Beyond the Storm

An evening at Fleishmuller's Theatre

A couple of days later sees the group recovered from various ordeals and a message from Dieter Klemperer, the Celestial Wizard prompts them to once again try to find the elusive College. Luckily they meet up with Larander the Lumen Mage who has business at the Light College. Knowing the strange visual wards that protect the Celestial college from the public eye, he directs them into temple square and points out the stunning visuals of the bluish alabaster building with sixteen crystal domed towers rising like fingers above the city. Ellidor and Baron Freiderich keep having to blink and turn their heads as the natural environment keeps obscuring their view. Even as the main door silently opens before they can knock, the two have instantly forgotten what the building looks like or where it is. Once inside they stop for food in one of the kitchens, surprised that apparently they are already expected and after sating their appetites on good fun and finer wine, head upwards into one of the towers to see Klemperer. The old Mage is expecting them and offers a warning about a child in black, suggests a visit to the Ulrician priest, Wolfgang Scheunacht sooner rather than later and offers them four tickets to the Tilean Duke, showing tonight at Fleischmuller’s Theatre as guests of the well known Lord Frederick, patron of the Watch. The group heads off, confused for a moment by bloodstained footprints on the stairs but without any other signs of bloodshed they shrug and head off for a rendezvous with the Ulrician priest. Sadly they arrive too late and the poor man has been murdered, garotted then stabbed in the back. It also appears some documents have been stolen but a charcoal rubbing of his blotting sheet reveals notes he was making of evidence found in the church archives concerning the dagger of Yul’Kaum. Forcibly ejected from the scene of the crime by Templars of the order, the group heads away for an extensive shopping trip ready for tonight’s opera. In a busy marketplace they are suddenly attacked by locals who have instantly developed a manic gleam in their eyes. A woman leaps on Larander with a knife forcing the baron to stab her through with his rapier while others leap on Reuben and Ellidor. In the scuffle before the Watch arrives, the Elf spots a small child wearing a black hood staring at him. Ellidor gives chase but is floored by a burly stevedore carrying a hefty sack of grain and the child escapes through the crowd. Reuben breaks away from pursuers and cracks the man across the skull with his warpick, flooring him.
That evening, the four are guests of Lord Frederick, a friend of Baron Friederich’s father and regale him with tales of their exploits against Chaos. Konrad Messner the Wizard Lord of the light college is also a guest of Lord Frederick and is interested to hear news that the Tzeentchian cult wants to capture the Dagger of Yul’Kaum. Messner reveals that it is one of the artifacts hidden in the vaults beneath the college. Unfortunately, the discussion is terminated when suddenly various members of the theatre cast and guests begin to suffer horrible mutations. The lead actor chokes to death on bilious vomit while the drummer becomes a seething mass of tentacles. In uproar, the guests start a stampede for the exits as other mutants appear among them. The Baron draws Larander’s sword and leaps onto a drape intending to slice down to the floor twelve feet below but something snags and he topples backwards to crunch over the seats below. Ellidor and Larander leap for the stairs to the ground floor as a woman covered in long quills cowers below them. As Ellidor leaps over her, she cowers even more and scores of quills suddenly eject from her body studding the walls and floor and piercing Larander’s robes. The Elven mage grins and sets the mutant woman on fire. Meanwhile Reuben has much the same idea as a feathered individual starts to clamber over the railings into the balcony box. Dousing the man in brandy, he borrows Lord Frederick’s cigar and engulfs the mutant in flame just as Messner sends a bolt that blasts the mutant’s head from its shoulders. The corpse drops into the scattering crowd below. With bellows of encouragement, Lord Frederick starts firing off his pistols into the stalls below as Ellidor and Larander rush to help the unconscious baron. It is then that the outer door is kicked open and Gottri Hammerfist and two Witchunters burst onto the scene and head for Messner. Larander joins the Wizard Lord to face the Witchunters creating a shimmering wall that blocks their pistol shots as they attack the mages. Before blood can be drawn however, Lord Frederick arrives and in the name of the City Lords of Altdorf demands the Witchunters stand down immediately. Gottri, swearing in Khazalid lowers his axe in silent fury.

