Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Wurst is yet to Come

We had some breakthroughs here at the beginning of black powder week. Luckily for us, we caught some breaks in this matter. Following certain leads, we discovered a message from Stark sent to Rudi, indicating he had given him the sausages. The urchins got ahold of the message Stark had sent to parties unknown, and it indicated that he was indeed behind the kidnapping. We also followed leads which had Noddin take the Fleischer’s next door neighbor to dinner at Chez Louis, a widow named Garten. She confirmed the mystery serenader, but more importantly he found out that Chez Louis had a performer named Maria de Miragliano who sang some nights at the restaurant. Not coincidentally, patrons of the restaurant had found items going missing during their dinners there. Putting two and two together, I figured that the singing was somehow charming the patrons in order that they could be robbed, and that this Maria was likely the same person who had been singing beneath Hannah’s window, thus enabling her kidnapping through sorcerous means.

The final piece of the puzzle was resolved by the discovery of the hovel where Stark was keeping poor Hannah imprisoned. I followed him there from his shop, and was surprised when one of Noddin’s urchins led the rest of my friends there later that evening. It was good though, because the padlock on the door was too heavy for me to break, but Noddin was quickly able to pick it.

Entering, we found Hannah chained to the floor. However, she had been horribly mutated, and indicated it had been tainted sausages which had done it. I immediately put her out of her misery, as there is no room in this world for that which Chaos spawns, even when it is forced on an innocent such as Hannah. Only the oblivion of the Ruinous Powers lay ahead of her.

She managed some dying words, but it was not information which I hadn’t already surmised myself anyway. The plot was clear: Stark was attempting revenge against his rival by destroying Hannah. He was using warpstone or something similar to created tainted sausage, probably using Albrecht’s shop. He had sent that sausage to Rudi, and therefore it was likely Rudi was either dead or hideously mutated. Stark was in league with Maria, using her to further his nefarious plans, which probably involved sneaking the tainted sausage into the Fleischer stores in order to discredit him.

We resolved to confront Stark immediately. At his shop, Noddin had some trouble with the lock. While he was working on it, a small dog (which I surmised to be Bonifaz, but was wrong) grabbed a string of sausage and bolted out the window of the shop. I feared it to be tainted, and so I gave pursuit. Furdok tried as well, but his short little legs kept stumbling over things in the street. I grabbed the little dog and prevented it from eating the sausage. Then I tied it to a tree while we went inside the shop.

Inside, we were confronted by Rudi the mutant monstrosity and a mad, cackling Stark who possessed a glowing medallion which seemed to control Rudi. Stark retreated down a hole in the floor while Rudi prevented our pursuit. Luckily, Rudi was easily overcome with little trouble. However, pursuit through the sewers of Stark proved more difficult. One of his hired hands was waiting in ambush down there, firing a crossbow at Furdok before fleeing.

Finally we emerged at the riverfront, where Stark had Maria tied up on a barge. He used the medallion to force her to sing to us, our first indication that she was not a willing accomplice. Luckily for us we had been braced for this assault, our minds strengthened by our previous exposure to the fiendish powers of Chaos, and nobody succumbed to the song. Stark, however, tried to use Nurglish sorcery on us, but luckily we avoided it successfully as well.

Furdok kept the henchman busy while the rest of us concentrated fire on Stark. It took a bit, but I managed to finish him off with a couple of fletches to his chest. Then the rest of my companions helped Furdok finish off the henchman. Maria we freed, but it was apparent that her power stemmed from some sort of mutation, which made her dangerous and tainted even if it was not visible. We took the medallion and the mutant songstress to the Sigmarites, and had them both destroyed.

In the end, we had to break the bad news to Herr Fleischer about his daughter. He was aggrieved, but appreciated our efforts and gave us our reward. We did not mention to him the fact that I had to kill her myself…my human compatriots seemed to think it would cause him unnecessary pain to tell him his daughter had been tortured and mutated, so I kept silent. Now we can concentrate our efforts on finding the owner of the sword. During this time, we spoke to Lady Becker and got some further leads towards locating the officers we were seeking, so we shall see what pans out.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Short but sweet

Journal- Digging

Furdok’s pestering the Nulnese dwarves did achieve us the knowledge of who had forged the blade whose owner we sought: a master craftsman named Grunbar. Apparently he had been commissioned to create the swords as gifts for seven regimental officers who were going to fight in the recent war. Unfortunately, he was then imprisoned by the Countess after she discovered that he had been making knock-off copies of the swords as well. This gave us at least one avenue to explore in order to find the owner, possibly more, but they all seemed somewhat difficult.

