Privateer's Rest
Ubersreik Riverfront

'Spring in Their Step'

An unusually harsh winter has lingered, and snow still falls lightly as the travellers from Ubersriek freely return down the road that cost them so much.
A spring feast is held in their honour at Dalnab Mine and they accompany travelling stonemasons to Zak Urbaz, where the dwarves are in the process of reinforcing the foundations. They won’t be taken by surprise if the ratmen return.
Visiting the Margrave, they find dwarves sharing their table, emissaries of the human-dwarf alliance brokered at the Battle of Frugelhorn River. A few nights are spent at the keep, the urgency of their first visit entirely absent as the last remnants of winter lessen their grasp. A stop in Tequelles shows the golden eagle of Asschaffenberg flying alongside the red and white of the Reikland and masons and soldiers traded by Tobias help repair the town. The new Captain, one of Tobias’ lesser cousins, welcomes the group. It has been quiet in the cursed town, the foul undead retreating with the snows.
Moving on, the group deliver Specht’s hammer to the White Wolf Chapter House, holding a solemn ritual as it is added to a reliquary with a dozen other weapons of fallen knights. Avoiding Tallerhof entirely, they overnight at Schluesselschloss and reach Ubersriek as the first buds of springtime bloom.

'Hans Free'

Though each born in far-flung corners of Riekland, for one weather-beaten company, the first sight of Ubersriek was as familiar and consoling as homecoming. Their toil was at an end, and after months cooped up together in an icy dwarf-hold, they gratefully went their separate ways. For weeks, they slipped comfortably back into their old lives, roaming the city and taking full advantage of spring's late arrival. Then one pleasant afternoon - drinking together at in a beirgarten overlooking the Tuefel - talk turned gradually to the prospect of fresh adventure.

Elric Heinig was the proprietor of a new riverside inn, financed by a long career privateering. Due to disfavour with various guilds, the authorities were unwilling to assist him. Instead, he was searching for unaffiliated bounty hunters, or anyone able to further the search for his missing son. In the private bar room of the Privateer's Rest, Heinig recounted his son Hans' decline from upstanding soldier, to invalid, prisoner and madman. Some time after the recent siege, he had fallen gravely ill, abandoned his treatment and vanished from the custody of the City Watch. It was enough to pique the interest of the adventurers. At the great Temple of Shallaya, a young priestess named Erika admitted that Hans' sickness had baffled their practitioners. Concerned for her patient, she accompanies the party for further investigation. At the Watch House, the Captain reveals that Hans had been caught trying to enter the sewers, contrary to the extraordinary bureaucratic entitlements of the Sewerjacks Guild. He had inexplicably mangled his own hand, slipping his shackles and mere hours of his remaining sentence. Throughout his imprisonment he had repeated frenziedly that; "I need to go back." This could only mean the sewers, and indeed the sewerjacks guarding the grate the night of Hans' escape, had been drawn off by a suspicious fire. Yet their Guildmaster refused to authorise a search, forcing them to enlist a local drunkard Volkhardt to lead them underground.

Trying not to breathe too deeply, the adventurers brave the depths. Though by now somewhat accustomed to following Malahan into reeking tunnels, the sewers of Ubersriek are particularly putrid. Drifting in the ooze, the find a decomposing Watchman, dodge a sewerjack patrol and reach the site of Hans' attempted break-in. Not far from here, Hans corpse is finally discovered. Bizarrely, while both his hands are intact, he has two severed legs. The 'new' hand is pallid-skinned and pustulent. Just as Erika notes the absence of several distinguishing scars, Malohan shouts in alarm. Slithering forth, a wingless, wyvern-like creature clamps it's jaws around the elf and tries to drag him into the sewage. Ambushed, the adventurers flail ineffectually at the beast until lent sudden strength by the urgent prayers of newcomer Erika. On the filth-slick stone, it's thrashing bulk knocks them continually from their feet and one by one, they are threatened by it's gnashing teeth. But William somehow wedges it's jaws open with his hammer, and recovering a spilled arrow, Malahan shoots it through the skull. Desperate to get out of the treacherous darkness, they follow Volkhardt as he expertly hoists the late Hans Heinig onto his shoulder.

