Cold mist wraps around the five humanoids as they jolt into consciousness. They look around the harsh unfamiliar landscape swathed in curtains of yellow while amber tendrils of the substance writhe and snake across the ground.
Gathering their wits, the five look around. Two Gnolls, one tall and burly with dusky red fur and the other smaller but no less muscular with tawny fur stand near one another. Across from them an albino Ratfolk woman and a hulking tiger featured white Catfolk share confused looks.
Finally, a brown ursine squats in the middle of the five, its expression confused as he runs a claw through the muddy dirt.
Through the mists a little way past, the sound of steel scraping on stone rakes towards the five. The mist rolls forwards. The Ratfolk shivers as she feels the malignant hatred within the yellow fog, her feet root in place and her breath catches in her throat.
The large Gnoll and the Catfolk share a quick glance before sprinting the opposite direction, through a chained gate. The steel gateway is massive, easily overshadowing both as they sprint beneath it the chained structure even though open but a crack wide enough to allow a pair of carts moving abreast through.
The smaller Gnoll takes a few steps after them but pauses at the gate while the manlike bear steps to the trees and speaks to them in a strange sibilant language.
From the mist a shadowy figure steps, hidden from view of all but the frozen woman as the saffron tide rolls over her. She screams briefly as her body is torn to shreds, her head bounces free and lands by the others. Her blood scatters across the ground providing a new colour to the yellowy landscape.
With evil close, the Gnoll and bear run through the gateway following the other pair.
The trees loom ominous to either side of the pathway, the mist roils and dances almost gleefully alongside, wisps of something appear here and there through the trees.
Darting through a shattered stone archway the promise of civilization and safety appears ahead. The smaller Gnoll and the Catfolk sprint ahead, followed at a distance by the Ursine.
The larger Gnoll, mind driven half mad with panic spins, it is caught up in its instincts and faces the foe lurking as a coward does in the shadows.
He allows the mist to curl around him, the tendrils of fog caressing him jealousy. The fur across his body stands on end, muscles clenched and tight as the trees fade from view, replaced with the golden haze.
A vague shape looms in front and with muscles trained by years of action he responds with a vicious haymaker. The feeling of flesh bursting and bones crunching drifts back to him from his memory like a summer breeze.
The hand that returns from the fog however is not the one he knows. The fingers are missing, bloody nubs where his talons once lay. The Gnoll looks up as the shadow encompasses him and a hand burst through his chest.
As true darkness closes around his vision he sees that the heart is still beating, blood spraying from it onto the ground.
A distance away the smaller Gnoll and Catfolk stumble as they are sprayed with red viscous blood.
A heart arching over their heads lays in the middle of the partially cobbled road. Impossibly it still beats, blood spraying out the sides with every shuddering twitch.
Unnoticed by the fleeing pair, the blood pools into the word, “save”.
The Ursine, racing through the path finds himself in an alley, to one side is a graveyard.
Footsteps echo in front of and behind the bearman.
Darting into the graveyard as the yellow fog rolls together he makes his way to an eerie glowing church.
He lumbers in through the broken front door as a shape looms ahead in the mist. A twisted smile and sharp razor glinting in the yellow light.
Gasping for breath the two slow down as they run through a park. They are quickly tiring of this game of cat and mouse.
A figure appears behind them on the path, the wind bringing a sonorous moaning to their ears.
In the middle of the path ahead a bloody bear skin rug stretches across the path, perfectly flensed from the missing body. They hurdle over it and the blood stain, a large “UP” written in bold on the cobbles.
The tower is near, reaching the base of the cliff the two begin scaling the walls, their claws finding easy purchase in the crags and broken black stones.
The ratfolk reaches up and grasps a large stone, but as her weight transfers to the granite it slips free from the wall and she plummets to the path below.
Landing on her back she is dazed and pained as a shadow blocks out the saffron light.
A smiling face bending over hers is the last sight she sees before a flash of metal permanently steals her vision.
Alone, the white felinid climbs higher and higher, he flinches away as a blood soaked war razer flashes past with herculean force to embed itself into the rocky edifice.
Set between two white ears a pair of eyes stare sightlessly at him from the shish-kabob where they hang. The blood splattering the stone before his hand spells out the word, “Wake”.
In the distance he hears a voice as he pulls himself up. “Wake Up. Save Me!”
Ignoring the sound as the world closes around him he begins the final run across the causeway to the tower and safety.
“Wake Up! Save Me!”
‘It’s not real, this is just a dream’ the catman realizes as ahead on the path a figure swathed in tattered robes begins to solidify.
‘It’s not real.’ He silently cries. His snout quivering as he falls to his knees, pinching and punching his own flesh.
“It’s Not Real!” He snarls as the figure steps forwards and the blade descends.
With a jolt he wakes up in a cell, the ratwoman bleeding from her eyes staring at him.
“SAVE ME!” a voice shrieks in common from beyond a set of bars. She is wearing a soiled and tattered hospital gown, the word Tertia stitched neatly on the front over her breast.
Looking down the Catman can see the word Quarto stitched on his gown’s own breast.
“Come over here and let me loose,” a barking voice calls out in common.
Crawling over to the cell bars and looking out Quarto makes out two of his fellow travelers in the dream.
Across the way the larger Gnoll stood, fists clenched around the bars of his cell.
“Free Us!” He barks in his harsh voice.
A mellifluous bark and a deep growl join from the wall sharing a side with the two.
The smaller Gnoll and the Big Ursine join in the chorus all focused on the center of the room.
In the center of the room a grisly sight meets the five pairs of eyes, a human male is strapped with heavy chords to an operating table, he is stripped bare and bleeding from many wounds.
The man screams in agony while begging for help as a tall dark haired woman wearing a doctor’s outfit slowly inserts a corkscrew into his thigh before pulling it and a chunk of flesh back out.
The cries of the
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The party escapes their cells, kills the woman whom is a Doppelganger, and searches the cellar. They discover their gear and suffer complete amnesia. They go by the names on their tattered gowns and escape over a pile of bodies into a small room.
Exiting the room it is night outside and they light a torch for those whom do not have darkvision. Leaving the room they come out into a dark internal courtyard, finding two of the walls collapsed to rubble, their path blocked, the only route out is a door in the western wall.