The party of Gerhard Kramer, Sibillia and Michel, accompanied by the norscan, make their way to the Jackal, a den of thieves and scum. Hans says he knows a guy by the name of Bertram, who may be able to help sour-face (his word for Kramer) get what he needs.
They head on upstairs to the Jackal as Hans heads to Bertram’s room. Without even knocking, he steps through.
The meeting is uneasy at first, with both Bertram and Hans uttering insults at one another, followed by Hans throwing his handaxe at the halfling, an apparent test of usefulness according to Hans.
Bertram proves to be a unwelcoming host, but is willing to listen to what Kramer has to say.
Kramer tells him that he needs someone to break into the Trade Commission offices and steam some documents pertaining to property management in relation to a warehouse.
Bertram calls that “Fucken boring, and not worth my time,” but Kramer manages to win him around by offering 10 crowns. There is some haggling involved, and Kramer further reveals a safe that may contain some valuables, located in the office of his former supervisor. He offers a 60/40 deal in terms of the contents of the safe to go to Bertram, with Bert getting to decide what gets split.
A deal is made and hands are shook. Bertram says the job will be done tonight, and they should come back on the morrow to the Jackal.
Bertram does however share some information; apparently Hans has a contract on his head, and a killer known as ‘Smiley’ is looking to collect. Hans doesn’t appear worried.
They leave the Jackal, and make plans to go to the temple of Verena. Gerhard Kramer wants to sell his book that he bought a couple of days back, with it no longer having any use.
Back over Gado and Jurgen, they’ve been led into the Goddess, and shown around the inner-part of the building. They notice some peculiar statues, one depicting Rheya, Taal’s wife, in a more sultry posture accompanied by a bestial male statue sharing similiar traits to that of a Minotaur. Their host, Marie, explains that making love beneath the statues feet is said to bestow blessings of fertility and lust upon any couple.
Across the way, they spot two women sat upon cushioned thrones.
Marie tells them that the blond woman is the Matron, the ‘Goddess’. People come to her to bow before her to seek her hand, but she refuses many, and accepts few. Some may find themselves fortunate to get the hand of Scarlet, the red-haired that sits next to her, but only with the blessing of the Goddess.
Then Marie suggests a more grounded approach and introduces them to two consorts that may be more to their liking…
On the left, Tim Curry… I mean Lotus, and on the right, Rosemary. Jurgen fancies the tall black haired one, Lotus. Gado however has his sights on a finer prize, and opts to kneel before the Goddess. After paying for the privilege to do so, he heads over and kneels at the Matrons feet.
“One of virtue approaches, a knight no less. What does the knight have to say?” says the Matron.
Ser Gado regales her with the finest bretonnian poetry that he knows, which is very little, but what he does know seems to impress her.
He tells her that her beauty knows no equal, and after further words are uttered with grace, manages to win her over.
She grabs his hand, and whispers, “Now the fun starts…” and whisks him away to a room.
Jurgen pays for his consort, and Marie tells Locus to go easy on him, as its his first time, a confession made by Jurgen earlier to Marie.
They head on into a room opposite from where Ser Gado is going for privacy.
Of course, all of this is a ploy by both of them to get information about Rhea, the girl they came looking for. Well, it’s suppose to be.
Jurgen gets alone with his consort. After she does a strip-tease and starts to ply her charm on him, Jurgen manages to keep his resolve and questions her about Rhea.
“O Rhea? Yeah I know Rhea. But here we call her Felicity. Do you desire her as well? If so, that could be arranged…”
Jurgen says he does not desire, but his friend, the knight that he came in with, wishes to see her again, for she is his long lost love.
“Aww, that’s so sweet…” remarks Locus.
Jurgen convinces her to fetch Rhea for him, with a gold crown being further incentive. He also asks her to get a beer to make it look like he’s having ‘trouble’ so that suspicion isn’t cast upon them by Marie, the hostess.
Back over to Ser Gado, Gado has no qualms about making the best out of a situation, and has already stripped down to, well, nothing, and currently finds himself in a bathtub filled with soapy warm water as the Matron begins to gently sponge wash him.
Ser Gado begins to relax as the Matron starts to ask him some questions about his travels, and what made him come to the Goddess.
Ser Gado confesses that he came with a purpose, to seek Rhea, a girl he was told that was given to the brothel, but upon seeing the beauty of the Matron, he got sidetracked. The Matron apologies for causing him a distraction, but Ser Gado states there is no need to be sorry.
Then she leans in and nibbles gently on his ear, before saying, “Your delicious… The Mistress will be pleased with her new toy…”
Suddenly the bottom part of the bathtub proves to be false, as it opens up and the water sinks down into a funnel, with Gado sliding down naked as he screams in fright.
Good theme to play while reading the next part –
Ser Gado finds himself in a pit of perversion, surrounded by wicked deeds. The groans of pleasure is audible throughout the chamber as he splashes down into a pool of water. Standing there is two naked women who approach him, picking him up as one says “My dear sister, we have a new patron amidst our presence,” while the other returns, “A handsome one too. I sense this one is of virtuous blood. The Mistress will be pleased.”
Ser Gado tries to struggle, but these two women are unusually strong, there is certainly something unnatural about the both of them. But his struggles is put to an end when a large giant of a man, naked except for a flimsy loin cloth around his waist, grabs Ser Gado and drags him across the floor as he screams out curses, and promises to burn this place down.
