The Berebelli barge continues downstream towards Weissbruck; the party a little bit shaken from their ordeal earlier on.
Pulling into the Weissbruck Lock, preparing to exit the canal, someone shouts across from the south bank.
“O excuse me, can I have a moment of your time?”
Heads turn towards the bank to see a man in polished armor wearing a surcoat more commonly found in Bretonnnia.
“What ya want!” inquires Ernst Steurmann.
The Bretonnian Knight begins to tell his story. He goes on about a vision he received from Lady of the Lake and how he saw the barge in his vision and those onboard, and says that he is on a mission of glory and has sought them out.
Ernst is not impressed with talk of visions, and simply says, “O… A looney then. Great. Well ya ain’t getting on-board.” Ernst also calls this ‘Lady of the Lake’ some sorcerous hag, to which Liliana explains to Ernst who this Lady of the Lake is.
However, Liliana Karling cuts in and starts launching a tirade against the Bretonnian Knight. Apparently something has riled her up and caused her to go on the defensive as she started questioning the Knight in his own native tongue, Breton.
The exchange ceases when Ernst calls out that he will meet the knight on the docks, as the lock-keeper is getting impatient at this stage with the barge holding up the traffic.
As the barge pulls into the docks, the Bretonnian meets them, introducing himself as Godfrey de Montfort. He says he is here seeking passage with them and that his mission is of great importance. Godfrey meets heavy skepticism, but ends up giving his sword to Ernst to show that he can be trusted.
Satisfied with this, Ernst invites him on-board to his cabin to discuss this further.
With privacy assured, Ernst hands the knight his sword back and demands that he give him a good reason for seeking passage.
Godfrey explains to him about his vision that he received from the Lady of the Lake and how it guided him here, to seek out the barge. He also says that the vision had disturbing elements to it, something about a civil war and that the party in question will potentially be involved somehow.
Ernst makes his opinion known, “I don’t take much heed in visions. Let me give you some advice Breton. Here in the Empire, talk of such things is a quick way to find a rope around ya neck. Maybe back in home you could discuss such things openly, here however, it’s just a different matter. As for this ‘quest’ your on, I’m simply ferrying them to Bogenhafen. I intend on parting ways then, I’ve picked up enough trouble as it is. If you wish to stay with them that’s your business and theirs.”
Godfrey gives his thanks and hands over 50 silver after Ernst sought payment for passage which included Godfrey’s mount, a Bretonnian warhorse.
Hopping off the barge, the party are confronted with two halflings who approach to measure the barge for its docking fee. However they run scared after seeing the sea creature that the party tied to the side of the barge. They come back shortly with four riverwardens.
Ernst explains to them the situation and gets Liliana to explain to them what the creature is. Liliana however offers a single crown to them if they could fetch anyone who happens to know about such creatures. Her tactic is to ensure that the creature’s nature and how dangerous it truly is, is spelled out by someone with such knowledge so that a greater reward may be offered.
A riverwarden captain, driven by the onset of seeing a crown, explains to them that there is nobody in Weissbruck with such knowledge, at least nobody that he knows, and the only one he ever heard of is a well known scholar in Bogenhafen by the name of Friedrich Seits.
The captain tries his luck in not offering up the stated reward by declaring that the reward for killing such a creature is recognition and ‘thanks’ from those who can now ferry goods to and fro in good safety.
Ernst isn’t buying it and neither is the party. Liliana tries to explain how the valiant efforts of the crew tried to kill it and that it resulted in the injury of a crew member. Ernst immediately elbows for her to shut up and reflects the inquisitive nature of the riverwarden captain as to the extent of this injury and how it came to be.
Eventually the warden agrees to throw them a reward, but they are left 10 shillings short. Liliana opts to give her share of it to Kall Horst, who is currently resting in the hold of the barge, being looked after by Ulrico.
Ernst makes his excuses to leave and tells them to stay out of trouble, that they’ll be leaving early on the morrow. He strides over, pretending not to show interest in the Brothel nearby on the docks.
“Sorry, can I have your attention?”
A gruff voice cries out from behind Steurmann.
Turning he looks around, and then he looks down…
A dwarf, an unarmored one at that.
“I’m seeking passage on your fair barge. To Bogenhafen.”
Ernst rolls his eyes, “It seems everyone and their mother is seeking passage on my barge. Can you pay? Have you got any small pets? Animals? Pigs, horses?” he looks about the Dwarf.
“No, just me…”
“Fine,” Ernst says, “20 shillings and just don’t tell the Knight. I charged him 50.”
Ernst points towards the other passengers for Borri to make their acquaintance. “It’s a 3 day journey to Bogenhafen, you might as well get comfortable.”
Borri makes his introduction, and Liliana seems rather giddy and ecstatic to see a dwarf.
With their introductions out of the way, Borri, Liliana and Finja head off to the market looking for a bookstore as Finja is keen on learning to read from Liliana.
Back at the barge, Godfrey meets Ulrico and Eckhardt who are down in the hold, with Ulrico seeing to Kall’s injuries. Ernst comes back with a prostitute in hand. Suprised to see them still there, he asks for privacy, telling Ulrico that Kall will be fine, he just needs rest. Godfrey doesn’t budge until Ernst offers him 5 silver to fetch a few drinks at the local inn.
