The party made its way to an inn and barricaded themselves inside a room to catch their breath and examine their pockets full of loot. Many shiny treasures were revealed, some magical. Some magical but drained of their power, mere shells that hinted at their original purpose. One of the items triggered a memory from Fo, which seemed like a good avenue for getting Lusus back to two-armed status.
That night, an intruder attempted to intrude, but was easily noticed by the unreasonably alert party. Seriously, people should not be that perceptive. Don’t even get me started on rogue stealth.
The intruder proved to be a ten-years-older Kolya, who proceeded to bring the party up to speed on the downward spiral experienced by the Caravan Carnivale in the years after their expulsion. Dima had met an untimely and somewhat suspicious end, and Kolya abandoned the scene not long afterwards, choosing to devote most of his days to discovering the secrets behind what Management was up to. His trail of clues had led here, to Aureigne, and to the mansion that seems magically linked to Management’s vardo.
After catching up with Kolya, the party set out at dawn to meet up with a witch Fo knew to be meetable in the countryside outside the city. Farms were passed by, including some that had hung slaughtered livestock across their scarecrows while doors and shutters on farmhouses remained tightly shut. Taking part in a strange ritual in the woods in the foothills outside the farmland, the party accessed an otherworldly pocket dimension where the witch sat inside a thatch hut.
She was a hot witch, not an ugly witch – and had the party compared notes on what they’d seen when they looked at her, they’d have all come up with a different picture. Y’know. Sexy witch stuff.
The witch understood what was being asked of her, but needed two things: an arm to give to Lusus, and payment that she insisted the party would find in the vicinity of the creature currently owning and using that arm.
The party waited until dawn and set out to track down the creature – a shapeshifter who they’d spotted the night prior moving between a wolflike form and a humanoid shape – in its home territory further up the mountain. Following its trail, they discovered an opening in the ground which led to a bone-strewn cave. An old man and young girl were inside, beaten up but alive as though they’d been brought back to devour later. The young girl was hoisted up and out of the lair, but moments into lifting the old man he revealed himself to be the creature, and pulled an unsuspecting Alsahiir into the opening. The party dove in after him (save for Barabal, who supported with magic from above, and Lolth, who studied the scene waiting for a deadly opening to present itself), and managed to wound the creature and remove its arm. It attempted to flee through the cave mouth, only to be knocked prone by Barabal wielding its own severed limb; Fo hoisted Lusus’ heavy battleaxe high and decapitated the monster. Black blood was like everywhere.
The little girl had apparently run away during the hectic fight; she was nowhere to be found. Down in the cave, the witch’s price presented itself: another young girl, this one wearing outdated fine clothing and encased in a transparent cloudy crystal the size of a small coffin.
The party returned the arm and crystal to the witch, who kept her end of the bargain – after a long, heady, sweaty ritual Lusus once again had two arms – though one was black-skinned and equipped with feral claws at the tips of its fingers. The party left the witch’s hut to return to the real world, and upon leaving the perimeter of her property, the ground beneath the hut shuddered and erupted, revealing a giant earthen humanoid shape that seemed to wear the thatch building as a hat. It walked away into the mists with enormous slow strides, eventually fading from view. Y’know. Weird witch stuff.