Continuing on from last blog…
The hooded man appears to be middle-aged. He is wearing a dark brown dirty looking cloak, and when he speaks, he does so softly. Sporadic fits of coughing accompanies him as he speaks, “Are you Captain Rein Gutter?” he asks Kall.
Kall responds no at first, then he remembers the registration papers for the barge, courtesy of the Palisades. Ulrico is currently masquerading as Rein Gutter. “He’s not here at the moment.”
“When he gets back, tell him we have a mutual friend in Altdorf. Come to the Shooting Star inn when he is ready.”
The man scampers off.
As the party leave the Garden of Morr, they hear a lot of voices coming from the town square. They decide to check it out.
They decide to peek around the corner rather than fully go out. They see a pale woman atop a pale horse, surrounded by 6 guards who form a protective ring around her. About a dozen or more peasants surround the guards and appear agitated, but not aggressive. One of the guards notices the party however and points over to them, to which Durgin waves back. This gets the attention of the pale woman for a moment, who then looks away. At this she motions for her horse to move and the guards move with her. It’s at this point that they notice the woman is holding a rope, and attached to this rope is a thin man, although none of the party get a good look at his features. She yanks the rope, forcing the man to follow.
A woman is heard screaming and shouting, “Mi lady, please! Don’t take my son! Please I beg you!” One of the guards nearby responds by punching the woman in the stomach. She goes down, coughing and wheezing.
The party watch as the pale lady climbs the steps towards Castle Wittgenstein accompanied by her escort, and the peasants soon depart. An old man helps the woman that got punched, and guides her off to a nearby house.
The party ask one of the peasants nearby but don’t get anything useful out of him.
They continue heading towards the docks, not quite sure what to make of what they just saw, and now even more cautious.
They reach the docks and give the news that Eckhardt is nowhere to be found. They grow increasingly concerned. Kall tells them that a hooded figure approached asking for Ulrico under his alias and that he will be waiting at the nearby inn.
The party decide to investigate. Well… Kall, Tafwick and Ulrico do, while Borri and Durgin show their concern for Eckhardt by drinking more.
They get to the inn, and Ulrico is the first to enter. The place is more or less empty with exception to a nearby patron drinking, another patron on the floor, asleep it seems in her own vomit. Then Ulrico spots a man sitting at the far side in the corner, on his own and wearing what appears to be a brownish hooded cloak.
Ulrico goes straight for him, to which the man chides him, “Perhaps it be *cough* wise for you to buy a drink first, so as to not look too suspicious.”
Ulrico does just that, buying a tankard of rotgut and sits down with the man.
“I wouldn’t drink that stuff if I was you, ” the man remarks.
“My name is Eric. Gutter I assume?”
Ulrico nods. At this, Kall and Tafwick enter the bar, taking a seat and ordering some rotgut. Kall doesn’t drink his, but Tafwick takes a few sips now and again.
Ulrico asks the man for the lowdown on whats going on.
“A birdy told me to keep an eye out for a barge carrying a few interesting individuals. It seems our mutual friends in Altdorf have sent you here for a reason. I don’t quite know as I’m not all that well informed, but I take it, it has something to do with the Baroness?”
Ulrico remains coy and doesn’t give him a direct answer.
“Well as you may have already guessed, there’s a sickness in the air. It’s been like this as far as I can remember, but it has recently gotten worse. Much worse,” the man coughs again violently, this time spitting blood on the table.
“Apologies.” He goes to take a gulp out of a tankard of rotgut, despite earlier warning Ulrico not to touch the stuff.
“Cleanses the innards. Anyhow, something is afoot. And I take it you’ll be wanting to get into the castle aye? You’ll have a hard time doing that.”
Ulrico presses him to reveal if he knows of any other way into the castle.
“Well… There’s the cliffs. But you’d have a hard time not getting spotted, but that’s the least of your worries. Those cliffs are treacherous and it’s a good climb. But that may be safer than the alternative… Sewers underneath may lead you into the castle, but I can’t be sure the route. Never gone down myself. Not a fan of the dark. But if you must, you should check out the local physician. He makes nightly incursions into the castle now and again, and his route of choice is peculiar; he pops open manhole and descends into the sewers. Only reason why I know it must lead to the castle cause the next day I see him leave via the portcullis, although sometimes he returns via the sewers. Peculiar fella, and not friendly.”