Even accompanied by a priestess of Shallaya, they cannot carry a corpse around Ubersriek for long. They take refuge with Gerolf, Ludolph's onetime mentor. The old Alchemist unveils a haunting gallery of plague-victims preserved in formaldehyde, theorising that Hans's condition is related to the arcane 'Blood Rot' which Malahan and Ludolph had foiled near Drachenfels. Remembering her catechisms, Erika wonders if they have stumbled upon the work of the Fly Lord. Though this title means little to the others, they are filled with dread to hear it. When they make the sad revelation to Elric, he strangely doubts that the body is truly his son's. While the companions discuss what more there is to investigate, Malahan slyly examines Gerolf's other subjects. One other specimen exhibits just a single un-healed wound - just like the late Hans Heinig.

'Bad Medicine'

Though Hans' body had been recovered, the sequence of events leading to his death remained unknown. Tasked with solving the mystery, each companion calls upon their special skill to gather clues. Roving the countryside around the walls, Malahan confirms that Creeping Death goblins have been defeated by state troops north of the city, and that beastmen have begun their springtime spawning. Erika quickly depletes her goodwill with the Temple by researching in their forbidden archive. Shortly before her books are confiscated by a scandalised Sister Superior, she makes the faith-shaking discovery that followers of the 'Fly Lord' have a dark reflection of Shallya's own healing powers. William breaks bread with Dieter over his membership of the Templars. Comparing notes, they conclude that Hans would have been particularly susceptible to the lure of a cult. Finally - among other unnerving facts he claims to have learned from "the unkindnesses" - Ludolph discloses a location where corpses have been washing up downriver. Stopping briefly in Blackrock to petition Gold Master Guggenheimer for a new magical license, the companions make ready to journey into the wilderness.

Passing through an exotic mercenary camp, the trail leads eastward into the Teufel River overflow. Hugging the riverbank, the companions wade for hours through flooded groves and stagnant headwaters, until Malahan signals danger ahead. Through the fresh-blooming branches, a scene of gruesome butchery is visible. Human corpses are being mutilated by adolescent beastmen, but a handful have not yet been tampered with. Acting quickly, the wizard unleashes a lighting blast, while Malahan picks off those who survive. Barring the pack alpha's escape through the shallows, William drives the spike of his hammer through it's skull. The corpses prove to be from disbanded regiments, including the '22nd Fightin' Wyrms' whose heraldry resembles the monster from the sewers. All have significant injuries. The heroes return just as the first lanterns of Ubersreik are kindled in the twilight. After a long march, they have agreed that a conspiracy targeting maimed veterans is afoot.

Affronted that vulnerable patients could be vanishing unnoticed, Erika leads a search of the city's infirmaries. Crooked Hammer Gambling House emerges as the most likely spot to find former soldiers, and posing as a discharged Wyrm, William is promptly welcomed into a veterans drinking circle. With the recent civil strife, there is no shortage of wounded ex-soldiers in the informal support group, but William is quickly singled out by the organiser. This is Captain Isebrand of the Blackrock Garrison, a status he conceals from other participants who largely resisted Altdorf. William accepts his invitation to join the Garrison, planning to feign more serious injury once inducted. Meanwhile, Ludolph combs the sewers beneath Blackrock, confirming that bodies could be cast directly into the Magnusschleuse from within. Making covert contact, William and Ludolph agree to meet in the barracks in three nights' time. But unbeknownst to his friends, William has been unwittingly taken into the bowels of villainy. Though he struggles against his restraints, William's blood is forcibly polluted by the nefarious Isebrand.

'Bottled Treason'

The anxious wait for William turned into a heavy session of drinking and raking over clues. Malahan had shadowed patrols around the city. Ludolph had scoured Blackrock and the sewers. Dieter and Erika had combed Church records for anything to link the disparate clues. They knew Liel Isebrand was recruiting crippled men into the Blackrock Garrison. Downriver, dead veterans were washing ashore. Some had instead staged impossible recoveries. No suspicion could be substantiated, until a mercenary named Luther de Baptiste of the Border Princes revealed a crucial piece of the puzzle. Luther was brought in by Elric to provide extra muscle, but his knowledge of unit dispositions would prove the more crucial. He knew that Isebrand had been stacking the garrisons with his own cronies, all of whom had served in his command while fighting infectious mountain goblins. Suddenly, the heroes glimpsed the outline of a patient and slow-brewing treason.

William re-emerged the following day, comatose in the care of the Temple of Sigmar. The ‘Miracle of the Undrowned’ had attracted a small crowd of worshippers, and doubtless the attention of the Blackrock conspirators. Despite the danger, the companions were warned he might not survive being woken, as he was in the grip of a fever. His friends ventured instead to the Physicians Guild, hoping to steal Isebrand’s medical history. With bluster and flourish, Luther managed to meet Doktor Bayer, who admitted he had only administered palliative treatment for a fatal gut-wound. Instead, the tonic proved a ‘miracle cure’, though neither the store nor the formula were ever re-discovered. The companions suspected it was a last, deadly remnant of the Guild's historical corruption by Chaos.

