A bank of frigid fog rolls across the ground, moving with alarming speed. Coils of vapor twists and writhe, blanketing the sun and making it appear as a pale silver disc in the sky. The temperature drops, and each exhalation adds to the ticking mist. Then they see it. There. A black cloud takes shape, and in the center of its mass, two green fires burn with unholy light. It steps forward revealing the nature of its awful form: A dog, more massive than they have ever seen. It has a long shaggy black coat, matted with filthy ice. A massive maw filled with inwardly pointing teeth dominates the hound’s wedge-like head. It snarls, fixing the Altdorf Band with its fiery gaze.
Quickly leaving Helfurt, the Altdorf Band choose the most dangerous route North. The path through Dead Wood. Keeping at the edge of the wood, not an option, as that would take them past Essen, a city with powerful presence from the Cult of Morr. After Dead Wood, their trail would cross over Ostermark, to the capital city Bechafen and then finally reaching the lands of Kislev. On their journey they experienced the following…
- Ghosts and spirits were sighted in Dead Wood
- Near Mordheim, a large creature was trashing about, trees falling. Gerhart Brickle charged forth to attack, but was killed by a mutated chaos giant and eaten. Gerhart finding his doom. The rest of the party rushed to aid, but when faced with a chaos giant and a large host of warriors and mutants, they decided to flee rather than testing their strength against the Mordheim locals. Gerhart’s dog was killed by a boulder.
- The trip through Ostermark went without much complication.
- At Bechafen, the party reunited with Brother Maynard and his new companion. An initiate of Sigmar, who had helped him escape the Crusade of the Child when “The Ten” and “Peoples Front of Averland” sought to lynch Brother Maynard.
- The party hired a boat to take them West, where they caught new rumors of the crusade.
- Heading North into Kislev’s desolate winter lands, after some week of travel, they encountered Phineas Vanderhoff, a Witch Hunter. With Phineas in the lead, they charged a band of Runaways, discovering one to be a mutant. After killing the mutant, Phineas and the band tortured the rest to the point where they agreed they were agents of chaos and Khorne worshippers and servants of all the ruinous powers (and what ever else they could say to make the torture stop). The runaways were then burned.
- Spying some strange stone structures in the distance, the party walked for a days time to reach them. There they encountered a chaos troll, that was easily killed. Dr. Lorenz Gasbard made copies of possible inscriptions on the monoliths.
- Pressing further North, the chill cuts deep and a horrific great black dog appears. Could it be the one from their previous rumors: Black Ice?. Gromnir Groinsplitter charge the dog head on, and Rogee la Rouge follows up with a fast series of arrows hitting home. The dog escapes into the snowy weather.
- After weeks of further travel, the party catch up with a travelling wagon. Sven and Giorgi. Whishing immediately to see what is in the wagon, Gromnir Groinsplitter opens the back, and is attacked by a ghoulish vampire and her two ghoul maidens. The Altdorf Band quickly kill everyone, and takes their carriage.
- The party finally arrive in the small village of Zhidovsk, located in the shadows of the Crags of Shargun.
- The small village busy with people, as it turns out, the Crusade of the Child is camped at the village square, and further north, a large Vampire Encampment!
- The party encounter a dog, painted in black filth and with glass shards glued to its fur. The Sigmar Initiate kicks the dog and it runs away.
- The party also visit the local Shally Mission, where they talk to Hanna Reinholt, a short portly shallyan priestess who stink of alcohol. She relate to them that diseases have been spreading since the Crusade arrived (The first crusades began to arrive some 3 weeks ago). She also reveal that “It is the work of the Dark Gods”. Apart from blaming the Crusades for this, she again note that she fear “Its the work of the Dark Gods”
- Making a few attempts to rally the crusaders against the vampires does not work at all. It does not seem like the crusaders whish to challenge the vampire encampment.
- The Altdorf Band end their day at Taal’s Teat. After renting some rooms and getting some food, Dr. Lorenz Gasbard join a pale noble by his table. They discuss a bit of religion and fashion. The noble revealing himself to be the infamous vampire Lord Smogg of Sylvania. As the conversation fall upon vampires and their presence in Zhidovsk, the party learn the following:
- Vampires in General: It seems a number of vampires from each bloodline were contacted and informed that Karl would be coming to Kislev. While it is clear that the vampires know of the Vampire Prophesies, Lord Smogg, does not wish to “Spoil the surprise”. Lord Smogg would not really care if the party wished to attack the camp, or either factions. He would be sure to watch the entertainment though.
- Von Carsteins: Being of the Von Carstein line himself, Smogg is keeping track of Lydia von Carstein. He might also want the boy for himself now that he is of such great value. [The party is aware that Lydia has been a student of the Vampire Prophesies and of Blood Lines dating back to Nagash. She also seems to know of a powerful ritual of joining two souls. Maybe connected to the prophesies]
- Lahmian: Whores who believe they can seduce the boy into serving some purpose. Baroness Theodora Margrave leading the Lhamian expedition here. Their coaches decorated with fancy silks and pretty boys as coachmen. [The party recall Theodora hot on the trail of Karl previously, her minions trying to capture him from the Nurgle Temple]
- Necrarch: Their camp easily identified by the skeleton horses and guards in plain sight. Likely lead by Lord de Trois from near Wolfenburg. Lord de Troi was a student of numerology and had come to the conclusion that Karl was encroaching on his own destiny. Definitely looking to kill the boy. Obviously the Necrarch are without sense of style and all together embarrassing lot. [The party recall Lord de Trois, trying to kill Karl during the play “Sigmar Heldenhammer”. Lord de Trois, being one of the most powerful opponents yet to have faced the Altdorf Band.]
- Strigoi: Ridiculously superstitious they have kidnapped a Blood Dragon and are by far the most numerous bloodline present in the village. They have made their own little wall of wagons within the encampment. [The party may also recall the bestial vampire (who’s that?) that attacked the crusade in an attempt to kidnap the child. The party was busy fending off his ghouls.]
- After more than a month of travel, the party finally goes to rest in a real bed after a good hearty meal. The town illuminated by the pale light of the moon, and high on the sky, the zodiac has already turned. The Witching Star now dominating the sky.
[Finally I promised you guys a copy of the third picture. You can find it here: Lanfranchi Triptych]