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Whispers on the Wind: Knight Rest Inn

Clues point to a particular Inn to the Northeast of Arx as a place of importance to the Butcher of Graybriar. Adventurers gather to investigate and see if they can recover one of the artifacts that bind the wraith to this world.

*******************
Continuation of the Whispers on the Wind plot.

Date

Jan. 4, 2020, 1 p.m.

Hosted By

Reigna

GM'd By

Reigna

Participants

Evaristo Lucita Amund Raymesin Sina Domonico Dianna Alessia Thea Silvio Fairen Merek

Organizations

Location

Outside Arx - Crownlands near Arx - The Field

Largesse Level

Small

Comments and Log


Amund gets Moonlight, a hand-and-half longsword with a distinctive lion's head engraving on the pommel from a pair of deep sable black leather scabbards.

Amund wields Moonlight, a hand-and-half longsword with a distinctive lion's head engraving on the pommel.

It takes some doing, finding the final location. Maps aren't exact, measurements are guessed, time changes roads, all things are mutable and all of that. However, analyzing the information gathered thus far, a few things can be assumed: the goddess Gild is the final of the pantheon known to have been corrupted, and the family that was eradicated were the Petra. It takes some doing on the part of the research crew to deduce a few possible locations: the village of Hapsly-Blythe, along the Gray River southeast of Bastion and a family owned property called the Knights Rest Inn, several miles outside of the town, along one of the old trade routes. The research yields an incomplete account of the destruction of said Inn some three hundred years ago. Something about a presumed Abandoned raid.



The two locations are relatively close, no more than an hour or two ride between them. As the group travels the road, the summer heat is oppressive to those not used to such, not to mention the thick humidity. The flies are out in force, the tails of the horses whipping near constantly in an attempt to keep the biting insects at bay. The sun is well past its zenith, as they approach a fork in the road, right heads to the village, left to the site of the Inn. There are still a few hours left of daylight, though whichever direction they take will be where they stop for the evening.

Guy, a hunting kestrel arrives, delivering a message to Dianna before departing.

"It's so BIG," Evaristo tells Amund, staring admiringly at... at the knight's sword, the new shiny diamondplate weapon. "It's longer than mine," he adds, maybe just a tad jealous as he lifts up his warpick as if to compare, eyeing it thoughtfully. He sways a bit on his horse when doing that and is quick to put his weapon back; he's not a good rider and his horse is the most docile old mare he could find to hire for the trip. He tugs on the reigns, the horse stops - he looks to the sides to both directions.

Lucita rides along on Mist Dancer, used to such treks. Her guard dogs pace along at her side, alert, watchful. She has attached a veil to her cowl, drawing it round to help block some of the flies . "Pesky things, not so bad as the ones round a swamp but still so annoying. So which way do we go? I defer to Archlector Sina and Sister Dianna in deciding."

"Thank you." Amund states to Evaristo, keeping said diamondplate sword with the golden hilt in its side scabbard, as he reaches down to ruffle his horse's mane. "It's a perfect balance, too. I was rather surprised." Having said this, he presses his boots onto the flanks of his horse as if he's undecided which way to go. "Let's hope nobody gets too close to pieces of stygian this time around. That fucking Butcher gets ornery when we ignore it."

Raymesin isn't any more of a rider than he was when he joined the group - and his horse isn't any more of a horse, either. It plods along, docile under the cheesecloth Raymesin has rigged over its ears. The Lowers man is used to flies in summer, and has seen what the many caravans in and out of Arx do about it. He does, however, look to be regretting the idea of an all-black outfit, sweltering along in the heat with his cloak bundled up behind his saddle and his helm hanging in front of him. Evaristo's comment gets a smirk from the tall Harlequin. "It ain't the size," says the man who doesn't have anything longer than a dagger with him, but does have two of those visible. And then he looks at Evaristo again, more thoughtful this time. "Or, well, maybe for you it is." If he has an opinion on which way to go first, he's keeping it to himself.

Riding alongside Dianna, Sina murmurs softly with the other Godsworn over the clop of horse hooves. The archscholar is wearing her armor, and has her rapier sheathed at her hip as she rides, while a backpack is slung over one shoulder with her various items that she might need. Sina is looking over a copy of the map as they approach the intersection. She glances at the intersection, then at the copy of the map, then up at the angle of the sun. The flies are an annoyance to be certain, and even as the tail of her horse swishes, she waves a hand before her face as well to shoo one away. "Well, we have a tough decision," she says in reply as Lucita defers to herself and Dianna. "Do we spend the evening in an out-of-the-way inn, or do we seek safety in numbers in the village?" She glances at Dianna, then at the others. "For my part, I think given the angle of the sun, wherever we end up, we will arrive by evening. I do find it an odd coincidence that the rumors about the inn were from three hundred years ago. According to Princess Sorrel, that is around the time when the Butcher was active before, when these patterns of killings took place. It seems a likely bet that it is a place of importance to him, this inn."

Domonico is relatively quiet as he slowly rides along with the group, his fireweave shemagh wrapped around his head to shield himself from the sun, one hand resting on Warspite's pommel in the way he usually does at rest.

Traveling with Sina, the Templars and her handsome salt-and-pepper chef, Fiorenzio, Dianna rides easily beside the Archscholar upon a new steed - also of salt-and-pepper coloring - while Fio rides upon a palomino. The priestess to Tehom is dressed in her usual black leathers - with a startlingly-revealing net-like halter top beneath her leather cloak that, upon closer inspection, will be noted to be steelsilk, adorned with sparkling, faceted diamonds, onyx, sapphires and Saikland glass, with a pair of mirrorsilver shells providing the only shred of 'decency' to the opulent top. She wears, upon her back, her usual pack of bright orange, in which she carries most of the items gathered, to this point, as well as twenty-six half-bottles of holy water; she distributes one small bottle to each of her companions (aside from Sina, who likely already her own supply). This leaves Dianna with eighteen small bottles neatly tucked into the front compartments of her pack and in her belt, as well. Various other accoutrement are held within Dianna's backpack, including books and a bottle of whiskey, as well as her Mirrormask; and her glaive is held neatly in a leather weapon's hold upon her back.



"Thank the gods for the Duchess' gift," Dianna mentions aside to Sina, "not only because of its protective nature, but because of this heat. And she was worried for the chill," the priestess smirks aside to Fiorenzio. The heat does not seem to bother Dianna, and the leather cloak - loaned to her by Lucita - keeps away /most/ of the the flies." Overhearing the Baroness, the priestess smiles aside to her, but turns her gaze to Sina. "I think we dare not split up, Sina. And I am wary of setting foot at the Inn before we learn a bit. We can always stay in the village for the evening, gather some information and head to the Inn in the morning."

Riding comfortably atop her steed, weapon strapped to the saddle, Alessia pulls on her reins gently to stop, glancing around them. "Oh?" Her attention shifts to Sina. "That sounds about right. His actions waved off as an Abandoned raid." She looks contemplative. "It's a good bet." She agrees.

Thea rides on her mare, a borrowed one of course(That will have to change soon), comfortably. She listens to the others quietly, simply checking out her surroundings per always. Her blade is at her hip, medical satchel on the other as she surveys the lands.

"No, it's more about how you use it," Evaristo agrees with Raymesin. "I used to ONLY use long swords, but then I got this warpick, now it's more of a-" He pauses, squints, stops talking. This can absolutely not lead anywhere constructive, but the slow smile on his face suggests he's half considering continuing just to annoy someone. However, the flies are bothering him too and he swats ineffectively at them. "The village does sound rather appealing - some cool water and a bath, maybe a nice meal, have a song and a dance, talk to the locals... A bed. Learning to walk again, after riding all day. THat sort of thing."

Sina nods to Dianna, smiling. "The Duchess seems to be a very generous patroness. I admit, I am slightly jealous," she says with a little grin. She turns then to glance at Alessia and nods. "I think the village would be a slightly safer bet, for a place to overnight. We can always head to the inn in the morning. It's always a good idea to go in prepared with as much knowledge as we can find. To the village?" she asks, glancing around to see if anyone dissents.

"If I want to cleave something in two, a dagger won't cut it. An axe just might, even if a hand axe. Will take work." Amund remarks to Raymesin, glancing sidelong at the man, before nodding to Evaristo. "Your war pick will serve you well, especially when you have a need to brain someone or something. Either way, we continue."

Lucita slaps at a fly on her horses neck when she sees the muscles there twitching and the horse snorts. "A dagger, or hairpins, or my voice is all I have to use. Thank goodness the rest of you are more proficient with weapons." She gives a little grin to the men discussing their gear. She slows her horse till a direction is picked, staying with the group.

"No need to be jealous, Sina; I will pass on whatever of her generosity that I can to you, of course. I am merely glad of her elucidating education - as she was raised to be what I have now become. I feel quite fortunate. You, however, should - when he takes patrons? Seek the Dominus as patron, no? I find the most benefit of patrons to be the education, after all; the rest - well. Frosting, even if it is quite beautifully-protective," Dianna smiles warmly to the Archscholar. "I'm glad you've come, this time, Lessi. You know I always feel more comfortable with you at my side," she mentions to her sister, then nods, looking around the group to also see what others think of heading to the village first.

The ride to the village is not terribly long, though it takes long enough that the sun has dipped well below the treeline. There is still plenty of light, though it does take on that curious golden hue that heralds the coming dark. The village is mid-size, big enough to have tall, thick stone walls and a pair of guards at the main gate. It seems they arrived just in time, the gates not yet closed for the evening. The taller guard calls out as she sees them approach, "Hail travelers, are you intending to stop here for the night?"

Raymesin takes the holy water with a nod of thanks for Dianna, tucking it away inside his belt rather than in a pouch. In answer to the question about where to go first, he simply shrugs - apparently he has no strong feeling either way. He does offer Amund a faint smile, though. "You fight your way, I'll fight mine," he says. "Choppin' people up like kindlin' just ain't my thing." And then he looks to Evaristo, and the sight of the slow smile on the man's face has Raymesin's lip lifting to reveal one canine tooth and no smile whatsoever. That lip lowers again when Evaristo decides against, and Raymesin drops back to the back of the group as they approach the village. There are better people to do the talking while he does the looking around.

Silvio is perfectly content to follow with the group. He does seem to take notes now and then when they pause, just so he can remember all this excitement later, or, so that there's something to give House Rubino off his body. He does wiggle his fingers at the guards, and looks them each up and down, slowly.

"Yes, it seems the most cautious option." Alessia says, nodding at both her sister's and the archscholar's suggestion. "Don't speak too soon." She says to her twin, an amused smile on her lips. "But I'll do my best." She continues the ride in silence, perhaps to conserve energy, given her eyes indicate little sleep.

Fairen canters alongside Sina with a much more subdued demeanor than last time, the experience a grim reminder inside of his head. While the many bruises on his body are fading, it is likely the ones in his mind won't heal nearly so fast. Cautiously glancing ahead, he nods towards the Archscholar and Dianna. "I am entirely in favor of what seems like the more cautious option."

"Do be careful, this time, my lord?" Dianna gently warns Fairen. "We shan't like to lose you again; and one can only wonder at what memories you hold. Please remember that you may come to me - or to my sister, or any other of the Mirrormasks, should you find the thoughts and memories too hard to bear."



As the group rides up to the gate and Dianna holds back to murmur something to Silvio.

Lucita says, "memories. Mine tend to crop up as nightmares in the middle of the night, most inconvenient times." She murmurs aside to Silvio as she guides her horse over near him to speak. To the guards she asks. 'Is there an inn large enough to accomodate us or an area in which we may set up camp?""

Domonico falls back to form a rearguard instinctively as well as also being able to watch the entire group, just in case.

"You may notice I said nothing about people." Amund remarks to Raymesin as he continues to glance ahead. "People deserve a little more courtesy than that. For the most part." Amund reaches into his bag for his waterskin, removing the lid and drinking deeply from it before tossing it along to Evaristo. "Fight them however you like, though. It makes no difference, in the end."

Catching the water, Evaristo drinks thirstily and throws it back, giving Amund a thankful nod. If not for the knight, he'd come along quite badly equipped - as it is, he now has a bedroll, a blanket and even some food in his packs. He squints up at the guards and raises his arm in a friendly wave. "We'd be thankful, goodman! I'd be happy to play and sing for you all in the evening," he offers.

glances at the group of travelers this time, and she doesn't say much. Looking at Fairen, she does inquire,"How are you feeling, Marquis?"concern laced in her voice.

Amund catches the waterskin, placing it in his bag. "He's good for it," he says, tacking on to the last of Evaristo's words. Taking a glance around, as if to ensure there's nothing suspicious in the area, he lets those more talkative do the social thing.

Silvio slides off his horse and approaches the guards. "Oh...me?" He gestures to himself. "Yes, I thought so. We obviously are going to do exactly as you say and stay here for the night. Safe. Protectors of this fine town, I do not suppose I might /beg/ a bit of information." He gives his hair a flip and comes closer. "Has there been anything odd about, in this area? Particularly have you heard any sort of rumor of the King's Rest Inn?" He lifts his first finger up to nibble on it and arches his brows. He has his hips cocked and a sultry look about him. If Siren could be a personal occupation, that's what would be on his resume.

"Maybe Baroness Lucita can join you, messere." Alessia says to Evaristo's offer of playing in the evening, casting her friend a warm smile. Then to Silvio's question, she fixes her attention on the guards, curious for the response.

Merek has come to assist with his dark attire on, adjusted about him with a cloak which he wears, looking to folk while he seems to consider it all. He doesn't add anything to the conversation at the moment while he listens also.

Dianna checked composure + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 17 higher.

The guard looks the group over and asks, "Be you of the Compact? Who are your people?" There is a wariness to the questions, the woman in her late twenties, her hand tight on the grip of her weapon. The sheer number of the group seems to make her uneasy. "Many of you seem wealthy. That speaks to being of the Compact, but you could also be thieves."

Managing effortlessly to keep her placid demeanor, Dianna lifts her voice to the guards. "Not only of the Compact, Goodwoman, but of the Faith. I am Sister Dianna Godsworn, and Archscholar Sina, as well," the priestess gestures to Sina, "As well as a pair of Harlequins and other devout followers of the Faith. We come on a mission of peace and seek a bit of information, if you might help us?" Dianna flicks her gaze aside to her sister and smiles warmly.

At the back of the group Domonico tries to look as mission of peaceable as a Malvici can be.

Riding forward a little, Sina introduces herself. "I am Archscholar Sina Godsworn, and this is Sister Dianna Godsworn," she says, gesturing to Dianna. "Marquis Fairen Leary, and... others." She leaves others to introduce themselves as they would like. "We are here on some official matters for the Faith. We would very much appreciate it if we could indulge in your village's hospitality for the evening and then we will be on our way in the morning." She is, indeed, wearing her armor with the Pantheon symbols on it, and her Archscholar's robes. She nods to Dianna, as she introduces them as well, smiling as they speak along the same wavelength.

At the mention of Harlequins, Raymesin offers the guard a faint smile and taps the silver skull badge at his throat. He usually looks like Death warmed over, might as well take advantage of that.

