Warhammer - The Depths of Corruption

A Simple Investigation - Part Two
There is more going on here than meets the eye
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A Simple Investigation - Part One
What could go wrong with this assignment...

Lord Rickard Aschaffenberg’s trust in his team had been shaken. They had uncovered a conspiracy to commit murder, as well as evidence of wrongdoing, but rather than arrest a guilty party they allowed the crime to remain unsolved, and worse a political rival to know that this had been done. With no crime punished, his position had been left vulnerable politically.

As a consequence, the group was tasked with a relatively simple task to show they could handle a low-key assignment. Lord Aschaffenberg’s nephew Maximillian had recently become infatuated with Esmerelda Fenstermacher, the only daughter of a poor merchant, who had been entertaining several suitors of late. Lord Aschaffenberg wanted the group to investigate these claims, and discretely break up the arrangement.

The group started with some gentle inquiries around town. Apparently the young lady had indeed become the focus of lots of nobility gossip lately. Apart from Maximillian, many other richer families had also been courting her via expensive gifts. She had apparently received a small fortune of gifts within the last few weeks – something that caught Valanduil’s interest.

As the group watched Esmerelda going about her day for signs of what made her so captivating, Guthrie vonHammastrat dramatically approached her, and announced loudly that he would be leaving for the mountains to slay a band of Orcs in order to win her favour – an act that Esmerelda greeted with trepidation and attempted to persuade him not to do so. Heedless of her request, Guthrie rode out of town immediately, leaving Esmerelda behind. As she stood there, Halion Balfour observed a faint aura of the wind of Hysh about her, but nothing that indicated any active spellcasting.

Although none of the three present were expert on human courtship rituals, they all agreed that there didn’t seem to be something special about Esmerelda to explain this surge in attention. Halion resolved to investigate a potential magical angle, while Valaduil and Bissil would interview the most active of her suitors to try and get to the bottom of this.

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Noblesse Oblige - Chapter Three
The difference between truth and justice...

Summary of Events

  • Arena confesses that Erasmus was blackmailing her, but denies killing him. She is dismissed from service
  • Search of the cart reveals a set of poison. Jakob says that Grethe was an assassin sent to protect him. She denies using poison, and puts herself to sleep as proof
  • Friedrich and Ruprecht get into a brawl, Ruprecht is outed as conspiring against his sister. Banished from hosuehold
  • Valanduil steals from coaches, uses it to bribe Everd into confessing that Darathee was previously suspected of poisoning her husband.
  • Darathee confesses to crime, says she was also being blackmailed
  • Brigita offers substantial bribe to pin blame for crime on Everd.
  • Party refuses to take bribe, but allows Darathee to go
  • Aschaffenberg very upset at confession.
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Noblesse Oblige - Chapter Two
Interrogating all of the NPCs!

Summary of Events

  • Inspection of Erasmus’s body reveals he appears to have been poisoned from close range. Other priests did not know what happened
  • Jakob Creutzfeld believes it must have been Beastmen, and wants conference to continue
  • Friederich Creutzfeld blames the Durrenbach, insinuates that he had an affair with Brigita
  • Grethe Rozenow claims to have seen nothing, was hiding with the troops
  • Arena Stretstorpe was coordinating the defense, can’t see Everd
  • Brigita Durrenbach believes that Friederich was responsible. Denies affair.
  • Ruprecht Durrenbach accuses his sister of orchestrating events
  • Darathee Durrenbach revales she is engaged to Jakob, but was not near the attack
  • Everd Setzingen asks for a bribe to reveal more information
  • Only lead presented was Arena and Erasmus had a history of bad blood
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Noblesse Oblige - Chapter 1
Two houses, both alike in dignity, torn apart by tragedy...

