The group is rushing through the sunny streets of Ravnica. Nai is running ahead of the group.
“I saw the vampire’s figure down this direction. Most probably he is going to the docks.”, Nai shouted over the loud Loxodon steps.
“And where is the chubby piece of blood?”, Shinigami giggled glaring at the cleric.
Loxodon snorted angrily through his trunk.
“No matter, let’s focus on tracking down the Vampire.”, Nai made a quick turn down a crumbling flight of stairs, “Don’t fall behind!”
“This is the place I saw Tamid regroup with his accomplices.”, Nai pointed to a small rectangular building pressed between two larger structures. A covered skyway hangs above the alley, connecting opposite walls. There is a single door leading into the small building. Diagonal to the door a magically illuminated writing spells “Gob’s”.
“And are we sure we will not walk into a deadly trap?”, Katrille was reserved about this plan.
“I, uh, will keep a lookout, yeah!”, Shinigami proclaimed. Everyone looked at her in surprise.
“What has gotten into you?”, Wataru tilted his head, “Still feeling unwell from the vampire bite?”, his tone had a tinge of teasing.
“Uh…”, Shinigami fidgeted uneasily, “No, no, it’s just that…”, she could not come up with a proper answer, “… Sun! I want to stay and enjoy the sun a little bit. Yeah!”
Nai inspected the surroundings. There were various writings on the walls, few poorly drawn pictures. Two drainpipes ended their path in this alley, one of them dripped into a puddle and the other was spouting out rainwater into an overfilled barrel.
“This place was recently robbed.”, Nai shared after noticing a symbol of one of the walls.
“How do you know?”, Rozhe asked, “The door seems intact and there are no signs of forced entry.”
“I’ve been around the streets of this city long enough to see what others don’t.”, Nai looked directly at Rozhe, “And we will leave this at that.”
“If you say so. That means we either find an empty room inside or a very angry owner?”, Rozhe thought out loud.
Nai rubbed the symbol on the wall with her hand. “I’d say it is empty, whoever cleaned this place, they did it at least a week ago.”
“So we go in.”, Wataru nudged Nai towards the door with his war hammer.
The door silently opened into a well-lit room. A single barrel stood in the middle of the otherwise empty room. A middle-aged goblin came to life at the sight of them. He was wearing a jumpsuit with the upper half unzipped and tied around his waist. He had a clean haircut and a shiny ring-shaped earring in his left ear. He waved at them with a tin cup in his hand.
“Welcome! Welcome to Gob’s. A place of good ale!”
“Ale? You mean this is a tavern?”, Nai looked around the empty room.
“Yes, a tavern. And proudly mine.”, goblin stood up straight with pride, “Names Gob. What can I do for you?”
“Uh. You saw any vampires passing through recently?”, Nai asked carefully approaching the goblin. Wataru held back at the doorway.
“Not that I can remember. You are my first customers today! You get to taste the ale fresh out of the barrel!”
Nai tossed a zib to the goblin and took the cup from his hand. She scooped some ale from the open barrel. Sniffed it. A smell of refreshing bitterness filled her nose. Discreetly she dripped one drop of ale into the mouth-like the opening of her ring. A brass tongue appeared in the little mouth. Having deduced there is no poison in the beverage she made a little sip.
“Mmm. This is good. Really good.”, Nai exclaimed as the cold beverage washed down her throat.
“Told you! A place of good ale. Gob’s speciality.”
Wataru gestured others to come in and stepped away from the doorway.
“How long is this tavern open?”, Nai asked.
“What do you mean? I serve ale here for as long as I can remember.”, Gob’s face became a little confused.
“Okay, what happened to the sitting arrangements? Tables? Stools?”
“Well… I never needed them?”, goblin more asked than answered as if he was unsure of himself.
Wataru’s eyes shimmered.
“Gob, I’d say the barrel of yours would look way better if I moved it a little to the left.”, Loxodon clearly had some sort of idea in his mind.
“Um…”, goblin moved away from the barrel to look at it, “I never considered that…”.
Wataru got an affirmative nod from the goblin, stretched his muscles and shifted the barrel to the left. Under the barrel, he found a clean floor. With no distinct difference from the surrounding pavement.
“Katrille, mind you take a look at this beer?”, Wataru asked and walked to the farthest wall from the entrance. He started patting the masonry.
“Sure.”, Vedalken took the cup from Nai and tossed a zib to the goblin. She scooped some liquid and swirled it in the cup. Then she proceeded to pour the liquid on the floor.
“What? You don’t like the ale?”, goblin asked nervously.
“It’s rainwater.”, Katrille dryly replied. “Do you have a family to come back to?”
“What?.. Yes? Why?”, Gob asked confused.
“Where do they live?”, wizard continued her line of questioning.
“I… I… Um… I don’t remember.”, panic set into goblins eyes.
“Where did you work before you got here?”
“I am pouring ale for as long as I can remember…”
“And that is how long exactly? What is the last thing you remember outside of this room?”