Ulrico asks where he might find this man, “His name is Jean Rousseaux, a Bretonnian.” Eric gives Ulrico directions to the house, and Ulrico inquires if there’s anything else he should know.
“Well, there’s Lady Margritte, the Baroness’s daughter. She’s a vile woman that one. There’s Baroness Ingrid of course, but have never laid my eyes on her. Let me see… O yes, Kratz, the sergeant of the guard. Although he’s more or less the captain now, as I’ve not seen the captain for quite sometime. That’s all I can think of at the moment.”
Ulrico thanks him, and leaves the tavern, with Tafwick and Kall falling behind shortly after.
Tafwick feels particularly unwell after having a few sips of that foul rotgut.
They reach the physician’s residence and Ulrico knocks.
A well dressed man, perhaps the best and only well dressed man in this town, opens the door. Ulrico greets him, “Are you the local physician?”
“Yes, what’s wrong with you? Stomach pain? Gout?”
“Actually a touch of stomach pain aye.”
“Were you drinking any of that rotgut?”
“Yes,” Ulrico is about to continue when the man interrupts, “Well that’s normal. Go lie down for at least four hours, the pain should subside,” the man then slams his door shut. Friendly fellow indeed.
Kall comes around from the back of the house and remarks that there’s a loose window he could pry open, but perhaps it be best to come back late at night and take a gander inside. They agree.
Eckhardt has been under interrogation for sometime now.
Although it has now progressed to torture, as Eckhardt refuses to answer the man’s questions.
The man remarks that it has been too long since they’ve been departed. “You were my first specimen, and a fine specimen at that. The good lady wishes for me to find out exactly why you are here, and as to your reasons for wanting to kill the Baroness.”
Eckhardt simply says that he was here visiting some friends, and that he wanted to drop off the book. He accompanied the priest at the promise of gold, and merely attacked the Baroness due to her hideous appearance. The good doctor does not buy this, and after repeated attempts to get the truth, his patience grows thin.
Alric looks to his servant, a hideous deformed creature possibly resembling a halfling at some point to go fetch his ‘instruments’.
Alric produces a pair of pincers and gets a grip on Eckhardts fingernail. He squeezes, and says, “Now, tell me… Why are you here. Who sent you to kill the Baroness. Who else are you working with.”
Eckhardt doesn’t relent, and continues the same cock and bull story. Alric pulls and rips his fingernail off. Despite the intense pain, Eckhardt does not give in.
Alric seems impressed, but also disappointed. “I do not wish you harm, my boy… the quicker you tell me the truth, the sooner it is over.”
Again Eckhardt refuses to divulge the true reasons as to why he is here; sent by the Palisades.
Alric sighs, and asks Waddle what part he would like.
“His ear master! I wud luv an ear!”
Alric responds, “No, I’ll want him to hear me. A finger perhaps. Hmm. His left hand thumb?”
Waddle reacts in excitement as Alric wraps the pincer’s around Eckhardt’s left thumb.
Again he questions Eckhardt, and again Eckhardt doesn’t divulge anything. He snaps Eckhardts thumb off, and gives it to Waddle, to which Waddle excitedly takes it and starts… sucking on it, drawing the blood from it.
Alric wraps the pincers around Eckhardt’s index finger after stemming the blood flow, and says “Now, lets try this again. Who are you working for, who…” Alric is cut off as Eckhardt shouts “The Purple Hand!”
Eckhardt begins feeding Alric a story that he was sent here by the Purple Hand who think he’s Kastor Lieberung to kill the Baroness. Alric is confused, “But… The Red Crown and the Purple Hand are allies, working towards the same goal. Why would they betray the Baroness?”
“Cause they want power… they want it all for themselves. I was sent in to create a power vacuum.”
Alric appears alarmed at this, looking around at his experiments, muttering to himself…
He seems to have bought Eckhardts story, “And those you came in with? On the barge?” Eckhardt explains that as well, telling him that they were just passengers on the barge and he doesn’t know them. (He passes a charm roll for this lie, along with the previous lie about the purple hand hiring him)
“I see…. The lady would need to be informed at once of this betrayal.”
Alric goes to leave, but Eckhardt pleads with him to take his servant, Waddle with him, who is currently about to give Eckhardt a wet whistle…
The little creature awkwardly hops to his master, but not before waving goodbye to Eckhardt with his own thumb.