The Abyss Stares Back

Laughing in the Purple Smoke

We get to the village of Berez in the shadow of the mountain range that maybe Sebastian saw in his vision. The guards that greet us as we approach wear pelts, some of wolves, and tell us that the town does a decent trade in skins. Mads freaks out a little about their misuse of the forest, but we calm him down with reminders of the monsters in the area keeping down the human population.

We go to the pub and look around. The bartender, surprisingly, has never heard of the ravagers, but he points us in the direction of the huntress, who is in charge of the hunting parties that leave the town. He also mentions that one of the town’s hunting parties recently was lost, but doesn’t have any more details than that.

The huntress is at a table speaking in hushed times with some other men, but privacy never stopped Mads before and it does not stop him now. He introduces himself and lets them know that we are there to help them. And are better than them. She is eventually intrigued by his quirkiness and asks that we come with her.

She leads us to an infirmary where we meet one of the members of the hunting party that went missing recently – it is her father, she says. He has lost both eyes, one leg and a hand, but he escaped his attackers and was found crawling down a road in the mountains to the east. So far, he has been delirious, but we do hear him mention something about being dragged away at “the mirror”, which the huntress says is a pond up in the mountains, and he also mutters something about a bruise in the sky that the hunters were following. It would seem that this is the purple smoke from Sebastian’s vision!

We head up to the pond to investigate, and find signs of a short term camp and a struggle. We are terrible at finding tracks, but Ulrich manages to tap into the mana of the area and detects a magical trail left behind by an amulet on one of the hunters. We follow.

It leads us to a clearing filled with pain and sorrow. There is a ruined barn and some out buildings in a field with about a dozen ravagers milling about and sparing with each other. There is a fenced in area surrounded by stakes, some of which have men strapped to them. There is purple mist that rises up out of a pit in their midst that makes them scream in rage.

I tap into the magical currents below the ground and surge the horrormist, causing it to geyser up over the men and redouble their screams. This is enough to get the ravagers’ attention, and they turn and scream their… something. Joy? Bloodlust? Anyway, we take their momentary distraction as an opportunity, and charge down the hill to murder the fuck out of them. It doesn’t go particularly well, and Ulrich in particular spends a good deal of time rolling around on the ground in his own blood. But just as it seems darkest, with Ravager reinforcements pouring out of the surrounding buildings to join the fight, a shining knight charges in to enter the fray on our behalf. Or, well, Milosh arrives, at least.

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