A cloudy spring day and the Jolly Nobber continues to sail south up the Reik. About 15 miles from Castle Reikguard the party sees an incongruous sight. Perched on top of a small hillock is a construction site. One of the Emperors new fangled signalling devices is being built on the ruins of an old looking base of a tower and dwarves can be seen working away on the surrounding scaffolding.
As the Nobber rounds the bend and they draw closer they can see two dwarves stood on the wharf waving and shouting, wanting a lift and waving a coin purse.
Wandy is keen to keep pushing on, but after a discussion they agree to pull over and see what’s happening.
They want a lift to the nearest city and they seem to in a hurry. Whilst negotiations are taking place, another red faced gasping dwarf comes running down the hill bollocking them and ordering them back to site.
He introduces himself as Aynjulls Isenbeard, hes obviously under a lot of stress and he’s got problems. The gang enquire about goings on and learn that his reputation as a master artisan is in jeapordy as half his crew has gone missing or they’ve been injured. He’s very keen to pay for assistance to help complete the project, especially when he learns of Werners carpentry skills.
A team meeting ensues and after some consideration, they agree to help, not before pressuring the desperate guy into paying a higher fee upon completion. They peruse the blueprints, Werner grabs his tools and off they go, although Reni explains it’s not really her line of work and she offers to stay on the boat and look after Elvis.
Rowlocks decides he wants a different perspective of events and goes to talk to the other engineers. They’re essentially besides themselves with worry about their missing comrades and clearly cant wait to get off the job.
Evening follows and decisions need to be made about where to sleep. For a while, the party cannot decide wether to sleep on the barge or stay in the tower with the dwarves and the decisions go back and forth. Rowlocks wants the mystery of the missing engineers solved and after a debate, they all agree to stay on site with the dwarves. Wandy casts some protection on the barge and explains to the others how draining the process of magic can be.
After a few pints and some storytelling everyone gets settled for the night. Rowlocks takes first watch and nothing happens. He swaps in for Werner after midnight, and the rest get some sleep.
During his shift, Werner sees the floor move and a silent trapdoor swings open. Before he knows what’s hit him a creepy, undead ghoul springs out and sets upon him, swinging wildly with his arms. Werner’s up and on his feet in no time and dodges the incoming blows, whilst shouting everyone to get up!
The dwarves awaken and begin to immediately panic. Wandy, Rowlocks and Gnoblar wake and take in the scene. Werner hits back with his trusty axe and the ghoul takes a couple of blows to the midriff, cutting him deep.
Rowlocks grabs his sword and comes at the creature from his right flank. Wandy runs to the trapdoor to try and close it but it wont budge! The terrified dwarves run out of the tower.
The beast once again swings a couple of attacks at Werner but he is able to manoeuvre out of the way. Rowlocks smashed the ghoul in the side of the head with his sword and he winces and shrieks!
The creature, knocked back and wounded sprints for the trapdoor, which slowly begins to close behind him.
Instinctively, without even thinking our heroes all scream, “quick!! After him!! GET DOWN THERE QUICK!!!” FUUCKKI
They drop into a small hallway, the trapdoor closes behind them and they stand in complete darkness.
Wandy sparks a magic flame in his palm and they see they are in some ancient, cobwebbed, dusty, structure, that looks like it hasnt been disturbed in centuries. It’s a bizarre build with disorienting perspectives, but they press forward.
Rowlocks tries the door in front of them. Locked.
He tries the door to his right, turns the handle, Wandys flamelight fills the gaps and he steps into what appears to be an old study with desk, drawing board and chest.
In the middle of the room stands a most disgusting sight. A humanoid creature, decaying flesh dropping from his skull like face, turns to face Rowlocks and shambles towards him. The stench of death hits Rowlocks in the face, but hes not afraid.
He sprints straight towards the walking mess, swings his sword right into the zombie with an almighty crunch and drops it to the floor.
Everyone enters and they search round the room. They find some ancient maps, Wandy grabs an interesting astronomy based notebook and a funny looking staff and they look over the portraits of the strange people on the wall.
They gather at the most northerly door and Rowlocks opens it and stride forward into the semi darkness of an old library.
He freezes on the spot, overwhelmed with fear as three more walking corpses turn and lurch towards him. Wandy and Werner, keen to see what’s in front of Rowlocks, stand like statues petrified by sight of the undead.
