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 The Great Furniture Massacre

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Number of posts : 761
Registration date : 2007-04-26

PostSubject: The Great Furniture Massacre   Tue 30 Aug - 18:06:21

The Great Furniture Massacre

Marienburg: The great city that defied the Emperor and broke from his sacred rule uncounted years ago. A parasite that sits on the mouth of the Reik strangling the Empire’s trade routes and creaming off, thanks to an accident of geography, a thick percentage that is generated by the wealth and toil of Imperial subjects.

A melting point and meeting point, home to a hundred languages and none, a Mecca for heathen and alien, migrant and refugee, entrepreneur and shyster. They say it’s a city that never sleeps with its crowded docks and warehouses, a nest of crimelord and merchant princes, often one and the same. Marienburg: If you can make it there, you can wake up the next morning at the bottom of the river having been robbed blind.

As the ashes of the itinerant priest of Pfeifdorf cooled, this was the destination His Reverence announced for us. Stranger still, it seemed he sought there not witches, which we were confident would practically be lining every street corner, but financiers. No doubt his plan will become clear to us. Not many daemon husks in such a noted canal-crossed urban sprawl, so perhaps my axe blade will get a chance for some respite.

We travelled towards the Reik that would guide us to our destination, but the journey proved harder than expected.* After being beaten by Giz with an infected piece of Estalian disc food,** I went down with a mild bought of stomach ache. Let’s just say trailing our party for those five days would have presented no sort of problem to the most retarded of trackers. On an off day. Having just had their eyes put out. In fact, lacking any senses whatsoever apart from smell.

*Well, more liquid actually
**In a completely unjustified attack for a joke involving Bruce Lee’s little known sister, Dairy

We arrived and found our way to cheap accommodation whilst the General left to go about his business. We contented ourselves with ensuring that our meagre purses were secured against the city’s world famous fleet of pilfering experts. I began a detailed and often literally in depth study of the privy facilities offered.*

*Coming Soon: A guide to the Privies of Marienburg; The Compendium no Traveller Should Be Without by H.N. Bittenov

Giz spent the evening gambling although he seemed to have one or two basic concepts slightly confused, in particular the objective of games of chance being to increase the amount of funds at ones disposal rather than reduce them. Borri the dwarf did what dwarves do when they encounter a tavern; well at least what every dwarf we’ve ever met does any way. I wonder if there are dwarves in AA? I can see it now, ‘My name is Borri/ Snorri/ Drengi and I haven’t had a drink for thirty seconds and if that doesn’t change now my axe is going to have something to say about it.’ Hmm, perhaps not.

Larry spotted a possible witch and spent the evening trying to lull her into a false sense of security by plying her with drink and eventually money, a technique that he finds tried and trusted. He then took her outside to one of the back alleys to carry out his secret (if noisy) interrogation technique. Apparently she turned out to be a dud, but you can’t be too careful and you’ve got to respect his dedication and willingness to expose himself to curious itches.

Beatrix and I were enjoying a quiet chat between privy splattering expeditions as I tried to teach her the Marienburg accent to improve her chances in negotiations, when we were joined by a stranger called Ludwig Prost, who chatted with us before recounting a tale of woe: Apparently he had lost overboard a valuable waterproof document case when his ship suffered a minor collision docking earlier, and he wondered if we’d be interested in earning a coin or two trying to search for it along the high watermark downstream?

We took details; apparently the information was just contract papers, business contacts and such, valuable to his trading venture but of little intrinsic worth. We agreed we’d have a look before breakfast if we had time before the General’s return in the morning.

Events were then interrupted as Borri, victorious in his drinking competition, managed to again pull off his uncanny knack of infusing total strangers with a great desire to kill him. A drunken brawl erupted between him and his even drunker opponent, distinguished by the almost complete absence of fighting skills displayed by both, until that is, Borri picked up a handy stool,* and bashed his tottering adversary with it, smashing as he did so 12 schillings worth of Ercol’s finest.

*Not one of mine before you ask

The fight had barely warmed up before the highly efficient local watch, (known as Blackcaps) arrived, swinging their clubs menacingly to break up the incident. They must practically have been waiting on the doorstep, but perhaps this is a hot spot for such incidents and it doesn’t take much imagination to work out that wherever we go there’ll be trouble.

Giz looked a little happier as he was able to use the confusion of the fray to recoup his losses from a luckless bystander, and we all enjoyed watching Borri’s opponent being beaten up and dragged off by the watch as he failed to grasp the reality of the situation in his drunken stupor quite as quickly as Borri.

Borri did not escape entirely however, suffering a fine plus damages amounting to the afore-mentioned 12 schillings for the ruined stool.*The evening’s entertainment concluded, we retired, lulled to sleep by the banging of Larry’s witch’s head against the wall as he gave her a further interrogation, just to be on the safe side.**

*He did offer to fix it, but not being Borri of Nazereth his carpentry skills were non existent
**And to get his money’s worth

Come the morning and Larry and I awoke to find ourselves deserted by our loyal comrades in arms.* Later they joined us for breakfast having spent the first few hours of daylight searching for the mythical waterproof case. Amazingly they had actually some rich pickings to show for it, well apart from the dwarf who probably couldn’t find a beard in a barber’s shop.

