The Metal Room Between the Floors
Beef Noodle frowned as his examination of the fourth corpse came to an end. He hadn't taken the the next stage of examination (dissection to examine the internal organs) just yet because the mystery of the external vexed him greatly at the moment. Their bodies were cold and their fur was falling off, suggesting that they had been dead for some time before they were discovered... or at least before their team had managed to arrive to examine them. This made sense when one considered that the Warband had been located down in the Cellar and the distance that would be required to not only move them, but also how long it might have taken for scouts to uncover the bodies.
What wasn't expected was the complete lack of combat wounds. Signs of resistance were nowhere to be found... or at least none of the bodies on the outer layer of the piles seemed to show any. Considering that all the bodies appeared to be decaying at around the same rate... whatever had killed them had done so at around the same time... couple of minutes at the shortest, maybe ten minutes at the latest from the first death to the last if he was feeling generous, but only the eyes were missing and those had clearly been taken after death.
Whatever had killed them had killed thousands of rats quickly and silently without them ever knowing that they were in danger without leaving a mark on them related to their deaths. Of course, there were ways to kill a rat that didn't leave a mark on their body... but on such a large scale to so many at once?
Beef took a moment to crack his neck before he reached for his scalpel (a piece of metal that had been fashioned from a creator razor that had been re-purposed). If they were going to uncover the mystery of what happened here, they were going to have to examine organs. However, before his scalpel could meet flesh, a great deal of panicked and pained squeaking filled the air around one of the other examiners.
Abandoning the operation before it even had a chance to begin, Beef Noddle darted over to see what was going on, alongside many of the others within hearing range and several of the warrior-monks, weapons raised as they tried to spot where the threat came from. It didn't take long to find the source of the distress; One of the small healers seemed to have followed the same line of reasoning as himself and had started an autopsy on one of the bodies... only to have a strange liquid burst out of the corpse and spray one of her paws and the leg that it was connected to... and started to eat away at her flesh with much pain and bloodshed. Clearly some sort of acid hidden in the corpse?
Without delay Beef looked at the wounded limb to access the extent of the damage. It was bad. Reaching forth to sharply pin the flailing limb down against the floor, he brought his scalpel to bare and with his winters of training and personal experience, surgically removed the acid eaten limb as quickly and painless as he could under current conditions. While the poor Small was screaming her head off at the pain, Beef quickly shouted "Torch-Torch! Now-Now!"
A torch was quickly pawed to him, and he made use of the flame to cauterize the bloodied stump that had been left behind after the rest of the tormented limb had been removed. There was another round of high pitch, pained squeals from his patient, but once the flame was taken away and the threat of bleeding out or having the unknown acid spread to the rest of her body was dealt with she seemed to calm as she was left with the lingering pain rather then the active pains before.
As one of the other healers with the foresight to bring a pain fighter with them in their pouch stepped up to help the small, Beef stepped away in order to look at the body she had opened up with a frown and concern. Already the pocket of acid that had been exposed was eating away at the body, destroying vital information that they required to uncover what was actually happening here...
Turning to one of the Warrior-Monks with a longer, sharpened weapon (a steak knife), he solemnly requested "Cut-Cut one of those bodies open-open. Need to see-see..."
The Warrior-Monk looked grim as he nodded his head, stepping forward and readying his weapon... through he seemed to understand what Beef Noodle was worried about, since he took his stance some distance from the random body he had approached and took advantage of the reach his weapon gave him to make his cuts. It was a wise precaution; The new body seemed to have two pockets of the same (or at least similar) acid hidden under the skin, eating away at the innards. Just as there were pockets of acid hidden in the next body, and the three after that. They even checked bodies from different piles only to discover more strange pockets of acid inside of the bodies, seemingly content to eat away at their prisons at a leisurely pace until something exposed them to the outside world.
The closest that Beef had ever seen to something like this were injuries caused by Eight Legged bites. The eight legged beasts occasionally wondered into their lands in search of lairs with bountiful food and the venom in their bites was nasty; Acid that eat away at their victims even as it prevented them from struggling. But there were no bite marks... no signs of how the acid had gotten into the bodies in the first place.
This was deeply concerning, but one thing was made clear.
They were not going to be uncovering what had happened to One Eye's Warband. The danger to the examiners was simply too great to try.
With a sharp whistle, the party was gathered around in order to give the order to pack up and start heading back home with what intelligence that they had gathered. Beef Noodle himself took to carrying the injured small healer on his back, the pain fighter thankfully taking effect and letting the poor dear have the mercy of sleep to not feel her wounds. He was going to have to give a report for what they had found... copies would no doubt need to be sent to friendly clan-packs, as well as those clan-packs that wouldn't kill a Ook Stor messenger on sight.
Whatever had done this was still out there and needed to be forced out of the shadows it was lurking on before it claimed another clan-pack.