Elsewhere in Badispor on the same day…
At a citadel of the Church of Silver Flame, the paladin initiate Rolan has proven himself worthy to receive a special charge and has been brought before his commander, Backus Smith. Commander Smith is a stout but kind-looking dwarf who has been part of the militant wing of the church for most of his life. Rolan with his elvish blood stands out a bit among this particular branch of the church which is predominately dwarven.
In Commander Smith’s office Rolan is told,
Many here and many in Limage and farther south to even Hexham think our order has run its course, exhausted its need. And, given how zealous our brethren in Schwabia have been, the public’s opinion about us is souring. We need to assert ourselves and show the world how much they need us.
To this end, we’ve received information concerning one of the immigrant cults. It has taken up residence in the ruins of the temple to Nissea. Normally, this wouldn’t concern us, but a potential patron has come to us with evidence we can’t ignore. Seems this cult is bent on spreading the lycanthropy curse. They’ve been recruiting from the dregs, paupers, destitute, and even some of those in the workhouses. There were rumors of disappearances, but no one misses those people so when they never come back no one goes looking. Well, our would-be patron lost a few servants and one did come back with a new friend. They ransacked his house, stole some petty treasure, and tried to kill our patron. They were clearly lycanthropes, ratfolk.
Our potential patron has asked us to intercede to prevent this lowly evil curse from spreading. If it were to infect the wage classes, well, then things would quickly descend into chaos. Select a pair from our order you trust, go to the Nissea temple, and root out this cult.
If we move quickly and end this, then we will have won deep favor with this patron, and he will almost certainly tout our resilience and value within his circles. This could be a simple means for us to secure our future here in the city. Make haste!
Rolan brings with him two of his fellow advanced initiates, two dwarves he knows as Frank (Fraenkeoghamire Brightbeard) and Kevin (Khevinagastrom Boneshiver), and the three proceed to leave the city for the long abandoned ruins just to the north.
Arriving at the ruins, the three paladins at first see nothing of note. What remains of the Nissea Temple is an odd looking skeletal frame of a building. There are three floors and staircases moving between them no walls as such but yet stone window frames remaining. With the forest having mostly overtaken the stone ruins, it does give off an eerie vibe.
The group is able to find a faint trail leading through the ruins across a thin but fast moving stream to a henge with a brazier at the center of it. Examining the stonework the three notice new carvings and scratches in the stone depicting some kind of catlike or lion creature. In the midst of their investigating, arrows are suddenly loosed at them. The paladins draw their arms discovering several rat and humanoid looking hybrids have emerged from the cover around them.
Three of the wererats are clothed as normal persons their weapons (crossbows and shortswords) drawn. As the paladins fight making short work of wererats, out of cavern nearby emerge several more naked hybrid wererats. These creatures appear crazed, feral and immediately charge at the paladins seeming with little concern for their own well-being. Regrouping, Rolan, Frank, and Kevin focus and look to still maintain the upper hand.
As the wererats lash out, the brazier comes alive with a queer blue flame out of which emerges an elegantly if not extravagantly dressed cat-like humanoid. It appears to be utterly caught off-guard by what it is seeing–three paladins fight a nest of roughly seven wererats. Having just knocked out a wererat to save for perhaps future questioning, Rolan turns to face this new presence. As he does so, the cat-like creature demands “What is this? Who are you?”
It sees the crest on Rolan’s armor and immediately hisses, “Silver Flame? I’ve no time for this!” With a wave of its oddly backwards looking paw, the catlike creature casts a spell saying “Eliminate your friends.”
Rolan feels his body seize as the creature speaks, his muscle tight as his body moves without his control. Approaching Frank, Rolan watches as he beats his companion to death. Somehow trapped within his own body, Roaln attempts to fight the magic controlling him but fails. Kevin, confused and horrified, tries to reason with Rolan but soon falls under Rolan hand.
As this goes on, the cat-like humanoid calls out to the remaining wererats. Each of the creatures transforms into a a rat scurrying towards the cat-like humanoid who scoops them up, waves his hand, and seems to enter a slip of light disappearing from the ruins completely. Raising his blood soaked weapon, Rolan feels his body become his own again. Looking around at the carnage he caused and seeing his allies dead by his hand, Rolan is held for a moment in utter shock.
Returning to the wererat he knocked out, Rolan binds the humanoid and wakes it up. Fearing death, the wererat tells the paladin as much as it knows, which isn’t a lot. Angry but having seen enough bloodshed for the evening, Rolan allows the wererat to flee. Making his way back to the citadel, Rolan goes over the events of the evening again and again in his mind as he tries to come to terms with what he has to tell Commander Smith.