The Golden Trout…
Finja and Ulrico continue to wait for Friedrich Magirius while Kall and Godfrey randomly order from the menu.
Some time passes, and eventually Magirius shows up, making his apologies.
“Now tell me. I must confess, that this meeting had a sense of urgency about it. I presume everything is good, is it not?” Magirius asks.
Finja begins telling Magirius about how she arrived in Bogenhafen, and how she isn’t really a noble from a minor house. She tells him about how her mother was brutally murdered, and that her brother and sister were missing. She goes on to say that she feels that there is a grave threat throughout the Empire, and here in Bogenhafen, and begins to tell him of the Strigany mystic’s vision.
Magirius meets this with much skepticism however, until Finja mentions the Teugen crest, dripping with blood into an ocean of blood as it washes over the town. Magirius is quite alarmed, but still not entirely believing her story. Its only when he mentions the Ordo Septenarious, the Order of the Seven, that Finja inquires if indeed there are 7 members in the Inner Council, and whether they wear blood red robes. It’s at this that Magirius perks up; “Blood robes? How could you possibly know that? Nobody outside the Inner Council is aware of that…”
Now assured that Finja may indeed be telling the truth, Magirius spills the details concerning the meeting. He tells them that Teugen has a Inner Council meeting planned for noon, having already changed the time twice already. Only two hours from now!
Finja tells him that his life is in danger, and that he should not show up for the meeting. Magirius confesses that he is doing his own investigation, and that it would only put his life in danger if he decided not to show up. Finja convinces him that she will learn what she can in his place, alluding to the fact that she is going to infiltrate the Inner Council, but she leaves the details of which out.
Magirius then says, “Tell me, have you ever heard of Karl Teugen?”
To which Finja replies that she has not. Magirius then begins to tell her the story concerning Karl Teugen…
“He was a dear friend of mine. In fact, I owe my very position to that man. He was, in every respect, the towns saint. A man of excellent character, and whom even the poorest wretch could turn too for charitable aid. Sadly, my dear friend disappeared 2 years ago. Vanished, without a trace. His disappearance coincided with the arrival of Johann Teugen, his brother. Karl rarely spoke of his brother, but when he did, he didn’t have a kind word to spare for the man. I could tell right away that Johann was a man full of greed, a wretched man in every sense. I immediatley took a dislike to him. Fact that he showed up just as my good friend Karl disappeared certainly arroused my suspicions.
Johann Teugen immediately took over the family business. Of course, on the outside, the man pretended to be just like my brother in kindness. But I knew it was all for show. It was then that he had set up the Ordo Septenarious, the Order of the Seven. We were, in his words, a ‘charitable’ group, but in secret, we were plotting for our own riches. Teugen had some grand scheme involving getting rich beyond our means. He said it would take time to prepare. But I suspect there’s more to it than that.
You see my good lady, my good sir… I’ve been investigating for sometime. I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of this, and most of all, I’ve been trying to find my dear friend, Karl Teugeon. Although I must confess that I fear the worse, but if I can find out whatever foul fate has befallen him, then at least I can put my mind to rest…”
Finja asks him if the disappearances and murders started when Teugen arrived. Magirius nods, indicating that they started within a couple of months of their arrival.
With a clearer picture now, and a somewhat shaky Magirius, Finja has learned all she can from him. She advises him to stay clear of the meeting, and that she will get a message to him as soon as possible. She gestures towards Kall Horst, sitting across the way at another table, and says that he should not be alarmed if a man of that description gives him a message.
Magirius bids his farewell, having barely touched his food. He departs with a final warning for Finja, to beware of a man called Gideon who is linked with Teugen.
Finja and Ulrico depart the Golden Trout, having also lost their appetite for what was discussed, and make their way to meet up with the rest and discuss what was mentioned.
Borri, after finishing a few rounds of drinks at the Bee and Barb Inn, makes his way out into the town looking for a Physician. He eventually finds a man of such profession, and seeks his aid in patching Borri up, having been injured quite severely in the fight at the Crosspike earlier. The physician charges Borri a rather richly sum of 7 crowns, but Borri comes out feeling much better.
Eckhardt however is at the Bee and Barb stables, feeding his pig some feed. He’s about to depart when a farmer comes up, inquiring as to whether or not Eckhardt plans on selling the pig. Eckhardt bluntly tells him to clear off, to which the farmer, despite trying to further negotiate, does indeed clear off.
Eckhardt makes his way to the festival with pig in tow, with the intention of seeking someone who may sell a bottle of Kislevite vodka. He eventually finds such a stall. A man with a great bushy beard and wearing a large fur hat greets him in a thick Kislevian accent.
