Brash Young Fools
By Sigmar’s sodding comet my leg hurts!
The ball went about as well as could be expected. My mask was superb, and with hindsight rather well chosen, although I still couldn’t manage to get the bloody feather on my hat to stand up straight. Still, even with that minor problem I can comfortably state that my costume was rather more splendid than anything else on display, and in far better taste than the assortment of beastmen, mutants and, worst of all, Bretonian knights in attendance.
We couldn’t have planned things better if we had tried. Lord Heissman von Bruner arrived early, festering with rage at the insinuations of Aschaffenberg in the light of society gossip about the chaos cult established in Grunewald lodge (formerly a von Bruner holding), and questioning the wisdom of marrying off his daughter to a buffoon like Aschaffenberg in the first place. The arrival of Graf Maximillian Aschaffenberg, the idiot nephew, dressed as a mutant in von Bruner colours sealed the deal. It took not a little of my social skill to prevent von Bruner from confronting the wretch there and then, but a few well chosen words and he was instead primed to interrupt the conspirators later in the evening.
Karl tells me that he prevented von Saponatheim from poisoning Aschaffenberg senior, a fact which he might have brought to my attention earlier as it could have derailed the plans of a lesser man. In the event, I turned it to my advantage with my usual consummate skill, giving weight to the notes arranging a meeting between the pair.
Victor, I note, seriously over tipped one of the servants, giving the man a whole silver piece in exchange for delivering one of the notes. Clearly I shall have to keep a closer eye on that man’s spending habits – perhaps I should manage any future income and offer him an allowance appropriate to his station in future. All for his own good, of course.
By a further stroke of good luck Gunther Emming, a Sigmarite who could challenge even Aschaffenberg for the title of most obnoxiously overbearing guest, arrived just before we were ready to set the plan into action. A few choice words lead both Emming and von Bruner up the stairs after von Sapontheim and Aschaffenberg. I followed to ensure that things went according to plan, and Karl trailed behind me for some reason. Personally I fear he feels a little exposed in social situations without the reassurance of my expert guidance and support.
We interrupted the pair in obvious conference and I drew attention to the book, but not before von Saponatheim realised the nature of our plot. Reading between the lines, it appears that the compliant forger selected by Karl for the task of forging the letter of agreement between von Saponatheim and Aschaffenberg may have been in the employ of von Saponatheim all along, and advised his employer of our intentions. I can only blame myself as this would never have happened had I been present. My judgement of character is flawless and I would doubtless have seen through the rogue within moments. But then a workman (I am told – rest assured I have no direct experience) is only as good as his tools, and in this instance it appears my tool was flawed, so perhaps that is where the blame should rest.
Anyway, von Saponatheim tried to protest and throw the book into the fire, Karl somewhat redeemed himself by rescuing the book and passed it over to Emming for consideration. I made the most of von Saponatiem’s actions but questioning the innocence of a man who would so readily seek to destroy evidence – why would an innocent man need to protest so much? Emming had just begun to spout the usual tiresome rants about heresy, chaos and the rest, and by some oversight suggesting that I was involved in it all, when we were thankfully interrupted by Boris of all people insisting that there were more pressing matters for the priest to consider.
Emming ordered the remaining five of us (von Bruner, von Saponatheim, Aschaffenberg, Karl and me) to await his return. Needless to say, the instant the fool had gone we five reach rapid agreement on the value of ignoring his instruction and returning to the party below. It would be gauche of me to suggest that I was responsible for this rare moment of agreement between three such opposed men, so in this instance I will remain silent on the instrumental part I played.
Karl and I retired, each thanking the fact that our faces were concealed and Emming clearly had no idea who were were. I note also that Emming took the book with him, and had not yet remarked on the letter of agreement between von Saponatheim and Aschaffenberg that it contained. I feel it likely that our work may yet incriminate that pair when the time comes for him to continue his investigations.
As Karl and I removed our disguises, we were alerted to shouting below our window. It seems that Boris had summoned Emming to investigate nothing more serious than a few skulking dwarves, one of whom had last been seen disappearing down the well. Having nothing better to do, and every reason to avoid Emming for the near future, I decided to lead an expedition in search of the missing dwarf once Emming had returned inside.
A break in the wall of the well lead into the sewer. Boris and Victor seemed the obvious candidates to take point, and in any event, trudging through sewage is something with which I gather Boris has much experience. It was while following their footsteps that I apparently set off some sort of trap, perhaps set by a filthy rat catcher to snare his prey, that resulted in a series of nails and Sigmar knows what other sharp object piercing my thigh.
I reiterate, by Sigmar’s sodding comet my leg hurts!
As for the rest, we followed the trail (Victor and Boris actually lost it several times, had an accident with the torch and many other misadventures commensurate with their general lack of skill and intellect) and arrived at a break in the sewer wall. Inside we found a number of small and decidedly hairy dwarves who immediately set upon us.
I personally put down at least two of the scum, possibly even three (when the blood is up it becomes difficult to keep track of those who fall to my blade), with a dazzling display of swordsmanship. The others contributed with their own effective, if a little less gentlemanly displays of military prowess. Victor and Boris in particular seem to think that these things are not simply hairy dwarves but they are clearly mistaken. Every sane man knows that there are no giant rat men in the sewers.
As I write, we are catching our breath prior to investigating this lair further and…
What was that?
I may have spoken prematurely. THERE ARE GIANT RAT MEN IN THE SEWERS!