Saturday, 26 March 2011

Duz Andy Know? Episode 48 - ILL-Literary

Warhammer: Their Fated Travels...Ch25 (Spoken Word Version)

Friday, 25 March 2011

Their Fated Travels...Chapter 30 - The Fighting Pit Round One

Read it at here -

or below, here -

Their Fated Travels…

RPG Party events as told By Robert James Freemantle

Chapter 30
The Fighting Pit
Round One

The arena the contestents were battling in was a simple circular pit dug out into the earth. The mud floor and walls were hardened solid. Some straw and sawdust lined down there. After bouts if there had been a reasonably large amount of blood or “meat” left behind, it was easier to sweep it up. Then new layering was scattered on the ground before the next fight.
   The spectators were in a viewing position behind a medium height metal runged barricade. It wasn’t tall enough to stop somebody from actually climbing over and into the room. It just served as a reminder, a suggestion to not do it. Several heavily armoured guards who looked as mean as could be stood dotted about the crowd and on the opposite side of the barrier too. Furthermore, a particularly anti-social looking messy bearded dwarf sat cross legged on a high platform nearby, with a rifle in his hand. While fights would take place, he would often sight spectators up, his tongue poking out in concentration of his target finding - almost willing them to step out of line and interfere with a bout. Nobody did.

   The rules for the illegal tournament were simple: Two competetors fight until one is either killed, rendered unconscious and unresponsive to the referee or submits verbally or by way of “tapping out” with their hand. Any weapon is permitted and anything goes. No holds barred.
   The final element to it was the owner of the arena, a long wild haired kooky wizard. He wore robes but they were of no distinctive order. They were more personalized for comfort and fashion. He held in his hand a trumpet looking device connected to a lever. Inside the machine several wheels and pivots interacted with spindles that spun in response. However, the spindles did not weave fibers into thread like one might find in sewing. These spindles spun sound about them and amplified it through the listening end of the strange contraption. Maestro stared at the machine in envy. This was the kind of thing he wished he had invented. An engineered device that was completely original in concept and enhanced by magic. He ached to have hold of it in his hands, so that he might tinker with it.
   The wizard owner of the device would use it by pointing it at a competitor’s left side of the chest and listening. The amplified device would register if a heartbeat was present or not. The audible sound came out quite loud, to Maestro’s surprise.
   This was a truly effecient fighting ring, they observed.

   The competitors came out through a portcullis set off to one side and through a passage that led down into the pit. Once inside, a heavy sliding barrier would be pulled across blocking the way back out.

   First out to fight, funnily enough was Tordrad. The Kislev warrior wore his full armour and brought his great axe with him.
   Maestro’s spluttered at seeing this, realising only now that Tordrad might actually be in danger. If Tordrad died here, what might happen to him? How would he get out? These people in this place were big, brawny and smelly. He commented nervously to Rissandrea, “It looks like they’re trying to kill us off early!”
   The woman turned her head in disgust at this idea. She very much disliked the fact that the others were doing this. Maestro was only making things worse.
   Tordrad’s opponent was then announced: Frederick Wilwart...
   As Tobias heard this from his position in the backrooms he commented, “Wait a minute, did he just say Frederick?”
   Dieter looked at Tobias and replied, “Oh no, not another halfling short arse.”
   Tobias stared in bewilderment, “I didn’t even know my brother was still alive!”
   Dieter commented, “And you always try to dissuade me from saying that you must all know each other, telling me it’s racsist to speak like that. Then what do you go and do but help inforce it?”
   Tobias shook his head in disbelief, “I hope Tordrad doesn’t kill him. I want to talk to him. I need to find out what he did next...I need to...”
   Dieter replied with his usual dark sarcasm, “Oh don’t worry, whatever ails him after this match even death, a couple of pies shoved into his face and he’ll be back to sorts.”
   “Is that your medical opinion, doctor?”
   Dieter replied, “Yeah, why not?”
   Frederick was dressed in the dark colours that Tobias tended to favour in his night time mode. Then he drew two daggers and rushed towards Tordrad. His natural swipe was at Tordrad’s leg level as the blades scratched against the armour doing no damage to the man underneath. Tordrad really hadn’t taken his foes speed into account and he was surprised to find him upon him so fast.
   Tordrad wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice as he quickly stepped forwards to close the gap as the halfling tried to pull back. The kislev man went on the offensive, swinging his axe at the halfling in a blaze of multiple strikes. The metal end of the weapon caught the light of the torches many times and at times made it look like he was wielding a firey weapon.
   The halfling dodged many of the attacks, his speed and agility were great, but Tordrad was too expertly martial. His axe began raking the halfling, tearing through his chest and cutting his arm quite badly. Blood violently ran from the wound as he tried his best to pull away.
   Frederick pulled a throwing dagger free from his belt with his good arm he threw it at Tordrad’s face.
   Tordrad watched in surprise as it almost struck him directly. He moved a little at the last moment as it trailed past, scratching a great trail through his cheek. The Kislev warrior had not thought to bring his helmet with him. This wound would definitely scar, it was that bad. All of this though, only served to make the man angry as he charged Frederick with a great battle cry that nearly deafened those closest to the ring. As he connected, he swung the axe at the halfling but instead of going in blade first, he swung the flat of it. It connected with his smaller opponent, impacting head on and knocked him backwards against the built up wall of the ring. There he struck his head against the hard mud and fell forwards, unmoving after hitting the ground.
   Tordrad had pulled his killing blow. He didn’t want to have to kill people if not required. He simply then looked to an official to hint that they should check on the man’s status. Somebody did just that, inspecting his condition. Frederick was declared as unconscious.
   Tordrad was the victor.
   Maestro was another step closer to collecting large winnings. He had bet a good deal on his bodyguard to win the whole tournament contest.

   Next out to fight was a local wannabe, a Nuln man trying to make a name for himself, impress his friends and improve his social standing.
  As his opponent was brought out to the ring, a repeating wave of controversial gasps went up through the crowd. A blonde haired dwarf slave had been tied to a large wooden flat upright platform on wheels, and was being pushed out to the ring while he he made no effort to struggle against his restraints. He barely looked conscious in fact and not in the best of health.
   His handlers were a shady group of cloaked ne’r do wells if ever there was.
   It was clear that the dwarf was their slave, their property.
   Rissandrea noticed that the dwarf’s skin looked far paler than it ought to and he was sweating unnaturally too. She figured that he must have been under the effects of some toxin or drug. Either currently or in withdrawal from it.
   The handlers then surprised the audience a second time as one of them drew a dagger and slashed at the dwarf’s exposed arm, because of the torn shirt he wore. He wore very little in the way of clothing, only this and some torn trousers, that looked more like shorts. He wore nothing on his feet and had no armour.
   “Incredible” said Maestro, “He’s taking damage before the battle has begun.”
   Rissandrea winced and left the wizard’s side to see what help she could offer to Frederick out back. Gaining access to him now he had been eliminated wasn’t very hard – and being a member of the shallyan order gave her easier pass.
   One of the handlers then produced a pallete of strangely bright red and yellow coloured paste then with a spatula smeared it onto the wound! The paste was a compound of crushed mad cap mushrooms!
   The dwarf’s eyes suddenly snapped open, blood red in appearance, almost like that of a goblin.
   The handlers untied most of his restraints but before they could remove the last of them, the dwarf snapped through them on his own. The handlers began running as fast as they could behind the dwarf.
   The slave dwarf began screaming in frustration and went for one of the handlers. Someone within the security section managed to pull him up out of the ring. The dwarf’s head suddenly snapped around towards his opponent and he pulled two large stone battlehammers out from the wide and thick leather toolbelt he wore on his waist. He charged the shocked man like a rampaging bull, his hammers swinging at lightning speed.
   The Nuln man made a futile attempt to parry with his sword as one hammer struck him at the weapon and crashed against his arm on the follow through. The other hammer followed up hard into the man’s chest. Then two more shots did the man suffer. His ribs had broken and punctured inwards into his lung. Various other sources of damage had come about as he dropped his weapon. However, the man did not have the sense of mind to submit as the mad dwarf then grabbed him by his protruding rib, pulling him straight towards him before headbutting him with a force like an Ogre’s club. The sickening crunch sound made many in the audience jeer, cheer or go a bit off colour. He then bit a lump out of the man’s face and spat it back at him.
   It was clear to see the man was dead now and the dwarf simply wouldn’t let up. He kept striking the man so that he remained standing. His body couldn’t fall from the force of the upward blows.
   The officials decided to give up on trying to retrieve the man’s body just yet and instead concentrated on moving the audience back, especially when the dwarf became bored of the corpse that didn’t fight back and walked around the edge of the pit looking for his next victim.
   The winner was announced as Grimdal DalDuraz.
   Eventually the dwarf’s energy was spent and the high effects of the drug wore off. He fell to the floor again, his malnourished body unable to support his newly elevated state of being for too long.

   The next bout was announced as a competitor who hailed from the moot. A supposed scholar who had taken up arms to compete in this competition. Tobias Wilwart.
   Out came Tobias, wielding a dagger and dressed in his skaven looted black leather armour.
   His opponent was announced. It was a master wizard, Maestro could tell, one who appeared to be conjuring the lore of shadows about him, the grey wind of ulgu.
   Maestro observed that this would be a contest of magic versus an individual highly trained in anti magic. But would that be enough he wondered?

