The Continuing Heroic Adventures of Ludo The Weasel, and also Some Other Guys
Here you are at last
To bring my cold lonely soul sweet release
From my weary past
Always searching, the one missing piece was you
And I beg you, come away with me
And together we will find a place to call our own
I can't wait to see what I can do
With a crossbow like you
It's not your loading slot
Or the spring steel on which you are based
You make my hands hot
Cause inside your wooden grips there's love
And I forgive your slow reloading time,
I forgive the way your heavy weight encumbers me
I can overlook a fault or two
For a crossbow like you
Chapter 2: Shadows over Bogenhafen
In which Ludo's cunning plan and skillful sneakiness almost get him killed
After a day or two of travelling the waterways of the Riekland in the direction of Bogenhafen, the barge of Captain Awesomebeard reaches a small town or largish village and ties up for the night.
The villagers look askance at the somewhat unusual and quite heavily armed party, and particularly at the elf, but are reassured by the presence of Captain Awesomebeard, who is well-known in the riverlands and who, after all, has an excellent beard.
Ludo is distracted from his planned evening of eating and being a bit surly by a commotion - a fire has broken out at one of the warehouses! Fires are bad in tightly-packed and flammable towns and villages (unless of course your enemies are inside the fire, or are distracted enough by the fire that you can kill them when they aren't looking; in those cases, fires are both useful and amusing. This is not one of those cases).
The party earn the goodwill of the villagers by helping to fight the fire, but suddenly there is a further commotion!
A bunch of flagellants have taken over the tavern, and their leader has the mayor's daugher hostage. He says he's willing to exchange the girl for Klaus, who he knows is in the town. (Gottfried has by this point explained somewhat about the doppelganger, although perhaps without mentioning quite how uncanny the resemblance was. The continual string of mildly suspicious-looking individuals (with mysterious birthmarks) shouting "K-dogg, we miss you! Why you never come see us no more?" and then being expertly crossbowed to death is also a clue, which had already led some of the smarter members of the party to think some kind of mistaken identity situation was occurring).
Come to think of it, this chief kidnapper guy had a crossbow! Coincidence... or something more?
Nope, it's "something more", because here's yet another guy shouting "Kerbstone!" at Gottfried, and dying with a crossbow bolt in his back, fired from an upper window of the inn.
Who are these guys? Why can't I remember the name they keep calling Gottfried? Who is this other guy who keeps crossbowing them?
The party discard the idea of simply boating away on the boat because a) it's not very classy, and it is important to adventure with panache, and b) this crossbow guy would only follow them anyway, so why not kill him now while we know where he is?
The villagers are pleased with the party's decision, and Ludo starts to think there might be something to this whole adventuring business.
A quick plan is made: Ludo, who has some skill at sneaking, will sneak into the inn while the rest of the party distracts the baddies.
The first part of the plan goes extremely well - Farnoth does some magic to distract the flagellants, at which point they all shout "HERETIC!" and charge him, frothing at the mouth. Not quite what the elf had in mind, perhaps, but certainly a legitimate distraction.
The party engage and kill the flail-wielding madmen, suffering some flail-related injuries in the process. Meanwhile, Ludo has sneaked up the stairs and found the room where the mysterious crossbow man has the hostage tied up. He's distracted and looking out the window, watching his henchmen get killed and trying to line up a shot on Harlander (who he thinks is Kenneth).
At this point the elf, Farnoth, has been almost killed by a flail blow but has used magic to make someone's head explode. Pretty good!
Ludo has three options at this point:
1) try to cut the girl loose and leg it
2) use his trusty bolas on the surprised baddie, and then shoot him repeatedly as he tries to unentangle himself
3) shoot the baddie in the back
(there are, I suppose, further options like "do an interpretative dance describing the suffering of the Kislevian peasants", but the three above are the main ones)
Unfortunately, without the benefit of hindsight, only option 3) occurs to Ludo. He draws a careful bead on the kidnapper/crossbow assassin man and fires. The bolt sinks into the enemy, inflicting a nasty wound - but signally failing to kill or disable him. This leaves Ludo alone with a large, angry, well-armed enemy - not a great situation to be in, when you have the same approximate melee ability as a roast-beef sandwich. The bad guy charges him, and one brief clash of arms is enough to confirm that yes, Ludo's going to die for sure if he tries to fight this guy.
Ludo disengages and runs like buggery, screaming for the rest of the party, and hears the thundering footsteps of the bad guy, not far behind him and getting closer.
Luckily the rest of the party show up and the situation is reversed - the enemy quickly realises he's overmatched and legs it back up the stairs, then leaps out of the window to escape his pursuers. He fails to stick the landing, however, and hurts himself - added to his earlier wounds he is in pretty poor shape.
Gorm leaps out of the window in pursuit, and surprisingly manages to land without breaking an ankle. He prepares to chase down the fleeing crossbow-ne'er-do-well, but Egg winds up his bolas to try to capture the enemy and lets fly with them, to a slow motion chorus of "noooo! Bolas are surpriiiisingly deeeadddllllyyyyyy".
Bolas are surprisingly deadly. They wrap around his neck and two of the weighted spheres whip around with increasing speed and smash into both sides of his head at the same time. A little trickle of blood comes out of his nose, and he falls to the ground, dead. Questioning him is now going to prove extremely difficult.
With all the baddies evicted from the pub (and indeed from life itself) the innkeeper reopens his business, and the party have a grand old evening. Being considered heroes is a very pleasant experience; the villagers have even provisionally decided the elf is OK despite his being an elf and doing magic in public.
The elf apparently sees nothing wrong in either of these things; perhaps they're perfectly normal in Elfghanistan or wherever they come from; perhaps nobody there thought to mention to him that casting spells in public gets you lynched in the Empire, although since hes shrugged off repeated warnings from the party perhaps they told him and he just didn't listen. The elf's off to bed with severe flail-wounds to the chest; he could easily have died from the brutal blow, and his broken ribs are going to keep him laid up for several days.
At some point during the evening Harlander tells the party about the doppelganger and the inheritance, and explains that the people who keep calling him Kastor (Kastor! That's it!) must have him confused with the dead man.
The dead crossbow-assassin-kidnapper-bad-man had a letter on him, which reads "something something secret society, something something the man you are looking for is called Kastor Lieberung and will be travelling to Altdorf in the week of something something, here is a likeness of him". This guy obviously wanted to eradicate this secret society, and Kastor in particular.
Waking up hungover and happy (apart from Farnoth who is wounded and grumpy) the party continue onwards to Bogenhafen - and the Schaffenfest!