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Turn 98 After the fire

After watching and listening to the conversation, Jahl finally steps forward and speaks, "Perhaps confronting Reynold is not a good idea. I remember our last conversation with him didn't go too well, and I don't look forward to a another. I suggest that we just be on our way, I no longer feel welcome here." "I think I'll help out in the... uhh... stable... with those... BEASTS!"

Wulfgar turns and looks at Arilyn stepping close he whispers something in her ear. Before turning his attention back to the group "Yes I agree with Jahl I also no longer feel comfortable here, we should perhaps just have a quick meeting with the Lord then leave.!"

The bulk of the group heads towards Reynolds office and find it quite busy.

Stepping forward Wulfgar looks around "What's with all the guards outside? Where is Lord Reynold? I think I speak for us all when I say we are in need of some answers before we go.!" He looks at his old friend and waits patiently for an answer.

Looking surprised he says "I thought you knew?!" pausing in confusion he says "But M'Lord said had sent Baldwin to tell you he was heading out. Then the fire and.." the man looks seriously stressed out.

"Now this is strange, if he's not in here, why did they let us in?", Kay quickly looks around the place and when Wulfgar questions his friend, the warrior pauses to listen to his explanation.

Caoimhin looks quickly around the office. "Good sir, given the string of recent events, we must assume that this fire was no accident. Someone meant to do us harm, or at least to send a message that we are not welcome. We are strangers here --- I know not what conflicts are brewing in this land, but we have only one connection: we rescued Lord Reynold's son and heir, and in so doing we have somewhere made an enemy." He rubs his hand along his head, removing his kerchief to scratch his stubbly scalp as he talks. "Unless this was not aimed at us...have you yet checked the cells? I fear the fire might have been a distraction to allow Antar's confederates an opportunity to free him. If this has happened, Lord Reynold --- and perhaps moreso, young Baldwin --- are in grave danger." He turns to look at the party. "We must act quickly. It concerns me that Baldwin never reached us; I say we find him first and secure his safety." He turns back to Reynold's aide. "Have you a man or two you can trust? I would strongly suggest that Antar's cell be checked, as soon as possible."

Gareth begins quickly searching the desk, skim the papers, etc… (roughly 2 minutes) while conversation unfolds about what has occurred. The knight bellows for attention from beyond the door, and relays his directions when they arrive. "Guards - I want you to find out when Lord Reynold left, direction of travel, and what and whom he took with him. I also want you to alert the other guards that Baldwin is missing and quite possibly in danger; send out a party to alert the lord and escort him back to the keep. We may also have an imposter within the keep’s walls. Share the alerts among the guards, but confine it there for now; we do not want the entire keep in a chaotic uproar. The knight again focuses on Wulfgar’s friend. "Please lead us to the cells. It is quite possible that Antar is either being broken out or is in danger of keeping his life - as the only suspect, we need to talk with him to find out what in Pikahl’s name is going on here. Everyone, let us quickly proceed to the cells. If we cannot find Baldwin there, we will split up into the three watches and scour the keep from cell to rooftop."

Arilyn steps up to Wulfgar's friend and leads him to a chair. She smiles warmly and touches his shoulder, "Just take a few deep breaths and relax. We are here to help you." Looking into his eyes, she continues, "Think back. Have you noticed Lord Reynolds behaving strangely? I don't believe that he would send his son to give us a message when he has guards and court staff to do that. Do you think Lord Reynolds is an imposter, or under a magical spell?" Squeezing his hand in friendship, "We need your help."

The man resists being lead anywhere, and Arilyn is not strong enough to force him. As she speaks up to him towering over her, he answers "The Lord has always been a bit different then most, but never have I seen him behave 'strangely' as you put it. I suppose it's possible he be under a spell but I've seen no sign of such."

After sending several guards to search for Baldwin and sound the alarm, the guard speaks "The Lord left this morn after speaking with yourselves. The only order left was that you were to be our guests and sent on your way in the morn. I am not allowed to tell you where he was headed other than it is keep business. If Baldwin cannot be discovered, then word will be sent to M'Lord."

