Rats descended upon the party from the outlying woods; many of them larger than believable. There were such large numbers of them that it was difficult to tell that they were attacking the Vistani first. An epic battle bore on as rat and humanoid alike wrestled in mortal combat with blades and teeth threatening at every turn.
The first rat tampled in and took a chunk out of ‘Susan’. In retaliation, Rabbit tried a sleep spell, but it only got one Vistani man and one rat. Stumble summoned a glowing floating war hammer to fight with him and it struck true…. At least when it struck it was true. Esmire poked them from behind (as per his usual style). Lucien also held true to his nature and took them out from afar. Travillian proved his heroic nature and dove into the midst to save those needing the most help. Hasingstoke ran to the outskirts, and then worked his way inwards. Slowly. Gillian and two Vistani men ran toward the horses. Gillian had the cart horse hooked and reigned in no time and charged the cart toward the battle. The horse did not like this idea and the cart came to a stop just before trampling Stumble and Esmire. Meanwhile the battle wore on.
Rabbit ran to the aid of an old woman, but jumping on a rat’s back. He was flung and bitten and went down. Travillian knocked another rat down and started to make his way towards Rabbit. Stumble, knowing he was our group’s healer, headed over as well and got to Rabbit first. He was able to stabilize the lad, but things did not look good for the small one. Esmier, Lucien, and Hasingstoke finished off the last of the scurrying rat creatures, when several of us noticed a curious figure setting fire to the big tent. Gillian jumped down from her pointless cart-attack and ran toward the source. Travillian and stumble saw it and headed over as well; Travillian towards the tent to check on the Vistani Giant and the crystal ball, Stumble toward the strange rat-man figure that Gillian was trying to corner.
The rat-man was trapped between a flaming cart, Gillian, Stumble’s glowing floating hammer, and Stumble himself. Rat-man swiped his torch at Gillian and tried to set her on fire. She pointed at the torch and a ray of frost flew from her hand at the fire. She missed, but it did hit the flame on the cart behind rat-man and lessened that. Stumble’s floating hammer struck the rat-man true, and he fell. As he lay still, his body morphed back to that of a normal naked man. Stumble thought to himself the only possible conclusion: corruption. Others weren’t so certain.
Gillian ran toward the burning tent with one goal on her mind: the crystal ball.
As she lifted the flap she quickly realized that Travillian was also in the smoke-filled entrapment looking for something. Together they searched the best that they could and found that neither giant woman nor crystal ball were in the burning tent. As they ran out, Gillian realized she was on fire. Stop, drop, and roll would have been effective, but her party members came to her rescue and quickly put her out.
Lucien and Travillian quickly took to scanning the outskirts of the camp for any traces of the vanished giant, or more trouble. Nothing was found. Looking upwards, they saw the frantically whirling swarm of bats begin to move off. They headed eastward, over the elder barrows and deep into the wilds of Barovia beyond.
As the party gathered together again they walked through the carnage: Vistani and rat alike. Rabbit seemed stable for now. Any other serious injuries were being looked at by Stumble. Gillian and a Vistani man gathered the horses and calmed them down.
There were discussions with the Vistani, but everyone was pretty set on clearing the area as soon as possible. Travillian and Stumble talked with the Vistani man and came back to the party saying that we were to take the Vistani’s four horses, and they were going to take our two corrupted ones. The party loaded up in the wagon and on the horses and headed north….. once again toward Morrik Mansion.
Lord Hasingstoke seemed to become more and more uncomfortable as Gillian stared at him. There was some discussion among the group as to the nature of the rat-man who, in death, became fully human. It was pointed out that old tales and songs mentioned something called “were-creatures” that would change from human to animal form under certain circumstances.
“But…”, said Gillian, eyes locked on the noble lord, “No one here would know anything about that, would they Lord Markham?”
The Third Earl of Hasingstoke cast his eyes downward. “Very well,” he sighed. “I shall tell the tale…”