The day dawns with a heavy fog, but it soon clears away. The rains of the previous night have stopped, although the river is swollen still. With the return of Jochen to the party (having been whiling away his time his new BFF Konrad), the investigation into the disappearances gets re-energised. Jochen suggests re-examining the first body found, Klaus Keller, at the Temple of Morr. The GM reflects that this is actually an excellent idea, but realises the imminent arrival of a Post Urchin to deliver news on the Second Body, will look like forced plotting. Leaping forward into the story with the grace of an overweight spider with 7 of it’s legs hoovered up by an angry housewife, the GM lets the story unfold regardless.
Jochen: Thanks for letting us discuss a way of getting to see the first body for half an hour just before giving it to us on a plate with body number 2.
GM: I’m here to help.
Arriving at the scene, Jochen pushes his way forward, followed by the others, but finds the crowd quickly parts as soon as they see his wizard robes. Wizards are not well liked, nor are they trusted, but that’s sure not to make a difference to anything. Certainly not in the next 10 minutes. Luminary Konrad Mauer stands next to a dead body currently lying face up on the pier. Four Watchmen, including an overweight Captain Gunther, do their best to keep the curious crowd back. The Luminary strikes the players as an important NPC given that the GM gives him a fuller description than usual. Jochen of course knows Luminary Mauer thanks to their Averheim Book Club, which involves lots of healthy heterosexual pursuits for grown men to do together that is in no way gay. Mauer invites Jochen to look at the body. He’s contacted the players because they found and reported the first body. From that preliminary investigation, the party conclude the wounds on this body match the first. Jochen notices also that the puncture wounds on the back have a faint trace of Dark Magic around them. Mauer confides that it could be Chaotic in nature, but wouldn’t want that news to be made public. The Light Wizard is an expert on Chaos and lends his considerable knowledge and skill to the nobles of Averheim (as a day job).
Frustrated at this railroading piece of progress, Waldemar makes a stand for the common man by refusing to give into blatant storyboarding. Mounting an overturned apple box, which always seem to be around for Waldemar to stand on, he immediately launches into a passionate tirade about the disparity between the bronze and silver social tiers (certainly a clue the GM didn’t think anyone had picked up on). Bereft of Sky News, the crowd listen attentively to Waldemar and he expertly whips them up into a frenzy. Of particular focus of his tirade are wizards. Nobody trusts ‘em, everybody hates ‘em. Like a child covered in gasoline playing with matches, Waldemar cheerfully throws everyone into the fire. As the crowd erupts into unspecified violence (thank you Chaos Star!), Luminary Mauer is surrounded by the Watch and quickly bundled off to safety. The troll slayer does his Innkeeper Intimidation Dance and is left alone. Waldemar continues to rail against the mob about the injustice of mob justice and Ichabod manages to blend into the crowd. Jochen takes the incredibly brave step of simply striding purposefully through the crowd. Impressed with Jochen’s attempt to kill himself, the GM awards him extra Fortune Dice and he actually manages to pass through the crowd virtually unscathed. Waldemar isn’t as lucky and gets a light concussion. Everyone cheers. Including the crowd. Everyone begins to realise that Waldemar is as dangerous with his voice as the Troll Slayer is with his axe.
Upon returning to the Upright Pig, an argument breaks out between Jochen and Ichabod and party tension rises. The dispute appears to be over how to conduct the rest of the adventure. Jochen wants to follow the breadcrumbs laid down by the GM and FFG. Ichabod wants to curtail that and take a more direct route. Knowing that the GM (raised on Joss Whedon story rug pulls) will let players skip whole sections of plot if they manage to stumble onto the right path, Ichabod chooses a warehouse to scope out (inside the GM is sweating in case he picks the ‘right one’). Fortunately he doesn’t and the adventure continues. The Black Cowl carries on reading the Averheim Times in peace, drinking a cappuccino whilst sitting out the back of one of his dockside warehouses, not realising how close he (or she) came to an early exit from the campaign. Talking of a brutal and horrific exit from the campaign, Ichabod notices that Ute is missing from her usual spot by the docks. Although I’m sure nothing untoward has happened to her.
Meanwhile, an agent for the Red Arrow Coaching Company, Curd Weiss, arrives at the Upright Pig looking for the hero of the dock, Ichabod. Only finding his personal secretary, Jochen, he leaves a message: Adolphus (the merchant) has recommended Ichabod as a trustworthy and reliable character; as Curd is in need of capable fellows, he sought out Ichabod and his Company of Men (formerly the Troll Slayer gang). The party decide to rest up and recover from their wounds (and concussion). Ichabod on the other hand is on a mission to find out what happened to Ute. Searching her small bedsit, he finds no evidence of break in or robbery (her life savings are still in her hiding place). Staking out her place, a woman turns up looking for Ute. Her name is Mathilde and Ichabod sees she is clearly upset that anything may have happened to her friend. As an aside, Ichabod recognises her as part of the criminal underclass, but in what capacity he is currently too distracted to discern.
The following morning the party head off to the Red Arrow Coaching Company office. It’s a warm morning and makes a pleasant change from the previous few days inclement weather. However, Ichabod notes that Ute’s busking spot is still empty. Reaching the office in a more expensive region of the city, the party gain admittance and Curd Weiss ushers them into his plush office. He speaks directly to Ichabod. One of his coaches has gone missing. As there seems to have been a spate of missing coaches recently, he’d like some professionals to look into this. His boss, Graf Friedrich von Kaufman, takes this matter very seriously. He directs Ichabod’s Company of Men to ‘walk’ the route that his last coach would’ve taken, heading east out of Averheim, 12 miles towards The Welcome Rest coaching inn. It’s overdue by 2 days. Its cargo is (or at least was), a few crates of wine, some chemical compounds for industrial use and Adolphus’ Cathay silks. Curd gives them a signed note entitling the party to free food and board at The Welcome Rest Inn. The party are to investigate what has happened to the coach and recover any goods or employees they find. The pay for the work is 5 shillings a man per day. The party make ready to leave once they realise the GM has run out of jokes...