Sunday, February 12, 2006

Journal: 2 sessions worth

Journal- The search begins

It has been a few days since I have been able to find time to write in my journal, and there have been many events and people rushing by in that short span. I usually try to write at night while my companions are sleeping when I have plenty of spare time, but that has proved to be impossible of late. Every time I settle in for the night, some man or dwarf (usually dwarf, oddly enough) comes rushing in to tell me we’ve been robbed or attacked by chaos demons. They make fun of me for sleeping in the stable with Stormweather, but so far nobody has made off with my belongings or tried to suck out my vital fluids. I tried to tell them that cities are bad news, but they don’t listen. If I had my druthers, we’d be camping in the forest outside of Altdorf, but I think the best I can do is convince them to stay in a different inn where hopefully nobody will know where we are.

But perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. As I said, we have been in ALtdorf for several days now, and accomplished much and nothing at all. As for the dagger we seek, no sign have we uncovered. Every well we visit in hopes of gaining some indication of it’s whereabouts proves dry. The first day we visited the Celestial College where Volkrad paid his license fee and spoke to a Magister to help point us in the right direction. Oddly, I can’t recall exactly what the college looked like, although the windows and mirrors were very shiny and clean. The Magister, Dieter Klemperer, indicated to us that the College of Light stored many dangerous artifacts of Chaos in a secret vault and we should talk to them. He also gave us the names of a couple of other highly placed people who may know people who may know something.

We split up for a bit, sending Volkrad to speak to the White Magister while the rest of us hobnobbed with the “important people” in town. Oddly, the noble Lord took a liking to us and provided us with several leads. What followed was a series of visitations to various dignitaries interspersed with attempts upon our lives by various threats both natural and unnatural. In order to lessen confusion, I will summarize the results of our conversations in a simple fashion before proceeding to the parts where someone attempts to do us harm.

The results of our investigations were thus:

The White Wizard claimed no knowledge of the dagger.

Apparently there was a group of people in Altdorf some indeterminable amount of time in the past who had fought cults here and knew some ritual which was capable of destroying chaos artifacts. Of them we can find little trace except the note that they had a High Elf with them who has since returned to Ulthuan (good riddance).

The Lady Bairn apparently single handedly defeated a chaos cult in her youth, though no details about this victory are available. She is intolerably snobbish and snooty which leads me to believe she may have been friends with the High Elf though she denies this.

A dwarven witch hunter named Gottri claims that all the white wizards are chaotic and should not be trusted. This may mean the magister Volkrad spoke to was lying about not having the dagger. However the dwarf was also, let me see if I can remember how Konrad put it, “completely off his nut”.

There are no records at either the temple of Ulric or Sigmar with any mention whatsoever of the priest who wrote the letter which first brought the dagger to our attention. However, we do have the name of a priestess of Sigmar that we have yet to speak to who is well connected to witch hunters in this city.

There are also a few other people we have leads on but have yet to speak to.

Now, the first night of our investigations ended with us in the inn’s bar, having dinner. A messenger boy delivered a letter to us, which I then opened there at the table. A daemon appeared out of thin air and immediately set about trying separate Konrad from his limbs. Luckily it was not a big daemon and proved to be little trouble for our battle tested group. I myself declined to fight the thing, turning instead to pursue and question the boy who delivered the tainted letter.

After some questions and bribes, it became apparent to us that he was not complicit in the attack but had been hired by an unknown woman of singular description to deliver said note. It was near the 3 Beards tavern, and so we resolved to investigate and see if we could find this woman there and get her to explain to us why she was sending us missives filled with chaos spawn. That night, however, she eluded our grasp.

The next night was the robbery. We, or I should more properly say they, returned to the room to find it ransacked, though only Volkrad’s hard won grimoire had been stolen. It was at that time where we began a rather informal policy of working in shifts, whereby Furdok and Konrad were on night duty, Volkrad and Ulfred on days, and somehow I was on call for both daily and nightly business. Apparently the men equate “doesn’t need to sleep” with “doesn’t need to rest, or take a well-deserved break, or even just take five minutes to clear one’s head and try to forget how bad this stupid city smells all the time”.

