The Diamond Dogs hastily abandoned the headquarters of the Tenebrous Hand, its members all dead or mutated into horrid creatures trapped in the cellars. After splitting the loot with the street urchins and examining many secret documents, the Dogs informed Lucky Haribold of the demise of his rivals. Our bloodstained mercenaries returned to Shelley’s giant crab and allowed Grandma Rags to tap into the memories of the Clockwork Man. They saw through his eyes over countless years as he killed hundreds, thousands, in flashing moments and disconnected dreamlike memories:
Clockwork Man’s Second Memory Shard
You see your hands……
drowning a child as water spews through holes on a sinking ship amidst a fiery sea battle
disembowling a feathered priest over the rim of a volcano, while thunder and lightning strike a furious staccato, illuminating hundreds of masked figures
garroting a bejeweled merchant in a crowded tavern, as others look on with hard stares
stabbing a wide-eyed lover, during an embrace
spearing a wounded squire, crying over his dead horse on a snowy battlefield
beheading a man covered in tattoos, and tasting his blood on your lips, as the arena crowd cheers your victory
burning a line of crones at the stake, while a hooded chorus chants over their screams
charging on horseback into a crowd of hungry rioting serfs
pushing a pregnant woman off the back of a rushing wagon, into the blinding snowstorm
punching and pounding an eldery sage with clockwork hands, while colorful birds look on and water trickles from a garden fountain
stalking down a hallway, dusty with motes crisscrossing the sunbeams blazing through the Lightbringer motifs, smashing skulls and eviscerating worshippers who die with prayers on their lips, eventually coming upon a paladin clad in holy armor, striking her down with lightning fast blows from a glowing dagger clutched by brass made animate
Very close now…
You look down at your clockwork hands, and tuck a knife deeply into your jacket. Osbald Felltergrubb, Margave of Flotsam, looks on you with resigned sadness. “Despite my great respect for you, after this day, we will be enemies.”
He embraces you, and his expression freezes as your dagger strikes into his back. You begin digging a grave as a blank-faced man moves onto Felltergrubbs corpse and begins rubbing his hands over it…
The Next Day…
Upon recovering, the Diamond Dogs visited the Imperial Geologists, wherein they found that the geologist himself had set off for Pembrooktonshire on urgent business. While meeting with his assistant, the Merchant Barnabas, Kristin became very uneasy due to his overly welcoming manner and the mysterious smells overcoming the expensive perfumes. The Dogs agreed to return an ancient idol (already in their possession) but pleased ignorance to its location.
They then set off for the tower of Ahmed Noakes, in the wilderness near Flotsam. Upon approaching his forest trail they discovered a sheep clutching a “Speak With Animals” scroll. After a bit of interrogation they heard some baaaaaaaaaaad news: The sheep was the actual wizard Shinebright, and his apprentice Ahmed Noakes had transformed him and their assistants into his animal slaves.
The Dogs fought off Ahmed’s half-orc lackey Guz and his trained wolf-people, as well as two giant grizzly bears. They decided on an all out frontal assault on his tower while Kristin used invisibility and knowledge of secret passwords to infiltrate his treetop fortress. Wolves were incinerated and giant mountain lions battled in a the great treetop skirmish. After being ambushed by Kristin, Noakes himself used his wand of transmutation to give a parody of false-life to his own bed, creating a monstrous wood-splinter breathing flying abomination.
A wild magic surge of course resulted in almost ten thousand frogs spewing out of the beasts wooden mouth as it flew across the treetops smashing our heroes at every turn. Ahmed Noakes was knocked off his steed and finished off by Kristin’s knife – it interrupted his stage of transformation, leaving him a pile of boneless skin and organs. Kunal the Barbarian and Joe used everything in their arsenal to bring down the bed while Ash sprinted across frog-guts-strewn branches to reach Kristin before she bled to death.
The tower was secured, and through searching the wizard’s library Joe learned the true story of the painting he was constantly envisioning
He discovered that he was of The Line of Arnolfini
Despite trying his best, our sorcerer failed to transform the wizard Shinebright back into his original body, instead turning him into a disgusting pulsating mass of flesh. Good effort, though! For his troubles he suffered under another Wild Magic Surge, leaving him only able to quack like a duck when fiercely enraged.
Gaz, the Half-Orc berserker, brought down by a thousand blows.
8 Man-Wolves, two of them with jaws snapped by barehanded rage, the rest slaughtered in various gruesome ways.
2 Giant Grizzly Bears, burned and acid-melted.
1 Giant Mountain Lion, shattered by a thousand splinters.
1 Fucking Abominable Flying Wooden Bed-Dragon. What the hell?
Ahmed Noakes, his interrupted spell turning him into a puddle of sludge.
The Wizard Shinebright, proving the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.