17.12.2522 – 22.12.2522
The party was lost, beastly lost. They were supposed to be heading to Middenheim, only a day or two through the Drakwald said the inhabits of Pritzstock. Gunter, apparently now a master guide, boasted to the party that he knew a back road through the forest (in reality Gunter had never been in a forest in his entire life, or even left Altdorf) the party, although hesitant, foolishly believed the self confident grey wizard and heeded his “wisdom”.
Several days later they found themselves desperately following back roads in an attempt to get back onto the highway. They had spent the nights staying at various tiny farming communities, palisaded and guarded by wearied eyed militia men. Each night they had to convince the occupants of the hamlets that they were not bandits and it was a hard sell indeed for who else in their right mind wandered around heavily this far in the Drakwald? They dreaded the thought of a night camped outside, unfortunately for them they were not able to convince a set of occupants who turned them away from their palisade at crossbow point.
They were forced to spend that night huddled in a fireless camp site, taking turns on watch to make sure they weren’t assaulted in their sleep. The following morning they were attacked by a group of beastmen in which they were forced to defend against. They once again set out along a back road where they ran into a travelling merchant by the name of Engelbert Lancier. After Englebert deduced that they party were not bandits he let them browse his wares, no-one was that fussed on his materials but Erika bought herself some snares to catch rabbits with.
The party noted Englebert’s excessive entourage of mercenaries and he replied saying that a lot of travellers have gone missing along the road as of late. The party was being eyed off by a skinny, weedy looking rogue under Englebert’s command but chose not to rise to his taunts (this was in fact ex party member Theophilus Glaser , he didn’t know anyone in the current group but used to heckle everyone he came across anyway) and they asked the merchant how far they were from the road.
Engelbert said they were around two days from the Altdorf-Middenheim road and that there was a nearby town by the name of Sweet Marrow that they could stay at, the party were relieved that they could stay somewhere safe for the night and bid the eccentric merchant fair well.
The party arrive at Sweet Marrow and were greeted with open arms and friendly smiles, welcome relief from the nominally hostile natives of the Drakwald, even more surprising the town didn’t even have a palisade, as if it was a little heaven on earth. Sweet Marrow were holding a festival to honour Taal and Rhya and were overjoyed that they had guests, the town turned out in their fullest to greet their new found friends.
They were promptly greeted by Paul Kroeger, the town mayor and were shown the town’s smithy, the mayor keen to get some currency running through the town. The Smithy was amazing, they had a huge variety of goods available with a huge emphasis on weapons and armour, their collection’s range rivalled that of a big city Blacksmith, not a country blacksmith who fitted horse shoes for a community of under fifty. Jen’s was so impressed he bought a fine quality longsword. The party noticed a dilapidated manor on a hill overlooking the village, when Paul was questioned about it he said it was haunted and that people stayed away from it. When Paul was asked about the high quality goods in the blacksmith he just smiled and said the smithy was the pride of the town, when questioned about the lack of defences he smiled and said they didn’t need it, community spirit kept the Beastmen away. When he was questioned on why everyone was happy he smilingly replied, “Where always happy at Sweet Marrow, especially when we meet new friends”.
Paul offered the group free accommodation as honoured guests at the local inn and the party agreed. The drinks were fast and free and it wasn’t long before the party were getting tanked, dinner was a hearty and rich meat stew followed up by some spicy Bretonian wine, all on the house.
The party continued to drink late into the night put Gunter stopped early, much to the protest of their friendly hosts. Later in the night the group excluding Gunter became heavily fatigued, there eyes became weepy and red rimmed and they started to slur their speech far more than what was normal for intoxication. Gunter, who didn’t partake in the last few drinks knew what had occurred, they had been poisoned! The young grey wizard played along with his hosts and mimicked his fellow party members condition as not to draw attention too themselves.
The group excused themselves and the owner of the establishment showed them to their separate rooms, Gunter protested saying that he was “afraid of the dark” (Gunter is a spindly meek looking teenager) and wished to sleep in the same room as Erika. The innkeeper shrugged and agreed and showed him to his room.
The inkeeper closed the door and Gunter who was finally out of earshot went to inform Erika of what happened but the thief collapsed on the floor comatose, the full effects of the poison sinking in. Gunter decided to stay in the room, if he disappeared he’d cause alarm amongst the townsfolk and they might do something to his friends so he decided to stay put and fake it, that way the townsfolk would assume he was poisoned as well and Gunter would gain the advantage of surprise when the time was right.
Later that night the townsfolk came for the party, they stripped their weapons and armour and took them to the manor in the hill and chained them too the ground in a dark basement. Gunter had managed to feign illness and he began to chip away at the stone holding the chain with a dagger he had smuggled on his person. The cellar was pitch black and Gunter couldn’t even see past his nose, yet still he chipped and chipped away in a desperate attempt to stay alive.
Erika awoke but was heavily groggy and unable to form a complete sentence. Roland awoke after an hour and heard Gunter chipping away, Gunter filled him in on the details and the huge man, despite significant fatigue from the poison, lifted himself up and with a mighty heave pulled the iron chain from it’s support and into freedom. Gunter listened with his mouth agape, he’d been at this for an hour and Roland gets up and in thirty seconds he was free?!
Roland’s hands were still cuffed in iron manacles but he was free too investigate the room, he stumbled over to Gunter and unsuccessfully attempted to free him. Gunter was no convinced he was going to be down here forever and fell into a panic attack. Roland moved to free Erika but only managed to accidently grope her breats. Erika was not impressed.
The ex soldier then stumbled about the foul smelling room in search of an exit. In the process he managed to fall into a pile of body parts, run into some human carcasses hanging on meat hooks and a sausage making machine. Eventually he found a butchers table and a cleaver and shortly after found a large cellar door, unfortunately it was barred on the other side. Roland returned and freed Erika, in the process he fell backwards and onto the cleaver he had found, opening a viscous wound in his abdomen and dripping even more to the sticky red ichor floor.
Jens awoke and freed himself and Erika helped Gunter get free. Roland found a candle and Gunter cast a cantrip to light it and with illumination the group could get a visual on their surroundings. The room was made from cold grey stone, the floor was spatted with coagulated blood and various human corpses, male, female, adult and child hung from meat hooks. The corner of the room contained a pile of discarded limbs which Roland had fallen into earlier.
One section of the room contained a sausage maker with some freshly made salami ready for curing and the wall contained manacles in which to chain their victims for later use. The party had found themselves trapped in a butcher house of horrors and they were the next meal!