We’re getting close to the conclusion of our Zweihänder game now, with the night of the Baron’s ball which kicks off several days of political wrangling between the various local barons. Eva and her companions will probably get roped into this in some way, but we’re still mostly clueless about what is going on.
We got changed into our fancy clothes up by the castle so we didn’t have to trek through the streets dragging dresses and shoes through the puddles and filth that are common in cities such as Sielzen. There was reasonable security at the gates, but we were let in without any problems.
Since we had arrived on time, it was relatively quiet initially, but plenty of the richer members of the town were starting to come in. There was the ballroom downstairs, where the bar was located, as well as an upper level which was laid out ready for food.
Mingling around, I overheard a conversation about some observer from Lubrecia who had turned up at the last minute and effectively invited himself to the party, but nobody seemed to know exactly who he was.
Eventually the Baron Ottowild turned up, along with his mistress Suvrezia. He greeted everyone with a small speech, then started to introduce the ‘honoured guests’:
Baron Barnstable was first, who turned up with his ‘nurse’ Vasta as well as his bodyguard.
Second was Baron Schenfeld, who had originally sent us here to investigate Ottowild, with his sister (Ottowild’s actual wife) Annette on his arm. That’s going to be interesting. I noticed that she was no longer pregnant, so presumably had either given birth or had a miscarriage.
Jarl Norrisdötter was third, who came along with her assistant.
Jarl Skardesson was next, along with his manservant (or whatever the relationship was).
Last was Jarl Svensgarde, who unlike the rest was not also bringing in a present of some kind.
The Baron announced the gift giving, and Jarl Svensgarde was first. She presented to the Baron all rights to Barnsroot. A surprise given that physical gifts are what are normally expected.
Next up was Jarl Norrisdötter, who presented a barrel of particularly fabled rum normally reserved for the royal line of her country.
Third was Jarl Skardesson, who tried to make classical references to poetry but failed dismally. He also gave some fancy clothes of silver and gold, which actually wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
Next up was Baron Barnstable, who presented a large and fancy travelling chest, making comments about how he hoped the Baron would be visiting more often as they forged closer ties.
Finally Baron Schenfeld came forward and presented a “cot for the Baron’s heir”, an obvious reference to his sister and one which caused a bit of a stir.
Then there was a round of the ‘normal folk’ giving each other small gifts. Not having known about this, none of us took part in it.
As this is ending, a woman in dark veiled clothing and carrying a 4ft long box went up to the Baron and handed over the box to him. As she headed back, she exchanged glances with an older gentleman wearing dark Lubrechian style clothes. According to Calthar, he had been wearing a symbol that related to the royal line, and later she realised that he was Count Vestres, a bastard of the previous king of Lubrechia.
The Baron then presented gifts to everyone present, and this turned out to be somewhat random. Some people, such as Calthar, got a small silver token. Myself I received a rather nice statuette of a donkey playing a trumpet worth 4 silver. Djarin lucked out with a golden bracelet worth around 14 gold.
It was then time for the Baron to present gifts to his honoured guests. First he said to Baron Barnstable that he was releasing the nurse from his service and allowing Barnstable to take her as his. They both seemed very happy with this.
Then four women dressed in white came in, and they were presented to the other nobles as concubines, much in the fashion of Sobovia. I detect a plan to influence the whole region by whoever is behind these women.
The Baron then gave a speech about the rumours of the “city of flames”, and that Sielzen was now back to normal and that those responsible had been dealt with. It had been a collaboration between criminals and members of the church, and asks the Bishop for comment. The Bishop is somewhat flustered, and denies knowledge of any wrong doing.
At that point he drew a sceptre out of the box – it was much like the one we took from the Order of Redemption, except that it was probably real. At that point the Bishop then admits to being responsible for everything, and apologises to also leading everyone astray from the true path of redemption. The Baron declares that the Bishop will be executed, and he is dragged off by guards.
Father Langstrom, head of the Order of Redemption, is then granted the title of Bishop by the Baron, and given religious control of the city.
With that excitement out of the way, the dancing begins. However, most people seemed somewhat dazed and confused. Myself, I felt a twinge of protection that had come from the medallion I wore, which had probably protected me from the beguiling effects of the sceptre.
It was after the dancing and food had finished, that we noticed a box sitting by the Baron. It had been left by Count Vestres, and had the mark of a lion’s head upon it – incredibly similar to the box we had brought back (minus the drugs it had originally contained) many weeks ago.
To say that myself, and I think both Djarin and Calthar, were somewhat concerned at this point is probably an understatement. We managed to meet up to try and decide what to do, but then a servant came and took the box, heading out a back way through the castle. At that point, Djarin noticed a black coach turn up at the front gates.
I quickly headed off after the servant, though I have no idea what I should do if I caught up with him. I wasn’t spotted, and followed the servant out a back door and round towards the front.
At one point he stopped and put down the box to relieve himself, but I couldn’t risk trying to grab it since the chance of him spotting me was high.
Player’s Notes: I was in a bit of a bind at this point, because I didn’t feel that there was much that Eva could do. She doesn’t have enough stealth to do anything sneaky, and she doesn’t have any combat skills to use violence (plus both would be out of character). Possibly she could have tried bossing the servant into doing something, but I couldn’t think of a workable angle, and her chances at that aren’t great. It’s a problem I’ve had with Eva that she doesn’t have much in the way of ‘adventuring’ skills.
He then picked up the box again and headed towards the coach. It was at that point that I got a very strong feeling of being watched. Glancing up, I thought I saw something shadowy on the roof. Ahead at the front door were Calthar and Djarin, so I headed forward towards them.
The servant handed the heavy box to a woman inside, who took it with a single hard without any sign of stress. The coach then headed down the street.
Djarin and myself ran after it – not particularly practical in a fancy red dress, but at least I’d chosen shoes that I could run in. Calthar went to quickly get changed and grab her gear, so it was some minutes before we met up with her again.
Keeping up with the coach wasn’t too hard, and we followed it back to the White Orchid, which was unusually dark. It wasn’t quite midnight, so the place should have been alive with clientele, but it was closed up apart from some lights up on the second floor in the management section.
There were some guards here, but not too many, and by the time that Calthar joined us we’d pretty much decided to try and break in. Possibly the Bishop had been taken here to be killed, and it was suspiciously just before midnight when they were most likely to perform any unpleasant ceremonies.