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Hunting the Mad Arab

It seems the group have stumbled upon the abode of Antonio Aldenhag (Magister Impedimentae of the Altdorf branch of the Purple Hand) – so far the ruse seems to work as the confused man invites the group in for a quick drink and an explanation of why they are in Altdorf in such a haphazard fashion. Reuben mentions the Lieberung Estate and is not surprised that Aldenhag knows about it also. He also claims to need to meet with Saladhbar who has recently arrived in the city. Aldenhag offers to help and the next day the group tails him to a carpenters workshop where he is overheard to whisper some cult password to gain entrance. Thinking this must be the secret location of Saladhbar, the group plans a night raid in through the roof. Late in the evening, Elldilor heads up over the roof and shimmy’s down the cold fireplace while Reuben and the team knock on the outer door, attracting the guards attention. Asked the relevant day’s password Reuben manages to mumble the cult greeting to Tzeentch instead, amazingly confusing the guard enough for him to open the door slightly to hear better. As Elldilor creeps forward across the workshop floor, he knocks a box of tools onto the floor causing two further guards playing cards in a side room to see him just as Reuben et al crashes through the front door, smashing it against the doorman and breaking his wrist as he becomes tangled in the handle. Elldilor turns to the new challenge and a furious fight ensues as the cultists fight these intruders to the bitter but inevitable conclusion. A short while later sees only two cultists still alive, one a wounded wreck with a broken arm and another being tortured by Reuben. The group scours the offices finding information about fixing the Black Coach and a woman named Carlotta Selzberg. Happy they got what they came from, Reuben executes both wounded cultists. The group flee into the night.

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Finding the Black Coach

Once settled in Altdorf, Elldilor returns to the Inn with rumours of the black coach and Reuben arrives with an armful of information taken from the Necromordegainen (the revered prophetic tomes of the Order of the Shroud) now a full priest of the Cult of Morr. To complete the group, Duncan the Butcher of Wurtbad arrives with tales of the Sausagefest and announces he wants to learn the skills from Ursula (the Baron’s bodyguard) to become a Bounty Hunter, determined to catch the Charlatan who swindled him out of his Middenheim business. The group sift through the information provided from both the Priesthood of Morr and the results from the library search, adding two and two together and getting five and a half!
Nevermind. With Elldilor’s new seedy contacts showing them the way, the group charge off to the dock area where the black coach is being stored in a warehouse under armed guard. Young Baron F takes control by using his father’s coach to get stored in the same building. Reuben and the Baron hide inside while Duncan, the only other driver, makes payment, leaving his own guards – Elldilor and Ursula to watch over it. As the warehouse gets locked up, Duncan leaves in the direction of slappers corner…
A short while later and after much loud whispering, the group split with Elldilor breaking into the office to find the ledger that should reveal where the mad Arab is staying. Unable to read, he grabs it instead and while climbing through the internal window drops it with a loud thud, alerting the two watchmen. Ursula is forced to knock them both out while Reuben retrieves and scrutinises the ledger, finding no mention of anyone with an Arabic name. Perhaps frustrated, young Friedrich jumps out of the coach with his shiny new pistols at the ready and commands the 3 guards of the black coach to surrender. Fully intimidated by the unwavering pistols and armed backup, they do so and freely give the info of who owns the black coach, saying its not worth dying over. They get tied up and shoved into the black coach, but then Baron F uses Reuben’s real name when they discuss how to dispose of the evidence. To make it worse he then mentions Reuben is an anointed priest of Morr – the group realise the three prisoners have probably heard it all. Embarrassed and rather horrified, the team stands by while Reuben makes a swift decision, offers a prayer to Morr as he puts the prisoners to sleep then clubs them to death with his warpick. Not satisfied he demands that the outer warehouse doors are opened as he douses the coach in lamp oil, sets it on fire then drives it out into the dockland streets, the manic whinnying horses snorting at the smell and sounds of fire as the crazy rider in his billowing black cloak and cadaverous visage points it up the road then leaps off to safety.

