Rolfe and Zarkon were at the shrine when the call to dinner came. They saw the captain of the guard, the wagoneer from Ubersreik, and a man from the kennels they hadn’t met all head inside for dinner. The two chatted up the kennel master on the way in. He indicated he had 3 large dogs, and he was preparing them for defense against beastman attack.
Kraft and Caius had awakened by the time the rest of the group walked by, and entered the lodge with them.
Exiting the library, Hektor grabbed the slip of paper the librarian had dropped. He had Nim read it to him: “Goose is good.”
Most of the lodge inhabitants were seated at the table, except those who were serving dinner. Of the serving staff, two were quite somnolent. There was soup and goose spilled in the course of the dinner. The steward of the lodge seemed quite upset, upbraiding the sleepy staff in front of everyone. Nim used these distractions to try to discretely warn his companions to order the goose. Lord Aschaffenberg invited the party to his rooms after dinner to discuss their continued hire.
Shortly after the meat course was served, a terrible spate of barking drew the kennel-master away from the table. He hadn’t been able to try his venison.
On the other hand, Rolfe had gotten a great serving of venison, as had everyone except the doctor, one of the patients, and the librarian. Others of the party merely made a show of eating the venison, without putting any in their mouths.
By dessert, many at the table were feeling quite sleepy, as a matter of fact everyone that had eaten venison. For the party members, this meant Rolfe. The goose-eating staff animatedly discussed politics and astronomy while the staff cleaned up.
Aschaffenberg wearily led the party members upstairs for their interview. Hektor slowly followed, listening to the goose-eaters worry about more beastmen attacks. Zarkon slipped off to check out the library.
Zarkon noticed nothing further out of place in the library, and joined up with Hektor to slip into the master bedroom before the door closed.
Aschaffenberg started to ask about their investigation, but it was quickly apparent he was too tired to pay any attention. He dismissed them after a single question, which they were not even sure he heard the answer to. The Lord was falling asleep sitting on the edge of the bed as they left.
Out in the hall, the doctor appeared, suddenly taking an interest in the party. He made neutral small talk, and offered to take the less sleepy party members out to show them his herb collection. Rolfe, Kraft, and Caius headed to bed.
In the garden, the doctor rambled on about his herbal painkillers and his plan to seed the lawn with an anti-beastman plant (Beastbane). He carried on until Zarkon and Hektor’s sixth senses felt something creeping behind the east side of the wall. Hektor and Nim moved that way to investigate. Zarkon headed for the relative safety of the forge. The doctor disappeared.
Hektor could hear some bestial grunts coming from the other side of the wall. Nim decided to fetch the guard, while Hektor climbed a tower to get a better look. On the way to the guardhouse, Nim met the friendly coachman heading toward the lodge carrying a large sack. Nim asked the coachman to warn the people inside.
Nim returned to the east wall with a couple of the off-duty guards. Hektor had positively identified beastmen. Some were stacking wood (for climbing over the wall?). Another was heading from the forest with a lit torch (for burning the stacked wood?). One guard drew weapons, while the other summoned help from the guardhouse and the kennels. Nim decided to join Zarkon in the forge.
The guard took over the tower, and started shooting at beastmen. The dogs barked and patrolled inside the wall. There was no reaction from inside the house. Hektor decided to investigate.
Inside, all was quiet. Neither the doctor nor the coachmen seemed successful rousing anyone. Hektor went upstairs to wake the sleepy half of his party.
Everyone was back down the stairs and getting ready to head outside to defend against beastmen, when someone heard a noise from down the hall. It was coming from a room nobody had explored yet. The party split further, Rolfe and Kraft to the room with the noise, while Hektor and Caius went to defend the Lord’s chambers from possible assassination.
Kraft and Rolfe dashed into a sitting room with a nightmarish scene. A number of robed staff members surrounded the unlit fireplace, while the lodge’s steward ducked inside. The steward had removed his head wrap to reveal a large, mutated eyeball. He was holding a frame-less painting, glowing otherworldly green. Here, finally, was proof of treacherous activity. Kraft and Rolfe fought to get to the fireplace, but the robed staff members impeded them. The steward took the painting up a ladder in the back of the fireplace.
Hektor and Caius were in the master bedroom, watching the lord of the manor…sound asleep in his clothing on top of the covers. However, it just so happened that the chimney ran up through the master bedroom, which had a fireplace of its own. Hektor and Caius got a unmistakable look at the mutated steward and the glowing painting. Caius fell back in terror.
Hektor stabbed at the steward as best he could in the small confines of the fireplace. He was able to wound the mutant, but he was not able to halt the steward’s continued climb to the roof. Hektor did decide to follow the steward up, at safe-from-kicking distance. On the roof, he continued his attacks, varying between knife and body-checking with little success.
From the forge, Nim and Zarkon could make out the two silhouettes on the roof. Nim circled the lodge to find a way up from the outside. Zarkon started throwing rocks. The painting glowed brighter and started bubbling otherworldly goo in the light of the two moons.
Nim felt the terror of the painting when he reached the top of the roof. But he was a distraction (him and some hurled stones) for Hektor to deliver a fatal stab to the lodge steward. The painting fell to the roof, but did not stop its activity.
Hektor scooped up the painting (taking an insanity point for his troubles) and headed back down the chimney. He needed some way to destroy it. In the sitting room, Rolfe and Kraft had managed to hold their own against the defending cultists. Rolfe took one last sucker-punch to the gut as Hektor emerged from the fireplace. He had the painting. The cultists stopped and stepped back. One of them mentioned that “the demon is coming.” The 3 party members in the room tried to burn the painting, with no success.
Fifteen minutes after first finding the robed cultists and the painting, Rolfe remembered the warhammer in the shrine of Sigmar. As a last ditch effort, he retrieved the hammer and used it to destroy the painting. The hammer must have had some magical properties to counteract that of the painting!
The steward, the cook, the doctor, the librarian, and the gardener were all dead. The rest of the staff/cultists were restrained to be turned over to the authorities. When Lord Aschaffenberg awoke, he praised the party for saving the lodge, doubly once a demon was mentioned. He paid them all hazard pay and promised to write them letters of recommendation in Ubersreik, should the party want them.