[WFRP 2e] Renegade Princeps 53.5

Vaervenshyael - Female Elf Assassin (suffering from a Host of Fiends disability)

My companions
Tankred "Silver Bear" Tenneckermann - Human Artisan/Mercenary/Champion
Wilhelm Hechland - Human Pistoleer/Engineer/???
Doctor Johann Wilhelm Woeller - Human Physician
Maximillian - NPC Halfling Master of the Horse of Padua
Azmir - NPC Local merchant and wizard in Padua

(Previous Notes)

Varvenshyael's shadow cast by Morrslieb's waning gibbous globe is crisply cut on the deck wood of Bianca. Pacing the deck in well travelled leather boots her shadow intersects with the same of boxes, barrels and gunwale. The mooring rope stretches with a creak and the Avon's current seemingly tries to pull Brianca back into its embrace.

A shadow crosses the high cliff above the barge and disappears onto the steps cut into the sedmentiary rock. No careful step could avoid the constant shedding of sand and pebbles on the winding stairs to the mooring. Soon Varvenshyael's elven eyes could make out the tall man walking down the cliff face.

Ludo Lutz. Hunter. Brave, adventurous fool of the wall and wood. Cosetta got Varvenshyael's message to him.

Ludo is a tall human. Thin and carries little fat, his long, trim, and veined arms tell the story.

Varvenshyael went to Azmir's warehouse, took a detour to the wooden cliff stair to the shore and easily hopped the cattle wire fence, rusting and collapsing from an Avon flooding and receding for decades. She quietly watched the Bianca for several minutes before boarding. The Princep had been saying for weeks now the Bianca was his muse again. He would spend days scribbling in books and talking about his "epic song." He would often fall asleep in his old cabin, his snoring faintly heard on the fishing piers downstream.

"Aye, it's the pretty elf," Ludo states quietly in his low Riekspiel. "Me dwarf friends even respect ya, a little, with the news from Varr. Black Thom says you went on winds diet. Looking like I last saw ya. Eating and drinking like a dwarf will certainly widen most, especially if ya be use to eating twigs, berries and the like.

"So you be asking about Ubain and what I seen?"

(Disappointed that she might have yet another ignorant oaf on her hands): "Yes, Lutz, I am very interested in the goings-on of Ubain as of late. I wish to know everything you can tell me. What is the condition of the lands leading up to the settlement? What is the condition of the town proper? What are the buildings like? What are the people like? What percentage of the people remain compared to the town at its fullest? What about the Sheikh? His manor? Rumors about him? Facts about those who remain? I wish to know everything you can tell me, whether it seems useful or not."

Ludo smiles a bright smile, his teeth caught in Mannslieb's light.

"You ask a lot of questions for someone so travelled as you. Someone so long in Padua! Just drinking in the Rest and talking to the miserable lot of Arabyan on the field tell me enough!

"You see the forest beyond the gate, what must I tell you of that? What do you expect to find on that road to Ubain? Whatever dangers remain on that road certainly retreated beyond what is left of Sheik's Schloss and the Dorf.

"Something murderous and ruinous happened there miss. I dared not try to enter the walls. A giant and bullheaded manbeasts do the bidding of tuchkopfs in black. And they seem to enjoy the slavery of the wretches that remain.

"As to what of the Sheik? Alive, dead? I saw him retreat from the field in terror as his army fell to the cannon! I think you are best served by talking to the beaten that the Half Master keeps at the woods. They don't starve for the game and find their lot much better than whatever slave to Khorne the Sheik had become!

"But for one that ground countless greenskins into the dust underneath this very barge, talk of savagery follows you very closely. How many questions are you asking of your Princep? if you ask him one question, ask him what remains at the tower in the west? If he won't answer, ask Azmir or the book priests, The Biestmänner gather again and poor Black Thom had to be carried back here, a little less himself in spirit!"

Vaervenshyael is caught aback. "There are beastmen still near the tower and in Ubain?"

“Your ears didn’t miss it. Yes, beastmen.” Lutz finishes and looks across the deck, his eyebrows betray a concern.

“Fog?” A chill precedes a rolling fog. It spills over the west bank of the Avon and over the Bianca. The fog rolls back on itself against the high cliff wall, then climbs over it

Torch light overhead blurs into softer and softer discs. The turret fire pit a soft orange smudge above them, dim in the thick white air.

"This is an unusual fog." Varvenshyael leans over the gunwale of the Bianca, peering deeply into the white fog. The fog naturally clings to surface of the river. Eddies of fog and water swirl, distorting distance in Mannslieb's bright reflection. Faint sounds from overhead, beyond the cliff edge, find there way to the river.

An exact measure of time is lost, but the soon fog thins. If one were able to recapture every moment and play it back faster, the fog would seem to rise. Soon Ludo and Varvenshyael are looking at the bottom of a cloud and the disc of Mannslieb sharpens with each passing moment.


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