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Turn 113

This is where the group splits up.
(group 1)Vincas, Keldar, and Reggie -Talking to Brother Anselm
(group 2)Cole, Kay, Gareth, and Plutarch the guide examining the cell of the dead priest
(group 3)Arilyn, and Wulfgar in the bell tower
(group 4)Jahl, Caohmin, and Barbaxle searching the town

Group 1 has a chat with brother Anselm. Vincas discusses his thoughts that keldar isn't crazy but possessed by their dead friends.
Vincas takes a deep breath. "I'm not sure where to begin...thanks for seeing us brother. Before we we're brought here, by a divine act that I still marvel at, we lost some friends in a battle with some goblins. It seems that the souls of those fallen companions are manifesting themselves in my friend Keldar here."
"I know it sounds ludicrous, but these....people in him know of things that Keldar himself has no knowledge. It is my opinion that the force that prevents you from communicating fully with your deity is also responsible for trapping the souls of the departed in the mortal realm. I haven't pieced it all together yet, but the force that acts upon magic spells and the recent...disturbance of the gravesite nearby all seem to lend credence to this line of thought. I just wanted to speak to you because I feel helpless in these matters. Is there anything you or your brothers could do to help Keldar?"

Casting a spell, a waving his hands in front of Keldar, he replies that he finds no sign nor sense of any other in residence in keldars mind or body.

Vincas looks surprised for a moment and looks at Keldar. "Well....other than the fact that he has knowledge that my deceased friend had, I have no proof. But unless he can all of a sudden read the minds of the dead, or unless he's a very good guesser, I'm going to have to stay with my beliefs. Unless you can offer another explanation? Something I may have overlooked perhaps, I'll admit these types of symptoms aren't my specialty."
Vincas slumps down in a heap with his head in his hands.
"Brother, please. What counsel can you give us? What do you feel I can do to help my friend? Why is he like this? I need to know what to do....apparently my beliefs were false....and I'm out ideas."

"I would say friend of brother Wulfgar, that your friend is most likely suffering from the shock and stress of seeing several of your friends die at once. It was at once was it not? I recommend no high stress activity, unless you would companion him during such activies, for leaving him alone will surely compound his delusions. As for why he knew the answers to your personal questions, I cannot say, a guess perhaps, but I am fairly certain there is no undead at work here. There is a ritual I could perform to be sure, however were it to be true which I doubt, it would undoubtedly kill your friend in the process of the spirits leaving his body by force of Callus."

From keldar comes a number of grumblings, "Oi Vinc. Yuz just gotta bear it. There's a plot afoot, and yuz three ain't helpin' much. Mensal'll sore if ya miss the battle!...
... Bock, quiet. We're all here with Keldar, so lets not rush off and get us all sent on. I'm not leaving this realm and everyone behind!"
... Silence you two. We need something better here. This little body'd be able to pull a short bow at best, and I don't know how good his reflexes are. I'll probably need some...

The gnome then closes his eyes and becomes quiet.

Meanwhile, group 3 approach the bell tower, and start up the stairs...
Upon reaching the bell tower Wulfgar will seek the best vantage points for himself and Arilyn, not far apart and if possible within sight of one another. "We should watch from here and see if we can spot anyone doing anything out of the ordinary" He looks out of one of the windows and down at the grounds around the complex.

Ariyln goes for food, and the 2 remain in the tower for several hours watching unsuccessfully over the town and the temple for signs of any wrongdoing.

Wulfgar walks to the window and sits down leaning against the wall, he looks out and watches any movement made by the brothers or visitors. He whistles a little ditty to himself "You know Arilyn this used to be a beautiful place but I feel that the brotherhood has let it slip. Maybe it is because Randos is dead, his eyes go a grey colour and a single tear rolls down his face.
Randos I swear your death will be avenged, Callus would want it to be so."
He does not wipe the tear away but lets it roll slowly down his face.

