I don't own anything. Buffy and Pathfinder are not owned by me. Nor are the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. They are owned by rich, talented people. I'm a nobody. Please don't sue me. An Illmarsh Welcome
Cold water, Buffy decided, was cold. Not just a little cold. Really cold. Even with her slayer abilities, Buffy felt her limbs growing numb as she tried desperately to swim to shore, weighed down by her waterlogged clothes. Even worse, the sky was swiftly transforming from merely cloudy to stormy, and the wind whipping across the lake made her task even more difficult. Buffy soon noticed, however, that she wasn't the only person having problems.
Not too far away was a large wooden sailboat with a single mast being tossed about by the increasingly rough water. An older man with wild white hair and a bushy white mustache was the sole occupant. He had strange, multicolored goggles on his forehead and was wearing a stained leather smock as ran about, trying to adjust the sails and man the tiller at the same time, a task made impossible by the worsening weather conditions. Buffy hesitated for only a moment, before changing course to meet the boat rather than continuing straight for the shore.
Pulling herself on board, Buffy saw that the boat was very different from the sailboat her family had once rented for an outing when Buffy was much younger. It was far more primitive, reminding her of something she would see in a movie about pirates more than the sleek, white ship she had sailed on. The majority of the boat was taken up by a large object covered by a tarp and tied to the deck by lengths of heavy hemp rope.
“Who're you supposed to be, then,” the older man said, pausing for a moment at the line he was adjusting, turning his wild, sleep deprived eyes from the task to stare at her.
“Um, shouldn't we worry more about the whole out of control ship thingy?” Buffy asked, smiling innocently.
“Ah, good point. Well, do you know how to sail?”
“I went once when I was little, but no, not too big with the sailing.”
“Well, I'm not much of a sailor myself, but with an extra pair of hands I'm sure we'll get by. I'll work the sails, you grab the tiller.”
Having seen the man work while she swam to his boat she guessed that he wanted her to go to the stern, where a wooden plank stuck out and could be pushed to one side or the other to steer. Jogging over she looked at it where it moved sharply back and forth as the ship was tossed about by the oncoming storm. Grabbing a firm hold, Buffy easily held the ship steady, keeping it sailing straight ahead instead of meandering with every gust of wind.
“Good, Miss. Keep her straight for the dock ahead, I'll work the sails!”
Keeping a firm grip, not wanting to repeat her past experience at the wheel of her mother's car, Buffy concentrated on keeping the boat steady as they approached a stone quay extending a short distance into the lake. It was obvious to Buffy that the man wasn't an expert sailor either, but with her help they managed to bring the boat safely to rest, her companion swiftly jumping across and tying the boat to the pier before smiling at her cheerfully.
“Thanks, Miss. I couldn't have done it without you. The name's Horace Croon.”
“Buffy Summers. Why were you out there by yourself?”
“I had hired some locals to work my ship so that I could test my subaqueous exploration and research vessel, but they dove overboard and swam for shore when the storm got close.”
Horace grinned and jumped back on board the ship, dramatically throwing back part of the tarp. “This! My greatest invention! The subaqueous exploration and research vessel!” The object was made mostly of brass with large sections of iron as well. It was shaped like an enormous round goldfish, complete with metal fins and a tail, large glass portholes for eyes, and a gaping mouth which granted access to a tiny compartment with several cramped chairs. “This will revolutionize underwater exploration! With my invention we are no longer confined to the surface, but able to go anywhere under the water that we desire!”
“A submarine?” Buffy said, shocked at its appearance. It was incredibly primitive looking, but at the same time extremely complex. She wasn't sure how it worked, but she doubted it used gasoline or batteries.
“Hm, submarine,” Horace said thoughtfully. “Not a bad name, but it doesn't quite have the ring to it that subaqueous exploration and research vessel does. Probably won't catch on, although...”
