Vronsky and Gespar make their way outside to investigate their sightings. Standing in the street, peering up into the dark sides of the buildings, they find only rain and mist floating into the city. The pair agrees that it would be best to further search the surrounding area. They take a walk several blocks north, through winding alley ways to begin their search.
Peering out from between to buildings, Vronsky and Gespar spot a welcoming sight. In the gloom of the rain and misty haze, two torches burn in front of a town guard building. They breathe a sigh of relief and begin to make their way to it.
Not sure where to begin, Santhil and Rissis make their way to the northernmost portion of the city, where the wealthy elite reside. As they cross side street to side street. They notice a mist creeping into the city. It thick and heavy and makes visibility difficult. The city is silent and abandoned. No one makes their presence known. Few houses are lit and the usual taverns have closed early for the night. Not wanting to deal with the hassle of traveling through the controlled gates to the norther portion of the city, Santhil and Rissis hop several fences.
The neighborhood they enter is vastly different from the rest of the city. The luxurious homes are all of classic Tethyrian architecture. The streets are beautifully cobblestoned and gas lamps line the streets. Small gardens dot the sidewalks and medians in the streets. Santhil notes that their are more buildings lit in this portion of the city. Looking to find an inn or a tavern still open, the pair begins to make their way eastward along a main street. They are thankful that the mist is not very strong in this area. Rissis and Santhil walk for a while before coming upon a well lit area down the street. From about five hundred feet, Rissis grabs Santhil, forcing him to stop. In the distance Rissis spots a pale looking creature crouched low to the ground in the middle of the street. Santhil and Rissis quickly duck into an alley way and wait several moments. Rissis peers his head around the corner. The creature still sits in the street, busy with something on the ground.
As if by a sixth sense, the creature jerks upright staring in the direction of Rissis, its pale eyes glowing through the downpour. Rissis quickly pulls himself back into the alleyway, hoping the creature did not spot him. Several tense moments pass and Rissis peers back around. The creature is gone, leaving only the remains of what it was stooped over lying in the street. Santhil and Rissis cautiously approach. Through the heavy rain and the dim light from the gas street lamps, they make out a crumpled figure in the street, blood draining away from it’s lifeless body. Rissis and Santhil throw furtive glances over their shoulders as they begin to investigate. The mans face and throat have been badly wounded. He lays in front of a luxurious townhouse. Rissis looks into the glass enclosed foyer and sees a trail of blood leading inside. Santhil draws the man’s cloak over dead body before following Rissis into the house. The glass door is ajar and Rissis gently pushes it open. Once inside, the ever present splashing of rain has turned into a loud hum as it lashes down on the glass foyer.
Santhil and Rissis proceed into the house. It is a dimly lit by candles on the walls and eerily quiet. The rain can just barely be heard splashing outside. Taking a moment to wring their clothes out, the pair then proceeds to investigate the main level of the building. They cautiously navigate through the house. They find several studies, several guest rooms, a dining hall and a large ballroom. Nothing seems out of the ordinary. They make their way to the rear of the house, towards the kitchen. Rissis tries the door to the kitchen but it is locked. As Santhil begins to pick the lock, Rissis hears low, raspy breathing from the other side. Santhil and Rissis carefully push open the door to find a bloodied and battered man laid out on the kitchen table, wrapped in bandages. To the left an open door to the alleyway swings in the wind. Rissis quickly rushes to it and peers into the rainy alleyway but does not see anything. Santhil draws the blinds and studies the dying man. He is too badly injured to save and his too incoherent to form words. Rissis and Santhill lock all the doors to this room, and leave. They return to the front of the house to ascend a staircase. Rissis notices a small trail of blood hidden by the red carpet leading up the staircase. They carefully follow it upstairs. It leads them to a master bed room. Opening the door, they find a blood soaked bed with medical equipment strewn about the room. Several low burning candles illuminate the room. The blood soaked bedding drips onto the floor. Rissis and Santhil search the room for further clues but come up empty handed. They return to the hallway and search the other rooms but find nothing out of the ordinary.
At the end of the hallway they find a single, narrow door. The floor beneath it is damp and the sound of rain can be heard from beyond it. The pair opens the door and finds a stair case that leads to a trap door. Water leaks in from the trap door. Rissis and Santhil ascend the stairs and push open the heavy latch. The howling wind and heavy rain greets them as they embark out into the storm again.
On the roof top, Santhil and Rissis walk over to the edge, spotting down into the street for any unwanted followers. They search the roof top for anything helpful but find nothing. As they are about to return into the trap door, Rissis notices a single wooden plank laid down from the roof of this building to the roof of the adjacent building. Rissis and Santhil cross the wobbly board and look around for an entrance into the neighboring building. After they are unable to find a roof entrance, Rissis returns to the plank and looks down along the building. A single window below the plank is slightly open. Rissis motions to Santhil and the two climb down, carefully opening the window and creeping inside.
Moonlight pours in through the window, illuminating the otherwise unlit room. The room is layered in a thick coat of dust and it does not look like anyone has disturbed it in some time. Parchment and volumes of text litter the floor and shelves. A large bed in the corner is piled high with paintings and other works of art. Three doors lead from this room. One to the northwest, one to the southwest, and one directly south. Rissis approaches the southwest door as Santhil studies the scattered texts. It is written in many different languages, dating from many different times. A general theme is evident among all the works: resurrection. The papers describe summoning rites, undead burial procedures, and other dark acts. The papers are so scattered that Santhil cannot piece very much together.