Summary of Events

  • Party dispatched to escort Priest of Sigmar to negotiations between two noble families.
  • Basic research into two families reveal history of feud and whispers of violence
  • At first coaching in, Bissil notices that Priest is praying for “forgiveness” for his sins. Unable to obtain more information
  • Arrival at vonAschaffenberg lodge, Creutzfelds and Durrenbachs refuse to talk to each other
  • Erasmus, Brigita and Jakob led inside for introduction of conference – Bissil accompanies
  • Valanduil talks to Durrenbach mercenary leader, who hopes talks fail for employment
  • Halion talks to Cruetzfeld mercenary leader, who is suspicious of an attack
  • During meeting of key players, mutants attack drawing party’s attention
  • In the aftermath, Erasmus is found killed.
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The Restless Dead - Chapter 3
A heretic is uncovered, and a battle is fought

Summary of Events

  • Zombie attacks, Bissil and Priestess quell her spirit and put her to rest
  • Other mysterious murders exhumed – found to be zombies and laid to rest
  • Next day, confirmation that the spirit does not reappear
  • Valanduil and Halion track body through sewer to near her place of work
  • Halion detects Necromatic magic leading to the sewers from a nearby shopkeeper
  • Rigor interrogates the nearby businessman, finds a suspicious one
  • Valanduil breaks into the basement, finds unresponsive zombies.
  • Shopkeeper flees into his basement. Pursued by party
  • Zombies inside of emerge from basement. Party flees basement
  • Valanduil sneaks back around to other side. Sneaks open door. Sneakily shoots necromancer.
  • Cake is had.
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The Restless Dead - Chapter 2
Investigations into a murder lead many places

Summary of Events

  • Second appearance of ghost in the morning, indication that body had been moved.
  • Search broadened outside of immediate area. Interview with Kaspar Knapp as to how the body was discovered
  • Name given to possible corpse: Annabella Hutten. Question of why she was killed, then moved
  • Family confirms she was missing for three days before body was discovered. She’d had no complaints so far.
  • Priestess of Morr will not allow exhumation without extenuating circumstances
  • Interview around Annabella’s job indicated several people had gone missing
  • During the night, Esmerelde Claus and Bissil enter the garden. Esmerelde convinces the Priestess through methods unknown to permit exhumation.
  • Annabella revealed to now be a buried zombie.
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The Restless Dead - Chapter 1
A merry day of shopping is interrupted by a grim spectre

With the injuries suffered by Valanduil tended to by time, he was on hand for the return of Bissil Dingson, and Halion Balfour, as well as to meet Rigor Klaus with whom their paths had never crossed despite their mutual association with Lord Rickard Aschaffenberg. The rescue of the town of Schlagenhugel had preceded the trio’s return to Ubersreik, and the group once again found themselves the talk of the town. They celebrated the way that they knew best: shopping in the mercantile quarter of the city.

Their purses were reasonably heavy as Lord Aschaffenberg had been appropriately generous with their success, but Valanduil had his eyes set on a much higher prize: a Hochland Long Rifle. An expensive piece of equipment to be sure, but with Rigor’s silver tongue, and the exceptional successes of Halion and Bissil backing him up, Lord Aschaffenberg was convinced to finance the weapon for the adventurer, and with great ceremony located, purchased and presented it to the Wood Elf – while also making sure to highlight his own profile in doing so of course.

Their escapades were put on hold together as the murmurings of the crowd gave way to screams. Off in the distance, a pale shape moved through the crowds, whining and moaning as it came. A spectre of a dead woman, hair streaming through the wind, came down the concourse and people scattered in nits wake. Naturally, Lord Aschaffenberg moved to calm the people, and his adventurers came with him. Confronted by the horrifying sight, Bissil and Valanduil both staggered and could not confront it, but Halion and Rigor stood their ground. All though drew close enough to the ghost to see a vision of death – a young woman, suddenly and brutally killed in an alley by an unseen assailant. As Halion asked if the spirit was that woman, it let out one last howl, and vanished.

Lord Aschaffenberg wasted no time in calming the populace that by the right of Sigmar he would see this shade cleansed. He, taking the form of his four trusted servants naturally. The group wasted little time in trying to track down the source of their vision, through a mixture of interrogation of where the spirit came from and investigation of the city, they located the alley that matched their vision, and where the ghost was said to have come from. There was no sign of any recent violence there, and as it had last rained two nights ago, it seemed unlikely that the death had occurred any time recently.

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Many Happy Returns - Chapter 3
The true enemy is revealed, and the new battle begins

The trip to the standing stones was laden with a sense of urgency. If the Priestess’s words were true, the disruption of the ancient circle of stones was responsible for the disappearance of the village in the first place, and it may well happen again if left unchecked. A quick glance by Halion into the magical realm confirmed that the Wind of Azyr was still rising, and so with Bissil, Rigor and Carmella at her side the group set off to try to save the village, as well as themselves, from becoming unstuck in time.