Buffy looked at the man as his eyes glazed over lost in thought. Just as she was starting to wonder if she should say something, it began to rain. Not a light, gentle shower, but the full force of the powerful storm that had driven them quickly across the lake. Squawking, Buffy dove for cover under the tarp, already shivering from the cold water that still soaked her form.
Horace crouched next to her under cover. “So Miss, I can't help but think that your clothing is a mite odd for swimming.”
“Yeah,” Buffy said, picking at her soaked black top. “It wasn't exactly planned.”
“Aye, I would guess as much. I didn't see a boat either.”
“Well,” Buffy said, smiling nervously. “I'm not sure you'd believe me.”
“Oh? Not just a simple teleportation accident then.”
Buffy blinked. “No. Um... not so simple.”
“I'd guess from your clothing that your from a very far away place. Nowhere in the inner sea...” He trailed off, eyes glazed, lost in thought. Buffy shuffled awkwardly for a minute. “No, not likely there either. Hmm. Dimensions are said to have always run a little thin in this part of Ustalav. Are you even from this world?” Seeing her hesitation, he smiled at her reassuringly. “Don't worry, Miss. If you hadn't come along I don't doubt my ship would have run aground, so I'm in your debt. Most people would be wary about someone from the Great Beyond showing up, but I can tell your a kindly sort, so I won't say anything. In fact, when the rain lets up, I'll set you up in my house for an evening. You look like you could use a warm bath and a bed, and its the least I could offer. Some new clothing too.”
“Thanks, you don't have to...”
“I know, Miss,” Horace said with a kind smile. “But your not likely to meet many other kind folk in town. Illmarsh is a bit of a queer place, and they don't like people from out of town much, much less from out of world. Besides, if I'd run aground it could have damaged my invention and cost me hundreds. So really, I'm in your debt.”
It didn't take long for the rain to stop, and when it did Buffy climbed out from under the tarp and found her breath taken away. Across the lake was an enormous rainbow, seemingly stretching from horizon to horizon. It had been a long time since Buffy had really looked at the world and saw beauty, but despite the heaviness of her heart, she found herself admiring the display. She just wished she could share it with Dawn.
“Aye, thats a pretty one. Welcome to Golarion. Come on, lets find my horse cart.”
Buffy started to follow him before freezing. “Wait... horse cart? You mean car, right? Right?”
* * *
As it turned out, when Horace said horse cart, he meant horse cart. She had been hoping until then that the submarine and boat were simply eccentricities, but seeing the cart struck home with Buffy that she was not in her own world. While she had already crossed automobiles off the list, she was desperately hoping that not everything was primitive. A world without indoor plumbing was a world not designed for Buffys, she concluded with a nod.
The three mile cart ride, in addition to making her wish shock absorbers had at least been invented, also made her familiar with the... interesting smell the area had. To the north of the dirt road was a swampy forest that stank with a dank, mildewy odor that seemed to pervade everything, the stink palpable even with the strong breeze blowing in off the huge lake.
When Horace had said that Illmarsh was a small town she had pictured Sunnydale. She was greatly disappointed at the dilapidated sprawl before her. Likely holding no more than half a thousand people, the majority of the buildings were little better than split log cabins, crudely finished with sod and mud. In addition to the stink from the nearby swamp, the town's only real industry, fishing, added its own exciting odor in the form of the stench of rotting fish. It was only long experience tracking demons through sewers that kept her from reacting with more than a wrinkled nose.
Fortunately Horace's home, a sprawling affair of simple wooden construction near the entrance to town, was at least well made with properly prepared wood and a tile roof. The inside was overrun by strange objects of glass, wood and metal. Looking around, Buffy was bemused to find herself standing in some kind of mad scientist's lab from a movie, although of much simpler manufacture. Taking a long look at her companion, she decided that it probably fit him.