The Kislevite at first doesn’t take much of a liking to Eckhardt, and reckons the man can’t afford some of his premium stock. Instead he gives him a small taste of vodka after Eckhardt places a crown onto the table. The man snatches it up without hesitation and pours some for Eckhardt. Eckhardt swallows it back with ease, and remarks how its quite poor compared to what he’s used to, and knows that most reassuringly he was ripped off.
The man however dares him to try some of his premium stuff and takes out a bottle, pouring him some. Eckhardt remarks that its quite good, and gives the man 3 crowns for a bottle, and then makes his way to a nearby stream along with his pet pig for a bit of solitary drinking.
It takes sometime, but the party eventually meet up. Finja tells them about what was discussed with Magirius. They form a plan; Ulrico and Finja will make their way to the Crosspike, to inform Baumann and retrieve the mask for the meeting, as Finja plans on going as Magirius.
Kall, Borri, Godfrey and Eckhardt plan to do some reconnaissance of the grounds. Finja says that Kall should be careful, but if he can get as close as he can without too much risk, to keep an eye on the proceedings in the event that something goes wrong, while the rest watch from the street.
Kall takes up residence on the western side of the residence along with Belvar, noting that the back of the residence has a 10 foot wall, but the sides and front have a 6 foot 5 spiked fence going around it, with the only gate being the front of the residence. One guard who looks like a local stevedore stands guard, with no sign of obvious armor other than a sword for company.
Borri and Eckhardt loiter around the park at the front of the residence, taking care to separate and not to look too suspicious.
Godfrey parks himself across the way, not far from the front gate, but off the Adel Ring itself to lessen suspicion.
Finja and Ulrico arrive at the Crosspike, and find that its locked up. They go around and make use of the sewer entrance. With some fiddling about they find it and enter the cellar. They find Baumann having a discreet chat with two of his men, and Baumann gives Finja a rather frosty reception. Franz Baumann dismisses his men, and Finja tells Baumann the news concerning the meeting, and remarks how she’ll be needing the mask for it. Baumann does the procedure for returning the mask to which Finja watches very closely as how he does it.
He hands her the mask rather hesitantly, and Ulrico suggests there and then in front of Baumann to try the mask, encase Baumann has tried to trick them. Baumann frowns at the remark and says it would do him no good to hinder his own efforts in retrieving his sister.
They leave the Crosspike, and make their way across the plaza back towards the Teugen residence as it nears noon.
Along the way, they overhear some shouting taking place in the nearby plaza. They continue on, but Finja and Ulrico are listening on as they walk by, taking note of what is being said.
An old wiry looking man dressed in rags stands in the center plaza, shouting out, and occasionally pointing towards the sky.
Glancing towards the sky, they see it; Morrslieb, hanging low over the town, casting a menacing shadow over Bogenhafen. A rare sight indeed and quite unusual they remark.
The man continues raving on, “The shadow looms over us! Our doom is at hand! All they had will be mine mine mine!”
His ramblings seem to contain no consistency as he shouts, “There be a man, hidden away in the depths of a cell! Chained against his will! His identity stolen from him! For he was once my friend, and now he is all but lost!”
A pebble comes hurtling out from the crowd, “Away with you ya mad goat! Away!” followed by a few more who start hurtling pebbles at the man. Having had enough of the bruising, the old peasant runs away from the crowd, down an alleyway. Finja asks Ulrico to take special note of the mans face and the direction that he went in.
They soon arrive at the residence of Johann Teugen, and Ulrico prepares to find a quiet place to watch from afar.
Finja strides down an alleyway, and puts the mask on. She imagines herself as Magirius… But again, feels no change. Looking at her hands, she only see’s her own. She’ll need to find a reflection of some sort to find out if she is truly changed.
She hears an abrupt cough, and turns to see a beggar in a recess in the alleyway, staring at her, jaw wide, frozen in fear… Knowing that she indeed has changed, she tosses the man a copper, “A gift from Magirius,” and makes her way to the Teugen residence.
She passes the stevedore at the front gate who lets her in, or rather, lets Magirius in. Making her way to the front entrance, she spies two guards and a mean looking brute of a dog. It lets out a low growl as she approaches. The guard reigns it in on its chains, and steps aside, opening the door.
Stepping in, Finja gazes takes a curious look at her surroundings. On either side of her, beautiful carved statues stare out as she enters, possibly bearing the resemblance of the Teugen ancestry. Two paintings by either side also bear two different men. One a young handsome looking man with a kind face, the other, a much older gentlemen with a grizzled look.