As we seemed to have nothing to do for at least a day or so while we waited for certain contacts to become available, we decided to avail ourselves of the job offer which the drunken sausage-maker had given us. We visited his house and he informed us that his daughter had disappeared and he wanted us to find her. He said she had last been seen with a friend of hers by the name of Karla Lindt, who claimed no knowledge of her whereabouts. He also told us that one of his shops had been broken into repeatedly, which he was not sure had any bearing on the disappearance or not.

While Konrad, Noddin, and I did that, Ulfred went to inquire about the job with the city watch captain, and Volkrad and Furdok went to the Temple of Verena in order to get a writ of passage for the Iron Tower in order to visit Grunbar. This was apparently easily accomplished. Afterwards, Furdok visited Grunbar and found out very little. However, he did say that he had delivered the swords to the Gunnery school, and that the one we possessed was indeed an orginal, so that helped.

The next morning, we decided to split up. Or rather, I decided to split us up. After Ulfred left early for his new job, it didn’t seem like anyone was too keen on making a decision. I would rather Ulfred take charge, but with him gone I felt like I had to say something or we would just sit in the inn all day. So I told Konrad, Volkrad, and Noddin to go ask around the sausage shops about the missing girl, and Furdok and I went to the Gunnery school to enquire about the swords. We decided to meet up later at Karla Lindt’s home to question her.

The Gunnery school required some gold to work through, but we got the names of three officers who had since returned to Nuln from the war. This was not all seven obviously, but we were working under the assumption that the person who we were looking for had come back. If not, our quest is much harder. The names were:

Gerlach Baer, Rolph Vogt, and Semund Tolzen. Having accomplished that, we left to go track down the Lindt home.

Eventually we met up with the rest, but the Lindt’s were not at home so we had to return the next day. So we visited the Green Bottle Inn instead and got the key to Albrecht’s shop from him. We searched for clues in the shop, and actually found a locket that belonged to Miss Hannah in the sausage grinding shed, which led us to fear the wurst. Er, worst. We also found a wooden leg, but that turned out to be Albrecht’s. We staked out the shop all night, but nobody broke in and made sausages in the middle of the night.

Volkrad and I tried to visit Lady Becker the next day but were told that she was not ready to see visitors yet, so we made an appointment for the morrow. We did manage to see Miss Lindt that day, as well as get some information from some street urchins. I believe that Furdok went back to the Gunnery school and got some information about the officers we were seeking. Konrad went to the Gunners Arms, and Noddin talked to a rival sausage maker named Stark. I’ll record what information they have gathered in my next entry.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Next thing

This is the next thing that I'll surely be trying to kill you all with.

Check out Esoterrorists.

More more more

This I actually had done last week but I totally forgot to put it up.

Journal- The madness of dwarves

Despite the best efforts of whoever or whatever power is trying to stop us, we did manage to get to Nuln. This was in spite of a beastman attack on a shore traveler, an onboard murder, the reappearance of the mysterious cloaked fat man from Altdorf, and the increasingly odd behavior of Furdok.

This last began to become apparent during the first. We left the boat in order to go investigate a coach we had spotted from the ship which had apparently been attacked. Once we snooped around the scene a bit, it was clear to me that beastmen had been responsible and had dragged some of the people in the coach away into the woods to whatever dark purposes they employ. The symbol of Khorne was evident, and I discovered a large number of gold coins scattered around, as well as a generic invitation to a ball being thrown by the Electress of Wissenland herself. The captain indicated that I should give the coins to charity, which I thought was probably a good idea. He wanted me to give it all to an orphanage, but I decided to give some of it to Konrad. Every time he gets paid he has to turn over most of his gold to me because of his debt, and I feel bad about that. I wanted him to be able to keep his pay after this journey, so I took some of the gold I found and “paid his debt” for him.

Granted this was a wide interpretation of charity, but on the other hand given all that he has done for the Empire I think he deserves to be debt free for once. In any case, after I made the determination that the beastmen had taken some of the victims, Furdok became insistent that we go after them. There were any number of good reasons why we shouldn’t do this, and we gave him every one. Still he insisted, even said he would be happy to go alone. No matter what we said, he seemed determined to stay on shore, even planning to walk to Nuln. I can’t explain it, it almost seemed like he was afraid to get back on the boat. But perhaps it was just that his anger at the Beastmen has reached the point of a full-blown grudge, and he wants any chance to fight them. If that is true though, it could spell trouble for us. A dwarf who decides they have a blood-grudge against something like these bestial hordes of Chaos is no doubt on his way out of this world shortly.

Ulfred appealed to his honor, however, and he extremely reluctantly got back on board. His odd behavior continued, however. He started pretending to be Volkrad at the bar, and I believe he was drinking even more ale than usual, though it’s hard to tell. I worry about both of them now. Perhaps the strain of this life of warfare is too much for them. I was looking through one of Volkrad’s old books on the stars…he used to be fascinated by the heavens but now he barely acknowledges them. Anyway, there was a part about the star sign you are born under and their effect on your destiny. It seems the one I was born under is known as “Grugni’s Baldric” (which I find ironic, but…) and it indicates that one is meant to be a warrior. That would explain why I was drawn away from the priesthood and threw myself into the warriors the way I did. It might also explain why, despite the fear I feel every time we are faced with the snarling minions of Chaos, I am able to keep my head about me and not break under the strain of combat. But I digress.

