The Enemy Within

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Still non too keen on dodgy chicken pie.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Demons in the Dark

During their discussions the company had heard tell of a freakshow in the festival area. Reiner was most concerned by the casual presence of chaos mutations at such an event and the company investigated. After seeing the freakshow for themselves they witnessed one of the exhibits - a three legged goblin - escaped through one of the grates below the city wall.

Reiner was already complaining to the local Magistrate, Herr. Richter, who charged him with locating the goblin. Reiner was swift to also get his companions involved and Richter promised them each that their accomodation at the Journey's End Inn would be paid and they would each receive 50 gold crowns to deal with the goblin. The head of the freakshow, Doctor Malthusius, agreed to match the offer if the goblin was returned alive.

The company took their time, buying equipment for the journey. When they finally descended Igor picked up the trail of the goblin from the grate and they slowly pursued him to a locked room. Forcing the door open the company entered into some sort of temple or shrine.

They had little time to react as a voice warned them to leave the chamber and out of a pentagram on the floor emerged a fiend. Edgar, perhaps the most in tune with the chaotic energies permeating the room, turned and fled. The rest of the company lured the fiend from the pentagle and in a fierce melee it was Brokk that landed the telling blow upon it, pinned as he was below its maw. The demon faded into apparent oblivion, leaving the fellows to search the room and find their errant companion.

Reiner forced open a magically locked cabinet to find a skull with a metal circlet bonded to it and an ornate sacrificial dagger, while the rest of the group marked the demon skull in the pentagram with the words "Ordo Septenarius" engraved upon it. Additionally Igor found a hankerchief with the monogram "F.S." upon it.

Hook, Line and Barl

The companions, having left Josef and his crew at Hagen's Warf, travelled across town in search of a good inn. They were directed to the Journey's End Inn, an expensive mercantile tavern east of the Adel Ring. The innkeeper, Hanz Blitchen, did not take kindly to their presence and while he was happy to accept their gold he did not want the trollslayer within sight of his remaining guests.

With accomodations sorted most of the companions visited the fair outside the city walls. Brokk got in a brawl inside one of the beer tents with another dwarf that had tried to beg for ale money - the end result of which was the dwarf breaking much of the beer tent's crockery and being put in the stocks.

Edgar in the meantime visited the Temple of Verena to ask about Messrs. Lock, Stock and Barl. The priest of Verena there did not know of the lawyers and Edgar even checked with the printers. He learned that the document had been printed at the behest of a man matching the description of the crossbow man they slew at Weissbruck.

Joining the others at the festival Edgar watched as Brokk entered a boxing match and was soundly trounced by his opponent. Many of the companions had placed a bet on Brokk and lost their gold. They then hit upon the idea of putting Reiner in the ring, getting him to take a dive and placing gold on the other boxer. This plan went awry after Reiner entered when the bookmaker did not accept their bets. Reiner was forced to actually win and did so much to the relief of the company.

That night in the tavern the companions plotted their next move. All that awaited in Altdorf was the hangman's noose and yet Edgar feared more assailants would use the Schaffenfast to try to kill Reiner. He pointed out that they had been set up by the letters to Kastor Leiberung.

Quote of the session

Sidonia (to Reiner in the boxing ring): New plan. Win!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Warfare in Weissbruck

Three days later the Berebeli pulled in by the lockside of Weissbruck for the night. On the morning the barge would sail the waters of the Bogen to reach its destination. However no sooner had Reiner stepped off than his gaze turned to a nearby tavern. He noted the scarred crossbow wielding fellow who he had seen in the alley in Altdorf. Giving chase into the inn Reiner, accompanied by Igor and Oscar, soon lost the fellow. They did learn from the patrons that the fellow might be staying in another of Weissbruck's three inns.

Eventually the trailed the fellow down to his inn, which was very busy. The scarred fellow was in conversation with three rough looking men and when he saw Reiner he hastily retreated through the back door of the inn. Reiner pursued him onto, and eventually above, the streets but he lost the soldier by leaping from rooftop to rooftop.