A servant approaches and tells her that the meeting is underway, and inquires as to whether or not Magirius would like to change now into his robes.
Catching on quick that she doesn’t have the ceremonial robes that Magirius spoke about at their meeting, she flippantly tells the servant that she will make do without.
Meanwhile… Kall Horst has jumped the fence, after standing on Belvar. It’s a public street, with most bystanders attending the last day of the Schaffenfest festival, and luckily for Kall he wasn’t spotted. He makes his way towards a pillar, sneaking as best as he can. However he catches the scent of a nearby dog who is patrolling the grounds with his owner. Kall throws some horsefeed afar towards a pool. The dog gets very close, but follows his nose instead towards the pool. A close call.
Finja follows the servant into the main meeting hall. Teugen turns to meet Magirius, “Magirius, have you decided to neglect our tradition. You’ve not come properly dressed for the occassion. Where are your robes?”
Teugen is a rather short plump of a man with a wide girth. He looks like he’s seen better days as dark shadows nest under his eyes, giving him a perpetual tired look to him.
Finja, disguised as Magirius, tells Teugen that they have something important to discuss of utmost urgency, hoping to deflect Teugen’s question concerning the robes. Teugen however is not pleased, and even more so when Finja states that there is strange goings on within the town, “My Town…” Teugen reacts angrily, “Your town? I believe you’ve stepped out of line Magirius. You come here, not even dressed for the meeting, talk of urgency and you declare such a bold proclamation?”
Finja manages to back herself out of the corner by stating that she did not mean it in that fashion, but merely that she, or rather, Magirius, cares for the town greatly. Teugen’s patience however is at its limit, “I suggest you sit down, Magirius, and let us carry on with this meeting. If you’ve got something to discuss, then we shall do so after the meeting. Now… sit.”
Dismissing his servant, Teugen begins the meeting.
“Now, to business at hand… I’m sure all of you are wondering why I’ve called you here, since our last Inner Council meeting did not occur for sometime now. As you all know… there have been preparations to proceed ahead with the ritual. The details of this ritual has been kept a secret, but it is time that you know; for the ritual will be taking place tonight, so I suggest you free yourself of any plans you might have tonight.”
“On such short notice?” one of them asks.
Teugen replies, “Yes… It’s taken us a long time to get here, but finally its at hand. I do not want to risk advanced notice of our meeting landing into the laps of those who seek to undo all our hard work. Come tonight, we will all be rich, well beyond our means. We will have the markets at our feet, at our mercy…”
Another member speaks up, “And pray tell, what does the ritual involve exactly?”
“Ah yes… A sacrifice.”
A few heads start turning, glancing at one another… “What sort of animal will be sacrificed?” one of them asks.
Teugen stifles a laugh, and says, “O no, no no. No animal. This will be a human sacrifice…”
The council members erupt in a discord amongst themselves as they react in shock. “Surely you jest? We cannot be complicit in such a gastly scheme…” one of them states.
“O I do not jest my good man. Surely you do not expect to gain such vast amounts of wealth without some measure of ghastly business, as you would call it. I can assure you however, that the one to be sacrificed is quite deserving. She is a wretched little thing. One of the sewer jacks in my employ found her in the sewers, raving mad she was, and clutching a dead newborn in her hands, feasting upon its innards. She is nothing but a monster, a fiend, and her fate is not deserving of the honor that we bestow upon her… But we will do so regardless, for I would never spill innocent blood to further our gains…”
Teugen calls the meeting at an end, informing them that the details of the meeting of where and when, will be revealed to them later today. But he asks if they have any objections, that they should speak up.
Finja, still disguised as Magirius with the mask on, speaks up. Not a objection, but rather an attempt to ascertain as to when this meeting will take place. Teugen says all in good time… and dismisses the rest of the council while Finja stays back to have a private discussion with Teugen.
Kall Horst has killed a stevedore. Perhaps the intention wasn’t there, but left with no choice as the stevedore turns around as Horst had clumsily stepped on a branch, alerting the man. Kall quickly fires his crossbow, and shoots the man in the head with ease, killing him outright. He walks up and hides the body in a nearby Gazebo. Kall looks around for and remains in concealment. However, its not long until another patrol comes his way. This time the dog that he had seen earlier along with its master. It starts sniffing around the gazebo. Kall exits the other side, and then makes his way around from behind, and attacks them in surprise with his repeater crossbow. He kills the stevedore, luckily for him these dockworkers are not great fighters and seem cheaply paid, but a sword is a sword, and the man has injured Kall.However the dog latches onto Kall’s foot, and the tenacious hound doesn’t relent as it bites through his boots. Kall, clearly pissed off, aims his crossbow point blank at the dog and kills it.