Wulfgar turns his head "Well I guess a visit to the cells is not needed anymore. Okay people, I think the search is still a good idea. Is there another way into the wing where we were put for the night?"

"Antar was executed shortly before the fire upon orders of M'Lord Reynolds. I can lead you to his body if that is your wish."

Arilyn flares in anger.."That is not only what I wish..that is what I demand."

Stepping close to Arilyn Wulfgar places his hand upon her shoulder and looks deep into her eyes. "You come with me Arilyn the boy is more important, if Callus demands justice then the villian has been has gone to face her and explain himself. She will tell either you or me or both of us what she wants. Calm yourself let the anger turn into determination to find the boy. I ask you again to come with me and help me find the boy, I could not think of anyone better to have at my side!" He lets a small frown cross his face and turns to Orman. "Yes show me the way to the joining passageway. It would be best to split the party here to search for the boy Gareth, I will not accept any other ideas as the passageways are to narrow to let everyone fight. As long as we all tell each other where we are going then we should be fine."

The man turns to Wulfgar, ignoring Arilyn completely "We have been friends since we were children my friend, and I've done my best to help you and your friends since the moment you arrived, including deliberately misinterpreting my Lord and liege's orders to give you what you need. I don't have time for this abuse from your friends, especially with Baldwin missing. Now if there is nothing more you need? I must find Baldwin, and then if a few of your" emphasis here "Men" pauses "wish to examine the body, I will take you there."

Caoimhin watches Orman carefully, and when he has finished, turns to look at Gareth. "It's clear we're not wanted here, friends -- by the lord, nor his subjects, nor by whatever villians they are facing. I say it's time we were on our way. We've got just about everything we're bringing, yes? Seems to me we can be out of this...lovely...keep in no time at all. And perhaps once we're a few miles away -- but NOT before -- we can discuss where we're going next."

The flame of anger grows in Arilyn's eyes.."Justice was not served. Antar was murdered and we are as much to blame as the man that ordered his death. Reynolds is not a Lord, he is an abuser of power. I will see what Callus does and if I am not satisfied I will seek my own retribution." Arilyn turns away, looking at Wulfgar's old friend. She take two quick steps and tries to punch him right on his nose.

The guards that gareth summoned to the room, enter quickly and place Arilyn under arrest for ATTEMPTED assault on the Lord's right hand man. No words are spoken but she is quickly and painlessly restrained between 2 very well muscled armed men.

Arilyn tries to shake off the guards..her anger slowly dissipating. "Will you tell these 'men' to get their hands off me. You are either being played for a fool or you are a part of this? Are you a part of this or are you a fool? or has your duty to Reynolds blinded you?" She stomps her foot, "Now let me go and let us find the boy..and watch out, next time i will not miss!!"

"ENOUGH of this foolishness!" Bellows Wulfgar as he steps forward between his old friend and Arilyn who is now under arrest. "My friend you and I have been friends for a long time, Do you trust me?" Without waiting for an answer "My friend here has a lot to learn and has only just begun her spiritual teachings. I agree with you that the most important thing at the moment is finding the boy. Yet you have guards standing around outside an office when they should be searching for the child. Release my friend and I shall vouch for her should she run off. Which I assure you she will not before we either find the boy or answer for her dues. How about letting us help with the search, I need her assistance to search the damaged wing of the keep." Turning sharply to Caoimhim "If you wish to leave then do so now but do not expect me to be following you! The same goes for all of you! I know we have not been treated well since we arrived the fire I think started by someone who wanted rid of us and therefore it would be safe to say we worry this person. If as someone said the Lord is under the influence of either magic or an impostor then the death of Antar will be avenged." Turning quickly to Orman "Now do we stand here all day or do we go find a boy who is lost and probably very scared?" Turning he motions for the guards to release Arilyn.