His shouts go unanswered, nobody is coming to his aid.
He is dragged through a see-through canopy; dried blood stains dot its surface. There, he finds himself transfixed at what awaits…
Long flowing blond hair, tattooed in symbols he does not know. Her body is covered in cuts and old scars, yet these do not seem to hinder her beauty. Her eyes lock onto Gado with desire, and her grip around a long spike-tailed whip that rests on her lap tightens.
Gado struggles to look away. He feels as if something has gotten ahold of him and refuses to let go.
Yet even more frighteningly is what sits beside this woman…
This ‘woman’ licks her tentacled arm seductively as she looks on. But the one wielding the whip appears to be in charge, as she stands up.
One of the women standing next to Ser Gado speaks up, “Mistress Lilith, we come bearing a gift from above. The Goddess has graced our presence with a virtuous man.”
Now Gado can put a name to this whip-wielding terror that stands in front of him, as she cracks her whip and sends it towards him. It wraps around his throat, and she tugs on it as she shouts, “Kneel dog!”
But Ser Gado resists, and remains standing. “You resist… Good. Treasure that feeling while you still have it. Now kneel!”
This time however he’s forced on his knees as his strength fails him. She approaches him, and with her spiked thumb, a razor sharp curved blade runs across his cheek, slicing it and drawing blood. She kneels down and licks the wound.
“Hmmm yes… Yes, virtuous blood. This one is truly a gift. It has been too long since a knight has embraced us. One whose honour is intact. Whose heart remains clear of corruption. But we will change that…”
Gado speaks out, showering her with insults.
She kicks Gado in the mid-section with her boot, knocking the wind out of him. “Silence dog! You do not speak unless I desire it!”
He’s on the ground now as the Mistress presses her heel against his face. “Lick my heel dog, for that is all your good for! Lick it!”
Gado refuses, and the Mistress, using a spike that protrudes from her boot, stabs him in the shoulder, drawing blood. She then demands that he licks the blood from her heel, to lick it clean.
But Ser Gado remains defiant, which only seems to please the Mistress ever more. She presses her boot onto his cheek, pinning his face to the ground, with the heel boot blade edging close to his mouth. He just taste his own blood.
“You resist like a squirming pup…” she utters out.
Then a voice cries out from across the way, from the chamber, “Leave him be. He is not your plaything. He belongs to the Hand!”
Its the woman in black, from Gado’s dreams, but he knows the name of this woman. Ethelka.
Ethelka marches across the chambers, flanked by two hooded men.
The Mistress looks up, “Ethelka, what did I do to earn your presence.”
“Spare me your pleasantries. Release him. Now. He is ours, not yours.”
Mistress Liliths’ face turns into a snarl, “He is mine, bitch. He came here by his own will, and now he is mine.”
Ethelka retorts, “He came here by my design. Do not forget your place Lilith. You and this perverted lot exist cause the Hand allows it. My patience wears thin. Hand him over.”
Lilith kneels down beside Gado, releasing her grip, whispering into his ear, “Your still my pet… You’ll be back, they always come back…” she licks his wound once more. Ser Gado gets a glimpse of it, to his horror he sees lots of tiny little mouths on her tongue, with their own little waggling tongues sticking out towards him. He shudders. He feels… unclean after that.
Ethelka grabs him by the forearm and helps him up. “We should leave, now.” She wraps him in a towel and they make their way out towards the exit.
Gado spies the surroundings, and to his shock, he sees a couple of faces he knows. He spies Gotthard Goebbels in a bathtub, flanked by a young girl and a young boy, who appear to be washing him down.
But worse, is Siegfried Prunkvoll, Knight Eternal… As he witnesses the young knight flanked by two muscle-bound men. Siegfried see’s Ser Gado and the look of shock and shame is clear. Siegfried looks away, unable to meet Ser Gado’s gaze.
They pass-by a halfling who, rather boldly, reaches out towards Ethelka, grabbing her by the leg and starts to run a hand up her thigh. As quick as lightning, she turns and touches the halfling on the forearm. Gado swears he heard her mutter something under her breath. Suddenly, the halfling is on the ground, in agony and pain. Blood begins to pour from every orifice. His eyes bleeds, his ears gush out with blood. He begins to choke on his own blood. This attracts a few of the patrons who saunter over, and instead of showing alarm or disgust, they appear to be… enjoying this dreadful display.
As they reach the exit, Ethelka forces Gado to wear a burlap sack over his head. Ser Gado doesn’t resist as he’s told he will simply be killed if he takes it off.
Back upstairs to a relative state of normalcy, Jurgen is completely unaware of what transpired with Ser Gado.
But he has met with Rhea.
Sadly however, the girl appears to be heavily drugged up. But Jurgen is more angry at how young she is. She could not be a day over 14. His anger starts to boil up but he keeps it down to talk to the young girl. He’s not able to get much information out of her, but promises her that he will get her out.
He brings Locus back in and asks her if she could promise to help him get Rhea to meet with her Gado, her long lost lover. He suggests that the Great Park would suffice for a meeting, if she could somehow get Rhea to the park without drawing suspicion. Locus says she risks much, but Jurgen promises more coin, however Locus appears love-struck with the idea of two long lost lovers meeting and she’s willingly to help.
With the plan set, Jurgen prepares to leave.
Part 3 will be coming up – (It was a bloody long session)