Scroll 3: In Which we Search for a Murderer and Find a Plot

Interlude Fifth

Kyosuke, Ashe, Jeisan, the White Faerie, and Hosei went into the woods to look for the beastmen. The rest of us stayed in the village. The village leader was uncomfortable with all of us going into the woods: he did not trust my word. Coldly, I informed him I would stay in town, as did Ravena, who is still woozy, Caramela, and Res Li. In the woods, they found no beastmen, but they did discover another dead villager. They also found another man hiding nearby, who they assumed at first had killed the villager. He insisted he didn't, and from his severely broken arm, it is not likely he did. Still, they brought him into town so Ravena can heal him and so we can keep a close eye on him. It seemed as though the man died of sheer fright.

Ravena was nearly herself again. She said she'd take care of the injured man, Omi, and keep a watch on him as well. Later, she said she'd actually healed the arm partially, but kept it set to immobilize it, and didn't inform Omi he was actually about halfway healed. Nor that she could heal him completely within a few minutes. This is good: it keeps Omi under our control and also keeps Ravena's abilities secret, which could get her executed by these backwards people, by information passed along from an unknown person we cannot yet trust.

Oddly, this Omi speaks my home language. Not in an educated manner and his accent is excruciating, but it does give Kyosuke someone else to speak with besides me and Hosei very occasionally.

Since all has been quiet, the village leader said he will hold the inquest tomorrow afternoon as long as it continues to be quiet.

Tasuke was at the inn for dinner, and the White Faerie went over to speak with her briefly. We had heard rumours that she had killed Bastiyan, and he wished to ask her the truth. He spoke quietly, she swiftly drew a dagger and placed it at his eye. Before I could stand and come to his aid, he apparently talked her down, and she replaced the dagger. They spoke quietly for a few moments more; then he returned and reported what she said. She had indeed stabbed him, because he did not pay a debt he owed her. Three murders accounted for, two left. The villagers are apparently used to her quick temper, as no one said a word.

Then, another confession! Burun Hila, who ran the village's store with her sister, came into the inn and directly to our table. She said, "Tasuke did not kill Bastiyan, I did." He had come through town before, gotten her sister pregnant, and ran off, leaving her to suffer a miscarriage by herself. She said when she him, she couldn't help herself and bashed him on the head. She was a very large woman who held a staff with certain authority. One blow would have been enough.

Again, as with Leafglow, both of these were honor-killings and completely justified.

Hearing this confession, a man next to us stood up and said, "Nonsense! A Tai Lian assassin killed him. I saw him that night, climbing up the outside of the inn to his window, pause, and then climb back down again." What that death might have been for, I had no idea, but his multiple identities are a possible sign as to the why.

Suddenly, the matter of Bastiyan's death was accounted for. I asked Hosei to come with me, as a monk of Varina, and I made my report to the village leader. We established a rough timeline:

He may very well have survived any one of the attacks, but all of them together were too much. It was also clear that several of the attacks were justified. The village leader showed much wisdom with his official report. He ruled that Bastiyan had been killed by a Tai Lian assassin for reasons unknown. Were it not for the matter of Sir Thiodoshu's death, we could leave now and make our report to the Druidess.

At breakfast this morning, Ash said the bread smelled peculiar, and he declined to eat any of it. Ravena couldn't smell anything odd, nor could anyone else. Still, his sense of smell has proven sharp and reliable in the past. Avoiding the bread leaves me little to eat besides this cheese and the over-cooked vegetables served as an afterthought.