Finding Truth

The party race towards the city on the back of mounts of the Knights Panthers. They gallop through the west city gate only for the horses to rear up in terror at the sound of explosions coming from the Middenheim temple.

Captain Marius turns and signals for three of his knights to accompany him, while he commands another to bring the rest back to the chapter house.

“Ludolf, take the rest back to the chapter. If they resist, kill them!” he commands as he races off towards the temple. The party, particularly Gado, are not happy at that last part.

Ludolf and the rest of the knights make their way through the streets as people are opening up their window shutters and poking their heads out, wondering what that noise was. The hour is late but many folks are rushing now towards the Ulric’s temple. The party however arrive at the chapter. The horses get stabled and the party are forced to surrender their equipment. They wisely do not resist.

As they make their way in, it is remarked that the cells are full, so they are shown to a common room normally reserved for visiting guests. It’s quite small, with just four beds. Gado asks if food would be made available and Ludolf remarks he will see, as he locks the door on his way out.

The party are left alone. Sibillia tends to Gerhard, who is the most injured of the group. Gerhard notes he is starting to get some feeling in his legs, but is still unable to walk.Sibillia uses her healing powers to tend to their wounds as much as they can.

Ludolf comes back with a single bowl of cold soup and 1 whole loaf of bread. It’s not much, but the party make the best of it.

After finishing their food, they try to get some sleep. They dream of nightmares. The horrors that they faced earlier haunt their minds; the mad cackling of a bird-woman can be heard. A couple of hours pass-by; Ser Gado wakes up, chilled to the bone. He feels cold, unnaturally so. Looking around, he senses something is wrong… and he can hear something, like a whisper, but very far away.

In the dark recess of a corner, something moves… It reveals itself; a ghost! An apparition, that of his sister!

– Adalicia, Gado’s deceased sister

It’s not of full body, only the face remains, distorted in the darkness and floating in mid-air, bearing a tormented expression of despair and sadness.

-Small cameo by Sarah.

She speaks, her voice fading in and out. Her last words, “I beg…” become nothing but a faint whisper. She continues to speak, but nothing is heard, as her apparition melts away into the darkness.

Ser Gado cries out, “Adalicia! Sister no! I will find you!” his cries wake up the rest of the party.

“What the hell are you shouting for?” asks Michel.

Gado calms down and tries to conceal what just transpired, “O… nothing. Just a bad dream…” he says weakly.

Sibillia goes over, asking if anything is wrong, and if he needs to talk. Gado thanks her but says nothing is wrong, it was just a bad dream.

They try to get back to sleep.

 

Morning comes. Gado, who is resting by the door, gets woken up as it slides inwards, pushing him aside. It’s Ludolf, Marius’s subordinate. And someone is with him…

“Right you lot, stand proud. I’ve got someone who wants to see you.”

Ducking in the doorway is a very tall man, stretching as high as at least 6’10 if not 6’11. He is well dressed, draped with a fur-coat around him. He has noble features and is quite handsome. There are dark-pits under his eyes however, suggesting that he’s had very little sleep, and he looks tired and fatigued.

He looks at their injuries, and asks have they been treated yet. Sibillia says there is no need to send for a physician, noting that she is more than qualified, but the Baron hears none of it as he raises his hand as if to ask for silence as he shouts towards Ludolf to fetch for a physician at once from the physicians guild. The audible heavy stomps of the knight is heard moving away.

“Good, we have privacy now. Somewhat. The physicians guild is quite busy with the incident at the temple, but you will be seen too regardless. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Baron Heinrich Todbringer, the Graf’s son. My arrival here was brought upon you due to the somewhat bizarre tale that was told to me. I was riding into the city late last night when I heard the commotion at the temple, and met Captain Marius. He told me of what happened out at the farm. A fantastic tale, yet one of sorrow, for I was told that the Knight Eternal and Luigi Pavarotti had perished… Most unfortunate. They were good men. And my brother will no doubt suffer for the absence of Pavarotti.

“I wish to hear from you, from all of you, of how this came to be. Marius tells me that you were summoned to the old farm by invitation, is this not true?”

