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Turn 99 Morning at the Keep

You eat, pray and do your absolutions and physical training and memorization, have a restful night of sleep and have uneventful watches. As morning advances, you discover the boy will be entombed in 2 hours. Wulfgar appears to be the only one of you to have not slept, based on his rumpled unkempt appearance.

It's hard to tell if Keldar is awake or asleep. He appears to just be staring straight ahead, unresponsive to anything in his vision. When guided up, he stands and follows Vincas's lead.

Gareth fastidiously washes himself and cleans his clothing, weapons, and armour before donning them. "Come, companions; we have a final farewell to attend before we depart this place."

Wulfgar will leave the boy in the morning and find somewhere to have a bath and get cleaned up. He will make the effort to clean his weapons and all his armour and equipment, to keep his mind clear and focused he will finish his preparations by going to the battlements and making a prayer to Callus.

Kay goes through her equipment/cleans, adjusts and places her armor and whatnot on. "Can't say I'm going to miss this place, or the smell."

Keldar's blank stare suddenly disappears, and he turns to Vincas.

"Eye son. Best we be head'd from here. Mansal demands the boy be avenged!"

Vincas appears to be even more troubled by Keldar's appearance. He stands beside the gnome, shuffling his feet nervously and slowly shakes his head. "Keldar's worsening. Instead of being himself as a child he now acts as if he was a friend of ours who but recently fell in battle. Could one of you who have the gift of healing from your god please look at him. He's not getting any better, and I think if this was a spell side effect it should have worn off by now." The bard looks to the group with a desparate, imploring look in his eyes.

Arilyn walks over to her horse and rubs him gently above his snout. She reaches into her pouch for some sugar and feeds it to her horse. She breathes in the leather smell of her saddle and slides it over her horse. Silently and effortlessly she mounts her horse and they move out of the stable. She pulls on the reins and stops in front of Wulfgar, "the boy's spirit is long gone and I do not see the need to stay here any longer. You would have served the group better by sleeping instead of mourning for the life that has departed from person. If you need some type of ritual to soothe your conscience then so be it...but this is an unkind place with evil people and I am leaving now. I will wait for the group up the road...hopefully I will find a pond or stream and wash this place off my body." She tilts her head up and nudges her horse...without looking back she rides out.

Wulfgar looks up at Arilyn as she stops her horse in front of him and speaks. With a shake of his head "Whay know you of the wills of the gods if you discard them as soon as they embrace you. Who are you to judge what I should and should not do? If you had not wasted precious time getting yourself into trouble by attacking my old friend then perhaps I could have saved the boys life. As it is he is dead and has gone to rest at the feet of his god. I found out more by staying up all night than you did by getting some sleep. If you wish to leave then it seems to me that you have made your choice! So be it!" He turns and walks into the stable to check his horse and stow away his spare gear.

Arilyn stops her horse and listens to what she considers the rantings of Wulfgar. After he is done, she slowly turns her head..fire burning in her eyes. "I will assume that you are tired and distraught and that your words are not meant for me but for yourself. You say...if this...perhaps that...like it is an excuse. Well 'if' you want to blame me then go right ahead."

Kay breaks away from the group to catch up.
"Arilyn! You couldn't just possibly wait just a little longer? I thought it would be a good idea to show that poor kid some respect, then we're all going away from this place, hopefully for good. If you really really need to get away from here before we do, I'd reccomend not hoping into any pond near here..These roads are well traveled, and even if we don't get the monsters we used to, traveling alone, it still isn't that safe..I know all about that.".

Arilyn's look softens as she sees Kay and a gentle smile crosses her lips. "Perhaps what i need right now are a few monsters," she laughs. She slides off her horse and walks to Kay. "You are right Kay, I do owe the boy respect for the loss of his life...it was so very short." She leans closer to you and whispers, "I think I will always be safe with you at my side."

Kay helps Arilyn return to the horse back to the stables. "Just watch yourself with that Wulfgar fellow. He seems to be a bit jumpy, and may be emotionally unstable, the typical trait of a warrior, one that doesn't last very long! Come to think of it, most of these folks you travel with are a bit on the strange side. Like that gnome who thought he was a boy, and then a dead dwarf, and there's that Gareth fellow..Is he really a knight or just a knave?" She looks up to see if the group's still in sight, "We better catch up with the others.."

Arilyn listens closely to Kay, nodding and smiling. "Wulfgar is able to heal and he is very fond of his god, Callus. He wants me to train with him and to study the teachings of Callus. I accepted a medallion of Callus from him but just recently I got angry and threw it back at him," whispered Arilyn. Arilyn moves closer to you, her shoulder lightly touching yours. "Wulfgar is very true to the path he follows and he is very nice." She brushes her fingers lightly across yours as we walk to the group. "Now Gareth..he can go on and on and on," she laughs. "Perhaps we can ask him a question and see how long the answer will be," she giggles. "The gnomes arrived just about the same time as you and I have hardly spoken to them. But you know gnomes...strange they are."

