My new life as an adventurer has been challenging yet thrilling. I have now assumed the role of the late Kastora... Kastel... I can't read so I honestly don't know her name. I am very excited to receive her enormous fortune, but the trip to get it has not been easy.
After using a couple dumb coachmen to get rooms and a ride along the way to the city, Cecile I have been dumped for easier targets. May the next girls have better luck than we. I thought some guys checking me out at the coach station were into me, but it turns out they probably wanted to kill me. And then having to fight off some guys throwing hot oil onto sweet Josef's barge, we discovered that the big scary guy that's been stalking us is in fact a bounty hunter after the girl I am impersonating. They clearly want my money, and who can blame them!
Finally we arrive to a bustling Bogenhaffen filled with the excitement of Schaffenfest! I immediately disembark and head to the lawyer's office with Vilek and Cecile to go get my money. It is going to be a glorious time at the festival with so much money to spend on things! All the ale I can dream of!
The lawyer's office is down a pretty sketchy looking alleyway, but I'm certain the address is correct- and the name matches up, too! We go in and are greeted by a young guy working at a desk.
"How may I help you?" He asks.
"I'm here to collect my inheritance!" I announce with a smile.
"Ah... Dame Lieberung! Do you have your letter and affidavit?"
"Yes!" I pull out the scrolls that I can't even read. "Both are here, everything should be in order."
He takes them with a smile, then reads over both.
"Excellent! Let me bring these out back to my boss, sit tight for a moment if you please!"
"No problem, sir."
He goes out back behind a curtain, and my heart is pounding with excitement. We are about to be very, very rich!
A door slams. Suddenly the whole room goes dark as the windows are shuttered, and there's the sound of bars being put in front of the doors.
"Sh**!" I squeak.
"We've been set up!" Roars Vilek.
"Annika, I knew this was too good to be true!" Cecile hisses.
A voice booms outside of the building.
"Kastora Lieberung- Magister Impendimenta of the Cult of the Purple Hand. By order of the emperor you are under arrest!"
"No no no- I won't survive jail!" I whisper. "I'm too pretty!"
Suddenly a scream pierces the air, and horrible rending sound. Then it stops, leaving an eerie quiet.
"We need to get out of here. I'm busting the door down!" Vilek says.
I hear his hook hit something solid near me, and the sound of wood splintering and metal on metal. If I could see I would help, but it's just so damn dark in here. I'm completely surprised when I feel something sharp tear into my leg, and I drop to the ground screaming in pain.
"Oh... sorry, Annika! Almost done!"
Dim light streams in as Vilek breaks down the door, and I can see my profusely bleeding leg and blood dripping off the dwarf's boat hook.
"Vilek you &$*%!!!"
"Right, sorry. Let's get back to the group."
We leave, finding the mangled body of another bounty hunter in the alley, and quickly walk back toward the festivities, me limping with an arm over each of their shoulders. I am disappointed in the trick that was just played on me, as well as the six inch gaping wound in my calf.
We find the others in a beer tent on the festival grounds, and after getting a lot of stares from people for all the blood, Vilek gets me a beer.
"You're bleeding all over the place," says Maxamillian. "Let's get you to a doctor."
"Drink. First." I say, putting the pint to my lips. I down it in one go, and slam it down on the bar. "Alright, let's go."
The doctor stitches the wound up and charges an exorbitant 5 shillings for the half-assed job he does. Vilek kindly pays for my healing, and we go on our way. I'm very upset that I have to walk around on an injured leg, but maybe if we drink enough I'll forget about it.
As we walk back to the beer tent, we relay what happened at the lawyer's office. It's only when i finish the tale that Max, a local, tells me there is no lawyer's office in that part of town. I am an idiot! Turns out this girl I am impersonating, and who I unfortunately look like, is not a good person to be. I look like a high ranking (I think?) Cultist.
"Maybe you should embrace it!" Roberta says. "Make people do your bidding."