Upon reaching the great circle, Halion was able to confirm that they were ancient Ulthuan Waystones, usually built to harness powerful confluences of magic in the world. More disturbingly, Rigor realised that some of the trees that had grown in the centre were moving, and the spirits of the forests seemed to stand ready to defend this area. Though Rigor insisted that he had prevented the villagers from venting their ire on the overgrowth, his companions all insisted that the treemen be dealt with before they proceeded onwards.

Initially, Bissil and Halion were planning on using magic and raw savagery to draw the treemen out from the ruins, buying time for the ritual to be completed. A brief discussion on the relative speed of a walking tree concluded that the best plan was simply to begin the ritual, and then deal with the trees as they approach. Halion suggested a plan of lighting the ground on fire as a warning to the trees, but both Rigor and Bissil pointed out the obvious dangers in such a plan, not the least of which would be further enraging the spirits of the forest.

Priestess Farber moved forward to carve the first rune shown to her in her vision on the stone, and upon completion the treemen did indeed become aware of their presence and moved to charge. Bissil and the Captain stayed with the the Priestess as she moved to draw the next rune, while Halion, Rigor and Carmella began lighting torches with which to frighten or threaten the treemen into charging them. Bissil attempted to block one of the approaching trees from reaching the Priestess as she finished her latest rune, only to be completely bowled over by the strength of the creature.

As they called out for their fallen friend, Rigor realised that the treeman, though merciless in shoving Bissil aside, did not actually show signs of wishing harm onto the dwarf, and was instead proceeding towards the Priestess and Captain Baldrich, seemingly intent on stopping the ritual. Though they themselves had a treeman lumbering towards them, and both Halion and Carmella seemed ready to attack the creature, Rigor insisted that they wait for the tree to take the first murderous action against them before acting. With torches and weapons drawn, they watched as the treeman charged into the midst of them… and ignored them, continuing straight into the forest.

Now convinced there was more going on here than appeared, Bissil recovered his senses and charged the Priestess to make her stop the ritual. The Captain had already engaged the treeman that had charged him and, though not a match for the creature, was able to hold it off for the third stone to be ritually marked. Rigor began roaring at the man to drop his weapons and fall in submission to the treeman, and despite his clear misgivings he did as he was instructed and the treeman stopped attacking. Bissil knocked the Priestess over to disrupt her ritual, only to find that her appearance seemed to melt away with her leaving a cruelly dressed elven witch in her place. Pretense dropped, more elven raiders began emerging from the forest, some engaging the treeman that had charged into their midst and began to surround the group – their foe was chillingly known to Halion as the Druchii, or Dark Elves.

The Witch leader of the Elves drove a dagger deep into Bissil’s breastplate, drawing a savage wound and poisoning the dwarf, which may have muted his return blow – damaging her surely but not dropping the nimble, lightly armoued creature in front of him. As Bissil, Halion and Carmella turned their fury on the Elves that surrounded them, they were saved by the treeman that had previously engaged the Captain charging to aid Bissil, and in one contemptuous blow slaying the Witch where she stood. With their deception revealed and their leader slain, the remaining Dark Elves seemed not to fight the entire forest plus an angry mob of adventurers, and faded into the darkness.

The aftermath saw the rescue of many that the Dark Elves had taken prisoner, as well as a revelation of their plans. With more time to study them, Halion confirmed that the stones were an ancient Ulthuan method of travel, and that the Druchii were attempting to modify them to reactivate and link up to Naggaroth, their blasted homeland. A mistake in their ritual initially caused the surrounding area to move through time, rather than space, but had they succeeded this time a Dark Elf raiding party could have opened up in the heart of the Reikland, and launched an invasion on the unsuspecting populace. Hopefully with their leader dead, the survivors would not know the exact nature of the ritual, but the Captain pledged to keep a closer watch on the stone circle and prevent anything like this from happening again.

With the day most definitely saved, the group set out to return to Ubersreik, with no doubt the most successful Vigil of Schlagenh├╝gel to date accomplished by Rigor in Roadwarden History. Despite their success, all quietly reflected that they could only hope that the Dark Elves that had escaped would have better things to do than seek vengeance on them for thwarting their plans…

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