! The hammer comes down and strikes the creature the hit seems solid but it seems... resistant to the hammer. He shifts to the side.

Heitmann moved, slipping the pistol away as he lined up ready for a charge.

Rinse, repeat... Demetrius' training had to pay off right? Or else what was it for? The pain of laughter and mockery for him to fail now? No. No not at all. He takes a step or two back and tosses and draws another harpoon into his hands after. And through the head the jagged sea spear goes and down it goes with much hearty cheer fromt he thrower Dem.

Thing 1 sizzles and pops with Demetrius' harpoon in its... midst. Then it vanishes with a stomach churning cloud of sulphur. Thing 2 continues to attack the nearest living thing with mindless abandon...

The paladin takes the claws and well to be honest it hurts, worse then getting stepped on and bitten by the same camel at the same time but service is not without dangers. Blood drawn, Rubious snarls with clenched teeth.

Both claws rake at Rubious' unprotected parts! Blood flows - the wounds sting and burn hellishly!

More retching from the southwest room...

The second creature is too far for Nolan to reach, so he runs along to the right so that he can line up a decent charge.

Rubious drops the hammer and shield and pulls the great sword from his back in a great sweeping arc intent to bring justice and judgement to this beast! However, he steps on his own shield in an attempt to cleave the hellspawn in twain and misses badly! Was that oozing a chuckle from the mindless creature??

Heitmann charges at the muck with rapier raised high! "Die foul creature!" Again the creature is damaged but seems resistant to all efforts to destroy it!

Having heard.. something? From the southwest that sounded alarmed - Julius takes off at a run toward that spot.

Demetrius picks up one of his tossed sea spears off the floor and moves 30 feet to aid his allies- [done]

“Gimme some room!!” Nolan sets himself, ready to charge.

Rubious brings the sword into another massive arch seeking to end the evil. The weapon simply slides against the odd surface of the creature and does it no harm... He might as well be swinging feathers but the paladin doesnt fret, it means others are not being attacked by the beast...

The blond human stopped at the doorway, eyes wide, breath caught in his throat. "GET SOMETHING SHARP OVER HERE!" Julius calls.

Heitmann started to chant loudly "By Helm's wrath may you be slain by this blade." His blade glowed with the holy smite.. and only seemed to barely hurt the muck. "What dastardly witch craft is this!? It is near immune to even Helm's fury!"

Nolan hears Julius' scream, but the paladin Rubious was already bleeding, and if they don't finish it, it might finish him. With a disturbingly cheerful Uthgardt warcry, he charges forward, swinging the greatsword in a massive overhead slash. He strikes deep, but not the decisive wound he inflicted on the last one.*

Julius has two options - and one of them seems far more pertinent than the other. He runs into the room, and the others hear him much more urgently using that begging tone he'd been using earlier. "Oh shit- holy- just- hells if you can do something about this, come on and do it!" - And he laid hands on the woman.

The woman's eyes open suddenly and then roll back in her head as she continues to suffocate on the creature crawling from her hideously distended mouth! It's almost out!

The positive energy from Julius' efforts seems to have slowed the birth of this despicable Thing #3, however!

Demetrius moves as close he can to the foe and readies a spell!

Thing 2 goes after Rubious once more! Lucky for him, only 1 claw finds its mark, but its a stabbing wound which leaves the man weaker than he's possibly ever felt.

“YOU'RE STARTING TO IRRITATE ME!” Nolan growls. He takes another step closer, heaving the sword in a massive swing that would have cut a human from shoulder to hip.

Heavy footfalls can be heard upstairs!

Apparently, irritating the little guy is a bad move--the sword doesn't cut the creature in half, but it comes more than halfway, leaving a gaping, unbelievably foul-smelling wound as the thing collapses.

And collapse it does, into a stinking cloud of sulphur, and then, nothing.

For those moving to and or in the room with Julius, You see a woman. She is vomiting one of these things out of her mouth. Her body and face are severely contorted and she is gagging on it. She is obviously possessed by some sort of something... that is allowing her mouth to contort to insane size to regurgitate these things. It's a moment that might be seared into memory for all time… this … Thing #3 is about head and shoulders out and looks more ooze and puss than anything... Perhaps it is less resilient than the others in this form… but what of the woman??

Bleeding and not at all looking smexy, Rubious nods to Nolan and makes his way for the room with the screaming man, but in no huge rush.

