The Bilgerat Bride never boasted to be much of something to look at, much like the woman it was duly named after. Its ramshackle exterior was washed with salt from the nearby ocean and showed signs of neglect here and there. A few window panels are missing and quite noticeably not a single shutter matches in style nor color. The door creaks in such a high pitched manner that if such a thing could be vexed by your entrance, it is quite making it known. As if its rough charm were not bad enough, the first step into the bar is an unexpected step up that catches many newcomers offguard and proves quite the lark for the other patrons. Yet, such was the nature of the Bride whom housed many-a sailor and wayfarer alike in its modest walls. At the break of dawn, beyond the creaking tavern inn, a great tolling begins to ring throughout the harbor. The dour bell sounds its grim promise of morning and the start of the new day as it strikes out eight times. With it, men and women shake themselves from their sleep or grog drenched stupors in preparation to start anew and wake the city of Port Neworth from its nightfall dearth as curfew breaks. Already, the earliest patrol of guards were on their dutiful march over cobblestone and boardwalk as they shed themselves slowly of their groggy state. It was a quiet routine that they held with a lazy ease before they knew their day would truly begin at the great wall that separated Port Neworth from the looming forest whose coils of misty breath clung unto them like a woolen blanket and swirled upon the water’s edge. This morning, however, was different. Throughout the town, as people gathered for the day, small parties of patrol had split and pegged to community centers declarations from Earl Baan. As the morning crowds gathered uncertainly about the official document, there came gasps and whispers from those who could read the slip. Those who could not grew uneasy with tension as word reaches their ears and look expectantly to the officers hanging back, waiting for the official reading rather than hearsay. So it is at the docks, and at many other places throughout the city that citizens would have meet their ears the following message: ‘On this solemn morning, I, Earl Baan, must confirm the recent rumors of missing youth throughout the city as indeed truth. We have pressed investigations and searched the city over but to no avail. In the wake of such troubling news, I know speculations must run rampant. No doubt, the accusations that our city has been breached and that our walls no longer hold back the Bael have met my ears.And to this, I assure you, they have not. Rest assured, the guard stands vigilant against the threats of the Bael. Whatever foulness has taken hold upon our city, this I tell you is truth: it be not monster as many have conceived it. The threat within this city was borne of man, and man can be stopped.Yet, I recognize the need for action. No more can my people restlessly burn the midnight oil in hopes to protect their children from some foul terror. This threat to my people must be stopped. And so it is with my mind and soul set upon the protection of our people, united under our Ard Ri, that I offer from my own coffer a reward for the culprit of these crimes. In return for this individual, be they alive or dead, I offer 500 golden leafs.May our lady Guardian protect,Earl Altemis Servil Baan’ On the boardwalk, a young boy listens sourly in ragged clothing, missing shoes and looking like he had been wading through filth with the way it was caked up along his shins. He reaches out to his large dog and scratches the lumbering beast behind the ear. As his fingers tangle in the fur, he summons the courage to speak. With a cracking voice, he shouts out over the din of discussion over the word of Baan, “Baan is full o’ dog shit! He doesn’t know nothin’ about wot’s been takin’ us, but I do! Me an’ Mouse here seen it with our own two eyes! It’s not human! It’s one o’ those monsters and its gon’ kill us all if it gets the chance!” From nearby, Ailigtriona groggily stops just short of taking a bite of bread sticky with honey and looks about the crowd as they begin to disperse with words of dismissal towards the child and his proclamation or scattered discussion about what sort of wretched person could be doing this to children. The rare voice among the crowd breaks off into different veins of discussion about how the world was going to shit. The woman snorts in amusement at these people, wondering how they could believe it had ever been any different. Nearby, however, a clamor meets her ears and she quietly perks up, straining to listen. A comely woman, dressed in a simple earth-toned dress and apron was busy trying to cut off the route of the guards. Her grey-shot hair is in a frizzy disarray, barely thrown into a haphazard bun upon her head. The guards attempt to shove past her but she looses a cry of protest and clings at their arms, "Please! You have to tell me. The Earl, he knows something then. He knows something of what happened to my poor Henrick? I ain't seen my boy in 3 whole weeks!" The guard she had a death grip upon looks nervously between the woman and back towards the higher ranked of the bunch. The officer sighs and reaches up, removing his helmet and rubs over his face. As he looks at the middle-aged woman, the wrinkles about his face have knit into a gentle repose, "Now, Greta. We know how hard it's been on you, raising your boy on your own ever since the mist took your ole man. Can only imagine how it must be on you, the lad missing too... But we're doing everything we can and searching high and low. Now, love, why don't you go home and rest... Rest assured you'll be among the first to know if we find any news." Greta was about to open her mouth to protest more as Ailigtriona places a gentle hand upon her shoulder and gives a squeeze. "I'm sure the guards have plenty of work to do, Greta... Come now, you look like a ghost. When's the last time you've eaten?" She gives the guards a steely glance as she guides the matron away to a stall to buy her a bit of breakfast. The officer looses a sigh of relief as the pair leave. The guard whose arm was now free rubs over it and looks at his superior, "Sir... Three weeks. Don't you think we should tell her?" The officer sets his jaw before shaking his head, "Poor woman, think hope is all she has keeping her going as well as she is."