Turn 108 For whom the bell tolls
Wulfgar directs the party towards to the temple, finding it all but
deserted. Heading for the stairs, Wulfgar leads you into a tower. At the
top of the steps, you find a crowd of priests, as the bell finally stops
ringing, you push your way through the crowd to the bell to find all is
not well. A hand dangles down from inside the bell. A body has
apparnetly been tied to the bells' ringer. On the side of the bell,
'Penance is Done' is written in red liquid.
Wulfgar steps forward and looks to see who the body was. "Does anyone know
what all this is about?" He addresses the priests. A concerned look
crosses his face, as he seems deep in thought about something.
Gareth, and Caohimin enter behind the rest of the party, and view the scene before them.
Nervously Cole addresses anyone listening "wereisCaoihminishestillhere."
looking about the room to make sure the hand is not his.
Caoimhin sleepily enters the tower. When the party reaches the bell,
his eyes widen (yes, both of them) and he covers his mouth. A moment
passes, and he removes his hand. "We must get him down and give him a
decent burial. Whatever his offense, nothing merits such a death."
He looks around at the party. "If I knew Clan Cuilean to be in the area,
I might think they were responsible -- that he had perhaps run afoul of
one of their hot-headed young princes. But I have seen no sign of any of
the Folk here. I know not who is behind this."
Within minutes of the parties arrival at the murder, Brother Anselm, and
Brother Bernadino arrive. Anselm greets the party, before ordering all the
priests but 2 back to their cells. The remaining 2 are asked to cut the body
down for identification.
Caoimhin steps over to stand next to Cole, then reaches out to clasp his
shoulder. "Easy, old friend, I'm alive and well. After Brother Anselm
finished healing my eye last night, I had dinner with Wulfgar, Arilyn,
and the priests -- you must have missed us when we returned."
Looking a bit embarrassed Cole nods an acknowledgment to Cao
and watches nervously as the priests cut down the body.
As you await to find out who the body is, Arilyn joins you following behind
a wide eyed anxious young man.
Wulfgar stands still and silent as the brothers move to cut down whom ever
it is that is hanging in the bell. Then quickly he steps forward to help
and get the body down quickly. He looks very serious and there is a fire in
Kay looks up while the priests take down the body and cringes, "What a way
to go.", She turns to Caoimhin, "I think that's out of our hands. They'll
probably want to fully check out the body, and if it's possible in this
one-tavern-town, do a 'speaking'. I've heard of clerics who can speak to
those who are recently dead. And I'm sure whoever enforces the law around
here will want to look into it as well."
The knight, being careful not to hinder the priestly efforts, steps forth
and examines the manner in which the body was strapped to the bell, then
calls Cole over and speaks to him for a moment. After the corpse has been
removed, he steps over to Wulfgar and the brothers for a moment before
returning to stand and silently watch over the party.
Gareth comes up to the four brothers and Wulfgar. "I wish not to intrude
upon events on your holy ground, but if their is anything to which I may
lend aid, I will do my utmost to assist you." The paladin pauses for a long
second. "I notice that you are very calm about this - situation. Is it a
common occurrance or are you simply men of such discipline?" After talking
for a few moments, the knight returns to the party and examines the manner in which the body was strapped to the bell, then
calls Cole over and speaks to him for a moment.
Keldar, still grasping onto Cole
speaks, "OK, you folks can take cara this and see us un the mornin. Fer
now, I gotta go ta sleep. Me stomach's bad as it is and this sorta site's
Silently Cole produces a wrinkled piece of blank parchment
from his pocket and scratches out the message as close to the
original as he can then hands it to Gareth.
"Penance is done??" Barbaxle reads aloud "Do we know who this man is? We might be able to
find out a little more of the situation if we can find that out. He must've
had enemies if they wanted to display his body like this. It was left here
for a reason, so everyone would notice that he is dead. They could have took
him and killed him some place that no one would find him. I think that there
is some investigation that needs to be done. Do you have a Constable that
handles these matters?"
Wulfgar looks at Gareth with a steady and calm look on his face. "We all
face death every day so why should this bother us? It is not pleasant but I
get the feeling that something evil is afoot! I am not convinced that
Brother Randos's death was as they have told us. I think this has something
to do with it, although I am not sure I have a feeling in my bones that
there is something going on here in Heron that is not right." He turns away
and continues to help cutting the body down.
"You have a feeling that something is going on here?" Jahl asks
rhetorically. "What gave it away? The body or the message in blood?"
