11th Ulriczeit 2511 (Wellentag; afternoon): Barroom gossip, a spy, we know where you live, and a late night visitor!

The river boat disappeared into the blizzard of snow, its course carrying it eastward under the Teufelbrücke. Salundra and Ferdinand picked themselves up from the slippery dock. They decided to return to the Red Moon Inn for a chance to warm up, some decent food and a few well deserved drinks. They grabbed a table near the fire, Franz approaching them as soon as they sat. He wanted to know more about what was going on with Gele. He knew her and knew of the tragic passing of her husband about a year ago, whose name escaped him for a while, but it eventually returned to him: Thomel. As far as he knew Thomel had been killed in an accident on the river. He and Gele had been reasonably regular patrons, but Franz had seen little of Gele since the accident. Her boat, the “Dancing” something or something “Dancing” was frequently moored just north of the Inn. Franz wanted to know what was going on with Gele and was disappointed to hear she was in trouble. He took drink orders, returned to the bar and called for Eugen to bring some stew (thankfully not fish stew!) over to the table.

The party listened while they ate, a young family the Schneeschels, sat nearby, people coming in and out to check they were okay. They had lost their home in the fire that morning and were now being housed by Franz in the Inn. There were frequent nods in the direction of Gunnar, Ferdinand and Salundra, acknowledging the pivotal role they played in saving lives and in preventing the spread of the fire. A well wisher came offer and offered to buy them a round of drinks as a small thanks for their heroics. The group also heard a couple of dockers or warehouse workers talking about more disappearances. Ubersreik is indeed a dangerous place to be.

While the party warmed up and began to dry off Salundra noticed a man sitting by himself, who seemed to be watching them or her. She wandered to the bar to collect some drinks, trying to see if her ‘admirer’ was simply checking her out or was spying on them. With a deliberate sway of the hips and a glance in his direction she tried to gauge his intent. He avoided her glance, but it wasn’t the nervous avoidance of a potential suitor. Salundra suspected something was up. Gunnar’s eyes were wide and mouth agape with this most peculiar behaviour – “what are you at?” being his blunt question as she sat down. This was enough to unnerve the admirer and he got up to leave. “He’s been watching us!” was her response and she plonked the drinks down. Salundra was keen not to let him get away and went in pursuit. Gunnar weighed the pros and cons of staying to enjoy his drink versus another trip into the snow. Ferdinand was lost in contemplation, oblivious to the whole exchange. Gunnar reluctantly decided going after Salundra was the prudent move and Ferdinand finally caught on.

The man noticed her following him and immediately began to run. She was fast in pursuit, her bound army not slowing her much. Gunnar went to run, but slid on the compacted snow, keeping his feet, but losing the initiative required to catch them. The falling snow was much lighter than it had been, so that was something at least. The admirer ducked into alleys, weaving to avoid capture, but Salundra’s determination kept her in contact, eventually allowing her to grab his collar and wrench him to the ground. Gunnar and Ferdinand followed the tracks they’d left earlier and arrived to find the runner firmly restrained. Under questioning, and with one or two firm bangs against a wall, he revealed that he’d been paid to watch them and report on their comings and goings. Pawel, his name, described a man that sounded a lot like Anton Grimski as the person who had hired him. Pawel had worked as a leather worker, owning his own business, who had mostly supplied Jungfreud troops and city watch, but the Altdorfers had pushed him out, bringing their own people to supply the army. He’d lost his business and home. Salundra ordered him back to the inn, telling him to retake his table and fulfil his task. The party returned to their drinks and the remains of the day passed until Franz called time. Pawel seemed unsure what to do, but made to leave with the small handful of other patrons. Salundra and Ferdinand decided to follow him and Gunnar decided he needed sleep… he had after all been well singed earlier in the day!

Pawel knew his was being followed and turned to ask what they were doing. He was ordered to keep going… and they followed him to his home in Dunkelfeucht. Now the knew where he lived and he would know they knew. Upon returning to the Red Moon, they found it locked up. It was the third snowball before they managed to hit Franz’s window. He was still up and he admitted them. They proceeded to the room, only to discover a snoring dwarf who’d taken all of their blankets! Unperturbed, Ferdinand and Salundra took to their beds for some well deserved rest.

