Greetings Master Silverforge,
It has been some time since my last correspondence, for most of our fellowship has taken brief respite from our adventuring lives. Rudi decided to attend the Imperial Gunnery School. We have discovered that while Rudi may not very effective with a blade up front and personal, he’s proven quite effective with a crossbow. We’re hoping that his newfound skills with gunpowder weapons will be as effective. Wertha began a course of study to become an apprentice wizard. Haleon disappeared from Nuln for the winter months and showed up back in town few days ago, wearing rural clothing common to Elven rangers. Gottri and I followed up leads on Karl Warburg, our fugitive with the 100 crown bounty on his head. The new year had come and gone and snow fell heavily upon Nuln.
One night, we overheard two watchmen talking of the Empire’s Inn and rumors that its owner, Bruno Hoffman, was actually still alive and had faked his death to escape creditors. They seemed to believe that he Bruno could be found at the Reaver’s Return. We also learned that his wife Ursula was in the temple of Shallya in Nuln. We all made a mental note to visit both places the following day. These were the first leads we had in a month regarding the strange events that I narrated in my last letter.But there was an interesting incident that night you should hear about. Gottri was at his corner table, brooding over a large flagon of Dwarven ale when a sailor bumped into him. Gottri was grumpier than usual that night, probably because there had been few leads in the Warburg case. Anyway, Gottri demanded restitution for the beer, to which the sailor answered that he should get “resta0-what-you-said” for having to “look upon the ugly face of a dwarf.” Rudi jumped up and proposed a high-stakes drinking contest: Gottri versus two of the sailors. Gottri was enthusiastic and tossed up 10 karls on the table, while he went to grab a fresh beer to “warm up for the contest.” Rudi and Wertha laid down side bets, with Wertha betting against Gottri:
“Just in case you lose… you have been drinking all day.”
Two massive Norskers stepped up to the table and dropped onto chairs opposite the dwarf, eyeing him menacingly. The empty flagons on the table bounced from the sheer mass of the two men as they had sat down. Fresh flagons were brought and the halfing roared a challenge: “Drink! Toast to these two men’s ma’s for having to lookin a em afta havin em, it’s not their fault they look like that… unless they dropped em on their face…” It seemed that the two larger men were just not accustomed to “the finer quality” ale or perhaps they were taken aback by the Halfling, who was standing on the table eating a sausage while the contestants drank. Gottri proved seven rounds later why you don’t bet against a dwarf in a drinking contest: the two Norskers were on the floor, out for the night.
“He spiked it! He drugged the beer!” one of the sailors yelled. The scene not was a bit larger now.
“He didn’t spike the dwarven ale… it’s dwaven ale! Made by dwarves!” the Halfing started to explain but counting their gold and biting the occasional “funny lookin’” coin for authenticity didn’t help. As they grumbled Rudi shot them a look.
“Stop being whiney loozas! You know what, since I’ma nice bloke I’ll buy they next round after you buy one. Unless… ’ou wanna go dubblez?” The Halfling exclaimed his retort ending in a question lips pursed thinking of the money he might make. The sailors huddled, whispering, and then produced a small common chest.
“Yeah well we got the money… But none of that weird spiked ale stuff… Spirits are what they’ll be drinking and since they can’t drink these three guys will be drinking it against that cheatin’ dwarf! He puts up too” he shot back.Rudi said, “Well since we played fair and you wanted to cheat and lost… I don’t thinking why I’d want to give us a bigger handicap… not for 100 gold… maaaybe for twooooooo hundred gold?” I buried my face in my hands knowing how this would probably play out. Over 500 gold is always a reason to kill a man or two… or a Halfling and a dwarf. It was a lot of gold to be sure.
The leader pushed back the others that cautioned him on submitting to his pride: “We’re doin it. We’re in!”
“If ya win ya mean…. Everyone know’s you can’t be lucky all the time… but I’m pretty sure I’m betta at being lucky they youz.” Rudi whispered to me “I don’t have that much,” which of course I already knew. What I didn’t expect is for Gottri to lose! An entire day’s drinking will catch up to even the sturdiest of dwarves. We all watched as Gottri suddenly hiccupped, belched then slumped over, beginning to snore loudly from under the table. The Sailors erupted in a shout of “victory”!