The party tell Heinrich the events of the last few hours, and how it was Law Lord Karl Wasmeier who invited them there. Gerhard makes no mention of what he saw in the gem however. Yet the party believe Wasmeier may have been their betrayer.

“I can’t say I’ve ever liked the man. He has always been at my father’s side, whispering his advice in his ear. Yet you arrived at the farm by his invitation, and were set upon. The implication is quite clear. But the Law Lord holds a position of considerable power and influence. It would be suicide to approach my father with your accusations, without proof of his betrayal. I cannot support you in this unless such evidence is acquired, but I may have a suggestion.

“If what you say is true, and that Wasmeier is heading some sort of conspiracy against my father, and others are involved, then there must be something somewhere that we can use against him. I’ve known Wasmeier long enough to gauge the sort of man he is; he is a meticulous record keeper. Everything he does in his affairs is written into great detail. He has an office within the palace, but I suspect you’ll find nothing there, he is not that stupid to keep incriminating evidence so close at hand.

“His townhouse however near the Grafsmund may shed some more insight into the man. If you were to stumble into his estate, who knows what you might find…”

Gado questions whether the Baron is implying that they break the law.

“Not necessarily, no. Perhaps you were walking by, perhaps you heard the screams of a woman in distress, and went to investigate? With no watchman around since most of them will be at the temple, how could you call for help? As a knight, you did only as duty and honour demands; you investigated it. And during that, maybe you might stumble across something that could help us.

“We can’t have you getting arrested though. That would go against what we’re trying to do here. But right now, most of the city watch are at the temple of Ulric. If there was ever a time for you to go looking, now would be it. I’ll have a word with the Watch Commander, have him assign more men away from the Grafsmund. Shouldn’t be a problem considering the state of current affairs in the city.”

They consider it for a moment, but knowing that it may represent their best opportunity in bringing down the Law Lord, they agree.

“I shall take my leave. Do not mention my involvement in this should you fail and find yourself at the mercy of the watch, or my father. I will deny all knowledge, and I can assure you, my word has more value than yours. If you find anything of interest, come find Captain Marius. He’ll summon me upon request.”

Ser Gado bows as the Baron departs.

 

The party gear up, getting their equipment back and make their way to the Grafsmund. Ludolf had handed Gado a drawn map of the area, given to him by the Baron to pass on. Gerhard stays behind however, and is treated by a physician from the guild. He eventually gets wheel barrelled to the guild so that he may be treated in much more appropriate quarters, and the fact that the Knights Panthers insist that they do not remain here.

 

Michel, Sibillia and Gado make their way to the townhouse of Wasmeier, situated towards the end of a dead-end street. The Grafsmund is quite posh, and the houses here are certainly in the possession of the wealthy.

Morning snow starts to drift down from the sky as they cast their eyes upon Wasmeier’s estate. High walls of 8 foot high surround the town house. Michel does the scouting, since Gado’s armour would make it noisy. Michel at first keeps his distance, then closes in to the rear-gate, getting a look into the back garden. He ends up back around to the front. He opts then to try the front door, and it opens. Yet this door simply leads into the front garden, and the garden path leads up to another door that leads into the house.

He motions for the other two, and they make their way into the garden. The garden is full of roses, well matured and watered, although soon to be withering with the onset of winter around the corner. A pond is also nearby, containing carp.

They ponder for a moment what to do, and preferring the tried and tested method of simply knocking on the door, they do so, using the silver knockers that adorn it.

There is no answer.

They wait…

Then they hear something outside. The double-doors that lead into the stables are being unchained. Michel pokes his head over the wall with the help of Gado boosting him up, and he spots Hans, the coach driver that drove them out to the farm!

Incensed and ready to jump him, they do just that as he’s distracted in the stables. They rush him and Michel gives him a hefty blow on the back of the head. He’s knocked out.

He has a set of keys on him…

They take that, and prepare to search the rest of the ground floor, unlocking the glass doors that lead into the house. Sibillia stays behind to keep an eye on near the stables. Hans has been tied up and gagged, and tossed under the hay to conceal him.

