News October 2002
30th October 2002
DeadCal strikes a Deal
Now I'll be the first to admit that I highly disapprove of slavery, an I've had a few cross words with this Mehdi ibn Salaad and his slavers over their treatment of Ruadnit Troi...but I couldn't help wondering what he might have on sale, if only to see if there were any poor souls I might rescue.
Well, imagine my surprise when I see Ant of the Knights and Mages of Kha for sale for the bargain price of 3,000 gold.
Now Kha happen to have possession of a book which allows the easy summoning of powerful daemons, and they used this at the trial of Brown Moses last week, causing enough chaos for the evil Moses to escape.
I quickly sent my crow to the Sheikh, expressing an interest in the young mage. We quickly arranged a deal and after I paid him, Ant was handed over to me and I took him home. I gave him food, water and a shirt, and allowed him rest and a bath. He also had injuries to his wrists, to which I applied a healing salve. Despite these kindnesses, he seemed much afraid of me, having heard that I was a murderer.
Leaving him to rest, I then sent my crow to Pekka of KMK. I offered him the safe return of Ant in exchange for a copy of the daemon summoning book. After some humming and hawing, he agreed, and I gated myself and Ant to Skara Brae for the trade.
Pekka brought with him his associate Khalid, doubtless to make sure I didn't try anything untoward, but my intentions were honorable. However, I was less sure of his intentions, so I let him know that the salve I applied to Ant's wounds contained a slow acting poison and I would only let him have the antidote once the book was tested. Of course, this was a ruse, since I had no intention of harming Ant, but I wanted Pekka to know he couldn't fob me off with a fake. Fortunately, the copy he gave me worked perfectly so I let him know that the poison was nothing more than a healing salve after all.
I trust that the Master will be happy with this new toy, since it will add considerable power to our attacks.
25th October 2002
Brown Moses in the Dock
For the second time in two weeks, DeadCal finds herself attending a trial in Minoc Town hall. The first time she stood accused of murder. Now pardoned of that crime, she is here as a witness. The accused is the cardinal, Brown Moses; the same man who prosecuted her last week. She smiles at the irony of that.
Witnesses are called, and each time Moses, who defends himself, attempts to anger them so that their testimony looks biased. He makes outrageous accusations. He had already managed to rile Ruadnit Troi to the point where she struck him across the face, and then he called Night and accused him of being a traitor who neglected his duties because he was to busy trying to sleep with DeadCal. Moses had even asked her, straight out, if she was a whore. Shocked, she had been unable to answer.
Now Cal is called to the chair. She sits down, but avoids leaning against the backrest for the lash wounds she received last week have still not healed. Kamchack questions her first, for he is prosecuting Moses this time.
Then it is the Cardinal’s turn. DeadCal finds it hard to conceal her contempt for this man, but she tries to remain calm and answer the questions. He asks how she seduced Night, which she denies, and then asks about Night’s capture. She relates what she remembers, adding that she was not yet on the Dark Cloaks council.
“Was that when you still worked in the brothel?” Moses asks. Cal is shocked. “Brothel?” She can’t believe she just heard him say that.
“Aye, you are a whore after all. Isn’t that correct?”
Finally her contempt reveals itself. “You confuse me with your mother.” Moses does not like this answer, but it is clear from the stifled laughs heard elsewhere in the courtroom that the audience is enjoying this sorry spectacle. But he has more insults ready. “So DeadCal, after Night had paid your fee, what happened?”
This is too much. Eyes blazing, she rises from her chair, walks to Moses and slaps him smartly across the face.
The baron asks her to return to her chair and she does so. Now Moses questions her about Neo, and her part in his death. The questions are loaded, though it is not Cal who is on trial this time. She wonders how long she will be able to control her anger, but then a gate appears in the centre of the room. Through it steps a daemon…then another, then another. She stares. What is happening here? Moses runs through the gate. She sees mages of Kha following the daemons. It is chaos. Britannia Guards are falling left, right and centre. She grabs the spear she has concealed in her cloak and begins to fight, though her shirt and trousers offer her scant protection against their spells and claws. She sees Night take a blow to the head and fall, and then she sees Captain Andrew bleeding badly as he tries to take two daemons. She urges him to run but he falls too and she is left to fight them while Seriya heals her. Somehow she survives, and then remembering her pledge to the baron, she runs out into the street where sounds of fighting can be heard. She finds him facing down two Vesperians and, drawing her spear, she stands beside him. The men attack. For a while she is holding her own, but them she feels a great blow to her side, followed by a searing pain in her chest. The last thing she sees is the cobbled road of Minoc rushing up to meet her. Then all is dark.
