From their positions on shore, Casdegere, Bianca, and Koran watch a ball of orange flame engulf the top of the pillar where Rikard and Bart kept watch. The cause is not obvious: you saw no enemies, heard nothing, and know neither Bart nor Rikard has the ability to create a ball of fire. As the afterimage of fire fades from your eyes, you watch the pillar for signs of movement…
Casdegere Constantine runs toward the pillar “Its a trap! They sprung a trap!”
Both Bart and Rikard are Shaken and suffer a Wound. But you have survived. The staff is intact and apparently undamaged. The same cannot be said for the box. It is twisted metal. Ashes waft from it and float on the light breeze.
Casdegere Constantine calls up “Are you two alright?”
Bart answers “We’ll live.”
Koran Thelig runs into the water and begins climbing the pillar.
Rikard Castleberry yells down “Oh ya, just fine up here, how are you?”
Casdegere Constantine: “What in the blazes happened?”
Rikard and Bart realize that some men would not have survived such a blast.
Bart tosses the staff down to Cas. “We found their stash.”
Casdegere Constantine catches the staff.
Casdegere Constantine: “Good find!”
Koran Thelig reaches the top and looks over the injured.
Casdegere Constantine looks over the staff.
Mistress Bianca (none too quietly): That will draw the attention of almost anyone with eyeballs in their sockets. (as she sees the staff) Excellent, now we can get the hell out of here…all quick like.
Koran Thelig: I have not encountered a trap like this. These poachers are changing tactics.
Rikard Castleberry stands up and shakes the cobwebs loose.
Casdegere Constantine: This was the work of someone far more skilled.
Koran Thelig: Magic. Hoyt. He’s killed enough men.
Casdegere Constantine: There will never be enough men for him to kill unless he is dead himself.
Bart looks over the ruins of the box.
Mistress Bianca: Yes again, he is a wizard to be feared. And now that we have set off that beacon he will probably be heading this way.
Casdegere Constantine: Right…come on down guys and let us make haste.
Rikard Castleberry pulls out some bandages and starts to tie up his wounds.
Koran Thelig climbs about halfway then drops into the water.
Koran Thelig keeps a watch while Bart and Rikard tend to their wounds.
Mistress Bianca seems impatient to leave.
Rikard Castleberry: I’ll be down in a few, I need to wrap up a few things first.
Mistress Bianca checks on the poachers dangling behind her.
Koran Thelig calls up to Rikard. “Is that a pun?”
Rikard Castleberry grins.
The poachers laugh at her.
Mistress Bianca: Rikard they will grow back.
Obviously, they are pleased the trap was sprung.
Mistress Bianca does not have time for their moment of amusement and pushes them with her staff so that they begin to swing like a pendulum.
Mistress Bianca: Tic toc tic toc. How long will you last up here if I leave you to the blood feeder mosquitoes.
Poacher 1: Then let us down.
Rikard Castleberry: You know Bart, I’m beginning to not like magic so much.
Bart: I am not sure what we did to spring the trap.
Mistress Bianca to Koran, “How big did you say the mosquitoes in these parts can get? Suck a man’s blood dry if they had the chance? I thought you said that over an ale in the Salted Eel once.
Koran Thelig shrugs. “Well, really, how big do they need to be? Big enough and that’s what they are.”
Mistress Bianca rasps a dry laughter and turns away from the swinging men.
Koran Thelig: Unless you want to torment these men some more, follow me to the boat. Rikard, man the crossbow again.
Bart gathers the pieces of the box and its contents to study on the way back.
Rikard Castleberry groans as he stands up and stretches, heading down to the rest of everyone.
Mistress Bianca: I am waiting on you guys, if you would be so kind Rikard to cut them down…
Rikard Castleberry: Oh sorry, I had a run in with some fire up there.
Bart imagines the sight of Bianca leading the nude men through town.
Mistress Bianca: I understand Mister Castleberry. As I said, they will grow back, your eyebrows that is.
Rikard Castleberry slices the ropes holding the poachers with his spear, giving him the reward of a nice thump as they hit the ground.
Koran Thelig: Once everyone is in the boat, Koran pushes off from shore with a pole and guides the boat into open water.
Before dawn you reach the Kith’takharos docks. Koran leaps off the boat and ties it up.
Mistress Bianca: You are a fine Boatman Mister Thelig.
