It was a damp drizzly morning in Middenheim when the party regrouped at The Scholar’s. Both Daith Sharpeye and Mortelis Bloodbough were caked in mud from the night before, but looked revitalised. Lambeth told of the exploits of the mysterious ‘Grey Cowl’ through his tale, The Grey Cowl strikes.
Barlin “Grimbane” Duraksson looked obsessed by his new invention and headed off to the forge straight after breakfast.
The group decided to investigate the Aschenbeck Warehouse following Lambeth’s reports of a lair buried deep in the rock beneath Middenheim. Reaching the warehouse, they found that it was surrounded by a heavy presence of Aschenbeck Bravos. Deciding that it would be difficult to investigate the warehouse, they decided to visit Gregor Helstrum.
Helstrum listened to evidence that suggested that Graf Wolfgang von Aschenbeck was in fact, being framed by Werner Markheim. Importantly, the party also voiced their concerns about Adele Ketzenblum. The adventurers had evidence from Boris Koch, the proprietor of Koch’s that Adele had been seen on many occasions entering the Jade Sceptre Cult lair that they had discovered beneath the restaurant.
Helstrum said that Adele had ordered Koch’s to be burnt last night and Boris Koch and died during the raid. As Adele’s mentor, Helstrum maintained some loyalty to Adele and suggested she could simply have been working undercover. An experienced Witch Hunter, Helstrum did not entirely dismiss Mortelis Bloodbough‘s words. Looking melancholy, Helstrum recounted how she was such a bright apprentice. How she had saved his life; how she had brought many followers of chaos to justice and protected the Empire; how she had stayed his hand and protected the innocent. He lamented her recent zeal and her willingness to deal out mortal justice. In hollow tones he told of how he and Adele had been captured by the The Red Crown. He told of the cruel torture they both endured and how Adele’s injuries has become infected and her hand had to be amputated. Helstrum worried that this ordeal had made her susceptible to the ruinous powers and that she never truly survived her imprisonment…
Unwilling to act without knowing more of Adele’s current condition, Helstrum asked the adventurers to bring more proof that Adele Ketzenblum consorts with Chaos.
The party soon met Adele at the trial of Graf Wolfgang von Aschenbeck at the Temple of Verena. Because von Aschenbeck is a noble, he was able to have the affair held in the Temple of Verena. Because it is a trial for heresy and consorting with the Ruinous Powers, a Witch Hunter serves as the prosecution and judge: Adele Ketzenblum.
During the trial Mortelis Bloodbough and Robert Schalmer were called to give evidence by Aschenbeck’s lawyer Leopold Eggers. Mortelis gave evidence that the journal incriminating Graf Wolfgang von Aschenbeck was, in fact, forged by Ilse. Ilse further testified to this and claimed that Werner Markheim had paid her for the forgery. Robert Schalmer added a particularly damning witness statement about Brenner’s room and the suspicious Chaos symbols, which appeared to be amateurish forgeries. The symbol of Khorne was marked in paint rather than blood. The group also claimed that there was no such person as Brenner and he had been invented purely to frame Graf Wolfgang von Aschenbeck.
During the trial, Adele Ketzenblum looked bored at times and
the Grey Cowl Lambeth managed to glimpse that her trial notes were nothing more than idle doodles. Adele did however order the arrest of Werner Markheim and arranged a subsequent trial for him for heresy against the Empire.
Following the trial, Lambeth used his silky skulduggery skills to follow Adele back to The Prospect with the rest of the group (apart from Barlin “Grimbane” Duraksson who was at his forge) close behind.
The search of Adele’s room was not fruitful although they did discover her trial notes (or lack of useful notes, indicating her disinterest in proper judicial proceedings).
Meanwhile, Daith Sharpeye and Mortelis Bloodbough tracked Adele Ketzenblum through the winding back alleys of Middenheim, to The Brown Owl inn. The elves followed her inside and crept up the stairs, listening carefully at the bedroom doors, until they found one occupied. They entered the adjoining bedroom and Daith Sharpeye leaned out of the window to peer into Adele Ketzenblum’s room.
As he did so, the ever-alert and paranoid Ketzenblum spotted him and immediately reached for her weapons. Daith noted weaknesses in her armour before Mortelis Bloodbough tugged him back to safety.
Knowing their stealth was blown, Mortelis sprinted effortlessly to Adele’s bedroom door and waited. What happened next took the wardancer by surprise. Adele opened the door armed with a longsword in one hand and a dagger attached to her prosthetic on the other, and with rage in her eyes began a furious double bladed assault upon the elf. Mortelis dodged, his agile body arching away from her blades, but her sustained flurry finally caught Mortelis with a slight cut on his thigh.
Shocked, and reluctant to attack the Witch Hunter, Mortelis spun his spear across her arms, knocking her sword to the floor and clattering against her prosthetic dagger. Meanwhile, Daith Sharpeye had moved to an adjacent room to try and get a clear shot at the Witch Hunter.
Adele Ketzenblum smiled at the sting of pain, revealing teeth stained red with blood. Her shattered mind returning to the security of her torture at the hands of the The Red Crown. The sting of pain made her feel alive, adrenaline coursed through her veins and her nipples hardened as she renewed her assault, grabbing her sword and striking Mortelis over and over. Moretelis’ defenses broke and her dagger plunged into his side sending warm blood spilling over his naked belly.
Mortelis Bloodbough, shaken by her strike, realised he had little choice but to attack her. He rose into the air unleashing tempest’s fury upon the Witch Hunter. His spear bit down into her sword hand, crushing her fingers, before sliding along her arm to impale her chest. Mortelis landed deftly onto the ground and backed away across the corridor, leveling his spear at her, hoping she would cease her assault.
With a rattling breath, Adele Ketzenblum straightened herself and charged towards the injured wardancer. Daith Sharpeye, ever covering his kin, released a deadly shot as she sprung towards Mortelis. The arrow drove through Adele’s hip, cutting through bone and sinew and the Witch Hunter crumpled, her leg twisting back behind her at an impossible angle as she fell to the floor.
There followed an eerie moment of stillness as the elves looked in shock at the fallen Witch Hunter. The silence was eventually broken by a gurgled cough from Adele, her face contorting in ecstasy as the life left her body.
Through Adele’s bedroom window the Chaos Moon was bloated, pregnant and casting a powerful light down onto the city, A star shot to earth from the moon like a drop of spittle from a drooling mouth….