The travels and travails of stalwart band of heroes engaged against the forces of the Ruinous Powers.

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Correspondence of Mencia de Morena – 5th Vorgeheim, 2523 – Templar’s Arms - Middenheim
<<OOC: This is entirely written in Estalian.>>

Addressed to Adriano & Maria-Lucia de Moreno
Durango, Estalia

Dear Father & Mother,

I should, perhaps, sleep. Where I had previously written with hope that our party would begin finding some success in our current endeavor, the lateness of the hour and the latest of events has given me doubts, worries and questions about just how these things will turn out. As usual, I get ahead of myself so I will back up and write of the events that have transpired in the last two days since I last wrote. And perhaps by putting all this to paper it will clear my lingering doubts and allow me some rest before we push on.

The day after the tragic events at the theater was mostly lost by the time we had recovered from our long stretch of no sleep. By the time that we had risen, we managed to accomplish just a few things that day, attempting to gather more information about the group behind the abduction of the pregnant women from the city, the murder of all of the innocents at the theater, and everything else going on that we had only just begun to scratch the surface of. Some of our party, the elf, the doctor and myself, met with representatives of the Church of Morr to talk about our options and what help they could offer us.

Trying to pursue every possibility of finding out additional information in time to stop the plans of the followers of Slynish, we scattered as a group to pursue various possible leads that first evening and early the following day. The only things of note that were accomplished in that time were the obtaining of appropriate clothing to be worn to Herr. Gruber’s party and that the elf got himself arrested. (I never realized that elves had such a difficult time controlling their tongues, or perhaps this is a trait only possessed by the elf that travels with our party, but he spoke back to one of the city guard who didn’t take what was said well.) After that event we at least found some focus in our planning and what we needed to do with the time left. We needed to find out more information about the warehouse that Herr. Gruber was observed leaving and we needed to check for potential areas where the missing woman might be kept in areas off of the sewers. We even arranged a guide to take us there tomorrow morning, though I’m uncertain at this point if we will proceed with that plan given the state of things.

The original plan had been for the elf to accompany Jurgen’s to that warehouse, since the elf had done some surveillance previously, to assist in his sneaking inside, but because the elf got himself arrested I went along to assist. Once he was inside, Hornar and I returned to the Templar’s Arms to wait for him to return. Some hours later, the wizard woke us that Jurgen’s had returned and was climbing through their window. I think, myself, I realized that something was wrong as soon as I saw him – he was still hooded and was reluctant to remove the hood while he told us what he had found inside the warehouse – news that was far worse than we might have imagined.

Some time ago we were set on the trail of a wizard, a necromancer, Yun Sool, by Inquisitor Altman. It appears that we have, without even realizing it, caught up with him once again. The last time that happened was the occasion when we fell into the trap of the mansion that was stuck in time and occupied by numerous trapped souls and a demonic entity. This man, if I can even call him that as corrupted and evil as he must be by this point, is extremely dangerous. What Jurgen told us was of a business of transporting bodies, caskets being brought in while others are shipped out, deep inside the warehouse under the order of the necromancer. Apparently there was an internal issue within the business though as he killed one of his book keepers and masquerading as one of the employees unloading and reloading wagons, Jurgen was, according to what he told us, ordered to “clean up the mess”. He did this and then left as soon as he could without drawing suspicion upon himself, from what he said. But while he was there something clearly happened to him, something wholly unpleasant.

I don’t know that I would ever call Jurgen an ideal model of health and vitality, he’s always had a tendency to be a bit reckless in the sorts of establishments he visits not to mention willing, without hesitation, to dive into sewage in pursuit of a possible trinket. But when he returned and we laid eyes upon him tonight, he looked as though he had in the course of a single night caught several of the worst sorts of diseases. His face was covered in painful open sores and he had a number of teeth missing. His appearance was, to be honest, a shock to us all. It’s unclear if he was perhaps cursed, if his proximity to so many dead bodies caused him to be stricken by some new sort of illness or if he was suffering the after affects of a magical backlash from handling the remains of the man he was told to “clean up”. Or if, perhaps, worse, he has suffered some sort of taint of chaos that will leave him disfigured thus for what is left of his life. (I would like to add in comment that if he was tainted with chaos, he didn’t act differently than the Jurgen that we have come to know and worked with – and he risked the possibility that his own friends would kill him to come tell us important information that he had obtained – a selfless act that I can’t associate with someone who has been tainted by evil.)