Lucita runs a finger over the strings of the Mandolin, a reply to the guards she leaves to others but she does smile at the guards reassuringly. "And some of us are bards." She strums the instrument again. "The only thieving we do is if some of the music simply steals your hearts away, giving a bit of joy in return."

Silvio holds up his pretty hands. "I suppose you never /can/ tell from looking as to who might actually be a thief. This one time, this very respectable fellow took several of my nice hairpins in the morning. But we...are not here to steal. Indeed, we have money of our own and will spend it in your town." He pauses and then asks, "I say...how long is your shift?"

Shifting her horse forward a little, Thea lifts her gold-flecked green eyes, a brief smile on her lips,"I'm Lady Thea Malvici. Combat medic. I assure you I'm no thief,"the young physician assures sitting tall.

The articles of rank and clothing seem to immedidately set the guard at ease. She bows deeply, "You honor us with your presence, Blessed. Please, we welcome you to Hapsly-Blythe. I shall call for the alderman, Enoch Petra." She turns to one of her men and says, "Fetch the alderman, have him greet our visitors at Bethie's." The guard then looks to another and says, "Lacer, you're in command of the wall. Let's shut the main gate, night is here. I'll take our guests to Bethie's." She then turns to address Sina and says, "I am captain Holt. Welcome. If you'll follow me, I'll show you to our Inn?"

Thea receives a hollow smile. "I admit, I haven't slept well since that incident. It revealed something awful that I was not ready for," Fairen admits with a look of regret. When Sina introduces him to the guard, he bows and gives her a friendly smile. "Certainly not a thief. Thank you for you hospitality, Captain Holt." He prepares to follow the Archscholar and the rest if they head to the Inn.

Merek looks to the Captain and nods a bit, while he takes a moment to follow with the team, his cloak pulled about him with a little shift of fingers, then he takes a flask from the hip which he takes a sip from, then it's back to the belt also.

Dismounting from her horse, Alessia smiles wryly at the question of whether they're thieves. "Though smarter thieves generally conceal their wealth." She says to whoever is near by with a light chuckle, taking her weapons with her and following the others into the inn. She murmurs something to her sister.

Evaristo slides off his horse and takes the reigns, happy to be off it - walking a bit funny as he tries to get his walk-legs back. "Why do these muscles even hurt? I use them every day! Or don't I?" he asks randomly, momentarily engrossed in thoughts about how muscles might even work. He smiles brightly and charmingly at Captain Holt; he glances around, cause well, that name Petra - that's one good sign. He'll get his packs from the horse and make sure it's stabled and cared for, paying up for the food and care before joining in at the inn.

Being Godsworn certainly offers more than mere blessings, it seems, and Dianna smiles aside to Sina before nodding gratefully to Silvio, then rides alongside Sina as they're led through the gates. Dismounting beside Alessia, Dianna nods lightly and kisses her sister's cheek.

The Archscholar gives Fairen a concerned look for a moment, then turns her gaze back to the guard and inclines her head to Captain Holt, giving her a warm smile. "We thank you for your warm welcome, Captain Holt. I understand your concerns. You can never be too careful these days. Please, do lead the way. I am most eager to meet your alderman." She glances to Dianna then, and mouths the name 'Petra', glancing at the others briefly, before she turns to follow the good captain. As they ride along, Sina inquires of the Captain, "Your guardianship of this village speaks of experience and preparedness. Has there been any trouble in this area of late?" she asks with a concerned look.

Raymesin follows along, his horse still quite happy to stay with the others. He's lapsed into silence, for the moment at least, as he keeps a watchful eye out.

Amund dismounts, moving to stand beside Evaristo in his characteristically silent fashion. His dark gaze scans the surroundings and, as people have managed to get the entire party granted entry, the former sellsword decides to study the ramparts. The gates. Get a feel for the watchfulness of the place.

Riding alongside Sina, Fairen gives her a weary smile. "I will explain when we have time, Archscholar. I made a grave error." Nothing more is said for now, the Marquis gazing around the village from behind his glasses. "It's quite the charming town, Captain Holt. I do so enjoy being able to get out and see new places like this," he remarks with genuine enthusiasm.

There is some curiosity about the group from the locals. They are definitely given a good once over. Things in the village seem to be shutting down for the evening. A small market is in the process of being torn down; goods are being put away, secured for the night, while the taverns are opening their windows and doors in a show of welcome. There are a passel of youths, loosed from their daily chores and ready to unwind. Many of them are openly gawking at Dianna, given her armor, while Blessed Sina and Marquis Fairen are also given admiring glances. Merek's clothing gets a few points and whispers as well. There is one little child, no more than four or five who runs up to Amund of all people and cranes her neck waaaay back to peer up at him. "You big!"



Holt eyes the little girl and cracks a smile, "Yes, Zelda, he is. Come now child, let us go see your father, mmm?" She moves to scoop up the little girl and then leads the party to the largest building on the square.



Inside there are a group of people, clustered near the bar, where a broad shouldered young man stands, a thick gold chain rests on his chest, holding a light silk cape in place. His hair is coppery, his eyes green, his smile easy and dimpled. There is a charisma about him as he chats up a group of older men and women, his charm evident in the way he coaxes them into laughing and apparently, agreeing with him.

Sina gets a bag of Honeyed Figs from a standard adventurer's pack made of oiled canvas.

Domonico looks over to Amund and smiles at the comment from the young Zelda. He had, like Amund, been previously studying the location for defensive purposes beforehand. For now, he is merely with the rest, allowing them to talk to the townsfolk as he watches and listens.

Thea slides off her mount and hikes her eyebrow at Fairen, her eyebrows pinched.



As they follow Holt, Thea actually grins at the small child that points out Amund. Straightening, the red leathered clad woman sees a different man, and she is already smirking, lowering her voice to the others in amusement,"He may be like Martino."

Quite used to being admired (and gawked at) by others for her deliberately-revealing attire, Dianna Godsworn smiles warmly at the youth and passers-by, ensuring she is amenable to any conversation. Should no one in particular stop her, she will follow Captain Holt into the tavern and shine her smile - and her amber gaze - directly at the broad-shouldered young man with the thick gold chain, as he looks friendly enough. We'll see if he comes over to chat with the alluring priestess.

Lucita is a little behind the others entering the inn. That she stopped to feed the dogs is quite obvious from the little yip and the crunch of a bone can be heard. She dusts her hands off neatly and lets her amber gaze slide round the room, a grin given the Captain and the child she holds. "Zelda is the same age about, as my twins. They can be a real handful at times."

"Hello, Zelda, it's nice to meet you." Amund is distracted from his studies by the arrival of the child, and he studies her for a moment before she's scooped up by the Captain. He follows the rest of the group into the largest building, squinting at the young man with the coppery hair and green eyes. There's a suspicion in his gaze, and it is darker for it. "I remember a nice butcher who guided us through some woods, the last time I was pushed into a spear pit. Does anyone else remember that?"

Removing her helm, Alessia looks about the inn, attention following her sister's gaze to the young man with the coppery hair by the bar. Her lips curl upwards, though her gaze still drifts around the room watching for anything else of interest.

Raymesin dismounts along with the others, ties his horse, grabs his helm, and ducks quietly in through the door in their wake. He stays by the door, though, just in case, with one hand resting casually on the pommel of a dagger. It was a long ride, and he just needs somewhere to lean. That and at his height, one can never been too careful when it comes to low-flying beams in the roof.

Eventually, Sina dismounts as well, leading her horse by the reins as people point and glance. She will pause to offer blessings where asked, especially upon the little children, and she'll take the time to hand a few sweets from her bag of honeyed figs to some of them. When she sees little Zelda, she smiles at the girl, and offers her a honeyed fig as well. "Here you go, sweetling. Hope it won't spoil your dinner." She gives the girl a little wink, then tucks the bag away as they reach the home of the alderman. Sina leaves her mare in the care of one of her Templars, while the other two accompany her inside the building. The Archscholar glances around at the people that the red-haired man is speaking to, then takes a moment to study the man himself, and a smile touches her lips. She'll wait for proper introductions from Holt, rather than interrupting the man's conversation with the city's elders.

Alessia mutters, "... wonder what's got ... all ..."

Evaristo keeps near Amund and Raymesin, moving in to the inn but he's casting a curious gaze around the town as well and pays attention to people's reactions and what's going on in general, though his lazy attitude doesn't show much of that. He gives Zelda a wink and a playful grin, then focuses on the people in there.

Merek looks about the Inn when all of them come into it, then he blinks a bit owlishly while he finds a place to settle in and look for anything interesting. He does take another sip from that flask while he does also.

The Inn's main room is large, a crowd of tables, with smatterings of townsfolk at them. Some have bowls of stew, most have tankards of ale or cider in front of them. It's a bit loud, given the number of people, though the volume dips as the newcomers arrive. Curiosity is clear, that they are now the common topic of conversation is also clear. The alderman's smile wavers a bit as he loses the attention of those arround him, a brief, but clearly irritated look on his face as he turns to see what all the hub bub is about. Dianna's attire sees a curl to one side of his mouth as he looks her over, but it is Sina in her pantheon-styled armor and robes that cements his attention. He turns, shoulders broadening, chin lifting, even as he offers a bow. Holt deposits Zelda in front of the alderman, who does not seem to notice this, not until Sina is giving her that gift. He frowns a bit and clears his throat in an attempt to reclaim Sina's attention. "Welcome and hello travelers. I see you are traveling with a seraph?" This is clearly a guess, given the richness of Sina's attire, though Dianna gets another look. His eyes take in the whole group, brows dipping a little as he tries to come up with the connections between such a diverse group. "I am alderman Enoch Petra. What brings you to my humble village?"

The admiring looks from the locals bring a smile to Fairen's face. Dismounting near the inn, he gives them a wave. Like Sina, he hands out some sweets - a vital thing to keep on hand when one has a small child roaming about their home. Straightening out his clothing post-ride and stretching, his spectacles are straightened and the Marquis follows the Archscholar into the inn. He stops to say something to Thea quietly, noticing her concern.

When the alderman turns his attention to the group, Alessia smiles warmly, inclining her head. "We're traveling with the Archscholar of Vellichor." She corrects, emphasizing the mission is critical to faith matters. "Lady Alessia Mazetti, it's a pleasure." Though she leaves further elaboration of what they plan to do to the others.

Happy to allow Sina to take the spotlight and the attention she obviously has from the alderman, Dianna remains silent - for now - her smile and gaze warmly attentive, if subtly inviting, to Enoch. She bows, though, quite elegantly to the man, shooting a warm and friendly smile to Zelda at the lowest point before setting her amber eyes yet again on the alderman.

As the alderman finally deigns to notice them, Sina straightens from gifting the little Zelda with a treat, focusing her silvery gaze upon the copper-haired man with the bright charisma. She dips her head politely to him as he greets them. "Good evening, Alderman Petra," she greets in turn. "I am Archscholar Sina Godsworn, and this is Sister Dianna Godsworn, and Disciple Fairen Leary of the Scholars of Vellichor," she says, gesturing to Dianna, Fairen, and all the others who have accompanied them, who haven't gone off to drink with the locals or otherwise investigate the village. "There are, among us, a number of other Disciples of the Faith as well... Scholars and Harlequins, and those who have come to guard us along our journey, which is why you might not see much in common among us at first glance." She offers him a look of grave sincerity. "We have come to this area on a matter of the Faith's business. We have been researching areas that are known to be sacred to the gods, and we are curious about this land's history. I understand there is some place of significance to Gild nearby?" she inquires of him politely.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Evaristo before departing.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Amund before departing.

Sir Pent, the Knight Adder arrives, delivering a message to Amund before departing.

Sina checked charm + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.

Lucita quietly comes to stand near Alessia after giving the group with her a little glance. While Sina talks with the Alderman, Lucita quietly mingles, staying where she can listen to Sina and the others yet initiate a little gossip at the same time. "They want to know of the area maybe special to Gild. I'd like to know if any areas one should avoid.

Enoch's brows lift at the correction and his attention snaps back to Sina, a new assessment taken at the revealed identity. He offers a bow, "Blessed Sina, you honor us with your presence." He stands up and listens to the words spoken and his head tilts to the side. "Places of importance... to Gild?" He seems briefly perplexed, though after a moment he says, "Ah! Perhaps you mean the Knights Rest? It was an old barracks for the Knights of Solace that patroled these parts. My family turned it into an Inn, but the place burned down generations ago. It was rebuilt a few times, but eventually my family just gave up on the place. I think it's still out there, but gods alone know what goes on there. Most people avoid it now."

Evaristo checked perception + streetwise at difficulty 25, rolling 32 higher.

Raymesin checked perception + streetwise at difficulty 25, rolling 17 higher.

Lucita checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.

On Lucita's comment on places to potentially avoid, Alessia nods, though a faint smile remains on her lips. "Is this due to any dangers?" She laughs this off as if it's a ridiculous concept. "What do people have to fear there perhaps?"

Alessia checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.

Evaristo leaves the officials to do the official business - he gets out his lute and moves around playing softly, not overpowering conversation, as he finds some of the locals to chat with, ordering some drinks for Amund, Raymesin and himself, friendly and cheerful, curious and charming.

Amund checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 2 higher.

Thea checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 30, rolling 54 higher.

The alderman looks to Alessia with a smile, one meant to charm. "Oh, well, who knows, right? I haven't bothered to go out there. We wrote it off as a loss ages ago. But I can guess there may be squatters, some filthy Abandoned savages using it."

Lucita listens to some of the comments attentively, rewarding those who answer her with both a drink and a song, one of the popular ones going around Arx. She repeats the advice. "So avoid the Abandoned hotspots and be careful in the local boneyard due to the gopher holes. Thank you!"

Merek looks to that alderman, then back to the others while he pulls his cloak about him, "Was there anything to indicate the Shav'Arvani might be in there?" he muses.

Fairen checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 45 higher.

As Enoch greets her a little more warmly, Sina offers him a warm smile in return. Then she listens with interest as he speaks of the Knight's Rest Inn, and how it used to be a barracks for the Knights of Solace. "Oh, I see," she says quietly. "That is most unfortunate, that it seems to be a place of ill luck now. I am sorry to hear you have given up on it. Perhaps we might be of help in finding what the trouble could be. Perhaps the Faith might be able to help you recuperate your loss, by purchasing the land and the inn?" she suggests. After all, the Faith has wealth to spare. "Perhaps we might reclaim it as a shrine to Gild instead, or even restore it as a barracks for the Knights of Solace to once again patrol these lands and keep them safe." She glances at Merek briefly, then looks back to the alderman to hear his reply.

Evaristo has made a circuit of the tavern, chatting with people, watching the interior - he's pausing to murmur something quietly to Raymesin and Amund, glancing at some of the paintings on the walls, then at the copperhaired Alderman.

Amund checked dexterity + manipulation at difficulty 25, rolling 16 lower.

