Salutations Master Silverforge,
In the past two weeks I have spent most of my time recuperating from my injuries. Gottri and Haleon spent their time healing from their injuries as did I. Wertha enrolled in the Jade School of Magic and received her Imperial License. Ravindale seemed to up and vanish. Haleon speculated that Ravindale considered life around non elves to be too chaotic and deadly, even for one who had lived as a Kithband Warrior. Rudi visited us in the hospital, but was always gone at odd hours and often came back slightly battered. He never would give us an upfront answer on what he had been up to besides the cryptic “doing what needs been doin’”, we suspected he wasn’t spending his time with the homeless and orphans doing charitable acts but more likely things of a more nefarious nature or at least nefarious in training. Ursula had spent her time assisting at the temple.
From my last letter we were mostly battered by the end of the fight or almost dead. Fortunately when all the heavy work was done witchhunters came in spouting doing blah blah blah in the name of the emperor and even my level of intelligence told them to piss off since we had just destroyed an artifact of Chaos, killed several beastmen, mercenaries working against the empire, and a half dozen cultists of Khorne. I also mentioned a necromancer by the name of Oldenhaller had raised a witchhunter by the name of Elouse Vanderburg, yes that vanderburg, who almost killed us and asked them to make sure his body and armor were taken care of proper rights and burial. Rudi negoliated the witch hunters not burning everything besides the dead witch hunter, the profits from the bounties and gear were enough to cover our bill for healing our injuries. Once we were all back to full health and slightly a little more insane from the whole realization of the fight the Temple wanted to discuss the accompanying Priestess with us and the dangers we had put her through, Ursala. The short version of the discussion was we needed to cough up 200 gold for the temple to allow Ursala to be in our ‘care’ if they could call it that. Supposedly we have a tendency to put her life in great peril.
After some shopping we did what adventures do when they need to think out their next move. We went to a bar. With rumors of Tobias and Karl having left town possibly in the past month we had been around doing other things we’d have to catch up. Oldenhaller was now a fugitive with charges of being a traitor to the Empire, conducting dark magic, raising a witch hunter from the dead and other crimes. The fact that we were able to provide proof of our story with the body of the witch hunter gave our story credibility. With that the only thing left in town was to figure out who The Vengeance was. We knew Tobias was looking for him. We asked around about the vigilante, and the man we thought might be the secret identity from the probably now dead but definitely tortured bookstore owner. We found out eventually the man we were looking for also went by the name of Brother Axel a Lay Monk of Sigmar. We found out from a penny charm vendor the way he frequented to the temple often buying tin charms of Sigmar by the handful to give out to the children along the way.
We found out where Brother Axel: a slum building that was what you would expect, dirty, loud, in disrepair, and old. We made our way to the top floor and noticed a bloody footprint going down the stairs. There was more blood on the landing and we all readied weapons as Haleon snuck forward and up to the door and pushed it open with the tip of her spear. Inside, items were scattered and smashed and clothes were strewn about. Brother Axel lay in the middle of the room in a pool of his own blood, badly beaten and naked. But what got my attention were the gills down his side from his armpits to hi waist. Pointing to his gills I was about to make a comment when he groaned letting us know he was still alive. Trying to get a dying man to talk that has a history of mental conditions and a lifetime of regrets is quite easy, getting something useful out of him, on the other hand, is a bit harder. Supposedly he had told Tobias and his men where to go to find the “Necklace of Unfailing Loyalty” that they had been searching for. He soon died. Seeing his outfit as the vengeance and some journals I collected the lot and we noticed one was missing.
Going back to Lord Fredrick’s, Wertha gleaned from the journals that Axel had been a man spurned by a lover. He had gone to Altdorf to find a sorcerous way to make her love him. When that venue turned fruitless he turned to alternative methods in the dark arts of magic. This lead him to Marienburg and a man named Ruprecht and promises of getting what Axel desired. A necklace was acquired that seemed to do exactly what Axel desired and he stole it from Ruprecht. Axel had tried the ceremony with the necklace in his hometown having kidnapped his would be lover and performed the ritual against her will. He ended up killing her and that’s supposedly how he got his mutation. We needed to retrace his steps, but the only clue we had was a scrawled note: “Helmut’s First Blood.” Count Fredrick thought it was in reference to an author of some status who wrote a book called “Blood on the Reik.” We rushed back to the temple, figuring that the library would be a good place to hide such a book, but it was closed.
The next morning we met with Brother Wilhelm, who was hungover. Brother Wilhelm’s hangover quickly escalated into a call for the Templars to arrest us for heresy. Ursala defused the powder keg and the Templars left. We searched the library and with a monk’s help located a first edition of the book Blood on the Reik, which was a rare book and kept in an area few people even within the church could see. We figured this was a good place to start. When we opened the book a small journal marked ten fell out. It was the missing journal. Rudi jumped up and snatched it from the Monk’s hand thanking him before he began to scan through the book. The story was simple. Axel had tried to attempt the ritual in his hometown of Ruhrhoff, the ritual had turned him into the creature he was and killed his one and only love in life. His work as the Vengeance of Sigmar was his personal penance for his sins. With this information and the journal we made our way to Count Fredrick’s after thanking the monk for his help and his brilliance, which he seemed to appreciate.
