We found Thatchem to be very inviting. Their local temple even has a small shrine for the lesser known divinities. I made an appointment with the local priest (following the ritual clensing rites) and had a symbol of Cloacina the Clenser added, so those of my faith would have a place to express their veneration. It’s small, but a beginning.
At the inn, we met a man who calls himself Morrigyn and claims to be an adventurer who lost the rest of his party in Highfell. He mentioned dragons. Well, a dragon. I don’t think dragons count as vermin to be eradicated. He seemed to want to join us on an expedition there, perhaps to rescue his friends, perhaps simply to loot. He seemed competent and carried a nice blade, but I’m not here for Highfell. Perhaps one of the others will be interested.
Our next stop was the local mercenary guild. They told us of many local opportunities for adventure, everything from a missing husband last seen at a nearby henge to a floating tower that used to house a wizard school named Highfell. (Shouldn’t that mean it has already fallen?) We asked specifically about Stone Hell there.
The mercenaries gave us the basics, but the real treasure was a vagrant named Hannibal. He claimed to be an escaped prisoner from Stone Hell, to have gone there weak and been made (or remade?) better. He seemed mentally broken, but willing to lead us to the location. None of us were inclined to trust him despite him seeming friendly enough, and it seemed likely to Ygnas and I that he may well be a lycanthrope of some sort himself. Which might well make the offer to lead us to Stone Hell a trap.
We tried to convince him to take a bath with soap and wolfsbane, but had no luck. And we could think of no way to test him with Verminbane privately. We could presumably arrange to test him on the way to Stone Hell, but that might provoke a fight. Better to let him lead us to the entrance first.
When we finally found a private moment in the inn, I drew Verminbane and noticed with a queasy feeling that even in town it was glowing brightly. Lycanthropes were near. While we had a reasonable suspect in Hannibal the homeless, he had not reacted to wolfsbane and the sword’s detection range is 120’. Inside the inn, it could be anyone within that radius. We couldn’t think of a way to narrow it down without initiating violence against someone who might be innocent.
Also, written in glowing letters on the flat of the blade was: “ABLUERIT DOMINUS SORDES TERRAE”. I’ll have to research what that means later.