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.