As it happened, while others were debating what to do with him, Jurgen chose to leave. A part of me believes his doing so might have been to save us the distraction of trying to help him – and that ultimate possibility that we might have to kill one of our own – in the midst of all of the other troubles we find ourselves facing. The others have continued to debate what should be done about this, if we should hunt him down or let him go. I’ll be honest, if it is likely that I might have to kill him upon seeing him again – I’m not in a hurry to deliver his death. Not after the difficult week of seeing another person, even just a little bit important to me, suffer. I’ve promised him that should it be necessary, I will make his death as swift as I can, but the responsibility of it will weigh heavy. I feel some responsibility as of all the members of the group with whom I travel these days I consider Jurgen and Rudeger to be those I am closest too and most able to trust – a result of the length of our companionship and the dangers we’ve handled together I realize. I will pray to Myrmidia that this matter will resolve itself without that outcome being necessary.

In the mean time as I compose my thoughts and reflect on the things that we’ve learned, I can’t help but think that it might be in our best interests to sit back and review the things that we have learned in the last several days. There is too much, and parts of it do not “connect”, which makes me wonder if instead of one large corruption seeking to spread through this city what we have found is two separate groups that are each working towards their own goals and plans – but we haven’t recognized the separate signs yet and instead have mistaken them all as one because that is what Witchhunter Gormann had done. He assumed Herr Gruber to be involved in the activities of the warehouse, but what is his presence there was a mere coincidence – or, what might be more likely, what if his activities there with the necromancer, have nothing to do with the hypnotist and the pregnant women who have gone missing.

These are things that I need to bring up to Rudeger, I believe. And hopefully we will begin finding more success in this mission, especially if we are facing not one – but two significant foes while we find ourselves a man down. I will write again soon, hopefully with better news.

Your daughter,
Mencia
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Another night down, one more to go...
Tomorrow morning we have a decision to make. We either hunt down our friend Jergen or we go into the sewers in search of evil. I am not sure which one we should do, honestly.

Jergen was touched by evil this 5th night of Fornskrak. After going out on a reconnaissance mission, he returned with no teeth, blood all over his face and open, puss filled sores all over his face. While we were deciding which temple to take him to try and get him healed, he jumped from the window and vanished into the night. All of this, just for finding out that the cartage company that we had our eye on had taint on it, and seemed to be a breeding ground for the undead.

I am still of a mind to find Jergen and help. He was a good compatriot and he didn't give himself willingly to chaos. He fought alongside me on a few occasions and it pains me to see that he will be hunted and killed if ever he shows his face again. We in the Dwarven community have fought Chaos for longer than many of the other races combined. It just seems that too many things are called Chaos and Tainted in the manling realm then would ever be looked at strangely in mine.

We carry on. After the rest of the group was confronted with a demon last night, and we find ourselves facing demon coins this day, we now go into the sewers in search of the one person who can cause all of this. This person who caused the taint of a companion, and would cause the destruction of this city, we go in search of him and try to destroy him, or find those that he would sacrifice to this dark god of pleasure and pain.

I regret that we were unable to help the young singers that had come to us for help. I find that the people that my companions ended up facing used runic symbols tattooed onto their chests as weapons. I must find out more about this on the morrow, if I can, and see if there is anything that can be done to stop it. The world that I left behind has come into my daily life a few times in the last month, and it pains me that I have not found my honor. But, I search tirelessly.

I found the temple of Grungni today and went there, seeking information and hoping to feel the Gods hands again. Thungni has left me and I walk the path of Grminir the Fearless, now, but the brethren of Grungni may yet hold a hand out to me in times of need. The temple was in the same district as the cartage company that we have had so many problems with. They have seen nothing more than the usual ratmen, sewers wardens, drunken nobels', or the spoiled brats of those same drunks in quite some time. There hasn't been any new activity that would raise any worry, and that makes me wonder what is planned for this party, if there hasn't been anything to raise alarm in the sewers.

The party is a day and a half away and we are now down a party member. We need to recruit someone that we can trust before we walk into this party that could turn into a charnel house. What makes me think that the whole thing revolves around this man who has summoned one demon in this city?

I need to return to my cups. I feel my buzz lifting and it is hard to think.
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Correspondence of Mencia de Morena – 3rd Vorgeheim, 2523 – Templar’s Arms - Middenheim
<<OOC: This is entirely written in Estalian.>>

Addressed to Adriano & Maria-Lucia de Moreno
Durango, Estalia

Dear Father & Mother,

I write you this letter with a heavy heart to share news that doubtless you will be hearing of all the way back home. Had an opportunity to write you to been available to me yesterday, the tone of my letter would have been quite different as there was exciting news to share, but alas things took a tragic turn this evening. Let me explain.