I was going to talk about the murder of Reinalt Leitdorf. He was found dead in a cabin not his own, some time after a serious fight with another passenger named Matthias Alptruim. Naturally my first assumption was that Herr Alptruim had done him in, but after checking the facts of the case it appears that this is not what happened. In fact, I believe that it was the fat man in the black cloak from Altdorf who did the deed.

The body was discovered in an empty cabin which had been rented by an Arabyan named Antikari who had cancelled at the last moment. The murder seemed to have been committed with natural weaponry, in fact the discovery of a tooth broken off in the mess which used to be the victim’s face leads one to believe his was gnawed to death. Alptruim showed no sign of having broken any teeth, and in any case he seems more the type that would stab or poison an enemy rather than chew them to death. The assailant was probably a mutant of some kind.

Questioning of the passengers revealed that a Dagmar Langdorf had seen a man who matched remarkably the description of the man that Ulfred and I had seen following us in Altdorf: a heavy set man dressed in black robes who moved with remarkable speed and alacrity, able to navigate through obstacles without even looking where he is going. I followed a trail of blood from Antikari’s cabin all the way up to the top deck and rail, seeming to indicate that the killer had fled and jumped ship. Since all passengers were accounted for, I began to suspect that this cloaked man had stowed away and was the same person responsible for the murder.

Unfortunately, there is no way for us to conclusively prove this, but we were able to exonerate Alptruim from the charge of murder. I have a theory which I shared with my companions; that this mysterious fat man is either Antikari or works for him, and that the cancellation of his passage was just a ruse in order to allow him to operate on board without being detected by us. Leitdorf, perhaps trying to avoid Alptruim or for some other reason trying to skulk, ducked into the unused cabin and accidentally found that it was not in fact unused. Caught, the cloaked man killed poor Leitdorf and fled the boat.

Why the fat man is following us cannot be known for sure, nor can it be proven this is in fact what happened, but it is clear that he is interested in us for some reason. It is also clear that he has some unnatural abilities, which means that he is either a warlock, mutant, or both. No doubt we will run into him again, and perhaps this time we will catch him.

As far as Herr Leitdorf is concerned, we have determined to take his possessions to his family for final disposal once we locate them here in Nuln. The only thing we are keeping is another invitation to the Countess’ ball which gives us two. I’m not sure how they fit in, but Konrad made the connection that in both cases we found them the bearers had been murdered by apparent forces aligned with the Ruinous powers. Therefore they might be important.

When we debarked, the captain was kind enough to reward us by giving us some payment, a letter of introduction to a local noble lady named Elsbeth Becker, and the erasing of the tab which Furdok had run up under Volkrad’s name. The Lady Katherine also paid us, and so we entered Nuln flush with gold. If this city turns out to be anything like the others we have visited, no doubt we will need every penny of that before our job here is done.

Most of the inns in the city were filled up because of the festival, so we had to take what we could get. It’s all the same to me anyway, because I would rather sleep in the stable with Stormweather anyway. While seeking a vacancy, we rescued a man from some muggers (this is probably how we keep getting into trouble, interfering in things which aren’t our business) who then pointed us to a “tree” downtown near which he had posted some sort of job request. We managed to find the post in question, though there were many posters on the kiosk. I narrowed it down to three or four.

In the mean time, Furdok insisted he ask the local dwarves to get us some kind of introduction to the Leitdorfs in order to return his belongings. I don’t know why he was unwilling to just ask the Lady Becker who we already had an in with, but Furdok will be Furdok. In the meantime, we went shopping and stopped by the Becker manor to introduce ourselves. The Lady was not in, so we made an appointment to come back and see her when she arrived and had rested.

Monday, December 04, 2006

More log

Sorry this took so long to get up...have had little time.

Journal- Death on the Reik

Of course it would have been too easy had the Abbey been abandoned. No, there was a further infestation of foul Beastmen lurking within, and they almost managed to waylay us while we were trying to figure out how to get in the tower. Luckily for us I managed to spy them as they boiled out of the main building and charged us. The fight was short and brutal, but in the end we prevailed with little serious harm. In fact, even Ulfred managed to get away without a scratch, which was amazing.

