An Eye for an Eye
Session Three: The Investigation Continues, Dinner is Served
The investigation continues with our intrepid gang of scoundrels attempting to find clues to the odd behavior of some of the staff.
Upstairs, Austerman and Gundel decide to search the final two rooms on the top floor. The first is V. Hendrick's room and it also appears to be their own -- Aschafeneberg having told V. Hendrick that the party would be bunking with him for their stay. They leave somewhat sheepishly. The second room is locked. Austerman attempts to pick the lock but without skills or tools manages to open it only after a good deal of noise and leaving an ugly mark on the frame -- much to the surprise of a nearby staff member who happens upon them.
The Doctor's Room
They've obviously aroused some suspicion, but enter the room unmolested. Inside they find Dr Seiger's room and belongings. Deciding to investigate, they find two containers of ripe, vegetable-smelling sludge. Grundel decides to use a couple empty containers to grab a sample. While looking around Austerman notices that Dr. Seiger's medical certificate from Nuln has an obvious error. Could it be a forgery?
At this point Austerman and Grundel decide they've seen enough and close the door and head downstairs to meet with Gunther and Leopold. The group shares notes and decides to continue their investigation inside the lodge. They have found two more rooms downstairs to investigate.
The first is unlocked and reveals a small study. This appears to contain documents and correspondence from the previous owner which Aschaffenberg has been reviewing. Leopold and Austerman rifle through the papers and discover a letter indicating the previous occupant, Andreas von Bruner, hired Dr Sieger under somewhat suspicious circumstances.
At this point, the party realizes that the Doctor is probably involved in some way with the staff's behavior, but are concerned with the link to the von Bruner family. They decide to look into the last room, the Sitting Room.
As the enter the sitting room, Gunther decides to stay near the door to watch for anyone in the hallway. The room is large and cold with a central table and a chair in front of a purple curtain that covers the south wall. The large hearth is unlit.
Leopold pulls back the curtain to reveal a disturbing site -- the painting of an eye which seems to attack their psyche. Leopold and Austerman hold their ground, but the poor dwarf falls the ground shaking at the site of the hideous eye. The party continues to investigate and find a series of metal rungs in the fireplace that appear to lead to the roof. Austermann notices the chair in front of the painting shows signs of wear like someone might have been restrained and placed in on of the painting. At this point Austerman decides to investigate the rungs while Leopold attempts to take another look at the painting.
Leopold takes a closer look at the painting and is able to identify some sort of pattern along the frame before he pulls his eyes away. The pattern he realizes, is the same as the one he saw before on the rug that covers the Library floor. It is clear that the painting is some sort of horrible emblem and the 'Eye' in the painting is in all likelihood associated with the 'Unblinking Eye.' It appears the Lodge may have recently been shelter to an active Chaos cult!
Meanwhile, Austerman is covered in soot by the time he makes it to the top of the chimney. On the roof he get a good view of the surrounding area and notices a small group of rocks on the roof. Clearly someone had to bring them up from below. In their center appears the markings of a small eye. Disturbed, Austerman climbs back down. Looking at the mess he's made, he quickly changes into his spare set of clothes, while he stuffs his sooty belongings into his rucksack and describes what he's seen on the roof.
Outside the Lodge
At this point, a little shaken, the party decides to go outside to investigate the grounds. They first come upon the stable boy who appears very tired and a little slow -- they surmise he may be drugged. Leopold encourages them to visit the kennel and chat with the Kennel Master, Olver. Olver again recounts the recent battle with the beastmen and also how the dogs have been particularly anxious of late. They ask if the dogs dislike any residents in particular and Olver confesses that both Piersson and Krug avoid the kennel.
They thank Olver and head over to the Forge. Inside they find the place dusty and in need of cleaning -- it appears the Forge is all but abandoned. The party finds the armour and weapons of the slain guards as well as an ornate locked box which appears to have been broken open. Without much to go on, the party heads outside to investigate the grounds some more.
On the east side of the manor house they find a garden, shed, and what appears to be a large section of the wall tat has collapsed and been hastily repaired. The garden reveals a large plot of Gortisete which they identify as the primary ingredient for making Shlaff. At this point they realize that the staff is suffering from Shlaff poisoning and Dr Sieger is the prime suspect.
Suddenly, the dogs begin barking ferociously and they hear cries from the walls that beastmen are sited in the woods. Somewhat unconcerned, Leopold climbs a nearby ladder to the roof to take a look. From the rook he verifies the presence of the rock circle. He sees no sight of the beastmen as the cries fall away. As he heads down, the ladder collapses under him and he falls to the ground.
The party notices that it is starting to get late and that after the commotion, people are starting to head into the lodge. Dinner must be close. They decide to circle the grounds before heading inside and discover an old, run-down shrine. They stop to investigate and Grundel notices that one section of a triptych is actually hiding an old hammer. Upon further investigation, he realizes that the hammer is of dwarven make and has been hidden here -- this is clearly Kurgen's 'legacy'. Realizing they don't have much time, the party heads inside for dinner.
Dinner: Venison or Goose?
The group decides they must warn Aschaffenberg. Upon entering the Great Hall, they realize they are late -- nearly all the senior staff are here and about to be seated. As Lord Ascahffenberg descends the staircase, Austerman rushes to his side to convince him to forego the venison in favor of the goose. Aschaffenberg is somewhat confused but agrees. Everyone takes their seat.
Dinner is served. The first course is a wonderful soup. For the second course, a delicious selling venison and goose are served. The party all have goose, and take note of who eats what. Their suspicions are confirmed when Dr. Sieger and Herr Geizhals, the Librarian, both select from the goose. The final course is a pudding and Austerman notes that some of the staff already appear tired. The group looks around and suspects a strong dose of Shalf must have been administered.
After dinner, some staff tiredly excuse themselves and others appear to be enjoying an evening brandy. The party is invited by Aschaffenberg to his room for a nightcap. There they reveal what they suspect is the poisoning of the staff and the possible involvement of a chaos cult. Ascaffeneberg is dubious at first, but eventually agrees that something must be done. He encourages them to finish their investigation -- who are the people behind this plot? What do they want? He agrees to lock the door his evening while they continues their investigation.
As they leave Aschaffeneber's room, party notices a few servants heading back to the dorms. When they get downstairs, they find that the table has been cleared and the diners are gone. An eerie silence settles over the lodge. Outside the sound of hounds barking in the night is heard and Morslieb's green light is visible through the window.