Her eyes open and see Seriya and Malechi…and Night. His hair is matted with blood from a head wound, and he looks pale, but he is all right. Worry shows in his eyes. Cal coughs and feels the searing pain again. She spits a wad of semi- congealed, black blood on the ground and leans against the wall, feeling faint. Her hand goes to her ribs. Broken, or worse. More old blood comes up. She rarely bleeds, so she knows this isn’t good.
She hears concerned voices, and pleas to go to a healer, but she shakes her head.
“The baron,” she says. “Is he alright?”
“I think he’s in the tavern,” Seriya says. Cal coughs again. “Good. I need a bloody drink.”
Holding her side, she turns and strides off towards the tavern.
24th October 2002
The Return of Ruadnit Troi
The messenger girl has been badly beaten, and is bleeding from her mouth. Much of what she says is unintelligible, but DeadCal tries to be patient.
“You say he’s where?”
“’es ‘oled up somewhere but ‘es safe.”
Concern shows on Cal’s face. “But he’s hurt, you say?”
“Badly injured, ‘e is.”
“Tell me where he is!”
“Yes, tell us,” Seriya joins in.
The girl shakes her head. Cal feels like slapping her but holds back, knowing that the girl has had enough punishment for one night, and has risked her life to bring this message. Yet she feels exasperated, knowing that Garret is hurt but not knowing where he is or how to help him. She sighs heavily. “The lady…where is she?”
“Slavers took ‘er from the house and sold ‘er.”
“Who bought her?”
The girl spits some blood. A few teeth seem to be missing. “Some bloke. I follows ‘im froo a gate an arrive outside an’ house wiv BDA on a sign…” She starts looking woozy.
Cal looks to Night. He is no longer dressed in his uniform, but in civilian leathers. “BDA?”
“Brotherhood of the Dark Age.” His face is grim.
Night has gone, and Cal stands talking to Seriya and Gorbash about what to do about Garret. She hears voices just below the town square…a man’s voice she recognises as the baron’s, and anotherthat belongs to Gentle of the rangers. Turning, she runs down the steps to see what the fuss is about.
She sees the baron, Gentle, and StormFighter of the Britannia Paladins, huddled around a familiar figure. Ruadnit stands there in unfamiliar clothes, her face white with pain. Her side is bloodied and there are burns clearly visible on her arms. Gentle is doing his best to support her but he is shaking with rage. It is clear she has been tortured, and Cal feels sickened.
Gentle turns, anger in his eyes, and stalks off, muttering about revenge. “Get ‘er to the old counsellor’s guild,” the baron instructs them. Cal calls to Seriya and the others to join them, and they support the injured ranger captain as they make their way across town.
Gorbash and StormFighter guard the door, while Ruadnit is ushered inside and given a seat close to the fire. The messenger girl makes strong tea in a pot over the fire, while the baron gives Ruadnit some liquor to calm her nerves.
“They treated my like an object,” she says of the slaver. “They stripped me and washed me like I was an animal. Then they asked 3,000 gold for me but BDA said I was not worth that much…” she breaks down.
“You’re worth a million times that and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise,” Cal says fiercely. Despite all that has gone before, Cal has grown to like this woman, and it infuriates her to see Ruadnit driven to tears.
Seriya’s eyes show concern too. It is strange to think how much has changed with the recent events. Cal looks over at the man who, only last week, was sentencing her for murder, and rubs the scar on her throat thoughtfully. Now they must heal Ruadnit’s wounds together.
Cal walks out into the night air. She feels light-headed and strange. The evening’s events have yielded many surprises, but she vows to keep them to herself. One thing she does not understand is how Ruadnit was freed. She did ask, but Ruad was vague, saying she remembered talking to her captors but not what was said. Cal shrugs. Perhaps she would remember eventually. For now it was better that she forgot her ordeal and got some much needed rest, and Cal has given her a sleeping draught to ensure that she suffers no bad dreams.
