Book 2, Chapter #1: Murder Most Foul.   Posted by Belor Hemlock.Group: 0
Belor Hemlock
 NPC, 20 posts
 Sandpoint's Sheriff
 Is Probably Scowling
Thu 20 Aug 2015
at 08:19
Book 2, Chapter #1:  Murder Most Foul

Sheriff Hemlock couldn’t have looked any more astonished when Liseth responded to his question by wailing and fleeing The Rusty Dragon's public room for her private quarters.  He raised his hand in protest as she escaped, wincing as she fell on the steps, before allowing it to fall to his side as he turned back towards the remaining members of the group.

“Wait,” the sheriff said upon Pisca’s invitation to join her planned rescue.  “Scarnetti Manor?  That’s where Kerr is?!?”  The concern in his voice was evident.  “We need to go retrieve him.  Immediately.”

Without waiting for a response, the sheriff nearly ran out the door, not looking behind to see who if anyone followed.  He dashed down to the Goblin Squash stables to retrieve his horse, rode it across the town's southern bridge over the Turandurok, then down Schooner Gulch Road towards the estates of Sandpoint’s wealthier families.*

The scene that confronted him when he arrived at Scarnetti Manor was far from the honey trap Liseth had feared.  Sheriff Hemlock barged past the Scarnettis’ doorman, immediately heading downstairs as if he knew exactly where to go.  Heading down the hallway and kicking open the second door on the left, he found Titus Scarnetti standing in a basement room facing a roughed-up looking Kerr Mollin.  Two Scarnetti thugs stood next to the young paladin, and it was hard to miss that one of them had very bruised knuckles.

“I told you, I don’t know anything about that!”  Kerr’s voice contained a pleading note that quickly changed to hope when he saw the cavalry arrive.  “Sherriff Hemlock!”

Titus Scarnetti turned slowly, only a hint of a scowl on his face.  “Go away, Belor.”  His voice was calm.  “I am taking the steps you refuse to.  The safety of Sandpoint and the sanctity of my business are at stake!”

“You are blind, Titus."  The Scarnetti patriarch’s face hardened at the Shoanti’s too-familiar use of his first name.  “And as much as you might wish otherwise you are not the law in Sandpoint.  I am.  This young man isn’t responsible for what happened.  If anything, he might be the key to uncovering who is.  Beating him senseless isn’t going to help anything.”

Titus Scarnetti looked as if he might object, then simply waved his hand with a frustrated exhalation of breath.  “Fine.  Take him.  But if he does turn out to have been involved somehow, we will have a reckoning.  Sheriff.”

“And if he was not, the Council will hear about your . . . indiscretions this evening.  Titus.”

The sheriff quickly helped Kerr out of the chair and half-assisted, half-carried him back to the horses.  They rode gingerly back to The Rusty Dragon, where those of the group who hadn’t followed were shocked at their friend’s condition.  His mussed hair, bruises and contusions definitely made it look as if he’d had the worse of things.

They helped Kerr up to Liseth’s room, where they made him as comfortable as they could.  Once everyone was situated, the Sheriff began to answer the question on everyone’s mind:  what was going on?

The sheriff sat heavily on one of the room's two chairs, exhaled, and began his tale.  “Two days ago, a deranged man assaulted one of our patrols along the Lost Coast Road near one of the Scarnettis’ warehouses on Cougar Creek.”  He nodded to Kellan.  “You know the one.  According to the guards, this man was obviously sick and insane—with his fevered flesh, wild eyes, frothing mouth, and clothes caked with blood, he apparently looked like something straight out of a nightmare.”

“The guards subdued him, but when they checked inside the warehouse they found the mutilated bodies of three men.”  The Shoanti looked uncomfortable.  “The bodies were far too disfigured to identify, but we did find this on one of them.”  At this, the sheriff pulled a bloodstained parchment from his vest, opening it so that all could read its contents:


A deal has come about that I need capital for.  It involves property and gold, and although I am not at liberty to tell you the exact details, it will make us all rich.  Come to the Scarnetti warehouse at Cougar Creek tonight.  We can meet there to discuss our futures.