Koran Thelig: I get a lot of practice. But there are some questions I’d like to ask before we head into town.
Mistress Bianca: Ok.
Rikard Castleberry: Yes Koran, fire is hot.
Koran Thelig: Obviously Casdegere doesn’t like me. But then, who does he like? Anyway, what are your plans now? We don’t have to work at cross-purposes you know.
Mistress Bianca touches the chin of her mask in thought.
Mistress Bianca: Poacher hunting?
A bird swoops by, flying only a few feet over your heads. A white feather wafts down to settle at Bart’s feet.
Koran Thelig laughs. “But some poachers should be hunted above others, yes?”
Mistress Bianca: As it would appear.
Bart takes the feather and studies it, giving thanks to the bird, before tucking it in his belt.
Koran Thelig: Well, I’m sure Bome will beef up the patrols. But I think what we need is some freelance work.
As Bart picks up the feather, a tingle rushes up his arm and through his body. This must be some sort of sign, but of what…
Rikard Castleberry: Oh nice feather, where’d you get that?
Mistress Bianca: For the moment I feel that the town of Kith’takharos is back to status quo. No greater threat today then there was 3 days ago. But as today dawns I am still hated by this town. More than likely the Order will always look sidelong at me.
Bart: the spirits provided it for me.
Koran Thelig: You have the staff. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I would rather be taking it to the Order. Please guard it closely.
Mistress Bianca: I wonder if bringing down more of these. (Points to the poachers) will help that.
Koran Thelig shrugs. “No doubt. We can keep the pressure on them.”
Mistress Bianca: Koran, I think first we need to find out what this thing really is. With that knowledge we are more informed on Hoyt’s intentions.
Koran Thelig: I will speak to Dorian. Try to get more information about Hoyt. Do you still want him? I may say more than I should after a few ales. That golden skull atop the staff makes me uneasy.
Mistress Bianca: I cannot speak for my friends here. I think whether I want Hoyt or not is not as important as the fact that he needs to be dealt with.
Rikard Castleberry: That it does to most everyone.
Bart: May I see the staff?
Mistress Bianca: I think we need all the help we can get, both the Guild and the Order working together on this one, for all our sakes.
You start to hear voices and footsteps as the village wakes up.
Mistress Bianca: You speak to Dorian, I will speak to Uncle. Maybe we can all arrange a dinner together this evening.
Koran Thelig: I will send word if I learn anything you should know.
Koran Thelig runs his hands through his hair. “I need some sleep. Farewell.” He heads toward the main road.
Mistress Bianca looks at the naked poachers.
Mistress Bianca looks at the town.
Rikard Castleberry shrugs at Bianca.
Rikard Castleberry: You wanted em stripped.
Mistress Bianca: Aww horse apples!
Poacher 1 looks unhappy.
Mistress Bianca: Let’s get this over with.
Mistress Bianca takes off her cloak and drapes it over Poacher1 covering him up.
Poacher 2: Hey, what about me?
Mistress Bianca: Rikard maybe you could lend the other your coat to wrap around him. I will buy you a new one if you wish.
Mistress Bianca hear’s the crickets chirping in the swamp as Rikard seems to be deep in thought.
Mistress Bianca: Sooooo Bart, what is the story with the feather?
Rikard Castleberry: Ehh, I like my coat.
Bart takes the staff for a moment and ties the feather to its head with some twine.
Bart: It was a gift.
Mistress Bianca: mmmhmm…
Mistress Bianca: I will buy you one with lots and lots of pockets.
Mistress Bianca tilts her head slightly as she looks to Rikard.
Poacher 2: Shit! This fog is cold!
Mistress Bianca: Shut up before I make you sing like a girl!
Poacher 2: C’mon man. She said she’ll buy you another one.
Bart: Do not blame the fog for your short comings.
Rikard Castleberry snickers.
Mistress Bianca: Ok to hell with it, Let the children see you. Maybe they will feel better about there own size.
Bart: You can huddle with your friend under the same cloak.
Mistress Bianca grabs poacher1 and starts pulling him towards the town.
Some fishermen walk by and stare at the poachers.
Casdegere Constantine makes sure the staff is well hidden.
Casdegere Constantine wrapped the staff in a blanket and the gold end is stuffed inside his backpack as they walk through town.
