GM:we had a few months hiatus due to other games. Rather than re-starting with 2 PCs heavily wounded, we catch up with the heroes having rested for a few weeks and then made their way across France and Germany, to finally reach Prague on Tuesday 14th August 1601.
In the approach to Prague they had learned a bit about their destination.
The city was in a state of civil unrest due to the oppresion of the Jewish inhabitants, many of whom had been driven out in recent years.
They were intending to meet with Tycho Brae, a renowned Dutch Astronomer, working at an Observatory in the outskirts, funded by Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor. Asking the locals for directions, they learn he is almost more famous for his pet Elk, (sadly deceased after getting drunk and falling down stairs!) than he is for his scholarly works.
The Observatory turns out to be a small waLled compound on a hill, surrounded by vegetable gardens. They ride into the courtyard and meet with a young (30-ish) Johannes Kepler who is the assistant (though he insists he is the colleague) to Tycho Brae. Brae is older, about 55, but is very sickly, pale and feeble. Clara diagnoses he has some bladder infection that will probably kill him within a few months.
Their letter of introduction, from Dr Dee, begs Brae to assist our heroes with understanding the astronomical prophecy from the ancient necromantic tome. They stress how important this is and, though he is skeptical of their tales of monsters and magic, Brae’s respect and friendship for Dr Dee makes him agree to help.
It will take several weeks to work through Tycho’s library of astronomical observations. Masa and Clara are able to assist but Harry and Ezekial find themselves at a loose end. Fortunately for them, there are rumours that the jews in Prague are protected by a Golem. This creature apparently struck down some enemies of the jews a few years earlier. The threat of this monstrous protector seemed to stop the worst of the violence for a while. The victims were found with their heads bashed in and only a few huge wet, clay footprints at the scene. In the last couple of weeks there have been two more murders of known anti-semites with similar signs that the Golem is on the move again.
Harry and Ezekiel offer their unpaid services as “monster hunters” to the local authorities. They spend a couple of weeks looking for clues but lack of friendly contacts in the Jewish Quarter, and the fact that they only speak english, makes it difficult. They want to get an interview with the head Rabbi, The Maharal of Prague, but he is reclusive. The rumours are that he constructed the Golem during the Pogrom 3 years earlier. Ezekiel, aided by a jewish translator, Issac, does get an interview with the Rabbi’s neice Rachel who is her uncle’s secretary.
Rachel is a slender, raven-haired woman in her mid twenties. She has only been in Prague for a year. She is well-educated and can even speak a bit of english. She explains that her uncle prefers to remain in the Synagogue and it is not possible for gentiles to meet with him in the current climate of distrust and hatred.
When she is told (by Issac) that they are experienced “monster hunters”, she becomes very interested and starts questioning them about their experiences and what they are doing in Prague. Ezekiel ends the interview before revealing too much but she says she will speak to her uncle and meet him again tomorrow. During the conversation, Ezekiel notices she says something about “these jews” that suggests she does not consider herself to be one. She hurriedly corrects herself. He also gets the impression that Issac is telling her more about them.
Harry thinks they are being followed back through the city but can’t be sure. They avoid returning to their inn or to the Observatory and manage to give their pursuer the slip.
Later that day, up at the observatory, Masa spots a dark-haired woman peering in through the window into the Library. He runs outside but the woman is gone. she could only have vanished by walking through the wall!