As Bissil was escorted to the dining hall by Piersson, and both Rigor and Halion arrived separately, there was no chance to converse and share their findings beforehand. More importantly, a whispered conversation proved impossible as there were only a handful of people around the table with servants moving back and forth, and any conversation attempts would be obvious and quickly discovered. The serving of a spicy vegetable soup as a preliminary gave Halion an excellent opportunity to feign an injury to her “delicate” Elven constitution, and the group excused themselves rather obviously, but without it seeming too unusual.
A fevered meeting in the main hall brought for Rigor’s clues about the non-Goose meat, Bissil’s notes of the suspicious behaviour of the cook, and Halion’s realisation that the coaching staff had not shown up for the meal as promised. Halion and Bissil made to check on the coaching staff, while Rigor returned just in time for the main course. Deciding to rely on his innate ability to deceive, Rigor spun a story about how the latest fashion in Ubersreik was to avoid venison for fear that it would compromise male virility. Rather tellingly, Piersson objected to this description, but Rigor was convincing enough that goose was served to all but the guard captain who felt confident his virility could stomach it.
Upon arrival at the stables, the pair discovered that most of the staff were slumped on the floor, and a quick medical examination by Halion revealed that they were drugged, not dead. Bissil, who was standing on guard, caught a glimpse of the blunderbuss that had been found earlier slowly being aimed at them from above, and let out a roar as he charged for the stairs. His cry was terrifying enough to throw off the aim, for the weapon did no significant damage, and as he ascended the stairs Albrecht emerged and attempted to slay the dwarf. The traitor found himself woefully outmatched and, with support from a well-placed crossbow bolt, was handily cut down.
Post dinner the three reported in to Lord Aschaffenberg about Albrecht’s betrayal, and he urged them to uncover the truth of what was going on. At Rigor’s suggestion, they searched the walls of his study and found there was indeed a secret passage that led down into the depths of the manor. Though they thought about exploring it, they decided instead to leave Lord Aschaffenberg on guard at its top, while they searched throughout the manor. Bissil made to check on the guards, while Halion and Rigor went to the chapel to check on the wounded – just in time to see Doctor Scheer drive a scalpel into the chest of Sister Sonja. Though the doctor attempted to convince them that the Sigmarite had attacked him, Halion swiftly dispatched the doctor with a bolt to the throat, and managed – barely – to save the sister’s life.
Bissil’s investigation of the guard tower and gateposts found all but one of them unconscious, and the last guard strangely unaccounted for. Meeting up with the others, they figured out that Sonja was telling them of a dwarven relic she had promised to hide for Korden that she wanted to make sure was not lost should she die. They searched her chapel and found an ancient Dwarven Warhammer secreted there, and not a moment too soon as the hounds of the manor chose this moment to start baying intensely. Running out into the gloom, the keen eyes of the dwarf and elf saw that in the area surrounding the manor, Beastmen could be seen gathering and massing for an attack.
With time running out, Bissil made to attack the Beastman horde with one of the manor’s dogs, while Halion and Rigor ran back to the manor to see if the cult was somehow drawing the Beastmen there. They cornered the Manor’s librarian who was clearly acting suspiciously, but he was in turn rescued by Piersson and the majority of the serving staff who said they would just be more blood for the altar of sacrifice. Unwilling to fight that large a force, the pair shot, and dove out of the window with Piersson hissing that there was no time to pursue them and the ritual was to commence.
Pausing to stop by their quarters for supplies and healing draughts, they then made for Aschaffenberg’s study to head to the depths of the manor and stop this cult. Unfortunately their slight delay may have cost them, as just before they made the bottom an unholy light and cacophony of screams signalled the completion of whatever dark magic was performed. Simultaneously outside, the Beastmen that Bissil had been cleaving through let out a great howl, and their massive chieftain stepped forward to challenge the Dwarf.
Ultimately the battles were decided in series of matched battles. Bissil confronted the Beastman chieftain, and despite taking a grievous wound managed to drive his axe into its skull. Bissil, Halion and Lord Aschaffenberg charged into the ritual room to find a seven-foot daemonic entity and the badly mutated form of Gregor Piersson urging their death. Rigor faced off against the mutated Piersson and finished him off, while Aschaffenberg was incapacitated by the daemon, but bought Halion enough time to drive the Dwarven Warhammer through the chest of the daemon, banishing it.
In the morning, with most of the staff having survived, Lord Aschaffenberg thanked the three adventurers for their help. Though the road to recovery for most of them would be long – apart from Rigor who had managed to emerge mostly unscathed – he offered them continued employment investigating the only member of the staff who had not been found in the aftermath, the guardsman suspected of drugging the other members, and how much further his family had fallen to the predations of Chaos, as well as investigating