It didn't take long for Buffy to get herself cleaned up and bathed, although to her consternation she found that, indeed, there was no indoor plumbing to be had, and, although fairly clean, everything stank of mildew and stagnant water, even the clean towel and sheets for the guest bed. The smell wasn't the only thing that kept her up, however. She had concentrated on moving forward, but suddenly, with nothing to do, she found herself remembering what happened. Tara was dead. Willow had turned Dawn into... something not human. All of her friends were in a different dimension. Not long ago she would have been glad to be able to cry, since it would have meant that she was at least able to feel something. Now, as she quietly sobbed into the smelly pillow, Buffy wondered why she had wanted to so badly. It was a long time before she fell asleep.
In the morning a subdued Buffy found her benefactor puttering about his workshop, toying with a cluster of brass tubes that presumably were some invention. “Morning,” Buffy said quietly.
“Ah, good morning Miss,” Horace said, still working on the device. “How are you today?”
“Peachy with a side of keen. Thanks for letting me stay here.”
Horace finally turned his attention to her. “Like I said, you saved my boat yesterday, and that would have been very expensive to repair. In fact....” he stared off into space for a long moment, before getting up and digging a leather pouch out from under a collection of metal panels on a side table. “Here you go,” he said, tossing the bag to her.
Opening it up, Buffy was surprised to find a collection of gold, silver and copper coins. “What is this?”
“Thats about half of what I'd estimate it would have cost to fix any damage running aground would have caused. And no, I won't accept it back. I've made plenty of money from my inventions over the years, and you obviously need the money. That'll get you well set up.”
“Thanks. I don't know what to say.”
“Then don't say anything.”
After a breakfast of heavy black bread, a strange flavored fish sausage, and some over crisped bacon, Buffy set out for the only store in town that would sell what she needed. Walking down the street, Buffy found herself subjected to numerous glares. The townsfolk seemed even more intransigent than Horace had implied, and, even if Illmarsh hadn't stunk, she would have been glad to leave the place.
The general store was a cramped, filthy building, with a broad counter near the door and a wide selection of cheap goods covering every available surface. The proprietor was a middle aged man who smelled even worse than the rest of the village. He was wall-eyed, and his face had a distinctly unpleasant cast to it even before he leered at her, revealing his crooked yellow teeth. Buffy shuddered.
“What'a'ya wantin'?” he said, his voice a hoarse croak.
Buffy looked around. The quality of the merchandise was not very good, but it was fairly wide ranging. Casting a professional eye over the various weapons, Buffy decided that they weren't a bad selection, but nothing there really jumped out at her. While obviously intended to be used, nothing was of terribly high quality, and the knife and stakes she had hidden on her body would do for now.
“I need some good clothing. What do you have in my size.”
Snorting, the man spat up a glob of phlegm before pulling down the things that would reasonably fit her. Looking around, she grimaced at the lack of space, and simply checked the clothes by holding them in front of her, as there was no way that she was going to strip in front of the filthy shopkeeper. The clothing was made of wool and leather, and was very coarse and rough, but finally she got a few changes of clothes, and a backpack to carry them in. Looking around, she also purchased some basic camping and travel supplies, since Buffy doubted there was a bus, and she really didn't want to stay in this town forever.
Returning to Horace's house, she changed into the stiff brown leather pants and a scratchy green wool top she had bought, wrinkling her nose in distaste. Even worse than the discomfort of the coarse material was the smell. She had been in this town for less than a day, and now she stank like mildew.
Sitting down for lunch with Horace, they ate quickly, the meal being scarcely better than breakfast, although it was plentiful. Finally pushing his empty plate away, Horace looked at his guest. “Well Miss, your hair isn't too common a color around these parts, but your dressed right for Ustalav, so you won't stand out too much. Have you figured out what you want to do?”
Buffy swallowed another bite of fish sausage. “I can't thank you enough for everything you've done for me, but I really don't want to stay here forever. Only, I'm not sure where to go.”
“Well now, that is a good question. Since you don't know anything about where to go, how 'bout what you want to find?”
“Well, I want to get back home. But it's not in this dimension.”
