A Twister of Lies: Part 2

Continuing on from part 1…

Morning comes. Michel Bastide wakes up to find himself in the promised safe house. It’s a simple affair; a two mattresses lay on the floor, along with other rough sleeping spots scattered about. The windows are covered, dirty and mud-struck. It’s a shack than an actual house by any standard. Michel finds himself near the merchant quarter. Gathering his belongings, and feeling the need for a stiff drink, he makes his way through the streets towards the Blazing Hearth.

Ser Gado is also up, having at least gained a somewhat decent nights rest despite his odd dream. After gearing up, he heads downstairs to be met with a friendly face.

Sibilla Di Cosola, the young priestess of Shallya that had accompanied Luigi Pavarotti. Gado is surprised to see her, and somewhat annoyed. Although he hides it behind a facade of politeness.

Sibilla explain why she came to him; yesterday, she was visited by a man with a dark soul. A killer. An assassin. He had threatened her life and that of her employer, and promised to do harm to a priestess at the temple less she do what he had asked of her. Sibilla didn’t go into great detail as to what this demand was, other than to state that the killer wanted her to frame Pavarotti for gross negligence in his duty of care to Prince Steffan.

Sibilla didn’t do as was demanded of her; instead she sought to warn Pavarotti. The killer had done as he had promised… he had killed a priestess of shallya right in the heart of the temple, staging it to look like an accident, and had made an attempt on Sibilla’s life (a fate point was used to avert death). Pavarotti has now fled the palace in fear of his life, and Sibilla was relieved of her duty of care.

GM Note* Sibilla is a PC backup for Piet, played Cortez. Piet is leaving the game as a PC, subsequently becoming a npc. Sibilla is now controlled by Cortez.*

She pleads with Ser Gado for help in finding this man, for fear of who else he may harm. Ser Gado, never one to shy away from a damsel in distress, agrees to help to find this killer and bring justice to him, but states that his own quest must come first. He tells her he needs to find a place in the South-gate, where the drowned rats go…

After a rather amusing attempt to get directions to the place by asking the halfling innkeeper, Ser Gado knows where he needs to go. He departs with Sibilla, and on the way encounters Michel Bastide. Michel shares nothing with them about his own recent ordeal.

Erika Johann, after enduring a sleepless night, sets out in the early morning. The recent fire at the guild has caused a substantial interest in what transpired, including the interest of the Watch Commander. Erika leaves her room, and ponders about what to do when she hears the voice of Adelaid further down the corridor, towards Eren’s room. She heads down and turns the corner to see Adelaid leaving Eren’s room. They both look at one another.

“Erika…”

“Adelaid…”

The two show clear mistrust. Erika breaks the ice, asking her what she was doing in Erens room.

“I was looking for him… Don’t you know where he is?”

Erika gives nothing away, and instead asks why was she looking for him.

“I… I thought he might be in danger. Why have you been following me?”

Adelaid suggests that they continue this conversation elsewhere. Erika suggests Erens room, to which Adelaid gestures for her to go on in. Erika, not wanting to turn her back on Adelaid, moonwalks into the room. Literally.

With privacy assured, Adelaid demands to know why Erika has been following her. Erika says she wasn’t following her, but she was following Arendight. Erika asks her why was she blackmailing Arendight with her book.

“I wasn’t blackmailing… I wanted to lure her into giving up more information.”

Erika presses Adelaid for more, eventually Adelaid confesses to the importance of the book.

“She’s a witch, Erika… Arendight is a witch. The book contains black magic. Dark rituals. I gave it to Riddik to keep safe. I only wanted Arendight to explain to me what she was doing.”

Erika says that Riddik may be in danger, and that they need to get to him quick.

“Whats going on Erika… what do you know….”

“I’ll explain later.”

The two make their way out of the guild and into the streets. The carnival is still serving as a distraction for the city, with the recent events that transpired at the guild serving as nothing more than a festival distraction and curiosity. Although the Magisters would not agree with that assessment.

