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Surprise, Fear, and Ruthless Efficiency - a Story of Witch Hunters

Discussion in 'Role Playing' started by Casavay, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. Saraph Midas Casavay Well-Known Member

    Sun was setting over Dietershafen, the orb of heavenly fire furiously blazing its last for the day. The good citizens of the Empire, fine servants of their pantheon all, went to their deserved, blessed rest after a day of toil in Sigmar’s name. And it was their share to take, for only through the labour of its citizens could the Empire of Man thrive.

    But some were always looking to take more than their share. For these, there were those always willing to take less than their allotted rest. Gods bless the men of the city guard, ever vigilant so that the people had less to fear, and the criminal scum would find no easy prey. Truly, to have such eagles resting atop the city’s gates and watch over all, this was the bounty of civilisation.

    How unfortunate it was, then, when the supposed vigilants were they who became guilty of greater crimes. Guilty of stooping beneath the standards of even the lowest of peasants, to betray the trust Sigmar had in them all. Unfortunate for them: for even the eagles were not the most vicious of wardens. A fell eagle’s claws were easily cut, provided the greater good was diligent and ever perceptive. And which combination of traits described the Holy Templars of Sigmar better?

    On a hill before Dietershafen, overlooking the port city, this Marienburgesque capital of commerce and concourse, sat a small wagon that, to the casual onlooker’s eye, might be confused with a simple traveller’s cart. Perhaps that of a merchant looking to peddle his odds and ends. Perhaps a family forced onto the track by misfortune. Perhaps even a band of mercenaries. A man sat upon a simple wooden beam affixed to the front – it did not provide comfort, but it was better than trying to balance on the cart’s edge when directing the beast of burden driving it. Standing a few feet to the side, two women quietly talked as the taller and greyer of the two glanced through a looking glass, her face the ideal of a taskmistress’ dismay, carved in marble. The shorter, meanwhile, directed her attention to her arming sword, holding it in front of her, examining the blade for wear and warping.

    The man, Heide his name, he watched them quietly, a crossbow of Tilean make on his hip and almost hidden by the slouched way he was sitting there. He wondered what the watcher-woman thought, but he knew who she was observing. He also idly, unspeakingly, queried how foolish the arms-woman was to clearly let her attention drift so close to that draconian employer, but she predated his involvement with the Order of the Silver Hammer – and to be honest before the Hammer, she scared him, too.

    The tall one – zu Ehrenkamp – was observing a small throng of people entering Dietershafen. People that she trusted a bit further than she could throw them – people motivated by duty, honour, and perhaps most of all, copious crowns. “The agents have entered the venue”, announced the older woman, prompting her aide – Kraenzer – to lower the blade, balanced on fingers. “I can see that from here, Ma’am”, she responded drily and earned a punishing gaze for it. Heide winced as he heard the nonchalant disrespect.

    But blatant sardony aside, it was true – the disjointed troupe walked past the city gates under guardsmen’s gazes most mistrusting. Their task was to investigate accusations of heresy – heresy of an unclear nature but based accusations nonetheless – among the guard. The risk of a cult so well-entrenched, the Templar had stressed to them, could not be ignored. But she was no burner of cities and so, subtlety was to be employed.

    As their most recent clue served the rather overt (and unsightly) poisoning of the local Manannan head priest Dietmar Krugmeister. The site of the crime – the local shrine – was still rather untouched, for none dared disturb his body. But to move in a large, singular pack would only attract the same attention zu Ehrenkamp was attempting to avoid by not showing her face down there with the masses to heretical eyes. Certainly, a sharp mind might find other avenues of information…
    @BuriasDempsey @Colapse @Jorimel @Kalle @Maleth
  2. Jorimel Jorimel Well-Known Member

    Tancred was footsore, or so he claimed to any that would listen. It was a part of his blending in to the local populace, to seem less than he was - just another tired, aging man with a burden called Life. And a basket of firewood on his averagely broad shoulders.

