Ser Gado Duval finds himself in a small office room within the Goddess; the burlap sack having been removed. There, standing before him, is Ethelka Hearson, flanked by two hooded dangerous looking cultists.
Ser Gado has barely had a chance to recuperate from what transpired moments ago when Ethelka speaks.
“We will make this short. I cannot be here for long. First, let me answer what you are already seeking to know, and perhaps, what you suspect. I was not the one who killed your sister, so do not direct your anger towards me, it is wasted. Instead, direct the anger towards the instrument of your sisters death; I do not mean The Champion, or Hans Riklof. I guided you to Hans under a false pretense of which I admit freely, as you would not seek him out if I had said anything other than that he killed your sister.
“Those who I work for seek to kill Hans for he is a liability. I wanted you to meet him and learn about the truth yourself. And now you know.
“What he says is the truth. The champion did strangle your sister, but it was not by my command. The one who did this goes by the name of Alric Eisenhower, and I can tell you where he is.
“All that I ask in return is that you help me cut off the head of the snake. The Magister Magistri. He controls the operations of the Purple Hand here in the city. He seeks destruction and despair, and if he has his way, there will be nothing left but ashes and a smouldering ruin of a city. I do not want that. You understand?”
Ser Gado nurses his neck and shoulder as he spies his armor and clothes on a nearby nightstand.
“I’ve arranged for your belongings to be brought up. I hope we can work together on this.”
“I’ll not be your catspaw,” replies Gado.
“Let’s not kid ourselves. Your no fool, neither am I. You don’t trust me, and that is clear. I wouldn’t trust me if I was in your shoes. But do you need trust to exact your revenge against those who killed your sister? I’m offering you a way to have your revenge.”
“Why would you help me?” replies Gado.
“Your sister was placed in my care, under my responsibility. I wished to keep her safe and from harm. But he… the Magister grew paranoid. Suspected that I was using her power to undu him, to sense his plans. He had Alric Eisenhower, a name I suspect your familiar with, hypnotize the champion and used him as a pawn to break into where I was keeping your sister. He strangled her without mercy, while Hans tried to stop him. Hans was in my employ, and he blamed the death of this young woman on me. I suspect he believes I was involved in her death, but he couldn’t be more wrong.
“There was nothing I could do. But I knew of your forthcoming. I saw a young man, handsome and fair, riding gallantly towards the rescue of his sister.
“So, I saw an opening. A way for revenge, for you and I. I placed Riklof’s earring in her hand, the one that the champion ripped out and waited for you to discover her. The vision you had in that gem of yours, was of my doing. All of this was by my design, so that you and I, may meet. Even the Champion mentioning Rhea to you was of my doing… if you recall, he did so after painfully recollecting a dream he had. I was the architect of those dreams. I needed to meet you alone, and in circumstances that I could control.”
Gado begins to get dressed.
“This is a lot to take in…” Gado replies after he gets dressed, although his armor remains on the nightstand.
One of the hooded men that is with Ethelka steps forward and places a closed parchment onto the table.
Ethelka looks at it then at Gado, “Before you ask, I’ll not reveal the name of the Magister Magistri, he who controls our operations here. I’ll not have everything I worked for to be undone by simple treason. I of all must thread carefully. If he finds out you know his identity, then he mustn’t know you got it from me. But… I can guide you to someone who knows. Someone who has met him, and was the instrument in your sisters death. Alric Eisenhower. I know where he is staying. The Magister has him safely tucked away, for he remains useful to him.
“As he was the instrument of your sisters death, so will you be my instrument. That letter, there… contains the safehouse of where Alric is. You need but open it. As a further gesture, I’m aware that you’ve come here looking for a girl, Rhea. I’ll see to it that you meet this girl…
“I have spent enough time in this den of perversion. I only ask that you help me, Knight of Bretonnia, help me destroy the Enemy Within…”
Gado ponders that for a moment as Ethelka leaves.
