17th Ulriczeit 2511 (Angestag; afternoon): Disgruntled Dwarf continued; Bundled Abduction; a Trophy; Making Plans

Gunnar had had enough of manling nonsense. It was the middle of the afternoon and he really needed a drink. Remembering a tavern near the Sisters’ Bakery he walked from Morganseite into the Merchants Quarter. The streets were busy, too busy. He opted for a small alleyway to bypass a particularly large crowd. Something was suddenly thrust over his head from behind. He struggled but felt several arms embrace him. A deep ‘huh-huh-huh’ emanated from nearby. Gunnar mustered all of the strength he could and threw off the assailants. Without even removing the hood, he grabbed his axe and swung out, the keen blade catching someone of something, a pained scream following. Gunnar tore off the hood, a glanced around, taking in the scene: a human man, young, lying on the ground, his left leg almost completely severed; three others, two in front and one behind, all dressed similarly; and a tentacle emerging from a sewer grate, a cluster of eyes observing. It laughed again at the sight, the rumbling sound coming from below. Gunnar bellowed, causing two of the assailants to take involuntary steps backwards. The other came at him with a club, but the Slayer’s reaction was lightning fast, his axe arcing diagonally downwards, slicing the attacker from collarbone to hipbone. The other two began to flee. Reversing his grip, Gunnar lunged at the tentacle, tearing cleanly through it before it had a chance to withdraw. An alien scream, like that of a kettle coming to the boil, emanated from below. “Gooo-naaaaar……. Yoo Dyyyy”, came an angry response. “You first”, was Gunnar’s muttered response as he picked up the severed ‘limb’. This was the evidence he needed to orchestrate a hunt.

With that in mind he headed straight to Captain Pfeffer in the Barracks, her adjutant admitting him immediately when he saw what was slung over the dwarf’s shoulder. Pfeffer took no convincing, immediately seeing the merit in trying to take this thing down. She and Gunnar discussed a plan and pored over a map of the sewers. The plan formed; thirty guards, three or four ingress points at ordinal points of the southern sewer system, and fire… lots of fire. Pfeffer said she’d meet Gunnar at the southern end of Teubrücke at about nine thirty the following morning, reasoning that there would be enough light that at least some of it would help with visibility in the sewers. Gunnar nodded, but he wasn’t done soliciting help. He walked to Dawihafen and spoke with Khazalwarden he had met before. Recognising the danger to the underground city, the warden didn’t hesitate to offer support. He committed six of his finest warriors, promising that they would join the hunt in the morning.

Satisfied that a plan was in motion, Gunnar’s mind turned to the tentacle, and more importantly the creature it might have once belonged to. He believed Dr. Lichtmann may be able to help and sought him out at Ma Rugger’s place. She wasn’t surprised to see the Slayer, but was at least pleased he wasn’t bringing a severely injured woman to see the doctor. She trundled up the stairs and fetched him. He appeared, bleary eyed, a slight shake to his hands and frame clearly visible. Gunnar showed him the piece of the specimen, placing it on a table, and this seemed to awaken him, his eyes drawn to the cluster of eyes. “Mutation?”, Gunnar asked simply.

“Yes, yes…. I believe so…”, was the mumbled response as the leant over it, sniffing and looking, being careful not to touch it. “Where did you ‘find’ this?”.

“It was poking out of the sewers, whatever it belonged to laughing and taunting me.”

“Really? It spoke… most interesting. Brown, mottled skin, no sign of a skeleton and these gripping suckers…. wait here.” The doctor hurriedly went up to his room, returning a minute later with a book opened in his arms. He placed it beside the ‘limb’ and pointed. “I believe what you have belonged to his”. On the page was a bog octopus. “Strange that it is in the city. Of course, that’s not the only strangeness here. The intelligence you describe is beyond what has been reported of these creatures. Yes, yes, they are known to be cunning hunters, but being capable of language? The mutation may account for that.”

“How big do they grow?”

“Oh, quite large… let me see… yes, about two to three yards across on the body and with limbs up to, eh, yes, five yards long. Eight of them of course!”

“Hmmm. This one seems larger.”

The doctor looked at the piece of limb, hovering his spanned out hand near the severed end. “That’s about a foot across and only looks to be the bare tip of a leg. Yes, the creature we have seems to be bigger… much bigger!”

