An Eye For An Eye

Immolatus fetches Torus and Yuri. As they meet outside, they witness the arrival of a coach at the gatehouse, and Klaus von Rothstein hauls his fat body out of it and to the ground. 

Back in the house, Torus and Lavarar climb down to the cellar through the trapdoor while Yuri guards the library. Meanwhile, Grudge has explored one of the other passages, which leads to a shaft up which he climbs to discover a secret entrance which he assumes leads to behind the bookcase in the master bedroom. Torus explores the last passage, which comes to another secret door that he thinks leads to the kitchen cellar; he hears faint sounds of banging pots and pans beyond.

All the adventurers save Yuri gather in the cellar. Unable to read the books, Torus and Grudge have a heated discussion about whether to burn them or not, but eventually they decide not to and return to the library. Yuri meanwhile has managed to convice Otto Geizhals, the corpulent librarian, that they are catching vermin. Nearby, several servants giggle to themselves as they dust the old paintings.

Ashaffenberg enters the gallery and motions Yuri aside, explaining that Von Rothstein has arrived unannounced, no doubt to curry favour with the new von Bruner family member, and he is well known as a notorious gossip and unpopular fellow from whom it is important to conceal any whiff of scandal.

Yuri takes Grudge and Torus into the sitting room, where he has already been and experienced a strange and forboding atmosphere. Behind heavy velvet blue curtains they discover an horrific painting of an eye, an image so terrifying that Yuri is temporarily reduced to a nervous wreck after seeing it.

A servant appears to inform them that dinner will be served in the main hall in an hour.
Torus and Grudge move to the kitchen trying to get to the cellar to confirm their suspicions about the cellar passageway, but the cook is having none of it. As they return to the grand gallery Grudge discovers a note on the floor. Unfortunately none of the party can read…

Torus enters the main hall to show Aschaffenberg the note; interrupting his conversation with Von Rothstein. Moving out to the gallery with him, Aschaffenberg reads the single word on the note: ‘Goose’, and returns to his guest.

After getting changed—Torus borrows some fresh clothes from the guard captain—the adventurers gather in the grand hall for dinner. Outside darkness falls and the rumblings of thunder presage a storm. Apart from Aschaffenberg, Klaus Von Rothstein, and the adventurers, the dinner guests are Vern Hendrick, Dr Sieger, Otto Geizhals, Captain Andreas Blucher, and somewhat later, arriving wet from the rain that has begun to pelt down, the master of the kennels, Olver Gand. Yuri attempts to amuse Gand with a joke about his name, but it is not received well; Torus however eases the tension by enquiring after Gand’s dogs.

The first course, a spicy vegetable soup, is served as Grudge goes to the kitchen cellars to retrieve a barrel of beer. He unsuccessfully tries to find the secret passage, and instead takes a barrel and sits outside the house by the kitchen door, drinking in solitude. Soon after Torus follows him to the cellar, finds the secret passage and leaves it unlatched, and takes a bottle of wine back to dinner which he takes care to drink from.

Meanwhile, the main meat dish is served by the increasingly incompetent servants, scolded by the annoyed butler, Gregor Piersson. The guests are offered a choice of goose or venison; all choose the venison save Torus, Yuri, Geizhals, and Sieger. As the meal begins, over the sound of the storm outside is heard the distant barking of dogs. Gand excuses himself to check on his animals.

As the desert arrives, several guests, including Immolatus, begin showing signs of exhaustion—yawning and speaking in slurred voices. Eventually  Aschaffenberg excuses himself and suggests Yuri join him for a brandy in his room to discuss the day. Hendricks and Immolatus retire. Torus remains at the table talking with Geizhals and Sieger, but soon decides to go outside. Grudge takes his barrel back into the cellar and goes through the secret passage into the underground temple, intending to wait for the arrival of any nocturnal worshippers.

Outside, Torus sees that there is some sort of commotion down near the gatehouse; figures with torches run about, there are shouts, and outlined by lightning flashes he sees bestial figures crawling through a gap in the walls and invading the compound. He rushes down through the rain to lend aid.

