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Subject: PbV Campaign 2-10: Square One rss

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Andrea G
United States
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Panda Empress, First of Her Name
The group decides to bury the varigal under some rocks to keep the animals from eating it. On their return trip, the group will find the nearest consecrated ground and bury it properly according to Demorthen tradition. Come morning, the squire leaves the party and heads back towards town.

There is a small mound made of stones along the path the party is traveling. It appears the stones were dug out of the earth a day or two earlier. It may be a burial mound -- there is a faint smell of rotting flesh and small flies circling the mound. A little ways away from the mound, Filian recognizes the pattern of a struggle on the ground, and he spots some dark stains that might be blood. The party begins to remove stones in order to find out who was killed, and they find a woman in her 50's with her skull bashed in. Catriona recognizes her as a patron from the Frozen Waterfall, so she may have been a varigal as well. They replace the stones and carry on.

It takes the party a bit longer than they thought it would to arrive at the Mac Dorgh household. They arrive after dusk and find a small castle with a central tower. In parts, the stone wall around the castle has been repaired with wood. The entire scene appears slightly delapidated, but it looks welcoming. There are a few archers on the wall. The party is hailed from a small gatehouse, and Caerian announces himself. They are welcomed inside and are ushered inside.

Inside the Great Hall, a small group of people are sitting at a long table and enjoying dinner. The Hall is rather empty; it looks older, perhaps antique, and the table is much too large for the few people who sit there. The guard announces the party, and the group notices a distinct lack of a chamberlain. The same fellow who approached Caerian at the party stands and looks surprised. Nonetheless, he welcomes them heartily, which Caerian recognizes as an attempt to cover his nervousness. Caerian tries to explain that their business is urgent and that they need to speak to him alone, but, instead, he invites them to sit down to a simple dinner. Ruairidh observes out loud that the family must have fallen on hard times, and Fiona quickly steps in to compliment the family on their generosity and lovely home.

After dinner, the party is led into a private study, and Caerian describes their fears that Turian threatens all of Seol. Lord Mac Dorgh agrees with this assessment and says Turian has gained control over the entire Council. The Duke was grieving for his daughter while she was gone, but he was still in control of the Council. Since her return, he seems to remain silent during audiences and allows Turian to run meetings and audiences. He has also noticed soldiers who do not wear the colors of Seol or the Hilderin Knights roaming the countryside, and no one seems to recognize them. The colors they wear are black and dark burgundy. These soldiers are the ones to demand taxes and tithes rather than the proper individuals. Something seems fishy to Fiona about the explanation they've been given. It seems odd to her that no one on the Council has seemingly noticed this disruption. When Caerian silently asks if they should share their information with their host, she shakes her head no. Catching her headshake, Catriona does likewise. Caerian tells Lord Mac Dorgh that Caerian's concerns were primarily spiritual in nature. Of course, that's important too, Lord Mac Dorgh tells them. Caerian asks if they can impose upon him for the night, and they're told they can stay in the Great Hall. Sacks of straw are brought in.

Once alone, Caerian apologizes for bringing them out here -- clearly, Lord Mac Dorgh is just trying to save himself some coin. Fiona explains that his story didn't sit right with her, and Caerian wonders why he would tell a tale that could so easily be disproven... He's clearly desperate and perhaps completely out of money. Fiona suggests finding out who Lord Mac Dorgh's co-conspirators are.

In the morning, they ask Lord Mac Dorgh who else they should speak to. He suggests talking to the other smaller lords in order to gather additional information.

The party decides to head back to Seol, and the journey is uneventful. They do pause to bury the pair of victims in a consecrated place along the road, however. They arrive back in Seol before dark. Catriona immediately goes to the Frozen Waterfall, and, in spite of how crowded it is, the mood is very somber. Deacon is there, and Catriona hugs him tightly. He is surprised by the hug, and he offers her a letter in return from her mother. Catriona warns him about the dead varigals on the road, and he tells her news has already reached town (in part thanks to the Squire) -- five have been killed in the last two days. One was killed on the main road, which would have been the direction in which the varigal they had hired would be heading. Deacon tells her he's sure someone was following him en route to her mother's house, but he thinks he lost them. There is a toast to dead friends.

The letter, which Catriona reads later, details her mother's displeasure with Catriona running off to the city when her mother really needs help on the farm.

