Mists Over the Musarde

Mists Over the Musarde Chapter 1 Part 3

B: “If this place is not to your liking, herr elf, you have obviously not been in Pont-a-Museau for long. You will find far more buildings in even worse a state of repair than this scattered throughout. In any case, I do not believe we will remain here for long.” He casts a sideways glance at their reluctant companion. “That assumes cooperation on your part, monsieur.”

Bennedict then leads the motley crew to a secluded room in the building, and waits for others to get settled before asking questions.

G: The room is about half of the third floor- enough space for everyone in the party to comfortably stretch his legs and walk about. A door, loose on its hinges and half rotted away, hangs loose on sqeaking hinges. The only other egress is a shuttered window that faces the main boulevard. Three large wooden chests are stacked against the far wall. Some random furniture lies scattered about the chamber, in various states of disrepair. A faint odor of persimmons fills the air.

Renault has torn a strip of cloth from his blue cloak atop the middle chest with his back against the far wall, he looks about at you, his captors.

He speaks,

‘’This is about the shipment, of course. I told Clement that was an accident, blast it! I’ve never cheated him- does he think I am a fool? Why don’t you men let me go? Tell your boss I’ll recompense him for everything that was lost. I just need a little more time.’’

N: " We ain’t here bout no shipment, ya dullard" Norzak spits on the ground then continues. “People nabbin’ wimmin taint no better than murderers. I don’t care bout no shipment ‘n’ I don’t surely care ‘bout yer health. Gimme a reason to keep ya in one piece, otherwise ya start losin’ digits. After that I think I’d like ta use yer body as a sharpness tester….. See how I kinna puncture skin n bone with me blade.”

Norzak advances on Renault and moves his hand to the scabbard at his hip.

G: ‘’Not about the shipment? ’’

Renault looks confused for a moment, but Norzak’s words seem to clear things up.

‘’Women? You mean the girl- the red head? Why should you care? I’m sure you’re no relation to her, dwarf. ’’

N: Norzak stands right in front of Renault, eyes on the man’s. Faster than the blue cloak can react, Norzak’s hand flies out and he grabs the man by his partials. “You sicken me, mack.” His hand near to his scabbard, removes his short sword. “Just like ye’ve no care for wimmin, I’ve no care for you, ya dimbulb. Now pray to whatever god ya pray to, else I lop yer head off.”

The short sword touches the man’s neck, barely nicking it, showing Renault he means business. “Careful how ye talk to me, I might slip n end it now.”

G: Norzak’s sudden assault throws Renault into a panicky fit of apologies and oaths-

‘’Merciful Ezra! Please , no! See here, I’ll tell you whatever you want to know, just let me go. I won’t bother Evangeline again, I swear it!’’

C: Cirdan will gently nudge Renault with the tip of his sword.

“More etiquette, Sir, or you’ll find one hanging from your toe.
Just stop making noise.”

G: Renault quiets down.

‘’You have my word I won’t bother the girl. I’ll pay you to let me go free. What else do you want? ’

C: “Who’s that Clement you are talking about? – And what accident? – Why do you engage in criminal activities when your butt is apparently worth a price to someone? – And, indeed, how much?”

Cirdan suddenly stops and, in resignation, puts a hand over his eyes.

“I think I am getting a slight headache. You go on questioning that peasant.”

B: Bennedict’s eyebrows shoot up inquisitively. “So you know the mademoiselle in question? Perhaps you should begin there, sir, and make it fast. If the dwarf has made anything clear today, it is that he has a bizarre fetish for cutting off body parts, and is quite eager to act upon it.”

N: Norzak grins evilly at Bennedict. “Maybe, I collect them.” He laughs maniacally and looks at Renault.

G: Renault looks dejected.

‘’Blast! I’ve said too much already. Well, I’ll answer you, since it seems I’ve got no choice but to talk. ’’

Renault wipes his sweat soaked face before continuing-

‘’I know Evageline and her family through my trading business. I’ve always wanted her, I won’t deny it. Her father rejected any talk of a union. Ha! He never scrupled to do business with me when there was a profit to be had- but his daughter was too good for my sort.