Arilyn slips away quietly and returns with some food from the kitchen. She opens up the cloth which is holding various fruits and cheeses. She looks out the window and her hair blows gently in the slight breeze. She turns to Wulfgar. "Sometimes I wonder if it is a good idea to go back home. Nothing ever remains the same...nor, I suppose, should it. Somehow, all the good things that happen in one's childhood home seem to be forgotten...overshadowed by the events that should I say...unpleasant. There are places in my home that are so beautiful and I crave them so dearly. But there are other places...places that I call the River of Death, the House of Pain and the Forest of Shame." Arilyn frowns slightly. "But I am always drawn back home, not quite knowing if I am trying to remember or if I am trying to forget." Arilyn turns from Wulfgar and looks up at the sky, her eyes filling with the tears she fights to hold back. She sees the billowing clouds and sees their shapes turn into butterflies...then eagles...and then majestic dragons. A warmth shimmers over her and her tears vanish. Turning back to Wulfgar she continues. "Randos will never be dead for his memory and a part of him are in you. His death will certainly be revenged but do not be consumed by the thought of that." She smiles gently, offering Wulfgar a wineskin.

"You speak wise words Arilyn, for that I thank you and agree. I will not be consumed by anything but the death of Randos and the other brother are a smear against me and most impotently to me my God. I fell in love once Arilyn a long time ago with a girl who stayed a winter here in Heron with her family. We had planned to get wed but when I was on a mission of mercy her father carried her off to stop the wedding." He looks out of the window and sits quietly for a moment. "When I returned I was shocked and lost my focus and spent many days hunting for her. I never saw her again after then, I was saved by the love of Callus who came to me and spoke to me. Maybe now you will have a better insight into the Gods. Do not forget that the connections to the Gods seem to be very frail at the moment so even if she wants to do something she may not be able to do anything." Again he turns and looks out of the window quietly staring to the sky then back to the ground watching the people wandering about.

While all this is going on, group 4 heads out to search the town itself and speak to the citizens about the goings on in the temple.

Jahl clears his throat and shifts his gaze from Barbaxle to Caoihmin and back again. "Any suggestions as to where to start searching the town? I guess i would start by taking a stroll around the perimeter of the town and see if anything catches our attention. Talking to any townsfolk along the way would also be good. Once we are satisfied, I would then stop in to the shops and perhaps a few houses to see if anyone has noticed anything awry and is willing to share suspicions."
Frowning at their lack of input, Jahl straightens up and begins his plan, hoping the others will follow.

"That sounds like a good plan to me Jahl. Some of the local town folk must have some information that we can use." Barbaxle says.

Caoimhin nods. "Sounds good. Let's work around this way..." (he points in the direction that will lead them counterclockwise around the town) "...and work our way back here. Then on to the shops." With that, he starts walking, quietly whistling a tune.

The 3 of you head out in search of something...anything to aid you in your quest for knowledge concerning the death of your friend and companion Wulfgar's mentor and brother Randos. Most people you speak with (and there arent too many wandering about) are very cooperative, but unable to give you any useful information. Some are not even aware of Randos' death at all, other than having heard the bell toll for the death of a brother. No one reports any spirit or ghost encounters, and a few look at you oddly when you inquire.

"Hmmmm..." Jahl muses as he and his companions step away from yet another townsperson. "I don't believe we are getting anywhere. In fact, I think that we've actually scared more people than anything else."
Jahl pauses a moment, lost in thought. "Perhaps I am much to gullible, but the more I ponder on the situation, the more I am inclinded to believe that Rondos did awake from the dead to slay his murderer. The townsfolk seem to know little to nothing. I suspect that if what we have seen such far is not the truth, the truth will only be found in the temple where this mischif has begun."
Jahl turns around and gets his bearings. "I think that I will return to the tavern to await the others and see what they have discovered. Or does anyone have a better suggestion?"

Caoimhin looks up, frowning. "I agree. This is getting us nowhere. Let us return and see what the others have found." He purses his lips and starts towards the tavern.

