It was a lovely summer’s day in Kemperbad market place as the guys strolled through the busy stalls.
Werner had just been to collect his first bounty in his newly chosen career, and with their first touch of civilisation and safety in a while, the party decide to relax and go to the pub.
Whilst pushing through the shoppers, Werner feels a quick tug on the back of his head and a sharp pain, and looks round quickly. He sees a figure in a purple cloak rapidly disappearing through the crowd as he notices a clump of his hair is missing.
He catches the others up and explains what happened. From this point on, they walk with Werner out in front with everyone else shadowing him a little way behind.
Inside the Hat and Drum the ale is flowing and everyone is enjoying themselves. They settle in for the evening, order food, a bottle of rum and listen to the singer.
Theres some rowdy and rude roadwardens in, and as the evening draws on, Werner is keen to have a word with them, but Rowlocks, Gnoblar and Wandy just want a nice relaxing night and gently tell him to leave it.
It’s getting late now and everyones pissed. The tensions mounting as the Roadwardens get obnoxious, but, in the spirit of ’we’ve all had a nice night let’s go home’, they order a take out bottle and stagger towards the lifts to take them to the boat.
Back at the boat they have a few more and Reni explains her aspirations of moving up the leagues from peddler. She mentions that maybe they could help her out with some investment cash. Negotiations take place and a deal is struck.
In the morning, the hangovers are in full swing as they plan for the day. Reni’s off into town to get some ‘bits’ and Gnoblar’s got to pick up his armor later on.
In town, everyones on full alert after Werner’s mysterious occurrences but nothing seems out of the ordinary.
All jobs get done and it’s back onto the Reik. Rowlocks takes the helm and they head south to Grissenwald.
The weathers good and the going fine. Aside from a few fishing boat and the odd trade barge it’s pretty quiet. Wandy takes to his cabin to study and Gnoblar gets pharmaceutical in his lab. Werner helps Rowlocks with the boat and Elvis suns himself on the deck.
In the distance, the guys on deck can hear a noise from upriver, of music and merriment. As they get closer, they see a passenger boat heading to Kemperbad and what looks to be a floating party heading their way. The shouting, chanting, swearing and bottle throwing don’t distract Rowlocks as he slowly realises that the large barge is heading straight at them.
Rowlocks once again draws on his sailing expertise and experience and expertly hauls the Jolly Nobber out of the path of the party boat and narrowly avoids a disastrous mid-Reik collision, phew.
The boat raucously continues its celebrations and the din slowly disappears into the distance.
The next day, the Nobber continues south and the sailing is still good.
As they continue, a large shape looms in the distance. As they draw near, Castle Wittgenstein sits ominously on a clifftop casting shadows over the river.
A little closer still, and they are approached by a boat with the crew waving frantically and looking spooked.
Rowlocks holds fast and they pull up alongside.
Gerhardt the captain, is flustered and immediately starts to explain that they should steer clear of the castle as it’s a place of great evil and strange goings on. He implores them to travel past on the far bank of the river. Curious as to why Gerhardt thinks this, they enquire as to what’s got him so flustered. He points to the tarpaulin bundle on on the deck of his boat and invites them to look themselves. No one is keen to have a look, but eventually Rowlocks jumps on to investigate himself.
He pulls back the tarpaulin and immediately begins to puke. The corpse underneath is bloated like a fish and has flesh hanging in threads all over. Its horrific. Gerhardt says that all manner of bodies have been seen floating downstream of the castle.
Eventually, Rowlocks stops being sick and reboards the Jolly Nobber, they thank Gerhardt for the warnings and continue to Grissenwald via the far bank.
The next day, the team arrive at the small fishing village of Grissenwald. They jump onto the wharf, Reni heads off to do some deals and everyone else heads to the closet tavern, The Catfish.
The inside of The Catfish is the opposite of the Hat and Drum in Kemperbad. Its quiet, the mood is solemn, the few farmers and fishermen inside look glum. They slide up to the bar and chat to the barman.
A couple of beers later and although they dont learn any direct information about Etelka, they do learn that a noble woman and a man passed through a few days ago. They also learn that the Black Peaks, the address on the letter that they have been searching for, is to the north and is named the Black Peaks because it has been a place that has provided coal to Grissenwald and the surrounding area for some time. Dwarves ran the mine until a few years ago they sold it to a woman. Since then they have been living in a shanty town outside of the village, getting drunk and causing trouble.