“Aye, that is a problem. That means you'll need powerful magics to get back, and not too many would do such without seeking some recompense you may not be interested in payin'. Unfortunately, I've spent most of my life here in Illmarsh, so I don't know many who could be of help to you. Your best bet I think would be to head to a major city and ask discrete questions. Even if you don't find anyone able to help, a mage or scholar from somewhere bigger might know someone who can.”
“Yeah, I guess your right. This isn't going to be easy is it.” Buffy looked down, discouraged.
Horace chuckled. “No Miss. It'll be quite a quest I'd say. But if you ask me, the sooner start the sooner end. Its a four day walk to Thrushmoor, which isn't overly large, but its certainly bigger than Illmarsh. From there you can get better supplies and really start to seek what your looking for. I can give you a cart ride as far as the quay in the morning, but after that you'll be on your own.”
“Four days?” Buffy frowned, looking down at her feet. “Good thing these are comfortable boots.”
* * *
Four days, Buffy decided, was a long walk, no matter how comfortable the boots. Her blisters agreed with her.
Buffy had always been very much a city girl, so days of sleeping outdoors with nothing but the lake to wash in and cheap, scratchy clothing to wear had put her in a foul mood. The only bright point had been her departure from the swampy, smelly forest known as the Soddentimbers, after which she took a long, though cold, bath in the lake to finally get the smell off, before huddling shivering over her fire. She was very proud of her fire. It had taken nearly two hours to light the first night, and had gone out not long after she had finally drifted off to sleep, but it was still a fire started with little but flint and steel. Fortunately, by the time she reached Thrushmoor she had at least mastered keeping her fire going, as long as the weather was dry. She didn't want to think about what her trip would have been like if it had rained.
Unfortunately, Thrushmoor was extremely disappointing. Nearly ten times the size of Illmarsh, it was still a tiny, ugly town with little to recommend it. Built along the lake, the majority of the buildings showed signs of repeated flooding. Even those that didn't were terribly weathered, making the city look as though it were well into the process of rotting away.
The inn that she found to stay in was run by what Buffy discovered were called halflings. The man and his wife were around three feet tall, looking like tiny people, but with large bare feet covered in curly hair and long pointed ears. They reminded Buffy strongly of the hobbits from the movie that Xander and Willow had dragged her to see in the theater. Her heart stopped for a moment at the reminder of back home, but Buffy quickly plastered a smile on her face and acquired a room for the night. It was clean, and actually smelled that way, and after a steaming bath and a change of clothing into her slightly less dirty set, Buffy headed down to the common room for a hot meal.
Sitting at an empty table, Buffy smiled as the small proprietress brought over a large bowl of stew. Taking a spoonful her eyes widened. “Yum!”
The small woman smiled. “Thanks, dear. Its an old family secret recipe.”
“Its so good!” Buffy shoveled the food into her mouth, days of trail rations making her all the more appreciative of good food.
“So, whats your name?” the halfling asked curiously.
“Buffy? Thats a lovely name, dear. My name's Piria.”
“Nice to meet you, Piria. Most people don't seem to like my name.”
“Really? More fool them, then. Its a pretty name for a lovely young woman. And you've got a good appetite too! Let me get you some seconds, and some bread besides! Just look at you, all skin and bones! You've got to stay a while and let me plump you a bit, dear.”
Buffy smiled bashfully. The matronly halfling, despite being completely dissimilar physically, reminded Buffy in some strange way of her mother. She felt a small pang of hurt at the thought of her mom, but for the most part she felt warmed by the attention. It had been a long time since she had been taken care of, instead of being the one doing the caring.
Buffy dug into her seconds with gusto, before smiling at Piria again. “So, what's there to do around here?”
“Not too much. Thrushmoor's always been quiet. Most people are fisher folk, and do honest work. 'Course, the town's been a bit quieter of late.”
Piria leaned forward conspiratorially. “The disappearances! This month, four children have disappeared! It's awful. Parents aren't letting their kids out of sight now, and everyone shudders to think about what may have happened to them! Dreadful business.”