A cold wind is blowing down off the mountain, and Cal pulls her cloak around her and walks off towards the outskirts of town. Her hand closes around the city crest that is still in her pocket, and she thinks of the baron and all that has happened this day. She owes him, still, and she knows that she is a long way from repaying that debt.
Tomorrow is the Cardinal’s trial…
23rd October 2002
Brown Moses arrested
A few days ago, Rob Dart, the Baron of Minoc, summoned me to to his home. I'd agreed to help him trap the evil Moses in exchange for my freedom...a bargain which, for me, was easy to make, since I had already pledged much the same thing to Ruadnit Troi while I sat in Yew Prison awaiting my trial.
I asked the baron how I could help, and he told me that Brown Moses was planning to march to Vesper with a force of men in order to renew the war between those two cities. Moses wished to get his hands on a copy of that Moongates book, though why he would choose to attack Vesper for it, instead of ourselves, I'm really not sure.
The baron told me that he planned to stand in the road and try and stop the army himself, and that I was to stand with him. He bade me bring some stealthers, so I suggested Night, and then sent my crow to Nydaen with a message.
Yesterday came and the baron had heard that Moses would be mounting quite a force, so he hinted that I might need more men. Nydaen had already offered his support, but I also managed to contact Gorbash, Malechi and Shazam, and together we met the baron at the bridge just down past Minoc mines.
Night was there also, along with Shelly and Rev of the Coven of Crosswood; a group of friendly witches who had just set up home in the tents south of Minoc. Though we were a small force, we hoped that we would be enough to give pause to the guards who accompanied Moses. This would be a difficult matter indeed, since it would force several guards to choose, not between friend or enemy, but between Moses, a man who had led them for long, and the baron himself. We were ready to fight, if necessary, but hoped to avoid it if at all possible...
Moses then arrived with a large party of guards, and the baron shouted at them to return to Minoc. This request was repeated several times, but Moses declined, and prepared to order an attack on the baron. At this point we emerged from the shadows and stood by him, ready to defend him to the death if needs be. Then, one by one, the guards began to join us. Many were confused, not least being Andrew, the new guard captain, whose faith in the virtues seemed shaken. But Moses was then arrested for charges including treason and the murder of Neo. He is to be tried on Thursday, and I shall attend, though this time as witness rather than defendent.
One he was taken off to jail, the baron took me to once side, and presented me with an official pardon. I am once again a free woman, though I still have a debt of honour to pay and will aid the rescue of Ruadnit Troi once it becomes possible to free her.
At this point, I bade my fellow Cloaks farewell as I had some matters to attend to in Minoc. I needed to seek out Captain Andrew, for I told you all that I would deal with him myself, in my own way. Now that I have done this, you are not to touch him, nor any other Britannian Guard, and in return we will not be attacked when we are in Minoc. I ask you to abide by these rules. Any Dark Cloak who commits a hostile act against a member of the Guard without good reason will be answerable to me. I hope I make myself clear.
There are a few matters left...the trial of Moses, the rescue of Ruadnit Troi, and of course, the moongate book. I will also have to attend to a certain ranger who was last seen leaving Minoc at great speed on a horse whilst drunk, and since he is not a drinking man this concerns me greatly. Hopefully, once these things are dealt with, we can put aside our dispute with Minoc and concentrate instead on the Master's business.
Yours in Darkness,
23rd October 2002
Seems that Night is not the only one having a crisis of conscience.
Today I did find a most morose baron, drowning his sorrows in the tavern. He managed to down several bottles of hard liquor, all the while bemoaning the fact that he was not noble-born and therefore not fit to lead the city. I tried to tell him that he had done a good job against the barbarian threat as well as handling the Moses situation admirably, but he would not listen.
He staggered out, leaving his city crest on the table. I pocketed it and went after him, later finding him in the town square. I tried to give it back but he wouldn't take it.
"Now what would I do with it?" I asked.
"Be the baroness so that meh can retire," he replied. I laughed, of course, but he then walked off leaving me with the city crest in my outstretched hand...
Yours in Darkness,
20th October 2002
Ruadnit Troi abducted!
