To: Berholt Eisenhauser, Captain, Imperial Roadwardens
From: Pieter Konrad, Sergeant, Imperial Roadwardens
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for my promotion to the rank of sergeant. The extra coin will certainly be useful and I can use the extra rank to good effect in our ongoing trials and tribulations. I’m not totally certain that all of my reports are reaching you, but I’m going to proceed as if they were.
After fighting our way to the top of the necromancer’s tower for the second time, we finally managed to face the fiend himself. As expected, he had surrounded himself with vile undead minions – several wights and a zombie ogre of all things. I don’t pretend to know a single thing about the undead, but our intrepid fieldwarden explained the differences to me between bites of the pies he always seems to have secreted around his person. While there is a lot of person to cache pies around, I keep thinking he has to run out eventually.
When we got to the top of the steps, we saw the necromancer standing on a raised dais with his undead followers at the base. There were runes glowing on the floor with an eerie green light and an overall aura of dread, and the smell of decay. For some reason both Dolan and Erik pulled up short, grew very pale and began to shake. I assumed that they had been stricken by some kind of evil spell. The fiend spotted us and drew himself up as if to speak to us – Axel called it “Evil Monologue #1”, whatever that means. Not being particularly interested in what he had to say, Adam and I opened fire. The glowing runes must have affected my aim as my shot went wide. Adam got in a solid hit though, and I saw the necromancer stagger under the force of the sling stone’s impact, although he remained on his feet.
I saw his hands raise and he began to mutter something in a strange language when suddenly we were engulfed by these black tendrils of energy that sprang from his fingertips and wrapped around us like coiling vipers. It had the benefit of stopping the shaking of Dolan and Erik as they both became very still, but the rest of us managed to avoid the effects of the spell and fight on. The wights and the ogres moved up to engage us while the necromancer began preparations for another spell. One of the wights managed to strike a telling blow on Ekhart and the zombie ogre struck me with a glancing blow. Dolan managed to shed the effect of whatever malicious power had held him back and announced his presence by striking the ogre. Axel managed to evade the melee and get a shot in at the necromancer, but he was protected by some sort of invisible barrier and managed to shrug off most of the effects. Adam got another powerful shot in at the necromancer which we could all see made him truly hurt – poetry I tell you, pure poetry. While Erik remained held by the spell, my return strike at the ogre accomplished little.
The melee went back and forth until Adam tagged the necromancer AGAIN with a beautiful shot. I think that it was at this point that he realized his life was in danger, so he took cover behind his summoning table. It was not quick enough to save him as a magic dart flew from Eckhart’s hand and bored in between his shoulder blades. It was at this point that he pointed his finger at the helpless Erik and cast his next spell. To my horror, I watched the very life force drain from Erik and flow towards the necromancer, binding up his wounds and restoring his vitality. Combat continued in this was for a while with Adam and Eckhart pummeling him with missiles, mundane and magical while he kept drawing life from Erik to heal the damage. Poor Erik could take no more and finally collapsed on the floor. Now it was my turn to experience the fiend’s attention. As Dolan and I battled the ogre and the rest of my stalwart companions battled the wights and the zombies which had joined the battle, I felt my strength and energy sucked away to feed the monster on the altar. I don’t know what would have happened to me, but the mighty Adam finally placed a sling stone into the left eye socket of the necromancer, dropping him in a heap on his own summoning table.
The wights and zombies collapsed, no longer animated by the will of the necromancer. The ogre lasted a little longer before finally falling to our combined might, but not before landing a crushing blow on me that very nearly ended my rather promising roadwarden career. A thorough search of the necromancer’s lair yielded a few items of note.
First, we found a scrying item that used to be located in Southern Sun Keep and was used to keep an eye on the Sylvanian border. The fact that it was here leads us to believe the Iron Circle has no interest in keeping the evil powers that rule Sylvania out of Averland – a dire turn of events. Eckhart called it the Orb of Othello and used it to take a peek and what was happening at his home and to get a good look at our adversary, Redthorn. We also found the necromancer’s journal which detailed his search for a malicious power which he felt had drawn him to the Blue Reach Delta. He was using the orb to search for whatever it was and had only recently begun to make progress. I fear that we will be facing whatever he was looking for eventually and anything that could scare the necromancer has me, quite frankly, pissing my pants. The necromancer was also wearing an elvish cloak that Dolan recognized as coming from one the members of his warband – an interesting coincidence or something more? The death of the necromancer caused more questions than it answered, but I’m glad that we removed this blight on the face of the empire.
We decided it was time to move on to Blackfire Pass in our quest to return the brave dwarf’s hammer to its rightful owner. Before moving onwards though, we stopped by to see the hermit and spend a couple of days recovering from our ordeal. We informed him that the tower had been cleared, and he and Eckhart spent some time scouring the neighboring woods for herbs that Eckhart could use to make his ever helpful healing draughts. After saying our farewells, we moved out.
