The party rode along the wall which protected the Unterstadt of Nuln. The New Wall, as it was called, was fifteen feet high and six feet wide and from time to time they saw guards passing on it wearing the distinctive white baldrics of the White Watch.

At the gate, the watchmen on duty scrutinized them closely, for they presented a fairly warlike aspect. They were asked their business, and Tibbiddo put them off with a fanciful tale that soon had them laughing and waving the party on. The party turned left on the first major street and passed into the Nuemarkt district. Artisan's shops and warehouses crowded the area, and there were many hostelries scattered about. They settled on one called The Dancing Fish, with a most improbable sign. They were able to secure two adjoining rooms for the modest price of fifty shillings per night and for another 10, they were able to stable their horses. Marri was able to pay, but that exhausted the funds from the bandits.

The innkeeper was a Tilean, Giovanni Ferro, who urged them to stay in tonight. "Itsa bad night," he said in accented Reikspiel. "Night of Mystery. You stay here." They ordered dinner, many accepting Ferro's recommendation of the spicy fish-stew, the speciality. Then over their libation of choice, they made their plans.

Herger toyed idly with his food between bites as the group discussed their next step. His eyes briefly passed over Thorvald as he considered whether or not this man from the North would be willing to pledge his weapon to "the cause," as Herger had come to think of it. A suspicion suddenly entered his mind about the man's motives, which was uncharacteristic for him, and he dismissed it out of hand.

At a lull in the conversation he coughed, sniffled and said, "Tomorrow, after Marri has seen her brothers, I will go with her to the Temple of Verena over the Grossbrucke and see what information the clergy can reveal. Hopefully the trip will turn up a lead or two. If any of you feel comfortable out on the streets asking around that would be a great help. Any information on Likar.. whereabouts, resting place, summer homes, close relatives, apprentices; anything."

He would stash the majority of his things in the room, taking only his clothes, a few crowns, his knife and the cloak from Lin-Adelle. No need to walk around the city armed to the teeth. It was asking for trouble, he figured. Besides, he still felt uncomfortable in all that armour.

Tibbiddo rubbed his hands together vigorously. Acquiring information was a hobby of his and this challenge pleased him immensely. The halfling twiled a curl of his hair and began formulating plans of where to begin his search about Likar. Lips loosened by strong ale always held good stores of information regarding a person, place, or thing. Naturally, any extraneous information gathered would be used to fill his pockets.

The next morning, Marri feeling much better after her bath the night before, set off to visit her brothers at their bakery arranging to meet Herger at the Temple of Verena at noon.

She made her way to the Soldatenpforte, the gate through the old city walls around the Grossebrucke district, paid her two shillings, and from thence passed to the Grossebrucke itself. She walked across the high stone arches to the Uberstadt. From the bridge she could see Burg Nuln on the rocky cliff overlooking the river.

Once across, she followed the main road into the Hochmarkt, where Gold and Sons Bakery was located. Her brothers were surprised and delighted to see her and the morning passed swiftly with tea and buns, until it was time to continue on her way and meet Herger. She left and stopped by a clothier to buy some white cloth.

She continued along the main road, until she almost reached the city gates, for the Temple overlooked the west gate where the Westway entered the city. She spotted Herger who was waiting in the square and hurried over.

Marri and Herger approached the imposing facade of the Temple of Verena. They chose to enter the center door, bypassing the Door of Judgement to the left and the Door of Redress to the right. The central part of the temple was long and high, with a statue of Verena at the far end. A number of citizens with business in the temple moved around the interior, while devout worshippers knelt around the temple in attitudes of prayer. Among them moved the white-robed clergy of Verena, ministering to the worshippers and speaking to the others to discover their business.

After a few minutes, a young initiate approached them, "May the blessing of Verena be a beacon to you in the darkness. I am Wolfgang. You do not seem to have come simply to pray, may I help you?"

Herger said, "I come seeking some of Verena's knowledge, hoping to uncover some historical information, Brother Wolfgang. For I am surrounded by darkness and seek a beacon that might lead me, a humble servant of Sigmar, to a better end."

Marri smiled shyly at Wolfgang, quite subdued by the impressive Temple. "While I will always be faithful to Blessed Esmeralda and be grateful for Her Bounty, I also serve Verena as well as I may." she said. " I would like to spend some time "simply" praying, but I would also very much like to give the temple this poor gift if I may." And she held out the bolts of white cloth that she had purchased on the way to the temple.

Wolfgang bowed and accepted the cloth, "The temple appreciates your gift. You are welcome to pray as long as you wish." He turned to Herger, "We welcome those who seek the light in the darkness. What kind of information do you seek?"

Herger began to relate some of his travels to Wolfgang. He mentioned being on a quest, but not the details of it. He spoke of how they were to be sold to slavers, but not the fact that they had murdered their captor. He recalled their fight in the mountain pass with a man marked by the Dark Powers, but left out that he happened to get up after killing himself. He finally spoke at length about the Elves of Lin-Adelle and the little history he knew of Ryo-Aldenar.

"So we traveled all the way to Nuln trying to discover the fate of this man named Likar."

"You wish to seek for him in our library, then?"

Herger nodded and made to follow Wolfgang.

Wolfgang led Herger to a side passage and down a short hall. He opened a door and led him into the largest library Herger had ever seen. Wolfgang smiled at Herger's expression. "Yes, it is impressive. This is Helga, she can help you in your quest." A short and impressively ugly woman appeared from between two rows of books. "I can spare you a few hours," she said. "But then the Legalists Guild arrives and I will be occupied with them. What do you seek?"

Herger explained for what he was searching.

"The fate of Likar, I think we have some relevant texts. This way." Helga led Herger down an aisle and stopped in front of a shelf of dusty books. "Not much call for these books. Try this one first, then this one." She pulled down two books and handed them to Herger. "I'll look in here and here." She fetched two more books and led Herger to a row of reading tables. She set her books down and began leafing through them. Herger followed suit.

The sources all seemed to agree that several years after returning from fighting Chaos, Likar had simply vanished one day.

Now Herger simply needed to figure out to -where- Likar had returned after fighting Chaos. Where had he lived? There had to be clues to the next step somewhere. It was too early in the search to give up.

In fact, there were numerous references to his dwelling place in Nuln, in the Uberstadt. Helga commented, however, that the house was no longer there - she knew the location and it was now a chandlers, not the townhouse described in the books.

There was a chance that a clue could be found on the premises. Maybe that was simply something you heard about in the stories, though. Hidden cellars and the like. A daytime visit might reveal something that would incite special attention. The kind that Tibbido would probably enjoy.

Herger continued reading, looking for anything he could use.

By the time Helga had to kick him out, he had only read some speculation as to why Likar had vanished - some felt he had been assassinated, others that he had fled, some that he had retired to a secret mountain retreat or to a the estate of noble friends in Bretonnia, a few that he had been a secret daemonologist and taken by a summoning that was too strong for him.

He met Marri in the temple proper and the two set off for their inn.

	*		*		*		*
Tibbo started his part of the festivities that night. When everyone else was going to bed, he was just starting in with stories and tall tales. While persuading others to buy him drinks, he also got the latest local gossip. Dieter Frankhelm the merchant's daughter was pregnant and rumour had it that Sir Basel Strolkoff, one of the Countess'es courtiers was the father. A popular night, Sir Franz Lustiridon, died last week leaving no heirs and isn't it a shame. The milita ran down a goblin raiding party just yesterday, west of the city, and it's not like the old days is it? Three students have been recently locked up for threatening to blow up Burg Nuln, but I think they were just joking - still, they'll probably hang, won't they? And last night, the night of mystery you know, they say the dead were walking down by the Alt Brucke.

Of Likar, the only thing he heard were vague recolletions of someone of that name being a hero many years ago.

The next morning, Tibbo was up late and said he was going to visit some of the other tavers to learn what he could. He showed up a few hours later, looking smug but without any new information.

He recounted what he had heard, and apologetically revealed the sparse information concerning the target of their inquiries, Likar. "It appears that the public which frequents the taverns are, shall I say, less concerned with legends of the past than the current scuttlebutt." The halfling scratched his curly moptop, "Perhaps we should look to a more educated populace?" He then launched into a plan which had strong tenets of an elaborate scam with the university as its target. Raising himself into a rigid posture, Tibbiddo exagerrated his movements to appear to be a learned scholar and spoke in flowery language about the legend of Likar. When he finished he looked upon his compatriots for approval before setting off to Nuln University.

The best way to reach the University from their lodgings was the ferry. So Tibbo took himself down the docks and crossed to the Rechtenufer on the ferry. The road from the ferry ran southwest to the Altbrucke, and Tibbo had learned that most of the University buildings were on or near that main road.

