CHAPTER 4.01 - MADENSTADT'S MANOR

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CHAPTER 4.01 - MADENSTADT'S MANOR

Post  Admin on Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:37 am

Wulfram takes the forest path. Birds chirping and normal wildlife. PERCEPTION 10. The path meanders through gentle sloping hills covers by light woodland. The path then ends and Wulfram finds that travel is still still easy and his general direction sense leads him to follow the natural contours of the hills and then recognise the old mine location.

Approaching the mine, Wulfram recognises one of the miner's sons (Benji Sheisenaufen). They bid each other "good day and good travels."

Traversing the Violet Haven fields, Wulfram is careful to bypass the flowers, which have not opened and then he soon reaches the edge of the Darkenwilde. It is there that he makes camp. He cooks and eats a meal ... wolves are howling in the distance. PRECEPTION 12. He notices in the underbrush that some of the ground has been recently trampled, revealing a slightly used dirt track which leads in a southeasterly direction.

He finishes eating the meal and settles for the night. PERCEPTION 19. Loud sniffing sound. 50' away. It hasn't seen the fire yet, owing to it's position on undulating ground and depression in ground. Wulfram hears a loud twisting and splintering sound as a tree, or something is ripped out of the ground. Wulfram collects his things and moves away into the darkness, attempting to be quiet as he does so. MOVE SILENT 20 HIDE 22. The creature's making a lot of noise so it doesn't notice Wulfram. But then it suddenly stops smashing whatever it found and Wulfram hears it's loud heavy footsteps approaching where he was camped. Wulfram hears it roar suddenly and hears a swishing sound and it sounds like wood and debris being scattered around that location. More heavy footsteps. More sniffing. The creature departs. It moves away in a westerly direction. Wulfram waits and sees out the night in his new location.

The next day arrives. Slight chill in the air. The woods beyond the area he slept in look very gloomy and full of many vines and creepers.

Wulfram considers the concealed path he discovered and follows it. It is haphazard and obviously not used by many creatures. Occasionally he sees larger footsteps that cross it. Random. After about three hours Wulfram reaches a section containing thicker trees, with evidence of massive spider webs. At ground level the underbrush is also getting thicker, but the path can still be recognised and followed. Wulfram moves slowly through the underbrush with a wary eye focused on the upper branches (he is wary of dropping spiders). Wulfram also notices a lack of the vines and creepers that infest the majority of the Woedenwood or other sinister parts of the Darkenwilde that have been encountered before.

PERCEPTION 22. Wulfram hears a buzzing sound. Looks up and looks around. Briefly notice glimpses of a bulbous shape with wings hovering around the trees and webs. Looking more closely Wulfram can on the path ahead a large section of web that appears to have 'collapsed' or fallen from the tree tops, which is kind of suspended above the path and the shrubs. Within the suspended web is a dark shape that is not moving. Protruding out from part of the suspended web are two obvious hairy spider legs (not moving).

Wulfram waits. The sound moves, with buzzing getting louder. The sound gets closer as whatever it is descends from above. On the path ahead, where the web is suspended, Wulfram sees an insect-like creature (about the size of a very large horse) and it sees him. It flies towards him. The spider remains motionless. Wulfram chooses to throw his axe.

Initiative. The flying creature reaches Wulfram and senses his intentions; it attempts to sting Wulfram but misses and flies behind and Wulfram spins around to hurl his axe at it.

He hits ... 23 hp damage. The creature flies past again, attempting to sting but misses. It continues upwards into the trees above. It's partially obscured and Wulfram elects to discontinue his attack. He watches for the spider. The dark shape of the spider remains motionless inside the web. He hears the flying creature buzzing around in the tree canopy overhead. It's currently fully obscured.

Wulfram moves 50' to one side of the path. He hears more buzzing. From behind another large tree, a second flying creature emerges and attempts to sting Wulfram and he feels its stinger enter his left thigh. 7 hp and no secondary effect (fortitude save succeeds).

Wulfram shealthes the throwing axe and pulls out his mighty hammer. He double moves to the fallen web and gets beneath it, remaining wary of the spider. The spider does not move. The flying creatures both swoop past and then hover on opposite side of Wulfram's location as he stays beneath the protection of the suspended web. The flying creatures hover and wait for his next move.

