Cast of characters is same as in Part I, except Bronan the woodsman returns from an unhappy trip to Brettonia and rejoins the gang. The gang moved to a different campsite following the previous day’s attack. The next morning (actually pre-dawn), the crow called “Lady’s Man” wakes Dellin with the cry “Here Comes the Sun!”
Dellin follows the crow for a couple miles, crossing over a ridge and spotting an encampment of a significant size…one the order of 50 men, including two-dozen knights and heavy horse. A banner flying on the main tent identifies the camp as belonging to the Count of Ostermark, which is a province on the North-Eastern side of the Empire, tasked with monitoring the border to Kislev and the northern wastelands.
Dellin returns with the news. Mix Riggens says something about Ostermark being known as a good man, but also a very old man (in his 80’s, and decrepit, but in his youth he was known as “The Bull of Ostermark”). The characters decide to ride out to the encampment and introduce themselves. Mix disappears into the forest.
At the encampment, the characters encounter Father Burkholt (previously of the third-most glorious temple of the light in Nuln, and the quest-giver to Archibald). Burkholt has been looking for Archibald, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to return safely to Nuln. The Count of Ostermark had recently been in Altdorff pleading with the other Elector Counts not to decreasing the Empire’s funding of the defense of the “Eastern Marches”, which Ostermark oversees (among other things). His petition denied, he later encountered a man he knew as a formidable spymaster, who encouraged Ostermark to see for himself where the Empire’s funds were being spent, in lieu of supporting the army of the Eastern Marches. The spymaster, of course, is none other than the Lanky Man, a.k.a. “Frederick.”
So, by good fortune (hardly…by the scheming of the Lanky Man), Ostermark’s entourage encountered Burkholt and his servants just outside Nuln. Burkholt has been relieved of his position in Nuln and recalled to Altdorff. Somewhat insubordinately, Burkholt has decided to follow the Lanky Man and Ostermark for a while after he was told that he would find Archibald where they were going.
So…there was a wonderful scene with Choppy and the other characters (all except Archibald), eating bacon with the foot soldiers by the camp fire, and the Lanky Man in his finery, including silver utensils, joining them to check-in with Dellin. Choppy still bears his grudge against the Lanky Man for being played.
While that transpires, Archibald has a private audience with Burkholt in his pavilion. Archibald is formally ordained as a priest in the Order of the Travelling Flame Wot Doth Illuminate Shadows Made and Secrets Kept. He is given his papers of ordination in a fine-but-durable scroll tube. He is also presented with a tarnished rod that is a holy implement given to members of this “highly selective” order. Burkholt informs Archibald of his suspicions of wide-spread and growing corruption in Nuln and elsewhere in the Empire. Archibald is tasked with the covert assignment of getting to the bottom of the corruption in Nuln, and bringing the searing flame of justice to those that serve the Ruinous Powers. Burkholt must return to Altdorff, as he is already overdue, and with the recent suspicious death of the High Inquisitor Skaarsgard of Nuln, Archibald is warned that even high ranking members of the Church are not safe. One last piece of advice is that there is a Captain of the City Guard, named Tiller, that seems trust worthy and of high integrity.
The characters work out with the Lanky Man that they will show Ostermark evidence of the Vivisectionist’s evil (from the previous day’s battle), and after that, they will join forces to storm Toltevsky’s lair and eradicate him and his vile minions. Ostermark’s men will ride without banner or other heraldric devices to maintain deniability that they were involved in the attack (for obvious political reasons.) The Lanky Man takes Lady’s Man from Dellin and indicates that Handsome may find Dellin in the future. For now, the Lanky Man has other serious issues to attend to, and takes his leave of the party.
In other conversations, the characters learn of the deadly capabilities and personality of Murdoch Einhorn, who is a master duelist and now the head of the Empire’s covert operations (having deposed “Frederick”).
In a brief audience with Ostermark, the plans are solidified. Ostermark’s men will clear the path so that the experienced “monster hunters” (e.g. the Player Characters) can get to Toltevsky in his lair. They march on the Vivisectionist’s abode in the bluffs, and they find a small army of Chaos Knights waiting for them. Ostermark’s men, especially the heavy horse, manage to open the hole in the ranks of the Chaos Knights, and the characters, assisted by two of Ostermark’s men (“Rich” and “Torvalds”), shoot through up the path that winds its way from the battlefield, up the side of the rugged bluffs, towards the entrance they seek.
The path is not without its defenders. The group is set upon by the rear-guard consisting of three black knights. These knights fight the party to a stand-still, while yet another threat charges down the path…it is the “Slaned” version of Owen, Helga Whoopknacker’s adopted son…all 7’2" of him turned into a raving mad death machine. Rufus, in an exceptional demonstration of bravery, charges “Dark Owen”, and manages to fell him with a sleep spell. Other party members take several shots to kill him before he awakens. Meanwhile, the other Chaos knights get the better of Dellin and Choppy — Choppy is impaled on a giant halberd and flung across the ground. (A fate point is spent so that Choppy can rejoin the fray…not dead yet!) A few seconds later, a bleeding giant wolf-creature (Spike), charges up the path with the severed arm of a Chaos knight in his giant maw. He charges into two of the Chaos Knights, allowing the characters the ability to charge up the remaining path past the rear guard.
Thus ended Part II of the Chapter 2 Conclusion Event. We ran out of time to get any further, so I guess that puts us at sort of a cliffhanger.
What happened in the battle below between Ostermark’s forces and the Chaos Knights? Will Spike be able to single-handedly hold off the remaining rear guard while the PC’s enter Toltevsky’s fort? What other surprises lie inside? With the death of the Troll-golem (Part I) and Dark Owen (Part II), what more could possibly remain?? We shall see..