The young halfling brushed his cloak off and tussled his hair, trying to disguise himself as an eager student or eccentric academician as he surveyed the campus. First, he decided, he would determine where the scholars of history were located and then formulate his plan. Hopefully on the way he would run across some legitimate students to further solidify his guise.

Groups of students were very much in evidence, coming and going across the road and the various side roads and alleys, or simply sitting in one of the roadside Inns drinking and arguing.

As he meandered around the streets, Tibbo found a few opportunities to get into his role. He picked up the mannerisms quickly, and then began to look for some props to round out his impromptu disguise. He was nervous about outright swiping of stuff in plain sight, and after a couple of abortive attempts, sighed and went into a store to pick up a few papers and a pen. As he was coming out, he saw that a student had stacked up some books and was not paying much attention to them as he spoke to the proprietor, so he coolly walked over and snagged one on his way out.

So armed, he quickly and easily insinuated himself into a group of students in a cafe. They took to him so well, that within a half an hour, not only did he know where the history professors were, but they lads had paid for his drinks.

The professor that sounded most promising to Tibbo was Magnus Allerung, "old Allerung," who specialized in Nulner history. Tibbiddo joined his "peers" in a rousing song before departing and extended as much advice he felt comfortable giving regarding studies and mischief and made his way to "old Allerung's" office. The cheery halfling walked along the roads taking care to greet as many students as he could to familiarize himself with enough information to convince Allerung that he was indeed a student.

"Old Allerung" was out when Tibbo arrived, but returned about twenty minutes later. He peered myopically at the halfing, then turned to unlock the door to his rooms, saying, "Yes, what is it?"

Feigning awe, Tibbiddo murmured a salutation and then inquired, "I have been researching Nuln and its heroes, specifically the underappreciated Likar and have need of assistance from a learned scholar and noted expert as yourself." The halfling lowered his eyes and fumbled with his notebook, slowly looking upward to stare into the aged man's face.

"Likar?" said the man. "A fascinating if underappreciated personage. Come in." The professor led the way into a small room, which smelled strongly of stale tobacco, mildewed paper and something dead, a rat most likely, in the walls. For all that, it looked comfortable. The walls and table were crowded with bits of paper and maps. Allerung, who wasn't really all that old, went to the table and sat down, then looked back at Tibbo. "You aren't one of my students, are you?"

"Oh yes," said the halfling shuffling in and feigning wonderment at the sheer intellectual pursuit symbolized by the office. "Well, not officially although I consider myself a student of many." He eyed a chair piled with writings and parchments with hungry eyes.

"Good, good. So many of the students are here to study only the three V's: vines, viands and venery. Likar. Fascinating figure. Fought against the incursions of Chaos. Legendary, hurm? Some of the abilities reputed to him must be fanciful, of course. There is the tale of the time he faced the Legion of the Thrice-Dead." Here Allerung launched into a discursive tale about the might Likar and his amazing powers. Eventually, he wound down.

"His legend was sealed, of course, with the dissappearance."

"Yes, yes," Tibbiddo gushed feeling somewhat embarassed by his behavior. "The disappearance is where my fires are extinguished. What do you know about it? where was he last spoken of? what fate befell him? where did he lay down his great..." Tibbiddo nearly caused himself to hyperventilate in trying to impress upon the academician his excitement. He purposely trailed off as if at a loss for words, instead choosing to gesture wildly as if he wielded a mighty weapon. A trap, he hoped would cause the man to speak of a sword.

If trap it was, it went unsprung. "There was the problem! No one knows what became of him! One day he was just gone! Some said he had gone to a retreat somewhere in the mountains, others that he had been assassinated by agents of chaos. But he was just ... gone."

The disappointment which washed across the face of the halfling was genuine. "Have you not discovered any further evidence of where he last stood? No one could just disappear, could they? Certainly not Likar the brave."

"And yet he did! When they finally opened his house, it was full of strange and wondrous things, but there was no sign of the mage himself."

"Astounding," exclaimed Tibbiddo. "Where are the accounts of his affects? to know what Likar created and carried about his person would reveal much of who he was." The halfling inched his chair closer and whispered, "I have been researching his connection to the Elves of Lin-Adelle and Ryo-Aldenar. The collection of items he might have acquired from the Elves, a treasure trove of knowledge!"

"Indeed! Little is known of his time with the Elves. His effects? Hmm." He turned and considered his books for a moment, then came up with volume. He flipped back and forth, mumbling to himself. "I thought there was a mention of some of them in this volume, but I can't find it. Perhaps I was mistaken." He continued to putter.

Tibbiddo sought to get the scholar back on track, "The Elves spoke of a sword. I discounted it, have you read of any such thing?"

"A sword? No, the stories make no mention of a sword of any dinstinction. Perhaps he used a sword, there is some reference to his fighting skill, but an elven sword? No, no mention is made of such a thing." He leaned forward, "do you know of such a tale?"

"Not one of any academic merit," he said with a twinkle in his eye. "Is there a museum where Likar's effects are stored? I would very much like to immerse myself in his possessions while I research."

"Would that there were!" lamented the old professor.

With a sigh Tibbiddo comisserated with the gent, "I fear my journey has come to a disappointing end. I had so hoped to pick up his trail and further develop his legend after the battle with Chaos, but now...." he again sighed.

"It is dissappointing isn't it? Tell me this story about the elves and the sword, though," said Allerung.

Tibbiddo obliged, weaving together a fanciful tale with just enough common folklore and his own personal knowledge about the battleground to provoke any bit of lore that resided deep within the professor's gray matter. The mounds, the shaft, Ryo-Aldenar, all made appearances as he finished his tale. "As you see, some of it is suspect as I have never heard of such a battlefield nor Likar and the elven sword."

"Indeed, the whole tale sounds apocryphal. Likar, with some troops of Nuln, was fighting in that area, but the troops were all slain in battle. So far, it agrees. But no tale I have heard mentions Likar returning with a sword of such power, nor of his presence at the last battle of the hero Ryo-Aldenar," said the scholar. "Still, it might make an interesting footnote." He scribbled on a bit of paper.

"Need he have returned? perhaps this sword that concerns the elves was taken by Likar for safekeeping and he did lay it somewhere until he could return?" the halfling felt as if he was close to sparking something in the old man. "As a scholar, what would be your guess as to a place Likar would place such a thing of power. This would be a fitting addendum to the tale."

"I would think in his home," said the scholar. "Some would say in his mountain retreat, but most serious scholars do not believe such a place exists. It is referenced only rarely in the literature, and in such terms that a more logical explanation is that it refers to the home of some friend outside the city."

"A mountain retreat? home of a friend? I have no heard such tales before." Tibbiddo batted his eyes and looked on like a child, "Please tell me more of these places. Where do they say they were located? His home you have mentioned, but places where Likar might have lain his head...oh, I cannot fathom it!"

"Likar had many friends," said the scholar. "Any of the nobles around these parts in those days would have welcomed him. As for the 'mountain retreat,' put it from your mind. It does not exist. If it did, surely someone would know where it was and have found it by now!"

"If, " Tibbiddo paused for effect, "they knew where to look." The halfling shot a wink at the man and continued, "what if it did exist, but no scholars knew the mind of Likar like yourself and could guess as to its location."

The man looked pointedly at Tibbo, "Are you sure you aren't in my class and sucking up for a good grade?"

The halfling chuckled, "I am quite sure." "I only seek knowledge," he lied with a smile.

"Then know this," said the scholar, "if it existed, it would have been found."

"Ah, but isn't the essence of research to find what has not been found? otherwise there is no need for intellectual pursuit," chimed the halfling adding "with all due respect."

"Have you found it? No? Then you need to do more research, don't you?"

"True," Tibbiddo answered and began to rise. "And discover it, I shall."

"If you do, or even if you find a realistic clue, I would be delighted to hear about it. Although I don't believe it exists, if it did it would the chance of lifetime to study it," said the professor.

"What good is knowledge if it cannot be shared?" he asked rhetorically. Tibbiddo bit his lip to prevent himself from bursting out in laughter at what he just said. To stifle it further he spoke quickly, "I will return with what I find."

"Good, good. I enjoyed our chat." The professor suddenly looked stricken. "I lost track of the time! I'm late for a tutorial." He bustled around and grabbed a few books, then hustled Tibbo out the door before locking it and running down the stairs toward a study Tibbo had seen on his entrance, where presumably the students were waiting.

Tibbiddo waved goodbye to the fleeing professor and then glanced over his shoulder to the inviting door. A grin swept across his face as he eyed the lock and withdrew his throwing dagger. Quietly he fiddled with the door to force it open.

