1210 RE-- The Murder of Zannick Berger
Date: April 23rd, 1210 RE
Parties: The Imperial Society of Smiths, The Honorable Guild of Physickers, The Hulder Guard
Parties: see below.
During the first weeks of April, 1210, A plain, but expensively dressed gentleman made several discreet inquiries about certain Smiths of the Hulder. It is known that he acquired the services of two Guild Smiths-- an Armorsmith, [Redacted by request of the Smith's Guild], and a Weaponsmith, an expatriate Gauntishman called [Redacted by request of the Smith's Guild]-- to create a set of enchanted armor, and a very specific and powerful bladed weapon. The Weaponsmith's apprentice2, was not permitted to assist his master in the work, but reported conversation with the apprentice2 to the Armorsmith who had received the commission from the mysterious gentleman. The Weaponsmith's Apprentice discovered therefrom that the man had ordered a remarkable suit which permitted the wearer to become invisible in darkness.
The weapon was completed on 23 April, upon which date the man paid the Weaponsmith a fantastic sum of money for it. On 26 April, an Associate in the Alchemist's Guild3, discovered a dead body in the centre of Guild Hall of the Hulder. The corpse belonged to Zannick Berger, a high-ranking leech in the Honorable Guild of Physickers. His body was lain out in an extremely bizarre fashion, and the image of a rising sun carved into his face. The sword lodged in his breast was the one created by the weaponsmith [Redacted]. Preliminary investigations revealed it to be a Nemesis weapon specifically designed to kill Zannick.
Jael Caudafin, The head of the Physicker's guild, requested immediate and thorough investigation into the death of one of her best Physickers. The Assistant Chief of Guards of the Hulder, Captain Therese Loran, requested the case personally; General-at-Arms Tyche Jerosik, granted her request. Zannick's apprentices4,claimed, were immediately questioned at length by Captain Loran and another Lieutenant6 of the Hulder Guard.
The first apprentice questioned, August [Redacted at the Request of the Physicker's Guild], admitted to having spent much of the day of the murder with Zannick, preparing a poultice for a wealthy client, [Redacted for privacy] of Western Trempa. Around 6:30 in the evening, just after sunset, Zannick's other apprentice arrived to inform Zannick that he had a client waiting to see him. August said that the other apprentice gave a very strange sounding name for the client, upon hearing which, the Physicker grew very agitated, and went to speak with the caller himself. He did not return, and finishing what of the tasks he could, August went to seek his master for dinner around 7:30. By this time, the body had been discovered.
Upon questioning, zannick's other apprentice claimed to remember nothing of any visitor coming to speak to Zannick, or what any such person looked like. She was deeply distraught by Zannick's death, and spent the main of the interview trembling violently. However, not even the threat of being brought before a Left Hand Accuser changed her story.
Upon hearing of the murder, The Weaponsmith's apprentice came to Captain Loran with the information about the blade of his own free will. When questioned, The Weaponsmith claimed to have not known or asked for the public name of the person associated with the truename of the weapon. He said that the money was good enough, it didn't seem worthwhile to ask questions, but that the man who ordered the weapon had claimed that the person he was after was the secret leader in the Principalities of a cult called the Servants of the Eternal Dawn. Of course, he didn't believe that slander of the respectable Dr. Berger, and wished only to come clean about the whole affair so that the villain could be brought to justice. The Armorsmith and her apprentice were also questioned, and their stories matched those of the Weaponsmith and his apprentice perfectly.
No trace of the culprit was ever found, and Zannick was laid to rest by the Physicker's guild the following morning. It is the request of the Hulder Guards that the Smith who made the Nemesis Blade be disciplined by the Weaponsmith's Guild for negligence in making a Nemesis weapon blindly, though the severity of his punishment will of course be left to his Guild Master.
**thus ends the official report taken by our Guild Scribe of the Hulder, under the Auspices of the Hulder Guard. What follows is purely rumor and speculation; the Scribe cannot speak to the veracity of any of it. It has been recorded for completeness only, and is not sanctioned by the Hulder Guard.**
The Scribe's personal notes on Rumors and Gossip surrounding the murder of Dr. Zannick Berger:
Dr. Berger's apprentices both disappeared shortly after their questioning by the Guard. Before their disappearance, they were supposedly talking to a tall, very striking Tharici woman7 who had, as a necklace, the same rising-sun emblem that was carved into Dr. Berger's cheek. The Weaponsmith's apprentice, while not having attained anywhere close to his master's skill, was taken from The Weaponsmith's service and has not yet been reassigned to another.
According to rumor, Dr. Berger's body was not given to the Physicker's guild, but taken out of town by persons wearing Guard uniforms, one of whom may have been Captain Loran. It has been further whispered that Dr. Berger and Captain Loran were lovers.
Dr. Berger has been whispered to have been the following: A Servant of the Eternal Dawn, Leader of the Servants of the Eternal Dawn in the Principalities, a secret alchemist schooled in practices unsanctioned by the Alchemist's Guild, a Tharici by birth, a secret ritualist, a cultist of the White Lance, also known as the Ivory Sun, a maker of Homunculi, executed by the Physicker's guild for unnatural practices involving the blood of his patients, a secret agent for the Left Hand of the Redwood Throne, victim of a love triangle between himself, Captain Loran or his apprentice4, and a rich noblewoman who could hire and outfit an assassin. Obviously, many of these allegations are preposterous.
Some members of the Physicker's Guild claim that after the official investigation, a Left Hand Accuser was sent to Dr. Berger's Apprentices, after which they were arrested. It's true, anyway, that an Accuser did speak to many of the parties involved, once allegations of Mystery Cultists started floating around. Further, it's said that Captain Loran did not speak to the Accuser herself, but General Jerosik did.
Dr. Berger's murderer has been whispered to have been the following: A secret ritualist, a rival Physicker, a cultist of the Threads of Fate (also known as the Spider Lords), a homunculus, a shade from the land of the dead, An Akathian assassin, a Tharici in possession of unnatural magics, a mercenary from Gaunt or Oresund. Just as above, many of these allegations are ridiculous.
The apprentices in the Alchemist's guild have started a rumor that Dr. Berger's body was brought there, where he was resurrected by the Guildmaster. (It is important to note here that apprentice Alchemists are always making that claim whenever someone important dies. If you start believing the Alchemists' apprentices whenever they say that they've seen a resurrection, you'd think we'd have more corpses walking around the Hulder than there are people who've died here).
A gravedigger at the Cemetery on the south end of the Hulder claims that three nights after Dr. Berger's murder, she saw Dr. Berger's ghost hovering over his grave, in the company of seven figures in white robes marked with chevron crosses, and one with chainmail and a white sunburst. They chanted a strange song in an unearthly tongue, and faded into the morning mist as if they had never been at all.