"Ouch!", Kay stops and stares into Arilyn's eyes, "When you did that, you didn't just reject his goddess.." Quickly remembering where they were supposed to go, she walks on, "I don't really think we pick our gods, they just seem to find us and embrace us..Sort of like Lent, the god of wanderers and adventurers.That fits me to the tee, as Callus, the egotistical red-faced god fits Wulfgar. As for Gareth, he seems to be a nice fellow, but I'm having my doubts about this whole Pik-Knight business. The stories that I heard growing up, had these guys as Ultra-Holey-Moley-Super-Knights. If that was true, he would of been the first one to the fire, leading and inspiring the others to put out that fire And more than once he would of risked his own life to run into the burning building in search of anyone who was trapped inside..Instead, he just stood there. It really brought me down."

"You are right Kay, Gareth really acted strange during the fire. And then he tried to cover-up his inaction and that even made it seem worse." Arilyn's eyes brighten. "Do you have a god that you follow? Is Lent your god? I have never heard of him?"

"I see that I am not the only one who finds funerals boring," Jahl says as he walks up to Arilyn and Kay. "Besides, I would rather be putting distance from this keep if I had the choice. Besides, it is too fine a day to be waiting inside this keep, don't you agree?"

Arilyn looks over to Kay, a very dubious look on her face. "Are you pulling my leg...is there really a god named Lent?" She laughs heartily. "If you you woke up one day with a strange tatoo, perhaps somebody else woke up with another notch on their sword." Arilyn tries to stop laughing. "I would love to see you without your chains." Catching her breath. "Yes we should pay our respects. It is the right thing to do."

Kay again comes to a halt, "Yes! There is a god named Lent! Just ask any musician, any bard..Hell, just step into any tavern, and you'll find more than a few.", She quickly returns to walk'n, "As for the tattoo, I kinda like to think it was given to me by Lent himself, sort of an invitation. And at the time, I was sixteen, so I, er you know." The warrior's face turns a little red, "Besides, I had a sort of bodyguard with me during those years..He would of clobbered any weirdo who tried to sneak in while I was sleeping, and before anything wicked pops up in that elven brain of yours, he wasn't human, but a trained gnoll..Basically the best of both worlds of man and beast."
"So, who do you follow?"

Arilyn smiles as she sees her friend approach. She slaps Jahl on the back. "It is a wonderful day. It seems we all have gone our separate ways and I have missed you. I hope you have stayed out of trouble." Arilyn looks over to Kay and grins, "I cannot count the number of times that I have pulled Jahl out of the jaws of certain death." Arilyn's smile is warm and she is so happy as she walks together with Kay and Jahl.

"...Yes, Lent is the god I follow...You probably don't know much about him, since there aren't any official temples out there, well, besides a good tavern full of song and wine..Wandering and wine's what he's all about. I woke up one-day with this strange tattoo, it's supposed to be his symbol, and I've seen it on the lutes and bazookies of bards before. I'll show you when I'm not incased in chain."

When Jahl strolls by, she frowns, "I don't care for the 'typical' funeral, well, none at all, but I know that these folks will be in black, crying and beating their breasts..Ofcourse this is a kid were talking about.. Several years ago, I attended the funeral of a well-known bard, John Anderson. This was held at a huge tavern, er "Purple Dragoon", I think, and there was a huge party going on, with John propped up at the head of the table. His friends told jokes and stories about the guy all night long..They never did find the bard's body after the thing was over...Weird.", Kay pauses for a second and adds, "I'll have to pop over there, even if it is for a moment, just to give the kid the respect he deserves..We should all."

Barbaxle rides up. "Yes, I do agree its a nice day to do some traveling. I say that we go for a little ride and see if we can find a place to enjoy the beauty that is around us. Its not wise to go too far from town, geesh! Do I sound like Gareth or what..Hehehe...I've been with him for such a long time that sometimes I start to think like him. I hope that its not permanent, even though it is good for us to think a like when we are in dangerous situations as often as we are. I hope that I didn't embarrass myself with the way that I acted during the fire. Its just that I don't like towns that much, I prefer the wide open space in-between the towns and cities." As Barbaxle takes in a deep breath "Ahhh!! Isn't that just the best smell in all the Meyr?"

Wulfgar looks around for Gareth. Upon finding him he says, "Gareth! "It would appear that the boy started the fire by accident in his hurry to get to us." "Carelessness... it could have killed many peop- wait... this was garnered from Callus, I gather?" Gareth asks interrupting. "He wanted to tell us that Antar told him Reynold is not his real father!! It appears that could answer our question as to why Reynold showed no reaction upon the return of his son." Wulfgar continunes, looking at Gareth to see what he has to say.

