The guests arrived. Captain Baerfaust was gloomy. The von Alptraums, von Tuchtenhagens, and Leitdorfs were all in attendance with family members, courtiers, and ladies in waiting. Even a representative of the halfling community attended as well as Luminary Mauer.
The group guarded the party and tried to stay unobtrusive.
The von Kaufman falconer, Albrun Falk, gave an exhibition of falconry. During the falconry show, Roderick caught a fleeting whiff of a caustic smell. It seemed vaguely familiar but he could not exactly place it.
Fine food and wine were served as the guests mingled. An unfortunate joke from the von Tuchtenhagen jester greatly upset the Waldamerius (the halfling) but some mollycoddling from an attractive young lady convinced him to stay.
Claudia Leitdorf took ill and excused herself.
After a while a woman in the garb of a witchhunter barged into the gardens (Adele Ketzenblum). She had a hook for a left hand, and was rather intimidating. She exchanged curt words with Herr Luminary, it was clear there was no love lost between them. She demanded to know the wherabouts of one Johann Templeman who had gone upon the Southlands expedition. Graf von Kaufmann informed her he had been killed on the expedition. “How convenient” she replied. She exchanged heated words with von Kaufman, who demanded she either make an accusation or leave. As she retreated she caught Captain Baerfausts eye and he followed her out.
To lighten the mood von Kaufman declared it was time to unveil the exhibit of artifacts from the Southlands expedition. He removed the veil from the large cabinet, and behind glass doors were numerous artifacts which he began to expound upon. The two most striking were a large gold plaque engraved with strange symbols and a leering jade mask which was the centerpiece. When von Kaufman began to describe the mask, Luminary Mauer declared it evil and insisted it be destroyed. Graf von Kaufman declared he would do no such thing and asked for the opinion of the Gold Wizard Dagoberdt Gabor who was in attendance with the Leitdorf party. Dagoberdt had been transfixed with the gold plaque, but quickly agreed with von Kaufman. When prompted by Graf von Kaufman, Noa betrayed his employer by siding with Herr Luminary. Von Kaufman, emboldened by the testimony of a Gold Wizard declared the artifact would not be destroyed. Herr Luminary stormed out, and von Kaufman suggested Noa do the same.
Ameli, one of the ladies in waiting lightened the mood by declaring a game. She would hide in the hedge maze by a certain statue of Verena and the first person to find her would win the laurels of the party. Several agreed to play and off in the maze they all went. Roderick went to watch the maze.
Shortly afterwards there was a horrific scream as the demigryph, escaped from it’s cage, killed Albrun, the falconer and charged for the cover of the hedge maze. Roderick did not dare try to stop it, but charge in the other entrance of the maze to try and help the guests trapped inside with the raging monster. Bjorn and Raus charge to the maze to help.
Inside the maze they played cat and mouse with the demigryph when they heard an explosion from the gardens. Bjorn abandoned the maze to investigate as a plume of smoke could be seen rising from the area where the tent would be. Raus stayed to fight the demigryph alone (valiant but extremely foolish) while Roderick saved Amali. Raus gave a good reckoning on the ravaging beast but was brought low. Roderick, hearing the fight come to an end, uncharacteristically returned to see Raus being prepared to be eaten by the monster. Roderick fired his bow and brought it down, but was badly hurt. Raus was barely saved.
Bjorn returned to the gardens to find the tent filled with a yellow caustic smoke and the guests hacking and coughing outside. Roderick noticed Gravin Clothilde’s bodyguard, Giselbert Kuhn was not to be seen and charged into the smoke. He found Kuhn face down with several nasty wounds to the back. He drug Kuhn out, but Kuhn died after warning of a small hooded figure with great stinking yellow fangs!
When the smoke cleared they found the gold plaque and the jade mask were stolen and there was a fine cut in the back of the tent. Two men were dead, Raus gravely injured. Kuhns back wounds were discolered and mottled like the bodies on the docks.
Captain Baerfaust and his Greatswords arrived, as did priestesses of Shallya and priests of Morr. The Shallyans did what they could for the wounded, the Morrites took the dead. The party goers gave their condolences to von Kaufman and von Alptraum and took their leave. Raus and Roderick were off to the hospice.
Von Kaufman thanked them for their service and asked them to meet him for lunch tomorrow to discuss the events.