I lost a shipment of tobacco in a boat fire several days ago. I was contracted to bring it to Clement Malreux. He is very angry that I’d lost the tobacco, and wants the advance money back. I am not in a good financial situation, and am unable to pay him back out of my own pocket.

My plan was to have Evangeline kidnapped, and then demand a fat ransom for her safe return. I’d heard that her father had recently come into quite a lot of money. I figured I could pay off Malreux and get back at the Sancerres for their ill treatment of me.’’

B: Bennedict sighs. “It would appear Evangeline’s father was more correct in his assesment of you than you give him credit. You may wish to give your illicit plans a bit more effort in the future, sir. Or at least be more discriminate in who you hire to perpetrate them.”

G: Renault slowly rises to his feet. He pulls a bejeweled ring from a finger and sets it atop the chest to his right.

‘’There is my ransom, such as I can pay. I’ve answered all your questions. Now, I must leave. I need to have a chirugeon look at this cut.’’

C: “We cannot let him go”, Cirdan muses to himself. “He would sell us on our enemies when he first got the chance. – Dwarf, can you remove a human’s tongue without inflicting too much unnecessary pain?”

G: ‘’AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!’’

Renault shrieks like a madman and rushes to the window. He’s trying to open the shutters!

N: Norzak bolts nto action as fast as his legs can carry him, he unsheathes his short sword and runs after Renault.

C: Cirdan won’t try to go after the miserable criminal, just quietly grin to himself.

B: “Now see here,” Bennedict shouts, rising to his feet. “You have no more right to harm this man than he had to endanger Evangeline.”

With that he tries to step betwen the dwarf and Renault to intervene on the man’s behalf.

G: Bennedict is able to move quickly enough to interpose himself between Norzak and Renault- foiling the dwarf’s attempt to stab the man.

Renault smashes open the shutters with his fists and leaps out the window! You all hear his terrified shriek as he plummets towards the ground- ending a few seconds later with a sickening CRUNCH.

Anyone who looks down out of the window will see Renault, the tatters of his blue cloak wrapped around his head and shoulders, lying motionless at the base of the tower.

SCRATCH….SCRATCH….

A little noise can be heard coming from inside the chest on which Renault had lately been seated.

B: Bennedict looks in slack jawed horror for a moment at the crumpled form of the man lying at the base of the tower. Coming to his senses, however, he quickly ducks out of sight from the street-facing window, jabbing an accusatory finger toward the dwarf.

“I hope you are pleased with yourself. You seem to have made us into murderers now.”

He is so preoccupied that he pays little notice to the scratching sound, given that the sound of rats crawling in woodwork is an everyday occurence in this place.

N: “I am pleased with myself. He deserved that and more. And moreover…” Norzak pauses as he hears th scratch scratch from inside the chest. “What the…?” He approaches the chest and with his short sword in his hand, he prods the chest almost as if testing to see if it was alive, senses alert.

G: The scratching noise inside the chest stops abruptly.

B: Bennedict peers around a corner of the window, looking closer at Renault. “It’s just a rat. They’re everywhere in this city. What are we going to do about this man.”

G: [Ben sees al this from the window. Others who come to the window will also see it. Everyone can hear the sounds and voices described]

Renault’s limp body lies where it had fallen. His form gives no sign of life, although you are to far away to be certain.

Just then, you all become aware of the sound of footfalls outside the tower, accompanied by a soft whistling tune. It sounds as if someone is approaching from around the lefthand street corner.

A ragged man walks into view. He’s carrying some sort of a staff, with small , dark shapes dangling from near the top.

As the man nears the corner, he turns from the street and cuts across the yard below the tower. He’s walking straight towards Renault!

N: “Dagnabbit! What we do now? This ain’t lookin too good. Let’s scram from here ‘n’ get to seein this ladies poppa on the morrow.” Norzak moves away from the window and heads as quietly as he can to the stairs.

B: Perhaps it is the odd timing of the man’s arrival, or perhaps it is his odd appearance, but Bennedict hesitates to move from the window, wanting to observe what transpires below. “I will meet you there tomorrow, herr dwarf.” He mutters quietly, trying to take in every detail of the scene below.

