The quiet outside the tavern hits Sergius’ ears like a jolt compared with the noise they leave, a similar jolt to that coming from the chill no longer dissuaded by warm bodies. A few of the lamps that line the street are lit, but while the lamps exist in regular intervals, they are lit only haphazardly and provide little light, leaving only a half-full moon and the stars to guide their way among ominously dark and crowding buildings squatting to either side.
Though Davian walks out boldly, wearing his dark grey wool clothes beneath leather armor and a dark brown cloak. The deafening sound of his own footsteps unwittingly forces his feet to lighter staccato. Both make their way along the street.
Sergius looks to tall-brother, “They call you Davian, right? Do animals live in this city?”
They turn the corner at the end of the street and Davian says, “I’m sure there are a few. Mostly dogs, cats and rats. Maybe a few pigeons. Not too much in the way of wildlife. Why do you ask?”
Sergius’ hawk screams, streaking like a bullet down past them both, squaking an alarm, unfortunately too late. As they round the corner into an opening where three streets meet into a small square, three men stand. They have seen Sergius and Davian. They knew the two were coming.
There are three of them, but that is all either Davian or Sergius can make out in the darkness of the street and the dim light from the moon. The tallest in the middle moves toward them in a way that puts ones teeth on edge. His joints twitch at odd angle. For Sergius, it seems almost animal, but in no way can this be described as natural. The other two hunch over unseen weapons as all three advance. The strange tall one lets out a madman’s howl that ends in a bestial snarl.
Sergius immediately grabs his staff and starts chanting words over it and steps back behind the building next to them and waits with his spear ready to throw. Davian climbs the same and stands on the roof looking down.
One of the two bestial madman’s companions suddenly crumples forward. His silhouette enlarges, and he unfurls himself twitching from his hunched position. His movements matches that of the first both creatures jerkily progressing toward the building where Sergius and Davian wait. Davian watches as the third one, still a man seeing that both companions have changed, runs down one of the streets with all haste.
The first of the two creatures, its snout elongated like a short-faced hairless dog, reaches the edge of the roof and starts pulling himself up, but loses his grip and falls back to his feet. He growls in frustration, staring up and sniffing loudly. It’s jaw is working like it is chewing gum as it’s head moves sharply left and right. Davian throws his dagger into the creatures shoulder where it sticks. It’s head stops moving as it makes a low murmur and rumble in the back of it’s throat.
The other stumbles in behind him and jerks back as Sergius’ spear flies a few feet in front of him. Leaning forward again to start moving, but Sergius runs against him, swinging his staff in a wide arc that catches it hard to the side of its head. With a crunch followed by a wet, squishing sound, the man-beast briefly whimpers and collapses sideways. A dark shadow grows slowly beneath it’s head.
The first tosses it’s head back and forth again snarling and jumps at Sergius with both hands sharp with claws. It’s left hand catches Sergius across the face leaves long marks in the skin. He arches back as the creatures mouth lands down on his neck and pulls away with a chunk of flesh. Sergius wobbles nearly fainting. Holding his staff in front of him he moves back as Davian leaps from the roof behind the creature, short sword in hand and ready to strike. But he loses his footing twisting his ankle and falling on his face.
The creature, ignoring Davian behind it, rears back to plunge its claws deep into Sergius and is caught off guard as the hawk swoops in clawing at its face before swooping back out. Davian pushes himself up from the ground, regains his feet and stabs his short sword toward the creatures back. But his ankle disrupts his balance , and Davian is unable to push through the tattered remains of leather armor that cling there.
Sergius staring into the eyes of the mad half-man creature before him reaches for his last reserve of strength. With a loud cry almost bestial itself, he lifts his staff far back behind his head and brings it down hard onto the creatures head. It’s snout whips backward from the blow, too far back and right. It’s neck cracks loudly as the quarterstaff pushes against the bone of its forehead and caves in. The creature and Sergius fall to the ground as one.
A little stunned by events, Davian looks down to see his companions neck gushing blood from the wound the creature gave him. He wonders briefly whether lycanthropy is only a myth, but kneels down to put pressure on the wound and stop the bleeding. They stay there on a street deathly quiet, but after a few minutes the bleeding seems to have stopped again. Davian realizes he’s standing in the middle of this dangerously unstable city in the middle of the night with a now unconscious companion. He reaches to the creature and pulls out his dagger. He slides Sergius’ quarterstaff and spear into either side of his belt and uses them to keep the body steady. He peeks at the belt looking for a coin purse, but doesn’t find one. With a grunt of effort, he lifts Sergius up in his arms and walks back in the direction of the Fairy Garden and the Donkey-Rat Inn next door.
Davian heaves Sergius body through the door of the Inn. He rests him on the floor and hammers on the bell at the desk until Nafir comes in from the back, obviously just woken up.
“What do you want, Davian?” He looks over the desk at the crumpled form of Sergius on the floor, “I’m trying to sleep!”
“I want to get a room, put it on my tab.”
“Fine. It’ll cost a gold.”
“A gold?! Are you kidding me? I could buy this place for that. 5 silver, not a penny more.”
The inn keeper looks at Davian with a raised eyebrow, “Gladly. However, since there are two of you, 1 gold.”
“I won’t be sleeping here tonight.” Davian replies with a swagger, “Just my friend here. Ge got himself in a scuffle, and he smells way too much to be spending the night at my place.”
“So be it,” Nafir shrugs, “But you’re carrying him to the room yourself. It’s the second on the left. I keep it especially for you, Davian,” he grimaces with heavy eyes and returns to the back office with a wave behind his back that looks more like a shooing gesture.