   Tobias dashed towards the wizard, moving from side to side in a zig-zag pattern. All of this movement did not protect him from stepping into a shadow caused by an overhanging beam however...As soon as the halfling’s foot entered the darkened spot he froze to the spot, restricted.
   The wizard smiled and cast a second spell, the first hadn’t even been noticed! This spell made the halfling’s feet begin to smoke and then flame tore up around it, catching the great tufts of hair present on fire.
   With great willpower, the currently rogue minded Tobias managed to tear himself free of the effect but all he could do was hop about in pain even after the flames had been put out. Standing still was difficult for him.
   While the halfling nursed his poor foot with one hand, the wizard prepared another spell by channelling.
   At that moment, Tobias tore into a sprint taking the magister Taros by surprise. Just as he reached the grey wizard it was clear that he had a garrote string in his hands! He had used the moment of nursing his foot to discreetly draw this weapon.
   The sudden appearance of the halfling at great speed left Taros dumbfounded and then Tobias kicked the man squarely between the legs. A low blow that made the audience wince in pain at the thought of it. The wizard screamed his reaction and bent over holding himself in response.
   Tobias ran the garrote around the man’s neck and pulled quickly, a tight hold that made Taros let go of his aching groin and forced him to attempt to tug against being strangled. Blood was already beginning to drip from where the wire made contact with the wizard’s skin.
   Taros couldn’t break free of the garrote. The halfling’s grip was too focused and the human was bent over so couldn’t put his full strength into the counter to push the halfling off.
   Suddenly the wizard disappeared in a puff of smoke, re-appearing on the other side of the ring, trails of smoke leading from where he stood before to where he now stood. Tobias coughed and hacked at the offensive magical taste it left in his mouth. He then wondered how he recognised the test of magic but dropped that thought as Taros once again cast a spell.
   Tobias was doing well to keep away from the areas of shadow around him, however with this spell, the shadows would not wait for him to come to them. The shadows moved in on him from all sides. He saw this and jumped to get over them, but where he landed, only shadows awaited him. They travelled up his body and constricted him about the neck, choking him. The halfling was now having a taste of his own medicine!
   Tobias could not break free. Everything he tried he failed. He tried to take his sling out of his pocket but the binding darkness kept his arm firmly at his side.
   Very soon the halfling became drowzy on his feet and then dropped to the ground. Soon after this the wizard let the shadows recede back to their natural placements as Tobias was declared unconscious.
   Dieter couldn’t help but snigger at the situation. He made no attempt to hide the fact that he hated the moot born team mate.

   The next match saw a convict fighting to win his bail money for release up against a slave who fought desperately with a sword he didn’t seem to be able to use properly. The slave had a hunched back and soon the cause of this was seen. One of the attacks from the convinct had ripped his shirt and exposed something strange growing from the slave’s back. A mutation! This man was a mutant. A pulsing organ could be seen there.
   The audience murmoured disapprovingly. Surely a mutant couldn’t be allowed to live? How was he even being allowed to compete? But then it had to be remembered, this was an illegal tournament.
   The slave somehow managed to get a lucky shot in, striking the convinct to the belly and slicing him open. He submitted and screamed for medical attention. This got the crowd cheering again, at least. But as the mutant was led away, he left to the sound of booing and jeering. The audience were beginning to relax again though and were enjoying the bouts.
   Next up was a sewer jack who had made dirty dealings with the skaven he had encountered. He came out victorious against a Nuln man who fancied his chances as a big shot. The jack was also the bookies favourite for taking the entire tournament prize away with him tonight. The man was unable to stand up to the sewer jack’s crossbow bolt shots and cried for a healer after two impails of his body.

   Next out was a captured doombull! Somehow, a hero minataur had managed to get captured by humans and was now being led by the ring through its nose. It had been somewhat sufficiently drugged to keep it under control.
   His opponent was a professional ring fighter. The doombull had charged and picked the man up over his head and charged him across the ring, into the opposite wall. He was stunned long enough to be unable to defend himself as the doombull began eating the man alive. This made some of the audience vomit in response.

   Another local fighter had attended the tournament and he fought against a noble. No ordinary noble at that, but a cousin to the Countess Emmanuelle. The noble managed to disarm his foe using his rapier against the other man’s shortsword. He held the rapier’s end to the man’s throat and offered him a way out. The local man greatfully accepted it, submitting the bout.

   Next was a Stirland mercenary. He had been passing through the city and heard about the tournament. His opponent was announced: Dieter De’ath!
  Before he even stepped out into the ring, Dieter cast a magical armour about himself and then conjured a new spell. A purple and black magical scythe, the like of which Gabrielle had previously used appeared in Dieter’s hand. He was unused to casting this new spell, a spell he had been given access to thanks to his other’s consumption of an amethyst wizard recently – and as such there was a minor magical backlash too, lessening down his own winds of magic.
   Dieter was wearing his longer coat, and a frilled shirt that came up high about his neck to cover his burns.
   Dieter took his jacket off and stepped on it. His shoe broke the glass container of medicinal alcohol he kept inside it. He then called for the man to attack who did just that.
   The merc charged forward with a maddened glee in his eyes. Dieter managed to duck under the attack and put his now slightly flaming spell hand on the jacket, setting it alight. He spun and slashed the man with the magically summoned scythe. The stirland man touched his hand to the wound and tasted it, with a look of satisfaction on his face. The man slashed at Dieter and just caught his arm as he pulled away. Dieter too smiled at the pain he felt. He considered that together they were sharing something beautiful.
   Dieter gripped the man by the wrist and focused the magical flame from the palm of his own hand to burn the mercenary’s skin. He tried to let go and strained with his might against the trainee doctor, but Dieter would not let go. His grip was for some reason impossibley strong.
   The merc headbutted Dieter, forehead to upper nose bridge. This dazed Dieter but still he did not let the man’s wrist go!
   Then, he suddenly did let the man go. Instead, he dropped his jacket to the floor in front of the man, with the bottle’s contents spilling out further into the slightly smouldering jacket.
   Dieter channeled his magical energy to focus the scythe powerfully and brought the summoned weapon down upon the jacket on the ground, making sure he struck it on one of its rather large metal buttons. This caused a spark which caused an explosion.
   The bottle that had been kept in the jacket had had oil and gunpowder added to their mixture. Dieter ran away quickly as the exposion under the man’s feet caught him in a shroud of flame. His charred body struck the ground suddenly and violently.
   Dieter had somehow gotten away unscathed as the victor. The man was unable to survive his major burns. Even some of the audience had suffered some heat across their skin and a few embers of staying whisps of flaming material that made their way outwards.
   Dieter cheered his own victory in front of a stunned crowd. Within moments they chorused him with cheers of their own. It seemed that he had won them over as a crowd favourite. Not only that, but he was through to the next round!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

I Love You Google Chrome!

Oh my! All of this time I've been gnashing angrily, as all of my careful formatting from my writing in word documents was going to waste once I pasted it into the blog page and hit that publish button. Take a look at chapters 1-28 of Their Fated fiction on here. The formatting on it is terrible! Turns out, that is actually Internet Explorer's fault! Now I'm using Google chrome, it PRESERVES the formatting.
I want to just say right now, right here. I love you google chrome, where have you been all my life? Or at least where have you been since chapter 1?   :P