"Not a great idea as good as it sounds," says Max. "Highly illegal, for one. But the fact of the matter is, Annika is not safe. We can't change what she looks like, either."
"You could wear a mask!" Suggests Vilek.
"And cover this face?!" I gasp. "I depend on my looks to make money. No, I have looked like this my entire life, and I'm not letting this girl's evil mistakes cost me my life. The bounty hunters are both dead, so I'm sure I'll be fine. Let's just enjoy the festival and get drunk!"
And so, we do. It is a fantastic day of drinking, playing games, seeing a scam artist fortune teller... apparently I should avoid a big, rich man. Ominous! That describes most rich men, so I'm sure I'm screwed.
Cecile fights a huge man called The Crusher, and we end up back at the doctor. She leaves in better condition than I did, and I glare at the butcher the entire time we are in his practice. We go back to drink more and numb the pain, and then end up at some Zoocopia show. A three legged goblin runs toward the audience, escaping the handler, and Cecile and Vilek catch it. We get to watch for free, and that ends up being a big letdown. The goblin escapes, and this time it goes down into the sewers. Vilek and Cecile get taken to the Magistrate's tent that Cecile found a new dwarf friend at earlier. I can still smell him long after he left.
Max brings the rest of us back to his apartment, and I completely crash the moment I get in. I hope he didn't want to sleep in his bed, because I claimed it. The other two come back later that night, and in the morning I am told we are taking a trip down into the sewers to find the goblin.
So, that's how I ended up covered head to toe in sewage, gagging and wishing I had never gone to that stupid zoo show. What a time we are having. What a s***show.
What a laugh the sewer times were. Covered in s***, kidnapped by strange men hanging out in a basement then realeased, and a run in with a daemon. I am ashamed to say I ran the second I saw the terrible thing, but I do remember seeing pink light and eyes and mouths and... the thought of it makes the hairs on my neck and arms stand on end, and I shudder as we bring the three-legged pelvis to turn over for our money. Poor guy seems to have been eaten by the daemon.
Am atrocity of the biggest bulls***ery is committed upon us when we turn over the pelvis, only to be told that some guards found the goblin crushed to death by some crates in a warehouse. We have the evidence, but are told that we took too long to go down and get the goblin, so we missed out on capturing it. Well excuse me for having had an injured leg! I'm sure if I went for a swim in the sewer with that wound still open I would end up at the surgeon's getting my leg sawed off rather than moping down the street with my friends, carrying a pelvis. We still got 5 gold, though.
By some divine interference, we run into the carnival guy himself! The Doc brings us to his caravan, and all of us save for the new dwarf pile in. He gives us brandy and tobacco, and we have a little chat. All of us come to the conclusion that there is something fishy going on in this town, and the goblin's death was covered up with a bulls*** story. He asks us to follow up with the daemon situation.
Leaving his caravan, we head for the Journey's End where Vilek and Cecile have a room. The greeting there is not so welcome, as the owner has some burly stevedores flanking him while he demands payment. Obviously, we pay, getting the rest of us rooms and paying for baths. I immediately go to the room I'm sharing with Cecile, and take a nice hot bath. We took a dip in the river after the sewers, but even after my soak the water is very, very dirty.
Meeting back up, we come to the conclusion that the place we were momentarily kidnapped was probably in the basement of the Crossed Pike, a dive bar in town. So, we head out to do some drinking and check it out. Morrslieb is full tonight, and the entire town is bathed in a sickly green glow. The bar is full and boisterous, despite the creepy moon tonight.
As we enter, Franz our kidnapper looks up from polishing glasses behind the bar. It takes him a moment, but I can tell he recognizes us. Vilek goes up to the bar and gets us a round of drinks, then starts talking to Franz.
"You know there's a daemon down there, near your door."
"What door?" Franz smirks.
"Your... erm. Below your bar. There is a door, with a room with a daemon."
