[WFRP 3e] Eye for an Eye Part 4
Dinner included the two meat choices, goose or venison. Having previously indicated I would eat the venison, I had to think of an excuse to instead have the goose. My brain was not cooperating, and the excuse was a bit forced, but the servers seemed to accept my change of heart without malice. The lord of the manor was surprised at my change of heart, but there were other things to hold his attention instead.
We met the librarian, called Otto, who offered the library's services to us at our convenience. The lord was also very agreeable to our use of the library, and it was at this point that we noticed he was not behaving according to the character we had come to expect of him. Lord Aschaffenberg was said to be a proper and serious man, and this had been our experience with him thus far. However, at the dinner he was lacking in propriety and making disparaging racial japes. It was clear that the "goose is good" message meant that the venison had been drugged.
We were invited to the master suite after dinner where the lord asked us what we had found. I was trying to think of a way to broach the subject delicately when Stedd told the lord point blank that he had been poisoned. The lord laughed off the accusation citing lack of proof. He was obviously drugged and would have been impossible to argue with in that state. We had no choice but continue the investigation.
Incessant barking from the kennels had caused the kennel master to excuse himself from dinner earlier. We could still hear the uproar of the hounds, so we decided to head to the kennels. There the master admitted his inability to get them to quiet down. Incidentally, we also noticed the green tinted rise of Morrslieb in the horizon. Even my addled brain could put those two indications together to realize the night did not bode well for any of us.
Stedd got the kennel master to agree to let the dogs roam the property to try to quiet them down a bit. This helped us feel a bit safer, assuming the dogs would converge and alert us to any danger on the grounds. We stopped by the gate house just in case and found two of the guards asleep with only one sober at his post. This one guard had not eaten dinner yet, so we were unsure of where he would fall in the goose vs venison drugging after he ate.
The house's picture gallery and the kitchen provided nothing of interest to our investigation, except another way into and out of the cellars when all was said and done. The sitting room and the library, however, were two places of great interest in our narrowing search.
The sitting room elicited a sense of foreboding much like meeting Gregor Pearson the first time. There was an odd set up with a chair facing a curtain. Behind the curtain was a wall with a painting obviously missing. Why keep a painting hidden behind a curtain was a question we could not figure out. The chair had also left multiple violent scuff marks on the floor, which we were also at a loss to explain.
When we entered the library, we interrupted Otto reading an obscure bestiary. Rather than discuss anything with us, he left us with our leave of the place and exited hastily. The dwarf and I thoroughly searched the room and found that the most popular books had to do with the subjects of worshiping the ruinous powers and being sympathetic to chaotic mutations.
Our search of the house was complete, yet there was still something missing. A number of the people that we had labeled as suspicious were missing from the grounds during our last walk through. An unexpected view of the grounds from the roof allowed me to hear the hounds in the yard barking, with returning brays of some unknown creatures an indeterminate direction into the forest. I was also able to hear human chanting from somewhere nearby, though the source could not be located. We returned to the library to look for an alcoves we may have missed.
A search of the library's tattered rug allowed us to uncover a trap door with a ladder leading to a series of corridors underneath the lodge. We tried to remain silent as we crept toward the growing sound of chanting. As I came near a large open room, I saw the missing humans. They were cowled and standing around a dark altar. On the altar was some poor servant destined to be the cult's latest sacrifice. Heading the ritual was Gregor Pearson, his bandages removed and displaying a mutated arm and eye. Behind me the dwarf stumbled in the hall, causing Gregor to look up and meet me eye-to-eye.