The battle over, the party spends a few moments bandaging wounds, reviving the fallen Kat, and generally catching their breath before the guards arrive. Lahfawnduh slips into the shadows moments before they round the corner, weapons drawn and crossbows at the ready. Fortunately it only takes a moment for the sargeant to take in the dead and wounded rat-men scattered around the street and recognize who the good guys are. Hands are shaken, rats clubbed, and a guard is sent running to wake the nearest jewler and requisition a spool of silver wire.
The wererat called Barchan slumps against his bonds, seemingly resigned to his fate. Bound to a sturdy chair by silver wire reinforced with heavier chains, there’s no way he can shift in to beast form and escape. Instead he’s shifted to human form. As a human he’s got the look of a grizzled vet, with weathered skin, short cropped hair and a scraggly salt & pepper beard, and a puckered scar running across his left eyebrow and down his cheek that gives him a squint on that side.
Practically seething with the dark fury that only devotees of the Raven Queen can muster, Frambois demands, “Who sent you? Why do you follow us?“
Barchan smirks at the questions, but answers readily enough in his gravelly voice. “Why? ‘Cause we was paid to kill you, ‘course. Well, not you. The two faeries, the scaly bint and the blue freak. ‘E didn’t tell us they’d picked up a coupla crow-lickers, a giant and a drow for bodyguards. Was supposed to be some walking tree looking bugger as well, but I guess somebody else must’ve done our work for us there, eh?“
“As for who?” He shrugs as best he can against the bonds, winces, and grins. “Couldn’t say. Mysterious cloaked stranger in a pub. Never showed ‘is face.” Frambois narrows his eyes, and leather creaks as Vorlakk grips his weapon tighter. “Alright, alright. Not much choice I’ve got, eh? Not like he’ll be able to track me down where I’m headed. He looked like an elf, mostly, real pale, hair and eyes black as pitch. Didn’t smell like any elf I’ve ever met, though. Didn’t move like one either. Ronan went to tear him open when he showed up in our den all unannounced, but before I could blink the whole crew was lyin on the ground bleedin and I had a silver dagger pressed to my throat. Then Sohlus starts babblin that he’s the messenger we’ve been waitin for.. buggered if I was waitin for any messenger.. damn warlocks.. and we gotta listen to him. So we sit down all nice-like once the bleedin’s stopped and he hands over two shiny red gems, a nice sack of coin, and a parchment with your friend’s faces on it.“
After a brief consultation, it’s decided they should see what the warlock has to say about all of this. Imprisoning a spellcaster is a tricky task, though, let alone interrogating one. In the end Vorlakk is sent in, since his wounds already burn with the filth fever the rats carry, to yank the sack from the ‘rat warlock’s head and unbind his muzzle before retreating out of the cell.
The rat, Sohlus according to Barchan, is an unpleasant sight, even putting aside that he’s preferred to stay in his rat-man form rather than shifting to human like the other. His fur is patchy and ragged, with bald spots all over exposing weeping, crusted sores and blistered rashes. What fur he’s still got has an unpleasant greasy sheen. Stripped of his magical robe, he’s left with a ragged tunic and a pair of torn breeches, with stained rags wrapped around his paws and hands as makeshift shoes and gloves. As soon as he’s ungagged the creature starts ranting and cursing (literally.. a clinging sense of unease follows Vorlakk back through the door as one finds it’s mark).
“You think you’ve won, hahahahahahahahaha, you haven’t won anything. Your doom is already written.
*cough* Written in the stars, written in the filth. The blighted mother stirs, and she’ll take you all.
*wheeze* You should have let us kill you. Should have thanked us. Mercy, you’ll call it, when we rise up and feed you to her, feed the world to her. Their world, then yours, yes this world is next, ahahahaha
As his tirade wears on his voice grows thicker until he begins to choke on the words, hacking and coughing between bouts of mad laughter and further ranting along the same lines. His fur seems to change as well. At first it seems perhaps he’s trying to shift to human form but no, it’s just his fur changing, going gray in patches.. patches that start to bleed together to form swirling patterns the party have come to recognize. The air in the cell grows hazy, and the guards dart nervous glances back and forth between the party and the bound rat.
Somewhere in all this, someone goes to rouse the Captain of the Guard. “Sir! Sir! Begging your pardon sir I know you said you wasn’t to be disturbed but.. shapeshifters, sir! Murderous shifters, snuck in and tried to kill those orc-hunters! Oh, hello there miss, beg pardon.“
At Vorlakk’s suggestion, a warning shot is fired into the warlock’s leg, but it seems to have little effect other than sending a cascade of startlingly yellow-green pus pouring down it’s leg. Jeton’s lightning scorches fur and flesh, but does not seem to slow the transformation. Finally a desperate guard fires a crossbow bolt straight between the creature’s eyes, putting an end to the transformation and it’s mad ravings.. but not the stench.
“See,” says the other wererat from his cell, “This is why we always thumped ‘im when he started talking crazy too much. Ugh, that doesn’t smell right at all, and I’m a rat.” Shaking his head, he adds, “Listen, you think this is over, you get a breather before somebody tries to put a knife in your back again, you’re an idiot. We were told to come here to Hadden to see if you showed up here, and report back when we killed you or if you hadn’t shown in a month. I know how this game is played and that means Three Forks, Ravan, Aragona, any burg you set foot in, there’s gonna be more like us and worse on his payroll waiting for you. And believe me, there’s worse than us out there. But tell you what.. consider this my payback for the bastard getting us in to this mess. Brigg’s Tor, that’s where we were supposed to report once you were dead. Said he’d have more work for us. Heh, probably a troll press gang more like it, but if you want someone to beat answers out of, that’d be the place I’d go.“
Shortly after that Captain Lota arrives, still shrugging in to his armor and looking absolutely furious, demanding to know what these things are doing alive in his keep instead of being executed on the spot, why his men aren’t out canvassing the streets in packs looking for the last survivor, and what the hell is that smell. This effectively ends the interrogation. Nala, meanwhile, finally has a chance to look at the infected wounds Vorlakk and Kat have taken while Jeton educates everyone on the worship of the Blighted Mother the warlock mentioned and Hadarai recounts the storied history of Brigg’s Tor.