"What if I told you there's a lot of people that already know that?" Says Franz quietly. He then tosses the contents of the pint he poured for Vilek at his face. "Looks like you spilled, friend. I'm going to have to kick you out for being too drunk."
As they've been talking, I've been trying to get Franz's eye. It's usually not that hard, I know I look good, but Franz is too wrapped up in working and trying to get rid of Vilek. So, I stealthily grab the lace of my bodice, and pull. It takes a second, but suddenly his attention is on me. He sidles over, pouring a shot.
"Hello, there," he smiles. "Were you down there? You look different then when we abducted you, you clean up... decently."
He can't keep his eyes off my chest. I take the shot, and make sure to give a hair flip when I finish it.
"So, are you with these guys? That fuzzy little guy I threw a drink at a moment ago?"
"I guess you can say they're with me," I lean forward, arms on the bar top. "So, do you know anything about going on in town? Cults, goblins... that sort of thing?"
"I may. That information will cost you."
"I mean, if you're offering..."
I twirl a piece of my hair around my finger, and he watches me hypnotically.
"Alright. I'll give you a little discount, since you're the best view I've had all week. 18 pennies a piece, ask me anything. Your fuzzy damp friend mentioned a temple? Here's your first piece of info- there's a sewer entrance that was installed under the Steinhager offices about a year, maybe eighteen months ago."
Vilek starts handing over money as I listen to my captive audience.
"Steinhager family keeps going in and out at all hours of the night for the past 6 to 8 months. Some members of my perfectly legal organization have heard strange noises coming from their side of the sewer... the occasional scream. Best not to investigate or question that sort of thing, y'know. Anyway, none of us ever see anyone come in or out, but every now and then there's mutilated bodies found in the river or washed up with their hearts cut out. Beggars, usually."
"Thank you for the information," I wink. "Anything else? Know anything about the Cult of the Purple Hand?"
"Never heard of 'em. Not my speciality, you see. We are a legally operating organization. I gotta get back to work," he grabs my hand, and kisses it rather sloppily. "Come back anytime, miss..."
"Annika. Be careful out there, don't want that pretty face getting ruined."
We leave the bar, and Roberta reports that she didn't find any info on the Purple Hand from any of the guards in the bar. So, we decide to investigate the Steinhager Offices tonight. It's fairly easy to find, as all the merchant's houses are a bit extra, and we stake the place out. I find a nice hiding spot in a bush, and remain there with my hood up. We were going to go in and have the others present me as Kastora Lieberung, but nobody was home. We wait about thirty minutes, and then I hear guards.
"Oi there, what are you doing being so stealthy?" A guard asks, coming up behind Burkhart, who is decidedly unstealthy with his back exposed to the street.
"It's our employees birthday!" I call, stepping out of my bush. "We're surprising him!"
"Oh, so you're asking to be arrested?" One of the guards raises a baton.
"No, we will be leaving now," Roberta says. "Have a nice evening, officers."
We go back to the inn, and I happily retire to the comfortable bed. In the morning, we have a nice breakfast and then set out to try to see what we can see at the Steinhager offices during the day. As we cross through a busy town square, there is a scraggly, wretched man shaking his fist in the air and ranting about nonsense.
"The star inside the circle is certain death! Beware the man that is not a man!" He shouts, wide eyes scanning the crowd. Suddenly he locks his eyes on me, foam spitting out of his mouth as he points. "The Mark is upon you! Beware the bringers of Chaos!"
The crazy man takes off into the crowd, leaving me trying to laugh off his accusations. Thankfully nobody really pays me any mind, save for some adjusting their trajectory so as to not cross my path. Roberta suddenly takes off, on his tail, and the rest of us start running after her. I get lost in the crowd, and take a side street which looks like it might cut them off, only to slam into my dwarf friend Vilek. Eventually we find Roberta and crew standing at the docks, watching a ferry pull away.
“He got on the boat,” says Roberta.
