The Abyss Stares Back

Full Moon Rising

A new day dawns in the land of Innistrad – in the city of Avabruck, to be specific, a town surrounded on three sides by the dangerous (most would say “werewolf-stalked”) forest of the Ulvenwald. To the west, breaking the monotony, lie the formidable Niebelheim mountains. The only link connecting Avabruck to the rest of the world is a dangerous road called the Breakneck Ride, so named because of the speed required to travel its length over the course of a single day. Those caught on the road when night falls are oft never seen again. Mines dot the mountainsides, farms spread out along the eastern side of the town, and a massive graveyard occupies the area north of the city.

It is one day before the Sleep Revel of Marta Bruns, former wife of Erik Bruns, one of the wealthiest men in town. She has been dead for 21 years, and the city will celebrate her accomplishment of staying in the ground, failing to rise as undead. Erik’s current wife, an elven woman by the name of Anneliese, is the only one who isn’t happy about the celebration.

Four men rest in a tavern, prospective legends all. Sebastian Bellerophon, a human mage from Gavony, sips his ale, pondering the glimpses of the future that he so often sees. Ulrich Schadenfreude, another, beefier, human wizard, flexes his muscles and drowns memories of his time in the magic academy of Thraben in drink. Mads, elven thief and local madman, pages through the wallet of one of the farmers that the stars told him to steal from. And Urban Richter von Istendahl, demon-touched inquisitive, mutters abyssal words of power under his breath, hoping to learn something new. And to not accidentally destroy the inn with them.

They have a short conversation with some local farmers, highlighted by Mads taking advantage of their naivety with tall tales of underground potato-sucking demons and apple-picking undead. Prior to this, their concerns had been more about the drought that holds the region in its dry, dusty grip, but now… Now they have more absurd problems to worry about.

The conversation is interrupted by the entrance of a large, tattooed man, wearing a mail coat bearing the sign of Avacyn. He accosts the bartender, Evan, youngest son of Erik and Anneliese, shouting something about a contraption that the inn is using to make ice. From his words (and some prodding by Ulrich), it would seem that the device is powered by the souls of dead criminals. But ice IS very important around here, so perhaps it is a reasonable tradeoff. The farmers tell the group that this is Edgar, oldest son of Erik and Marta.

After a series of brief conversations, they discover that Edgar is angry about just about everything – his stepmother, the drought, his brother’s inn, the other cathar, the upcoming sleep revel – everything. His specific duties evidently include watching over the Graf – the graveyard north of the city. He mentions to them that the First Cathar’s men have gone north for some reason, but he won’t (or can’t) provide any information as to why.

As they wander the inn, Mads accidentally collides with a barmaid and causes her to drop the drinks she was carrying. When he reaches for money to pay for this, his hand instead grabs a jeweled dagger in his pocket. Although he is bedecked in blades, this particular one does not look familiar to him. He notes that it is inscribed with patterns reminiscent of flies.

One of the other travelers in the inn grabs our attention, a well-dressed man in unusual clothing who has ordered food but doesn’t seem to be interested in eating. Mads approaches him and engages him in conversation. The man, who introduces himself as Albert, has traveled to Avabruck to speak with the mayor, but he doesn’t wish to discuss the reasons. Mads, recognizing his Gavonian accent, invites Sebastian to speak with him instead, since he is a fellow countryman. And he hopes that Sebastian will bring him a list of valuables that the man has that are worth stealing…

Sebastian has more luck that Mads, and he and Albert commiserate over the poor quality wine in Avabruck. Albert finally reveals that he is in the city to negotiate a water deal between Gavony and Avabruck. Sebastian also sees a vision of the man, standing at a podium, surrounded by a shouting crowd.

Urban examines the dagger, and during the process one of the gems tears free from the hilt, grows wings, and flies around the room. While the group is surprised at this, it is even more unexpected when one of the other patrons of the tavern rises from his seat and quickly exits. It seems to be a sign of guilt, or possibly knowledge, and Mads takes it as such and follows him, pursuing him to the northern border of the city before turning back.

The rest of the group leaves the tavern to meet back up with Mads, but are interrupted by the sound of alarm bells ringing at the east gate. They run to the gate to see what the commotion is, and arrive just in time to see a man ride in through the gate, frantically calling for it to be closed. The militia, also running for the gate, manage to do so just a moment too late, and a group of wolves breaks into the town and tears into the men.

The fight does not go well, and the adventurers eventually are dropped to the dirt, leaving the militia to finish off the wolves. They awake back at the inn, looked over by Emil, the middle Bruns brother and a cathar himself. Edgar arrived at the gate just in time to pull them away, and has now completely lost respect for the group. Emil, on the other hand, is grateful for their help and quite a bit friendlier than his brother. Mads is immediately convinced that they need to obtain silver-laced mud before the next full moon to concoct an antidote to the lycanthropy that they’ve certainly caught.

The party is broken up by more wolf cries from outside, as well as the screams of the townsfolk. The group, along with Emil, work to get people off of the street, but are eventually confronted by an enormous wolf-man who leaps up on top of the wall and howls, silhouetted by a flash of lightning in the distance. He does NOT look friendly.



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