Our heroes' tale starts most humbly—before the task board of the local tavern. Not ones to repair thatching or unclog pipes, their eyes alighted upon a neglected and curious note from Old Aena, the town herbalist.
Sounded easy enough and 16 gold and two potions of healing is nothing to snort at—not when you're just starting out anyhow. So, off they went and, soon enough, found themselves in Aena's basement. The place was a mess! Broken barrels, pickles and salted meat everywhere, potions and ingredients in disarray… though not so much disarray though that they couldn't find a potion or two in the mess. (I'm sure they'll pay for those on the way out!)
They ventured through a hole in the wall and down a dark tunnel into the earth beneath. Fortunately, they're all possessed of dark vision so it wasn't too scary. The nest of enormous rats, on the other hand… a little unnerving. They dealt with those and with the larger rats still. And then with the pregnant rats and their brood.
All that was left was whatever lay beyond the planks propped up against the wall. Smoke moved them deftly aside but not deftly enough—he narrowly dodged a rock and set a bell a tinkling. What had been warned of their presence?
They ventured forth into… a quite well appointed hole in the ground. Rugs lay on the earthen floor and it was furnished with a bed and armchair. It seemed deserted. Until they spotted a humanoid rat lurking behind the chair.
Boris—the rat—explained that he'd been hiding out down here, afraid of what might happen if people saw him in his present state. He feared he was turning into a lycanthrope and had come to Aena for assistance, only to find he couldn't afford it. So, of course, he tried the next best thing: stealing it. Sadly, the rats had already made an unspeakable mess of her basement, so he had to content himself with a treatise on lycanthropy and a hidey-hole protected by rats.
In exchange for his treasure, our uh… heroes agreed not to kill him if he agreed to leave. And thus they ventured back to Aena for their reward, Boris in tow. It struck Glimble that with a little persuasion, Aena might agree to help Boris. So, he enscorcelled her mind and pointed out that it would be most unfortunate if the plague of rats recurred. Thus cornered, Aena agreed to give over the potion and, after a moderately uncomfortable night, Boris found himself human once more! And our heroes found themselves levelled up!