Enemy Within - Power Behind the Throne
The party arrive in the City of the White Wolf.
Right, the party finally entered Middenheim, after being gouged for taxes upon entry (with Stefan copping a Scroll Tax too). Their weapons have also been secured at the South Gate (with the exception of a dagger or two). The group headed to The Templars Arms (area 43 on the map in the Geldmund Commercial district (see here www.orcedinburgh.co.uk/wiki/Middenheim). Ilsa and Giacomo bouth bought meat pies which saw them largely confined to the privy for the day...
The rest of the group headed to the Palace and delivered their letter to Kirsten Jung and her neices, and met with two individuals: Dieter Scheimedehammer, the Graf's champion (Kirsten's fiance) and Rallane Lafarel (an Elf), Court Minstrel. Both greeted the PCs warmly and had them stay for a drink. On the subject of the taxes, Dieter seemed to respond in a near monotone, especially when talking about the Dwarf tax. Some of the group suspect he has been hypnotised or compelled in some way. Lafarel, while quite happy about the Dwarf tax, resents the fact that the city's Dwarves blame him for it - they're constantly saying that it was his idea. It wasn't. He believes it was Chancellor Josef Sparsam's.
The group returns to the Templars Arms, with the intention of meeting the Kirsten's party later at the Laughing Jackass (a restaurant/cabaret/bar). Giacomo and Ilsa are still unavailable obviously. The place is lively, busy and a number of satircal pieces are taking place. An impressionist is on stage as they arrive, singing an onviously popular song:
I'm Gruber Goebbels,
How do you (the audience "whoop-whoop"s)
I swindle all the merchants (the audience "whoop-whoop"s)
And I'm hear to cheat you too..."
There was also a satirical piece showing a doddering Graf Boris Todbringer (audience booes when he falls over), his heir (a palsied and drooling) Baron 'Shaking' Stefan Todbringer, and of course Baron Heinrich, who waves from the wings. 'Princess' Katarina is reading poetry (upside down) whilst around them a heavily padded Tilean caricature dances around. "Herr Doktor" Luigi Pavorotti sprinkles glitter on the recumbent Stefan who then gets up and makes rude gestures to the crowd, and tries to dance with his father.
The audience laughs uproariously, none more than "Herr Doktor" Luigi Pavorotti! He himself is in the audience, a larger than life individual who enjoys wine, women and song (sometimes in abundance). As well as being something of a lech, he happily regales the party of life on the high seas as a Tilean Entrepreneur (possibly a pirate). He doesn't have any opinion on the taxes, but reckons Chancellor Josef Sparsam must have had help from the three Law lords (Reiner Ehrlich, Joachim Hoflich, Karl-Heniz Weismier) to ratify the tax laws.
As the group returns to The Templar's Arms the streets are already festooned with carnival finery, and there's an air of anticipation. Even as this late hour preparations are still taking place. Tomorrow is the Carnival - one that all Middenehimers will never forget!
As told by Priscilla (Captain Orion) “Hmm..... You want to hear more of my adventures do you? I don't know. My sister doesn’t want me telling you these stories you know…” The child takes a deep breath for forthcoming histrionics of apocalyptic proportions. “Fine, fine. Come here - and not a word to your mother about this, or she will kill me.”
Priscilla picks up the child and puts her onto her knee. “Now, what story do I tell you? Have I ever told you about the time I met a prince of Athel Loren? No? Well, my story starts in an human city called Middenheim, a great stone behemoth settled on a great pillar of rock about three hundred foot tall - a wonder to see, and a pain to get into; but that's got nothing to do with this story so I'll skip that.
“What? Yes Johann, Ilsa and the others were with me as well. I know how much you like to hear about the antics my friends and I get into! Now let me get on telling this story and finish it before your mother get home. Now where was I...? Well, it was the first day of the carnival and we all went see the Challenges to the Champion Dieter Schmeidehammer… Who's Dieter? He was the Graf's champion and skilled he was, easily took on all challengers and won: even took on Giacomo. Giacomo need a bit of persuasion to get in the ring with Dieter in the form of a push in the back but in the end the two went at it! With the first left hook into his face, Giacomo was sent flying back onto his back and was out cold. We never did let him forget about it. We did a little socializing and got little tip bits about town.
“Well, the show ended and we all spit up and went our own way to different activities. Ilsa and our new friend Klaus went off to do a bit of Archery, I heard that they both did well. Well, they at least hit something, I think it was a one cat, a dog, one pigeon, and a chicken - and I think Ilsa did most of that.