Caoimhin turns from the door to look at Wulfgar. His jaw firmly set, he says, "So be it, old friend. If you have not the sense to get out of the rain, I cannot help you. I am on my way to the stables to get my horse; I urge all of you to follow, but I will not stop you from tilting at windmills if that is truly your heart's calling. I shall return to the road and resume traveling in the direction we were heading before we got caught in this quagmire. I expect to ride half a day or so, and perhaps then stop to consider where I go next." He pauses briefly, as the corner of his mouth turns up in a wry smile. "Perhaps we will meet again, Wulfgar, should you somehow survive the day." With that, he opens the door the rest of the way and steps into the hall, leaving the door open behind him.

Keldar breaks into tears, wailing and crying like a child upon Arylin's arrest. After the negotiated release of Arilyn, Keldar's sobbing stops.
"I don't like it here," He says to Vincas, "people are mean. Why are we afraid for the little boy? What might have happened?"
The red-eyed gnome stares up at Vincas.

Orman listens to Wulfgar before speaking. "I trust you with my life my friend as you well know. As I am in charge until M'Lords return I will grant your request. Let us find Baldwin immediately" he motions for the guards to release Arilyn. Speaking directly to the 2 men he says "Stay here and inform me at once when someone reports in. I'll be in the tower tunnel" He heads down the hall towards a door and waits to see who will follow.

Vincas puts a reassuring hand on Keldar's sholder. "It'll be alright Keldar. You know how humans can be sometimes. When we get out of here I'll explain the whole thing to you, because you seem to be forgetting just a bit of what's happened, although I'm willing to wager that'll wear off just like Reggie's transformation."

Turning his attention to the rest of the group he says "Well, so far I agree with Caoimhin's idea. If Lord Reynold wanted us gone in the morning, as his guard here attested, then I say we go. We're at greater danger here than on the road, and we're not wanted here any longer by the Keep's master."

"I may be new to the group, and a little unfamiliar with the goals you're trying to accomplish. But we returned the boy and that should be the end of it for us. Lord Reynold is capable of governing his own keep, and our continued presence here against his will is a sure way to draw his ire. Should he need us again in the future he can certainly contact us. If anything, I say we try to catch up to him, if we can figure out where he was headed."

"Anyway, I'm going to go with Caoimhin and take Keldar from this place. In his current state he's probably not able to defend himself, and I don't feel safe here. What say you Reggie? Will you come with us or stay?"

Turning Wulfgar walks to the door after Orman "Coaimhim if you feel you must leave I cannot stop you the same goes for Keldar and Reggie, however if you would walk away and leave a small boy lost then what would you do if any of the others were in trouble? Walk away then as well? Anyone who wants to help find the boy come let us get started. Those who leave" he pauses "So be it!" He flashes a look at Gareth and turns leaving the room following Orman.

"I have no business here.", Kay mumbles to herself before turning to Caoimhin, "I shouldn't of left poor Angel by herself for such a long period of time with all those strange horses.".

Arilyn looks over to Kay...."Please don't leave. Stay with us and help find the boy." The pleading look in her eyes is genuine..her heart not wanting a new friend to leave.

Wulfgar smiles at the comments flying back and fore as he steps past Gareth and walks to the door. "Yap, yap, yap, this is not finding the boy is it. Let us move more quickly people. Please!" He turns his attention back to Gareth, "If you would take the others and perhaps check the horses the dead body, and some of the other areas of the keep for the boy. I will go with Arilyn and Catherine and go to search the wing where we were housed." He looks at Gareth and nods as if to say let's get this done and get the hell out of Dodge. He pulls out a length of rope from his backpack and follows Orman out of the door.

Reggie watching all the chaos around him, sits down against a wall, tips his hat overs his eyes, and says "Wake me up when everyone has decided what the party is doing" and tries to catch up his sleep. He then quickly looks up and says
"Or wake me when it meal time" and with that gets back to the hard job of sleeping

You enter the tower, and begin an extensive search. You discover the body of a child, burned beyond recognition. As you mutter to yourself in disgust at the time you spent argueing and fighting the child raises an arm in your direction.