Mistress Bianca: First we bring these 2 to the order, then we head back to the Guild, ok?
Bart: Be careful of the feather. It shall mute the evil of the staff.
Mistress Bianca: So that is the story.
Casdegere Constantine nods at Bart’s words
Mistress Bianca: You have interesting friends Mister Bart.
Mistress Bianca leads the 2 poachers to the Order House.
Casdegere Constantine makes a B line for the guild.
Bart: They are friends to all that will listen.
A young man stands before the open gates of the Jade Leaf compound.
Rikard Castleberry: Hi there.
Claw: What have we here?
The young man carries no weapons and has a sky blue headband.
Mistress Bianca: We have captured two poachers whom we wish to turn over to the Order young sir.
Rikard Castleberry: I like your headband.
Claw points at poacher 1. “He looks familiar.”
Mistress Bianca: oh?
Claw: Please, tell me how you “found” them.
Claw smiles at Rikard.
Rikard Castleberry: That is a very very long story.
Rikard Castleberry: It all started back by this river.
Claw: Then, how do you know they are poachers?
Mistress Bianca: They were up in a stone like ruin. I would go into greater detail but as you can see, one is not well…decent for the eyes of children.
Mistress Bianca: Can we enter?
A few men have assembled in the Jade Leaf courtyard for early morning practice.
Claw: Of course. Step inside.
Mistress Bianca: Thank you.
Casdegere Constantine: I’ll meet you back at the guild.
Casdegere Constantine waves at Bianca and the others.
Bart: Cas do you wish company?
Mistress Bianca: Please Mister Constantine. Do not piss my uncle off when you get there.
Claw stares at Casdegere, then shakes his head.
Casdegere Constantine: If you wish Bart.
Casdegere Constantine: I’ll…be on my best behavior Bianca.
Casdegere Constantine smirks and heads off with Bart.
Mistress Bianca: That may not be good enough.
Bart walks with Casdegere.
Mistress Bianca chuckles dryly.
Mistress Bianca: I do not believe you gave us your name young sir.
Rikard Castleberry: I’ll stay here and help these folks inside. Claw: I am Claw.
Mistress Bianca: I am Mistress Bianca.
Claw: So, shall I take them from you? I’ll get someone to take your account.
Rikard Castleberry: If you wish I can walk them with you.
Claw shrugs, “Why not?”
Mistress Bianca: I think that would be grand if Mister Castleberry accompanies you claw.
He is new to town and would like to learn more.
Bart: Casdegere, I would think you would wish to stay with the Order.
Mistress Bianca: I will wait for someone to take my account then.
Rikard Castleberry pokes the poachers forward with his spear.
Rikard Castleberry: Come on guys.
Casdegere Constantine looks at Bart “why do you think that Bart?”
Claw: Claw leads you to a stone building. He places the men in a cell and locks the door.
The poachers look terrified.
Claw: Follow me, please.
Rikard Castleberry comically waves bye, bye to the poachers.
Claw leads you up some stairs to a small room overlooking the practice yard. He motions you to take a seat at a table.
Claw: I’ll get the scribe.
Mistress Bianca: Thank you again.
Rikard Castleberry sits down and gets comfy.
Bart: You speak often of Honor, the Order has a martial code to live by also.
Claw leaves and returns shortly with a dwarf.
Claw: Antel will take down your account.
Mistress Bianca: Thank you again. Good morning Mister Antel.
Antel sits at the table and prepares a sheaf of papers and a pen. “I am ready.”
Casdegere reaches the Guild’s compound. The gate is closed.
Casdegere Constantine: Though that may be true, I do not know or trust them. I have not broken bread with them nor have I fought aside them in battle. Though I do not trust Meryl or the guild, Mistress Bianca has allegiance to him.
Mistress Bianca: Our party which included Koran Thelig were pursuing the poacher Lenar Hoyt, whom we believed to be in possession of an object stolen from us.
As Bianca relates her story, Claw leaves, then returns with a pitcher of cool water and some mugs. He fills these and hands them out.
Rikard Castleberry takes one of the mugs and drinks it down.
Rikard Castleberry: Oh, nice water you have here.
Casdegere Constantine shouts aloud “Gate Keeper, we request entry!”
Casdegere Constantine shakes the gate.
