The weather was pleasant for their journey south. Winter had finally given way to spring and the forest stirred with new life.
On the third day of travel, the coach rounded a bend to discover the route blocked by a Chaos Warrior clad in Black Full Plate Armour. “Who among you will face me and die?", a chilling voice called from behind a dark visor. The heroes paused for a moment, Daith listened for sounds in the undergrowth that may give away the Chaos Warriors allies, but he heard nothing.
The chaos warrior screamed a battle cry and drew his greatsword. Mortelis Bloodbough leaped from the coach and dealt the warrior several stinging blows with his new blades. The warrior returned a mighty cleave towards his neck, but Mortelis managed to arch away from the reach of the blow. Arrow shots from Daith Sharpeye punctured the dark knight’s armour before a thundering shot from Barlin “Grimbane” Duraksson sent the warrior clattering to the ground in a widening pool of blood.
After checking that the chaos warrior was alone, the party continued onwards towards Delberz.
On reaching Delberz, the heroes found a dockside Inn called the Black Dog. During the night they were awoken by shrieks and screams from within the inn. Mortelis Bloodbough and Daith Sharpeye went to investigate and discovered a serving maid standing on a stool in the scullery trying to shoo away a large mutated rat. The rat had spines protruding from his back and bore two tails which flicked angrily around. Mortelis made short work of the rat and the pair looked for clues to where the rat came from but found none. Barlin “Grimbane” Duraksson arrived after a short while and his keen dwarven eyes spotted a shadowy figure flit away by the river outside. By the time the heroes got outside to investigate the mysterious figure had vanished.
Suspecting that they were being stalked once more by Skaven, the group fell into an uneasy sleep.
The night was uneventful though and the next day they continued on their journey to Altdorf. As they entered the heart of the Reikland the forest changed in character, becoming slightly less dark and dense. The closer to Altdorf, the more tamed and civilised the landscape became with breaks forest periodically to revealing a swathe of farmland or an orchard, often surrounded by a low stone wall and patrolled by farmers with crossbows. The coaching inns often form the centre of a small village, with blacksmith, market, and a shrine to Taal, Ulric, or Sigmar (or sometimes all three), rather than being a lone fortified building in the wilderness. Two days from Delberz, the party entered such village called Krankendorf.
As they approached they could see that Krankendorf ’s stone wall had a large breach on the north stretch. Workmen were erecting a wooden palisade to fill the gap, but they were only about half done and evening was upon them. Mortelis Bloodbough, asked the workmen what caused the breach and the the townsfolk explained that a monster from the Drakwald smashed down the wall and struck six strong men deaf, dumb, and blind with a glance when they came to chase it off. However, no two people could agree what it looked like, but everyone was glad it has gone and that no one had died.
The heroes found lodging for the night at The Red Empresses. The Red Empresses is the sole inn in Krankendorf and is a three-storey half-timbered affair with a red clay tile roof. The sign hanging in the courtyard depicted three stern and noble women in somewhat faded paint.
Inside, the taproom was busy with dockworkers, travelers, merchants and locals. Barlin “Grimbane” Duraksson, Daith Sharpeye and Mortelis Bloodbough sat down at a table to eat a meal of rough bean soup with rough brown bread. They had only been at the Inn for a moment when a large bull-necked labourer named Kaspar, took a seat next to Barlin “Grimbane” Duraksson, grabbed Barlin’s tankard of ale and quaffed the lot, the ale spilling down his chin and chest. Barlin “Grimbane” Duraksson did not hesitate. He clenched his fist and socked the docker across the jaw sending him backwards and toppling his stool.
The elves spotted other dockers moving to join the brawl. Mortelis grasped his blades and said calmly ‘Stay where you are or loose your fingers..’
Barlin “Grimbane” Duraksson was quick to act and drew out his hammer and drove it into Kaspar’s ribs with a sickening crunch, staggering the man. At the sight of weapons the surrounding dockers drew knives and moved to help Kaspar. They mobbed Barlin and he received a few heavy blows and a blade bit deep into his arm.
A thug moved to strike Daith Sharpeye but he stepped to the side and tripped his assailant, sending him toppling down some steps. Meanwhile, Mortelis stepped forward and casually disarmed a thug, knocking his knife loose and then grabbing it with his free hand, taking it from the thug.
Kaspar took a mighty swing at Barlin but Barlin dodged the blow before returning a swing with his hammer, striking Kaspar in the face, sending him reeling and spitting teeth and blood.
Mortelis knocked another to the floor and Kaspar took another swing at Barlin just as the full realisation of Barlin’s previous hammer blow reached his dulled brain and Kaspar collapsed onto the table.
At this point a pistol shot rang out above the sound of the brawl halting the fight. The landlord threw out the thugs to the street. Daith Sharpeye followed them and caught up with Kaspar and questioned him about the odd events. Kaspar said he was paid to attack the heroes by a mysterious cloaked figure who paid with a sliver of gold. Daith Sharpeye recognised the sliver of gold as being very similar to the gold pieces that the plate stolen from the Averheim garden party was broken up into.
That night the heroes slept cautiously and Mortelis Bloodbough remained awake and vigilant. Their suspicions were confirmed when they heard a squeaky voice angrily shriek ’“No! Is bad-wrong! All ruined-wrecked! You die-die, manthings!" Robert Schalmer awoke to find the Skaven Sorcerer Krasskulk standing above him, clasping the bell clapper. There was an overly loud sound of shattering glass as Skaven poured through the windows to attack.
There followed a desperate battle against the agile Skaven assassins and Krasskulk’s toxic magic. The prone Robert Schalmer was knocked unconscious and Mortelis Bloodbough was locked a deadly duel of flashing blades with the assassins. Barlin “Grimbane” Duraksson grabbed his rifle and shot the assassins in his room. The battle was ended by Daith Sharpeye who fired two deadly arrow shots into Krasskulk, striking him in the throat and mouth. Without their leader, the remaining Skaven fled into the night.
With Krasskulk dead, the heroes suspected they might finally be free from Skaven pursuers…