“Uh…”, goblin fell silent.
“What city we are in?”, Katrille approached the goblin and without asking for permission took him by the jaw and shined light from her fingertip into his pupils.
“Uh… Why are you asking me all these questions? Who are you?”, goblin struggled away from Vedalkens grip and walked back to the corner of the room.
“He remembers nothing.”, Katrille looked at Nai, “Memory wipe. Heard about such magic before. I can’t do anything to change this.”, she looked around the lit room, “Where did Wataru go?”.
Only three of them remained in the room: Gob, Nai and Katrille. Nai shrugged and peeked through the open door.
“Hey, you two, did you see our cleric?”
“No?”, Rozhe answered, “Did something happen?”
“We lost him. Come in.”, Nai gestured and returned to the “tavern”.
“Gob, where did our friend go?”, Shinigami angrily walked towards the already scared goblin.
“I… I don’t know! Please, don’t hurt me. I am just here to serve ale…”, Gob’s eyes darted across the room. “There!”, he pointed to the back wall and covered his head with one arm to avoid the angry girl.
Wataru emerged through the wall. Or more precisely through the illusion of the wall.
“There is another room here. And a trapdoor to the sewers.”, Wataru explained.
“Hey, when did you learn how to walk through walls?”, Shinigami posed all surprised. “I want to learn that too!”
“Easy, just get a running start and dive.”, Wataru with a hidden smile pointed to two places on the wall, “You can run here or here.”
“Alright!”, Shinigami spun on her heel and bolted across the room. At the last second, she turned left and disappeared through the wall.
“Lucky.”, Wataru snorted with noticeable disappointment. “Let’s go, it seems that our vampire left in a hurry.”
The group went through the illusion.
The room had two chairs standing in the middle. Chairs faced each other. One of the chairs was heavy-looking, with leather bunding straps on the front legs and both sides.
“Seems that they held someone captive here.”, Katrille deduced.
“Maybe if we are fast enough we could catch up to them?”, Nai went over to the trapdoor in the corner and looked into the dark opening. “We should follow.”
Wataru held a covered lamp in his shield arm, creating a narrow light beam into the thick darkness. Party traversed the narrow passageways following the clues that someone left behind for them. Scratches on the cobblestone, bloodstains, pieces of cloth, hair… They had their weapons unsheathed.
Suddenly something moved above them. Wataru managed to duck out of the way as a flying creature dove down from the ceiling. The creature flew into the little streak of light coming from the handheld lamp and shrieked. The noise was freakishly loud and muffled at the same time. Nai felt fear running up her spine, she couldn’t move a muscle as her eyes locked with the creature.
Wataru unfazed by the loud noise hammered the creature down into the murky water. As he turned his back on the darkness another creature sunk its claws into his shoulder. Tremendous pain froze the cleric. He watched in horror as dark strands of piercing mist enveloped his flesh around the wound.
The rest of the party managed to shoot the second creature down while Wataru hid behind his shield.
“That was no ordinary sewer rat”, Shinigami tried to joke.
“I have no doubt there are more of these creatures in these tunnels. Be alert.”, Nai put her hand on Loxodons healthy shoulder, “Can you move?”
“Yes”, the cleric’s palm lighted up as he healed the wound in his shoulder. “Let’s go.”
Few turns later Wataru signalled the group to halt.
“Below the bridge. Submerged in the water.”, he extended his finger to point at antennae sticking out from the shadow.
Rozhe stepped sideways to get a better view of the creature.
“It is huge, and it does not look friendly. Prepare!”, she aimed and released an arrow at the shadow where the chitinous body should be.
Creature skittered out of hiding, climbing the slippery masonry with ease. Its jaws opened and it leapt towards the light in Wataru’s hand.
Shield saved the cleric from getting injured as the group closed in on the monster.
Shinigami thought she saw an opening and vaulted behind the creature. The creature spun around instantly and faced the girl. Its maw opened revealing several rows of razor-sharp teeth.
“Xe oftcyv fe!”, Rakdos girl gargled through pain as numerous teeth sank into her flesh.
Her legs gave and she fell down under the weight of the creature.
A large hammer flashed into existence, with trails of electric sparks behind its trajectory. It slammed heavily into the side of the creature. The crackling sound of the hammer mixed with the crunchy sound of breaking chitin. Wataru followed with his real hammer by slamming down on the creatures back.
With a combined effort, the creature was quickly disposed of.
Wataru leaned over the motionless Shinigami. His eyes darkened. He froze for a moment. Then he shook his large head and placed his palm on the bloody chest. The bleeding stopped, but the girl remained unconscious.
“Can’t help her anymore now.”, Cleric readjusted his shield on his forearm and picked Shinigami up.
“Let’s just go, we will figure this out later.”, Nai picked up the light Wataru dropped and led the group through the sewers.
Soon enough the trail led them above the surface.
They found themselves in an abandoned garden, full of old statues, overgrown pillars and wilding bushes. Behind one of the pillars, they found a red-headed woman, sobbing.