Fresh from their confrontation with Sethus, the adventurers mustered with the rest of the Sons of the Beast, where they were ordered to oust the Bloodied Hand gang members from the nearby tenement buildings, capture them, and bring them to the town square.
They assaulted one level of a building, capturing and killing several of the gang members. Upstairs, they took down several more of the gang members, capturing the leader of that crew and bringing her and several of her allies to the town square. The leader spilled some interesting information about the Sons and their tiefling masters, all of which Malidar noted for later.
As they headed back to the town square, Ginni shared with Malidar a concern— “not to put too fine a point on it, but… there are fates worse than death. Should we…” she gestured fatalistically towards the prisoners, who, either way, were not going to survive the night. He shook his head. Whatever the gang members’ fate, it wasn’t their hands doing the bloodletting, here.
When they arrived, the rest of the Sons were being rallied for blood. The drumbeats, the chants and cries of bloodshed filled the heroes’ ears, stirring their emotions, bringing them to a blood fury themselves. Ginni felt it deep in her bones— a ritual of blood magic, and powerful, too. She gathered her companions together, using her audible cantrip to whisper sweet lies and half-truths about warm homes and quiet wintery nights, soft comforts, smiling women…. a counterpoint to the rage and blood and anger that had nearly swept them up. Each of them dealt with the ritual’s effects in his own way, rallying with thoughts of heroism over weakness, or even a simple remembrance “I am a dwarf and the son of a long line of dwarves who are better than these.”
As they shielded their hearts and minds from the ritual, one of the Sons’ leaders called out and, slitting the throat of the leader of the Bloodied Hand, captured his lifesblood in a twisted bottle not unlike the one Rangrim carried. This one, however, was empty of smoke. The Sons then slaughtered their captives, tearing them to pieces with fist and claw and fang, reveling in the bloodshed, drinking their enemies’ lives, destroying them utterly so that the gutters overflowed with blood and raw, torn flesh.
Finally, exhausted, the companions slipped away into the night, finding sanctuary on a rooftop, where they deployed their campsite. Unable to sleep, they sat up for long hours, recounting their own visceral reactions to the ritual, the feelings the night had recalled to them, the times in their pasts when they had encountered their own rages before. Eventually, they set a watch order and took to their bedrolls and their rest.