Thursday, June 2, 2022

The Enemy Within 4

Sessions 14 to 18

Session 14 - The Golden Trout

Leaving Magirius shaking in his office they head back to the street, Gunther attempts to scope out the Golden Trout and discovers its a private members club. Raquel spots Sigmund of the Watch and hails him - inspired by Traitor he has bought a dog (Brandy) at the Schaffenfest. When he mentions the corpse found torn apart in the lane behind Garten Weg Raquel tells him that its Adolphus Kuftsos, a Witch Hunter - they came across the corpse and read a letter found on it, but no longer have.

Just after he heads off Pea appears, slightly hungover but thrilled to have her new fiddle, she insists on buying them lunch and pints for having helped her out at the card game. Then eager to make the most of the last day of the Schaffenfest with her new fiddle, she skips off down to the festivities.

They see the actual Mutant Decree, then just as they are about to leave the Inn they are passed a note which arrived for them that morning - its from Magistrate Richter and asks that they come visit him to clear up some details, apparently Dr Malthusius has been bombarding him with stories about his goblin being killed in the sewers. They go to the festival court to hear that they’ve just missed the Magistrate, he left with the Captain of the Watch a short while before.

A little while later they return to the Festival Court, this time hearing that Richter went home ill. They travel to his house and persuade his distraught old housekeeper to let them in just as the doctor leaves. Richter looks in a bad way, face swollen and discoloured, he is unable to talk.

They return to The Journey’s End and while Gunther gets bathed (in preparation for this evening's meal at The Golden Trout) Raquel sits in the yard to clean and oil Gunther's’ sewer soiled chainmail. While there, an excitable stable hand rushes in with news that Dr Malthusius was killed by his long haired ape during the final Zoocopia performance of the festival.

As Morrslieb rises huge and high over the town, bathing everything in an eerie green light, Gunther in Kastor guise and Raquel make for their dinner rendezvous with Magirius, only to find Johannes Teugen and his nephew Preston waiting at the restaurant instead. Teugen explains that Ordo Septenarius is a secret club within the Merchants Guild, that he founded to reverse the flagging fortunes of his family and make Bogenhafen the greatest trade hub in the Empire. He asks them what they want, Raquel says 300 gold crowns and points out that Kastor desires a barge. Teugen agrees to 100 gold and a barge with half a cargo of wool, provided that they leave town by the day after tomorrow. 

Session 15 - The Grey Lady

Raquel and Gunther are woken from disturbing dreams by Pea banging on the door and offering to buy them breakfast. She has been up all night, her fiddling went down well at the Grand Melee and she was invited to entertain at the noble party at Sapontheim ‘Castle’ by the Grand Countess of Averland! When that got too knighty for her tastes she wangled her way into Kleinwald manner and regaled the debauched Kleinwalds and their decadent party with her piano and fiddle skills. Here she was reunited with Von Arkenstein and witnessed Constantino serving, dressed as a maid as punishment for abandoning his post in order to watch the Grand Melee.

This Pea tells them over breakfast, in an Inn bustling with activity and excitement. Josef appears and thrusts before them the latest Imperial Edict - Ubersreik has been seized from the ruling Jungfreud family (the head of which was here until yesterday) by the emperor. Josef is preparing to leave as soon as he can, knowing that this event will throw all into disarray and that barges like his will be in danger of seizure by nobles or military. He offers them paid work again, but they tell him that Gunther has acquired a barge, so they’ll be taking to the river anyway, perhaps they can sail to Altdorf together.

Raquel and Gunther pay a visit to the Teugen Mansion to chase up their loot but are told they will be contacted later. The chaos that Josef anticipated is evident in the town as word of the Ubersreik Decree spreads. They run into Sigmund again, he and his unit are being mustered out to the borders of the Duchy. He tells them that he has since learned that Adolphus Kuftsos was actually a bounty hunter on the trail of a chaos cult called the Purple Hand, and says its such a shame they no longer have that letter, but either way it's yesterday's news now, what with all thats going on. The story being told around town is that the infamous Witch Hunter Faberguz Heinzdork was ripped apart in the back streets of Bogenhafen by a Demon that lives in the sewers.

On the way back to the Inn they are accosted by a well dressed young man who introduces himself as Hans-Peter Schiller, apprentice to Herr Blitzen, a wizard in Weissbruck. Hans-Peter has just booked passage on The Bererbeli with Josef and learned from him that they are the ones who encountered a Demon in the sewers, he knows his master will want to know more, so what can they tell him? Raquel obliges, including drawing the Octogram and a crude map of the sewers.

Around mid afternoon a Teugen servant appears bearing a note, a sealed letter and a bag of gold coins. The note says that Kastor must meet with the legal secretary at the Merchants Guild at 4pm to sign the deeds for the barge, then show these signed papers to the harbour master before sunset to be shown to his new property. The bag contains 25 gold coins and the note says the other 75 can be got by delivering the sealed letter to the Grubers of Weissbruck no later than 5 days hence.

They head to the Merchants Guild as instructed. There are now guards at the door and after signing the papers for The Grey Lady they encounter a nervous Magirius to whom Raquel apologizes for her violent behaviour the previous day.

From there it's on to the Harbour Master (where they learn berthing costs are paid up until lunchtime tomorrow) and then The Grey Lady, a medium barge with half a holds worth of wool. They fetch their belongings from the Inn and along with Pea spend the night on the barge.

After another night of disturbing dreams they awake to find a frantic Magirius imploring them to let him aboard. He confesses all that he knows, that tonight Teugen along with the inner circle of Ordo Septenarius plan to sacrifice someone in a ceremony that will bring great wealth to Bogenhafen. The human sacrifice is too much for Magirius, he begs the party to stop Teugen, and says he’ll send word of where the ritual is to take place as soon as he finds out.

