The wary and weary travelers had no idea where to look. The mysteries were piling up. Stories of suicide in the Market well, followed by Burgomeister Adler’s odd seclusion from the town. Strange surges in the storm two weeks ago had even the most weather hardened locals looking into the darkening skies. Even more lightning flashed over farmland and marshes, and strange stories of creatures out on the Oberslecht. And, the rain… the torrential and perpetual rain.
That morning a bolt lightening lit the skies and the resulting BOOM caused Albrecht and Heinz to go temporarily deaf. The elf smirked to himself, knowing he had left his window closed to avoid the terrible smell of this human dump of a town. Human’s are dumb, he thought.
After breakfast, Albrecht went to the market to buy himself a cart. The cart-wright was much more helpful than he expected, having met so many disagreeable sorts the evening before. To his surprise the craftsmen had exactly what he required, a nice pull cart with a false floor. They both agreed this was for protection from bandits… both knowing it worked just as well for smuggling. Of course, everyone in the vicinity heard the conversation, as Albrecht was still hard of hearing and yelled at the cart-wright during the entire exchange.
When the party got back together in the square, they noticed the direction of the smoke was East of town. They had come to find this to be where the Holtz’s homestead was located. They had also learned that Rheiner was seen leaving the town in a wagon pulled by a white pony the night the merchant disappeared… a white pony similar to the one owned by the missing merchant.
Even this motley bunch could put the clues together. They set out for the Holtz farm in search of answers.
Several miles out of town, they found a burnt farm with beastmen footprints scattered about. A battered sign pulled from the mud read Eigel Farm. A metal Chaos Star stuck in the mortar of the still standing chimney spoke of something sinister in these lands. Even stranger still was the site of an untouched farmstead only a mile up the side road.
They walked cautiously up the road, listening for beastmen, and not sure of what they would find ahead. They heard shouting, and found two men fighting in the yard. One was obviously and Eigel covered in ash and blood, fighting with a man from the Holtz clan. There was suspicious talk of blame, and then the Eigel man called Tristan stuck Fritz Holtz in the arm with a knife.
The Holtz clan swept in to capture Tristan, but our heroes stayed hidden and watched. These people were all quite deformed, and even the woman who came to help Tristan looked like a mistake of nature.
The woman and the largest of the Holtz brood, Klaus, carried Tristan into the barn and tied him up. Everyone else went into the house. Our three vagabonds took this opportunity to confront the women. To their surprise she seemed relieved to see them. She took them to a large tree up the hill form the barn and told them a terrible story of ongoing kidnapping from the Stewpot Inn with Cobblepot’s help. They would sacrifice these poor merchants to the beastmen to save their lives, and those of Stromdorf. Her name was Marie, and she begged them to help free her family of this terrible curse.
The three heroes were disgusted by this woman and her families evil deeds, but kept their disgust to themselves. She wanted them to meet someone, and in the darkness she called out to Foaldeath. This strange creature tried to hide it’s true nature, but they could see the hooves under the cloak. This was some strange mix of man and beast. There was more going on at the Holtz farm than just sacrifice.
The creature described a plan to steal the Lightening Stone from the beastmen. This lightning Stone is what kept the beastmen in the area, and what gave the leader his power. The heroes saw this as an opportunity to gain money and more work. However, to get the stone they would need to go into the Oberslecht… a terrible marsh, and steal the stone out from under an entire heard of beastmen.
Amazingly, they accomplished the task without harm to themselves. Foaldeath helped them escape, but Albrecht did see him speaking to Beastmen as he escaped. Something was wrong, but he had no time to investigate.
At the Holtz house, they shouted for everyone to get inside or die by the beastmen. They blocked the doors and started a fire by putting the Lightneing Stone next to the house. A bolt soon crashed into the home…setting it ablaze. They were careful with the stone from there on out… moving quickly to town with this dangerous artifact.
The townsfolk were excited to see him… especially a man named Schullman, who took them to his apartment and showed our heroes what he was working on. There were more stones to be found. He would help…