DM Last week our heroes found themselves in a horrific dreamscape, where they were attacked by visions from the Speaker. Now, they wake in the morning, still tired, to the sound of trumpets in the distance.
Julian Julian rolls groggily out of bed and shuffles over to the window, opening the shutters to see what the disturbance is.
DM As herald’s trumpets sound throughout the town, announcing the baron’s desire to speak to his people, you have two choices in the matter. If you want to fight through the crowd, you can hear the speech first hand, otherwise, you’ll find out in a few hours from the criers.
Shael Exhausted and spent, Shael collapses immedietely back into bed.
Julian Julian rubs the sleep from his eyes, gets dressed, and goes to see what’s going on. He checks in with their friends downstairs to see if any suspicious events transpired during the night.
DM He finds most of the patrons sound asleep, exhausted from their partying. The few who are awake are headed out to hear the Baron even as he is. None mention any suspicious events transpiring. A crowd forms outside the baron’s keep around the northeast tower. Less than half of the town’s nearly five thousand citizens are here, but the crowd looks enormous, and agitated. The morning sky seems agitated as well, with heavy black clouds blocking the sunlight.
Julian Unable to see much of anything over the forest of heads, Julian shoulders his way towards the front.
DM The noisy crowd begins to hush as the heralds’ trumpets sound again, and a figure that must be the baron appears on a high balcony near the top of the tower. He is well over six feet tall, dressed in a white tunic and purple cloak. He sports a fine mustache. He raises his hands and silence spreads over the crowd. He begins to speak, his voice not matching his regal image at all. It is flat and monotone, lacking any emotion or inflection whatsoever. He does not pause for any interruptions, nor react to them in any way.
Baron Euphemes “Good people of Brindinford, I address you today with a heavy heart, standing amid the chaos that has befallen our town. Lawlessness and disorder have reigned since this street fair began, and even the efforts of a heroic band of adventurers have not put an end to the madness. While we celebrated these heroes and feasted in their honor, assassins plotted to end their lives. The guards of our fair city have been decimated, some in my own home. The streets are not safe to walk at night. Therefore, I am forced to call upon a new force of law, one that will restore order and wealth to Brindinford. Let it be recorded that I, Baron Euphemes the Second, have decreed this day these new edicts.”
“The street fair is over immediately. All booths must be removed from Eastgate Way before sundown tonight. Any booths, carts, or wagons found on Eastgate Way at sundown will be destroyed. The gates of the city are closed. No one shall enter or leave Brindinford until further notice. The carrying of weapons in the city is prohibited. Anyone seen to be in possession of a weapon will be arrested. The temple of Tal, whose god has not seen fit to defend our city, is closed, and its priests are declared outlaws. A warrant is hereby issued for the arrest of High Priest Forgrim of Tal and Sun’s Champion Marith, as well as all acolytes who have served in the temple. In order to maintain this new order in our fair city, I raise the fyrd. All able bodied citizens are to report to the barracks immediately. Let the forces of lawlessness know that we will brook no disobedience of our law. Defiance will be punished by death, and justice will be executed without delay.”
DM As these last words are spoken, a skeletal being nearly nine feet in height appears on the roof of the tower. A tail like a scorpion’s lashes around behind it, stinging the empty air. The baron turns without another word and disappears into the tower. It levels its gilded polearm at the crowd and waits. Will anyone be foolish enough to challenge it?
Julian Julian’s voice follows the baron, booming over the crowd. “I defended this city in Tal’s name. In response you would drive a knife into my back? Turn to a devil from the pit?”
DM The baron does not reappear, and Julian does not see the hooded figure that lurks behind him. Only the mighty devil, who looks on eagerly, inviting futile resistance.
Julian The paladin turns on his heel and strides away.
DM The crowd is nervous, and many beg him to answer their questions…questions he has no good answers to. What is the creature? What is considered defiance? He was almost assassinated?
Julian “I hope that with time I can answer your questions. For now, I advise that you go to your homes, and keep off the street.” Julian finds himself repeating much the same advice several times.
DM Those Julian speaks with thank him and quickly do as he suggests.
Julian At the edge of the crowd he flags down a message boy and hands him a golden crown. "Run to the temple with the news. There’s a second in it for you if you are the first there.
DM The boy flies like the wind, although Julian has a sinking feeling that the Baron’s edict might not have preceeded an attack on the temple by too great of a timespan.
