The Game’s Afoot!
Returning from early supper with the baron, the heroes were confronted with an immediate problem: Tomas and Karel de Geode, hoping to capture an octopus to prepare as food for the heroes. Begged by the distraught wife, Emma, the heroes agreed to search the nearby bogs for them. Fortunately, two more people joined them in the search: Sonja de Rood, a young pugilist from Salfen to the north who is driven by her desire for fame, and Cymé, an itinerant Myrmidian novice in the Order of the Eagle - she hails from Vorbergland - who Father Anders met on the road outside of Eilhart and immediately sent along to Fauligmere to help the heroes. Bolstered with new members, the heroes set off into the swamp to find the missing de Goedes.
Verena’s wisdom guided the heroes' eyes and feet along the de Goede’s path southwest into the bog, and they found Tomas, wounded and unconscious beside a small pool not too far from the village. Something large had come out of the bog and attacked Tomas and Karel, leaving Tomas for dead and carrying Karel off to the northwest. After tending to Tomas’ wounds and fashioning a method to carry him from his torn net, the heroes followed the monster’s path. Soon, they found Karel, barely alive and hanging like a side a meat from a dead tree besides a large swampy pond. It wasn’t long before the monster appeared to protect its dinner, erupting from the mud and water where it had lain in wait. The large creature, reeking of slime, rot and mud, distended its tusked mouth to swallow Cyan, but only managed to gobble muck and mud as the halfling darted out of the way. A desperate fight ensued against the terrifying foe, but the heroes were finally able to turn the tables and deliver several telling blows.
However, even larger and more terrible things lurk in the swamp than rapacious bog trolls, and the scuffle in the mud attracted one of them. Tentacles that could crush a house emerged from the swamp and captured the troll, whipping the giant back into the water so fast the troll’s bones snapped. The heroes, having been forewarned of The Beast by Steffan Visser, stood stock still as more tentacles emerged and prodded blindly about the bog for more morsels to eat. Eventually, The Beast retreated to the depths to devour the bog troll, leaving the heroes a moment to escape with the wounded de Goedes.
Unfortunately, the heroes found themselves lead astray by witch-lights, lost in the fog, and trapped in quickmire. With Sister Esmé and Cyan almost lost entirely beneath the muck, a dove alighted upon Sister Esmé’s outstretched hand before it plunged beneath the muck, and - miraculously - a hermit appeared out of the foggy night and directed a successful rescue of the nun and halfling. Then, without a word, the hermit strode off, beckoning the heroes to follow him, and after some time struggling through the bog and fog, they arrived at a rocky outcropping they recognize from the village gossip as the Hermit’s Knob, the Hollow Hill, or the Hohlenhügel. Atop the outcrop, the heroes followed the silent old hermit into a cave, from which an inky-black flow of clean water emerged from the depths, tumbles over the cliff into the Knochenpfütze, spreading out in to the wide, marshy Knochenmere, where it mixes with the spreading flats formed by the River Bäch.
The hermit - who the heroes surmised from what they had learned of Fauligmere’s history must be Lenko Sepp - tended their wounds, fed them smoked and dried octopus, and gave them a safe place to sleep. In the morning, Lenko - if indeed it was Lenko Sepp - lead them back to Fauligmere while a dove circled overhead. The villagers, delighted that both de Geodes were found alive, celebrated the heroes with a feast. Surely, these brave heroes were sent to us by Manaan to save us from the witch!
Sister Esmé visited Father Salzig at the temple and found him drunk and passed out. Calling down Shallya’s Mercy upon him, she woke him and scolded him again. Father Salzig barred himself in his rectory and demanded she leave his temple.
Wellentag, 23 Sigmarzeit 2512
The next morning, the heroes were awoken by a clamor of bells ringing down at the village dock. Emerging from the Three Hogs, they saw the entire village rushing down to the docks to see whatever was happening.
There was a sight to behold. A black barge with black sails, festooned with reliquaries and icons of Sigmar, pulled up to the dock. The gangplank came down to reveal the frightening visage of Matthias Krieger, a witch hunter and Inquisitor of the Holy Order of the Templars of Sigmar, sent at the behest of Father Anders to help the heroes rid the town of the witch. He wore black leather armor, every inch covered in holy and protective symbols of Sigmar (hammers and twin-tailed comets). Atop his head, he wore a flaming brazier. Behind him, obsequious to his commands and fanatical to the will of Sigmar, were his zealots, who crewed his barge and carried out his will. And then there was another man, quiet, pale, bespectacled, and scholarly, who said not a word, but stayed within earshot of the Inquisitor at all times.