Seeing the look that Wulfgar passes me Jahl
quickly takes a half-step back and raises his hands defensively, palms out.
"My apologies friend Wulfgar, I only meant a little levity which I agree was
badly placed. I agree. Something is amiss here, but now is not the time or
place for all of us to stand around gawking and getting in the way. I
suggest that many of us return and finish getting our much-needed sleep
rather than crowding this small room. I expect that Wulfgar and Gareth will
stay behind and learn what they can and we can talk with them in the
Wulfgar looks at Jahl, "I suspected something was wrong the moment we found
Brother Randos buried beside the road! You make light of the death of two
men, two men I knew one my mentor!" His hand flashes to the hilt of his
sword as his eyes flare with a burning fire. "Gugliemo!" Wulfgar states in
a low voice as the body is cut down, he then turns back to Jahl.
Jahl continues "Might I question the current safety of the book that was left here
before I go? And as usual, if I can help in any way, please do not
hesistate to ask." After his empassioned speech, he exits the tower.
Vincas stands and watches the scene unfold, the nights drinking obviously
still having it's effect on him. "I'm heading back to the room." he says
softly, "to keep an eye on Keldar and our gear."
He stumbles slowly back toward the room, arms crossed over his stomach.
The body is cut down, the head a bloody mess having banged against the side of
the bell countless times. Looking closer, you note 10 ovular shaped bruises
encircling his neck, each ranging in size from a bit smaller than a dime, to the
size of a nickle.
Keldar, hearing the object he brought to the group being
discussed pipes up, "Yeah.... where'd ya keep that silly thin' anyways? We
killed the owner, so doubt we need the town guard sleepin' on it, but
where'd ya keep the book? still guarded good?"
The gnome seems quite distraught about being removed from discussions on
the fate of his property, and appears to be trying to subtly trying to
annoy those who took possesion of the book. He is however far too drunk to
hide his intentions.
Arilyn looks at the bruises. "I wonder if he was wearing some type of
collar...or was he strangled first by something that would make such
marks?" She looks over to Wulfgar. "Do you know anything about this? I
don't mean to cast blame...but i don't think a god/dess would allow this
in their own sanctuary...unless they were involved...or at least had
his/her blessing. Callus is known to be a bit...how shall I say...
egotistical and short tempered."
The paladin looks away for a moment... painfully, obviously, looks away...
"Strangling was the first thing that came to my mind also Arilyn. As for
the evil occurring lately Wulfgar, we know much of the land still struggle
and heaves beneath the evil that strove to wipe mankind off this world, and
it does seems obvious that evil has stepped within these sacred walls and
left behind a very vivid and painful footprint. Arilyn does raise a valid
point, though what I know of Callus suggests she is more immediate and
less... decorative than this style, but Wulfgar is by far the better expert
than I. There is, however, the matter of the gods distancing of late; their
absence most likely weaken the defences of a holy place and allow evil to
break in and create havoc."
Wulfgar spins again this time his sword leaves it's sheath, "You talk to me
about Gods!" He spits at Arilyns feet "Pah! What know you of Gods? You know
nothing about Callus and I doubt very much if she would stand for this but
something here or hereabouts is blocking her from communicating with me so I
will say this if as some of you had suggested Callus was behind all of this
do you think I would be helping you? Rather would it not be a good move for
a follower of her to kill you all in the middle of the night at a secluded
camp somewhere along the lines. There have been many opportunities!" He
turns back to the body "Perhaps it would be best if you all returned to
where ever you were sleeping and I shall contact Gareth if the need arises."
The paladin steps between the offended priest and the elven fighter. His
blue eyes very flat and warning, Gareth pushes down Wulfgar's sword with a
couple of gauntled fingers on his right hand. "And perhaps a certain priest
will remember that not everyone knows everything about every god... and will
ask questions. Bringing truth into the light of understanding is only done
through questions. You, priest of Callus, have spoken to the party of how
Callus is a goddess believing in revenge when affronted. You and I
appreciate that this is not her style, but the lay person has not our
background, yes? Threatening subterfuge and violence against companions is
not the way to solving this mystery Wulfgar, so accept the question as a
question, and put your righteous action towards this murder and not flailing
out." Wulfgar's firey anger is met by Gareth's immplacable calm; the
brighter the priest seems to flare, the more solid the paladin becomes until
the stone around the duo seems soft in comparison. "By Pikahl, Wulfgar...
we have work to do, friend."