Rissis opens the southwest door to find a closet with moth ridden clothes. Several canes stand propped up in the corner and a large trunk sits in another corner. Rissis opens the trunk only to find musty old blankets. Santhil then cautiously opens the south door. This too, is another closet. Many luxurious coats and garment hang from the racks that adorn this closet. Several dried out pairs of leather shoes sit on the floor. Rissis pushes through the clothing hoping to find some clue. He pushes several coats aside and finds another door, hidden behind the garments. Picking the lock, he proceeds into a dark crawlspace. Lightind a torch Rissis, peers around. In the dim light Rissis is able to make out two bright eyes staring back at him from the darkness. The eyes sit perfectly still and do not blink. Rissis holds the torch out further to find that it is a bronze sculpture of a cat, two yellow citrines reflecting the torch light. Rissis approaches it and draws his dagger, prying the jewels from the bronze piece. Upon removing the second jewel the bronze sculpture cracks and emits a low hum. Santhil and Rissis stand silent for a moment waiting for another noise, but nothing happens. Rissis pockets the jewels and the two proceed to the northeast door.
Rissis gently pushes it open to find a short hallway littered with more artwork. Paintings and framed pieces are stacked carelessly. To the right a stairway leads down and further ahead another door stands shut. Santhil carefully peers down the dark stairway while Rissis examines the the shut door. He pushes it open and a cold draft greets him. A small window in the far corner of the room sits open. A large bed, a desk, and a tall dresser are the only pieces of furniture in this room. Scrolls and parchment lie strewn about the room. Books torn from shelves litter the area. Discarded items lay where they fell. The bed is unkempt and the desk is in disarray. Rissis quickly reads through several scripts that he can make out. They are the same as the ones found in the other room: undead rites, transmutation rituals, extraplanar travel. It would take much more time than they have to study all the texts, so Rissis joins Santhil as they descend the stairs.
The street level of the house is utterly dark, save for the light provided by lightning flashing outside. Rain lashes down on the windows creating a constant droning of sound. The house is quiet. And still. No sound can be heard. Rissis’s footsteps break the silence as he slowly walks about the first floor. Thunder booms outside, muffled by its distance. Small glass figurines silently observe the pair from behind glass cabinets. Dusty paintings hang on the wall. Santhil paces in the opposite direction.
He enters a small square room. It is a library. Books on shelves rise to the ceiling. Two windows side in adjacent walls. Lightning cracks outside and in the brief light Santhil makes out many small sculptures sitting on a shelf to the right. Many books lay on the floor and dust covers the room. A tiny closet opens to his right. He peers in, but is unable to make anything out in the complete darkness. He returns to the rooms where Rissis has been wandering.
The pair meet up in a large front room. A dining table is set with places however on one side, a large stack of books sits, stacked precariously. Rissis continues on. Three arm chairs sit in front of a large fireplace. Black suit stains the surrounding area, but the thick layer of dust suggests it has not been lit in some time. A small hexagonal table sits on the west wall with a dusty candelabra in the middle. Two other taller candelabras stand in the corners. In the other room, Santhil looks around for a place to sit. It has been sometime since he has rested.
He finds a small bench, flanked by two large glass cabinets. He peers out the glass, rain ruining any view. Just as he is sitting down, an audible thump is heard from below. He looks to his right where he sees a kitchen with a stairway leading down to the cellar. He is alarmed but is hesitant to call out to Rissis, fearful of what might hear him. He patiently waits for Rissis to return to the room before signaling him that something is in the house with them.
As they approach, Vronsky and Gespar notice that the guard house is unattended. They find this odd, given the confusion that has taken place in the city. They exchange nervous glances and proceed. Two dim torch burns out in front of the building. They are mounted on a wall beneath an overhang, shielded from the heavy rain. As they get closer, their hearts sink.
A slain town guardsmen lays crumpled in the street. A stream of red flows from him. Gespar kneels down to find the cause of death. Vronsky stands guard over him, the rain making it impossible to see more than twenty feet in any direction. Suddenly Gespar jolts up. An icy hand claws at him from the shadow created by the dim torch. The two stand up back to back looking for their next attacker. They begin to retreat in the direction they came. As they walk on in terror, they both look back to see the figure of a man enter the light of the torch. He is wielding a deadly mace and a sinister looking crossbow. His dark chain mail glistens in the light and his darker robes shed the rain. A large shield rests on his back. Three gaunt humanoids cluster around his feet, hissing and snapping their teeth. They are the same creatures they saw earlier. The man continues to approach, raising his crossbow. The three ghouls leap forward and chase after Vronsky and Gespar. Gespar is overrun and is forced to fight with them in the street. The largest one leaps up and Gespar deftly dodges it, slicing its hands off. Just as he is about to parry the next attack, a piercing pain comes from his shoulder.
The massive crossbow bolt struck Gespar rendering his left arm useless. The dark cleric reloads his crossbow and slowly walks forward. Vronsky turns and tries to get the ghouls off of his best friend. A second bolt pierces Gespar. This time in his ribs. Several more ghouls creep from the alley ways and assault the pair. A third bolt buries itself into Gespar once more. Vronsky looks on in horror as the handless ghoul stumbles up and sinks it’s teeth into Gespar’s flesh, blood spurting out. Vronsky slashes several ghouls, desperate to save his friend. The evil man has thrown down his crossbow and brandishes the large mace.
Vronsky realizes the futility of the situation and with tear soaked eyes, turns and flees. He can hear the dying screams of Gespar as he is mutilated by the undead. Vronsky turns and runs into an alleyway. He stumbles and gets up, looking for an escape. There is none. He is trapped.