The Abyss Stares Back

Missing Only the Vinegar
What is that wonderful smell?

On the way back to the town, Mads explains to us what we need to do to create this potion that will treat our conditions. It is long and involved, needing clean water and maybe werewolf urine. WTF.

We go to the inn to borrow a still to allow us to distill some water as Mads goes into the woods. Evan is willing to lend us his for a while, and is very interested in the possibilities of whatever science we’re doing.

Mads, as he wanders the woods, hears voices nearby, and upon further investigation discovers the Knights from before (~6) with an elf tied to a pole in a clearing. They are happy, he is not, and his desire for freedom is obvious.

Mads, a hero to the end, decides to try to free the elf. And he succeeds! Mads manages to distract the guards, slice the bindings and both of them flee into the woods.

The elf says that the cathars killed most of the rest of his village and kidnapped him, asking him questions about his heritage. Mads believes him because he is a racist, although it is likely that this is the village practicing black magic that we were told about.

All of us slather the mud compound on our bodies (except for Ulrich), getting a full heal in the process. Ulrich and Sebastian the go to the magic shop to show off the wand. The proprietor doesn’t know anything specific about it, but is willing to take the wand for a time to research it. Maybe later…

Finally, the time for our medals arrives! But Sebastian needs to get his hair cut first? During his shave, the barber talks about how there is an army outside the city, associated with the emissary. It would seem that he is familiar with Sebastian and his rabble rousing (he is from the Order). He wants Sebastian to capture the emissary to scare the soldiers off.

I don’t think it is a good idea, and we have a long discussion about the wisdom of the enterprise. It seems like maybe the situation isn’t real – we’re not really sure there is an army outside of the city at all, and this group might just be using Sebastian as a patsy.

We get our medals and give a speech, then sit while the emissary gives his speech. In exchange for bringing in water, he proposes a 15% tax on the mines, or to take the town’s silver. It doesn’t go well, and soon everyone is screaming at him. They leave in disgrace.

We follow, some to enact this plan, some to keep an eye on Sebastian, and some because they’re curious as to what is going to happen.

About 5 miles from the town, the soldiers are stopped on the road, and the emissary is in the woods. Mads spies on him, and sees that he had been knocked out by one of the guards, who is stealing his clothes. Sebastian meets him in the woods, and they exchange knowing winks, and then clothing. We originally try to find the emissary himself, but give up after discovering that he was dragged to the farmlands outside of the city, then maybe put on a cart that we couldn’t catch. Surely that’s not a bad thing.

The session ends with us following a now-disguised Sebastian and the foreign soldiers through the woods as they return to their camp (and hopefully not commit murder immediately thereafter).

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Enemy Mine

Change of plans – we will go to the mine first, and then return for the town hall /award ceremony. But first, I go to the mayors house and get a recommendation from one of his men. We can take this to the mine and hopefully convince them that we are not there to steal their silver.

On the way out, I notice that the mayor is agitated, pacing back and forth in his study (visible through a large window) and apparently talking to someone. Mads climbs up the building to take a look inside, and sees the mayor talking to two elves inside (one brown haired woman and one blonde man). We don’t know them, and their talking isn’t a crime. Although it almost certainly is.

The trip to the mine is uneventful, and we are greeted there by a Dwarven guard. Although he doesn’t turn us away, he also isn’t too keen on letting us take soil for nothing. He will escort us down to get dirt, but he will charge us for it. He also gives us a lot of crap about needing to bring in the foreman to appraise the dirt, obviously trying to extort money from us, although he offers to GRACIOUSLY allow us to buy the dirt for the cost of an equivalent weight of silver.

Some distance down the tunnel, I start to get a headache, feeling a pulsing suffusing the area. It grows to a peak at one section of the passage, and I see warm, red runes glowing on the wall – blood and terminate. No one else can hear or see anything, but Sebastian can feel it when he gets close. Even better, he disarms the trap on it that neither of us knew was there.

It turns out that the wall wants blood, and in a moment of weakness (mostly mine, but somewhat Mads) we convince our dwarf ally to cut himself and touch the wall. Mads is too good at this… The wall grabs a hold of him and drains him dry, then eats his hand. Which is bad. But the wall opens up to reveal a new passage! And Urban shows new signs of demonic taint. Heh.

We follow the passage, picking up silver dirt along the way and carrying the dwarf husk with us. The passage opens up a new chamber, but it contains spiders. Big ones, too. Fight!