Wulfgar kneels down beside the boy "My god, who would do such a terrible deed! Callus I pray to you to give me your strength to save this boy, and to guide me to who did this horrible deed!" He reaches out and lays his hands on the boy.

Arilyn looks at the body, not quite certain at first that it is a body. She steps closer and her head begins to feel light and woozy as she realizes it is a body of a child. When the arm moves, she falls back in fright and lands on her back. She tries to control the heaving motion that is going on in her tummy..but cannot. As she sees Wulfgar kneel next to the child, she throws up onto the floor.

Kneeling beside the boy Wulfgar looks at Arilyn, a look of concern crosses his face but it quickly fades. He frowns into deep concentration as he tries to help the lad. "Arilyn I need you to get a hold of yourself. You may need to get the others if this does not work." He seems to be in a semi trance like state now as he attempts to help the lad.

Arilyn wipes her hand delicately across her lips..her tummy still heaving and rumbling. She stands and walks closer to Wulfgar and the boy..keeping silent as she looks at the boy, her heart ready to break. A tear drops down her cheek and she wipes it away, embarassed at showing such weakness.

As Wulfgar kneels and is about to start praying, the boy says "'m....sorry...." he then dies before you can even begin your prayers.

Arilyn cries out as she sees the life spirits of the boy leave his body. She grabs the medallion of Callus, pulls it off her neck and throws it at Wulfgar, "How could your god let a young boy die." She runs out of the room, everything fuzzy as tears flow from her eyes.

Wulfgar watches Arilyn ripping the medallion from around her neck with complete indifference. He turns his eyes back to the boy as the medallion hits him he looks at it then picks it up and places it calmly in his pack. He reaches down and lifts the body of the boy into his arms. Standing he walks slowly outside and into the middle of the courtyard, where he lies the body down on the ground. He strips off his sword and drops it on the ground beside him and his backpack gets dropped beside the sword. He kneels down and looks at the boy. "I know not what you meant when you said it was all your fault, and I guess there is no way for you to explain it to me now. There are so many questions and so few answers." He lifts his gaze to the skies overhead. "Callus I know you watch over me and your followers and that this boy was not one of them, forgive Arilyn for what she has done . This is hard for someone who has not seen that much death and even for one of your servants who has! I wish we had made it a bit earlier and I could have attempted to help the lad. For I know he did not mean any harm to anyone." With that Wulfgar stays kneeling beside the boy in silent vigil until the others arrive.

Meanwhile, some of the others go to examine Antars body.
You are lead to the beheaded body of Antar. The body was obviously being prepared for burial before the undertakers left (probably because of the fire) and is now simply layed upon a stone table head a few inches above the neck and naked.

Catherine will, if no one else will, handle the body and examine it (providing the guards allow her to do so). She's no shrinking violet and has been around corpses before.

The paladin reflexively reaches to the centre of his chest, cupping empty space. With head bowed, a prayer asking for understanding and protection of all innocents and those who wish to return to the side of good, for misunderstandings to be cleared and truth and sfety to emerge from deception and confusion. Gareth mentions that he wishes to examine the stables, cells (who else is down there?) and Antar's belongings, searching the first two for word of the other two brothers, and the latter for clues on the deception. If the guards resist, the knight bluntly points out that Antar had been convicted of a crime which would bring about the death of the King's personal guards, the same as an attack against his person... and Gareth has right to investigate by his position.

Finding no evidence of foul play, the small group heads for Antars room to examine his effects.

The cells appear empty. Antar owns a few changes of clothes a hairbrush, 2 sheets of blank parchament, quill and ink, a candle, and no other apparent personal effects. You find no trace of the boys in Antars room, or the cells.

The knight holds the blank papers up to the light, playing with the angle at which it strikes the sheets, in attempt to read any impressions left upon them, then returns them (assuming nothing interesting, keeping them if something there). "Terribly sparse for an advisor to a lord," Gareth remarks to himself. Assuming nothing interesting is learned further from guard, sheets, or head (which the knight carefully examines carefully): The paladin shakes his head in disgruntlement. "Let us stop by Wulfgar, Kay, and Arilyn to see how goes their search, then head to the stable to check on the boys' mounts and length since the lads were last seen."

