Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (24)
We arrived back in Krutzhoffen late in the
evening. By then, the lady was dead, stabbed and her body thrown
overboard. No-one talked about her death or who had killed
her. We were invited to the Red Bull by Benito and Guido, who supplied us with
a marvellous dinner and lavished praise and thanks upon us. The
evening just emphasized how much better this inn was than the awful
Black Eagle. I bet people don't die here as often as they do on
the other side of the river.
Quite a crowd had accumulated when Guido announced to all that
he was indeed the rightful Duke of Merigliano, apologized for
putting everyone at risk, and stated that he needed to move on. Benito was clearly shaken
by this, but as Miyara translated, said he would go with him.
This left open the matter of what was to happen to the Red Bull --
would this miserable village be left without any decent place to stay
Later during dinner, the Dorufurikata had a quiet
word with Miyara. She told me he said that they were short handed
on watch last night, but that there had been no sign of beastmen for
two days. She convinced him it was in the best interests of
everyone to wrap matters up quicky, and to hold the inquest tomorrow.
Unfortunately we returned to the Black Eagle to
sleep. I don't know why the barbarians insist we live in such a
dump when such an obviously better inn exists -- for a while at least,
until the owners leave.
In the morning, Hosei went off to visit the
bakery. Miyara said that he and Pireseri searched the other boat
last night, but found nothing. She never did tell me what
happened at the bakery, but did say that Ashu now said that the water
smells funny too, as did the locally brewed beer, a very subtle
smell. The wine was fine, however, so we drank that instead.
The watch captain came by to deliver a message from
the Dorufurikata: the inquest would be at 2 pm this afternoon.
We had, however, other matters to attend to -- Ashu
believed we could deliver a message to the druidess by going into the
woods, and it certainly seemed worth a try, however strange.
Before we could get too far, though, we heard a
terrible scream from the woods, a woman's voice nearby. We came
across Britt Stultenburg,
one of several women in the town who the barbarians among us thought
good looking. This lady was about 19, blond, and kept house for
her brothers Willhelm
laborers. She had been frightened by the sight of another good
looking woman, lying as if thrown into the bushes, bleeding slightly
from her neck.
Aside from the obvious fear, Britt herself seemed to be
fine. As for the other woman, I treated her; she had been struck
on the head, and had two small puncture wounds on her next, as if from
a vampire The town of course had stories of vampires in the
past, when some angry mob burnt down a mansion said to house such
creatures. I pointed out the marks to Miyara, but other than the
blow on the head she was in good health.
Ashu quickly sniffed around and picked up the
tracks. The woman had been returning to the town down the path
and hour ago -- well after dawn -- and was attacked by someone hiding
in the undergrowth. After the attack, this person then retreated
back into the woods. Ashu could not tell us much about the
attacker, but if it was a human, it was a small human.
Miyara then talked to Britt and asked her to take
the woman back to the Black Eagle so Rabena could treat her, but the
townswoman ran off quickly, saying she would get help. Ashu
wandered off into the woods, no doubt to follow some trail or
other. He would eventually return, admitting he had lost the
trail and blaming it on the person being very good at covering his
tracks. The person would have to be a boy or woman, about 5' tall
and weighing 100-120 lbs. The trail just went off into the woods
in no particular direction.
Since the woman had run off, Miyara asked me to
follow her, at least back to the inn to fetch Rabena; Omi spoke
Nipponese, and so could translate for me to the barbarian
herbalist. I followed the woman back into town, where she fetched
her brothers and returned towards the woods. Since she had
completely disobeyed Miyara's instructions, I went to the Black Eagle
myself to fetch Rabena; Hosei and Carimera accompanied us back.
When we arrived, Rabena checked the woman who had
been attacked. The brothers were very distressed at this, and
tried to stop her. Miyara explained to me that as soon as the
three townspeople had arrived, the brothers had immediately jumped to
the conclusion that it was a vampire that had done this. No
amount of reason from Miyara could get through to the barbarians -- on
being told it could not have been a vampire since it was day, they
exclaimed "A vampire during the day!" and stepped further back from the
For a moment I forgot myself and suggested to Miyara
that the girl could have been bitten before down and hit on the head
after, but she pointed out that she had been walking around after
dawn. I apologized profusely. I have much to be shameful
about these days. Nevertheless, Miyara still translated for me,
unworthy as I was of her attention.
Hosei tried to help by performing a fake blessing on
the woman, telling the Stultenburg
boys that he had removed the curse and she could safely be carried back
to town. The laborers were amazed, but stopped making stakes and
dared approach her at last.
Rabena pointed out that the woman was his on the
head, and whatever made the puncture missed the jugular by about
1/2". What kind of vampire would hit the victim over the head,
and then miss the jugular as well?
Finally Rabena convinced them of something,
obviously, because they picked up the girl to carry her back towards
town, and from their manner they would indeed look after her unless she
woke up and attacked them.