We arrived in Middenheim just over two days ago after finishing out the remainder of our journey, thankfully it was mostly uneventful. Our mission here, I believe that I’ve mentioned previously, has been to try to determine the whereabouts of Witchhunter Gormann at the request of our employer, Inquisitor Altmann. He had been missing for a couple of weeks now, and the worst was feared due to the nature of the mission that he had been investigating. We took rooms at the Templar’s Arms, the same hostel where Gormann had been staying, and began our investigation. I wish that I could say that we were finding success but in truth we have been finding this to be one of the most difficult investigations that we have undertaken, but we were continuing to explore every avenue that we could beginning by retracing the steps taken by Gormann himself as we knew them.

The second day into our investigation we received a message from someone that was intended for Gormann, but in his absence, and perhaps because I was recognized as a fellow Estalian, the message and request for assistance was given to us via a messenger from Lady Antonia Riveria-Salazar Flores, of Estalia. She has been on tour through the empire, lately performing at the Royal College of Music. With the request to meet after her performance, we were fortunate enough to be given tickets to see her perform – a beautiful experience that I have no doubt will remain strong in my memory for the remainder of my life. After the performance we met with her backstage and discovered the nature of her request for assistance – it seemed that her understudy had gone missing, a young woman who was on friendly terms with Witchhunter Gormann. When we discovered the connection, and after speaking to her and recognizing her genuine concern for the young woman, Bianka, we agreed to look into the disappearance, and in return she would help us to obtain papers that we needed to further our investigation into Gormann’s disappearance.

To sum up, as our investigation drag out through that night (we were dealing with a time limitation as the tour was scheduled to leave Middenheim after the next night’s performance, and Bianka was meant to accompany) and no sleep was had by those of us carrying out the investigation, we were able to discover a good deal about the young woman’s origins (including the incredible turn of fortune that her life had taken as she came to work for the Lady Flores) and most of what had happened to her. She was abducted and a hideous act was committed against her, she was used as the sacrifice in a summoning of an entity of great evil by cultists to the one known as Slynish. She escaped them after, however the damage was already done – and would only grow worse as we would come to find out that she was, essentially, a bomb waiting to explode when it might do the most damage. Something evil possessed her and perhaps acting as her, she resumed Bianka’s life, showing up at the theater prepared to go on stage and perform after an introduction by the Lady Flores. By this time we knew what had happened, and I had sent word to the theater to warn the Lady Flores, but my message was not received in time and by the time I was able to go to the theater to follow up with her – while my companions continued to search for Bianka – the entity had broken free of her and begun it’s killing spree. Many innocent lives were lost in the fight that ensued, and because the city is under the control and protection of the Church of Ulrich, upon arriving I had to wait some time before I could get into the Theater to try to lend assistance. While I waited I did use the opportunity to send someone after my companions, that additional help might be provided, and just as they arrived we were able to lend our assistance to those who were entering the building and assist them in the search for survivors and the demon that attacked.

What we found inside was a horrible scene, I feel confident in saying even after having witnessed many horrible scenes. Perhaps the worst of the tragedies of that night being that the Lady Flores was badly injured in the fight, our Doctor, Rudeger, was able to stabilize her but the nature of the injuries made a full recovery impossible. She was left with her vocal cords ripped and her beauty marred. (A fate which I can’t help but feel guilty for, had I perhaps gotten to the theater sooner – or figured out what was going on faster – might I have prevented that tragedy from happening? Or would it have happened anyway due to how unarmed we have been forced to work – the only blade that we are permitted is a dagger, though I have smuggled a pistol along when I am able and the potential for danger is high.) Bianka was also found, the entity possessing her has left, sent back from whence it came by the city guard, but the young girl is, I expect, permanently broke and may be put to death given the possibility of taint or corruption that could cause her to be used by the minions of chaos to use her again.

That is where things stand at this point. What we know, and what we will follow up on just as soon as we have all rested – I can feel the weight of exhaustion overtaking me even as I write this, having been awake for nearly two days and functioning on the fumes of a potion to hold of sleep in order that we might accomplish all that needed to be done. We have the names of individuals that we suspect both as responsible for the many deaths at the theater, the kidnap and sacrifice of Bianka, as well as reported abductions of multiple pregnant women from the city – who we suspect will be used as an even greater sacrifice, and a potentially greater evil that is about to be unleashed upon this city – our task is not a small one, but it is one that we will not fail. We cannot.

I will write more when it is resolved and we have accomplished that which we need to do, I hope with news of success to be taken after such difficult days.

Your daughter,
Mencia
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Journal of Hornar Skulldark -- 32 Zhomerzet, 5523 -- Another Grimnir forsaken Inn
Tomorrow, I will sleep in the carriage.

We have had no good luck on this trip. From the beginning the portents were grim for us having any sort of good trip, but this is ridiculous. I will actually get a good nights rest when I set out to do so next, or I am going to cut someones head off.