“Pay up half pint!” the leader roared rubbing his hands together.
“Hold on, hold on. Let me get what you’ve got coming…” The halfling said going and searching through his sacks. As he snapped around I saw the tell-tale sack of doorknobs in his hand. With a gleeful smirk he swung but missed, the two men looked at each other and then looked back at Rudi, who was bolting for the front door.
“Just have to pop out for your money, won’t take long!”
He explained reassuringly as he was in a full sprint now. Three of the sailors scowled and gave chase. The other three moved towards Haleon in unison, “Where’s our money!” the demanded. A bar fight soon erupted. Wertha got up and dragged Gottri from under the table and into the back of the inn’s kitchen. The three sailors were upon Haleon now and as she slammed the flat of her blade onto the top of one of their heads I realized it was only a matter of time before the scuffle turned deadly. Bracing myself I flipped the table over, toppling coins into the air and all things clattering to the ground and bouncing about.
“FREE MONEY!” I yelled out as the bar fight paused for a second, with everyone in arm’s reach descending on the gold coins scattered about. The sailors disengaged from Haleon and began to beat back the crowd from their money, while people filled their pockets with coins. We all met up outside and told Rudi he was paying for a room for the night. Before he could protest further I reminded him it was cheaper than paying for broken legs if the sailors caught him. And anyways, all told, Rudi was up 50 gold crowns from the first bet.
The following day we went to the Temple of Shallya to get our wounds mended and to talk to Bruno’s wife Ursula, who had a vacant look to her and who seemed to believe that she had seen her missing husband Bruno several times from her hospital window. She said that knew in her heart that he was looking for her and would find her. We thought this was odd and decided to post a guard outside the temple later that night. In the meantime we went to the Reaver’s Return on the trail of Bruno and were surprised to see a crowd.. It seemed there was a murder of several people one of them being a guy named “Marcus.” We tried to figure out how to get into the inn when we noticed the dwarf already talking to the guards at the door.
“I said let me in Manling!” Gottri said, his eyes narrowing. Now, it wasn’t entirely out of the question for Gottri to lose his temper and start pummeling the man. Rudi must have thought the same since he went between the two and was about to say something. We were surprised when Gottri, changing his tack, said that he was an Imperial Jailor with a warrant to arrest one Karl Warburg, who may have committed this very crime. The guards looked at each other and one of them, massaging his neck, stammered “Uh… yeah then… Ummm… Go in?”
We saw a man speaking and waving his hands around to the two guards behind him. He had on a flopping hat and a breast plate under his cloak I could see as he turned and looked at us. His belt presented two pistols and an ornate sword as well. The twin tailed comet etched into his breast plate told who he was before he spoke.
“Who are you people? This is a crime scene, we are investigating the work of a Chaos cult. Now, tell me how you’re all involved in this.” The man spoke with self-confident authority.
