Tales of Arestia

Secrets and Shadows

Sylvius' Journal

From Sylvius Modesto’s Journal:

Today didn’t begin well. I woke up… it doesn’t matter where I woke up, nor with whom. I’m sure the Dainty Dwarf could spare those two serving-boys for the night; business was deader than Utos’ bedsheets, if you know what I mean. What matters is that at some point last night I apparently switched from wine to spirits and then to what I can only assume was some distillation of hemlock, based on how close to death I felt this morning. In any case, I woke up only to find a courier from mother inviting me to brunch on the estate.

Six cups of coffee and a concoction of raw egg later, I was at the estate and she met me at the door and hugged me. That’s when I knew it was going to be bad; normally mother invites me to brunches in the Blue Lantern District, and normally if she were going to call me home, she’d have a whole production planned.

She told me that one of her closest friends, Senator Tommen, had been murdered and that she needed me to see how the city guard was handling it. Well, knowing that she entrusted this to me and not to anyone more proper firmed my resolve to do this right. Also, I liked Tommen.

My head was still pounding when I arrived at the guardhouse, and there I found out that they were holding this young minotaur as a material witness to the murder, as it had been he they discovered with the body. Through friendly conversation (on an unrelated note, minotaurs are impressively huge; even underage, the boy’s taller than I am!), I learned that he’d been meeting with Tommen over a “personal matter” that wasn’t so much personal as politically sensitive, and found him dead at a private location, whereupon the boy scooped up his body and ran to find a healer.

While accompanying the young minotaur, I had the pleasure of meeting with his sister, some ally of Tommen’s family named Gandren Allandriel, and some paladin of Artemisa. Oddly, as cagey as Calina came off, it’s the paladin I don’t really trust; he seemed far too eager to have the church take custody of the witness, the investigation, and, well, everything;

In any case, while they were all busy politicking at one another, I charmed the clerk into sending a report of the investigation thus far to mother. Then we argued over where to have lunch, but were interrupted by some kind of angry mob intent on blaming the boy for Tommen’s death on rather flimsy evidence. We talked (and shouted) them down, then ended up acquiescing to the paladin and going to his temple instead, where Calina, without much hesitation, gave her brother into the care of the high priestl.

Once all the bickering was settled and some trust was earned, Calina revealed that she’s part of some kind of radical militant pacifist movement within the minotaur empire, and that Tommen’s assassination might have to do with his involvement. After some additional cajoling, she led us to the (already compromised) safe house where Tommen was killed, and we investigated. After some false starts, we found evidence of assassin’s tools and the calling card of some kind of assassin-cult of Atropos.

We tracked the murderer to a secret passage in a side alley behind an apartment complex (note to self: where did the hidden catch and stairs come from? They had to have been there when the apartments were built; even if you could excavate under the building without anyone noticing, how would you install the door mechanism so seamlessly without a team of craftsmen, tradesmen, and engineers? Was it always a bolthole for assassins, or did they just find it and put it to good use? Either way, is the city just riddled with secret doors and hidden rooms? Can I have one?). In any case, the secret passage was a stairway leading into an underground tunnel.

There, we were assaulted by living shadows. We fought them off, but it was unpleasant. The paladin and the elven wizard certainly earned their keep this night. But more on that later. I rest now…

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