By Eric Haddock
The citizens of Nesmé have enough troubles with trolls to worry about encroaching giants, but a recent spate of lycanthrope attacks has only added to the community's stresses. During the night of the last full moon, a pack of lycanthropes descended on the town. They clawed and bit at anyone they could in a brazen, if not senseless, display of carnage. They didn't seem to be there to kill everyone or to turn people over to their kind. Instead, they seemed to pick people at random and tear them up in a most spectacular display of ferocity, the sound of which was not drowned out by the shrieks of the poor victims. They had torn their sixth asunder, Uvarkk the baker, when the watch arrived. The lycanthropes turned their attention to them right away. None of the brave souls who tried to defend the town survived the next few minutes of loud, almost cacophonous slaughter.
Although usually unpredictable and rarely organized, the beasts who dealt such terrible tragedy to the town were neither. They seemed to be working with a plan -- some hideous goal that eluded the citizens of Nesmé, who were too busy running from the bloody scene to ask the lycanthropes what their motivations were.
After the lycanthropes seemed to be sated, they left. A woodsman who said he was skilled at tracking lycanthropes arrived shortly thereafter and said he would track the villains down and, with a posse, bring back their pelts -- or bodies, as the case may be. The whole town stayed awake, waiting for his return and remaining far too scared to sleep. Most kept their shutters tight and peeked though cracks onto the streets only when their curiosity got the better of them. As to the bodies, some brave souls volunteered to tend to the remains. As it turned out, they would not have time to clean the streets before the woodsman returned, walking on the same stones he'd not long ago tread. The woodsman reported that the tracks were easy to follow but terminated a few miles east of Nesmé -- into the Evermoors. They ended at some sort of ruin, but he could not find where they went after that.
Some townsfolk, including the woodsman, left Nesmé again, and this time they were determined to track the lycanthropes no matter the time it took. When they reached the ruins the woodsman had spoken of, they were greeted by nothing more than a stone slab that had been cut into a six-sided shape with carvings that had been filled in by the gunk and growth of the Evermoors. One of their number, Olin Breaknee, deduced that it as a forgotten shrine to either Shar or Selûne, but he couldn't remember for sure. One of the two, Olin said, had some doings in the Evermoors some centuries ago and probably the slab before them was all that was left of a shrine.
They didn't have time to speculate much before clouds passed over the full moon. They all figured there might yet be some magic at play, since the trail ended so conspicuously on a supposed divine platform, so the Nesméans loitered and did what they could to search the slab. As they were doing so, the clouds parted and moonlight shown on the slab, illuminating the area in an eerie light that was made more menacing by the uncertain terrain of the Evermoors. As the moonlight bathed the slab, the carvings lit up brightly despite the gunk packed into them. The townspeople gasped in unison. Olin and two of his kin were on the slab when Olin blurted: "I think that symbol says 'Selûne'!" In an instant, the three vanished. The rest of townspeople fled with the knowledge that they had stumbled upon a portal and knowing that wherever Olin and kin were, the lycanthropes were there, too.
Indeed, those members of the Breaknee clan were never seen again.
How to Incorporate Ever Portal Into Your Champaign
- Where is Olin Breaknee? The Breaknee clan figures he was eaten by wolves or worse, but they're not satisfied to leave his body unburied. The clan would like to have a group of hearty folk go through the portal and get Olin's and the others' bodies -- at least what's left of them.
- Word of an active portal with an easy key spreads quickly. Where does it go? No one in Nesmé is particularly eager to find out, but this is just the kind of thing that might attract eager adventurers.