We returned to town too, dropping by the Doctor to
inform him. We then went on to the Dorufurikata, where Miyara and
Hosei told him what he needed to know.
The man seemed somewhat overwhelmed by the
situation. This was not helped when Hosei said that Ziggy
might not have suicided, but have been killed to bring the legend to
the forefront. He continued to tell the Dorufurikata about Ashu's
sense that the bread, water, and beer smelt odd, and that it was
influencing people to act strangely. He presented his case that
someone was trying to scare people in the town.
The Dorufurikata himself, like most of the more
socially elevated barbarians in town, obtained his water from
collecting rainwater, while those of lower class used streams and even
the foul river. The Black Eagle did get its beer from in town.
The doctor dropped by briefly and joined in
briefly. I think he was confirming what Miyara had told the
Dorufurikata about the vampire attack being fake.
Soon we left. Miyara and I (accompanied by
Ashu) went back into the woods to try to contact the druidess, as she
explained to me. This time we went to a different place.
Miyara told me to stand quietly and think hard about the druidess.
Three large blackbirds arrived, and Miyara told me
that Ashu welcomed them as messengers. She went on to tell me
that we all had our own messages, and I was to tell my bird that Bastia
was dead, and how that came about, and at whose hand. She would
tell her bird the same thing.
Our birds flew away, and my hands no longer
hurt. I respectfully informed Miyara that I could be more useful
to her now, little use as I was, of course.
Ashu had a longer conversation with his bird, but it
too flew away. All three of us went back into the town for the
Back at the inn, Hosei asked me if there was dew on
the woman. There was not, but I also told the monk what Miyara
had told me that Ashu had said. He in return told me that Britt
had seen and heard nothing until she found the body. He also told
me that Rabena had treated the woman, but she had seen nothing either
but would not believe that it was not a vampire, and remained
hysterical until Rabena drugged her to calm her and help her
sleep. Our healer explained to the Stultenburg boys that
she was not going to become a vampire, but the barbarians around here
do not respond well to reason.
We went on to the inquest. On the way, Ashu
caught a scent as he passed a water barrel, and called Rabena
over. Miyara told me what the herbalist had found, that the
barrel contained springwort. This herb was a mild stimulant, and
caused nervousness and restlessness as a side efffect. It builds
up in the body so the effect accumulates, and there is no known
antidote. Only time will allow it to clear the body. It ws
most likely to be an infusion poured into the barrel, and someone was
clearly doing this deliberately. This was the first time even
Ashu had scented it in town, and so the criminal was being very careful.
There was no time to tell the Dorufurikata of our
discovery before the inquest began.
The inquest of course was conducted in the barbarian
tongue, but the attitude and bearing of officials convey their message
no matter what language they speak. Miyara spoke first, and
obviously told the complete story. She was introduced to them as
Miyara Miwa, a noble from Nippon, and they seemed to give her the
respect she deserved. In response to various questions, Hosei
also spoke, as did Goru. Doctor In Tesan gave a lengthy speech,
probably his report on the cause of death, but it ended with a comment
that obviously displeased the Dorufurikata.
Next to be called was the gamekeeper for the estate,
followed by three other people who didn't appear. Miyara told me
that these were all from the estate. At this, the Dorufurikata
became quite agitated, but continued. Most of the town was here,
a hysterical seething mass of nervous people ready to turn into a mob
-- under the effects of sprinwort, obviously -- and this hearing had to
continue to maintain some semblance of order. Notable among those
not under the effects of the drug were the Dorufurikata himself, the
watch captain, and Reefugo.
Since no-one was here from the Eisenstadt estate, the
Dorufurikata opened up the floor to anyone who wanted to speak, noble
or even peasant.
Immediately Benito stood up, speaking
dramatically and gloriously, no doubt on our behalf. He seemed to
have quite an effect on the audience, and when he eventually sat down
there was a lot of murmured approval from the crowd.
Next to stand up was Brunhilde. She
sounded like a peasant sounding off in criticism of her betters, but no
doubt Sir Theodocius
was indeed as bad as she said. Whatever it was she said, of
course I could not understand, but it seemed that the nervous mob was
definitely on our side now.
Gehrig then stood up, the man who owned a big house at the
western end of the town. Beside him stood a small fairy like Goru
but not white all over. He seemed to be making a speech about
morals, and from his significant glances in our direction it was clear
that he considered us to be bad examples.
The crowd became quite restless during this speech,
and when he sat down some of them began to stand up
belligerently. The Dorufurikata could see his control over his
barbarian subject slipping, and took charge quickly. He slammed
his hammer down and called for order, He clearly said the inquest
was adjourned until he reached his decision, and dismissed the crowd.
As the crowd dispersed, so did we. Many of the
peasants showed their support crudely as they passed us by; those who
had opposed us were the first to leave and slipped out quickly,
obviously fearing the wrath of the barbarian mob. Rabena, Jeison,
and Carimera stayed behind to talk to the Dorufurikata, no doubt to
explain about the springwort.