Back in the Speckled Hen the party gather to determine what plans and notions they shall try to bring about the end of Uttarn ven Rikktuur; Zeru Otxoa and Fullica Atra mull over their plan to try and deceive the Bailiff and acquire the maps and legal documents that would aid their battle against the Horseman and assist Geesje Van Kuipers in her legal quest against the Maas family, whilst Jorik passes time in meditation and prayer. Skal Dreissel decides it is a good time to pay a visit to the fishing village and speak again with Kronj Saltax to let him know what has happened so far and perhaps to seek out some aid for finding the way to the mine in the overgrown and tangled forest north of the river. At about this time Zeru, Fullica and Geesje also leave the Hen on their way to speak to the Mayor and to try and get the attention of the Bailiff Kres Megrun.
All abroad in the evening note that the rain is starting to come on strong, and the more astute can feel it has the feel of a storm coming, though oddly the sea mist and fog is still present despite the rain and wind picking up, a most curious phenomenon. As Skal makes his way along the footpath that parallels the river as it flows west to the shore his lantern picks out the sight of 3 of the fisherfolk, apparently 2 of the Kretschmanns armed with a long spear and a blunderbuss respectively, and one of the sons of Kronj; the latter is armed with a wicked looking battleaxe and a hammer, and whilst the other 2 keep an eye wary up the trail towards the village, Skal notes that Kronj’s son pays more attention to the river.
They admit him, before keeping up their watch, and Skal enters the environs of the cluster of buildings that define the fisherfolk village; he sees many of the folk are scattered around fires and shelters, all armed as best they can and an air of tension and wariness is present. Nemue Saltax, accompanied by her rangy mongrel Scruff approaches and bids Skal to follow her, and sure enough Skal is lead to the sea shore where the imposing form of Kronj stands with his eyes towards the sea, his hand resting upon the haft of his old weather axe. Nemue backs away to give some space to the pair and they talk; Skal quickly determines that the moment is especially tense here, and as they talk and go over recent events, Skal realises that Kronj has already spoken to Sirene Valahinnin, and he decides to be open and honest about a number of things, including his dealings with the Society, the bearing of the Acquitants Coin and a few other things. When he mentions that he knows Korvuus, the mood lightens notably, and Kronj’s threatening demeanour abates, for it woudl appear that Kronj has himself had dealings with the mysterious vagabond; it would seem that also Korvuus has a network of contacts and allies that he acquires, including Skals only known living relative, his Maternal Uncle Thrax. They talk about their dealings with mutual acquaintances and what these seeming coincidences hold for them in the future, and when they part after a good talk of their homeland, Kronj gives his blessing for his daughter to act as guide for those heading north of the river; she’s capable, knows the forest well and is adept at getting out of trouble quickly. Skal takes his leave at this point and will see Nemue on the morrow at the Hen.
Meanwhile, the others make their way through the township to the Town Hall, seeing the bedraggled and uninspiring members of the local Militia walking the street and guarding the bridge, armed with muskets and pikes certainly but not presenting any real deterrent to otherwordly trouble. They get to the Mayor who accompanies them to the Bailiffs house, only to be told there that he is currently visiting the Reverend Father at the Church. They head there, and are admitted past the heavily barred doors into an ante chamber where the pencil thin and scrawny figure of Reverend Father Vibiutz is performing rites over the bodies of the recently fallen whilst Kres watches, eating a sandwich as he does so.
Geesje swallows her pride for the good of the mission as it were and apologises to Kres for earlier at the bridge, and though surprised by this, the Bailiff just nods, before the 3 advise him that they intend to head over the bridge and put to rest the threat of the Horseman; in order to do this, they need maps and help in the doing, and suggest that maybe some parish records and documents may hold the key; his reaction is cagey, but he agrees to assist, and advises them that in the morning he shall bring what he thinks is pertinent along with some of his more staunch militia members. The party are surprised at how easy he seems to take it, but depart back to the Speckled Hen to further plan their way ahead.
They are all back at the Hen before long, and sit down a while to discuss what they plan to do next, and whilst Geesje leaves to attend to her own call of nature Skal and Zeru share a little of what they have learnt separately in the evening so far; somehow, the touchy pair seem to get on one another’s wrong side, and harsh words between them lead to anger, and in a moment Zeru draws his pistols and points them at Skals face, and then Skal punches Zeru; all is tense for slowly dragging moments as Largo the Unnkeeper, the 2 coachmen and Fullica watch to see what happens next, though Fullica does suggest that they may wish to desist this foolish behaviour.
Zeru uncocks his pistols and puts them up, as Skal heads to the bar to get a round in, and the tense and dangerous moment passes. Once calm, Geesje wanders in and notes the tension still there, wondering what she missed; what indeed.
The evening passes, with only the brief appearance of a pair of the local militia taking a moment to get dry from the deluge outside, and they are fed and watered by the party and Largo for a while, chatting about things and proving that they are ordinary folks, and entirely unsuited to the militia role they have due to the poor manner they maintain their equimpent. Geesje has an idea and takes out some brandy and a pot of stew to the couple of guards at the bridge, who it appears are a husband and wife, and very grateful they are to their benefactor. Geesje heads back into the Hen, and the stormy night passes and moves onto the morning, though before bed, Geesje asks the 2 coachmen, Barnabus and Olli to keep an eye out for old Mrs Greetzen, for she may be in danger; they agree for they are decent men who are at a loose end, and Geesje is moved to give them 10 Crowns each, which greatly lifts their spirits.
On the 11th of the Mid of Spring, 520 AC
The rain still falls, and the sea fog still hangs disquietingly in the air as morning comes around with a mixed night of sleep had by all due to the storm outside. As they have their breakfast, the Bailiff turns up with 2 rough looking henchmen in tow, all well armed with muskets and swords and looking considerably more able than the militia, armoured in decent mailed shirt armour and the Bailiffs fine looking Armoured Coat. 2 of the Bailiffs men carry a locked box between them, and as breakfast is cleared out of the way, an old map of the parish is laid out before them all. Kres wishes to check on the 2 farms north of the river, Kreis’ Farm and Appleseed Orchard respectively.
At this point as plans are still being formulated, the door opens and Nemue Saltax followed by her hound Scruff enter, and the tension rises sharply, for it seems the Bailiff despises her her and this is returned tenfold by the wild lass. Some muttered words and daggerlike stares pass, before Kres states he’ll wait outside with his men for “The ladies, and …the ladies”. When he has left, Nemue wonders aloud if he is really worth keeping alive, which seems to be what will set the tone for the expedition, a trip into murky gloom ridden woods in a storm by a group riven with mistrust and tension…