Igor vowed to stay on watch all night, though sadly the strain of the past few days proved too much and he fell asleep in the early hours of the morning. He was awakened by the smell of smoke coming from the barge and alerted the rest of the crew. He discovered two men had blocked off the barge's chimney and were trying to smoke them out. Reiner, coughing from smoke inhilation was among the first to emerge from the barge. Only the timely intervention of Oscar - who threw the soldier into the canal - saved the soldier from bolts of an unknown marksman.

A fierce fight followed but the two assailants on the barge burnt both the group and themselves with flasks of oil. Edgar saw to rescuing Wolmar, his wife and child, while the rest busied themselves with dispatching the thugs and the marksman - who proved to be the scarred fellow from that evening. As he went down under sheer numbers this fellow cursed them. A search of his corpse revealed a letter that reads as follows:-

For the personal attention of Adolphus Kufto

The Nine Stars Coaching Company

The Middenheim Road

Altdorf

My Dear Herr Kufto,

You may recall a certain conversation one had last Brewzeit in the public bar of the Hook and Hatchett in Nuln. At that time you mentioned your interest in the activities of a certain society whose name I shall not mention here. In particular, you were very serious to trace the whereabouts of a certain officer, known only as the Magister Impedimentes.

I am now able to confirm each and every one of your suspicions. After your departure I made some discrete enquiries and managed to ascertain that the "gentleman" you are looking for uses the name Kastor Lieberung. In accordance with your plan, Herr Lieberung will be travelling towards Altdorf along the Middenheim Road some time towards the end of the month of Jahrdrung.

I have also been fortunate enough to secure a likeness of Herr Lieberung which I enclose with the letter.

I remain, Sir, your most obedient servant.

Q.F.

With this information and the fellow's worldly goods in their possession the company persuaded Josef to take his damaged barge further down the canal and on to Bogenhafen. After a tense few days and some hasty repairs they arrived in the town of Bogenhafen.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

By the Boatman

Baronet Oscar, an itinerant fencer, failing student and nobleman was surprised when a burly barge owner sat down at his table, brining with him the group of worthies. He had recently moved to the University of Altdorf at the behest of his father - having learned only the skills of drinking and fighting in his term at Nuln's academic establishments.

As Reiner spoke with the young noble Josef asked Igor to help him get in several bottles of wine. As the two stood by the bar awaiting their generous selection of vintages Josef quietly told Igor of events surrounding the grave robber's departure from Nuln, of how he had offended the Oldenhaller dynasty of that learned city. Igor had little time to mull this grim news over because shortly after their drinking began a fellow clad in black studded leathers entered the Boatman.

The patrons, clearly afraid of him, made room for the sinister man, Max Ernst. Nonetheless the company remained at their table when the inn was also guest to the students Oscar was waiting - two noblemen and their retinue, out to stir trouble. They were clearly drunk already and Oscar began to rue awaiting the two rogues.

When Reiner was drenched in second hand wine by the two noblemen he lost his temper and tried to punch one of the noblemen. Max Ernst threatened Reiner and he was all too swift to succumb to the protagonist's attempts to start a fight. A bar room brawl started which ended when Igor attempted to club Ernst unconscious and dealt the man a fatal blow to the chest.

As the two drunken noblemen shuffled off the staff of the Boatmen thanked Reiner and Igor for killing the troublemaker. They tossed the corpse into the river and tried to make it look like the fellow had fallen in and drowned.

The company enjoyed several more drinks and pleasant banter before retiring to Josef's barge, Oscar in tow. On route the rather drunken friends spotted the fellows from the Koenigplatz following them. After making the fact they had spotted them obvious they continued to Josef's barge. As they were in sight of the Berbeli Igor, who was glancing briefly at the pair following them, witnessed a pair of crossbow bolts ending the life of their pursuers. The group hastened onto the Berbeli, making such noise that they soon discovered Josef's crew had a baby. Chided by Girda, the baby's mother and one of the married couple that comprised the crew the group mentioned they were escaping.