They make their way over to the Happy Harpy Inn near the docks and meet up with Finja, Borri and Liliana. A few drinks are ordered and Eckhardt tries his hand at gambling with Liliana tutoring him, while Finja plays the flute. There was some talk earlier about drugging the entire establishment with some sleeping herbs in either to get a room since they were told the place was full, but the less talk about insane plans the better…
As Eckhardt is only just settling in on his second game of Altdorf High, a man enters the tavern and shouts, “It has started! She has been judged! Come and see!”
Everyone in the inn, bar a few staff, leave and follow the crowd. Godfrey tells them rather casually that it’s just a witch being burned at the stake, and that sort of thing happens quite a lot back where he comes from. However the others are quite curious and follow, with Finja showing concern as to how this woman was judged and if she was judged fairly.
Following around to the Plaza where most of the commotion seems to be taking place, Finja inquires with a nearby passerby as to what is happening.
“A witch has been judged and her judgement is taking place now.”
Finja inquires further as to the extent of her crimes.
“O she was a local herbalist, lived just on the outskirts of town. Couple of weeks ago some of her customers fell seriously ill, and all had succumbed to death. I’ve a cousin who was amongst her victims. She’ll pay for this she will! Fabregas Grey will see to that!”
At the sudden mention of that name, Fabregas Grey, Ulrico suddenly turns on his heels and leaves heading back towards the barge.
Borri is not to keen on attending either and plays catch-up with Ulrico.
Making their way to the plaza, they spot an old woman tied to a stake, a large crowd, possibly the entire town, has gathered around her.
The party get a good view, but Finja wants to get closer and edges nearer to the front. Liliana tries to warn her to stay, but her warnings go unheeded. She goes into the crowd to try and seek her out, obviously not wanting a repeat of what happened with that Sigmar priest in Altdorf.
“Make way for Fabregas Grey, make way!” Someone in the crowd calls out. The crowd begins to part ways.
As they do, a man of a large build steps through.
Standing at around 6,6, his presence alone put the entire plaza in silence as he made confident strides towards the woman tied to the stake.
However in her desperation to find Finja, Liliana fumbles and falls out onto the path of the witch hunter. He stops, and looks down at her with disdain in his eyes. Liliana is frozen with fear, but she composes herself, not gracefully, as she makes a sign of the hammer and a muffled prayer as she crab-crawls back into the crowd. The whole crowd at that moment let out a deep sigh, as if they were holding their breath.
Fabregas Grey continues up towards the witch, ignoring the mild distraction.
Approaching the stake, the accused witch spits down at him, cackling away like some hoarse crow and shouting out, “Do your worse Sigmarite dog! I curse thee to eternity!”
The witch hunter seems unfazed by this as he speaks up, “Judgement has been passed upon you, foul hag. You have no power here, not anymore. The righteous fires of judgement will consume thee and your sins sucked away like poison from a wound!” Grey throws the torch he was holding towards the foot of the pyre, setting it alight.
The witch continues to cackle as the fires continue to climb towards her. She suddenly snaps her head towards Finja, who is watching nearby. Her gaze meeting hers, she shouts, wide-eyed, “The Gods play a fickle game for it is a game of faces!” She lets out a hoarse laugh mingled with pain as the fires have reached her whole.
Soon there is nothing left but charred flesh.
Somewhat chilled from the witch’s cryptic prophecy, Finja departs with the rest of the party back to the barge. Godfrey is the only one to have noticed that the witch’s prophecy was directed at Finja.
Back at the barge, Liliana grows concerned after finding out that Ernst Steurmann is absent. Checking his cabin, she finds it roughed up and out of order. She asks around and finds out from Ulrico that Ernst brought back a ‘lady of the night’ with him.
Fearing that something might have happened, she gets everyone together and marches out towards the brothel.
On their way there, they see a drunken Ernst Steurmann making his way back to the barge, stumbling as he went.
Liliana goes over and slaps him hard, forcing him down on his arse.
What follows is pent-up anger and rage directed at Ernst Steurmann over abandoning his nephew, getting so drunk up that they’ll be lucky to leave for the Bogenhafen festival on the morrow as planned and several ‘choice’ words about how he chooses to spend his time with the ladies of Weissbruck.
Steurmann stands up, after struggling for abit, and with his head bowed and his merry jovial step gone, he makes his way towards the barge in silence.
After some effort seeing that he makes his way into his cabin, he collapses onto the bed, passed out.
With midnight approaching, the party decide to get some shut-eye, but take shifts on watch.
Godfrey and Ulrico are the first ones on watch.
The Weissbruck dock is covered in darkness and the lamplighter they saw earlier going about his business to light the docks is nowhere to be seen, as some of the lights have gone out.
All of a sudden, a metal clasp is heard in the silence of the night, and a bolt comes racing out of the darkness, striking Godfrey’s plate helmet, severely wounding him.
Ulrico alerts everyone.
It looks like their trouble is only starting…