Our tale begins with two souls, Reshaam Isloniu and Androcles Quailbane, both searching for the same thing. They have yet to learn of the others involvement… but today, of all days, they will meet.
We begin with Androcles, during his second day of searching the merchant quarters of Dragon Maw Bay. For the past few months he has traveled, be it by hoof or foot, to the city from his tribe in Erenia, with a letter marked for a mysterious La Gata. He has questioned the locals for the whereabouts of this figure, though he is often met with sour, startled, or confused looks. Finally, able to find someone to point him in the right direction, he heads to the Lower Quarter, a well known slum of the huge city. Here, he begins his search anew, though at least closer than before.
Without much of a delay, he comes upon a boisterous elvish man, a slightly portly fellow with a loud mouth. Putting on his best face, looking sad and lost, he questions the man where he might find a person by the name of La Gata. The man, finding Androcles’ situation unfavorable, wraps his arm around his shoulder, saying that he’ll take him to see La Gata. Slipping out from under the man’s arm, Androcles accepts, and they head off.
They pass quickly through the poorer parts of the slums to a much nicer area, where they arrive in front of a windowless building carved into the stone of the mountain. A pair of Lizardfolk bouncers stand outside the door, their black beady eyes focusing on the newly arrived pair. The elf accompanying Androcles offers up a quick nod.
“We’ll be headin’ in. No reason to worry about us, guys.”
They nod, stoically, and open the doors. Immediately scents assail the young catfolk’s finely-tuned nose: the scent of smelly people, fine ale, and a pleasant smelling smoke that sends his mind aflutter. Sitting him at an empty table, the elf tells him to make himself at home while he talks to the barkeep; a tall elven man with a fair amount of facial hair. Androcles accepts, taking a good look around the place.
Ten other people inhabit the bar, not including himself, his friend, and the keep, and half have their eyes on him. In the corner, a stage is kept only by a lone man playing a quiet tune on a woodwind. At his table, the remains of a pipe smolder, along with an empty tankard. After stealing the salt shaker, he takes a few quick puffs of the pipe. His eyes unfocus as the jollyweed sinks in, and after a second puff, he fades into darkness.
Within the Bay’s Guard Barracks, Reshaam sits patiently as he is briefed by Captain Lowell of the Guard. Quietly thanked for his services as a contractor, he is asked to make a vital move against a crime organization that has been plaguing the slums for a long while. Known for human (though not specifically) trafficking and the sale and distribution of illegal substances, this organization is well known for cleaning up the slums… at a price. He is asked to quietly remove their top lieutenant—be it by manners violent or otherwise—from the picture; an elf by the name of Hesham Gates. He is extremely talented with his dual shortswords, and is certainly not below slipping something into his customers drinks to help ease them into the slave trade. Handing him a silver guard whistle, Captain Lowell thanks him and sends him out on his way.
On the streets, Reshaam becomes a different man. Armed with knowledge and his ancestral sword, he heads through the Slums to the last known whereabouts of the man called Hesham Gates: a surprisingly nice tavern within the heart of the district. He find the place, complete with Bouncers, and makes a calm introduction as they move to remove him.
“Easy; I’m looking to buy some flesh.”
The bouncers exchange looks, then allow him through without a second thought. Shaking his head as he enters, he murmurs. “Looking for some flesh… and I’m made of quicksilver.”
All eyes settle on him as he walks to the bar, taking a seat next to a sleepy drunk. Retaining an almost bored look, he begins small talk with the man behind the counter; Hesham. Eventually, he offers him an ultimatum.
“Look, it’s either you turn this life over or you die where you stand. I’m not afraid of taking you down, here and now.”
“What,” he chuckles, eyeing the patrons. “You’re not afraid of getting put down by the ten other patrons in here?”
“Not one bit.”
Hesham pauses, thinking critically for a minute, before shaking his head.
“No can-do, bud— but tell you what. You’ve got balls. How about I introduce you to the big player downstairs.”
Reshaam blinks, then quirks his head. “What, really?”
“Yep; just step behind the bar and I’ll lead you to ’em.”
Sensing the imminent trap, he steels himself, walking behind the counter and giving Hesham a critical look. Noticing that the Leuitenant is standing ontop of a hidden door, he chuckles.
“Gotta have a back-up plan.”
The pair enter the door to the back hall, and continue down it. Attempting to check on a slightly open door, Reshaam stumbles into it, looking like a drunk. Winding for what seems like several minutes, Reshaam feels Hesham breathing down his back the whole way. At the top of a set of stairs, Hesham makes his move, slicing at his back with a poisoned short-sword. Only managing to score a hit on his side, Reshaam returns with double the force, slicing down Hesham’s chest with his electrified scimitar. Howling in pain, Hesham lays down a cloud of darkness and flees, footsteps echoing down the otherwise dark corridor. In an attempt to move forward, Reshaam trips and ends up tumbling down the stairs.