Arilyn looks at the 'liquid' by her feet and then at the drawn sword.
She moves her hand to her sword...her patience with Wulfgar's rude
behavior, stretching her patience. "Perhaps I know more about gods and
goddesses than you think. If we didn't have more important things to
do...I would teach you a lesson in swordmanship." The fire in her eyes
dies down...and she smiles at Gareth listening to his calming, wise
Cole moves himself between the two and speaks to the two as
best he can, he seems a bit nervous
"Wulfgar is right, it is a fair assumption that none of the gods
are causing these murders or the magical disruptions. I have
a feeling that we are being led blindly by some higher
power,and none of the gods are saying much about it. I too
have heard little from Balin and I can assume that the rest of
you have had less than normal communications with your dieties."
Moving back to the wall he turns away as the body is brought
forth thats one less dead body that he will have nightmares about.
Wulfgar turns away from Arilyn and re-sheaths his sword, he steps forward as
the body is brought forward. "You shall be avenged my brother, for it is
the wish of Callus!" He speaks softly and smoothly.
Arilyn looks up to Wulfgar. "I am sorry if I offended you. This must be
difficult for you to see this manner of death in this special place."
She shuffles her feet. "Perhaps I was being a bit insensitive." Arilyn
gives you a warm, genuine smile.
"Perhaps vengence was already had," Jahl says as he enters the room once
again. "I happened to notice a peculiar set of footprints leading to, and
away from the temple. The tracks seem to start from and return to the grave
site we found just outside the town. The grave looked disturbed too. Just
what were the incidents that lead to brother Randos's death? What items did
Randos have buried with him? Any beaded holy items or something similar? I
know little of Callus, but from what I know, it would be her hand that would
allow Randos to avenge his own death. Or perhaps I am being mis-lead with
the tracks that I had found... it is late, and I am tired."
Caoimhin listens to the news from Jahl, and sighs. "Well, that settles
it. I'd been thinking I was too tired to think clearly about this matter,
especially considering the healing I received yesterday, which has tired
me more than I realized. If we're heading to a grave in the middle of the
night, then I have just enough reason left to say this: I'll be happy to
join you all in the morning, when I've had some sleep and there's some
light to work with." He turns and heads towards the room, muttering as
he goes, "Angels and ministers of grace defend us! Be thou a spirit of
health or goblin damn'd..."
Wulfgar turns to face Jahl as he enters at tells of the footprints to and
from the grave of Brother Randos. "Perhaps we should take a look at these
footprints and see what you have found Jahl, this could be a valuable clue
you have found. I thank you and perhaps you are right that Callus is taking
some sort of revenge through the spirit or body of Brother Randos. I do not
believe that he would do the things I have been told and therefore I am very
confused and unsure of whom to trust completely." Wulfgar does not wait
anymore and walks outside to check the footprints Jahl spoke of.
"That is very interesting Jahl," Barbaxle responds "something is definitely going on that
we don't know about. I would like to have a quick look at the tracks before
they get destroyed or tampered with." Barbaxle turns to Gareth and says "I
would like to check on the book quickly, then head to bed."
Keldar sags against a nearby wall. "I know this is troublin' an all, but I
thinks I gotta sleep now. Sumone take me to a place ta sleep. No offence
your holinesses, but I'd rather not sleep in a place where it seems the
walkin' dead are stranglin' folks in the night."
Arilyn turns to the group. "I am going to stay here (the temple)
tonight. Will we meet at the tavern in the morning, or at Wulfgar's
Cole looks around at the others and has no intentions of
chasing walking corpses in the middle of the night so he
again helps Keldar and possibly Vincas back to Wulfgars.
Arylin and Caohimin retire to their cells, while Vincas, Kay, Reggie, Keldar, and Cole return to Wulfgars house.
The rest retreat to the grave of Randos.
"Jahl," Barbaxle asks when they arrive "did you see anyone else walking around here when you followed
these footprints earlier? This looks very weird, I've never heard of anyone
coming out of their grave to kill someone and then go back inside. This is
not like any undead creature that I have heard of."
"No. I did not see anyone or anything walking around. I found the
tracks and discreetly followed them to here. I have heard of only one kind
of undead creature that routinely returns to its grave, and I pray we do
not run into one of those." Jahl stands back and allows the others to look
Wulfgar steps forward quickly and kneels at the side of the grave and
examines it closely to see if he can make out any markings from a
shovel or was it paws that made the digging. "I feel that I should
stay here for the rest of the night!" Once he finishes at the grave he
will scout around the surrounding area for tracks.
