Seeds of Corruption


The next 12 pages are covered in messy notes, depictions of ritual circles, and progresssively more-insane ramblings. Many pages have large portions painted over with ink.

The thirteenth page simply reads “Truth is within.”

[This entry is undated]

My master tells me it has been three months since I’ve seen sunlight. It feels like years. I have seen horrors unknown to mankind and now understand my role as the one standing between them. I am now a keeper of the truth. The shadow within shadows. An apprenticed grey wizard. It is all I hoped it would be; I now understand so much more of the winds that I simply couldn’t see before. But the horrors I’ve seen have not left me unmarked.

As I reenter society I hope I’m not as incompatible as I feel. The last months have been taxing.

5 Nachgeheim 2522

It is good to feel the sun again. I find myself readjusting more quickly than I had hoped.

Ivellios says he has made some progress with his guild, but there is still so much to do. And so many costs.

Before I went into the tunnels I learned that the hammer I had found was an heirloom weapon to a clan of dwarves living down south and east of here. I hope to return it to them sometime. I’m sure they would be glad to have it back.

Lord Aschaffenburg has summoned us and given us a lead on some more work out in Stromdorf.

We gathered supplies and set out on a ferry. I had heard it always rains in Stromdorf but I never imagined how bad it could be! As we drew closer to our destination the rain picked up immensely, churning the waters into a roiling mess, washing away the riverbanks and heaving the small ship around. The ferryman decided to turn around and head back, leaving me and Ivellios on the riverbank, soaked and disgruntled, to walk the rest of the way.

We’re at the Thunderwater Inn now, resting. It’s still not too late so we hope to go out and find our contact once the rain dies down, or at least once we warm up a bit.

An Eye for an Eye

12 Sigmarzeit 2522

It’s been a short time since last I wrote but much has happened.

After my talk with the librarian my continued possession of the relic – which I now know belonged to the Taal worshipers in the surrounding forest – my continued ownership of it seemed doubtful at best.

With this in mind I set about making a decoy. I made my way to the kitchens. Therein I found a portly woman – the lodge’s head chef – chopping vegetables. She set me to working while I talked her up and tried to get some information. While she was obviously drunk and willing to talk, that didn’t change the fact that she didn’t have much to say, at least in regards to the revolt. I convinced her to give me the head from the deer being served later that night and made my way off to strip it clean.

The most secluded place I could find to cast an appropriate spell was, of all places, the Sigmarite shrine. The irony is not lost on me. A quick incantation and I was ready to be on my way, when something caught my eye. There was a hammer camouflaged into the shrine. Dwarf-make, mastercraft. A fine weapon.

But I digress. It was at this time that the warning bells shattered the silence of the yard. Cries went up at the main gate and I went to investigate.

Beyond the portcullis I saw a be-hooded and obviously travel-worn figure making his way towards us. The guards were very uneasy, but when the Lord Aschaffenburg was alerted, he was a bit more welcoming.

With Brottor incapacitated by his illness, the Lord saw fit to have this newcomer, Ivellios take his place. He has demonstrated remarkable talent as a thief at every opportunity since this time. With so many sensibilities in common, we became fast friends. I cannot say I would trust him with my coinpurse, but I trust him to have my back in a fight.

After he introduced Ivellios to his role as investigator, I warned the Lord of the note I had found dropped by one of the serving staff – “Goose is good”. I took it as a warning against eating the venison at the night’s dinner, the only other option. Aschaffenburg was ready to take a cautionary stance with little convincing. We decided he would order the venison, then find cause to take him meal in his chambers, where he could find a way to safely find the truth of the matter.

With that matter out of the way I made my way to the hospice to have my still-bleeding wounds treated while the elf made his way to the servant’s commons. The doctor, whom I now know was a conspirator, tried to drug me with a healing draught laced with schlaff. He never counted on fortitude like mine. The rigors of growing up with witchcraft in your blood took far more mettle to come through than a simple sleeping draught.

Ivellios tells me he didn’t find much in the commons. It can’t be easy trying to gather information when everyone is so put off by your presence, as an elf. He ran into the head of the serving staff on his way out and got sent out to the gardens to prune and weed – conveniently where I was heading to investigate the herb patch.

We shared our findings and I found the garden lousy with gottreich – the main component of schlaff. It was literally the only thing there. I took a few bunches and later dried them. Perhaps I can find a way to make some medicine or a crude poison with it later on.

