Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Journal- Final two sessions

Journal- End Game

We followed up the lead she gave us and invaded the warehouse lair of the fiendish Carlott. It was clearly a trap, but we had no choice but to spring it. Six archers appeared above us and began to rain arrows down on us. I was able to get two quick kills right away, but then they began to target me more seriously making it more difficult for me to aim. Ulfred charged the door in an attempt to break it down, but failed and was struck down by an arrow. Volkrad took an arrow to the head and collapsed unconscious as well. Luckily Furdok and Konrad managed to get up to where the snipers were and began to engage them, allowing me to finish off the last couple of archers. Carlott then appeared, but fled when she saw her thugs were being cut down. I pursued her, but she got away. Still, her cult was smashed and posters of her face are now plastered all about town, so I’m sure her capture is only a matter of time.

Luckily, neither Volrad nor Ulfred were seriously injured; I was able to use my healing arts on them and they recovered satisfactorily. We then went home to rest from a night of conflict. The next day we went to see Maximillian Saer for the first time and got some relatively useful information, most pertinent of which was that he had had an affair with Klara Roban. We spoke to her as well, but she was completely intransigent and went so far as to imply that we were chaotic ourselves.

We went back to our inn, and after a little while the thief we had tracked down earlier, Solveig Thudrin, came to talk to us. She offered us the information that the same person who had hired her had also hired a man she knew named Andreas who also hung out at the Cockpit. She was very nice and gave us this information for free. Perhaps she felt guilty about robbing us? It’s hard to tell. You think you have these Men figured out, and they go and do something completely unexpected.

So we went to talk to Andreas who told us that the man who had hired him had gone by the name of Master Helsig, and had an office at the Empire House! Andreas had hauled several crates across town for him, through a side door there at the Empire House and to an office inside. He was payed well and never knew what was inside. We decided to investigate this lead next.

Knowing Lord Frederick knows EVERYONE who is anyone is ALtdorf, we went to see him yet again in order to secure entrance to the Empire House. This proved to be very easy, and we followed the directions that Andreas had given us to the side door he had gone through and thence to the office.

Except it wasn’t an office, it was a broom closet. Some of us began to have a sneaking suspicion that we’d been had. I was not sure myself, but Ulfred suggested we look for a secret door within the closet. To be honest, I thought that idea was silly…I mean, it seemed unreasonable to assume that there was some hidden chamber within the seat of Altdorf’s law enforcement center. And yet, once he made the suggestion, I rather halfheartedly stepped in to the closet and glanced around for the tell-tale sign of a hidden door.

To my surprise, there was one there, clear as day. To me anyway, the others did not seem to see it. I don’t know why, but I seem to be better than the Men and the dwarf at finding things concealed. Perhaps it comes of my life in the forest, where everything you need to survive or which is trying to kill you is usually well-hidden. You must learn to see the inobvious or you won’t see much of anything for long.

Once I pointed it out though, Ulfred saw it right away though it wasn’t until I pulled it open that the others could really see it. Behind it was a set of stone stairs leading down into a large chamber festooned with blasphemous symbols and a perfidious altar. While the others went to explore it for clues, I stood watch at the foot of the stairs in case someone stumbled upon us. Which, someone did.

Or rather, I should say, something. A demon appeared in a burst of flame at the top of the stairs and flew shrieking down the steps at me. I shouted to Volkrad to run, but he apparently did not see what I had seen and stood confused, only turning at the last minute as the fiend swooped at him. Luckily he ducked its claw and managed to stumble out of its way as Furdok and Konrad courageously charged it head on. Poor Lord Frederick, however, was not prepared for his first encounter face to face with Chaos, and fled as far as he could get to the other side of the room. Ulfred ran with him, determined to make sure Lord Frederick was safe and unharmed before he returned to bravely face the menace.

Now veteran daemonslayers, we five used every means at our disposal to quickly dispatch the creature, though several were dearly wounded in the process. Still, when the battle was over we stood victorious. I quickly began to see to the various injuries.

While I was doing so, that foul Bright Mage Wolfgang Shennect crept down the stairs and came upon us, tossing flaming death at Furdok, Konrad, and Ulfred! I knew he was evil! I knew it! Somehow, the three managed to survive the onslaught, and I began to shower Wolfgang with arrows while they gathered their wits about them long enough to charge him to prevent him from casting anymore of his flaming balls. His magic was powerful, however, and most of our blows seemed to do little or no damage to him. Soon, he was attempting to end Furdok’s life with a magical flaming blade he summoned.

With every spell he cast, Lord Fredrick was forming a crafty idea in his head. Finally he rushed over to the altar and smashed a small idol into pieces which he had seen there. Immediately, all of Wolfgang’s spells ended, and without them he was easily dispatched to his deserved reward. Apparently, the Lord had noticed that every time Wolfgang cast, the idol’s eyes would glow, and had rightly determined it to somehow be the source of his power. We congratulated him on his first victory over the forces of evil!