In the last week, some of the farms around the outskirts of town have been attacked, burnt to the ground and looted. This explains the low mood in town. Everyone in Grissenwald is more or less convinced the dwarves are behind it as they have been in town splashing cash about. The boys continue chatting and having a pint
A short while later the tavern door opens and in walk two dwarves. Clearly drunk and being obnoxious they take a seat shout for ales and begin to pick on Gnoblar.
“There’s a dead halfling there look!”
“Oh he moved, he’s not dead.”
“We can soon fix that” and they laugh to themselves.
Werner is about ready for a fight and is nearly off his feet.
“What you fucking looking at you prick!” But before Werner stands the rest of the gang calm him and ask him to ignore them – they’ve only just arrived in town.
The innkeeper pleas for the dwarves to stop hassling the customers and takes them some complimentary beers.
The barracking continues and Werner’s fists are clenching.
“Why don’t you out-of-town cunts fuck off back where you came from.” And a big phlegm filled gosball lands a few feet away, and that’s it. Werner’s on his feet and striding to the dwarves table.
As one of them stands to meet him he bangs him straight onto his ass with his street fighting skills. The other stands, grabs a stool and smashes it into Werner’s side and we’re off.
Rowlocks is straight in there and punches the standing dwarf in the face, he retaliates with a stool leg. The downed dwarf is about to get up when he gets a boot from Gnoblar and Wandy cracks his staff round his head.
The innkeeper is screaming to stop, “my pub! My pub!”
Werner swings his fists wildly and misses and the dwarf on the floor stands up, grabs the whiskey bottle from the table and smashes it ready to get nasty.
The bar room brawl is in full swing with tables going over and people fighting everywhere.
At this point, Rowlocks, backed by Wandy, begins to de-escalate the situation.
“Whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah, hang on, hang on a min! We don’t need bloodshed today, let’s all calm down.”
The two parties stand swaying, looking at each other when the door bursts open.
“Right! Everyone stand down!!!” – it’s the town watch, four watchman and a sergeant. “Stop! Put down your tools!”
Everyone pauses and the two sides stare at each other.
“You fuckers go home! I’ve had about enough today already and it’s only dinnertime!!” The sergeant points to the dwarves. The begin to leave but they don’t leave quietly..
“You’re fucking dead you lot, fucking dead meat!” As the stumble aggressively to the door gesturing to the party.
“Good day officer,” begins Gnoblar, “just let me explain…”
The watch are sympathetic to the party, especially when backed by the innkeeper. The sergeant has had nothing but trouble with the dwarves recently and he looks tired. He urges the guys to keep their head down and pass through town to Nuln as quickly as possible seeing as they are ‘traders’ heading to ‘Nuln’.
The party continue to engage the sergeant and keep him talking being as friendly as possible. He explains the problems in the town and the burning of the farms in the last week – they offer to help. The guys can obviously handle themselves and at this point he will accept any help he can, being greatly overworked and understaffed.
They offer to look into the farms. They quickly piece together that the farms that have been looted are all the most northerly, and the Black Peaks are to the north so this might be in their interests. They decide to head to the most northenly farm to take a look and George, one of the watch escorts them up. They say cheerio to the sarge, and off they go.
It’s another lovely summer’s afternoon when they arrive at BlackBerry farm. The residents are afraid and relieved that a party of adventurers have turned up and offering protection for the night.
The attacks happen at night, and with hours of daylight left, and after some milk and stew, they decide to head to the nearby farms and look at the destruction.
After some detective work at the nearby farms they find evidence of wolf tracks, small footprints and crudely made weapons – this is not the work of the dwarves as the town suspects.
With this is mind, they head back to BlackBerry farm and make preparations.
They overview the scene and the farmsteads buildings. With the help of the farm workers, trenches are dug, traps are set. Pits are covered and mutton is dangled over the top to draw in the wolves. Buckets of water are scattered about in case of fires and strategic positions are decided. Wandy will be in the farmhouse with the farmers. Werner and Rowlocks will be on foot hidden in the grounds and Gnoblar, with his infra vision, will be on top of the tower building with his crossbow.
They wait for nightfall.
At about 1am, in the woods to the north, baying of wolves can be heard. Fire from torches can be seen. Our heroes brace themselves as they draw near and begin to surround the farm. Eight goblin wolf riders approach. Within minutes they leap the palisade fence and breach the perimeter. Everyone steels themselves – it’s going to be a long night