Stepping into the dining area, Ser Gado is mesmerized by some fancy Bretonnian porcelain that is presented on the table; a small piece of home, from so far away.

Michel checks upstairs after hearing something fall, like a heavy stump. He cautiously checks the first room north of him on the landing, and opening the door, he spots a man in servant clothing tied up and gagged. He’s conscious though. Michel puts his sword to his neck, and says, “If you scream, you die…” and removes the gag.

He asks him whats going on.

“Did my master send you?” he whispers. Michel ignores the question and demands him to answer.

“He’s still here somewhere. I think he’s a wizard. Ought to be to sneak up on me like that.”

Michel asks him does he know who he is, but the man relents, “Just release me already will you.” Michel gags him and leaves him there.

He saunters over to the room south of him, and notices that the door is slightly ajar. He can hear movement on the other side…

He opens it and rushes in, sword ready. But nobody is here! A page of a book floats down to come to rest upon it, suggesting someone was right there only a moment ago.

Michel, swings his word in the air; after all, who knows what a wizard could do, should he be here. But he hits nothing other than a painting on the wall which crashes to the ground.

He looks around the room and steps back out, summoning Gado up.

Gado asks Sibillia to come get him if there’s anything wrong. Both Gado and Michel search the study area where Michel heard that noise previously. The wall is littered with maps, historical documents and royal lineages of Middenland nobles. Situated behind the desk is a massive chair, almost like a throne. Gado sits himself in it and notices that the drawers of the desk have all been pulled out. Someone has certainly been here, and parchments and books are littered about, suggesting a frantic search took place.

He starts to remove the drawers, fiddling them out of their place. One by one he checks them. Until he notices a heavy brass key strapped to the end of one drawer.

He shows Michel the key with great pride, and Michel thinks he knows what door that might fit.

A heavy iron bolted door sits at the northern-most area on the landing.

They both eye it with suspicion. Gado inserts the key and pulls the bolts back.

He opens it cautiously, it creaks loudly. Then another bolted heavy door confronts them, this one has four bolts, and another keyhole. Now they are really suspicious and cautious.

They very carefully open the door, drawing back the bolts, wary of what they might find.

They open it up and peek through.

They see a small room littered with the remains of food scattered about. Chewed bones, and a half-eaten pig on a platter. Yuck. Further in the room, is a curtain. It flaps gently suggesting an open window lays beyond it.

They close the door and step back, immediately concerned about what might be behind those curtains. They decide to question the tied up man.

After much intimidation and threatening to throw him into the room first, he confesses that his master keeps an ogre locked up, called Lurk. When asked why, he says, “My master has many secrets. Who better to guard them than an ogre?” he chirps.

They gag him and ponder what to do. An ogre loves to eat, they believe… so they make their way down the kitchen, and stumble into another man who is hog-tied, but unconscious. He looks like the gardener judging by the dirt of his clothes, his mud-caked boots and a gardeners trowel nearby. They search the kitchen and Michel finds some rat poison down in the cellar. It’s only half-full but its better than nothing. A pot of boiling meat was already being prepared so they simply add the rat poison and bring the cast iron pot up. They open the inner-door and leave it there, before leaving and closing the outer door.

They wait…

They hear something stirring…

It moves with a heavy footing, and it stomps its way to the pot. They can hear it picking it up and sloshing it back, then casting the pot aside as it saunters back to the backroom.

They wait for a few moments… Downstairs, Sibillia hears someone knocking on the stable doors, shouting for Hans. He soon goes away however.

