DarWynn's feline features curled into an uncomfortable sneer as the hircine monster holding her face inched the knife through her fur. Although she'd been interrogated before, this marked the first time since her mutation that anyone had forcefully shaven facial hair off as an intimidation tactic.
"How did you break in," Scryar repeatedly translated from the monsters' unintelligible language.
"You need to just answer the questions, DarWynn," he plead.
"We didn't break in!" She answered.
Scryar sighed and reluctantly translated DarWynn's eighth consecutive denial.
The monsters had shocked her with electrified irons to begin the interrogation, but could not continue without knocking her unconscious.
More monster gibberish followed as the shaving continued.
"Who is your Jack Coat leader?"
"What the hell is a Jack Coat?"
DarWynn did try to explain herself, relating the barely believable tale of her encounter with Baruby, the giant bear, and the demonic infection she carried in her blood.
At the mention of the infection, the monsters huddled and dispatched one of their number to fetch a test. The test probably would have proceeded much like any usual medical test, in that the color of urine would indicate relative health, but the monsters' dimension held a shocking secret- The monsters urinated out of their ears. To demonstrate the proper procedure, Scryar squeezed some of his own processed water from his ear in what must have been an intensely personal presenation, smiling politely at DarWynn in an attempt to put her at ease with the procedure.
The message was well-received, as DarWynn correctly interpreted the test and provided her sample in the usual mortal manner. The monsters recoiled in horror at the anatomical difference, but managed to confirm her infection all the same. They drug DarWynn back into the room and exchanged her for Konraad. Her first words to the party would be an explicit account of the nature of the urine test, probably not worth recording here.
Konraad managed to avoid the shock device with forthcoming admissions- indeed, the party's intrusion into the medical compound could be interpreted as a break in, regardless of the actual intent. The same test administered DarWynn was performed on Konraad, with negative results, but the same embarrassed horror as he demonstrated the male version of his dimension's anatomy.
"It is impressive, I know," he quipped as the monsters received another impromptu lesson in the Amican renal system.
The monsters drug Konraad back into the room unharmed, and bizarrely untied the entire party. They served hot oatmeal and bottled water, none of which anyone ate or drank.
An authoritarian figure darkened the infirmary door and spoke to the group. Scryar translated his name as "Major," although that could easily have just been his rank. "Baruby is a child's story, and we have never seen anything like you," came Scryar's interpretation. "The Jack Boots (not coats?) want to break the infected out of this asylum and send them back into society. Eat up, for this is your last meal."
Davian initially interpreted this as poor translation, or maybe even a joke. Unfortunately, Scryar was removed when the monsters left, so all context would be lost for the moment. "Why untie us to kill us?" he mused as he attempted to pick the lock with the wire from DarWynn's bodice. "This isn't a normal lock," he excused as the wire broke in two. Brega began casting spells in preparation for combat, as she had correctly interpreted the very real threat on her life.
"Fine, I'm going to hide behind the door, but I'm telling you, they should have just killed us while we were tied up," argued Davian as he leaned against the wall.
Proof of Davian's incorrect assumption arrived shortly thereafter, in the form of lethally armed guards stacked at the door. The melee descended into chaos immediately, as prepared spells from DarWynn and Brega reduced the would-be executioners to a pile of writhing bodies. Grease beneath their feet and a web of sticky goo over top incapacitated all but the leader, "Major." Davian tried to slip past Major, planning to either light the web on fire or retrieve the party's weapons, but bumped into the giant goat man and fell to the ground. Even with the magical advantage, the unarmed party stood little chance against the creatures.
An alarm interrupted the combat and froze Major before he could strike Davian's prone body. The murderous hospital guards' wrath stayed as their supervisor beckoned the presence of everyone in the room, including the necessarily live prisoners.
Davian, understanding the impotence of his immediate captors, let fly a stream of insults for his own benefit. They may not have understood the vitriol, but they certainly deserved it. The whole group, monsters, cat-people, half-orcs, sorceresses, and foul-mouthed rogues, marched to the office of the Archmagister.
