Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wedding in Munster

Saturday, September 6, 1650, midday
Weather: pleasant temperatures and clear conditions, with a moderate breeze

Once again, the morning proved to be quite brisk, and Andrej found himself a bit chilled in the huge stone edifice of the church.  He woke, found himself served a hot broth for breakfast, with boiled potatoes and leeks, with milk heated until it was scalding for warm.  He found that by wrapping his hands around the stoneware vessel holding the milk, he was quite resusitated from a long and frigid night, short on sleep.

Soon the cathedral is again a hive of activities.  The carpentry completed, a host of decorators set about as the sun rises setting cushions upon seats, hanging banners and tapestries and cloths, sprinkling drifts of flowers upon the floors and hanging woven garlands, stringing hundreds of yards of unseasonal poppies, crocuses, edelweiss and peonies overhead, grown especially for the ceremony by a flock of druids, mages and their apprentices.  A small cluster of men set about spellcasting unusual, living motifs upon the stone surfaces - these are illusionists, and they leave behind them long enduring phantasms of saints observing from on high, sheep chewing contentedly on outstretched lawns, odd and beautiful congregations of unicorns and lions laying next to one another in comfort and luxuriant embrace ... and more blooming flowers, with two great blooming cherry trees with embracing limbs draping high over the altar.

In time, Andrej finds himself going through the ritual of being dressed, as the guests are allowed into the church, separately grouped.  A great drape has been extended across the width of the church nearer to the nave than the principle door, so that at least three quarters of those present will not be able to see the ceremony, but only hear it.  Both groom and bride will walk up the long aisle, so these people will see both enter, and will not see them again until the ceremony is completed.  And as such, it is they who are let in first, to watch the parade of nobles and landholders who will come after them, coming up the aisle in their turn before the bride and groom.

The church warms as the gathering grows, literally in their thousands, and a low mumble transcends through all the rooms and vaults of the church, even to the point that Andrej can feel the thrumming through his very feet.  As pound after pound of vestment is weighed upon his shoulder, he is reminded of tales about purgatory, where the prideful are forced to walk for a long age in lead cloaks, until such a time as their souls may be burned clean.   He is dressed, and wigged, and dusted with perfume and with powder, and blessed by the Prefect who was meant to perform the ceremony, and blessed by the Prior whose title declares him the stand-in for the Patriarch of the Church, who cannot be here because he is fighting wars in Courland, and sprinkled with holy water and fed three holy wafers and three long sips of wine from the communion chalice, gold and encrusted with a hundred blue turquoise and a three dozen minute diamonds.  The prefect asks for the seventh time if Andrej understands the ceremony - showing his doubt of Andrej's ability to carry this forth, and giving hint of being ready to step in should Andrej fail - and upon receiving it steps back with a bow and allows matters to proceed unabated.

At last, the cathedral guests are ready, and the groom is ready, and Andrej makes his approach to the altar, where he will stand awaiting for the groom, and then the bride, to march towards him.

The curtain is parted so that Andrej can see Eberhardt come from the far right corner and begin the long, hundred-and-fifty foot halting march down the length of the church, stepping first with the right, then bringing his left to match it, and stepping forth with the right again.  He is adorned in an ermine cloak and rich yellow velvet jacket, with a black pearl-encrusted doublet and skirt.  He looks completely comfortable, the great white feather upon his enormous beret keeping time with his feet, his arms ready and strong at his sides, as though breasting a great storm but unperturbed by it.  A steady rain of comments upon his person and position sprinkles from the guests nearest to Andrej.  Eberhardt takes no notice, and does not even look at Andrej until the very last moment, when he gives the very least hint of a smile.

There are a hundred musicians, and a great trumpet of music sends a wave of standing guests through the whole of the cathedral, as the great doors open and let the sun in, and from the far left walks Serafina.  She is completely covered, naturally, but her dress and veil are a dazzling brilliant white, catching the sunlight then eclipsing it as she crosses in front of the door.  Eberhardt turns to look as the music changes and she begins her way up the aisle, a cloud of wondrous white linen and silk flowing outwards from her delicate, comparatively tiny self, evident only in the narrow waist she presents as she paces her way forward.  The crowd first expresses suprise, and then is inordinately hushed, so that the music plays clear and unchallenged throughout her sojourn ... and Andrej himself cannot help but feel a pain in his own heart to look at her.