We decide to head back to the Steinhager house now that it’s daytime, to see if we can get in. With Maximilian acting as wine merchant, we are allowed in and told to wait in the waiting room. We end up waiting a long, long time before finally we are brought before the boss. Our meeting with him doesn’t tell us much, but as we walk away our girl Cecile tells us that he hid a piece of paper that had the seal of the Ordo Septinarius. Also, she thinks we are being watched.
Next we head to the bar from last night to get lunch. Walking in, we get mean mugged by one of the twins working behind the bar. I walk up, looking around for Franz.
“Hey!” I smile at the guy. “Is Franz here?”
“In a way,” he growls. “He’s dead. Clawed open from nave to chops. Found ‘Im in the basement.”
“No! I liked him! I’m so sorry!”
“Yeah, he spoke highly of you, too. I’m fact, he spoke very highly of you to a group of people who came in last night.”
The others question him, but he is just getting angry. Apparently we are to blame.
“He took a liking to this young lady, bought her a shot- he never does that- and now he’s dead. Now I think you should just leave.”
Maximilian brings us on a “wine tour” of Boganhoffen, and all the time we explore Cecile let’s us know she still feels we are being watched. Upon returning to Max’s apartment, we are told that the usual doorman got sick and died unexpectedly. It seems, upon speculation in the apartment, that everyone I come in contact with ends up dead.
After Cecile checks me over and confirms I have no “mark of the beast” or anything on my person, we head to town hall to see if we can get in to see the recently deceased. After waiting a ridiculous amount of time, the clerk reports back that there is no record of Franz’s death. However, we pick up some rumors while out. Somehow this leads us to checking out the metal worker’s guild after finding out one of the city counselors is in a merchants guild. We go in, and the boys are all over me very, very fast.
“Hey, I was talking to her and then you interrupted her to ask if you could help her- bugger off!”
“We can both help her!”
“Hey,” another guy joins. “So, you have some questions about metalwork? Would you like to see how I wield my hammer?”
“No, she wants to see mine!”
“Boys, boys!” I stop them. “All I want to know is if anyone did copper work for the sewers.”
“Oh, yah, we did... Herr Toigen requested a ring of copper right after he came here. Said it was going to be used for his studies.”
Aha! A lead! I bid my new boyfriends farewell with the promise of meeting up for drinks if I see them at the fest, but I have no intention of following through. We have an address for Here Toigen’s house, so we head that way.
Walking near the Steinhager offices, we see a group leaving, including Herr Steinhager. They pass and Max runs up to grab something off the ground. A paper fell out of one of their pockets, and it turns out to be an invitation to a meeting of the “members of the inner circle” at Johannes Teugen’s house.
So, we go to the festival, purchase a goat, and head for the house. You can’t show up to a cult meeting without a goat! Along the way we are jumped by a Stevedore’s Guild that warns us to keep our noses out of things that don’t concern us, but we ignore them as they walk away. We get to the house, and stand hidden from the front gate as Max brings the goat to the front. Guard dogs are going crazy, and this draws the attention of the guards. He convinces them that the goat is for the party, and they let him in.
“Sic ‘em, boys!”
The dogs go wild, and judging by the noises of animal screaming and barking fading to the distance, the goat got away and they’re chasing it. We all spring into action, some of us climbing the gate. I’m hanging onto the top when Burkhart gets the key from one of the guards and Roberta opens the gate.
“Wait I’m up-“ I screech, falling from the gate. I hit the ground hard, all the wind knocked out of me. “Owww.”
I kill a guy and we seem to be doing well until a few of us get badly hurt, and soon more people come running toward us. Looks like kitchen staff, maybe, but at this point we have no hope. I face off with the guards, trying to look tough.
“I am Kastora Lieberung, Magister Impedimente of the Cult of the Purple Hand. Take us to your leader!”
“She’s casting a spell!” One of them yells. “Oh... nope.”
“Huh. Bye!” I turn tail and run. Soon the others join me, the gate clanging shut behind us.