It takes him a moment to recover, but he forces himself up, rubbing at his side. Another set of doors are before him, and he takes a moment to stop and listen. Beyond he hears growls and whines, similar to a dog. As he steps within, they reveal themselves to be massive hounds with glowing red eyes. They attack! Beheading one with a single slice of his blade, the second latches onto his arm, teeth like hot daggers, only to be fended off by another strike. As its blood splatters on the floor, it growls, erupting into flame.
As it lunges to attack, he splits its skull with his blade, watching it fall to the floor. This room has a pair of doors, one smaller and the other larger. Choosing the smaller, he eases up to it to listen, hearing grunts and cries from within. Kicking the door open, he finds a darkly lit room, with row upon row of cages. All manner of humanoid are crammed into the cages, and at the end are two larger cages with beds. Within, the sounds of intimacy can be heard.
It is here that Androcles awakens, with a throbbing head and his belongings missing. He watches as Reshaam walks into the room, wrenching back an Orc from an unconscious slave, throwing him back against one of the cages.
“Bastard!” He yells, and watches as a lizardess within the cage begins to strangle the dazed Orc. She grunts in satisfaction as the Orc lets out a gurgled cry, then stops breathing. Moving to the next cage, he removes a second man from a cage, this time a dwarvish man the victim. This man sees his dead comrade and flees, pulling up his pants as he does so.
Meanwhile, Androcles slams against the door to his cage, eager to flee his circumstances. As Reshaam unlocks all of the other cages, he chuckles slightly at him.
“Relax, friend, I’ll get you out of there.”
Removed from the cage, he grabs Reshaam’s arm, thanking him deeply for his actions and offering to stay by his side until the ordeal is over. While he is uneasy at the thought, it does seem like a good idea, considering the wounds already on him. He accepts, telling the others to stay in the room until he has cleared the rest of the place out.
Together, Reshaam and Androcles enter the only door left; the pair of double doors. Taking a unfruitful moment to listen at the door, they push in to find a long hallway. At the end is a large desk, constructed of some foreign wood, at a lounging buxom babe.
Dark hair, full lips, and smouldering eyes, she smiles at them, a gesture that would send lesser men to their knees.
“So, I see you’ve found your way down here. Is there some business that you’d like to discuss, or is this a visit simply for pleasure?”
“Oh, something entirely different—you see, you’ve been kind of a pain in my ass lately, and I really haven’t appreciated it.”
“Have I,” A rich bubbling laugh echoes through the room, sending shivers down Androcles’ spine. “That’s too bad; you’ve got a fine rear.”
“You’re going down, La Gata, and I’ll be the one to take you the—”
“Wait,” Interjects Androcles, fumbling to pull out his letter. “I have a letter for you from my people!”
“Really, do you now?” Leaning forward in her chair, she smiles a bit wider. “Bring it to me, little one.”
He runs the letter over to her, and watches as she tears it open with a quiet patience, reading the contents with an intrigued smile.
“Do you know what this letter says?”
“No, I don’t.”
“You belong to me, now.”
“-No he doesn’t.” Reshaam barks, hand on the pommel of his scimitar.
“Oh yes dear, he very much does. It says so right here—‘you can have him’.”
“I won’t let you take him.”
“Oh… well, perhaps we got off to a bad start,” She crosses her legs, leaning back and biting at one of her nails. Those smouldering eyes don’t leave his for a second. “Why don’t you come over here and kiss me.”
The words, infused with trace amounts of power, hit Reshaam like a bag of bricks. For a moment, he reels, clutching at his head, before taking halted steps toward her. Androcles watches in horror as he comes to the woman’s side, and meets her lips.
“Yes,” She whispers through it, hand beginning to twine into his hair. “Now why don’t you come to bed with me.”
“I don’t think so, lady.”
His hand flashes to his sword in an instant as the Suggestion spell fails, and he draws it across her stomach. Hot blood spills onto the ground, along with the beginnings of entrails— but instead of falling, she screams with rage. Androcles, seeing the blood fall, goes into a rage, clawing into her back and sides unrelentingly. After another blood-curtling scream, her skin begins to melt away.
Which changes things, a lot. From her crown, a small pair of horns sprout. and at her heel, spurs of bone give her an elevated view with demonic heels. From her rear, a small arrow-tipped tail grows, which she immediately lashes in furious anger. Her nails grow into long claws, which she immediately strikes out at Reshaam with.
The strikes hit, and he cries out in pain as they tear flesh with the ease of a blade. Androcles’ eyes go wide, and he latches his arms around the demonic woman, holding her in place. She shrieks, wriggling in his arms, until Reshaam hits her with another strike of his lightning-infused blade. As the lightning skitters over her skin, Androcles hops back, eager to not be hit by backlash, though with her arms now free, she slashes him across the torso.
“That’s enough!” Aiming a strike for her neck, Reshaam swings. Only able to utter a quick, ‘no’, La Gata’s head comes tumbling down from her shoulders.
The world fades to black…