Yuri’s conversation with Aschaffenberg ends abruptly when the nobleman falls suddenly into a deep sleep where he sits. He hears the commotion outside and runs to investigate. Immolatus sleeps the sleep of the drugged, unaware he is being tied up by Hendrick, who had faked his exhaustion in order to set in motion his nefarious plans for the evening …

All is chaos at the gatehouse. In the storm several guards and Gand desperately try to fight off growing numbers of beastmen. Torus sprints for the nearby kennels where the dogs bark and jump, maddened by the strange bestial odours. He jumps up on the cage and unlatches the door, and Gand’s three great mastiffs charge forth to lock their jaws around the throats of the nearest beastmen.

Immolatus wakes, groggy and in the dark, and finds himself bound. He burns off the ropes with a cantrip and heads downstairs.

After trading quick blows with the invaders, Torus and Yuri run back towards the house, pursued by beastmen. Yuri reaches the house first and takes up a defensive position in the main doorway; he manages to block a beastman’s blow with the heavy wood, but is locked in battle with three of the creatures. Behind him, Immolatus staggers down the main staircase, cinders falling from his wrists, and seeing the fight at the doorway begins to channel the winds of magic.

Outside in the storm, Torus is sprinting for the house ahead of another three beastmen. As he reaches the covered walkway around the courtyard he makes a desperate leap up a column and for its roof, but he fails and falls back stumbling in the mud.

Back in the cellar, Grudge finally tires of waiting and climbs through the trapdoor into the library. As he passes through the gallery he notices the door to the sitting room is open; he charges in brandishing his axe but finds only the discarded frame of the painting, some ichor- stained bandages, and evidence that someone has disturbed the ashes in the fieplace. Discovering iron rings at the back of the chimney shaft, he climbs up to the roof and out into the storm, where he beholds a dreadful sight.

Luridly lit by the sickly green glow of Morrslieb moon, which seems to grin down through a swirling gap in the storm clouds, a group of cloaked figures chants around Hendrick and Piersson. The latter’s bandage is gone, revealing an horrific, huge, black, baleful eye. He holds the corrupted painting of the eye up to the light of Morrslieb. Hendrick leads the chant, reading from a book bound in mottled leather. Before them kneels a bedraggled Von Rothstein, blubbering and almost hysterical with fear.

What fiend from the deepest pits of Chaos are they summoning from the painting? Grudge does not wait to find out. 

Below, the desperate fight against the beastmen continues. Hendrick fights at the door as Immolatus casts flame blasts and magic darts; Torus gets off an arrow or two before having to drop his bow and defend himself with his dagger. A mighty wargor leader, wounded by Gand but still alive, charges toward the fray.

Back on the roof, Grudge charges towards the cultists without hesitation, dodging and pushing aside the twisted followers—who include Sieger and Geizhals—to reach Hendrick. With one almighty blow he splits the cult leader in twain! The body falls in two pieces from the roof and lands next to Torus as he fights below—to his surprise and confusion. On the roof, Pierson tries desperately to draw his dagger across Von Rothstein’s throat and complete the ritual, but only wounds him, as Grudge whirls about and dispatches three cultists after riposting their blows. Bodies fall like rain around Torus as he fights for his life against two beastmen, armed only with a dagger. Finally, Piersson too is killed by Grudge’s vengeful axe. The ritual has been interrupted and the summoning stopped; the storm clouds close again and Morrsleib’s light is hidden.

Grudge drags the groggy and bleeding Von Rothstein to the edge of the roof and pushes him off, aiming for the beastmen fighting Torus, but misses. Von Rothstein hits the mud hard.

After a hard battle Yuri and Immolatus kill several beastman and their leader. Torus has killed one beastman and the last flees. A horn sounds by the gatehouse and the remaining creatures flee into the forest, demoralised and beaten, but at a great cost in lives.

Yuri and Immolatus hear a sound behind them and turn. Down the stairs shuffles Aschaffenberg, yawning and scratching his head. “Did I miss something?” he asks.

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