Their Fated Travels...Chapter 29 - Due Consequences

or below

Their Fated Travels…

RPG Party events as told By Robert James Freemantle

Chapter 29
Due Consequences

In a dark far corner of the Reaver’s Return Inn of Nuln, the party sat around a table with heads hung low. There was a definite feeling of deflation amongst the group. They had hardly spoke or made eye contact. Each just nursed their own drinks, deep in their own thoughts.
   Ulger too picked up on this and  made a debilitated sulking sound as he rested his large head on his front paws. His injuries were still clear to see, but the banadages were holding well. He had not tried to lick the wounds, after Dieter had scolded him once. Once had been enough.
   Finally the one person who couldn’t understand them and who they couldn’t understand was the one to break the silence, as Tordrad said, <“Yes I was bear again. I would know of you now if you hold this power...this curse in my blood against me.”>
   Rissandrea had gleaned somewhat of an understanding from the look in the man’s eyes, plus she had also seen the transformation. Furthermore, what else could he be possibly speaking about? She considered. She spoke and laid a comforting hand on the large man’s shoulder, “Do not worry of this Tordrad, though I see by your face that it pains you so – do not worry. Some of us are granted divine guidance from time to time so that we may do what is right. It is not like you used it for ill, after all.”
   Maestro spoke up next, “But it makes you think though, how long he’s known he could do that. I wonder if he can do it on demand!”
   Though the corner was dark, the halfling Tobias sat nearest the lantern on the wall. He shook his head dismissively and closed the book he was pretending to read then spoke, “I highly doubt that. Humans who transform into animals are a known quality within this world but were he simply of the blood cursed ones he would transform at regular intervals. We have been with him for a long time now. We would have seen it previously, before now at least. No, I believe it came on from stress, the great threat that creature posed.”
   Rissandrea nodded, “I concur on this. I do not think we should consider this a bad thing by any account. The will of the Kislevian Gods are in his veins perhaps. I don’t think he can control it, but at least the beast that emerged wasn’t out of control. It didn’t attack us or innocents.”
   Tordrad stared, his head turning from speaker to speaker. He knew each was talking about him but he didn’t know what they were saying. Anastasia was out visiting the market so she would be no help translating. Plus he knew that she would never be truly honest about what they were saying anyway.
   Rissandrea spotted Tordrad looking at them and quickly said, “Come look everyone, Tordrad is becoming dismayed at being spoken about. Nod your heads and smile approvingly. All he needs is a little security that we don’t judge him badly.”
   The others except Dieter complied in doing this. Dieter simply raised a hand and waved it in a couple of circles to indicate – yeah yeah, blah blah whatever. To Tordrad, the trainee doctor’s actions were most welcoming. For Dieter to not be bothered was a good sign. It was like nothing had changed, for the man was mostly always unmoved by the events of the group.
   Tobias was next to speak, “Recent events have had a sharp impact upon all of us. I still have the matter of my ongoing mental health, or the attempts towards it contined security anyway. I still have no knowledge of becoming an alter ego as you say I do. Though I am starting to remember being this person when I was younger. The things I did wrong then...perhaps the best thing for me to do is to face up to it. If I can revisit some link of the past then maybe I can re-connect my psyche to my existence.”
   Dieter scoffed.
   Tobias looked at him sharply, “What is it Death?”
   Dieter growled his response, “De’ath, how hard is it to say De’ath? You’re doing it to annoy me. Not advisable. I will remember every time you’ve said it and when I punish you for it, it will just be all the worse.
   Tobias shrugged with his usual disdain and Dieter, knowing that he’d do that simply continued, “You have a piece of warpstone in your brain. Nothing will change that, idiot. Now, I suggest you simply let me attempt to operate on it, like I asked before.”
   Rissandrea spoke up, “And I already told you Dieter, the chances of success for such a procedure are slight at the very least. The dangers to his life would be innumerable. Full contingency would be impossible.”
   Dieter raised a hand to silence the woman who was getting on his nerves now, “Well, it would all be positive really, I have had a distinct lack of corpses to practice on since arriving at the city.”
   Rissandrea turned away sickened.
   Tobias used this point as a boarding plank for the next point, “And what of you, Death? The secrets you have kept from us all this time.”
   Dieter stared at Tobias long and silently. There was a sudden intensity at the table, as if the halfling’s life was suddenly in peril, as if Dieter might suddenly act upon some dark desire. His eyes certainly burned with hate for his smaller party companion. Eventually the strained silence was ended as the man spoke abruptly, taking them all by surprise, “That is...complicated...I do not know how to start.”
   Tobias looked up his nose at the human and said, “From the beginning.”
   Dieter scowled at him again and then sighed, “All right, it seems as good a place as any to start. I do not know much of who I am. That is the truth. My father was never known and my mother died in I am told. I have no idea who my extended family are. I was somehow raised on the streets. I heard tale that the homeless would take care of me, like one of their own. I suppose I did become one of them. I have some early memory of being a begging stealing urchin in the streets.”
   Rissandrea nodded with genuine interest, her spectacles reflected a light which drew attention to her kind eyes, “the streets of where?”
   Dieter answered, “Stirland...well, Sylvania really, but yes, Stirland...”
   “Ah replied Tobias, “near to my home then, the Moot.”
    Dieter stared at the halfling disrespectfully, “Yes, don’t remind me please.”
   Rissandrea smiled reassuringly at Dieter, this made him shudder inside but he tried his best to hide it as she asked, “Sylvania is a place in much need of the good lady’s aid. The soldiers of that county are braver than most. I respect their desire to end the darkness. What part of Sylvania do you hail from?”
   “Drakenhof” replied Dieter casually.
   Tordrad almost spat his vodka out...almost. He swallowed it quickly and almost choked and said while pointing, “Vampire place?”
   Dieter narrowed his eyes menacingly at the larger man. This didn’t bother Tordrad at all as Dieter replied, “It’s rude to point. No, not the castle...why does everyone always think of the castle? The nearby town of Drakenhof.”
   “I don’t know” began Maestro, “As soon as you say that, it’s pretty hard not to think of that castle. It’s probably just fear. The human condition of survival.”
   “You would know all about that” started Tobias menacingly towards Maestro. The wizard went a little red and buried his face in his tall glass of milk.
   Dieter continued, “There is a great deal of my younger life that too is sketchy. I’m sure you don’t really want to know about my upbringing though do you?”
   Tobias answered bluntly, “Not really, I think the thing we are all concerned about Death, is the black tentacles that came from your mouth as you appeared to be consuming Gabrielle – that and the madness that overcame you in the skaven battle.”
   Dieter sighed and breathed deeply and then he began, ” I suppose I do indeed owe you some explanation of what is going on then. So be it. I will tell you what I understand of it. I have a dark presence inside of me. That is what you saw. It has been there for as long as I can remember. A dark evil spirit that haunts me. It will not let me be truly free. Sometimes if my life is threatened, it will take over. This has only been happening so regularly lately. It’s is becoming harder to hold it in check. I am...truly frightened of this thing. I don’t know what it is or how it came to be inside of me.”
   The man’s words came across even and calm. It sounded like he was telling the truth and they did not believe he was lying to them – even though Dieter was witholding certain other bits of information...
   Tobias’s face switched to an expression of questioning doubt, “But why did you...did it do what it did to Gabrielle’s body? Did you want her dead? Did it know this?”
   The man continued, “Of course I didn’t wish her any harm! I needed her! While we were on the barge, I consulted with her, confided in her about my problem. I told her that something of the realms of the dead haunted me. She was an amethyst wizard, closer to the aspect of death than many, yet skilled in the arts of magic too. It was my hope that she would work with me in uncovering and removing this...entity.”
   Maestro asked, “Are we in any danger do you think? From this thing? Even right now?”
   Dieter sighed again, “Look,” he started and closed his eyes as the muscles in his eyebrows pinched closer together - he continued, “Magister Gabrielle agreed to help me. She said that study of my condition would require me to be observed for at least two weeks solid. I told her that I could not spare the time until this group’s investigation into the final artifact was complete. This of course piqued her interest in the case and led her to investigate the trails of the artifact as well – which of course led her to being present at the final battle with the daemon...”
   Rissandrea made the sign of the holy order at the memory of this event.
   Dieter continued, “So you see, I even forsook my own wellbeing for the furtherment of this group’s cause. So no, you are not in any danger as far as I am aware. Even when it took control of me in a combatitive state against the skaven, did I turn on you? No it did not. It fought them. I have that to be thankful for at least.”
   “Not as much as us” stated Maestro.
   Tobias chimed in, “True enough, I can support Death here in saying that when he was fully posessed by this entity of undeath as he calls it, I witnessed elements of his strange actions before unconsciousness took me. He actually managed to save Tordrad from the rat men, erm I mean beast men assassins.”
   Dieter spoke firmly but with a sense of sadness that was unlike him, “I do not want this thing inside of me. I am am unwilling host. But it doesn’t define me! You’ve seen who I am. I am all of that despite it. It is what it is aside from me. We are not the same. I am sure, if you feel it would be safer to not journey with me then by all means stop. And if you feel you would want to turn me in to the city guard or the witch hunters, for only trying my best to protect this party, to protect all of you then I will not try to force your hand otherwise. But please, do me the kindness of at least considering my plight before you over-react.”
   Dieter waited. As the moments passed and no one spoke out against him he smiled internally, hoping that none of it could be seen on the outside. His powers of suggestion were working strongly. The entire table was at least in some part minorly still under his influence.
   Maestro challenged this somewhat as he asked, “But what of the magical spells you’ve been casting? You did not tell us you were a wizard, albeit a hedge wizard.”
   Tordrad’s ears pricked up at this and he leaned forward intently, gripping his axe under the table.
   Dieter became nervous at this and tried his best to hide it as he responded, “I suppose you could call me a hedge wizard yes, but not by choice. I don’t know I am casting these spells. In fact, I do not believe I am casting them at all. I think the creature inside of me is doing it. He is the caster! Everything I have ever witnessed him do though has been to the benefit of the group. I assure you, were he to do anything that I felt went against any of you, threatened any of you in any way I would remove myself from you at once, permanently if need be.”
   Tobias rubbed his chin in thought, “Well, there is some support for this, as I have never seen Dieter’s lips move to incant the winds of magic as one might. Nor have I seen any gestures or weavings on his part.”
   Maestro made a face of realisation at this and bowed his head in agreeance then spoke, “And my empathic channel never picked up on a lick of it either. I’ve never once had some spooky bizzare shadow or ghastly black tendrils come out instead of my own spell. That is the reason I do not travel with a wizard after all, for I would be influence by him after long enough. I am not with you.”
   Rissandrea nodded inteligently to all of what was being said and finally spoke to the rest of the party, “I truly do not believe Dieter is the enemy of this group. In fact, when I see him in battle, fighting side by side with all of you, I see how eager he is to protect his team. I truly believe what he says.” She then turned gratiously towards Dieter so as to not be rude and not leave him out as she spoke, “It is clear that you are the victim. We must be sympathetic to your ordeal. Were the witch hunters to get involved, you would probably be put to death. A victim of a crime, in this case a spiritual crime should not be the one punished. The victim should be supported. The best place to gain that support is the church. We must let the divine powers attempt to heal him before we discard him to the wolves. How does that proposition sit with you all?”
   Tordrad looked at the others of the group, starting to get the gist of the topic.
   Maestro spoke first, “No problem here. Like we figured, this thing is inside of Dieter, it isn’t who he is. We owe it to him to help him get rid of it. Though I do think you should have said something before.”
   Dieter lowered his head and replied, “And for that I apologise. I did not have faith in all of you enough to know for certain that you would try to help me rather than turn me in.”
   Maestro piped up cheerily in response, “Plus If there’s any sign of chaos that Tordrad doesn’t like, he will probably kill you himself or turn into a big bear and bite your head off.”
   “Thankyou for the comforting words” came Dieter’s reply. Everyone axcept Maestro couldn’t tell if the man was being sarcastic or not, as was usual with Dieter. But Maestro simply didn’t pick up on it in the first place, as was usual with Maestro.
   Tobias answered next, “Your dog is not scared of you. An animal has senses far keener than any halfling, so I will judge by Ulger’s example thus far and simply continue to watch your actions carefully.”
   At the mention of his name, Ulger looked up with a thoughtful look, instinctively knowing they were talking about him.
   Tobias continued, “Though I will add, if I see something I do not like, I will report it to the authorities at the first chance I get. Are we clear, Death?”
   Dieter paused long enough to stop himself making an angry remark at his name’s wrong pronunciation then finally said, “crystal clear Tobias...”
   Rissandrea smiled and added, “I will lead the investigation to root out what is wrong with you Dieter. As soon as I have the resources and position to instigate an appropriate investigatory procedure within the church establishment. I say appropriate because this particular case would require a number of resources that I would not be able to gain access to without alerting suspicion. Even the church of Shallya if it feared your actions may alert the city watch to stand on guard to protect themselves. That though is not the way of the Vhor sub-sect. And it is to that end that I have news for you all.”  The others looked at Rissandrea intently as she continued, “I will be leaving this party.”
   This created a number of shocked faces. Even Dieter’s mouth dropped open.
   The shallyan devotee continued, “I have returned to the place of my birth, having followed the will of my lady here. I have re-united myself with friends that I knew years ago. They are now members of the church here. But the vhor sub-sect holds no sway over this place. I believe that when Shallya gave me her insight, that she was giving blessing to the Vhor principle of thinking. I feel she has tasked me to create a vhor sect church here in Nuln, just as there is one in Altdorf. To do this, will take time, money and a lot of hard work. Therefore I must remain here to achieve this goal. While doing this, I can continue to persue my learning too and discover what power might lay within these hands, so that I may one day gift upon another, life and hope in the darkest of encounters where previously I would have been able to offer neither. I do not want to lose another living person again, knowing that Shallya willed his life essence to continue but that I am not up to the task.”
   Maestro spoke quickly, “But who will heal us on the road? In all of the bloody dangerous scrapes we get into?”
   Dieter replied, “I am a doctor in training too you know...and I will even throw in a nice shave at no extra cost.”
   This did not convince the wizard at all. Firstly because he was starting to become rather attached to his beard, or rather it was becoming attached to him at the very least, like beards usually would. That and the thought of Dieter with a cuthroat razor in his hand hovering over just didn’t sit well with him somehow. It seemed these new revelations would be hard for him to completely swallow. But he would go along with Rissandrea’s wishes, for now at least, or at least until it looked like Dieter might actually become a danger to him.
   Tobias’s face fell, “We will miss you, m’lady.”
   Rissandrea put a hand on the halfling’s face, “Oh Tobias, I hate to leave you too. I implore you to stay with me and let me heal the scars you have endured. I am sure the others can go on without you. My assessment is that you need therapy. If we are staying put, I will be in a strong position to give just that.”
   Tobias answered, “I go where I am sent ma’am. The Emperor willed me here...because of Maestro. There is still a great matter I must preside over and it will affect the world. That is the will of the Emperor and the highest magisters of the Celestial College Seers. My wellbeing comes second to the needs of the world.”
   “Oh poor brave Tobias”, I will not be able to convince you, I see that now. But as soon as you are free of your shackles, come to me. Do you promise me that? Even your wife can stay in Nuln while I treat you here”.
   Tobias smiled at the thought of a future far removed from the neccasities of duty, “Of course. I will oblige you gratefully when that day comes.”