Closing in on Isebrand, Ludolph flew to his towertop quarters where he overheared a strange evening prayer. His devotions to a ‘Great Father Bödvarr’ clinch the matter; a decades-old bounty notice identifies ‘Bödvarr Ribspreader’ as a Norscan warlord and self-proclaimed demigod. Reluctantly waking William, the companions are horrified by the change in him. He spews deception, trying to cover for the conspirators. The truth - only reached when Dieter interrogates him - is that all of Blackrock's officers are cabalists. The Sigmarite goes directly to Highfather Gunther, who immediately begins mustering the Faith Militant. By dawn, flagellants, mounted warrior-priests and a torch-wielding mob have amassed outside the bastille. The Church formally denounce the garrison commanders, and accusations are hurled back and forth through the portcullis. Crowds of squabbling gawkers are attracted, until a mounted man in a capotain fires his pistol through the bars. Screams break out and panic spreads through the city, as rifles go off in disarray. In the mayhem, cannons and mortars are fired into the mob, and the bastille is forcibly stormed by flagellants. Apparently leaderless, the bloodied garrison surrenders and are marched to the pyre. Great pillars of smoke rise from Ubersriek.

"The chief malefactor of the alleged Blackrock Conspiracy was never found, presumed by the Church to have been killed during the storming of the bastille and ensuing riots. I have my doubts. Due to the fires, Isebrand's journal and other records are not available, but an associate revealed under torture that he was already absent the preceding night. Among my usual reports, I note a fishwife's witness account of a mugging, hours before the looting started. That would be unremarkable, save that she reported that in the darkness, "a well-dressed figure" being forcibly "put to sleep with a word". She claims to then have shut her windows and looked no more, but further interrogation may be enlightening. I also visited the pit outside the walls where livestock remains are burned; city gangs often use the site for body disposal, little suspecting how my various investigations has been bolstered by this practice. Indeed, on this occasion I found a discrete pyre, dismantled and scattered, and at least one identifiably male adult shinbone. There being at least 30 dangerous practitioners of sorcery being sheltered by Guggenheimer, later, cautious inquiries may commence there. As yet, my request to hypothetically identify the school of spell observed by my informant have been ignored.",,

Notes recorded by Mattheus Hüpfen, presiding.

We bashed him, bagged him and took him to the cellar. Elric shot him and he healed right in front of us. That was good enough for me.

Ludolph updating Dieter on the events of Festag, 19 Sigmarzeit, 2512 I.C

'Changing Seasons'

The legal proceedings following the raid on the Black Rock Garrison would takes months to complete but in the weeks after the smoke cleared the city of Ubersreik would almost forget the blood spilt that day. Seemingly overnight the long dreary winter turned to a hot summer, the rain soaked earth now cracked and the fields waiting to be planted unable to be sowed. The Ubersreikers spoke of a curse laying over the city while the Altdorfers blamed local farmers for not producing on purpose. A crackdown by the City Watch attempted to seize smuggled food goods but after the incident in Black Rock this was seen by most as just more show of force by the increasingly frustrated Altdorf soldiers.
As the final cold days abated and the summer heat arrived it brought with it a bout of Bronze Fever and finally the standoff between the physicians guild and the barber surgeons union was ended out of necessity. Rationing of medical supplies soon joined the food rationing and the masses flocked to their perspective churches to pray for deliverance.

Dramatis Personae

William: Warrior-Priest [Poisoned]
Ludolph: Beast-Wizard
Malahan: Elf Archer
Erika: Shallyan Priestess
Luther de Baptiste: Foreign sellsword.

Dieter: Witch-Hunter
Elric Heinig: Owner of the 'Privateer's Rest' Inn
Hans Heinig: Son of Elric, ex soldier [Maimed by a crocodile].
Flattfjord: Sour Sewer-Guard Commander.
Volkhart: Ex-Sewer Guard. Drunkard.
'Gerolf' Von Holzenauer: Alchemist and experimenter.
Lord Gustavus Guggenheimer: Master Gold Wizard.
'Spaghetti' Corps: Derisive nickname of unknown Tilean mercenary company.
Doktor Bernhardt Bayer: Credulous physician.
Captain Isebrand: Villainous commander of the Blackrock Garrison. [Executed in secret]
Bödvarr: Faraway warlord.

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