Meanwhile, the rest of the broken group head for the stables to leave and await the others outside the keep.

Vincas, Reggie, Keldar, Caoihmin, and Kay enter the stable as Jahl is leaving. Barbaxle is nowhere to be seen although Jahl swears he was here a moment ago. The horses all look just fine. Three guards are about looking in, over, under, and around things big enough to house a child.

Keldar looks at the guards, starts clapping his hands, and yells "HIDE AND SEEK!!! Then starts giggling like a child. He runs and buries himself in the cloasest stack of hay that would fit him.

Where is the rest of the group? Barbaxle asks "I thought that you were going to find Reynold and have a talk with him. I heard that Baldwin is missing again. Something is very wrong with that situation. I've looked at all the horses and they seem to be in very good shape, at least whoever tried to kill us didn't try to harm our steeds."

Vincas will assist Caoihmin and the others prepare to leave. "So, where to everybody? I read a tale once about a great abandoned keep in a forest, somewhere near here. It was rumored to hold vast fortunes, but the residents were turned into the undead and doomed to guard a powerful artifact in the cellars. I wonder which way to that place?"

Kay wanders over to her horse and gives the beast a good look over, "That's what we get when we travel with heroes. As for the abandoned forest keep, I'm sure there's some sort of library in this dump where we can find some maps. We might get lucky and pick up some actual information on the place itself beyond what you have heard..As for the undead, I really hope that's just a rumor..I mean, how long has the place been under?"

Caoimhin gets his horse packed quickly, with an angry look on his face. "It's not my fault they won't listen to reason. I've been here before. I've *seen* how one gets run out of town." He looks up at Kay. "One benefit, I suppose, of being a Knight of Pikahl. You never find yourself at the end of the town guard's pikes, or worse yet, with a mob of townfolk chasing you with stones and clubs." He lashes some of his equipment to the saddle, trying several times to fasten the knot and eventually giving up in disgust, pulling out the strap and tying the bundle in a different place. "Barbaxle, I'm heading in the same direction that we were going before we stopped here. The others have decided that they want to straighten this barony out before they leave. Much as I'd like to stay with the party, I'm just not willing to lose my head over which petty tyrant is ruling this stinking vale. You're free to join me if you like; I'm going to ride out just until I can't smell this place anymore, then wait a while for the rest of the party to catch up -- assuming any of them survive, which seems bloody unlikely to me." He pulls on a strap, but the edge of the strap slides roughly through his hand. "OUCH! By the Queen's hairy back, why don't they smooth the edges of these things!?" Wincing, he pulls his hand away and inspects his palm. "And I don't see myself going into any haunted keeps anytime soon, not with *this* lot. No offense Vincas, but until your friend here gets over his second childhood, I'm not taking him anywhere with flesh-eating ghouls. The whole idea of leaving this keep is to be in *less* danger. I think worst of all would be staying here long enough to find the library, hanging out in the library long enough to find some maps that they might or might not have, and *then* going out looking for FLESH-EATING GHOULS who aren't bothering anyone sensible enough to stay out of a bloody haunted castle." He pulls the final knot on his pack, then steps back to inspect his work. A moment passes, then he runs at the nearest pile of hay and kicks the pile with all his might. "Bastard son of a mongrel bitch!" he shouts, then huffs back to his horse and begins untying the bundle that he's just tied in the place where he means to sit.

"Caoimhin!" Barbaxle cries "Please don't leave just yet, wait here with us for a while. I don't like the idea of us losing you. Who knows if we will be able to find you when we leave. We have been through alot together, PLEASE do me this favor and stay. I know that you don't like this place! I think that I might hate it more that you, with all the deceiving people and burning buildings. There is nothing that I would like more than to just be in the wide open forest with the birds chirping and the breeze blowing. Just staring up at the blue sky (It is blue right?)......(As he tales off for a moment) How about it Caoimhin? Without waiting for a response, he then turns to Keldar "As for you little one, you need to settle down and behave yourself. I don't want to have to give you a spankin'."

