12th Ulriczeit 2511 (Aubentag): He chose poorly; an aged knight; the doctor will see you now; and hospitality.

The necromancer fled out a side door, a skeleton guard in tow. Gunnar noted that Salundra was being cared for and went at full speed for the door. He emerged straight into the skeleton, acting as a rearguard. Gunnar didn’t pause, body slamming the undead soldier out of his way. The necromancer yelped, now only a matter of yards ahead of the Slayer. His haste and imprudence had led to this. He muttered a spell causing thorns of bone to emerge from Gunnar’s axe handle, but the dwarf was unperturbed. He injected more speed into his pursuit as the necromancer reached a narrow wooden pier into the river. More muttering and a spectral bridge began to coalesce off the end of the pier, but the necromancer wouldn’t reach it. Gunnar was upon him. An upper cut with axe grazed the necromancer’s face, knocking him off balance. He whipped out a sword, but his skill with it was limited. Gunnar easily knocked the clumsy strike aside, causing the imbalanced necromancer to fall from the pier. He landed clumsily on the frozen edge of the river. Gunnar leapt after him, his axe arching down towards the stricken necromancer. The master of the undead rolled away at the last moment, leaving the axe to strike the ice, causing it to crack and groan. A clumsy side swipe saw the flat edge of the necromancer’s sword smack against Gunnar’s leg. The dwarf barely noticed, reversing the grip on his axe and burying it in his foe’s chest. The book that had been clutched under the necromancer’s cloak fell to the ice as his body began to collapse in on itself, his unnaturally long life catching up on him instantly. Green wisps drifted from the imploding shell. A satchel and sword clanked on the ice as the body continued to atrophy and shrink. Gunnar placed the fallen items in the cloak and threw the body back up to the pier. As it landed it disintegrated to fine dust, the frigid morning wind dispersing the remains. Gunnar climbed up and noticed the small crowd of bystanders who had witnessed his slaying of this evil.

While Gunnar was chasing down the necromancer, Ferdinand and Gele tended to Salundra. She was unconscious, but in their inexpert opinion she wasn’t in immediate danger. A loud knocking, appearing to be coming from an internal door in the chapel, rang out. Ferdinand investigated, seeing that the door had been blocked by a pew. He shifted it out of the way and the door swung open, an elderly knight standing in the doorway. In a strong Bretonnian accent he angrily asked, what was going on. As soon as Ferdinand mentioned the word ‘necromancer’ his demeanour changed to one of concern. He quickly surveilled the chapel, noticing that is seemed undamaged. His concern turned to Salundra and he insisted that they seek help for her. His duty was to the chapel, so he wasn’t free to leave, but he asked that they return when the lady is well to tell him what happened.

Gunnar returned soon after, a small crowd following him, but they didn’t dare enter the chapel. He passed the bundled book and satchel to Ferdinand and he began to carry Salundra. On the icy streets, the going was slow, until they spotted a warehouse worker loading a cart. Seeing they needed help he offered to push it with the stricken Salundra placed on it. The moved towards Rugger’s Boarding House seeking Dr. Lichtmann, but Ma’am Rugger informed them that the doctor had been called to the Barracks on account of all of the excitement (zombies!) that morning. They continued to the Barracks, finding the doctor in the morgue, tending to an injured Watchman and spotting Rudi with a patch and bloody bandage over his left eye. Dr. Lichtmann asked them to move Salundra to one of his tables and began to inspect her. He asked, “if they don’t mind…” while he began to remove her clothing. Gunnar was quite clueless as to what this meant, but he eventually copped on. Salundra began to regain consciousness, groaning lowly as he pressed on her left side ribs. After a brief inspection, and covering her up again, the doctor announced that he thought it was nothing more than bruised ribs, the blunt force of the blow being absorbed by her armour causing soft tissue damage.

He removed the bandages Ferdinand and Gele had applied to her right arm and inspected it, but the wound was relatively superficial. Dr. Lichtmann noted how similar the bandages were in pattern to the ones he uses! He redressed the wound and stated he was satisfied that she’ll be okay. She just needed a few days rest and care. Ferdinand sourced another cart to transport Salundra to the Red Moon Inn, but before they left the doctor offered them some more bandages and a small pouch with 3GC 6/8, saying they were the proceeds from the sale of different parts and substances he had removed from the troll corpse. The party, and Gele, made their way to the inn. Gele hung back to ask meekly of Ferdinand, “What will become of me?” She realised she’d made a terrible mistake. In her desperation to see Thomel again she had entered into an arrangement with the necromancer. It was only this morning that he made it clear he had no intention of aiding her. As his own scheme spun out of control he discarded her and hurriedly sought to realise his plans. Ferdinand understood and reassured her that they had no intention of turning her in. She vowed to help the party in any way she could, recognising that the injury to Salundra was her fault, at least in part.

The staff of the Red Moon Inn jump into action when they see Salundra in need. They bring a portable stove to the group’s room to heat it, bring additional bedding and offer anything the party might need. Salundra is conscious, but completely drained. They make her as comfortable as possible, ensuring there is weak beer or water with some spirit in it on hand. In the hubbub the necromancer’s belongings are dropped into a corner of the room and forgotten.

