After the harsh words exchanged between Tanya and Father Baren, swords were sheathed, weapons lowered and a wary peace settled around the Templars and the party.
Father Baren requested of his aide that ancient scrolls be taken out to begin instructing Saru in the practices of the monastery, that she be more informed in her decision whether to remain there or not.
Tanya went out to fetch Saru to that place, conveniently finding the time to clothe herself more appropriately (Armour and arms in monasteries being de rigeur). Saru seemed to be particularly uneasy, seeking the comfort of her new found friends close presence – especially that of Myrad.
Father Baren prepared to speak (at length, it seemed) to Saru of the writings of The Sky Queen handed down within the ancient scrolls, but before he could begin Tanya insisted that one of the Templars confirm whether Saru was actually tainted or not. Taken aback by the demand, Father Baren complied requesting that a brother of the abbey by the name of Tollard do so. The holy men were almost stunned to discover that Saru had not, in fact, been marked by the Imari. They thought it more plausible that she was not Saru at all, a not impossible scenario given Tanya’s very recent ruse…
Satisfied that Saru was who she said she was, a description was requested of the Magus who had made the claim that she was tainted. Saru’s verbal portrait of a slender man with white hair with a thin nose carrying a thin bladed sword fit that of Nicholas Abery, an affiliate of The Tower. Perturbed that Saru had described the man well, indicating some possible maleficence on his part, talk was guided away to other topics of varying import.
There was an account of the wider politics that could have had some bearing on the situation Father Baren and his fraternity now faced, with some mention of both Ferrand and Yezil in particular. This was punctuated with a reading of the letter that Saru had helped Tanya to secret away for the former’s elder brother. To provide further context Sebastian imparted a more detailed picture of recent events. When it was mentioned that we were headed to the Keth Ruins, Father Baren insisted on sending some Templars along to gain a direct appreciation of what was happening, and mobilized the men of the monastery into action. He was at pains, however, to state his admiration of the Tower system.
Sebastian and Kieran took the opportunity to view more directly those tainted in Father Barens care, seeing one who was very securely tied down to his bed with every appearance of turning into a demon of some kind. Though Sebastian’s use of his Vision caused a certain amount of agitation to the denizens of those dungeons, he was able to “see” just how fetid with Imari influenced decay these poor souls were.
Returning upstairs, Sebastian requests and is granted a chance to read the ancient scrolls that Father Baren had brought out to begin Sarus instruction. He finds they consist of one scroll of history, two of apparently ritualistic magic and two prophetic scrolls. His quick scan of them leads him to advise favoring Templars in singing the ritual hymns that Father Baren uses to treat those who are afflicted like those below, and the party departs with three Templars, one of whom is Brother Tollard, in tow.
During the trek to the Keth Ruins it is noted that Brother Tollard of the Templars looks uncannily like our own Kieran Tollard, though amazingly everyone is tactful enough not to mention it aloud.
Approaching the Ruins, Myrad sees signs of four horsemen leaving in a great hurry within the last few days though there is no further explanation. Moving down the great outdoor aisle formed by pillars and statues of various Keth, and beyond the great reflecting pool stood a great obelisk. The ground around the base of the obelisk bore signs of a vicious struggle, and there is an apparently secret door in the giant plinth.
Myrad, Saru and two of the Templars remain outside as the rest of the group venture inside to investigate. On first sight, it looks like there is an Imari temple beneath the very heart of this holy Keth open sky Cathedral with forbidding statuary of fantastical creatures. Brother Tollard immediately and very rapidly departs to inform Father Baren. A man lay on the ground very badly injured, the man we had come to this place to meet – Joseph Lindstrom. He had come from the capital, and laid upon us a quest to retrieve a box that had been taken from him by force. We were told, however, that this could well be a temple to the Keth known by other names – one of whom was called The Sky Queen.
Aided by Sebastian (surreptitiously), Lindstrom took horse and made his way to pass news of the grave situation we all found ourselves in. The party agreed to undertake the retrieval of Lindstroms box and knowing that there would surely be great danger in the days to come resolved to find a place for Saru to stay safely out of the clutches of those who would see her harmed or exploited.
Heading north, we found a place to leave her – with a farming family that appeared to be welcoming and stable. Having done so we set out once more and came upon Valeguard…