Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (28)


    As we stepped out the door to head to the mansion ruins, before we left, Miyara tells the Dorufurikata that this woman was the fake vampire who attacked the girl.  He took the news simply and as matter of fact.
    We then continued out of town towards the Ghostwood to find the Black Stump.  Goru, Omi, and Son had not been involved in the matter of the woman, and they remained behind again as we headed out on a second attempt to get to the ruins.
    It was not difficult to find the black stump.  In a small grassy clearing, a black and scraggly stump of what used to be a large tree reached up into the sky.  It did not look like it had been struck by lightning recently, although it had obviously been in the past.
    I motioned to Pireseri to look around with his special sight.  He indicated that the tree did not look at all unusual inside, and there was nothing strange in the ground around here.
    Ashu and I looked around for tracks.  It was clear to us that this had been a campsite for quite some tijme, a period probably of at least a week.  There were signs of a recently used campfire, trampled grass, and Ashu picked up the woman's scent.  That woman had left in a hurry in the direction from which we came; tracks and scent of two other people headed northward, in the opposite direction.  Our obvious decision was to head north following these other tracks.
    We travelled north for about two miles, ever deeper into the woods, until we came across another campsite.  This time there was a tent there, but no sign of people.  It looked to Miyara as if the tent had not been here very long, probably about a day, no more.  The campsite showed very little sign of being used, and no fire had even been built in the fireplace.  Ashu picked up that the two people arrived here about three or four hours ago.  I suggested that they were looking for wood, but Ashu said they had left in a hurry in the last three or four minutes.  These barbarians are so noisy.
    Ashu and I moved on out stealthily following the tracks, with Miyara accompanying us.  MIyara had ordered the others to follow along behind, but far enough that they didn't interfere with us.  Ashu told us that one of these people was the smell of someone from the graveyard; the other is a new scent he had not encountered before.  The tracks of the unknown person disappeared soon after entering the woods; the beastman creator smell continued to leave tracks.
    The tracks continued north, and we continued to follow.  The smell of the beastman creator showed he was running, so he had to have been pulling away from us.  He was leaving a pretty clear trail.  To hurry and be ambushed, or to follow safely and fall behind?  MIyara said to continue as we were, and Ashu agreed.  Eventually he would surely get a sense of security or exhaustion and stop.  I had lost the track, but at least I was being much more stealthy than he was.  Not everyone can sniff like a dog.  The track continued to come in and out for me, but Ashu's nose continued to sniff out our quarry.
    After a quarter of an hour it was obvious he was slowing down.  He had stopped and we had caught up.  Ashu indicated he was about 15 yards ahead of us, ducked down behind a tree peeking out, waiting either in cover or more likely ambush.  I worked my way around behind him, while Ashu and Miyara came in from other directions from the general front.  The man still seemed to be oblivious to our presence.
    I came up right behind him in the thick woods.  As Miyara stepped forward, I grabbed him from behind.  I grabbed his mouth and pinned his arms, but of course he still struggled.  MIyara and Ashu both leapt forward ready to subdue him.  The man himself was carrying a staff.  All of us knew that there was a mage among those we faced, so none of us were going to stop and ask for surrender -- we all wanted him incapacitated quickly.  Miyara allowed me to follow my strategy, understanding perfectly what was appropriate, and told him to stop struggling.
    Suddenly, coming straight it at me was a large slathering ghostlike creature.  My duty was to stop the mage, so I tried to hold on as this thing attacked me, but the demon held me in its power and I could do nothing as the man broke free.  The demon tore into me and I died.
    Then the illusion disappeared and I realized I was alive and unhurt.
    Ashu then failed us and attempted to bury his axe in the man's skull, but the man slipped between him and Miyara and ran off.  Miyara turned quickly and struck at him as he ran by, slicing into him.  He fell down and started screaming in a barbarian tongue, clearly in total fear.  His life was clearly in Miyara's hands, and he knew it.  MIyara ordered Ashu to do something, and he went off into the woods quickly, searching for something or someone.  Miyara quickly and effectively rendered the man unconscious.
    I recovered my senses and fell to my knees in front of Miyara in shame.  She allowed me to live.  Perhaps she considered it the action of magic, but that did not excuse it.  At least now we knew how someone could die with no marks.  She told me I would have to work off my dishonor, but in the meantime there is another man out here who we cannot detect.  We would wait for the others to catch up, she directed, so that Hosei could check for magic.
    It took twenty minutes for the others to arrive.  In that time we had bound and gagged our prisoner.  I forgot myself for a moment and spoke, suggesting I administer first aid; Miyara gave me a look and told me to do so.