C: Cirdan has watched the scene with curiousity…

Finally, he gives a deep sigh. “Humans…”

He’ll then join his comrades in walking out of the building…

G: The ragged man stops walking as he draws near Renault. He looks around. Then he looks up at the open window. He bends down to take a closer look at the fallen man. The stranger is speaking to himself- although his voice isn’t loud, the night is still and quiet, so it carries well.

‘’Must have fallen- or were ye pushed? Dead, that’s certain. Best if I fetch the gendarmes.’’

The man turns and moves off at a brisk trot.

Anyone who gets a good look at him will see:

IMAGE

It is a warm summer afternoon in Pont-a-Museau, where our heroes are to meet the family Sancerre, and receive the thanks of the father of Evangeline, a young lady they rescued from ruffians the night before…

The Sancerre residence stands at the western terminus of the Street of the Clotheirs. It is an impressive structure of stone and oak, with a terra cotta tiled roof. All about the property stands a tall fence of wrought iron, pierced by a broad gate at the front. A pretty garden lies in the front yard, with blooming lilacs, daffodlis, and tulips. A walkway of red bricks leads from the gate through the garden to the front door.

In the garden, a small party is sitting on marble benches making conversation. A number of servants stand in attendance.

N: As Norzak approches the estate he wonders what this man will tell them. Bah humans! Soon as she was of age I’d of sent her ta work tha mines or sommeat else. They ony undserstand gold ‘n’ their own pursuits of power…. As he walks up to the estate he stops and spits in his hands. Then he tries to mat back his messly lump of hair with it. Now his hair looks a bit better, but he still hasn’t bathed in near how long and even before he is before Evangeline they knew he was there just by the smell.

B: Bennedict watches as the dwarf enters the estate, still on edge and expecting to be imprisoned at any moment for Renault’s unfortunate death the evening prior. He shakes his head at Norzak’s unkempt appearance, wondering whether the family will turn him away at the gates or simply shuffle him around the party and do their best to pretend not to be offended by the odor. It was times like these Ben regretted not studying arcane magic. A simple cantrip would help his general appearance immensely.

Then again, Bennedict was fairly certain he saw the dwarf cast a sleep spell the day before, so perhaps Norzak’s choice of appearance was deliberate. In any case the archivist muses he’ll stick out no more than the elf or the calliban. Resolving himself to another evening of hurriedly covering for the social faux paus of demihumans, he strides through the gates into the manner house.

Lengthening his stride, he catches up with the short-legged dwarf and walks beside him. “Herr Norzak,” the archivist begins, “I was wondering if you could assist me in a matter. The ruffians we defeated the evening prior were carrying an odd stone, one I was wondering if you, given your people’s inclination for working underground, could help me identify.” Bennedict reaches into his pocket and retrieves one of the objects he recovered from the alley, showing it to the dwarf.

N: Norzak puts out his hand and holds the stone that Benn hands to him. He inspects it closely seeing if he notices anything odd about it. In a low voice he says “Ye say ye found this on one a them idjits from lass night, lad? I’d like to look at it when we’re not in front ‘o these here rich varmints. I think y’ad agree on that as well, Bennedict. I think I’ll call ye Benn fer short tis a mite easier on me vocabulary.” Norzak winks at Bennedict and guffaws.

N: The dwarf’s sudden serious change in tone grabs Bennedict’s attention. “We may speak with it at your leisure, sir. I am merely glad to have found someone who recognizes it.” He looks around. “Do you see any sign of the other gentlemen from last evening?”

G: As Bennedict and Norzak stand talking with one another, two serving men approach them. Both men bow and the elder of the two adresses Norzak and Bennedict thusly:

‘’Esteemed guests, I welcome you to the home of the Sancerres. If either of you would like, perhaps, to first refresh yourselves after your day’s exertions, I can take you to the necessary facilities. I am certain Mesieur Sancerre will be pleased to delay your meeeting a few moments longer. out of consideration for your needs. ’’
The servant is looking straight at Norzak for most of his speech. He sniffs the air delicately, and clears his throat.