Footfalls down the stairs... lots of them.

He, however, heard the screams of the man and rushed to the room as fast as he can.

Julius hasn't actually at any point stopped begging for intercession from whoever the hell it was he was convinced could hear him.

Her body convulses one last time, and the devil thing slips half-borne from her open mouth. A flash of brimstone from her nose and a roar you more hear in your heads and her body un-deforms, she is suddenly normal again, albeit bleeding from her nose and ears, she collapses limply in a pool of her own blood. The half-borne creature lies still, and does not disappear like the others did, but the life is gone from it.

"Hold there you! What is going on?" comes a shout from behind you, where you see a Watch Captain and his squad with weapons drawn.

The woman stares blankly at the ceiling, convulsing ever so slightly, perhaps unconsciously...

"Dispatching some evil," Rubious replies.

Demetrius salutes the captain, in his own uniform. He explains he sounded the call for aid and explains the happenings, and request, a healer of the patrol tend to the woman, and priest tend to the undead... or what he thinks are undead.

Rubious sheathes his blade and picks up his dropped gear. Needing to pause soon to bind his wounds.

Heitmann walked over to the woman that was touched by a hand of corruption and sensed evil on her.

Julius is shaking visibly after all this, still staring down at her. Not entirely sure he believes yet that it worked, or what it meant that it had. When he spoke he sounded a little airy, distant. "I think she was possessed. I uhm, I might be able to patch people up a little. Maybe. Apparently I managed to help her fight the thing back, so I think she's fine now."

Nolan finds something to wipe his blade on before he sheathes it, and heads over to the room with a nod to Rubious. “You alright?”

The entire storeroom in fact has a lingering evil that is quite overwhelming. Traces of it on the woman, however, are no more.

"Well I could be worse,” Rubious muses, “I could be dead. However I would be before Lathander and that wouldn't be all that bad. Hell actually it hurts like the 9 hells."

After a time, the Watch takes care of the woman, who is despondent and unresponsive despite her miraculous reversion. They confide in you that she will be taken to a temple of Lathander to be cared for and the Watch opens a full investigation into the matter.

Demetrius is glad it is all over though secretly in the back of his mind he hopes this might a step or 2 for the promotion in the ranks for him.

You glean from them that the creatures you fought were likely lemures, least of the devil hordes that serve for one thing as fodder for the Blood Wars. It was also likely the woman was possessed, and somehow Julius' simple prayer freed her.

Without any further talk about it, Julius approaches Rubious cautiously. He held one hand out toward a shoulder. Then simply let out an exasperated and resigned sigh, followed by a quiet 'please'.

They take your statements in turn and the rest of the staff of the Grinning Lion eventually return to clean up your mess. They offer their thanks and a lifetime of free food and drink...

Heitmann's nostrils flared as he looked over to the others. "This place is unclean... " he muttered as he moved over to the female that was possessed and raised his blade high as he got a fix on her... and then lowered the blade. "She is touched no more by evil, though, death may be preferred by her if she awakens. This tavern, however, is unclean, it reeks of corruption and filth." He cleaned his blade off on a bed cloth and walked away from the group. "Only fire can purify it now.. least we be beset by such daemonic possessions." He moved past the others and the guard.

The Watch too, offers a reward for your efforts, collectible in their offices within a fortnight.

Rubious eyes Julius but allows the cleric to do his thing, service is service. He reaches out with a gloved hand and gives his shoulder a light squeeze. "Thank you."

"There will be no burning here," the Watch Captain resolves. "We have powerful enough priests that will cleanse the unholy remnants in this place." He puts a hand on Heitmann's shoulder. "Mind you the teachings of your faith and let it not waiver that your god's power alone is enough to set this right."

His 'thing' is over with after two short prayers, which leave Julius looking a touch spent afterward. Shuddering, neck tense, and still more than a little troubled. "That's good news - I could use a stiff drink, or ten. Pretty sure that one-" He thumbed at Heitmann's retreating form "-needs a drink too whether he believes it or not."

Nolan nods, watching. “Who else has been hurt?”

Heitmann shrugged off the captain's hand as he walked on.. "by your leave herr captain." he said grimly as he departed.

Nolan nods to Julius. “I could use a drink myself.”

Julius rubbed the back of his neck slowly, clearly troubled by the night's events for many, excellent reasons. "Sounds like a plan."

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