Amund quietly reaches into his bag, and it seems for a moment as if he's drawing out his waterskin, but it turns out to be a vial with clear water, instead. Likely holy water he'd procured with Sina. Popping the lid, he 'pretends' to stumble on a chair leg -- but it seems fairly obvious from the way his body telegraphs steadiness, that he dumps it all on the Alderman on purpose. When the glass falls, and shatters, he has the straightest of faces. "Many apologies."

Thea while the others are speaking to Enoch, Thea has ventured off in the tavern. She orders a glass of whisky and begins chatting up the locals, her gold-flecked green eyes turning impish, a slight smile on her lips.

Domonico watches his sister go to work talkin to the locals, smiling slightly before his eyes flick across to Amund and his... stumble. At the side of the room, Domonico watches for the reactions of the alderman and the others.

When Amund "stumbles" and splashes his water on the alderman, the man's eyes close as the water sloshes over his face, flattens his hair and drips down the silk of his tunic. From Zelda? There is a squeal of delighted laughter as the child claps her hands, "Again, again, agaaaaain!" She is dancing in place, cackling with glee. Enoch though? Does not share in his daughter's delight. His eyes open slowly and he glowers at Amund, his lips pulled into a bit of a snarl. "Excuse you inDEED."

Returning the alderman's smile, Alessia watches him attentively as he speaks. Her body does tense when she notices Amund's 'stumble' and her gaze sharply fixes on the holy water now dumped on Enoch. "My apologies. I believe Sir Amund had a lot to drink during our journey." She says with a light chuckle.

Alessia checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 30, rolling 26 higher.

The now damp Enoch looks to Sina and tries to stop glaring, but that irritation is still thick. "You want to buy that place? Why?" Suspicion is born in his eyes, but there is also a bit of visible greed.

Merek checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 25, rolling 29 higher.

Sina checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.

"Yes, a lot to drink," Amund tacks on to the end of Alessia's statement, stepping back and turning to regard Evaristo and Raymesin, nod to them, and move to the exit.

Merek steps back from the water while he wiggles his nose a bit, so that he doesn't get any on him from being close to that alderman. He does look to Amund and back to Enoch. He takes another drink from the flask while he places the cork back on. There's a shift of his cloak while he looks thoughtful.

Fairen checked charm + etiquette at difficulty 20, rolling 37 higher.

Evaristo looks a bit shocked too - he's staring at Amund however, like he can't believe it. He murmurs something about 'acting lessons' - and then, then he's having some trouble keeping from laughing, coughing behind his hand. "So, there's a lot of portraits of Petra family on these walls," he says aloud now. "I take it your family has run this place for a long time? You still got a large presence here?"

Draining her glass, Thea thanks the last gentleman she was talking, bowing her head,"It was a pleasure talking to you, yes. Perhaps later I we will meet for that next round. She walks away to find her group again, thankfully seeing Dianna, leaning down to murmur something to her. Seeing the others, she bows her. head with politeness

Lucita's eyes widen as some of the water splatters on her but after a sharp glance is given, she resumes her gossip and playing and trying to dig out any details that might complicate what they are attempting.

As Amund stumbles into the alderman, with whom Sina is chatting, Sina turns to look at him as well, with a slightly raised eyebrow. "Sir Amund, do be careful with that." She clears her throat, and looks back to the alderman. "Deepest apologies good alderman," she says. If she recognizes what vial Amund has, she manages to not let it show on her face. She smiles to the alderman. "Well, technically I do not need to purchase the land, since it is on land that is likely a part of the Compact, and the Crownlands. However, I could certainly compensate you for the loss of rentals," she adds, noting the way his eyes light with greed. "I would hate to see a place once used by the Knights of Solace fall to ruin and squattage by Abandoned. It should be restored to its rightful place in honor of Gild. Wouldn't you agree?" She glances briefly at Evaristo, then back to the alderman.

Raymesin continues to lurk near the door. He's not trying to be menacing, but he can't really help the shape of his face. He could probably help being dressed all in black, though - even the blue sash at his waist doesn't really relieve the lurking.

When Amund soaks Enoch the Marquis appears absolutely petrified, but quickly recovers. He bows to the alderman with polite grace, and offers a most sincere apology. "Good Alderman, I apologize for Sir Amund's stumble. We have had a long ride and I think his legs are weak. Also, he was drinking on the way. Should your apparel require replacement, House Leary would be happy to oblige for such compensation." He waits for Sina to speak, then adds to her words, "Of course, House Leary would be delighted to make a donation for the loss of such revenue as well."

Silvio comes over to where Thea is sitting and settles in nearby with a pleasant smile.

"Gods, I'm so sorry, Alderman," Dianna finally speaks up, her voice full of sincerity. She takes a silk cloth from her belt and proffers it to Enoch. "Truly, the matter is one that I would personally request of you - on behalf of the Faith. Gild is so oft understated in the Pantheon - and this purchase would be so very great a tribute - not only from you, but from the people of this good town. Which is likely why, of course, it was originally chosen as a holy place in honor of Gild. Of course, travelers aplenty will return, once we have secured it, blessed it, returned it to its former glory - and that, again, will bring both money and blessings to you and your good town," Dianna explains, her glittering amber gaze alone inciting one to remember the glint of gold.

The more pressure that is applied to Enoch, the more suspicious he seems to get. After a few moments he retreats into a look of cool reasoning, even as he glares down at his child for laughing at him. He takes a towel offered to him by one of the staff and mops up his face a bit. "Fine, that will be very kind of you. Consider it yours." He makes as if this were no matter to him, shrugging slightly.

Sina checked mana + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 20 higher.

Looking to Evaristo, Enoch flicks his head back, "Yes. My family founded this village many, many generations ago."

Sina smiles to the alderman, and inclines her head. "Thank you. I will have my assistant arrange the particulars with you. But, before we take it off your hands, I should very much like to visit the place and have a look for myself, if you don't mind?"

Stepping back to Sina's side with a respectful nod of his head, Fairen echoes the Archscholar's desire. "I would like to see it as well, Alderman. Thank you for your generosity, it will be right to be dedicated to the service of Gild once more."

"Well thank you for your kindness, alderman." Alessia says with the warmest of smiles. "It'd be prudent of us to see it beforehand, I agree." She turns on her heel, though her expression is more wary than mirthful once she has her back to her man.

Zelda moves over to Amund and pats his knee. "S'ok big man. I throw things at him too." She gives the sort of knowledgable nod only precocious children can give and toddles off. Her father glares at her and shakes his head, "Is there anything else I can do for you travelers? There should be rooms enough for you. I am rather busy...?"

Thea nods to Dianna, straightening as she winks aside at Silvio. Thea is quiet now as listens, letting the others take control. I mean, she has nothing to contribute right now--sooo...

Raymesin's head stops moving for a moment as Zelda pats Amund on the knee; he blinks, then turns his pale gaze on the child, before looking to Amund's knee again. He cocks one eyebrow in Evaristo's direction.

"I had no idea we were coming on a real estate trip." Silvio winks at Thea.

Inclining her head to Enoch, Sina says, "Thank you for your time. I understand you have a great deal to do, Alderman Petra. We will be happy to rent the rooms, and be on our way in the morning." She takes a step back from him then, to rejoin the others.

"You should try not doing that to your father, though. He'll get cross," Amund tells Zelda, reaching down to ruffle her hair briefly. "Now go back to him, little Zelda. He probably doesn't want you talking to strangers. Especially not strangers with swords."

Lucita chuckles softly and puts the mandolin away. "We had a hard trek here today, best get some sleep so we can get an early start on the morrow, yes?" She glances around to the others in the group. "Many of us as there are, we doubling up in rooms?"

Handing the alderman a large sack of coins, Dianna smiles warmly to the man in an attempt to soothe his mind. "For the rooms - and a bit more for your troubles, I thank you." She steps away from him after giving the man her best "Gods, but we're sorry, won't you please forgive us and forget the blunder because we're just so pretty?" look. There /might/ be a touch of invitation in that glance as she steps to her not-identical-twin sister... but then again, Dianna nearly always has that look about her.

Evaristo checked dexterity + legerdemain at difficulty 15, rolling 49 higher.

Sina puts a bag of Honeyed Figs in a standard adventurer's pack made of oiled canvas.

Evaristo sits down with Amund and Raymesin, watching Zelda with bemusement. "Wait!" he asks, and leans over, squinting at her. "You... why you got a silver coin in your ear?" he asks, all baffled - he reaches a hand out and does the classical 'pluck a coin' from someone's ear, showing it to the girl. "So, your dad is here... what about your mom?" he asks.

Enoch smiles to Dianna, the expression relenting, "It is fine. I just need to change. All is well, and I am grateful for your own generosity." When his daughter is given the coin, he softens a little and clears his throat, "Her mother died some time ago. Come now Zelda, give the man his silver back and go with Captain Holt. It is past your bedtime." The daughter looks to her father and nods, "Kay pappa." She toddles over to Captain Holt, who clearly adores the child, and scoops her up again.

Pausing, Dianna's smile drops to a saddened, worried frown. "But, how did she die? I'm so very sorry," she says to Enoch, drifting back to him and gazing at him in the eyes.

Dianna checked charm + empathy at difficulty 30, rolling 4 lower.

Evaristo winks at Zelda and will drop that coin into a pocket or into her hand, subtly - it's hers. "I'm very sorry," he says seriously to Enoch. He watches them both with some thoughtfulness, glancing once more to the portraits.

...And yet, as Dianna steps to the man, she fails to express more than some deep personal interest in the reason for the death.

There is a pause from the alderman, and his jaw clenches as he looks to Dianna. "We do not speak of it. Good night." With that, he stomps off, shoulders tense, hands balled into fists. Once he's out of sight there are a few smpathetic looks cast to Dianna, and one older woman whistles a low note, "Bad move asking him about Honoretta. Not that you coulda known, but. He doesn't take kindly to questions about his wife." One of the staff comes over and says to Sina, "Your horses are being taken care of. Your rooms are this way. We'll send you some food, but ah..." I.e. it's time for the guests to be on their way for the night.

Hardly even having a chance to smooth the matter by seducing the man instead, Dianna watches the alderman with a mix of befuddlement and disappointment. She pouts softly, then turns to the woman and replies softly, "I can see that. I'm so very sorry..." Dianna glances to her sister's eyes and her lips twitch.

When Enoch speaks of his wife's passing, Sina's expression softens. "I am so very sorry for your loss, good alderman. I know it is difficult to lose one that you love." She glances at the child then, and adds softly, "But you have such joy in the child. I can tell you are protective of her." She doesn't seem like she's ready to say more, and glances at Dianna with a vaguely concerned look as the Mirrormask inquires about the woman's death. Her own expression is full of sympathy. She glances toward the older woman who speaks up. "It seems a sore spot for him indeed, goodwoman. A man grieving, is what I see, in every inch. Thank you for your hospitality." After finding a meal and a drink, the Archscholar will be turning in early, so they can get a fresh start in the morning.

Having been staring at the walls and paintings in silence while the others sort out the room arrangements, Alessia's attention shifts back to the alderman and his daughter on the subject of the deceased mother. She inches closer to them slowly, brows furrowing. Then the man leaves and her attention shifts to the older woman. "Do you happen to know what happened to her?" She asks with concerned frown. "The story is eerily familiar to another we came across. We're concerned the dangers may be similar too. Please, if you know anything, do tell. It'll avoid anyone in the group needing to bother him further."

Merek frowns a bit at that approach to the man, but doesn't voice it. He looks to one of the people talking, and takes a pouch of coin, while he offers a few silver knights, "I appreciate it, I don't think I will be eating tonight, take this as a tip for your generosity. Tell the alderman he has my thanks for his hospitality." He inclines, then pulls his cloak about him. The quiet Knight. He flicks a coin between his hands.

Alessia checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 30, rolling 21 higher.

Domonico hmms quietly and goes to give the inn a final check over before retiring to his room... which he shares with...?

Lucita gives Domonico a speculative glance as she shoulders her trail pack and tries to figure out where she'll be. "I think I'm so tired I could sleep behind the bar with a stack of towels for a pillow.

It takes a moment for the woman to answer Alessia, but the charm of the Lycene woman finally wins her over. "It was about three years ago. Poor Zelda does not even remember her mother. The alderman's bride was the Petra, he married into her family. Her name was Honoretta Petra, and she was... a breath of fresh air. Always had a kind word for folks. Her hospitality was legendary. Not to say she was a pushover. You broke one of her rules and she'd take off a toe! But she was good people. Had an incident with the wells. They were running red. She decided to head down the road to see if the nearest well was similarly effected. Never came back."

"I get the bed..." Silvio claims as Domonico makes to head off to his room. "Unless Thea is also sharing."

Raymesin's hang lifts almost reflexively to touch his skull pin when the death is mentioned, and is busy making his way through the common room towards the stairs when he catches what the woman says to Alessia. His eyebrows lift, and he looks towards them both.

While Alessia speaks to the elderly woman, Dianna makes her way to follow the staff members - and hesitates at the mention of wells running red. She frowns again, interested, but leaves the investigation to her sister's capable hands. The priestess makes her way down the halls and takes a room for herself and her sister, beside one that Sina can share with Lucita.

Evaristo's eyebrows also go up. "There was a well turning.. red. Down in the Lowers, not that long ago," he says thoughtfully. "From blood."

Thea is listening and makes her way down the hall, simply picking a room. Whomever finds themselves inside, well--she doesn't really care. She listens aside to the others, frowning at the water turning red.

Sina is already upstairs and abed. Someone will have to mention it to her in the morning! Archscholars don't get much sleep as it is, dontcha know?

"Gods.... that sounds awful." Alessia shakes her head. "Never hearing word of her since." She nods once, drifting back a little. "Thank you, messere." She turns to Evaristo when he mentions a similar well back in the city. "Your information is much appreciated. We will not speak of it to the alderman, you have my word." With a grateful smile, she bids the village people farewell to catch some rest herself.

"Wells turning red?" Fairen hurriedly pulls out his folio and pen, flipping the former open and hurriedly scribbling down some notes about the bizarre occurrence. He smiles at the woman afterwards and slips her a handful of silver afterwards. "For your trouble. As Lady Alessia says, we will not bring it up with the alderman." Afterwards, he waves and puts away his papers, then heads up to a room for some restless sleep, still haunted from the last trip.

Merek nods a bit, making his way back up to the places to settle in for the night.

Evaristo looks at Amund and Raymesin as most others start to head to bed. "Who wants first shift?" he asks. "Draw straws on order of guard?"

Sina's Templars take their own shifts, guarding the Archscholar. After all, that's their job. Two of them park themselves outside whatever room she's sharing with Lucita, while the third gets some shut-eye as well.

Raymesin nods to Evaristo and Amund. "I'll take mid," he offers, then goes to find a piece of floor to put his blanket on. Beds generally happen to shorter people.

The night passes without incident. For those on guard, the night is quiet, the tavern shuts down towards midnight and things are quiet. No questions are asked about the wariness. In the morning, knocks come to the door -- breakfast delivered to each room. Simple, honest fare. Nothing to write home about, but tasty all the same. Their horses are ready, fed, brushed and saddled. There is no sight of the alderman or Zelda. Captain Holt is stationed at the gate.

