The Harrows spent the next day or so preparing themselves for their mission to infiltrate the Hospice of the Blessed Maiden. The first order of business was to get rid of a number of items they had gotten from their dealing with the wererats and Jolstina. The group sold all the excess weapons and armor they had so that they could focus on what they really needed. The first thing they had to get were healing potions or wands of healing to help keep them up in battle. They scoured the markets and were able to get their hands on some items as it seemed that healing items were at a premium with the plague in full effect.
The next item they wanted to get in their arsenal was some more holy water. If they were dealing with a necromancer then undead were sure to not be far and having some preparations for it would be ideal. They went to Citadel Volshyenek to talk with Ishani Dhatri about trying to get some vials of holy water. He was able to provide them with a few at that moment and would need a day to create some more, albeit reluctantly as that would mean he wouldn’t be able to contribute to help fighting the plague. The group talked him into it and with a generous donation to the church of Abadar Ishani agreed to help them out. The next day they stopped by the Citadel to pick up the vials of holy water and thanked him for his assistance.
The group was now ready to make their way towards the Hospice of the Blessed Maiden. As they were making the final preparations, Xandak looked at the rest of the group. “Didn’t Cressida give us another lead to check out before?” Pondering what it was that the young Field Marshall had told them. After a few moments they recalled Cressida telling them about people dumping plagued bodies in an alleyway and not in the proper designated areas. They figured it would be best to not leave any stone unturned and go check it out before they headed to deal with the necromancer. Everyone agreed and they headed to the area of Korvosa known as Racker’s Alley.
The alleyway itself was shrouded in shadows as the tall buildings that composed the area loomed overhead. Walking through the street towards the alley they saw heaps of garbage and filth piled up, flies and rats making themselves comfortable in the grime. However that wasn’t even the worst part as when they arrived at the alley they saw more than 3 dozen bodies piled up in the darkness. Looking at the bodies one could easily see the signs of blood veil with blisters and redness all over their skin, the scent of decay and rot filling the air made it clear these bodies had been here for a few days. What was strange was that some of the bodies were quite pale and showed no signs of blood veil at all.
Jathan turned to the group telling t hem to stay here as he slowly made his way down the alleyway to scout it out. Moving further through the alley he saw the bodies were sprawled out all over and along the wall. Part of the wall had been broken and a large hole had been made to allow access into the building. The half elf continued to examine the bodies seeing that the ones that were pale had two small puncture wounds on them be it in their neck, wrist, or thighs. He continued to scout out the area heading to the end of the alleyway that seemed to come to a storefront. Making his way back to the group he told them what he had discovered. It was quite worrisome that a number of the bodies had appeared to be drained and the group of adventurers cautiously followed after Jathan. However navigating that many dead and diseased bodies piled like that proved to be a hard task as both gnomes and Si’ro brushed against the corpses getting infected themselves.
They decided to explore the hole in the wall as they tried to sneak inside without disturbing whatever may be in there. Jathan went in first and was met with a peculiar sight of numerous dolls staring back at him. There were doll parts scattered amongst them as their eyes just stared back cold and lifeless. A workbench sat in the corner of the room with a bunch of sawdust all around it with tools scattered on top. The body of an older man sat near it, pale just like some of the bodies that were outside. Across from him was a door that seemed to lead into another room. Most of the Harrows made their way into the strange room doing their best to do so without making too much noise, but Xandak accidentally hit one of the shelves on his way in as a bunch of the dolls fell off and scattered on the ground. The rest of the group glared back at the half-orc for making such a loud noise as they heard some stirring down below them.
Suddenly, a trap door opened in the room as three figures jumped out of it. The figures were all pale skinned as they growled at the intruders baring their sharp teeth and fangs at them. The first one that came out charged towards Barilut as it slashed its claws at him, cutting into his shoulder. The second one glared towards the half-orc as it screamed out “This one’s mine!” before charging Xandak. The third moved to the other side as Trigeji stood there with her Warhammer in hand ready to try and dish out some pain. Si’ro and Lumpen were back near the hole in the wall providing covering fire with a mixture of their spells and firearms as musket shots and magic missiles shot out at the monsters. One of them got its claws deep into Xandak and as it did the bloodrager felt part of his life force get sapped from his body. He violently swung his axe in retaliation leaving a nasty wound right across its chest as the monster glared at him, part of the wound self-closing and healing itself right up.
Barilut studied the monsters closer as he fortified his stance there to ward off the enemies’ attacks. He turned to the party as he shouted out. “Careful! These things look like vampire spawns. Unholy abominations.” He focused his attention back on the one in front of him as he struck it with his flail but similar to the undead they fought in the manor it proved to be ineffective. With the news of it being vampires Jathan reached into his pack to pull out the silver dagger he had taken from the butcher shop and used it as he stabbed it into the monster. The dagger cut deep inside but it seemed to have no additional effect against it as he was puzzled by it.
Meanwhile, Lumpen’s magic was proving to be quite potent as each barrage of magic missiles blasted the vampire spawn back. Trigeji was also struggling to combat the one that was attacking her as her warhammer seemed to not be effective at all. Not only was the weapon not appearing to break through the tough defense of the vampire but her energy was being drained with each passing swipe and she felt weak and drained. The gnome darted back to get some space as she resorted to throwing daggers at it hoping to keep herself safe and on her feet. By now, the relentless assault of Xandak’s greataxe and Jathan’s dagger from behind was able to take down one of the monsters as its body faded into a gaseous form.
It was then the dwarf had an idea as he reached into the handy haversack and pulled out one of the potions of silversheen they had. He used it to coat Xandak’s greataxe with it as he tapped the half-orc on the side. “Go get them!” Barilut said as Xandak smirked at his new weapon. With the weapon coated in silver it glistened as it sliced through the vampire spawn’s bodies. Each slice was now true and had no resistance as he slashed his way through the evil spawns. Unfortunately a fourth one had come out and lashed out towards Jathan as it clawed into him draining him of some of his life energy. He was beginning to weaken just like Trigeji as he was slow to move and get in position.
One by one, the vampire spawns were slashed and destroyed by bursts of magic missile and the silver greataxe as Xandak had his revenge on them. With each one’s death, their body faded into a gaseous form until there was none left. The Harrows all looked at each other, some struggling to breathe and stand on their own two feet with the energy sapped from their bodies. They moved over to investigate the dead man seeing the puncture wounds all on his body similar to the ones outside. Around his neck was a ring of keys which they slid off and took, assuming it let them access the next room. Before they continued though they had to head back to their home and rest as half of their adventuring group was in bad shape. Slowly but surely everyone made their way to their home where they were able to rest and recover. Barilut tended to those that were infected, praying to Torag for guidance as he began to remove the illness from their bodies.
As for the drained energy, the three victims fought hard to resist the drain on their bodies. They felt a mystical aura touch them as Zellara appeared there. “Allow me to provide assistance as best as I can.” The spiritual harrower said as she used some of her energy to help them in combatting the ailments. Xandak and Trigeji fought hard and made their way back to feeling like they normally did thanks to the assistance of Zellara and her magic. Jathan also invoked the aid of her and while it helped to a degree he could still feel the stain of negative energy on his soul. Zellara’s image faded as the group looked at each other.
“What is going on here if vampire spawns are in Korvosa?” Jathan said, holding his side as he was still in pain.
“I’m not sure.” Xandak said, leaning against the wall as he folded his arms. “But I think we’re going to need a lot more holy water and silver weapons…”