The Abyss Stares Back

First Contact

We have met the enemy, and he is odorous

We were awakened by the sound of alarm bells resounding over Point Hope, calling the soldiers to what we did not know. Mads, outside sleeping in a tree as was his wont, overheard the captain receiving a report from one of the Wardens’ scouts. The Ravagers were on the move, heading towards the small town of Grozny. It was no more than a raiding party, maybe 15 creatures total, but the kind of destruction that even such a small group could do… It was time to mobilize.

Abalescu gathered together a group of a dozen men to accompany him to the town to defend it, and we volunteered our services as well. And then we departed into the woods, followed by a MONTAGE, because that is what heroes do. We had to make it to the town before the Ravagers did, or else. What exactly the else would have been, we didn’t know, other than the fact that it would involve bodies and pikes. Or bodies ON pikes, to be more precise.

Due to our incomparable skills, we did as we needed to, and we got ourselves and the Wardens to Grozny just ahead of the approaching abominations. After a short delay involving Mads and his new-found appreciation for rhubarb pie, we cleared the streets of citizens and prepared to make our stand. And stand we did. The Ravagers attacked without hesitation, howling and scrabbling over each other as they tried to slake their bloodlust, but they were no match for our discipline. Or for the discordant tones of my Canticum, bringing thunder and death down among them.

Mads checked the bodies and found little other than their own filth and the scraps of cloth that served as their clothing, but one of the Ravagers was carrying a small silver locket containing a portrait of a woman in it. It was unclear where the locket had come from – perhaps another village that the creatures had passed through, or a memento of a past conquest. It seemed doubtful that there was any sentimentality in the creatures’ vicious minds, though, so it was just as likely that the locket simply had been trod upon and gotten lodged in the ichor covering the man-thing.

Once the streets were quiet once more, the mayor and some of the braver townsfolk came out to see us and thank us for our help, offering to celebrate us and our victory with a revel that night (not a sleep revel, for, oddly, the people were unfamiliar with such a thing here). Also there would be more pie. Mads had considered refusing before that was mentioned. We agreed, with the stipulation that we not deplete their stores, and that we take the immediate opportunity to try and track the Ravagers first, before the trail cooled. We decided to return in the evening, and Abalescu and his men would, in the meantime, help the townsfolk construct a wall to blunt further attacks.

Over the river and through the woods, the Ravager trail took us. They evidently had moved quickly, as the entire trail was of similar appearance. However, after hours of tracking, we finally came to what appeared to be the remains of a Ravager camp, on top of the burnt out remains of a Vistani merchant/entertainer camp. Judging from the impaled bodies on the outskirts of a set of circled, charred wagons, it looked like the Ravagers had not been welcome visitors. Although I told Milosh otherwise, it looked as if the Vistani had suffered horribly at the hands of their attackers, and that they had remained here for days to do it, as any tracks leading into the camp were long gone.

We did what we could for the Vistani, burying them after recording the positioning on the pikes, and then returned to Grozny for some well- deserved pie.

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