Julian Julian has faith that there will be time. Surely the forces of Hell will have been disorganized and haphazard in their execution of this plan.
DM Whimsical, even.
Julian Armed with this faith, he makes his way to reunite with Shael. He quickly relays the news and the adventurers prepare to meet this unexpected turn of events.
DM Meanwhile, a half bell after the heralds’ trumpets announced the baron’s address, the horns sound again, this time it seems, announcing the arrival of criers to repeat the baron’s address throughout the town. However, these are no ordinary criers, Shael notes. While the man carrying the trumpet, now unfolding a scroll to read, seems normal enough, the creatures who flank him are not Brindinford citizens. They resemble goblins, though they stand six feet tall and have violet skin. Their eyes glow with unearthly excitement as the crier reads the baron’s words. He repeats the baron’s message verbatim, although he is quite uncomfortable, stumbles over several words and is sweating noticeably. When he is finished, his escorts return him to the keep.
Julian Soon the party heads out for Serra’s temple. Julian advises other friends – Devis, Lidda, and co. – to stay put at the Shield until things become clearer. Perhaps the inn can serve as a temporary safe retreat.
DM On the streets, the pair finds numerous able bodied citizens heading towards the barracks to report for their militia duty. When they reach Serra’s shrine, they find it abandoned…not attacked. Alein and Tolea, wherever they are, got away from here without a fight.
Shael “Let’s check out Tal’s?”
Julian “Yes.” They head that way.
DM As they turn towards the temple of Tal, an ominous sight appears in the sky. A column of black and golden flame rises from where the temple would be.
DM On their approach, the urchin who ran Julian’s message comes running up to him. “Sir!”
Julian “What happened? Did the message get through?”
Urchin He nods. “I was just in time, Sir. High Priest Forgrim and Sun’s Champion Marith were able to escape before the…things got there.”
Shael “What things?”
Urchin “There were things with snakes for beards, and things with spikes, and purple goblins, and fire breathing dogs…and all of them had golden armor and weapons.”
Shael Shael looks at Julian to see if he recognizes the descriptions.
Julian “Devil warriors and hounds of Hell.” Julian shakes his head grimly. “But that they escaped – that is the best news you could have brought me. I owe it to your speed. Here is what I promised, and more besides.”
Julian Ten golden crowns pass from paladin to runner.
Urchin “Thank you!” He eagerly takes the gold. “If you need anything more, Sir, I’m your honest man!”
Julian He nods to the boy. “I will remember it. What is your name?”
Julian “I’ll remember it. Thank you.” He nods to Shael. “Let’s go.”
Shael He glances at Julian and mentions, “One at a time, we could take ‘em… but, we can’t fight a whole legion.” with a concerned murmer.
Julian “No, we can’t. Let’s scout it out, though, see what we can see. Whether they all are staying there…”
Shael Shael tilts his head curious but nods and follows his peer.
Julian Julian moves to scope out the temple from outside and see what can be seen.
DM The temple of Tal’s dome has collapsed, and the column of black and golden flames reaches up to the overcast sky from within the former sanctuary. Two bearded devils stand outside the doors, watching those who pass by carefully.
Shael Shael glances at Julian, “What do you think?” he murmers while they walk by and he tries to look inconspicious. “Should I try to give it a peek?”
Julian Julian frowns. “Well. Let’s take a moment to figure out strategy.”
DM The pair takes the next day in moments to figure out just that. In the wake of the baron’s proclamation, Brindinford is a changed place. The citizens are mostly paralyzed with fear. It becomes painfully obvious that the last threat was not idle, any citizen who disobeys the new laws meets a messy end at the hands of the baron’s new enforcers. Milita members now guard the gates from the inside. The fire from the temple glows in the overcast sky, visible everywhere in town. The proclamation has taken everyone by surprise. The Baron was never particularly popular, but he was thought to be fair and stern, never cruel and heartless. Now, however, two heads of noble sons decorate the main gate atop the wall. They had claimed their parentage exempted them from the fyrd. They were given their…exemption.
The guardhouse has the purple goblins backing up the guard, who go about their duties without question. The temple sees a number of human individuals, priests, come and go. The devils search every single one of them before allowing them entry or exit.
Julian Julian works his contacts in town. He tries to catch the guard whose life he saved off duty to find out what is going on inside the palace walls, and asks Lieutenant Shella via messenger whether she’ll meet him at the Shield when she can.
