You Really Should Get Someone To Have A Look At That …

At the Ackerland farm, the adventurers rest and recuperate for a day and a night. Yuri tries to learn some basic herbal medicine from Meg the farmer’s wife, but his attempts to find healing herbs in the local vicinity are unsuccessful. Meg attempts to help heal Yuri of the hideous wound and horrible gash he received in the fight against the goblins, but they just seem to get worse—softly closing the bandage back over the wound and wrinkling her nose at the smell she says “you really should get someone to have a look at that …”

Eventually the adventurers return to Stromdorf, and a hero’s welcome (one of the Ackerland children had run on ahead to tell everyone the news). They visit the Temple of Sigmar, where they hear Gottschalk’s concerns about the ‘heathen idol’ being constructed in his crypt, but Schulmann is overjoyed at receiving another piece of the puzzle and immediately gets back to work on his translation. The crypt is a cluttered mess; notes everywhere, books, half-eaten meals, and strange mechanical contrivances, even a small telescope set up to peer at the heavens through one of the small street-level grates. Immolatus stays with him and tells him about the final piece at the Holtz farm to see if he will sneak away on his own to get it. Meanwhile the Guard Captain Kessler asks the adventurers to see Burgomeister Adler and report on their success, which Grudge and Torus do—receiving congratulations, the remaining 25 silver for each member of their party, and a promise of a recommendation to Adler’s patrons the Jungfreuds—while Yuri seeks out a physician to cure his wounds. With Torus, he visits Dr Schneider, but the price is too high for Torus; Yuri manages to haggle him down from 20 silver to 19 for treatment, however. Schneider stitches and binds Yuri’s horrible gash. Torus visits the barber surgeon Messr and his wounds are roughly stitched up for the considerably cheaper price of 20 brass.

Torus goes to sleep in their room at the Thunderwater Inn while Yuri rogers some starry-eyed wench in an alley behind the pot room (though the experience is—ahem—short-lived). Meanwhile Immolatus sits by the fire and entertains townspeople with some amusing flame-based cantrips.

On his own and particularly grumpy—and harbouring severe doubts about the trustworthiness of Schulmann—Grudge trudges through the rain and mud back to the Holtz farm, grumbling all the way. As he reaches the derelict farm he spies a silhouette cross an upstairs window of the main farmhouse. He also notices that the lightning stone has been dug up and propped against the tree under which it was buried, and the tree itself is festooned with trinkets and totem objects.

Grudge sneaks carefully to the farmhouse door and peers within. The house is half ruined; rain is pouring in through holes in the roof, and the ground is mud and muck. He hears the sounds of movement upstairs, and creeps up the staircase with his axe ready. Charging into the main bedroom he surprises the beast man shaman Foaldeath and strikes him with a thunderous blow before it can react. The creature begins to draw a dark energy from the shadows to his hands, but Grudge is too fast, and before it can cast a spell, he has split its head open with his axe.

Grudge notices that it is holding something in its claw; prizing open the fingers, he discovers a crudely made rag doll with bestial features. Up close Grudge recognises the half-human look of the shaman, and the twisted similarities to the Holtz family.

Leaving the farmhouse, Grudge heaves the lightning stone on his back and slowly trudges back to Stromdorf—grumbling all the way.

When the last piece of the stone is taken to the crypt, Schulmann is beside himself with excitement. Everyone expects something dramatic as it is fitted into place … but nothing happens. Schulmann feverishly continues with his notes and studies, saying that results will still take some time. The adventurers, suspecting Schulmann strongly of foul play, decide to wait to make sure he does nothing untoward.

As they wait, Schulmann looks out of his telescope, there is a ‘whoosh’ sound and a blue flash, and suddenly he has disappeared.

The adventurers are confused for a moment, but Grudge thinks to look through Schulmann’s telescope and sees that it is trained on the Wissenland Gate, and a cyan blur is speeding over the rooftops towards it. They look through Schulmann’s jumbled papers and discover a strange map, with lines that seem to converge on a bend in the River Tranig, a few miles southwest of Stomdorf. There is also a document in a strange cipher that Immolatus manages to translate, that refers to a nexus of power at that spot.

Rushing from the temple and to the Thunderwater Inn, the adventurers quickly hire horses and set off in pursuit. At the gate a guard is recovering from being attacked by spellcraft, and another refers to a man in a blue cloak “riding like a daemon was chasing him” along the south road. As the storm rages around them, the adventurers gallop down the road. Grudge and Torus attempt to push their horses to greater speed, but both only succeed in making them stumble in the mud and getting pitched off. Yuri and Immolatus continue on, turning off the road and reaching a fisherman’s hut by the river, where they find a dead old man with a smoking hole in his chest, around which Immolatus sees motes of dissipating blue energy.

They are pushing an old and patched boat into the river when Grudge and Torus run up and join them, and the group pile in, heading for the centre of the river downstream where the figure of Schulmann can be seen, standing in a boat casting bolts of magical energy at the water and being enveloped in a blue haze of magical force.

Yuri and Grudge take the oars and Immolatus attempts to bail as water comes rushing in through the patched hole, but progress is slow and the boat almost founders. There is an earthshaking crack and they see Schulmann rising up into the air, surrounded by bolts of blue energy shooting up into the sky. Finally the adventurers come within bowshot range and Torus stands up in the boat, Immolatus steadying him, and lets off an arrow which hits the floating figure. Yuri shoots a crossbow bolt which also finds its mark.

In a rage, Schulmann turns his attention to the meddling adventurers and lets fly with a crackling lightning bolt at Yuri, which hits him and sends him flying backwards into the river, hitting his head as he does so. Somehow he manages to cling onto his crossbow as Immolatus drags him from the water. Another bolt hits Torus. Grudge desperately tries to row closer, but he labours unsuccessfully against the churning waters of the Tranig erupting from the nexus.

Dripping wet and angry, Yuri fires off another crossbow bolt which plunges into the wizard’s writhing form. With a scream of rage, despair and frustration, Schulmann cries “You have ruined everything! You have doomed us all!” and with an almighty roar the magical blue energy from the nexus reverses, pulling his form down into the deep waters of the Tranig. Chunks of earth and rock are ripped away from the banks of the river and plunge after him. Suddenly, the clouds part, and the adventurers see plummeting down from the heavens and towards the nexus a huge rock. Grudge begins to frantically reverse his direction of rowing, this time dragged towards the nexus, not away from it; but he manages to pull the boat away to a relatively safe distance.

The comet hits, causing a tidal wave that throws their little boat up onto the river bank and them all out into the mud. A deep cracking sound issues from the depths of the river, a final deluge of rain, and then—silence.

Schulmann is dead, Stromdorf is saved, and best of all—the rain has finally stopped.

After taking a moment to recover, the adventurers stagger back to Stromdorf, to be received by cheering crowds, some of whom think that Sigmar has returned until people realise that the comet had one ‘tail’, not two. However there is already the occasional dissenting voice in the crowd asking “the rain has stopped—what will Stromdorf be famous for now?”

The next morning, the adventurers receive a note from von Rothstein requesting their prescence; and upon visiting his house they learn that Aschaffenberg requires their aid in Ubersreik …

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