Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (15)

    We have met a monk called Hosei, a follower of Feirina, the goddess of knowledge, truth, and justice.  He wishes to travel with us to the mountain monastery, and has taken an interest in our investigation of Etiyen's death.  So many people here are so concerned about the death of a peasant.  If it were not for the debt that Miyara has incurred on my behalf with the druidess, I would not care either.  At least he is a follower of more noble ideals, such as any barbarian can.
    Hosei remembered the night that Etiyen died.  The man had dinner at the inn, and may have gone out after, but had to have been in his room when the doors were locked.  The two Tai Lin people left, but they are considered regulars and apparently are beyond suspicion.
    Poison could have been used, but it have had to have been mixed with other ingredients to delay the effect or it would have killed him too quickly.  I was told that Jeison had been poisoned the last time he was here in Curutsofen, but that was by a new servant at the inn who left before they could work out who he was.  Typical barbarian ineffectiveness -- no doubt they conducted their investigation with a lot of shouting and breaking down doors.  The assassin had been hired to kill a specific person here, and Jeison was poisoned to keep him asleep.  On this occasion, though, Etiyen ate the same food and drink as everyone else.
    The village is small, divided by the river with a single bridge.  The doctor and the dock are in the northeast, while this inn is in the southeast.  There would have been no time for Etiyen to go over the bridge and back after dinner.  Ashu the sniffer says that his trail lead simply from the inn to the doctor, and the inn to the dock.  Etiyen went nowhere else.

    It was time to visit the doctor.  It is unusual among these people for men of learning to reside in small towns, especially since Miyara told me that this doctor is considered particularly good among barbarians.  His house was two stories, medium large for this village.
    Uncommonly for these people, when there was no answer to polite knocking on the door, they did not break it down or even shout in argument.  Instead, they decided that he was probably in the best inn, immediately south of the bridge.

    Hosei is very refined for a barbarian.  He had a pleasant conversation with the innkeeper who greeted us.  Nevertheless, we were told that Dr. In Tesan was not here.  We ourselves took the opportunity for a decent meal of cheese and soup, accompanied by a very good bread.  When the inkeeper came over and had a mutually respectful conversation with Hosei, I pointed out to Miyara that we should be staying here, not in the hovel chosen by the barbarians.  She did not explain why they had chosen so, but also told me that other people have died at our inn.  She did say that it would be inconvenient to stay here while investigating a death there, and of course I deferred to her.

    We returned to the inn of death.  Hosei and Pireseri checked the outside of the inn --they were to find nothing -- while the rest of us went inside to ask about Etiyen's activities.  He arrived in mid-morning, had lunch and dinner at the inn.  The barmaid described him as a man running out of money.  Miyara liked my suggestion that he was being blackmailed, met his blackmailer outside, and was killed when he couldn't pay.
    We had yet to question anyone who was at dinner.  After some talk, particularly with Hosei who had already talked to many, we came up with a list.  Etiyen, of course -- Bastia, in fact, as Miyara has now explained that the barbarians say their names the wrong way around.  There were two Tai Lins (who are boatmen); an elf with an unpronouncable name, perhaps Asteri Lion Reefugo, who has chosen to live among humans for the time, and has rented a large house and likes artists; Dagoma Tausika, a striking woman, well travelled and intelligent, with the air of someone comfortable on the road or woods, she was armed with a knife and evaded questions on her profession, but admitted to have recently inherited some small amount of money and a cabin in Wilebuga in which she lives; Gudurun Manga, a woman in her 70's or 80's, ugly in the way barbarians get when they are old; Rudo Rinden Fara, a local notary; two resident workers, Aderas Oureber and Gerarte Sututse, Oureber has red hair and bad teeth and was the one who comforted the barmaid after she found the body, Sututse was at dinner but not afterwards.
    Oureber and Sututse were having lunch while we were there.  They were having a heated but hushed discussion.  Miyara directed the less imposing of us to go over there and talk to them -- she meant the two of us Nipponese, Rawena, and Hosei.  Hosei sat down in a friendly manner and got them talking.  Apparently Sututse said the elf had poisoned the food, sprinkling something on it.  He added that the elf had been in town a year or more, and that Bastia was unarmed.  Only those staying at the inn went upstairs, at least as far as the two noticed, and they pointed out that the room had been locked as if that had escaped our attention.  For some reason Hosei asked about someone called Ibera Howa, who I later learned is the village herbalist, and they told him where she lives.  Fara has an office between the inns, but usually works at the office of the local leader.  The leader has an unpronouncable title.

    Miyara, Rawena, Hosei, and I went back to the office of the doctor, In Tesan.  This time he answered the door.  He is in his 50's, slim, with long grey hair but balding.  Pale eyes are hidden behind glasses, and he walks with a slight stoop.  He wore a suit with a white coat over it.  I heard Hosei mention Bastia and the leader's title, and we were admitted.
    Bastia had visited Dr. Tesan in mid-afternoon complaining of colic.  He dispensed a remedy.  Bastia was in some discomfort, and they did not converse aside from the matter at hand.  The manbane could not have caused the colic, we were told, as a little causes sleep while more than that would have killed him by dinner.  The doctor did not notice the dart, so it must have been later as it would have caused pain too.
    Bastia's body was stabbed where he fell forwards.  He was probably walking away from the door when he fell, but did not get far before he fell, leaving a trail of blood.  The dart was on the same side as the blow to the head.
    I suggested to Miyara that we ask Dr. Tesan if he had any ideas about the murder, but the man did not.
    Hosei asked the doctor about the other names that I recognized as the ones from the inn that night.  He apparently disliked Tausika; she was not friendly or bright, not the sort of person he wanted in his town, as she was part of and encouraged an undesirable element.  She inherted the cabin of a man who died during the plague a couple of years ago.
    With no more we could learn, we left to return to the inn.  As we walked away, though, he said something which was clearly not in a language anyone knew, looking at Hosei.  The two of them had a few friendly words in the local language and we continued on.  Hosei told us that Tesan was a mage.
    Manga lived in a little house on the river, not far from the doctors.  We dropped in there, but as Miyara explained she was just a village gossip and knew nothing.
    We then went to the office of the village leader -- his title is something like Doru Fricate -- and as expected found Fara there.  The two of them were present for the conversation, which apparently revealed nothing of value to us, although Hosei told the Doru Fricate about the elf.  We were, however, told who lived at the Wilebuga estate, which showed that Tausika was out of place among them.

    We left to visit the elf, but on the way Hosei cast a spell, saying some quiet words and making gestures and using some small object I could not see.  He then, much to my surprise, spoke to me in Nipponese.  I introduced myself politely and complimented him that it was good to find someone so civilized among the barbarians.  Later, when he could not longer understand me, I told Miyara that he is the nicest barbarian I have met so far.