    MIyara explained to the others what happened.  She told Hosei about the illusionary beast, and that there were two men here, as the one I held could not have cast it.  The others searched the man, finding many spell components of an indeterminate specialty, but probably not a necromancer, and Hosei said that he had recently been casting magic.  Hosei said that nothing in this area was magical aside from this man.
    I almost spoke again, to ask Hosei if this man could have cast if he had been held, but I just made a small sound before I stopped myself and bowed my head in shame.  He could of course have cast the demon illusion before we got there, for the ambush, and called it forth when we attacked.  This was most likely, and I was very glad I had stopped myself rather than compounded my shame again.
    Among the man's possessions was a magic licence, in the name of Frederik Herkenrath.  With no other signs of anyone else, we started back to town with our prisoner, along with everything from his camp.  The only unusual thing in this camp was a partly used vial of manbane, with three or four lethal doses left, of which Rabena immediately took charge.  There were three sets of light travelling equipment.  The size and shape of the clothing in the packs were consistent with the other person being the fake vampire, and Ashu's nose confirmed it.  He did confirm that the doctor had not been there.

    We arrived back in town to seek out the Dorufurikata and tell him what we had found.  The woman was now in the town jail, still unconscious.  Hosei told us that at very high level a magician need not do anything to cast a spell, so therefore the new prisoner would need his hands, his mouth, and components to cast -- so if he was under constant watch, he would not have an uninterrupted ten seconds to get off a spell.  If he had been of that level, we would not have defeated him so easily.  He was isolated in jail under constant watch, much as Hosei had been when he was imprisoned in town.  Rabena told us that he was seriously injured and would remain unconscious for some time, but she treated him anyway.  She added in a quiet aside to Miyara that with normal treatment, it would take him a week to regain consciousness, but that she had treated him at the site and he could be brought back to consciousness at any time.  The woman would probably wake up in one to three days.  Hosei stated clearly that the woman did not have an aura of magic about her, and she was not carrying anything that would indicate she could use magic.
    The Dorufurikata did not recognize either of these prisoners.
    We had several courses of action open to us at this point.  Ashu could try again to track down the man who disappeared.  We did see some evidence at the doctor's that pointed to the broken down mansion.  One prisoner could of course be interrogated almost immediately, but we could have to wait a few days before we could confirm anything with the woman.
    The obvious action, therefore, was to interrogate Herkenrath in the jail cell.  Rabena revived him, with Miyara directing the questioning; Jeison restrained the man, being the strongest aside from Goru, and Ashu insisted he accompany Rabena.  Hosei also was to be present, as he could warn us if he started casting, but he remained outside the cell, as did Pireseri and I.
    The man, initially groggy, recovered enough to be questioned.  Later, Miyara described it to me, and I of course gave her my full attention.
    M: who are you working for?
    -- no-one
    -- why are you terrorizing this village?
    -- what do you mean?
    --- tell me your version
    -- we were gathering herbs in the woods, and you attacked us
    -- before that
    -- in Noln preparing to come here to gather herbs
    -- we know you've been here for at least a week
    -- yes, we;ve been here for three weeks
    -- what have you been doing?
    -- gathering herbs
    P started in a monotone, soothing, reassuring him that we were friends, he would not come to harm, he could tell us, it would be ok.  His hypnotism succeeded, as he asked him to tell what he'd been doing the last three weeks.
    -- gathering herbs
    M: so what kind of herbs have you been gathering and what have you been doing with them?
    He seemed happy to tell her, and went on for some time about it.  It seemed reasonable, but there were holes all over the story given we knew he was a bad guy.  He did not come across to Rabena as a skilled herbalist.
    Rabena: which one among you was looking for these herbs?  (All three were gathering, but perhaps one other among them was the one who wanted them)
    -- Martin
    R: is that the third man who ran away?
    -- the other guy.  There was only two of us.
    P asked why they've been scaring people with beastmen.
    - we never saw any beastmen
    M: so where did this Martin go>
    -- he ran in a different direction, we were very frightened.
    -- of what?
    -- we were being attacked/threatened by an armed mob, so we ran.
    -- who is that woman there?
    -- I don't know
    -- you were together earlier today
    -- No.
    -- your camp was set up for three people, and her belongings were there
    -- no, there were only two of us.
    -- we were there in your camp, we know
    -- I understand.  There were only two of us, I've never seen her before in my life.
    -- do you know Dr. In Tesan?
    -- no
    P: cluck like a chicken
    the man does exactly that.
