Although their time in the employ of Lord Rickard Aschaffenberg had been just over a month, already the adventurers had uncovered two dangerous plots against the Aschaffenberg family, and the Empire in general. First they thwarted a sacrifice of himself and most of his staff at Grunewald Lodge, and then they rescued his nieces Sonia and Greta vonBrüner from his treacherous sister-in-law. Though they had been well-paid for their work, Lord Aschaffenberg decided to award the fine work of Bissil, Halion and Valanduil with an invitation to a noble’s costumed ball in the city of Ubersreik.
Arriving in Ubersreik the day before the ball, the trio found themselves promised by Lord Aschaffenberg to be outfitted with the finest noble’s clothing for their own use during the celebration. With time to themselves, the group found themselves wondering if there was an ulterior motive behind their invitation – after all with Rigor still training his Roadwardenship, none of them were particularly well suited to nosing around in high society. Fortunately the ball was the talk of the city, and it seemed many people knew the basics of what was going on: the city of Ubersreik was to have a marshal appointed by the Emperor, and its leading citizens were jockeying to be appointed that position. The three leading candidates was the host of the party Baron Manfred vonHolzenauer, a leading merchant Graf Siegfried vonSaponatheim, and Lord Rickard Aschaffenberg himself.
Feeling that they were being brought to this party as a kind of decoration, the trio decided to split up and learn as much as they could about those involved. Valanduil took to investigating Lord Aschaffenberg, and visited the Temple of Sigmar, as well as the Red Moon Inn where their adventure had begun just a handful of weeks ago. Her investigations revealed that Lord Aschaffenberg had cast himself as a spiritual candidate due to his commitment to hunting out Chaos cults in his own family, and the Empire in general. He had made many, very public, donations to the Sigmarites and was pushing the threat of Chaos for his election. The innkeeper of the Red Moon Inn however had a bowl of fish stew ready for Valanduil, as Lord Aschaffenberg did indeed value the contributions that the group had made, and apparently held them in high esteem.
Bissil was drawn to Baron vonHolzenauer, who had set himself up as the martial, warlike candidate for Marshal of Ubersreik. Bissil investigated the Tower of Magnus and the various Watch Captain stations throughout the town, which Manfred had sponsored and invested a portion of his own money in. The dwarf’s military prowess impressed the guards to some extent, and he learned that many of the city watch did indeed hold the vonHolzenauer’s in high regard. They had committed their private bodyguard to excursions outside of the city to take care of bandits, or marauding Beastmen. He also learned that the townsfolk of Ubersreik saw the City Guard as a bit of a joke, and that vonHolzenauer’s contributions, though essential, were only serving to further embarrass the Guard – no doubt a problem that could be solved with a more charismatic figurehead.
Halion took to investigating vonSaponatheim and his relations. Visiting the Merchants’ Guild and the public face of the Temple of Ranald where vonSaponatheim was rumoured to be a regular visitor. She learned from the Merchants that four families controlled the majority of trading inside of the city, and that officially the vonSaponatheims were not one of them, although presumably at least one of them were already in his employ. She failed to find the publically acknowledged but privately known true temple of Ranald, but found that shortly after Graf Siegfried’s association with the Temple, there were more acts of mysterious, Ranald-linked charity throughout the city, and that people were quite grateful towards the temple.
The day of the party arrived, and the group reconvened at Aschaffenberg’s mansion for a final fitting of their new noble’s outfits, and had a chance to catch up with Sonia vonBrüner, who had been brought along to this event as a chance for her to debut in high society. Supposedly enough of the people had been aware of the vonBrüner connection to Chaos cultists that the family line was under great suspicion, so it was important for her and her family that this night go off smoothly, and she felt much better now that her saviours were present.
Lord Aschaffenberg’s instructions were largely the same, as well as emphasizing that though he had no specific instructions for them, they were to remember that they were associates of his family, and to be have appropriately. Also if they could watch out for his nephew Maximillian, as well as anyone seeking to humiliate his family, he would appreciate it.
Little did any of them know how prescient his words would be…