"I don't like just quitting our search like this, " Barbaxle says thoughtfully "not getting any information. I still feel like we are missing something to this puzzle, I just can't quite put my finger on it yet. Maybe after a cold ale I will be able to think a little better."

So the group heads for the tavern and discuss their findings (or lack thereof) over a cold ale and await news of the others.

And finally, group 2 heads to the dead priests cell to search for clues.

Along the way, Plutarch suggests, that after the cell the infirmary might be a good place to visit, as well as Brother Edmund who had a habit of getting Gugliemo tucked into bed each night. He has little other advice to offer. Upin entering the cell, you are assailed with the overwhelming odor of unwashed feet. Wrinkling his nose, Plutarch waits outside the steel door. There is a bed, a small table, and a foot locker....locked.

Cole covering his nose with his tunic. First checking under the bed then going to the locker "should we open this locker, could there be anything in there that could help us.

Kay pokes her head out the door, "Er Plutarch, you don't have a key to go with this foot-locker lock, now do ya?"

Gareth nods in agreement as he checks the table for hollowness or items wedged to its underside. The knight then moves over to the bed and peels it down, layer by layer, searching for clues within the sheets, padding, or pillows. "Good Plutarch, if you must arrange for a key for this cell, please also retrieve one for the cell of Brother Edmund and the Brother whose grave we encountered along the roadside - why was he not buried on holy ground?- yes, and also one for the infirmary, if you please." Gareth's powerful voice falls silent as he listens to responses from the table-knocking.

"Those cells are kept unlocked as was this one sir. We have no need of locks in this place, and I fail to understand why Gugliamo kept his trunk locked." Plutarch replies, "Brother Randos took his own life sir, and as suicide is a crime of the highest order, we were unable to bury him on sanctified ground."

Gareth sighs and CHECKS to see if the chest is locked, searching it if it is not, or forcing it if it is.

Kay asks Plutarch for a key, and is informed that the footlockers being locked is indeed a rarity and that he doubts a key is in existance. Gareth checks the lock and does in fact find it to be locked. Trying to force it open fails, leaving Gareth with a stiff shoulder from applying such extreme pressure. Cole, as quiet as usual, goes over to the locker while Kay is speaking to Plutarch, and Gareth is massaging his shoulder absently, seemingly lost in thought. Kneeling down, Cole pulls a long thin piece of metal out of his pocket, and proceeds to open the lock with it as though it were a key. Clapping his hands together and looking pleased with himself, you hear a loud click as the lock falls open.

Rubbing his shoulder to prevent the muscles from bruising, Gareth sighs and rolls his eyes heavenward. "Just once...just once..." The knight steps behind the chest and opens the cover once everyone is clear of possible spray attacks.

Kay smiles as she hears the ever-familiar sound of a lock-popping, "Nevermind!". She spins around and walks back over to the footlocker hoping to get a glance at what's inside. As she does, the warrior gets a good glance and smell of the dead man's bed, "Ack! This place smells worse than a pair of armored trousers after the hundred year war! Did this guy ever bathe?" During the rest of the room's stay, Kay keeps a hand over her nose.

cole makes his way away from the box but allows himself space to see whats inside once the lid is opened.

You find a very extensive collection of insects, scabs from old wounds, a bird's wing (rotting) and similiar gross toys in the locker.

Kay quickly backs up,nearly knocking herself over, "This guy really was a sick bastard. I mean bathing only once in your life, is pretty bad, but this!" Once she's safely within distance from the chest, Kay places her free hand over her mouth and watches the others go through (Yech!) the safe.

Gareth's visage settles into one of thoughtfulness. "I agree, lady Kay, that the items are less than asthetically pleasing, and yet... friend guide, surely such items would not have brought censure or disdain upon him. Why would there be a lock? I wonder if there is a false compartment, or if one of these items is magically cloaked, or if something within was taken by another party." The knight's hands tap along the container sides, top, and bottom (in and out), also checking linings and protuberances. They also pass over the other items checking to see if any illusions present themselves or such. "Another curiousity: why were we not able to find the key? It is not within the room and was not upon the body - does such not strike anyone else as odd?"