Michel and Gado open the door. The pot is upside down, but its contents empty. They can hear heavy snoring coming from the far end room. They creep and creep, getting closer. Peeking through, they spot a massive fat-bellied ogre on a huge bed, supported by iron legs. His huge greasy hairy belly rising up like a mountain, and lowering itself to a small hill. Bits of tiny bones lay upon its belly and grease dominates its chin. Gross. Michel takes note that there is a door just south of the ogre, another heavy door but with no bolts. Instead, it has three keyholes. Michel notices that the ogre has an iron collar, and attached to it, are three keys. O no…

There was also a unmarked barrel, laying on its side. Directly opposite the barrel was a lantern, which was lit and curiously placed underneath the table. Strange…

They whisper between themselves what to do. They suspect that whatever Wasmeier is keeping behind that door, is what they’ll need to bring him down. But an ogre is an ogre, and there will be no easy way about it. Michel ponders going up to it and stabbing it in the throat.

Gado is not sure that would work…

As they discuss this, a pigeon lands on the windowsill near the ogre’s bed. It flutters its wings and calls out.

It calls out for a second time, and the ogre starts to stir. Gado and Michel, as quietly as they can, immediately run to the back, closing the door behind them and bolting it shut. Their noisy retreat is heard by the ogre, who calls out in a gruff voice, “Master! That you!?!” Silence…

“Musta been nuffin!”

– Lurk

Unbeknownst to Gado and Michel, the little pigeon had a message wrapped around its leg, and it was Lurks job to drop them into a small bowl onto the table for his master to read later.

Outside on the landing, both of them are starting to wonder if the rat poison did any good at all. Then they hear a voice from behind, “Having trouble are we? Would you like some assistance?”

They turn, alarmed and raising their weapons. “Who goes there…” Michel asks.

“Lower your weapons and your voices.”

They both cautiously lower their weapons. As they do, a man materializes in front of them.

Shadowmancer Franz Udolf… They know him, a face they’ve not seen for quite sometime. He introduced himself to the party on their first day to the city, when they went into the Guild of Wizards and Alchemists to inquire after Foros Arfor.

“You… what are you doing here?” they ask.

“For the same reasons you are, I suspect. We needn’t waste time. You have a problem. A big problem. I can help you.”

Both Michel and Gado don’t trust him, but they know that aside from fighting the ogre, their options are slim. They don’t feel confident in sneaking up and snatching the keys.

“You can turn yourself invisible? Surely you can sneak up and snatch those keys?”

Franz sighs, “It isn’t as simple as that. Ogres have a very keen sense of smell. I’m a walking bag of meat to it, and it will smell me just as easily as cooked meat should I get close enough. I’m willing to assist, but I’m not going to put myself at great risk.”

“Then what do you suggest we do?”

“Simple. You act as bait, distract it, I’ll be waiting for it to pass me by, I’ll then put it to sleep. But I’ll require to touch the beast. It should be reasonably distracted for me to do this.”

The party do not like the idea, not one bit. They refine the plan a little. Gado will bang on his shield and get the ogre to rise. Franz will wait in a corner on the inside of the room where the ogre is. It will chase Gado who will run back out of the room, and as the Ogre is running past, Franz will try and put it to sleep.

They begin to put their plan into motion.

It all goes pear-shaped…

With Franz in position, Ser Gado calls out, banging on his shield. He stirs the beast quite easily.

It wakes up, standing to attention, letting out a roar of bestial rage towards Ser Gado. He is frozen stiff, having taken in the full measure of this mighty beast. *He fails his fear neck, and his next three fear checks as well! Despite having prayed for the lady’s blessing of Stout Heart, he fails all his fear checks!”

Ser Gado is rammed with the full force of the ogre. It wields a massive club, although its actually a make-shift bed-leg, yet in the hands of an ogre, it is a deadly weapon. It clatters of Ser Gado’s shield, and he parries and dodges after snapping out of his state of fear (he passes his next check). In return, the ogre is not wearing any armour, and Ser Gado is able to deal it deadly wounds by slashing at its gut. It’s hard to miss.

Michel fires a crossbow bolt, it misses, whizzing past Gado. Then Gado notices that the ogres iron collar is being spurn around, so that the keys are now on its back. He hears something snapping. “Franz! Michel he has betrayed us!” Gado cries out.

