Warhammer: Hammer Fall

A Most Unfortunate Delivery

One long day in Wurzen

Just another normal Wellentag for Dieter Mannschlieb. At the beginning of every week, a barge from Talabec arrives in the morning, filled with a variety of cargo, packages and mail for the Imperial city of Wurzen. Dieter and his crew unload the barge, sorting through the packages and then carting them up, up, up the ramps to the top of the bluff.

Dieter has a special job on Wellentag: Unload and deliver the regular delivery of small boxes to the Apothecary Hans Plavec in the High District. This task will earn Dieter as much silver as he’ll make all week on the docks.

Today, however, Dieter’s delivery causes nothing but trouble. One of the boxes contains a vial of glowing green-black ore that gives off a palpable, prickly energy. Plavec summons the only person he can think of to determine the identity of the substance: Professor Haffanuse, the closest thing the city has to a sage.

Haffanuse, an energetic, irritating old scholar knows the answer. Plavec has a vial of warpstone in his possession. Incredulous, Haffanuse insists he must deliver the vial to the Castle so Baron von Gerd can decide what to do with it. Unsure this is the wisest course, Plavec sends Dieter to summon the High Priest of Sigmar.

And so, this is the scene as the Baron makes his dramatic arrival down the stairs to the main hall of Castle Stormcrown. Haffanuse, cradling the box to his chest, arguing nose to nose with the Wiglas, the High Priest who wants the vial destroyed immediately. The Baron, who intimidates no one, steps between the two men. Plavec is awed by the power and wealth on display. Dieter is just happy to be here. Both are dismissed from the castle, leaving behind the box and vial.

Outside the Castle, a young messenger from the docks spots Dieter. “Come quick,” the boy says. “Father says to tell you your crew has been murdered.” Plavec, intrigued, accompanies Dieter down the levels and to the pier where he unloaded the goods this morning. Three dockworkers, Dieter’s friends and cousins, were found dead, floating in the river next to the pier, having been stabbed multiple times. The crew chief, Marcus, tells the men that there were no witnesses on the docks or the barge. Walking the pier, Plavec notices two men, wearing dark cloaks and black leather jerkins, watching from a level above.

Suspicious, Dieter and Plavec walk down the length of the docks, looking for answers among the twenty or so tied-up boats and barges. Plavec sees that the crew of a fast-rigged Kislev river sloop are dressed in a fashion identical to the two men loitering above Dieter’s pier.

With the sun setting, Plavec heads up through the maze of ramps and platforms to the city above, with Dieter dutifully keeping an eye out for him. Good thing too, as they are jumped by the two men in black leather. Dieter, no stranger to violence, draws his dagger and strikes first, driving the blade into the man standing directly in front of him, only to take a punishing blow from his enemy’s thick club. Another quick stab, and Dieters opponent slumps backwards, off of the platform and into the river below.

Plavec spins away from the short sword being swung at him. For a split second, Plavec tries to gain some insight about his opponent, but failing that, draws his pistol and fires. A bloody hole appears in the man’s shoulder and he stumbles backwards and into Dieter’s sharp dagger. He collapses to the platform, but Plavec shakes the dying man back into consciousness just long enough to determine that the assassin was trying to recover the warpstone vial.

Drawn by the commotion, a group of dockworkers applaud their comrade’s quick work. But Dieter points out the ship the assassins arrived aboard. The dockworkers rush down the ramps, but are unable to stop the ship’s crew from cutting their mooring lines and casting off into the river channel.

Three members of the Castle Guard arrive, drawn not by the violence, but in search of Dieter and Hans Plavec. They are thus summoned back to the castle and a clandestine meeting with the Baroness. The two men come away from that meeting having agreed to help the Baroness discover who tried to import warpstone into Wurzen and try to stop them.

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