The Enemy Within

Psssst! Who? Me?

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful.

At the last coaching inn before Altdorf, the party had to change coaches. Garrett tried to mend the once sweet, now bitterly broken, relationship that he shared with the pin cushion coach driver, but it was a lukewarm affair at best.

Having arrived in the capital, they could see the Emperors Palace.

Our happy heroes alighted from the coach in one of the main squares. It was there that two cloaked figures, standing by a fountain, seemed to be watching the group. A wee urchin boy pestered the group, claiming the best tavern in town was just a copper coin away from his palm. Instead they asked about the cloaked figures. The boy seemed nervous. As the party headed to the tavern, the cloaked figures approached them. With a ‘wink wink nudge nudge’ they seemed to be signalling to Barrick.

Barrick, normally used to just seeing a middle finger sign, didn’t understand. The cloaked figures seemed confused. They retreated into a house at the beckon of a man with a large crossbow. When quizzed, the urchin boy recounted that the man was some sort of spy and that he spoke with a rough, almost inaudible voice. A deep scar ran around his neck.

For safety, they decided to go to a different tavern, but just before entering one, an old friend, Josef appeared. A drinking buddy of Reiner and Barrick (though Barrick was now a tea-total wuss), and a barge captain as well.

So instead, they all went to the docks area on Josef’s recommendation of a particular drinking hole.

And hole it was. Josef talked about the current state of affairs in the city. Tax problems with bridges and barges. It was mentioned in The Altdorf Truth.

After a few drinks in the tavern, it wasn’t long before trouble found them – again!

A rough looking gent entered the tavern as the Hooded Man heroes drank and talked about securing passage down the river to Bogenhafen. The office where Barrick was to present his fake identity was there. The original reason for coming to Altdorf was moot – the prince had left a few days prior to the parties arrival.

The scarred and moody gent sat in a corner. Josef spoke of him as being ‘bad news’. Known about the parts for causing trouble. Rather tired of trouble, the group kept their heads down.

It didn’t last long however. Two foppish nobles with their retinue of hired swords entered. The noble twats coerced and annoyed, and tried to get the party to react. The nobles bought the party drinks, but they weren’t for drinking, they were for spilling. Reiner copped on pretty quick to their attempts to antagonise the party, but played it super cool. Preempting a beer shower, he managed to avoid most of the drink spillage. Barrick and Garrett also went along with this, avoiding outrightly insulting the noble fools, and respectfully declining their offer of another round of drinks.

The rough looking ‘gent’ stood up, he was clearly part of this charade. He demanded they all stayput and accept the offer.

The group had no problem with insulting this creep. Reiner stood, a menacing figure, but this hoodlum was menacing enough in his own right. Reiner suggested that the thug take a hike unless he wants trouble. The company of guards suddenly didn’t seem so sure about the situation. The nobles looked on with interest. Either way, they wanted some ‘sport’.

The thug threatened Reiner and co. back. Bad idea. Barrick, who was sitting quietly until then, stood up. Barrick was an even more menacing figure than Reiner (partly due to height, and party due to a hit-every-branch-on-the-way-down look about him). Reiner stated that he was going to let the thug off lightly, despite the threats, but now that Barrick had to trouble himself by standing up, the thug was going to have to pay the price now. That hit home.

The thug suddenly looked uncomfortable and unsure. The fop-to-you-drop nobles tutted, and decided there was no sport to be had here. They all left together. Much merriment ensued from the locals when the troublemakers left. The group were heroes of the dingey little tavern for the night and drinks all round were announced, by Reiner (after much reluctance from the innkeep, they came).

Later the party left, and headed to Josef’s barge. On the way they noticed that they were being followed. Something strange happened then. Two cloaked figures were following, the two who had originally approached them in the square. But then those were assassinated with crossbow bolts!

The group searched the two, and found a tattoo on the chest of both of them. The tattoo was of a purple hand. They also had a letter with a message for Castor Leiberbraum, the person who Barrick was going to pretend to be. It seemed that Castor, was a member of this purple hand crowd. Whoever they are.

Not wanting to hang around and take the blame for the killings, the party quickly caught up with Josef, who was still drunkenly singing his merry way back to the barge. Oblivious to the deaths. They all boarded the barge and arranged a watch for the night, feeling a bit nervous.

In the morning, they would set off for Bogenhafen, where the legal office was for presenting the letter of identity of Castor.

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