The Archmagister, Bilford, allowed the party, in common tongue, for a change, to properly explain their journey. This powerful wizard, well-traveled enough to know of the Amicas, Baruby, and even Cantankerous, explained that he could cure DarWynn's infection and understood the party's mission. The goat monsters were dismissed, and the party were issued their equipment and dinner.
After a lengthy discussion fraught with misunderstandings and lofty (unmet) magical demands, Bilford administered the cure to DarWynn. This cure carried a high risk of wild magic side effects, and the party would not be disappointed. As DarWynn doubled over in pain from the purging of her demonic blood, a second cat head grew rapidly from her shoulder. The two heads argued briefly with one another as Bilford provided his optimistic prognosis- one head could be removed safely with surgery.
The successful removal of DarWynn's second head probably spurred on a latent lust for mutation in the group. Watching DarWynn suffer horrible disfigurement, only to have it deleted without consequence, emboldened the party to delve into some highly experimental potions. Davian, in particular, allowed the allure of firing acid missiles from his hands to seduce him into a mysterious mutagen.
"I'm doing this, I'm going for it," he said, more to himself than the others, as he downed a shot of Bilford's extra-dimensional whiskey. He pulled the mystery potion to his lips as a chaser, and recoiled in horror at the taste. "Oh fuck, I can't feel my feet! Give me another!"
Down went the next potion, with no noticeable effect. "Come on, do these even work?" He joked as he pulled from his third flask. As he popped the cork back into the cap, his fingers all sagged down from the pressure, as if their bones were made of rubber. "Well this is something," he said as the back of his chair began to protrude through his softened chest. "I think I'm made of dough!"
"Give me that," said an emboldened Brega. "I've got magical powers to strengthen!" She chugged her bottle and fell unconscious.
"Brega!" Called Konraad, as he jumped out of his chair and attended her side. "I can heal her," he reassured the party.
As Konraad prepared to work his magic, a thick foam spurted rapidly from all of Brega's pores, encasing her in a bluish-white cocoon. The party, partially drunk on wine and partially drunk on experimental mutation, stared on in wonder. A few minutes later, a euphoric Brega punched through the cocoon and cheered, "it's an insurance policy!"
Even the stoic Konraad could not resist the charms of the mutagen. He drank two back-to-back, the first turning his eyes pitch black, and the second permanently bonding his consciousness to fire. He laughed, flush with beer and power as he increased and decreased the size of the flames on candles at the dinner table.
Inspired by Konraad's remarkable luck, Davian drank three more bottles of the stuff. The first drew his skin tight against his face as he winced in pain. His voice carried a little less music and his eyes a bit less light as he tried to put words to the experience. "I think... I know... I am a dragon."
The party fell silent at Davian's candid admission for a few seconds, then burst into laughter, barely caring if the result was that of liquor or mutagen.
The night ended as the party fell into drunken repose after an evening of permanently altering their bodies. Only Katagume abstained from risky medicine, chuckling to herself as her compatriots bore the consequences of their behavior.
The next morning found Davian Dawntracker in a strange pattern of thought. He usually recovered from his drunken fixations within six to ten hours, but today, he still felt like a dragon. Flashbacks of himself kicking over goblets and roaring on the table to his companions' raucous laughter haunted his sunrise as he staggered around Bilford's house, drinking as much water as he could find.
After the rest of the party roused, Bilford spoke once more with them, providing a written recipe for the cure to the demonic infection, and words of encouragement. He openly disparaged those who might arrive from "shithole dimesnions" as unwelcome immigrants, but the joke was probably a little bluer than these serious adventurers were used to. "He's not going to compliment the Norwegians, is he?" Asked Brega, before wincing in emotional pain as Bilford decried the lack of Norwegian visitors. As the party frowned dramatically in reaction to the casual racism, Bilford opened a portal to the Amicas, and the party dove in quickly in hopes of avoiding a photo op with the politically embattled archmage. "Look," DarWynn began,"just because I buy a condo from a guy doesn't mean I agree with everything he says."
The journey left Konraad empowered, DarWynn cured, Davian mutated, Brega insured, and Katagume entertained, as the party charged into battle alongside Val and the defenders of Covenant.