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The Enemy Within: Carrion Up the Reik (S3E01)

Captain's Log, 29th of Summerzeit, 2513.

Well, shite.

I leave the Devil May Care for a year and a day and this happens.

The morning began with Werner, The One, Renate, Wolfgang and I arriving in Kemperbad to rendezvous with our ship's doctor, Harbull. It was good to see them all again, and a pleasure to see our vessel swimming like a sailfish through the Reikland rivers. I had dreamed of experiencing this again while stationed in Tilea, growing bored of lazing about in its blistering sun quickly. I thought, as first mate of Captain Durer, that we would be fighting some sort of conflict on the sea and shores of Remas. For a long time, the only tide we fought seemed to be the flow of ale and wine in "Lo Studioso Furbo".

I won't lie, it was good to speak with Werner and the women definitely enjoyed our company. Wine, ladies, gambling, wine, ladies, brawl with locals, ladies and then, as fate would have it, a cult conspiracy! While enjoying our drinks, we found that one of our company grew pale and slumped on the table. We knew a poisoning when we saw one, so we chased that damned innkeeper's servant all over Remas. Many squads were sent after us but we were ready for some fighting. It was glorious. Fists were swung aplenty, many thugs and killers rendered toothless and bloody! Found the bastard eventually in a wealthy estate with a lush garden. The ensuing duels with his master, the noble of the house, and his guards would have taken down less spirited fighters. However, by Sigmar, no one poisons our friend "Sawbones" Otto without retribution!

After the fighting was done, we told the scoundrel to reveal the rest of the cult or face our wrath. He seemed greatly confused by this and asked if we were Romero's men. Romero? He then died from his wounds. We stood around for a moment, baffled, before quietly returning to the inn. Later that night, a beautiful young women snuck into our room with a large sack of coin. We thought it was a peculiar assassin weapon but admired the creativity. She actually just wished to speak with us. The poisoning had apparently gone completely wrong. The poisoned cup was meant to have been given to a noble at the table next to us, that fellow named Romero. Apparently he and, what was her name... Julia? I can't remember exactly. Regardless, they were dabbling in romantic affairs which angered the man we ended up stabbing. We agreed to be silent about the whole incident, in return we were paid generously and avoided being arrested. All in all, it was a good year.

Where was I? Kemperbad! Thank you Harbull. So we all had finally got back together to continue our merchant business, return the Devil May Care to its rightful owners, and perhaps finally bring Ludwig to an opera in Middenheim. Renate and Wolfgang seemed, ah, slightly anxious when we approached them but I'm sure that was just from the excitement of meeting the crew. Work came quickly in the form of a well dressed and confident noble named Matthias Blucher. He assumed we were a highly skilled crew and offered us a job delivering crates of porcelain to Nuln. He was right! We took the job and were directed to the office of a Max Wagner. The clerks didn't even lift their gazes, they were so absorbed in an utter nightmare of papers and statistics. Max himself was all business, no bollocks. He handed me a document regarding the expedition. I quickly handed it to Harbull. I lost track of what Harbull was saying after mentioning the "first party" twice. It was considered satisfactory and the deal was struck. Finally, a proper excuse to steer our glorious ship in the rushing tributaries of the Reik!

We walked back to the docks and found that the shipment was already being loaded on board. This was all being overseen by a scarred man maybe slightly bigger than even our marine. His name was Klaus and if you told me he was a fearsome ogre, I'd believe you. A messenger approached us, with a fancy invitation to Blucher's anniversary that night! Blucher also recommended that we'd spend our time beforehand at a tavern called The Swan's Neck. The One barely suppressed a laugh when she heard the name. I need to ask her why at some point...

Good place. Excellent food and drink and the servants were alarmingly quick with your order. It was one whole crown for a drink though, so you can imagine the sort of wealthy folk that would prefer this place.

One such man, a big fellow with a curled mustache, strolled over to our table and tried to bore us to death with a recent story about an excellent bargain. It made me feel much more confident about my own storytelling skills. Well, to be fair, he did tell us of the festival in Middenheim that was going to happen in a few weeks. Claimed that everyone worth a damn was going to be there, obviously including himself, and that it was much better than the one in Bogenhafen. I'm not sure how you can top a three legged goblin, so I'm definitely interested. I'm sure Ludwig would love it too.

The next visitor to our table was a young fellow who seemed like he was going to burst with giddiness. Mentioned dwarfs undermining the foundation of Castle Wittgenstein and causing it to crumble. I couldn't even begin to question this before he was off to another table. He came back a bit later and gave us another theory. Beast men exist thus there are fish men nibbling at the bottom of a rock? Wait a- and he was gone again.

The last man we met was Otto Gerber, who gravely warned us about the sort that the Bluchers deal with. He didn't say much but it was enough to rekindle that old paranoia. We agreed that we'd ask a few questions in the morning but we were currently occupied with the anniversary.

We tried to look our best. Harbull with his jewelry and tiara, Wanda with a red dress and eye patch embroidered with the sign of the holy hammer, Renate and Wolfgang took spare clothing and Werner and I settled for our mercenary uniforms. Sure there were bloodstains but they were, erm, colorful. The beginning of it was ridiculous. We showed up on time, were all announced, and the rest of the guests had the cheek to be an hour late and THEN smirk at us about it! I was happy for Blucher and his wife but it was awful. Nobody wanted to stick around for a conversation, always needing to urgently speak to another noble, and you can be sure I wasn't eating any of the lobster.

One smug git from Tilea gave us an awful look. Reminds me of the fool who hit Werner on the back of the head with a book of Mercopio after we loudly praised Sigmar. He was lucky he got away with only a broken nose, otherwise we would have made sure he was shitting pages for a week! Another merchant, as out of place as ourselves, complained about the Bluchers and the Oldenhallers. Ah the Oldenhallers, that was such a long time ago... we wished him the best and soon left the party.

MY SHIP, MY SHIP WAS ON FIRE. A whole crowd had gathered with buckets but only a roaring wave would be enough water to save her then! We got on board and snatched what we could from the maw of the flames. Harbull lost his supplies, The One recovered her spell book, the boarding axes were saved and Wolfgang grabbed the journal along with his own belongings. The Devil May Care was now a husk and it contents were ruined. It was worse than any number of daemons. The dark gods were laughing. Blucher was shocked and nobody had a clue about who could have caused this. Harbull, luckily, pointed out that we were entitled to a repaired vessel if their crew damaged it. I guess she will be revived in time but what we lost is still painful to think about.

I guess we'll have to find the culprit and beat some answers out of him. The more things change...


Johann Dasbuut.



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