The rain had been unrelenting. The party hadn’t found work in Ubersreik in the week they’d been here, but today wasn’t a day for roaming the streets. They drank, chatted and played card games in the comfort of the Red Moon Inn, Franz and Eugen, keeping up the flow of drinks. Gunnar armwrestled a local warehouse working, toying with the man, letting him think he was winning only to easily push over the top. The young Eugen stumbled while collecting glasses, a stein tumbling from his tray, but Salundra’s lightning reflexes snatched it from the air before it had a chance to hit the floor. Eugen gave an embarrassed smile and returned them to the bar.

“Oi! Fritz! You’re dripping everywhere”, Franz yelled at a new arrival. In the doorway stood a messenger, a large backpack stuffed with letters and parcels. He was drenched, but didn’t seem to mind. “Oh yeah, sorry ‘bout that”, he mumbled, then called out clearly, “Miss Silgoben! Delivery for Miss Silgoben.” Else identified herself and the man came to her table. “Ah come on… Eugen, get a mop!”, Franz called in exasperation. The messenger passed a package to her, “I was told you was to be found along the river! Right-o, best be off!”. With that he turned and left… Eugen trailing Fritz’s path through the inn with a mop.

The party, all clustered around one table, looking at the package; it was big enough to hold a pair of shoes, contained many seals, and was well wrapped in a waxed paper. At a glance, it did indeed seem to be addressed to Else. They examined the seals, noting one from Nuln and another that seemed to be from outside the Empire. Who knew she was here? Even if they knew how had it travelled so quickly from what must be a significant distance? Else tore open the wrapping, but the contents only posed more questions. In front of them was a beautifully constructed box with no obvious means of opening it…

Ferdinand took the box, immediately sensing dark magics emanating from it. He turned it in his hands, finding some hidden catches to open it. Once opened they saw some jars, a leather pouch and a dark urn inside. The dhar magic hit Ferdinand hard. Gunnar grabbed the pouch, wondering what it might contain. He spilled the contents onto the table, they seemed to be tiny bones. Else recognised the kind of bones they were – finger bones, but not those of an adult. “Oh, what are those?”, asked Eugen who had wandered to the table. Salundra stood to block his view, “None of your concern…”. He took a step backwards, bumping the table behind. Franz looked up from the bar, wondering what was going on. Eugen moved along, but the barman was on his way. Salundra scooped the bones quickly back into the pouch and closed the box. 

“So, what’s in that parcel you got?”, he enquired. Salundra tried to fob him off while Else again examined the label. The address was badly smudged, but when she checked the name closely is said “Miss Silgoben, Ubersreik”. That wasn’t her name… in the tumult of the messenger entering she must have misheard ‘Sigloben’! “Do you know anyone called ‘Sigloben’?”, she asked of Franz. He scratched his head and ‘ummed’ and ‘ahed’, eventually recalling a tragedy on the river about a year ago involving someone possibly with that surname, but his recollection was sketchy. He had started to return to the bar, when a name came to him – “Gele… yeah… owns the ‘Deft Dancer’… I think she was involved somehow!”. He nodded with a returned to his work, a self satisfied smile on his face. 

The party agreed that they would look for this Gele and the boat along the Tuefel. Ferdinand carried the box, but wasn’t the better for it. An occasional heartbeat thudding in his ears. A heartbeat that wasn’t his own. 

The rain was still coming down quite heavily, though it may have eased slightly from earlier. Visibility was still very poor. There were few people on the streets, but they managed to get a pointer towards where the boat may be. They found it, though it was in a poor state – paint pealing, dirt and grime covered, and much of the rope and tackle looked looking like it had seen better days. The party discussed what to do, Ferdinand still feeling the effects of the box’s contents. Before they could act, the Deft Dancer began to move… drifting into the fast moving current of the river. It was too late to act and the boat began to move eastward. 