I was sitting at home with Liz going through my arms locker when Wayland arrived home alone, he came straight in to see me ,he looked battered and burnt
"They've taken her"
He swooned to the floor and I helped him to a chair cracking a small phial of smelling salts
His head snapped back as the pungent salts brought him to awareness.
"Take your time tell me what’s happened"
"We were walking in Minoc taking the air and discussing our wedding plans when we were suddenly accosted by several strangers."
"I’m not sure it happened so fast, perhaps five or six" he gasped.
"What happened then?"
"The leader said kill the male take the female!", his voice broke. "I couldn’t stop them, too many"
"Where did they take her?" I asked him pressing the questions.
"I was hit from all sides the world went grey and when I came to.... she was gone, all of them gone!" A tear rolled down his cheek.
"Did you search for her?" I asked , he started to drift away into unconsciousness. Shaking him "Did you search for her, Wayland?"
"I looked but all I could find was a patch of flattened grass in a circle" his head dropped body slumping in the chair.
She came in and her face paled as she saw the wounded man.
"Take care of him please Liz. I have messages to send."
She went out the room coming back with a bowl of herb scented water and clean bandages, tending to him while I scribbled notes quickly.
Leaving her to finish, I went up to the roof where the pigeons were cooped attaching messages and releasing several.
Liz came up her eyes brimming "Is it Ruadnit?" she asked tearfully.
I nodded slowly her tears coming fast now "Is she dead"? she sobbed. I cuddled her hard. "I don’t know, my love, I don’t know."
Gentle, Shadow Ranger of the Britannia Guards
16th October 2002
*a torn and crumpled scrap of paper is recovered from the badly mangled corpse of a red-haired woman*
…trial was well attended. Not just by the relevant parties but also many others who must’ve been drawn by [illegible]. Am I truly that infamous?
Kamchack was there to defend me, along with several other members of his guild. They all showed a great deal of compassion towards me…perhaps more than I deserve. The same could not be said of [illegible] but I suppose it is understandable. There is still a lot of anger and [missing fragment] the role Brown Moses has played in all this.
Many witnesses were called, but unfortunately Ruadnit Troi was unable to be there. Moses had evidently sent her on some wild goose chase of a mission to ensure she could not testify. She sent a written statement, but it did not cover some of the more crucial issues such Neo being undead and [illegible]. The ranger known as Metallicker testified in her place, since he was witness to both Neo’s death and my capture. He told the truth as he saw it. I can expect no better than that.
Of course, there was the matter of the arrow that struck my shoulder when I had the blade to Neo’s throat. The arrowhead was still in there, and they wished to remove it as evidence. One of the Kult paladins performed the surgery using a heated blade, and it was excruciating, though I felt much better afterwards. Not that it did me much good.
My defence rested not on the fact that my hand had slipped due to the arrow, since that would be a lie and, for all my sins, I am not given to lying. My defence was that I had sought to subdue Neo, since I was badly injured and he was starting to struggle, and that, as a fellow undead, he should have survived such a wound, even if it had been inflicted by a silver blade. Yet the question of Neo’s condition was barely covered and [missing fragment] had Ruadnit been there….
I even agreed to submit to having my throat cut using the murder weapon, to show that it would not be fatal. I saw Night grow pale and I tried to smile and show him that it would be all right, but he turned away. Poor Night, he has been through so much recently and [missing fragment] feel responsible.
Kamchack took the blade and gently pulled my head back to expose my throat. Then he cut deep and slow, severing windpipe, muscles and veins. For a moment I blacked out, and then it was as if my body had forgotten that it was dead, and tried desperately to draw in breath. I was wracked with coughs and had to slump against the wall until one of the paladins came to support me. If this is what Neo had felt, then [missing fragment] sorry. But I did not die, and I still do not fully understand why he did. If I could go back and change what I did that day, then I would but [missing fragment].
