5.5 And Then There Were Two

The world just keeps on spinnin' 'round.

Krondal was overwhelmed with the duties and obligations that come with trying to successfully merge two tribes. Ageron was overwhelmed with the duties and obligations that come with trying to successfully merge a village of former Fidelii into the Imperial Outpost. Felix was overwhelmed trying to incorporate 60 new former Fidelii warriors into his Rangers—effectively tripling the size of his force. This left only Gina and Holtz with idle hands. Surely, they couldn’t get into any trouble. Right?

Holtz left with the Imperial delegation as they set out to begin the work of teaching the former Kohlbergs how to be Imperial Citizens of the town of Kohlberg. Gina wanted to investigate Kohlberg as well, but first, she needed to set up a cover story for why she was going. She also had heard Holtz asking around about old settlements and hoped maybe Lyrces could shed some light on this for her.

She again approached Lyrces, and foolishly, didn’t completely discount his suggestion that maybe the Kohlberg conversion had something to do with sorcery. In fact, she kind of encouraged it. Her mistaken line of inquiry cut her interview with Lyrces short, but she did recall a compass rose that was hung as a decoration in his home. Maybe that might be of interest later.

Gina set off to her investigation, unaware that she had drawn the attention and ire of Widow Uda. The widow began a whisper campaign about this outsider trollop who clearly had designs on a fine, old elder and widower like Lyrces. (“She’s even tying to dress like one of us in order to cloud his eyes to her real nature!”)

In the meantime, Holtz began questioning the elders of Kohlberg about where old settlements might have existed. He gained a bit of information, but unfortunately mainly gained a reputation amongst them of being Too Interested in Very Old Things, hampering his future ability to gain useful information from them.

Gina checked around and got an eye-witness account from Holtz about the Unnaming Ceremony, and the subsequent swearing of fealty by the Kohlbergs, or now, the Kohlbergers as they are called. It set her mind at ease that no sorcery was at play, and confirmed the rumor that Chief Kohlberg was just a weakling who didn’t want to die in combat. She also looked around for anyone who might know about old settlements.

This led her to Sigmund, a hunter and traveller who was also fond of the old sites. He pointed her towards a couple potential sites, including a close one not far from Dunwick. He also mentioned a massive dam far to the south, but shared the fact that the Fidelii didn’t often approach it. In the past anyone who got within several hundred yards fell dead with a small, bloody hole in them. Sigmund did suggest that, having seen firearms now, the wounds seemed similar. She shared this information with Holtz, with the promise of getting a map from him.

Holtz set out for the old settlement near Dunwick as Gina headed back to the Franz village, where Krondal was still embroiled in all sorts of civic controversy. (Although it was not public knowledge, elders were discussing the strong possibility that the Kohlbergs had been ensorcelled into becoming Imperial.) Gina attempted to set Lyrces’ mind at ease about the possibility of sorcery, but only succeeded in convincing him utterly that foul magic was afoot. She did learn a couple other interesting facts.

First, Lyrces did in fact have an ancient map hung as decoration in his home—it had been handed down in his family from the first days of the Fidelii. He kept it folded so that only the compass rose showed because that was the only part he valued, as it looked like a sun and reminded him of Sigmar. It is fairly common for Fidelii to decorate with old illuminations handed down over generations within their homes.

Second, the last great plague had started in New Verland as best they could tell. He couldn’t pinpoint the precise location as he was not that interested in history and knew only what most Fidelii could tell you about that.

Third, the Fidelii formed in response to the start of the plague, but only the worship of Sigmar seemed to really protect the people, and hence Sigmar gained prominence among the Fidelii. He could not explain why this was.

Holtz investigated the old settlement at the foot of where the road used to come down from Wolstone Pass. He didn’t discover much of tremendous use, but there was clearly a city at one time once he learned how to look for it. He even pinpointed where the Duty Mage would have been stationed, although he did not search the building, as there was no active magic left there. Having learned that, he set out for Dunwick to see if anyone was showing signs of being Gifted.

Back at the Franz village, Gina started a counter-campaign against Widow Uda. Despite the difficulty for an outsider to convince the women to turn against such a venerable member of their village, she succeeded in spreading gossip that discredited Widow Uda. The women of the village believed Gina’s story that she had no designs on Lyces, and that any protestations to that effect must be merely sour grapes from the Widow Uda who clearly had her own designs on Lyrces and was set out to spread misery at anyone she felt was a threat.

As Holtz examined the population of Dunwick as best he could, he was unable to see if anyone was Gifted or trainable. He was able to gauge the mood of the populace which was generally good, but he noticed that Gunnar Hanson was clearly nervous and ill-at-ease about something.

Holtz also learned from a dwarven trader that the dwarves felt the Ludwig’s had broken their trade agreement and that it was null and void. See, it seems that there was a pretty standard provision that required the Ludwig’s to be present to accept any and all shipments to maintain their monopoly on goods passing through. (This is normal, and prevents the dwarves having to have goods sit if their trade partner tries to strong-arm them or stage a sit-down strike.) When they left the gate to attend Krondal’s celebration, they informed the dwarves they would be gone for several days. Oddly enough, a shipment showed up at the gate the very day after they left! How strange! With no one to accept it, the dwarves have thrown their contract with the Ludwigs into question and claim that it has been voided.



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