DM The streets are patrolled by militia and guards, the former who appear terrified as they march through the city. The guards search neighborhoods, seeking word of the high priest or Sun’s Champion. A twenty thousand gold piece reward is posted for information leading to either’s capture. The river has become the home of some horrific infernal creature, it has snatched several unwary citizens, including militia members, from the banks without warning. Tales of invisible attackers abound throughout the lower class areas of town. Julian’s contact in the guard reports that the guard has been reassigned to patrol the outer keep only. The traditional bodyguards, of both the Baron and his family have been reassigned in this manner as well. Lieutenant Shella invites Julian to meet her at the guardhouse, through the same messenger. Word of a contract out on Shael, Kryss and Julian’s head is found. Two thousand gold pieces, dead or alive…preferably dead. The Stony Gaze remains open, Gell refusing to bow to the economic pressure of fewer customers. The pair are welcomed there by the halfling and Ahal, who are curious to hear what is going on out there.
Shael Shael spends some time trying to figure out what happened to Eriana, as well as tracking down their other allies.
DM Lady Eriana remains at the Keep. None of their religious allies have been found yet, but their fellow adventurers maintain a low profile as they help gather information for the heroes. Ibn al Jafar frequents the Gaze nightly, as does Thos Hucrele.
Julian After a discussion with Shael Julian decides that Shella’s offer is worth trying, but he scopes out the guardhouse from outside first, looking for signs of devilish presence.
DM On the streets as they make their way to the guardhouse, they come across the bone devil and its brute squad, four of the tougher, meaner militia members. They stalk down the road in their golden armor, looking for trouble. Not finding it here, the squad passes on without more than a glare.
Julian Julian steps to the side and lets them pass by. Lightbringer is not to be seen, more to avoid antagonizing the guards than out of fear of the devil patrols.
Shael An entirely pedestrian citizen, definitely not Shael – certainly not, passes by unmolested.
DM Outside the guardhouse, the two massive purple goblins stand, patting down those civilians who are reporting for duty. They appear to allow those who pass the inspection to go inside.
Julian Julian allows himself to be patted down as well.
Shael The pedestrian happened to be going in the same direction; but he loiters outside.
DM The goblins laugh loudly about the short little man…they reek of sulfur and brimstone. They let him pass, however. He finds Shella inside. She smiles brightly when he enters. She seems…uncharacteristically happy.
Julian Julian takes it all with a pleasant grin, secretly sizing them up. Are they wearing metal armor?
DM (The goblins wear no armor whatsoever)
Julian “Got time for a word in private?” Julian keeps his pleasant smile in place.
Shella She dismisses the guard with a wave.
Julian “What do you make of all this?”
Shella “Captain Forren returned!”
Julian “Well, I’ll be… is he here? Where was he?”
Shella “He’d gone deep undercover to investigate some halfling criminal encampment across the river. He’s up at the palace with the baron, giving his full report!” She can barely contain her happiness.
Shella “Oh, and can you believe there is a druidic circle operating out there too? In plain view of the church and everything,” she shakes her head disapprovingly.
Julian “Well, I’m glad to hear one thing has gone well lately. The Captain that is. It gets pretty wild pretty quick outside the walls. Never know what you’re going to turn up.” Julian agrees. “What do you think about the Baron’s new proclamation, though? These enforcers of his?”
Shella She looks curiously. “You mean the bugbears?”
Julian “Yeah, and that bony devilish looking thing…”
Shella She gives him a doubtful look. “Did you actually see it, Julian? A lot of people are saying that, but I don’t think it’s real.”
Julian “Well, it might not be real, but if it isn’t, then whatever’s behind it is some sort of magician fooling people’s eyes. I did see it. I suppose that’s possible, with all the sorcery underfoot…” he muses.
Shella Shella sighs. “Magic. I barely understand it, and it’s causing so much trouble.”
Julian “Have you been out on patrol since the proclamation, or tied down here?”
Shella “I’ve had to stop my patrols, me and Brox both. We’ve been on overtime, trying to get all of the new recruits processed.”
Julian “Right. Makes sense.”
Shella “The bugbears have been leading a few of them though. I’m concerned though…I thought they were…you know, monsters? The guards they’ve gone with have had nothing but good things to say about them though. Apparently even monsters can have manners. Who knew?”
Julian “They are, from everything I’ve heard.” Julian shrugs. “Anyway. Might be good to walk a patrol, if ever you get a moment. Get a sense of the city’s mood, you know? People are frightened, Shella.”
