After the Storm

Tangled Webs

Or "No Good Deed Unpunished"

As Wilhelm escorted Gravin Clothilde von Alptraum home early from the ball at the Elector of Stirland’s palace, others remained behind.

Korhadriel suffered considerable stress daring to pass among the higher rank and come near Supreme Patriarch Balthazar Gelt, seeing that he really is “the man of gold” being rather disturbing. Gelt is talking with Law Lord von Böhrn getting her reassurance that the Articles of Imperial Magic stipulate that charges such as the Temple is bringing against the Order of Light are to be investigated by the Colleges. She agrees, noting however that if a College were found to have seized a prisoner from the Templars, who operate with Imperial authority, this would itself be a contravention of the Articles (1, 3 and 7 if memory serves) and call the legalization of wizardry into question. Gelt is sure if any magisters are involved they are rogues and will be dealt with as such.

Korhardriel also speaks with Graf Siegfried von Saponatheim about hunting and Korhadriel’s studies and the esteem Graf von Kaufman holds him in. Korhadriel is (having just been the subject of a triple success Guile check to be drawn out without realizing it) forthcoming about his doings for Graf von Kaufman – which The Dwarf (who is nearby) realizes is what von Saponatheim is really interested in.

After Ball, and having escorted Clothilde home, all retire to their normal resting places (the Seven Stars and Freudenhause) except Magnus who goes back to the servants’ quarters in the Horse Tower (where von Kaufman has set up household) and spends the night with Elke.
On Aubentag 3rd of Nachgeheim all wake to a note delivered for Korhadriel, telling him that if he wants the plates used to print the illustrations in the burned pamphlets he will come to Talabecplatz this morning.

[text is printed with movable type but pictures come from plates so where there are pictures there are always printing plates – the PCs did not look for any plates when they were at the printer’s]

Going to Talabecplatz they meet the seller. He says he is a watch member and came across them searching the premises. He figures they’re worth 5 shillings. Magnus senses (Intuition) he is holding something back and he admits he already sold the “best three” to a noble. He doesn’t know the man’s name but for a shilling describes him: it sounds very much like Klaus von Döhnenleiter. Wilhelm pays all the funds in question.

Wilhelm makes some effort to connect with others involved in investigating the blackpowder plot. The site of the Priest’s Rest is no longer cordoned off, workers are filling in the area that was excavated and reconstruction is underway. With The Dwarf’s help Vognus the Dwarf Engineer is looked for but not found – eventually, after word is left for him, Pieter Verstholen comes to talk and advises he expects a report from Vognus by the next day. Wilhelm asks what news of the investigation an Verstholen explains he is not part of the official inquiry, only looking into this one matter for the General. He hears that many mutants and sympathizers have been found, the Red Crown cult.

Wilhelm goes to see Klaus at the Imperial in the Oberhausen District, where his brother is staying. Klaus practically chokes on his sausage when he sees his younger half-brother. He launches in a tirade about Wilhelm’s irresponsible actions, killing a von Leitdorf and minimizing Clothilde’s embarrassment at the ball – does Wilhelm have any idea how much it cost to have all those pamphlets printed or the size of bribe that had to be paid to the Countess’ lady-in-waiting to make sure the right sort of attention was directed at Clothilde!

Yes, it seems both of these events were the work of the diligent Klaus as an agent of the von Leitdorfs (not that they know or would condone any of the sordid details of course – this is what eager cadet families are for).

Wilhelm argues the ethics and wisdom of Klaus’ actions and criticizes Klaus for not letting him in on plans, pointing out Klaus endorsed becoming favoured of Clothilde. Klaus reacts badly to his younger brother challenging him and shakes his head at Wilhelm’s stupidity – ingratiating oneself with her doesn’t have to mean saving her from social ruin when it threatens! Klaus is very concerned about Clothilde’s plenipontiary lobbying and worried she is going to succeed in getting General Ludwig Schwarzhelm appointed.

Klaus offers Wilhelm one chance to avoid his family’s disfavour, if he will cut off all connections with “that woman”. Wilhelm refuses to agree to this and his allowance is cut off accordingly (with mechanical results of failing in noble duty invoked – the poor young man apparently thinks being noble is about character not obligations).

The comrades take the plates to Clothilde (except for Klaus’ three) and Wilhelm explains his brother’s role in things (pamphlets and scene at ball). Clothilde is taken aback and angered, though also sympathetically concerned for Wilhelm as she immediately sees the difficulty he is in. She offers to find a place for him and sensing his interests it turns out she has connections to the Order of the Panther (she has a cousin who married a knight of the order) and can arrange an introduction. Affiliation with a knightly order may help counter his family trouble.

Their trip has saved her servant the trouble of taking a satchel to Wilhelm, as she can have it handed over now (it clinks very satisfyingly).