It was around this time that the lodge gathered for dinner. It was also around this time that everything went to hell. Excuse me if I forget some of the more minor details.

The venison was poisoned – again with schlaff. Lord Aschaffenburg made his way off with the venison and there were a few scowls throughout the hall, most notably Krug, Piersson, Sieger and a few others whose names escape me.

As the dinner wound down, the party of conspirators invited themselves back to Ivellios’ and my quarters. Ivellios slipped away along the way to pursue a servant carrying a strange item wrapped in cloth. I continued to the quarters.

As soon as we entered, the librarian excused himself and locked the door from the outside. There was a fight. I’m uncomfortable with what I had to do, but it was my only option.

Once safe, I beat down the door and tried to find Ivellios, but he was long gone somewhere else. I ran like hell to Aschaffenburg to find him barricaded into his quarters. Much to my surprise I learned the beastmen were launching a full-on assault on the lodge.

Together we made our way to the library, hoping to follow the library to Ivellios, or at least find a clue to his whereabouts. We found a trap door and I entered it while Rickard stayed above ground.

The tunnel was long and dark. Stale air and the stench of corruption wafted throughout. I found Ivellios near the end. Together we made our way to the chamber further down and walked into a scene from a campfire story.

At the center, a great stone slab – an altar. Lying upon it, a young man at the edge of consciousness, wrapped in white cloth. Moonlight shone on a portrait beside him, charged with chaotic winds. Above it all stood Gregor Piersson and some others, their humanity lost. Disfigured and mutilated, they had accepted chaos itself into their beings and reduced themselves to monstrosities.

Piersson lifted a gold dagger into the air and we knew we were out of time. We struck. In the confusion we managed to heave the sacrifice off the alter and bolt with him. Piersson escaped through the back and the others charged at Ivellios and I in a blind rage. I managed to snuff the torches and throw us all into darkness, knowing Ivellios would have the advantage as such, being an elf. Foot by foot I ran like hell through the jet-black darkness. Ivellios held them back, still gaining ground towards the trap door. The strength of the abominations was terrifying. We made our way out with them hot on our heels and heaved a bookcase over the door. They weren’t that strong.

I lost track of Ivellios again and made my way to Aschaffenburg once more. He lead the chase to the roof, where he suspected Gregor may try to complete his fel ritual. We were too slow, but Ivellios was not. I could only watch in horror as he dragged Gregor off the room, tumbling turn over turn through the air. They hit the ground with a sickening thud, Gregor on the bottom.

The threat was over. The ritual had been stopped, and the beastmen lost their resolve and were beaten back. Ivellios, while gravely wounded, was alive. Adrenaline drained out of me and shock set in. It was all I could do to sit there, guarding his battered body.

It was over.

The cleanup was a daunting task. I had dragged Ivellios to the hospice that he may be treated by Sister Sonja, but I doubted she was able to provide the degree of care Ivellios needed. As I tried to find a way to safely destroy the painting used in the ritual, I was approached by a Taal worshiper. Finally I had an answer to the riddle of the mysterious foal’s head relic. It was a token used in their rituals; an item of religious significance. He asked for its return and we negotiated for him to provide healing services to Ivellios as well.

I’ve never seen healing magic so strong. In moments his body had shaped and mended itself back together, healthy as ever. I’d call that a good use of the relic if ever there was one.

With our business at the lodge completed, we made our way to Aschaffenburg for payment. He rewarded us with a full gold crown in addition to the originally negotiated sum. He was prepared to burn the lodge to the ground, but Ivellios had other ideas and asked that we may use it as a base of operations. It sounds like he hopes to turn it into a thieve’s guild of sorts. A base of operations. It’s secluded enough, but it’s in a sorry state. It’ll take a lot of work to get it up and running. I’ve offered my assistance in any way I can provide it. I’ve never been one to pass up a chance at fabulous wealth.

We’ve just today arrived back in Ubersreich and destroyed the painting at a Sigmarite temple. A little bit later we’re planning on getting some price quotes on restoration work for the lodge.

I’ve heard there’s a grey wizard around. I’ll have to be careful.

Excepts from a travel-worn journal
New beginnings

This journal is marked as belonging to a “Don Quince.” There looks to have been some pages torn out of the beginning, but this is where it picks up.