Shella She frowns. “They shouldn’t be. The city is going to be safe. The Baron’s not a bad guy. And now the Captain’s back. He’ll set everything right again. I tried to hold it down as best I could for him, but now he’s here and he’ll fix those mistakes I made.”
Julian Julian shrugs uneasily. “I think they might have reason to be, but I won’t tell you what to think. You know this place better than I do, I know. I’m glad that he turned up, anyway. Did you get to see him before he went up to the palace?”
Shella She nods. “He came in here, explained things and headed out.”
Julian “All right. Give him my greetings, please, next time you see him.” Julian grins. “Tell him he’s a hard man to find.” The grin fades. “Oh… one more thing.”
Shella She looks curiously at his change of tone.
Julian “Did you hear the part of the decree that was against the temple of Tal?”
Shella “I can’t believe they were traitors,” she says, shaking her head sadly. “I hope once they find them they’ll discover it was all just a misunderstanding. Although it doesn’t look good that they ran, does it?”
Julian “That’s not what the baron said, though, is it? He spoke against the whole church. From Tal himself on down. ‘The temple of Tal, whose god has not seen fit to defend our city, is closed, and its priests are declared outlaws.’ Nothing about treason.”
Shella “I wasn’t there at the speech, I’ve just got the arrest order to go off of. But…if there wasn’t something to suspect them of treason, what would be the point of arresting them for it? They’d just be found innocent and let go.”
Julian “Good question. Look, all I’m saying is, something seems rotten to me. What the Baron said, it wasn’t as if he was talking about a few individuals, traitors. It was as if he was turning against God. I don’t know what would make him want to do that. Maybe I’m wrong.”
Shella “Yeah, it couldn’t be that. His sister is very involved with the church, even more than he is.”
Julian “I’ll be honest, Shella, my biggest worry here is that we’ve got another case of the three ensorcelled guardsmen. Only on a bigger scale. Just… get out on the streets and have a look around, all right? When you can.”
Shella “I will, I promise. Brox and I will power through this paperwork and I’ll get out there.”
Julian “Thanks. I’m going to move on. Still some assassins after me, I hear, and what with walking around unarmed now, it’s best not to hang around a public place too long unless I want to meet them on the way out. Stay safe.”
Shella “You too.” Her wish is sincere.
Julian Julian heads out, reuniting with Shael.
Shael Falling into step, Shael murmers, “What news?”
Julian “She’s just been getting third-hand reports. Chained to the desk. Oh, and the Captain turned up, today of all days. Word has it he’s gone to the palace.” Don’t know what to make of that, but I don’t think it’ll be good."
Shael Shael blinks. “Where was he?”
Julian Julian fills Shael in.
Shael “A druids circle…” Shael murmers to himself, “…how far from the city, did she say?”
Julian “Not far.”
Shael “We might want to check that out.” he suggests, “If they could be convinced to be on our side, they could prove valuable in the defense of the city.”
Julian “I’ll be honest, I’m expecting the Captain to come back from the palace charmed. Yeah? You think taming a cave bear would impress them?”
Shael “I’m concerned he doesn’t need to be charmed.” Shael shrugs, “I’ve met a couple, might help…”
Julian “You think so?” Julian nods at the advice about druids. “Something for tonight then. There’s one problem at least that seems simple. This river creature that’s been snatching people. Just needs killing, I guess.”
Shael Shael nods, “There is something I wonder that they may be able to answer.” he cocks his head curiously, “Hm, yes… no way to ambush it and it makes a large and sturdy target.” he agrees.
Julian Julian heads that way, rounding up Kryss to watch their backs.
DM The pair of heroes tracks first rumors and then signs of the river monster back to its lair, just outside the city, near the halfling’s encampment. It is seventy feet long from snout to tail, with a long neck and eyes that burn with hellfire. It bursts up from the river, roaring with rage as they come upon it.
Julian “That… is a lot bigger than I thought…”
Shael “Uhm. I didn’t know those existed…” he says, “…it’s fiendish, don’t bother with fire… and, otherwise… well, just hurt it a lot. It shouldn’t have anything more surprising than being a gods foresaken hell behemoth.”
Julian “Right… try to draw it onto shore. Then you from the right and me from the left.” The quick strategy conference with Kryss is followed by a pair of javelins, intended as much to anger the beast as wound it.
DM The creature roars as the javelins sink in.
