Dawn broke over the horizon as the Berebeli pulled up at Castle Grauenburg. The survivors sat huddled upon the deck in various degrees of shock.
They were the lucky ones that had been rescued after the fall of Bögenhafen. It was widely believed that most of the roughly ten thousand citizens had been consumed by the opening of the chaos gate.
Josef Quartjin, the captain of the Berebeli, and his small crew had seen the gate open and managed to get the ship away from the dock and out of the town quickly. Four other boats had managed to escape from the wharf but one had sunk in the middle of the night and a second had run aground a few miles up the river.
During the escape, in a moment of self-sacrificing pity, the captain had turned aside to rescue a few of the survivors who had fled the town along the river banks. It was here that Theo, Bjovril, Igor, Henie, Ottmar, and Alfred had been reunited as the Slyvanian was rescued after fleeing the fall of the Temple of Morr.
They also managed to pick up about a dozen other survivors before they fled further down the river as the remnants of the city guard were effecting a fighting withdrawal across what had once been the Bögenhafen festival grounds.
Having watched the destruction of the town, Bjovril, Igor, Henie, and Ottmar had each faced their own doubts, fears, shocks, and anguish. Theo and Alfred, though shaken, had managed to maintain a calm demeanor. The events of that night would leave a mental scar for each of them.
Now as they pulled up alongside the castle they saw that word of Bögenhafen had already reached the ear of Graf Wilhelm von Saponatheim. The castle was in disarray as two regiments of infantry were hastily trying to assemble into a marching column.
The group could hear the shouting of officers as they moved about the lines trying to get the men into formation. It was obvious that the news had only just arrived and that this force wasn't prepared at all to begin the march to Bögenhafen.
A careful check of their mismatched equipment stamped with the coat of arms of von Saponatheim also spoke about how they were also unprepared to face off against the deamons they would find there.
Captain Josef gave a command and the poles were set to hold the boat in place.
"We be setting off survivors 'ere," he proclaimed as he pointed to a small jetty that stood out from the bank.
It already had two of the other boats at it and a number of survivors were walking ashore in a daze from the ordeal. They were met by additional soldiers and a few bureaucratic types that were trying to figure out how or if they even wanted to house refuges.
The Berebeli pulled up alongside of one of these boats and a gangplank was extended to allow the passenger to go ashore. There was no place to tie up so the group had to hold the boat in place with the poles as best as they could.
"We be best to shove on," said the captain as most of the passengers went ashore. "We be heading to Weissbruck. We should be putting more distance between us and..."
His voice trailed off as he looked up river and he gave a slight shudder. The town was a number of miles away and completely hidden by low hills and forest yet they all knew what terrors lurked there.
Turning back, Captain Quartjin said, "Will ye be willing to keep crewing m' boat?"
He then looked around and saw that there were four others who had not gone ashore yet. Two of them proclaimed quickly that they would work the boat for nothing just so long that they got further away from Bögenhafen. One had the look of a boatman and the other looked like he had only been in Bögenhafen for the festival.
The captain grunted his acceptance of the offer. He then turned to the other two strangers to await their replies and to find out if Alfred, Igor, Ottmar, Bjovril, Henie, and Theo would remain aboard as his crew for a while longer.