The group rode away from the mob, not far, but far enough. The wounds of the soldier seemed grave, and though José tried his best, the smell of guts suggested infection was not far off. The group considered their next steps. They had asked the soldier some questions, nothing about the attack on the Rasghan’s castle, but about Abadhir and his nephew. They learned that neither wa well thought of, the nephew had a temper and that Abadhir was not liked.
They considered where to go next. The village, the soldier would be murdered, the Temple, Castle or graveyard? The Temple at least might be safe, and have a priest able to invoke divine healing powers.
They rode wide around the village, taking a bit longer than planed but kept on track, eventually, by Utana’s unerring sense of direction, coming upon the Temple from the far side.
It being a Temple of the Cold Ones, Arpaesis made his homage to Shmun, deity of healing and learning, but could not make a connection with his patron deity.
The priest agreed to aid the wounded soldier, but he was too far gone, all the priest could do was help in his last hours and arrange for a funeral and prayers. Arpaesis spent some of his money to pay for mourners.
They spoke to the priest, a woman called _Ishmina_, about the events of the previous night. They heard the mpb and saw the fires, but locked up the Temple. They asked about the attack, and Ishmina knew nothing of the monster, save the legends, but said that there was one in the village who might be old enough to remember. The group also learned that Abadhir was not just a random farmer or craftsman, but the most wealthy man in the village, owner of the groves of trees, and his nephew was known for his temper.
They left the the soldier with Ishmina, and moved to the Castle, really a fortified large house, seemingly built in proximity to an older tower that now pinned one of the corners of the now distressed walls, the timbers of the walls still on fire.
The broken gates revealed two brutally murdered soldiers, they proceeded through the ash covered gardens at the centre of the buildings, more bodies the pond, under a statue of an armed noble, sword raised, hunting dogs by his side. The main family quarters were wrecked, and more bodies were found, possibly smothered by smoke or crushed by a falling wall.
Then to the only tower still standing, the. others having been burned, being of lesser, newer construction. The tower was, but Farshad’s estimation, barred, and strongly so, but near the top was a window he might be able to open. His first, few, attempts to climb were not successful but,, with José’s. and Utana’s help he was able to get there, and open up into a bedroom that smelled. of decay, he wandered down through the floors, seeing similarly rotten but simpler quarters,a store room and then the ground floor and the door
With the door open, they went up to the first bedroom, Utana probed a bed, just in case the shape of a body lying on the bed was more than an impression. Farshad searched the decomcomposing clothing, Utana, Arpaesis and. José looked the birch books over, texts on anatomy and medicine.
The lower floors were examined, and the body of an occupant found in the stores, but the next stage was to go up a ladder to what proved to be a laboratory. Alchemetical tanks, tools supplies, much aged but evidence of serious work. There were anatomical models in clay with notes and impressions of organs and veins, more tablets and birch books, strange magical devices with symbols referring to the manipulation of spirits.
A search for secret ways from the tower proved fruitless, but Arpaesis found some alchemetical ingredients, Utana a ring, and Farshad some slimy things in a wardrobe that he would rather not think about.
They camp out on the roof of the tower that night, barricading the doors and luckily not enduring any more rain than a slight mist.
New day dawns. Where will the group go? Will they explore more of the castle? Will they go to the village? Will they write it all off and head into the sunset? We will find out next time