And so, it comes to this… I knew it would simply be a matter of time. The taint of Chaos does not tread lightly, nor does it spread gently. I knew it would simply be a matter of patience before the source reared its ugly head, before the cultists threw off their cloaks and acted upon their twisted instincts. And as most of us had suspected, they were led by the steward.
We did well to destroy the tainted venison in an effort to protect not only ourselves, but the other attendees of the planned dinner. I, myself, hauled the venison platter outside and to the putrid pond, dumping the tender meat into it where it sank beneath the mossy surface before I returned inside. But that wasn’t enough. Instead, the cultists acted quickly, moving to put another tainted meal in the place of that which we destroyed, choosing to taint some of the goose for certain individuals at the feasting table.
Strangely enough, my meal had not been tainted, nor that of Otto. Amongst our group, Peander and Eisa received the foul fowl, while Otto and I were spared. I do not know why, but for the time being, I can only attribute this mistake to the fickle nature of the Chaos gods themselves.
It was Eisa who had smelled the food and caught the faint scent of decay, the tangy aroma of something that was not quite right. Otto then brought this to the attention of those at the table, and at first, the idiot aristocrat and his cronies did not believe it.
Tensions rose, and soon a fight erupted. People scattered, dishes clattered, servants jumped and dinner guests bumped. Otto was prepared, having a weapon concealed on his person, and vaulted into a fit of bloody rage, using his weapon to great effect worthy of story and song. If I were more skilled in the musical verse, I would do so myself as he used his blade to impale the eye sockets of one cultist after another.
The stewards true colors came to light, as did the hound master – who quickly disappeared from the building before he could be stopped. In the distance, the braying of hounds could be heard, and I knew that sound would be a fell one, and not one of support and good-tidings.
The steward was followed as quickly as was possible – he disappeared into the kitchen, and our comrades assumed he was headed for the basement. The cook, Carla, attempted to misguide us, and the revelation of her involvement with the cultists came as a surprise, especially to poor Otto who had intended to make an honest woman of her.
Upon reaching the out of doors, the trail of the stewards flight had grown cold. We circled around to the front of the building, looking for any sign of the coward, and then heard fighting within. Upon entering the domicile once more, we came upon the Captain of the Guard in a fight for his life. With gritted teeth we aided him – the man had received a tainted meal, which gave us the impression that he was not one of the cultists.
We then made our way up stairs and to the room with the secret ladder that led downward. We verified the safety of Lord Aschafenberg as well as his lady, and then we descended the ladded down into the bowels of the estate.
There, the four of us came to what he had expected to find: a vile ceremony of wickedness and treachery, the cultist-preacher – the steward – wailing mid sermon while several of his subjects chanted and prayed to profane gods. We set upon the gathering without remorse, sending the steward to his well-deserved death. The steward had in his possession an evil tome, as well as an equally evil waved-blade, which Otto retrieve (I believe). But the other cultists were unmoved by such a vicious display of bloodletting, and soon we were set upon by members of their order – most of whom we recognized, including the doctor from upstairs.
It was too early to tell if all four of us would emerge victorious and unharmed, but I said a silent prayer to one of the dwarvish gods as the battle was set-to once more. I prayed that none of us perish down in this blasphemous place, lest our souls be resigned to the Warp forever, instead of being delivered to the spirits of our own peoples.