Tibbo quickly determined that the lock was beyond his meagre to non-existant skill to pick. Frustrated her returned to the tavern.

He met up with Herger and Marri at the tavern. Maewyn had spent the day busking on the street, while Rurik and Michael had simply lazed about the tavern enjoying the relative luxury.

Somewhat disappointed Tibbiddo recounted his interchange with the professor of history at Nuln University. The halfling told of the professor's belief that Likar had vanished and that speculation of his going to a mountain retreat was hollow. "The old bird seemed convinced that Likar would not do such a thing." Tibbiddo speared a sausage and summed up his debriefing "There was no mention of a sword at all in Likar's effects."

Herger told of his own findings in return, mentioning that he would like to look around chandler's establishment the following day. "I would appreciate your help in looking around, Tibbiddo. If you're willing," he said.

Rurik winked knowingly at a barmaid and then cheerfully chimed in, "I think I've been cooped up in this place long enough. I'll accompany you."

"I also will accompoany I have also rested long enough and wish to venture forth from under this roof a nice enough place but I will enjoy a little activity. So as our good halfling has just said please lead on," added Maewyn.

"Lead on," echoed Tibbo.

Marri shook her head and smiled at Tibbi, though she said nothing. Usually a non-stop chatterbox, she'd been extremely quiet since returning from the temple. She had sat quietly in the the great temple, the peace of Verena's cosmic balance seeming to seep little by little into the dark heavy places inside her heart. In some ways she wanted to do nothing more than to continue to sit in the temple, and be filled with the peace and the silence and the balance. Perhaps...

So involved was Marri with her thoughts of the temple that she was taken completely by surprise when Traveller jumped into her lap and yelped. She laughed and asked "Am I not paying enough attention to you, my friend? Let me see if I can make it up to you!" She began scatching Traveller at her favorite spot just behind her left ear. Focused now on what was going on around her, she said "Everyone eats, you know." When her companions looked a bit confused at this comment, she continued "I mean, I wonder if there are any halfling stories hereabouts about this Likar? Perhaps I will start by visiting my brothers again at the bakery. Did I mention that Sugar is my favorite of all my brothers? Oh I did? Well, anyway, they might be able to direct me to someone whose family has been in Nuln for some time. You just never know who a halfling might have cooked for!" Marri then took a long pull off her tankard and continued scratched a now contented Traveller behind her left ear.

The next morning, Marri set out early to visit her brothers. She paid her two shillings and crossed the bridge to the Uberstadt, walked along the High Road to the Hochmarkt and arrived as the boys were taking the second batch of bread out of the oven; the first having been ready shortly before dawn and long since taken by the first wave of servants.

The second batch included more specialty breads as well as a few things like pasties that had been brought by local vendors for baking in the big ovens.

Both her brothers looked hot and were covered in flour when she arrived.

"Marri! My favorite sister!" Sugar grinned widely and gave her a big hug which she returned with enthusiasm even though it left her covered in flour as well. Sugar was the youngest of the boys and they'd always been extremely close. She'd brought Traveller with her, and the little dog sniffed the air with obvious appreciation before sitting down near the door. Mace greeted his sister less exuberantly, but with real affection, although he began by saying only "That mutt probably isn't much use." Then he turned back to the tray of buns he was sprinkling with sweet spices. Sugar was still grinning at his sister, and now he winked and handed her several rolls still hot from the oven and motioned her toward the room at the back of the store. "We've some hot cider back there, and some sausage and probably some cheese left over from our morning meal! I'm sure you and your little friend could use a bite!"

Mace muttered something about giving away all the profits, although he added several of the sweet rolls he was working on to the ones Sugar had given her. Marri actually had some trouble getting to the table in the back of the store without spilling anything. Traveller looked slightly unhappy about the fact Marri *hadn't* dropped anything until she tossed her a roll and some chunks of cheese, and sausage. Marri saw no reason to mention that she had eaten at the inn before starting out that morning, and she settled in to enjoy her second meal in as many hours. "You never know when you might miss a meal, eh Traveller? So it never hurts to have an extra now and again." Over protective her brothers might be, but my they did make a fine bun! "Almost as good as mine, Traveller my girl." Traveller wisely remained silent on this point, and continued to eat the bun she'd been given. Marri also grew quiet at this point. In truth the smells, and the food, and being around her brothers was making her feel a bit homesick. She realized, she hadn't felt really safe in a very long time. Deciding with a small sigh that there was no point in thinking about that, she simply ate in silence for a bit.

Eventually Sugar came back, filling the air with flour and spices as he hit his hands on his apron to clean them. Sitting down at the table across from Marri, he poured himself a mug of the hot cider, stuffed a bun into his mouth and asked around it "What is it you need, little flower?" Startled Marri replied "I've come to see my favorite brother... eh ... brothers! What else?" Sugar laughed with so much enthusiasm that Mace turned from a customer to tell him somewhat sternly to close the door. After doing so, he sat down across from his sister again and said "I love you too little sister, but I also know how carefully you plan the time you will spend with any brother who may press you to work in a bakery. While I never shall, you know that Mace will do so at the first opportunity. Which will be fairly soon as there will be a short lull between the early morning crowd and the mid-morning crowd. So come on now, before you have to start thinking up excuses why you cannot stay... why can't you stay and what do you need? Really?"

Reaching across the table to grab his hand, Marri also began to laugh, though softly so as not to annoy Mace. "You know me so well, littlest brother! Well, here's the story then, in short..." And in as short a time as a halfling could tell a story, she explained the journey to Sugar. By the time she had finished, Sugar was looking distinctly uncomfortable. "Oh my!" A pause then. "Oh my!" again and somewhat louder. "Are you sure you have to continue on this journey? I am certainly the last to want to keep you at home, but ... OH MY! This sounds sooo very dangerous! And whatever do you think we can do to help?"

"Ah, well, that is the thing. The very thing. If we fail on this journey, no one will be safe. So yes," she said nodding vigorously, " I must go on, and do whatever I can to help out. Sometimes it does seem very little. Still I was the first one Herger asked to accompany him on this... this... quest. We are friends you see, Sugar. I've learned a bit of healing - from elves fancy that! - and that is proving helpful. And even people on a quest need to have a bit to eat and drink. And who better than a halfling to make certain they have it? And that brings me, actually to why I am here. We are searching for information on someone called Likar, lived a very long time ago...seems almost more legend than fact, really... but I thought, well if he existed he had to eat! And, as they say back home in the Moot, you just never know who a halfling will have cooked for! So," she paused to take a long pull on her tankard of ale, " I came along to ask if you'd ever heard anyone speak of such a man, or tell a story or sing a song about him, or share a recipe he might have liked?" Traveller, rolled up around her now round little belly, lay snoring softly at their feet.

"That was a long time ago," Sugar looked dubious. "Although ..." his face brightened, "Didn't we eat once at a place sold something they called Likar's Pot, or something like that? I think it was a pastry crust over a stew with goat and cheese and pine nuts."

"Yes!" said Mace. "It was pretty good, too, I recall."

"Really? Now that's exciting!!" Marri exclaimed with so much enthusiasm that she woke Traveller. However, after making sure that there did not seem to be any more food forthcoming, the little dog immediately went back to sleep.

"By Sweet Esmeralda's bouncing bosum, a good crust is hard to make! What spices did they use? Its sooo easy to over or under spice a stew, what with the long cooking time and all! And was the goat tender? That's even more difficult! Goat tends to be stringy, you know and it takes...."

Realizing what she was saying Marri trailed off, and actually blushed a little. Even her beloved Sugar was staring at her in disbelief. "Ummm.... Well... Yes.... Where is this place? And who's the cook there? A halfling I trust?"

"A tavern, the Mountain Goat, I think," said Sugar. "Down toward the Altbrucke." He gave Marri directions. "The cook was human, actually, but not bad for all that. Her name is Gele Kerbecht. Her husband runs the tavern, but Gele does the cooking."

Marri was somewhat taken aback to learn a human had made a meal her brothers praised. Still... she woke Traveller, stuffed a couple more rolls into her bag, and hurried away before Mace could remember to lecture her about giving up all this foolishness and taking a more appropriate job there in the bakery.

"I'll be back tomorrow... if I can" she called over her shoulder as she bustled out through the door. "We'll be just in time for lunch, Traveller!" she said happily as she sat off to find the Mountain Goat. "I shall definitely have to attend the spices! And who knows, they might even know something about this Likar person too!"

The tavern was just where Mace said it would be. A homey place, like a halfing would favour, rather than a pretentious establishment. Tables lined one wall and Marri was able to find one without too much difficulty. A man who was no longer young, even if not quite old, approached the table and smiled a smile that showed years of honest use. "What can I get for you, little mistresss?"