The ogre continues to lash out at the both of them, and Gado tries to get the ogre to listen, “Your keys are missing! Look at your neck you damned beast! The wizard is behind you! He has your keys!” But the ogre is far too sunken into a battle rage to care. Sibillia calls out from the landing, and she is warned to run and stay away! She does just that after wishing them well in their struggle and praying that they escape whatever it is that they face.

Gado dodges and rolls under the legs of the ogre, who turns to raise his club. Gado notices that the three keys are hovering near the doorway, and he points towards them. “Look! Your keys! He has stolen your keys!”

The ogre takes  a quick glance, and sees his precious keys floating… “WAT! Wat is dis vile magic! A wizzy! I hate wizzys! Except for my master! He’s a good wizzy! Die evil wizzy!”

He swings his mighty bed-leg, and misses wildly as the keys duck and dodge out of the way. Then, something happens… the ogre begins to get tired. He starts to yawn… and suddenly he crashes to the floor.

Franz reveals himself, “Well, I did as I asked. You did well I must say, fighting bravely. Impressive.”

Gado is not buying it, nor is Michel, who is trying to climb over the mountain that is Lurk. Gado points his blade towards Franz, who takes a step back.

“Lets not do anything rash, shall we…”

“You betrayed us! You wanted the contents of that room for yourself! You gave us your word you would aid us! You saw an opportunity and you took it!”

“Course I did. I did not have any reason to trust you. For all I knew you were here to destroy the evidence. Now that I see the truth of the matter, it seems we are on the same page after all. As a gesture of goodwill, I offer you these keys.” He tosses the keys down in front of Gado. Michel picks them up.

“Stand aside sir, I shall be keeping my eye on you…” Franz steps to one side as Michel opens up the door, using all three keys. The heavy set door opens up, as Michel makes his way in.

Michel spots a table upon which a small ornate chest lays, a book with a unlocked clasp, a quill and a ink-pot. Behind him, is situated a small aviary station housing a single pigeon. The other two cages are empty. There is no window here, but there is a small tiny shutter, big enough for a pigeon to be released outside.

Gado steps into the room, all the while keeping his sword near Franz, although averting his eyes. Good bretonnian sense has thought him to avoid gazing too long into the eyes of a wizard, or that of a witch.

Michel makes a motion to grab the book and then the chest, but as he does, the chest suddenly pops up, having grown wooden arms. It uses its arms to propel itself down onto the floor and makes a bee-line for the small shutter in the room. Magic!

Michel gets his foot onto the chest and calls for Ser Gado to aid him. But the chest’s arms are surprisingly strong and they shove Michel’s foot aside as it runs. Ser Gado strikes out with it, piercing the chest with his sword. The arms of the chest go limp.

He returns his sword to Franz, who appears fascinated by this.

“I did not suspect Wasmeier had such skill. To give life to an animate object requires considerable magic. He has grown in power…”

“Quiet you,” Ser Gado remarks. Michel takes the contents of the chest. Four letters, one of which is shredded from the blow of Ser Gado.

“I can help you with that. Lower your weapon and I’ll mend it for you…” says Franz.

They ignore him for now as Michel takes over, pointing his loaded crossbow at Franz, as Gado reads the letters. (Michel can’t read)

Disturbing indeed…

Gado takes a quick gander at the book, and one page in particular strikes him with interest.

 

Of particular interest is the Associate Assets / Targeted Assets mention on the bottom right.

It gives mention to Ch.Sparsam, which may indeed be Chancellor Sparsam. Apparently he is being supplied with drugs, perhaps a form of control? It makes mention of him not being reliable, but controllable.

Another name, R.Ehlich, which has to be Reiner Ehlirch, Law Lord and whose niece the party rescued. Seems Wasmeier had indeed arranged for his niece to be kidnapped so that he could assert influence over the Law Lord.

J.Hofflich is another name that rings a bell. Another Law Lord, who apparently accepted a ‘bribe’. Notes say that he is not trust worthy, and needs to be watch.

W.Brunner which could stand for Wolfram Brunner or Wolf Lord Brunner. Notes suggest that Wasmeier dislikes him or Brunner dislikes him/them. Ambitious, zealot. Useful ally. Of particular note is the mention of his nephew, Orban, who is actually a spy for the Purple Hand, sending regular reports back to Wasmeier concerning Brunner.