’’Ahem’’

N:Norzak looks straight back at the servant with a serious look “What ya keep lookin at me fer like that?” He sniffs under his arms then says to the servant. “Nah, I’ll be fine. It ain’t been a year yet since me last bath. I kinna wait another month fer me next one. Hey did yer never seen a dwarf before, bub?” He pauses then adds.“Ain’t pOlite ta stare I bin taught so keep yer eyes ta yerself. And I ain’t exerted meself today, this is my natural state.”

G: The servant blushes bright red.

‘’Forgive me if I have offended you. I simply thought you might enjoy a refreshing wash, sir. ’’

The servant executes a simple bow to Norzak, then motions towards Eanglkeine and the older red haired man sitting on the garden benches.

‘’My master awaits us. If you require nothing further, shall we go to him now, gentlemen?’’

N: “Yep that’s what we’s here for after all. Might as well see what the” and he exaggerates the name at this “M – A – S – T – E – R wants huh? Don’t wanna keep his royal highness waitin after all” and he rolls his eyes at this. He does follow the servant though, curious as to what this Evangeline’s father might want to offer them.

G: Evangeline rises to greet you as you approach.

‘’Ah, my heroes! Father, these are two of the men who saved me. ’’

Her father rises to his feet and addresses you both.

‘’ Thank you so much for protecting my daughter. Thank Ezra you stout fellows were on hand when she was…Forgive me! I’ve not even properly introduced myself.’’

The big red-haired man extends an open hand towards you each in turn.

‘’Denys Sancerre. My home is yours.’’

B: “Charmed, herr Sancerre,” Bennedict shakes the man’s hand. “I’m sure Norzak and I were just happy we were there and could be of service.”

Inwardly, Bennedict hopes that perhaps no one brings up just how little service the archivist was, during the event in question. At least not until after the rewards are distributed, anyways.

N: Norzak grips the man’s hand firmly, gauging the grip he gets in return, while eyeing the man straight in the eyes. Satisfied he says “Well twer nuthin, really. I always say ya kinna get tha measure of a man by hims handshake and hows his eyes are. Ya look good enuff fer me. Norzak’s me name. N’ twas a pleasure takin care ‘o’ them there varmints, bub.”

G: Evangeline turns to Bennedict and asks,

‘’Where is Sir Cirdan?’’

Denys smiles at Norzak’s comments.

‘’I gauge men in the same way. As a merchant, I deal with all sorts, and being able to read your man comes in most handy. Speaking of work, what trade do you practice?’’

N: Norzak thinks about that a moment before replying. “Well ta be honest, I jess got here in this here town. I traveled from Darkon ta see the lands and live a little. You might say I’m a jack of a few trades, yet not one in particular. I ain’t decided as of yet what I wanna do as a profession. Leaves my options open that way ya might say.”

G: ‘’ Well, if you are looking for employment, I’m sure I can help you. We should eat and drink before even thinking to talk of business, though. Shall we? ’’

Denys orders his servants to bring some wine, sandwiches, and extra chairs and small tables for his guests.

Evangeline makes pleasant conversation with everyone present, but keeps looking back towards the gate and staring at some point just beyond it.

C:
Late again, by Hextor’s filthy beard!

Cirdan suddenly bursts into the room.

“I apologize, Mylady, gentle Sirs… I was stuck in traffic.”

N: Norzak finds the food good enough, but the wine makes his nose wrinkle. Not bothering with manners(Dwarves aren’t known for their manners anyways) he grabs a passing serveant by his clothed arm and asks. “Hey bub, did yer got any ale? Wine ain’t something I’d consider even if I was in a pinch. Thanks.”

G: The garden party is moved into the house for dinner. The dining hall is well appointed, decorated with beautiful tapestries and tastefully carved woodwork. West facing windows are opened to allow the late afternoon sunlight and the pleasant smelling garden air to enter the room.

A servant brings Norzak a tall glass pitcher, filled to the brim with ale. He also brings a stoneware mug for Norzak’s use. The ale is quite good, with a creamy head and smooth but strong flavor.

Evangeline seems overjoyed that Sir Cirdan has arrived-

‘’Oh , I’m so glad you were able to come!’’