Returning to the Seven Stars, comrades find an ogre in von Kaufman colours waiting. He is expecting Korhadriel to hand over books. Korhardriel goes to fetch the two books brought from Middenheim and finds they are missing. No one in the inn saw anything through careful examination finds some scratches around the lock to their room. The books have been stolen!

[It having been established twice that Korhadriel had the books and does not carry them with him, as they are bulky, but was leaving them in his room in the inn – the books were the last thing now that Oppenheim, his notes, his books and his assistant have all been lost, who would have expected these two books to ever be at risk ?.

The ogre gives the typically inscrutable-blank-stupid (so interpret others) look, confirming, “No book?”, and then leaves.

Wilhelm divides up the reward from Clothilde (5 gold crowns and 40 shillings, calculated of course as 4 crowns for the noble, 1 for the silver tier and 20 shillings each for the brass tier – generous reward for a days’ field service). The Dwarf declares he needs no reward, regarding the service as a matter of honour between his clan and the von Alptraums (there was no immediate narrative etc. way to reward that roleplay, an extra fortune point next session). Wilhelm, ever the progressive, gives each of his other companions (Magnus and Korhadriel) one gold crown and 50 shillings (keeping 2 gold crowns and 40 shillings – not quite Isle of Eels level distribution but better than a brass and silver tier sort would expect – this distribution reduces Party Tension -1).

Magnus goes to the University District to get some charcoal and paper, and passes by a large crowd gathered to see several executions in the Königplatz at the north end of the Street of 100 Taverns – a murderer and a mutant sympathizer are being beheaded and a witch is to be burned to “top if off”.

Korhadriel in the meantime has been sought out by Witch Hunter Captain Wilhelm Leopold to come to the Temple. Leopold explains, once they are away from prying ears, that there were strange sigils on the wall of the room from which Professor Schott Mandelbrot vanished . They were disturbing and the Templars destroyed them rather than risk a source of corruption in Temple, but they did have them copied first – though imperfectly, copyists found it trying to attempt to record them and the first broke down in a fit before completing the task. Something about them seemed to speak of Southlands or Lustria, the latter being a land Mandelbrot had traveled as a youth.

Graf von Kaufman told Leopold that Korhadriel had great insights into Southland type runes (a stunning success at the Menagerie continuing to haunt him) thus Leopold searching him out, as a source of knowledge unconnected with the Colleges of Magic (though Leopold does note part of the Sun Society with Mandelbrot).

Korhadriel examines the copies and realizes that the symbols do have, within them (as m holds n, and e has c) the same runes that appear on gold plaques recovered from the Southlands. He has no idea what they mean (only Mandelbrot seemed able to read them in Averheim). He realizes (his raw Intelligence dice being successful before his education etc. dice) that he has seen these strange ‘elaborated symbols’ before – the Hammer of the Gods, the mythological text he only leafed through, had various illustrations in it and they often had examples of these symbols in them. Leopold is curious about this and determines to get a copy of this text. Korhadriel finds all of this trying and starts hyperventilating – Breathless temporary insanity.

That evening, Wilhelm has dinner with Gravin Clothilde, getting the introduction needed to the Knights Panther. He also learns she is disappointed for it appears that Cobweb Castle may not open the next evening.

Wilhelm agrees he and his comrades will try to locate the “missing prop” that has gone walkabout in the theatre – it take so little to see a theatre ordered closed and Cobweb Castle’s portrayal of corrupt priest has some looking to shut it down.

On the morning of the 4th, three comrades go to the theatre. Korhadriel is feeling quite stressed by all of this and so stays in the Seven Stars.

_Changed – Note Ralph sitting out of play will lose about 20 minutes of playing time, as acts etc are narrative, he likely has only “one act” the entire time or until “something new happens for him” though his character may Assess the Situation each Act that passes

At the Temple of Drama, which is just across the street from their inn, the comrades meet Filipi Remastri, Director of the Miraculous Miragliano Mummers and stage manager Leonardo Catrazan. They explain the realism sought by their troupe and escaped spider (only 5’ long). They hope the comrades can recover it alive but that in any event they can resolve the threat in time for the show to open – assuming the leading man turns up from wherever he has gotten off to – and offer a reward if the whole matter can resolved quietly.

The comrades start poking about, in the cellar of wine and beer barrels and working up.

They note Clothilde has a box reserved (The Dwarf asks if Wilhelm has checked with Klaus to be sure he isn’t behind all this too?)

Examining the spider’s box in the prop room they realize it has pry marks from the outside and find it odd the spider is gone but the door was closed. Looking through leading man Nikolai di Fortessi’s room they find the man himself bundled up in his wardrobe, bloated and webbed.

They take the body to the Director and Stage Manager who are shocked, the understudy will have to change roles.

The comrades wish to speak to the understudy, Carlo Spinezzi.

We break.

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