Lucita says, "is upstairs with Sina, sleeping soundly more or less. At least she does not wake up weeping or calling out in a nightmare that night. A little pleasant chat while getting ready for sleep trails off quickly."

Catching Sina before they leave their rooms, Dianna looks a bit tired, but is warm, regardless. "We should check out the well - and the graveyard, also, as they were noted as being curious and dangerous, both, last evening, Archscholar."

The next morning, Sina's Templars, having traded shifts throughout the night, are relatively refreshed and ready to go. Sina is up and about, getting ready as well, though it takes some time to get into her armor. She eats the breakfast that is brought up to the room, chatting lightly with Lucita, and then she is ready to go. She is somewhat of a fitful sleeper, and it shows in her bleary eyes when she makes her way out of the room to encounter Dianna in the hallway. She listens to what is said, then nods. "Very well," she says with a nod of agreement. Then she heads down the stairs. She spends some time getting her horse ready, ensuring the mare is watered and fed and brushed the way she likes. She heads back into the inn long enough to pay whatever outstanding tab remains for the night's stay and the fare provided. She offers thanks to the inn staff, then mounts up, ready to go.

Lucita says, "The graveyard was just dangerous because of gopherholes in the grass, people step into them and fall." She yawns and looks over at the pair of little beds, checking to make sure everything is repacked and she is ready for travel. "Oh, I almost forgot, Sir Preston gave his regards to the two of you." She speaks to Sina and Dianna. "And said your ribbons would be welcome back at the templar compound Sister Dianna.""

"WEll, I don't know if it was blood. I just know it was very red," Evaristo says - he gets up and goes to sleep, and he'll take the first guard shift unless Amund wants to. He'll get enough sleep to be quite rested come the morning, although he's quite stiff in his legs from the riding the day before. A bit of stretching and walking about and he's fine again, moving outside to the horses while munching on some bread and drinking some water; he pays for his own share of everything, and for the room.

Sina smiles to Lucita as she speaks of gopherholes in the graveyard. "Well, gopherholes are certainly dangerous to the unwary foot," she says with a soft laugh, some of her mirth returning as some of the bleariness clears from her eyes. She inclines her head. "Sir Preston... I should speak with him again soon. Thank you for passing along his regards, Lady Lucita," she says with a soft smile. She glances at Dianna curiously at the mention of ribbons, tilting her head slightly.

Domonico had been doing his morning calisthenics when breakfast was delivered. He ate before coming downstairs, already fully armoured and armed as he is wont to do.

Sleep came late and little, Fairen waking with little appetite. The breakfast is left partially uneaten before he washes up and prepares for the next part of the trip. Once downstairs, he searches for Sina and quickly briefs her on the red well that was mentioned, then suggests going to investigate it.

Amund will likely take the first and the second guard, just so as to not exert either Evaristo or Raymesin. What he does in the entirety of his uneventful sentry? Easy: cleaning his blades, doing a patrol outside in the street and then inside, and once it's his time to sleep, he sleeps easy -- until he doesn't. Then he eats, drinks, and is already prepared for antoher day.

Alessia catches up to Sina to murmur something, likely to repeat what the elderly woman told her of the alderman's wife. To Lucita's comment, she simply turns to her sister before turning to pursue their mission.

Thea is up, hair tied back and ready to go. She considers Lucita's words but may have a little disagreement,"I dont know. When I spoke to them, I just feel like there was more to it. I could be wrong though. Wouldn't hurt to check,"making sure she has everything.

A smile crosses Dianna's lips when Lucita mentions the well-wishes from Preston - and that turns into delighted, amused laughter with a twinkle in the priestess' eyes at the mention of ribbons. "Oh, he'll see them again, I'm sure," the alluring woman smirks. "Silly man," she shakes her head softly, the smirk becoming more of a gentle smile. "He's a good one, even if he is an Oathlander." She mentions nothing more of the meaning of 'ribbons,' but wears a pleased smirk for a while as they make their way into the tavern - where Dianna glances around the room to see if she can learn anything else.

Merek places on his usual dark attire with leather, cloak pulled about it after he cleans up a little. He didn't nap a lot, and he only eats a bit of his meal. He makes his way with the team and nods a bit, "Alright."

Raymesin, having taken mid-shift for the guarding, turns out to be a light sleeper. This quite possibly has something to do with his more usual lifestyle. And when it's time to wake, he rouses himself and gets back into his leathers and armour, yawning in the process. Breakfast vanishes with the speed of a man who's had to fight for his food in the past - along with anyone else's breakfast they don't want - and then he's on the move to get saddled up and ready to go.

Once they have all left the tavern, the central well is easy to find, located, as is customary, at the center of the town square. The day promises to be a sweltering one, the sun not even a quarter towards its zenith and already the air is thick and the heat makes the sky a pallid blue. When they approach the well, they can see curious decorative patterns worked all around the top of the well house, and carved into the stone of the well itself. There is a small line of folks, currently working the well, drawning up buckets of cold, clean water to take to their homes.

Curious already about the patterns on the well, Dianna smiles to the folks and mentions aside, "Good morning. These are interesting; what do they mean?" She will, of course, be looking for any familiar sigils - either corrupted or not.

Merek checked intellect + occult at difficulty 35, rolling 0 higher.

As several people over the period of time it takes her to get to her horse tell her about the well and the graveyard, Sina nods to each report. She waits for everyone to gather outside in the stableyard, sitting atop her mare. Some move more quickly in the morning than others, after all. "Apparently, there is some strangeness with a well nearby. I think we should investigate this, before we head off to the Knight's Rest," she says. With that, it seems they are off to go look at a well. Sina seems content to lead the way alongside Dianna and Fairen, her Templars fanned out behind and to either side of her. They are resplendant in their gleaming armor, their tabards embroidered with the sigil of the Knights of the Library. As they reach the well, Sina pulls her mount to a slow walk, then a stop, tilting her head as she sees the various people pulling out buckets of clear water. She studies the scene for a time, with thoughtful silvery eyes.

Approaching the well, Alessia offers polite nods of greeting to those drawing up their buckets before studying the patterns carved into the stone of the well.

Merek looks to the patterns a moment, while he leans forward to examine them in thought, then he nods to the team, while he settles up a little bit, writing upon the book he keeps with him. "Protective runes and symbols, but they were copied from a book or something, there are signs that they didn't know what they were doing."

Sina checked mana + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 11 higher.

Alessia checked intellect + occult at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher.

Dianna checked mana + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 2 higher.

Lucita is a singer, and a musician. She is clueless about the marks on the well so spends the time watching villagers and studying her surroundings.

Fairen checked perception + occult at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.

Sina checked intellect + occult at difficulty 30, rolling 45 higher.

Stepping after the others, Thea watches as they go over the symbols and such. She knows a little but not enough to actually know anything. Instead she watches and listens to the villagers.

Evaristo takes the chance to refill waterskins for everyone, splashing cold water on his face and neck too - it's already warm, and he's in full armour too. He studies the runes with some curiosity, but this is not his schtick. "They said she went to check another well further away, and disappeared."

While the people with the brains are trying to work out what the well says, Raymesin's busy watching their surroundings again. He knows something about carvings, but he knows a lot more about cutpurses.

After they arrive at the well Fairen slides off of the horse and comes in close to the well to investigate the sigils closely. Likely the people drawing water might find it a little inconvenient, but he's determined to get in there and obtain a close look at it.

Sina dismounts from her horse, and glances at the villagers again with their buckets of water, crystal clear. She tilts her head slightly, then moves to get a closer look at the runes alongside Fairen, quietly conversing with him as they both stare at the runes and murmur together.

Amund is too tired to listen closely about the part about runes and sigils, but he keeps himself vigilant, including occasionally staring at Fairen to make sure the man isn't behaving oddly. Whatever the reason for that.

Wells. A vital resource in the organising of supplying water to troops and garrisons and so Domonico knows all about them. Rune and sigil covered ones? Not so much.

Dianna glances over to Evaristo, "Pardon - who said this?"

"The woman in the inn, yesterday evening," Evaristo explains readily. "Alderman Petra's wife went to examine wells further away to see if they were also red, and she disappeared. I believe she said... 'She headed down the road to see if the nearest well was similarly effected' - and never came back. So, the wells in the village turned red, Honoretta Petra went out to check other wells. Somewhere else." He makes a vague gesture to somewhere outside of town, he doesn't know where.

Dianna checked intellect + occult at difficulty 30, rolling 3 lower.

Sina rising to her feet after a time of looking at the runes, Sina glances about at the people around the well. She stops one of them, and asks, "Excuse me... but can you tell us who created these carvings? They are quite interesting, and I should like to ask them about it. I am somewhat of an artist myself," she says, perfectly innocent-like.

Lucita says, "The simplest thing to do would be to ask then. "Ma'am?" She politely addresses a nearby villager. "Would you please tell me where the closest nearby well to this might be?""

Nodding in agreement with Merek's observations, Alessia smiles a little faintly. She rises, her attention shifting to those Sina's engaging with. "And the historian in me wishes to know how long they've been there." She gives her most charming of smiles.

Alessia checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.

"I'm not sure... I've done so little research, as yet, into the Great Spirits... but. Lessi, is that a symbol of the great owl spirit, Rxtho? Guardian of sacred spaces?" Dianna points to a symbol on the well.

Lucita checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.

The villagers still waiting in line look back to Sina and Lucita when they ask their questions and then look to one another, "Who did the carvings on the wells?" This seems to be something neither of them had even thought of. "I have no idea. I guess I always assumed it was a Petra. They had a stonecarver among them some generations ago. I think I remember a story my mum told about how one day one of them decided the town was too plan. Took it upon himself to pretty the place up. Emeligo Petra, I think. There's a picture of him in Bethie's." The two women nod, as if this makes sense. To Lucita's question, the other woman answers, "Oh, dear... the closest well outside of town would be the one at the Inn, yes? Yes, I think that's right."

"Very interesting! Do you know who did those marvelous carvings on the door lintels? They're spectacular decorative work, were they done by a Petra as well?" Curious, Fairen approaches the villagers with a friendly smile and a polite dip of his head. "You have a lovely town here, I'm quite fascinated."

Evaristo listens with some fascination. "Thanks, I'll go check out that portrait," he says and turns about to head back into the inn for a quick check on the mentioned person's painting.

Sina listens quietly as the villagers explain the history behind the well's carvings, and Sina nods her head thoughtfully. "How interesting. Perhaps I will look at the picture when we return to Bethies," she says with a little nod. "Thank you." She glances to Lucita then, as she gets the answer to the question of where the next nearest well is. Sina nods her head slightly, then looks back to the two villagers. "Thank you for your time, and the information. May Gild guide you safely in your journeys, and protect your hearth and home," she murmurs softly, with a little prayer and blessing. She then returns to her horse, mounting up and taking the reins once more. She listens closely as the others ask their questions and speak, her expression thoughtful.

One of the women peer at Fairen and blink slowly, "You think so? I mean, I have no idea? It's just always been that way. I would guess, maybe it was? Petra's pretty much have run this town for as long as its been alive." There is a smile and a shrug before she steps forward as it is now her turn.

Dipping her head to study the carving her sister speaks of, Alessia shakes her head. "I doubt it." She says, squinting a little before turning her attention to the villages. "Ah. Thank you." She smiles. "It seems the family have been around for some time." She says to the others, ever the 'historian'.

With a twitch of her lips, Dianna openly decides, "I'll have to do more studying." The priestess, giving a brief smile to the villagers, steps back to her horse and mounts it, indicating with her chin to her chef, Fiorenzio, that they should head for the gates. The pair canter off together and wait there for the rest of the group, a quiet conversation shared.

Lucita thanks the woman for her patience and answering questions for her. She has a beguiling manner about her and and ease of conversation. She keeps a close eye on the others in the group, ready to ride on when they are.

Thea meanwhile has been standing near her mare, waiting quietly. She's been listening of course, taking in all the information.

Evaristo jogs out of the inn after a few mintues and scrambles up on the horse, to join the others. "Emeligo Petra... dark hair, dark eyes, sorta wise looking - fervent gaze. Date on the portrait reads six hundred seventy eight A.R.," he informs the groups, just in case it'll matter. He starts counting on his fingers. "Uh... 338 years ago?"

Sina glances over to Evaristo, and gives a little nod as he describes the picture of Emeligo. "Interesting," she murmurs. "Thank you for getting that information. I want to return here at a later time, and learn more about this little village. There is so much history here!" She takes one last glance around with a smile, then gives a nod to Merek and to Fairen, then seems ready to move on. "Let us not waste the daylight," she suggests.

"An otherwise peaceful period." Alessia comments mildly when Evaristo informs them of the date the man lived. She ties her equipment to her saddle before mounting her horse.

Fairen hops back up on his horse, listening to Evaristo with interest. "Very curious. This town is certainly a place with much to discover. I agree, Archscholar. I would like to return and document it in depth." He returns her nod in agreement.

Once the group has finished at the well, they can mount their horses and head for the gate out of town. Captain Holt is there, waving them off, Zelda sat near by, "Bye-Bye Big man!" Captain Holt stiffles a laugh, and then there is just the road ahead of them. It's about two hours before they reach the fork in the path, straight ahead leading to the Inn, the right leading back to the great road. They continue straight, and as the day continues, the heat gets more and more oppressive. Even those of Lycene blood are starting to feel the ennervating effects of prolonged heat. By the time they see the outline of a building up ahead, shaded by a large oak tree canopy, most of them are running low on water. Their mounts are equally parched, many of them foaming slightly, their tails lowered, gait slowed.

Lucita stows some of her things in saddlebags, makes sure she has fresh water an the waterskins and mounts up, patting Mist Dancer on the neck a moment. The dogs have done their doggie business and are at her side. After the two hour ride she says to her traveling companions. "The shade of that tree looks good, tempting, yes?"

With a wave to Zelda, Amund continues on the journey with the rest of the entourage. He keeps himself at the back ranks, rather than the vanguard, now that there are runes and sigils afoot. People with keen eyes can handle that while he occupies himself.

Merek rides along with the others, keeping to himself while he focuses more on actually making the place without being tired. He finds a canteen, and looks to it, taking a little drink from it, before he corks that back, what little water he has saved.

Raymesin rides out with the others, lagging towards the rear of the group more by his horse's will than his own. Still, when they get to where they can see walls in the distance, he ties on a plain linen bandana and pulls his helm on. It leaves him looking even dodgier than usual, and he already looked like the dodgiest man this side of Arx.

Sina gives a wave and a smile to Captain Holt and Zelda as well before they ride on. As the heat of the day wears on, Sina has had to pause to put her Archscholar's robes in her pack, though she leaves her armor on stubbornly. She sips from her water sparingly, leaving the skin of holy water she brought with her untouched, lest she need it for other things. She leaves her helmet off for now, slung over the pommel of her saddle so that it is ready to hand, and her gauntlets are resting in front of her, showing off that silvery scar of flames running up her right arm from wrist to elbow. It's all she's willing to do to mitigate the heat, though she does call for a rest here and there, to rest and water the horses if possible. Her Templars are having a harder time of it in their plate for certain, very likely sweltering in this heat. As they ride, Sina keeps a close eye out over the terrain, especially as they begin to approach the outline of a building. Her Templars move out in front of her and those she is riding with, while she lifts her helm and jams it onto her head.