 

Gerhardt Kramer is another one who had a sleepless night, not daring to fall asleep while a big angry norscan twice his size snoozes on the floor in the same room as him. Gerhardt thinks about what to do… He contemplates waking up the norscan, and prods him gently… it fails to wake him up. Figuring he best gather his things and get ready to leave, he makes enough noise that the norscan eventually wakens up, bolting upright with axe in hand, looking around.

“WHERE AM… O, this shit-hole…”

The norscan stands up, although is unsteady on his feet, after having helped himself to the Drowned Rat’s barrels of wine and ale that lay in its cellar. Gerhardt gets out of his way.

After the norscan steadies himself, he looks at Gerhardt, “I’m leaving. You can stay or come. I don’t give two shits.” Gerhardt works up the courage to speak, “There’s something I need to tell you… I’m… not who I said I was.”

Right away the norscan grabs him by his throat, and shoves him against the wall, squeezing tight. Gerhardt tries to explain under exasperated breaths that he’s an accountant, and that he knows people who are also fighting the purple hand.

The norscan loosens his grip, and demands Gerhardt to explain himself. Gerhardt tells him that he thought those men were looking for him, sent by Nickel Kess who works for Gotthard Goebbels. The norscan snorts, “Never heard of those fucks. But those cloaks were looking for me, not you. They’re part of the purple hand.”

Gerhardt tries to put the notion into the norscans head that they both have a common enemy. Its enough for him to let go of Gerhardt, but the norscan says nothing more on the matter, other than stating that they need to leave now.

 

Jurgen Noffein is on his way to attend Ar-Ulrics sermon, within the great Temple of Ulric. He enters a packed temple, with all the higher ranking priests sitting at the front, and the lower rankings further behind. In the center, the Eternal Flame of Ulric is ablaze, its silver-white streak of flame casting a bright silvery glow upon the proceedings.

Jurgen takes his seat, and as the Ar-Ulric is often punctual, he does not need to wait long for the sermon to begin.

Stepping up onto the podium, the Ar-Ulric, Emil Valgeir, makes his presence known to all.

– Ar-Ulric, Emil Valgeir

He speaks, his great booming voice echoing throughout the chamber.

“Brothers of Ulric, I thank you for coming. It is an auspicious moment in the history of our order. For you all must have heard by now, that a lamb is coming to break bread with the wolf. I speak of course, of he who worships the false god. The Grand Theogonist himself wishes to meet with me in this very temple. And I too wish to meet with him, for I am burning with a desire to seek divine retribution for the sins that has plagued our glorious empire. How can a man such as he, worship a god who allows mutants to breed and prosper within our lands? How can we trust such believers when the Emperor himself had issued a proclamation legalizing mutants! How can he maintain his faith when the Emperor cannot even be bothered to rule his realm that he has inherited from Sigmar, for the imperial throne continues to remain absent!

“I only demand one thing of Volkmar the Grim. That he answers for these slights! That he answers for the absence of the Emperor! That he answers to the Wolf, for the Wolf senses weakness! We are of the Alpha. We will not submit to the Beta!

“So I say to you brothers, when the lamb comes to Middenheim, we shall show him what strength means. We shall show him that the Wolf God is the true path. And I will demand answers for many questions that have gone unanswered! I will stand idle while the Imperial Throne lies vacant! And I will not break bread with the lamb! Not until I get an answer for the thousand sins that have been committed against the Empire under the rule of the weak! The rule of the Beta! So I ask you brothers to howl with me, howl so loud that even the Sigmarites throughout the Empire hear our call!”

All the brothers of Ulric start howling in unison, including Jurgen.

This particular Ar-Ulric is known for his provocative sermons, and this one is certainly a step up. Many of the priests in the temple start o get up as the Ar-Ulric leaves the podium, and converse with their fellow brothers. Many seem to wonder what kind of reception Volkmar the Grim will receive upon his arrival.

Jurgen decides to sit for awhile, until most of the assembly leaves. After a few minutes, he makes to leave when hes tapped on the shoulder from behind. Turning, he sees a high ranking priest standing before him, although he does not know his name. “Jurgen Noffein?”

Jurgen shows proper respect and acknowledges the greeting. “The Ar-Ulric wishes to see you. Now. In the gardens.”

