It's going to be another art free post. Perhaps I need to figure out a way to add to the story in some way with my own art. Problem is I can't really draw very well.
Anyway, here's the next installment in the story.
It is the groups 2nd day in Talabheim. They have met Daubler and delivered all of the materials needed to make an antidote for the “Grey Ague.”
Still in the temple quarter, Vincent and Leopold go into the temple of Morr. Vincent picks a black rose from outside and puts it in his clothes, Lukas and Sally stay outside. Vincent approaches one of the preists after he finishes his prayers and tells him about his dream and that he would like to meet the seer Paul Von Solleck. Solleck “sees Morr's wisdom in all things in the World.” The Seer is not available at the moment and the priest says that Vincent can help with the bodies while he waits, if he so wishes. After some short prayers the two go back outside.
On Reliquary Row, Leopold tries to buy a holy symbol of Morr. The merchant tries to sell him saint's bones at first but then offers “Thrice blessed” silver holy symbol from Luccini in Estalia for 12 silver. Leopold is suspicious but can't talk him down to 6 silver. Sally, being from Luccini in Tilea, takes exception to the merchant and argues with him. The merchant insults Sally who “accidentally” knocks over his trinkets. The group heads back to the Three-Apples.
On the trek back the group overhears various talk. The Countess has lowered the drink tax, no more extra penny per pint. There is a lot of talk about the Plague and how the Countess is going to combat it. The disease is in full effect inside the city. Sally pays 8 silver from the warchest for the group to pass through the gate.
The Three-Apples is bustling and the group can smell Wanda's delicious food from the street. They go upstairs to check on Genaro, who is still in bed shivering. Sally recalls the regimen for Genaro that was prescribed by Herr Daubler. Genaro coughs after inhaling the canister and passes out. He seems to be doing better. In lieu of a bath, Sally orders 5 wash buckets for 6 pennies. The young halfling servant and some others quickly bring them up. Leopold tells them to leave them in his room, so they won't see the state of Genaro. Sally cleans Genaro while Lukas, Vincent and Leopold go to their room to get cleaned up. Leopold is unsure about washing if it isn't his birthday.
After about 15 minutes Sally, Lukas, Vincent and Leopold head downstairs to eat. Before going downstairs Sally tells Genaro the cure will be ready in a couple of days. The dining hall is packed and Wanda and her servants are rushing around serving the delicious food and drink. A young Halfling girl with long braids and rosy cheeks comes to take the groups order. Today's specials are Hammer bone Steak, pork dumplings and blood sausage with cabbage. Leopold orders the sausage, the rest order the dumplings and 4 ales. Sally pays 20 pennies from the war chest. Vincent plans to go to an Armorer and the Temple of Morr, Sally and Leo agree to tag along to help haggle, Lukas decides to try and rest up.
Many shops are closed in the Old Market, but find Von Kompft's Shoppe. Inside are many strange weapons and armor. Many skulls also line the walls. Behind the counter is a huge man with fiery red hair. Half his face is tattooed and he wears a dark apron. Vincent discusses repairing versus replacing his damaged leather armor. Sven Von Kompft says he will give Vincent a good price because he sees that he is a fellow adventurer. Sven reveals in conversation that his father was Norscan and his mother was a Nordlander. He had to retire from from adventuring after taking an arrow to the knee. Leopold also considers buying a few pieces of chain mail to prepare for Vampire hunting. There is then much back and forth about the price. Sven offers to discount Leo's purchase by 5 gold if he will collect that sum from a certain Judge Steppenstolen who owes that amount on a Rapier. After a short discussion about shaking down a judge versus just robbing him, the group decides that the time it would take to accomplish this is not worth saving the 5 gold crowns. Time is money. We eventually end up talking him down to a 15% discount. Sally gets a sword breaker, Vincent buys leather armor and Leopold buys a sleeved mail shirt and mail leggings.
Once outside the shop the three see it is starting to get dark so they head back to the inn. Everyone sleeps deeply until they are awoken by shouting the next morning. “All men ordered outside” is being shouted loudly from downstairs. The group gathers up all their gear, Vincent is the first downstairs. Leopold tries to convince Sally that he is not a “man” and should stay put with Genaro, but in the confusion they all come downstairs.
Three guardsmen usher them outside “by order of the Countess!” Fifty men are being guarded outside by 12 “bulldogs.” Genaro is separated from the group. The others protest but are informed that everyone infected with the plague are being dumped in the Tallows. The rest of us have been conscripted into the guard as “Pups.” We will be paid 1 penny per day to either collect the dead or patrol the sewers. Vincent asks to be stationed in the temple district and is nearly clouted by the Sergeant. All along the street able bodied men are being pulled from their houses. There are many protestations and people who fake being sick. They are beaten and forced into units. We are put together in a unit under Corporal Dieter Kopinski. He looks very young with blonde curly hair and puffy cheeks, but he has an air of competency about him.