Extract from the diary of Maestro:
Day 119
I am uncomfortable with this. As a full magister of the order, it is my duty to tell the College of any hedge wizards I encounter, so that the correct enforcers might be summoned to apprehend them.
Hedge wizards are dangerous, they tell us. Being one is a dangerous offence indeed. The counter argument is that Dieter is not a magical caster at all. The point they are making is that the thing inside of him has the power. Tonight I saw an example of this, to verify it.
I saw Dieter exhibiting aura essences of the amethyst order. I know for a fact that a hedge wizard would not be able to summon that energy about his person. Then I remembered where he had encountered the lore of death...Gabrielle. Yes, the creature inside has feasted on her in some way, I truly believe that, and now it has absorbed some of that power. This goes some way to making me believe him now...
I will follow the advice of Tobias. If that meddlesome halfling isn’t going to turn Dieter in, I’m sure as heck not going to be considered more uptight than him!

Extract from the diary of Rissandrea:
Day 119
The others have stumbled upon an illegal gambling and fighting arena. One of the city watch showed them it and now it seems they want to attend. It also seems they want to take part...If I go with them, it will be to heal those who are wounded...what a foolish idea. I can understand that they want to let off some steam, but this surely cannot be a good idea, at any time!

Extract from the diary of Maestro:
Day 119
Now, I wouldn’t normally go along with this sort of thing, but the guards are even in on this so there’s no winning. In fact, running away now might cause suspician...oh my. It looks like I will have to put a few bets on not stand out of course...Of course I’m not going to take part myself. I wouldn’t stand inside a fighting arena letting someone beat my face in.

Exctract from the diary of Tordrad:
Day 119
This is good! I want to fight in this. I have signed up for fighting tournament. I want to see how strong men of this Empire are.

Extract from the diary of Tobias:
Day 119
We discovered the fighting pit inside a warehouse on the docks district. When you go into the warehouse, you lift a section of the floor up to reveal stairs that lead down. There is no chance of anyone finding it down here.
I will be taking notes of all of this of course, then I will tell the authorities about it...

Extract from the diary of Dieter:
Day 119
I have surprised everyone by saying that I am signing up for the tournement. I don’t see a reason why this is unusual, although I suppose based on what they know of me I can see why they would be. They don’t really know what I’m about, this group.
I went to test myself against the others of this city. I want to feel the good honest taste of blood in my mouth, be it my own from being struck or my opponent’s if I bite him.
The others do not know what is going to hit them. Even if I don’t win, I will make them remember me...

Extract from the diary of Tobias:
Day 120
The night of round one is finally here...Yes, at first I thought I could pick their pockets while they watch, but no. They have given most of their money up as bets. Damn. There’s only one thing left for it. I’m pretty handy with my fists. I’ll just have to compete in this fighting arena too!

((Thanks for staying with the story. Why not vote for your fav character on the poll at or the following warhammer forum sites: Chamber of the Everchosen, Da Warpath, The Herdstone, Bugman’s Brewery, The Daemonic Legion and Warseer. Remember, to vote in the poll on, you can even access it via my user profile. Winners announced when the story as a whole concludes soon.))

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Due Consequences Coming Up For Their Fated Travels...

It's been a big old story hasn't it? Their Fated Travels...If you haven't started reading it yet, I suggest you STOP reading this post as it contains SPOILERS
Still here? Okay then.
With chapter 28 we saw the group battle the final pieces of the daemon and overcome it. This won't be the end of the story though, but it is close...well sort of. Let me explain then.
Chapter 29 is going to be a very thoughtful chapter, mostly conversation based as an aftershock to the many revelations that have come about as a result of chapters leading up to here. The main two figures in the spotlight are Rissandrea and Dieter. Though everyone has something large on their mind too.
A chapter like this stands as testimony of how strong these characters actually are that they can simply sit and converse for so long like this.
After that chapter, there will be a specific action oriented event and then an epilogue of sorts.
You will then see the end of TFT...sort of. Because we're going to do what series like Naruto did and have a large time skip that separates us into two stories instead.
In fact, the guys who play it jokingly refer to it as "Their Fated Travels Shippuden". lol.

When the next part would come about I don't know, because we have only played up to the end of this section. Remember that events in the storyline are consequences and actions of what happens at the RPG gaming table.
Once we're done with this part, the group is actually moving on to Dark Heresy, the 40k RPG. After that we'll probably play a different one too. But the plan is to get back together with the TFT guys and make a new campaign some when, at a different later time, both in old world and real world time!

I will probably finish this "series" off with a character analysis from my perspective of playing with and as the characters and then writing them into TFT. I know them all quite well, as I helped the players design them, after all.

Just don't make the mistake of thinking you've seen everything yet. The biggest surprise of all might just arrive as the curtain is coming down...

Their Fated Travels...Ch24 - To Nuln By Barge (Spoken Word Version)

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Their Fated Travels...Chapter 28 - Final Showdown In Nuln

Read it at -

or below, pasted into the blog -

Their Fated Travels…

RPG Party events as told By Robert James Freemantle – recounted and extracted in a minor interpretation from some sessions too of the WHFRP 2nd edition book ‘Forges of Nuln’

Chapter 28

Final Showdown In Nuln

There was a sense of trouble still in the air, thick and threatening, making it almost hard to breathe.

Maestro knew that something was about to happen too. He had studied the star charts the night before and was overly concerned about the events of today. It was the sort of day, as he put it, “where somebody you know could end up dead. Even you.”

What happened next was a slow realization of panic. At first it seemed as if there was some distress nearby that the guards were dealing with. Then in another place, raised voices caught their attention. Up from sewer holes came enemies all about them, all across the city.

They had found themselves fighting their way through a crowd of mutants running riot about the streets of Nuln. Still they were trapped on the bridge.

The Countess was immediately removed from the situation and whisked away into a carriage that sped off at a great rate.

Maestro wondered for that moment how actually being Emmanuel’s lover might not have been such a bad thing – it might have meant he could have escaped all of this – to be rushed off to the security of the palace instead of being out in the middle of it all. Then he remembered of course that it would have meant…doing things with her…he wasn’t used to having to…do things. Plus she would only be his undoing anyway, for his dooming warned that a woman would be the undoing of him. He had already proved that with Sister Angelique!

Rissandrea raised her voice as best as she could and spoke to the others of the group, “I knew there was something big planned, from all those mutants we fought in the sewers before. Oh dear.”

Tobias raised a finger knowingly and commented, “Ah, but don’t you see, this is just a diversion. The real threat will appear soon, I don’t doubt.”

It was clear that the guards and citizens had their hands full, fighting off mutant attacks all over the place. The city watch were battling them in several districts at once.