Marri immediately like the tavern and the smile she gave the man was genuine. "A tankard of ale would be much appreciated, good sir. And my brother recommended your Likar's Pot."

"Aye, it's a house speciality," the man dissappeared and returned shortly with the tankard. "The pot takes a few minutes."

Wrapping her hands around the tankard, Marri took a long pull on the ale. And said to the man, "Excuse me sir, I'm a cook myself. And I was a little curious, I've never heard of a recipe for Likar's Pot. Is it a family recipe?"

"Nah," said the man. "It's sort of a local speciality. Everyone's got the idea, but ours is the best, I think. It's got a few little extras, if you know what I mean. The secret," he leaned in close, "is that you have to use mountain goat. Farm goat just isn't gamy enough."

Continuing to sip her ale, Marri responded "A local specialty eh! What happened to make people start making it? And what idea does everyone have? And... Oh...Sorry. I guess there might be a better chance of you answering my questions if I didn't ask quite so many! I tend to get a bit excited about new dishes!"

"Well, basically the idea is stewed goat. Most of the time it's got pine nuts, too. We use a little cheese, ourselves. It's all this mountain food, you see? That's why the mountain goat gives it a better flavor. Then we decided to put pastry on top. Heaven knows where it started. There was a guy used to live around called Likar, I think he was a cook. It was probably his recipe."

"A cook named Likar? And he lived around here? Must have been quite a nice guy if everyone remembers him and his recipe." Marri said. "Know much about him? Did he live in the mountains? Is that why the receipe has to be made with mountain foods?" Once again she stopped and smiled. "I'm doing it again! Asking questions without waiting for an answer!"

"I don't think he lived in the mountains. Maybe he was from there. Wait, it should be ready now," he headed off and returned a few moments later with Marri's dish. "There you are. Excuse me, I've got to get back to the other customers."

Marri was disappointed that the man left, but she dug into her food with enthusiasm. "My. Sugar was right! This is excellent!" She lost herself for a few moments in the joys of hot stew with a fresh pasty crust. Then she thought "Well now. I do believe I need to pay my respects to the cook! She may know a bit more about Likar than the nice gentleman out here, and if she doesn't, I may at least end up with a good recipe!"

Marri continued with her meal, more slowly now, and waited for the man to come back, so she could ask if she might speak to the cook.

He came back to check on her and refill her drink, and told her she could head on into the back whenever she wanted. Marri finished her meal and went around to the kitchen, where she saw a pleasantly round woman working to keep food going out.

Unfortunately, the woman could add little to Marri's store of knowledge except that the spice Marri had trouble indentifying was probably Juniper berries - the goat was usually soaked overnight in vinegar and Juniper berries before being cooked.

Marri complimented the cook, and thanked her for her information. She returned to the main room, and rounded up Traveller who had been happily making the rounds of the tables getting treats. She thanked the innkeeper again, and started back toward the inn where she was staying. "I hope the others had better luck," she remarked to Traveller.

	*		*		*		*
At the same time that Marri set off for the bakery, the rest of the party, saving only Michael, set off as well for the chandler's shop that rested on the site of Likar's old home. They walked with Marri across the bridge then turned off to head down toward the Ostkirche and their destination.

After skirting the heights of the Schlossbezirk, they dropped down and made their way through the bustling middle-class neighborhood until they saw, on a corner, the chandlery.

Rurik glanced around at his present environs and queried in a soft deadpan, "This is the former home of the legendary Likar?"

Tibbiddo craned his neck around before answering, "Doesn't look like there is too much left to discover."

Several more moments passed as they all stared dumbly at Likar's former residence. Finally Rurik blinked and shook his head. "What are we waiting for? Let's go have a look." Without further word, he walked calmly toward the chandlery.

I agree with that statement looking around will give us the answer we seek.

She calmly followed holding her staff like a walking stick but ready to make it a weapon if nthat need presented itself. Her hawk flew ahead of her resting on a tree for her to come closer then fly a litle boit ahead to repeat the wait.

They approached the chandler's shop and it was clear it was newish construction. The buildings next to it on what had probably been Likar's plot of land looked simiarly new, although some of the stone looked older. Maewyn thought she saw Likar's arms on one of the higher stones of the house next the chandlery. Probably the new houses had used some of the stone from the old house.

Herger mentions a briefly concocted plan as they approach the building wherein he would engage the proprietor, or clerk, in conversation while the others tried "testing the structure," so to speak. If there was more than one person to speak with then Rurik or Maewyn should talk to them, as well. Herger was planning on asking about Likar at some point in the conversation, but basically wanted to use the talk to distract the employees from the others possible antics.

"They apparently used some of the old to build the new. Maybe there are clues to be found. Old paintings or tapestries depicting something we could recognise; a hidden cellar door that could lead us onwards; anything at all that we can use."

Once inside, they put Herger's plan in operation. He chatted to the chandler about his work while the others examined the interior of the building carefully. It soon became obvious that the building had been rebuilt from the ground up, using some of the stone rubble from the previous building.

Herger asked about Likar, and the gregarious chandler obliged with what he knew. "Quite famous in his day, he was. You can see his arms on some of the stones outside. Dissappeared mysteriously. Very strange. The house was sealed up, they do that, you know. And finally they decided he was dead and opened it up again. All the contents were auctioned off, and then they sold the house. The Von Yorkers bought it. A few years later, there was a big fire and the whole family died. The house was ruined. They rebuilt along here with some of the rubble and this place was potters, I think. Then my great grand-dad bought it and turned it into a chandlery, and here I am!"

Herger was impressed with how much a dead-end this was turning out to be and gathered with the others to determine if they had found anything useful. Afterwards he suggested heading back to the inn, hoping that Marri had had better luck.

Tibbiddo kicked at the stone walkway in frustration. "Bah, Likar is here, no he's there. In the city, but no one knows where. He went to the mountains, no he didn't; that is legend. Double bah!"

"You there," said a gruff voice, "hold up." The party turned to see a group of three watchmen wearing the black baldrics of the Black Watch. They started to walk toward the group. "We want a word with you."

The one in charge looked them over. "Elf, halfling, couple of humans. That's about right. Who are you and what's your business here?"

Maewyn glanced over at the owner of the gruff voice as she thought, "and who are you to be asking?" Noticing the watch unifrom she shrugedg and waited to see if anyone els was willing to answer, then decided to speak. "We are merely travelers who are seking knowledge on a local legend we have heard about gathers of knowledge one might say. I hope that we have not broke any local ordiances with our questions good sir."

Herger waited patiently to see how the watch would respond to Maewyn's proclamation.

"Strangers, eh? Show your shilling or I'll have you up for vagrancy."

The party each showed a shilling, and the watchman nodded. "Where are you staying, then? We might want to talk to you later."

Herger readily supplied them with the information, though he wondered if it was a good idea.

With a last suspicious look, the watch let them go, and watched as they walked away.

They returned to the Inn and found Michael pacing fretfully in the Inn, bored and restless. They began to fill him in on what they had discovered, and had just finished when Marri arrived, and they had to start all over again. When they finished that time, Marri brought them up to date on what she had learned and they ordered a round of drinks and began to review their options.

Marri spent quite a bit of time drinking mulled wine, and staring into space. Her companions were carrying on several conversations around her. Finally, interrupting everyone, she spoke "Tibbi, didn't you mention that someone said that the dead were walking down by the Alt Brucke on the night of mystery?"

Herger nursed from his cup and muttered about how discouraging their trip to Nuln has been so far, "A load of nothing is what we have. All hints and rumours.. what did I expect, really? Anyway, it's good to see that you're up and about, Michael."

Michael had been tapping his fingertips together while he listened to the companions chatter. At Marri's comment, he replied, "I don't know about the walking of the dead, although that's a good idea. But I've got an idea rolling around in my head that this man whom we're searching for isn't dead."

Herger was prepared to listen to any ideas the others had to share and had just begun to follow Marri's train of thought when Michael commented on his musing. Herger looked up from his drink and said, "Not dead as in alive? Or not dead as in those moving corpses we met in that valley?"

"Foolish tales told by drunks, that is what I think," offered Tibbiddo. He leaned back in his chair and rubbed his belly, "although it appears to have more substance than Likar, he disappeared, he went to the mountains, here, there, so many stories!" The halfling shot his hands up in the air in an act of desperation.

Maewyn sat listening to the other talk stroking the head of her hawk with a feather she kept for that purpose so the oil on her hands would not harm them.

"I think alive." Michael says. "Didn't the cook get the recpie for that dish from a guy named Likar?"

"You know," said Marri thoughtfully "I don't think I really asked if the person they got the recipe from was still around. Perhaps we should. But I also think that the most likely people to steal the sword would be the people who wouldn't want it found! And walking dead seems like their style. On the other hand, Herger, did you research the sword... or that elf with the long name that it was supposed to belong to?"

