Saturday, 3 April 2010

Their Fated Travels...(Chapter Twelve) - The Unquiet Death

Their Fated Travels…

RPG Party events as told By Robert James Freemantle

Based on the 2nd edition WHFRP game chapter of the same name

This story contains spoilers for that book’s (Ashes of Middenheim) adventure

Chapter Twelve

The Unquiet Death

Extract from the diary of Tobias:

Day 40

We made it back to the city well enough.

When we brought the skull back to the Temple of Ulric, they took it from us and placed it into an iron chest with runes upon it. Good!

We sat at the dining table ready to explain all that had happened in our journey. Maestro became distressed though, I noticed, when the drinks were brought in. Wine and water had been offered.

Father Odo drank of the water and Rissandrea was about to partake of some too when Maestro started babbling at her, sweating profusely. I became immediately suspicious of course.

It seems the wizard’s witch sight steered him to seeing a green hue rise from the water jug, which we later speculated had come from a well that had been poisoned with warpstone!

Father Odo transformed instantly, convulsing and screaming as the terrible process took hold of him.

Where the priest did fall, in his place did rise a bird like monstrosity.

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 40

Magnamus was right! A person can became a chaos spawn just like that!

We managed to kill the thing with very little trouble, but still, that is not the point! It seems that though the war is over, the looming cloud of chaos still rains upon the people of this place.

By all accounts, it would seem that the church itself has become corrupted. Oh, I can’t say I’m surprised of course, no not at all.

I have researched much of the city’s cults and religions during my stay here. Their great library is extensive, if a little fanatical to its most inspired of ideas…

All religions are cults to me anyway. Better to be shot of the lot of them.

It seems the Jade Sceptre of Slaanesh made their move at bringing down the city on the inside during the actual war itself. Now that is over, it seems that Tzeentch’s cult of the Purple Hand are extending that hand, right into the church. Seeing a bird like chaos spawn manifest from the tortured screaming body of Father Odo pretty much guaranteed that in my mind.

Extract from the diary of Dieter:

Day 40

Now would be the best time for the chaos internal cults to strike, while the city is reeling from its attack, as the bulk of its troops are outside of the walls, chasing Archaon’s army back up into the Wastes. Yes, if I was a scheming God I too would attack the city right now. That does not bode well for us.

If only I was a scheming God, so much I could do. My first stop would be Morr…

More fun was to be had inside the Temple though, before I forget I should mention here, three of the kitchen staff had drank from the water too. They were running around with mutations. We tried stopping them. It became unpleasant…for them at least.

Ulger and I killed two of them before Rissandrea intervened on the third. Damn her!

Still it doesn’t matter.

It’s all going wrong anyway.

Odo was so promising too, and even he has been stolen from me.

Extract from the diary of Rissandrea:

Day 40

I managed to make the third mutant and our party see sense. This man had no evil in his heart. Maestro and I pointed out that the Temple of Shallya in this city should indeed be able to cure such a mutation. The man was still insistent on leaving, getting away but I warned him against that. Were he to go into the city, it would cause panic and the watch would kill him.

I promised to use my connections to the Church to get him some help.

Too many innocents have died already.

Maestro demanded that the well be covered.

We thought that would be the last of it.

We were wrong, of course.

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 40

We met a fellow, the Deputy High Priest Claus Liebnitz. I recognize his emblem from my studies at the library. He appears to be a member of the Brotherhood of the Axe – a powerful and respected military order within the Teutogen Guard.

We ended up getting roped into helping the witch hunters watch the rest of the city wells. Some of the other wells had been poisoned with more warpstone traces.

As they walked to the main well on the southern side of the city, Dieter couldn’t help but raise a point with Maestro, “Maestro listen” he started, “I’m sure I don’t have to remind you that if a portal to a chaos realm appears again, you are NOT to blow it up.”

Maestro smirked, “But you just did Dieter my man.”

Dieter shook his head and remained calm, albeit with great effort, continuing, “Yes, I’m taking no chances with you. Back in Altdorf you almost killed us all.”

Maestro’s eyes narrowed, “For what it’s worth, I didn’t mean to blow it up. I just tried to disrupt the spell.”

Dieter snapped at him a little, “Yes, well magic is a dangerous commodity as we can clearly see. In your hands it is unpredictable.”

“That’s why I’m training, Dieter.” Maestro replied defensively and added, “What was I supposed to do? Let a greater daemon run havoc across the city?”

Dieter was unimpressed, “Foolishness that results in victory is not the same as courage.”

Maestro smiled and replied, “It matters in the one place that it counts most, on the paperwork of my report that will ultimately end up back in the Magisters’ hands.”

Tobias gave Maestro a short glance and tried to not let on that the conversation intrigued him.

Dieter still wouldn’t let it go, “Then there was the fire, where you made the portal explode and it killed the old woman.”

Maestro pouted, “I told Tobias to sling a stone, I did not do it, he did.”