Duncan appears at that moment and taking the Baron’s coach picks up the team before promptly hightailing it the other way before any witnesses arrive. Many streets later, the coach stops outside the address noted in the ledger and even though its midnight, Elldilor and Duncan agree to try and break in. A sash window later and the two of them fall through into a front sitting room. Elldilor goes to the front door, unlocking it from within and looks out into the street as Reuben gets a foot up and clambers through the window. Friedrich spots Elldilor and decides the more gentile option is to use the door. Inside the house, they get little chance to explore as a creak from upstairs is quickly followed by the thunk of a crossbow bolt hitting the young Baron full in the chest. He gasps and crashes down in the hallway, dark blood seeping around the deep wound. A moment where all is still, then a lantern flicks on and shines on Reuben. A second gasp as a voice behind it exclaims: “Kastor? Kastor Lieberung? What the bloody hell are you doing breaking into my house?”

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Entering Altdorf

At last the group arrive at the shining lights of Altdorf, capital of the Empire of Man; or rather the reeking cesspit of dilapidated shacks submerging into the muck of the many river islets by the weight of newer buildings stacked on top of them, all striving for the light. Rumour has it that the mad arab’s trademark black coach past through the gates a night or two ago and with Baron Freidrich as their guide, the group sets up in the Dancing Peacock, a well-to-do wine bar and cabaret venue, not their usual spit and sawdust establishment. Elldilor soon disappears into the city on errands of his own while Wolfgang Scheunacht (Priest of Ulric) offers them aid should they need it while in Altdorf. Reuben and the young Baron make contact with Dieter Klemperer, a Celestial Wizard who seems to have been expecting them. He makes suggestions as to who might help them in finding the dagger of Yul ‘Kaum and suggests their first stop is the archives of the Great Library. Reuben then sets off for the dark gated Shrine of Morr and his chance to become an anointed priest of the Death God.

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Attack on the Shrine of the Shining Rock
Where the group unknowingly aid a VIP

While Gunther leaves with the Gravin Maria-Ulricke and Duncan heads off to a nearby village for a local Wurstfest, the rest of the group (without horses) take a coach with Wolfgang the Ulrician priest and the sombre young nobleman whose girlfriend has dumped him after last night’s fiasco. It turns out this noble is the younger son of Baron Otto von Pfeifraucher, a well known noble of Wissenland.
Now south of Delberz, the group pull in to the Fox and Pelican but find it full of Knights of the Blazing Sun. The barkeep suggests a wayshrine down the road called the Shrine of the Shining Rock. Annoyed, the group are dropped off there and approach the shrine only to find a private ceremony is going on and no visitors are allowed. Doubly pissed and now getting dark the group head to the attending building in the hope of finding a helpful monk and perhaps hot water. However instead they stumble upon a scene of carnage perpetrated by Skaven who are still torturing whats left of the monks.
A huge fight ensues as the group’s stumbling arrival triggers the full assault of a Chaos warband hiding in wait about the shrine. Eldillor shoots down the skaven bursting out the door then dives into the bushes as some mutant Orcs dashing from out of the trees nearly scalp him. Reuben rushes into the building (perhaps to save any remaining monks) only to face an extremely hairy chaos Dwarf. They play hide and seek either side of the kitchen door only for Reuben to find himself on the wrong side and gets knocked out by a feline faced human mutie with a large hammer. The Knights of the Blazing Sun acquit themselves well by tackling a shaggy and putrid Ogre wielding a huge skull mattock and a mewling chitinous monstrosity of a spawn that clabers over the building’s roof as a blue skinned Kurgan hero charges in, wielding a massive 2H axe. Larander and Wolfgang back towards the shrine entrance, blasting enemies nearby with bolts of blazing light and muttering incantations respectively while the young Baron gleefully tackles the two rampaging orcs, offering to galantly protect Ursula the bounty hunter who is systematically finishing off the wounded enemy. She has to admit however that the young Baron out fights both Orcs with skill and panache.
As Larander reaches the doors of the shrine a sudden magical explosion from within blows out all the stained glass windows showering everyone in lethal shards and flattening the Lumen Mage beneath the heavy wood doors. The Blue Kurgan laughing manically, has a strange habit of phasing out of range when hit in combat and after dispatching a Knight through the man’s visor disappears for good it seems. Those of the defenders that are still on their feet dash in to the shrine where thick mist roils across the floor and three robed figures intimidate a third in the expensive priestly robes of a Priest Lord of Sigmar. Magical energy ripples throughout making everyone’s hair stand on end. The third Knight of the Blazing Sun dashes in to protect his master only to be caught off guard and sliced in half by the Kurgan behind a pillar. With a roar the chaos champion leaps over the corpse and runs towards the Sigmarite. Wolfgang disappears into the mist flanking the magical combatants as Freidrich makes a thrust at one robed figure only to have him leap vertically up a stone column hissing from a malformed mouth. As Larander rushes after the Kurgan, the nobleman skewers the third robed attacker bent on breaking into the Sigmarian priest’s zone of protection. The man turns, spits burning acid into the Baron’s face but its enough to give the holy priest a chance and he explodes the man from the inside out in a detonation of righteous fury. The frenzied Kurgan leaps for his quarry, twin bladed axe glinting but is cut down in a cross blast of energies from the remaining magic users.
As the dust (and bloody mist) settles it turns out the attacked priest is non other than Yorri XVI, Grand Theogonist of Sigmar. He thanks the group for helping to repel the assassination attempt and offers them aid in the future should they need it before riding off with his remaining Knights. Before he goes he scrutinizes Reuben as though he recognizes him then chuckles and points out the likeness to one of his guards. Reuben produces his letter proclaiming him as Kastor Lieberung but Yorri shrugs – never heard of him he announces.

