Magister Marsner keeps the heroes waiting outside until they had all arrived. She walks with them into the Graveyard, taking a similar path to that of approximately four months ago. She takes you to the same secluded part of the graveyard that they had fought the Daemon in. The heroes note that the damage caused by the Daemon’s arrival has not been repaired.
Magister Marsner’s hood remains up throughout the subsequent conversation, her stunning face remaining hidden from sight.
“When I agreed to undertake the ritual you agreed that you would perform a task for me. Well now that time has come.”
Andred points out that she didn’t actually dispel the Daemon, but instead caused it to be summoned instead. Magister Marsner continues on. “Of course, the dispelling went astray, but our agreement was that I would risk myself to undertake the ritual, not that I would be successful.”
The heroes think about that for a few moments. While broadly true, it seems a very pedantic argument.
“Nevertheless, given things did go awry, and we are now all cursed with the touch of the Daemon, I have been undertaking some further research on how we may be able to remove the Daemonic scent which lays upon us. While I have not been successful in determining a solution, I have stumbled upon a few promising hints, which I intend to investigate further. In doing so however, I have identified another opportunity that I cannot afford to let slip. This is where our agreement comes in.”
“Before I can speak further, I must advise that what I am going to ask you may place you, if caught, in the bad graces of the Holy Order of the Templars of Sigmar [Witch Hunters], but that you are not, in itself, doing anything that would weaken the Empire or strengthen its enemies. If you agree, let me tell you of what I have found, and what I would have you do.”
“Will we be paid?” Kadfina asks bluntly, with the others nodding.
“Yes. I have organised travel, a week’s leave from study for Gard, and I have 100 Gold Crowns that I shall provide upon your successful return.”
The heroes briefly talk amongst themselves, and agree. Each with their own reason as to why they might take this work. The Magister looks carefully around the area, before beginning her story.
A little over 100 years ago, a minor Noble of Reikland, Baron Maximillian von Dreher, was found to be worshipping a heretical cult. The Witch Hunters descended and his family, the cult and his homestead were all destroyed. However the Witch Hunters had some difficulty proving the guilt of the Baron, as when they arrived at his estate, they could find no sign of heretical texts, horrific artefacts, or evidence of foul worship. In the end, only through the evidence of a number of witnesses, many of which were later to have been found to have been paid by the Temple of Sigmar, were they able to convince the Court of the Baron’s peers of his guilt.
For a short while thereafter, the death of the Baron and his family was seen as an aberration of justice until, under the grounds of his burnt estate, an itinerant group found secret passages which showed the signs of heretical worship – worship of an Arabyan death cult.
There was however, no sign of any texts. The most reliable of the witnesses had indicated that the Baron had an extensive library, but none of it was found. The same witness advised that the Baron had been warned that his life may be at risk, and two days before his arrest, the Baron had sent his library, and related religious paraphernalia away, but to where was not known.
Until now. In seeking information relating to Daemonic items, Gabrielle Marsner had inadvertently come across the journals of the Baron’s accountant. In the year leading up to the Baron’s execution, a significant portion of his not insignificant wealth had been used to fund the construction of a keep in the Hagercrybs, and more interestingly, to fund a mining workforce in the same region. As this was all done through intermediaries, the Sigmarite Witch Hunters never identified the funds and never discovered what had been built. Indeed, it is unclear that they even bothered to look.
While it is not known what the Baron transferred to the Keep, there is one book that it is clear that the Baron did hold. The book was entitled “Restless are the Dead,” a necromantic tome, its ownership is forbidden within the Empire.
“Would that book teach someone how to bring someone back to life?” ‘Gard asks, interrupting Gabrielle.
She is quiet for a long time and then answers. “Possibly, although the life they returned to would be a tortured and painful existence, and would stain the person who sought such a thing.”
‘Gard thinks for a while and then asks why Magister Marsner would herself need such a book? Again she pauses, although much briefer. “The book itself is a source of great evil, and it is right that it should be destroyed, however my Master once hypothesised that the book also contained significant insights into the destruction of Undead creatures. When he raised this with his peers, he fell out of trust and was sent to the North to work for a Nordland Nobleman. I wish to test his theory, and if true, perhaps I may be able to reinstate him within his previous position within the College. To do so, I need to consider the book. Once I have done so, should it be of any use, I will destroy the remaining elements. If not of use, I will destroy the entire book.”
“And besides, should someone else find the book and make use of it, the results could be disastrous. The book is safer in our hands, than where it might be right now.”
Kadfina asks “Wouldn’t it be better to turn the book over to the Witch Hunters? If it does have information about dealing with the undead, shouldn’t they know”
Gabrielle appears to shake her head. “Oh they know. They probably have scores of copies of this book in their hidden libraries, only shown to those most trusted. Another copy is of no use to them. Not in the same way that it would be useful to me. And while a noble idea, unless the Witch Hunter is someone you trust, they may just burn you, alongside the book, just to ensure there is no chaotic influence. Safer that we find the book, find out if it useful, and then destroy it ourselves.”
She brings out a map, and running her finger along the route, she tells the heroes that she has prepared a fast coach to Rechtlich, and then slower transport to Gablerhoff, wherein Dreher Keep was a short hike away. All in all it should take 2 days to get there.
Kadfina speaks up again. “Will you pay for coaches to Fielbach?”
The Magister seems surprised by the question. “I don’t know if there is a direct coachline between Rechtlich and Fielbach, but I can organise travel from Fielbach back to Altdorf, should you desire."
Each of the heroes have some further questions for the Magister, and she does her best to answer them.
In the end the heroes agree, unsure whether what they are doing is right, but knowing that before when they placed their trust in Gabrielle Marsner, that trust was not misplaced.
Magister Marsner advises that it is too risky to bring the book directly back to Altdorf, and suggests they meet up in ‘The Captains Arms’ in Fielbach.
The heroes make to leave, and Gabrielle asks for a few moments with ‘Gard. She warns him of reading the book. Given the early stage of his studies, the risk of corruption is real ‘regardless of whatever good motives he may have.’ ‘Gard asks about the others and her response is simply that without any magical ability, they might get some strange ideas, but be unable to do anything about them. She agreed however that it would be better for no-one to read the book.
Before the heroes leave Altdorf, they take the opportunity to purchase necessary supplies, and then board the coach to Rechtlich. The next day a farmers cart takes them to the small sheep herding village of Gablerhoff. There they meet Baldomar Huber, the village tavern/shopkeeper who points them in the direction of Bretz Hill. He tells the heroes that the climb is steep and to watch out for Goblins “although they haven’t seen them in the last couple of months, not since the last group went to search the keep for treasure.”
It’s true the climb is steep, but the hill is barely wooded, and within three hours the heroes find themselves within sight of a small keep, perched on the crest of the hill. The large doorway stands empty.