Mistress Bianca: In our pursuit we came upon a ruined stone structure that was the remains of a bridge, which those two were perched upon.
Rikard Castleberry: Bianca, you should try this water.
Mistress Bianca removes the lower portion of her mask and takes a drink.
A small window opens in the gate and a guard peers out. “I can let in the scout. You are not welcome here at this time.”
Mistress Bianca: Thank you.
Casdegere Constantine: “We have important affects to be given to Meryl himself, I speak for Mistress Bianca.
The guard laughs. “If you did that, I’m sure she wouldn’t be allowed in either. Well, what do you have? Why should I wake him?”
Mistress Bianca: When we approached they started to throw rocks down upon us. A fight broke out and we managed to subdue them. When we questioned them it became evident that they were accomplices of Hoyts and we told by him to wait there.
Casdegere Constantine looks at Bart.
Rikard Castleberry points to his head, “One of those rocks hit me right here!”
Bart: Sir, If you would let Meryl know that we were successful in retrieving that which we had lost.
The guard thinks for a moment. “OK. I’ll get him.” The window closes and you hear booted feet receding.
Mistress Bianca: We stripped them and tied them up so we could continue our pursuit of Hoyt with the intention of collecting them up on our return trip.
Casdegere Constantine: Thanks.
Bart: I am not usually called for my gilded tongue.
Mistress Bianca: When the trail grew cold we returned to the tower and found our stolen property that we believed Hoyt to possess.
Casdegere Constantine: Well it appears yours is the only one that will be heard here.
After about five minutes, someone approaches the gate once more. You hear the grating of wood and the gate swings open. Meryl and a guard stand there. Meryl looks disheveled.
Mistress Bianca: Then we promptly returned to town and here we are.
Bart: Good Morning.
Meryl Dunestal (Human) speaks in a gruff voice not long out of bed. “Come in.”
Casdegere Constantine bites his tongue feeling agitated upon seeing him.
Casdegere Constantine silently reaches in his pack and removes the wrapped staff.
Bart: I apologize for the timing; I forget that others do not rise with the sun.
Bart follows Meryl.
Mistress Bianca takes another sip of water and waits for Antel to finish writing and blotting the page.
The gate closes behind you. Meryl leads you to an outbuilding that looks like a workshop of some kind.
Meryl Dunestal (Human) holds out an expectant hand.
Casdegere Constantine steps forward and unwraps the staff. With the staff revealed he offers it to Meryl.
Meryl Dunestal (Human) accepts it. “I can’t speak for any powers it may have, but it looks evil. Is Bianca safe?”
Casdegere Constantine: She …she is at the Order.
Meryl Dunestal (Human) raises an eyebrow.
Casdegere Constantine: She is returning two poachers we captured.
Meryl Dunestal (Human): I’ll get Federico looking this over straight away.
Casdegere Constantine: She will have much to say when she returns.
Meryl Dunestal (Human): Do you wish to wait for her?
Bart: She was to meet us here.
Casdegere Constantine: Now that the staff is in your hands, I doubt we are in any real danger, however Hoyt now knows we have the staff.
Meryl Dunestal *(Human): Then we must learn what is does that he would want it so badly.
*Casdegere Constantine: His men fear him like nothing I have ever seen. All know of him, or seem to.
Meryl Dunestal (Human): I need to attend some business. I can send some food out to you while you wait.
Bart: Thank you.
Casdegere Constantine: One more thing sir.
Antel massages his hands when Bianca completes her tale.
Bart looks at Casdegere.
Claw: Well, most interesting. Will you be in town the next couple of days in case we need another statement?
Rikard Castleberry: Most likely we will be. Unless of course, you know.
Mistress Bianca: Yes, I will be at my Uncles, the Transit Guild.
Claw nods. “I’m sure Dorian would see you if he were here, but he’s got a meeting with Lady Salmissra.
Claw chuckles. “I know where that is.”
Casdegere Constantine: It was wrong of me to judge you. I am alone now and I let my anger over my loss cloud my judgment and fuel my anger. I apologize.
Mistress Bianca: I understand. I would very much like to meet with him sometime too.
Casdegere Constantine bows slightly like he had been taught long ago.
Meryl Dunestal (Human) remains silent for a few seconds. “I accept your apology. Now, why don’t you come to the guild house where it’s cooler?”
Casdegere Constantine nods and follows Bart.
