Prestley asked around, discovered that the boat moored next to ours was the one Bastiens came in on, just yesterday. He asked one of the deckhands about Bastiens, but didn't really learn much: just that he seemed depressed and he didn't mention where we was going or what his plans were. So, back into town.

We stopped at the Red Bull, the first inn from the docks, and inquired about Bastiens. The innkeeper recognized and welcomed us, but he said Bastiens hadn't checked in here this time either. So, we proceeded to the Black Eagle, where I was sure we'd end up staying again. It's become a habit.

When we arrived, there was obviously something going on. The barmaid was crying on one of the innworkers' shoulder, and everyone seemed unusually busy for a morning.

There was a guest sitting calmly and quietly at a table, so we asked him what was going on. He said he didn't really know: he hadn't noticed her going upstairs, but she had come down crying. Seems somehow familiar, like the last time we were here and nearly got railroaded for some murders... The constable came clomping down the stairs, saw us, and came right towards us, looking grim. That couldn't be good, I thought.

He said last time we were in town, just a week ago, we were asking all over town for Bastiens. And now he's dead upstairs, and here we are, his favorite suspects.

We pointed out that we had been on the river on a boat until this morning, and since Bastiens had died last night, it couldn't have been us. Seemed pretty logical to me, but he was reluctant to admit we couldn't be in two places at once. He did tell us that he didn't know how Bastiens died, and he wanted to know why we had been looking for him in the first place. We told him the truth: that we sought him at the Druidess' behest. He said the dorfrichter would want to talk to us, and urged us to go see him. In fact, he wouldn't let us even see Bastiens' body until we had done so.

Before we left, Prestley used his considerable skills to calm the barmaid. She was certainly not hysterical anymore, but we learned little else from her. She had gone up to clean his room and had discovered his body on the floor. Although she didn't know how he died, she was sure it was a horrible death. The watchcaptain told us he was stabbed in the back and had been sick all over himself, too. Poisoned and stabbed perhaps? Seemed a bit much -- maybe he was just ill.

We walked immediately to the dorfrichter's and were ushered into his office. He, too, wanted to know where we had been last night. He asked if we knew anyone who would want him dead, and we explained how we didn't actually know him or anything about him beyond his name and that we were looking for him for the Druidess, and definitely didn't know why she wanted him. She's not big on sharing information.

Since we were the closest thing he had to a suspect, despite our not being there, he told us to promise we wouldn't leave town until the matter was resovled, and in the meantime he would check out our story. I wasn't sure if he wanted us to be guilty in particular or if he just wanted someone, anyone, to hang it on and we were convenient. At any rate, we were again stuck in this silly place with at least one dead body and suspicion heaped upon us. Miara gave him her word of honor for us all, that we wouldn't leave. I would have leaped at the chance to promise him we'd never come back, but he didn't ask for that. Yet.

Before we left, I passed on the Druidess' greetings to him, and mentioned that she wished us to aid him with anything he needed. That surprised him, and he said, "Well, that's a start. Find out who killed Bastiens."

The dorfrichter returned with us to the inn, and we immediately went upstairs. The weren't any guards upstairs, which surprised me. There was only one door open, though, and we found the innkeeper cleaning up a mess. Bastiens was missing, and the innkeeper said his body was downstairs, awaiting burial. He had only a duffle bag, which the innkeeper let us take. Prestley looked at the bag while Jason and I looked around the room. On the floor was a small dagger, with blood on it. It certainly looked like someone had been stabbed with it. There wasn't anything else in the room. I inspected the vomit on the floor that the innkeeper hadn't cleaned up yet, and I was sure there was manbane involved: so he was both poisoned and stabbed.

Prestley said the duffle bag contained clothes, some calling cards, and some letters of introduction from various extremely minor nobility. The calling cards told us something about Bastiens: they each had his name printed neatly on the face, and each one had a different profession. He was apparently a merchant, and a lawyer, and a doctor, and several other things. We assumed that the letters were equally false.

I proceeded downstairs to the basement, to look at the body. Most of the group followed me, although the two foreigners didn't. Perhaps they're above death.

I found many interesting things about Bastiens' body. Goldrim immediately recognized him as the man from his vision. There was a large lump on the back of his head, a dagger wound in his back, and his tongue was purple: definitely poisoned by manbane. In addition, there was a tiny puncture wound on his neck, as from a dart, and the skin around it appeared burned as by acid. Meanwhile, Jason looked at his hands: there were no defensive wounds at all. Probably too busy throwing up. Prestley looked carefully and said there was nothing hidden on or in him. I think he died late last night.

We all trooped back upstairs to his room and searched for a dart. We didn't find one. He had died on the floor, as if he had been walking away from it into the room. The door had been locked, the window was closed and locked, and there was no other way into the room. Yet he had been poisoned, bludgeoned, stabbed, and shot with an acid dart.

The only people who had been inside the inn last night was Bastiens, the inn people (innkeeper, two laborers we knew from before, and the barmaid), two Tyleans, and one monk of Varina. The Tyleans were the best suspects in all that, and they were conventiently missing this morning.

We put together a couple of tables and started to talk it all through. That quickly bored the dorfrichter and the watch captain, who finally left. The monk of Varina, who introduced himself as José, joined us. I was hopeful that he would prove useful: they are notoriously curious about everything, and are upposed to never lie. At least I could assume he wasn't a suspect.

José said the Tyleans were more interested in the barmaid than anything else, but he did hear them mention their ship -- the Cloven Hoof -- and their names -- Tony and Guido Sarducci, brothers.

Bastiens hadn't appeared to be carrying anything of value and kept to himself. He ate by himself, but ate and drank what everyone else was. He seconded the deckhand's opinion: he seemed sad or depressed. Or maybe sick.

José expressed interest in the calling cards and letters, so we showed them to him. He laughed and was of the same opinion as us: most likely forged. Anyone could have written them.

When the barmaid came around with more drinks, José asked her about Bastiens, if he'd said anything to her. She said he came in for a room mid-morning, went up to his room, went out for a while, and was here for dinner.

Ash finally stuttered out that he might be able to figure out where Bastiens had gone by scent. He sniffed the duffle bag, and nosed around on the floor, getting some odd looks from other people in the inn.

We followed him outside, where he followed the trail only he could sense. He couldn't tell the order Bastiens had visited the places, but he knew where he'd gone: the Red Bull, the wharfs, and the doctor's place. Yet, the innkeeper said he hadn't seen Bastiens.

We went to the wharf first and verified the Sarducci's story. The Cloven Hoof had been here for two days, and the brothers had stayed at the Black Eagle. They had left on the boat in the morning, and were in fact fairly regular travellers through here.

Next stop: the good doctor.

Ravenna, A Monk of the Biancan Order

Part the First:
Blood and Mud

Part the Second:
Murder and Mayhem

Part the Third:
Puzzles and Crystals

Part the Fourth:
Dwarves and Rocks

Part the Fifth:
Diplomacy and Daggers

Part the Sixth:
Crystal and Chaos

Part the Seventh:
Sheer Insanity

~ The End ~