The Journal of Ozric Von Harbinger Entry 42
It was not long before they led the contestants into the pit, I was surprised to see that Facesmasher was an Ogre, although admittedly he was kind of thin, and that Skullsplitter was a human warrior. Unless I miss my guess then Skullsplitter was Lord Graceholme. This guy has got to be crazier than I thought, choosing one on one combat unarmoured and armed only with a club against an Ogre, even a thin one is not the act of a sane man.
The crowd began cheering and baying, so Magnus and I joined in, at some jibe that I called Skullsplitter glanced up at me and looked taken aback. I think I have my confirmation that this is Graceholme. The fight between him and the ogre was interesting, and touch and go at points which I gathered from the reaction of the crowd and the odds I had gotten was not expected, Skullsplitter was very much on favourites to win.
As the match finished one of the organisers asked me if we had found the bout interesting, I feigned disinterest, and he told us that maybe there were some other bouts that would be of interest to us and that we were to wait until the match was over.
While we were watching the match Viloman had managed to find a way into the underground complex, except they seem to be under the impression that he has brought Brightwing to take part in the underground pit fighting games. Eventually as the crowd thins out Lord Graceholme appears with an entourage. He appears all healed up from his encounter with the Ogre.
He takes us on a tour around the facility while we converse, mostly with threats veiled in civility, eventually we find ourselves in what is essentially a cell block, where he turns to us, he asks me if I am armed to which I state truthfully that I am not, Daggers don’t count as weapons right. They then search me, all the while completely ignoring Magnus and then finally ask us to get into the cell. To which I give him my best Diestro bow with a flourish and step in, with Magnus following me.
He seems stunned that we would allow ourselves to be locked up without resisting, but as they slam, bolt and lock the door he says that the Master will come and deal with them. I wonder what or whom the Master is? Once they are gone Nym slips out of the shadows silently kills the guard and unlocks our cell. I retrieve the guards shortsword and we pose the guard so that it is not obvious that he is dead. Nym then heads off to continue scouting the complex, while Magnus and I check out the other cells. We find one cell with some poor fellow chained to the wall in there. I look at him through the witch sight and I can see a lot of Dhar and Death magic, but oddly it seems to be emanating from him rather than pooling around him as you more often see with wizards. I estimate that this fellow is a Necromancer and the dreams that Magnus has been having lately would support that there is a Necromancer attached to this Fighting Pit.
Our recon done it is now time to mess around with our captors. We drag furniture into our cell from other areas and set ourselves up with a nice card game and some food to eat. Magnus loans me a Pistol and he is armed to the teeth and they did not bother to search him, which was very sloppy on their part. We settle in and wait for our captors to return, we even manage to lock the door behind us.
As we are settling in and I am dealing the first hand out, Nym contacts us and tells us there are two people heading our way and also informs us that they have said there are Skaven in the sewers to the east. Viloman also checks in and confirms that he is in the compound and has relative freedom.
The two people come in and Nym stealthily follows them through. They reach our cell and look inside, Magnus has used the power of his cloak to transform himself into a Sparrow and is sitting on my outstretch hand, as I turn to face the two of them. They gawp at us for a moment before fully cottoning on to what has happened. They check on the guard and ask if we killed him which of course we deny totally and truthfully. They demand Magnus turn back into a human. While they are wrong footed I scrutinise them through magic sight, they seem to be devoid of it although there are Magical collars that they are wearing, I assume they mask something not sure what but the lack of a reading is unusual even in people who are not magically active. Everyone has an Aura, those without magical potential have auras anywhere from a quarter of an inch to a full two inches, while people like Viloman who have drunk from the Grail carry an aura that is both very bright and can radiate out upto a foot from the body. Magically active people such a Magisters can have truly impressive and bright auras, Balthasar’s is truly staggering but that is to be entirely expected.