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Chasing the Magister Tenebrae

With a few changes to the lineup, the new group (of Duncan, Reuben, Eldillor and Gunther) are deputized by the Middenheim City Watch with agreement by the Witchunters of the Ordo Fidelis to track down the escaped Arab Necromancer; now known as the Magister Tenebrae of the Cult of the Purple Hand. The team procure horses from the WHHCo compound (Duncan takes a flatbed wagon) and head quickly out of the city and turn south towards Delberz, Reuben more and more concerned about folk watching him and sending threatening messages to his alias Kastor Lieberung.

A day out from Delberz the group stay for a night in the Three Feathers Inn. Strange things are afoot here in the presence of the Gravin Maria Ulricke Liebowitz of Ambosstein and her entourage. During the night a bounty hunter named Ursula steps in to prevent a young man named Johann Schmidt (who is also apparently a Baron) from getting horsewhipped by an enraged and very drunk merchant as Johann’s girlfriend is forced to look on. A brawl ensues as the merchant’s bodyguards try to intervene and during the melee Glimbrin Oddsocks (a ne’er-do-well Halfling) nicks everything he can including stuff from the noble’s room and peoples pockets. Eldillor meanwhile gets blind drunk, passes out in his own sick on the floor of the barroom then his dagger is found later in the back of the judicial champion upstairs.

Gunther being unable to hold his drink, loses his way upstairs and ends up sleeping in a store cupboard. Reuben challenges some false priests of Morr smuggling a man in a coffin and in the fight that follows knocks one down, awaking Gunther who angrily attacks the man with a soggy mop and bucket. Either way they capture two of the pretend priests who claim the man they have subdued is a wanted agitator in Altdorf. Ursula is very interested in this but gets sidetracked when after finding the Elf’s dagger, he gets nearly lynched by angry (and somewhat racist) patrons kept awake by all the noise and interruption from upstairs. The Elf foolishly perhaps hopes his new friends will save him somehow and keeps quiet as a rope is thrown over the big oak tree outside and in the pelting rain is looped round the neck. Reuben manages to finally persuade the unlikely aspects of the case to the Gravin who agrees its a poor assassination to leave obvious condemning evidence on the corpse and calls a halt to the lynching as the locals are pulling on the rope.

After a call for all guests and staff to congregate, a multiple murder is found, with the lawyer and a servant also being found dead in the room with a sleeping Duncan (whose more or less comatose himself). The agitator from Altdorf manages to escape into the rain.