“Alright men, you are now known as pups! I'm here to make sure you stay alive! Our duty for today? Morr's round!” He informs us that we will spend the next two days hauling bodies from their homes. After our duties we are free to go, but must report for duty by 6AM at Ibbenstrasse 12 by the Nordgate. Genaro is already long gone. We go house to house, Leopold is tasked with pulling the cart. Some have only a few dead, others entire families have succumbed. At the end of the day we bring the cart to the Temple of Morr, Vincent is not allowed to go inside.
The day ends at 7PM back in front of the guard tower at Nordgate. Corporal Kopinski says we will have one more day of Morr's round and then probably be put on sewer duty. After a brief discussion the group decides to do whatever it takes to find Genaro in the Tallows. They reason if he is not found tonight he will never be found. The guards at the gate to the Tallows give the group a hard time, but eventually let them through. It is pitch black, so Leopold lights his lantern. Lukas uses his keen sense of direction to lead them through the maze of alleyways. Leopold sees some thief signs that say to head to the Dagger Platz, East of Holler's Corner. The Platz is a surprisingly open space for the Tallows, but it is filled with all kinds of debris, heaps of trash and more sinister piles of unrecognizable filth.
“Well, well!” exclaims a man as he steps out of the darkness. Simultaneously the group is surrounded by about 20 men. They carry various clubs, daggers and meat hooks. Sally takes the lead in parlaying with the bandit leader. Leopold tries to ingratiate himself to the leader by mentioning Ranald the Protector. These men are godless. They say they have found Genaro and believe him to be a Noble because of his expensive prosthetic foot. Sally tries to negotiate his release for 24 crowns, or an additional 24 crowns to babysit Genaro for us for a few days. The leader scoffs and says 200 gold crowns “or we kill him!” Leopold is visibly trembling with rage, he wants to smash the bandit in the face with his mace. After a little more fruitless negotiating the bandit says “I'm tired of you now.” His men advance to attack. As the group prepare for the grim battle, out of nowhere, a hail of crossbow bolts savagely cut down the assassins. Within seconds the the fiends are whittled down. 15, 10, 5 and then only the leader. He tries to run and is hit with such force that he flips over, dead.
Vincent exclaims “We may have found Deadeye!” A figure emerges from the shadows and says “Aye manling!” He is stocky and wearing a cloak with branches sticking out of it. His armor is of a strange construction, elastic metal and studded leather. He wears a helmet with a sculpted face plate that looks like a bearded face and one eye is covered with a strange lens. He is bristling with bandoliers and weapons, and is holding a strange metal double crossbow with a spy glass mounted on top. He holds it nonchalantly, but one gets the impression he would be ready to use it at the drop of a hat.
“I am Deadeye manling. You found me!” he says and then goes on to relate how he has found Genaro. Apparently Genaro was worried about us looking for him and sent Deadeye to find us. Sally tells him we were sent by Nihilus, but Deadeye requires proof. So Sally produces the message from Nihilus and tosses it to Deadeye. As the dwarf starts to leave, Vincent goes over to the fallen assassin leader and takes his short sword. Deadeye quickly disappears into the maze of alleyways and the group has to hustle to keep up. They follow him, twisting and turning, for about a half an hour. Lukas notices that he has lead us in circles. He finally leads the group to a building and disarms a trap in the front door. Once inside he uncovers a trap door in the floor and orders us inside.
Small torches are set in the earthen walls of the tunnel. After about 20 meters it ends in a sturdy door. Deadeye fiddles with the latch and appears to disable another trap. He opens the door and motions the group through. The inside is about the size of two inn rooms. The ceiling is low but a man can still stand without trouble. The room is filled with many crates and barrels. Towards the back is a bed which, to the groups great relief, holds an improved Genaro. Just to the side of the door is a weapon rack, it appears to have enough arms and armor for 4 to 5 people. Deadeye does something with the door and says “it's armed.” He then starts taking off his gear and putting it on the rack.
The Dwarf has light blonde hair and blue eyes. There are strange blue tattoos under his eyes. His eyes seem dead. The group thanks him for his hospitality, for saving Genaro and taking them in, but he says “It is not hospitality, just a debt.” He offers them food but has no alcohol for drinking. Sally and Leopold try not to look too disappointed. Vincent asks, “Do you hear scratching in the walls?” to which Deadeye replies, “ I am here to fight Skaven. The city has days.” Vincent looks wistfully at the short sword he took from the assassins corpse. There is a tally of the killed scratched into the blade, the number of scratches is sobering.
Sally 130, Lukas 115, Vincent 115, Leopold 115
Another session in the books. We will be playing again the second week of August, so stay tuned.