B: Bennedict glares somewhat in irritation at Evangeline’s back as she brushes him off and moves towards the elf. Perhaps if I carried myself like an offacious ponce she could spare me a moment of attention. He accepts a glass of wine, taking in the drink’s aroma appreciatively before giving it an experimental sip.

Hearing Master Sancerre’s conversation with Norzak, Bennedict steps away from Cirdan and the fawning debutante to converse with the adults. “My name is Bennedict Gehrman, herr Sancerre. I am an antiquities broker, acquiring artifacts as well as more contemporary items for succesful gentleman such as yourself. As it happens, I am currently between jobs and looking for a new client.” Bennedict arches an eyebrow suggestively at the merchant, taking another sip of the surprisingly tart Chardonnay.

G: Denys turns his attention to Ben.

‘’Well, as it happens I’m something of a collector myself. I will show you my collection after dinner, if you like. If you are indeed looking for work, I would be happy to place you on retainer. There are always things on which I’d like expert advice and help.’’

B: Bennedict perks up at this welcome news. “Ah, that would be most agreeable, sir. May I ask what you collect, primarily?” In the back of his mind, Bennedict hears the sound of coins falling into his pocket. "I trust you will find my advice to be sufficiently “expert” to fit your needs."

G: ‘’My interests are rather eclectic, so my collection is broad. Lately, I’ve become enamoured of Hazlani tea services. Lovely work in silver and brass, I’ll have to show you.’’

Denys smiles pleasantly while speaking of his collection.

The main course is served; roast quail, broiled potatoes, a garnish of leeks, and slices of good brown bread. Wine is brought for all, except Norzak- a servant refills his pitcher with more of the excellent ale.

It’s getting closer to sunset now, with light through the windows taking on a rosy hue. Oustide, you can hear crickets chirping. A gentle breeze blows in from the garden, carrying with it the scent of flowers.

C: Cirdan will quickly try to engage Evangeline into one his usual “let’s pretend it’s a conversation but I am really just trying to tell you how cool I am” moments.

At the table, he’ll sit as far away as possible from Norzak (no offense, but we all know how dwarves eat), and eat quietly, but noticeably quickly.

Must have been some time sinec he last good something warm for his belly…

G: Evangeline is intent on Sir Cirdan, hanging on his every word.

‘’Oh, you are so brave!’’

The evening progress pleasantly, with wine and conversation flowing freely. Dinner is finished and cleared away.

Looking out the window, one can see the dying blaze of the sun in the west. It will be fulll dark soon.

Denys Sancerre rises and addresses the party,

‘’Gentlemen, if you haven’t pressing business elsewhere, I’d be most honored if you would consent to be my guests for the night. ’’

N: Norzak rolls his eyes at Evangeline’s behaviour towards Cirdan. Muttering into his ale “T’aint no wimmin if she ain’t got no beard anyhow, BAH!” He takes a deep swig of his tankard and gets a refill. Belching rather loudly, he uncermoniously wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. “Good ale ye got, Denys. ‘N I’ll take ye up on yer offer. ’N tha meal was perty good too!” He pats his stomach in appreciation and takes another healthy swig.

G: Your host has become quite jolly, possibly from the not inconsiderable amount of wine he’s quaffed over the course of the evening.

’’I’m pleased to hear it, Norzak. I hope your companions will be able to stay, as well. ’’

Denys Sancerre rises from the table.

’’I’ll be right back, I’ve got something I want to show you all.’’

Evangeline is chatting with Sir Cirdan-

‘’What sort of horse do you ride? Is he very big and strong?’’

B: While enjoying the meal, Bennedict has been very careful not to overindulge in the wine, fine though it may be. As he saw the elder Sancerre getting further and further into his cups, Bennedict slowly started drinking less and less, letting the man get fully under the influence while the archivist remained clear headed and ready to take advantage of any openings the man gave. One never knows when an opportunity will present itself, after all, and Benn had taken advantage of a detail a patron had let slip unintentionally on more than one occasion.

