After the run in with the Grey Maidens the Harrows turned their attention to the last issue they had discovered: the Queen’s Physicians. They had to go to the Hospice of the Blessed Maiden and try to figure out what exactly was going on and how were these mysterious doctors involved with it all. Making their way to the location they discovered that the building was an old warehouse converted into this hospice to help treat the victims of the Blood Veil. The Harrows checked the door knocking on it as a voice told them to come on in.
When they walked through the door they saw a small waiting room with a long desk, a number of chairs and a dark leathery curtain that concealed the next room. Muffled sounds of moaning and coughing could be heard through the curtain as the Harrows made their way up to the counter to the burly figure behind the desk wearing gloves and what appeared to be numerous scarves wrapped around her face to cover her mouth.
“Put your name on the list and wait to be called.” The burly female said as she waved in the general direction of the notepad that appeared to have a list of names on it. Turning around one could see chairs lining the wall with more than half of them filled with sick people. Barilut turned back towards the nurse as he tried to reason with her.
“We are trying to speak with Dr. Davalaus and are offering to help.” The dwarf said as he looked at her.
The woman looked at him. “You will be allowed to see him when your name is called. Those are the rules.”
Jathan sighed as he grew frustrated with these waiting games. “I’m going to grab some fresh air.” The half elf said as he went outside. Once out, he began to explore and check out the entire building as he walked around it. There were no windows to sneak into but he did come across what appeared to be three loading doors from back when the building was used as a warehouse. The doors appeared to be sealed and not used for a while so they would require some force to get in but it would skip waiting in line. He smirked a bit at this discovery as he made his way back to the rest of the group to tell them what he found.
They liked the idea of going through the loading door but knew it would probably cause a noise so they needed to keep the nurse occupied. Barilut and Trigeji chose to stay back and talk with the nurse while the rest of the party went around to where the loading doors were. After giving them a closer look they figured there was only one way in as Xandak raised his greataxe and brought it down chopping a large chunk of the door with it. He then used his half-orc strength to tear the rest of it down until there was a large enough opening for all to pass. The adventurers slowly made their way into the building and were now in a room that contained a large number of crates and barrels. Examining the crates they saw that they were here for some time and appeared to be from all regions of the world as tags read off places like Vudra, Mwangi Expanse, Taldor.
“Looks like this place had quite a few imports coming in.” Si’ro said as he browsed the wares. Jathan also looked around the room and nodded. “Seems this warehouse was used for some sort of trading company. Either way, let’s find what we’re after.” Lumpen interrupted the half elf as he looked up at him. “This should help you scout out the area.” The gnome sorcerer said as he placed a hand on the rogue and cast Invisibility. Suddenly the half elf vanished from sight and combined with his natural ability to sneak around quietly he would go explore the warehouse to see what was going on. Slipping through the dark leather curtain Jathan saw the large open floor of the former warehouse covered with over five dozen beds almost all filled with sick patients. Hovering from bed to bed were a few of the Queen’s Physicians, their bird masks giving an eerie look to the whole scene. About 20 feet above the floor was a set of catwalks that overlooked the ward with a number of Grey Maidens patrolling above. He glanced over and saw a set of double doors with a few more Grey Maidens guarding it.
Jathan returned back to the group as he told them the layout of the hospice. It was interesting to note that the Grey Maidens were here and they wondered what they were guarding. They discussed a plan to try and take out the guards as the group took their positions for a potential ambush. When everyone was in place Lumpen used Ghost Sounds to create enough noise to lure the guards. Sure enough, the two Grey Maidens guarding the door went over to explore what was making the sound. Once they crossed the curtain the ambush was sprung as Jathan and Xandak each took one as they unloaded into them with their weapons. Si'ro’ was near the back of the room and unloaded a few musket shots that while proving effective in putting down the guards was also quite loud.
Meanwhile, Trigeji and Barilut were chatting with the nurse at the counter when they heard the sound of gunfire and knew that something was going down. They tried to keep her distracted but she ran back into the ward to see what was happening. They quickly rushed outside and went around to the back of the building where the loading doors were. By the time the two of them made it inside the storage room the two Grey Maidens collapsed on the ground. “What’s going on?” Barilut said as he saw Xandak pushing some of the crates across one of the doorways into the room to barricade it. However they didn’t have enough time as the Queen’s Physicians barged in demanding to know what was going on. The adventurers told them that they wanted to see Dr. Davalaus and the figure responded that if they waited patiently they would see him then.
A few minutes passed before the physician took them to the stairwell and went upstairs. They eventually were brought to a room and saw Doctor Reiner Davalaus standing before them, a Grey Maiden on each side of him as well as a number of his physicians in the room as well. He turned to look at the group before speaking.
“What is the meaning of all this?” Davalaus asked them, outraged at what was going on at the hospice.
Jathan stepped forward. “We wanted to speak with you to first see how things are progressing and if any help was needed. Could working with the temples help at all?”
“The temples are doing their best to heal the disease but we are also trying to research a cure for it as well.” Doctor Davalaus said. “If we can develop a cure then we can stop all of this.”
“We did discover something else….a house with a mad woman in it. She provided details of giving a man over to a necromancer who was escorted by some of your physicians. We also have reason to believe that a cult of Urgathoa may be involved.” The half elf told the doctor.