The young bar maid who disappeared was what I feared her to be, a shape shifter of some sort, but she bore the mark of Ulric, and I could not in all good conscience allow those people to lynch her and her kin without a fair trial. We are witchhunters after all, not murderers.

On a positive note, I think that we lost the other dwarf. He was no where to be seen this evening and we were in dire need of another strong sward arm.

Someone bandied the term of Minotaur. I don't really know what the thing was, but I do have strong intention of using the horns to hold my ale. The reach near 4 span and I intend to walk into a bar soon and demand that they be filled. I only hope that the thing wasn't chaos tainted so that using it's horns doesn't infect me with some horrible malady. We will just have to see.

We arrive in the city in a couple of nights, I really hope that nothing happens until then. And I do intend to sleep in the carriage for the rest of the trip.
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Correspondence of Mencia de Morena - 30 Sommerzeit, 2523 – The Three Feathers Inn – Delberz
<<OOC: This is entirely written in Estalian.>>

Addressed to Adriano & Maria-Lucia de Moreno
Durango, Estalia

Dear Father & Mother,

Doubtless you will notice by the date, barely a day has passed since I was last writing to you. As I was closing my letter to you, I was interrupted in my writing by Rudeger who, after a bit of brief confusion over his intentions, had an assignment to give to me. He delivered to me a note from a man who approached him wishing to enlist our services, the task of which Rudeger felt I might be better suited to carry out – a clear indication of the trust he places in me, I feel no hesitation in saying! Accepting the task from him, I sought out the man with the assistance of our companion, Juergen.

As it turned out, the man in question was a lawyer, an employee of the niece of the Countess Emanuelle of Nuln, Gravin Maria-Ulrike Von Liebewitz of Ambosstein, also staying in The Three Feathers Inn, who told us that he was being stalked by individuals that he identified as cultists to Slaneesh. He offered to pay us to rid him of his troubles. After consulting with him, however, that gut feeling that I had mentioned in my last letter after witnessing all of the odd and suspicious behavior going on amongst the various employees and patrons, Juergen and myself chose to investigate his claims further rather than simply take the word of someone who struck us both as disreputable.

There were no end of difficulties in the course of our investigations however, as it happened that several crisis interrupted the night’s sleep for most of the patrons – specifically numerous murders took place through the night and patrons were disappearing. My suspicion is that many of the patrons and employees were not at all what they presented themselves as being, rather they were there masquerading as another in the course of performing dark deeds. At one point Juergen was taken into custody, suspect in the murder of the Champion of the Gravin Maria-Ulrike Von Liebewitz - an accusation I knew to be fabricated as he had been in my company in the course of our other investigation. As it turned out, however, she didn’t actually believe him to be responsible, but rather wanted to press us into assisting her in finding out who actually had murdered the man. After the responsible party was captured – it turned out to be serving girl who was strangely upset and ran out of the inn, whom I mentioned in my last writing, she was apparently an assassin who was hiding out there with the intention of killing the Champion – we resumed our investigation – at least until the next interruption came.

Sounds of screaming were reported a couple of times, disruptions that came from the rooms that were rented by individuals who were masquerading as followers of Moor (Something which I expect they will pay for in the after life.), though they had the inn keeper fooled enough that he was unwilling to allow anyone to interrupt what they told him were rituals they would be performing through the night. Eventually things occurred where-in it was discovered that the individuals had been murdered by another assassin who also made off with the head of a body that they had been carrying in a coffin (perhaps smuggling a criminal or a minion of chaos?). A number of patrons were unsettled by those events, however by the time things were brought to our attention and because of the other investigation we had taken on – there was nothing to be done.

By the end of the night, after the investigation that was conducted by myself and Juergen, we determined that the lawyer who had hired us was, himself, actually a cultist of Slaneesh who was at odds with his fellow cultists. Three of the cultists were slain, in fact Juergen and I had no choice except to kill the lawyer, least he prove to be a danger to others or spread his corruption. (If I’ve learned anything in the course of the work I have done for the Witch hunters, there is only one single – final way to ensure that chaos and corruption does not spread from those who have been tainted. That lesson was learned well after the incident with the Schloss Vonreuter and that family. Granted there was a dispute between us and Rudeger in the aftermath, that he felt that the lawyer’s death was unnecessary – until we reminded him of the potential danger to us all. I suspect that sometimes we want to put the harsh lessons we’ve learned in the course of our travels out of our mind and think the best of people, but to do so is dangerous.)

It is my understanding that our dwarven companion, Hornar, was offered the vacant position of Champion for the Gravin Maria-Ulrike Von Liebewitz of Ambosstein, but elected to decline the offer and continue with the job he has undertaken.

After this long night, I look forward to our getting back on the road to Middenheim in order that I might get some rest. I will write more when I am able.

Your daughter,
Mencia

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