Finishing Grunwald Lodge
First thing in the morning on the night after the events at Grunwald Lodge, Lord Aschaffenberg sends for reinforcements. Until they arrive, everyone else is overworked with guard duties and stepping up to cover the duties of the dead. The characters pretty much have run of the place.
Nim was interested in searching the doctor’s quarters, but they were locked. Luckily, he had a new friend who could help him out. Hektor picked the lock, and they looted the room. Nim made off with a satchel of basic medical equipment, mostly bandages, dressings, scalpels, and retractors. He also took the doctor’s notes, which mostly talked about perfecting his schlaf recipe. There was no finished schlaf in the doctor’s room. They decided to check the hospice.
In the hospice, Nim distracted Sister Sonja with talk about the events of last night, and hints that the doctor was not the noble gentleman he pretended to be. While they were thus occupied, Hektor palmed 1 bottle of schlaf. Sister Sonja was none the wiser.
Hector was interested in visiting the sitting room. It was obvious from the last visit there that the room was not used often, and perhaps something that went missing would not be missed. The most valuable item he could find in the room looked to be a gold statuette of a wolf. The statuette was covered in dust and had obviously not been touched in many, many weeks…not even to be dusted. Also, it fit perfectly in his pouch.
Rolfe and Kraft further scouted the armory, where they heard were some makeshift pieces of armor. There were a couple of chain shirts that looked like they could last a few weeks, unless they took a direct hit to the body. Deciding they were better than nothing, they each took a shirt.
The next day, help arrived from Ubersreik, and the party started to feel in the way. They took their rewards (both given and taken), and headed back to town in Kraft’s cart.
Events in Ubersreik
Kraft turned in the letter of introduction from Lord Aschaffenberg to the von Bruner at the von Brunor estate in Ubersreik. They had nothing at the moment but a quick “thank you for your help,” and “we’ll let you know if you can be of assistance in the future.”
Zarkon returned to Razmar’s to continue his Wizard training. He was raised from level of apprentice to Wizard level 1.
Nim apprenticed himself to a local physician, and he spent some time learning a new skill.
Rolfe found the messenger who had hired him for the discreet bodyguard work, and he got paid.
Hektor handed the playbook, Strange Flowers, over to his contact, and he was paid. He was also able to sell the gold wolf statuette for 25 gold crowns.
Rolfe began asking around about the local dwarves to see who he could return Korden’s hammer to. At the same time, other dwarves were seeking him out.
Rolfe heard buzz of a group of 11 dwarves coming to Ubersreik. From what he heard, it was essentially 10 guards and a dwarf driving a cart loaded full of chests.
The dwarves met Rolfe at a dwarf armory shop. The cart driver introduced himself as Moldagg Kragsurge, a priest of Grungni from Karak Azgaraz. The dwarves had received a letter from Sister Sonja at Grunwald lodge, telling of the fall of Korden and the transfer of his hammer into her care. While on the way here, they had received a second letter stating the hammer had been taken by a group of humans headed to Ubersreik. The dwarf expedition planned to visit the lodge next, after retrieving the hammer.
Rolfe handed the hammer over to the dwarf contingent, asking for nothing.
Moldagg thanked Rolf for his honorable deed, stating the humans had not always been this honorable in their alliance with the dwarves. Rolf will always be welcome in Karak Azgaraz. Moldagg also gifted Rolf a set of chain armor, a breast plate, and a back plate. Finally, the dwarf offered anything else the dwarves had with them to Rolf and his friends at a high discount.
Zarkon talks the party into allowing him to show is mentor, Razmar, the loose-leaf papers titled “Disquieting Proposal.” In Razmar’s professional opinion, there’s no possible benefit to keeping the papers, and they should be destroyed. Zarkon was all for it, but Razmar was hesitant unless everyone Zarkon traveled with all agreed. They did not, and Nim agreed to keep the papers out of Zarkon’s sight.
A Quest from A Merchant
Kraft was contacted by a local member of the Merchant’s Guild. He was given the party’s name by one of his financers, von Bruner. It seems a member of the guild traveled to Stormdorf to sell a few loads of coal. The merchant should have returned by now, and the guild is getting worried. They would like to know the whereabouts of the merchant, Florian Wechsler, and the return of his guild ring if he is no longer alive.
They party accepted the quest without hesitation. The merchant felt compelled to inform them that things are very wet in Stormdorf, as it rains a lot. He suggested making sure they had hooded cloaks and/or wide brimmed hats.
The group returned to the dwarves, hoping against hope that they could find some rain gear on the cheap. The dwarves were planning to go to Stormdorf themselves to sell some coal after visiting Grunwald Lodge. They offered to give the party all their rain gear, if the party sold the coal at Stormdorf for them and returned the profits to Ubersreik. A deal was made. As a side note, the dwarves told the party that Stormdorf was a recent name given to the town, due to the constant rain, thunder, and lightning. The dwarves remember the town as its previous name: Hobbly.
The party left Ubersreik with Kraft’s cart full of coal. Normally the trip would have taken the better part of the daylight hours, but as they neared Stormdorf, they could see the rainclouds swirling over the valley. The rains slowed travel, and dirt trails became mud trails. The river Teuful was high and swift. They approached a ferry house on the west side of the river. The ferry was not there. Instead, they found a bell and a crow sitting on the top of the ferry house watching them. There was nothing to do but ring the bell.