Still, he found the evening to be agreeable enough, though he wasn’t sure what was implied by the master of the house’s invitation. Odd that he would invite strangers to remain in his home for the evening, he thinks. Especially given the oddity of the aforementioned strangers. Bennedict watches as Norzak picked the remainders of dinner out of his messy tangle of beard, popping the pieces of meat and cheese into his mouth after clearing off most of the hair. Still, we have business to discuss, so I will remain for a short while, at least.

G: Evangeline’s father returns carrying a wooden coffer. He sets it down on the table.

‘’ Here it is.’’

The small box is built of hardwood, possibly oak, with handsome brass fittings, lock, and latch.

Denys fumbles with the key for a moment, before opening the coffer. The interior is padded with velvet a shade of blue so dark it appears almost black. Lying within can be seen three items: a silver key, a roll of yellowed parchment tied with a green ribbon, and a curiously crafted mirror.

B: “Uh, that’s very interesting,” Bennedict says, with a quizzical expression. “May I ask what the significance of these items is?”

G: ‘’ Last month I directed my workers to collect some decoratively carved marble from an empty building in the neighborhood. In doing so, they came across a hidden space within the walls. Inside, they found these three items. I was present at the time of discovery, and I immediately took them into my possession. ’’

Denys takes a long draught of wine from his unsteady cup.

‘’Take a look in the mirror….’

B: Bennedict quickly racks his mind for any mirror related stories of the supernatural. Not wishing to appear rude in front of his host, however, he squints and stares into the mirror’s surface with an analytical eye.

G: Denys turns to Nozrak and asks-

‘’Friend Norzak, I understand dwarves have a certain knack for locating hidden treasures. People say you do it by smell. Is that true?’’

B: Bennedict’s head tilts quizzically to the side at the odd sight reflected in the mirror. Not really hearing Denys’s question to Norzak, he drums his fingers eagerly on the table in front of him, twitching to reach out and touch the objects. “That is truly unique, herr Sancerre. May I perhaps be permitted to examine it more closely?”

N: Norzak stares at Denys. “That we can smell hidden treasures? I dunno where ya done heard that, but t’aint no truth in it. We might be good at mining ‘n’ working tha stone, but ‘tis all. Whoever tole ya that prolly had too much ta drink ’n’ made it up!”

B: Denys replies to Ben-

‘’Of course you may examine it further. This is something that’s been on my mind since the secert space was uncovered and these items retrieved. I’m not sure if the key and the scroll are related, but it might be so- someone hid all three rogether, after all. I wonder what the key opens….’’

and to Norzak-

‘’Ha! I suspected it might be merely a legend.’’

C: Cirdan has been busy eating, like if he had been starved, all the while busily nodding to everything his companions say.

In one of the rare moments his mouth is empty enough that he may talk,
he responds to Evangeline: “I ride a white stallion, named Achilles. I took it from the first giant I slew. He had wanted to grill it like a steak, but I saved it.”

B: Almost as soon as Denys finishes speaking, Benn’s hands eagerly dart forward towards the mirror. He lifts it gingerly from the tabletop, holding it between his fingertips at arm’s length. He tilts the mirror and turns it, watching the odd background closely to see if, by moving the mirror, any other clues from the background of the mystery room might be revealed.

Additionally, he mutters the words to a prayer of revealing, hoping to detect any magical auras on the mirror, scroll, and/or key.

G: Evangline smiles happily at Sir Cirdan’s response.

‘’Achilles, what a splendid name for a horse. A giant- oh my, that must have been very frightening. I suppose not to a hero like you, though. I would have been terrified! ’’

Evangeline pauses a moment to take a sip of her wine.

‘’ I’ve read that the king of Darkon is a powerful sorcerer who lives in an enchanted castle. Have you been to his court? Is it very grand?’’

N: Norzak perks up at the casting of Benn’s spell. Though he had no interest in a mirror, if it was magical that was a completely different story. I could bring it back to Darkon for an offering…… Yes…. it’d be mighty pleased with me then…. Hmmmm….

He coughs and looks at Benn and nods, letting him know he’d heard. He mouths “Lemme know” to the big man and waits.

C: Cirdan sighs. Time to be honest. “Lamentably, not. I visited his summer residence once, with my father, but the king was apparently ill, or absent for some other reason, and we were commanded to leave. However, each one of us was given a silver cup that now adornates my parent’s cupboard in our castle’s hall. – If you want, I can take you some day!”