Merek checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 2 higher.

It's hot and Thea doesn't usually complain. She isn't going to start now, but she feels her slowing,"Yes. I think my horse is ready as well." Poor thing. Curious, Thea asks,"How much water do we have left,"patting her horse gently. Thea's eyes meanwhile look around, checking the lands.

Dianna checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 1 higher.

Raymesin checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 4 higher.

Sina checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 24 higher.

Thea checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 1 higher.

Alessia checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 14 higher.

Amund checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 6 lower.

Fairen checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 32 higher.

Dianna checked command + ride at difficulty 25, rolling 6 lower.

Lucita checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 8 higher.

Definitely feeling the brunt of the heat as they continue along, Alessia barely hesitates once they come upon the tree, before pulling on her reins. "I'm parched." She unfastens a flask from her belt before drinking what remains of the liquid within.

Evaristo checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 5 higher.

Pushing the leather cloak from her shoulders, Dianna allows the sun to beat on her bare shoulders. "Gods, I think I'm starting to singe," she murmurs, glancing to her sister. "How are you holding up, Lessi?" She glances aside to her chef, upon whom she generally depends for all things food-and-drink. "Fio, do you have any more water? I'm /parched/ - and your palomino looks fairly thirsty, too."



"Just a bit, Dianna. I think we're down to two waterskins - not much to share with the horses. Perhaps just take a sip and give the rest to them as we'll need 'em for the ride back," Fio advises as they make their way, at last, towards the canopy of trees. "Be wary, won't you, Baroness?" Dianna warns, her lips frowning. "Tempting as it is to wander into that tree line, it's awfully close to the building there - and we've yet to inspect it. Come on, boy," Dianna kicks her heels into her exhausted steed, "You can make it. Just a bit further." The horse, exhausted as it is, does not pick up the pace, but merely whinnies and shakes its weary head.

"The Butcher has been around a LONG time though, right? Hundreds of years?" Evaristo asks - he is trying to collect things into some sort of theory, perhaps. "Though if we assume that Honoretta Petra was his victim... that was only a few years ago." He is suffering from the heat and has taken off his helmet as well, gauntlets stuffed into his swordbelt. But once they reach the inn area, he brings it all out to put back on, making a grimace as he does.

Domonico checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 3 higher.

Domonico checked intellect + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 41 higher.

After a polite bow to Captain Holt and another treat to Zelda, Fairen continues riding alongside Sina and Thea with a wary, if even look about them. The heat is rather awful, certainly nothing he's used to on a regular basis. The Marquis removes his cloak and takes a long drink of water. "This is miserable, I didn't realize it could get so warm here," he murmurs to the Archscholar with a furrowed brow.

Domonico turns in his saddle to his pack, "Regarding water. I figured that it would be an exceptionally hot day so I brought several extra water skins. I had to do a similar survival exercise during my training. If anyone needs a drink let me know." Yes... it turns out Domonico indeed has several extra ready, just in case.

The building up ahead is the first that they've seen, and yet, this is no long-abandoned husk, but rather, by all visual clues, an inviting looking Inn that, given the stables located in the back, is actually occupied. In fact, as they approach, they can see a pair of figures in the back, passing a pipe back and forth as they chat in the shadowed dimness of that shade. The windows are open, as is the front door, and as they get closer, there are the sounds of people inside. Whatever this place is, it is not the ruined Inn they were told of.

"I doubt it's natural," Dianna mentions, sliding off of her horse after realizing how exhausted it is. She takes a water skin from Fio and barely wets her palate, then removes the bycocket from her head and pours the rest into it, moving it to give her horse a drink. She glances over her shoulder now and peeks at the Inn. "Odd," she murmurs, then returns her attention to her thirsty steed.

Dianna glances to Domonico and nods, "I'll have a drink, thank you. Just a sip more, if you have it to spare."

Raymesin eyes the inn with some surprise, then sniffs what's left in his waterskin dubiously. He corks it again, and pulls the bottle of holy water from his belt. Opening it, he dribbles a little onto one finger, then rubs the holy water on one eye. Thank goodness for visorless helmets.

Evaristo reigns his horse in immediately. "Listen, I'm going to call this very suspicious. Alderman Petra tells us this place is burnt down, not used, all of that. And here we are now, it's absolutely not. How could they NOT know there's a perfectly working inn RIGHT THERE?" he says and looks outright baffled. He finishes the last of his waterskin and looks hopefully at Domonico.

Lucita listens to the others and again dismounts, watering her horse from one of her waterskins. Once that is done, she looks toward the others. "It is not quite as I had envisioned it being from what we had been told.

"Ghost Inn, it's about par for our Butcher," Merek mentions with a nod, taking a moment to settle his horse a bit away as they come upon it. He works his way from the creature before he takes a drink from what water he still has. He doesn't take the spare, at least at the moment.

Sina nods in agreement with Fairen, with a wan smile. "When did summer arrive? I didn't even notice it, until we came here. It's truly miserable. We have been after this Butcher for seasons, it seems like." She takes a tiny sip of her water, then corks her canteen before putting it back. She pulls her mare to a stop as well, then pulls on her gauntlets as she takes a wary glance around. As Domonico notes that he has extra water, the Archscholar nods approvingly. "Perhaps give a small amount to the horses, if you can? They seem to be in dire need," she says, noting the foaming mouths. She glances back to the inn then, looking at it curiously as she notes that there are people about. "Interesting," she says, staying in her seat for the moment as she fastens the buckles on her gauntlets. "We should be wary," she agrees with Evaristo, nodding slightly.

Thea brings her wwater skin to her lips, taking a small sip before reaching down and giving some to her horse,"I've learned to be wary of everywhere..."

Given that he sees nothing at all wrong with the imagery they're presented, Amund just lingers in the back, though Evaristo's call-out has him draw Moonlight. "Hm."

"What messere says." Alessia nods toward Evaristo, before stretching her arms, no doubt exhausted from the ride. She'll take any extra water available for her own horse, though is careful with the amount. "What's the plan?" She asks of Sina.

Domonico hands a waterskin to Dianna with a nod of the head, "Pass it around Dianna," he says, noting Evaristo's thirsty look. "Get the horses into the shade," he says, his fireweave shemagh shielding his head before adding, "Actually we should all do the same at least."

For now, Fiorenzio slides off his steed and moves to Domonico to help with watering of people and horses. Dianna, meanwhile steps to her sister's side - always most comfortable there - and peers ahead. Let's go check the outside of the building, Lessi? And that tree over there. See if we can find any sigils." Dianna retrieves her glaive from her back and pours a little holy water upon it, murmuring a quiet prayer to Gloria.

The inn gets a very long squint from Fairen. "Heat mirage? Is that real? It's certainly not what I expected." He turns to Sina with a questioning look, wariness writ in his tan features. "I didn't really feel summer before now either." Domonico's excess water is a pleasant surprise, "Lord Domonico, that would be an excellent help. The horses seem to be bearing the brunt of the heat." Armorless and weaponless, the Marquis remains in his saddle for now, eyes darting about the exterior of the inn.

A young boy comes out of the stable and waves them over. He's probably somewhere between eleven and fourteen, dark hair and eyes, gangly and sallow of complexion. "Oi! Hello and welcome to the Rest! I can see your horses are not handlin' the heat well! I promise for five silver, I'll have 'em watered and brushed back to health by the time you finish your luncheon."

"Perhaps we should send someone around to scout around it?" Sina suggests quietly to the others, even as that boy comes out of the stable, glancing at Dianna when she asks, then to Raymesin and Evaristo. She's not of the sneaky sort, so she's no good with scouting in this case. Then she turns her eyes to the boy, and offers him a smile. "That would be very kind of you. The day is quite a bit hotter than we expected. Is this the Knight's Rest Inn?" she inquires.

Dismounting from her horse as her sister nears her, Alessia glances between the building and the tree. Before she can respond, her attention whips to the young boy waving them over. "Let's be wary. This inn shouldn't technically exist." She says quietly with narrowed eyes.

Sina pointedly stays in her saddle, for the moment.

Thea glances at Sinna and offers,"I can if youd like,"looking at the boy as she dismounts.

Flicking her head such that her hair shifts off of her shoulders, Dianna smiles, "Oh, Fio's got it covered, Sina. But thank you, young man. What's your name? For that, alone, I'll give you ten silver," she replies charmingly.

Raymesin surreptitiously closes his little bottle and tucks it away again, back into hiding in his belt. He wipes his finger dry on the bit of his bandana visible between the edges of his helm, leading to possibly the the most religious bandit getup in Arvum. "Hmm," he says, sounding as though he's agreeing. His voice low, he adds, "Betcha the trap closes when we're in it an' not before."

Merek tucks away the cloak onto that horse while he takes a moment to shift his leather so he can have no sleeves on it, stretching a bit with a shift of his weapon to place it upon the back. He then looks to his horse and back to the kid in thought. "Sure." He does look to the others, "We can't afford to keep our horses in this weather either way."

Lucita stays with the horse, listening and though her smile is disarming, she nods to Sina's comment regarding staying wary. She is quiet for the moment.

Evaristo squints at the boy as if he thinks that if he does, he might see through the 'disguise'. He's suspicious. "Oh, how bad can it be," he decides, leaving his horse by sliding off it - he lets Fio give it water though. "So, how long you've had this inn for? We were told it was not used any longer," he simply asks the boy.

Fairen elects to remain in his saddle for now, still gazing over the area with a keen eye. He offers the boy a distracted smile though.

Raymesin too dismounts. If nothing else, the horse can give part of his body some shade. Well, that and Raymesin fighting on horseback might just kill the enemy... with laughter, instead of steel. Wary and very much on edge, he's also doing his level best not to show it.

"Who owns this Inn?" Amund asks of the stablehand, the suspicion in his expression rather visible.

The stablehand just watches the others, looking a little perplexed, though when he is asked his name he says "I'm Emil. This place is just called the Rest, or has been 'slong as I've been here." When Dianna beckons him, he moves closer to them, head tilted to the side, "You'll give me 10 silver for my name?" He laughs and shakes his head, "But it's *my* name!" When Merek is agreeing and dismounts, Emil moves towards him and hodls his hand out for the reins.

"Well, then." Alessia says, keeping where she is by her horse, though a hand does drift to the hilt of her dagger. She smile at the boy as the others converse with him. Her eyes remain sharply on his movements.

Evaristo and Amund's questions have Emil looking their way, "My mom is the cook. We've been here about five years. Mr. Octby owns the Inn. Dunno how long he's had it."

Merek offers the reins to Emil, then he asks, "What Year is it?" A weird question, but he does smile when he asks it, "We been on the road a while." He shifts upon the hip, looking quite at easy.

When the boy comes out to meet them, away from the building, Sina finally dismounts as well. "I hope you'll pardon our caution, young man," she says with a smile to Emil, "but we were told that this place has had some dangers about it, and so we have been quite wary of coming here. Abandoned squatters living here, was the last we heard," she notes deliberately. "You don't seem like Abandoned squatters to me, though I will say that the Petra's seem to think they have claimed ownership of this place. You are saying this is not the case?" she asks, with pointed questions.

With a soft, charming laugh, Dianna reassures the boy, "Oh, I just want to know what it is, lad. I promise not to take it from you." She holds the silver pieces in her fingers and smiles warmly, "What say you, mmn? What's your name?"

"Emil? Here you are," Dianna plunks the silver coins in the boy's hand. "For ten more, what /else/ can you tell me about this place?"

Domonico continues watering the horses, keeping an eye out around the area as he does so.

"Child," the former sellsword starts, slow and with a low tone, "tell me more about Master Octby." Amund glances at the others briefly, then at the inn. "And your mother's name."

Still suspicious, Fairen dismounts but remains at a distance, waiting to hear responses to questions already posed. Lingering near Sina and Thea, that wary look of unease doesn't leave his face.

Emil peers at Merek and then the others, "Is your friend sun sick? I mean, he's in all black and the sun is pretty bad this time of year..." To Sina's questions, the boy lifts his brows, "Come again? The who?" The boy is looking back and forth between all the people asking him things and he holds onto the reins of Merek's horsse. "Hold on, let me get this horse into the stables. You are all pretty strange, you know that?" He starts to retreat a little, clucking his tongue for the horse to follow him.

Merek nods a bit to Emil, while he takes a moment to adjust his gloves. He then smiles to the people, with a shift to look to the place as a whole.

Thea lifts her eyebrow,"We're strange? Really..."actually looking amused. She watches Emil however, asking the others,"So where to now."

The priestess can certainly take a hint and glances to her sister, then moves over to Fio and their horses, then has a quiet discussion with him, helping to brush the pair of horses out.

"Food sounds like a plan," says Raymesin, turning his horse over to the stableman without an apparent second thought. "Mug of ale'd go down nice, too."

Evaristo is mullified by the apparent number of years the place has been in business, and he follows Raymesin's example. "There a well around?" he asks however.

Naturally Alessia is unwilling to let the horse be taken without retrieving her glaive. "Just in case." She says quietly to her companions before following her sister.

Dianna checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 9 lower.

Alessia checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 12 higher.

Thea checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 23 higher.

Merek checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 2 lower.

Raymesin checked mana + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 5 lower.

The Archscholar is not going to set a foot anywhere near that place, until she can get a better idea of what they are walking into. She smiles at the boy and says, "We'll be here when you get back." She watches with a hint of concern as he wanders off with Merek's horse, glancing then to Merek, before looking to the others. "Something is very odd here. And yet, it seems so normal." She glances around warily, watching after the boy, and looking toward the people who are visible from this distance to see what they might be doing. Meanwhile, her three Templars avail themselves of the extra water brought by Domonico, then take up positions near Sina protectively. They seem uneasy too.

Sina checked mana + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 31 higher.

Clearly hungry, Dianna's initial search turns up little of interest. "I found some acorns... and some mushrooms over here on the tree..." the priestess reports.



"Dianna. Come back," the chef nearly scolds the priestess, noting her focus. "I have something better than h'acorns and mushrooms."



"But look!" Dianna points up into the trees. "If you look at it just right, it seems... familiar. Like The Butcher's sigil." She glances over to her sister, her finger still pointed into the strangely-shaped branches (that are actually, probably just normal branches, bent by normal wind). "Do you see it?"



Fiorenzio, who has seen the sigil once before, walks over and peers upward. "Lady Alessia, don't bother. Dianna, if I didn't know better, I'd say you're drunk. Rather, I've /seen/ you drunk, and you're quite a bit more perceptive than this - which means you have a bit of heat stroke. Come over here /right now/ and drink some water, before I take you over my shoulder and carry you."



Dianna pouts, clearly wavering on her feet. "FINE," she replies and takes the chef's elbow, allowing him to lead her away to a cooler spot where she sits and sips water from a flask - thanks to Domonico. "Eat this, too, Dianna. It will help," Fiorenzio tells her, giving Dianna an apple, which she takes and bites into, the juices slating her thirst faster than the water.