150 years ago

The Celestial College

The Seer Council Chamber

Seer Magister Viez sank to his knees in front of his chair. The glowing pulses of the azyr crystal in the middle of the chamber danced their reflections across his face. His beard twitched from silent mutterings as his vision became more precise. His eyes turned a hazy blue colour and he saw what transpired next.

Viez raised his hands towards the crystal, with his outstretched trembling fingers weaving a thread within the air in front of them. Like playing some musical instrument, he was engaged in a process of automatic writing, but the letters and words that appeared before him did not scribble onto paper as was the norm, it appeared as visions against the very crystal itself.

The other Seer Magisters leaned forward intently to witness the level three expression in progress before them.

As they watched the picture changed from one of focus on the city guards fighting mutants to one of panic, of civilians running away from something screaming, terror on their faces. As the image became clearer, it was clear to see what was causing this commotion: An abomination. A creature stitched together made up of various body parts to become an enormous thing of terrifying appearance.

As the vision in the crystal shifted, a second abomination, different looking in its own way appeared at the other end of the city. The bridge they now stood on was the centre point linking the two areas.

Dieter could clearly be seen speaking to the others, “It looks like Rolf built a second of these things, just incase the first wasn’t enough.”

Rissandrea made the sign of her holy order and consecrated the ground they stood on.

Maestro looked this way and that and considered how safe he might be were he to hide under the bridge itself. It was a good idea he considered, but then knowing his luck he’d probably only be set upon by a troll or some such, that was how it worked right?

Tobias spoke out, “It is against my better judgment, but being the heroes as we now are considered to be. We must do what we can to aid the city.”

Several bystanders who had witnessed Maestro’s “heroic” speech to the Countess moments before cheered him and the others on expectantly…Maestro did not like that…not one bit.

Just then a voice sounded out towards the party. The hard faced Bretonnian man from before and his party of travelers, including the Gnoblar had appeared. He spoke, “Worry not, heroes of renown, we shall aid you by battling one of the abominations for you.” The others of his group nodded enthusiastically at the danger. Maestro considered them all to be mad.

Rissandrea spoke out, “Yes, we cannot let this atrocity of undeath continue. We must put these souls to rest.”

The damsel amongst Blitzal’s group sneered inwardly at the Shallyan woman’s words but hid it well with a dainty smile. So decided the damsel Andrianna internally, the evil inside me would for now have most control…

The Bretonnian man continued with, “We shall fight the one we can see behind us. You should deal with the other. We will let the city guard deal with the mutants as best they can.”

“Oh joy” exclaimed Dieter sarcastically.

The fat wizard with Blitzal’s group, Dappar saw this and commented, “Gorr, they’re keen. Come on then Blitzal, let’s do this while we still have time to catch supper out.”

Blitzal replied with, “while the eatery you like still exists you mean?” as a building ended up with a hole in it from the abomination wielding a person at it like a knuckle duster.

“True” concluded Dappar.

Maestro was pulled away from the bridge, open mouthed at the idiocy as he saw it of everyone around him, even those in his party who now surely dragged him towards certain death.

Within no time at all, the group was finally upon the second abomination. It had been too interested in fighting the city watch around it until Tobias fired a crossbow bolt through its flank so that it disappeared inside. That made it turn its attention to the halfling well and truly.

Dieter smirked and said, “Not that I don’t mind that thing eating you first, but then it would surely turn its attentions upon us next anyway. We may as well try to keep you alive as a distraction…for our sake”

They had split up and spread out, attacking it from all sides. Each time it attacked one of the group, another of them on its blindside would attack and it would cry in torment from the pain.

Rissandrea held redemption in a shaking hand, debating whether to fire or not. After all, there was a chance she might hit a mutant.

Still the mutants scurried about them, being kept busy mostly by the city guard who were now thrilled to see the huge creature’s attention taken off of them.

Back in the Seer Magisterial Chamber, the wizards gasped as the familiar mutant face of Claus Liebnitz protruding from his host’s belly appeared. They witness a vision of Tobias trying to shoot it with his crossbow but missing. Then they saw its host body picked up by the abomination and consumed. The face of Liebnitz is the last thing seen as it went down the creature’s throat, laughing all the way until it could no longer be heard. This sound gave way to a humming though that continually rose in decibels until it was uncomfortable to the ear.

Next the wizards witnessed the abomination scream at the top of its lungs, its hands reached upwards, fingers splayed out. A red smoke poured from its mouth.

Seer Magister Artwieb stepped forwards, closer to the crystal and remarked, “the daemon Xathrodox, of course that foolish Liebnitz man is still the host!”

Seer Magister Leonart stepped forwards quickly and pulled Artwieb back away from the crystal’s image. The wizard had been leaning in towards it to get a better look.

Artwieb gave his fellow a scolding question filled look as Leonart said, “You were getting too close Seer Magister. While it is only an image of the future and is not now, I have seen that two whole shards of the daemon exist within the creature before. That means a daemonic prince more complete than not. Daemons transcend space and time and exist in all realities, for their realm is out of step with ours anyway. Had you made contact with even the image of it, it may have become pre-eternally aware of our existence and made visit upon this place, be it before or after the events that happen here.

Again, the wizards stared in horror as the image on the pulsing gem unfolded before them. The abomination’s skin in its head began splitting as black horns began pushing their way out. Long fingernails began to grow splitting the ruined fingers in place. The daemon’s face began to take shape within the features of the abomination.

The huge possessed monstrous form of Xathrodox mockingly spoke to the group, “You stopped but one of my shards. But two out of three will still be enough to wipe this city off of the map and take my plans forwards. You are too late. You cannot stop me. But I know you will try.”

Maestro looked to the others as if to ask if they must. Tordrad glanced sternly at him, noticing the wizard quivering fearfully on the spot. That look was enough to put Maestro in doubt that escape would be impossible.

All of the damage done to the flesh construct’s body began to smoke and in doing so knitted back together.

Dieter was up close, rending his scalpel through the achilles tendon on the creature’s right foot, or at least where the tendon ought to have been! A rigormortis effect had meant that this part of the foot and leg had stiffened enough to hamper walking yet also to create immunity to such attacks.

The daemon spun around and swung its claws at Dieter. The would be doctor growled and raised his staff just in time to connect with the blow. The strength of it almost knocked the implement from the man’s hand however and put him off balance. The creature readied its other hand, claws point at Dieter like a group of knives to put through his stomach – but before the blow could come, Tordrad’s sword made contact with the creature, tearing halfway through its already damaged right leg exposing the bone. The leg was kicked outwards defensively, impacting the Kislevian and knocking him aside. The man knew to turn the momentum of this fall into a roll, which he did. Just as the daemon turned back to face the short human with the curly black hair, his intended victim, he was nowhere to be seen. Quickly the daemon looked around and instead saw Rissandrea with her gun, redemption. It recognized the weapon from the fight before. He would not let it tear him apart this time. The unholy creature moved towards the Shallyan quickly, and snatched up a member of the city guard, using him like a shield before her.

The daemon smiled in satisfaction. He could see that the holy woman would not fire, for risk of hitting an innocent.

Tobias and Maestro however had no such qualms. The halfling fired a crossbow bolt into the daemon’s side as Maestro sent bolts of electricity into the monster’s body.

The daemon laughed triumphantly and spoke, “We are dancing the same dance as before, but the only thing you had to help you last time is gone. The cursed flame of Ulrich. You will find this dance ends in a very different way, mortals.”

With that speech, the creature’s body began to heal immediately. Smoke poured off of it as flesh reconstructed to flesh again.

“No!” shouted Tordrad, as he ran forwards, flurrying attacks into the daemon’s side and ducking the counter swings for as long as he could before he was caught by one and knocked down at last. He was replaced immediately by Ulger who jumped high for the creature’s body and bit deeply into its chest. Dieter came upon it too and struck with his blade. At that exact moment, the daemon let a wave of fire rush out from its body, like a pulse of energy that surrounded its skin. Ulger fell from it, his face burning and Dieter recoiled in pain, his hand burnt by the fire. Dieter could have sworn that it had felt like the fires of some hell were trying to pull him in.

Finally the screaming burning city guard was put out of his misery, as the daemon tore him in two.

Tobias almost vomited seeing this. Even Tordrad paused for thought as he picked himself back up properly. Maestro though drew river’s edge and brought the watery blade across the daemon’s back, extended as far as it could like a whip. The blade was smoking after contact with Xathrodox.

Maestro could feel a pulling sensation coming from the consciousness inside the weapon, it was unhappy to be fighting this foe. Maestro thought back at it, incase it could understand his thoughts too – that he too wasn’t happy to be here fighting, but they didn’t fight for glory, they fought for survival.

The daemon focused on Maestro and took a deep breath. Flame shot out its mouth as the wizard ran behind some of the city watch who were fighting mutants. Both watch and mutants were caught in the blaze, so that Maestro wasn’t.

The daemon stared at the man in disbelief as he peeped around the charred corpse of a mutant, dead standing stuck to the spot. He did not know humans could be so cowardly. Tordrad’s sword hit the creature again. It struck back and the Kislev man blocked the blow with his shield.

Lightning appeared to crackle up and down Tordrad’s arm with his new attack and as it struck it expressed itself through the weapon he held! With a mighty war cry he burnt the creature’s flesh as he cut deeply. Even then, the wound began to smoke and knit together.

Tordrad braced for impact as the creature stomped its foot to the ground, sending splinters of paving and cobblestone shards up at him. He covered his face and pulled the visor down on his helmet. This bought the monstrosity enough time to scream a summoning. The ground continued to split open where its foot had impacted. Dieter was poised to strike but waited and watched in fascination at this new event.

