A Matter of Discretion

Act 1: The King is Near

A Matter of Discretion

Scene 1:

The heroes of the established Society Against Corruption in Krovas (SACK), being Louis the Agent, Lorenzo the Bright Mage and Drowsin the SwordMaster, are assembled at the summons of Aelfred “the Half-dead” Lord Father of Sigmar in the Krovas environs. These established heroes are joined by Garcia Ramirez the investigator, another contact that has been referred to Aelfred.

This harsh churchman explained that he was hiring the characters to investigate and if possible retrieve Ionnes Krieger, the famed witchhunter, who had disappeared into the forests several days travel outside of Krovas while investigating a letter from the village priest stationed there, also a member of SAC. Aelfred produced the letter and asked the characters to take up the mission on behalf of SACK, the parent organization to the smaller, less senior group in Krovas. He agreed to equip them but reminded them of the healthy monies they had already received through their SACK assignments. The question of compensation was shelved.

The characters discussed hiring henchmen but decided against it on the grounds that Ionnes had ridden in with 10 men and it had not helped him.

Aelfred funded their purchase of horses and they set out for the village of Stregovich. After several days of rainy, muddy riding they spotted a mysterious man in a tree, dressed like a wealthy peasant. He taunted them a few times and when Lorenzo opted to shoot a bolt of flame at him, the entire tree was consumed, leaving no trace of the Man in the Tree’s body.

Next they found a clearing, marked with pagan stones set irregularly into the earth. Six women had been hung here, no more than two weeks ago: Two crones, two matronly types, a young woman and a girl. They cut down the bodies, inspecting them, finding signs of torture and that the young woman had been recently pregnant and given birth. The older women were afflicted with a strange firmness, almost as if their flesh was extra –hard. Sensing they were close to the village now, they pressed on, after incinerating the bodies.

Only now did they have an odd feeling about the letter and glancing at it again, Drowsin the Elf recognized the acrostic hidden in the letter’s left column: THE KING IS NEAR. This cryptic declaration meant little to them.

Arriving in Stregovich, they found a quiet little town that was decorated with black tree sigils, even the ancient temple of Sigmar was carved with these sigils and had just had the holy Hammer emblems hung over them. The townspeople were a surly lot, but they were ultimately made welcome at the local inn, The Wandering Star. After some haggling and an uneventful meal, they explored the village, finding a squirrelly priest and a dying man with the same hard-flesh condition in his temple. They also glimpsed a strange-skinned child playing with the normal-looking village children. Despite all this, there was no sign of the witch-hunter or his troops.

Finally, after they retired for the evening, Garcia Ramirez slipped out to investigate the village on his own and heard a voice moaning from an outhouse. Hearing the voice croaking from the outhouse’s sewer, he summoned his companions and with them, he pulled out the head of Ioannes Krieger. As Krieger tried to explain his plight, three huge tree-creatures attacked the party, leading to a desperate battle. Finally, the party made an escape after slaying two of the tree-kin and found their horses bridled and saddled in the road outside the inn. Mounting up, Lorenzo turned his fire magics upon the village buildings, leaving a great deal of it burning in his wake. They rode in great fear through the tree draped night, and managed to escape with no further conflict back to Krovas.

Returning with Ioannes’s head to Aelfred’s office, the party questioned Ioannes with Aelfred. A disturbing detail emerged: the young woman hung as a witch was pregnant when hung—and had not been when found by Lorenzo et al. Only then did they realize that the King mentioned in the acrostic of Konrad’s letter referenced this strange spawn—the child of a witch and a pagan forest spirit, a god older than Sigmar by an unknowable factor. A demon made flesh walks the earth as foretold by the Dark Elf scrolls and the prophecies of the Star Children. Aelfred and Ioannes agreed that his destination would be Erengrad—he will seek the seat of power. Then Aelfred destroyed Ioannes forever by smashing his head with a large hammer.

Apparently, the new agents of the true Society Against Corruption are headed for Erengrad…

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TheDisgruntledPoet TheDisgruntledPoet

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