Bloody, badly wounded, and now looking for a way out, Kall hides another body in the Gazebo. However, the barking of the dog and the fighting that had taken place in the Gazebo has alerted the suspicion of nearby guard in earshot, and makes his way around to investigate.
Inside the mansion, Finja is discussing with Teugen about the ritual taking place tonight. She tells Teugen that there is talk in the town of strange murders taking place, people missing, and now the Sigmarite temple business… That she feels that the meeting tonight may not be safe, and suggests bringing in ‘outsiders’ to bolster up security. Teugen gets aggressive, “Outsiders? No… Certainly not. Absolutely not! I have everything at hand, I assure you. Gideon has assured me personally that the ritual will take place as planned, and you have nothing to fear. As to these murders and such, such foul rumors that they are, I have it on good authority that the witch hunters are looking into this matter, as are the watch. You’ve nothing to fear Magirius.”
Yet Finja tries to press the issue, trying to get some hint from Teugen as to where the meeting is being held, and when. However, it only causes Teugen to become more aggressive. Soon their frosty discussion is at an end, and Finja makes her departure, while leaving a rather angry Teugen behind.
Kall Horst is busy attempting to loot one of the bodies before he decides to make his leave, when another guard comes up behind him, Kall hears him just in time however, turning to shoot at the man. His bolt hits true, but the man struggles on and deals Horst a nasty leg wound, forcing him to the ground. Kall would have been a gonner, there and then, with no hope for survival had it not been for Eckhardt Konrad, who jumped in at the last moment. Eckhardt had been on the outside of the fence, keeping an eye on things and overheard the commotion at the Gazebo. He jumped the fence with relative ease, being a fairly tall man. He charged the stevedore with his halberd, killing him outright just before he could deal one final blow to Kall Horst to finish him off.
More guards are sent around the back after Teugen overheard the struggle, ordering his men to investigate.
Kall Horst is in no condition to fight, and is hoisted up on the shoulders of Eckhardt. They plan to reach the western side of the gardens where Belvar is waiting, to make a quick escape.
However their pursuit is dogged by more of Teugen’s men, who discover the bodies in the Gazebo that is now a makeshift mortuary. If they are caught… There is no escaping the hangman’s noose! Even with Baumann’s man as the Captain of the Watch, such reckless behavior can not be covered up.
Eckhardt has no choice now but to drop Kall into a nearby bush, unable to outrun the guards, and another hound that is running up after them. He readies his halberd to face his foes. 3 stevedores in total advance on them, but they stay back, preferring to let the dog take down the big man with the halberd. Eckhardt manages to dart out of the way of its attack just in time, and strikes the dog down with his halberd. The men advance onto Eckhardt, one of them is enraged that Eckhardt killed his poor pooch.
Eckhardt manages to intimidate one of them, forcing them to flee. The lowly paid stevedore has no objection and runs off, while the other attacks, and another starts trying to get at Kall Horst, hacking at the bush as Kall shoots out with his crossbow.
Finja see’s the commotion, and decides to head off to a nearby alley. She tries to concentrate and remember what the Captain of the Guard looks like, having seen him at Baumann’s Crosspike briefly. She manages to remember, and changes into the captain.
Ulrico tries to climb Belvar with the hope of jumping the fence to give aid, but Belvar is having none of it, and knocks him off his ass. Borri decides it might be best to bring Belvar around to the front and into the garden.
Teugen is outside now, shouting for the watch. The stevedore at the gate had already abandoned his post. Finja runs towards him disguised as the Captain.
“There you are captain! Where’s your men! Do your job man, I’ve got intruders around the back killing my men!”
Finja decides to escort Teugen off the premises, and away from the fighting. As she does, she spots two watchmen running towards them, having heard Teugen shout. Bystanders are also now watching with glee at the events unfolding. Finja orders the two watchmen to escort Teugen to the watch barracks.
With them out of the way, Finja makes her way around the back along with the rest of the party.
Eckhardt has managed to scare off another stevedore after killing the enraged one, although he is badly and severely wounded from the fight. The stevedore runs off in the direction of Finja, who orders him, still disguised as the captain, to remain inside the Teugen house for the time being. She publicly announces that she is deputizing Ulrico and Borri, along with Godfrey, in an attempt to deflect any suspicion as to why they are there. Whether or not it will work, is another thing…
They find a bloody and battered Kall Horst along with a badly wounded out of breath Eckhardt, taking a few sips from his bottle of Vodka.
