Der Hexenkessel

Der Hexenkessel, Session 20

January 4 - 11, 1654

January 4, 1654

Alerted by the shot from within the walls of the vineyard, the group was prepared when Kat scrambled back to their location, an armed man on horseback a short distance behind her. The man, who proved to be a Ukrainian Cossack, told them to stay away from the edges of the camp. Adolf vehemently protested the warning shot that had been fired at Kat and dressed the horseman down for his company’s aggressive behavior. The rider reiterated the warning to stay clear, and returned to the vineyard.

The group returned to Ravensburg with the objective of obtaining a spyglass with which to openly and obviously observe the encampment; the intention was to cause the mercenaries to send another scout to challenge the group, hopefully resulting in an opportunity for Raz to employ Ganzfelder and learn more about the group’s intentions. The group found that there was no spyglass available for sale in Ravensburg; however, they reasoned that for their purposes a dummy spyglass would do just as well, so such a device was assembled.

Meanwhile, Adolf took to the streets to see what rumors were to be heard in the city. He learned that the Catholic Lord Mayor’s steward, as the story of von Siegen’s affliction spread through the city, was increasing being blamed for what had transpired. He also learned that a hard-case mercenary was angry at Kat for being shown up in an axe-throwing contest the night of the Armory Banquet.

January 5, 1654

Adolf had an appointment with the Catholic Lord Mayor’s steward this morning, which he kept. Hugo accompanied Adolf, as an official representative of von Siegen’s household. Adolf found the man, whose office was at the town hall, to be upset and defensive, and anxious about the future of his position. Adolf did his best to reassure him that he and his allies did not believe the steward to be guilty of negligence, and offered to issue a public statement of support. When Adolf inquired about the staff that the steward had engaged for purposes of serving the Armory Banquet, and in particular asked about people who he hired that were from France of Poland, he learned that a man with an accent the steward believed was eastern had been amongst those employed, but the steward couldn’t tell if the man was Polish or not. Adolf reiterated the offer to provide public support to the steward if such a thing would be helpful.

The group returned to the vineyard and placed it under observation with their ersatz spyglass, making their surveillance as obvious as possible. Various stratagems were employed to draw the mercenaries out; however, the mercenaries maintained their discipline in the face of all of these attempts, keeping watch on the heroes but taking no other action.

The group decided to return to Ravensburg upon the realization that the mercenaries seemed too disciplined too fall prey to their strategy. Adolf returned to surveying the city’s taverns and inns, learning nothing new about the situation with the Armory Banquet and the mercenaries, but overhearing in Barbara’s Cannon that there was a man in Ravensburg who had the ability to make true magical potions. This piqued Adolf’s interest and he continued to discreetly eavesdrop. It transpired that the man being discussed was a laborer by day, but produced these potions by night. Adolf recognized the men who were conversing, and approached them. The men revealed that they had heard that a man named Lorenz Grafl, who lived near Züttlinger’s Public House, had a kobold in his house who guided him in the creation of the potions.

January 6, 1654

The next morning the group visited Lorenz Grafl. Knowing he was a laborer by occupation, they offered to hire him for the day to work on von Siegen’s stables. Once safely away from Grafl’s house and earshot of the supposed kobold, Adolf discreetly inquired as to whether Grafl did indeed have a kobold. Grafl responded in the affirmative, stating that he received assistance from a kobold who called himself King Turnip. After some discussion about his abilities, Kat commissioned him to create a healing potion, a potion that allowed vision in total darkness, and a potion that provided protection against fire. Grafl said that it would take a few days each to brew the potions.

January 7, 1654

The group rested in Ravensburg while continuing to pay attention to news in the city. Adolf spread the news that von Siegen had recovered from his affliction. He visited the Catholic Lord Mayor’s steward in particular and informed him of von Siegen’s recovery. Adolf repeated the offer to have Herr von Siegen produce a statement supporting the steward; the steward accepted this. This statement was expressed upon bills that were posted around Ravensburg.

