Episode 4 : Hannibal The Barbarian
 

The next morning brought us to the weapon's market again, well almost, blocking our path into the market there stood a 6' 6" Barbarian chatting to his two mates. The Barbarian was clad in chainmail which rippled as his muscles moved beneath, his huge battleaxe resting by his side, his head adorned with tufts of bright reddish orange hair. Gunther Sturmritter said, "Excuse me.", and pushed on through, edging sideways to squeeze through the narrow gap. The Barbarian's companion lifted Gunther Sturmritter's prize dagger as he passed. The Barbarian spat on the ground as he passed, "Prat.". Heinz Meier and Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt followed suit. Brother Otto just shook his head and went ten feet to the right to another opening, the remainder of our group did likewise.

We waited in the snow for an hour before we saw activity. Everyone puffed out when they saw an obviously very rich merchant walking into the square. He went over and talked to one group, received some pointed directions and went over to the Barbarian and his friends, moments later they all left together. Nothing happened for another three hours, except that Gunther Sturmritter noticed his dagger was gone, dropped in the snow maybe?

At this point we saw four Priests of Axraam accompanied by a dozen merc's enter the square. Brother Otto said, "Oh, oh, trouble.". The spell casters began their preparation, to no avail. The Priests found the information that they wanted from the first group they came across and left hurriedly via the same exit taken by the Barbarians and the Merchant. Heinz Meier wandered over and asked, "What was all that about?". "They wanted to know if there were any thief type people about, and well naturally we snitched on that Barbarian stranger. After all we are all law abiding citizens here.", he winked. "That's so true, you have to watch those foreigner types, they'll rob you blind.". Heinz Meier returned and conveyed the story.

We returned to the Prickly Pair for dinner. An excited Gweneth inquired of Hanz Josephson if he had any more pastries, only to be disappointed. "I'd do anything for a cream puff.", she sighs, making sure that all within hearing catch her words. As we had our dinner of tuna knockwurst and sauerkraut, we spied a new customer in the Prickly Pair tonight. A member of the City Guard, off duty, of course. Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt asked him, "How goes the investigation into the Guild Hall case.", "Coming along, we are following up some leads, but progress is slow. I'm just glad I got out of guarding the Granary. Ghosts there you know.". "Oh, really, real ghosts.". "Yep.". We finished up dinner and left the Prickly Pair into the snowing city streets and made a beeline to the Temple of Axraam.

Heinz Meier and Gunther Sturmritter entered and made directly for the main temple complex and went inside to pray. Werner Faßenberg and the others waited in the main square. Werner Faßenberg approached an acolyte and asked, "I'm interested in doing some weight training, building up some muscles, do you have facilities here for that?". "No, we don't, that is all done at the fighters guild halls, that is where you should inquire.". "But there is nothing here? I thought that such things would be automatically done here, you know, at the Temple of Axraam.". "No sir, we do not have those facilities here.". Werner Faßenberg was looking perplexed, when a older Priest came over. Werner Faßenberg repeated his former statements.

The Priest spoke, "It is rare that we have a learned person enter into the Temple of Axraam, let us both pray.", he lead Werner Faßenberg to a small pool, there was a brown stained stone block, "Will you pray with Axraam for strength.". "Yes, I will pray for strength, I really do need to do some weight training, and praying has got to help.". Werner Faßenberg knelt beside the kneeling Priest who placed a dagger blade in Werner Faßenberg's palm and then enclosed his hand about Werner Faßenberg's hand and squeezed. Werner Faßenberg felt the dagger slice into his palm but never uttered a sound.

The Priest was impressed. "I am called Karl the Younger, I am surprised you held your own so well.". "Well I think that it must all be to Axraam.". "What brings you to the Temple of Axraam?". "Well apart from looking to develop my 65 lb body, I have always had a fascination for heraldry. So I thought where better could I find such fine heraldic pieces than the Temple of Axraam, which they would adorn with pendants, flags and shields in abundance.". "Yes, they do.". "How splendid.". "I am about to adjourn for lunch, would you like to accompany me?". "May I, that would be splendid.". The Priest led Werner Faßenberg into the priest's quarters, up the stairs to the second floor, past the ever vigilant guard, and into the dinning area on the second floor of the Temple of Axraam.