Kall remarks that they need to kill any remaining witnesses, but Finja is having none of it. “You need to get out, now! Before the rest of the watch show up… There isn’t time for anything else!”
They agree, and make their way to the front gate, bystanders still watching these events. Finja tries her best to make it look like as if a couple of arrests have been made as they leave the front gate, but the trick loses its merit when the party spot a dozen or so armed watchmen quickly making their way towards the residence from further down the street, and panic starts to set in. Eckhardt and Kall set out on Belvar and split from the rest of the group. Ulrico and Finja seperate, and Borri and Godfrey decide to head off in the opposite direction of the watch.
Finja removes her mask, and is transformed back as herself. Just in time too… she spots the real Captain of the Watch coming around the corner, with two watchmen in tow! She manages to divert their attention for a mere moment with a scream. Did the captain recognize her I wonder? If he did, he gave no indication as they ran in the direction that Finja stated the murderers went.
Eckhardt and Kall are darting through the street on Belvar. Kall is struggling at this stage, his leg a bloody mess, and barely staying conscious. Panic sets Belvar as Kall tries to steer him down an alleyway, but they are forced to head back and try another route.
“Watch! Hey you! Over there, those there on the horse!” a commoner shouts.
Four watchmen turn and spot Kall and Eckhardt. Kall kicks Belvar into a gallop as they make their way towards the poorer part of town, where the Crosspike tavern lies, with the watch shouting for them to stop from behind.
Meanwhile… Liliana is plucked from her cell, and offers a token resistance to the thug as he marches her upstairs. She steps into what looks like a rundown cabin of sorts. Dust and cobwebs line the corners, and it is dimly lit, with the only source of lighting coming from a nearby fireplace and a couple of candles. Drab curtains are closed over the windows, blocking out the natural light. In the center, sits Gideon… at the front of a table bearing food and drink.
“Sit. You must be hungry little one. You’ll no longer be needing those.”
The thug that marched Liliana from her cell removes her manacles, freeing her entirely.
“The last time I had anything to drink, you poisoned me…”
“Indeed. But your alive, aren’t you? I’ve no intention of poisoning you further. You may be naive, but your not completely stupid to fall for such a thing twice. Sit. Eat at my hospitality. For this will be your last feast. You are deserving of that much.”
“I’ll do as such, if you answer my questions.”
Liliana sits, and eats, gobbling up the food, having been malnourished since she was taken captive.
“The other girl chained up, how did she end up here?” Liliana asks.
“Ah… She is a nosy one. Caught her meddling in business that didn’t concern her. Decided that she would make a good sacrifice… until you came along.”
“And what about you and Piggy? What’s your deal?”
Gideon laughs, “Piggy… Yes you mean Teugen? He and I have a… binding contract. A bargain if you will, and I aim to collect on said bargain. Business really. The details of which do not concern you. For tonight my master will feast upon your soul, and you will reap the benefits, I assure you…”
“Shall we play a game my dear? I do like games…”
“What sort of game?” Liliana asks…
Liliana starts feeling an intense pain her chest… and Gideon smirks at her winching, but the pain subsides as Liliana fights it, almost wishing it away. Gideon looks somewhat bemused.
“How are you feeling my dear? Slight ingestion? I must say, I lied when I said I didn’t poison the food. I guess you are stupid enough to fall for it twice. O don’t you worry… it won’t kill you. But it will cause you immeasurable pain. Pain for which there is an antidote, one of my own making…”
Liliana starts feeling the pain again, but fights it back, once more, angering Gideon even further…
“I’ve got to admit your rather stubborn. I’ve certainly underestimated your resolve… Perhaps I did not put enough in the food.”
The pain comes surging back, and Liliana clenches the table, trying to fight it, and again it subsides.
Gideon is now enraged at this point. Clearly this is not the outcome he had expected…
Liliana fights back the remainder of the poison, and tells Gideon…
“I’ll claw my way back from whatever hell Tzeetch drags me to. I’ll come back time after time to spit on your grave. You, piggy and that lector are all on borrowed time Gideon. The gods won’t favor you forever. They’ll grow bored as they do. Mortals are stronger than immortals – we struggle and strive for power while you take it for granted. Fuck you. I’ll die knowing I’m better than you!”
Gideon stares at her with anger flaring up in his eyes as Liliana is dragged away by his man, all the while shouting at him and cursing at him and mocking him.
And the air grows colder…
[GM Note] – Liliana did 4 toughness tests to resist the poison at escalating difficulty, and passed every one! A rare feat…