As planned, our heroes made their way to Ussura, electing to go via sea instead of going overland and trying to deal with possibly running into the Montaigne army, because who wants to do that? They arrived in a prosperous port town and immediately courted a diplomatic incident as Ailsa accosted the first person she saw when she disembarked, grabbed him, and dragged him onto the boat so he could be questioned about how one would go about talking to Matushka.
Unfortunately, Ailsa didn’t speak Ussuran and the fellow in question didn’t speak Avalonian or Castillean, so that was awkward. Matters were not helped by Fabiana speaking very loudly and slowly, in the time-honoured fashion of dealing with foreigners. Happily, Accosted Fellow spoke Eisen, and he and Joachim expressed their disapproval of the ladies before getting down to business. The heroes were directed to Gavriil Grigorivich, a local metalworker who was apparently their best bet for talking to Matushka.
Happily for everyone involved, Gavriil spoke Castillean, so there could be mutual communication. After being commissioned to create a necklace to hold Ailsa’s Coin Of Never Going The Heck Away, Gavriil agreed to try to arrange an audience with Matushka. This turned out to be “go down this road and see what happens”, because this is Ussura; of course it couldn’t be simple. They were warned not to hunt and kill anything in the process, for reasons. Unexplained reasons.
What happens down this road: our heroes find a cottage, not too far from a farming village but far enough to have its own damn space, where an old lady had fallen down and broken her hip. Ailsa proceeded to patch her up whilst Fabiana made a surprisingly edible soup (because let’s face it, who thought Fabiana could cook?) and Morgan found the old lady’s stash of gold and proceeded to re-hide it, because stealing from an old lady with a broken hip? Rude.
The old lady turned out to have a grandson in the farming village nearby, so Morgan and Joachim decided to head that way to get him to come help. In the village, they found out that there had been footprints found around the village. Except less footprints and more pawprints, and not of any animal anyone knew. Weird-ass paw-footprints. Pootprints?
There was party dissent about what to in regards to the “beast” that the village was talking about. Reasons for: helping! Reasons against: it’s hunting and we were told not to do that. Awkward. A vote was taken, with closed eyes, because as Ailsa pointed out, she was the only tracker and she didn’t want to do it. Rupert was a turncoat, however, and followed the tracks to a cave nearby, wherein resided a wolfman.
It turned out that Wolfman was stuck in a halfway form and needed special water from a holy grove nearby, but couldn’t get it himself because he wasn’t allowed to touch the water himself and had no receptacle for the water. Our heroes retrieved the water for him, and, after bathing in it (out of sight of the ladies), he returned to his human form, and told them where to go to speak to Matushka in person.