Eventually Josef, Igor and a rather curious Oscar returned to the body. Igor, experienced in examining the deceased noted that not only had the fatal quarrels been removed from the two dead men but that they had rather obviously had their coin-pouches cut, their clothes rummaged through -very- thoroughly and arranged to appear as if they had passed out from drink.

Not wishing to incriminate themselves the three fellows returned to the Berbeli and settled down to sleep. No sooner had dawn arrived than Josef awoke them all by making his way on deck loudly. They did not notice Edgar quietly slipping out of the barge a few moments later, and returning within the hour. A few hours later Josef returned, ruddy faced, and informed the company they were departing immediately. It seemed one of the noblemen from the Boatman last night had been murdered, the other injured, their bodyguards having fled.

Oscar in particular had been fingered as a suspect with Reiner and Igor wanted for questioning. Josef said the innkeep at the Boatman had said posters with their likenesses were most likely going up throughout Altdorf with the implication being they were considered to have murdered the nobleman. Oscar decided it would be unwise to return to the University and decided to remain on the barge while Reiner reasoned this might lead the watch to ask too many questions the group did not wish to answer so Josef unlocked and untied the barge and the company were soon setting sail down the river towards the Weiss Canal - their destination, Bogenhafen.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Reik Time, Reik Place

The coach arrived in the Koenigplatz at nightfall and was set upon by bawds and touts. The five fellows, intent on planning their next move to Bogenhafen, moved into a nearby street after having several times prevented their baggage from being stolen. Unfortunately some pickpockets profitted from the distractions.

As they took their bearings at the edge of the Koenigplatz Sidonia noted two fellows had followed them. Igor thought they were attempting some bizarre form of sign language as one kept scratching his ear. Eventually Reiner shooed them off.

Finding a non-descript and unnamed keghouse off the docks the five attempted to enquire of lodgings. There they found that buying a round of drinks was required to gain the conversation of the barkeep. They were halfway through their drinks when Josef Quartjin, a burly bargeman entered the keghouse. Josef had been seeking hands for his next cargo-run along the Reik. He was surprised to see Igor, an old friend of his from when he occasionally stopped in Nuln. Igor greeted his old friend and Josef asked to be introduced to the rest of the company. Reiner was introduced as Kastor. Josef quietly mentioned that he had something important to tell Igor. He even made a few remarks that aroused Reiner's suspicions about Igor's profession.

The company tried to persuade Josef that he should consider a trip to Bogenhafen. Josef remarked that it would soon be festival time in Bogenhafen and that he could perhaps get a fair price for some wine. He considered their offer to work their passage and invited them to join him at the Boatman for a bottle of wine or two.

The Inheritors

Early the next morning Reiner Dargenberg stalked the common room of the Gables inn, leaving the innkeep to his work. The soldier marked the passage of a coach at this ungodly early hour. He was soon joined by Edgar and the quiet student from the coach, both of whom sat reading as breakfast was served. Eventually the rest of the company rose and the irritable coachmen asked Igor for the part of their coach so they might ready the coach.

The innkeep explained to the company that the Ratchett Lines Coach Company was in poor financial straits compared to the newer and cheaper coaching companies such as the Four Seasons Coaching Company that were dominating the Altdorf-Middenheim road.

In contrast to the previous morn the coach was readied and it was only the late arrival of Lady Isolde and her entourage that delayed the departure. Eventually the coach was loaded and the fellows set for with too much haste for Edgar's preference.

Two hours later as Edgar remarked on this to Gunnar they were forced to stop suddenly. On the road was a hunched figure which turned out to be eating one of the coach drivers from the coach Reiner has seen drive past the inn that morn. At first fearful of the grizzly sight even the most stout heart faltered. The horses, fearful of this unnatural freak, bolted. It took Sidonia to rally the menfolk to action but as she struck the mutant it appeared to recognise her. However the mutant died on Reiner's halberd soon after this.

Realising there were doubtless more of these foul freaks of Chaos the company split. Igor relieved the fellow of his mailed shirt while Phillipe Descartes offered to protect the coach and its passengers. Edgar, Sidonia, Reiner, Brokk and Igor attempted to investigate the howls of the prowling mutants. They found the overturned Four Seasons coach and dispatched five more mutants. Sidonia, Reiner and especially Edgar distinguished themselves and it took Edgar's dweomers to slay the chief mutant.