Julian Kryss follows up with a pair of thrown axes, sticking close to Shael.
DM The creature lunges out of the river, barreling for Julian. Halfling river platforms are shattered in its watery exit.
Shael Shael moves towards the flank while subtly casting a spell of blindness on the creature.
DM Its infernal resistance seems to shrug off the magic.
Shael Shael suspected as much and the cascade contingencies trigger.
DM However, Shael sees paths not typically trodden, and in exchange for that, the creature sees only darkness. It thrashes about wildly.
Julian Julian takes advantage of the beast’s temporary disorientation and moves around it’s flank, slicing at the lashing coils with Lightbringer.
Kryss Kryss meanwhile heads straight up the middle.
DM Its roars shift in pitch. What was once rage is now pain. It lashes out blindly, as it slinks back towards the safety of the river. The creature is stripped of its hearing as well as its sight now, and dives into the water streaming ribbons of blood in its wake. It dives beneath the surface, the red trails following it down.
Shael Shael withdraws and tosses a potion of swimming to Kryss while running towards the water. Without preamble, he dives in – magic driving his advance towards the monster.
Julian Julian meanwhile trusts in his swimming expertise learned during his time in the cavalry.
Kryss Kryss shrugs and drinks the mystery liquid that Shael handed to him, then jumps in expecting to swim for it like Julian. He finds it rather easier, much to his surprise.
DM The creature is bleeding chunks of infernal flesh at this point, only alive through sheer hate.
Kryss Kryss teaches it to let go of its hate in the most brutal manner he can conceive.
DM It vanishes as it dies, turning into a black and golden smoke that clouds the water and fades away.
Kryss Kryss surfaces soon after, a little put out that he is left with nothing to show for his victory.
DM As the creature dies, the halflings in the encampment come out to cheer their saviors.
Julian Julian turns to greet their diminutive audience. Well, somewhat diminutive.
Shael Shael surfaces from the water and suggests to Kryss, “Go check if it had a lair, see if there’s anything useful.” he swims back to shore with Julian to face their admirers.
Julian Not ALL that much shorter than he is, really.
DM The pair are presented to Dentheira, the halfling’s matron. She eyes them speculatively.
Shael Shael eyes her speculatively.
Julian Julian coughs politely. “Sorry about those platforms.”
Dentheira “Well, they needed replacings anyoways,” she responds, waving off the apology. “I ain’t zaggeratin when I say you saved us. Damn thing came out of that portal they’ve got open in town.”
Julian “Portal, you say?”
Shael Shael nods, his suspicions confirmed.
Julian “We’re just starting to get our arms around this… figured we’d start with the biggest thing around.”
Dentheira “Modeir, get these folks some fish to eat while we talk.” One of the halflings, a broad shouldered male with a sour looking face, moves to comply. “Yep, that damn flame is burning a hole straight to Hell, and it’s letting all sorts of things loose. Worries me about my kin…too long of this and the Rag’ll be round.”
Shael “Rag?” Shael wonders.
Julian “Heaven forbid.” Julian mutters.
Dentheira “They say he was once a man…sold his soul for mere gold, only to find that it had lost any luster to him without his soul. He went to the devil, demanded it be returned to him, and he was stripped of his wealth as well. Now he shuffles the world, seeking the devil for a reckoning. Cuz when I mean he was stripped of his wealth? I mean, literally, everything he had. His money, his clothing…his skin…” she whispers. “Who knows how he returned, but a devil portal being open…sure to draw him.”
Shael Shael blinks, surprised. “You think he’ll come to the portal…” he purses his lips, “…to battle the devils?”
Dentheira “I see whatcher thinking boy, n it ain’t purty. Man ain’t to be the winner of such a conflict, of that you can be certain.”
Julian “Then this portal has to be our target. That means the temple.”
Shael With a nod, Shael moves on, “We heard the Captain of the town militia came through here…?”
Dentheira Dentheira blinks. “Say what now?”
DM Modeir reappears with some strong smelling trout strips, crusted in horseradish.
Shael Shael accepts his meal gratefully, expressing his thanks to Modeir and the others.
Modeir Modeir smacks his lips impatiently as he receives the thanks.
Julian Julian’s mind is still on strategy. “So you understand, then, we’re fighting what’s happened in town. Can you help?”
Shael Shael elaborates, describing the Captain and what his reported mission was. “Said deep cover; not sure how he’d lark about here, though.” he digs into the fish.