The cutting I endured was to no avail, however. Though Kamchack did his best, the verdict still came back as guilty. Moses had been too tricky in his prosecution, and feelings still ran too high amongst the [illegible]. [illegible] sentenced not to death, but to fifty lashes followed by life in a mining camp somewhere. What this means for me I don’t know, for it seems I cannot die, at least not naturally. I think I would have preferred death to an eternity of breaking rocks…
[illegible] Cloaks were dismayed at the outcome, and swore to free me, while Night got into some sort of argument with the guard captain, Andrew H. I would have told them to desist, but for the fact the throat cutting had robbed me of my voice. By this stage the wound was starting to close, but my windpipe had not yet knit…
[missing fragment] were cleared from the Town Hall so that the captain might administer my lashes. I don’t think I’ve met anyone with quite so much pent up rage as Andrew. Perhaps the argument with Night did little for his temper, but he certainly took it out on me. I was already weak from the throat cutting and the operation on my shoulder, and it was as much as I could do to remain upright. At least I did not give him the satisfaction of hearing me scream, which I think only made him all the more angry, and I was almost unconscious by the time he’d done with me. I suppose I cannot blame him, if Neo was truly his friend, and he is [missing fragment] the truth about Moses. If [missing fragment] forgiveness. Shadow Star of the Britannia Paladins stayed to [missing fragment] for she was concerned for me, though I think it must have been hard on her to witness such a thing. They refused to let her tend to my injuries but she managed to slip me some bandages, and I smiled to let her know I would be all right.
Then I was taken to the Baron’s office where [missing fragment] Raistlin [illegible] gate to the mining camp and…[missing]
16th October 2002
Robert Dart has just reported that there was a massive cave-in in the mine where DeadCal was set to work. DeadCal is reported to have perished in the "accident", which was apparently caused by three unidentified figures wearing dark robes and handling kegs of explosives. I still cannot believe the news.
Read for yourselves:
*The figure of DeadCal leaves the mine and a fe second three figures in dark robes surround her... The sound of Strange metal being draw is heard moments later there is a faint scream followed by a figure dragging the body of Dedcal into the mines....
Moments later the other two Figures appear laying down several kegs within the mines.. they then open a keg and pour a line of Purple from a keg to outside the mines once the three cloaked figures are clear of the mine one lights the trail with a flint and steel and a shot of raging fire shots across the floor...
Seconds later the kegs within the mine Explode and the entire mouth of the Cave collapses.... screams coming from within the mine... as the enterance collapses.....*
Meh 'as just been informed that the Minin' prison which 'eld DeadCal 'as been destoryed... from the reports ALL prisoners within are dead... We's will be tryin' to clear the rubble to confirm tis...
A little later:
Tis with sad news that meh reports... Within the cave we's found Twenty dead and several wounded the paintin' below is proof that DeadCal is indeed Dead within the Mines...
*leaves, visibly shaken*
9th October 2002
*You see a crumpled note smuggled out from Prison*
Fellow Dark Cloaks!As you'll know by now, I have finally been captured. To be honest, it's almost a relief. I have had enough of running.
After Nydaen discovered information that Brown Moses was to have Reggie executed, and despite the fact that Reggie had behaved irresponsibly, I couldn't very well let a fellow Cloak go to his death.
I brought with me Erzbeth, Shazam, Nydaen and Morang, and had them come in disguise. I myself wore the gold plate and ice white cloak and sash I'd used for Neo's funeral the night before.
I had Nydaen scout out the way ahead and he let me know that the cell was being guarded by rangers (Ruadnit Troi was among them...), but Brown Moses was also there, as luck would have it.
I walked straight up to him and introduced myself as a paladin of the order of the Rose, and I was checking on the welfare of prisoners as I'd heard some were badly treated. Moses grumbled about "more bloody paladins" but agreed to let me in to see Reggie. I asked if he would show me himself, and he agreed.
Once inside, I unsheathed my knife I pressed it to the Cardinal's throat. When I removed my helm and he saw who the strange paladin was, he was more than happy to do what I said, knowing that it wouldn't be the first time I'd cut a man's throat.
When we were outside the hut, I asked him if he would have the rangers attack, as they had attacked Neo. Funnily enough, he was very quick to order them to drop their weapons.
I summoned the mages and had them open a gate to safety. They all made it through, but but it dissipated just before I reached it myself and one of the rangers hit me between the shoulder blades with the butt of his spear, causing me to drop the knife. I realised then that I was in no position to try anything, surrounded as I was, and unarmed. I decided to go quietly, since resisting arrest would only earn me a beating, not to mention more hostility on the part of my captors. Even so, Moses decided to hit me with a fireball, but I was still wearing my gold platemail and the armour deflected most of the blast.
