The episode opens with Valdric in bed in the treatment ward of the Temple of Shallya, in Altdorf. He was severely injured in the ambush by the mind-controlled Ogre, with both a broken jaw and a broken wrist. As he awakens, his vision clears to see Tiretta sitting at his bed side, quietly talking with Selena. Noticing that he is awake she asks him how he is. Hearing this a priestess comes by to check his vitals. Seeing he has not yet recovered well enough from his critical wounds, she assures him that she will be by to heal him by prayer, once she has treated those other patients ahead of him.
Valdric questions Tiretta, wanting to understand how she could look so much like his childhood sweetheart, who perished at age 14 in a fire. Since her entire family also perished, how could this woman and child exist who looked so much like her?
Adding to the mystery, she says that he seems familiar to her, even though they have never met. Also surprisingly, she grew up in a village not far from Valdric’s home town. As she tells her story, he learns that her memories of her childhood are very faint. She grew up under the care of an adoptive father, Hubert, who raised her and taught her to read. But she remembers almost nothing before her teen years. She decides however to trust Valdric with something she hasn’t shared with anyone other than her husband. When she was a child she had an imaginary friend, a girl her age. She believe fully in her existence – so much so that as she grew she feared that she was crazy. But she shared everything with this friend – until she died when Tiretta was 14. She knew her friend was dead, because of the intense psychic pain she experienced at the time…after which her friend was gone. Valdric describes his childhood sweetheart’s family, and their names seem vaguely familiar.
At this point, Gutz’s stomach makes itself known. Gutz is the Ogre Maneater who ambushed the group, under the mind control of a wizard, Otto Wexler. When Sigmarund killed his tormentor, the wizard, his attack against Valdric ended and he instead vented his rage and hate on the wizard’s body. After eating the wizard, he pledged a life debt to Sigmarund, who was not at all pleased at the prospect of having an Ogre companion for the rest of his life. Hence, Sigmarund transferred the life debt to Valdric, and promptly disappeared on a secret mission for the Cathedral of Sigmar.
Like all Ogres, Gutz is always hungry, and he starts intimidating the poor aids in the ward, demanding food. A scared young woman runs to the kitchen to fetch him a leg of lamb- enough meat to keep him happy for a couple of hours.
The priestess of Shallya finally returns to his bed and briefly prays at his bedside, to no effect. The fatigue from trying to heal dozens of patients before him has no doubt taken its toll. But a high priestess comes to his aid, and quickly and efficiently heals his broken wrist with the blessings of Shallya. Having done so, she proclaims him able to travel. Eyeing Gutz, she discharges him, suggesting he return tomorrow for treatment for his jaw. Tiretta and Selena say goodbye and the duo exit the temple.
Asking the way to the temple of Morr, Valdric gets directions. But as he limps through the bustling city streets it becomes apparent that, at this pace, the trip will take more hours than are left in the day. Gutz offers to carry him, but Valdric refuses. but Gutz doesn’t take no for an answer, and swings “black robed Thingy” over his shoulder and strides down the street, the crowd parting before him. Valdric is appalled at the indignity of being carried like a sack of potatoes, but is not given any choice by the dim witted but stubborn Orge.
After an hour of walking however Gutz’s stomach is again empty. He tries to catch first a stray dog, then a stray cat to eat, but they prove too fast for him. Spying a butcher shop, he drops Valdric on the street and lumbers in. “You have meat here?” “yes, of course. What kind of cut would you like?” “Big” “You mean, like a side of beef?” “Big” “Ok, perhaps I should show you”. Realizing that language is perhaps not the best way to communicate with the Ogre, he shows him into his back storeroom, expecting him to point to what he wants. Gutz, surrounded by butchered cows, hogs and chickens hanging from the ceiling on hooks, is like a child in a candy store. “How much ALL?”. Teh butcher, not expecting to ever have such a question is at a loss, but quickly comes up with the figure of 50 Gold. Looking at the 4GP in his hand, Gutz lowers his expectations and ends up buying two sides of beef – enough food for 8 days. But how to transport it? Stealing a cart on the street, he carry’s one half-steer over his shoulder and the other in the cart.