A pouty face appears, "No fair... I just wanna play too, its... [looks up at Barbaxle's unimpressed face] ... sorry .... I'll be good." He looks over to VIncas, "What a flesheating gool?".

Arilyn runs in a daze...and finds herself in the stable. She leans to her horse and lowers her forehead to his neck. She gently rubs his coat as she feels herself calm back to normal.

After Barbaxle get done talking with Caoimhin, he will turn to Kay and say "I don't think that we should leave just yet. I have a bad feeling that the rest of the group might need out help. I want to leave this place just as much as you, but WE can't leave part of our group behind. I know we all have different views about a lot of things, but this one I think we all believe in. Never leave a comrade behind! All I ask is that we wait here for awhile longer" Once he is done talking with Kay and the rest of the group. Barbaxle will go over by his horse and sets his head on the horses side. He looks to be in prayer...

Caoimhin stops retying the pack to his horse as Barbaxle speaks. When Barbaxle finishes, Caoimhin closes his eyes and breathes deeply for a few seconds. At last, he sighs, opens his eyes, and turns to Barbaxle. "All right, I'll stay here until the brat is found, or until they decide they're not going to find him. But I'm *not* staying here past midday, and the first time one of the locals tries to hit me with a rock, I'm leaving." He finishes tying the bundle, tries moving the pack around to check for stability, and steps away from his horse. A few moments later, he turns to Arilyn -- apparently noticing her for the first time -- and says, "Are you all right? How goes the search?"

"The citizens of this keep weren't pleased with Sir Gareth after he sat out the fire. They were muttering something fierce when the smoke was clear and he was still standing there with Cathy and Wulf-guy. Still I guess not a single soul there, with the exception of Arilyn ofcourse, had the nerve to voice their disapproval to his face" While going through her assorted packs, she watches Caoimhin, "Take it easy there, I can't wait to leave this rat-trap, but you take your time with the ropes, Isn't that right Angel?" While everyone else is finishing up, Kay spends a few moments chatting, ala "Baby talk" with her horse. It's slightly painful to the ears. Quickly returning to her "normal voice", Kay adds, "Keldar, a Fleshing Eating Ghoul is basically a dead guy who still moves around and would really like to have you for dinner." Once the saddles are strapped and the ropes are um, roped, Kay looks to Caoimhin, "So, where are we going?"

Arilyn breathes in deeply, trying to regain her composure, "The boy is dead..he was burned so badly."

Kay's jaw nearly hits the floor, "What? Where did you find him? How about his father?", She frowns, "This is so phoney, I wouldn't be surprised if Vincas's little theory wasn't right on the money. I guess we better meet up with the rest of the heroes.."

Looking over to Kay with sadness in her eyes, Arilyn says, "I was with Wulfgar..we found a boys body..and..and it was so badly burned. I thought he was dead and then he moved his arm. I thought an evil spirit had taken him but he was still alive." Pausing to catch her breath, "I heard him say, 'It was my fault I'm sorry'. Wulfgar was going to try to heal the boy but it was to late." Her eyes becoming moist again, "Kay, I cannot get the sight of the boys burned body out of my head."

With the "flesh-eating ghoul" discription and the description of the burned boy, Keldar's childishness fleas, replaced with a near catatonic state. He just stares ahead, completely unresposive to voices or movement.

Jahl comes into the stable again from his position in the doorway. He makes his way across the room to Arilyn where he offers a comforting shoulder. "It was an accident Arilyn, there's nothing you could have done. It is a tragedy when a child dies." Turning to the others, Jahl says, "the Gods frown upon this place. The sooner we leave, the happier I will be."

Kay bites her lip and pauses for a moment before talking, "Thing like that happened back home. Some kid was playing in a barn with her puppy and accidentally knocked over a lantern. It burn down the barn, and every other building near it..I assume it's an accident like that, considering what he said, has anyone else found any other info, and just where is his father at?"