Tobias still kept unleashing bolts but they were ineffective, the wounds simply healed up with the protruding missiles still lodged in its daemonically infused undead flesh.

From the split in the ground came the massive hilt of a sword too large for a normal human sized creature to wield. This would have even been a challenge for an orc warboss! Xathrodox pulled the weapon from the ground as the others could sense the power coursing off of it.

Suddenly Maestro felt his sword’s will yank towards the new weapon, pulling him forwards a little in the process. Maestro commented, “Are you insane? I believe you are! First you don’t want any part of this thing, then you do. Well you’re not getting me killed!”

Suddenly then, purple tinged black grasping hands pulled up from the ground and gripped the monster by its enormous legs.

“This has gone too far” spoke the newcomer. It was Gabrielle, the amethyst wizard.

The Khornite creature hissed at the magic that bound its legs and pulled them free of the spell anyway, by pulling the very ground up beneath it. It charged towards the female magister as she cast a spell towards it that dissipated before it could hit. She turned to leave but the monster called forth the will of Khorne and something odd happened. Bone began tearing up out of the ground shaping into a dome. It began covering them both like a bubble.

Rissandrea saw this and ran to get inside before it could close, noticing that the creature’s wounds still kept healing themselves. It roared at the shallyan woman and caused a shockwave that knocked her backwards. It knew that she was the only threat to him and she had to be kept out at all costs. Then the bone prison was complete.

In amongst the overly long fused rib like structures were a number of skulls, they seemed to wordlessly chant some eternal warning to any who would approach.

Instinctively, Tordrad jammed his axe into one of the skulls, shattering it. There seemed to be an effect on the power outlining the gruesome dome.

Maestro caught on, as much as it disgusted him and he beat his staff against a nearby skull to him. The others began to follow suit as they heard a calamitous battle raging inside the dome, with the woman screaming in pain now and then. It didn’t sound good at all – they all knew they would have to hurry or it would be too late.

Inside the barrier the amethyst wizard encanted special words of her order and began to draw from Morr’s will to overcome the defenses surrounding this abomination, this abomination to death itself. A large scythe made from the made from the slightly purple ether that gathered around appered in her hands. The two combatants clashed in the centre of the dome the flesh seared and died where she slashed at it. Now Xathradox knew why she had called on this particular spell and knew beyond doubt he could not prolong such a fight.

Maestro spoke, “I would blast this thing, but it’s so anti-magically drenched with his will that it would take longer than doing this.”

Tobias nodded in understanding as he cracked another skull with his staff, hitting it repeatedly until it fell from the bone cage.

Inside the barrier, the last of the wizard’s lifeforce drained from her body as the creature throttled her round the neck. She had been unable to cast any spells to free herself. The creature had an aura about it, a dampening field to her magic. The daemon prince pierced her chest with it’s blade before alowing her to fall limp and lifeless to the ground. As it did so, the barrier exploded, sending shards of bone outward in all directions, cutting and grazing the party and bystanders/combatants nearby.

Tordrad stepped through the dust of the bone fragments, his vision obscured. Suddenly he was picked up by the beast and thrown at a nearby building. His armoured body smashed against the front door and it broke open on impact. The Kislev warrior lay there groaning for a moment until Maestro ran to him and tried pulling him back to his feet. He growled in his tongue, <“I thought for a moment there that I might be free of you wizard, little chance of that then. It looks like you will have to get me killed another time perhaps.”>

Of course Maestro didn’t understand a word of it but he pretended to anyway. He nodded and answered, “That’s quite alright Tordrad, anything to help you, helps me.” At least he was honest about it.

Rissandrea quickly ran past the men, into the house and disappeared upstairs. Meanwhile Dieter and Ulger fought furiously keeping the creature at bay. Suddenly though, it hit the doberman across the flank from its next jump attack and it fell moving no more. Dieter could sense it was still alive but that it had sustained damage. His rage boiled over and this caught the daemon’s attention. It looked down at him suddenly and spoke, “Well well, what a curious one you are. The others I expect do not know of you.”

Dieter shifted uneasily on the spot then redoubled his efforts with a growl of determination aimed at Xathrodox. The unnatural thing continued to talk, “The undeath part of my form recognizes the undeath part of yours. Foolish mortal, to tamper with that which you do not understand. Now I see what you are!”

Dieter’s eye widened in horror as the monster gripped its hand into a fist in front of the man. As he squeezed it and it tightened, seemingly squeezing thin air, the barriers that normally held Dieter’s “other” in place were suddenly not enough. The power of the thing’s undeath took over and Dieter collapsed to his knees, in front of the dead wizard Gabrielle. The would be physician’s eyes rolled into the back of his head and the black tentacles once again streamed from his mouth. This time they clutched the wizard and began motioning down their length in a way to suggest that they were feeding. The thing inside was feeding on Gabrielle’s essence and Dieter was powerless to stop it.

Tobias interrupted the satisfied grin on the daemon’s face, with another well placed bolt, this time right into its temple. It must have punctured the thing’s brain, but still the monster laughed at this attempt to stop it.

Rissandrea suddenly appeared at the top window of the building. She shouted to the others, “We need to do something right now before it is too late!”

Maestro wandered back out of the doorway trying his best to take Tordrad’s weight on his shoulder. It was bending him sideways from the effort but he just about managed to reply, “But how can we kill that thing? It will only heal all we do to it!”

Rissandrea called back, “We don’t have to kill it. We only have to damage it enough that it destabilizes from this realm and is banished.”

Maestro answered, “But the healing, like I said, we cannot do it enough damage quickly enough.”

Rissandrea replied, her face as serious as it had ever looked, “Then you shall have to have faith in Shallya, Maestro. Leave that problem to me.”

“Right you are” said the wizard, glad he was not being involved with that particular problem.

150 years ago

The Celestial College

The seer magisters concentrated together as the battle unfolded. No notes would be allowed to be made, for such things were risky, a liability of finding their way into the wrong hands and endangering the threads of the future. Instead they had to concentrate and remember everything as exact to its course as possible. With this fight, they were taking no chances. All of them studied, internally checking for the smallest details.

They saw the wizard amongst the group, the stupid man, firing every spell he could muster into the daemon. The first did not even make contact, but with enough channeled effort, Maestro had found himself strong enough to get some spells through at last.

Rissandrea from her 2nd floor vantage point opened fire with redemption, shooting a hole through the creature’s left cheek. Again, the burning area of the wound soon began to knit together. She simply fired again and again. Still, these shots were not enough to stop it.

Tordrad could feel the same internal presence that he felt before in front of this daemon, straining to get out. This time, he felt a lot less like he could control it. Some wild part of him responded to the daemon’s challenging roar and the threat it posed to the party. He couldn’t stop sweating…so hot, so uncontrollably hot! He quickly pulled his armour off. Maestro shouted, “What are you doing man?! Are you looking to die?”

Still the Kislev warrior pulled his armour off and Maestro got fed up of shooting spells so swapped over to his hochland long rifle and opened fire.

Rissandrea let loose with redemption once more. The creature at last was within a weakened state, but still it regenerated.

“Now is the moment!” cried Rissandrea. She gave a run up and jumped from the window, out towards the courtyard the others stood in. She landed atop the creature’s back and rested her gloved palms against its meaty undead flesh. She chanted a holy invocation to the mother of mercy and healing, to heal this poor creature’s remains, to stop the torture of its various bodies. The area around the woman glowed with an intense bright light and the creature screamed in protest. It bucked and the woman fell from its hulking body, onto her side, where she damaged her ankle and leg. As she lay on the ground, she once again fired redemption at the beast. This time the wound did not knit itself together! This time none of the other wounds mended, and the ones that had been previously caused stopped their process of mending at once. Some of the wounds even tore back open.

The creature looked to the woman fiercely, its eyes focused on her, fallen as she was she was still the cause of it feeling pain, again. It would crush her and take her soul with it back to its home where it would feast slowly, but only after it had finished its business here. It decided to collect on the shallyan’s soul right now though for sake keeping and strode towards her angrily.

Tordrad roared challengingly. Everyone turned to look, even Xathrodox. Though they had all heard the man do this before, this time was different. There was something real and bestial about it.

Suddenly Tordrad’s features began to change. His eyes went wild. Hair began to sprout across his body. His musculature began altering. His skeleton began to shift. His facial formation began to change in structure, looking longer, a lengthened black nose at the end of a structure, inhumanly sharp teeth in his mouth growled fiercely. Tordrad looked half wracked in pain, half wreathed in rage as the full formation came about. Before everybody’s eyes, the Kislevite man had turned into a massive hulking bear!

This had happened to him once before in his life. He prayed it would not happen again. He hoped it was a dream, but it had not been. Whether he liked it or not, he had been blessed or cursed by Ursun, the Kislevite Hunter God. His parents knew from a young age for they had seen the signs but had kept it quiet from the others of their town. They feared that he would become feared, an outsider, even if it may have truly been a blessing.

But now, the full might of Tordrad could be seen. The bear sped forwards, thudding the cobbles with its great paws as it went. As it made contact, it crashed its weight against the unholy monster knocking it’s great sword from it’s hand and sending it bouncing with sparks across the ground. There the two of them lashed at each other in a primal battle.

Neither Rissandrea nor Maestro could use their ranged attacks anymore and the shallyan woman was in no condition to drag herself over to the battle so they could only watch.

Tobias too was powerless to act now, with only a slingshot and crossbow in hand, for the sun had not gone down and given way to his more melee focused alter ego…

The two great beasts were tearing each other apart but Tordrad was getting the better of his foe, for now.