Cole nods in agreement with the knight and when he is done searching the box, Cole will give it a once over to ensure the knight has not missed any secrets, if nothing is found Cole will silently search the rest of the room for secret compartments in the floor and walls, but finds nothing.

"Are you sure? You'd think they would of locked this guy up in the laughing house! Collecting bits of scab and stuff, ofcourse that could just be something to scare away potential thieves." Kay covers up her mouth again, and watches Cole go through the chest.

Continueing on, the group heads for the next cell. The cell of Brother Edmund who was supposed to have taken good care of Gugliemo.

Upon being introduced to Edmund, he looks a bit stunned and distracted, but swears that the last time he saw Gugliemo was upon tucking him in the the night before. He impresses upon yuou that he has no idea who might have killed Gugliemo, and you believe his sincerity in his distress over the death.

"You actually tucked this guy into bed every night? Gah! How could you stand the smell? Really now, I don't think we should wonder who wanted to kill him, but who didn't want to kill him! If I lived here, it probably wouldn't be more than a day before I had my hands around his neck, or at least have a bucket of soap water to dump over him.", She heads back to the door mumbling, "Guy was sicker than all of my brothers put together.."

Gareth's face assumes a pained and martyred look as Kay completes her tirade and walks out the door. Choosing his words carefully, the paladin continues more tactfully. "Our apologies for disturbing you at this hour; as you can tell, my companion is somewhat upset about the situation here, as are we all. Could you assist us with answering a few questions, good brother Edmund? Why did Gugliemo have the chest at the foot of his bed locked?"
"He wasnt supposed to keep it locked, all he kept in there were bugs and ghastly things like that. But they did mean alot to him. He had such a simple mind you know" he looks very overwrought, obviously thinking about Gugliemos death.
" We were under the understanding that such action was not taken within these holy walls. What did he keep within it? Have you seen anything curious or suspicious within the last couple of months?"
"Nothing other than Brother Randos killing himself. We are a peaceful order, and don't encourage violence including upon ourselves."
" Could you suggest any other locations in this building in which we should search? "
"You might try the infirmary. Gugliemo spent time there while he was alive, and is there even now being prepared for burial"
"Would you mind if we searched your room, just to keep everything fair, as we may have to search the rooms of other brothers and would not wish to present a false impression of favouritism?"

Edmund nods his assent although looking very put out, he allows the search. You uncover nothing other than a few changes of clothes, a prayer book, and a symbol of Callus as well as a few vials of holy water. Nothing else is uncovered in your search. You continue on to the infirmary, where a priest is preparing the body for burial. The preist is very old, with thinning white hair and beard.. He has just finished sponging off the body when you enter. Examining the body leads you to conclude ultimatly that he was in fact strangled (bruises about the neck) and there are no other recent marks to indicate any other injury. He has dried blood under his nails, so you can assume he may have injured his attacker. You can conclude the attacker was quite tall (you've met no one yet to fit this description) and extremely strong as Gugliemo was quite a large fellow. The priest (brother DeBrace) has no information to offer you that you havent already heard. When asked about the condition of brother Randos' body, he replies "He dies of a broken neck, from his fall. There were welts across his back and thighs. I assume these marks were self inflicted as many of our order whip themselves to purge unclean thoughts or to gain spiritual insight. I confess I may have let my faith in my order blind me toward the possibility that Randos was pushed. Prior to tonight I believed none here were capable of violence. Now I'm not so sure. I know this however, there was no writing near Randos' body as there was by Gugliemo's." He has no more clues for you, and recommends you search Gugliemo's cell as well as that of Randos for more help.