    "A delivery for the Black Eagle," he said, tipping the basket's rim to allow the suspicious gate-guard to examine the goods inside. Bundles of meticulously split kindling, long-burning iron oak and sweeter Fool's Cherry good for smoking the curing meat of swine to keep away the flies. "Just as you can see. If I keep Mistress Bauer waiting there will be no drink for me. Would you keep a poor man from his beer?" And so with a little more, mostly good-natured grumbling, he made his way to the inn. Keeping an eye on his fellows to make sure that they got the general gist, or at least the general direction, without shepherding anyone.

    Frau Bauer - Wilhelmina only to her two stout sisters who brewed both the inn's beers and a decent stout - had become the proprietoress of the Black Eagle Inn after the death of her husband, Hans, serving his country as many good men had done. Widow Bauer was a pious woman. She was also too fond of her new-found financial independence to take up any offer of a second marriage from any of the town burghers, being, as she said, still in mourning for her dear Hans. Another of the freedoms allowed by widowhood was the keeping in contact with one Hildegard zu Ehrenkamp. An old friend from her school days, or so she maintained, a distant cousin on her mother's side with whom she occasionally exchanged news of home. A little hamlet in the wilds of the country that you couldn't possibly have heard of. Why, hadn't she been amazed at the size of the buildings when she first came here, some even two stories ... Frau Bauer had a way about her that Tancred had been briefed to bypass. The inn was a place where he and his fellow agents would be able to sleep without the fear of a dagger in the earhole while sleeping, or a particularly bad pint.

    Stomping past the small crowd at the gate, jostling citizens not canny enough to get their hands on the wary countryman's purse, he sidestepped a puddle, stood aside from a rooting piglet and made his way over the drier side of the street to the inn's trademan's door.

    "Frau Bauer!" Hands full, he knocked as politely as he could with one boot. "I bring cordwood!" The phrase meant something to the two women. He didn't know what. He didn't need to know.
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  3. Jakob kept his head down and tried to look as miserable and disinterested as the rest of the common rabble, all the while trying to keep Tancred in view so he could follow him at a distance to the inn they were suppose to use. Though it was made easy withe large bundle of wood the man carried, marking him out from the rest of the crowd. Jakob's hood was down but he kept his cloak closed, keeping his usual attire out of sight as well as his tools from the potentially heretical guards watching over the masses shuffle in through the gates. What he really wanted to do was go and head over to the Church where the old priest had died and start investigating now, but he needed to work with the others if they were going to uncover just what is really going on and that needed planning between all of them. From what they were told, Frau Bauer's inn will be safe enough. He even liked the name of the place, The Black Eagle Inn, even if it was ironic that Eagles usually preyed on serpents. Tancred strode up past people with the grace of an Ox, Jakob would slink and dodge his way through easily even with the muddy ground till he finally caught up with him at the door while he said the specific pass phrase, keeping quiet himself for now.
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  4. Colapse Colapse Forum Beta Tester

    "What a sorry excuse for a town, my cows live in a better place than this. It is no wonder that the people in the Empire are so sick and tired of it all," Alain de Beaumont grunted as he walked past the gates and took it all in. His words weren't directed at anyone, but they were loud enough for the people around him to hear it. What these peasants thought didn't concern the Bretonnian in the slightest, however the Witch Hunter was adamant in her wishes that this task was done with all the subtlety possible, so the knight of Couronne had no other choice but to obey.

    He was in somewhat foul mood, having to leave his prized warhorse behind on the hill in the hands of that bloke Heide so he didn't draw that much attention, Alain had to satisfy himself with the simple looks of a traveling foot-knight. He also left the shield and mace back there, the shield itself carrying his own heraldry would be an instant giveaway to anyone with a little more brain that a noble justicar was present in this Lady-forsaken place. And while Alain seriously doubted that anyone of these local dregs even knew how to read, yet alone was familiar with Bretonnian noble houses and their symbols, but full cooperation was needed for him to show that he was at least willing to listen to zu Ehrencamp and follow her orders. After all, he gave his oath to follow her and help her smite the heretics. While this oath was only tertiary in his mind, below both the oaths given to his King and the Questing oath he partook, the knight wasn't about to go back on his word and disobey the elderly woman.