Moses admitted he had arranged for Reggie to attack Night the previous evening, even providing him with the guard uniform he had used. Ruadnit was furious that he'd risked her rangers, and got into a bit of an argument with him.
I was then taken into the same cell I'd rescued Reggie from, and shackled to the bed. Then the Baron of Minoc arrived and talked to me for a while. I'd been suspicious of the baron since he'd had Neo's eye burned out, but he treated me fairly. From what he said, he was highly suspicious of Moses, and did not hold me entirely to blame for Neo's death. He told me I would be tried for murder, but he thought likely that I would not be found guilty. However, I still had to answer for Neo's death and would most likely be found guilty of assault, which carries the penalty of lashes. He also warned me that, if I tried to escape, or a rescue attempt was made, I would automatically receive the death penalty. I have decided, then, to stay put and accept whatever sentence I am due to receive.
Baron Dart also had me transported to an alternate prison in order to keep me safe from Brown Moses. I am guarded by the paladins of Kult for my own safety. Please don't try to find me. It is better for all concerned if you leave me be.
Yours in Darkness,
8th October 2002
DeadCal saw the pigeon alight on the window ledge. Quickly, she took hold of the bird and removed the message that was bound to its leg.
I was able to remain undetected at Neo's funeral, and followed the one you called Night through a gate and back to Minoc. He was heavily guarded and they placed him in a cell under lock and key.
He is now being held in custody.
DeadCal screwed up the note in disgust. "Damn fool!" she muttered. After meeting with Ruadnit Troi yesterday, she was confident that Night would be kept safe from Brown Moses. But then Reggie had let his jealousy get the better of him, and was stewing in a jail cell because of it.
She cursed loudly kicked the crumpled note into the corner. An already desparate situation had just got worse. She had waited long enough. Now, she had to act.
6th October 2002
I had an interesting meeting with the paladin, Kamchack, yesterday. As a close friend of Neo, he wished to know more of the woman who wielded the blade that killed him. It seems that he had already heard much about me, but he claimed that, as a guardian of truth, he would hear my side before making any judgement about me.
We agreed to meet at the shrine of Honesty. He brought two companions and I brought with me Reggie, but the meeting was peaceful and no hostilities were necessary.
He was keen to know of how the war with the Guards started and seemed saddened that the death of his friend should have sprung from a childish act if disrespect committed by Moiraine and her friends.
I then went on to relate Night's suspicions regarding Brown Moses and he was most concerned. He has some ability to detect evil in people, and I suggested he might like to try it on Moses if he got a chance.
Kamchack eventually came to the conclusion that, though I had committed crimes, murder was not one of them, and he offered his services in my defence should it come to a trial. He also agreed that he would not hunt me down, although he suggested it best that I turn myself in, thought not to Brown Moses for obvious reasons. I will have to think on this.
It is good to see that not all men of virtue are as judgemental as the Knights Templar.
Yours in Darkness,
5th October 2002
DeadCal stared into the fire and felt the fury rise within her, hotter then the flames now reflected in her red eyes.
"Coward!" she spat. "Coward indeed!"
The Templar had insulted her to her very core. He knew nothing of her, that was for sure. That someone could be so judgmental without even waiting to hear the answer to the questions he had asked....well it was beyond her. Still, she would have her satisfaction, eventually. For now, there were more important matters to attend to.
The day has not gone well. For a couple of days now she had been harbouring Night, the fugitive ranger, in her home. Night was a good man, but he was not judgmental. That was what she liked about him. She was not proud of the path she had taken, but Night still saw good in her and perhaps thought her redeemable. Since the liches had cursed her with undeath, she had felt little beyond pain, bitterness and burning rage. For a long time, she had sought release from her condition, for even true death had seemed preferable to being forced to continue without a soul. Yet now she had found a family of sort in the Dark Cloaks, and with that came a sense of purpose. Night, however, had ignited something different within her. He saw past the pale skin and red eyes and found something of the human she had once been. And in return, she had felt a warmth towards him that seemed at odds with her very nature.
The Dark Cloaks, of course, disapproved, as did Night's comrades in the Britannia Guards. She had been warned against pursuing the relationship, but she had even gone as far as to openly defy the Master after he ordered Night to be punished for spying upon them. Though her fellow Cloaks cared not for Night, she refused to deny her own feelings. That she had feelings at all was a miracle, and she would not give them up so readily.