Salundra wasn’t sure if she was dreaming or beginning to wake, but a sound invaded her thoughts. It was indeed a sound from the waking world and her eyes opened upon the slender rapier held by a beautifully dressed warrior. The sword was pointed directly at her chest, “Jou ‘ave something my master needs. The small pouch that was in the parcel.” His Estalian accent was hoarse and dry. Salundra claimed they had nothing, but he pushed the sword, drawing blood. She yelped. “I know it is here. I can feel it.” Gunnar snored, but Ferdinand woke to the sounds. Ferdinand instantly saw what Salundra had not. There was something spectral in nature to this visitor, an faint unnatural glow to his eyes. Salundra pushed herself back along the bed, causing the sword tip to drop towards the floor. In an instant Salundra was up, grabbing her own weapon and swinging at the visitor. He deftly back out the door, deflecting her strikes with ease. He lunged, slicing into her good arm, then retreated down the stairs. Ferdinand shook Gunnar awake and went to assist Salundra. The dwarf’s exit was blocked, so he tied sheets together and went out the window. His exit was inelegant, but thankfully he had judged the ‘rope’ length well. Nonetheless, he landed in the snow, their Estalian interloper nowhere to be seen.

12th Ulriczeit 2511 (Aubentag; morning): Frantic visitor (again), Jungfreud zombies, Rojas and a necromancer!

Salundra’s cut wasn’t that bad and had healed quite well during the night. They gathered their gear and discussed how they might hunt the monster in the sewers. Just as they were about the leave, Gele rushed in. She was distraught. “He lied, the bastard lied. He never intended to help me”, she blurted as she came to their table. Noticing that she was drawing attention, she sat and spoke in hushed tones, “He promised he’d bring back Thomel. All he asked was that I do the occasional errand and let him stay on my boat.” It transpired that ‘he’ was a sorcerer of some kind and he had tried to dispose of Gele yesterday, but she escaped. She didn’t know who to turn to.

A scream from outside drew their attention. In the alley was a dead soldier in Jungfreud livery, but being in that state didn’t prevent him shambling along. There were many Jungfreud faithful left hanging around the city. Ferdinand sensed the foul magic. Obviously something had animated this poor soul, but there was something more… something happening to the east of them. They dispatched the zombie and proceeded east, Gele in tow. As they proceeded through the streets they encountered more undead. Each was dealt with with ease, but their numbers were increasing. The hardy folks of Ubersreik were coming out in force to deal with them too. Gele helped where she could, but it was clear she was no fighter. Ferdinand lost the magical trail in dealing with the zombies, but used his eyes rather than his senses, noting the shambling dead were more abundant to the east of their position. As they approached Ferdinand reacquired the sense that foul magic was near and they honed in on an old warehouse.

Gele called it the Grail Chapel, the details of which Salundra recalled. It had been constructed within an internment camp during the fifth Parravon war by the Bretonnian soldiers held there. As they approached the chanting became audible, a disturbing cant laced with foul notes. As they made to enter the door burst open… the Estalian swordsman appearing before them. “Rojas!”, Gele hissed. “You will not prevent this. Leave before I have to deal with you.”, was all the warning he’d give. The party were not willing to back away from such unnatural behaviour and raised their weapons. Rojas proved to be an expert duelist, dancing around them, and deflecting blows. Gunnar barrelled in, clipping the swordsman with his axe. Rojas sidestepped, catching Salundra’s sword arm with a neat slicing action. She snapped a strike back, catching him squarely in the chest. This was not going to plan for the wight and he began to flee towards the river. Just as he was about to dive in, an amethyst dart, cast by Ferdinand, struck Rojas in the middle of the back, sending him tumbling into the freezing waters.

Salundra was hurt, but she and the party were determined to put an end to this foulness and stepped into the warehouse/chapel. They were greeted by the sight of a withered, pale-skinned man in odd clothing. One of his eyes was patched with a green glow emanating from below. He chanted, a grimoire in hand and the urn the party had thrown into the Teufel sitting on a small table in front of him. A greenish light glowed from the urn. He was surrounded by skeleton warriors, all bar one of which moved to intercept the party. They piled in against Saundra and Gunnar while Ferdinand attempted his own magicks to distract the necromancer. Darts flew from Ferdinand’s hand, the first narrowly missing the old man, but the second striking him on the shoulder. Saundra downed a Skeleton, but was struck hard by a second, sending her stumbling agains the wall of the barn. With rage in his eyes, the necromancer grabbed the urn and began to flee with a single skeleton guard, whatever he had been attempting had been foiled by the party. Gunnar struck at the skeletons, but tiring of the piecemeal damage the axe was inflicting, grabbed one bodily and slammed into in to the others, causing them to collapse into a pile of bones.

Salundra’s eyes rolled in her head… blood loss and strain finally taking their toll. She slumped unconsciously to the floor. Gele and Ferdinand tended to her immediately, the river woman having some knowledge of treating wounds from her years working the river. She believed Saundra would be okay.

… and we’ll leave it there!

Until next time,