Rodentkind, of the largely humanoid variety, safely extracted from the sewers, the Knights turn their attention to the supply problems Brindol doesn’t quite know it has yet. The heads of the different Guilds in the city, constantly jockeying for power, do not well communicate to each other, and Sir Vincent has as yet kept the team’s presence occluded from his fellows. The loss of production in both iron and lumber, coupled with the raids on the southern ranches are known to only a select few. Prioress Brysis was made aware of some of the problems, especially in the undercity, and has set in motion a plan to restore some semblance of safety and order.
Domestic matters in a state relative stability, the Knights depart for Elsyrcross. Every caution is taken against a chance encounter with the Vermilion Blades, as there is no love loss between the two groups. So, with subtlety, taking hidden and dweomered roads, the journey is done. The community itself is in a state of mild disarray. Half-man beasts stalk the wooded side of town, while the human inhabitants cower on the mountain side. Brief questioning brings to light that the Redfur have made residence in the portion of town formerly belonging to the lumberjacks, who have been missing for some time.
Undaunted, the heroes cross the bridge and stride boldly into the common house beneath the trees. Inside they are greeted with displays of raucous excess and barbarity. At least two dozen creatures, humanoid, but with the bearing and mismatched traits reminiscent of lupines are engaged in inebriated tests of strength, skill, or endurance. There three or so of them engage in a vicious brawl, tooth and claw, that rolls through the central fire pit. Here One female of the breed is demonstrating her dancing skills, while onlookers hurl knives at her. Off to one side it seems a couple had not bothered to seek privacy when they decided to ensure the next generation of their kind. The air was thick with the distinct scent of sweat, spilled meade, and burned fur. Into this din the Knights enthusiastically made themselves at home, joining in the knife throwing, wrestling, and boasting. They caroused long and hard, and well into the night, barely noticing when a normal seeming human woman took place behind the bar. Near about midnight, the din abated, and the still night was pierced by a distant howl. Then another, louder, closer. With the third, whatever massive beast had made the noise must have been upon the building itself. The doors flung open and then entered a great Lupine creature. Easily a head taller than a man, built humanoid, but covered in russet fur and with the powerful jaws of a wolf upon it’s shoulders. It stalked into the common room, and all remained silent until it had reached a great seat that had been kept clear, especially for it. Lifting a drinking horn that the human lady had produced for it, it let out a final great howl, that all within returned. The beast then shifted, becoming more human, male, powerfully built, but not losing the predatory gleam in his eye. Introductions were made as the were-wolf idly stroked the human woman(who now sat at the base of his chair)‘s hair.
Although the Redfur felt no sorrow at the lumberjack’s disappearance, they claimed no fore knowledge or part in it. A lack of interest in fully pillaging the town was also established. Although great amusement at the human’s terrified nature was shared by all. The werewolf noted that woods were no longer safe for those not of his pack, but if a favour was done, the location and gifting of a sword that was the bane of his kind, he was sure his father would let them take a look around at least. Agreement was made, and the night resumed it festivities.
Bleary eyed and exhausted from the previous spectacle, the Knights rose and attempted to reconcile with the other half of the community. Catching one of their new friends startling a man trying to get water from the river. It would be a difficult day indeed. Some inquiry later, and several assurances that they had not, in fact, become were-beasts, brought some news. There had always been some tension between the miner and lumber-mill side of town, and the replacement of the foresters with Shifters had only aggravated rather than birthed it. A particularly vile specimen of foremen from the Miner’s guild was the de facto ruler of this side of town, and engaged in flagrant abuses under the nose of his masters. His information was useful, and let the Knights know that the most recent shipment of ore from the mines was at least a month over due. They resolved to deal with him later, but for now, had to make haste up the mountain, to Redrock.