Dieter finally came back to his senses and stood to his feet. He turned around purposely and walked calmly towards the daemonic monster that tussled with the Kislevian bear. He summoned an internal will and the winds of magic kicked up. Even Maestro noticed this. The black shadowy tendrils were receding and an eerie calm look was on the trainee physician’s face. He spoke aloud, “So, control me will you? Make him take control of me will you? This…will…not…pass.”

Dieter dropped to his knees and began chanting, the words were complex and spiraling. Even Maestro couldn’t fully understand this passage, but he did know magic when he heard it. Dieter was casting a magical spell! He’s a wizard!?

Dieter no longer cared about hiding it. He was too angry at the insult. He recited the lines of a strange daemonic tongue. He knew this, because the daemon’s eyes blazed upon hearing it. “Nooooooo” it shouted, “I will end you!”

The creature desperately strained to break free of the massive bear, but Tordrad’s animalistic form was too much for him in this weakened state now. The bear’s teeth were firmly clamped around the daemon’s neck. Xathradox tugged and tugged to pull itself free and began tearing the very flesh away from its body as it did so. It managed to pull itself along the ground, away from the bear. The bear dug its front claws into the creature’s legs and held on to stop him in place. A tussle of strength took place as the creature had almost neared Dieter’s position, for the man had walked close to the battle himself previously.

It was too late though, the final words were recited at last and Xathrodox began to scream in pain as he turned into red smoke before their eyes. As he did this, the hulking creature’s body cavity caved in, released from the new burdened energy it had been filled with.

The daemon’s final words were cold and troubling though, “Evil still walks amongst you. The evil that suspended me will kill all of you!”

And then all was normal. Tordrad was even back to normal, albeit a lot more naked than when he’d started the fight. He was very quiet about the entire thing that evening.

Blitzal’s party had managed to dispose of the other creature as well. The attack on Nuln had been well and truly subverted. Not stopped of course, never stopped…as the mage seer inside the Celestial College 150 years prior observed the group spoke aloud to the others present watching the images before them, “For the evils that persist in our time, shall persist in their time too – and the times to come after that. The world shall know only war. It shall define its healing only by its wounds. It shall define its good deeds only by the evils that oppose. It shall employ heroes only in the measure of that which is needed…and sometimes…sometimes fellow magister sirs, it shall employ a band of heroes that are unwanted but most certainly needed. The worst is yet to come though.” Spoke Viez finally.

The others agreed like a flock of sheep. For even with future sight, when the vision of that which is still to come is certain, will all still be uncertain for the final outcome. The true meaning behind the gains and losses will only be known by those who experience it in their own time. It was something that the party would just have to be patient and wait for, for now…

Friday, 11 March 2011

Their Fated Travels...Chapter 27 - Nuln The Wiser

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Their Fated Travels…

RPG Party events as told By Robert James Freemantle – recounted and extracted in a minor interpretation from some sessions too of the WHFRP 2nd edition book ‘Forges of Nuln’

Chapter 27

Nuln The Wiser

Extract from the diary of Tobias:

Day 107

We have checked into the Reavers Return Inn, upon arriving at Nuln. Rissandrea has gone about the business she came here for, requesting a meeting with the higher ups of the Shallyan church here. She is being delayed a little though. The problem is that the vhor sub-sect that she belongs to isn’t very recognized around these parts. They’re considered a bit, kooky, so to speak…well to write.

Tordrad at last has some time off from his bodyguard duty and I have noticed that he and the newcomer Anastasia are getting along like a lake frozen over…surely that would be a suitable Kislevite term to use instead of the normal “house on fire”.

Maestro was itching to get at the Engineering College all the way through the trip – and it was an excuse to lose Angelique who probably would have continued following him around. I must admit, that has amused me no end.

The Sister of Sigmar herself has left us and gone about her duties in the city.

The ball isn’t due for a few days yet. We have time to relax. Time to explore. Perhaps…make a little profit on the side…

Extract from the diary of Dieter:

Day 107

Those strange adventurers from the barge are staying at our inn. That is a little concerning, I must say.

What is more concerning is the headaches now. It is all too much for me. I’m feeling like I must soon take to the streets again – to find myself. To find someone who is good for me.

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 110

Well I must say, studying at the College was perhaps the greatest thrill of my life. I have improved my knowledge in gunpowder and explosives exponentially! I really do need to work harder on my tinkering though! All this travel is not good for that sort of thing. It’s not like I can carry a workshop around with me…although Tordrad is quite strong…but still…no.

Extract from the diary of Rissandrea:

Day 111

What an unusual day yesterday was! Although such weird occurrences are starting to become the norm for us…I fear. I am not even that surprised anymore.

It all started when Maestro went to the shop to buy a hochland long rifle. He said he had received the proper training for its usage at last so he saw no reason to delay on getting one. Then he saw the price tag was high and moaned at us all about it.

I determined that there was something a little off about the shopkeeper though. That something was worrying him to distraction. The more I enquired into it, the more Dieter picked up on my lead and enquired of him too. He became so very defensive at last and I shared my thoughts with the group. That is how it all came to happen next.

Maestro has recently learnt a spell that allows him to converse with birds. He decided that now was a perfect time to explore it and hone it a little more.

The spell, as he explained, doesn’t force the birds to do what you say. It simply allows you to understand them and them you. It is up to you to work out the details of how fruitful such a conversation might be.

Maestro asked the bluebirds in the tree outside of the shop if they had seen anything suspicious happen there lately…

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 111

But of course, the birds didn’t know what “suspicious” meant. To them, it was the notion of a predator trying to size up their nest perhaps, or the like. So I had to re-word it as something unusual, something they don’t normally see.

They confirmed that there was indeed something out of the ordinary around the shop of late.

I asked them what. They then played the old bartering game. Even birds do it! Is there no one in this world who doesn’t try to rip you off?

I ended up having to hand over my juiciest apple and a punnet of blueberries I had been saving since Altdorf.

Those bluebirds. Don’t be fooled by how pretty they are! The brighter and more colourful the plumage, the bigger a scoundrel in a deal they are. The same system I believe goes for merchants too, in their fine silks with their scandalous prices.

Anyway, I’m getting a bit off track as usual. So the birds told me that some ugly wrong looking humans had been lurking around the shop door at night. The shopkeeper had interacted with them and given them something. Mutants then!

Tordrad’s diary:

Day 111

I not know why the others even pretend wizard not look stupid. Instead they laugh so that he not see. Wizard standing there with fruit in hand, chirping at a tree like bird. All this study and magic, make a man’s head go crazy in time.

Tobias’s diary:

Day 111

Maestro did appear to be missing the point of the birdspeak spell somewhat. It allows you to understand them and them to understand YOU. You don’t have to go tweeting and twittering up at them. In fact, they probably shouldn’t even understand what you’re on about if you do that! It’s just that Maestro is crazy enough to still make them understand. Truly, there is something missing in his faculties.

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 111

The shopkeeper soon confessed when I bombarded him with the information that nobody should know. He almost looked like he was going to cry. Mutants have been bothering him and getting money from him so that they don’t mess up his business. He explained that he had seen them creep back off to the sewers each time.

Hah, what are those sewerjacks paid for, eh? And which mugs end up roped into going down into the system to root them out? You guessed it diary reader, us. Though the man did agree to give me the hochland long rifle at a massively discounted price, so that wasn’t too bad I suppose.

That Anastasia girl stayed back at the Inn. Good job she did.

Extract from the diary of Dieter:

Day 111

There’s always some element of chaos, anywhere you go. Handy though if you happen to be a miscreant. There’s always someone around to pin it on…

Rissandrea’s diary:

Day 111

As we worked our way around the sewer system, we came across several hewn out areas with makeshift temples to the Chaos God Slaanesh. May Shallya forgive me for writing its name here.

Many of these places contained mutants, that we fought and drove out. Those we captured were cruelly interrogated by Dieter. I’m used to that about him now though. Not that I condone it. Those that died were put to peace by prayer. I refuse to fire my gun at these mutants however. I know for a fact that they are not beyond redemption. Only the highest powers amongst the Shallyan church know how to actually cure them. I am determined to learn how to do this. I simply had to fend the attackers off with my staff, as best I could.

Soon though, a foe that did warrant me opening fire upon appeared. A daemonette: One of the awful daemon soldiers of the aforesaid order. I do not wish to write it twice on the same page, let alone in the same book.

Maestro was dumbfounded with fear staring at it. The pheromones she gave off from her skin did terrible things to the group – it was frightening. Tordrad even stepped forward in a dream like state and dropped his axe! Dieter pulled himself to his senses and clutched his head in pain, bent over double. The worst though was Tobias. He had outright gone up to the creature and lowered his head before her. She was getting ready to use her imposingly grotesque pincer, placed where her hand should be – and from the look of it, it was quite capable of snipping the scholar’s head from his neck in one motion.

I was forced to open fire with redemption. The shot almost looked like it was going to snap Tobias out of his lull. I managed to graze the creature. Perhaps its concentration was broken just enough, but I was not going to take the chance of it. I ran to Tobias and laid a hand on his head while reciting a restorative prayer. I didn’t even know if I was choosing the right one to be honest, but faith is a hard to understand thing anyway – by the nature of itself, you have to simply have to have faith.

We managed to fight her off and even banish her, as the group rose once more to their feet, free of the influence.

This ordeal left Tobias in a terrible changed state. I was unable to help him. For some reason, his mind had blockaded all attempts of help. He seemed shook up and overly scared long after the ordeal had ended. What a shame that he is effected so! Poor Tobias.

We soon encountered the mutant cult leader, Erasmus Teuber. We dealt with him too. It seems the others felt compelled to kill him. Such a brutal waste of life, all of this. Why can’t they just leave us all alone, the evil that inhabits our race? I suppose I answered my own question there though – it is because it inhabits us that it never will.