Thea has again stepped away from the others, checking over the stable. After a little while, she returns,"There's nothing here."

Lucita checked mana + performance at difficulty 35, rolling 14 higher.

Raymesin goes quiet and still. Quiet is normal, but still - that's something else completely. It's unusual, but he doesn't seem to be looking around himself for once. The stillness continues for a few moments more - and then there's a flurry of wings, the caw of a crow, and a wet splat. "Bollocks," says Raymesin, pulling his helmet off and tugging his bandana off too. "This is still new, you bloody bird!" And with that, he starts trying to remove the crow's gift from his black-enamelled barbute, all the while turning the air blue. Quietly, when he remembers whose company he's in.

Lucita listens carefully, attentively to all that is going on and very gently begins to sing, the song of protecting your thoughts, of seeing clearly, of confusion fading away and of truth being seen and heard. The song is subtle, low key and pitched to carry to the group but not much beyond it.

There's an odd look on Sina's features as she glances around. Heightened senses, mingled with the heat, and an extra dose of caution seem to be getting to her. She wavers a bit on her feet too, and presses a hand to her stomach for a moment. "Ugh," she says, brows furrowing. "Something... I don't feel... right." She takes up the reins of her horse, and moves off to the side. Then she takes up her canteen, and dabs water on her face, then takes a long drink from it to parch her thirst a bit. She settles down in the grass, and focuses herself, features looking a little flushed. "It's so hot... and yet... so cold." She presses her hand to her stomach again. Her Templars move with her, looking concerned. One of them goes to fetch an extra canteen of water.

Emil comes back a few minutes later after taking Merek and Evaristo's horses, peering at the group, "So... the rest of you want to keep your horses? You not going inside then?" He lifts his brows and then peers curiously to Lucita before saying, "That's quite a pretty song." His attention turns back to the rest and he says, "Well, if there's nothin' else I can do for you, you're welcomt to let your horses drink from the trough over there," he points to said water recepticle, and says, "If you need anything, just holler."

"Like a spider to the web, it's trying to drag us into the Inn." Amund remarks, though he approaches Emil, then insists: "Tell me about the owner of the inn."

Dianna checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 1 higher.

Raymesin checked mana + theology at difficulty 25, rolling 1 lower.

Water and apples help, as does Lucita's song - at least a bit. Quite a bit, actually, in comparison, for Dianna is not unsteady on her feet when she stands and looks around, but still nothing seems out of the ordinary. Aside from Sina, to whom she hurries, concerned, "Sina! What's wrong? What is it?" The priestess kneels, brushing her hand on the Archscholar's forehead, concerned for a fever. "Thea! Can you come see to the Archscholar? I'm not sure what's wrong, but something certainly is."

Evaristo is drinking some water too, and he's letting Emil take his old mare - she needs to be tended to, even he realises that. He frowns in some worry, looking at Sina. "Damn," he murmurs and looks around more warily.

Lucita continues to sing, at an easy rhythm that she can sustain, her song aimed at protecting the group and helping them to ascertain things more easily. A nod of thanks is given the boy for his compliments and when necessary, she strengthens her song.

Thea checked perception + medicine at difficulty 15, rolling 40 higher.

Sina continues to drink water and try to cool herself off. She takes off her helmet, and drinks the water given to her. She seems to be trying to focus on something, but she can't seem to do so, her gaze going in and out of focus. "I can't... See..." she grates out, frustrated. There seems to be an emphasis on the word 'see'. "Feels like there's a cold lump... in the pit of my stomach," she explains to Thea, when Dianna asks her to come over. She's not completely out of it. She just seems frustrated, and dehydrated, maybe something more. Hard to say!

Raymesin finishes cleaning his helmet and jams it on his head again, still muttering vile imprecations about crows as he stalks into the shade of a tree - and then he goes silent and still once more. Very silent, very still. And that's when there's a loud caw in the branches above. A squirrel positively launches itself at Raymesin's head, with a crow right on its heels; Raymesin's eyes go wide, but before he can do much more than that the squirrel's on the ground and running for its little furry life with the crow in hot pursuit. Raymesin, possibly predictably, pulls one of the knives from his belt, flips it once so he's holding it by the tip, then launches it after the crow. "Bastarding thing!"

Drinking from her refilled skin, Alessia furrows her brow when Dianna draws attention to the Archscholar's state. "Blessed." She inches closer to her on the grass, beginning to place her helm back on, despite the heat. "What do you sense about the place?"

Sina checked mana + theology at difficulty 25, rolling 24 higher.

Raymesin checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 6 lower.

Fairen hangs back, closing his eyes and dipping his head. Quietly whispering to himself, the Marquis inhales and exhales deeply before opening his eyes again. Afterwards, he goes to Sina and gently places a hand upon her shoulder, whispering into her ear.

The dagger Raymesin throws very narrowly misses the crow. It does, however, hit the squirrel, the animal gives a piteous squeak and falls to the ground, where the crow happily lands on it and begins to eat.

Evaristo just stands there, gaping at everything going on. Sina is clearly suffering. Raymesin is chasing a crow. "What's with the crow?!" he calls to his friend. "Not that I like crows. Wily birds. I do like squirrels though! Quick, get it before the crow eats it, we could eat it!" he calls out helpfully.

Alessia checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.

Merek seems content with his water while he takes the canteen to place back on the belt. Then he's looking to Sina, and lifting his brow while she keep trying to focus. He inhales, then he scratches his thick stubble in thought. "Hmm."

Sina checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.

At Evaristo's words, Alessia turns to the crow enjoying it's meal. She unsheathes her dagger and aims for the crow. "Might be too late. Not sure anyone wants it's leftovers."

Raymesin stalks after his knife, hissing at the crow as he reaches down to retrieve the blade. The crow hisses back, but keeps eating. The knife's a jet black blade with a jet black handle, and is apparently balanced for throwing. The observant may notice that Raymesin still has one knife in each of the two visible sheaths on his belt. Knife retrieved, Raymesin stalks back towards the others with a flowing grace he doesn't usually demonstrate.

Listening to Fairen's whispers, Sina nods her head. "Of course," she murmurs softly. But, whatever Fairen whispered to her doesn't seem to really put her into action. She frowns slightly, and then she pulls herself to her feet. She hangs her backpack back on her horse, then she puts her foot into the stirrup. "We should... go home," she says with a little nod of the head. "Yes... we should go home. I just want to go home. Why are we here again? When we could be in our beds?" she asks Fairen, looking at him with a lazy smile. "Let's go home." She starts pulling herself into the saddle.

"Do you really think all crows are bad? This is some sort of fucking cowardice. Leave it be." Amund sighs, drawing his alaricite, rather than the one on his side. "Let's not act as if all animals are our enemies again because a couple of people have bad dreams."

Raymesin wields Black Knife.

As odd at it may seem, Dianna lowers her gaze to her chest - and peers at the mirrorsilver shells covering her female parts. And frowns. "Gods... did we make a mistake? Is there nothing here? I can't see anything unusual; nothing in the mirrorsilver, Alessia." Dianna lifts her gaze to Alessia and, with a concerned look upon her face, almost begs her sister, "Lessi, check for me." And glances at Sina with a deep frown, "No! No, we /can't/ go home; we /mustn't/ go home, no!" Dianna stands instead and steps after Sina, frowning still, "No, something's wrong. Sina, what is /wrong/?"



The priestess frowns again, her brow creasing and she moves to a clearing, takes out a fresh silk scarf and a vial of oil from her backpack, kneels on the scarf and dabs the oil on her temples, forehead, chin and below her nose. She closes her eyes and begins praying aloud to Gild.

Dianna takes blessed oil in a tiny vial from an orange backpack with two pockets.

Lucita eyes Amund for a long moment. "Sir Amund, Petrichor's enemy uses crows as spies and as agents of attack. A group I was with literally have been attacked by a vast flock of them, a thousand strong. We were lucky to survive. I do not trust crows." And she begins to sing again, concern for Sina guiding her to strengthen her song, make its protection more pointed and effort to clarify confusion and thoughts, to break any undue influence on anyone.

Lucita checked mana + performance at difficulty 35, rolling 33 higher.

Dianna puts blessed oil in a tiny vial in an orange backpack with two pockets.

"I've only seen an animal used to spy once, and... It was a lot more obvious than whatever that thing is doing, and you just hit the squirrel," Merek sighs, while he takes a gloved hand to rub his face in thought. He looks to Amund, "Want to do some old fashioned scouting?" he asks amidst the singing and such.

That's disconcerting. Fairen shakes his head and frowns, peering into Sina's silvery eyes. A hand squeezes her shoulder more firmly. "We can't, Archscholar. We need to reclaim this for Gild. Something is not right here. This heat, this inn - it's not right," he murmurs to her quietly, then begins to pray to Gild as well, joining Dianna in this effort.

"We have very different definitions of 'fucking cowardice' messere." Alessia says with a wry smile, before removing her mirrorsilver torc, and waving it around. "I don't imagine I'll be seeing anything with this." She says to her sister.

"I don't give a shit what he uses. I've heard of people killing rabbits and cats wholesale over superstition." Amund snaps back at Lucita. "Cease this bullshit. Unless it proves to be hostile, there's no point eliminating the entire fucking species." He draws the alaricite and starts to make his way closer to the inn. "How about we look at what's in here instead of perpetuating animal fucking cruelty?"

Evaristo tugs out his vial of holy water, after giving Raymesin an outright baffled look. "Give her this to drink, it can't hurt," he suggests to those tending to Dianna. "Why is everyone so ANGRY? This is FINE! We're fine. Just everyone calm down, haha, I mean really, this is just an inn, the weather is nice - maybe a bit too hot, but we got water here - we could all get an ale and a meal..."

Thea goes rushing over to Sina, checking her over. Listening to her symptoms, checking her over. Eventually Thea exhales and murmurs to Sina,"Youre overheated. We all are. Maybe you should rest a moment..."her words directed to everyone.

Merek looks between the people there, and bites upon his lip while he looks to the crow eating the squirrel. He leans forward while he offers a bit of his bread to it. "You're not some mean little guy, are you?" He smiles, then he shifts to stand up, weapons still sheathed while he looks to the Inn, making his way that way while he pulls his scarf upon his features. He finds one of the spare waters to drink from.

Sina tries to pull herself into her saddle, but her Templars won't be allowing that, no sir-ee. They gently coax her to sit back down again as Thea proclaims them being overheated. They're overheated too, of course, but the Archscholar is their first concern. "But... I just want to go to sleep," Sina says, looking flushed, and dreamy-like. She leans against one of the Templars, closing her eyes.

Domonico checked command + leadership at difficulty 10, rolling 57 higher.

Lucita narrows her eyes at Amund's manner of addressing her. She draws a deep breath and goes back to singing more vigorously.

Alessia mutters, "Besides the rabbits probably ... ... ... ... ... ..."

Raymesin gives Merek a long, cold look - but at Sina's words to the Templar, his head snaps around towards them. "That's the trap," he says, with absolute confidence. "Sleep. Get her out of here or wake her up. Same for the rest of us. Doesn't matter which."

Lucita has a bottle of Holy Water in hand and stays with the main part of the group.

Domonico frowns as he looks around at everyone, noting all the various reactions people are having. Securing the last two water skins, the Malvici steps forward, pulling the fireweave scarf from his head and making sure he can see everyone as he addresses them in a voice that is clear and one that is loaded with authority. "Everyone. Hear me now. This heat has got to us all. Thea, see to those particularly affected by it. I will have no more bickering here when we have countless lives that depend on us. Sir Amund. Take the lead into the inn. We have your back. Evaristo, Raymesin with him. Baroness Lucita, stay close.'

Merek looks then to Ray and lifts his shoulders a bit, "Not every one of them are all the same, at least the ones back on my family farm just... Well, they ate things. I'm not saying they can't be bad, but not all are." He then follows with Amund, looking to Sina although noting all that being managed by other folk.

"Who made you boss?" Evaristo says, already moving after Amund, giving Dominico a look. "You're certainly not mine." He grins, pulling his warpick now as he shadows Amund.

Evaristo wields Valiant, Warpick of the Carnifex.

Not being a fighter sort and unarmored, Fairen's determined to keep Sina awake as his duty. Chanting a prayer to Gild over her, he draws upon all of his inner strength to try to keep the Archscholar awake, possibly even to snap what is over her.

Acknowledging Domonico's authority, Dianna breaks from her prayer and gathers her scarf, tying it around her face and taking a bottle of holy water from her belt, then dousing her glaive in it and taking a quick sip. "Gods bless us," Dianna concludes her prayer quietly, glancing to ensure the Templars are guiding Sina IN rather than AWAY.

Dianna wields a diamondplate glaive set with mirrorsilver and sapphires.

The front door to the Inn is already open, a welcoming bit of coolness drifting from within. A woman steps out, graying hair bound up in a gentle bun, her sallwo skin gently wrinkled, her dark eyes gleaming. "Emil? Are you coming in from luncheon my love?" She calls out towards the stables, but she stops at the sight of the gathered nobles in their relative poses and postures, effectively on her lawn. "Oh! Oh my! Hello there my lords and ladies, Emil! Gracious my boy, why haven't you taken their horses? Why they all look on the verge of sun sick! Come in, come in, we'll get you some nice cool water. Get you out of this day! Does anyone need help getting inside?" She is clearly concerned for the welfare of thsoe gathered, a matronly, maternal sort of energy coming from her.

Alessia wields Requiem - an ancient glaive with an iridescite handle.

Rising slowly, donning the items she'd taken off, Alessia forces herself to be attentive when Domonico starts giving orders. She turns to Evaristo as he makes his way in after Amund, taking her weapon in both hands. "I'll follow." She pauses suddenly when the woman steps out of the inn, though she keeps hold of her glaive.

Raymesin turns an ice-pale ice-cold gaze on Domonico. "Mine neither," he snarls, then swaps knives out and moves to cover Amund's back. He's doing what Domonico wanted, albeit probably not quite in the manner Domonico had hoped. And then there's the woman, and he smiles a toothy smile. "'Ello, 'Onoretta. Fancy seein' you 'ere, what with you bein' dead these last three years."

"I think," Amund notes to Evaristo, "that's the mother of little Zelda." He looks to the woman, and speaks up, "Hello, Mistress. We are here seeking shelter for the day. Your Inn came well recommended to us by the people from the village. More specifically, the Alderman, Enoch. Do you know him?"

Thea smirks at Everisto, glancing aside at Fairen,"You are good with her? Do NOT let her sleep,"climbing to her feet. Thea pauses though, hearing Raymesian,"Gods. What!,"looking at the woman.

Lucita has yet to stop singing though the intent and will behind it alters from time to time trying to find a gap, an opening in what is affecting people, whether it is irritable heat exhaustion, helping them cope or if something ghastly and of evil intent is affecting them, or something weakening their resolve. For a third time she sings on behalf of those she accompanies.