Throughout this Valdric has continued on his way, limping painfully slowly down the street. Gutz quickly catches up with him and insists that he ride on the cart. Sitting by a smelly half a cow, Gutz pulls the cart laded with meat and priest, and they arrive at the temple of Morr in about another hour.
Valdric is greeted warmly by a Knight of the Raven guarding the entrance to the temple. Gutz is asked so remain outside while Valdric enters. Directed to a clerk he is given an assigned day to participate in the Conclave that will occur next week, after the “Day of Mystery”. This was one of the reasons Valdric wanted to come to Altdorf. The Conclave occurs every 5 years, and is an opportunity for the community of Morr to come together and discuss important issues facing the cult and the empire.
Valdric finds a priest, and shows him the warrant he was given by Brother Grabbe, many weeks ago in Stromdorf. The warrant had giving him the duty to seek out and destroy the denzions of the Black Reign, the organization of Necromancers that had become a concern for the followers of Morr. Notations duly made on the warrant at the gardens that they had visited in the past weeks attested to the one Necromancer and 8 minions that Valdric and his companions had killed. Looking at this, the priest immediately tells Valdric that he must take this to the Inquisitor, who will want to talk to Valdric personally. (Later Valdric learns that concern over the rising presence of the Black Reign has caused the cult to formally open and inquisition. The Inquisitor, father Braun, is a lector appointed to this duty.
Taken to the office of Inquisitor Braun, Valdric is witness to a young woman in woodsman’s garb insisting that she be allowed to take her brother’s body. Listening in, he learns that the woman, a female hunter named Lisel, came to Altdorf after learning that her brother was found murdered. When she inquired for more information at the central Watch Station, she was told that due to the unusual nature of the wounds on his body, it had been released to the temple of Morr for further investigation. Coming to the temple, she now demanded to know what had happened to her brother, and to see to his proper burial. The Inquisitor does not give out much information, but does agree to have her go view his body to identify him.
With his attention now on Valdric, the inquisitor reads the warrant and becomes very interested in Valdric’s experiences. They sit at his desk and Valdric tells him everything. The inquisitor interrupts him frequently, asking for more details. He is especially interested in his description of the laboratory of Dr. Schneider, where he had conducted experiments aimed at re-animating dead tissue through chemical treatment and electric shock through the use of electric eels. He is even more interested in Valdric’s account of their meeting with the student Edward Schmidt, whose studies of the ancient Khemri’s desert kingdom had lead him to focus attention on the tomb kings Necromatic rituals. Edward had told them of his belief that the ancient civilization’s priests had been capable of “relife”, or bringing the dead back to true life. Not as an undead, but as a normal, living being. HIs interest in this long lost ritual is what had lead him to his connections with the Dark Reign. Valdric recounts how they had found the student (nicknamed “The Monk”) in their pursuit of Dr. Schneider, and how he had told him of his three other contacts in the organization. One, “The Librarian” he described as a professor at the University of Altdorf. A mysterious man who had approached him when he was there studying with Professor Gandeuff, Associate Dean of Ancient Studies. He didn’t know the name of the Librarian, but noted the elaborate Amethyst necklace that he wore. The Librarian had put him into contact with an aging priestess of Shallya, who was named only as “The Flower”. She had helped him with his studies with several manuscripts. His third contact was a man called “The Bridge”, who they already knew was a resident of Ubersreik, and who was apparently the man who had recruited Dr. Schneider.
Gutz becomes impatient. How can he protect “black robed thingy” when he can’t see “black robed thingy”? He barges his way into the temple, pulling the hood off each initiate and priest he encounters in a black robe – meaning all of them! “Not this one”, “Not this one”, “Not this one” he mutters as he moves through the temple, leaving started, and scared, cult members in his wake. The tumult reaches the Inquisitor’s office, and he and Valdric come out the hallway to see what is going on. “That’s Him, Black Robed Thingy” Gutz exclaims. Valdric, who had found such peace and calm in the familar surroundings of the temple, feels his heart sink, and his temper rise.
