It was a risk coming to Vizio's Tavern after sunset. For several reasons it was risky. Of course, there's the curfew. Once the sun sets, everyone is supposed to be inside, doors locked, windows shuttered to keep light in. The Law says that those out after curfew are to be fined five gold and escorted to a place of safety. That might happen, if you're lucky enough to get caught by those few dotarri who know and care about the Law.

Then there's the reason for the curfew: the scream shadows. No one seems quite sure what they are. Reports from survivors are rare. Reports from reliable witnesses even rarer. Two things are certain: You don't hear scream shadows coming until the screaming starts, and then it's almost always too late.

Lastly, there are more mundane threats. With the dotarri slacking off and the scream shadow threat keeping most people indoors from dusk to dawn, the dregs and thugs are about the only people you're likely to bump into. Often, they'll bump back, or even bump first, providing yet another reason for the dotarri to be lax in their policing duties.

Vizio's hasn't changed. The smell of urine is maybe stronger. There could be squatters upstairs, but, if they're there, they're quiet. Of course, it's rather dark. A few candles flicker on the bar.

The Westcrown Adventurer's Guild has gathered in Vizio's to discuss recent event. Scream shadow attacks have grown more violent. A family of six was killed in their home. The scream shadows broke down the door to get at them. This hasn't happened before, as far as anyone knows. Neighbors report hearing the horrific sounds, but, of course, no one saw anything.

Add to this rumors that the Lord Mayor is considering even more draconian policies, ostensibly to protect the city's denizens. Whatever the truth of these rumors, it is certain that two mercenary companies have been hired to augment the dotarri. The augmentation hasn't helped. The mercenaries have less respect for the law combined with a general lack of the dotarri's laxity.

Something has to be done, but what? With a problem this big -- big enough to hold an entire city in the grip of fear -- what can six people do?

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