Monday, February 20, 2006

Yoohoo, I'll make you famous!


The new day started like any other. At first, it appeared to me that it would be another pointless round of talking to people who didn’t really have any idea what we were on about, or worse yet were secretly plotting to kill us. Actually, some of them may be, it’s hard to tell. However, Konrad, Volkrad and I went off to go interview some people in order to get some opinions on the character of Magister Messner, who has been greatly maligned by the witch hunting dwarf and his friends. Ulfred and Furdok went to go talk to the dwarf again for some reason, and then I believe back to the temple of Sigmar’s records, where Furdok apparently finally came to the realization that he has no idea how to read.

Our day was much much more fruitful. We talked to Lord Frederick again, who gave the idea of Messner being aligned with chaos very little credence, and then recommended we speak to Theodora about it as well as a Jade Magister named Guillaume. He was of the opinion that they could put our fears about Messner to rest, and in this he was correct.

Not only did Theodora, the ex-witch hunter, soundly and definitively denounce the notion of Messner being chaotic, she also finally gave us the story on what Lady Bairn did when she “single handedly” brought down a Chaos cult. It was not impressive, and basically involved an accident combined with fortuitous coincidence. Still, we decided to make sure, and proceeded to consult Magister Guillaume.

He was also very helpful. He told us that he believed it unlikely in the extreme that the White College would put a wizard in charge of the safe keeping of chaotic artifacts without thoroughly vetting him for any signs of chaotic leanings. He suggested that, should we come clean to Messner about our intentions vis a vis the dagger, he would probably be more forthcoming about it’s whereabouts, and in this he was correct. Furthermore, he informed us that he had a ritual which could cleanse the dagger. The downside was that the ritual required an intelligent being to willingly sacrifice their life in order to accomplish it. Still, it was something.

After that we went to see Messner again, where Volkrad spoke to him and told him our true reasons for seeking the dagger and what was at stake. After some time, we seemed to convince him of our sincerity and he informed us that, yes indeed, the dagger was within the Order’s vaults. However, he was not willing to give it to us unless we could show him proof that we had a ritual that would actually destroy it, and that we were willing to go through with. Also, we had to somehow get Gottri off his back. He was quite aware of the dwarf’s insane hatred for him, and told us that if he found out that he was releasing chaos artifacts from the vaults he would not hesitate in the slightest to have Messner burned at the stake. He needs us to get Gottri out of the way before he can do anything (no, not kill him).

Returning to the Burning Chair, we informed our comrades of our success, and then shortly afterwards were summoned by messenger to a meeting at the Burning Table where we were confronted by Wolfgang, the Bright mage we had accompanied on the road here and who we suspected of having arranged the robbery of our rooms at this very Inn.

He threatened us with calling the witch hunters on us, saying he suspected us of being involved with chaos, but was willing to let us defend our innocence to him. Which we did, but there were several things wrong with this scenario. First, he had absolutely no evidence of any of us cavorting with the Ruinous Powers, since we in fact do not, and had no such damning evidence in hand when he had our rooms tossed. Therefore it seems odd he would still accuse us. Furthermore, he pretended no knowledge of the burglary, even though we gave him every chance to come clean about it without actually telling him we knew he had done it. We mentioned that Volkrad’s grimoire had gone missing, and had he been a true friend he would have brought it back to us or at the very least told us where it was. Instead he feigned ignorance. If he had good intentions when investigating us, I believe he would have come clean about the theft.

Finally, once we explained what we were doing, he seemed so quickly to accept our innocence that it seems unlikely he ever doubted it to begin with. He offered up his own ritual to destroy the dagger, one which seemed infinitely easier than the one Guillame told us of. If it is real, it’s a boon, but what if he just wants to get us to bring him the dagger so he can steal it, or worse yet release the demon from within? We told him we would meet him later to discuss it.

It was shortly after that our snitch from the Three Beards came and informed us that the lady we were looking for was currently there! This day just kept getting better! We rushed over there and, sure enough, located her in the crowd.

She saw us too, however, and quickly made her way outside, with us hot on her trail. She led us on a merry chase through the slums of Altdorf, finally losing us in an alley in a rough area on one of the river islands. I was able to trail her to a “plaza” where we lost any sign of her. Among the buildings surrounding the plaza were two warehouses. In my experience with cultists, it seems to me they tend to hide in secret basements hidden in warehouses or taverns, and so I decided to investigate the two buildings, choosing one at random in which to begin.

There was nothing at all inside, but when we emerged we found that Furdok was being shot at. He had stayed outside, watching the bridge which led to the next island, and was being hit with arrows. I located the woman doing the shooting and put an arrow of my own in her arm, at which she fled.

We followed her, suspecting that we may be being led into a trap. We were right of course. We finally cornered her in a small cattle market, where we were jumped by three mutants and a man using dark, sinister magic. I took to the rooftop to make sure they could not escape out the back door, if there was any. It turned out there was not, but it was a great position from which to attack our attackers from. Unfortunately, I could not see the woman with the bow from where I was at, and she wounded Volkrad quite dearly. I could see the warlock from where I was, but the angle was such that I could not get a shot at him. He, however, was free to cast his evil magics upon my companions. Finally he came out into the open in order to use one of his fiendish spells upon Konrad at close range, but before I could do anything about it the woman broke cover and began to shoot at me. One of her arrows struck me a glancing blow on my side, but I put a couple more of my quarrels into her and she collapsed, unable to continue. Volkrad was able to take down the warlock with one of his mighty dart spells, and we had won the day. At first, we thought the warlock had succeeded in killing Konrad, but it turned out he was still breathing and I was able to save him with some quick application of some of the medicinals I carry with me.

I then turned to the archer, who lay dying on the floor of the market, her blood staining the hay red. I offered the use of some of the same remedies I had used on Konrad if she would tell us where the woman who had hired her was hiding. The archer informed me of the locale, and to my not-so-great surprise, it was the second warehouse, the one I had not gotten around to searching. At that point I was in something of a dilemma. I had suggested to her I would heal her, but I had not actually promised her. She was detestable and in league with Chaos, so I was quite hesitant to follow through and actually help her. Still, if the information she gave us was true, it would be only just to help her (though turn her straight over to the witch hunters afterwards, which would render the aid moot). Thankfully she ended my quandary by dying before I completely made up my mind.

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