The man pondered for a moment, rubbing his temple as he took in all this information. “I’m unsure of these physicians that you speak of but dealing with such a widespread plague is quite stressful and some may not be able to stay strong and stray from the path. It is a sad thing. However I do believe there is something a group of adventurers like yourselves can do for me. I have suspicion to believe that this disease originated from a small cabal of wererats living in the sewers of Old Korvosa who worships a parasitic deity. I haven’t had the time or resources to send a team to investigate but you seem like a competent group.”
The Harrows listened to the doctor and agreed to go check out this group of wererats seeing as how they had experience with wererats in the past. The last thing they wanted to ask was about the room that was guarded downstairs and Davalaus told them it contained the lift that was behind them. The group decided to try out the lift as they were escorted back down by one of the physicians. As they arrived at the ground floor Si’ro bumped into the man operating the lift controls to see if he would accidentally not stop it there and push on to a lower level. The lift however did stop at the ground floor and the party was all escorted out to the street.
The task now was to figure out how to get into Old Korvosa due to the quarantine that was in place. All the bridges had been destroyed and the main bridge was blockaded off with a stone wall leaving only way in by water. They figured the best way to get in would be at a quiet spot and went to Trail’s End across the Jeggare River to try and find a boat. Here in this poor district where they had first seen the disease they would hope to cross over to the small island. The adventurers walked around the area until they eventually came upon a man working on his boat. They approached him and offered to pay him for a ride over to Old Korvosa. After much discussion he agreed and ferried them across.
The man was named Deman and he seemed to be a nice guy. They even arranged a deal for him to come back and get them by checking the coast of Old Korvosa at 2 pm for a signal which would end up being an assortment of Dancing Lights. Once everything had been agreed the boat sailed back to Trail’s End and the adventuring group was out to try and find this group of wererats. Looking around Old Korvosa they saw the place was in pretty bad shape. The plague had hit the area hard and many diseased bodies lined the street. With the quarantine anarchy had begun to break out as riots and mobs filled the streets. The party slowly navigated the streets and made their way over to the Orisini Academy to check on their old friend Vencarlo. They hadn’t seen him since the plague began to grow severe. Arriving at the academy they saw that it was still closed and knocking on it proved to have fruitless results.
After striking out with Vencarlo, the Harrows decided to move on and begin searching for the sewers and any leads on the wererat threat. As they navigated around they were suddenly surrounded by four strange masked assailants dressed in red with weird mantis masks on. These strange figures didn’t talk as they moved towards the group with their blades drawn ready for combat. The first one extended its sabres out and began to sway them in a rhythmic pattern that seemed to draw the viewer in. Jathan glanced at this and couldn’t resist the rhythmic sway as he grew fascinated with it and stood motionless watching it all. Meanwhile, the other three shrouded themselves in red mist as they dove in for attacks against the party. Quickly Xandak, Trigeji, and Barilut rushed out to meet them to create a perimeter as Si’ro and Lumpen prepared to help fend these assassins off.
The one that was enchanting Jathan seemed to draw nearer and nearer as it captivated the rogue. Si’ro looked over and saw that he was in trouble as he aimed the musket and let a shot ring out right into the assassin’s side. The impact caused the mantis to stagger momentarily and break his concentration which snapped Jathan back to reality as he now saw the situation around him and it didn’t look good. Each swing of the sword from these assassins that landed proved to be deadly as the serrated edges cut into their skin and left deep cuts. The half-elf turned to see Barilut, a bastion of defense for their group covered with cuts and bleeding as these assassins proved to be able to penetrate the dwarf’s armor. Xandak rushed over to help Jathan with the assassin that was closing in on him as his greataxe swung and left a deep gash in their armor. The half orc was also showing heavy wounds as he growled and raged in the face of his enemies.
The first assassin dropped to Xandak’s greataxe and as his body fell it faded into red mist leaving just his gear behind. They had finally defeated one of these enemies and were shocked by this turn of events, questioning if they had ties to vampirism. But by charging and taking this one down they left an opening as one of the dual wielding assassins ran towards Si’ro and slashed its blade into the gunslinger. Xandak rushed over to try and stop him but as he did the assassin turned and thrusted his blade into the half-orc causing him to cough out blood. Xandak bit his tongue as he clenched onto his axe, using his ferocity to stay on his feet and fight through the pain. He stepped away and drank a potion quickly to heal himself and get stabilized. When he was stable he invoked the arcane ways and suddenly his axe elongated almost like a whip as it lashed out towards the target’s legs and cut into them causing the assassin to get knocked to the ground. Once on the ground, he was no match for Si’ro’s gunfire and the greataxe of Xandak as the second assassin had fallen.
The other two had been occupied dealing with the rest of the party as Barilut and Jathan tried to stop one while Trigeji was taking on the other. However, the pink haired gnome was having a tough time as the blade cut into her back once more causing her to fall to the group and bleed out. Xandak rushed over to try and save the gnome as he swung his axe to block the next set of blades and protect her. With the odds in their favor now they had the advantage and soon the other two assassins were defeated, their bodies fading into the red mist. The Harrows had survived the assault but barely as both Trigeji and Xandak were passed out from bleeding after everything was done and Barilut and Si’ro were severely wounded. They examined the armor and gear of their attackers and determined that they were members of the Red Mantis Assassins, a deadly assassin organization. Why would they be here? More importantly, why were they sent after the group and by who? Who knew that they would be here in Old Korvosa? The attack proved to open up many more doors then close any and provide answers.