Meanwhile, Letta spent some time socializing with Doctor Abreck on his visits to von Siegen’s house. The two played cards and learned some more about each other. Doctor Abreck shared that he had indeed had a seafaring career, having been on Abel Tasman’s voyage to Australia and Tasmania in the early 1640’s. And before that, he hinted that he may have served on ships that preyed on Spanish shipping in a piratical manner.

January 8, 1654

Adolf learned via rumors that the mercenaries had decamped and departed the vineyard on the morning of January 7th. The group rode out to investigate the encampment, and indeed found that it had been abandoned. Upon searching the buildings of the vineyard, little of interest was found except for a small amount of dry gray dust on the floor of one of the chambers in the main residential building. Adolf was able to identify this as being the remnants of a magical poppet that had dried out and crumbled due to the failure of the associated spell.

The group immediately set out along the track of the departed mercenaries, which was easy to follow. The trail was found to head eastward, in the direction of a village called Nisselsbach. The villagers reported that a single unarmored rider, in civilian clothes, had ridden ahead of the group and asked directions to the city of Kempten. The remainder of the column was reportedly headed towards the city of Isny. The group resolved to pursue the trail of the lone rider, who was described as a young handsome man who spoke German with an accident indicating that he was native to parts east. The group stayed for the evening in Nisselsbach.

January 9, 1654

The group made sure to get an early start the next morning, riding in the direction of Kempten along the route that the villagers in Nisselsbach had given to the lone rider, winding through a number of small duchies and principalities and encountering nothing unusual. They arrived in Kempten around nightfall.

The group stopped at the very first tavern that they encountered upon entering the gates of Kempten. Adolf asked around and found that a man matching the description of the lone rider had taken quarters at Hupp’s Inn, generally held to be the nicest inn in town.

Hupp’s Inn was found to be an imposing four-story building with large grounds, with extensive stables and carriage houses. Raz and Letta took up positions monitoring the exterior of the building. Adolf and Kat entered the inn’s tavern, and the saw a man seated at a table drinking wine who Adolf recognized as someone who had been a servant at the Armory Banquet. Adolf pointed the man out to Kat. The man recognized them as well, and, appearing to apprehend the circumstances immediately, stood up to flee towards the back door. Kat leapt to the attack, sliding over the bar to place herself between the man and the back door. Adolf tackled the man and brought him to the ground, but in short order the man, displaying remarkable strength, broke free of Adolf’s grapple.

Boxed in, the man then scrambled up the wall and began to move towards the front door while clinging to the underside of the ceiling. Hearing the commotion inside, Letta rushed in to join the fight, as did Raz. Raz attempted to use his slumber spell against the man, but found that some magical shielding of some kind prevented it from being effective. The foe weathered multiple pistol shots and thrown daggers—at one point, her pistols discharged, Letta grabbed a pistol from the belt of a nearby patron and fired it—and suffered some light wounds. He dropped to the floor and shook off another tackle attempt by Adolf. Raz fired his pistol at the enemy’s head, but the ball merely grazed his target’s skull. As the man attempted to run past Raz and out the door, Raz drew his short sword. The man was able to get a handle on Raz’s sword, pushing it against Raz’s neck and causing a deep wound, but ultimately Raz was able to regain control of his weapon and stabbed his opponent in the heart, killing him.

Amongst the mysterious man’s possessions was a locket ring, within which was found a portrait of a dark haired, handsome man with high cheekbones and a mustache and goatee.

The group stayed the night in Kempten. They removed the head from the body of their enemy; the Kempten down guard dealt with the rest of the remains.

January 10, 1654

The group began heading back to Ravensburg, Kat carrying the severed head of the strange man. As they were unpacking their possessions that night at the tavern where they found quarters, Adolf noticed an odd noise coming from his saddlebag as he moved it. Within was found a violin. No one knew where the violin had come from.

January 11, 1654

The group arrived back in Ravensburg. They showed the severed head to von Siegen, who did not recognize the man to whom it had belonged. However, he did recognize the portrait within the locket ring, saying that it depicted a vampire that he had slain in Vienna in 1646.

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