So, we had five werewolves in one cell and twenty-ish were-others in neighboring cells. Those five werewolves got violent, fast. They started tearing apart the cell they were in. One of them actually tore a hole in the wall and grabbed a weretiger around the throat. We were stunned for a moment, then Rakust said some prayer to Joramy and the werewolf cell erupted in flames.
The werewolves didn’t seem phased by the wall of fire. They leaped through, flames licking their fur, and went after both us and the other lycanthropes. One of them must have been able to smell me. It reached right out and bit my arm through the invisibility cloak.
We took them all down, and I turned around to see a werebear apparently mauling Rakust. I smacked him upside the head with a sling bullet and got ready for him to charge me, but instead he just rubbed his skull, got off the dwarf, and actually helped him to his feet. The others told me that he’d been fighting the werewolves with us. But can you blame me for thinking he’s a bad guy when I turn around and he’s laying on top of my dwarf? (Sorry again for that, Alex, I really am!)
When things calmed down, the werebear, Alex, explained to us that the others had only been recently infected with lycanthropy, so they were very disoriented, but not violent. He had been a werebear for a while, so he was used to controlling the change. Apparently he’d been hired to protect this village a while ago. Now that they were all infected he was planning on heading onto Pell, where he’d heard they might have a cure for lycanthropy. Apparently, even if these people’s other forms weren’t violent and evil, it was still a very painful change to happen every month, and he wanted to help them out of it, if he could.
As he was explaining all of this, I looked down at my arm wound and noticed it looked really bad. I told the rest of the party that they should probably lock me up that night. Alex agreed. He knew some tricks to help stop the disease from taking me. We found some wolfsbane and made a tea out of it, and we tied a silver coin onto a makeshift necklace to hang around my neck, then I sat down in one of the cells that was still in one piece, and waited.
I do not actually remember that whole night. They told me I was shrieking as if I was being flayed alive. I remember a haze of red, and it felt like something was trying to burst from my chest. I fought it as hard as I could, and apparently it worked because I never actually changed. I’m glad I managed to keep control, because if I did turn into a werewolf I feel like Rakust, at least, would have no compunctions about putting a lance through my skull.
Alex told me that I had one more night of that hell to look forward to, and then I’d have to deal with it three more days a month until we found a cure. So we all agreed to go with him to Pell as soon as we could.
The cells down in the temple were the most convenient place to keep me while I changed, so we needed to stay one more day. While we were there, a recruiter for Nerul came to our camp, bringing a few new recruits. We killed them all except the recruiter, who we questioned. He didn’t have a lot of information to give us, just that this had been a Nerul training ground, and he was bringing back trainees. We set up a few traps around the temple so that if any more came back when we were gone they’d be in trouble. We made sure to tell the villagers where these traps were so they wouldn’t set them off.
We also took the opportunity to explore more of the temple. There was a secret room with a sarcophagus of some hugely powerful vampire that we decided to leave alone. There was also an old mine where Billy managed to sniff out some gold still in the walls. We didn’t have the right equipment or the time to actually dig it out, so we just took note of the place and thought we might come back later.
I spent another night in the cells, trying my hardest not to change. I don’t want to think about those nights. Apparently with all my thrashing and physical changes I tore my invisibility cloak. It’s still good for disorienting attackers, but I’m no longer completely invisible when I use it. Well, it was fun while it lasted.
The villagers all wanted to stay in the little town they were rebuilding from the rubble of the Nerulite temple. We thought at first that they’d be coming with us, but Alex said he was going to bring the cure back to them instead of bringing them to the cure.
So, we picked up our gear, made sure we had a nice stash of wolfsbane, and set out on the road to Bonro, and then onto Pell.
Our first night out, I was on watch and felt something trying to tug at my brain. I couldn’t see anything, but we heard some movement in the woods. When we looked in the morning, we only found our own tracks. Or at least, the tracks of Aris, Rakust, and Alex. Billy’s and my tracks weren’t there, except for where we knew we walked.
The next night went uneventfully, but when we woke up in the morning, Rakust was acting weird. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but he just wasn’t himself. I mean, he was acting exactly like Rakust, burning things and cursing all of us, but something was off. It felt like I was watching a play where someone was on stage playing Rakust. We got Alex to search the campsite, and he found evidence that something heavy had been dragged away.
We tied up “Rakust” and followed the drag marks to what looked like an ordinary village with lots of humans working outside. There was a cave, and from what we could see, the drag marks lead into the cave.
I tried to sneak up on them to get more info, but managed to step on a rake and made a huge ruckus. When they started looking for me I decided not to fight it, stepped out of the long grass, and told them we were looking for our friend.
The rest of the party came up behind me and started questioning the farmers. They got very defensive and refused to let us look in the cave. Sira started huffing and puffing, trying to intimidate the villagers, and I used that as a distraction to sneak away into the grass. They saw me go, but not where I went.
I managed to find my way into the cave. There was a whole village in there, full of tons of different kinds of people. Outside there had been only humans, but in here there were dwarves, elves, half elves, and humans, all taking and working together like nothing was odd. I snuck around, looking for any sign of Rakust, and found a couple talking about torturing a dwarf with water. I knew they had to be talking about Rakust, so I followed one of them to where they were keeping him.
While I followed this person, I started wondering why I was doing this. Why on earth was I going through so much trouble for the person who threatened to burn me to death on a regular basis? He wanted to bury me alive while I was changing into a werewolf as a way to keep me from hurting him and the rest of the party. Well, he comes in handy. I have to admit, I started thinking of him as my dwarf. He’s like an ugly, mean guard dog. An ugly, mean guard dog that can breathe fire. He may not be nice to look at, and he’ll bite your hand when you feed him if you get too close, but he’s damn good at his job.
When I got to the place where they were keeping Rakust, the person questioning him actually turned into Rakust while I watched. The questions he was asking made it sound like these people had been hired to kill us and take our place. When the guard left, I managed to kill the questioner, let Rakust go free, and convinced him to walk out nonchalantly. I figured that if these things could look like Rakust that they might not actually think it was strange if somebody looking like Rakust was walking out of the cave.
We made our way back up to the surface, following a group of these things that changed into humans as we watched. We managed to get up there just as things got violent. There were a lot of them, but they were pinned between me and Rakust on one side and Aris, Billy, and Alex on the other, and we made quick work of them.
Now, the question is, what do we do with two Rakusts?