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The Enemy Within: Carrion Up the Reik pt 2 (S3E02)

Illustration: Nosferatu Zodd by vee209

Captain's Log, 10th of Vorgeheim, 2513.

Without a boat we were sitting ducks. Well, even ducks could swim all the way there! All we could do at that moment is gaze at the stars and lament the vessel that had helped smite the warpstone conspiracy. I was considering our options until Blucher quietly approached and offered us an alternative. It was very simple: bring a single, mysterious crate into Middenheim and we'd be paid well. It seems like a dabble in skulduggery, now that I say it aloud, but we were offered a generous amount. We scraped whatever crowns we could from the corpse of the Devil May Care. Like robbing a captain's watery tomb, it was! Bought ourselves a good array of arms and armour, components for the art of witchery, provisions and a storm lantern. I thought the last one sounded good and proper to own at the time.

We also bought ourselves passage on that large fellow's boat. The one with the long facial hair and even longer tales of trading deals? What was his na- Alex Eisen! Anyway, Eisen offered us a reasonable fee despite chortling at us asking for a brief job as crew members. Three other men, a priest of Sigmar and two acolytes, quickly hopped on board after ourselves. There were too many people for the cabins but Werner and I were fine with sleeping on the main deck. The priest, Father Marcus, was a good man. His trusting nature even extended to handing me the piece of a holy stone, the rock blade used once by our good lord Sigmar, and asking me to return it to its shrine. I was of course delighted to do so. I do not wear this hammer necklace only for show! Except for that one time in Tilea of course. Ah, that was a wonderful time. I've never seen so many angry Mercopiotes and Lucans (Luccineans?) at once.

I was also entrusted a letter to Father Carl, who was the caretaker of that same shrine. We eventually made it to Altdorf and from there had to make the rest of the journey on foot. The main problem, of course, was deciding on how to move our crate efficiently. We eventually settled on purchasing a hand cart. Horses were too expensive and our marine is a hardy fellow. The only problem I have, truthfully, is the way he belittles Harbu- no, that was not a remark on your height! Good Sigmar man, I'm on your side! Regardless, I will attempt to address Doctor Harbull by his proper title in future. Despite not having the speed and calming currents of the Reik under my feet, our journey to the shrine was without danger.

The worst thing we had to deal with was helping some dwarfs fix their cart's wheel. They can take a long time discussing how to improve the design, you see, which is good but makes repairing the damn thing a slow process. They told us that the taxes were raised in a fashion that unfairly persecuted dwarf citizens, which is why they decided to leave Middenheim. We found other migrants along the way, Reikland men and women, who claimed that packs of wolves were growing bolder and that militant cults of Ulric grew more intolerant. Cultists, why did it have to be cultists?

Our way to the shrine was heralded by a large stone, displaying both the symbols of Ulric and Sigmar. A sort of tree looking thing and a glorious hammer respectively. Now I normally would be fine with this place of worship being peacefully open to both faiths, but the cuts and scratches on the Sigmar symbol boiled my blood. I can't imagine how The One felt. We were greeted outside of the shrine by several Templars of the Fiery Heart. I had heard of their acts of valor but never seen them in person. Their suits of armour were crafted with such pride and detail. They reminded me of a beautiful figurehead on a prow I saw once... I believe that Bretonnian ship was called The Chivalric Steersman. At least, that's what they told me it meant in Reikspiel.

We hailed them as fellow Sigmarites and asked to see the shrine. They told us that a private ceremony was taking place and that it would require some time. I found this strange but these were blessed knights, possibly the most trustworthy order in the Empire! We were directed towards the dormitory and told to wait with the priests of Sigmar and Ulric. Sure enough, we approached the door, I knocked on it and held my symbol aloft for a prayer, and... nothing. No, I could hear... shuffling and a thud? Can we ever find a place with no problems? Perhaps one that solves ours instead? I tried the door.

Locked. I stepped aside to let Werner take care of it. His axe usually did the trick but this time its bite was not enough. It was only then I realized that Doctor Harbull was roaring drunk. He had been drinking for the entire journey. Like a 3 foot tall, slurring battering ram he broke the door off its hinges with a mighty strike of his fist! Grinning, he stared at our marine and yelled:

"THAT'S HOW YOU DO IT, BITCH!"

Two ferocious brutes, wearing wolf pelts and wielding notched swords, ran towards us frothing at the mouth. They wore little armour. I suppose they thought that Ulric's blessing and their savage strength would be enough. Several dead priests littered the floor while two priests of Ulric were bound and gagged. We met these bastards with a charge of our own. Harbull's dagger did little against the first one, but his mocking laughter was cut short when I turned his left elbow into a fountain of blood. Another warrior took his place and I barely weaved my way out of that flurry of slashes. Would have cut a man to ribbons if they struck true. Werner was holding his own easily, unsurprisingly. He's a sergeant for a reason! Soon a mercenary captain, I believe he told me. My legs were buckling in the fray. The strikes seemed to never stop. All I could do was raise my shield and delay the inevitable. I heard a sword being lifted by my right flank and I braced myself for death.

The fellow's right arm went flying! I assume to join the lower arm of his ally. Harbull had wisely decided to grab a sword and saved my life. Invigorated by this camaraderie, I helped Werner off his second foe by cutting deep into the cultist's groin. It was at this moment that I looked back and saw bolts of thunder from the trees. By the hammer, the knights were in trouble! I would have tried to let loose arrows on the sorcerers but all of this was quickly resolved with great explosions of fire and burning flesh. Need I tell you who was responsible? The battle was soon over after that. The One told there was eight of them rushing from the trees. Enough for two fireballs.

Emerging from the shrine, surprisingly near unscathed, was The Grand Theogonist himself! Werner got on one knee immediately for our pontiff, but I felt like collapsing at that point and fought to remain upright. He and Werner spoke for a bit and got on well. Supposedly, Werner resembles a well-regarded noble in Middenheim. I hope to meet this man and verify that claim at some point. Father Carl was killed by the Sons of Ulric, the extremists we had just fought, in the morning. I handed over the letter and returned the stone to its rightful place. Middenheim is next, I suppose. I had hoped that the end of the journey would be less gloomy, but it seems our work is never done.

Rest in peace father, and Ulric help those cultists if they cross us again!

  • Johann Dasbuut.

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