    And so, with the thick travelling cloak wrapped around his body, Alain walked into the town of Dietershafen intent on making this stay as short as possible.

    His new compatriots were close but he kept the distance away from them - in truth, it wasn't hard to pretend that he didn't know them, couple of shady individuals that had no place on a royal court were even now heading for the local house of ill repute, or a simple inn, it's not like there was much difference in these terms from Alain's point of view. They most likely intended to spend the hard earned money on liquor, to perhaps lend them courage in the upcoming struggle against the servants of the Dark Gods. Whatever the reason was, the Bretonnian had no intention of going there with them when there were more clues to follow.

    Instead, he adjusted his armor and headed towards the Temple of Manann, the place where that priest was poisoned. While the code of chivalry prevented him from lying outright, Alain knew he could pass as a pilgrim knight of some kind that just happened to be passing through here when this tragedy struck, so he would be honor-bound to see what has happened and offer a prayer for the lost soul. Due to the fact that his own lands often suffered raiders from the sea - his own task at the court was protecting the realm from these invaders - there was a shrine to Manann located near his castle and he knew couple of prayers and chants in case some overly-inquisitive acolyte starts asking too many questions.

    So he slowly marched towards the temple, intent on finding for himself just what exactly happened to this high priest and if there were any witnesses to this foul murder.
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  5. Maleth Maleth Subordinate

    .As Elise zu Keller made her way past the gate, the attire of her Order preventing her from so 'happening' to be a commoner in the eyes of anyone, heretic or not. And it wasn't as if she felt that she could 'get away' with trying to pass herself off as one of the commons anyways, not without risking a chain of event that would end embarrassingly at best and at worse end with her suffering considerably.

    The act of not hiding herself as possessive of magic also afforded her a bit of space in the crowd, her staff being as much a tool to 'assist' her walking and clear the way, as a prop to make her seem not a threat to anyone. But all in all, she was aware that her rather 'overt' arrival meant that she could serve as the bait for heretic's eyes looking for threats to their plans, unlike those who could manage to pass themselves off as people not worth bothering.

    So, seeing that the 'footknight' was heading to the Temple, and the two 'commoners' heading for the Black Eagle , the Wizard made her way towards the seat of the city's leadership, as feet walked upon the streets.
    After all, she could always claim to be visiting the local lords for providing advice, or looking for those that just like her, had come into the gift of magic and now needed guidance. Just in case someone started asking questions about why she was here, at this very time.
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  6. Kal Kalle Arkhona Vanguard

    Alban Foerster knew that when you could not enter unnoticed, your second best option was to control how you were noticed. The large Ostlander had the sort of physicality that would draw anyone's eye walking the street. He also meant to enter the city of Dietershafen armed. For these reasons, the former Bounty Hunter had elected to channel the olden days and embraced his old profession for the task at hand. Sacred quests and honorable intentions could be distrusted: there was a certain honesty to men who worked for gold that city-folk would understand. It was for this reason that Herr Foerster elected to carry his dagger and pistol --- within reach, but covered by a travel cloak --- and leave his unsubtle axe behind. He was going to present himself at the shrine as a manfinder hoping for monetary reward for the discovery of the priest's killer. This should provide enough cover for him to investigate the scene of the crime and keep an eye on the Bretonnian, as well.

    The Knight was frustrated.

    This amused Herr Foerster.

    The Herbalist and the Stalker followed the Templar's directions to Widow Bauer's Black Eagle Inn. A veritable home-away-from-home and a safe haven for the Templar's cohorts, the Black Eagle Inn would serve them well. In the meantime, Herr Foerster would simply have to look out for the eager Knight and his antics. Meanwhile, the Healer was off on her own misadventure. Herr Foerster wished her well, but he had more pressing matters to attend to than watching over the green-clad woman. He plowed through the crowd easily, his large frame resisting the accidental shoving of the milling crowd and discouraging the deliberate ones. The Woodsman made good speed through the peasantry, catching up some steps behind the Knight and following him toward the shrine.
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