En route to Blackfire Pass, we met up with a Bernjaeger patrol headed by none other than Erik’s friend, Anton Deadeye. This was fortuitous, as it allowed us to pass on the information we had collected thus far to another branch of the Imperial military. We spent the evening camped with the patrol telling our tale. In the morning, Anton gave us letters of introduction to the captain of the guard and the noble lord who has stewardship over the town of Grenzstadt, at the base of Blackfire Pass. I had met the captain before, but only in passing as I made my way through the area on one of my regular patrols. After saying our farewells (again), we moved onward.
The journey progressed without incident and at last we approached the gates of the small city. The first thing I noticed was that it was considerably cleaner than the last time my patrols brought me through here. After presenting ourselves to the gate guards, we were given general directions to the city guard headquarters and the captain’s office. We made haste to the captain’s office and introduced ourselves and our purpose in the area. Again, we passed on our information regarding the situation in the Blue Reach Delta. He was unaware of exactly how bad it was, but assured us that the information would be passed along to the appropriate authorities. He also assured us that he would be able to supply us with additional troops when the time came to take the Delta back. He then proceeded to fill us in on the goings-on in the town.
He told us the nobleman that is ostensibly his superior was a libertine of truly epic proportions and that he had a very low opinion of both his intelligence and leadership ability. I think his exact words were, “He’s a total waste of skin and I wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire”. At the mention of the word “fire”, Axel perked right up and started rubbing his hands. I don’t know if he was reminiscing or planning ahead, but I’m going to be keeping my on him anyways.
The other item of note was the reason for the spring cleaning. Apparently, the dwarf king of one the local Karak’s was coming to town for an unprecedented visit. We all looked at each other as nasty, suspicious thoughts began swirling in our heads. It didn’t take us long to reach the conclusion that if someone were to assassinate the king and make it look like humans did it, the dwarves at the very least, would withdraw their support for the guarding of Blackfire Pass. That would certainly tie up the troops that the captain would otherwise be willing to give us when we began to take back the Delta. We figured that since the king was on his way, it would be worth our while to try to intercept him and tell him of our suspicions and incidentally give him the hammer at the same time.
So, we headed out again. We didn’t bother to meet with the noble as we all trusted the captain’s opinion of him and really didn’t have the time to waste. The climb through Blackfire pass was uneventful – mostly. Some greenskins did come down and take a look at us, but thought better of it when they saw how we were armed and obviously prepared for trouble. We met up with the dwarves the next day at Sigmar’s shrine, the site of the Battle of Blackfire Pass. The king was kneeling at the shrine and paying his respects to the valor of the many men and dwarves that lost their lives in that desolate place. When he was finished, we were introduced to him by his personal guards. I must say I was impressed – there was no doubt that here was a king, regal and secure in his power. It was easy for us to bow and give him our respect.
He listened without speaking as we relayed our fears to him and the reasons for them. He didn’t even seem taken aback when we admitted that we didn’t have a shred of evidence to support our fears. He thanked us for our trouble and assured us that he was confident that his bodyguards could handle anything that was likely to happen now that they had been warned. He also invited us to travel with him on the way back to Grenzstadt. When we tried to present him with the hammer, he respectfully referred us to his Loremaster to determine who had owned the hammer and who we needed to give it to.
The Loremaster was a nice enough fellow. He told us that he couldn’t tell us much about the hammer right there and requested that we hold onto it until he got to Grenzstadt, so that he could do some research on its origins and maybe point us in the right direction. We joined up with the dwarven royal party and travelled back to Grenzstadt.
When we got to the town, it was decorated with banners and bunting as the Baron was trying to put on a good show for the king. We all thought it was rather tasteless, but the king seemed to take it all in stride. The Loremaster came up to us and directed us to an Inn he knew and requested that we wait for him there. He would be along the next day with information on the hammer. Not particularly enjoying the celebration anyways, we took his advice and headed to the inn.
We spent that evening and part of the next day just relaxing – enjoying good food, good drink, and good company. The Loremaster arrived towards nightfall, accompanied by his guards and apprentices. He proceeded to tell us that the hammer was in fact quite famous, and he was grateful for our attempt to return it to its rightful owners. The problem was that there was some confusion as to who the rightful owner was, but fortunately they were both dead. Unfortunately, they were both interred in a lost Karak, and he wanted us to replace the hammer in the tombs of one of these fallen heroes. One of his apprentices was bothered by this as he felt that the dwarves should keep the hammer for their own use, but he was overruled by the Loremaster. The Loremaster added that the dwarven people would be extremely grateful for our assistance in this matter. It’s been my observation that the gratitude of the dwarves is something you can take to the bank – literally. Naturally, we agreed to undertake this task, even though we have no idea where we are going or what we are going to do when we get there.
I’ll file my next report as soon as the opportunity presents itself and if I survive.