Gado accepts the offer by Franz to mend the fourth letter, although he keeps a close eye on him.

Franz lays the pieces of paper on the table and slowly, but surely, the scraps of paper begin to move on their own, finding their right places as if suddenly given life. He finishes mending the letter, and appears to be fatigued, as he sits down rubbing his temple.

Gado doesn’t buy it, and keeps an eye on him as he takes the letter and reads it, now and again casting a glance towards Franz.

An interesting letter for sure. Gado remembers The Goddess all too well, and believes that G.G is the man he saw down below, the one who Gerhard warned the party about. Gotthard Goebbels. It appears he may also be in the pockets of the Purple Hand.

“We are done here… we will be taking these and leaving.”

Franz looks up, “Will you now… and what will you do with the evidence?”

Gado doesn’t make mention of the Baron, but says that they will be presenting this evidence to a powerful ally who may be able to help.

“As long as you use it wisely. If not, you may be hearing from me again…”

Gado, before he goes, mentions Ethelka to Franz, and asks if he knows her, for he is hunting her and suspects his sisters soul has been ensnared by her. That gets the Shadowmancer’s attention.

“I do not know her, personally. But I do have her daughter… Perhaps we can make an exchange of information?”

Gado seems surprised at that. Franz continues, “Yes, a daughter. She’s also a member of the Purple Hand. It is why I am here. Although it took some effort to loosen her lips, she eventually spilled a few names. One of them was Wasmeier. I suspect her mother is high up in the cult.”

Gado declines the offer for an exchange, and bids him a not-so courteous farewell. They make their exit with haste before Lurk starts to rise. Gado is almost tempted to grab one of the chests that lay underneath the bed of Lurk, six chests in total. He picks one up and it certainly sounds like there is a lot of coins… But Franz, stepping out of the strongroom, warns him against it, for if he wishes to bring down the Law Lord, he would be wise not to be called out as a thief with ulterior motives while doing so.

Michel who had also picked up a chest, realizes the wisdom there and suggests leaving them. Gado is loath to do so, for this Law Lord is not deserving to keep hold of his riches.

 

They make their leave, and do not delay as they head straight for the Panther’s chapter house. Arriving there, they see Captain Marius on the steps, sitting down and wiping his face with his cloak. He is covered in blood, and white dust covers his fast and armor.

“Captain Marius, are you… aright?” asks Sibillia. Marius looks up, “Forgive me. A sister such as yourself should not see me in such a state.”

“It is quite aright. What happened?” she asks.

Marius stands up, his face grim with bad tidings.

“The Ar-Ulric is dead. As are many others at the temple. I fear dark days await us all.”

Sibillia realizes that her skill may be needed at the temple, and makes the suggestion to depart.

“Indeed sister, you are needed. We are stretched to our limits and we need all the help we can get. Many remain buried under the rocks, and there is no short supply of the injured.”

Sibillia nods and heads to the temple along with Michel, leaving Gado alone.

“Bretonnian…” Marius says as he returns his gaze.

“Captain…” Gado says that privacy will be needed to discuss what comes next.

They make their way to Marius’s office. Gado takes particular interest in the display of armour set in a corner of the room. “Impressive,” he notes.

“Yes, finest dwarven smith in Middenheim produced that. Now, what is it you have brought me.”

Gado shows the documents that they retrieved from the estate of Wasmeier.

After reading through it extensively, Marius appears to take special notice of one letter that mentions sulfur and powder.

“Have you ever smelled black powder, Bret?”

Gado replies no.

“It is a distinctive smell. I got a good sense of it this morning, down at the temple… The implication of this makes my blood boil. My gut instinct tells me to march into the palace and drag the Law Lord out for questioning. But I can’t… I am a Knight Captain, and he… he is a close advisor to the Graf. I will have to summon Baron Todbringer. You best wait outside my office until I return. Do not let anyone enter, not even Ludolf.”