The knight nods his head slowly. "So it would, though poor excuse it is for such treatment of the boy. Antar would likely have learned the fact from his position as advisor... something does not make sense. When we returned, Antar had already been convicted and jailed, with no visitors allowed, so the lad could not have found out afterwards unless there happened to be a hidden passage into the cells, one that we missed. Moreover, why tell the boy last night? Why not before he left for years of training? Why would Antar submit a false ransom? Why would the lad come to us and not his trusted friends or counsel within the keep? Certainly he knew he could trust us, but why choose to confide in us? Did Reynold's simply want the bastard or adoptee out of his home... why?" Gareth paces the stable lane as he attempts to piece together the puzzle: step, step, step, pause and turn, step, step, step, pause and turn... "What insights do you have on this Wulfgar? We gain one answer which fashions more queries."

Wulfgar watches the Knight pace the floor. "Well actually I spoke with the boy last night!" A smile crosses his face as he watches the knights face "Another of my hidden talents!" He adds as he shrugs the questioning look on Gareth's face away. "I had always wondered what it would be like to have the range of powers granted to many of the priestly orders... but Pikahl's gifts are more suited to the role we play as his servants, and the close bond with him is a reward I would not change for anything." Wulfgar walks to his horse and pats it's neck. "I cannot understand it either! Why come to us? Perhaps Antar was his real father and Reynold sent the false ransom! This way Reynold tried to get rid of the boy whilst seeming to want to rescue him and also allows him to be rid of Antar without anyone questioning him!" "The thought had also occurred to me, Wulfgar." Gareth replies "Yet, how did the boy find out about the truth of his father?" "I do not understand what is happening here and I am in need of sleep before I try any more thinking on the matter." Wulfgar says. "What are your thoughts on leaving this place after the funeral? Do you wish to leave? If you wish to stay I think I better check on Arilyn as I feel I said to much outside and have maybe upset her a little." He turns to look at the Knight a tired look on his face he leans against the nearest post and rubs his face with his hands.

The knight sighs briefly in thought. "I am... uncertain." Gareth shrugs his great shoulders, softly jingling the mail protecting his body. "While something feels to be amiss, we have no proof of wrong-doing on anyone's part, and an order to depart today. While I could push matters with my authority from King Arion, I do not feel the justification and righteousness of action to do such. I believe we will have to depart after the funeral unless we are given a sign or information otherwise."

Meanwhile, as Wulfgar and Gareth speak, the others continue to ready themselves for attending the funeral.

Cole Packs his gear,Readies his horse,and tries to assist Keldar. Since the gnome seems to be taking this harder than the others, Cole tries to talk to him and offers every assistance and condolences he can. "IsthereanythingIcandoforyoumyfriend."

"Eye, ye speaks like ol' excited Keldar. Yes ya can help. Help me find me battle axe! There's a head that needs splitin' a'fore the child's spirit can rest."

"Um, what are you talking about....Bock. What do you know about the boy's death?" Vincas waits for an answer, a puzzled and flustered look on his face.

"This appears as murder most foul. Only a coward would kill a child this way. We've gotta find the fiend and bury mw axe in 'is 'ead! Where is my axe!!"

Gareth stops on his exit from the stables upon hearing the curious exchange, and kneels beside the addled gnome. "Greetings... Bock? I am Sir Gareth Arr, a servant of Pikahl. We wish to act also, but need the tale of the happenings around the boy. We know he died by accident, but who tried to have him killed? What is Antar's and Reynold's involvement in this problem? Who was Baldwin's true father? Are the other children in danger? Please tell us what you know if we are to put Baldwin to peaceful rest."

You get a very puzzled look in response. "I just know what the buch uv us muckin' about found out... How'd I know more'n'you?"

A hopeful visage drops from Gareth's face. "You race is well-known for its resoucefulness; I thought perhaps you had heard something while I was elsewhere. My apologies for confusing you."

Arilyn leaves the keep, as Gareth and Wulfgar speak amongst themselves. Everyone else prepares for the funeral and departure. A bell tolls signifying the start of the funeral procession.

Gareth approaches Barbaxle and Jahl as the knight turns from inspecting a mount near Emperor. "Friends... it is bound to take some time at this funeral, much of it likely indoors at the keep's chapel. Perhaps you might feel the need to wander outside the fort's walls?" the paladin suggestively questions with a pointed glance at the departing Ariyln.

"I think that would be wise Gareth," Barbaxle says "I would like to get out of this place also. I think I will go catch up with her. We will be just on the outside of the keep, I will be looking for you in a little while."

"Thank you, my friend. As always, you can be relied upon when need doth present itself. I shall endeavour to return as promptly as possible with the party." Gareth replies.

"Hmmm," Jahl ponders quickly. "A brisk ride outside the walls of the keep does indeed sound like a wonderful idea." With that, Jahl gathers his things and takes his vile riding beast out after Barbaxle and Arilyn.

Wulfgar walks outside and watches the procession go by before following. A heavy tired look on his face he walks in complete silence with his head hung low. He is deep in thought and concentration.

The knight carefully places his bedroll and backpack at the back of the stall with his mighty roan. Snapping crisply, the auric-azure tabard marches towards the sound of the bells.




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