Buffy frowned, her slayer curiosity aroused. “No one knows what happened?”
“Not a thing! They just disappeared from the streets. Only one child said he saw summat, and I dunno if he did. He claimed a gray man grabbed his friend and carried him off, but as no one else has seen anything, it could just be his imaginin's.”
For the next two days Buffy learned all that she could about the town. The innkeepers, despite not being human had been very kind to her. Unfortunately, they seemed to be the only ones. While not as strange and actively off-putting as the people of Illmarsh, Thrushmoor was little more welcoming. The main difference was the reduced amount of malice in the glares she received from the people on the streets.
After getting a feel for the character of Thrushmoor, Buffy took the time to spend most of her remaining money on some good clothing. She had been tempted to pick up one of the fancy, well made swords or axes available from several blacksmith shops, but the cheap homespun tops she had bought in Illmarsh, in addition to being scratchy and even after washing a bit smelly, were cheaply made and already showing wear after her short journey. Her new clothing, while not the most fancy or expensive, was of better quality and actually fit her well. She chose practical, tough clothing, mostly made of leather to stand up to any combat she would find herself in. On her second day in town the weather was slightly cooler and the clouds threatened rain, so Buffy impulsively purchased a blue hooded cloak from a street vender. She thought it looked a bit silly but it was warm and would help keep her dry.
As far as finding a way home was concerned, her time in Thrushmoor had been less than successful. The town didn't seem to have any magic shops or obvious practicing magic users, and any questions about such things were met with distrustful glares and ominous whispers from passersby. The best that she could find was that the next town to the north, Rozenport, was supposed to house a school of some kind. Investigating the missing children had been equally unsuccessful, with few willing to discuss it with an outsider, and those who would not really knowing anything of value.
As evening on the second day set in, Buffy was trying to decide if she should keep investigating, or, with the difficulties she was facing getting any answers in such an insular community, asume that the town could handle the situation with the missing children and simply head north. As she was thinking she froze as a terrified scream echoed from the next street over. Slayer instincts kicked in and she set out at a dead run towards the commotion. A hysterical middle aged woman proved to be the source of the screams, and a large crowd was gathered around her. Buffy drifted into their midst, ears open.
“I saw it,” a man said. “It was all gray and hunched over, with big clawed hands. It snatched the girl and ran into the sewers!”
“Please,” the woman screamed. “My baby! It took my little girl!”
Buffy didn't hesitate. Hearing that a child was in danger she simply pushed through the crowd and jumped into the open sewer grate, not even slowing down for a moment. The tunnel below was dark and, much to her lack of surprise, smelled like a sewer. Walking with all of the silence of a slayer she drifted forward, her eyes quickly adjusting to the dim light that still drifted into the sewers in the early evening.
The tunnel was straight for a time, and long experience with following things through dank sewers allowed her to pick up the trail almost immediately, even in the dim light. The creature seemed to walk on the balls of its bare feet and she could tell that it had short claws on its toes. After about ten minutes she finally felt it tickling at her spidey-sense. Making less sound than a mouse, Buffy finally found her target. Or rather, targets.
The room was large for a sewer, about thirty feet by thirty feet, and was packed with ugly gray skinned creatures. They were hunched and starved looking, their skin pulled tightly over their bones. They all had long claws and mouths full of sharp fangs, as well as beady soulless black eyes. Most wore little more than scraps of cloth and tattered garments barely covering their emaciated frames.
At the center of the room was a battered wooden table, and laying still upon it, though still breathing, was a little girl of about eight years, her arm bloody from a small scratch. Standing next to her was one of the creatures, but it looked different from the rest. Its skin was the purple of a recent bruise, and its eyes burned with a cruel malice. Instead of being barely dressed in torn rags it wore a loose gray tunic which was finely kept except for the bottom which was shredded and ragged from just above the knee down to where it hung to the floor. This central creature eyed the girl and then began to speak with a high cold voice. “Before we feast on her living flesh, we must sanctify our sacrifice. This is the fifth child, and with her our work is complete. With this final sacrifice, our goddess will grant our fervent prayer and spread among those above a plague of that shall scour the living and make them ripe for our consumption!”