He recovers, however, as Serafina moves to stand next to Eberhardt, and he manages the first matters of the ceremony with little trouble; the guests are seated, the greeting is given, the assembly invited to repent of their sins, and the Gloria is sung.

Andrej speaks the Opening Prayer, and the First Reading is given from the Song of Solomon.  The choir of a hundred and fifty rise to sing the responsorial psalm, and the second reading follows, as from Corinthians as specified.  The assembly stands for the Gospel, which then Andrej reads.

Then this is followed by the Homily, which Andrej proceeds to give ...

112 comments:

Andrej said...

(OOC: Holy shit Alexis, you really turned your gifts upon that description and I feel anything I may offer in kind would be paltry by comparison, but I'll give it a shot... my first attempt was too long for a comment, so here's the abridged version)

Andrej expresses his personal joy at the union of his two dear friends and benefactors. He notes that the occasion is one to be enjoyed by friends, but also by all Catholic Christians present here today as brothers and sisters under God. It is, indeed, through God's power, grace and blessing that the marriage will be blessed and everlasting.

Setting his role as friend aside, however, he will comment passionately upon the importance of the read scripture. The importance that God's people should hear his words directly as they have been laid down in the bible we hold so dear.

He recites and comments upon bits of memorized scripture.

"All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him... Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves."

Andrej will describe Serafina's long vigil in Sion, awaiting word from her love Eberhardt. He will comment upon her patience, love and understanding. Her courage and commitment and chastity.

He will also describe mankind's long wait for the messiah before Christ appeared and how many today, even, search in vain for what they need and desire in God's embrace. How we must each, as Catholics, be patient, loving, understanding and above all steadfast in our allegiance and love of God.

More scripture...

"Who is this coming up from the wilderness like a column of smoke,
perfumed with myrrh and incense made from all the spices of the merchant? Look! It is Solomon’s carriage, escorted by sixty warriors, the noblest of Israel,
all of them wearing the sword, all experienced in battle..."

Eberhard, too, is a warrior of Israel. One bloodied in countless battles. The carriage he has made for his wife is their marriage, and within it he shall place things of value. Not silver, gold and upholstery; but love. Patience. Dedication.

So too a carriage has been prepared for us all when Christ made clear the way to the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us guard it and protect it as Eberhardt does.

Andrej finishes with his own passionately rendered Corinthians I.

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels...

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres..."

"Love never fails..."

"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me..."

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

He ends with a blessing and whatever other ceremonial requirements etc, etc, etc...

Conflict Roll: (2d6 correct?)

6, 3 are rolled for 9 plus 5 (I think: piety, persuade, beauty and my clothes)

equals a 14 total

Alexis said...

(OOC: My personal feeling is that your "shot" at it was done very well!)

Andrej said...

(OOC: much thanks)

Alexis said...

The service ends without a hitch, with Serafina and Eberhardt exchanging rings and vows, and kissing to the sound of trumpets and a "HURRAH!" from the witnessing crowd. Knowing what this means, the back church echoes the cheer, and yet another is heard from outside the church.

The pair march out, with great pomp and ceremony, and the members of the church slowly flow out after them, with little ceremony, flocking after the couples. Many of the nobles retreat through the side doors leading off from the nave, to avoid the crowd.

Andrej said...

Andrej remains until the church empties, taking in the moment somewhat. Then he sees about getting some help removing these absurdly extravagant vestments.

Alexis said...

You will be moved to the access to the courtyard, and back to the office from there ... and then have the vestments removed. You're quite hot and sweaty, and wiping down with a towel, when you are told you have a penitent that wishes to speak with you.

Andrej said...

Andrej was hoping for some quiet respite and the chance to seek out his friends (who are gone, unbeknownst to him) but will of course meet with this penitent. He smiles wanly and agrees to meet in an appropriate place within the cathedral. First, though, he must be dressed in his normal attire.

Alexis said...

The penitent is shown in as Andrej dons his more ordinary wear. He's a short, elegantly dressed man, unusually dressed in a much more eastern European fashion than you're used to here in Germany, where even the Italians dress like Germans. His long jacket is golden yellow and autumn brown in color, with slits upon his arms showing off a bright apple-green shirt beneath. He bows so deeply, in a circular manner from right to left, that you're almost certain his forehead brushed the office floor.