They searched for a boat to help them pursue it, eventually finding a small ‘ferry’ – in reality a small boat that two men, Gunther and Helmut used to bring small groups of passengers from on bank to the other. The men were sheltering under a tarp, their poles lying across the boat. The were not relishing the idea of doing any work in the horrible rain. Salundra insisted they help them pursue the boat, which was now out of sight. Gunther explained that their ferry wasn’t equipped for such a journey and was only for going, “back’n’forward, back’n’forward”. Gunnar brandished his axe and all of a sudden the idea of going ‘side-to-side’ wasn’t so impossible. The party went aboard and the men brought them out into the main flow of the river, picking up speed as they turned with the current. The speed was more than they were comfortable with and it wasn’t long before Helmut lost his pole, it becoming stuck in the river bed. Gunther was fretting, desperately trying to control the direction of the boat at the Teufelbrücke came into view through the rain. Mustering all of the skill he had, he managed to navigate past a sunken ship and under one of the bridge spans. Meanwhile the party scanned left and right looking for any sign of the Dancer. It was Amris who spotted it, instructing Gunthar to steer a course towards the northern bank. As he applied some strength to try to turn the ferry his pole became mired too! They had no means of steering. Amris called for Gunnar’s axe – the dwarf handing it over reluctantly. He began to use it as a makeshift rudder, nearly dropping it in the process. Everyone else began to paddle, an arm each over the side of the boat. It began to turn and slowly made its way to the northern dock of the Teufel, though overshooting the Deft Dancer by quite a distance. Gunther and Helmut were shaken, but relieved to have not ended up at the bottom of the river. Who knows, maybe this side-to-side adventure will open their eyes to a business opportunity!

They made their way back to the Deft Dancer, which had been hastily tied up, but was otherwise deserted. The plan was to wait near the boat for Gele to return. They took up positions around the docks and in nearby alleyways, the rain falling all the whole. Time passed, but no one showed up. As the light faded from the damp day, they decided it was time for a drink and found a nearby guild bar. They settled in for a somewhat sullen drink. Ferdinand could still feel the dark magic emanating from the box.

A little time passed before awoman entered the bar and approached the table. They were a conspicuous bunch and she recognised them from their visit to her boat earlier. She asked why they were following her. When Gele learned they had the package she asked for it to be given to her, saying they had no right to keep it. When they refused, citing how dangerous it seemed she became a little desperate, saying how dangerous ‘he’ was and that he’d want it. This drew attention from the many stevedores enjoying a drink. Gele refused to name whoever ‘he’ was. Ferdinand tried to reassure her, saying he was a wizard and understood that she was caught up in something. She didn’t hear anything after the word ‘wizard’ and she began to try to scramble away. Her chair fell backwards and the stevedores immediately interceded. Intimidation and charm weren’t enough to cow them and a few escorted Gele from the pub. After a few minutes the bar woman came over to tell them they weren’t wanted here. 

Else sought out a young beggar and told her there was coin in it for her if she could help them find Gele. Else described the river woman and told the girl they were to be found by the docks, staying on a dark red boat. 

They returned to the Deft Dancer, planning to to stay the night if needs be. Most drifted off to sleep, both hungry and tired at the lateness of the hour. Ferdinand’s sleep was disturbed. Else and Gunnar stayed awake, but to no avail; neither Gele or the beggar girl showed up. When light returned the next day, the rain had eased somewhat and the party decided to return to the Red Moon Inn, a little confused as to how they should proceed. When they entered the inn, Franz called them over, saying “that Gele one left you a note”. He handed it over for Salundra to read: “You fools! But it is not too late… he might still be calmed. Leave the package by the Deft Dancer and then flee as fast as you can!”

They pondered what to do over a delicious breakfast, but decided leaving the box at the boat and staking it out might yield the best result. With the plan hatched and good meal inside them, they ventured out. The rain had let up and they made their way to the Deft Dancer on the norther docks near the Merchants’ Quarter. Gunnar hid on the boat, while Ferdinand placed the box on the gangplank. He then found a vantage point from which to watch and wait, instantly feeling relieved to have the box out of his presence. Everyone else found positions. 

