As Bissil and Halion moved through the woods to search for the marauding Greenskins, Valanduil made his way back to the village in order to continue the investigation, and keep an eye on Balthasar Klein as well as the two daughters left behind to ensure there weren’t any more secrets there. Arriving back in the village late, he discussed his finding with Herr Hendrick, and decided to focus tomorrow on investigating the missing body of Heindel vonBrüner, as well as then patrolling the manor for signs of anything that might have been hidden from their initial investigation.
The Garden of Morr yielded no new information as to where the missing body might have gone. Since Bissil had forced the coffin open there weren’t any further signs of intrusion, but apart from one unidentified pair of boot prints, no one else seemed to have been inside the grave. Interviews with the survivors of the attack yielded similarly little information that seemed useful: the Greenskin attack came after the soldiers were well and down in the village so that the manor was unguarded, and most of the staff left behind were not capable of fighting. Those that were either died, or were accounted for in the hospice. Apart from learning that Balthasar Klein was not seen during the attack, there seemed to be little to be gained.
The next day saw him investigating the manor and investigating Sonia vonBrüner and Greta vonBrüner for anything that might be hidden. Though he was curious about the actions of Balthasar Klein, he proved nowhere to be found during this investigation, with Sonia vonBrüner affirming that he had set off to find some men to help rebuild the manor after the attack. Her account of the night saw her mother, once the attack had begun, furiously rush into their room and tell them to barricade themselves, as she would stay outside and hold off any attackers. They heard little, but were unharmed in the aftermath of the attack. Greta vonBrüner seemed curiously silent, and couldn’t be drawn out of her shell by Valanduil. Though the thought of an eight-year-old girl being the mastermind seemed unlikely, he nonetheless got the impression she was hiding something.
He reported his findings to Herr Hendrick that the Steward appeared to have abandoned the two girls at the manor alone, and the retainer promised to go tend to them in his absence. The next day, Hendrick did not return, and Valanduil’s investigation found there was now no one at all in the manor. A search produced no clues, and he resolved to hide and spy on the place in case someone emerged. In time he did detect someone in the trees from his concealed position, and he sprang to give chase. Once he got serious, his natural Elven agility easily overtook the fleeing figure, who was revealed to be the now animate corpse of Heindel vonBrüner. Once it was clear it could not escape, the creature turned and began buffeting Valanduil, apparently without lethal intent but nonetheless insistent on escaping. Not wishing to destroy the creature out of hand, Valanduil found himself overwhelmed by its undead strength and was rapidly subdued – yet awoke several hours later at dusk, apparently unharmed.
The next day’s watching of the manor turned up no clues, but at night he did spy Balthasar Klein appear in the ruins of the house seemingly out of nowhere, and moving towards the courtyard. Stealthily following, he found that upon entering the courtyard, he managed to vanish somehow. Seeing nothing in there but a pool, Valanduil entered it to see if there was some sort of hidden passage, but found himself overwhelmed by the feeling of drowning, and quickly swam to the surface, unwilling to proceed. There was nothing to be done but watch, without clues, when the next morning Bissil, Halion and the rest of the ambush party returned in triumph.
Still secreted away, Valanduil watched as again out of nowhere, Balthasar Klein appeared to greet the party, saying that the vonBrüner daughters had been sent on to the village, and the manor was otherwise undefended. Curtly dismissing the others, Irina vonBrüner informed them that she would meet them in the village once her affairs at the manor were decided. Unwilling to allow these lies, Valanduil stepped forward to inform them that the daughters were not in the village, nor perhaps anywhere, and that answers needed to be brought out. Unable to convince them of her falsehood, Irina vonBrüner instead surprisingly conjured up a dark bolt of energy to strike Valanduil squarely in the chest, while Balthasar Klein leaped at Bissil and Halion exposing razor sharp claws beneath his finely tailored gloves.
The sudden savagery of the Chaotic assault threw the group for a moment, but both Halion and Valanduil rallied to put a ranged attack in the midsection of Irina vonBrüner, grievously wounding her to the point that when she tried to summon up more magic to defend herself, the strain instead ripped her body apart and she died in agony. Balthasar Klein learned the hard way that the predations of Chaos were no match for the righteous anger of a Dwarf, and similarly was beaten back. With the two villains disposed of, the missing members of the household still had yet to be accounted for. Suddenly, from the wading pool the corpse of Heindel vonBrüner emerged, bearing Hendrick, and then the two daughters. Once they were safely accounted for, Lord vonBrüner laid down again on the ground, and passed once more into oblivion.
Halion’s investigations conclude that the wading pool had an illusion spell over it, and diving in found herself in a cave with a clear sacrificial altar inside. Hendrick informed them that Irina vonBrüner planned to sacrifice them to the Dark Gods for more power, and it was now clear that the vonBrüner family had several dark secrets planned. Nonetheless, the group had again thwarted the vile predations of Chaos, saved the life of Lord Aschaffenberg’s nieces, and were viewed as noble folk by the citizenry of Geissbach.
The only offset, was that they seemed unable to move away from the foul forces of Chaos that now seemed to dog their every turn…