Gunnar outlined the plan for hunting it and the doctor realising that he may be needed in the morning decided he’d get more sleep now and go to the morgue in the middle to the night to prepare for the upcoming hunt.

Gunnar returned to the Red Moon Inn, ate well and drank well. A calm sleep steeling him for the day to come.

18th Ulriczeit 2511 (Festag; morning): More Accusations; We’re all going on a Bog King Hunt – we’re not scared!; “You First!”

The next morning Gunnar fuelled up on breakfast and some ale before proceeding to the meet point. Captain Pfeffer was there with about thirty members of the Ubersreik Watch. There were also six warriors from the Dawihafen wardens, each armed with an ax of some form and wearing heavy army. The mission was clear and Gunnar told each group where their entry point to the sewers would be, Captain Pfeffer chiming in with the specific names of streets when Gunnar didn’t know them. The Dwarfs were to enter close to Dawihafen, with the other three groups taking points at the points of a rectangular net. Upon entering the sewers, they were to light their torches and start moving towards the Teubrücke. Gunnar and Captain Pfeffer would take a central point of entry in the hopes of orchestrating the hunt as best the good. The jump off time was set as eleven bells. Each groups moved towards their start point and awaited the chiming of the bells.

Meanwhile, Ferdinand and Salundra had had an ‘interesting’ morning at the Karstadt-Stampf estate. They had just brought Dietgar to the now empty altar in the attic. He was shocked by the discovery and the description of what they had seen and that this was in some way connected to Khaine, the God of Murder. He insisted he must tell the Lady and they all proceeded downstairs. Not long after that Lady Hellin called together a group in the main hall to discuss what they knew about the disappearance of Brunhilde. She first called on Josef, who showed a piece of bloody cloth. On closer inspection, it was a bonnet, possibly another item of the missing cook’s clothes. The revelation that it had been discovered in Salundra and Ferdinand’s room, set the tone for the meeting. They were becoming increasingly tired of this charade. Facts and counter-facts were presented, with Salundra becoming increasingly bored with these entitled nobles and their ill-informed statements and barely-concealed prejudices. Their claims of hearing noises in the night were refuted. Dietgar claimed not to have seen them. At one point it was claimed they were responsible for the altar! The letter of invitation and the fact that it was Lucius who had invited them, however, seemed to stymy this impromptu court. 

A scream from outside brought the ‘proceedings’ to a halt, but Salundra and Ferdinand didn’t react, reasoning their safest bet was to stay put and have no further engagement with what was going on. Lady Hellin dispatched guards to investigate. Raised voices could be heard and the Lady’s attention was firmly fixed on the gardens outside. Lucius burst into the hall, his face ashen. “I..i…it…it’s D-d-d-d-dietgar! He’s dead!”, he stammered. Lady Hellin, with a look of concern hastened from the room. She returned, equally shaken.

“You two. Leave. Just leave.”, was all she said. Salundra and Ferdinand insisted on an escort to first their room and then from the grounds, neither wanting to get caught up in any more dramatics.

As they worked their way towards the centre of the city, they encountered an large group of Watch, waiting around an open manhole. A sergeant recognised Salundra and appraised them of what was going on. Suspecting 11 bells was soon, they joined the group.

At the appointed time each group entered the sewers and did their best to navigate according to the plan. Gunnar and Captain Pfeffer waited in the sewers near the Teubrücke, listening for the slightest sound. They didn’t have to wait long. Screams could be heard from the west. Without hesitation they proceeded towards the commotion. They came up a sight like neither of them had ever seen before… a huge soft-skinned creature, practically filled the sewer. It’s attention was in the opposite direction, and the wet thud of pulverising impacts could be heard. There were few screams now. Flames could be seen in the small gaps past the creature. It turned to Gunnar and Pfeffer. “Huh-huh-huh”, it intoned. “Get the others”, was Gunnar’s only instruction as he gripped his axe. Pfeffer didn’t need to be told twice, her legs already carrying her involuntarily away from the creature.

“Goooo-Naaaar. Yoo Dyyyyyy”, it rumbled as it turned its full attention to the Slayer.

“You first”, Gunnar spat and barrelled headlong into the abomination. 

And we’ll leave it there…

Until next time,