In any case I admit that it was my decision to track down the robbers that very night rather than letting the trail go cold. Questioning the innkeeper revealed that a disturbance had occurred in the bar that evening, a row started by a bald dwarf and a huge hulking Norscan. Even given the difficulties of tracking someone through the filthy but well traveled streets of Altdorf, trailing this pair proved remarkably easy. We ended up at a seedy riverside pub where Furdok and Konrad questioned the two, and discovered the thief was a tall woman with a scar named Solveig Thudrin. At first I thought she may have been the same woman who sent us the demon-laden epistle, but the descriptions did not match. She was to be found at a barbaric arena known as the Cockpit, but the place was closed by the time we got there. However an employee there, when properly motivated, provided us with information about Solveig which enabled us to find her the next evening.

In the meantime, we tried to find this other woman as well, but she proved far more difficult to track down. We ended up hiring a young man whose job was to sit in the 3 Beards and drink all day and tell us if anyone fitting the description of the woman showed up there.

It was actually on our way from the 3 Beards to the Cockpit that the four thugs set upon Ulfred, Volkrad, and I. Ulfred and I caught sight of them as they lunged from the alleyway, and quickly drew our blades to defend ourselves. Ulfred, brave as ever, delivered a telling blow to the first thug which immediately set him to flight. I also delivered a sword blow to one, but he was braver than his companion and returned with a nasty wound of his own to my side. Volkrad was caught flatfooted, but his luck was with him as his assailant stumbled over some trash on the way out of the alley and was unable to strike him.

After that we made short work of them, especially Ulfred who decapitated one with a single mighty swing of his halberd. Volkrad was wounded, but managed to cast a spell of slumber upon his attacker which then allowed us to question him and find out that it was the same woman who had sent us the daemongram who had hired them to bring her our heads. Luckily, our wounds were not serious and I was able to patch them up quickly.

Solveig we found at the Cockpit as promised, and after talking to her we determined that she was not hired by the woman who was quickly becoming our nemesis, but by a man in disguise calling himself “Dieter”. She took us to where she had met with him, and to our surprise Volkrad recognized the burnt out ruins as being on or near the grounds of the Bright College. Solveig informed us that she had been hired to search our rooms for anything bearing suspicious arcane or chaotic natures and deliver them here to this place. The book was the only thing she found which had possibly matched that description, and as it happened we actually located the grimoire discarded carelessly among the debris. Also nearby was a scrap of orange-yellow robe, a sign that it had in fact been a Bright Magister who had done this.

Putting two and two together, I deduced that the culprit must have been Wolfgang, the wizard we had met on the road from Middenheim to Altdorf. Volkrad thinks perhaps it was a frame job, and this cannot be discounted as it was not entirely difficult to track down the evidence. However, I am not convinced of this. To me it seems more like skullduggery perpetrated by someone unfamiliar with the general methods of skullduggery, which is to say done poorly and amateurly. To be honest, part of the reason I think this is because I probably would have made the same mistakes.

Reasonably sure of the perpetrator, I now must wonder about his motives. Was he suspicious of us as being allied with chaos, given the way we seemed to attract beastmen on our travels here? Or is he allied with chaos himself and looking to advance his own agenda somehow? This remains to be seen.

I shall close this chapter with an account of an event which I was not myself a witness to, the attack which has led me to suggest a change of location. Apparently the rest of them were set upon in the night by some kind of ghostly vampiric entity. The bizarre descriptions I received varied tremendously but the general accounts indicate a floating cloud of screaming faces with blood sucking tentacles protrubing from it. However, the odd thing about this creature was that it was completely invisible and ethereal unless viewed in a mirror. It had nearly killed Ulfred and Volkrad, and driven Konrad to brink of death or madness, before it’s nature was discovered and they were able to dispatch it. Only by viewing it in the mirror and using that perspective to attack it were they able to save themselves from certain doom.

What would I have done had they all been killed? I don’t know for sure. All alone, I doubt I could stay in this stinking urban morass. Maybe I could scrounge together enough money from their belongings to hire some people to continue the search, but how could I trust them? I would rather go back to Middenheim. It’s still a city, but a better and less crowded place than this one.

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