He puts on his armor, and as he contemplates snooping around the room, he hears a knock on the door. One of the Goddess’s hired muscle pokes his head in and suggests that he leaves, now…
Ser Gado gets his things. On the way he spots the Matron, the blond beauty that he read poetry to earlier and who was responsible for his little perverse adventure earlier. She blows him a kiss… Gado shudders and ignores her, making his way out as Jurgen meets him.
“So Gado, how did it go for you?” he asks.
Ser Gado just marches on, saying very little.
Outside the Goddess, he has collected his weapon from the door guard, and once out of earshot of them, Jurgen makes his intentions clear.
“We need to burn this place down, Gado. Now. I found Rhea… she is young, far too young for this place. No doubt sold to them as some sort of plaything. I’ve arranged with Lotus, the one I was with, to escort Rhea out and meet us at the Great Park as soon as she can. But now we must go to the Temple of Ulric. I need to report to Wolf Lord Brunner about this blasphemous place.” – (Probably not the players exact words, but the same message gets across)
“Jurgen, there’s something I need to tell you…” Ser Gado begins to explain in detail about what transpired to him. How he was dropped into a pit of wickedness, then, ironically, only to be saved by their very enemy… The Purple Hand. He explains that Ethelka, the woman that Jurgen has been seeking, has given him a lead to find Alric Eisenhower. Although he doesn’t trust her, he suspects something useful could come from it. Jurgen however is more distrustful, and wishes urgency to report what transpired to his superior.
After convincing Gado, the two make haste to the Temple of Ulric.
As for the other party…
They are making their way to the Temple of Verena when Gerhard Kramer turns his head at someone calling his name. A man dressed in finery approaches him, and after taken a moment to confirm Kramer’s identity by some apparent parchment that he unrolls, he presents him with a clasped book, along with the key to open it. He leaves without saying a word. Kramer puts the book safely away without inspecting it further, apparently immune to curiosity.
They continue to the Temple of Verena and are just at the foot of the steps when they bump into Piet… Big Piet.
Piet’s very much all friendly and chummy, stating that he’s been all over the place looking for Kramer. But Kramer is silent as Michel questions Piet thoroughly about his intentions. Michel says that Piet was seen with Nickel Kess at the Jackal, but Piet makes no denial of it.
“Of course I bloody was! I was out trying to set him up, so that we can be done with him once and for all.” Piet tells them that he has setup a meeting with Kess in the south-quarter so that they can deal with him once and for all. He says that they need but meet with Kess and set him up. Kess is suspecting just Piet and Kramer, but Piet says Kess will be caught with his pants down and it will be the moment to strike.
Kramer says he’ll agree to this, and Michel agrees to accompany Kramer. Its safe to say they do not trust Piet. Hans Riklof, who is also present, takes a quick disliking to Piet, and the two lock eyes. Kramer heads on into the Temple of Verena to peddle his book, which is done in short order after he finds a student willing to buy it for 6 crowns.
Back over to Jurgen and Gado, they’re currently meeting with Wolf Lord Brunner. It isn’t going well.
– Wolf Lord Brunner
Lord Brunner doesn’t hide his dislike of the Bretonnian. Ser Gado has given his account, mentioning the wicked perversions that transpired at the brothel.
“I suspect such perversions are common at such a place, why should I be surprised at this?”
Jurgen sighs, and mentions the bit that Ser Gado had failed to recall… Jurgen says that Gado saw a mutant amongst these sinners. Ser Gado confirms it when asked.
“Yet you did not see this, did you Noffein?” asks Brunner.
Jurgen says he did not.
“Then we only have the word of this Bretonnian, who not long ago, was on trial for shaming our Champion. Why should I believe him?”
Ser Gado gets riled up at that, “I was vindicated by your own justice system. Do you not have faith in your own justice?”
Brunner isn’t pleased, “I have plenty of faith, Bret. But it is not perfect. Mistakes can happen, from time to time.” Brunner lets the implication of that hang in the air as he turns to Jurgen, “Jurgen, I trust you word in this. You did not see this … mutant, but you made mention of statues?”
“Yes Wolf Lord, hideous perversions of Rheya and perhaps Taal…”
“Then that is indeed blasphemous, if at all true,” replies the Wolf Lord.