Sifting through the corpses of the passengers Edgar happened upon one that bore an uncanny resemblence to Reiner. So uncanny was it that the callow apprentice grew pale and his stomach failed him. Igor searched the corpse and found the following missives:-

Dear Herr Lieberung,

After many lengthy researches, we have come to believe that you are the only living relative of one Baronet Lieberung, late of the town of Ubersreik. This being the case, and any other, heretofore unknown and pertinent factor notwithstanding, I am herewith charged to inform you that you are the sole beneficiary of the Baronet’s last will and testement (hereinafter referred to as the document of the first party)

I, the undersigned, acting in my capacity of legal executer of the aforementioned document of the first party, do therefore urge you to make your way with all speed to my offices in the fair town of Bogenhafen. Thereupon, providing that you can produce an affidavit of your identity as Kastor Aloysius Lieberung, signed by two witnesses, we shall be pleased to hand over the title deeds to the Baronet’s Manor House, together with its contents (which include a most tastefully stocked wine cellar), its extensive estates, and the sum of twenty thousand gold Crowns.

I remain your most humble and respectful servant,

Dietrich Barl, K.C., LL. B. (Alt)

Signed this day, the 10th of Nachexen, in the two thousandth, five hundred and twelfth year of the Empire.


and the shorter missive:-


We the undersigned, do solemnly swear that the bearer of this document is one Kastor Lieberung.

Signed

Ingrid Zichermann, Priestess of Sigmar
Oskar Helmut - Guildmaster of Merchants' Guild


Reiner needed little convincing to go after the 20,000 gold crowns. Sidonia and Igor too were enticed by the thought of a share. Edgar on the other hand remained unconvinced and did not agree or disagree and lastly though wine was not to Brokk's taste he realised that 4,000 gold crowns could buy him enough ale and send him to the Chaos Wastes to meet a death of his choosing. They did agree not to mention this to the rest of the coach party.

Phillipe called to the group, interrupting their thoughts of wealth. He told them that the he has spotted riders approaching their coach. Reiner recognised and hailed them as road wardens. Giving his name and rank and explaining the situation to the road wardens (omitting of course the two legal documents of Kastor Leiberung) the road wardens hitched horses to the carriage and let the company continue on to Altdorf.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Coach

Edgar Henriksson strode through the sun-lit halls of the residence of one Heironymous Blitzen of Delberez, his master of many a year. On this day Edgar would depart to Altdorf to deliver a message from Heironymous to the University in Altdorf, and his master seemed strangely emotional this day.

Heironymous did gift Edgar a stout oak staff to speed him on his journey, saying that although Edgar had always been a keen student he thought it best Edgar use his time in Altdorf to sign up for an expedition to the mountains that was being advertised in Delberez. Edgar was somewhat taken-aback by this, fearing that he was not ready for such an expedition. Heironymous laughed, saying that if Edgar did not experience life to the full and gain more practical experience of life it would be many years before he fulfilled his potential as a wizard.

Thus it was, confused, and bearing the magister's missive Edgar did strike forth for the Coach and Horses Inn, a mere three miles from Delberez. Approaching the coaching inn he was dismayed to witness the early-evening coach depart as he was yet a mile from the inn gates.

Inside the inn Brokk, a dwarf whose mohawk proclaimed he was a trollslayer cursed the excesses of ale that had caused him to miss his coach. He did so by ordering yet another ale, reasoning that the next coach, which lay in the stables, would be departing soon.

Edgar did enter the inn to make enquiries about the next coach, whereupon he met Gustav, the excessively talkative landlord of the Coach and Horses. Pursuing his line of enquiry Edgar was joined by the unruly Brokk. Both learned that the next coach was leaving at dawn and seeing the coachmen, Gunnar and Heinz of the Ratchett Lines Coaching Company, already in their cups Edgar began to have his doubts.