The knight smoothly dismounts, allowing Emperor's reins to hang loose. "She
is well-trained Jahl, and knows not to stray save that her life is in peril,
but your thoughtfullness is noted and appreciated." Gareth turns to examine
the ground and the method of digging - does it look pushed out or simply dug
up? "Wulfgar, as this was a priest of your order, I would suggest that you
ask for Callus' blessing and understanding on this matter. Since we know
not if the thing within this grave is dead or undead, we must exhume the
body. Does anyone possess a shovel? We also require torches there and
there [the knight points at each end of the grave]. If we are going to stay
here for a spell, let us put the time to good use. This grave has been
defiled in some manner; let us find out and put the issue, and two souls, to
Wulfgar looks to Gareth "Well I guess if no one here has a shovel we do
it the old fashioned way!" He plunges his hands into the disturbed
earth and starts to pull the earth to one side. He prays quietly to
Callus as he does this.
After digging by hand and with knives and such for a bit, the coffin is unearthed.
Wulfgar taps on the outside of the box. "Looks like this is it. Now
let us see if there is anything inside?" He continues to clear away
the soil from the top to see if the box is damaged.
Jahl takes a few steps back from the grave. "I mean no disrespect for
your friend Wulfgar," Jahl says as he pulls a dirk out from inside his
cloak. "But he is dead and we are not."
Gareth stoicly alternates between scanning the surrounding land and checking
on the digging, in between his digging shifts.
"Ok, let's open it up." Barbaxle says "Everyone stand ready, we don't know what is
going to happen. I hope that we find a rotting corpse in there and not
something that is going to not like getting woke up."
"Wulfgar, I'll leave it to you to examin the body. I would be
interested to know if there are any signs that it was indeed Randos that
committed the murder, or act of vengance as it may be. An examiniation of
the hands may reveal markings or ropeburns or such that would signify his
involvement. Perhaps there are markings that would better explain his
death too. A knife-wound somewhere vital?" Jahl steps back from peering
down the hole.
"In any case I think that we should hurry. Disturbing the dead is not a
There is indeed a body in the box, and Wulfgar recognizes it as his mentor
Randos. All signs present (like no pulse or breathe) concur that the body is
indeed dead. You see no signs of tampering in or on the box.
"The suggestion, then, is that either this murdering corpse was able to
float through wood and earth, kill the other brother and return here, and
all without disturbing anything non-superficial... or there is something
else afoot. Remember, it was difficult digging - recently disturbed earth
is rather simple to move." Gareth thinks on the matter for a time, stifling
a yawn though his eyes water slightly. "To me it suggests either someone
wishing to conceal their murderous activities and blaming it on a deceased
brother, or someone who wished to dig up Randos' remains for some ill
purpose, likely tied to the grisly death of the other brother we
encountered. Wulfgar, have any of the brothers here left recently on poor
terms with the temple?"
Wulfgar looks up at Gareth "I know not of any brothers who have left
here lately. That does not mean there have been none though as I have
not been here." He looks back to Randos "Forgive me my friend!" He
examines the body for any marks or wounds.
Discovering whip marks upon the body has the group in an uproar.
"These marks are most unusual!" Wulfgar looks at the others "Why would
Brother Randos have whip marks on his back? There is definitely
something afoot here.!" He stands up and flexes his shoulders trying
to relieve some of the stiffness from them. "I think we are finished
here, we can fill in the grave and go get cleaned up there are some
people who have many questions to answer."
He starts to replace the lid on the box. "Do not worry my friend your
death shall be investigated and anyone guilty of anything brought to
Gareth suggests that the group get some sleep, it's been a long week.
Wulfgar nods agreement, standing a little weary after all the execise
"Yes we should return now and get some sleep and continue this in the
morning when we are all fresh and fully recovered.!" He pulls a
wineskin from his belt and drinks deeply from the wine contained
within. "Arhhh! Anyone else?" He offers the skin to the others.
"I will take some of that water Wulfgar." Barbaxle says "Is everyone going to go to
bed? That's where I'm headed. It looks like we have a very big day ahead of
us. Come on everyone let's go." On their way back Barbaxle will say "I don't
think that everyone will be able to watch the destruction of the Book, so
why don't the rest of the group investigate the happenings of Brother