Then came the business with Neo, and her unfortunate part in his death. Night had seemed willing to believe that she had not intended to kill Neo, and wanted to help. He had seen a change in the cardinal, Brown Moses, and suspected that he might somehow have engineered Neo's death, setting up Cal to take the fall. At first, Cal had warned Night against helping her. Even if it could be proved that she was not guilty of murder, then there were still crimes of manslaughter, kidnapping and assault to answer for. Yet Night wanted to know what lay behind Moses' strange and uncharacteristic behaviour. He would not rest, he said, until the truth was uncovered.
Later, when his officer, Ruadnit Troi, ordered him to arrest Cal on sight, he refused, saying he would do no such thing until a warrant for the arrest of Brown Moses was also issued. This escalated into a fight, and Night soon found himself under arrest for refusing orders and assault on a senior officer. He escaped by hitting his fellow ranger, Metallicker, over the head, and found himself, like Cal, a fugitive.
Cal feared for Night, and despite warnings from her fellow Cloaks, she took him in and gave him shelter. She thought long and hard on what to do for the best. She considered letting Night turn her in, but the Master forbade her from taking risks and Night, she knew, would not allow it anyway. Still, she knew she could not stay a fugitive forever. The longer she remained free, the more attention would be drawn towards the Dark Cloaks and they, she realised, would pay the price. But if she turned herself in now, Brown Moses would remain free, and Night would be in danger.
She spoke to Night at length, and he asked her not to risk herself, but she merely smiled and told him she would do what she thought best, just as he would in the same situation. Then she left him in the house and journeyed to the Valley, for there was still a debt of honour to pay. Neo's body had been recovered, and the Cloaks had vowed to return it to Minoc for a decent burial. They went with torches lit and heads bowed, and paid their respects to their fallen foe, even as those around them were cursing and vowing revenge. Cal knew that most of the anger was aimed her way. She had wielded the blade, and it was her blood they called for. Well, she thought, let them have it. Just not yet.
It was then that she learned that Night had been taken from her house. An armoured man had called her to one side, and told her the bad news. He claimed to be some sort of paladin, and offered his help, but she was unsure whether to trust him fully. She wanted to, badly, but so many seemed to want her dead now that it was difficult to know where to turn.
There was one possibility, though. A diplomatic meeting had been arranged sometime previously with the Knights Templar, and as a member of the Dark Cloaks council, she was obliged to attend alongside Seriya and Garret. She doubted the Templars would want to help her, but it occurred to her that they might be interested in the corruption of Brown Moses, and Night might find a sanctuary there if he could be freed from Minoc's jail. She knew the Templars had recently given sanctuary to Sherena, an outcast of an evil organisation, and if she could find help there, then Night, whose only crime was to seek the truth, would surely be welcome.
With a heavy heart and a troubled mind, Cal arrived at the meeting place. Seriya and Garret began the talks with the Templar leader, the Prince Orlando, and he seemed to wish to know much about the Dark Cloaks and the Master. Eventually he did ask what they wanted....trade...help...or something else perhaps? Cal thought carefully for a moment, and then began to voice her fears over the corruption that lay at the heart of the Britannia Guards. Initially, Orlando was interested, but then he wanted to know every detail how the Dark Cloaks came to be at war with the Britannia Guard, and the conversation moved further and further away from where Cal wished it to go. When she began to relate the circumstances surrounding Neo's death, hoping to bring up the matter of the Cardinal's change, Orlando's manner changed and he became became quite vehement. Instead of letting her finish the story, he immediately branded her a murderer and a coward, and demanded she turn herself in. She was aghast. All she had wanted was some help in extricating a good man from a terrible situation, and yet Orlando was already turning his back on her and refusing to listen to the rest of the story. The corruption he had seemed so interested in earlier was all but forgotten as he strode away with his retinue. So much for the truth these Templars claimed to uphold.
At that moment, Cal felt despair for Night and anger for Orlando and his self-righteous indignation. Well, if the Templars would not help, then she would have to find another way. Though the Dark Cloaks forbade it, she vowed to do right by Night if it meant the end of her. Should she survive that, then she would come for the Templars. Orlando would pay, and only then would her honour be satisfied.