Vincas rushed to Keldar's side. "Oh great, now look at him. He's scared out of his wits." He waves his hand in front of Keldar's eyes, looking for a response. "By all the Gods I'll be happy to leave this flea-bitten, burned out hovel town far behind me. I felt safer in the woods with the goblins. At least with them you know what you're in for. Since I've been here I've seen spells backfire, someone possibly tried to kill us, the Lord's son, whom we just rescued, torched the whole place. Hmm, I wonder who's going to get blamed for the fire and his death? Let's see, how about the strangers who summoned storms and drew weapons in the courtyard after the fire, impying a threat to the Lord of the Keep." He laughs and shakes his head, tempting fate perhaps "What the hell else can go wrong today?"

Reggie steps forward and says "Rather than worrying about everyone else, Why don't we worry about our own? Keldar is obviously very sick, and I very much doubt if there is anyone here that can help him. Let's leave these people to their grief, regroup and move on" and with that, Reggie challenges Keldar to see who can get into the saddle of their mount first.

Looking back at Vincas for a minute is the old Keldar. "Bock's not a flesh eating ghoul is he... why'd he have to die". The face staring at you goes blank again.

As Caoimhin listens to Arilyn's tale of finding the boy, he hangs his head and covers his mouth with his hand. At last he lifts his eyes, drops his hand, and speaks. "I am sorry you had to see such a thing, fair Arilyn. The monsters and demons that held court for so many years outside the city walls hold no horrors worse than that which men inflict on their own." He looks around at the group assembled in the stables. "I'm in as much a hurry to leave here as any, but I think that Gareth and the others have little reason to stay now. I'd like to find them so that we can all leave together. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes. Jahl, would you care to come with me?"

Everyone heads out of the stables, and in doing so see Gareth and Catherine standing beside the kneeling form of Wulgar and the prone form of a child. Upon closer inspection, you discover the child to be very badly burned and unmoving.

As you prepare to cross the courtyard, you see a figure dressed in black kneeling on the ground next to a small prone humanoid figure. Upon getting closer, you discover Wulfgar clearly grieving, kneeling next to the badly charred unrecognizable body of a child.

Walking over to her horse Catherine mounts up then steers it toward the gate. "Get Arilyn and the others, I'll wait for you outside the gate...the air in here is starting to get to me."

"Then it pains me to hear that you must wait alone, lady Catherine. We have a responsability to help locate the boys of this keep, whether that seems to be word, body, or life. I am sure the gods will grant us a sign if they wish us to do more or less than such simple aid to those who have offered us shelter. Besides, none of the party has had a rest since last night... might be better for all if we departed at the dawn, not slink away in the night." The knight releases Catherine's hand and kneels besides Wulfgar. "Friend... is this indeed poor Baldwin?"

Catherine kicks the horses flanks, and cries "farewell then Gareth. You are all Fools" before disappearing through the gate and exiting the keep.

The paladin removes his gloves, tucking them within his belt in a deliberate motion. One hand reaches out to rest upon the child's body, the other upon the charred brow. A war of sadness and resoluteness play upon Gareth's features as he begins a prayer, "O, great Lord Pikahl. Receive to your sheltering breast this small traveller, who needs thy blessing and guidance even more than most who grace the heavenly paths. Benevolent Pikahl, your humble servant does ask of thee for the boy to be watched over in the next life, to be guarded in afterlife, and for peace to favour his soul. For the sake of the mistakes of the past, the temptations of the present, but the future of hope, so do we ask this of thee. In thy name, may hope and strength of spirit prevail - Lord Pikahl." Rising slowly, the paladin addresses the child quietly. "Go in peace little one."

Arilyn stays back from the rest of the group, her shoulders sagging as she leans against the door of the stable. She looks over at the others, keeping her eyes away from the boy. She thinks of a young life that will never grow, a death that came far to early. She thinks of evil men that live to be old and innocent ones that die well before their time. She walks with her head held high a look of determination over her face. Stepping next to Gareth she says, "This place has raised more questions than answers. We must find Reynolds and find out the truth. This poor boy has died a horrible death and I cannot walk out of these gates and put this behind me. I do not seek revenge..I seek answers to resolve this. Am I alone?"