    M: (turns around to us and says) you know we could just kill him now and talk to the woman when she wakes up.
    The Dorufurikata and watch captain look at her with a concerned look, clearly hoping she's bluffing.
    Ashu says OK and pulls out his axe.
    The man falls to his knees and stares at anyone who might look sympathetic, and then looks at the watch captain and begs him not to let us kill him.  The watch captain says, "Oh, of course, I can't let them kill you... here.  So given that there's no real evidence against you, I'll have to throw you out of jail."
    M - we'll be waiting outside
    wc - take him with you
    the man begs in desperation
    M - if you would answer our questions you would be worth something and I wouldn't have to kill you
    -- we were gathering herbs
    -- for whom?
    -- for sale in Noln.
    R calls out something he says as being a lie, that herb is not available this time of year
    -- well, yeah, we didn't find any of that.
    R continues with another one
    The man quavers and can't come up with a clean response.  He's been caught, clearly, and he knows it.
    M so what were you really doing?
    -- we were gathering herbs
    -- if you were gathering, where are all the herbs?
    -- we were drying them at another location
    M grills him on that, eventually going back to threatening to take him there, i.e. outside.
    In responses to Pireseri, the man says he never came into town, doesn't know where the graveyard is, and doesn't know the term Ghostwood (and probably doesn't).
    P - tell us the truth.  What have you been doing in the woods for three weeks?
    -- we are wanted by authorities in Noln and are hiding out in the woods.
    M: what are you wanted for?
    -- fraud
    We know he made the beastmen, he was the man in the graveyard.  We don't know about this Martin guy, so we'd have to suspect he was the necromancer.
    P -- thruthfully tell us of the talents of yourself and your companions.
    -- I'm an illusionist.  I can hypnotize people.  My partner is a merchant.  (that's all he says)
    P -- tell us how we can find your merchant friend
    -- I don't know, he ran in a different direction and I never saw him again
    M: where do you think he would go?
    -- home.  I don't know.
    -- you conjured up the ghost in the cemetary.  Why were you there especially when all the skeletons were walking?
    -- I wasn't in the cemetary.  I didn't conjure any skeletons or ghosts, in the cemetary.
    P what phrase will make you remember the things you've told yourself to forget?
    (it turns out the key to this guy is britt stultenberg, but we know how she died and so haven't asked yet.  But when confronted he freaks, and swears on anything that his holy that he had nothing ot do with her death, and he thinks Martin did it but doesn't know why he would do such a horrible thing.  He begs us to believe him, he'll tell us anything byut he did not kill that girl)
    M says to tell us everything.
    -- we were hired to come to town and scare people out of town.  No-one was supposed to get hurt, they told us no-one would get hurt, and then that girl got killed and all hell broke loose.  (Except for the elderly man frightened to death, fo course.  The vampire attack girl is fine, it was the girl who found her that was impaled by the stick.)
    M: who hired you?
    -- Gehrig and Martin Schnapp.
    -- did they say why?
    -- I think the point was to buy up property in town, but no-one ever said that directly.
    -- so your part in this was just ot create frightening illusions?
    -- yes
    -- so who's she?
    -- just a hired hand, she was supposed to help with the scaring.  She did the vampire thing.  Then she accuses Martin of killing that girl, and I think he did something to her food.
    Rabena says he's right, he poisoned her.
    M: what do you know about hte skeletons from the graveyard?
    -- Martin gave me a ring that had a raise the dead spell in it.  I raised them, and I told them not to attack anybody, just to scare people, I swear it.
    P: where is this ring now?
    -- in the stuff you took from me.  (He was wearing a ring, and H confirmed it was not magical -- anymore, anyway)
    M: how did you turn the river red?
    -- just a barrel of dye we brought here with us
    -- what about hte springwort in the water, whose idea was that?
    -- don't know whose idea, but it was the dwarf who put the springwort in the barrels.
    P talks about hte track disappearing rapidly, Martin's track
    -- he has some kind of magical boots that obscure his tracks.
    M turns to the Dorufurikata and asks what he'll do with him now
    D says he'll send him down to Noln.  HE doesn't have hte manpower to do it himself, he could hire us to escort him or send for someone to get him
    M what about Gehriug and Martin?
    D martin we need to catch, but he'll get away if you can't find him, he'll get away unless he's at gehrigs.  As for gehrig and the dwarf, enough evidence to arrest and send to noln for trial.  He wants our help in arresting gehrig too, since he doesn't have any men left now except hte captain.
    So we'll go to arrest gehrig.