Herger debated with the others on what their next course of action should be. He offered the following as a list of things about which they should still ask around: How old was Likar? How many years ago did he disappear? (It had to be less than 200.) Did he have any relatives, kin, decendants? What was the connection between Likar and Ryo-Aldenar? (The Elves had no record of Likar attending the battle of Arrak-Arras with their warriors.)

They knew that Likar was possibly big on using fire to his advantage as shown by the dead-end in the Arrak-Arras tunnel; blackened walls and skeletons. A few years after the Von Yorkers bought his house there was a big fire and the family was killed. Could the fire which destroyed his house be linked to Likar, or a decendant of his, in some manner?

The timing of the whole scenario was bothering Herger as well. The incursions of Chaos took place two hundred years ago, and that was when the Elf hero was last alive and using his sword. This Likar fellow, theoretically, takes the sword and comes back to Nuln within a one year period. Working backwards from today, the chandler (guessing he was around 35) claimed that his great grand-dad bought the building and turned it into a chandlery. Assuming that each generation began working here around 16 with a child at 22 and that the man was 20 when he bought the place that would put the great grandfather making the purchase around 80 years ago. It was a potters for an undetermined length of time, and the Von Yorkers owned it for about 5 years. How long were the potters in business? 15? So Likar vanished around 100 years ago? He supposed it did not matter to their quest at hand and the conjecturing was giving him a headache.

His main concern now was figuring out who his friends and family were.

Marri gave her whole attention to Herger, even forgetting to drink her ale as she listened. This was all giving her a bit of a headache. "Perhaps" she ventured, "we ought to split up tomorrow. One group could go back to the Temple and see if there is any information on Ryo-Aldenar or the sword. One might see if there is any city office with records about the house, or those who lived there. And I still think we ought to look into those walking dead. I suppose if none of this works, and we get no other inspiration, the only thing for us to do will be to head to the Tree without the Sword. I don't think we can just linger here if, as I said, we get no other inspiration."

After saying that Marri sat quiet for awhile as the others continued to discuss the situation around her. She held Traveller on her lap, and scratched her in her favorite spot behind her left ear. Finally she turned to Herger and said "Are you saying that you think it likely that the house might have sat empty for a time after Likar vanished? I think that's probably true. I mean, if he vanished, first of all, it might be a bit before anyone was sure he wasn't coming back. And then, people feel a bit odd to be moving into someone's home after that person disappears, especially if that person was someone of consequence or power. And I suppose there would be legal issues of some kind..." She paused for a moment, and then continued "And generally, vanishing sort of implies that you didn't pack up and move away, because, well... someone would have noticed and asked where you were going, or at least noticed you leaving... I'm babbling I know, but what I mean to say is, if he *vanished*, he probably didn't take all his things with him! At some point, the city must have confiscated the property, and opened up the house because otherwise how could all these other people have owned the place later? Anyway, the point is.. what did they find in the house and what happened to what they found in there? What happened to what Likar left behind?"

Herger finished off his second mug and nodded as Marri finished, "The chandler mentioned that there was an auction held after the building was closed up. So we need to ask about his belongings, his relatives, his friends. Something important we may have overlooked is simply asking about Ryo-Aldenar, the sword and the Elves, so we should research those at the temple, as well."

Herger mentions that Tibbiddo may be the one best able to get information about the auction.

"I would be willing to spend another day in study at the temple trying to find information on the Elves, the sword and Ryo-Aldenar," he said.

"I would like to go with you maybe since I am an elf we make get access to information that may not be avialiable to those who are not elves," Maewyn suggested with a shrug.

"I think that's a good idea, Herger. I'll go along with Tibbi" Marri said. "Just to make certain he doesn't run into a game of chance, and forget what he's supposed to be doing," she continued with a smile. "Besides two heads are better than one."

"I think I'll wander along with Marri." Michael interjected. "But for now, a good night's sleep."

The next day, Herger, Maewyn and Rurik took themselves off to the Temple of Vererna again, to investigate further. Their previous gift of cloth was sufficient to gain them another few hours of access to the library, although they felt their credit was pretty much expanded by that.

Inside they learned what they could of Ryo-Aldenar, but found little to add what they already knew from the Elves. After some hours of frustration, they returned to the Inn. They settled in with some drinks, to wait for the others, when a pair of guardsmen wearing distinctive white baldrics walked into the inn. "Afternoon, Giovanni," called the older.

"Good afternoon, friends," said the innkeeper bringing out two flagons from behind the bar. "What brings you here today?"

"Doing a favour for the Black Watch," said the man while his companion snickered. "Seems a band of desperate criminals is on the loose."

"Probably mugged some aristo's son," said the younger man.

"Shut yer gob," said the older man casually backhanding the younger man, who shut up and drank his beer sullenly. The older man looked around the room, his gaze lingering on Maewyn for a good long time. He turned back to Giovanni. "It's a group with a couple of halflings and an elf. I don't see any halflings."

"Well," said Giovanni, "there are ..."

The older man cut him off as he spoke. "Those snotty bastards seem to think they're here, but like I said I don't see any halflings."

"Oh," said Giovanni quietly, "right."

The old guardsman nodded. "Now, if I saw a group with an elf and couple of halflings, I'd have to report it, wouldn't I? Since I don't, the Black Watch must have their information wrong."

"Typical," sniggered the young man.

The old man raised a hand to slap him, considered a moment, then dropped it. "It is, isn't it? Anyway, we'll be back along later tonight to look for halflings." He drained his beer. "Come on," he said to his partner. As he left, he paused by the table where the companions sat. "Good day," he said in passing, then the pair departed.

Herger exchanged looks with Rurik and glanced at the bartender before saying to his companions, "I think that our enquiries are drawing the attention of someone of influence. Not good. Our welcome may be worn out."

"I believe you are correct, " relied the elf in a low voice then lowered even further. "I believe that the others should be warned and the person doing it should not be me. After all it is halfling and elf that have drawn the displeasure of certain individuals not any other combination.

Rurik returned Herger's glance, then sat back in his chair; fiddling with a loose, torn piece of cloth he's been intending to mend. After a few moments he spoke softly - absently; almost to himself. "Damn considerate of them to warn us as they did. It's obvious he knew we were those who he sought. There must be no love-lost between the local constabulary and this 'Black Watch' of which he spoke; certainly when it comes to clearly fabricated charges. I doubt we can get any overt assistance from this guard, yet perhaps..."

Changing gears, he continued his soft musings. "I wonder why these Black Watch should wish our capture, anyway. Paranoid? Xenophobic? Competition?... Hmm..."

Herger countered by suggesting, "Maybe they have heard of our inquiries and they have some link to that which we seek."

Herger continued sipping from his mug, deep in thought about the whirlwind events that had brought him to Nuln. Only time would tell to where his adventures would take him next.

	*		*		*		*
Tibbo and Marri found out from Giovanni that the civil records were kept in a building near the Schlosse Liebewitz. Accordingly, they turned their steps that way. The records clerks seemed to be recalcitrant and difficult as a matter of principle. Tibbo turned on the charm and was able to bring one of them around and soon they were in a small back room with volume after volume of old records. They learned quickly enough that after a person has been missing for five years with no heirs, the city claims their possessions. This happened with Likar's house and belongings.

The house was auctioned off to the Von Yorker family, as they knew. They also knew it burned down ten years after that.

The possessions were auctioned off in lots, but much searching by Marri, while Tibbo looked on interest and Michael looked bored, revealed nothing about a sword that fit the description of the one for which they sought.

"Pointless," Tibbiddo barked out. "Are we even sure Likar was at the battlefield?"

Marri examined the records and found that there were a good number of maps and books in Likar's effects. They were sold to various persons around the city, but most went in a single large lot to Sir Wilhelm Listuridon.

Tibbo remembered hearing that a popular local knight, Sir Franz Listuridon died recently with no heirs, which meant that his property would be auctioned off by the city almost immediately. In fact, the auction had already happened, and that the recorders were somewhere nearby.

They found them and pursued the same line of investigation. They found nothing exciting about swords, but did learn that almost all of Franz's library was purchased by Alrich Von Wester, a respected bookseller in the city.

"I don't know that I see where this can help" Marri said "but I suppose it cannot hurt to go visit this bookseller, and see if we can find anything. Besides he might have some books of recipes -- or herb lore -- or healing!" So saying Marri thanked the clerks for all their help, and dragging her companions along, headed for the shop of the bookseller.

The bookseller's shop was typical of his breed: crowded, dusty and, for those who like books, delightful. The man himself bustled forward to meet them as they entered, "Good day, good day. Looking for something particular, or just browsing?" he asked.

