[WFRP 1e] The Gathering Storm 5

[WFRP 1e] The Gathering Storm 5

Many things were collected from the crypt of the Garden of Morr. Zarkon was able to sense the presence of magick from Lothar’s headstone. He didn’t even need to touch the item to see the barely-contained energy in the stone. From there on out, he had no trouble identifying magical items.

Caius placed Lothar’s armor in a pile near the stairway. That’s also where the heavy headstone went once Zarkon had a look at it. Caius slid Lothar’s sword (which Zarkon identified as magical) into his own scabbard.

The various alcoves contained the following: A skeleton with a scythe (of no interest to the party), a number of black robes and a chest of priestly undergarments, a well (of no interest), a couple bottle of fine Brettonian wine, and three small casks of Thunderwater ale. The alcohol went in Caius’ collection.

Zarkon and Nim carefully snagged the pendant from Madriga’s corpse and dropped it into the chest of undergarments. This, too, went in Caius’ pile.

Hektor and Waltrout had no use with the priest’s study, as it was filled with books and neither could read. Instead, Zarkon examined the room thoroughly. In a secret alcove, he found a small vial of pungent green liquid. Hidden in the bookshelves, he also found The Sacred Rite of St. Cyril, a classical Morrite text. This rite, if properly cast in a 5 minute ritual, would be able to put a whole cemetery full of the walking dead to rest. Luckily, the party had not found this earlier and attempted to cast it, else they would likely have not been able to save the life of Brother Theoderic Grabbe.

Nim patched the priest’s superficial wounds, but determined most of the Morrite’s wounds were psychological. Brother Grabbe was helped up the stairs into the ossuary. Others grabbed Caius’ collection of loot and headed up after.

Brother Grabbe and Waltrout both were extremely saddened to see the state of the ossuary. Many years’ work was reduced to piles on the floor. This wasn’t the worst for the priest.

Zarkon was able to open the reinforced door. The Garden of Morr was a horrific sight of hundreds of corpses and open graves. Raven circled overhead, sometimes landing to peck at dead flesh. Waltrout went to the Garden shed for a hand cart. They were able to pile the armor, the chest, and the stone in the cart. It was a somber walk, dragging a cart through the mud, avoiding dead bodies and open graves, thumping the cart down the stairs, and walking everyone through the magically dark tunnel before heading back to Stormdorf.

Every few minutes, lightning would strike where the cart had cut a path through the slick ground.

Back in town, the stone is dropped off with Niklas Schulmann. It fit next to the lightning stone, though some text was missing in the cracks. The elven carvings were fainter on this new piece. Niklas also took the opportunity to relate to Zarkon that he had another dream. He dreamed of a green fiend, with a throne and crown of stone. He also dreamed of a voracious, fanged maw, as well as a chattering horde of devils shrouded by night. Niklas believed the throne and the stone were the last pieces of the stones they are searching for.

Niklas offered to teach Zarkon the Protection from Rain spell. It is the most important spell to know while visiting Stormdorf, you know. He also said he was able to identify the magical properties of the armor and the sword, if the party left them there for a while. The stones were his first priority. The party declined and kept the items. Caius gave the armor to Rolf, who didn’t think he should put the armor of the town’s famous hero on and show it off to everyone.

Captain Kessler was quick to find the party once they were back in town. He suggested taking Brother Grabbe to the physician, and then coming to see the burgomeister. 

Dr Hartlieb Schneider had buoyant blonde hair, which cascaded off his shoulders. He sneered down his aquiline nose at the party. He dressed in a long black coat and starched white shirt and carried a leather doctor’s bag. He agreed to work on the prestigious priest, but referred Kraft to the Barber-Surgeon down the hall. Waltrout offered to stay with the physician and help work on Brother Grabbe. He held up the silver fork he took from the crypt as an offer to do whatever necessary to help the priest.