-Your Lordship

“If this letter correctly identifies the men, that would make them Tarch Mortwell, Lener Hask, and Gedwin Tabe.  Each man is a notorious troublemaker—“con men” and “swindlers” would be a very polite term for them.  In fact,” he raised his eyebrows suggestively, “I have long suspected, but of course cannot prove, that each of these men had ties to the Scarnettis, and that they have done some very underhanded things for that family.”

“But believe it or not, that wasn’t the strangest thing about the scene.  Each man had a strange, seven-pointed star carved into his chest.”  His face crinkled in puzzlement.  “I’m not sure what it means, but I figured you might.”

“We also,” the sheriff looked even more uncomfortable, “found this envelope hanging from a nail in the wall.”  He produced the envelope, much less bloodstained than its companion, but upon which could be read a name:  KERR MOLLIN.

“What?”  Protested Kerr, still woozy from his treatment at the hands of the Scarnetti thugs.  “An envelope with my name on it?  At the Scarnetti warehouse?  After the killings?”  The young paladin looked completely befuddled.

“Yes.”  The sheriff responded succinctly.  “And I hope you don’t mind that I opened it to see if it might give us a clue to whoever committed these murders.”  Kerr shook his head mutely as Belor removed yet another parchment and unfolded it for all to see:

I do as you command, Master!

-Your Lordship

Kerr paled.  “What does that mean?”  He asked in a quiet voice.

“I was hoping you could tell me,” the sheriff responded, not unkindly.  “It seems like whoever was behind this has something of a vendetta against Kerr, since it certainly seems as if they are trying to pin responsibility for those murders on him.  Of course, I don’t believe it for a second,” he patted the beaten acolyte comfortingly on the shoulder, “but as you can see from the Scarnettis’ response, not everyone will see things that way.  So we should try to get this resolved as soon as we can.”

“The bodies are currently in a room in the Garrison’s basement, cared for by Clif Buxton.  The room is cool, so the bodies should not start decaying for another day or two.  I was hoping that I could convince you to look into these murders and find out who the real perpetrator was.  Because I think we all know it’s not Kerr.”

*Scarnetti Manor is Building 48 on the map of Sandpoint

Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 2539 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Thu 20 Aug 2015
at 13:37
Re: Book 2, Chapter #1:  Murder Most Foul
It's easy to tell when people have been crying.  Rheumy eyes.  Blotchy skin.  What's more difficult to understand is why people try to hide it.  Even gnomes.  Sometimes you just have to cry.  And then you feel much better after.  Mostly.

At least it wasn't Cerlynne.  That was the first thing that Pisca found herself wanting to say to Lysa by way of cheer or comfort.  Now that they were all together.  But, then it occurred to the gnome that this was not only very plainly evident, but it was also, for the most part, fairly useless comfort-wise.

"Lysa," she said instead, "it isn't always a good idea to pay heed to what other people think of you.  Or, at the very least, take it very seriously.  Every person sees things a little bit differently.  Sometimes a lot bit differently.  We both see a chair.  We can agree about the shape and the color and the material.  But you see a sitting thing and I see a climbing thing."

"It's alright to see things differently.  But you have to decide which way is right for you.  And if you worry too much about the way other people see things, then you lose who you are yourself.  Gnomes learn this lesson early on.  That's because gnomes who lose themselves in the feelings and opinions of others usually Bleach young."

"Yes, we're paying attention."  Pisca stood from her advice to Lysa and turned her full attention to the murders and the letters and the Important Matters At Hand™.  Well, mostly.

"Think about it, Lys.  I don't know whether humans can manage this sort of thing.  You all live so awfully close together.  But, it's one of the sixteen major life lessons for a gnome."  And she punctuated her final words with a shrug.