"Good day, good day indeed" replied Marri with a smile."You will probably think me quite foolish, but I am in search of a rare book on herb lore. I've been told its quite an extradordinary book, and that it was written by someone called Likar, and that many of his books went to a Sir Franz Listuridon whose books you have recently purchased. Is there any chance I might look through those books?"

"Of course! I acquired them but recently so they are all in one place. This way." As he led them toward a corner of the shop he continued, "It's funny, you're the second person to be looking for something in that collection today."

"Really?" Marri replied casually. "How interesting that another person would be in search of a book on herb lore. No idea it was such a popular subject!"

The man laughed, "No! He wasn't looking for herb lore, as such, but specifically asked for Sir Franz's books. Here we are. I haven't had a chance to look through them all yet, but do look around. I know the collection had a book by Likar since I sold it earlier today, but it wasn't a book on herb lore, so the one you're looking for may still be there."

"Marri, I didn't know Likar wrote about more than herbal lore! How novel! Sir, do you remember the topic of the book that sold this morning? Or do you have more authors from that time period? Some of the vernacular in these vintage books can be fascinating stuff!" Michael spoke up unexpectedly, making a production of his newfound interest in old languages and authors.

"It was a journal that I sold this morning. And indeed we do have more authors from that period. Many people wrote memoirs of the fight against Chaos." He bustled off to find some more books.

"By Esmeralda's Rotund Rump!" Marri exclaimed sharply under her breath, glancing at Michael, and pausing for a moment to wonder if he could read. Deciding it was of no consequence, she begin poking through the books just to make sure there wasn't anything else useful there.

The shopkeeper returned with the books and Marri and Michael looked through them quickly as well. Without time to really read them it was difficult to tell what might be in them, although they looked like mostly histories of military engagements.

After looking through all the books, Marri found a likely volume and asked the price, commenting, "Forgive me! I'm ever so curious, always have been, can't help it! But it is fascinating that someone else bought a book from this same lot! Do you happen to know who it was?"

"A sergeant of the Black Watch. His name is Pisselman, Pisselstein, something like that. Ah," he watched as she held up the book she had found before with some herbalism section, "a fine choice. I think I could let it go for, perhaps, 70 Crowns?"

Tibbiddo stifled a cough, "the Black Watch, you say? Didn't you consider it odd that one such as he would purchase such a volume? or was he buying it for someone else?"

"He didn't say who it was for. It did seem a little strange, though," said the bookseller. "The Watch is not known for their literary tastes." He laughed in a way that reminded the listeners of a cat coughing up hairballs.

Marri told the bookseller about some tea that he might enjoy, but declined the book, saying a bit wistfully, "I'm afraid that's a bit more than I can afford, sir, but I do thank you."

With that she left the bookstore, and suggested to her companions that they return to the inn to share what they had learned with the others.

Michael, Tibbo and Marri came through the door of the inn and were surprised when Giovanni froze momentarily on seeing them. Their companions were seated at a table and looked at them with a palpable air of concern.

Herger waved his companions over and finished off his drink. He told them of their recent encounter with the city watch and what it could mean. After hearing the information that Marri had gathered it put more of a twist on matters.

"We have to get our hands on that journal, and we definitely cannot stay any longer in this Inn. I suggest we grab our things and gather somewhere that we can try and remain out of the way of both shades of the watch. Anyone have a suggestion?"

"Makes one wonder if the Black Watch isn't a constabulary of any color, else they'd attempt our arrest themselves?" Michael wondered out loud.

"Methinks someone is using the Black Watch for their own gain," offered Tibbiddo, "that is why we must be silenced and there is not a citywide call to detain us." The halfling fidgeted a bit, "We must be close to something, or triggered a sudden interest in Likar which led to the acquisition of the journal."

"Yes, Tibbi," Marri agreed "I believe you are right! I also agree with Herger that this is not the place for us to be! Let's get our things and settle up here! Apparently we are being sought as a group, so I think we ought to split up! But where to meet later? And how are we going to find out about the Black Watch? Perhaps," she suggested a moment later "we could go to the Temple of Verena?"

Maewyn glanced around the rom listening to the other talk as she watched the reaction of those around her to them. A part of her desired to just get moving but prudence suggested finding a cause of action would be better than just reacting.

Rurik downed the last of his beverage and clunked his mug against the table as punctuation. "Let us away. We should indeed separate Maewyn from Tibbs & Marri, if for no other reason than to assist the... who were they? White Watch?... with their ruse of 'non-cooperative cooperation'. However, don't think for a moment that the White Watch don't know who we are."

He then stood and absently patted his person, taking inventory. "With the application of enough pressure, they will surely find us and take us in - regardless of the fact we've broken no laws."

Finding what he sought, Rurik pulled some coins from a pouch to cover his share, with a little extra for the 'keep. Settling his account, he handed the overage to Giovanni. "Thank you for your hospitality, my good man! I shall give tell of my pleasant experiences at your accommodating hands to any and all! " With a wink, he then turned back to the others - still within earshot of the innkeep. "Elves, Humans, and Halflings aplenty. Who can tell who is with who, really?"

With a shrug, Rurik sauntered out of the Inn, whistling a carefree little traveling tune.

"I'm not sure we should allow any of us to move about alone, however...if for no other reason than safety in numbers and the off chance that one may watch over the other." Michael offered.

The companions moved out quickly, in twos and threes, and rendezvoused in a dive closer to the docks to make their plans.

Finding this location as suitable as any other, Rurik droned-on in a loose free-association. "We need to disappear, but at the same time we need to find out about this particular Black Watchman to see where that leads - if anywhere. The best way to go to ground is to fade within ones' own, however we are all outsiders in Nuln, with the sole exception of Marri here."

Thinking a bit more, he glanced at Maewyn. "We might also need to clip the elf's ears." Abruptly sporting his trademark grin, Rurik winks at the Elf Maiden, "Figuratively speaking, of course."

Returning to his musings, the northlander muttered on. "I wonder how much of a rivalry there is between the White and Black watches... We may be able to use that to our advantage, but we'll need to tread lightly and do some careful research... Perhaps the local underworld could be of some service, of course that opens up a whole new level of problems..."

Not wishing to delve into the issues involved with finding and coaxing information out of the 'underworld', Rurik paused his monologue and looked at the others. "Any ideas?"

"I think you are on the right track" Marri replied. "Perhaps it is best to hide 'in plain sight' as it were. I can go to work with my brothers. For what is one halfling baker more or less to be noticed? And I can relay messages, so that we do not have to meet as a group. It would be natural enough for any of you to come in to buy bread or buns. Tibbi might be best suited to find out any 'underground' sort of information, perhaps with Michael hanging about as backup? Maewyn, perhaps you might busk about the town a bit? That's another good way to pick up information and so long as you are not with the rest of us, perhaps not too dangerous for you. Rurik and Herger, hmmm... have you ever considered joining the watch?"

With that last statement, she grinned!

"Agreed, then....I'll shadow the little glib one......heh," said Michael.

The plans made the party went to ground. Marri and Traveller went to stay in the Uberstadt with her brothers. Rurik, Maewyn and Herger shifted their lodgings to a rough and low waterfront inn where they could lose themselves in the masses that were always coming and going on the boats and barges. Tibbo and Michael vanished into the underworld that always seems to exist. Herger and Tibbo passed messages around between the parties and communicated what everyone learned.

It didn't take long for part of a picture to emerge. The White Watch and the Black Watch were constantly at odds and jealous of their jurisdiction. Many petty criminals had escaped justice by crossing a bridge or taking a ferry. The White Watch held sway in the Unterstadt, and was funded by the merchants whose interests they protected. The Black Watch controlled the rest of the town and were maddened by the fact that they were more poorly equipped than the upstart White Watch.

It seemed the Sergeant who had purchased the book and who was responsible for harrassing them was named Pisselwein, Heinrich Pisselwein. When they went to learn more, though, what they learned was that just the night before, the house where Pisselwein lived had fallen into the ground! Rumour was that a sewer had collapsed and the house had collapsed into it from faulty construction.

Herger chuckled wryly as if he had expected things to get worse. He said, "It seems as if some of us get to take a trip into the sewers of this lovely city. If the rumour is true it would be the best way to approach and search the rubble without drawing attention. I think that a lantern and a change of clothes seem to be in order. A night trip would probably be the safest time to explore. We need to find out how to get there, now."

The location of the collapse was part of the gossip that Tibbo had heard. "It all sounds too convenient to be unrelated," offered the halfling. "Of course, there could be not one shred of truth to it either," Tibbiddo continued. "But I shall surely know soon," he said with a grin grabbing his cloak.