Kraft and company got to meet Rolf Messer, the Barber-Surgeon. He had a bushy moustache, muttonchops, a hearty laugh, and a bloody apron. He asked Kraft to go into the back, so as not to frighten his barber customers. There, Messer had to burn out the infection in Kraft’s abdomen. She was going to be tender for a while, and have a scar for a long, long time. (She lost 1 Wound permanently.)

As an aside, a couple people in the party noticed a lightning rod on the side of the church of Sigmar, which was near the town’s medical building. That information went in the memory banks until after the visit to the burgomeister.

Philip Adler was relieved to hear that Madriga was put to her final rest. He went on a short monologue, “I have been a fool. I have allowed my devotion to my poor, dead…friend cloud my mind. In laying to rest Madriga, you have laid to rest my own guilt over her death. I have let my duties as burgomeister slip. I have been a poor servant to this town, and dishonored my predecessors, in whose footsteps I am not worthy to follow.

“Well my friends, Philip Adler is back from among the dead, and he has you to thank for that. Kessler – inform the elders that I am holding a meeting in the council chambers. Time to show those greybeards I’m back.”

Everyone had other things on their mind, and they paid Adler little heed as they were shown out of the town hall. Their minds were churning… ”every time there’s been lightning, there’s been a stone drawing the lightning, right?” It was time to visit the church of Sigmar to see why it had a lightning rod.

Baroque crenellations, decorated with eagle and warhammer motifs, mark this modestly-sized building as a holy temple of Sigmar. Its stained glass windows depict scenes from Sigmar’s life. An ornate tower juts from the roof, housing a massive golden bell.
A set of heavy double doors stand permanently ajar, allowing worshippers entry into the shadowy, candlelit sanctum within.

Inside, tattered battle-standards hang from the high vaulted ceiling, which magnifies the slightest whisper. A double column of stone pillars, carved with scenes of orcs being slaughtered by human warriors, leads to an altar decorated with symbols of the twin-tailed comet. The altar is flanked by twin granite statues of the muscular hero-god Sigmar gripping his warhammer.  Behind the altar are heavy black curtains. It’s also immediately noticeable that there are no seats in the temple.

A young initiate with red robes and a shaved head greeted the party when they came in the door. The initiate, Chlodwig Fromm, explained that the Lector was not available. The party was persistent…and Zarkon tossed the initiate a bag of silver.  The initiate fetched the Lector, grumbling about being a secretary instead of a priest in training.

Bull-necked and with muscles of steel, Lector Magnus Gottschalk wears an iron circlet about his hald head, fashioned with sigils of Sigmar. His eyes burn with pious rage beneath his beetled brow, and the great silver ring through his broken nose furthers his semblance to an angry ox. His face is crisscrossed with old battle scars, and the twin tailed comet of Sigmar is branded into his forehead.

The Lector was clad from neck to waist in a heavy steel breastplate, emblazoned with the cross of the Reikland, his crimson robes swishing about his legs. From his belt hung sacred relics – the bones of ancient heroes encased in gold, and a vial with, likely, similarly holy contents. He carries a massive double-headed warhammer, engraved with holy runes of battle.

Lector Magnus welcomed the party as new people in town, wishing to see the grand sanctuary of Sigmar. The party nervously turned the conversation to the lightning rod they noticed on the outside of the church. Magnus stated the rod had been there the whole time he has been Lector, more than twenty years.

Lector Magnus wasn’t willing to give the party more than a few minutes, if they weren’t there specifically for him. He returned to his study, behind a curtain behind the altar. Hektor really wanted to know about the rest of the layout of the church, but everyone was intimidated by Gottschalk. Also, there were a couple Sigmarites in the party. Hektor knew he would have to return later on his own in order to explore any further.