They began trying to interrogate us to find out what we know and whether we are a threat to them, we play extremely dumb, argue a lot among ourselves and generally learn more from them that they do from us. My personal favourite moment is when he says to Magnus that Magnus is a Witch Hunter, which I get very upset about the fact that Magnus never told me he had become a Witch Hunter. He then starts talking about Lucius to which halfway through the conversation I say to him “wait a moment you are not trying to tell me that Lucius is a Witch Hunter too?”
Still we manage to determine there is something far more significant going on here than just Pit fighting they also refer to someone called the Master and I begin to get a bit of a sinking feeling, over that. As we talk the person in charge eventually says that he wants to face me in combat, as if he has heard of me and I have some kind of reputation that has preceded me. I know that it is not the wisest choice and may well get in the way of us gather more valuable information, but he seems a little bit too full of himself and I cant seem to be able to resist the challenge. So I accept and we agree to shortswords, and no armour.
He lets me out of the cell and we begin to walk toward the pit. From the moment I am released I start to evaluate him as a combatant studying the way he moves. Catlike and very assured, each step is measured and confident. This is not a man to be taken lightly. He appears to be right handed, but left footed, means he will be slow on the first strike, after that though all bets are off. We reach the centre of the pit and he turns to face me he loosens his shoulders then raises the blade in a duellists salute, there is something distinctly bretonnian in that actions. We take up our stances and combat is joined. He is standing right footed, I move fast, ultimately too fast for his guard, I stab towards his left abdomen and he gives a half pivot to my left, at which point I slash with very tip of the blade down the full length of his left arm, and I carry out a full spin on the heel of my right foot and deliver a backhand blow to the head. At the last moment I remember that this is not a duel to the death and overriding my instinct to take his head I turn the blade a smash the side of the blade into his head.
He goes down heavily and rises to his feet almost superhumanly fast, and looking into his eyes we both know that I had him dead to rights. At this point he and his companion decide that everything is too dangerous and they are going to shut the whole operation down. They know that I am associated with the cloaked brotherhood and Magnus the Witch Hunters. Viloman gets Brightwing out and is headed our way. We send a message to Nym to kill the Necromancer, and Magnus begins to investigate the possibility of burning this place down, an unlikely event as this is, a) a sewer, b) underground, and finally c) made of stone. After explaining this to him he is still insistent that he is going to try. He does suggest burning down the Shallayan Temple that sits above the Pits and Viloman used to gain entry. I tell him that if he does something like that he will end up burning down the whole city, just the possibility brings back memories of some of the raids I went on with my Grandfather, I hope he is okay, he is a canny old man so I am confident that he is at least alive.
Nym informs us that the Necromancer is actually a Vampire, newly turned, I believe the appropriate term is Thrall. That means the man I fought was a Vampire too, damn I knew deep down in my soul I should not have turned that blade, I should trust my instincts more. By this point they were already cleared off deeper into the sewers. We scoured the site and then returned to the Pride. There I armoured up in my Blazing Sun regalia and rode Kuan to the Graceholme manor to place Lord Graceholme under arrest.
Unfortunately Lord Graceholme was not in residence, so we took control of the manor and placed his wife and children under the protection of the House of Gaunt. We called the watch and informed them of the status of Lord Graceholme and requested that they scour the city for him. Due to his noble status the guard refused to act without the permission of the Emperor. I told him to go and report to the Emperor then and get permission as well as advising them to investigate the site of the Pit Fighting. With that done and knowing the Militia would be useless, I told Magnus to enlist the Templars of Sigmar of the Order of the Cleansing Flame, also known as the Witch Hunters to search the city for Vampires and Lord Graceholme, I in the meantime headed for the Temples Myrmidia sponsored by the Templars of the Blazing, my intention to mobilise them in the search for Lord Graceholme.
I am already in the Emperors bad books I may as well annoy the Grand Theogenist while I am at it, come to think of it the Eagle of the North is probably going to be less than pleased with me as well. I am really looking forward to my meeting with the Emperor in a few days over what happened in Kislev.