“Feast!” the crowd chanted. From the back the creatures began to slowly chant in a foreign tongue, many others taking up eerie whispers, or simply rocking in place, moaning.
“In the name of Urgathoa I bless our sacrificial feast, that from the living blood of this final meal a plague shall arise into the living world above!” The chief creature's voice rose through this statement, its head falling back, eyes closed, body shaking with religious ecstasy. While it was distracted, Buffy made her move, throwing a stake with deadly precision. Unfortunately, whether by luck or some divine providence of its dark goddess, the creature rocked to the side as it made its benediction at just the wrong moment, the sharpened wood sinking into its shoulder instead of its heart, cutting off its prayer with a pained howl.
Buffy jumped into the room, leading with a flying kick to the back of the closest monster, her foot shattering its spine and sending it to the floor. Before anyone could react she drew her dagger from her belt and stabbed left and right with a single smooth motion that put down two of the shocked monsters instantly.
Despite the effectiveness of her opening gambit, Buffy found herself in danger quickly. The creatures were fast and strong, not as much so as a vampire, and nowhere close to Buffy's level, but enough that with their numbers they proved a terrible hazard. Forced onto the defensive by the sheer number of attackers, Buffy stabbed and spun, keeping them at bay but only inflicting shallow wounds in return.
It was slow, but she was wearing them down, or so she thought, when suddenly the leader chanted something, and she saw the small wounds she had inflicted seal and the attackers press forward with new vigor.
Buffy cursed under her breath, eyes narrowing. The leader had used some magic to heal its followers, which meant that it was the main threat. Unfortunately, she was pinned in, and if they could be repeatedly healed, she was in trouble. Shifting her stance slightly, Buffy suddenly leapt forward blade first, burying the hardened steel into the skull of one of her enemies, switching tactics from defense to offense, putting down an enemy permanently with a single blow. Spinning to stab another in the side, Buffy grunted in pain as one of her foes took advantage of her aggression to claw her back. Kicking backwards hard enough to shatter its knee, Buffy spun away from yet another attacker as the one behind her howled, clutching its broken leg.
It was then that she noticed the spreading feeling of coldness from the wound, her face twisting in a grimace as she realized that the creatures claws had some kind of poison or other effect that was slowing her down. Gritting her teeth she shook it off, before spinning low to sweep another enemy from his feet. Ignoring him, Buffy dove forward, taking another in the gut, tumbling and using his screeching form as a shield as she crashed through the crowd of enemies towards the leader.
Rolling to her feet over the dead body in a single, smooth motion Buffy leapt forward dagger first at her foe. Eyes widening in shock it finished another chant and stood tall locking gazes with Buffy with a glare. Its black pupils seemed to suddenly grow in her vision, threatening to swallow her whole. Inside the black depths something terrible stirred, a great presence that, for a single moment seemed to rise before her, more terrible than even the Master had felt when she first confronted him. But only for a moment. Baring her teeth, Buffy continued her leap, ignoring the effect entirely as she led with her dagger, stabbing down at her enemy as its eyes widened in sudden fear.
Unfortunately for Buffy, the creature reacted in time, bringing its arm up to block. Around its forearm were black leather bracers that seemed to reflect no light. Striking it hard with all the power of her leaping blow, Buffy was shocked to hear a loud clang as her dagger snapped in half, breaking the blade but leaving no mark on the bracer.
Taking advantage of her shock the creature reached out a hand and touched Buffy on the arm before she could pull away. The touch was almost gentle, but suddenly, from every pore that it had touched, blood began to ooze down her arm. Screaming as she fell back, Buffy kicked the creature hard in the stomach, sending it flying across the room.