The inquisitor, knowing a bit about Ogres, suggest they lunch in the Meal Hall, knowing that the best way to keep the attention of an Ogre is with food.
Meanwhile, Lisel is shown her brother’s body. He is indeed her brother. But she sees three unusual things about his corpse. One, his skin is an unusual green. She has seen many dead things, including people, and have never seen a corpse take on this color. Second, the puncture wounds on his arms. And third, the strange burn marks on his arms and chest. The burn marks are unlike anything she has seen – they don’t look like the mark of a torch, or a brand. But then she has an insight…remembering when a companion hunter was struck by lightening, she remembers the streaking pattern around the burn on his body, and realizes that these wounds, though much smaller, look similar. She asks to be taken back to the Inquisitor.
Entering the Meal Hall, she sees the Ogre sitting at a table with a massive pile of food in front of him, which is rapidly finding its way into his mouth, as well as on his lap, on his hands, the table and the floor. Then she sees Valdric sitting with the Inquisitor, sitting as far away from the Ogre as the room allows. She chooses to sit with Valdric and the Inquisitor. She describes to the inquisitor her belief that the burn marks are like lightning. Valdric, overhearing this, connects this with what he saw in Dr. Schneider’s lab, and realizes that this body may be connected with the Black Reign. The Inquisitor agrees. He tells Valdric that as the Inquisitor and other fathers at the temple are already well known at the University, he would like Valdric to take on investigating the leads with The Librarian and The Flower. He agrees that perhaps the Hunter can contribute to this (recognizing that prohibiting her from participating is likely a futile endeavor). He also asks that they take an initiate with them and see if Gutz can lead them to where he was held captive. Perhaps the residence of the dead wizard may provide some clues as well.
As they prepare to leave, Gutz proclaims “my meat – get meat”. “Very well – do you have a cart?” “Yes, my cart outside”. Valdric interposes, that that cart is actually stolen. Sighing, the inquisitor delegates to an initiate (of which there seems to be an endless supply) to take the cart back to where it was taken and attempt to return it to its rightful owner. He offers to loan the Ogre a coffin cart – a narrow 7 foot long, two wheeled cart. “but it will only take one of those sides of beef. You are free to leave the other one here, where the temple will keep it fresh for you.” “No, my meat!” “It will be safe, we will return it to you when asked. The temples low preservation spells will keep it as if it were just freshly butchered” “No, My Meat!”. Eventually they convince Guts, and he carries one of his two half steers out to put on the coffin cart. It cannot take more however, and Valdric hires a rickshaw to carry him and Lisel.
Valdric pauses to pray to Morr and ask for his guidance. The power and trust of Morr wash over him, filling him with a deep sense of piety. As he returns his attention to his surroundings, a Raven flys down and settles on the coffin cart, perched on the side of beef. “Bird, good!” and Gutz reaches for the Raven, which deftly flies away, perching on a building top to their east. It looks at Valdric, turns its head and looks east, then looks back at Valdric.
Gutz takes off with his cart, heading East, while the others follow. The Raven flys from perch to perch, always heading in the direction they are going, as if showing the way.
The rickshaw driver, a strong young man, proves to be an accomplished comedian and entertains them the whole way with Ogre jokes. "How many Ogres does it take to light a fire… " “An Ogre and a priest walked into a tavern….” “What did the Ogre say to the Elf…”
Gutz leads them across the Banker District and across the Three Toll Bridge. Valdric asks the driver about a comment he heard about there being more than one Garden of Morr in Altdorf. “Yes, indeed. The one I picked you up at is actually the smallest. Reserved for the most rich, the most important. The rest of us buggers will certainly end up in the paupers garden, South west from here.” Valdric makes a comment about how rich and poor should be equal under the eyes of Morr. Then the young man says something that shocks Valdric to his core. "Actually, we will likely only rest there for five years. Then they’ll dig us up, bake us in the oven, then chuck us in the Talabac river. Respectfully, I’m sure. " “You must be joking” Valdric says “No priest of Morr would disinter a soul just because he’s poor, let alone cremate and lay to rest in a river.” “You don’t know the city.. I’m told, 20-50 people die a day here. The gardens long since ran out of room. We only get a short rest, before our bed is needed for someone else!”