Marius makes his leave to seek out the Baron, as Gado sits himself down outside Marius’s office.

Sibillia meanwhile arrives at the temple. There is nothing left but rubble, strewn about the area. Only the flicker of the Eternal Fire pokes out of the rocks, giving hope to the survivors.

Sib spots a Ulrican priest buried under a pile of rocks, his leg crushed and bleeding. Sib knows that the man will not live if he remains like this for much longer, and that removing the rock will take too long. She calls over for a barber-surgeon, knowing that amputation is the only way this man may live. He cries out, pleading that she end his life.

“I can’t fight with one leg! You can’t do this to me!”

Sib apologies and says its the only way he will survive.

“You are a foreigner! You don’t know our way! I’ll be a runt of the litter! Don’t do this please! Kill me! Give me Shallya’s mercy, I beg of you!”

His cries fall on deaf ears as the barber-surgeon saunters over, taking out his bone-saw.

Michel, seeing the destruction at full hand, reckons he best return to Ser Gado. Sib bids him a farewell as he leaves. Probably the sight of the blood has turned his stomach.

Gerhard meanwhile, is walking… well, kinda. He has regained some feeling in his legs, although he moves much slower now with a heavy limp. He will need to rely on the use of a cane soon, but the physician warned him to go easy for the next couple of days. Michel makes his way out of the guild of physicians to get a feel for his legs. The streets are deserted. The festival has not ended, yet for all intents and purposes, it has. Many have flocked to the temple to help with the removal of the rubble. Even Sigmarites have made their way to help.

Michel finds Gado outside Marius’s office, and as he does, Captain Marius arrives in tow with the Baron.

Marius excuses himself, as the Baron makes his way into the office to see the evidence at hand.

“Explain what happened?” asks the Baron as he picks up one of the letters.

Gado begins to explain how he ‘heard’ someone struggling from within the house, and that they went to investigate. They found three servants tied up, and an ogre of which was guarding something. Gado told the story in a way which suggested that the party were not at fault, but merely good samaritans helping out. It certainly formed a thin smile upon Heinrich’s face.

“I suspected treachery. I suspected that Wasmeier was of low-cunning and was conspiring against my father, but this? This all points to a much larger conspiracy. A cult of some sort is in operation here, and Wasmeier appears to be leading it. This is most alarming. There are names in this book that I recognize as well. Many of them are senior court advisors… To think, to think my  father has allowed his court to be infiltrated by serpents. Yet it is not unfathomable. He has been blinded by grief… the death of his 2nd wife has soured his mind. Yet this cannot be ignored. Something must be done.”

Gado tells him that the cult is called The Purple Hand, and that there is more. He suspects a witch, who still remains at large, is playing him for the fool and has his sisters soul. He says that this witch has a daughter, apparently captured by Franz Udolf, the Shadowmancer. He also tells him about the offer Franz made.

“Yes, I know of Franz. He is not to be trusted… but you say he has a member of their cult? He has some nerve to try and bargain her for information. I’ll have him summoned at once and bring this woman into my custody. We will see if she is useful to our cause.

“As for our next steps, we need to be careful. I will need some time to process all this information you have given me. But I will not delay any more than I have too. Time is important, and we need to act fast. When I’m ready, I will summon you all to the palace. You will speak in front of my father and I pray that he is convinced by what you say, and by the evidence presented here. I cannot do this on my own. I may be my fathers son, but Wasmeier has placed himself well in my fathers court, and has many years of loyal service on his belt. My father may consider any moves I take against Wasmeier as simply me fulfilling my desire to have him removed, for I never liked the man and this is public knowledge. A neutral party is needed here, and you and your companions are the perfect ones to approach the subject. Lets hope it is enough.”

Baron Todbringer tells them to remain here, under the protection of the Knights Panthers, as he makes his way back to the palace.

Ser Gado steps out along with Michel; there waiting for them, is Captain Marius.

“It seems we are to play host to you for awhile longer. Wait… where are you going?”

“To fetch my horse!” Ser Gado remarks as he leaves, leaving a scowling Knight-Captain.

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