The Gravin Maria Ulrike demands a replacement for her judicial champion for the upcoming court case and chooses Gunther. Still drunk, Gunther foolishly agrees. The rest catch a few hours of sleep before the roadwardens arrive at dawn and interrogate everyone.

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Battle in the WHHCo tower

The tower zombies are quickly dispatched by the Dwarf and Duncan between them while the cultists find themselves outclassed by the swift sling skills of Ellidor. One shot breaks a hand, the cultist dropping his weapon and allowing the Elf to dive in and stab him. Reuben after being flung across the room by the Zombie Troll picks up a zombie body and throws it back. The Troll grabs it and tears it in two merrily. Gunther challenges the cult priest who uses foul Chaos magic to spew yellow goo all over him even as Gunther shoots him dead.

The cultists are finally overwhelmed but the Troll is using a table in both hands to swipe at Reuben who hits a wall and crumples unconscious. Gorgrimm finally gets in beneath the Troll’s defense and with a good hit finally fells the undead beast. The Troll smashes to the floor and the gem bounces out of its cranium. Duncan grabs for it only to get his hands badly burnt as the thing is glowing hellish cold. They bundle it into a sack and take it anyway. Seeing his forces decimated, the mad Arab flees cackling up the stairs and out onto the roof of the WHHCo building. Gunther gives chase as the Necromancer jumps down into a black coach waiting secretly in a barn. The doors are kicked open and the four horse coach charges through the city watch outside and out into the road. Gunther leaps onto its roof then tackles the undead coachman who is driving. They grapple and fall into the road and after smacking its head onto the cobbles repeatedly, gets a good knife thrust in that kills it. Sadly the careening coach and its mad occupant is long gone in the night streets of Middenheim.

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Workshop of the mad Arab

Ascending the stairwell, the team discover the true machinations of the Cult of the Purple Hand as they come across complete alchemical workshops and the bedroom of a mad alcoholic Arab Necromancer full of dodgy papers. The Mage tries hard to set this all on fire also but not before everyone raids the minibar!

Lots of notes and scribblings with arcane and head swirly symbols murmur of portents, legends and impending doom. Reuben grabs it all then heads again upstairs as the rumbling sounds and crazy giggling gets worse. The group burst in finally on a ritual to revitalize some undead Troll-creature hanging from the ceiling and fed with glowing tubes of liquid. Masked cult caretakers move to block them as Zombies stagger forward from wall niches. Reuben seeing the mad Arab Necromancer, launches himself at him weapon drawn but slides across a table scattering tubes bottles and lengths of gut tubing and falls in a tangled mess behind as the Arab’s scythe sizzles with warp energy and takes a slice out of his side. As the others fight off the zombies, the Lumen Mage suddenly howls in terror at the projected visage of the evil necromancer, unable to move as with a final wrench, the undead Troll rips free of its moorings and drops into the melee below.

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Assault on the WHHCo Tower

The Witchunters take control of the situation, remove the children, escort Jacques on a stretcher to the temple of Shallya and the group effectively splits into factions. Keeping under cover of view from the WHHCo guards now positioned on the balconies surrounding the compound, Reuben awaits re-enforcements from the City Watch before they launch the final assault on the Tower. He prays they get there in time…

A short while later, a whisper in the dark by the door signals that a scouting party of watchmen has been sent in first to take out the guards and open the main compound doors for the rest of the city watch. Reuben helps them out onto the roofs but when one of them (Duncan) slips and with a spectacular (and loud) yell slides off the roof and onto a parapet directly in front of a guard, the bells sound and the compound is alerted. A vicious fight ensues around the archway and entrance to the WHHCo made worse by the appearance of zombie carriers attracted by the smell of blood. Luckily they leap on anyone wounded and this includes enemy guards. Duncan manages to break free from the melee and runs to open the outer door for the main muster and city watchmen flood in. The scouting party draws near to the rear kitchen entrance below the tower and find a way in just as the main pack of cultists sweep forward to lock weapons with the surging Watchmen. The smaller group bash down the door and enter the main house only to face a thicket of manor guards with drawn weapons coming through the door at the other end of the corridor. The Lumen Magus (Larander) assigned to them decides to block the way by setting fire to the rear door and flamable corridor making their escape impossible so the group head into the tower and barricade the way behind them.

