What happened next was an exercise in threats, accusations, extreme violence, and Aqshy-fueled magic. Trust was given to Captain Blucher by allowing him hold on the painting, allowing everyone to focus on the incoming beastmen attack and securing the lodge from suspected cultists.
In the end, the most violent of the cultists where put down, clues were planted to ensure the guilt of others, confessions were extracted, temples were burned, and executions were carried out.
The painting of chaos unfortunately could not be purged of its foul taint, and the party was left to return to Ubersreik to deliver it unto the Temple of Sigmar for safekeeping.
As the evening meal is readied the adventurers scurry about the lodge in last-minute investigations. They meet the gardener who cultivated the gortsiete herb used in the sluggishness-inducing schlaf, the guardsmen keeping watch for the beastmen in the nearby forest, and the large and intimidating kennel-master.
Events come to a head when some members of the party notice a covered painting in the sitting room next to the dining hall that was not there before. Upon closer inspection they discover a disturbing painting of an eye staring back at them that seems to ripple as they look upon it. Figus Von Zippo calls this out as a Chaos artifact, which galvanizes the party to action!
As the lodge is called to dinner, Kafka seizes the painting, covers it, and attempts to flee the house, followed by Figus! The rest of the household is called to pursue the apparent theft of the painting. Kafka and Figus flee to the manor courtyard, in hot pursuit by the guard captain. Kafka exposes the covered painting, causing the party and some (but not all) of the household staff to flinch before its terrible gaze.
Kafka and Figus use the confusion this causes to flee to the outer courtyard and towards the shrine of Sigmar. They are intercepted by the guard tower soldiers responding to the cries of theft from the guard captain. One looses a crossbow bolt at Kafka, injuring the dwarf badly.
However, Kafka and Figus make it to the shrine, where Kafka attempts to smash the painting over the shrine – but to no avail! Despite the force of the attack and shattered frame, the leathery canvas remained intact. Dropping it to the ground, Figus calls upon his Aqshy-fuelled powers to incinterate the blasphemous painting in magical flames. But as the smoke cleared, they discovered to their horror the painting was still intact!
Then an animalistic growl broke out from the surrounding forest – the beastmen had come to attack the lodge once again! As the guards and household members closed on the party with the painting and accusations flew regarding Chaos magic and cults, what can the adventurers do to stay the wrath of the guard and prove their suspicions true to the Lord of Grunewald Lodge?
Having arrived more-or-less intact at Grunewald Lodge, the party is greeted by the noble Lord Aschaffenberg. A bear of a man with a booming voice, Aschaffenberg instructs the newly arrived to take his belongings to his private chambers. In confidence, Lord Aschaffenberg speaks about his suspicions of his staff, and asks the party to investigate the rest of the day and report their findings back to him after dinner that night.
The party spends the rest of the day exploring the manor and grounds of Grunewald Lodge and speaking to its inhabitants. Many of the staff were injured in a recent beastmen attack, while some were found to be suffering from a strange lethargy, possibly caused by ingestion of an opiate called schlaf. Strange notes and odd behaviors make the party come to the conclusion that certain members of the staff are drugging and disarming the rest for some unknown purpose.
Warning Herr Hendrick and Lord Aschaffenberg of a potentional food drugging, the party awaits the evening meal and the potential outcome…
At the first dawn of the next day, the motley band gathered one by one at the meeting place arranged by Herr Hendrick. Loading the wagon full of Lord Aschaffenberg’s belongings and waiting briefly on the arrival of the lagging rat-catcher and his dog, the party began their journey north to Grunewald Lodge.
The cold morning air quickly warmed and the day soon became pleasantly sunny. Still, Herr Hendrick complained bitterly about the travel to Ubersreik, the lack of appropriate accommodations, the remoteness of the lodge from civilized lands, the deficiencies of rural folk, and whatever else seemed to cross his mind. But even Herr Hendrick grew quiet as the road led them into Reikwald Forest. The bright day was quickly swallowed up by the dimness of the dense tree canopy.
The forest grew ominous as the party spotted movement in the dense trees. Shapes – human or beast? – darted from tree to tree, pacing the wagon at range. Herr Hendrick frantically urged the coachman to speed up, as the safety of the lodge was close. But no sooner as the crumbling walls and closed gates of the destination were seen when the beasts attacked from the woods.
Creatures part beast and man spilled from the cover of the nearby forest as more closed from the rear. Roaring, braying, screaming with bloodlust, the beastmen ran full tilt towards the rushing wagon. But thundering blunderbusses and flaming magic broke the creatures courage and sent them back into the woods to regroup.
With the beastmen kept at bay, the gates of the lodge were opened to allow the wagon entry. The party was safe… for now.
The first day of spring dawned upon the town of Ubersreik. As the townspeople emerged from their homes and moved about their business in the cool morning air, an unlikely group of adventurers found themselves in need of work.
Jobs had been scarce lately. The winter had been harsh and commerce was slow, so few people were willing to hire extra labor. The posting from Herr Hendrick was unexpected, but welcome at this juncture.
The Red Moon Inn soon filled with the motley party of advenurers, all inquiring after Herr Hendrick in their own way. When at last introductions were made, he revealed the intentions of his master, Lord Aschaffenberg of Grunewald Lodge.
It seemed that Lord Aschaffenberg was newly arrived at the lodge and found that a number of his servants were uncharacteristically uncooperative for their station. He feared they were fomenting some manner of rebellion against him, and asked his manservant, Herr Hendrick, to find outside help in dealing with this manner (that, and possibly deal with beastmen attacking from the nearby forest.)
As eclectic a bunch as they were, the adventurers seemed willing to fulfill this role, acting covertly as laborers to root out the source of the problem. Agreements were made, money exchanged hands, and they found themselves on a coach heading north to Grunewald Lodge.