Jurgen, feeling somewhat anxious and hesitant at the notion of meeting with the Ar-Ulric, and even ponders whether or not this might be a trap, heads over to the gardens behind the temple. There, he sees the Ar-Ulric, standing by a dark purple flower, gently caressing it. Jurgen recognizes it as Wolfsbane. He makes no motion to disturb the Ar-Ulric. There is no need however, as the Ar-Ulric takes notice of his arrival, and gestures for him to approach, as he proceeds to walk through the gardens.

After walking in silence for a moment, the Ar-Ulric finally speaks, “I would like to express my sympathies for the loss of your teacher. I knew Klemet. He was a devout Ulrican, and the best of us. His death still grieves me.”

Jurgen expresses relief upon hearing that.

“Your friend also. Wolfgar. I did not know him. Tell me about him.”

Jurgen tells the Ar-Ulric about his friend, going on about how he was devout, and that he wanted to eventually become a Knights Panther.

“A true Ulrican. His death was delivered by a coward, through no fault of his own. I will pray for his safe passage. Morr takes his soul, but not before he has had a feast, a mighty one.”

Jurgen thanks him for his kind words.

“Tell me Jurgen, what do you aim for. What is your ambition.”

Jurgen ponders about that, before answering. He tells the Ar-Ulric that someday, perhaps, if he is worthy enough, to take the White Cloak, and become a White Wolf.

“A mighty ambition. One that very few ever reach. You do not seem to have the temperament for it, but none can doubt your loyalty. Tell me, what do you make of whats happening?”

Again, Jurgen thinks long and hard before he answers. His answer is long and detailed. Starting with the taxes, he states that he believes the recent tax implementations are devised to cause unrest. The dwarfs are being driven out.

“Yes they are. Would it surprise you to know that the very foundation of this city, was built by the dwarfs? While we do not like to admit it, Middenheim belongs to them as much as it does to us. We would not have the strong walls that we do now, if it was not for them. And what of the wizards? While I do not favour their methods at times, the wizards employ magic that aids to our defense of the city. They’re a weapon to be used, and we use them effectively. They too have expressed misgivings towards the taxes. So you might be wondering, why would I support the taxes, if they seek to unravel our city at its core. I believe you know the answer to that.

“Do you know the woman I seek?”

Jurgen states that he does not. “Neither do I. Yet I would like to meet this woman. This… Frau Kenner. I hope that you can perhaps arrange that, so that we can get acquainted. I wish you all the best on your hunt, Jurgen Noffein.”

Jurgen bids farewell, and leaves, with his purpose and intent clear as day.

 

Ser Gado, Sibilla and Michel arrive at the Drowned Rat. There is no sign of the watch, although several bystanders are hovering about, wondering what happened. Some appear to have a mind to loot the place. But the arrival of Ser Gado, and the drawing of his sword, scampers them off. Its fortuitous that this area of the city lacks the presence of the city watch.

They arrive in the Drowned Rat, only to see a slaughter. The innkeeper is dead, his throat cut. Out of the slaughtered patrons, only one barely lives. Sibilla rushes over to his aid, to ease his passing as nothing can be done for him now. But his last words tell Ser Gado that he saw a man go behind the bar, but not return. Ser Gado searches in that area, finding a trapdoor partially concealed beneath a carpet. He knocks on the trap door, calling out for the fiend to come out and face him.

Silence…

He opens the door, and with the aid of Sibilla casting light from a lantern, heads down. An empty cellar waits him, with broken wine barrels, kegs, spilled ale and moldy bread. Someone was down here, but they’re long gone.

But they spy tracks. Thanks to the spilled ale, they left a sizeable footprint. “The norscan is the only one with as feet as big as these tracks! ONWARDS!” Ser Gado follows the tracks down into the hole in the wall, heading down the stairway that seems to go on forever.

Eventually he comes across a sewer. And as sewers tend to have them, a sewerjack meets his acquaintance.

Bernhold, the same one that had previously met the norscan, is persuaded to cough up his secrets with the passing of some coin. He says he knows where the norscan is, and that they should follow.

They follow for awhile until they get to the foot of a ladder. Bernhold points up to the manhole. “He’s up there.”

