26 Septimus 1668, Donnerfall
We had some time before the last trial of the competition took place and so I decided to collect the first sample of shot for my sling from the Castillian and take a walk outside the town to see if it works. Aidan and Gregor accompanied me and after I did some experiments with the marbles. It seems that they cause an explosion when they hit stone and a powerful one - a big boulder I used as a target was almost split in half. The marbles are useless after that. I don't know if they can be, how shall I say, replenished?
Sooner than we all liked it was time for the log rafting. The time spent on ships helped me here and I did fairly well. Especially after I realised that some logs were much more stable in the water than others (I suspect the League had a hand in this). Our opponents were not content with balancing on their logs, they did try to push anyone they could reach into the water. The rope someone spanned across the river did not help matters any and so I found myself and Hansen from the Hainzel players the only people left when the race drew close to the waterfall. In that moment, a knight in a completely black armour raced towards the town, creating a panic among the spectators.
I saw to it that I reached the river bank and commandeered a horse to follow the knight. Gregor was ahead of me and Aidan not far behind. The town was deserted and although it was only midday, the light grew dim and dark. I heard the buzzing of flies, like the streets were filled with carrion and it was all I could do to go on. The knight had reached the town square long before me and had speared someone, but I couldn't see who it was. He was yelling and tried in vain to take off his helmet, while his horse reared up, screaming like I have never heard a horse scream before. Aidan grabbed me and dragged me into the hotel. He ran upstairs, but I saw Gregor step closer to the knight and help him with the helmet. I could not leave him out there alone. The knight was Archibald Hauenschild, the nobleman we had met on our first day. I do not know what was the matter with him, but when he was free of the helmet, he attacked his horse and so did Gregor. I did not dare go closer, but I used my sling and I think I did hurt the horse, but not nearly enough to bother it. Gregor did that with the axe he grabbed from the saddle and Hauenschild finally killed it after a desperate struggle. I am still not sure if I really saw this, but the horse seemed to breathe black fire at one time. It would be more comfortable to say that I imagined it, but to be honest...I do not think I did.
The horse collapsed, but the darkness did not lift. The door to the local temple had opened and out stepped the corpse of Doppelkeuche, the minstrel killed on the day before. Aidan had finally come out of the hotel again (he later told me about being attacked by something that looked like a corpse and I believe him) and he had brought the artefact and the marbles. I used one of the marbles to shoot at the minstrel. It hit the stone steps and almost tore Doppelkeuche to pieces. But he would not stop moving. Aidan managed to activate the artefact - the light melted Doppelkeuche's body like wax in a flame. I do not think I will forget this sight, although I wish I could. The light of day finally returned, together with Knef and his men. Now we recognised the person Hauenschild had killed: Alena Doppelkeuche, the wife of the minstrel. Knef beheaded Hauenschild then and there and the nobleman accepted his death calmly and with relief. When Knef later told us that Alena was Hauenschild's daughter, I understood why. It seems she had run away with the minstrel and the grief had killed her mother.
After all this was over, we were left with the gratitude of both Knef and Franziska Köhl, which is not small thing to have when travelling in Hainzl and Fischler. The benevolence of the Vendel League is also something that no doubt will be useful. We are all not quite sure where to go next, but I think it would be a good idea to look for someone who can tell us more about the artefact and the marbles. The Explorers' Society would be a good place to start and Aidan has, it seems, useful contacts there. I would not be adverse to selling both artefact and marbles, to tell the truth.
And so end the first adventure for our heroes. It was actually planned to play it through in one session and I had some doubt about this because we all love social interaction way too much to be able to play anything through in a couple of hours, unless the GM does heavy railroading. It was absolutely not necessary that we participate in the competition, but it was fun. In any case, we decided to turn the one shot into a campaign. 7th Sea is one of my favourite systems because, among other things, it really rewards good roleplaying and so I'm happy to have a second group to play it with.