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The Enemy Within: Power Behind the Throne – Arrival in Middenheim (S3E03)

Captain's Log, 14-15 no, 17th maybe? Damn, my head has been really swimming recently... I'm aware of the irony. Vorgeheim, 2513.

Middenheim! A sprawling city, we could glimpse it all from the cliffs above. Several viaducts brought travelers to the entrances, while the magnificent temples, guilds and towers stood tall. The City of the White Wolf, the Fauschlag, the... "Scroll Tax"? I've never been this far up north before, truth be told, but I didn't expect this many taxes. The dwarfs that needed to fix a wheel told us about the, erm, "dwarf tax" but we hadn't heard anything about a witchery tax. Nor did a passing wizard, a proper old fellow in a robe with a long beard, as he ranted at us for a bit about it. Claimed that it was persecuting "individuals of a superior pers-", wait, perspacious? No, per- smart people of the highest order. We thanked him and moved towards the gate. I wasn't against having a decent rest. One not on the deck of a ship this time, even if there is a "Crate and Cart Tax" in the way.

The guards at the gates figured The One out pretty quickly. They checked all of our equipment and found the sulphur balls. I suggested afterwards that she should have claimed to have been addicted to snuffing them, but she told me that "would be the most wizardly thing of all!". I imagine there's a boat tax but... oh I can't even complete that sentence. Never mind. First, we needed to deliver that heavy, cumbersome crate to the right address. A Mr. Sharlach, I think. The people here are really quite to the point and blunt with their answers. I guess they want to move quickly through these cramped, busy streets. It didn't put me off too much as we got directions quickly. Brought us to a large building with a locksmith's beneath. Outside on the door was the symbol of Ulric and boarded windows. Inside, I feared that we would walk into another murder plot.

I asked a young man about all this and he said that witch hunters had found a Chaos cult, raided the place and burned the bastards. Good work all around. Phew, I thought it was the Sons again. The lad guessed that if the witch hunters were still around they would be in the Graf's palace. He also warned us about being wary of Chaos and the "enemy within". We're definitely wary of Chaos but there's no enemy within any of my crew! Nonsense. The desire to figure out what we were actually delivering was too strong. We made our way to The Templar's Arms. Not a bad little place. The only real problem I had were that elf and young woman that sat at our table and stared at us awkwardly while we drank. Good Sigmar, that was strange!

The lady serving our food and drink was very pleasant, Renata was her name. Not Renate, RENATA. That confused me for a good hour. The Emperor's sickness is getting worse, and the mutant protection law has sparked riots and murders throughout our beloved land. I also figured out that Middenheim was built by dwarfs. Makes perfect sense when you look at the roundness of some of the buildings... You can imagine that they aren't too happy with the recent taxes. Oh, and apparently the viaducts are easily collapsed with a series of intricate mechanisms. I just hope we're not here when that happens. Being trapped with all these people would be utter madness if Chaos was involved.

The letter with the crate was addressed to Oldenhaller. Same man who gave us that job involving the tainted jewel. I assumed foul play with our delivery, of course, so you can imagine my surprise when we found a perfectly normal scabbard, a pewter tankard, a drunkard's journal, and several other items. Nothing magical or sinister. I still don't quite understand it. Maybe we've just gotten lucky and avoided a Chaos plot? Hopefully. We'll take whatever semblance of order and sanity we can get. Our plan for the rest of the day was as follows: inform the eminence in the Temple of Sigmar of the incident in the stone sword shrine, deliver the Grand Theogonist's letter to Ar-Ulric, High Priest of Ulric, and buy some sulphur balls. I almost forgot about the first one until The One pointed out my foolishness. It must be the ale, or the weather... something's been messing with my head. I'm usually not THAT forgetful.

The sulphur was surprisingly easy to get. I had assumed there would be a whole process involving several clerks before you could even look at it. It was simply a matter of just going into the Alchemist and Wizard's Guild and buying it from the wizard there. He complained about the taxes, higher prices of paper, the sort of thing you quickly learn to expect. It was easy for him to complain, those sulphur balls cost an arm and a leg! This city seems to bleed your coin purse with every step. He was also very, very insistent about The One joining the guild. I was half tempted to strike him and make him join the doctor's guild, as something for the students to practice on. Alas, those days of wanton brawling are gone now. The Temple of Sigmar was tall and glorious, as it should be. The eminence of the temple, I forget his real title, was distraught when I brought him the dire tidings. He absolutely insisted that I see Ar-Ulric right away, and handed me a letter of introduction.

It was a good thing to have, I'm not sure that I could have persuaded the knights outside his estate otherwise. He wasn't in the Temple of Ulric but, and I am ashamed to admit it, it was even more magnificent than our own temple. A strange but imposing hybrid of castle and temple, with a twenty foot tall statue of Ulric and a fantastic echo inside as well. A cleric once received a vision of Ulric standing where it would be built and, well, here we are. Anyway, yes, Ar-Ulric wasn't in the temple but rather his own estate. He was very wary of us but the letter soon calmed him down and he was thankful. Wouldn't look The One in the eye though. I guess he's just shy around women. What? It might be because of her direct connection to Sigmar? I guess that does make more sense. Good work Harbull!

Werner was spotted by an old friend of his, Kirsten Jung. Lady Jung, with her other noble friends, invited Werner, The One, Harbull and I to her wedding dinner. Or something like that. I hope she realizes that these are the only clothes we have. On the other hand, it is free food and drink and it'll save us money for the festival. So far we've heard talk of elf gymnasts, a martial tournament, an archery competition, some sort of magic show and even a minotaur! The last one may just be three dwarfs wearing a large fur coat and a bull's head. I look forward to finding out.

Oh, and this time we're showing up to the party an hour late!
Johann Dasbuut.

 

... I have been informed by crew members that I have been mistaken in certain areas of my account. In an attempt to fix this, I would like to say the following: "I, Johann Dasbuut, do fully admit my own fault in claiming the discovery of the dwarf construction when it was, in fact, The One's recanting of the history of Middenheim that brought it to light. Erm, sorry.

Oh, and Ar-Ulric lives in the Graf's palace rather than his own estate. I, ah, must have assumed from the luxury of the Temple of Ulric that he owned his own estate."

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