G: Evangeline seems impressed by Sir Cirdan’s account.

’’I’d love to go and visit Darkon! I’ve spent nearly my whole life here in Richemulot. Papa did take me on a riverboat trip to Arkandale when I was a little girl. I remember it was very hot and humid, and that the people spoke with a strange accent. They had HUGE riverboats that belched smoke like angry dragons. I’m afraid that’s all the far-way travelling I’ve done.’’

B: Completely ignoring Norzak, Cirdan, and the fauning Evangeline, Benn stands up from the dinner table, still holding the object before him. “Herr Sancerre, I believe all 3 of these objects are magical. Remarkable.” Staring intently into the glassy surface and trying to mentally record every image. Even more strangely, Bennedict starts walking backwards, not even looking at where he’s going rather than simply staring at the image in the mirror.

G: Denys speaks-

‘’Magical! I suspected the mirror was, of course- but the key and scroll as well! ’’

B: Benn’s eyes never leave the mirror. “Indeed, all 3 of them. The mirror seems to be a tool for divination, perhaps a scrying instrument of some sort…” His voice drifts off as he comes to a halt, pivoting in both directions. “Really quite fascinating,” he mumbles and starts walking backwards again, after making a 90 degree turn to the left.

G: Evangeline becomes distracted by Benn’s antics.

‘’What is your friend doing, Sir Cirdan? It’s quite peculiar.’’

G: Norzak’s mention of stonework has steered his host’s ramblings in a new direction:

‘’You see, we don’t need to work from scratch here. Oh no, the Old People left us plenty of fine buildings. We just refurbish those. The ones that time has laid low are quarried for their stones, so little is wasted. Every once in a while, we come caross something queer- as when my men found these-’’

He indicates the key and scroll, adding a sloppy wave in Benn’s direction.

‘’I wonder if they are from the Old People. It might be so. That hidden space looked like it had been sealed for a long time. Of course, I’m not a mason. I don’t know too much about such things.’’

B: Bennedict is continuing to walk backwards, despite the no doubt confused stares from the rest of the room. Just as he is about to bump into one of the walls of the room, however, he stops moving. His eyes unfocus and glaze over for a moment, before Bennedict finally snatches his eyes away from the reflection. He blinks rapidly, seeming for a moment to come back from a deep sleep. He quickly snatches a handkerchief from his jacket pocket, draping it over the face of the mirror and setting it down on one of the tables. He pauses for a moment longer, scratching at the corner of his mustache thoughtfully, before finally lifting his gaze back up to the rest of the room, finally noticing Evangeline and the rest of the people in the room staring at him quizzically.

G: Denys turns away from his rambling conversation with the dwarf and asks Ben,

‘’What did you see? The strange room, yes, but something else besides?’’

N: “Was it like ya had eyes behind yer head? That’s what it looked like ta me, Benn.”

C: Cirdan nods to Evangeline. “If you excuse me a moment, mylady, I will find out.”

Cirdan stands up and girts his sword.

“Is there any danger, my friend?”

B: Benn casts a wary glance down at the mirror concealed under the handkerchief. “No immediate danger, I believe. If the mirror posed some sort of peril, I would assume it would have acted by now upon Herr Sancerre.” Hearing Norzak’s question, he turns to answer him. “No, not eyes in the back of my head. I was merely using the mirror to navigate. Walking backwards through whatever…castle or tower can be seen on the other side of the looking glass. The area seemed benign enough, but still, I would be cautious before looking into it in the future. I can’t be certain of what I saw, but I’m fairly confident that someone may have been looking back thought it at me, someone with the power to affect in some way those who use the mirror.” He scratches his mustache thoughtfully. “There are legends of such beings, of course, but nothing that can be relied upon, fragmentary tales of witches and the like. Probably concocted by some country folk to explain why their crops died off…” Bennedict’s voice drops to a mumble, obviously traveling along his train of thought and not bothering to wait for the others in the room to keep up. At last he looks up. “I would like to examine the scroll and key as well, if it be permitted, herr Sancerre.”

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