It seemed that to Commander Olrich Schulzmann the murders were solved, but not all of us felt that way. Well, we did know the culprits, the skaven and that there were probably many, many of them in the sewers below the city and maybe elsewhere too. But maybe it would be foolish to go that path further and come a cross hundreds of those giant rodents and just become chow for them.
Now we knew where to reach them, through one easy access point to the sewers. Informing the guard and asking them to collapse that entrance wouldn’t do much good for the safety of the city – there must be dozens of entry points like that throughout the city – assuming that there really is a larger colony of skavens below the city as Schulzmann believes (but he is obviously unwilling to take his men down there because of the size of the threat there – and the panic that would then ensue throughout the city if the truth came out). Also those rodents would probably make easily enough more openings if they needed to. But we can now have the benefit of having an entry point if and when we want to use it.
Dietfried, Skora Gin, Heth-Los and Waldor spent three days getting to know Middenheim (well Waldor knew it already so he was studying what he could find about the skaven at the mages guild). In the case of Skora, this ment familiarizing himself especially with the products of local breweries.
Skora took Heth and Dietfried to the barracks. He was very good at making friends with the guards – though the dwarven ale he usually had with him – and didn’t mind sharing – might have played a part there. They enjoyed hearing about the battle of with the chaos hordes and the guards were very willing to go to gory detail.
Dietfried got bored more quickly than others – he was interested in learning about what was happening elsewhere in the countryside. As there was other people hanging around the barracks that had come to listen in on the battle description, he started with them. Many of the people loitering around were servants that were using the storytelling as an excuse for a break from their toiling. But there was also others. Hans was there talking with an elf rider that didn’t seem local. And there was a well-dressed lady carrying a musket by a strap on her shoulder and a longsword by her side.
As Dietfried got closer to Hans, the rider elf spoke up – a female Dietried finally noticed “all those blasted elves look the same with that unhealthily-slender build and overly long hair”, Dietfried thought. She asked if he was with the elf listening with the roudy dwarf there. “I think I have seen him someplace before”, she said. Dietfried was surprised on the directness of the elf girl, “they look rediculously young too”, his thoughts went on.
Well he decided to be properly polite and said with an outreached hand that the elf took a bit hesitantly: “well hello, I am Dietfried a humble servant of mighty Sigmar – and yes those are my friends Heth-Los and Skora …” The elf didn’t let him finish, but interupted him: “Ok, thanks.” and then she was striding towards Heth who was still enjoying the entertaining stories by guardsmen not on duty.
Dietfried was just standing there mouth open, until Hans started laughing aloud. “So you haven’t met many young elves, have you!”
- “Heth is old then – he is pretty well-behaved you know?”
- “Well more grown-up at least, probably 100 years or close to it. I’ve been with elves enough, so I can tell you that it takes several decades for these elves to learn common courtesy expected by other races. But mostly the young ones don’t venture far from their forest cities and settlements. Her name is Teth-Ro, by the way, and she was part of a trading company that got raided on the way here.”
- “Death Row?? What in the world are these elves thinking when they name their rascals?” And Hans just laughed again.
Heth thought many of the guards started exaggerating even blatantly when more people started garthering. Many of the servants were laughing openly when the same story was told for the third time and the vicious enemy that earlier had been just a few mutants was now replaced with giant mutants in hordes.
All of a sudden his shoulder was grapped and a fair elf woman stood in front of him. “Heth! Do you remember me?”
Heth stood startled for two seconds and finally his face lit up: “Te-Ro, is it really you, my little cousin! It must have have been twenty years ago that I last saw you.”
- “I never got to say you good-bye, when you just suddenly left” Teth said pretending to be angry “And don’t use my kid name, ok!” she added little embarrassed.
- “Teth then it is, yes you have grown I see. So who did you come here with?”
First part seemed to calm Teth a little, but the question made her seriously angry: “You think I couldn’t come here on my own?” she almost shouted. She paced a few steps and finally admitted: “Well, I was with my elder brother and uncle Carmil. About a days trip east of here we ran into a groups mutants, like a dozen of them, le-led by this mutant ce-centaur” Now she was stammering and near to tears.
- “What happened?” Heth said very worried.
- “Colen, my brother was very brave and stood up to fight them, but Carmil immediately made me run as fast as I could. I heard they crying in pain as I was running.”
- “I am so sorry, Teth-Ro. How long have you been here? How have you managed?”
- “I got here just yesterday. What a strange place this is. So big and so many humans and dwarves.” She stopped suddenly realizing she sounded like a country pumpkin.
- “Hey, I’m new here too, but I have made some friends. I will look after you.”
Boy, was she furious again! “And you will do no such thing! I will be just fine all by myself, is that clear, cousin?!” She started to storm her way through the crowd, but Heth could see her shoulders quivering.
- “Teth, I am sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you. Come join me and my friends in the corner tavern tonight, ok?” But Teth didn’t reply.
