Red in Tooth and Claw

Mellia — Red

????, Fire Season, Season/Movement Week


Fire Season/Movement Week/Waterday/late afternoon, right before Session 39. [[[s01:session-38|Session 38]]]


There’s a knock on Dormal’s door in the late afternoon.

“Come in, it’s not barred.”

The door opens. It’s Mellia, looking worried. “Hello, Dormal. May I come in?”

“Of course.”

Mellia comes in, shuts the door and looks for a place to sit. “I’ve heard some disturbing things at the temple.”

Dormal gestures to the cot, which is the only real furniture in the room. He leans against the wall himself.
“Go on.”

Mellia perches on the cot. “Thank you. Which do you want first, politics or scary?”

Dormal exhales sharply.
“Politics, I suppose.”

Mellia nods. “Jaldis, who is currently in charge of the temple, has had a lot of people stop by to talk to her. Some of them are from the palace. The rumor mill swears that various quests are being discussed.”

“Underworld quests? Or our quest for the spark?”

“Possibly all of them.”

“So we can assume the story is out.”

“I think so.”

“People will come looking to sound out Varanis.”

“Yes they will, which is actually not as scary as what else I learned.”

“Well, not scary, but potentially destabilising for Sartar.”
“What’s the scary thing?”

Mellia replies, “A man was found dead in the lower end of town at night recently. His corpse was drained of blood.”

“Those undead things? Here?”

“If I were an abomination like that,” Mellia answers, “I’d visit Boldhome when the Humakti aren’t here.”

“Well. It’s grim. But… give this one to Berra. It’s her area. And maybe it will delay her reporting the details of our little investigation if she’s busy.”

Mellia nods. “I’m planning to warn Varanis and Sid as well.”

“I can’t imagine Eril will be pleased we’ve been poking into his secrets. The longer it takes before word gets to him, the better.”
“Might as well warn everyone.”
“In the group. Not the whole town.”
Dormal scratches his chin.
“Do you know where in the city exactly? I could go and look around.”

Mellia chuckles for a moment. “By now Eril must expect these things.” Serious again, she adds, “The way the temple is talking, the whole town will know soon enough. Please be very careful, Dormal. I know the corpse was found in the lower end of town, but not exactly where.”

“I wasn’t planning on taking any more risks than necessary.”

Mellia sighs in relief. “Good. I would miss you.”

“Also it occurs to me that we need to add a faction that will want to stop us. The Lunars.”

“I wonder if Onjur has managed to raise more money?”

“I dare say he has the backing of his nation.”

“Then he’s got the Imperial Treasury to draw on. Just great.”

“He does make an interesting challenge.”

“I just had a horrible thought. Do vampires hire out for assassinations?”

“I have no idea. But most thinking creatures have a price.”
“If it were here to assassinate it wouldn’t leave a body lying around though.”
“I suspect this one is feral.”

“We know Onjur doesn’t have scruples. What if he paid the vampire to kill all of us?”

“Will you be safe? do the undead respect Chalana Arroy? I guess not.”
“I think… I think if I had his resources I would use ordinary assassins. Easier to control.”

“Not last I heard. The good news is that being Chaotic, vile perversions of Life, they are an exception to our vows of non-violence. The bad news is that I can’t hit the broad side of a barn.”

“You can always hit a barn. If you arrange to be inside first.”

Mellia thinks about that a moment, then says, “Bleah.”

“You can summon healing spirits though, yes?”

Mellia nods. “Maybe Rajar should check out the lower end of town during daylight, too.”

“Hmm. Night would be our best bet for luring it out though.”

“Dangerous. If the vampire is feral, how did it get here?”

“Another one of those rift things?”


“Some sort of perversion of a hero quest?”

“That’s a sickening thought.”

“For all we know it’s been slumbering here and we woke it up when we flubbed the first quest.”

“Then it might be mad with hunger.”

“Could be. I don’t really know how they work.”

“I don’t know either.”

“Who would?”

“Berra? Xenofos could go research vampires, surely.”

“Well, you’re telling Berra anyway. And Xenofos could do with something to occupy him other than staring daggers at me. Poor boy’s going to tire himself out with all the hating.”

Mellia nods. “It’ll do him good.”

“Can you… summon a different kind of spirit? One that will sniff out the vampire?”

Mellia shakes her head. “I think Rajar would have to do that.”

“Rajar is handy but I fear if he senses the vampire he’ll call down his holy wrath and if you’re not there to stop him…”

Mellia winces.

“Maybe Nala could spirit walk the town and seek it out. Is that safe? Safer?”

“Depends on the vampire’s abilities, I think. “

“The trolls live in darkness all the time, by preference, right?”
“They must have ways of dealing with vampires.”

“Yes. I’m going to warn Sid.”

“Argan Agar? Xio… Xilo Umber?”

“Xiola Umbar is the Troll healing goddess. Unfortunately, the best bet would be Zorak Zoran.”

“Uh. Let’s not.”

“Let’s not.”

“Or… maybe there’s a hero quest we can do.”


“What would happen if you… resurrected, or whatever, a vampire?”

“That’s a really good question. I’m not sure anyone has ever tried it. I’m not sure the White Lady would permit it.”

“But – is the vampire the same person? Or would the real person come back, pushing out the vampire’s… whatever.”

“Generally the spirit has gone too far to be recalled after seven days or so. I’m not sure what we’d get.”

“Probably nothing if it’s not a new vampire.”


“And if it is new then there’s another one nearby.”

“That’s a frightening thought. The maker could be ancient, powerful and very dangerous.”

“Of course… If I were feeling paranoid, I’d say this is bait for Varanis.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised.”

“Kallyr’s away, Varanis is rumoured to be questing for the Flame, and she wipes out the horrible vampire threat to the capital of Sartar.”
“Parades, speeches, three cheers for our Hero…”

“Who is sick enough to unleash a vampire on Boldhome? Even the Lunars would think twice about this one.”

“Might not even be a vampire. Or they could have it on a leash. Magic ready to kill it and make it look like Varanis did.”

“Sick, but effective.”

“And even if it’s nothing to do with us, it’s a pretty good way to unsettle Sartar.”

“It is. If you see Varanis first, Dormal, please warn her. I think I’m going to go take a nap before I throw up.”

“Ok. I will.”

Mellia gets to her feet. “Thanks, Dormal. Remember, be careful.”


Mellia smiles faintly and leaves.