After a short break, we are back!
The party follow the other barge, keeping some distance as they make their way down river towards the town of Wittgendorf, following the Red Crown’s contact.
It’s at least a 2 day journey. On the first night, the party pull over onto the west bank to get some rest.
Borri who has been liberally taking advantage of Bugman’s Triple X is completely out of it, drunk as a skunk and makes his way to the captains cabin to sleep it off. Along the way he see’s Tafwick busy scrawling on a scrap of paper the deeds of Durgin; a duty that he now bears the responsibility for ever since Durgin made him his Rememberer. Borri, who frankly doesn’t like Tafwick all that much, started ranting and raving at him before bizarrely rubbing and massaging his face and saying how he needs to protect himself.
Durgin, upon hearing this, goes down to scold Borri and warn him to leave his chronicler alone, to which Borri obliges by going into his cabin.
Four hours pass by as the first watch ceases and Ulrico goes down to wake up Tafwick, only to discover that Tafwick is tied up! With his own rope…
Ulrico wakes the groggy halfling up and Tafwick is mightily confused, professing that they might have a stowaway onboard. They search the place and find that a basket of eggs that Tafwick had bought awhile ago is missing, with one egg cracked on the floor. Taf’s pouch of stinging powder is also missing. A further search by Ulrico discovers the powder near Borri, but they rule him out of tying up Tafwick since Borri is one-handed and would have be incapable of tying him up. Tafwick points to under the bed upon which Borri is sleeping. Kall Horst, who was sleeping at the back of the barge gets rudely awakened and is told to bring his crossbow.
Tafwick is the first to step forward to lift the bed sheets up and to take a gander under the bed.
They see a little girl, about 8 or 10, hiding under the bed and currently sucking on the cracked remains of an egg. She’s dressed in peasant garbs and is barefoot. It is quite clear however that the girl bears the hallmarks of taint; the left side of her face is heavily deformed and scarred. Kall Horst, who seemingly fears little girls, fires off his crossbow immediately and promptly leaves the cabin to go back to his bed. (Apparently Kall doesn’t even remember any of this. Odd.)
The bolt misses widely however and instead Borri is rudely awakened with a bolt in his leg. A screaming Borri is treated by Ulrico as Tafwick tries to talk to the little girl, but she crawls further in towards the bed. At this point Durgin, the dwarf slayer, comes down. Upon hearing about a mutant girl under the bed, Durgin loses it and demands that it be killed at once. He even tries to flip the bed but fails in doing so. Tafwick tries to calm him down and tells him that he’ll take care of her, that there is no need for violence yet.
He climbs under the bed and tries to entice her out. (After passing his Fellowship check) Tafwick succeeds in convincing the girl that he means her no harm, and he even gives her 5 shillings. The girl responds by wrapping her arms around his neck as Tafwick crawls out with a little mutant girl dangling from him. Durgin is not impressed.
Tafwick heads up on deck to try and shake her off, but the girl refuses to let go. He decides to go onto the bank and Durgin follows. Finally he gets her to loosen her grip, but as she does she swipes a pair of socks from Tafwick. Apparently stealing socks (she’s barefoot after all) is grounds for execution as Tafwick says to her, “I warned you not to steal,” and gives her over to Durgin.
Durgin, the mighty fearless dwarf slayer that he is, kills the unarmed defenseless little girl mutant by crushing her skull. No honor to be found here!
Tafwick turns away as he hears the sickening crunch, and Durgin proceeds to ‘take out the trash’ in his own words in response as Eckhardt witnesses Durgin toss the mutant girl into the river.
Tafwick however just realizes something; she still has his 5 shillings. He wades into the water to collect his shillings from her lifeless body. It seems halflings have no shame at all.
Later on, he also finds a drawing that the little mutant girl did under the bed, drawn in chalk –
Next morning, the party continue on. Nobody talks about what happened last night…
Further up ahead they see the barge that they’re following disappear around a bend. Kall offers to ride on ahead with Belvar, which he promptly does, as the barge continues down river. Kall reaches the outskirts of Wittgendorf.
Wittgendorf almost looks abandoned, if it wasn’t for the few measly scraps of beggars dotted about. Kall arrives just outside the docks as the barge that they were following pulls in. Kall decides to dismount and casually make his way along the docks in the direction of the barge.
He spots two figures make their way further into the town.
He follows them further into town. The place seems like a ghost town.
Kall watches as the pair of figures ascend up a flight of stone steps towards a castle that sits atop a hill; Wittgenstein.
– Baroness Ingrid’s Seat of Power
The place could easily be mistaken for some abandoned castle ruins, if it wasn’t for the manned portcullis leading into the castle. Kall watches as the two figures disappear behind the portcullis and into the castle.
After a brief encounter with a beggar, Kall heads back to the docks. Kall is astute enough to notice that Belvar is getting some hungry looks from the local peasantry and Kall ensures that they look no further after showing that he’s well armed.