13th, 14th and 15th Ulriczeit 2511 (Marktag, Bakertag & Bezahltag): Bad education; Gunnar’s Self-Preservation Society (GSPS); and ‘Leave’

Over the next few days Ferdinand, Gunnar and Gele see to Salundra’s care. Gele comes early each day and returns to her boat in the afternoon or evening. She instructs Ferdinand as best she can in the practical aspects of caring for the injured. She’s not a great teacher, but she really wants to make amends. When no one else is around, Ferdinand studies his grimoire, seeking to expand his repertoire, but his mind is addled. He finds concentration hard and while he thinks he understands the linguistic forms of the spell he’s learning, he struggles to commit it to memory… maybe the bundle of forgotten necromantic items in the corner are disturbing his mind.

Gunnar does his share of tending to Salundra, but he’s also keen to get his fight school for local youths up and running. On a visit to Skornin Morkrisson’s forge gives him a chance to price up a list of weapons he believes he might need. While in Dawihaven, Josef Grimhelm approaches Gunnar, who’s exploits in the city are beginning to attract attention. He says he represents local merchants, who would be pleased to sponsor his school. They wish to see some stability in Ubersreik and having the youths of Teubrücke and Dunkelfeucht capable of defending themselves would ease the strain on the city watch. Also, they’d like a reason to know what’s going on in and around the docks. Gunnar accepts this offer and with the 10GC he’s given, he procures two each of swords, axes and polearms, four daggers and a shield. Over the next couple of days, Gunnar started “Gunnar’s Self-Preservation Society” or GSPS. Seven young people from the area turned up to his training in the warehouse, his initial lessons getting them used to the feel of weapons in their hands…

Day-by-day Salundra began to regain her strength. The kindness, care, warmth and ready supply of food and drink were instrumental in her healing. Both of her arms were feeling much better, though her ribs were still quite sore. Maybe tomorrow she would have the strength to take breakfast downstairs and have a chance to repay some of the kindness she had received.

That night Gunnar took up what had become his customary sleeping position by the door of the room. He slept soundly, his loud snores the soundtrack of the night. Ferdinand discerned something else, another sound at the door between the sonorous grunts. He moved towards the door and roused Gunnar. Opening the door revealed the darkened hall and something fluttering to the floor, a piece of parchment or paper. Picking it up revealed one word, “Leave”, but it was hard to pick it out with only the fading embers in the stove offering light. Ferdinand decided some magical illumination was called for, but something went horribly wrong… he’d wanted a pale light to emanate from his left hand, but instead the whole left arm went limp and seemed icy cold against his side. He couldn’t sense anything with it – it was as though it weren’t there. Salundra, who was now awake, and Gunnar realised something was terribly wrong. Ferdinand sat heavily, dropping the paper. Worry was writ large on his face. Gunnar reassured him and checked the arm. It felt warm to his touch. Hi lit a lamp and picked up the paper. The ‘ink’ was unmistakable… the note had been written in blood. Salundra and Gunnar convinced Ferdinand to try to sleep, hoping that feeling in his arm would return in the morning.

16th Ulriczeit 2511 (Konistag; morning): I feel it in my fingers; eager Eugen; breakfast visitors; and an invitation

To Ferdinand’s great relief, his arm had returned to normal, though there was left a nagging doubt about his connection to the Winds of Magic whether he controlled them or they controlled him…

Downstairs there was quite the kerfuffle… Eugen hadn’t turned up for his shift. He helped with his siblings in the morning when his mother came to the inn to prepare breakfast, but he had been due to arrive about an hour ago. The ominous message from the night before and the missing boy were instantly linked in the party’s minds. The went to search for him, heading towards his home in Dunkelfeucht. On the way they checked the warehouse where GSPS is held. Sure enough, there he was, wielding a wooden sword (for Gunnar wisely doesn’t store the weapons there). Eugen had lost track of time, but a telling off and a discussion about responsibility set him jogging to the inn.

Breakfast was a feast of bacon and eggs, the food seeming to have restorative powers for the body and the soul. As they were finishing up, the group were approached by Ossana Winandus and a well-dressed halfling. She said she had two pieces of business, the first concerning a letter and the second related to the halfling. Salundra read the letter, derision in her voice as she intoned the word ‘poet’…

The party may have an appointment tomorrow. Ossana reminded them that they had saved Joceline, Lucius’ sister during the riot.

The halfling introduced himself as Sigismunda Bloombury and said he represented merchant interests in the city, particularly those with an interest in Ubersreik becoming a freistadt. Trade and continued activity in the docklands was important to the Merchants Guild and they wanted to express their thanks for all of the help the party had been showing to the citizenry in that part of the city. He passed a leather folder to them with the emblem of the guild embossed on it. Ossana and Sigismunda made to leave, but before they did the solicitor leaned in conspiratorially, suggesting that an invitation, even a slightly odd one, from a Karstadt-Stampf wasn’t something to ignore.

… and we’ll leave it there!

Until next time,