An hour passed as Werner Faßenberg, completely wrapped, listened to the Priest talk of all the exploits of Axraam and his warriors. Werner Faßenberg listened and looked about the room, adding all that he could remember of heraldry, and his fascination with heraldic symbols, and particularly those on shields. Karl the Younger rose, the lunch was ended. Werner Faßenberg asked, "Would it be possible for me to stay and, well, indulge in your heraldic wonders?". Karl the Younger called over an acolyte who had been busy cleaning the carpet. "Show Werner Faßenberg some more of the glory that is Axraam.", and he went downstairs.

Werner Faßenberg and the acolyte stayed a while, before Werner Faßenberg professed his fascination with shields. The acolyte showed some but only one with some inscription on it. "That's unusual, are there many with inscriptions?". "There are a few.". "Fascinating.". "May I see some of them.". "I will show you some downstairs, there are others but they are in the Priests private rooms, I could ask if you like.". "Yes, if you could, let us see the others now then.", they went downstairs past the guard, who just watched, and looked at some of the shields. Werner Faßenberg thanked the acolyte for his time and promised to return tomorrow.

Werner Faßenberg went straight to the tinker's market and bought, paper, pencils and crayon. The rest bought food. While eating we saw the Barbarian carrying a carpet, he was accompanied by only one of his companions. "There has got to be a body in that carpet.", said Hanz Josephson. The consensus was to follow and see. Brother Otto went over to three city guard standing in a doorway. "I think a crime has taken place. A murder. There is a Barbarian carrying this carpet and I'm reasonably sure there is a body inside. You have to come and investigate, right now.". The city guard were unimpressed. "Hop it, on your bike.". "But there is a crime in progress.". "I've made a note, now hop it.". "Aren't you going to do anything?". "Yea, I'm about to run you in if you don't hop it.". "I'm not going to stand for this, I'm going to report this to you superior.". "Go right ahead, now hop it.". With that Brother Otto headed for the Watch house.

At the watch house Brother Otto saw the duty officer. "I just reported a possible crime in progress to one of your city guard and all he would do was tell me to hop it, this is outrageous.". "Crime you say, you'll have to go see the militia about that.". "What?". "If there's a crime you go see the militia.". "But, your the city watch.". "That's right, we keep the peace, now if there's a crime you go see the militia, right, now hop it.". Steam was slowly rising from Brother Otto's ears at this point. "I will and I'll report all of you too.". The duty officer turned his back and went back to his desk.

Brother Otto made for the militia's headquarters and spoke with the two militia on guard outside. "I want to report the gross incompetence of the city watch.". "Tell us something new.". "I reported a crime in progress to some city watch who were right there on the scene and all they did was tell me to hop it. And the same thing happened at there duty station.". "Are you new to the city?". "No.". "Well bad things do happen in Haarendorf. I think you had better let this one go, it is probably too late for us to stop the crime.". "Yes, it is far too late.". "Well can I suggest that you either write to the Temple of Axraam and report this or you simply forget the whole lot.". "Well I think that the Temple of Axraam wants this man already.". "Well, it might be best to forget it then. If the Temple of Axraam is already looking for this man then you can rest assured he will be caught.". Brother Otto thanked the militiamen and went back to the Prickly Pair.

