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Sing for Your Supper

Sing for Your Supper

Kolivan, Constantine and Hiscubo reached the address in the message Lucia had sent to them. She didn't elaborate as to her needs but asked them to bring anything they might need to aid an ailing individual. The letter also cautioned them to be discreet. When they arrived Eelco was waiting outside with Artair and Erhi. They were gathered outside a hovel in a rat infested wharf of the Port Quarter. The disembarked from their gondola and approached their companions.

"What is the urgency?" asks Kolivan. 

"And the secrecy," says Hiscubo.

"Artair and I have been spending sometime these last few days doing some odd-jobs from the notice boards that dot the city," replies Erhi. "Our last job was to find a missing woman. We originally believed she ran off with a lover but as we digged deeper we unearthed the ghastly truth."

"What was that?" asks Constantine.

"Well," replies Artair. "Her father, a noted butcher and purveyor in fine meats, had made an enemy of a rival butcher. This rival butcher, Emil Stark, had kidnapped the man's daughter and forced her to eat sausages he made from something we haven't been able to identify.

"That's where you come in," says Erhi. "The daughter lives but is changed..."

"Changed how?" asks Eelco.

"It's hard to describe," replies Artair. "We were hoping you might know if there is anything we could do for the poor woman."

Artair takes a step toward the hovel and gestures to the door.

"Lucia is inside keeping the daughter calm," says Artair. "She fades in and out of consciousness but when she is conscious she can get quite hysterical."

Artair then pushes open the door and lets he companions enter. Once inside Lucia beckons them closer and whispers to them.

"Her name is Hanna Fleischer," says Lucia. "Try not react."

Lucia gentle pulls back the tattered blanket covering Hanna's form and reveal her. Hanna has become hideously mutated. Her body has doubled in size and open festering sores weep vile fluids from her rotting body. Her blonde hair is matted to her head with pus and grease and her left eye is closed and crusted over with filth. Through her blackened swollen lips she mumbles, “Daddy has sent you, hasn’t he? Help me! By Rad’s Mercy, help me!” Although she is foul to behold, it seems that a spark of her humanity remains. It is all the four of them can do to not vomit at the sight of the wretched creature. Lucia covers Hanna once more and they all exit the hovel.

"By the Immortals, " gasps Kolivan. "What caused that?"

"These," replies Erhi. "Holding open an oil-cloth sack filled with sausages that writhe and wriggle of their own accord."

"They are made from something neither of us could identify," says Artair. "We were hoping one of you could."

"We were also hoping that one of you could help her," says Lucia.

"Help her how," replies Constantine. "I have no idea what I could do."

"We could take here down into the Wizard Warrens," says Hiscubo.

"To what end?" asks Erhi.

"We find a quiet place to leave her," replies Hiscubo. "So that Rafiel can find her and take her into his care."

"You mean cast her underground and leave her to her fate?" says Kolivan.

Hiscubo looks at his companions blankly.

"Yes," says Hiscubo. "It is what we do in the Shadowlands to the infants that are born with defects not unlike this poor girl. Rafiel teaches us to cast them into the Shadowlands so that he may take them into his grace and care for them."

"Okay," replies Kolivan. "That is a hard no. We will unpack all the reasons we shouldn't even contemplate that at a later date. For now, ideas on how to help her? Anyone?"

There is a long pause as everyone ponders the impossible.

"I cannot help her body or soul," says Constantine. "I don't think Hiscubo can either. I hate to continue to use him as a crutch but there is no one else I can think of except Zairadon. If cannot fix her maybe he knows something or someone that can."

"Okay," says Kolivan. "Eelco and Erhi go to the Curio Shop and purchase the feather token Misha was selling so we can send Zairadon a message to come to Glantri. Lucia and I will stay here with Hanna and keep her calm and safe. Artair, you take Constantine and Hiscubo to where this "Thing" was that is the source of these cursed sausages. Maybe you can figure out what caused her affliction and that can aid Zairadon in reversing this calamity."

The party splits up to their respective tasks and the sun begins to rise over Glantri City.

Sometime Later...

Zairadon stands in the Haven of Light beneath the Silver Raven Inn. He looks down upon the mutated form of Hanna with compassion. He turns to the party with eyes wet with pity.

"You were sure that it was a Demon?" asks Zairadon.

"Yes," replies Hiscubo. "Without a doubt. It was a Dretch, as you know the least of all the demons but a demon nontheless."

"There might be a chance then," says Zairadon. "She has not yet succumbed to the instability of form that this affliction can cause."

"How do know that she hasn't?" asks Eelco. 

"If she had you would know," replies Zairadon. "She would become a living nightmare of flesh known as a Chaos Beast. A foul and terrible thing to behold and once that were to happen the only thing to do would be to put her soul to rest."

Artair and Erhi give a glance to each other that speaks volumnes.

"You know what I speak of?" asks Zairadon.

"Yes," replies Artair. "In our quest to find Hanna we came across another victim, a Rudi Holst. The poor soul had suffered the same affliction from the same source as Hanna but he had turned into something that could only be this Chaos Beast you described."

"What happened to the creature?" asks Zairadon.

"We dispatched it," replies Erhi. "Though I'll still have nightmares of it belching forth the remains of Rudi from within its fleshy form when it died."

Erhi turns pales at the thought of her encounter.

"Well this will not happen to this gentle woman," says Zairadon. "Maat will give me the power to reverse this perversion of her soul."

Zairadon begins casting a remove disease, followed by a remove curse. The affect to Hanna is rapid and miraculous. They sores stop weeping and her lips turn from swollen black to supple and pink. Her eye clears and the pus and grease in her hair fades. Her body slowly contracts and her bulk fades to be replaced with a smooth and beautiful form. The young woman lays on the ground, bathed in the gentle glow of the obelisk. As she begins to stir, Kolivan steps forward and lays his cloak over her naked form.

"What happened?" asks Hanna weakly. "Where am I?"

"Easy child," replies Zairadon. "These noble heroes have saved you from your captivity and brought you before me. By the grace of Maat and by my will you have been restored."

Hanna stares at the majesty of the mighty Lammasu in awe.

"Now go and return to your father," says Zairadon. "You shall be troubled no more by your tormentor. These heroes have seen to that."

The party helps Hanna to her feet and escorts her from the warrens to Lucia's home where she can make herself presentable to her father. The reunion between father and daughter was a joyous thing to behold and when the tears were all spent, Master Fleischer embraces the party each in turn. 

"I can never thank you enough," says Master Fleischer. "What little coin I offered is yours as promised. Furthermore, you are all welcome to my prime Wurst Sausages should the mood ever strike you. Just enter any of my shops and they are yours for the taking."

A collective grimace rises on the faces of the party. Hanna, sharing their distress, takes her father by the arm and speaks.

"Now father," says Hanna. "These noble heroes aren't interested your silly sausages. Come let us go home. There is someone I would like you to meet... he is the love of my life."

Hanna and her father turn and walk away, allowing the party to do the same...

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