With the party now roughly acquainted with the grounds of Grunewald lodge and preliminary investigations made, Das Wald and Kestrel continued to familiarize themselves with the open areas of the property and made their way through the overgrown cemetery while Wulric contented himself with prying the guardsmen for clues while helping himself to a good share of the manor’s ale. Quingar, leaving behind a frustrated Karla Wagner in the kitchen, explored the courtyard at caught a glimpse of Gregor Piersson scowling at him from a second floor hallway window. All this while, Aelfric busied himself cleaning the triptych at the shrine to Sigmar and made a startling discovery; the iconic Sigmar’s Hammer was not a relief in the triptych at all but an actual Dwarven warhammer made to look as if it were part of the shrine with added dirt and grime! Aelfric removed the hammer and found the original hammer behind it, dirty but otherwise as expected. The hammer was clearly an ancestral Dwarven war hammer and Aelfric realized the importance of returning it to its proper family or risk being an accomplice to its missing status and possibly earning an entry into the Book of Grudges! Aelfric cleaned the rest of the shrine and Taking the hammer with him headed back towards the manor house. At the same time, Quingar had reentered the manor and entered the library where he found a corpulent and rather stuffy looking man totally absorbed in a book from one of the many musty shelves therein. Returning to the gallery through the eerily cold sitting room Quingar ran into Aelric who showed him the hammer. It was decided it best to keep the hammer hidden and Quingar swiped a potato sack from the kitchen for Aelfric to keep it in. At this point Das Wald and Kestrel entered the manor and the group convened momentarily in the hallway trading discoveries and insights.
Das Wald and Kestrel decided to head upstairs and question the doctor on the gortseite patch in the garden while Quingar and Aelfric entered the study. Upstairs, the doctor was dismissive of the existence of gortseite and claimed the plant was only a weed, though Das Wald could tell he was clearly hiding something. The gardener, who was also present in the hospice, provided no real assistance either way as his knowledge of gardening seemed to be rather remiss. Das Wald offered to burn the ‘weed’ but the doctor said it wasn’t good for the soil to do that. Das Wald and Kestrel said they would all the same and then left, to the consternation of the doctor who sent the gardener after them to forestall their efforts. Meanhile, Quingar and Aelfric had come across two of the house servants cleaning the study. When questioned, they said that the steward Gregor Piersson was not a bad man to work for and then a loud bang was heard next door and the servants made their exit. As they left a note dropped from one of their pockets which, when retrieved by Quingar, read “Goose is good”. Quingar took the note and he and Aelfric made a decent search of the study but found nothing but ledgers and rolls of parchment. Quingar took a quill and some parchment with him and the two then left the room to speak with the librarian next door. The librarian seemed far more interested in his books than their questions, but they did learn that no new additions had been made to the lodge in centuries.
Outside, Das Wald and Kestrel proceeded to set fire to the large patch of gortseite, much to the chagrin of the gardener who tried his best to stop them and stomp out what fires they were starting. Soon the doctor came running out and also tried to stop them but his efforts were easily thwarted by the burly Elf. As the doctor and gardener tried to put out the flames and Kestrel and Das Wald stoked the fire, a bemused Otto the dog handler watched from the kennels, and just then the diner bell was sounded. The doctor and gardener then conceded defeat and returned to the manor house, soon followed by Kestrel and Das Wald.
Inside, Quingar and Aelfric heard the diner bell as well and made their way through the sitting room once again towards the great hall. However, this time they strangeness of the room got the better of their curiosity and Aelfric sneaked a peak behind the blue curtain on the wall. Immediately he wished he hadn’t as a most horrible and terrifying picture of a distorted, vaguely human eye stared back at him! The painting oozed a terrifying supernatural energy and it was all Aelfric could do to remain calm in its presence. Quingar, also seeing the painting had a bit of a rougher time handling its repulsive imagery but still he managed to steady his nerves. Quickly Aelric replaced the curtain and deemed it best to just head for diner, but Quingar, before heading into the great hall, marched back at the painting behind the curtain and drove the Dwarven hammer into its centre! He felt a definite surge of power pulse down the shaft of the hammer as it connected with the painting behind the curtain, though he did not risk peaking again to see what effect it may have had. The pair then composed themselves and entered the great all where everyone, including Kestrel and Das Wald, had gathered.
After seating themselves around the great table with Lord Rickard Aschaffenberg at the head of the table and the rest of his household seated to his left and right, the assembled were brought the first course, consisting of a spicy vegetable soup, by a pair of overly tired servants directed but an irritated Gregor Piersson. Many excuses were made by several members of the party as to why they could not indulge themselves in the soup, with Kestrel making the most grandiose show of hoisting the bowl to his lips and appearing to drink it down in one gulp when indeed he barely let any enter his mouth. By the time the second courts of Venison and Goose was being brought out, Lord Rickard Aschaffenberg was becoming rather annoyed at the general lack of enthusiasm for what he considered to be a fantastic meal. Quingar tried to ameliorate the growing tension by telling some very strange and exclusive Dwarven jokes… though if they helped it was not clear. Suddenly, Das Wald got up from the table and excused himself much to the confusion of the Lord. Not but a moment after Das Wald had left, loud howls were heard coming from the kennels and then Otto got up and excused himself to see what was the matter. Quick on his heals followed Wulric (who made no excuse about leaving) who ran to the fortified walls of the gatehouse to look out and see what might be amiss. Das Wald as well took to the walls and looked out over the back of the property near where the dogs had been barking. In the dim tree line Das Wald thought he saw some humanoid shapes running in the shadows, but it was hard to tell more. Whereas Wulric at the gate had more luck, and caught in the moonlight he clearly saw several Beastmen running between the trees….