Heading for the infirmiry, you find the body of Gugliemo being prepared for burial. Examining the body leads you to conclude ultimatly that he was in fact strangled (bruises about the neck) and there are no other recent marks to indicate any other injury. He has dried blood under his nails, so you can assume he may have injured his attacker. You can conclude the attacker was quite tall (you've met no one yet to fit this description) and extremely strong as Gugliemo was quite a large fellow. Brother DeBrace has no information to offer you that you havent already heard. When asked about the condition of brother Randos' body, he replies "He dies of a broken neck, from his fall. There were welts across his back and thighs. I assume these marks were self inflicted as many of our order whip themselves to purge unclean thoughts or to gain spiritual insight. I confess I may have let my faith in my order blind me toward the possibility that Randos was pushed. Prior to tonight I believed none here were capable of violence. Now I'm not so sure. I know this however, there was no writing near Randos' body as there was by Gugliemo's." He has no more clues for you, and recommends you search Gugliemo's cell as well as that of Randos for more help.

Gareth nods as the information continues to increase. "Much thanks, brother Debrace, may the gods watch over this place. If you could, please, do keep an eye out for bandages going missing, or track which brothers have, or had, need of medicing injuries of late. Companions, I would suggest that we examine the room of brother Randos, and take a closer look at the tower, since it seems both deaths have been from that location - Randos did fall in the region of the tower, correct?" the paladin confirms with the brother. A thought crosses Gareth's mind and he adds in a thoughtful tone, "It might also be kind, and perhaps more proper, for brother Randos to be exhumed and reburied within your church grounds, since the evidence appears to be pointing to the fact that he did not give up his life, and stayed true to Callus. I am certain that brother Wulfgar would be more than pleased to assist on such a venue; could you see to it brother Debrace?" Gesturing to Kay, Cole, and Plutarch, the knight continues. "If we find little at either of the two sites, we may have to conduct a cell by cell search."

The group then heads for Randos' room to continue their search within. The bed is unmade, and the locker contains a spare robe and spare sandals that look new. Under the bed, you find another pair of sandals, this pair is pretty worn out.

"Hmmm. In most cases of suicide, the person tidies affairs up - somewhat of a sense of closure; this room is still untidied. Further," Gareth hooks a finger around one of the sandals, "If you were planning to walk through corridors, across a complex, and up flights of stone stairs, would you not habitually take a pair of sandals so your feet did not freeze from the cold stone floor?"

As you examine the room, a young priest approaches and introduces himself as Brother Malich. "Greetings brothers and sister. I live in the next cell. I wish to speak with you on the matter of Randos' death, if you would hear me."
He glances down the hall nervously, before shutting the door. "An evil force prowls the halls" he whispers cautiously. "I fear that more murders will be commited if I do not speak out. I was a close friend of Randos and I dont believe he killed himself as everyone seems to think. Just the week before his death, he spoke to me about the peace and contentment he had found here. He loved life, his faith, and his work. I dont believe he could have taken his own life.

"That sounds much more like the description of brother Randos that our companion Wulfgar presented.

On the night of Randos' death, I was reading in my cell when I heard movement in Brother Randos' room, and the hall. I assumed he was hungry and was going downstairs for a snack. A dreadful image has since plagued my thoughts: what if Randos was taken to the top against his will and pushed off?"

"Such is what we suspect... but why would anyone want Randos dead?" Gareth comments.

Malich replies "I cant imagine why. He was such a kind humble soul. He never disagreed with anyone and was totally commited to his work, always working on some manuscript at that desk of his in the library. Working working. He even worked through lunch. Often he would spend his free evenings working on a project. If I hadnt seen him walk, I might have thought that desk was a part of him."

The knight nods as Malich provides another search site. "Excellent, Malich. Perhaps this manuscript holds some key to the situation that plagues these holy halls. Would you be so good as to guide us to it?"
As the young priest starts to reply, a loud scream of terror stops him in his tracks and he runs out of the room. The group follows the sounds of the screaming, arriving in the kitchen behind everyone else in the party.

Gareth meets Jayar's Family
Turn 114