After our encounter with the lizard men we returned to the village for some much needed rest. We handed the map over to Raymus. I hoped he’d be able to make something of it as it was starting to give me a headache. I had also hoped that we would be able to get back to a normal life for a while. But that wasn’t meant to be. Timon-Toenar was worried about his father. He was all by himself in Middenheim and he didn’t even know if T&T was still alive. If either of my folks was in that same situation I’d want to them out too. I was ready to volunteer to help with the rescue. But as my true form might possibly slip out and get us all killed, my offer was politely refused. A group of human looking villagers ventured into Middenheim and brought T&T’s father to the village. From the looks of it he and T&T were both willing to live with us in the village. Hopefully both their lives would be happier here and we’d all benefit from having a real baker in the village.
It was time to celebrate. And adding two new members to the village wasn’t the only reason to make merry. Felix’s sister, Laura, was celebrating her 13th birthday with a huge party. I broke out my latest experimental beer for those old enough to appreciate it. There was much celebrating to be had and many toasts to be made. What I didn’t find out until the next morning was that Markus, Felix and T&T had been spending more time plotting than drinking. Oh well, their loss.
Waking up early in the morning after a long night of celebrating is bad enough, but to wake up with someone else’s memories in your head is not something I’d recommend. I stumbled, that is to say, I carefully made my way out into the village and expressed quiet but forceful comments about the brightness of the sun and the complete lack of cloud cover. I somehow managed to find my friends through the blinding glare and demanded to know that was wrong with my head. After some obvious and less than helpful answers I was told that Andon had copied T&T’s memories of his escape from the Middenheim fighting pits into my mind. I assume my expression conveyed my continued confusion as after a long pause they finally explained what the heck was going on.
It seemed there was a man in Middenheim that Markus wanted to kill. This man, Gareth Bryne, betrayed a military company that Markus used to belong to. This company, the Gray Company, used to hunt down and kill mutants. Gareth’s betrayal lead to the death of most of its members and to the mutation of at least two of them including Markus. After talking with T&T, Markus discovered that Gareth Bryne was some kind of overseer of the pit fighters. And he found out that some of the pit fighters had the same mark on their chests as Markus found on his after he was mutated. And that same mark was on the chest of the only other member of Markus’ former company that he’d found alive, also now a mutant. Markus wanted to take revenge upon Gareth. When T&T was taken from the pit he was taken through a number of tunnels and he then emerged outside through a small cave opening. I was given T&T’s memories so that I could find that opening at night and lead the others to it.
That night we readied ourselves and set out. I was able to find the entrance and lead the others to it. Once inside Felix lit a torch and we began exploring. We’d not gotten far when we came upon a rather large guard. I had expected a fight, but T&T bluffed our way past him. Perhaps two heads are better than one.
We had traveled a ways down the tunnels, back tracking as best T&T and I could with our shared memories, when Markus heard a noise. We quietly returned the way we had come and discovered a party of rat men following us. At first I thought they were just more mutants. But as I got a better look at them I remembered old stories told around the cooking fires at night. These things weren’t creatures with similar mutations, they had to be skaven. Real. Live. Skaven. So much for their being imaginary creatures. What next, pink horses are going to turn out to be real?
We fought the skaven and the pack of rats that came with them. We won the battle, but it seemed the war was just beginning. Further down the passage stood a huge skaven with several normal size skaven behind him. And they didn’t look happy.