Bloody Problems

The next morning the team ask around the village, gathering what information they can about the layout of Kerker Hall. Not much is available, few people who worked there are still alive and none really have useful information. Taking their horses, Pyotr, Vlad, Laima, Demi and the Doctor ride up the path to the ruined hall. Laima and Demi have procured a couple of medallions that should protect against the dead: everyone has one except Pyotr.

Approaching the ruined hall, the horses stop and refuse to go any further. Studying the area carefully, Vlad and the Doctor conclude that this is the edge of a shadowland that encompasses Kerker Hall. They tie the horses up, and push forward into the shadowland. Vlad has a moment of doubt, but shrugs it off. Since his brother died, he’d found that he really didn’t care all that much about personal danger. Everyone has to go sometime, and the threats he’d been facing these last few months made Vlad believe his time was likely soon. These tasks the group were performing were jobs for the Dragon Princes, not mere mortals.

Once inside the shadowland, they are all awed by the structure or Kerker Hall. Not a ruin as it had appeared outside; a still standing reflection of its glory, subtly enhanced by the perceptions of those intimately involved with the place. The walls were tall and loomed, the doors thick and impenetrable, everywhere with little colour but shades of gray and shadow. Pushing forward, they are hailed by the door guard, demanding to know their business here. The guard is convinced they are here to assist and lets them in, but insists they talk to the scribe inside and let him deal with the request.

The scribe, the shade of a typical obstructional bureaucrat, provides the information needed on the layout of the prison, but insists on the correct forms being filled out first. Laima distracts the scribe with a long discussion about the forms required, gets him to hand over the key and the rest move off to the evidence locker, where they expect to find the anchors of the most dangerous ghosts. Pyotr stands guard at the door, since they can hear fighting from the nearby courtyard, while Demi, Vlad and the Doctor search the records and shelves for the relevant items. 15-20 minutes of search eventually reveals the 5 anchors they are after: whistle, axe, holy symbols, journal and hammer, belonging to the Hunter, the Headsman, the Mad Monk, the Sorcerer and the Blacksmith – murderers and defilers all. Returning to the entrance, they collect Laima and head to the courtyard where they find Margarethe and the prison guards fighting a desperate battle to keep the prisons from the escaping the prison pit.

The Doctor tries to talk to Margarethe, but she is too busy. The Doctor spends some time placing a ward against the dead around the pit entrance, while the others assist in the defense. When she completes the ritual, the effect in the shadowland is impressive. Everything dead is repelled from the area, cracking the ground, and a shimmering blue hemisphere covers the entrance. The prisoners scream in anger and start assaulting the ward, while Margarethe is consulted on what to do with the anchors. The Doctor immediately starts work on a second ward in the expectation that the first will fail. Margarethe believes she can bind the ghosts using their anchors, and thus depriving them of any power they have, but to do so will require fresh blood, something in short supply in the lands of the dead. Vlad and a couple of others offer donations.

The ritual completes with the despairing screams of the rebound ghosts, and the guards collapse, exhausted from the effort of keeping them at bay. Margarethe is thankful for the help, but points out that a regular supply of fresh blood is required. The team decide to convince the Kerker village people to donate on a regular basis. As a former sorcerer when she was alive, Margarethe offers to teach thaumaturgical arts to any interested as payment.

Heading back to town, they goto the meeting hall where the villagers are collected together, and an inspired speech convinces them to regularly donate blood to maintain the bindings. Vlad has some misgivings about this, since it is close to ancestor worship, but the alternative is so much worse he keeps quiet. They stay in town for a few weeks to ensure everything is fine, then head back home to Vendig.

Its a hard trip home in winter, and the roads are growing more dangerous, but the get back without incident. Vlad spends the next month or 2 plying his day-job dealing with demonic based problems around Vendig, grateful to be away from the dead. The Doctor is welcome to them. The nobility of Vendig are glad to see Vlad return, as rumours were spreading of a demon summoning woman attacking Siegsdorf. Vlad wished he could investigate immediately, as he would love revenge against his brothers murderer, but the winter cannot be denied, and no-one was going anywhere for now.


Belicht Dionysus