Wednesday, December 13, 2006

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.

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