Meanwhile the rest of the group followed the Barbarian and his friends through the back alleys of the city and into a dead end alley. Five doors either side, but we could not tell which one they entered. The Pysk appeared in the air and pointed to the middle one on the left. That only left us with the choice of what to do. Werner Faßenberg suggested he knock on the door and ask directions to the Calven Skôl of Mentalism as it was nearby. Heinz Meier said, "It will be the last thing you did. What's got into you, have lunch with the Priest of Axraam and you think you're invincible or what?". Gunther Sturmritter said, "I think its more the "Or what.", somehow.". Werner Faßenberg mumbled, "Wimps.". We decided to leave well enough alone. One Barbarian who had just lost a friend is not what we wanted to deal with at this time. We returned to the weapon's market.

The warrior that Heinz Meier had spoken to earlier came over and whispered to Heinz Meier, "Have you heard the news, the outlawed thieves guild hired that Barbarian to wipe out the illegal mercenaries guild. Now there isn't an illegal mercenaries guild any more. The Barbarian took on a dozen and left four in hospital and the rest in the earth.". "Wow, I wouldn't want to tangle with him.", said Heinz Meier looking at Werner Faßenberg. "I heard too that he is actually the famous Hannibal, leader of the rebellion in the west, the outlaw bandit. And rumour has it that his Battleaxe is the Ice Cleaver of legend!". "I really, really don't want to tangle with him.". We went to the fire barrel.

A man came over, having just been to another group, unsuccessfully it would seem. "I'm looking for some stout fellows to guard the Granary tonight.". Hanz Josephson said, "The one with the ghost.". "Yes, er, that one. I'm offering five coppers a night.". Gunter Hiedricksson cast charm and touched the man, "Only five?". "Well my boss said I could go as much as a whole silver for each man.". "Only a silver?". "Well, I was told to get ten men, you lot are only seven, so as much as I can offer is ten silvers total. I could say there were another three of you.". Gunter Hiedricksson said, "That sounds fine, friend, we will be there later tonight.". "That's great I was getting desperate to find people to guard, see you there just after sunset at the Granary then.". That would leave us just enough time to get to the Prickly Pair, have dinner and cross to the other side of the city where the Granary was located.

Heinz Meier decided to buy six apricot pastries on the way back. Just as we turned the last corner we saw six city guard leaning against the Prickly Pair's walls. It was obvious they were looking for trouble and had found it. One said, "I smell tarts.", to which Heinz Meier eloquent reply was, "Fuck off and die.". "So you're not going to share then?". "No way. Fuck off.". Heinz Meier placed the box of tarts delicately on the ground. The leader of the city guard smacked Heinz Meier across the head. Weapons were drawn. Heinz Meier's morning star slammed into the leader, cracking ribs and sending him back into the wall.

Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt asked, "Are you running now?". Gunther Sturmritter brought his longsword down on the forearm of a city guard and left a deep gash. Hanz Josephson sent a sling bolt into another, stunning him. Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt struck the one in front of him. Heinz Meier again struck at the leader, breaking more ribs on the other side of his chest. A returned blow glanced off Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt's plate. Gunther Sturmritter struck another under the armpit, with a horrible crack. Gunter Hiedricksson swung wildly at one who stepped into the blow and lost his leg in one fell swoop. The fighting suddenly stooped. Brother Otto rushed in with a tourniquet and we helped the city guard to the nearest healers house. The leg was saved, but the man would have a horrible limp for the next six months.

Heinz Meier regarded all this with distain, picked up his tarts and walked into the Prickly Pair. Like a magnet to chocolate, Hans Stoffle and Gweneth appeared. "Hans my friend, here have three tarts for you. Two for you, and one you can share with you lovely wife, Gertrude. Here is one tart for each of my friends. Gweneth, I have one for you too. Let us eat upstairs.". Gweneth quickly lead Heinz Meier to her room and closing the door, Gweneth put a sock on the outer doorknob. As she clicked the door shut, we heard her voice, "Heinz Meier, that is so big! I'll never fit it all in.". "That's all right Monica but just you keep trying.". "Yes, Mr President, anything you say, ...".

 

 
(c) 1998 Hammerstein Rolemaster Campaign Journal by Ross Stopford  
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