So Dirwin’s back in Planescape now! What was that Ravenloft chapter all about? Does this have anything to do with the Great Modron March? Let’s see…
Something’s following me out of my mind. It takes the shape of a great shadowy cat. Is this the black cat I saw crossing the mill bridge, in another form?
I’m back in my case. Toledo’s standing over me, her face neutral, but her body language reading surprise. She’s been helping care for me, Marja and Word. Every animal, druid, and wereperson in Sigil has gone insane. I have no time to stop and think about my good friend. If he got out, he’s somewhere out there. If not, the current situation is more important for now anyway.
I take the time to warm up and speak to Word. He’s barely there, though he has moments of lucidity. He’s muttering kill, maim, blood, things like that. I can hear birds outside saying it, and cranium rats whispering in the walls. All of them are mad. Marja’s barely holding together. But I’ve fought my way out of my madness. I grab Toledo by the shoulder. ‘We’ve got to get to the Beastlands! That’s what Merka was hinting at.’
Leaving the other two to look after each other, we start out, but my stomach cramps horribly. Toledo points out that I haven’t eaten in two days, so we change direction and head for the Garden Gnome. On the way we see a taxi driven by a mezoloth, and pulled by Arcadian ponies. Even they are muttering horrible murderous words.
At the Garden Gnome things are just as I expect to see, vegan food travelling around on the little gnomish-made conveyor belt, lampshades of all kinds hanging from the ceiling, barely any walls to interrupt the indoor-outdoor flow. There’s my devil friend I play chess with, playing with a flumph now. As we wait for our orders, Toledo tells me some recent gossip. The Ciphers and the Godsmen have allied for some reason, and the Sensates are having internal problems between those who favour pure sensation and those (like myself) who err on the side of experience and understanding.
A large suit of armour with a two-headed dog leashed to it walks in. The voice from within the armour is squeaky, as he announces rewards for information about some wanted men, and announces himself as Blandermal, who can be found at the Woodsmen’s Retreat. A Mercykiller then. The wanted posters that he sticks up name Ankus the gith assassin, Picand Four-teeth the cannibal bauriur, and Hochur the Foul, a bladeling with black-dyed spikes.
After he leaves, I feel someone’s eyes on me from across the street. I meet the eyes, and he approaches. He is filthy, lank black hair and foul smelling breath. He raves at me, something about things coming out of black triangles and devouring your spirit, a slumbering lamb, the hidden journal, find it, they’re coming from the prison to get him. As he pulls out a black triangular pendant to show me, he slumps into my lap, an arrow sticking out of his back.
I can’t spot the shooter, so I pull him to cover and start healing him. Toledo steps back too, unable to see who shot. But then the man in my arms twists and grows and his black hair lightens to orange as he turns into a tiger. I wrestle him down with Toledo’s help.
We’ve barely managed this when the Harmonium show up. As they arrest the weretiger I pocket the pendant which has fallen off him. I ask if they’ll look after him, as it’s not his fault he attacked. I tell them I’m going to fix the problem with all the animals. Drethel Fortinarb is the officer, and he’s pretty jaded. He’s had to arrest quite a few animals of course. But I needn’t panic about my weretiger friend. All the druid lawyers have gone mad too, so none of the animal cases are being tried right now. Safe in the knowledge that bureaucracy will hold everything up quite nicely, Toledo and I set out to try and find our way to the Beastlands again.
Then she points out she thinks she knows the name Slumbering Lamb. It’s a place, she reckons. So we go to the nearest tout, a tiefling who is not unfamiliar to us, name of Kaiakos, who has an extra set of crab-like arms, and an eladrin spouse. After some small talk, and a garnish to seal the deal, he points us to the Slumbering Lamb. On the way there, I break up two fighting bauriur. They had no idea why they had started fighting, but I explain, and tell them to go home and rest as much as they can.
On Formean Road we find the Slumbering Lamb. A tiefling landlady opens the door. Before we can even explain why we’re here, she starts whinging about Sashell, we’re not here about Sashell are we, there have been so many people enquiring about him today and she ought to charge him more, because she reckons he’s a weretiger. Well, now we have a name. I tell her he’s been arrested and I’m here to retrieve something for him. As I haggle with her I can see she is dishonest, so for 5 gold I get her to let me his room. I pack everything up for safe keeping, knowing she’ll just throw it all out and let the room to someone else even after I paid her. In the pig sty of a room, I find two interesting things. The first is a painted tiger mask with divination magic on it.
The second is his journal, which Toledo and I have to reorder as the pages have been spread all over the room. As time goes on, it grows more and more incoherent. There are entries hinting at chasing small prey and being pursued by a giant shadowy cat. Could it be the same as what I just saw chasing me? There’s more about shapes coming out of triangles, bars becoming fangs, devouring life forces out of shining bowls. There’s also a yellow note pasted in with different handwriting. It has a list of names. Three of them are the three wanted men. Is this important?