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
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.