The streets of taalagad have always been dangerous, but now they’re downright nasty; townsfolk are being denied egress to the ports, rats are infesting the docks, and groups of citizens are taking disease control into their own hands, looking to burn anything that suggests a symptom of the plague. You manage your way to the Municipal Office and find the doors and windows completely sealed and barred. X pounds on the door with the heft of his axe until, overhead, a dozen crossbow-bearing figures appear on the roof.
One of them steps forward. “Just exactly what is your business with all the banging, clod?”
X: “We want Hohenlohe and our reward money. And I’ll take your head if you’re not careful with your tongue.”
“Ah, so you’re a malapert rogue, too.” He counts each of you – five – and tosses over five leather pouches.
“There’s your money, cretins – eight crowners in each purse. Hohenlohe has fled to the city so whatever other deal you had is forfeit. A bit of advice… spend it elsewhere.”
X looks at coins and pours them out onto the street. “Keep your gold and plague! You’ll all soon be feeling the sharp end of my axe, either as the living or undead. It makes no difference to me.” To the party: “Looks like we’ll need another way in. Anyone up for a trip through the sewers to secure entry to the city?”
Crellion speaks first. “Ummm…that’s…40 Gold Crowns! I hate to say it but we may need it. You can throw your eight away, but I’m taking mine. ’Tis a pittance for catching the plague.” Crellion picks up one bag of coins. “I’ll try my luck in the sewers with you. Probably a local thieves guild can get us in. Has anyone seen evidence of a thieves guild or an open tavern in town yet?"
Roland: “Crellion, the last thing we need is to mix with anyone in the town in close quarters from fear of the plague either way. We’ll follow your first bet and try the sewers by tracking those rat men. Yet, it might be worth a toss to try the temple of Shallya and consult the priests for any leads on cures. We can use this gold to persuade them.”
“Crellion, did you say? Hold on a minute you worthless curs.” The guard steps away from the roof of the building, then returns and tosses down rolled up piece of parchment. “You should have revealed your names earlier. I upgraded your approval letters for a two-week stay based on Hohenlohe’s recommendation. He must be out of his gord. Either way, if you can prove you are not sick in any way you’ll get in. But if you can’t, you’ll be turned away like a flea-ridden mutt. Best of luck, lads.”
Alette: “Temple of Shallya anyone?”
Elu: “I agree. Let’s go. The priests often have unique and powerful cures. And unique diseases of their own which we can hopefully avoid.”
You move quickly to the temple of Shallya where the priests have set up a makeshift hospital of sorts in a warehouse on one of the docks. They are completely overrun with sick townsfolk. Shivering bodies cover the floor of the place. A few priests of Morr give last rites to those who have died. The smell of burning flesh permeates the air, as the dead are dragged off and burned on a huge pyre.
Near you is a young priestess of Shallya sitting on a cobbled-together chair formed from an old barrel. She’s in hysterics.
“Hopeless, hopeless. Not a disease. A curse. It’s a curse. I’m lost. Lost.”
Several of her fellows swiftly move in and start dragging her away…