*And having just read that back, I feel the need to make clear that we were sleeping together only in the sense that we were in the same common room and in no way had we snuggled up to each other in the night. In no way.

Beatrix had discovered some bits and bobs and Giz a silver candlestick, but principally the bone picker had discovered a letter in a waterproof pouch, not a match for the description we had, but something interesting nonetheless. A letter to ‘Rudolph’ from one Thomas Boorsboom, speaking of an insider dealing plot to scam the Marienburg Stock Exchange, the very centre of our own General’s business in town. Coincidence?

The letter spoke of a trade expedition to Lustria: Three ships, financed by shares raised on the exchange gone on a perilous treasure hunt, that would see them return laden with uncounted riches that would make every investors’ fortune, or just as likely not see them return at all.

A little investigation with the Lord General and we appreciated the scope of the scheme: The expedition concerned was ten weeks overdue and had been financed with shares worth 15 guilders each to the value of 150,000. The shares now, with hopes for the expedition fading, were probably lucky to sell for 15 schillings. The letter revealed that the fleet was secretly at anchor thirty miles away, and would return within the week. Buy now and on Festag when they returned, the shares would increase in value fifty fold.

Call us cynical but, an equally real possibility it seemed to us was that the letter was a fake and our good friend Ludwig, possibly proud owner of a great many soon to be worthless shares, had cooked up a scheme so that he could hype their value by leaking information closely resembling this letter, sell up and get out before the house of cards collapsed.

So our options are:

A) Believe the letter, buy as many shares as possible and sell at massive profit when the ships return/ share in the wealth.

B) Believe the letter, turn it over to the Exchange authorities and accept a huge reward

C) Don’t believe the letter, buy as many shares as possible, set up a sting operation where we target someone rich to buy (worthless) shares off us at a profit.

D) Don’t believe the letter, buy as many shares as possible then leak the news generally of the ships’ imminent return and sell at a profit.

E) Believe or don’t believe the letter, identify Rudolf and blackmail him.

Of course a trip 30 miles north to establish the existence or not of the three ships might clarify the situation and further inform our decision. We also have very little money, for buying shares or anything else for that matter, though perhaps the General could raise a loan. Also our lack of familiarity with this area, its authorities and leading personalities hampers some of these options.

Meanwhile, the General has another task for us: He wishes us to investigate the veracity of reports about the rebirth of Sigmar, rumours of which apparently abound.* So the next morning we are sent to the south of the city. Giz and Beatrix look particularly happy after visiting a pawn shop and offloading their tidal treasures, their purses positively groaning with gold. During the morning we do pick up a lot of rumours.

*Nothing major then

1) A child around 10 -13 years old, golden haired, with blue eyes has appeared. He is the Scion of Sigmar.

2) The Emperor himself has sent for him and will surrender the throne to him when he arrives in Altdorf. Some in the Imperial nobility see this as a threat or do not believe, and the assassination of the Sigmar child is already planned.

3) The boy was raised at a Shallian orphanage and was subjected to a kidnap attempt by servants of chaos, but he foiled the attempt, slaying attackers himself.

4) The child appeared from a beam of golden light, wielding a hammer.

5) A witch led an attack on the child by servants of chaos, but the crowd protected the child and the witch’s corpse now hangs in a gibbet in the square.

On our journey back to meet His Reverence, we encounter a tinker selling relics of the reincarnated god-child. The child apparently had a great many teeth and surely has none now as he has at least sixty for sale. There are also a great many items said to have been forged by the young man which appear equally fraudulent, however, the tinker does produce a shirt for which he asks the extortionate price of 12 Guilders, which seems a little more interesting.

After some unsuccessful bartering Borri resorts to threats of assault and battery which persuade the reluctant trader to part with the prize for a modest sum of silver. The shirt he claims to have acquired after the witch’s attack and it is the shirt of an orphan, bearing the mark of Shallya and a bloodstain. This part of the tinker’s story rings a little truer than the rest and we feel that this is a more authentic artefact than everything else. The tinker states that the child bears the mark of the twin tailed comet too.

When we bring it to him, the Lord General concurs with our opinion. The child has apparently already left for Altdorf, but His Reverence requires more verification before we decide on our next actions. The child, whoever he is must be under the guidance of the pretender theogonist Esmer, and his appearance here seems a little convenient for our liking. We need to travel back to the southern suburbs to research further, and the share scheme fades from our priorities with the enormity of the threat to the Empire’s stability and its potential for further strife amongst the Sigmarite cult.

Giz is so upset at the prospect that in what is surely an ill omen, his chair collapses,* absolutely shattered by the considerable bulk of the less than sylph like thief. Does the whole party:

a) Show every sign of shock and distress at this appalling incident?
b) Laugh like a drain for the next hour or so?
c) Laugh so hard that several party members suffer serious strains?
d) Laugh, pausing only to take photos for internet high jinks?
e) Laugh so hard that some members are literally rolling around on the floor?
f) All of the above, except of course, (a).

Giz did manage to fix the chair and resume his place, and having learned from his experience, which after all is what separates us from the animals, duly fell off the chair as it broke again under the overwhelming force of his ample buttocks. His loyal friends duly repeated option (f) above in sympathy.

*Unbelievably the incident was triggered by the apparently innocuous act of biting into a milky way

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