Evaristo peeks around Raymesin - he's sort of half-hiding behind him for a moment, but now steps out. "Oooh. Is this one of those things where you left your husband cause he was being an idiot, but he didn't want to admit it so he lied to everyone and said you were dead?" he asks. "I could write a good song about that."

Domonico's nods to Dianna and Alessia as they pay attention, acknowledging their working along with his quick orders. Of course he shouldn't have expected anything more from Evaristo and Raymesin, and his hand closes around Warspite's hilt, ready to draw the alaricite xiphos at a moments notice, staying close to Lucita, ready to defend her.

The Templars glance at one another, then to the woman who emerges. They glance at one another again, then nod to each other in mutual agreement. They've worked together so long now, they know what they're about. They heave the Archscholar to her feet, give her a sip of water occasionally. Between the Templars, and Fairen's prayers, and Thea's urgings to keep awake, Sina stays awake. The Templars walk Sina back and forth, until she's able to walk off some of the grogginess. One of them looks toward Raymesin as he addresses the woman as Honoretta, and then looks at the woman warily. "How do you know that is Honoretta Petra?" the Templar asks. "The boy didn't recognize the name Petra, remember? Are we going inside, or not? The Archscholar is not /well/ and needs water and shade. If not, I recommend that we leave, and come back another time." The Templars are growing impatient.

Merek follows his way into the Inn with the team, though doesn't unsheathe weapons until he knows he will need any of them, looking between folk, as well as to those in the back while he thinks.

Fairen nods at Thea, "I will do all I can to keep her awake. Deal with the inn, I doubt there's anything I can do of use in there." He walks back and forth with the Templars and continues to pray over Sina whether or not it does any good - if nothing else, it is helping to keep her awake.

"Please, we'll happily take your hospitality, Messere," Dianna replies to the older woman gently, resting her glaive on her shoulder and seemingly out of the way - but still holding onto it in such a way so as to use it if she must. "Messeres. A little gentility for the kind woman, if you please," Dianna glances at Evaristo, Amund and Raymesin, wishing more to impress herself upon the woman's kindness than to impress the men to behave differently.

When she is addressed as Honoretta, the woman pauses, a tilt of her head as if that jogged some bit of memory. "I'm sorry, what did you call me? Oh, no. My name is Quinet. Quinet Minor. That is my son, Emil. What is this you're talking of? Did you mention the Petra family?" Her brows lift, "My, none of those folk left, honestly. That family died out ages ago." She waves them all over towards the door. She eyes Sina, tongue clucking, " can have a cool bath drawn for her, sirs?"

Thea nods to Fairen, thanking him quietly. She steps after the others quietly, unsure if she believes the woman. Thea lifts her eyebrow a touch but let's the nicer women talk.

"Light above," Dianna murmurs, brushing a hand over her forehead and frowns, swearing under her breath. "We should have known this. We should have known this - as Honoretta was the /last/ of the line... or. Rather. ...Oh, my gods," she groans, "ZELDA."

Eyes widening at this, Alessia gazes from person to person. "What.... were those people?" She furrows her brow, glancing in the direction of where they'd approached from.

"May we borrow some horses, Messere?" Dianna tiredly asks Quinet. "As ours are wearied and likely cannot make their way back into the village. And it is /dire/ that we return immediately, and hastily. I will pay you handsomely, and you have our steeds as trade, should any of yours ...come to a bitter end."

The Templars glance at each other, then frown. They don't waste another minute on wondering about the odd Petra family, however. "Your hospitality is greatly appreciated, Goodwoman Minor," the more talkative of the three says. "We can sort all this out later." Sina is starting to droop again, leaning against the Templar who is talking, smiling dreamily. "Sleep sounds so nice. Are we back at the Rectory yet?" She wavers on her feet.

"So how did the village die out, Mistress? Was it an attack?" Amund wonders, glancing around to see if anything looks out of place. Such as burned out candles, stale water... blood stains on the floor. "Just making small talk. We've traveled a long time to get here."

Domonico narrows his eyes in deep thought as he looks behind him, along the way they have travelled, "Wait... Is the *child* to do with the Butcher? Is *she* evil?"

Sina checked stamina at difficulty 10, rolling 104 higher. Sina rolled a critical!

The upset of her guests has Quinet's brows furrowing, "Did I say something wrong?" She looks among the others and says, "I fear you are all suffering from the heat. Come, enjoy a cold beverage, take some time to rest out of the sun..." Dianna's words have the woman's eyes widening, "Oh, I do not think that is wise, going out in the heat of the day like this with your party looking so ill..."

"You sure you're not related to them? You do look a bit alike," Evaristo says suspiciously, though it's clear he's quite baffled in general.

"You look quite a bit like Zelda," Amund agrees with Evaristo. "She's about two or three, really nice. She has your eyes. How old is Emil, Mistress Quinet?"

"Please, it's so important. Gods, we've got to return," Dianna glances to her group, looking for some support. "He was looking for the last of the line, remember? To... to do away with it. We didn't look hard enough, weren't skeptical enough," the priestess frowns, "And everything's so normal here. There's nothing in the reflections; no symbols; /nothing/." Dianna glances from one to another in their group and pauses as she gazes at Evaristo and Amund, her brow furrowed.

Raymesin's head tilts a little to one side and he gives Dianna an odd look over one shoulder, then looks around again. He's poised and ready for just about anything. Except a polite conversation outside a tavern. He's apparently not quite ready for that.

"What?" Fairen pauses in his Sina duty to cut his eyes over at Quinet with the revelation that the Petras all died out. "How long ago did they die out? In what manner? When did this inn become something other than a burned ruin?" Since it seems the Templars have the Archscholar, he strides right on in to examine the inn for anything off - symbols or otherwise.

Raymesin moves almost reflexively to provide Fairen with backup. Anyone would think he moonlighted as a bodyguard.

Lucita has been singing long enough. She stops though is ready to resume the song in an instant should any indicate it be necessary.

"Don't go stumbling into lintels, My Lord." Amund warns, or reminds, Fairen. His gaze returns to Quinet, just as well. "Can I speak to the owner? Is he... in the establishment? I -- we have a few questions about the nearest towns, and can spend silver." There's a murmur to Evaristo, though.

The barrage of questions has the woman looking a bit confused. She does that far-away look again at the mention of Zelda, a soft murmur, "Oh, that's a pretty name..." She shakes her head and looks to the others, first to Dianna, "I cannot stop you from leaving, my lady, if you have need of a steed, I am sure we can provide. Emil could tell you how many horse we have available. He's a good boy. My sister's son, but he thinks I am his mother." There is a blink, "Why did I tell you that?"

With another frown, Dianna takes out a notebook and skims it, "...Horth," she notes aloud, the pulls her gaze from the book and looks into the woman's eyes. "What's your sister's last name, Messere?"

Evaristo is murmuring something with Amund. He looks absolutely baffled, still.

Dianna skims her book again and shakes her head, "No... it /is/ Petra...." The priestess bites her lower lip, clearly fatigued. She takes a breath and exhales heavily. "May we come in? I... cannot ride; I can barely think or even read, it seems."

Thea pauses at the mention of Emil and the blank look of the woman. She lowers her voice and asks,"What have we walked into?"

Sina already seems to be doing better, after the water and the little rest she had. She gently shrugs her arms out of the grasp of the Templars. "I... I'm fine. I'm feeling better," she says, with a smile to each of them. "Sorry to worry anybody. I think... I think the heat was just getting to me. Then again... it seems like, every time I tried to... meditate... it got worse. Couldn't concentrate... because of the heat. I... think." She doesn't seem entirely sure about that, just yet though, glancing at the woman and her story about the Petras dying out long ago.

Lucita begins to sing again, truth, truth and clarity, clear thoughts, stronger focus all comes out in the song, the effort she makes to help resolve this.

Domonico maintains his grip on his xiphos hilt, the blade not drawn yet as he moves next to Thea. "I do not know. Be prepared."

The interior of the Inn is comfortable, cool and filled with lovely places to sit. The hearth is empty, and the breeze circulates, keeping the interior much much cooler than the heat outside. Beverages are gotten, mainly water, kept deliciously cold somehow, and glasses are provided to all the guests. "My sister's name was... ah." There is a pause and Quinet has to think about this, her brow furrowed, "Her name was ah..." She gives a nervous laugh and shakes her head, "Now isn't that silly? She's my sister, of course I know her name." She shakes her head again and gestures to the glasses of water. "Please, drink. I'll fetch some nuts and dried fruit."

Merek looks between the folk while he begins to settle in and wait, lifting his brow a bit thoughtfully. He then sips a bit of water from the canteen, while he nods to folk.

"What about the owner of this fine establishment? We'd love to meet and compliment him too," Evaristo says, moving carefully to take a seat. He glances at the others, and he doesn't touch the food. Or the water or drinks, nodding at AMund about something.

The priestess will neither choose to drink or eat anything from this place, despite her fatigue and difficulty thinking. She will, instead, take out her own bag of honeyed figs and nibble two, passing the remainder to the group, then moves to murmur to Sina privately.

Dianna takes a bag of Honeyed Figs from an orange backpack with two pockets.

Instead of drinking, Sina settles into a seat inside the inn, her Templars kept close to her. She does send one of them back outside to fetch her pack, however, and her lantern. The Templar steps outside to fetch the pack from Sina's horse, along with her hooded lantern. Meanwhile, Sina eyes the glass of water that is handed to her with a look of longing. But after a moment, she sets it down on the table instead. She glances at the woman, who can't seem to remember her own sister's name. But for now, she remains silent, still observing and catching up, and trying to recall her senses. She glances at Dianna, and listens to the Godsworn sister's whisper. She whispers something back, after a moment.

Thea looks over at Domonico, asking her brother,"You have more water, yes? Can you share you some?"not trusting what is before her.

"The owner? Mister Octby?" Quinet lifts a hand to rub her temple idly, "Oh, he's around here somewhere. Probably in his office." She frowns, seeing none of them drinking. "You really should get something cool in your bellies. It will help."

Lucita has a waterskin with water and passes it toward Sina, She can't really say anything while still singing and trying to keep her intent and focus on the task. Memories strong, truth, clarity....

Amund quietly eats his own bread and his own dried meat, drinking copiously from his wineskin. The leather keeps the contents chilled, and he's thankful for that. Still, he stares at the woman. "I'd love to meet Master Octby, Mistress Quinet. We have a business proposal for him, one with plenty of silver."

Raymesin settles himself in a corner - it's habit, mostly - and takes one of the honeyed figs as they go past, with a nod of thanks. He pauses, then starts breathing deeply again, soaking in the cool and hopeful lack of crows.

A short, private conversation ensues between the Mirrormask and the Archscholar before Dianna reaches into her backpack and retrieves a helm that looks as if it might be a weapon, in and of itself. She removes her bycocket and wears the helm - a mirrormask, apparently, of stygian and mirrorsilver - and sits beside Sina.

Searching the inn thoroughly, eyes peering about from behind his spectacles, Fairen's lips finally puff out for a frustrated sigh, then he returns to Sina to murmur quietly to her and Dianna, "Nothing, I see nothing odd in there. Everything seems odd and wrong, but I can't find anything to indicate it. I don't know what is going on here. Speaking to Master Octby might be the best solution."

Dianna takes a jarring mirrormask formed of broken shards of stygian from an orange backpack with two pockets.

Someone wearing a jarring mirrormask formed of broken shards of stygian puts a pitch-black leather bycocket with stylized tooling in a pitch-black leather belt with stylized tooling.

Someone wearing a jarring mirrormask formed of broken shards of stygian takes blessed oil in a tiny vial from an orange backpack with two pockets.

Sina nods to Dianna, whispering something to her. She takes the other Godsworn sister's hand in hers, and then she glances over to Fairen, and tilts her head toward him. "Marquis, would you be willing to sit with me and Sister Dianna?" she asks, giving him a pleasant smile. "I am feeling much better."

Domonico raises two fingers to Thea in answer to her question, silently indicating the remaining supply. He looks at offered beverages and takes a cup of water before brushing the back of a knuckle into it and then giving the liquid a sniff.

Someone wearing a jarring mirrormask formed of broken shards of stygian nods to Sina, the mirrored mask shooting shards of light across the room as they catch on the mirrored silver and stygian made particularly for this mask.

"Of course, Archscholar. It would be a pleasure." Fairen takes a seat with Sina and Dianna, finding her mirrormask something impressive to behold. Smiling warmly at the both of them, he gets comfortable.

The sight of that strange mirrormask seems to unsettle Quinet even more, her eyes not lingering on it, seemingly disturbed by her reflection. "I -- uh.. his office is in the cellar. Go ahead, it is just over there," She points in the direction of a hallway leading towards the kitchen, that also turns in another direction, apparently to the cellar. She retreats a bit further, her head bowed, eyes blinking repeatedly. "My head is so strange... what is that song?"

Raymesin checked mana + theology at difficulty 20, rolling 11 higher.

Glancing around the room sharply, Alessia edges closer to her sister after she dons the mask. "After you." She says, her tone now dour.

"Why does it always have to be in a cellar?" Amund murmurs, before rising to his feet suddenly and nodding to both Raymesin and Evaristo. "Let's go take a look."

Lucita notes the effect the song seems to be having and continues to sing... clarity, clear memories, truth, know and see the truth, no foggy thoughts...

The Templar returns with Sina's things, and she smiles at him gratefully. She pulls a small brazier out of her pack, along with a little incense. To their hostess, she says, "Do you mind if we say a prayer before we eat, Goodwoman? We are of the Faith, after all. We would give thanks for the bounty you have offered us." She offers a smile meant to put the woman at ease, then pulls out her skin of holy water. She then begins to offer up a prayer, making a show of blessing the water before her and the food offered, while she offers up a prayer to Gild. Then she takes Dianna's hand in one hand, and Fairen's hand in the other, murmuring something softly to them. Then she closes her eyes for a moment, finding a place of calm within, before she opens her eyes and glances around with a slightly distant look. Her prayers continue, offered up to each of the Gods in turn, before coming back once more to Gild, setting her into the right frame of mind.

"Thank you," Evaristo says and flashes his teeth in a grin at Quinet, rising to his feet to join Amund without further ado. He does raise his skull trinket for a moment, murmurs something - part of a prayer - kisses it - and then moves towards the cellar.

Raymesin emerges from his stillness and rises smoothly to his feet, catching his helm up as he goes with a nod for Amund and Evaristo. He touches the skull at his throat; "Queen's blessing on us all," he murmurs, then kisses the finger he'd touched the skull with. And then, with a significant nod for the Godsworn, he follows the Evaristo and Amund.

Hands gently grasping hands, Dianna, Fairen and Sina make a small, quiet circle, each resting in a chair. Dianna, too, finds her peace - as usual, when she dons her mirrormask. Another soft nod and rays of light shift around the room. "Be well, sister," Dianna murmurs, then re-focuses herself.

Raymesin wields the bat's sting.

Alessia checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 30, rolling 36 higher.

Alessia checked dexterity + manipulation at difficulty 30, rolling 16 higher.

