Durgin took three deep breaths before opening the door to the council hall, where nine (!) adventurers stood waiting. This was going to be an ordeal.
“I thank you all for arriving here. I hope your travel to Daggerford was pleasant. My name is Durgin Brightstone. Unfortunately the duchess is busy, but I am here to brief you, answer what questions I can, and provide your travel compensation. Speaking of which.”
Durgin snapped his fingers and the council servants handed out the pouches of coins. The gnome made a show of counting the coins and snorting out loud. Of course. Durgin continued his briefing.
“The hamlets east of Daggerford have fallen prey to a sizable pack of werewolves that spills out of the Misty Forest on nights of the full moon, cloaked in a crawling mist that follows them wherever they go. They’ve been spreading death and mayhem. They murder the adults. They kidnap the children. Once they are done they return back to the woods. Smaller groups than yours have attempted to combat them, with little success. We hope you can find the werewolf den and, ahem, clean it out. Ideally bring back the children as well, but I am not optimistic. I recommend traveling east early today to arrive at the Misty Forest before nightfall, since it is near the full moon; we’d like to catch the werewolves as they leave the forest, before they wreak any more havoc.”
Durgin took another deep breath and spoke the question he already knew the answer to: “Do you have any questions for me?”
The stunning tiefling who had introduce herself as Clamant asked first for details of recent attacks.
“The most recent attacks were last month; about three weeks ago. Over the course of five days the werewolves struck three hamlets: Byrne, Hommlet, and Tawold. Again, many adults were murdered and some children captured.”
“And where are these hamlets?” Clamant continued.
“On the northwest edge of the Misty Forest.”
One of the warriors, splint-mail-clad, asked about the pack’s size.
“Our estimate is a score.”
The cleric of Talos asked about why the beasts came to Daggerford, the size of any previous groups trying to quell them, the mist, and what means would be acceptable.
“The previous group who tried to help us was four soldiers and a ranger from the Lords’ Alliance. They did manage to capture and interrogate one of the werewolves, and obtained little useful information before expiring. The party tracked the werewolves into the Misty Forest and we have not heard from them again. Most of the villages to the east have been abandoned at this point. Any methods to disperse the pack are on the table. The mist is almost certainly magical, but none here have been able to discern where it comes from.”
The monk said “There are many tales of the strength of werewolves. Have they any weaknesses?”
One of the warriors blurted out “Some texts suggest silvered weapons are helpful in dealing with lycanthropes. Sorry.”
Durgin kept back a glare. “Silver, as he says, seems to be more effective. This has led to many silver charms and silver-edged weapons being sold. You should be able to find some available here in Daggerford, but expect to pay out the nose for them.”
“And how many nights is it to the next full moon?” the golden-eyed elf (half-elf?) asked. “Oh, and are there any living victims of the attacks?”
“The next full moon is in five nights. And, incredibly, no survivors. These monsters are very thorough.”
After a few moments, Durgin relaxed. The battery of questions was over.
The hulking spellcaster then stepped forward, pushing back the wide brim of his hat. He smiled, and hunkered down a couple of feet to meet Durgin eye-to-eye before reciting a litany of questions from a page in his book.
“How long has this been going on? Which hamlet was attacked first?”
“Who has survived these attacks to inform you of their habits? We need to discus the events with someone who has first hand experience. Were any of them infected?” (If told there were no survivors) “How do you know it was werewolves, and that the children were taken if there weren’t any survivors?”
“Where are the corpses of the adults? How many people have been killed, and how many children are missing?”
“Who were these groups, how many members, what was their composition and preparation?”
“Do you have any maps of the area, do you know which hamlets have been struck? How close have they come to Daggerford proper?”
“Do you have cells prepared to hold these miscreants, silver chains ready to bind them? If not, you might wish to prepare them while we apprehend the criminals. Even after we have them in custody, I imagine our investigation might be quite a while before we have all the evidence.”
With a snap, the half-orc closed the book with one hand and absent mindedly held it in front of his cloak, murmuring “Thank you, Seffy” as his octopus familiar took it from him with practiced ease.
At this point, the gnome stood and began wandering around the room. Durgin took another few deep breaths before launching into his own litany.
“This has been going on for three months now. A larger village, Hommlet, was the first attacked. It’s now been almost completely abandoned after the repeat attack last month. Some adults survived the attacks by hiding themselves. The adults’ corpses are mainly buried or burned, shredded to pieces. About 60 adults have been killed and nearly half that many children kidnapped. The groups of werewolves were a bit under two dozen. They did not sound particularly organized, but did not need to be. I can provide you with a map shortly. They’ve not come any closer than ten miles to Daggerford. We do have many cells in the prison. Silver chains, no, but I’ll see what we can do. That’s a good idea.”
It seemed that the adventurers were finally out of questions. “Well, in this case I’ll take my leave. I will be here, in case you come up with any more.” Durgin managed a smile and bowed before leaving the room. This group seemed capable.
After a barrage of introductions, the party began planning and discussing tactics.
“Yeah, going to buy some doggy treats.” Pyewackett snorted obnoxiously and slipped out the door. He returned shortly and asked “Ey, where do I get these?” holding out a shopping list, scribbled in grease: Alchemist’s Fire, Manacles, Sanity, Poisin, Antitoxin, Shovel.
“I’ll accompany you” Avreen said. “I’m going to see about silvered arrows.”
Durgin entered behind him, and spoke “I forgot to mention, you all have rooms at the River Shining, and the owner there has been instructed to provide you with instructions as to where to find anything you might need in town. Also, here is the map you requested.”
With that, the party exited the Council Hall and ventured out into Daggerford.