Time passed slowly, and attention began to wane. Else and Amris saw something impossible! The box appeared to be moving by itself, slipping towards the edge of the gangplank. The ran, yelling for Gunnar to support, but they arrived just in time to see a pale hand drag the box into the water and then pull it below the surface. Gunnar jumped at the spot in the water where the box had been, but he stumbled and fell awkwardly into the water. He was fished out by Else and Amris, but their only clue was gone.

Dejected they returned to the Red Moon Inn, settling in for an afternoon of drinking. After a few hours Gele came crashing into the inn. She was distraught… “He promised… he promised!”, she ranted.

“Oh Thomel… I’m so sorry!” 

“Oi…. get her out of here”, Franz yelled.

“He must be stopped. I didn’t know… the Grail Chapel… he’s going to the Grail Chapel!”, she managed as a couple of regular patrons ushered her from the inn.

Some of the party were a little tipsy, but they decided to check out the Grail Chapel.It is a building much like any other along the river, though it has some subtle fleur-de-lys carved into the frontage. They entered cautiously, though Else decided to remain watch, her wariness and devotion to Sigmar keeping her outside. Inside the others saw a beautiful chapel, ornately decorated with wood carvings. It had two other doors, one opposite the way they came in and another into a small lit room. The chapel was dominated by a carving of the Lady of the Lake on the back wall.

An aged man, who introduced himself as Hugo, came from the lit room and engaged them in conversation. He was the custodian of the chapel and had performed this duty for over 30 years. The party tried to understand who else might be interested in the chapel, but Hugo didn’t understand. When they mentioned bones he told them that behind the carving of the Lady of the Lake were many relics.

A scream from outside interrupted the conversation. Else turned towards the sound to see the shambling form of a zombie approaching. She calmly walked towards it and blew its head off with a pistol. Another scream from the street beyond got them all running. The scene in the street was one of bedlam. Zombies, dressed in Ubersreik Watch uniforms,were trying to gain entry into several houses, the desperate inhabitants trying to keep them out. The party didn’t hesitate to engage. Else’s second pistol dropped another zombie and the others engaged with magic, blades and axes. Ferdinand sent magic darts into three zombies, Gunnar swung his axe in anger, Salundra struck out and Amris attacked with controlled swipes of his sword. Several zombies fell, one pierced Salundra’s shoulder, but they kept coming. Another scream rang out… this time from the Grail Chapel back up the alley.

The fought a rearguard to retreat towards the chapel. Else ignored her misgivings and ran in. Hugo lay on the floor, a pool of blood extending from his side. He was alive, but was slipping in and out of consciousness. She grabbed some cloth and tried to stem the bleeding, which appeared to be coming from his left side. Ferdinand came in and helped with the wounded man.

Amris noted significant damage to the carving on the wall. Someone had dug out something of interest. The urn that had been in the box now lay in the centre of the chapel, dark misty shadows flowing from it. Ferdinand could feel the foulness seeping from it and when he was content he had done everything he could to assist with Hugo, he shouted for the urn to be destroyed. Gunnar and Salundra had just entered the chapel, the zombies seeming to give up their slow chase. Gunnar swung his axe at the urn, sending is skittering across the floor, spilling its contents. A desiccated human heart lay there, disturbingly still beating slowly. Salundra cut down at it, separating it into two pieces. More dark mists escaped from it and it finally stopped beating.

While Else continued to tend to Hugo, Amris checked the old knight’s room for clues of what had been taken. He found some papers that were partial record of what relics lay behind the wall. He came back into the chapel and oriented the paper to see if he could figure out what was missing. A name Del-a-fleur seemed to correspond to the damaged spot. Gunnar checked the other door, noting that it was now ajar, but whoever had exited through it was long gone.

They discussed seeking help for Hugo, Else remembering that there was a doctor just off the Marktplatz. Sadly, as they carried him towards the doctor, Hugo drew his last breath…

… and so ends their misadventures for now! A powerful necromancer (who had been bribing Gele) has used the urn to identify the skull of a renowned Pegasus Knight. He plans to raise another Wight (similar to Rojas, who was responsible for recovering the urn). Who knows what he plans to do with such powerful undead allies!

Until next time,