Mistress Bianca: If that will be all I must return to my Uncle.
Meryl Dunestal (Human) leads you to the usual meeting room and has a fine breakfast brought in for you while you wait.
Casdegere Constantine indulges in the mornings offerings for the first time.
Shortly everyone is back together at the Transit Guild.
Meryl Dunestal (Human) greets Bianca with a hug.
Mistress Bianca: I am so glad to see you uncle.
Meryl Dunestal (Human): It’s good to see you safe. Federico is examining the staff. He says it may take a couple of days.
Mistress Bianca: I have high hopes it may tell the tale of Lenar’s intentions,
Casdegere Constantine: Meryl, do you have any scouts on good terms with the swamp men?
Meryl Dunestal (Human): On good terms? The best I can say is not on bad terms. The Swamp Men don’t often talk to outsiders.
Casdegere Constantine: I believe the swamp men have a tale of their own to tell involving this staff, or at the very least, what really goes on at the temple.
Meryl Dunestal (Human): I’m not sure which tribe controls the temple territory. That may be near a border.
Casdegere Constantine munches on a piece of bread and cheese.
Mistress Bianca: I personally would wish to be excused of any dealings you may wish to initiate with the swampmen Mister Constantine.
Casdegere Constantine: Oh I do not speak their language, I do not wish to fight them either.
Meryl Dunestal (Human): Either the Bright Water or the Blood Scar. You might be able to deal with the Bright Water.
Casdegere Constantine: Is there anyone who does speak to them?
Meryl Dunestal (Human): I’ll give you three guesses.
Casdegere Constantine: Thelig?
Rikard Castleberry: Koran?
Meryl Dunestal (Human): First two guesses are correct. I have heard rumors Lady Salmissra sometimes speaks with an emissary, but I have no proof.
Mistress Bianca: Speaking of Koran. He joined us on our excursion.
Meryl Dunestal (Human): You seem to be shaking things up.
Mistress Bianca: Well it seemed that the pursuit of Hoyt would be a fish he would be willing to cast his line in for.
Casdegere Constantine: And if Koran knows about the staff, now so does the Order.
Meryl Dunestal (Human): Probably. But he acts on his own sometimes, so who can say?
Mistress Bianca: Of that I am not concerned. What Hoyt was intending would have affected us all order and guild alike, that is how I felt at any rate.
Meryl Dunestal (Human): Well. You should rest before your next adventure.
Mistress Bianca: I do not intend to go anywhere for a few days.
Rikard Castleberry: Me either, my stylish eyebrows need a day or 2 to come back in.
Rikard Castleberry: I hate fighting without looking good.
Meryl Dunestal (Human) laughs. “You are indeed a fine looking man.”
Rikard Castleberry wonders what Meryl meant by that.
Mistress Bianca: Will you be available for dinner with me tonight Uncle?
Meryl Dunestal (Human): Certainly.
Mistress Bianca: I think I will nap in that case.
Bart: I have left my traps untended. It would be nice to check on them.
Later in the day you arise refreshed. The town is a buzz with news that a poacher will be executed in two days. The one brought back by Koran recently. Do you wish to do anything special, or should we leap forward? The executions occur after dawn, when the fog has burned away. Many people come to watch. Whole families gather.
_The last wisps of fog writhe in the rays of the climbing sun. The relative coolness of night gives way to the growing mugginess of day. Dressed in their best clothes, hundreds of people line the road from Kith’takharos Keep, extending a quarter mile from the main gate to the first village buildings. Small children straddle the shoulders of their fathers, while older children grip their mother’s hands. All anticipate Lady Salmissra’s justice.
Still, everyone cannot drop the mundane business of life to watch the ceremony. The shouted orders of longshoremen and boatmen drift up from the docks, interspersed with raucous laughter and indistinct suggestions of profanity. Spicy cooking smells hang in the air, and more than one stomach rumbles with longing at the thought of breakfast.
The sound of scraping wood draws all eyes to the main gate of Kith’takharos Keep. The murmur of conversation ceases. Massive doors swing inward on ancient hinges, revealing a widening slice of courtyard and Lady Victoria Salmissra. She looks ahead without expression, her green eyes icy jewels of resolve, her long black hair tied behind her head. She wears loose trousers and blouse in the dark green of the Order of the Jade Leaf, with high leather boots laced up her calf. Militia leader Xanthus Bome stands three paces behind her, then the prisoner dressed in black and flanked by four Jade Leaf guards.