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Infiltrating the WHHCo

Hagar, bored without someone to attack, stealthily crosses the roofs then drops down behind a startled Reuben who is investigating some stone steps leading underground. As Gunther draws his Blunderbuss and takes a stance behind the well, the Priest of Morr and Trollslayer disappear below ground, discovering the storage area for the Zombies and a disused house connected by a platform that might be an escape route.

Meanwhile, Jacques decides to face the Tzeentch hideout alone and in the Undercroft chapel below gets surprised by two acolytes pulling a mutant across the room. They shout for reinforcements then release the Mutant with the words “Kill him!” Jacques beats a hasty retreat up the stairs with the claw wielding mutant hot on his heels.

Gunther meanwhile is shocked when many skaven suddenly drop from the rooftops to surround him and as a dagger is pressed into his soft bits a rat-like voice in his ear demands a trade “You give me warpsssstone – I give banner!” Confused, Gunther just nods as he’s forgotten utterly what this is about. The Skaven disappear just as they arrived and shortly after, Reuben and Hagar return; Reuben on a mission to destroy any Zombies he can find. Unfortunately they seem to have forgotten about Jacques who, running into the main church, lets lose a couple of crocks of oil, splashing the stairs and the grinning mutant then fumbles out the matches, setting the man aflame as he piles into the unarmoured knight errant, knocking them both to the floor. Jacques struggles to free his weapons but the man has him in a vice-like death grip that burns them both. In a furious burst, the mutant boils then explodes sending flaming gobbets of flesh across the nave but Jacques is in dire peril as he staggers towards the heavy doors at the far end, his skin almost burnt away except on his face where he has the mask.

The team outside follow Reuben as he smites two more zombies, then the top of the tower high above begins to open revealing a glass pyramid pointing to the sky. The group know that something serious is going down and totally forgetting the rescue of the kidnapped children, find a door and make ready to storm the tower. It is then that Jacques reaches the main door and with the last of his strength, pushes off the bar that holds it closed only to discover the thing is also locked. He collapses, a burning wreck…

Outside, Gunther hears another voice close by and turns to see Mathias Hoffer and the Witchunters behind him. They demand to know what is happening, and shocked that the group have not yet bothered to rescue the children proceed to do so immediately, there discovering that Kristoff, the nephew of Anya Luger has been taken to the tower. While Mathias and Reuben move the kids, another Witchunter notices the smell of burning and breaks open the church door, finding a trail as though something burnt has been dragged back down the stairs to the crypt. Finally and too late for Jacques, the group investigate the church and break in upon a hasty ritual to murder the unconscious Jacques in honour of Tzeentch. Pistols flaring, the group charge in as the Acolytes draw daggers and move to protect their cult leader. Gunther fells one with a bullet through the head as the Trollslayer pulps another then moves to aid Jacques. As the Witchunter moves to intercept a mutant his body is wracked with gouts of pink flame and he falls writhing on the floor. Gunther seizes the opportunity to nick his pistol but is forced to draw his sword instead as a toad-like mutant leaps at him. Hagar meanwhile has octopus like tentacles wrapped round his head suffocating him as the wounded Acolytes recover and return to the fight. The Cult Priest growls as he blasts Gunther with the same spell but then the winds of magic change and his next spell fails and toady gets dispatched as its leg is hacked off. The Witchunter shoots octopus boy allowing Hagar to swing Grondinbar in a wide circle taking out the last two acolytes. The Purple Hand leader is on his own and backs into the alcove to summon a last protective spell but stumbles as his foot passes through the grating over the large well beneath. Hagar charges in and crushes the man’s skull before he can parry with his mace. Gunther collapses with relief, as aftershocks of pink magic set his nerves on fire. Hagar releases Jacques from the manacles, pulls of the Bretonnian mask that protected his face from the heat and flame and crushes it beneath his hammer “I learnt my lesson once already” he grimaces. Mewling pathetically, Jacques can’t argue.

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