Domonico watches the three go, before he says to them, "Call if you need support." He continues watching everything, keeping track of where people are. "

Furrowing her brow at her sister's words, Alessia slowly nods. Taking a skin from her belt, she takes a drought before 'spilling' some water onto her mirrorsilver torc. She removes it before turning to the woman, concealing the reflective nature with gloved hands. "Messere. Could you please hand me a napkin? Or some towels?" She asks with a smile of innocence.

Merek looks to those moving to that place, while he takes a moment to protect while keeping with the people still in the main area.

Quinet retreats to the kitchen, leaving the guests to themselves, the nuts and fruit delivered by a gaunt looking, pale faced young girl. As for those that go down the hallway and head into the basement, it is remarkably silent down there. And as they decend, the air gets colder, going from refreshing to chilly to downright shiver-inducing.

Taking one of Sina's hands in his and one of Dianna's in the other, Fairen takes a deep breath and smiles at them both while relaxing in a chair as well. His eyes kind of unfocus behind his spectacles, praying along with them in gentle tones.

"Death protect us," Evaristo murmurs, as they decend further down. He's at first enjoying the cool air but the colder it gets, the more uncomfortable it is. Coming from a sweaty existance to ice cold? Well, that makes it even worse.

The further they go down the hall, the dimmer it gets. There are no windows down here, and the only light comes from the stairwell behind them. There appears to be a turn into the office, but there is something in a box frame on the wall. Just past that is a door, leading to the office.

Raymesin, on the way down to the basement, puts his sash around his face and pulls his helmet on over it. That done, he pulls the alaricite dagger - another one not on his belt - and retrieves the holy water from his belt. Thus armed and armoured, he moves on. "Means we're going in the right direction," he murmurs, with confidence. "Time for a little fun, my friends. Queen be with us."

Evaristo checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 0 higher. Evaristo rolled a critical!

Raymesin checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 6 higher.

When the woman retreats, Alessia simply turns to her sister and shrugs, before inching closer to the gathered, watching their prayers.

Amund checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 1 lower.

The mirrormasked priestess sits with serene calm, meanwhile, focusing her silent prayer inward, observing Sina and Fairen with respect wrapped into her meditative state. While this may be somewhat difficult for some, Dianna, as a Mirrormask, has some practice in focusing upon dual subjects at once - watching herself and that outside of herself remains but one of the traits of a mirrormask. She misses Alessia's shrug, however, as Dianna focuses intently upon the two with whom she sits, hands held in a silent circle.

Sina continues to lead those who remain upstairs in a prayer, even as Evaristo and the others head below into the chilly depths. "Blessed Gild," she continues to pray softly, "May it be your will that the path be clear, the road be safe, the journey be fruitful. May we find shelter under your hand come the night, and see your charity in the rising of the sun. May our travels lead us where we need to be, and may those we meet help us on our way. May it be your will, O Gild, that we see our home again. Gild, guard our path." She cycles through the prayers to all the gods, seeking now not only to commune with them, but also to seek protection for them as they seek out the last of the Butcher's vessels. "Gloria, guide us this day. Steady our sword arms and strengthen them; Fly above us to keep our heads held high; Hold beneath us so that we may keep our feet planted; Run before us to lead us and behind us to restrain us; Around us to shield us; Within us that we strike true and with honor. In your name, we meet our enemy, in your name, we will defeat him. Yours is the glory. Ours the victory." She continues to pray, each god, each prayer intended to not only focus the minds of those praying, but also to protect those who hear it. "Vellichor, endify our minds, our hearts, our wits. Steady us as we stand before the unknown; let us know it." It's an awfully long prayer for a table grace, but the old woman hasn't come back to question it, at least.

Thea watches over the remaining, checking over Sina. Things are still so strange..

Domonico stands sentinel along with his sister, periodically listening along where the others have gone, ready to move to assist if needed.

"What the..." Evaristo breathes, pausing to look at the box shape at the side in the wall, just before the office door itself. He leans closer, squinting. "There's a body in here." He eyes his warpick. Eyes the glass the body is behind. He looks at the other two.

Lucita is used to working with faith, her song strengthening the prayers, prayers strengthening her song, a team, and so as they pray, she continues to sing with them though after this long, subtle signs of her tiring start to show.

"You smash it, I'll souse it," says Raymesin practically to the man with the hammering implement, raising his vial of holy water. "Might want to cover your eyes, lads. This could get full of bees."

"Got it." Amund keeps his alaricite at the ready, in any case, as he waits for Evaristo to smash the glass. Come what may.

Evaristo digs out a bandana and ties it quickly around his lower face, the upper part mostly covered by his helmet. "Looks pretty dead to me," he says thoughtfully. "As in dead dead, not dead alive. I bet it'll smell really bad." Even so? He brings the hammer-end of the warpick at the glass. This trio of men don't tend to overthink things.

Sina checked mana + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 58 higher. Sina rolled a critical!

Someone wearing a jarring mirrormask formed of broken shards of stygian checked mana + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.

And as the glass over the corpse breaks, Raymesin uncorks the vial and throws that in too, hopefully hard enough to smash the bottle. Either way, something should splash out.

Fairen checked mana + occult at difficulty 20, rolling 43 higher.

Merek stands with the Priestesses that offer supplication and all the others as well, while he takes a moment to look about and leans upon each foot in thought.

Amund checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 13 higher.

Evaristo checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.

Raymesin checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 3 lower.

Several things happen at roughly the same time. From afar, those in the main room can hear the smashing of glass from down that hallway. At the same time there is a heartfelt SCREAM from within the kitchen, as if someone were being murdered. And then, for Fairen, Sina and Dianna, the world, briefly, implodes. This place inverts, everything cool and comforting and good and nice, is not. This place is bleak, and dark, and putrid and hot. The air smells like a dog's breath after muching on a lot of poo. There is a sense of not belonging, of everything EVERYTHING being WRONG. This is not a safe place. This is not where they should be. This place is bad and wrong and home is better. Home is good. This is anti-home. This place is garbage.



Downstairs, when the glass is shattered, that proto-sludge of once human comes splattering out in a wave, the corpse falling forward through the shattered glass. Amund dances out of the way, escaping the putrid tide of human rot. Evaristo and Raymesin, the Harlequins are not so lucky. In fact, Evaristo, the one who breaks the glass, he gets some on his mouth. In his mouth? Maybe. But it's all over his lower face and jaw.



From the "office" next door there is a shuddering as the ground shakes. "NOT AGAIN!"

"He did try very hard to trick us," Amund pulls his scarf over the lower half of his face as he stomps at the door in an attempt to break it.

There is a slight rasp as Domonico draws Warspite, moving to shield those upstairs from any threat when the safe place becomes a most definitely NOT safe place. His eyes narrow as he sweeps his gaze slowly around, xiphos ready to defend the others.

Lucita reaches out to Alessia and Domonico or any near her who have remained up with those of the faith, still singing along though she looks paler.

Domonico wields Warspite, an alaricite xiphos.

Evaristo has been quite lucky in general - he's avoided bees, dead bodies filled with rotting honey... it was his time, really. "AHHH!" he calls and flails backwards, covered in the most foulest of substances. Opening his mouth was a mistake, he retches and tears away the bandana and drops it; least he had that. "This seemed like such a good idea one minute ago!" he groans and he tries to frantically wipe some of that goo off as he moves after Amund.

Thea quickly reaches for the hilt of her kopis, drawing it quickly. She looks at those of the Faith and Lucita and braces herself,"What the hells!" Would be nice if she knew what she was--fighting against.

Thea wields Skystrike, the finely crafted diamondplate kopis.

"Faugh," says Raymesin, bending over as though he'd been gut punched. A moment later he turns to one side and holds his sash out of the way before finding himself tasting honeyed fig again. He, too, is calling on the gods - for a few moments, at least. At the top of the stairs it might even be audible. And then it's back to business.

Someone wearing a jarring mirrormask formed of broken shards of stygian checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 11 higher.

Sina checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 11 lower.

Fairen checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 18 higher. Fairen rolled a critical!

Alessia reaches out a free hand to take Lucita's, though she remains wary of circumstances.

Merek doesn't see anything that's the matter, he blinks a bit while people begin to react like they do. He moves to the kitchen, it's the place where someone makes a sound and not a nice one, as such.

The Archscholar wants to go home again, but in an entirely different way this time. As the world seems to briefly implode to her sight and senses, she gets a sickly look on her face at whatever it is she sees in that brief moment of inversion. No /wonder/ she wanted to go home! No wonder she wanted to curl up in a ball and suck her thumb and cry for her mommy earlier. If she knew who her mommy was. This place... is terrifying. Her eyes open wide, snapping into focus once again, even as she hears the glass shatter down the hallway, and the scream from the kitchen. Glancing at Dianna, Fairen, Lucita, Thea, and Merek, Sina loosens her hands from those to either side of her, breathing hard and shaking in terror. "This place... is a reflection of what it should be," she cries. "The whole place. It is not as it seems!"

Domonico gets Silver Mirror Pendant from A smooth red belt with a square black buckle.

The sudden inversion of reality is a gut-wrenching, nauseating event that leaves Fairen stunned for a moment, not exactly helped by the screaming. But he regains his self-control and keeps praying, eyes focused on the horror around him. "It is, Archscholar. You're right. But we need to break the spell," he replies in a shaky voice, trying to keep hold of her hand and focus. "We need to focus. Please, Sina. Focus."

Lucita has been singing longer than the usual, first outside, then in, then with those praying, doing her best to shield and protect, and to help them see the truth of their surroundings and people and things around them. The effort is having an effect on her, more and more the longer she sings.

The Mirrormasked priestess does not even flinch as what seem like the depths of the Abyss surround them, instead, gently and comfortingly holds tighter to both Sina and Fairen. She takes up the prayer in a calm, collected voice as she notes that Sina's reaction to the truth of this place. "Queen of Endings and Mother of Beginnings, hear our prayer and bless those who have been taken, their deaths given over to one who is not deserving. Bless us, here, that we may place them back into your arms, that your Harlequins may find strength and spirit to do your will - and lead us not into the end, until we prove ourselves to you, and bring an end to this dreadfulness. Tehom. Hear me. Hear me: We ask for you to take back what is yours; we bring it to you as an offering. Bless us, please, with this - for we face this death, this destruction, this reflection of the truth - we see it, as we would see you, face you, honor you. Aion, Dreamer that you are: We honor you as well, for, without you, nothing would be as it is, as we are. Dream, and dream of us: Meld our dreams of heroism into yours, of peace and truth and joy, and the cleansing of this place."

In the kitchen, 'Quinet' is writhing on the floor, her body flickering in and out of corporeal reality. She's screaming, blood running from invisible wounds.



Downstairs, the rumbling stops and there is a hiss from the darkness of the office, "You insects are getting on my NERVES. I know you now. I know your names and those you love. Do what you think you can, you ignorant FOOLS! My agents are in Arx right NOW and your loved ones will be the first to DIE!" With that, there is a roar of rage, and the entire Inn shakes as the illusion begins to break down. What *was* a comfortable, quaint spot revealed as a broken, gutted mess.

Someone wearing a jarring mirrormask formed of broken shards of stygian continues praying to each of the gods in the Pantheon, her voice clear as day, sweet as honeyed milk - and untainted, fresh as the dawning day.

"Once again the man so beloved of bugs calls us insects. Starting to get tired of the insult." Amund strides in, Moonlight wielded as he calls out to Raymesin, "Torch!"

Letting Lucita's hand go suddenly, Alessia grips her weapon with both hands, backing away and surveying the room, as if expecting something to strike.

Domonico pulls out a small mirrored pendant and looks at the room around him in the reflective surface, eyes frowning as he sees all the decayed, broken things in the reflection. "Thea. Protect the others." He says quickly, staying hopefully between the Faithful and any threat that may come to them.

Lucita checked stamina at difficulty 10, rolling 4 higher.

"Joke's on you," says the Ulbran Harlequin with the alaricite dagger to the darkness, as he brings the torch to join Amund. "I'm a orphaned bastard street rat. No loved ones 'ere." A dagger only needs one hand to use.

Merek checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.

"Which loved ones? My family's all gone, you wanker," Evaristo calls back, getting irrate at the threat - and intimidated. "Death calls us all back. You, me, everyone. There is no escape!" He moves after Amund, grinning a bit madly with violet eyes gleaming. Least he can act the part.

"Are your agents a bunch of insects? My family aren't even in Arx," Merek then calls back to the voice, insulting him back. Then he's taking a moment to check his belt for vials as well as looking to the place, as the illusion begins to shift away. "You know, you really need a bit of housekeeping for the place." Still, he looks bothered by the change in scenery, the scarf pulled up while he makes a little noise and grunts, "This is..."

With a deep, cleansing breath, Dianna stands, takes her glaive from her back and wields it. "Time to go," Dianna speaks clearly to her sister. "Downstairs, both of us. Now." She turns her sharded helm towards her sister, "Yes?"

Someone wearing a jarring mirrormask formed of broken shards of stygian wields a diamondplate glaive set with mirrorsilver and sapphires.

It takes some time for Sina to decide what to do, though it does look like she would rather run and help those who went to the basement. But instead, she stays where she is, and resumes the prayer, taking up Fairen and Dianna's hands once more. She continues praying along with Dianna and Fairen, though she looks visibly shaken and worried. She can't seem to regain her composure, especially with the screaming in the kitchen. Then... then the Butcher starts shouting insults again, and claiming to know them, and their names, and his agents going after their loved ones. Then, the illusion seems to break down around them, and she glances around, looking shaken. It isn't often that the Archscholar looks so shaken, but today, she has definitely had her confidence tested. She lets go of Fairen and Dianna's hands again, and rises to her feet, her hand reaching for Brixeur'Ame instead. "I don't have any family either, you lying sack of bones!" she shouts at the air. She moves toward the stairs, her prayers ended, to join Evaristo, Raymesin and Amund.

Pale, with a greenish undertone, the singer sticks with the group she seems to be trying to protect. Fatigue is starting to show but she has a little more endurance left... a little. A wave of the hand seems to indicate for them to hurry up, whatever they are doing.

When it looks like it's going to come to fighting, Fairen stays behind with the rattled Archscholar. He squeezes her hands and murmurs something quietly, then looks up at Lucita as she sings, obvious concern for her. But Sina recovers and prepares to charge the horror in the cellar with the others, he goes to support the singing Baroness instead.

"Family is chosen, friends count just as well." Snarls the voice within the darkness. As the coldness increases, that voice turns buzzy, and insects come billowing out of the darkness, exploding outwards, crawling over the rotted wood and shooting up into the sky in a great black tendril into the air.



As the insects retreat, the illusion breaks utterly, revealing the Inn to be a husk of rotted wood. In the kitchen, still screaming, Quinet fades into nothingness. This place is empty now, though on the desk in the office is a stygian quill resting on the desk.

Thea visibly stiffens, trying hard not to appear so. She -does- have family and many loved ones. Thea swallows, trying not to allow it to effect her. Thea reaches for Lucita with her free hand, stepping after the others.

Alessia turns to Dianna with a dazed look. "I've got your back." She says simply.

Dianna puts a jarring mirrormask formed of broken shards of stygian in an orange backpack with two pockets.



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