Fiona first checks in with the Chapter House and learns that Sir Alban and his Squire were both summoned to the Castle. She instead decides to head home to wash up. Filian seems disappointed she didn't follow up with her fellows-in-arms about why Sir Alban would have sent the squire after her. He is looking over some maps and attempting to determine who else might be involved in Lord Mac Dorgh's ploy. Lord Mac Dorgh's neighbors are Mac Hurst, Mac Llaw, and Mac Ail. They are all smaller lords who live in the Yellow Hills, which are not a very rich environment. The lords here are always in financial trouble. Catriona, upon her arrival, informs the rest of the party of her findings.

Caerian presents the following to-do list to the party. Due to their increasing paranoia, the party decides to discuss the list at the home of the still-comatose Dr. Jard Iunvan. (This decision is made on paper and subsequently burned.) Once they get there, they find the door locked. Ruairidh swiftly picks the lock, but Fiona shuts the door again and tells them they are not going to break the law by breaking into this house. She instead suggests visiting Catriona's brother and paying him for the right to use his home. When they get there, however, the house is empty, and the door is open, so they go in.

1. Investigate the Demorthen in Seol - what are their allegiances? There are 8 Demorthen in Seol. Caerian knows for sure that at least 2 of them are working with Turian. He also recalls there were 2 Demorthen who looked rather put out by Turian's presence in the Sacred Grove, so Caerian will find and talk to these individuals.
2. Investigate the Demorthen outside Seol - what are their allegiances? This is fairly low on the priority list, as most Demorthen outside the city will not be familiar with the politics inside the city.
3. Bribe a retainer inside the castle to get info on actions and allegiances of Turian, the Duke, Lady Aoda, and any courtiers of influence. This is extremely dangerous, because if the spies are uncovered by anyone within the castle, it will lead directly back to the party. Additionally, the information they gather may not be accurate. Caerian suggests befriending one of the retainers so that the information is shared as part of a friendship rather than something extracted. Filian suggests perhaps Corrin the Librarian as their contact, and it is agreed he will invite him to the Mac Leur household to look at their library.
4. Hire/bribe children to overhear conversations in the inns and street for rumours in Seol about anything relevant to our investigations. The party decides they may need someone to act as a go-between in order to filter out and report the information they receive. Filian suggests having Ruairidh contact one of his former colleagues, but Ruairidh tells him the magientists generally keep to themselves...and, besides, he's been expelled. Fiona suggests a varigal, but Catriona points out the varigals are being closely watched right now. They ultimately decide to put this task aside for the moment, as they don't seem to have the right connections.
5. Get details of each varigal killed - what was their mission, where were they headed, how experienced were they, who were they hired by, was anyone seen following them? The investigation into murders are usually performed by the Duke's people. Catriona should investigate with the other varigals while Fiona should talk to the officials investigating the murders.
6. Lady Aoda - we have not investigated the sight of her with Yellow Eyes again. What's with that? How can we find out more? It's possible that if the Beast is still residing in her, it may have something to do with what's happening, either with Lady Aoda as the person behind everything (meaning Turian is not a Morcail) or it is working with Turian (and he is a Morcail). Filian volunteers to speak to his future father-in-law, Yannig Modair who sits on the Council, if the Duke's behavior has changed at all. Caerian also suggests checking the spirit world to see if there's any trace of the Beast there.
7. How de find proof that Turian is a Morcail? What might that proof look like? The Demorthen use stones to get the spirits to help them. If they can find unknown stones or dangerous stones in Turian's possession, it might indicate he is a Morcail. (Fiona is again unhappy with the party's decision to break into his room.)
8. Can the magientists furnish us with any inside info? Do we still have any hope of forging a relationship with them? Doubtful, thanks to Ruairidh's expulsion.
9. How did Turian learn of the information we gave the Duke? We need to try informing the duke of true and false information in different ways to ascertain how the information is being learned. Is the duke to be trusted? We should try feeding back false information to the Duke to find out who learns it and by what means.
10. Are we being spied on by someone in the MacLeur household? Or, perhaps, do Morcail possess the ability to remotely spy on people? Or, perhaps, could it be possible the Beast is somehow reading their minds? Again, the party should try to feed false information and see who it goes back to.
11. How can I stop Turian from framing me when the accusations start flying? This is a personal question from Caerian to himself.
12. How do the Magientists fit into the picture? Especially after the riots. Again, doubtful we have any influence over them.
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