Tibbo was back an hour and a half later with a report. Pisselwein lived in a poorer section of the Ostkirche district, in a small house that he presumably shared with some other boarders. The entire structure had dropped into a hole some fifteen feet deep and collapsed as it did so. Tibbo had seen on one side of the hole an opening that looked like a tunnel of some kind.

Rurik nodded in agreement, but added idly "once underground it won't matter time of day, but slipping into the sewers unnoticed is usually easier at night." Patting down his gear, he appeared at ease with the decision to descend below the city. Then, as an afterthought he asked Tibbiddo pointedly "Has anyone seen this Black Watchman since the collapse of his residence?"

It seemed that no one had seen Pissewein since the house had collapsed, although the Black Watch was still much in evidence.

Herger headed for the door, grabbing his cloak on the way. He said over his shoulder, "I will be back as soon as I can find those clothes and a shuttered lantern."

As night fell, the companions gathered in ones and twos at Pisselwein's home. Each was wearing clothes they didn't mind getting filthy and Herger and Marri each carried a lantern. All had their armour on and their weapons near to hand.

Herger eyed the scene with a certain amount of trepidation. He nodded towards Rurik and began making his way towards Pisselwein's fallen home. He was watchful for sentries and guards.

Rurik waited until he was as under as much cover as possible before lighting his own lantern. He thought about keeping it unlit for now because of the several lanterns already burning brightly, however he'd learned long ago the importance of controlling one's own light source.

He made sure one final time that everything was in place: pick, crowbar, hammer, rope, bags, knife... Satisfied with his inventory, he smiled back at Herger then cautiously moved forward - eyes probing and carefully cataloging anything of interest.

The group was able to gain access to the hole without much difficulty and soon the were moving down what looked to their eyes like a recently constructed tunnel. After only a few tens of feet, they found a hole in a masonry wall that looked like it opened into the sewers of Nuln. The passage they were in continued on and they followed that along.

Another forty feet or so brought them to the lip of a shaft which dropped down into the darkness below.

Tibbiddo wrinkled his nose at the prospect which lay ahead. "It's quite dark down there, want I should go ahead?" he offered against his better judgment.

Herger indicated the hole with his lantern and said, "Be my guest, just be careful. I'll follow you down."

With a grin, the halfling took to the sheer surface making his way down carefully staying to the far edge of Herger's lantern glow.

As the Halfling began scaling his way into the pit, Herger began helping Rurik find a good place to which they could secure his rope.

Tibbido made his way down the shaft without incident and whispered bak up that it was about a thirty foot drop. With the use of Rurik's rope the others were able to descend without too much difficulty.

The shaft was the continuation of a rough tunnel which led off into the darkness.

Tibbido crept forward with the rest of the party strung out behind him, Michael's strong presence behind him a comfort. Tibbido heard a noise ahead and shuttered his lantern. After a moment, he felt comfortable enough to creep forward. His acute senses showed a dim glimmer ahead, not enough for the humans to notice, perhaps, but more than enough for his halfling eyes.

Finally he was close enough to look in and see what made the light. It came from a single candle set on a table in a cave. On the far side of the small cave the tunnel continued. But around the table sat four horrid creatures. They looked like rats, but rats grown into grotesque parodies of humanity. Their red eyes glittered as they threw dice on the table, horrible notched swords near to hand. They seemed to be talking in a chittering language that sent chills up and down Tibbiddo's spine.

He crept back to his comrades to report.

"W-w-we should wait until they grow tired and leave," offered Tibbiddo in a hushed whisper. It was a suggestion even he did not believe would be considered, but a point which should be offered nevertheless. With wide eyes he looked from comrade to comrade waiting for his assignment.

"Surely you're joking? For all we know, they don't sleep.....does anyone have any concerns about their possible rehabilitation, or can we kill these?" Michael looks to Herger for an opinion.

"From the description they do not sound like a nature creature I will cry no tears over their death." Maewyn glanced around and wondered if she would be able to creep close enough to soften them with arrows before the attack.

Marri got out her little knife, although she didn't say anything. She waited for the others who were more skilled fighters to offer their opinions.

Herger smiled at Michael and indicated the passage ahead as he said, "You must have been a noble's jester before you joined us. Why don't you go up there alone and joke them to death?" Herger did, however, note Michael's concern for his opinion. He unhooked his mace and mused, "We probably have little chance of taking them all by surprise. One of them will surely make it away to warn others, if there are others. Unless we're lucky or blessed. All we can do is try to drop them before any escape. Regardless, the fight will be sure to make plenty of noise down here in these tunnels, so it probably doesn't matter. Rurik, what say you?"

Scratching his stubbled chin, Rurik shrugged. "I don't suppose anyone= has a really big cat? ... A cheese golum? ... A shapely rat-wench with a large set of, ummm.. teeth? " He looked intently at the others clearly hoping for an affirmative response to his query. He blinked, then sighed. "No? It appears that if we want that sword, we're fated to flourish the latest fashions in furry flesh flecks."

He furrowed his brow and shook his head, his lopsided grin only growing. It wasn't really an answer, he knew, but then again it wasn't really a question. There was little chance of sneaking around the vermin, and the longer he thought about the problem, the more he suspected that taking the time to watch for a better opportunity might be more costly than they realized.

Finally, Rurik simply leaned sideways on his pick. "I'm no tactitian, but we have surprise and numbers. Well, unless it's a trap..." He brushed that last thought aside and moved on. "We'll probably want to get a body on each one of them right off, and those who aren't lucky enough to get a rat of their very own can watch the exits to make sure they don't try to slink away - or allow their buddies to join in."

He looked at the others, wrinkled his nose, then looked back the way they came. "I wonder how quickly we could get out of here if we had to..."

Leaving sounded good to Marri, but she realized that retreat probably wasn't either the right answer, or an option really. She ventured softly "Perhaps Tibbi and I should target the same... creature since I'm not much of a fighter? And do let's get on with this!"

To herself she thought "If we delay much longer, I shall be so terrified, I shall go from 'being not much of a fighter' to being no fighter at all!"

The crew moved forward as carefully as they could with Rurik, Herger and Michael in the lead. Maewyn prepared her bow and Tibbo made a throwing dagger appear from somewhere. Marri and Tibbo also carried lanterns ready to throw light into the room.

At a sign, the two halflings threw open the shutters on the lanterns as the humans charged and Maewyn looked for a target. It was a scene out of nightmare. Maewyn's arrow took the first of the rat-men in the leg and he chittered in pain as the trio scrabbled from their weapons. Michael, with a soldier's instinct, charged that one to try and reduce the number of foes they faced, but the wounded one put his back to the wall in a corner fought like, well, a cornered rat. Maewyn saw an opening and fired another arrow which punched through the leg next to the first and the creatured dropped to the ground twitching and bleeding his life onto the floor.

Michael turned to the next ratman.

Herger, mace swinging furiously, literally knocked his foe into the air where it slammed into the wall and slid down to the ground stunned. He also turned to a more active opponent as Tibbo and Marri convered on the downed rat and made short work of him with their daggers as he struggled to rise.

Rurik drove the point of his pick into the leg of the last ratman and was rewarded with a blow from a notched sword which scraped harmlessly across his leather jack. Leaping clear of that blow, he and his foe circled as the rat looked for a way out and saw none.

The rat facing Michael and Herger swung a wicked blow at Michael who sidestepped easily. The return blows from Michael and Herger slew the creature instantly.

The last ratman tried to break and run even through there was no way out. He charged at the halflings, but veered off when Tibbo's thrown dagger scored his cheek. Maewyn looked for a shot but couldn't get a clear one in the melee, a glancing blow from Herger sent the rat man toward Michael who measured his foe and then took his arm clear off with a looping shot. The rat-man took a step backwards, then fell on his butt on the ground before his eyes glazed over.

As quickly as that, it was finished.

Tibbiddo scurried off to retrieve his dagger and took a round-about path back to his lantern giving an inquiring eye to the room. He then started a thorough search, in hopes of finding a clue to aid them....and a few coins, perhaps.

The creatures had been dicing using coins as stakes and he found 12 crown, 30/7 on the table. There was little else of interest in the room.

Herger wiped any stray hairs and blood from his mace and began looking around the room, as well. As he approached one of the mutated bodies its glazed expression caught his eye and he simply stood staring at it for a moment; captivated by the grotesque visage. He muttered that this was another life experience that he could do without and went to the tunnel leading out of the room. As he peered into the darkness he asked, "Marri, can you see anything down this way?"

The tunnel led off in the distance farther than the halfling could see.

Soon the roguish scout returned to the group, "nothing of value to our search," he revealed. "Nary a scrap of paper or manifest found," he added with disappointment. He looked back at the carnage, "Seemed like guards to me, but what were they guarding?"