By tradition, the condemned man always spends his last night in Kith’takharos Keep. Dark blotches below his eyes suggest great weariness. A small man, he hunches his shoulders and almost loses himself inside the square formed by his escort. Nearby by villagers crane their necks to see around the guards.
Lady Salmissra and the Jade Leaf men move with measured steps. The prisoner shuffles in his shackles and manacles. Once the procession clears the gate, Lady Salmissra holds up a hand. Xanthus Bome and the four guards immediately halt at attention. The prisoner stumbles into the back of one of the guards.
Lady Salmissra speaks in a clear voice that carries across the crowd. “We are gathered to see justice done according to the laws of Kith’takharos as first written by my grandmother Victoria Salmissra. The condemned, Simon Augustino, has threatened the security and existence of Kith’takharos by engaging in the illegal harvesting and sale of proscribed swamp plants. For this crime he has been sentenced to death by F’lunin.” She makes a point of using the Swamp Man word for the plant rather than the colloquial ‘snakevine’.
Augustino stares at the ground. A man points at the poacher and whispers to the boy sitting behind his head. The child laughs.
Lady Salmissra continues. “Master Bome, has the F’lunin been made ready.”
“Yes, Lady Salmissra,” rumbles Bome in rasping tones of stones grating against stones. “It waits in its tree.”
She nods and steps forward. The guards urge the prisoner with a tap on the shoulder, and Simon Augustino begins his last walk. His head swivels and his eyes scan the onlookers without focusing on any particular person.
Any lingering conversation in the crowd fades. Only coughs, shifting feet, and distant shouts on the waterfront share the morning air with the regular scrape of boot heels on paving stones. Lady Salmissra passes the last spectator and turns east, leaving the road and following a well-tended path that leads into the trees at the outskirts of the village. Xanthus Bome, Simon Augustino, and the Jade Leaf guards follow at three paces.
Just as Simon Augustino’s black boot strikes the bare earth, his body jerks and straightens. His arms strain at the manacles and a line of blood runs down his palms. He chokes and throws his head from side to side, hair flying in a wild halo. His ankles spasm against the shackles.
Bome throws out an arm to hold back Lady Salmissra and whirls to face Augustino. He waves back the guards and approaches Augustino in a wary crouch.
But the poacher is not attempting to escape. He does not seem aware of his surroundings. Veins bulge in his neck and temples. His face blushes from deep red to purple and appears ready to burst under the strain.
The nearest onlookers back away. A murmur of alarm propagates along the road.
Augustino suddenly relaxes. His head pivots so fast the movement is a purple blur. He faces Lady Salmissra. His mouth twists and croaks inchoate bursts of noise; spittle runs down his chin. The sounds gradually become intelligible, as if he is tuning the instrument of speech.
The condemned man howls in a voice that embodies swirling winds, the volume fading or surging with each word. “We sleep…. Will the dreamers ever awaken… From nightmares that never end.”
The tornado cuts off, echoes reverberating from nearby buildings. Simon Augustino goes limp and slumps towards the ground. Xanthus Bome catches him and guides him to a sitting position. Lady Salmissra’s lips compress into a tight line. The crowd watches in stunned silence; even the swearing from the docks has ceased.
Augustino opens his eyes and groans. “Get him to his feet,” hisses Lady Salmissra. She raises her voice. “Illness does not relieve this man of his obligation to Kith’takharos. The sentence will be carried out. Gentlemen, please follow me.”
Xanthus Bome grabs Augustino’s wrist and hauls him to his feet. Lady Salmissra’s assurances and mention of sickness calm the spectators. Of course, men suffer all manner of strange maladies in the swamp, especially filthy poachers. The embarrassed guards march with exaggerated precision. The column disappears into the trees. In a few minutes, Augustino screams. Three black birds wheel overhead and in unison utter a piercing cry.
Lady Salmissra leads the Jade Leaf men back to the road. She raises her arms and shouts, “It has been done. The F’lunin must not be disturbed.”
The people nod, and many appear satisfied, though a few show oddly confused expressions. Justice has been served._
Casdegere Constantine steps forward, “Hold!!!!”
Rikard Castleberry: Interesting ‘public’ execution.