“As for Stefan, he went away to get drunk at the Fine Ales Festival and got in to some mischief with a high-ranking member of the Merchant guild. I recall something about getting him drunk and using his magic to put him to sleep; I don't remember too much about that. All I know is that he got on the wrong side of the guard and so were going to keep an eye on him.
“What was I doing? Well, I was at Elven Gymnasts Event and what a fantastic event it was! There was tumbling in the air, swinging from one places to an another;, it was a great dance a hundred feet about the crowd with nothing to stop them falling to the ground but their skill. One day I'll take you and your mother to see this; it something to be seen to truly know it's beauty. After the show I ran into a Rallane Lafarel; and he was from Athel Loren.
“Yes, yes, he was the Prince. Now, Rallane was an idiot: he spoke in the oddest Old Worlder I’ve ever heard; it had a lot of “Dudes” and “Wow” in it. He said he learned it up north from a human on a beach. Anyway, I got in a conversation with him and that were I found out he was a prince. Now I was shocked to learn this; one of our noble-born was this man. Well, I quickly made friends with him. One thing you should know always make friends with important people even if they’re idiots. It is always useful to have someone like that on your side when things go wrong and sometime you learn to like them, but anyway. “One great thing was he introduced me to the gymnasts: they looked impressive in the air but even more so in person, powerful bodies and they all looked battle-hardened. It turns out they were Wardancers, of all things and that they came here on Rallane’s request! When you get someone that can request Wardancers to put on a show in a human city; then you know he’s someone very important. But sadly I had to go, as I was going to meet the others at the Minotaur fights.
“No, I did not fight it. Fighting a Minotaur is something you try not to do. Anyways, it was a small one and not that strong-looking. Gladiators would take it on: when you look at them the Minotaur looks the better fighter than the humans, being much bigger. Don't let looks fool you - just because someone looks weak does not mean they are. I’ve learned that one the hard way many a time on my travels. “Well, this little Gladiator was fast - real fast - dancing around the Minotaur’s blows and landing small blows of his own, slowly wearing the Minotaur down. And then, in a blink of the eye, he stuck a hard blow and down it went, flat on its back. Minotaur are hard beasts to take down and he did it in minutes. Very impressive feat it was. That all happened in just the first half of the day, so we had a bit of time before the next event started. So we ... “
A terse Elven voice cuts across Priscilla. “You know you’re not a very good influence on little Prisc there! I leave you alone and you’re telling my child these gruesome stories! Well, you may as well finish it - and before you ask, I’ve been here from the start. So, tell us more about this Prince of yours!”
Embarrassed for failing to notice her sister being there from the outset, Priscilla clears her throat. “Well, you better take a seat; there’s still six and a half days to recount before I'm done. So, where was I? That's right. And so we......”
Day 2 & Day 3
The party spent much of their time hob-nobbing with the locals and getting a taste for life in the big city
Charlotte, the mysterious woman who hypnotised Dieter? Grom's latest literary creation which looks surprising familiar - with regards to a shapechanging demon, heist, a murder, a chase through the streets and fire? Ar-Ulric's interst in Emmanuelle Schlagen, the Graf's Paramour (that's going to get messy)? Herr Doctor's interest in Priscilla? Sparsam's weird behaviour? A possible coach chase? Goebbel's roles in all this? And will Kirsten talk to any of you ever again?....
Kyle Schmidt recalls the events "As far as I recall, we were investigating the red-headed green eyed woman, her possible connection to Sparsam, planning to talk to him.
Also Karl woke up in the party after a hard, hard night with chainmail links in his hair, tried to help Kirsten's relationship, afterwards got the Dude to get the Knights Panther incredibly drunk, dragged his dwarven Grudge Band to the beer tent, and a 5-way fight broke between Dwarf Grudge Musicians, Elven Wardancers, Guards, Knight Panther and the party. Afterwards we got the Grand Champion clean and sober both outside and inside and sent him home.
Can't recall what happened afterwards, but I don't think we'll be going to the beer tent soon."
Johann Koch's recollections are much the same: "I also narrowly avoided being kidnapped by Slanneshi cultists while trailing Wittgenstein. Not by cunning and wiles, but by losing him. And someone *cough* yokel *cough* started a brawl between the Knights panther, the dwarfs and the Merry Band which resulted in beer tents collapsing and all the slates from a nearby rooftop being lost in a freak gust of wind. I blame fracking."