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The Enemy Within: Power Behind the Throne – You Are Feeling Sleepy (S3E05)


Captain's Log, 21st of Vorgeheim, 2513.

Our drinking had returned us to the morning warmth of the Templar's Arms. Al had brought his good friend Rallane Laffarel, the court musician, to join us in our usual quaffing. From my conversations along the Reik, I had been taught to believe that elves were a bunch of snooty taffers with, at most, a barely concealed disdain for others. Rallane thankfully proved me wrong with his good humour. That's what made his sudden worries so frightful to me. Seeing an amiable man's face turn still and haunted like a grotesque statue always catches me off guard. Told me gravely to talk to Dieter and ask him about "the taxes and the feckin' dwarves".

The Graf's champion, like clockwork, told me that he thought the taxes were a good idea. The temples had too many gold crowns and the taxes would help this gross inequality, according to him. Oh and he spoke very fondly of the dwarves. Rallane also told me that said dwarves were giving him constant hassle as he, as a elf and minstrel of the Graf's court, MUST be responsible for the dwarf tax. Given our experiences, that sort of conspiracy sounded about right.

We were done with talking and went back to drinking. We moved to the park to continue getting thoroughly senseless. No funny business with actors, dwarves or minotaurs this time. We could finally drink in peace. Then, we realized, it would be hilarious if we went to see Dieter fighting after he got absolutely ruined by the ale last night. We eagerly yet unsteadily waltzed over to the champion's arena. Man could put up an excellent fight while hungover. He brought down a heavy mace on his opponent's shield and the fellow just gave up. Fair play. He was very happy to see us and it was a shame Werner wasn't there to evaluate his prowess. I think he went off drinking with that tattooed dwarf? Anyway, Dieter told us that he was happy to be champion but would like to retire soon and settle down with Jung. Again, I'm sure Werner would have had a nice word or two about that.

I asked him about the taxes. Same exact response. Better rehearsed than that Midsummer Knight swill. It was chilling, to say the least, as his eyes began more and more to resemble those of a fish. Glazed and unfocused. I asked him again, same response.

"But why?"
"Well I think the taxes are a great idea, look at all the money put towards the temples!"
"Surely though, a place of supplication for Sigmar deserves our gold crowns?"
"Well I think the taxes are a great idea..."

You get the gist. Eventually I felt a small tugging at my sleeve. I didn't hire that street urchin for anything so I rightfully assumed it was our doctor. It was a joke, Harbull! Please keep writing. Thanks. So he told me that it looked like Dieter had been hypnoticized? Hypnotized. Right. I tried clicking my fingers and clapping but Dieter just looked at me funny. Out of ideas, I asked Harbull what we should do. The idea became to invite him back to the inn, get him drunk, bring him to a private room and then let The One "fix" him. After that we could enjoy the barbarian show. Barbarian of Seville, that's the one! Tilean? Probably. We invited him and he agreed to appear at the inn later. We would have kidna- saved him sooner but that Knight Immortal graced us with his presence.

He took a liking to The One immediately. She took a disliking to him immediately. I wasn't ready for another Knight Unlimited lecture so I took a walk over to the arena heralds. Lied and said my name was Werner "Minotaur Slayer" Murmann and got him a slot for tomorrow afternoon. He would have done the same. Got back just in time to hear about how his presence prevented Middenheim's destruction. So I asked the Knight Ceaseless what could destroy Middenheim. Chaos, of course. He told me they always try to get in through the tunnels and sewers but valiant men at arms prevent their invasions.

The One eventually warded him off by planting the idea in his head that researching how to stop Chaos could make him a great intellectual. That'll buy us some time. Luigi Pavarotti was the next fellow we bumped into. Large, delightful Tilean man. Very charming if a little too forward with women. I personally envy his love of life. Harbull got to know him pretty well, as a fellow doctor. He had been tending to the Graf's son, a slow but well meaning kid. I can relate pretty well. Luigi told us that he required medication due to constant, repeating nightmares. Nightmares not caused by trauma but yet very disturbing and vivid. Now I could relate too much. No one should have to suffer visions of Chaos if they haven't delved into the abyss and seen such horrible truths.

He knew a fair bit about the art of hypnotism. Put The One in a right bad mood when she realized her art wasn't needed. We struck a deal: he would come over to the Templar's Arms and help Dieter get out of his trance. With our words we promised to keep it ethical and let the patient know, with our minds we conjured up ways to persuade Dieter that it was a doctor fixing a problem with his eyes. The plan actually went without any real problems. A nice change, to be honest. The excuse worked, Luigi believed us until the end... the hypnotism worked so well that even I was falling asleep! The One slapped me out of it pretty well. Maybe we should have just got her to slap Dieter instead...

Asked Dieter a few questions while he was in a trance. He was put under a spell, eh, a not magic one, two months ago on a show boat. It was by a young woman with red hair, a very beautiful Bretonnian named Charlotte. Why would you want the Graf's champion to, ha, champion the idea of these new taxes? Then it hit me. The Chancellor Sparson has been rumored to take a cut of the taxes. Perhaps he had hired Charlotte to do the deed to secure the new taxes? Luigi then removed the accursed trickery from his mind. Dieter was obviously furious with the kidnapping but that soon gave way to tremendous gratitude. Luigi gave us a look as soon as he figured out that Dieter didn't know. It worked out well in the end, right? Dieter told us that if anyone was up to no good, it was Gotthard Goebbels. I've seen him before, he's the head of the merchants. The One claims that she has seen him somewhere before Middenheim. I've seen a lot of sleazy bastards so I don't think I can be of great help singling him out.

I know that the Merchant's Guild greatly supports the taxes. I think Goebbels and Sparson might be in cahoots. What could you really gain from a small cut of the taxes though when you are ultimately going to end up causing mass migration, riots and chaos in the streets...

Chaos? Right, Chaos! Of course, they can't fight us with swords so they've resorted to coin instead! Those clever sons of bitches!

Forget the opera, we need t-

What, we missed it?

  • Johann Dasbuut

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