"I am Jani Skrlec Rsko Pavlovcic, deputy first minister of Gottschee and advisor to the Count of Lower Carniola, at your service, Father."

Andrej said...

Andrej returns the bow in his own fashion, as would be appropriate to the man's station.

"I am Father Andrej, and am pleased to make your acquaintance Herr Pavlovcic."

Andrej indicates the man should make himself comfortable as he himself does so.

"Carnolia, a Slovene land yes? I passed through there in my travels here from Cumana. It was a short while but a good Christian land as I recall. How may I assist you?"

Alexis said...

He seats himself, and appears then to be somewhat uncomfortable. "Sir, His Grace the Count was present today, and has a question of, well, that is to say, he would like it if he could express his appreciation for your unique, if I might say, if it isn't something that would tread upon your, well, your traditions, such as they are, being as you are from, that is to say assuming that you are from, as many of your, uh, people tend to be ... " He has quite obviously completely confused himself. "It is a question of your race, Father."

Andrej said...

Andrej smiles, trying to be reassuring and patient in the wake of his sermon on love. But her remembers too the Prior's behavior toward him and fears where this might lead.

"It is no secret nor a source of shame, Herr Pavlovcic. I am orc-blooded and of Cumana."

Alexis said...

This seems to bring Pavlovcic relief. "You are, then. Born and raised?"

Andrej said...

Feeling reassured it is not such a bad thing to be Cuman, "In Cumana? Yes. Born and raised the son of a shepherd, perhaps not such a long way off from my current vocation. I left only three or four years ago, not long after taking the cloth."

Alexis said...

"And how do you feel about the country? Are you glad to have left it?"

Andrej said...

"I remember it mostly with fondness now. At the time I left I was seeking clarity and purpose. I have since found it."

"But I imagine you did not come here only to ask me my feelings on my homeland, Herr Pavlovcic. What is it your lord would have of a humble, wandering friar such as myself?"

Alexis said...

"I did indeed, as you say, come here to ask your feelings about your homeland, Father." Pavlovcic looks quite sincere. "You will please pardon me if my education has been lacking. I was led to believe that Cumana was not substantially a Catholic country. I was under the impression that the people there tended towards Orthodoxy, or left-over beliefs given to them by the ancient Huns."

(GCI: this would be correct)

"How was it you became Catholic, Father?"

Andrej said...

Andrej chuckles, and gives the man a reassuring pat on the leg. "Your education, Herr Pavlovcic, appears to be sufficient. My own father worshipped the animals mostly. It is said there were even shaman amongst my people on his side, who practiced the old ways and traffiked with the spirits of the land. My mother's folk were orthodox, though became Catholic when I was called to the church."

"For myself, it is simple. One day while tending to the flock I was called. The whole world took up in a great song about me. There was a blinding light that struck me dumb. I felt an awesome presence... beuatiful and terrible at once. I was moved to tears for the longing for it. It was, I believe, God or one of his angels."

"I left home shortly thereafter to join a seminary in Czernihow, Polissya. There I wished to take my vows and receive my training, gain wisdom and insight. But I was denied. Angered, I might have turned to poor things, but God intervened in the manner of my grandparents, who arranged that I should serve and live within a Catholic household. Here I was taught certain rituals, almost haphazardly, but over time my understanding of them was natural and complete. Without schooling, you see, I found that I could listen and speak to God."

Alexis said...

Pavlovcic takes all this in quite interestedly. "I shall come to the point, Father. His Grace has considerable holdings in both Fiume and Ragusa - and he is bent upon increasing his interests in the transporting of tea and furs through the port of Kefe upon the Black Sea. And towards that end he is interested in funding a mission that would carry forward the word of God to the lands of Cumana and those surrounding."

Andrej said...

"I see. His Grace would like me to participate in such a mission, I presume?"

Alexis said...

"His Grace would like to have you lead the mission, Father."

Andrej said...

Clearly taken aback Andrej remarks aloud but half to himself, "I... I do not know what I may have done to gain such favor. His Grace honors and humbles me. I also do not know what to say, Herr Pavlovcic. There is much to be considered. I have dedicated myself to certain course of action here in Westphalia that I would see through before leaving. There would be much to do and to plan... I have companions. Would it insult His Grace to allow me some time to consider his offer?"