Ser Gado asks him, where exactly does it lead. After a bit of back and forth, the man paints a vivid picture of the place above… Ser Gado doesn’t fancy his chances after hearing about the sort of clientele that may await him upstairs. The man opts to help him in that regard, for a gold piece… Cue haggling. Lots of haggling.

Eventually a deal is settled. 18 silver pieces and two wineskins, the richest sewerjack in Middenheim heads on up first to have a quiet word with Jack, the barkeep. The rest remain waiting down below.

After 5 minutes, he returns. “All sorted. Rightyo, up ya’s get!”

“Not so fast… you first.” Ser Gado prods the man and veil threats are made. Bernhold, not liking the sharp pointy end of a sword, proceeds on up. The rest follow. Ser Gado tells Michel to slice Bernhold should any treachery take place.

Ser Gado steps out of the backroom and into the main establishment; The Jackal. At this time of morning, its fairly quiet. Only six or so patrons lay about, half of them buried in their drinks, the rest slumbering.

Ser Gado heads up to the bar, and signals that its safe. The rest join him. What happens next is a lot of “Oha” and “Yeps” from Jack, the barkeep of this establishment, in answering Ser Gado’s hurried inquiries about the norscan. Eventually he gets a straight answer to out of him, “Aye, he was here. Not anymore.”

Ser Gado asks if he know where he went, “Nope.” After accusing the man of being very unhelpful, Jack shrugs, “I’m just delaying ya long enough for him to get away.” Jack cracks a grin at Ser Gado, and Gado is fuming, and would have hit him if Sibilla and Michel hadn’t have stopped him.

The man takes out a big blunderpuss from underneath the bar and polishes it gently… the threat is doesn’t need to be uttered. Ser Gado, not wanting to waste his time anymore, heads out of the Jackal to see if he can spy the norscan.

Sibilla spots the rear of him, entering an alleyway, accompanied by a much smaller man.

They chase after him with Ser Gado taking the lead. Turning into the alleyway, Gado sees the norscan. He charges, with weapon drawn while shouting, “YOU KILLED MY SISTER!”

Both the norscan and Gerhardt turn. The norscan takes out his axe, and is ready for a fight. Kramer however wants none of it, and bravely steps in between them, while walking towards Ser Gado with his hands waving about. Ser Gado recognizes him, and its enough for his charge to be interrupted. Clearly frustrated at another obstacle, he demands Kramer to get out of the way.

But Kramer simply states to him, “The purple hand are after him as well.”

This is enough for Ser Gado to question what that might mean. The two whisper as the norscan calls out, “If you have something to say, say it to me!”

Ser Gado shouts, “You killed my sister! I will have my vengeance!”

“I didn’t kill your sister!” “Lies!” “I’ll bury my axe in your face to prove it!” Kramer calls for calm between them, and then Sibilla gets involved and pleads with them to take this off the streets. Michel knows just the spot…

What begins is a very tense walk to Michel’s safe house. It’s around 11am now as they make their way to the safe house. Once inside, a tense standoff begins between Ser Gado and Hanz Riklof, the norscan. Both of them have their weapons drawn.

Ser Gado demands that he answer for his sisters death.

Hanz retorts, “I didn’t kill your sister! I do not kill women! I do not strangle them!”

Ser Gado says, “I never mentioned she was strangled! Aha!”

“I saw her death unfold in front of me, half-knight! Dieter killed her. The champion. He’s the one you want!”

“Lies! How convenient for you!” Ser Gado shows him the black oval earring that he retrieved from his sisters deathly grip, and challenges him to explain how it ended up there.

“That bitch!”

“I’ll have you for saying that about my sister!”

“No you fool, the witch. She must have put it there. Or Dieter. This is her doing!”

Ser Gado describes the woman from his dreams to him, and Hanz nods, “That’s her. Ethelka. She’s the one you want. She bewitched Dieter and she haunts my dreams also.”

Despite hearing this, the atmosphere remains tense, with neither side willing to stand down. Kramer and Sibilla step in to try to calm things down. And Michel says they shouldn’t spill blood, not here at least.

Gado demands that the norscan explain himself fully.