Flush with this achievement, he offered us the use of his manor house to rest and recuperate in for the remainder of our stay in Altdorf, which we gladly accepted. The next day Johann Shmidt came to see him. Looking back on what I have written before, I see that I neglected to mention him. We met him on a previous visit to Lord Frederick’s, and found him to be adventuresome but somewhat shallow. At first when I heard his name I thought he was the man we had met at the Three Feathers, but he was not. Apparently there are two Johann Shmidts!

Anyway, he was looking for action, and so we had invited him along with us but had, on that particular day, failed to find anyone who wanted to kill us (somehow). So he had left us rather in a huff. On this day, after the Lord regaled him with the tale of our various exploits the previous days, he was once again eager to join us. He mentioned that he had known adventurers before (adventurers? Is that really what we are? What a strange idea…I did not set out to have an adventure. I never have. Adventure, if that is indeed what you would call this non-stop attempt by the tides of Chaos to slay us, has just kind of happened to me. Us. I think most of us would rather be safe at home drinking ale or reading a tome. But alas, destiny seems to have other plans for us.) which made me perhaps wonder if he did not know the person we were seeking who had the ritual which could destroy the dagger.

By great luck, he did! Finally we managed to track down at least one of the people who had spent time traveling with the Kin from Ulthuan we had heard about. He told us he knew a Gabrielle Marsner, an Amethyst magister, who had indeed been part of such a group not too long past. We went to speak with her, and she told us that she did indeed have such a ritual and was willing to help us destroy the dagger.

The only obstacle which remained was Gottri Hammerfist, the insane dwarf (to be clear, I mean MORE insane than the average dwarf) witch hunter. We had to get him out of the way, and the only thing that seemed reasonable was to have him committed to someplace where Shallya could ease his mind of it’s burdens. However, that would require Klara.

She was firmly in Gottri’s court, but after giving it some thought I decided to try a desperate gamble in order to sway her to our point of view. I had to go see her alone, but for some reason Furdok demanded I give him 20 gold crowns for the privilege. See what I mean about their sanity? Well, I rather understood where he was coming from actually which really worries me. He was trying to make a point about trust…mainly, he did not trust me to make the right call with Klara. So I guess he was willing to trust me with the task if I was willing to trust him with my money. Gold means a lot to them, so I guess it was a big deal that I handed it over. I really don’t care about it too much, honestly, but in any case I was confident I could see this thing through successfully.

I went to see her, and I’m afraid I will have to keep the details of our conversation to myself for now, just in case someone reads this. Suffice it to say that she and I shared some things which made her see things in a new light. Once I told her that Gottri was claiming the entire Light College was a nest of cultists, she finally agreed he could use some “rest”, and agreed to set things in motion.

Unfortunately, Lady Baern stepped right in the way, preventing it from going through. After some desperate discussion amongst ourselves, we convinced Lord Frederick that the only way to get her to sway on this would be to give her a medal to get her the recognition she believed she deserved. We went to see her and informed her, obliquely, that if she were to cease to be an obstacle in Gottri’s remission to a Shallyan asylum, she would be awarded a medal in a public ceremony at the Gorgon Club along with several others who had gloriously thwarted the forces of chaos. She ate it up, and soon had agreed to allow Gottri to get some “rest”.

Finally, we got the dagger from Messner and delivered it and the things needed for the ritual to Gabrielle in the old cemetery. It was a long ritual, and we brought along Johann in case the dagger tried to bring help to prevent it’s destruction. Luckily, the only thing it could manage was another daemon, this one seemingly less difficult to slay than the one we had destroyed in Middenheim. Johann was no use, however, as he fled screaming from it at first sight. We killed it of course, but I can’t help noting that the ritual Gabrielle cast to destroy the dagger had nearly the exact same result, perceptually anyway, as the ritual which Liebnitz used to release the demon from the skull. We killed that demon, but were told the essence still survived and was loose in the world. Is the dagger’s essence truly destroyed, or has that escaped as well?

In any case, it seems certain that the third artifact lies in the path of our destiny as well. The questions are where is it, what is it, and who has it? Though I long to get out of this city, I fear we may be here for a while as those questions are answered. Meanwhile, I worry about the cultists which escaped us. Somebody burned down Gottri’s house, and the thing which disturbs me is that it happened after Wolfgang’s death. We had told him Gottri was standing in the way of our obtaining the dagger, and I would have expected a fiend like him to try to kill Gottri to get him out of the way, and fire would certainly be his modus operandi. So is there another corrupt Bright Mage out there who did not realize his Master had been killed?

You can’t trust anyone who works so closely with the winds of Aqshy, and now Volkrad has become one of them. I worry a great deal about this. I will need to keep an eye on him, for I fear that he may be led astray by the passions of fire in the same way Wolfgang was. I hope that he can contain the destructive urge which is such an integral part of the Lore of Fire.

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