Herger pointed down the next tunnel and opined, "Whatever lies down this corridor, I suppose."

Herger pointed down the next tunnel and opined, "Whatever lies down this corridor, I suppose."

The company reformed and set off down the tunnel. After travelling for a few moments, they found themselves at an intersection where they could turn to the left or to the right.

The company reformed and set off down the tunnel. After travelling for a few moments, they found themselves at an intersection where they could turn to the left or to the right.

Not wanting to see the group split up, Herger suggested that they turn right.

At Tibbiddo's request, Maewyn examined the tunnels. It seemed that there was very little traffic in either tunnel, but that the tunnel to the left seemed more used. Pointing to the one on the left Maewyn nodded, "While neither has been used in a while this one bears signs of greater activity."

Herger did not want to assume that the most traveled path was the one they were interested in following. However, there really seemed to be no difference and the two paths probably joined up somewhere ahead in the warren of tunnels, so left was as good a choice as any. It went against his instincts, though. "Left, it is."

After a bit more travel, the tunnel opened out into a very large cavern, bustling with activity. More of the ratmen were running into and out of the dimly lit cavern, most of them heading moving back and forth through one of two passages. Several other tunnels also opened into the cavern. Piles of weapons and armour, all of it looking rather (if you'll pardon the term) ratty and in poor repair were scattered about the cavern.

"How sneaky does everyone feel?" Rurik muttered cheerily. Looking at the level of activity, three things popped into the Northlander's mind: First, what would happen when someone noticed the dead guards; Second, a ratling invasion appeared imminent; and Third, what did all this have to do with Likar's sword?

"I don't like the looks of this. Perhaps we should inform the Watch? If we must remain down here, I vote we follow Herger's suggestion and try the other passage. Fortune has been on our side thus far, however I don't recommend we tempt fate by all of us trying to sneak further ahead into this area. If Tibbiddo should wish to volunteer his impressive skills to the endeavor, he may have a chance. I, too, could lend support to the task if need be. Perhaps Maewyn as well? " Rurik simply shrugged at that and stood silent.

Tibbiddo looked back at the nest and crinkled his nose, "I could, but should we split up?" The halfling wiped his hands and continued, "Perhaps we should see where the other path leads before taking such a risk, we appear to still have time before they come looking for the slain guards."

They fell back to explore down the other tunnel and soon got a report from Tibbiddo. There less activity in the room in which the tunnel debouched, but the room was much smaller. They would not have any chance of sneaking through it, they would have to fight. There were two exits out of that room and Tibbo guessed that one led to the large chamber they had just left.

Tibbiddo watched the activity closely trying to get an idea of exactly what they were doing.

As he watched, a small group ran in, grabbed up weapons and then raced away down a different passage.

"Someone's been alerted to something. Let us attempt stealth while stealth is an option." Rurik breathed his preference on the matter.

"There's only the one passage that we need to explore from this room. Let's take it. If we encounter a group of those things we'll just have to fight our way through," said Herger.

"I agree let, go better to move now while all are probable going back towards were the guards were killed then stand around debating," said Maewyn. With her bow she held her staff and moved closer to Rurik.

Marri nodded her agreement, and her knife still at the ready, prepared to move with the others.

They moved into the now empty room and passed on. The activity level of the ratmen seemed to have diminished, for the next cavern they found was empty. It looked like a giant rat's nest, with shredded cloth and so forth scattered across it. There was only one other exit so they continued on.

That tunnel eventually connected with another. Michael wasn't sure, but he thought he heard sounds of fighting coming from the right hand turning of the new tunnel.

After travelling down the right hand tunnel for a moderate distance they could see into a large cavern where a battle was raging. Perhaps a dozen ratmen were clashing with a slightly fewer number of humans, who had brought torches with them to light their way. The humans did not seem to be guard or militia for they wore no identifying regalia or insignia.

There were half a dozen bodies scattered around as well, some human and some rat. As they watched, one of the human bodies lurched and began to stand, reminding Herger, Marri and Rurik of Pietr Nivron in the Blackfire Pass.

"Sigmar, preserve us," Herger muttered under his breath. He scanned the cavern looking for ways in and out, piles of gathered objects, reasons for the Chaos worshippers to be in this part of the tunnels. He said, "They have to be after the journal. It must be around here somewhere. They know about the sword and are trying to get it for their own dark purpose. We must get it first!"

Tibbiddo considered Herger's conclusion and first dismissed it as wishful thinking, having given up on the sword. However, it did make sense on some level since everything seemed so far-fetched. He squinted into the fray and thought where he would be, were he a book!

There was one other exit from that cavern and the position of the combatants suggested that the human worshippers of Barsnarg had come in from that entrance to be met by the ratmen coming the other way.

Herger analysed the situation and said, "We need to go back to the wheel room and choose a different tunnel. We need to find the book." With that he turned and left, dragging someone with a light along with him.

They made their way back to the large room which they now found empty of any inhabitants. They considered their options.

With some haste and at Herger's urging, they made their almost directly across the cavern into a small tunnel. After only twenty or thirty feet, they found themselves in a small cavern furnished with what was, by the standards of the other furnishings they had seen, amazing luxury: there was a table, a chest, an armour rack and rat's-nest of foul smelling bedding. On the table was a lamp, unlit, and book next to it. On the floor near the table was a partially eaten human corpse bearing the black sash of the Black Watch.

"Marri, is this Likar's book?" He asked the scribe and began rummaging through the room, starting with the armour rack - once again feeling a pang for not knowing how to read.

The armour rack stood empty save for a battered shield and freshly notched sword of Imperial design that Rurik guessed had belonged to the poor dead bastard on the floor. The chest was locked and there was little in the bedding save rags and wood chips.

Never one to miss out on a good opportunity to forage, Tibbiddo joined in the search by plunging his sticky fingers into every drawer and pocket.

He soon found himself going over the chest carefully, having found little on the body of the watchmen. The chest was locked but it looked like the hinges could be forced without too much effort.

"There is no time for finesse," Tibbiddo offered. "The hinges appear to be the quickest way to open it," he said rubbing the chest and standing back.

"In that case..." Rurik pulled his crowbar and hammer, "If you don't mind, my good sir?" He asked politely, not wanting to step on the good Halfling's toes.

In a thrice (just a hair longer than a trice) Rurik had the chest open. Within there was a selection of coins in a few bags and another bag containing small dark crystals, black as night seeming to absorb all the light around them.

Quicker than the eye, Tibbiddo snatched up the bags and stated the obvious, "No book." He grinned.

Fascinated by the dark crystals, Rurik made no outward notice as Tibbiddo grabbed the coin bags. Ever mindful of the urgency of the situation, he stashed the crystal bag in the folds of his clothes, re-situated his gear and prepared to move out. "Yes. Marri is correct. It is time to be... not here."

Marri looked up from the book she had been thumbing through and said "This is what we have been looking for! I suspect I'll need to study it more carefully, although perhaps the best time for that would be when we are... not here!" She looked excited as she stuffed the book inside her pouch. She took a moment to turn a stern glance on Tibbi and say "I'm sure you'll make certain those coins are evenly divided between all your companions." After which she said almost gaily to the rest, "And shall we away then?"

Herger had been reading over Marri's shoulder before she snapped it shut and placed it in her pouch. He was already by the tunnel they had entered and said, "Let's go; and not just out of these tunnels. It's time to leave Nuln, and the Watch, behind us."

With a smile at the way the loot seemed to disappear into various pockets before she even managed to have a quick glance at any of it. Maewyn sigh stil she was not all that upset to be leaving the tunnels.

"Yes the time to be not here has arived less talk more moving."

Keeping an eye and ear open she moved towards the door and the way out.

The party retraced their steps leaving the ratmen and the Barsnargians to whatever dark doings they were pursuing. Soon they were back at the shaft. The climb up was far more difficult that the climb down and both Maewyn and Herger got pretty scratched and bumped, but otherwise the climb was uneventful and in a few more minutes the party was breathing the clean, or at least cleaner, air of Nuln.

As soon as she was outside again, Marri looked around gratefully and took a deep breath, happy for once to be breathing the less than fresh air of the city. "If we're leaving, first thing in the morning would probably be best. It'll be less noticeable. We can get a bit of sleep, and it will give me time to look through the journal as well. We don't want to leave if it indicates that there is something here we need to do or have. Perhaps everyone could drop by the bakery first thing and buy a bun or two, then I could let everyone know if the journal indicates there is any reason to stay. If not, we could meet outside the city?"

Herger said, "Fine, fine. I'll go get some rest, dump these clothes and see you at the bakery on the morrow."

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