The party reunites on a sad note as they discover the burned body of an unrecognizable child. Wulfgar holds vigil over the body until ready for burial. Gareth prays and feels a bit better afterwards. Everyone else is torn between leaving, and seeing the child buried and the other 2 children found. As the group debates, Orman returns tears obvious in his eyes. "We've found the boys. They're in their nursery with the nanny. They don't know about Baldwin, and I dont plan to tell them yet"

Cole Clutches his holy symbol as he turns away from the charred remains and sits with his back to it. Even as news of the other boys safety is relayed the look of grief and anger are still present. A black stone is nervously shifting in his hand as he sits and stares at the ground around him.

Jahl sighs sadly as he looks at the burnt child in front of him. He closes his eyes as Gareth says his prayer. "Gareth, as much as we all would like to mourne this poor child's death, I think that we should move on. Short of divine intervention," Jahl pauses a moment as he recollects the last few days and the appearance and involvment of several Gods. "Short of divine intervention," he begins again. "This child is gone from us. There is nothing we can currentl;y do for him. We can, however, bring some justice to his death by finding out what has really happened here or we can leave and put the awful events of this keep behind us all." "As our leader Gareth, please lay a course for us and lets please be quick on it for I do not wish to spend any more time here than I must." With that said, Jahl silently looks about to see what any reactions there are.

Reggie steps forwards and says "Aren't we all forgetting something? We are all so busy worrying about everyone else, that we have forgotten to look after our own. Poor Keldar is sick, and no one has suggested getting him some help. What with all this magic backfiring, his brain could have turned in gruel or something!"

I think our little friend will wake up from his childhood dream soon enough. The backfiring of these spells has been happening for awhile, the side-effects will wear off. We can't leave this town when they need guidance the most. Please everyone stay and help found the evil in the place." The knight kneels beside Keldar and pats his small head. "I am sorry little one... no one mentioned to me that you were not well. I will include you in my prayers tonight. Barbaxle, I agree that this town needs us, but the lord has ordered that we depart in the morning. While I suspect something is amiss, we have no proof, and no right to defy the lord’s law. If the guards permit us to remain tomorrow, we shall do so; if we are asked to leave, we must do so. At worst, we can send word to King Arion to send a detachment to formally investigate the matter, but we must bide by the laws of the land."

"I can't believe that this was an accident." barbaxle says " How can anyone do this to a child that has so much to give the world. I don't see how anyone could leave this situation without doing something. I would like to get some answers also! I think our little friend will wake up from his childhood dream soon enough. The backfiring of these spells has been happening for awhile, the side-effects will wear off. We can't leave this town when they need guidance the most. Please everyone stay and help found the evil in the place."

Caoimhin turns his face down and sighs. "All right. I have no wish to stay here: surely the boy's death is a tragedy, but this is the way of the so-called `nobles' -- mark my words, this Lord Reynold has his place only because one of his fathers committed just such crimes when titles were being handed out. Nevertheless, Baldwin was just a boy, and nearly innocent for that, and I understand that many of you wish to see justice." He looks around at the members of the party. "But if the lord still wishes us to leave, we go, without further hesitation."

Wulfgar raises his head and tells you he refuses to leave until the child has been laid to rest. Orman concurs and says the child will be prepared for entombment in the family crypt where he will be interred tomorrow. He proceeds to send out a party of 4 guards to attempt to locate Reynolds to tell him of the child believed to be Baldwin.

The body is being moved by the undertaker, and Wulfgar goes along to keep vigil over him. What do the rest of you do? It's approaching midnight and kost of you can barely keep your eyes open you're so tired.
Gareth seeks out a guardsman to secure quarters for the party to sleep; Gareth prays, then goes nite-nite after his watch is over.

Everyone decides to retire to the stables, except Wulfgar who stays up with the body of the child all night.

Turn 99