At this point a strange gentleman with shock white hair and wild eyes of a mismatched colour entered the inn. He too was subject to Gustav's attempts at conversation and introduced himself as Igor. Moments later a woman with dark eyes entered the tavern and Gustav's inquisition revealed her to be Sidonia.

Last into the inn was a soldier on his way to Altdorf by the name of Reiner. One of the patrons of the inn, a Bretonnian who answered to Phillipe, introduced himself to Reiner. He claimed to recognise a fellow soldier and invited Reiner to join him at cards. Reiner refused but the drunken Brokk was more than happy to play until he lots 4 gold crowns to the Bretonnian and it was decided that the group play such that the winner by the next round of drinks instead. Curiously Phillipe's performance suffered after this fact.

Eventually Phillipe excused himself to go to his room and the rest of the company made arrangements to stay in the more financially appealing common room of the Coach and Horses. As they did so it became increasingly obvious that the excesses of the coachmen would delay their depature in the morning. Igor, clearly a night person, witnessed the coachmen crashing into the common room in the early hours of the morning.

Breakfast was served that morning and the topic of conversation in the inn was of how the coachmen had not woken at dawn to perform the checks on the coach. One of the passengers, a Lady Isolde von Strudeldorf demanded that someone waken the rascals. After some conversation Brokk was elected and forcefully dragged one of the sleeping coachmen into the main room of the inn. Heinz was eventually intimidated to wake his fellow coachman and after some argument from the second coachman, Gunnar, preperations began. Each of the company agreed to pay 3 and a half gold crowns for passage to Altdorf, exactly half the original price of the journey.

As the coach was ready to depart it was clear that there was not enough room for all the passangers. Lady Isolde was most vehement in her desire not to travel with Brokk in the carriage, claiming for some reason that the odour of the trollslayer offended her. The coachmen shrugged as an argument ensued and decided to use the time to down another pint of ale at the bar. A somewhat riled Edgar, fearing he would never see the spires of Altdorf, joined them.

The matter of seating was eventually solved when Brokk arm-wrestled Isolde's bodyguard Marie. Brokk was somewhat surprised to find his dwarven strength was no match for the iron-like muscle of the warrior-woman and soon found himself relegated to the coach roof along with Reiner and Sidonia.

This then led to the problem of once more motivating the coachmen, who eventually emerged from the tavern somewhat worse for wear. Eventually the carriage began to move towards Altdorf, albeit at a rate slower than walking. It became clear the coachmen were drunk... again.

At Reiner's suggestion Igor (who was used to carting his goods) took the reins of the carriage and the coachmen slept off their excesses. This meant the coach began to reach a sensible speed but so much time had been lost that it was unlikely the coach would reach its intended coaching inn for the night.

A few hours later the coach reached the Altdorf-Middenheim junction. Seeing another coaching inn, The Gables, and realising so much time had already been lost the passengers on the coach seemed split on how to proceed. Reiner wanted to stay in the inn rather than risk being trapped outside at dark while Lady Isolde wanted to press on, threatening the group with the wrath of her Aunt Gertrude von Strudeldorf if they did otherwise.

As Igor still had the reins any voting that took place became a moot point. The carriage was soon driven into the stables of the Gables inn and the innkeeper was requested not to sell any intoxicating beverages to the two grumbling coachmen. Also mentioned by the innkeep was that the Ratchett Lines company was strangely suffering in the face of other competiting coaching companies. This did not surprise the group and they went to bed in the common room of the inn with Gunnar and Heinz's promise that they would do better in the morning.

Quote of the Week:

von Strudeldorf to Brokk: "When was the last time you washed your beard?"

Igor: "When was the last time you washed yours?"

Dramatus Personae

Brokk, a Dwarven Trollslayer created by Matt but now played by Chris

Edgar Heinricksson von Aussen, apprentice to Heironymous Blitzen of Delberez played by Jim

Igor of Nuln, an almost albino graverobber on the run from his past played by Dan

The Right Honourable Baronet Oscar ..., a nobleman and scholar who has spent more time fencing than reading in the past three years, played by Rob

Reiner Dargenberg, a soldier from the Reikland played by Iain

Sidonia Katzenbauer, a lady with a roguish look played by Triz