I had thought that we were told a detachment of Imperial soldiers had cleared out the Abbey after it had been overrun, but the Beastmen band inhabiting seemed to suggest otherwise. However, once we investigated thoroughly it appeared as though a Nuln regiment had indeed been through and taken heavy casualties to boot, most of which they had piled in the Charnel house in the cemetery for some reason. The tower turned out to be where the last remaining priests had hung themselves rather than succumb to the beastman horde, and somehow it was there we found a copy of the very same journal that Noddin had plucked out of his dream. We were certainly in the right place.

Unfortunately, upon searching the hidden room beneath the altar, we found that the chalice had been removed. Nearby we found a well-crafted sword apparently dropped by an Imperial officer, suggesting that it was in fact a Nulner soldier who had taken the relic. I surmised that the Beastmen we had encountered here had been sent to search for the relic after the first band of attackers had failed to return with it. Perhaps the Nulners had come, destroyed the original beastmen, and then somehow found the relic and taken it. If so, it is very possible the person who took it has been corrupted by its influence. We took the sword in hopes that we could track down its maker and thereby find the owner who had left it.

The church itself had been defiled by the beasts who had occupied and searched it. While the rest were burying the bodies of the dead, Volkrad took it upon himself to burn down both the abbey and the sole remaining tower. This has added further worry to my concerns about his behavior. In truth, it may have been the right choice, but he used his magic and did it so wantonly it rather frightened me. He was not allowed to burn down the charnel house, which is to my mind exactly the reverse of what should have occurred. Man has an annoying tendency to leave their dead intact, rather than properly disposing of them by fire. This is why the ranks of the restless dead are swollen by the rotting carcasses of Men. Will they never learn?

We returned to Altdorf afterwards, and though we tried to uncover any clue we could find about the sword it seemed pretty clear that our answers would lie in Nuln. Conveniently, a certain Lady Katherine had offered us a job to escort her to Nuln via river boat. We accepted, but it seemed as though it was expected that our steeds would remain behind. Obviously, these men are ignorant of the relationship which exists between an elven steed and its master. There was no way I could leave Stormweather behind, and so I was prepared to ride her along side the river on the road until reaching Nuln. I thought Konrad would do this as well, being as how he is a roadwarden and not a riverwarden, but he elected to leave his horse behind. Unthinkable. Still, when this Katherine noted I was preparing to ride to Nuln she went ahead and procured passage for my horse as well.

Here’s where my inherent paranoia begins to kick in. It is so difficult to determine which Men to trust and which are working against us. This Lady Katherine I have discovered is not only paying us 20 Karls for our service, each; but payed 75 Karls for our passage on the boat. That is all told about 600 Karls just for escort to Nuln on one of the safest methods of travel in the entire Empire! An absolute fortune! Hence, I can only suspect she is setting us up for something. She probably works for some Ruinous Power and is keeping us close to make sure we fail in whatever endeavor we are attempting.

Of course, the Beastmen found us. They attacked the ship, firing arrows and boarding the boat while we were at out most vulnerable, without most of our weapons or armor. The crew sprang to the defense, but it was quickly clear that only our expert ability to deal with their threat was going to repel the foul spawn. I thought we would stay behind a defensive barrier and try to fend them off, but of course the dwarf charged right to the rail and began to melee with the boarders. Viewing the tactical situation, it immediately became clear to me that if I did not back him up, he would have 6 beastmen attacking him. And no armor.

I should digress at this point. I have never seen the dwarf out of armor before this boat trip. Something was bothering me, and it was at that moment I realized what it was. Looking at Furdok wearing only the spun cloth of an every day commoner, I suddenly realized what was different about the dwarf. And then I knew that Furdok and I had something in common…something that we would never have realized we might share. Without another thought, I drew my sword and charged into battle, taking three of the beasts at the rail.

The gods know how much I hate and fear these beasts of Chaos. I almost could not believe that I was doing this…I though for sure I was going to perish. But my training took over, and though the first beastman easily ducked my sword it unbalanced itself in such a way that I was able to plant my foot in its chest and send it plunging back into the river. I spun and sliced into the second beastman, somehow managing to parry its riposte and duck its companion’s clumsy blow. I turned and hacked at that beast, but took the creature beside me by surprise when I brought my elbow back into its throat, causing it to stagger back and follow its compatriot into the churning river.

Suddenly, it was just me one on one with a Beastman. I looked over and Furdok was hard pressed by all three attackers, although quickly being reinforced by Konrad, Ulfred, and Noddin. Meanwhile, Volkrad came to my aide and between us we made short work of the creature assailing me. After that and with superior numbers on our side, the last boarders were repelled.

Volkrad used magic on board without the express permission of the captain, something we were told was against the rules, and he has been summoned to speak with him. I can’t imagine the repercussions will be too serious, however. In the meantime, I am catching up with a little writing and hoping that I can make a successful business deal between myself, Furdok, and a rich elven merchant I met onboard named Camreanne Youngwood. She seems like someone we can deal with…I only hope Furdok can make it work.