Continuing east, the houses get more run down, the streets dirtier and the smell gets…horrid. They enter the slums of Altdorf, some of which still have open sewers. Finally they arrive in the worst of the city’s slums, near the East wall, where Gutz ends in front of a tenement building. Barely giving the others time to take position, he smashes the door down and lumber’s in. The flat is a large open room, almost like a warehouse. Gutz looks around, sees the cage where he was sometimes kept, the sleeping pads of the boys who teased him, holding meat out of reach as his ravenous stomach shouted in pain – and the door to the Wizards sleeping chamber. Rage overcomes him and he starts to smash everything in site. “Smash! Smash! Smash!” he shouts. The others enter to the sound of breaking furniture, shattering glass and bellows of satisfied rage.
Having destroyed everything in site, Gutz strides to the wizards door and with one kick breaks it into splinters “Smash Wizard things!” he cry’s. “No, Gutz, Wait!” Shout Valdric and Lisel. Gutz ignores them, but LIsel runs after him, pulls on his arm and shouts “Please Gutz, please! You can smash everything in a minute, but please let us look for anything valuable first!”
Gutz hesitates, muttering “Smash! Hold smash? Valuable? Maybe. But valuable should be smashed! Little lady says wait.”
The two dart in and search quickly, finding nothing of potential use, except a locked chest.
“Gutz, can you pull off this lock?”
Before they can stop him he smashes down on the chest, shattering it. “Stop Gutz, stop!.” Seeing coins scattered among the wreckage Valdric shouts “Look Gutz, get coins! Get money! Buy food!”. Gutz kneels down and starts to slowly paw through the wreckage, struggling to pick up each coin from the floor. Valdric rescues two books (now ripped into 4) and a scroll. A quick look at the books reveals them to be what he expected – Necromatic spell books. The scroll is mostly written in a script he does not understand, but a few words in common can be seen scattered among the coded text. He recognizes “The Librarian”, “The Finger” and “The Robe”.
Having cleared anything valuable, Lisel gives Gutz permission to smash the wizards room, and she pulls back to the doorway of the building, to verify that the cart outside has not been taken. As she peaks out she sees 4 rough, dirty and unshaven men approaching. “Hi pretty lady, come on out and play!” the leader’s gravely voice sneers. Lisel raises her bow aiming at him “back up or I’ll shoot”. "Look boys, she has a bow! Maybe she will kill one of us? " he laughs “Not me!”, the others chime in “Not me!” – seemingly an inside joke. As they didn’t seem cowed, Lisel turns to the closest one, aims down, and shoots an arrow through his foot. It strikes so hard it passes through and jams between two cobblestones, effectively pinning his foot in place to the road. “Ahhhhghhh!” he screams and his companions turn and run. Lisel walks up to the screaming man and with a strong kick, knocks his foot free. The arrow breaks, as does his foot, indicated by the crunching sound of bones. He screams again, but limps away as fast as he can.
When Gutz could find nothing else to destroy, he happily states “All smashed! Gutz done!” and the group leaves the building. Valdric asks the driver to take him to the Garden of Morr in the Morrwies, in the south west corner of the city. “I must find out if what you say is true!.”
The ride ends in front of an old, but well kept garden and temple. A tall black wall extends far into the distance running east, ending in the east wall. Black roses grow in front of the wall. The temple before them, a public temple for the prayers of the loved ones of the lost, is occupied by busy priests, initiates and grave wardens. Valdric goes in, greets the brother’s respectfully, seeking out a high Priest. He asks the about what the young driver told him and is chagrined to have it confirmed. Yes, the garden is so crowded, that the departed laid to rest only stay for 5 years. After which they are respectfully brought back, cremated, and, respectfully, laid to rest in the river. “I understand how you feel. It is against what we are taught outside of Altdorf. But the cult has few options – there are just too many people and too little space. But if it is a comfort to you, this is one of the topics for discussion at the Conclave. Perhaps some other solution will be found.”
“I hate the City” Valdric mutters………