After our recovery was mostly done Lord Ashaffenburg had us driven back to town on his cart to make up some of the time we lost. Trying again to find a way to get ahead of the cultists we chose to take the river to the next town instead of walking. We were able to get passage as far as Stromdorf on a boat headed run by two humans(Ernst and Grunt I think). We spent one more night at the Red Moon Inn and left early in the morning.
The humans talked about how the weather near Stromdorf was gloomy at best but now seemed darker than normal. As if on cue the water began to get choppy and we floated into a storm. Ernst spoke of pirates, maybe to distract himself from the storm as it became harder to see in the driving rain. Not long after that we sighted eels in the water, probably stirred up by the storm the human said. He may have been right but it couldn’t have helped the main bridge into town had waited for us to get close before going for a swim. When the bridge fell we rapidly came upon the debris and Ernst was tossed in to the churning river. The other human was useless at that point, scared, worried or dumbfounded it all looks the same on a human, so I took hold of the rudder and beached the boat on the bank.
By the time we got to shore we had drifted past the town so we gathered or gear and headed toward town. I thought we were looking for Ernst but my traveling companions seemed a little disappointed to find him unharmed, the locals had fished him out literally. They asked us a few questions about being here, it turns out it is unusual for them to see a stranger, they didn’t remember seeing anyone new in the last couple of days.
We went to see if we could find the Burgermeister to warn him of the cultists and see if the letter from Lord Ashaffenburg would get us hospitality. In town we had the misfortune of talking with two human guards that were particularly unhelpful. We were finally told that we needed to see the guard captain before seeing the Burgermeister. When we got to the place that was supposed to hold this captain a servant sent s away saying it was too late so we made an appointment for tomorrow.
Disgruntled we made our way to the Thunderwater Inn as it was recommended by several humans. The place was poorly maintained and smelly but it did have some strong drink and it was out of the rain. The younger human, Albrecht I think, was tricked into trying a “Marshwater Ale” which he didn’t seem to like, maybe the tadpoles in it or something?
The next morning we went again to see the guard captain and his servant refused let us in to see him. I left the humans to plot a way to get in and went to the tannery to see if the leather goods in this town were indeed as good as they bragged. The town had a constant stink to it but the tannery was downright foul, none of the humans I talked to said they could smell it are their noses so dull? After some looking I was able to find and barter for some quality leather armor and get out of that place.
By the time I returned the humans had come up with a plan to get the servant drunk on ale mixed with schlaf and it seemed to be working. We were finally able to get in, something that seemed to really surprise the captain, and convince him to take us to the Burgermeister. He seemed so sure we would be turned away that I began to wonder about him.
To the captains surprise we were admitted and the humans talked for a while and eventually we were offered a job, the merchant Florian Wessler from Ubersreich disappeared 2 weeks ago wagon, horses, signet ring and all. He is gone but he did not leave through the gates of the city. We made sure to tell the Burgermeister about the cultists that may be in his town but the captain dismissed it saying there had been no new faces in town recently. Again I find myself doubting both the man’s confidence and competence.
The humans negotiated with the Burgermeister to get a writ from the captain allowing us to move about the city as we please and investigate and we began immediately. Our investigations led us to the Stewpot hostelry, where the merchant was staying and its owner a pleasant Halfling woman named Cobblepot. We move our rooms to the Stewpot, better maintained, good food, not as smelly.
As we looked about the town we heard from a human in the stocks that he heard the wagon the night of the disappearance. He recommended we talk to Rhiner Holtz about the wagon. He said that the merchant talked to Holtz in the Stewpot Inn and had a long talk with the owner.
We searched the places big enough to hold the wagon, including the tannery and found nothing.