Krieger bypassed the baron to address the heroes directly, inviting them to the baron’s manor to give him a full report, which the Inquisitor commandeered implicitly. Krieger and his men marched up the hill to the manor, leaving the villagers agape in his wake and yesterday’s heroes nearly forgotten after the impressive grand entrance of the witch hunter. The heroes wasted no time hurrying up to the manor to give Krieger the report he desired.
Krieger immediately proved himself a keen interrogator, poking and prodding at the heroes’ tale until he was satisfied in its veracity. He also seemed kind and concerned; he was clearly accustomed to giving orders and having them carried out without question, even if these orders, explicit or implicit might be directed at people like the baron. His dedication certainly seemed unwavering: his purpose, his holy purpose, is to protect the Empire and its people from the Ruinous Powers and their vile servants. State and Temple legally empower him and intelligence and experience guide him.
Krieger agreed that the baron’s plan a sound one: wait for the return of the bog hunters and hope one of them has a clue to the witch’s whereabouts. Then, form a posse to enter the swamp, apprehend the alleged witch, and bring him back alive (if at all possible) to Fauligmere for trial.
He then dismissed the heroes and set about organizing the manor into something more appropriate to his needs.
A Bog Hunter Returns with News
About noon, one of the bog hunters returned to the village with news. His name was Jacco de Valk, and he said he had found the witch’s abode deep in the swamp.
The heroes were summoned to the manor once more…
Meta and Background
Sonja de Rood is from the town of Salfen, which is north of Fauligmere on the Middenheim Road, the large trade route that leads from the port of Marienburg to Middenheim high in the mountains of Middenland. Salfen is a prosperous, if boring, town, living off stabling and feeding the hungry caravans that pass through. Sonja has made pretty good living so far accepting fights for entertainment in Salfen. Watching a teenage girl beat the crap out of burly teamsters proved to be high entertainment to the caravaners and townsfolk, alike. However, she won the wrong fight - she pounded a scion of the Tilean cheese-trading Scarpelli family into the ground - and found herself threatened with a new shiny red smile. A lucky punch below the belt allowed her to make a break for it and she fled into the marshes with only the clothes on her back. In darkness and fog, she made her way 20 miles or so to Fauligmere. Afraid the Scarpellis will find her, she intends to surround herself with boon companions and eventually get as far away from Salfen as possible. Of course, the Scarpellis trade cheese throughout the Empire…
Her doom is to die with blood in her eyes. The detail she leaves out when she recalls her doom is whose blood the priest said it was…
Symé Pfeiffer is from the village of Pfeiffer in southern Vorbergland, the region of Reikland that runs along the eastern slopes of the Grey Mountains. Pfeiffer itself is near Dunkelburg, a prosperous town. Orphaned at 12, Symé was rendered to the Temple of Myrmidia in Nuln. Her father was a Tilean soldier and mercenary who had served under the Ambossteins of Wissenland and their more famous cousins, the von Leibwitzes of Nuln (the Countess von Leibwitz is one of the Imperial Electors). Her mother was a baker-woman who fell in love with the dashing Tilean soldier (and he with her). They lived happily together - unwed - in Pfeiffer running a small bakery for 14 years until plague killed them both. Now an young adult, Symé is a trained soldier who spent a year patrolling the Vaults fighting bandits and green skins with a Myrmidian company. At 19, she took her vows and became a novice in the Righteous Order of the Eagle. She is now an itinerant member, sent northward to Eilhart by her commander, Captain von Salisburger, after a frightful dream he said came from the goddess herself. Symé encountered Father Anders on the road near Eilhart, who saw something in her and immediately sent her north to Fauligmere.
Her doom is to die twice, once by each hand.
Weapons and Armor
Please confirm the current damaged values of your weapons and armor if you were covered with vomit. Additionally, any clothing you were wearing - it’s virtually destroyed. You’re going to need new clothes. We can presume that you are currently clothed in whatever spare old work clothes the de Geodes could rummage up for you.