Back at the docks, the Strumpet (party barge) is now pulling in. Eckhardt hopes to find a Temple of Morr here, and proceeds to look for Heinrich Kemmler’s abridged journal. He goes to where Borri keeps it normally, and is quite worried to find it missing…
He also discovers a loose nailed plank at the rear of the barge that if removed, leaves a sizeable gap that may have allowed the stowaway onboard.
After inquiring with Borri about the book, Eckhardt almost gives up looking for it when he see’s it on the desk where Tafwick normally sits reading. The book is currently open, as if someone was reading it. Bemused, Eckhardt just takes the book and puts it into a sack, tightening it and makes his way off the barge to look for a temple.
He’s in look, and indeed finds a Garden of Morr.
The place seems rundown and disused. Cracked headstones and overgrowth has led the garden to take on a disheveled appearance.
Eckhardt strides into the church that overlooks the garden…
Meanwhile, Durgin is away looking for a place to drink.
Stepping into the Shooting Star Inn, Durgin see’s an odd sight.
At the bar, he notices three guards decked out in full plate armour. But there’s nothing unusual about that, except for the fact that they seem to be drinking out of their tankards using straws.
One of them turns to take a gander at the dwarf, and proceeds to turn away, continually slurping his drink.
Durgin heads to the bar and orders a tankard of ale. The barkeep rudely proclaims that they have no ale, but only Rotgut. Durgin doesn’t want to take his chances and leaves, heading back to the barge.
At the barge, the party discuss among themselves. Kall remarks how he feels uncomfortable here, and that something is not right. The others are in agreement.
Eckhardt makes his way into the church. The place appears empty, and eerily quiet. Just how a Temple of Morr should be…
He heads towards a back room in which a door lies ajar, and hears a voice, “Whoever is sneaking back there, make yourself known!”
Eckhardt steps in…
Priest of Morr
Eckhardt spots a seemingly old man dressed in the traditional garb of a Morrite. Most of his face is obscured as the room is dimly lit. He turns to face Eckhardt and pauses for a moment, and then gestures for Eckhardt to sit.
Eckhardt explains who he is and proceeds to tell the priest about the vampire encounter he had, retelling his story of how he was given assistance by a Brother Valdric in Altdorf and requests that the priest send word off to Altdorf notifying him of the Ogre’s death. The man listens intently as he drinks from a vial to which he proclaims its medicine when questioned by Eckhardt on its contents.
Eckhardt then lays the sack containing Kemmler’s journal onto the table. The priest opens it not knowing its contents and takes the journal out.
He lays a finger on its cover and reads slowly, “Heinrich… Kemmler’s… Abri…” he stops, frozen, his hand shaking as he looks up at Eckhardt.
The priest begins to ask him very pointed questions about how he came into possession of this book, and if he had delved into its secrets, to which Eckhardt states he denies ever reading it.
The priest puts the journal back into the sack and gestures for Eckhardt to follow.
“Come. You’ll be richly rewarded by the Baroness for this find. I’m afraid I must seek her authority on the matter concerning this as I do not have the authority to burn this book, and it would indeed need to be sent off to Altdorf at once. Come.”
Eckhardt is unsure what to do. He knows that he was requested, or rather, the party were requested, to ‘kill’ the Baroness should it come to light that she is in league with the Purple Hand or is at least a traitor.
He decides to go along with the old man and makes the long walk up to the castle.
The old man convinces the guards at the entrance to let them in, and Eckhardt steps into the castle courtyard. To Eckhardt, it seems like the place is in a serious need of repair. The stable roof has collapsed and much of the castle is in rot.
He continues on following the priest as they are show into the main foyer. The castle foyer is not better off than the outside, interior is full of mold, dust mites and a deep smell of decay within the walls.
He makes his way up to the castle and as high as 4 stories. Along the way, Eckhardt notices that he is being followed by a couple of guards in full plate, but keeping their distance.
The priest comes to the chambers of the Baroness. After a polite knock, he is shouted to come in.
Inside, Eckhardt can see two figures. But it’s the Baroness that strikes out at him immediately as the most noticeable person first…
– Baroness Ingrid
Sitting upright in bed, she stares over at the new guest. The priest of Morr remarks, “Baroness, do forgive my intrusion. I’ve someone who you may wish to meet…”
Eckhardt shudders at her appearance.
He takes notice now of a second figure, who has stood up and is making his way over to him.
Eckhardt can’t mistake the impression that this man is familiar…
The man saunters over to him and squints at Eckhardt. He takes out a cloth to clean his monocle and squints again, “Ah yes… Yes! Fascinating… Ha!” The man seems eagerly impressed for some strange reason, and makes to go to the door. Eckhardt pauses for a moment… Then he remembers. The notice board outside the Seagull’s Nest bore a wanted notice for a man who bear’s a very strong resemblance to the man in front of him. But there’s something else that’s eerily canny about the man, as if they’ve met before…
Eckhardt lets the man pass by him to open the door. He hears the man say behind, “You two. Bring our guest downstairs.”
Eckhardt, knowing that he certainly doesn’t like the sound of that, and feeling that he’s got all the evidence he needs now to justify killing the Baroness, charges at her!
But we will not know his fate, or that of the Baroness, until next session.