“Give me permission Wolf Lord to lead my fellow Ulricans to purge the Goddess.”
“Denied,” the Wolf Lord bluntly remarks, “temper the fury, wolf-pup. It does us no good to act rashly. We are not witch hunters. I will investigate these accusations that have come before me, and should I find them to be true, this place of sin will be dealt with. On that you have my word. Now go.”
Gado and Jurgen leave. Jurgen is clearly frustrated at the Wolf Lord’s denial, but he hides that fact, and instead ponders about whether or not he’ll be lucky enough to vent on some Sigmarites later. The two agree to find and meet up with the rest of the party.
After crossing paths, the two parties come together to discuss their next move. Jurgen suggests The Great Park, to await for Rhea in the hopes that she turns up with Locus, and delay this meeting with Nickel Kess for later.
They agree and make their way to the park just as the Festival of Fine Ales gets underway at the park. After an hour of waiting, Jurgen finally spots Rhea coming into the park with Lotus
But Jurgen is alerted to danger as he sees a hooded bulky figure making its way directly towards Rhea and Lotus. However, after he quickly intercepts this figure, the bulky figure turns out to be a large muscled Ulrican woman, who is quite angrily at being man-handled by Jurgen.
After that exchange is over, Jurgen guides Lotus and Rhea over to the others, specifically Gado, as Jurgen told Lotus that Rhea was his long lost lover.
He distracts Lotus while Rhea and Gado talk. Gado can see that Rhea is mostly non-responsive, often at times seems ‘far away’. He has Sibillia look at her, and Sibillia can quite clearly see that Rhea is drugged up, possibly with high dosages of Fennel and a touch of Nightshade. She suggests that they make their way to the Temple of Shallya at once to get her help. Gado agrees to accompany her to keep them safe.
Rhea has a moment of fright however and almost seems to come out of her trance-like state when she spots Hans Riklof, the Norscan, who is busying himself at beer tents and getting drunk. Gado comforts her and tells her not to worry about him.
Plans are discussed; Gado and Sibillia will make their way to the Temple of Shallya, while the rest will meet with Kess. Jurgen suggests that Lotus get accompanied back by Michel, but Lotus says it will be ok. She’ll have to try and convince the Matron however that Rhea ran off, and is worried that the Matron won’t believe her. Jurgen suggests telling her that Rhea saw a ‘Norscan’ and ran off as quick as lightning. Lotus likes that, and says she hopes to see Jurgen again.
They then leave the park, with Gado and Sib going to Shallya, with the rest heading south to meet with Kess.
Gado and Sib make their way into the temple with Rhea. They urgently request assistance from one of the sisters who is more than willing to help.
The sister quickly verifies what is wrong with the girl, and goes at once to find a herbal remedy that will gradually lessen the effects. After feeding her some herbal soup, the sister states that it will be at least an hour before the effects are undone, but someone should be with her as she may experience a light head and be unsteady on her feet.
Sib comforts her, “There there child, everything will be aright,” she says, as she pats her hand gently.
“Uncle?” Rhea responds. She goes out to hug Gado, and says again, “Uncle Reiner.”
“Uncle Reiner?” Gado responds.
“Who is this uncle of yours, Rhea?” asks Sibillia.
“Uncle Reiner…” she says again.
“Who is Reiner?”
“Erchlich… Uncle Erchlich…”
Gado finds the name very familiar, as does Sibillia. Then it hits them… Law Lord Reiner Erchlich. He was one of the judges that presided over Gado and Galdrea’s case, one of three at least.
“We need to get her somewhere safe, now,”
Gado feels a headache coming on, a powerful headache. His wound on his cheek where the Mistress licked him begins to swell up with hotness.
“We need to get out. Now! Is there a back way to this place?” he demands from the attending sister.
She nods and she hurries towards the rear of the temple, showing them out into an alleyway which leads onto a main street. The three of them leave the temple via the back entrance and are about to make their way through the alleyway when Gado see’s several robed figures pouring into the alleyway further up from the street.
“This ain’t good…”