Rolling back to her feet, her hand clutching her bleeding arm, Buffy surveyed the situation. Ten of the creatures were still up, all of them seemingly unharmed as they charged at her. Drawing a stake she glanced in the direction of the one that she had kicked, her eyes narrowing as she could not find it, the shadows in the room seemingly denser in that area, hiding its form from her quick glance. Turning back to the ones attacking, Buffy threw her stake, dropping one as the piece of sharpened wood took it in the heart as she drew two more, stabbing the first monster to arrive as she began to fight once more.
The fight raged back and forth for long moments, Buffy managing to drop two more before being hard pressed once again by the crowd of monsters. Tripping one, she moved in for another kill before suddenly diving to the side by pure instinct. It was a good idea, as the place she had been suddenly shattered as the leader dove forward once more, its barehanded blow enough to leave a small crater in the stone floor.
Buffy stabbed at it once more, but it spun with an eerie grace it had been previously lacking as it lashed out at her once again, clipping her with its claws, the glancing blow to her shoulder being enough to twist her body around, leaving a deep wound which, like the earlier scratch, spread a frightening numbness through her body. Wasting no time at all, Buffy rolled with the blow, her body spinning into a wide kick that send the creature flying once more as the slayer tumbled across the stone floor, stakes taking two more of the monsters in the chest, putting them on the ground. Bouncing to her feet Buffy flipped over the head of the next creature as she ran towards the leader once more. It had pulled itself to its feet as well, and was slipping into a corner, the shadows in the room thickening as it did so. Pressing her lips together, Buffy kept her focus squarely on it, her keen slayer eyes allowing her to follow the spot of deeper darkness as she ran.
The monster realized its attempt to hide had failed and so it stepped forward once more, claws at the ready, body coiled to meet her charge. Grinning fiercely Buffy dove low, but instead of going for a tackle she caught herself on her arms and threw herself into a handspring, her legs now leading her at head level. The monster had expected her to come low, and so for an instant it was completely open. Wrapping her legs around the creature's head Buffy twisted her body, using all of her momentum to spin about, breaking its neck with a crack that echoed through the chamber.
Tumbling backward, Buffy barely arrested her momentum in time to avoid crashing into the wall. Turning she drew another stake and glared at the survivors. They took one look at each other, and suddenly turned and fled. Buffy grinned with anticipation. With everything that had happened to her in the past week, the chance to hunt them down and vent her feelings with more violence filled her with a cruel pleasure. She would enjoy running them down, toying with each of them like a cat with a mouse, until none of the monsters lived. She would...
“Help,” a tiny voice said. Buffy froze, her head slowly turning to look. Sitting up slowly on the table was the little girl. The reason that she had gone into the sewers in the first place. Buffy swallowed hard, shame filling her; in her anger she had forgotten about the little girl that she had come to rescue.
“Hey,” Buffy said gently. As she came down from her bloodlust she suddenly felt the wounds that she had sustained. Looking at them she saw that only the claw wound to her shoulder was still bleeding freely, although slayer healing was slowly making headway with it as well. “Lets get you back to your family, okay?” If her smile was strained, the little girl was too relieved to notice. Author's Notes
That concludes the first real chapter. Buffy has now arrived in Golarion, and I decided to drop her into Illmarsh, using parts of Adventure Path 46: Wake of the Watcher (Part 4 of Carrion Crown). I've also made major use of Rule of Fear, the setting book for Ustalav. This story is going to be rife with spoilers for the Carrion Crown Adventure Path, although it will only completely run the first volume, the Haunting of Harrowstone.
The creatures at the end were a pack of ghouls led by a ghast who was also a cleric of Urgathoa. That fight was frankly stupidly dangerous to get involved in, especially with no planning whatsoever. While partially she did it to save the girl, one of the reasons she jumped in so unprepared was a little bit of that old slayer death wish. After all, she really doesn't have much to live for right now. The information on Urgathoa came from Part 5 of the Carrion Crown Adventure Path Ashes at Dawn.