Everyone agreed it was about time to head to the Thunderwater Tavern to relax. Everyone except Zarkon, who grabbed Denise and headed to the Hogshead Inn. And also Hektor who remained outside, scoping out the temple of Sigmar. Waltrout exited the medical building in time to join the party at the Thunderwater. He said the doctor no longer needed his help, and he hinted he may have unnecessarily cut Brother Grabbe in a couple spots where he didn’t really need cuts. Waltrout no longer had the silver knife.

At the Hogshead, Denise accused Zarkon of being a dangerous man, and she wasn’t sure if he was safe to hang around with. She listened, regardless, to his latest tales from the Garden of Morr.
The conversation shifts often and quickly at the Thunderwater Tavern. Here are a number of things heard throughout the night:

-That lightning’s been hitting the Garden of Morr quite a bit lately. The Temple of Sigmar, too, for all that’s worth. Say, it looks like they are hitting the Temple Knap more than usual, too.
-Burgomeister Adler has become reclusive in recent months. Trade with Ubersreik has dropped quite a bit.
-Phillip Adler is a hiding tyrant, puppet of the Jungfreuds here to collect taxes and run our town into the ground!
-We never use the well anymore. Several months ago, the brewer’s wife, Madriga Brenner, committed suicide by drowning in it.

All rumors that may have come a bit late, but were brought up by the conversations of the party when they drank at the Inn. The townsfolk seem a veritable well of rumors.

 

All the while Hektor was sneaking into the Temple of Sigmar.

Chlodwig was scrubbing the floors and didn’t notice Hektor enter the front door, sneak from column to column, or hide behind the black curtain behind the altar. Hektor heard the Lector behind a door on the left hand side. Magnus seemed to be practicing a sermon. Hektor moved on to the right hand door. This he opened silently and snuck down the stairs to the temple crypt.

The crypt was shadowy, flickering torches in wall sconces provided meagre light. Carefully stored in open cabinets were the temple’s treasures – golden chalices and icon boxes containing saintly relics. A heavy leather-bound sacred text lied open on a lectern.

Hektor looked around, and there was nothing even vaguely lightning stone shaped in the entire basement. If anything was there it was well hidden, and maybe not even known to the current Lector. Hektor swiped some gold on the way out of the crypts. In an unrelated note (???) he had a headache for a few hours afterward.

The next day, the party decided to visit the Temple of Sigmar again, this time for help in destroying the necromantic amulet they found in the crypt of Morr.  Again, Chlodwig grumbled about getting the Lector. It seems what Chlodwig really wants is a warhammer and a heretic or two to hit with it.

Magnus Gottschalk seemed a little more aggravated to see the party again. However, the task they asked of him got his undivided attention. After some consideration, Lector Gottschalk too the amulet, set it upon the altar, and hit it as hard as he could with his warhammer.  The blast was magnificent.

Energy cascaded over the altar, and flowed east across the floor to the lighting rod. There it was harmlessly grounded. A dark mist erupted out of the amulet and dissipated into the air, with a final scream from the being that was Lazarus Mourn. The Lector turned back to the party with a large grin and severely disheveled eyebrows. He regarded the party more favorably and invited them all back for his sermon at midday.


The party had some time to heal up and work on learning new skills. They heard a couple more rumors over the next couple days:

-The storms have increased. The rivers are flooded. The ferryman (who skillfully ferried the party into town the day they arrived) drowned trying to cross. Now no one else is willing to try.

-Only a priest of Morr can bless the bodies strewn all over the Garden, and Grabbe is too sick. They will send for a priest from another town once the storms are over.

.
The weather eventually got worse than ever, grey skies, a morale-sapping drizzle of cold rain, and violent storms ravaged the heavens. A raging gale swept through the town, damaging property. Tiles were smashed from roofs, chimneys toppled, and windows were broken. Worse, the storm wrecked the granaries, and the harvest stored there was ruined. The price of bread shot up overnight, and people started muttering worriedly about starvation and famine.

The party heard the mutterings through the Inn and Tavern. Then they were summoned by Captain Kessler to meet burgomeister Adler again.

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