Count Fredrick was shocked at the implications of this new information. An immediate audience with the Emperor himself was needed! I regret that I did not burn the book as Axel had suggested. Outside on our way with Fredrick to his coach black pigeons came down and snatched the book out of his hand! I killed one of the birds with my crossbow just as. Figures in black rush up to block the recovery of the book. Haleon and Rudi were the first to address one of the attackers with pistol and bow in hand they each said hello in their own way. Wertha cast a spell I hadn’t seen before. Ursula spoke a prayer of mercy for these trangressors who were to find judgement this night. Gottri laughed as he buried his ax in the chest of the thug in front of him, but grumbled as the man slid to the ground undramatically——he preferred it when his enemies were decapitated or hacked in half. As more figures jumped in I saw Fredrick turn white beside me and start to shake. I shot another of the ambushers clearing a path to the coach, but the book was nowhere to be seen! “Vampire behind us, Gottri. Fredrick to the coach.” I shouted and waited for him to run past before I followed him. Haleon injured the last ambusher while Rudi reloaded. Wertha mentioned something of drought and the heat of summer as it looked like a wave of fire wash out from around her filling the courtyard.
I backed away a bit shocked but it felt just slightly warm. A harpy-like screech escaped the vampire’s lips. She was a striking pale beauty dressed in dark blue and leather. Ursula prayed aloud touching Haleon before Gottri Hefted his ax turned and shotputted himself right into the vampire. The sheer surprise of the dwarf seemingly undaunted by the fact she was a vampire was matched by a look of blood crazy frenzy in Gottri’s eyes as his ax cleaved into her. The sudden change in heat and Gottri’s sudden attack knocked her off balance. The other attacker probably didn’t feel much as a crossbow bolt entered the back of his head and stopped halfway out the front. Haleon rushed Gottri’s vampire with spear and shield, pressing her against the wall. Rudi continued to reload guns quite calmly. I looked around and there were no more ambushers in black. Wertha muttered words again and the area was engulfed and bathed in warmth. The vampire shrieked out in annoyance as the subsiding heat suddenly renewed. Gottri launched himself at the vampire and for a change shot out some witty and slightly disturbing but cocky banter. “Ey Lass, did ye wake up t’night thinkin’ ye’ b’ slo’turd be a dwarf or ge’ ta taste the dwarven steel of…” he began before shoving her against the wall and slashing her midsection and spinning letting his ax come full circle before connecting with her neck. “Barrakul!” was the last thing she probably heard as her head left her body. Gottri whistled looking at the edge of his ax since even he didn’t think he’d cleave her head of. “It’s a really clean cut, this ax is sent from the gods!” he commented and we were all relieved. Only for a moment, though, as we heard a shriek overhead. I looked up fumbling for my quiver of bolts to see a lady in a high class dress(she did have nice legs for the evil undead, by the way). In one hand she held the journal in the other a sword. She looked mournfully at the female vampire before her look of malice bore into us.
“Well although I mourn the loss of my dear Sofia, if she were to be taken down by mere mortals maybe I gave her too much credit. Well played, I guess. And thank you for taking out the riff raff so I could get this much more easily.” She commented. “For killing our mutual enemies or at least slowing them down I reward you with this.” She tossed a bag of coin to the ground, I looked to Wertha when she caught me looking at her.
I motioned with my head at the book in her hand and looked at the ground. As she began to cast a spell I start to reach for the holy water in my pouch. Too slow. Before she could even say a word she was surprised at the sword against her neck and the vampire looking at her much like a noble would look at a peasant. Worthless. “Since I’m not sure what you were doing on my honor I don’t know if I should slay you outright. Do we have a deal? I spare your lives and you take the money for the services you have… reluctantly and unknowingly rendered me?” A bit of blood trickled down Wertha’s neck. I scanned the rest and cursed for not seeing it from my position sooner. Haleon was cowering in a corner. Rudi was trying to hide behind his rifle and Ursula and Gottri were cradling each other like a very oddly matched couple out in the cold of winter. I scowled, knowing we had no play and when Wertha looked at me I shook my head no. I didn’t have any idea on how to get the book back now. Rudi suddenly piped out, “Right, we’ll take the not getting killed and the money option. Just out of curiosity who are those mutual enemies again?” She rolled her eyes and left and I checked with Wertha to see if she was actually hurt. After a quiet apology we checked on the rest. Although we had just bested several attackers and a vampire showing we were in top form we came to the realization that we still weren’t at the top of the food chain and we still had enemies who would push us around like game pieces.
Fredrick was the last to come around and mentioned this definitely called for an immediate meeting with Emperor Karl-Franz and Grand Theogonist Volkmar. We explained that now we had even less time to waste now and needed to get north as quickly as possible. Regretfully he admitted the point was just. The time-consuming political red tape involved in getting a detachment of the Emperor’s men would defeat the purpose. Rudi had just picked up four pistols and had tucked them into his belt with the others and looked at them as he turned this way and that pulling them out and stashing them back. Haleon conked him with the butt of her spear saying they would be better to be sold for money since we probably had no money left on our boat. The rumor of Tobias taking Karl north with our boat and finding money which he used to finance a substantial armed guard left us with just the money in our purses which wasn’t much. We sold the four pistols and I stopped and counted our gains. It was then that I remembering something. Turning I looked at Ursala and dropped a handful of coins into her palms and smirked. “You did say we needed to make a tithing to our Sister of Mercy that always makes sure we don’t die once we got some money right? Besides I think you’ve probably earned it by now don’t you?” I commented before the rest of the group did the same, “Careful Ursula, at this rate you’ll end up an adventurer though.” I teased before we made our way to the boat that Count Fredrick had booked passage for us on.