Wulfram uses the web as cover and then get into thick undergrowth to evade the flying creatures. They buzz around and harrass the area Wulfram is hiding in but they can't reach him. Eventually they give up. Wulfram also throws a rock to give the impression he moved to a another position. One takes the bait and moves that direction. The other disappears out of earshot.

MOVE SILENTLY 23. HIDE 21. Wulfram moves through undergrowth and then rejoins the path.

The path continues to a series of small standing stones, small mounds and three larger barrows. The standing stones are unmarked and irregularly shaped. The path has apparently followed the edge of the Darkenwilde forest itself, occasionally edging into the gloomy part. The mounds and barrows are in sunshine.

Wulfram stops occasionally and checks for tracks. WILDERNESS LORE 24, 18, 29, 27. He identifies there are many tracks that have been made by small game animals, also evidence in the Darkenwilde sctions of some kind of massive burrowing creature leaving deep irregular shaped earth tunnels, the occasionally human shaped skeletal footprint in soft earth, some kind of slithering vine type monstrosity that also drags a heavy bulk, and several instances of very large and heavy humanoid footprints (similar to those made by the trolls fought by the fen).

The path leads Wulfram into a narrow defile and halfway along its length Wulfram sees a crack in the rock face to the side which has exposed a cave entrance. He knows he can move past the opening easily enough but if something's inside there is a high chance of being seen.

Wulfram moves past. MOVE SILENT 21. PERCEPTION 25. Wulfram sees a Troll standing above the cave watching where he has come from. It hasn't seen him and Wulfram moves quietly past, keeping to shadows and clefts in the rock and stuff.

He eventually reach the edge of very wet ground and there stagnant pools amongst the mud and water that smell very foul indeed. There are indications that the fen lies south south east and this path has bypassed it to join a wider path that appears to be maintained but is not well travelled or used recently. Wulfram follows the wider path east and it leads him to a cobble stoned pathway.

The cobble stones are not well maintained and are old and broken in places. It widens into a road. It is nearing nightfall when Wulfram gets here. The road leads further east and portions of it start to get very waterlogged. The undergrowth from the sides of the road have encroached onto it and that narrows it markedly. It is a marshy area where, over time, the ground has sunk in places.

The waterlogged road leads to an area of symetrically designed pathways and raised garden beds that have all been construted from stone. Further beyond the pathways and gardens, which have been overgrown partly by vines and mosses and creepers is a very large gothic style manor. It has similar dimensions and appearance to the Crosstenmarch manor but clearly its external architiucture has a different appearance. Dark, forboding. Drapes over windows. Cold and sinister.

Wulfram approaches the main door. It has an oddly familiar design and layout. The main doors are large wooden double doors. There is a heavy brass door knocker which is fashioned to look like a grimacing fanged dwarf holding the brass ring. From outside the manor is unlit and it radiates every hint of unwelcomeness. There is a sense of overwhelming evil in this place.

Wulfram uses the door knocker. He breathes deeply and prepares himself to resist any attempts of domination. He knocks solidly and loudly. The sound seems to be amplified and reverberates within. There is no answer.

He knocks agains. No response. PERCEPTION 29. The main door handle seems to be slightly askew. The doors are clearly unlocked. Wulfram lights a torch and opens the door cautiously. He waits. Nothing happens. There is no sound. No hint of welcome.

“I am Wulfram and I have a message for Dominic Madenstadt.” he proclaims. The light from his torch casts inside and flickers inside. The place again feels oddly familiar. In the flickering light of the entrance way Wulfram looks beyond and can see a lavishly decorated large room from which stairs lead to balconies and side entrances. Identical to the Crosstenmarch manor. There are large portraits and tapestries on display.

“The door appears to be open as an invitation. I am now going to enter and await your presence in the antechamber. I have a message for Dominik from Lord Crosstenmarch.”

There is silence. The flickering light lets Wulfram observe the paintings and tapestries more closely.

They appear to depict various scenes. Scenes of battle, conquest, rape and bloody torture. There are also scene of buildings bearing Crosstenmarch's symbol burning and there are scenes of bat-wing helmeted knights fighting with “christian crusaders”. There are scenes depicting monsters with fanged teeth devouring people or performing horrid rituals, such as blood draining. In most of the scenes depicted there are wolves. The wolves are prominently depicted as observers or guards to those inflicting pain and torture, though none of the wolves are shown to be directly assisting in the bloodlust or cruelty. The wolves are depicted in a variety of stances. Some are purely animals where are perhaps a third of the depictions show the wolves to be adopting a man-like or shapechanging form.