Soon we started to see fresh body parts floating through the sewer water system.

Extract from the diary of Dieter:

Day 111

Against my better judgement, I followed the group to investigate where the body parts were coming from. I could sense a great evil ahead. There was no way I could leave them stranded to deal with it alone.

Extract from the diary of Tobias:

Day 111

There is…I don’t want to remember much more about the day…

Extract from the diary of Tordrad:

Day 111

We find place where sewer system becomes old abandoned building. Used to be asylum it seemed. Many shambling dead people came. We chop them up so they fall down. They stand once more so that we may further practice our chopping skill.

Soon, weirdo necromancer is seen. He be cause of it all. He be target, yes. I try chopping of him. Chop through his robe and body. Even chop his long beard. Very sharp blade this. He lay down and stay there. Wise choice, this.

Extract from the diary of Dieter:

Day 111

As I examined the dying Necromancer, checking for a pulse, that is of course if he too wasn’t undead, something unexpected happened. Talking of undead, it…the other responded to this place suddenly against my will. It had manifested itself suddenly as black tendrils from my mouth. That meddling pipsqueak Tobias was so shaken up by his ordeal that he was in no order to stick his nose in and spot it. I think the Shallyan saw something of it though, even though I had my back turned to her. My silhouette on the back wall will have given away something of what happened next.

The emerging entity took ahold of the last remnants of the Necromancer’s essence and seemingly fed on them. How dare he do such a thing without my consent! But it also goes to show that he is growing more powerful. Soon I might lose control, where before I thought I had it…I must think of how to maintain the lead in this struggle.

Extract from the diary of Rissandrea:

Day 112

Finally I have made a discovery with Tobias. After a new medical examination I have successfully identified a foreign body inside his skull. A small shard of warpstone is lodged into the bone. I can only imagine that this occurred when the warpstone booby trap triggered, all those months ago in Altdorf when we first met.

This would explain his strange dual behaviour between night and day.

It seems his night self is a repressed personality from his younger years. He apparently used to be a thief and told me that he carries a lot of guilt about the way his behaviour rubbed off on his brother Frederick, who went down the same path as him but was arrested. Apparently it all led to the death of their father. Terrible, truly a shame. He has been holding all of this in for so many years.

This alter-ego is something I have explained to him now and he has had to take my word for it, for even now he has no awareness or memory of what happens to him at night. As far as he knows, he is simply not a very good sleeper anymore.

The piece of warpstone interacts with Morrslieb the chaos moon, for it too shines the same colour as it.

He is incredibly lucky though, if we put this into perspective. Any human who had such a thing embedded in them would have mutated severely by now. The fact that he is a halfling has stood him in good stead, only mutating some parts of his mind – just enough to bring about this secondary personality. I would say he got off lightly. Hopefully this thing won’t mutate him anymore in time, because there is no way I can remove it without killing him.

The ordeal of his meeting with the daemonette was a terrible thing too – and while we were at it, I tackled this with him too.

I have determined that Tobias has suffered a malady of the mind. The soothing prayers of my lady are not enough to heal this mental damage to his already fractured psyche.

He has developed an irrational fear of the dark. To make matters worse, his night time self has been effected too, but instead of that personality fearing the dark, when in that form he fears the light, preferring now to stick to shadows. This entire thing is extraordinarily difficult to fully understand.

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 113

Well here we go again. This stupid chalice and the further matter of the bound daemon within these items has at last cropped up to trouble us again.

Extract from the diary of Rissandrea:

Day 113

At my behest, the group is following a new lead into the matter of the chalice. We visited one Elsbeth Becker.

There had been a number of murders around the area. We believe that the chalice and the murders are connected in some way. We decided to become more subtle about our investigation…I wonder how long the others can keep that up.

Elsbeth at least gave us a letter of introduction – with which we visited Lord Randolf Vogt’s townhouse to find out what he or his son might know.

Tordrad’s diary:

Day 113

We not trust the son Rolf as he talk to us, I tell this from faces of the others. I wonder if Rolf tell this too. Hah. His father, he is not about for us to talk to.

Maestro though, he just gets more stupid. Thinking bird chirping stunt will help a second time, he asks birds in tree outside of house, while we still talk to the son.

These are blackbirds though, not put up with silly wizard’s nonsense. Understandable really. Next thing we see, outside of window is Maestro run to right, with blackbirds chasing him. Next we see him run right to left back across the window – blackbirds tugging on his robes and hair. Just as wizard think he is safe from birds at last, he turn to look at us and sees bird sitting on his shoulder. Peck his big nose. Serves him right.

Rissandrea’s diary:

Day 113

Tobias has found a secret doorway in the very Inn we’ve been staying at. He was sneaking about tonight as usual, looking for targets of opportunity. One of these days he is going to get arrested, I am sure.

We went in and investigated anyway. There we say a massive abomination laid out on a surgeon’s table.

On a desk in the room was the chalice!

There is something fated about all of these occurrences, or at least that is what Maestro keeps saying. Although I do believe I agree with him now.

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 113

What a surprise. That we should be holding the very chalice we sought. Too convenient. I smell a big stinky trap! I’m just waiting for it to spring on us. Why can’t somebody else deal with these matters for a change? Why do we have to keep being the heroes? Being a hero is all very well and good while you are alive – you can take benefits from that. But being a hero also exposes you to terrible danger which could pose somewhat of a challenge to the aforementioned staying alive thing.

From the diary of Dieter:

Day 113

I elected to stay behind in the secret cellar room while the others went to look for some city watch help.

While waiting, I readied my scalpel for the footsteps coming down to me. I knew it couldn’t be the group returning so soon. There I saw a man we came to know as Jonas Lang. He requested I give him the chalice. I asked him why I would ever want to do such a thing. He opened shirt to me and all was suddenly clear. A grotesque head protruded from the man’s stomach. The face was a familiar one, I’m afraid to say. It was Claus Liebnitz. The damned man’s spirit was so chaos tainted that it has even managed to infect another man like a parasite. I can relate to how annoying that is…

He confirmed that he wanted the third shard of his master, Xathrodox.

I showed this man the true power of a parasite, overpowering him sufficiently so that I could interrogate him. I do so enjoy a good interrogation. What I don’t enjoy though is being hit around the head from behind while trying to conduct one. I caught a brief glimpse of Rolf Vogt as I passed out I could almost swear that the abomination was standing up of its own accord…alive.

Extract from the diary of Rissandrea:

Day 113

Dieter told us what had happened. When we brought the watch to the location, all evidence of our findings and indeed the chalice itself was gone. Dieter knew that he had no evidence to support Rolf’s guilt so he simply told the watch that he didn’t know who struck him.

What confuses me a little is why the men didn’t dispatch Dieter there and then. Although, strange black marks on the floor, like lashes of black burnt parts coming from where he was laying unconscious might give some clue.

Extract from the diary of Rissandrea:

Day 114

The watch claim to have caught the prolific murderer, who had been taking lives over the last few days.

We went to the watch ourselves to have a chat with the man. Dieter suspected that this man wasn’t the murderer.

I am unsure quite honestly, but I do determine the man to be mentally ill and in need of treatment. I filed a report to the watch stating as much. They gave us the time of day on the matter because of the reputation that precedes us. One of these days that same reputation is going to get us all into trouble.

Extract from the diary of Tordrad:

Day 115

We went to masquerade ball at last. All wearing interesting mask. I wear mask of Lion. This is insult! I demanded bear. They not know what bear is from Kislev word. So I roar to show them. They think this is lion. They would not know difference between a bear and lion if each chewed their arm off at same time even!

Group think ball is great chance to capture Rolf man, suspect in chalice stealing. Truth is, Dieter wants revenge I think. Heh heh. This I like! I like to see Dieter angry for revenge. He is funny small man.

Later, as night goes on, Rolf is spotted. Somehow Dieter finds him in crowd even though he wears mask. He try to assassinate a noble present at ball. Maestro jump from high balcony and cast spell. Lucky for him that it works. Wizard start flying and flapping arms awkwardly, causing a scene. All he needed then was to be squawking like bird like before and truly then I will say this man has gone insane.

Rissandrea in good position with staff, hits Rolf to stomach, winds him. Rolf grabs for her. Big mistake this. Holy girl in flustering panic, swipes again with staff and this time it strike man between legs. Hit him in mother and father button. Great noise he make. Very entertaining, hah hah.

Man’s life we saved turns out to be cousin to Nuln’s Countess. Group are thanked by Emmanuelle. Maestro though, make himself scarce just before she approach us. So like him to be afraid of women. He is not man. He is mouse. Worse still maybe! He is worm. Blackbirds – they overpower him even!

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 116

This Rolf chap was executed this morning. Swift justice in Nuln it seems. It doesn’t help us though, because the authorities wouldn’t listen to us when we said he probably knows something to help the investigation we’re about.

Looks like another lead goes dead for us.

Today the new great cannon was unveiled in the city: The Magnus it was called. I managed to spot something wrong with it, even from my place in the crowd. Well to be more accurate, it was as if it spotted something wrong with me – fate that is. They were going to be test firing the cannon to show what it can do.

I had a sudden involuntary vision of the cannon exploding, killing everyone on the bridge, including the Countess…including me! I piped up rather quickly and pushed my way through the crowd. So very unlike me, unfortunately.

Yes I managed to stop them firing the thing, in the nick of time – then I inspected it and discovered that it had been tampered with! Foul play is further afoot. I used my engineering skills to pinpoint that exact problem.

This of course drew the Countess’s attention to me. Just what I didn’t want. I’d heard the rumours about her…

She invited me to attend her by “appointment” later that day. I had to make an excuse, saying that I had others places to be, to do more “heroic” acts. Hah.

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