"They are here.... the largest gathering of Hunters in centuries, perhaps milennia. They are all here to listen to what I have to say, to answer the summons that I put forth. Will they listen? will they hear without judgement? Will we survive the coming months? Will humanity survive the coming year? I am fearful. Fearful like I have never been before."
Exerpt from the personal journal of Vladamir Prokofski
April 11th, 1578
Slowly but surely each of your groups makes their way through the forbidding atmosphere of the ancient tunnels that compose the Catacombs, until your guides finally slow their paces, leading you into a vast cavern. As you take in the surroundings you are all amazed at the room that you find yourself in, thinking that it would fit perfectly into a church resting above your heads on the surface streets. The floors here are inlaid marble, the ceiling is painted with motifs depicting the early life of Christ as estimated by scholar's, and there are carved archways that lead into other hallways and rooms beyond this central chamber. As you enter the chamber properly, finally able to take it in in its entirety, you see that at the far north end is what at one time served as a place of worship, a small amphitheatre carved into the bedrock. It is towards this end of the room and down the steps into the theatre proper that your guides lead you and direct you to take seats.
Looking around you find that the seats are slowly being filled in by other monk's leading groups of mismatched people into the theatre from side passage ways. You can't tell much about the people from their appearance, but several are obviously armed, and the whole room bristles with unbridled tension. Most around you look skeptically and suspiciously at their neighbors. A shouting match between a man that is obviously a paladin, his white robes so startlingly bright that he could be nothing else, and a robed mage begin shouting at each other until some of the monks intercede. Calming the situation with a sure hand. All in all you estimate that there are a little over a hundred men and women in the room. A startling congregation of Hunters, assuming all in attendance share your profession.
You take a seat, whether by the people you came with or by yourself is your choice, but you barely have sat down when a hush comes over the assembled crowd, a steady hollow thumping noise coming from one of the side passages that lead to the stage of the amphitheatre silencing the tongues of all present. Everyone in the crowded space, waiting with baited breath to have the question poised on everyone's lips answered. Is this man truely the great Vladamir Prokofski? and if it is, what would prompt him to summon so many to him?
The thumping noise draws closer and you finally get a glimpse of a shadowed form, emerging from the gloom of the passage. As the man finally walks out of the shadows, there is a collective gasp from many of the assembled and you can hear several of the older folks dispersed through the crowd say things like, "my god it is him." Most of you are unable to recognize him as you have never met Prokofski personally, but it is almost hard for you to believe that this aged many is the same legendary Hunter you grew up hearing about. His is missing his right leg, the sturdy oaken crutch that supports his weight accounting for the thumping as he approached, his skin is leathery and worn, weathered to the point that it looks as though it would crack like aged parchment. The unruly shock of white hair that stands up from his head, the the spots of age, tell the tell of a life long lived. However, despite his obvious great age, he stands with back straight, shoulders and head held high, and the sparkle of vitality and intelligence still shines from startling blue eyes that flit over the assembled crowd, a genuine smile creasing his wizened face as he takes in the numbers before him.
"Welcome commrades. I am so pleased that you could come," Vladamir begins, his words bearing a thick russian accent, but his deep rumbling voice captivating your attention. "I am sure that you all are wondering why it is I have called this unprecedented assembly and I promise that I will tell you. However, I must ask that you first indulge me in a short history lesson and I must ask that you keep an open mind to what I am about to say."
He clears his throat and takes a large pull from a glass of water provided to him by one of the monks. Smacking his lips in exaggerated fashion, Prokofski continues, his voice carrying easily to the back corners of the room with ease. "For many years I have been captivated by a story I heard in passing from a traveling hunter. A tale of beasts so powerful that they spawned a race of monsters from their own flesh. Some have heard their names mentioned in legend, The originators, the Alphas, a race of pre-diluvian beings that have lived on since the beginning of creation. I have chosen to call them the Lelani, the first evils, the son's and daughters of the Demoness Lilith."
A round of chuckles goes through the assembled hunters, some of the older members openly showing their incredulity. It was common knowledge that demons did not exist, that they stories from the Christian bible were nothing but stories to scare congregations into compliance.
Instead of getting angry, Prokofski chuckles right along with them, raising his hands in supplication, "I know my friends, I know. The demons do not exist, we know this, none of us have ever met one, none of us have ever tangled with a being from beyond the realm of this reality. I know this, you know this.... But what if we were wrong?" The question, its sincerity striking the smiles from laughing faces. "We believed these legends just stories that explained the rise of the monsters of this world. Allegories to explain the wickedness that runs rampant across the earth. I stand before you, to tell you that these Lelani are no myth. They are real, they do exist, and that they are awakening."
The stunned silence that meets this proclamation hands like a heavy fog over the assembled hunters, until it is broken by an older gentleman, a heavy broadsword strapped to his back, a small crossbow hanging from his belt, as he stands and says, "Rubbish.... You are addled Vladamir," his scathing voice heightened by his scottish accent, thick and nasal. "Stories, stories told to frighten barrins, and women. You speak of demons and the fathers of monsters, you have lost your mind rotting in these catacombs." Several others, of the same age group, rally around this older hunter, nodding their heads in agreement. " You have no proof ."
Prokofski sighs, it is obvious from the way that he sets his shoulders, that he was prepared for this confrontation. His glare taking in the hunter before him, he bites back, "Elgain McGregor, you wouldn't be convinced unless one of them bit you in the ass and sent you home to your mother. Fortunately for you, I have saved you the trouble, one has jumped up and ravaged me instead. Tell me Elgain, what would you say if a vampire refused to die, even with a silver stake in its heart and its head lying feet from its body? Hmm? You would piss yourself and crawl to the safety of holy ground just like I did." McGregor's eyes narrow, his supporters backing away from him definitely catches his attention as Prokofski continues, "Why would I lie old friend. Just because we don't want to believe it, does not make it less true. Things that have not walked the world for milennia now do so, called from their eternal slumber by someone or something that seeks to gain great power. The Gatekeeper of the mages brings me troubling news, some one has tried to reach Beyong the Outer Gates. Some one is trying to bind one of the old ones to them. Someone is trying to control Lilith, to bring her into this world with the assistance of her children. I assure you my commrades, that this is real, the endtimes may be upon us, and if we don't act I fear that those Demons that we don't believe exist may once more walk among us."
Prokofski opens his mouth to continue, but before his words can begin to flow, an unearthly shriek reverberates around the cavern, chilling the blood in your viens. It is accompanied by the ringing of steel as the hunters, already tense, draw their weapons.
"We are discovered!," Prokofski roars, his odd silhoutte a becrutched man, short sword in hand, radiates a strange power as he stands at the head of the room, "Defend yourselves!"
As you leap to obey, from every concievable opening into the room pour shadowed shapes, about 4 feet tall. They appear to be humanoid, but their fingers are longer than the should be and are tipped with vicious looking claws. Their childlike faces split by vicious maws of needle like teeth, and from the creases of their bluish grey skin, smoke rises to hang like a shroud around their bodies. You have the presence of mind to remark that you have never faced a being like this and you barely have a chance to plant your feet before the things rush at you.
[You are able to kill three of the beasts, though their thick black blood clings to your weapons, making it more difficult to damage its fellows. Those of you that have silver weapons find that your strikes are more vicious as silver-blue fire erupts from the wounds that you cause, you folks are able to kill 4. Pieter, your sword cuts through them like a knife through hot butter, their forms melting into vapor at the mere touch of your blade, you are able to take 6. No one takes any wounds at this time.]