The group woke up on top of the tower as false dawn gave way to the real dawn, and they readied themselves, taking a further look at the bloodshed and burning of the castle, the central fountain polluted with a decapitated body, the statue of the grandfather of the current Rashan untouched, hunting hound by his side, a dagger of a design (acinaces) given out to soldiers who demonstrated great skill or bravery in his belt.
The group assembled themselves, and started off to the graveyard, where rumours had placed the possibility that the Rasghan might have returned to as a place where they could spy on the village and castle and plan some sort of response.
The way there was slightly slowed, when Farshad spotted leather ropes with thorns stuck through them places in a shaded spot, presumably to catch riders and runners coming along the path. The group cut them down, slowing them a bit before proceeding on.
The graveyard was a mix of designed of adherents of the Temple of the Three and the Cold Ones, the graves with the house shaped headstones of the Cold Ones, and the ossuaries with grave goods niches of the Temple of the Three. There were larger family ossuaries of the well off in the area at the opposite side from the entrance.
The graveyard looked well tended, but that someone didn’t want them reaching it seemed more evident as an arrow flew towards Utana from the far side. They dismounted, secured the mules and Utana, shield to the fore and spear ready advanced. Farshad flanked left, José right but, when Utana reached the spot, the archer was gone.
From near Farshad they appeared again, Farshad spotting them and flinging a dagger as Jose loosed an arrow, the archer was wounded and pulled a knife, another acinaces dagger shooting valour as a soldier, but Farshad batted that aside with his own sword leaving the archer panting, wounded and helpless.
Utana sternly interrogated him, revealing the group as agents of the magistrate Niralha, in whose jurisdiction these lands are. From that they learned that their assailant was Juma, huntsmaster for Rasghan Illyhan, as he was for the Rasghan’s father and grandfather, the reputed experimenter with the dead. He was watching the graveyard, as his master had been here, and would surely return. José patched him up, but the impression they got was of a loyal retainer, honest but not complicit in any necromantic dealings, laughing at the very idea, as far as his injuries would allow him to laugh. See was dismissive of accusations from Abadhir and his nephew, describing them in unflattering terms
Utana boldly went to the family ossuary of the Rasghan’s family, but, shield up and spear ready, the place proved to be empty, save for the niches containing the bones of the long dead, and the pottery caskets of the more recently dead, over which had been laid clothes, turning it into some sort of makeshift work area, with more of these leather ropes and bits of pottery and scraps of leather.
A trail from the mausoleum was hard to find, ithe ground had been stepped over so much, but Farshad found a cunning clue to the most recent path away, allowing Utana to use his Survival skill, admittedly not tunes to these more verdant areas than his customary deserts. The group dragged the wounded Juma with them, following the path into the hills.
That trail let to a copse near a pond, from which they could hear low chanting and poetry of a sort, Farshad and Utana circled around the copse, Utana around the pond, bow strung and arrow ready as José covered the copse and Juma slumped down near them, his wounds patched up, but still severe.
Once they could see more of the copse, the group noticed that the trees and bushes around the copse were interlaced with a web of more of these leather ropes, with inserted talismans of pottery and leather. In the middle a man with a staff was speaking over what looked like a body, but one far larger than any mortal, about the size fo a Kevu. The group did not hesitate to demand surrender or information on whatever the man was up to, they launched arrows, wounding him severely.””
Injured though he was, the man slumped over the body, still chanting, spearing blood over the thing, it ropes up and, on all fours lumbered towards José, rising up when free of the webbing of talismans. It was huge and comprised of dead flesh. Utana’s and José initial attempts to use their bows did not go well. If they hit the creature they did little damage to dead flesh, though one of Utana’s arrows did well enough in wounding José, who by now must be considering better armour and private health care insurance, a revenge arrow from opined José missed its mark.
The creature too close for comfort, José wounded by both beast and friend, withdrew his silvered sword, deftly and with great style, as Farshad started cutting webbing and smashing amulets with the power of his magic sword. Utana saw what José’s sword was doing, ripping lumps out of the thing as incidentally it seemed to be waning under the assault of Farshad.
Utana’s silver arrows caused damage where his iron ones could not and the thing, a construct of flesh on an armature of wood, metal and other substances collapsed into stillness.
José limped and the rest gathered around the injured and dying man. He swore at them for renegades and letters and all sorts, murderers of his household and family, Thery group denied it and instead, again. revealed their identity as agents of the magistrate. Upon learning this, the Rasghan Ilyhan legend a complain against the mob that assaulted his castle, burned it and murdered his people.
When quizzed as “”Do you not think they had a legiitimate complaint because fo your vile necromancy”” The Rasghan told them that he only took up his grandfather’s tools after the attack, not before. When the complaints of Abadhir were put to him, he denied them and also referred to Abadhir unflatteringly.
The group, pensive, patched José and the Rasghan up as best they could, and took them, and Juma, to the temple, to seek divine healing and to consider where to go next. They were only supposed to reveal their status as agents in extremis, but now they have done so, and a formal complain has been made.
That, is for another time.