We spend some time at the Heimat. Milosh makes plans to send some of his soldiers off to the ravager campsites that the road wardens found to see if the orienteering code described by the tribe in the mountains applies to the ravagers as well.
While Johanna and I go off to engage in whatever, Milosh and Mads discuss what to do. They decide that, since Heinrich is a drunk, we should take some wine with us when we go look for him in Zeidenburg. Plan A at the moment is to try to turn him, plan B is to kidnap him and being him back to the Heimat for questioning and/or brain sucking, plan C is unknown and plan D is to kill him. Or maybe profit. Mads takes his minions (now there are 3, although one has a knife injury in his foot and the other has adoorophobia) in a quest into the basement to retrieve said wine and comes away with two bottles of red wine and one of white (in case Heinrich is a lady). Along the way, Mads wants to take Sebastian out of the Heimat and never bring him back.
Johanna and I talk about my supposed betrayal. She is upset that I read the demon book out from under her and didn’t even say goodbye when I left, but I counter by telling her that it was the book’s choice as to who got the power, and that immediately after the experience I had little control over what I did to other people (and it was usually terrible and violent). She seems to be somewhat comforted by that at least.
Mads breaks into Johanna’s room to make sure that he can and to check her defenses but doesn’t get into the heavy burglary yet. On the way out he finds a blue book with a calligraphic B on it lying on a table and takes it, but doesn’t read it yet.
The next day we plan to leave for Zeidenburg before dawn, but Sebastian doesn’t show up at the appointed hour. When Mads goes to look for him, he is lying unresponsive in his coffin. Mads assumes that Johanna did something to him, but we don’t come to an easy resolution and decide to deal with this later.
We get transported to the area near Zeidenburg and head north to the city. Along the way, we are accosted by a gang of men wearing red arm bandannas with skulls on them. They demand everything that we have, then just ask for our money, and then Milosh educates them in macroeconomic theory. They fail the course, so we’re forced to kill them.
We move on to the town, and find it in even worse shape than it was when we left it – buildings falling down, filth in the streets, the whole nine yards. We go to Schneideldorf’s house first to see what condition it’s in and find it filled with squatters and very little else. We ask a sickly mother there about the town in general, and she says that she doesn’t know anything about a dragon statue, that the mayor lives under the thumb of the bleeding skulls in a house down the street, and that the west side of town is the industrial zone. I tell her to wait here and that someone will come back for her.
Mads hands me the book from earlier and I check it out, finding it to be a journal of Sebastian’s, and I go to the last entry. It details Sebastian’s doubts about his remaining humanity, as well as a description of a hunting/murder chase that he had involving a terrified girl whom he killed for fun but didn’t even eat. We all read the entry, and if depresses Mads enough that he has to leave the house and go out into the street to murder his sadness away.
We go to the mayor’s house and punch our way through the gang members we find there, then question the mayor. It turns out that the two gangs vying for control of the town were pretty even until the last time we were here, and that we weakened the crypt vipers enough that the skulls could take over. The breakdown of duties is that the Skulls (run by a man named Lug) operate out of the Ill Repute (Schneideldorf’s favorite drinking/whoring establishment) and run the drug/prostitution/extortion part of the town. The other guys, run by Ernesto, handle murder, weapons and the hard stuff.
We momentarily forget that we’re actually in the city to retrieve Heinrich, and start to come up with a plan to either just murderdeath the gang leaders, or alternatively use their loved ones (Lug’s mistress Destiny or his awful children, Ernesto’s Iforgotwho) to anger the leaders into resuming their all-out gang war.
But we really should get Heinrich first.