5th October 2002
Tis with heavy heart that I learned that Night, the one Britannia Guard who tried to help me with regard to finding the truth behind Neo's death, was this evening captured.
Night had been on the run for several days after disobeying his officer's orders to capture me. A warrant was handed out for his arrest but he refused to hand himself in until Brown Moses was himself charged with responsibility for Neo's death. Thus I offered him a place to hide until such time as he could prove the baron's guilt.
I left him there while I prepared to go and help return Neo's body to Minoc. Thus we did return the fallen captain to his people, and we were not harmed. However, I learned from some paladins I met there that Night was taken from my house earlier that evening, and is now in custody awaiting sentence.
Then, when we returned to the valley, an older man rode up on a horse. He was looking at a piece of paper, and looking at us, as if to compare us to a description, and eventually introduced himself as a concerned friend of Night's. He told me that Night warned me not to risk myself for him and then left.
I must think how best to deal with it. I know there are those of you that care not for my friendship with Night. However, leaving my personal feelings aside, Night is the one person within Britannia Guards who knows the truth of what happened, and would seek to expose Brown Moses. Perhaps the strange paladins I met tonight might help.
Yours in Darkness,
5th October 2002
And so last eve, with a small retinue of retainers, did the Dark Cloaks return the body of Neo to Minoc. While Garret carried the body, the assembled Cloaks did walk by his side carrying torches and slowly make their way to Minoc, taking a slow pace to show proper respect and ettiquette as required by one of Neo's standing.
|Upon arrival the contingent was met by a large force of Guards and Allies, to which the body of Neo was given for a proper burial. However instead of realising the honour in which was shown to Neo by the cloaks doing this, instead did the Cardinal again levy false accusations and refer to the Cloaks as scum. Much did the contigent have to endure but all stood firm and acted with honour.|| |
With hands heavy on heart then did we depart, but not until threats were levelled at the contingent of cloaks and harsh words spoken. It did pain me that even when showing respect for the dead that some amongst the guards wanted blood. For once that was the last thing on our mind and instead expected respect to be shown to honour a brave man.
None was shown.
Hostilities are now back in force, if you should travel to Minoc be wary, for there are many hasty ones amongst the guards and they seek to injure and harm us at every step.
4th October 2002
Last Night, Garret, DeadCal and myself went to speak to Prince Orlando of the Knights Templars. We had a small hope that they might be able to see past the Britannia Guards' propaganda and be able to mediate in the conflict between us and the Guards about Neo's death.
After a lengthy introduction by the Templars, in which Orlando spoke about the virtues and how the Templars enforce them all over the lands, we finally got down to business. DeadCal told Orlando about the signs of corruption she had seen in the Guards. Orlando was very interested in this at first, and asked us to tell all about our dealings with the Guards, and how we came to be at war with them.
Orlando seemed quite willing to listen to our story initially, and agreed with our point of view in several instances. But when DeadCal came to tell Orlando of the circumstances surrounding Neo's death, his manner changed quite dramatically. He would not even consider that DeadCal's hand had slipped when her shoulder was hit by an arrow, and that she had had no intention to kill Neo. Instead he insinuated that the very act of unsheathing her dagger and threatening Neo with it meant that she was willing to kill him, and that because of that she was guilty of murder. Not only that, he even said that it was only in the interests of diplomacy that he did not have DeadCal arrested there and then and handed to Robert Dart!!
Orlando asked DeadCal several times to hand herself in to Dart, and implored me to have her handed over and seek a diplomatic solution with the Baron. It did not sway him that the Baron already showed himself to be cruel and injust when he removed one of Neo's eyes with a red-hot poker only because Neo disrespected him. He was also not impressed when we pointed out that Dart has been calling for DeadCal's blood, and that there was no hope of a just diplomatic solution.
No, Orlando was so arrogant as to call DeadCal a coward for refusing to bow to the Baron's "justice", and criticized the Master for ordering her not to turn herself in.
With that, he gathered his waiting attendants and honour guard - a whole little army the Prince takes with him when he goes out - and left the meeting, threatening that he would have DeadCal arrested next time he saw her.
His initial interest in the Guards' corruption is all but forgotten it seems. So much for upholding Honesty and Honour....
Beware when you see the Templars about, for they are not our friends.