DM The fish is delicious, despite being hastily prepared by someone who clearly considers humans less important than the booger he is attempting to dig out of his nose at the moment…hopefully he washed his hands.
Dentheira “Help? Spose that depends on what you’re talking about. Information, place to hide, smuggling weapons in…maybe. Charging the walls of a city that don’t want us? Nope.”
Julian "Unless you’ve got anyone who’s eager to slay devils, information and a place to hide is more what we had in mind.
Shael Shael nods, “There are a few who will need to be expatriated… and weapons…” he frowns, “…I am uncertain whether we want civilians involved, only if it is necessary… but, I’d like to know about your capabilities in that field.”
Dentheira “My kin’s moved folk n fare down this river since before there was a Brinderford. Emphasis on the ‘and fare’ though. You can say a lot of nice things about charity, but I’d rather be able to buy the nice things, if it’s all the same.”
Julian “And fare…” Julian probably isn’t thinking along the same lines she is though. “Hey, do you think you could get an animal inside? A big one?”
Shael Shael murmers, “Compensation will be commensurate with services rendered – acknowledging as well the extreme danger you may be facing in aiding us.”
Dentheira “That’s what I like, someone who respects his elders…because of the money, boy. I like hearing I’m going to get it. Just a little less than I like actually getting it.”
Shael “We’ll almost certainly need two fugitives to be abetted… what’s the normal rate on fare out of the city? For these two, the danger means it’ll be tenfold that price payable now for services rendered when they are available to assist.”
Dentheira “A hundred gold?” the woman seems a little surprised, before recovering. “One hundred each…”
Shael “Ten gold just to coast a skimmer down-river? Per passenger?” Shael says, not above haggling on the original rate despite his generosity with the danger pay. “5 gold each, and the danger pay to cap it.”
Dentheira “Ten for a fugitive to be smuggled. A normal ride is silver, not gold. But we can call it five fold for danger if it’s too rich.”
Shael “Ten for a fugative…” he murmers, with a sigh he nods. “It’ll be the clergy of Tal – that change anything? They’re declared outlaws in the city.”
Dentheira Her lips twist, but she doesn’t change the price. “A deal’s a deal on the river,” she mutters.
Shael Shael nods and starts counting coins, he lets Julian take over for the rest of the discussions while he does so.
Julian “I guess you’ve been keeping track of what’s been happening in the city?”
Dentheira “We hear things. And yes, in case you mistook my elusive answer as a lack of information, we are indeed keeping track.”
Julian “The devils are strong right now. We’re looking to whittle them down before we can try the temple. Hearing things when their forces are on the move could be pretty helpful with that.”
Dentheira “Here’s some free advice. Some of them are part of the force, some of them are illegal refugees from their blasted wasteland of a home. Don’t mix up the two.” She points at the river as she mentions the latter.
Julian “Guessing these ghost killers we’ve heard about are more of the second kind?”
Dentheira “The real force here is on a specific contract, which is to enforce law and order. You step out of line, they’re going to do for you, but they won’t go around on a random snuff show. But beasties like our river love, or the invisible tigers that stalk the sinners who escape from Hell’s clutches? Those aren’t bargained with, they’re escaping the zoo.”
Shael Shael wonders, “We should maybe target those first, assuage the wound, or instead stem the tide entirely?”
Dentheira “Dunno, just don’t want you thinking poking one is poking the other.”
DM The next day, the heroes put their nose to the ground, trying to find out everything they can about the situation. Southspur is the site of most of the fiendish creature attacks. There are at least three fiendish bipedal reptiles taller than a man and two invisible tigers. The purplish bugbear creatures patrol three times a day, the rest of the time is split guarding the guard barracks or at the temple of Tal. There are at least two human priests who have been seen in the temple, but do not leave. A pack of hellhounds roams outside the city, and a few of the hounds have been seen in town, near the temple. The devils in the temple include the bone devil that patrols once an hour, the bearded devils that guard the temple day and night, and a barbed devil that stays within the temple. Thos Hucrele offers to have some of his agents scout the temple if the heroes are interested. The missing clerics are not located, wherever their safehouse is, it seems to be keeping them safe, because the reward for their capture has increased to six digits. Some rumors within the city are that a ‘Band of the Rag’ are stealing rags and burning them in some sort of odd ritual.
DM Hopefully our heroes can make sense of this, Loyal Readers! Will they liberate this city from Hell, or wash it away in the high water? Find out next week!