They totally wreck us, and we barely make it through. Further down the hall, we come to a chamber, possibly a tomb or memorial, depicting a 9 fingered king in a relief in the wall. There is also a magical wand on a bier that looks like the missing finger of the statue. Maybe the wand would fit in the missing statue slot… Sebastian sees a vision of Ulrich holding the wand up surrounded by a blue glow. Everything here seems to be ancient, and we cannot identify it.

Ulrich takes the wand and it raises itself above his head and emits a blue glow and thunder (which hurts Mads). And then we leave, the secret door closing behind us (and spitting out the dwarfs severed hand). We take a few of the spider demon bodies with us, stuff the desiccated hand inside one of them, and exit the mine.

Finally, we decide to leave everything behind and return to town and never speak of this again. Yikes. There is guilt, letters from dead fathers to sons (Ruhan to Cecil), and serious issues all around.

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Wolf it Down

The wolf, standing by the gate, lunges into the militia and begins to slaughter then. Emil tells us that he has materials that might help us, but that they are on his horse. Which is at the gate. Sad face.

We decide to take to the walls and go around the wolf, so Mads scales the wall. He attempts to help the rest of us up, but his rope breaks, and we decide to have him run ahead while we run interference. Ulrich starts the game off with an acid arrow, drawing the creatures attention and covering it with schnitzel. Yes, I said schnitzel. We fight!

And we win, with colorful rainbows of light! Mads tears out some of the spikes from the wolf after we killed it while I examine the body, find and remove a silver tipped arrow. The removal causes the body to revert back to human form, one that possesses a primitive style circular tattoo of strange design. I cut into the design and notice that the ink glows green in the moonlight, and may be the cause of his condition, rather than a wolf bite. I sketch the tattoo and gather a sample of glowing tattoo skin for later.

Mads goes outside of the town to look for tracks, and believes that this guy came in from the northeast. It is unknown what the source might be. Mads, while he contemplates this, loses track of time and zones out. When he regains his senses, he finds himself in the dark, and accosted by cloaked figures wielding crossbows. They want to know why he is out, and state that they are tracking dangerous creatures.

Sebastian and I go outside of the walls and call for Mads. He hears our voices, and the men holding him are skeptical of his intentions, but he convinces them to come with him to the town.

They, identified as cathars, come to the town to speak with us, and we share some knowledge. The arrow in the wolf was one of theirs, and they are as surprised as us at the attack. They tell us that they don’t know the origin of the werewolves, or what their intentions are. Also, they are keeping their eyes on some of the outer villages who might be practicing some dark magics. Sebastian is very interested in going with them to their camp, but Mads is nervous to do so, so we ultimately decide not to.

Ulrich heads to the inn to eat, and ends up speaking with the owner of the local magic shop. He is interested in magical items of all kinds, and mentions a barrow nearby that might have wights. Maybe we could go and side quest it. The man is from Nephalia, the land of the mad professor, and we have a short conversation about the undead and assume that he might have something to do with an impending zombie uprising.

Sebastian saves one of the mayor’s men from tripping over a barstool and gets an appointment to see him. I manage to open the mysterious book in my possession and find out that it improves my physical skill. Mads talks to the of dagger and unlocks its ability (injure wounded creatures further).

We go to see the mayor, with the intention of having Sebastian negotiate having the water merchant speak to the mayor. From the contents of his parlor, we can see that he has had military service, collects boring books, and enjoys sausages.

The mayor thanks us for our service and offers whatever aid he can provide and a ceremony honoring us, but won’t discuss the water merchant. He distrusts the Lunarch and believes it world lead to too much influence over the town. But Sebastian convinces him eventually, although he says that the whole town will have to make the decision. With him giving a speech at the town podium…

So we wait for the ceremony, and then plan to travel to the mine to grab our werewolf prevention medicine, and return to watch the sleep revel. And perhaps defend the town during it…

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Full Moon Rising

A new day dawns in the land of Innistrad – in the city of Avabruck, to be specific, a town surrounded on three sides by the dangerous (most would say “werewolf-stalked”) forest of the Ulvenwald. To the west, breaking the monotony, lie the formidable Niebelheim mountains. The only link connecting Avabruck to the rest of the world is a dangerous road called the Breakneck Ride, so named because of the speed required to travel its length over the course of a single day. Those caught on the road when night falls are oft never seen again. Mines dot the mountainsides, farms spread out along the eastern side of the town, and a massive graveyard occupies the area north of the city.