Entry – Aubentag, 8 Sigmarzeit 2522
When I arrived in Ubersreik today I was poor, hungry, travel-weary and alone; how much can change in a single day!
When I came ashore, my attention was immediately drawn to a very posh looking man – not the sort to be working the docks by any means. It turned out he was looking for some able hands to assist his lord with the escort and moving of some luggage to his new manor — for six shillings! I and another at the docks – a burly dwarf named Brottor – were wary of the posh man ( Vern Hendrick) as he seemed to be withholding some details, but when he offered to meet us at a nearby inn the sweet song of free food and drink washed away any such doubts.

The dwarf and I made our way over and began running up a tab for some roast fish and piss-poor ale and were approached by Hendrick again some time later. He seemed paranoid and over-concerned for the secrecy of the meeting.

He proceeded to explain himself, and the job in greater detail. We are to complete the moving job as previously agreed, but this is to be secondary to a more important job. Brottor and I are to take up positions among the working-class of the manor and attempt to gather intelligence relating to a suspected revolt against the Lord Aschaffenburg, owner of the manor. Hendrick was unwilling to go into more detail at the time, but assured us we could be more properly briefed at a later time.

We agreed with his terms, took our six shillings each and had him put us up in rooms for the night. He appears to be a man with very loose purse-strings. Either his lord is fabulously wealthy, or horribly desperate.

Brottor seems unconcerned. Maybe I should take a page from his book.

Marktag, 9 Sigmarzeit 2522 (Dawn)

A breakfast of cold fish and bread. We will be making our way through the adjacent woods in a few hour’s time. I have not yet seen Brottor or Vern Hendrick. I consider making off with the money and hiring another ship to go elsewhere. Maybe not, tired of travelling.

/-/ (Late morning)

Beastmen 01The caravan departed into the woods with little fanfare. Brottor and I were again advised that we are also responsible for bodyguarding duties. At one point we caught a band of Beastmen stalking us, but Brottor scared them off. He seems simple, in a good way, and I believe he can be trusted to a point, but he is not a dwarf to be trifled with. Fearsome.

/-/ (Late afternoon)

Dinner will be served soon. Famished. Big day.

The Beastmen stalking us attacked when we reached the gates of the manor’s grounds. We managed to fend them off with no fatalities and only moderate wounds – nothing that won’t heal in time. We made a quick patch-job of ourselves and got on with the job.

I noticed a face watching us from a widow in the upper of the manor. It struck my intuition as being suspicious but I thought nothing of it at the time.

After unloading Lord Aschaffenburg’s luggage we were briefed in greater depth by him. He gave us a rundown of the layout of the manor, threw us a couple leads and sent us on our way, warning us to be as discreet as possible. He seemed very protective of his personal library, but I saw more than one “saucy” title on his shelves, so I’ll think nothing more of it.

Brottor mentioned he would make his way to the stables. I made my way to the makeshift sick bay.

The Content Not Found: korden-kurgansson was something that jumped out at me interesting and I assumed this was where I could find him. From the Lord’s briefing I knew he had suffered a blow to the head in a recent siege by the Beastmen and had since descended into mindlessness, rambling incoherently and general insanity. As well, I thought lending any aid to the physicians would be a good start to getting my foot in the door!

They had no shortage of hands, unfortunately, only supplies. I should mention this to the Lord when I’m able. There’s no reason good men should die for lack of clean cloth to bind their wounds.

I digress. I found the dwarf strapped down to a bed, writhing, screaming in Dwarven. Content Not Found: sister-sonja there gave me some insight into what he was saying, but none of if seemed to make any sense. I thought maybe a non-traditional approach to medicine may help and tried a quick spell when nobody was watching. It seemed to give him a brief moment of lucidity – in the grip of terror he moaned about “THE EYE”. I’m not yet sure what to make of this, but I’ll keep it at the back of my mind as I try to learn more.

After leaving the hospice, I made my way to the library, hoping to learn a bit about the relic Brottor and I had found on the corpse of one of the Beastmen. I’m honestly not sure what I was thinking – such knowledge is very specific and scarce, and quite probably a little bit forbidden. When I mentioned I had found the relic on the Beastmen, Content Not Found: otto-geizhals got a very odd look in his eye and tried to convince me to give it to him, that he may give it to the Sister Sonia at the hospice and have it destroyed. I suspect he wanted to keep it for himself.

Through this I may have inadvertently drawn some attention to myself. If I hope to keep this…relic, juju, whatever, I may have to get a little bit underhanded. I should try to prepare myself for any encounters with the priest, and I should definitely keep a close eye on the librarian.


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