“I am Ulrik Becker Witch Hunter of the Order of Sigmar, Eradicator of the Blasphemous and Destroyer of Choas and Heresy. Now, give me your names or do I need to imprison you for obstruction and possible heresey against Sigmar?” We introduced ourselves and said that we were on the trail of Karl Warburg and that this method of killing was similar to something we had seen before. We examined the scene and saw among the dead the two drunks we had questioned the night of the crate incident. The corpses seem to have been dragged down from their rooms, armed and armored and then killed outright or tortured to death. Becker told us not to leave town and to inform him of any developments and with that left the inn to question the crowd. We also left and spoke with a butcher across the street. He told us that he had seen several men skulking about outside the Reaver’s Return, possibly Kislevites, accompanied by two cloaked men who kept their faces hidden and well out of the early morning sun. The man also told us that his poor friend Marcus had been talking about the ‘Fairy Lady’ for the past three days. We concluded that the men were the Sylvanians from the ship Andronikus. We would need to pay them a visit soon…
Later that night we stood watch outside the temple of Shallya. Rudi decided to hide in plain sight as a bone picker, the rest of us hid in an alley. In the early morning hours, we saw two cloaked figures on a nearby roof toss a padded grappling hook onto the roof of the Shallyan temple. They began to move across the rope that they had secured between the two roofs. As two bodies went across on the rope Rudi quickly took out his crossbow, braced it on his cart and took very careful aim, loosing a bolt that sliced through the rope! The men tumbled to the ground. We raced across the courtyard towards the cloaked figures, who righted themselves and began to run. As we raced towards them, the two Templars who had been on foot patrol noticed us and yelled for us to stop. We struck both hooded figures with arrows, but one escaped while the other became entangled in my net. The Templars lifted the man’s hood and we saw that it was an Elf! His features were somewhat similar to Haleon, but his raven black hair and hardened features immediately conveyed a cruelty and disregard for life. As the guards began dragging him to the temple, the Elf began to convulse and died. He had taken his own life with a dose of poison concealed in a ring. The Templars inspected the rest of his things, and found four oddly shaped throwing knives and several vials of a dark substance, which lead me to believe this was an honest-to-Verena Dark Elf Assassin armed with poison. Were they there to kill Ursula or Jacques’ man Francois, or both? We suggested that the Templars place guards in case of another attack and then retired for the evening.
The next day we were puzzling over the events thus far and were at a bit of a loss as to what to do next when Gottri jumped out of his chair.
“Kaaarl!” he growled lowly his hand already on his great ax and moving to the door. We recognized the figure of Karl Warburg and left the inn to pursue him. Haleon and I moved through the crowd clinging to the shadows. It wasn’t long before Karl, probably paranoid since he escaped, caught sight of us and took off in a full sprint.
“He’s on to us!” I yelled and gave chase, no point in subtlety now. Wertha yelled “thief!” and pointed at Karl who looked back. Rudi let a crossbow bolt fly, which struck Karl in his shoulder.
“Well NOW we can follo ‘em with the blood trail.” Rudi explained triumphantly.
We gave chase and followed him as he ducked into a sewer pipe. Darkness. I listened and finally heard the sound of someone running. We gave chase again through the dark. Eventually we came into a larger cathedral-like space…an excellent example of the dwarven construction in the Nuln undercity. Luckily light poured in from an opening above and we noticed a small blood trail leading to the leftward tunnel. Haleon bolted in pursuit just as I was holding up my hand indicating that I had heard someone —or something— behind us. Looking back from afar I thought it a troop of rat catchers until I saw their green skin and black clothing. Night Goblins! Gottri was torn between charging the goblins and following Karl down the leftward tunnel.
I said to Gottri: “Haleon is fleet of foot enough to catch an injured man…We really should deal with them before they fall upon us.” He nodded and charged in to the group of twelve Night Goblins…green-skinned ancestral enemies of the dwarves. Rudi shot one of the goblins dead with his crossbow and I did the same to another before they began to charge. There was the general confusion, yelping sounds from the goblins as they fell by crossbow bolt, axe and sword. We were impressed to see Wertha fell one of the greenskins with some sort of blue-ish arrow that she fired from her outstretched hands. I felt the sting of one of a goblin spears moments after I had killed another myself. Wertha dodged blows and then touched one of the goblins with a hand glowing with purplish light, dropping it into the sewer tunnel. I took advantage of this and skewered one of the goblins in front of me. Gottri had sent two goblins flying through the tunnels dead with his axe while Rudi brought one down with his shortsword. They were all dead in under a minute, with only slight wounds for us.
We stood there catching our breath and then decapitated the goblins and placed their heads in a bag, hoping to turn them in for a reward later. Haleon had struck Karl with another arrow and then bound the unconscious fugitive before she had returned to help us with the goblins. Gottri muttered something about having felled several goblins in the time it took for an Elf to catch one manling, but he was happy to have finally caught up to the murderous fugitive Karl. We made our way up the tunnel and were not very pleased to see that there was an empty spot in the tunnel where Karl should be. We saw a brighter light in the tunnel to the right of us and caught our breath. We had to know what was ahead but I knew not if I was prepared. I still felt the sting of the goblin spear. After administering field medicine to the wounds, we pressed on into the tunnel….