Session 16 - "MG"

They decide to sail the barge out of town to make it appear as though they’ve kept up their end of the deal, meanwhile Pea will pay a visit to Lori to try enlist some help, then see if she can find Von Arkenstein.

A few hours later they dock downriver at Herzhald, pay the berthing fee for a day, load Gunther’s wheelbarrow up with pots of oil and head back to Bogenhafen on foot. They re-enter the town on its west side, cutting through ‘The Pit’ for the first time and take the ferry back across the river.

At the Half Measure tavern they meet with Lori who agrees to lend them some of her rogues in return for delivering a cargo for her on their new barge. She sends Ade with them to go pay Magirius a visit and find out where this ritual is to take place.

It is by now early evening and Morrsleib once more rises full, bloated and menacing, hanging over the town as though it might drop and crush everything.

Magirius lives in a 4 story terraced town house on the Adel Ring. There is no answer at the front door and as it is locked the party go round and try the back door with better luck. There is not a sound within so they split up and search room by room, floor by floor.

Magirius’ corpse is found behind his desk in the office on the first floor, lying in a pool of blood, his throat torn open. The letters MG scrawled on the side of the desk in blood mark his last act. They leave swiftly by the back door. Ade leads them through the back streets towards the Half Measure, plotting a course past the Merchants’ Guild in case this is where Magirius was trying to point them.

The building is locked and mostly dark, though some light can be seen between the shutters. While they are scoping out the area, a house Teugen carriage arrives and 2 men get out and enter the building. They send Ade to fetch the backup while they continue to stake out the location.

Session 17 - The Calm

The door entered by the coach occupants is unlocked, so Gunther sneaks in and creeps upstairs. He steals a map from the Charts room, then from an unlit balcony looks down on what during their previous visit was the trading floor; the chalk boards and tables have been pushed back and an octogram with candles set at each point now dominates the chamber. Red robed cultists greet more of their number who have just arrived. Hearing the name ‘Kastor Lieberung’ mentioned Gunther edges forwards on to a creaky floorboard. The voices suddenly cease, but as luck would have it the bells on the High Church of Sigmar ring out marking 9 o’clock, he seizes this opportunity to flee downstairs and hide in a room near the door where he entered.


As soon as Guther made his way inside Raquel began walking a slow circuit of the Guild. As she completes her first lap she sees a figure standing, waiting in the doorway taken by Gunther. She walks on past and finds a position to observe from round the corner. A group of thugs arrive and speak with the figure at the door who directs them to take up positions at the either end of the alley.

Raquel moves to the other side of the street, into the shadow of the Temple of Verena and waits and watches for Ade. In her impatience she is seen and 2 thugs approach, she steps out to meet them, and at the same time sees Ade approaching. She confronts the thugs, making out that she is some bodyguard of Teugen's and that they should go and let her do this job. They are not convinced so she tries buying them off, and succeeds to the extent that 4 of them take her gold and leave the area.

Ade has brought 5 halflings with him, Traitor and Gunther’s wheelbarrow with the oil. A quick plan is hatched to have 3 halflings try to draw off as many of the guards as possible while the remainder rush the building with Raquel. Just as they put this plan into action a wagon draws up behind the guild…

Session 18 - The Storm

Two of the thugs chase Ade and the first group of Halflings while Raquel, Traitor and the others rush the one remaining. He is cut down in seconds, but 2 more jump from the wagon, and another rushes from the end of the street.

Meanwhile Gunther, hiding within the building hears the commotion outside and decides to take this opportunity to regain his advantageous position upstairs, but as soon as he steps from the room he sees  the backdoor open and a big man carrying a wriggling sack rush into the building. He crouches behind the statue of Bogenauer, and as the figure goes past leaps out and cuts him down with his axe.

In the street the thugs don’t fare well against halfling sling stones and Nordland steel, but another opponent, the one seen directing from the doorway earlier, steps into the alley, into a shimmering magical haze they conjure. From here they work further magic, sending vivid pink lightning arcing at Raquel. It misses, and as the one thug still standing decides to flee it hurls a ball of blue fire at the group. It strikes one halfling taking him down and splashes infernal fire onto a grievously injured Traitor, Raquel and another halfling. As they fight to extinguish the flames, Lobwillow, their sling-armed comrade at the rear, strikes this magical opponent with a critical, breaking ribs and stunning them…

Gunther finishes his big foe with another swing of the axe, but the cultists within, knowing nothing of the violence close by, hear this noise and Johannes Teugen steps into the other end of the hallway calling out ‘Gideon, what’s that? Gideon?’
Gunther snuffs out the one candle illuminating the corridor, sweeps up the wriggling, person sized sack on the floor, and dives for the back door.

As soon as she’s able Raquel surges forwards, loading her crossbow as she runs. Penetrating the swirling, sorcerous haze she fires at point blank range, but the bolt passes clean through her stunned target without so much as leaving a mark. He staggers back towards the door, attempting to escape the onslaught, but it bursts open as Gunther comes barreling through.
The sorcerer hits the ground and in shower of pink and blue sparks reveals his true form; the demon Gideon, a tentacle headed, razor mouthed monstrosity, but stunned and impotent in the swirling storm of sword and axe that come crashing down upon it.

‘Gideon!’ howls Teugen from the passageway, as he sees his diabolic companion disintegrate. He calls upon his blasphemous masters and attempts to hurl a bolt of infernal energy at Gunther, but something goes hideously wrong, and he is left winded and staggering. Within seconds he meets the same fate as the Demon, as Gunther and Raquel rush into the building, blades swinging.

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