Gnoblar is not scared of fucking dead things.
With his friends rooted to the spot, and the sight of impending doom, he thinks on his feet. He jumps into the room, grabs Rowlocks and drags him back into the study, slamming the door being him and holding the door.
Bursting through the door behind them comes the injured ghoul from earlier and hes accompanied by another rotting corpse.
Werner and Wandy are overcome with fear and rooted to the spot, they’ve never seen anything like it!
The ghoul and the zombie head straight for Werner and he takes a blow to the side. Gnoblar let’s go of the door and rushes to attack.
Rowlocks shakes himself awake and readies his grip on his sword.
The party are surrounded and with two of them being shit scared, things are looking sketchy.
Rowlocks takes a couple of hits, some of which is soaked up by his chain mail coat, but he’s wounded and fighting for his life.
Gnoblar does what he can and continues to stab at the enemies to the other flank. Werner takes more damage while he’s in a state of fear. The battles continues and is hard fought on all sides, Rowlocks is warmed up now and fells a couple of the zombies that came in through the library.
Gnoblar the battle medic sticks his sword into the arm of the nearest undead and drops him.
Wandy snaps out of it and considers his options. He runs out of the action, past the fray and back into the hallway they entered in, taking his flame with him. This plunges the room into darkness and Rowlocks fights on blind.
The wounded ghoul swipes at Gnoblar hits him in the arm, the wound bites and burns as Gnoblar feels his whole body enter a state of paralysis and he drops to the floor.
Rowlocks is in the pitch black fighting on all sides, Werner has never been so scared in all his life and cant pull himself together, Gnoblar is frozen and Wandy has left the room. Rowlocks is sweating now!
Then, as if by magic, Wandy, the bravest wizard in the Empire, runs back into the study and tries to use his magic flame to light the back of the ghouls jacket. It’s a ridiculous plan, with almost no chance of success!
BY SIGMAR!! He lands the almost impossible blow, the beast screeches in pain as the flames jump up his tinder dry jerkin!! He runs round in circles writhing and twisting.
As the room bursts into light Werner comes round, adjusts his axe grip and wades in crushing a zombies leg with a blow. As the tide of battle turns Rowlocks runs through the last remaining enemy and they stop and look round. That escalated quickly.
They look over their wounds and the carnage around them and notice the now smoking ghoul has a strange key like thing around his neck. A search of the other now dead again zombies reveals four more, slightly different keys.
Wandy magically locks the door behind them and they cautiously push forward into the ancient library by the light of Wandys flame. Werner picks up Gnoblar and carrys him along, with Rowlocks on point.
Theres nothing but hundreds of old books of all types and languages, and although Wandy would love to read them all, they decide now is not the time and crack on.
Without any deliberation, Rowlocks opens the door to what they believe to be the central chamber.
Inside they find a central core of what appears to be solid steel. Two metal poles protrude on either side of the large steel cylinder. The party concludes that they must have to push them. Gnoblar comes round.
Werner and Rowlocks get on either side and heave. The central part of the room does, indeed, begin to rotate until a previously unseen entrance is revealed to the inner chamber. Inside, glowing hexagram can be found on the floor and Rowlocks spots some tiny holes that are about the same size as the heads of the keys they have just found.
6 keyholes, 5 keys.
Not sure of where the other key might be they decide to open the only room they havnt yet been in.
Inside is an alchemists lab in which strange calculations have been scrawled over all surfaces. They turn the room over and Wandy claims a large leather bound book.
With no obvious way out or in, the wounded, traumatised party head back to the entrance hall.
To their surprise both the trapdoor and another concealed door open. Through the outer door they can see the Jolly Nobber, the dwarves and Reni at the wharf.
They meet at the wharf and the gang give Aynjulls and the other engineers a full debrief in the aftermath.
Aynjulls is relieved, the rest feel slightly better and they all get some rest.
They agree to help finish the building work and see out the next week on site whilst healing their wounds. They set up watches every night but no further attacks or mysterious disappearances occur.
At the end of the contract Aynjulls is overjoyed with the assistance of his new work mates and insists they look him up next time they are in Altdorf.
After what turned out to be a hard week of graft, the party wave goodbye to the dwarves, unhitch the Jolly Nobber and push off into the main current of the Reik.