The group has seen a sign that says if you put a body of a Shadow Beast on the stoop, you will get paid handsomely and the name of a man who supposedly has done it. The party talked to the man and got his story about killing a shadow beast and then finding the money next to his bed the next morning.
The Party, being interested in the nature of the shadow beasts, decided to try to hunt one themselves. They go out into the darkness after sundown using Rustscale to help scout ahead for beasties. He discovered some kind of strange darker mass in the gloom. When Pierce shot an arrow into it, shadow beasts began to emerge. The group cast spells and protections. One of them attacked Rustscale but didn’t do a lot of damage. Another hit Pierce in the vitals and while his armor held and he was only slightly wounded, the pain knocked him down and turned off his spells. Vacant was able to using a Binding spell on one until Pierce was able to shake it off and fight once again. Rustscale completely ripped into the beast that attacked him, proving that while lethal, they weren’t very tough and couldn’t take hits.
The party looked over the bodies and could not make sense of them. The shadow-stuff power they emanated disappeared when they died leaving the insect-like shell behind. They hid the bodies and decided to keep looking for more to get more information. They discovered another shadow portal that two dogs were barking at, but it faded away on its own without releasing any beasts.
They were directed to an even darker part of town by Rustscale and managed to find another portal. When they approached, two shadow beasts had already emerged and were just hanging out on the roof of a nearby building. One teleported to the neighboring roof where Rustscale and Crawl were waiting, while another attacked Pierce. This time, Pierce was ready and blocked the attack with his shield, while delivering a killing blow of his own. Rustscale slew the beast on the roof. As they got ready to gather the bodies, a huge mass of shadow stuff fell out of the portal. It was a Shadow King, a mass of shadow creatures. It was a bit larger and tougher, but Pierce killed it.
They took the bodies to the stoop and knocked on the door to talk to the man collecting them. The old man, Twice Beyond the River, is a scholar studying the shadow beasts. He said that he had learned a lot about the shadow beasts and the portals and told the group that the portals were weaknesses in the area and not necessarily a spell. They were more like a naturally occurring phenomenon and due to something happening in the Shadow Realm.
The Party asked him if maybe they could help him learn more about the shadow beasts.