Within 10 minutes, someone walked out of Stormdorf, down to the ferry, and piloted it across the river. The man introduced himself as Lukas Kaltenbach. The fee, he said, was 20 silver to ferry the cart and everyone else across. The party mentioned they were looking for a missing merchant. Lukas suggested the Hogshead Inn.
The main road through Stormdorf was muddier than the trail from Ubersreik. At some point, the town had decided to place wooden planks through the mud so carts could maneuver better. From what they could tell riding through town in the dark, the side roads did not have planks.
A river ran through the middle of town, and it looked like it was swollen far higher than the banks were used to. Just past the river, the party arrived at the Hogshead Inn. On their way in, they couldn’t help by notice all the lights and chatter coming from next door.
The party was met by the Halfling proprietress, Keila Cobblepot. They let rooms, and immediately decided to go next door.
The Thunderwater Tavern must have been the most popular place in town. There was a bar, tables, and private cubbies to sit, talk, and enjoy the products of the brewery out back. One seat was conspicuously empty, closest the fireplace. The most popular drink was called Thunderwater Ale. It was potent, and nobody could drink more than a pint without feeling a bit tipsy. Cauis decided to make friends by buying a round of Thunderwater for everyone in the room, which cost him a full gold crown.
Hektor’s eye was immediately drawn to the blunderbuss over the bar. He spent the rest of the night surreptitiously casing the tavern in case he ever wanted to retrieve the firearm.
Zarkon was intrigued by Reinhold “the Rooster” who was playing a lute and reciting poetry, badly, near the fire. Zarkon found one lady who was trying to find Reinhold interesting and failing. He decided to ask her to dance. The lady, Denise, decided to take up the challenge.
At the bar, one of the young bartenders let slip to Caius that they had a stronger drink by the name of Marshwater. He said they used a live Reik eel in the brewing to add body to the drink. Caius was up to the challenge and downed the whole drink in one go. He was barely able to contain a wave of nausea as the bartender laughed and clapped him on the shoulder. The next Thunderwater was on the house.
Zarkon invited Denise next door to chat in a more intimate environment. At the Hogshead, he asked Keila about finding a better musician. He offered to dance in the inn as entertainment each night while he was there, if she could find someone who could keep a better tune than Reinhold. She found a drummer…and offered Zarkon some pie.
Events at the Thunderwater Tavern definitely died down but never died off completely. The party ended up leaving to get a good night’s sleep. The investigation into the missing merchant started in earnest the next morning.
The investigation started at the market as the party went to sell the coal from Ubersreik. Maxo Brunner, the Thunderwater Ale seller, gave the party directions on which booth to sell the coal at and suggested he would start an investigation at the Hogshead Inn, where most merchants stay when in town. He also distinctly remembered that Florian had a cart drawn by a sad-looking pure white pony.
Zarkon was headed to follow the lead, when he noticed another inn next door to the marketplace. The Lord Dorian looked to be a much fancier place than the Hogshead, and the reception Zarkon received had him immediately leaving to return to Keila Cobblepot.
Keila told Zarkon that Florian Wechsler had left suddenly in the early hours of the morning a few days prior. She remembered it clearly, because he had woken her up to settle his bill. She always got up early as it was to start baking, but he woke her before dawn. He left so early, that he even left his bodyguards in their room. They woke up later, confused, and headed out of town on their own. Zarkon decided to try to gather more information at the Thunderwater Tavern.
At the marketplace, Kraft was in the midst of selling the coal, when Caius was approached by a drunk-looking Estalian. Eduardo Castillo Rodrigues had a finely waxed moustache and pointed beard, a loose fitting shirt, torn leather trousers, and loose soles on his boots. And he recognized Cauis as the man giving out a free round at the Thunderwater the night before. He also overheard Kraft asking about the merchant Florian.
Eduardo remembered the merchant. Drunk, Eduardo had passed out just across the street from the Hogshead on the night in question. He saw the two bodyguards leave the next morning, heading to the ferry. Eduardo didn’t see Florian leave, but he did hear someone go by with a cart sometime shortly after midnight. Caius left immediately to go find Zarkon.
At the Thunderwater Tavern, Zarkon wasn’t able to get much more information. The bartender, Sebastian, didn’t remember anything significant happening that night that would have caused Florian to leave town suddenly. He suggested trying the gatehouse, as anyone leaving would have to pass by the guards.
There was little information to be had at the west gate, except the assertion that Florian Wechsler had not left town in that direction. The guard, Neil, was also sure nobody took the path heading to the north gate. At that time of night, a traveler would have been noted, especially one with a white pony. The party decided to check at the east gate.
A guard at the east gate, Peter, definitely remembered a cart drawn by a white pony leaving town in the middle of the night a few days ago. However, the cart and pony were not drawn by Florian Wechsler because, instead, the guard recognized the cart driver as Reiner Holtz. Holtz came to town every so often to sell hops and livestock. That night he had walked into town, and ridden out with the cart and pony.
Zarkon asked for directions to the Holtz farm. Peter pointed south-south east, where sullen rain clouds were streaked with red light. At first it seemed there might be a break in the rain at last, but then the wind shifted and the party was able to smell a whiff of smoke in the air. Something was burning in the distance.