Strong sense of sudden compulsion is suddenly felt. WILL SAVE 23.

Wulfram suddenly thinks about the wolvenwort at his disposal and considers why he hasn't used it yet (what Wulfram doesn't use now can make Wulfram stronger later – defiance is good because Tyr will give strength instead).

Wulfram looks aound and sees oil lamps, etc. He light them and waits. They burn brightly but give off a subdued atmosphere and a soft glow. He douses the burning torch, which was getting smoky any way.

Wulfram sits down on a comfortable padded two seater lounger PERCEPTION 19. There are footsteps upstairs. They seem to have moved between upstairs rooms. A door opens and closes loudly. The footsteps resume. Then there is silence.

Wulfram waits. A door opens near the top of the staircase. It closes. A neatly dressed man stands in the darkness, only barely illuminated at the top of the stairs. Wulfram stands and waits, saying nothing. The man who has appeared also says nothing.

PERCEPTION 15. The man on the stairs remains quiet, contemplating Wulfram's appearance and demeanour. He speaks with a familiar voice. He sounds exactly like Otto.

“The master will meet with Wulfram in our upstairs dining hall. Please remove all of your weapons and place them neatly in the wooden chest to the side of the stairs please.”

“Do you guarantee the safety of my weapons and my hospitality here?”

“Yes. You are my master's guest and he will honour you as a messenger.”

Wulfram follows the guidance and leaves all weapons in the chest.

The man says “Thank you, please ascend the stairs and follow me.” A sequence of lamps illimunate up the stairs and through the house. Wulfram, while uneasy, climbs the stairs noting that the man who has addressed him looks exactly like Otto. Identical clothing in style and appearance. Same emotionless expression.

The manservant leads Wulfram to the upstairs dining room. He passes several rooms on the way, all are open are lavishly decorated. Fine drapes, comfortable looking furniture, a little dusty, the impression is given that this place is clearly very old. The construction inside the manor is heavy wood paneling which has been carved and sculpted in may places with gothic styles (creatures, etc). Designed for unease.

In the dining room there sits a man dressed in very fine clothes. The design of his clothes is like Crosstenmarch's, more 'modern' than the style of clothing Wulfram wears. He has very angular features, piercing gaze, pale complexion, an air of authority, charisma and elitism about him. He looks at Wulfam (WILL 23) and smiles. He has a single glass of (red wine?) in front of him.

“Good evening Wulfram. I believe that is your name?”

“Yes”

“I am most pleased to be making your acquaintance. I understand Wulfram have something for me.”

“Yes. I have a message from Lord Crosstenmarch.” Wulfram places the sealed scroll case on the table.

The man servant promptly retrieves the case from the table and presents it to Dominik. Domink hold the case and examines it briefly. SENSE MOTIVE. Unclear.

“Thank you for delivering this to me. You are clearly a man of great honour and trust.”

“I do not know the contents of the message. However, if you are wishing to reply then I am willing to wait and deliver your message to Lord Crosstenmarch.”

Dominik listens and raises an eyebrow. “Really? You would be willing to wait here, with me? Have you not heard the rumours about me? That I am pure evil and cursed. That I would drink the blood of my enemies? Does that not frighten you or turn you from me?”

“No, I am here as your guest and you servant has indicated that I will be treated as a guest. I would think you would show hospitality as such.”

“And so I shall. Otto, please ensure that my guest is comfortable. Ensure that he is given quarters and fed. I will spend some time composing my response to Viktor. Tomorrow evening I will have it ready for you to take on my behalf. Until then my house is yours and I am not opposed to having you explore it freely. Otto will make all necessary arrangements if you would like to access any particular areas.”

“This is unusual as I would not wish to compromise or disrespect the privacy of the family. But I admit there are some things of interest here. I have seen one side of the story but not the other.”

“Exactly the case. I wish to put forward to you that my family has nothing to hide. You are my guest and I wish for you to feel most welcome here. I think that some things may surprise you.”
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