Hanz begins to explain his role in all of this. He tells them that he was hired to do a job… Him, along with a group of other men were hired to snatch a woman. But not just any woman. A damsel. It had to be a damsel, he said. So he snatched one, and it ended up being Gado’s sister. From there, they made the long journey back, and got paid for the work. He says he doesn’t know what Ethelka wanted with his sister, something to do with magic he figured. But the norscan repeats that he was not responsible for her death. He goes on to say that he tried to save her from her fate. But Dieter attacked him, ripping out his earlobe with his earring still attached, and that Dieter had strangled his sister with his own bare hands.

“I knew Dieter. I knew him for a long time. This wasn’t my friend. He had been bewitched. She did something to him that made him do it.Dieter I knew wouldn’t do that.”

The party tell Hanz that Dieter was enchanted, in a trance of some sort that made him do things against his will.

“You still kidnapped my sister!” Ser Gado shouts at the norscan.

“Aye, I did! Its what we do! Its nothing new to me, we did it all the time when I used to raid with my brothers. Only this time I got paid for it… But I didn’t mean her harm. I tried to help her.”

Ser Gado spits venom at him and tension flares back up again.

Sibilla proves a distraction when she asks him if he knows any members of this cult.

“Some faces aye. Not so good with names.”

She describes the assassin that she had encountered, and the norscan replies, “Aye… I know that one. Knee-deep in the cult he is. I also know that Ethelka takes her orders from someone. I don’t know who. I just remember some fancy title being mentioned. A law lord I think.”

Kramer perks up at that, and asks if he knew which one.

“No, I don’t.”

Kramer suddenly feels his knees go a bit… weak.

The party ponder their next move, all the while Ser Gado and Hanz continue to stare each other down.

A suggestion is made to go to Dieter, and question him about this, to see if he has regained any new memories.

Another suggestion by Ser Gado is made, to go see Charlotte, the verenian lawyer that helped him on his case.

 

Meanwhile, Erika and Adelaid are entering the home of Riddik. This noble abode sits just opposite the Great Park. Adelaid had knocked on the door, but found it already opened. They cautiously head in, and Erika follows Adelaid as she makes her way upstairs to Riddiks room. Erika kicks the door opening, and it swings inward to reveal the body of Riddik. No sign of blood or any visible wounds, other than a pained expression.

Adelaid, her eyes fixated on the body of Riddik, faints. Erika tries to stir her awake, and spots a pot of urine underneath Riddiks bed. Resisting the urge, she rushes downstairs to look for water and stumbles into the bodies of Riddik’s parents. Again, no visible wounds or signs of blood. She does however notice an odd marking on the neck of the mother.

A palm, with an eye in the middle of it. Not that she knows it, but it is the same marking that Gado saw on his sisters neck.

Noting it as odd, she finds a bucket of water. Before she heads up, she takes a sneaky look outside the front for any shady characters. Indeed, she spots one, and realizes that the house is being watched.

She rushes upstairs and manages to wake Adelaid up with the water. Grabbing her by the arm, she heads out the back garden and explaining that they’re in danger, she convinces Adelaid to leave, despite Adelaid wishing to investigate further. They climb the garden wall and find themselves on the other side, facing the Great Park.

A heated discussion begins. Erika wants to go back to the guild and possibly warn the Magisters about this. Adelaid is convinced that Arendight is behind this, and isn’t convinced that the Magisters will listen to them. She says she needs a moment to collect her thoughts. Both of them go to the Great Park. Erika hides behind a tree to keep an eye on things as Adelaid sits by a lake. After a few minutes, she approaches Erika.

“Ok… Lets do it your way. We’ll go to the guild. You lead.”

Erika nods, and turns to head for the way out when she is truck on the back of the head. But it fails to knock her out. “Ouch!”

She turns and immediately casts sleep on Adelaid, but Adelaid slaps her hand away. Adelaid does the same thing. Sleep Wars! But the magic fails to have an effect. These girls were not paying attention in their classes. Adelaid then sprints away, with Erika in pursuit calling out for her to stop being so stupid. But Erika trips, and smacks her head off the ground.

Looking up, she sees Adelaid running off into the street, before disappearing from view.

“You bitch!” Erika cries out.

 

 

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