The halfling raised his eyebrows in dismay.

Dieter snarled a little at the mention of Tobias’s name and replied, “As much as I would enjoy pinning any blame on that short legged shaven rat of a half man, YOU asked him to. It’s your interventions that cause all of this. It’s your presence that binds us together in fact. Binds me to you.” Dieter quickly took a step back, internally. He realised he’d gone too far.

Maestro asked, “What do you mean?”

“Figuratively” replied Dieter, “I mean, it’s not…like I can leave you on your own now, after seeing what a state you leave everything in, after you have touched it.”

Maestro smiled wickedly at this, “I like you too, Dieter.”

Dieter thought better of saying anything else to the contrary. He had almost overstepped the mark, said too much. Anything he told them would not help. It could only lead to the potential for coming back on him later down the line. Dieter always believed in leaving alone even the most innocuous of conversational threads.

Dieter realised that everyone was looking at him now and added, “Just do me a favour then, next time at least ask before you blow a portal up. We’re getting into trouble with the chaos forces, I tell you.”

Maestro nodded, “That sounds reasonable.”

The group soon arrived at their destination.

From the diary of Tordrad:

Day 40

We wait, hiding to catch anyone trying to poison well. Halfling take robes off, go crazy again as sun go down. He more crazy than the wizard is. Maybe it is influence from College of Magic. Maybe wizard be that crazy one day too.

Halfling is even funnier at night. He snarl at me even. Much attitude he has. I like that.

We not wait long, man in dark robes came. Halfling creep out to him, swap his pouch of poison for pouch of small stones. When man go to tip it in well he find truth, he start running.

Wizard surprises me. Somehow he faster than anyone I ever saw. He raced out to criminal and speak in dangerous mage tongue. He touch criminal and criminal fall down. Criminal asleep from touch.

Dieter have malicious glint in eye. I like that too. He make me laugh. Small man, very weak but much heart of warrior. Tordrad sees it. Dieter tries to hide it. Tordrad knows fighter when he sees one.

Halfling ties man up. Slaps his face until he wake. Dieter asks him questions. I know not what, but man is scared. Very good fun this.

Dieter make the man focus on finger. Man just stare like half asleep then. Wizard say this word much, “hip-no-ties” I not know this word. Dieter do this perhaps. Man tells group much.

Next we go to cultist base on corner of Todmane Alee and Ecke Strasse. We smash way through into warehouse. Man hides behind barrels, he try run. Wizard he leap forward, over barrels, faster than he looks. He touch this man too, who falls asleep on floor. Halfling steals man’s coin purse.

Secret hatch man was going to. Ladder lead down. We end up in tunnel underground. Storeroom down here. Maestro find spear. It magic. He excited about it too, so it must be. It has some power about it. A presence of something, maybe someone. After seeing what skull did, I believe anything could be possessed.

We burst in on dark chaos wizard. He bring guards to defend. My silly wizard, he angers chaos wizard. Speaks in evil language once more, threatens chaos wizard. Silly wizard should not have done this. Chaos wizard, he cast spell. Spat much blood at my wizard. Blood hit him in chest and make it burn. Silly wizard scream like little girl, fall to his knees and try to survive cultist guards. Rissandrea fight them off him with quarterstaff. Good that she did this as I needed time to get to him. Dieter, the dog and halfling fighting wizard. He holding them off with barrier power. He using lot of power quickly, drawing much darkness around him. This why male wizard is bad idea. Maestro better not become like this. Better as buffoon as is now, than this.

More proof of this I see as terrible conjuration go wrong for chaos wizard. His face, it change to surprise, to horror. Soon same look on my group’s faces. I not paid to protect them, just wizard. I run to wizard to save him from other men. Not matter though. Other men see portal tear itself open, like ripping of parchment, revealing chaos portal behind chaos wizard. I know what these are. Seen enough now. Large red hand pull chaos wizard in through portal. He scream like child. Something big inside make him look like child, feel like child I think. Portal closed shut. Not before man-sized daemon step out.

Hooves, red skin, horns, big axe. Good fight for me. It was too good a fight. My weapon could not hurt it. It mock me instead.

Wizard shout my name, I look to see spear he holding glowing orange, smoke rising from end of it. Daemon look worried at spear too. Good sign I see. Wizard perhaps less an idiot than first seems. He threw spear to me, throw like girl, weak arm. I catch though and fight daemon. Spear burned his flesh, made him scream. Voice like ten people at once. I not care, he daemon and spear knows it. Before I can finish bloodletter, it fade like not really there anymore, like mist and then completely gone.

My kill denied me.

I was not happy at it escaping. Maestro say something to me, I part understand him trying to tell me it not matter, because daemons not die anyway, just banish, even when you kill them.

This make me feel even worse.

Maybe though, maybe powerful spear like this, maybe it kill daemon so well that it die from it.