Casdegere Constantine: I must find Kelig.
Casdegere Constantine says to Rikard.
Rikard Castleberry: Any particular reason or just the normal ones?
Casdegere Constantine: That man that was executed utter the exact words that were written upon the temple wall.
Casdegere Constantine: Follow Rikard.
Casdegere Constantine breaks into a run toward Koran.
Rikard Castleberry shrugs and follows.
Koran Thelig sees Casdegere coming and nudges the half-elf he is speaking to.
Casdegere Constantine stops short of them.
They wait as Casdegere approaches.
Casdegere Constantine: Hello Koran.
Koran Thelig: Ah, Casdegere, please meet Dorian Orsova.
Casdegere Constantine turns and addresses the elf.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf) extends a hand. “Good morning.”
Casdegere Constantine: A pleasure I am Casdegere Constantine.
Rikard Castleberry: Dorian, that name sounds familiar.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf): I am in charge of the Order of the Jade Leaf.
Rikard Castleberry: Ah yes, pardon my memory, it’s a bit frazzled the last couple days.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf): I understand. You lead an exciting life.
Casdegere Constantine: That man that was just executed Koran, where did you find him may I ask?
Koran Thelig: You left him in a safe house with a huge stash of swamp plants.
Casdegere Constantine: Koran do you know of the old temple across the big water?
Koran Thelig: I have been there.
Casdegere Constantine: That man spoke the exact words that were written upon a wall inside the temple, words written in blood.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf): Then you do not believe he was just a madman?
Casdegere Constantine: No, and something odd happened just before he was executed.
Rikard Castleberry: He may have been a criminal, but he wasn’t mad.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf) looks a little haggard. He rubs his eyes with his hands. “Too many things are happening. Well Rikard, Casdegere, do you want to do something about it?”
Casdegere Constantine: I do not know what it all means but something dark is afoot and I am willing to wager that Hoyt is in the middle of it. What can be done?
Rikard Castleberry: I’m down, I am still a bit angry about the fireball recently. I’d like to hit something.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf): The Blood Scar Swamp Men became agitated soon after you returned from the temple, you find a staff that Meryl now has, condemned men uttering cryptic phrases, somehow, this fits together. Add Hoyt and I only see a disaster.
Rikard Castleberry: Yep, it’s heading down a bad road.
Casdegere Constantine: Well you have the men of the order sir, what can we do?
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf): Look. Give us this much. Let me know what Meryl’s man learns about the staff. We have Bianca’s statement. We have checked the ruin but there was nothing more to be found. But Hoyt wants something…none of this is coincidence.
Casdegere Constantine: Do any of your men speak with the swamp men?
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf) looks into Casdegere’s eyes. “Koran has. They find him amusing.”
Rikard Castleberry: Why do they find him amusing?
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf): I wish I knew. I do not understand them. I’m just glad we have a truce with the Bright Water.
Koran Thelig laughs, “Because I’m charming and one hell of a guy!”
Casdegere Constantine: Well what if Hoyt’s plan is to disrupt that?
Rikard Castleberry: Which was the clan I waved to the other day?
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf): Then we are in a world of hurt. We could not withstand all the tribes against us.
Koran Thelig: Where were you?
Casdegere Constantine: Koran, could you take us to speak to these swamp men? I mean, all of us including Bart and Bianca.
Rikard Castleberry: You know the guy Koran, the one we saw for a minute and I waved to, then he disappeared.
Koran Thelig gets a thoughtful look. “I could try. But what would you say? I must give them a reason. And that Swamp Man was Bright Water. I can tell by the feathers he wore.”
Casdegere Constantine: They know about the temple, a lot more then we do. Many of them were laid slain upon the temple floor.
Koran Thelig: OK. I’ll take the angle that you want to help figure that out.
Casdegere Constantine: Well someone killed them and that same someone came in contact with the man you executed.
Koran Thelig: Give me two days. They don’t like to be rushed.
Casdegere Constantine nods
Casdegere Constantine: It was good to meet you Dorian.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf) extends his hand again. “Likewise you are more reasonable than some reports I’ve heard.” He glances at Koran.
Casdegere Constantine: Today has been a good day sir.
Casdegere Constantine smiles for the first time.
Casdegere Constantine: Good hunting Koran.
Koran Thelig Nods.