From monster infested cellars to Thespian infested Fest Halls

With the heavy door being airtight and soundproofed, the party are left to their own nervous speech and questions as they take stock of their assets in the room; Fullica starts checking the alchemical materials in the supplies and jars, and starts whisking up s few useful doses of poison, whereas Zeru Otxoa, Skal Dreissel, Jorik and Geesje Van Kuipers start formulating a plan that best utilises the strengths of the team.

Jorik establishes that the scrolls given by Korvuus are 2 of Magic Weapon and one Protection against Evil, the others search the bodies and find about 80 Golden Crowns and also a University ID pin similar to the one Fullica has. They decide that being stuck in a trap like this is no way to go, and so elect to open the door to face what is outside but to use the heavy work benches within the laboratory to bloc the door from opening too wide. With Fullica and Geesje taking cover behind an overturned workbench at the back of the room with poison on their crossbow bolt and arrows respectively, Jorik and Skal standing ready between them and the door with weapons ready (and also with the Magic Weapon scrolls cast on their sword and hammer) and Zeru at the door with the found sword (identified by Fullica as being mildly magical and fairly old) and pistol drawn, they decide they are as ready as they shall ever be, and so stand poised as Zeru opens the door and peers outside.

It is dark in the room beyond with only the meagre light from Joriks Orison providing any illumination, and as Zeru tries to make out anything dangerous, something above the doorway and from the ceiling lashes at him with a storm of fangs and tentacles. The tentacles merely smear him with unpleasant slime, but the fangs take a nasty slash out of his shoulder and he darts back inside in shock, only catching a glimpse of some nightmarish betentacled horror. Fullica lobs a bomb through the opened door which explodes to the annoyance of whatever is beyond, and then a slimy mansized wormlike horror crawls around the doorjamb and over the top of the door. Zeru lets loose with his pistol and Geesje fires a pair of arrows in quick succession, and though 3 excellent hits, all bounce off the monsters loathsome hide. With roars of anger, Jorik and then Skal attack the thing with their enhanced weapons, and with a degree of satisfaction note that their enchanted weapons cut through the things hide, killing it quickly.

They catch a look at another in the dark gloom just beyond the light of the Orison, but it seems to back away hissing lightly; not stupid it seems, after noting the end of its comrade. Fullica throws another bomb to press the assault, driving it away from the exploding flames, and then the party head out of the lab in a defensive formation, heading past the door to the other lab; however, this prompts a surprise, as a very large (much larger than the others seen) specimen with dark pulsating veins just under its pallid skin smashes the door apart and ambushes them from the side, taking a huge bite out of Skal who reels but remains standing. Fullica throws another bomb after the smaller one retreating, but fails to get it past the door and instead it explodes, catching Zeru and the luckless Skal in some of the splash. The beast towers above the group and is poised to lash them with its formidable array of tentacles and teeth, when Geesje lets fly with a pair of arrows; the first bounces like the others, but the second flies true into the maw of the thing, biting deep up to the feathers and sending poison through the convulsing body of the abomination, slaying it before it can do no more. Geesje feels she has never fired a truer shot, and the others are hard pressed to disagree. Fullica gathers some ichor from the things for tests and carries on.

The remaining monster flees at the death of its larger kin, and the others waste no time in barricading and sealing off the door to the flooded lab where these things presumably made their entrance. Once this is done, they start taking stock of the loot and getting a little healing for those who need it. As they continue to work, after an hour or so they hear the sound of someone upstairs in the kitchen of the house where the trapdoor is, and upon investigation by Zeru, see Brandt sitting calmly eating a meal of bread, cheese and so so quality wine. A slightly disgruntled Zeru heads back and advises Fullica, who goes up to meet her less than salubrious contact. He thanks her for her and her friends assistance and not to bother about the menial work now, for her has some hired goons arriving soon to do the grunt work. He gives her 5 bags of 100 Gold each and advises that once he has taken stock and made money from the found goods, the rest of the party share will be forwarded to them post haste. He also tells Fullica that by her description of the beasts, they have been fighting aberrations called Gricks, though he has never heard of a Grick growing to the size of the large one they encountered, nor coloured like that one.

As the smelly, gore drenched party make their way out of the trapdoor they are passed by various dubious characters on their way in, and if these folks can wrinkle their noses at the heroes, they decide to stop by a bathing house to get cleaned up and also have their clothes sorted out. After this, they part company, with Jorik heading to the BegeerStraat Church, Fullica heading home to relax properly after a trying day and the other 3 heading back to The Petal House. Zeru for now elects to keep hold of the sword, which according to Skal is a Schwerish blade called “Soldiers Friend”, a minor piece forged by a renowned Schwerish duellist and swordmaker.

Later that evening, Fullica rests (for pleasure this time, not necessity) in the bath house of her apartment building and Skal serves as bouncer again to keep the peace in the Petal House, whilst Geesje heads over to the church to aid Jorik and the Parish Militia in patrolling. This leaves Zeru at a loose end, but one he knows what to do with, as he heads to a low market but not scummy Music Hall called Carlottas Fest Hall, for he has the want to find a trainer in various forms of acting and subterfuge, and believes such an establishment may hold what he seeks. Inside he sees a sea of merrymaking men and women drinking freely, with soldiers on leave, off duty Watch and a large variety of lower class boisterous revellers watching a variety of acts on the stage do their pieces.

He is rewarded with his patience (some acts are better than others) by the MC announcing a couple of scenes to be performed of the celebrated play “The Fall of Man” (subtitled “Elven Perfidy”), detailing a dramatic account of the last days of Syruss and Cassira, the last King and Queen of Old Kessavaine who died heroically making their stand against the Great Plague and the Elven onslaught. It’s a contentious play for some as it deals with the darkest times in Humanity’s history, but also an empowering one for it shows the heroism and bravery of Humanity. It is marvellously peformed, especially by the leads, and the crowd are all on their feet singing and chanting fervently at the close of the scenes (the off duty soldiers are hullooing and waving their shako’s, it’s that moving). Zeru decides that these are a likely couple to speak to, and makes his way through the press of bodies to the stage door, where a brive of a couple of silvers buys him entrance.

Inside, there are a couple of cramped dressing rooms shared by all the acts, so peforming dogs, dancers, acrobats, jugglers and singers to name but a few mill about looking for space. Zeru sees the couple he seeks though, and as he walks towards where they sit facing one another, he sees and overhears their good natured and long practised jibes and quips at one another, all delivered in a constant stream of wit as they aid one another in the removal of their makeup; so Zeru meets Radolf Thraiss and Isolde Vaargo.

Zeru makes his opening greeting and applauds their performances, ingratiating himself almost immediately. Invited to sit and continue, they talk awhiles before he hands a Gold across to furnish the actors and their friends with drink (around here a gold goes a long way that’s for sure), and as Isolde heads to the bar with determined purpose, Zeru speaks to Radolf about his wishes, to learn some ways of subterfuge, acting and guile. Radolf looks thoughtfully at him, asking him after a few moments if he is in any way associated with the Society or authorities, something Zeru strenuously denies. This pleases Radolf and he agrees, for a suitable fee of course. After some bargaining and haggling, the sum of 6 silvers a day is agreed upon, and when Zeru informs Radolf where he stays, Radolf is keen for he and his wife to visit there to perform the tuition; this suits Zeru fine, and they agree on 11 am as the start time each day, for the next 10 days provisionally. Zeru speaks a little more to Radolf and the now returned with drink Isolde, but begs his leave and departs, dodging the occasional dogs egg on the floor as he leaves, wending his way home through the cool spring streets…



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