Dietfried decided to approach the musketeer woman. After proper introductions (“This soldier woman Eckhardt is much more pleasant than the elf girl,” he thought immediately), she asked whether he was part of the group that had solved the recent murders. Admitting that he indeed had some part in that, through grace of Sigmar, Dietfried jumped to ask if she knew what came of the hunt of the chaos horde.
She said that she had arrived from Arenburg, located north of the city, just when the pursuers had organized with the mages and other troops and were leaving in lines out the city gates. It had actually become a sort of a parade and celebration for the city inspite of the tragic circumstances.
Arenburg hadn’t been hit by the attacks but the rumors had sounded bad. She was not from Arenburg but had been hired by the town when the rumors of serious trouble started. Eckhardt had been part of the small troop sent to find out what was happening in the city, and had decided to stay in the city when others left back to report.
Then Eckhardt changed topic and got more serious: “I think there might be a purpose in us meeting, you being a servant of Sigmar. I have been impressed by thought that there is something that Sigmar would like to do for him. I am not sure yet what exactly it will be. It could be some part that I must have in the war with Chaos that seems to be spreading but I think me meeting you here is part of the bigger plan, if you will.”
- “I would like to introduce you to others in our group, would you please join us at Luka’s Tavern later this evening”, Dietfried offered.
- “Does this mean I can join your group of crime solvers or is that what you specialize in?”
- “I guess it does. Well, I guess how I would put it is that we do good where ever the mighty hand of Sigmar takes us.”
- “That’s just perfect.”
When the four friends where spending early evening together in a local tavern (Skora well ahead of others in the number of pints consumed), Agis Shwalb stepped in the door of the tavern, hurriedly he looked around the room and spotting the group walked right up to them:
“Hello friends! The town is all abuzz on the murders that you have solved – though no one I have talked about it seems to have a good idea who the murderer or murderers really were.. It seems to have everybody guessing” he said with a smirk.
Skora Gin was still feeling grateful for the bottles Agis provided from his wares during the trip to the city. Heth queried being obviously agitated: “I thought you were with us, and all of a sudden our merchant friend is just gone, how come?”
“Well I am thankful for the company on the trip here, but really I don’t think I am much of a fighter or really an adventurer either – or into solving crimes committed by very dangerous people for that matter.” More quietly Agis continued: “But I have two new-made friends who would be. Come and meet them on the alley behind the potter’s shop down the street in a half-hour, and I will provide the drinks for courage on your next adventure, ok?”
Without a moments hesitation Skora, having fond memories of Agis’ merchandise, agreed: “That is a done deal then.” Others gave each other looks of a suspicious sort, but Agis was out the door before anyone got anything else said on the matter.
Dietrich was wary: “I still don’t know if I trust that fellow much, it could be a trap you know”. Heth disagreed and said something to the effect that the friendship they forged with him is something worth believing in, while Waldor just kept quiet and observed the reactions of others. “Well, I for one am not going to miss having more samples from Agis extraordinary stock,” Skora said and that seemed to settle the matter for now.
So soon after finishing their drinks they went out to meet the adventurer candidates. There was Agis with a sneakily-behaving man and a scavenger-looking dwarf.
“Why couldn’t you just bring them in?” Dietrich asked right away, obviously uncomfortable with dark alley ways in a big city he was suspecious of (after all it was the city of Ulric, a rival of sorts of Sigmar).
“Some of us really prefer privacy. And we are in better safe here than in there if that’s what you are worried about.” Dietrich just scoffed. Heth was marginally less confrontational: “So you do most of your business in the alleys after dark?”
“I know what you imply, but not all of us have the luxury of being very picky with our business contacts.” Agis gave that smirk again that seemed to evoke clear signs of irritation on Dietrich’s face.
The human introduced as Rudel seemed to be nervous with incessant fidgeting while standing only on his toes and his eyes never staying on one spot more than a blink. The dwarf though dirty seemed to have some inherent sophistication as he introduced himself more properly as one excavateur Gimgund of the Stonehammer clan. This showed also in his posture and his gaze that had the cordiality of a court gentleman.
“So you are looking for some adventure, eh?” Skora began.
Agis had evidently met these two through a business action and had promised to help these fellows along. The dwarf seemed to be genuinely into adventuring, while the group got the impression that the roguish man was more interested just getting out of the city – maybe someone was after him or a ‘business’ had gone sour or the city guard had gotten too interested in his person. Many possibilities seemed all just as likely with Rudel – he was a jovial fellow but didn’t ever seem to reveal anything about himself.
Eckhardt and Teth-Ro Seagleam joined the ever-enlarging group at their regular tavern later that night. The spirits were high and acquintances were forged into friendships. However, Waldor seemed a little suspecious about Rudel, and Dietfried probably too, but he was more focused on eyeing Teth-Ro very coldly. If she noticed she didn’t show it. The haughty elves and the ale-liking dwarves had constant racial banter between them, but that was light-hearted and everyone was really enjoying themselves in the end.