It is one day before the Sleep Revel of Marta Bruns, former wife of Erik Bruns, one of the wealthiest men in town. She has been dead for 21 years, and the city will celebrate her accomplishment of staying in the ground, failing to rise as undead. Erik’s current wife, an elven woman by the name of Anneliese, is the only one who isn’t happy about the celebration.

Four men rest in a tavern, prospective legends all. Sebastian Bellerophon, a human mage from Gavony, sips his ale, pondering the glimpses of the future that he so often sees. Ulrich Schadenfreude, another, beefier, human wizard, flexes his muscles and drowns memories of his time in the magic academy of Thraben in drink. Mads, elven thief and local madman, pages through the wallet of one of the farmers that the stars told him to steal from. And Urban Richter von Istendahl, demon-touched inquisitive, mutters abyssal words of power under his breath, hoping to learn something new. And to not accidentally destroy the inn with them.

They have a short conversation with some local farmers, highlighted by Mads taking advantage of their naivety with tall tales of underground potato-sucking demons and apple-picking undead. Prior to this, their concerns had been more about the drought that holds the region in its dry, dusty grip, but now… Now they have more absurd problems to worry about.

The conversation is interrupted by the entrance of a large, tattooed man, wearing a mail coat bearing the sign of Avacyn. He accosts the bartender, Evan, youngest son of Erik and Anneliese, shouting something about a contraption that the inn is using to make ice. From his words (and some prodding by Ulrich), it would seem that the device is powered by the souls of dead criminals. But ice IS very important around here, so perhaps it is a reasonable tradeoff. The farmers tell the group that this is Edgar, oldest son of Erik and Marta.

After a series of brief conversations, they discover that Edgar is angry about just about everything – his stepmother, the drought, his brother’s inn, the other cathar, the upcoming sleep revel – everything. His specific duties evidently include watching over the Graf – the graveyard north of the city. He mentions to them that the First Cathar’s men have gone north for some reason, but he won’t (or can’t) provide any information as to why.

As they wander the inn, Mads accidentally collides with a barmaid and causes her to drop the drinks she was carrying. When he reaches for money to pay for this, his hand instead grabs a jeweled dagger in his pocket. Although he is bedecked in blades, this particular one does not look familiar to him. He notes that it is inscribed with patterns reminiscent of flies.

One of the other travelers in the inn grabs our attention, a well-dressed man in unusual clothing who has ordered food but doesn’t seem to be interested in eating. Mads approaches him and engages him in conversation. The man, who introduces himself as Albert, has traveled to Avabruck to speak with the mayor, but he doesn’t wish to discuss the reasons. Mads, recognizing his Gavonian accent, invites Sebastian to speak with him instead, since he is a fellow countryman. And he hopes that Sebastian will bring him a list of valuables that the man has that are worth stealing…

Sebastian has more luck that Mads, and he and Albert commiserate over the poor quality wine in Avabruck. Albert finally reveals that he is in the city to negotiate a water deal between Gavony and Avabruck. Sebastian also sees a vision of the man, standing at a podium, surrounded by a shouting crowd.

Urban examines the dagger, and during the process one of the gems tears free from the hilt, grows wings, and flies around the room. While the group is surprised at this, it is even more unexpected when one of the other patrons of the tavern rises from his seat and quickly exits. It seems to be a sign of guilt, or possibly knowledge, and Mads takes it as such and follows him, pursuing him to the northern border of the city before turning back.

The rest of the group leaves the tavern to meet back up with Mads, but are interrupted by the sound of alarm bells ringing at the east gate. They run to the gate to see what the commotion is, and arrive just in time to see a man ride in through the gate, frantically calling for it to be closed. The militia, also running for the gate, manage to do so just a moment too late, and a group of wolves breaks into the town and tears into the men.

The fight does not go well, and the adventurers eventually are dropped to the dirt, leaving the militia to finish off the wolves. They awake back at the inn, looked over by Emil, the middle Bruns brother and a cathar himself. Edgar arrived at the gate just in time to pull them away, and has now completely lost respect for the group. Emil, on the other hand, is grateful for their help and quite a bit friendlier than his brother. Mads is immediately convinced that they need to obtain silver-laced mud before the next full moon to concoct an antidote to the lycanthropy that they’ve certainly caught.

The party is broken up by more wolf cries from outside, as well as the screams of the townsfolk. The group, along with Emil, work to get people off of the street, but are eventually confronted by an enormous wolf-man who leaps up on top of the wall and howls, silhouetted by a flash of lightning in the distance. He does NOT look friendly.

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