Nine-toes said...

(OOC - eh, no problem. We'll settle things with the bishop, head over to Ahmet's homeland for him to get his inheritance and then swing over to Cumana to start a mission. Piece of cake.)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Why not recover the holy grail or the true cross while we're at it?)

Alexis said...

Pavlovcic responds, "You are too modest, Father; and you are obviously a significant man of the church, or you would not be giving weddings in such a prestigious location. And your race is something of a god-send, if you will allow." He pauses.

"His Grace imagines that an expedition could first be made into the hinterlands beyond the Crimea, to determine first where the mission would be located, and that this could be done beginning with the Spring next year. A location determined, the mission could be built over the winter 1651/52, so as to become an active hive for the arrival of eastern caravans in Spring of '52. His Grace offers 3,000 gold coins to fund the initial expedition - with the agreement that you will undertake the mission upon determining where it should be. Our chief stipulation is that it should have access to the sea."

Alexis said...

(OOC: Holy Grail and True Cross ... did you want me to concoct hooks for those?)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Yes. Or any other lead on a holy relic, that would be most interesting.)

Andrej thinks on this for a long moment.

"That seems to me a sufficient amount for the expedition and an agreeable time frame. I accept His Grace's most generous offer with one caveat: my business in Westphalia must be closed before I can leave for Cumana. I have every reason to believe that by spring I will not be so encumbered by obligation, but you must understand... I am a man of my word and do not lay it aside easily."

Alexis said...

Pavlovcic will take out a ledger and make a note. "I think His Grace will understand that. Do you think your business will be concluded by the First of January? We can make arrangements for you to collect the stipend between late January through February in Fiume, where it can be held on account for you."

Andrej said...

"Yes, that would suffice. Thank you. Please tell His Grace of my excitement and appreciation."

Alexis said...

The man says he will convey those sentiments, and will write out a Writ to the bank for the amount of money, along with a cosigner in Fiume - Giovanni Corvalus - who will need to be contacted to gain the monies, and puts this into Andrej's hands.

He will then take his leave.

Presumably, Andrej will find himself more or less upon his own at this point, as Eberhardt and Serafina are indisposed. At present, no one comes forward to throw Andrej out of the cathedral ... so he is free to act as he wishes.

I am, at present, producing a copy of the cathedral on a hex image, should you wish to explore. Can you wait patiently for this? If you would rather return to the palast, rather than risk offending anyone by seeing something you shouldn't see, let me know.

Andrej said...

I would like to explore.

Alexis said...

Okay, but you must give me until Monday. It's late today anyhow.

Andrej said...

But of course. Have a nice weekend.

Alexis said...

(OCC: I am required to do a big maintenance run this morning, all. I will probably not be able to do much playing until this afternoon)

Andrej said...

I'm likewise tied up this morning, but may be free in the afternoon. All day tomorrow will be bad, but with the party split hopefully that won't hold you guys up.

Alexis said...

I'm back and ready again.

I understand completely Andrej, and we'll work around both our schedules. Tell me what you think of the cathedral, however, when you get the chance. And when you're ready to tell me what part of it you want to look at, I'll answer.

I presume you'll go to the second floor. I think from something I realized this morning that it is virtually the same as the first - but let me know if you're poking around up there.

The cloister is occupied and apparently with about 50 monks; they will be polite to you, but it is more or less off limits aside from the library.

The south basement stairs are locked.

Andrej said...

(OOC: Alexis I have not yet received the email with the cathedral floorplan, it's probably hung up in scanning queue due to size.)

Alexis said...

(OOC: I didn't get an answer, so I shrunk the file down and put it on the main blog. I posted it yesterday)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Ah, I see it now. Nice map. Thanks. Once I'm free I'll look more closely and provide a more substantive post. Too bad Andrej can't read, I'd be interested in the library)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Would you allow me to presume Andrej is carrying the set of magic keys from Devereux's?)

Alexis said...

I think the keys are doable.

Andrej said...

Also, which room is Andrej currently in?

Alexis said...

More or less, whatever room he'd like to be. Describe where you'd like to go on the map, or if the second floor - which consists of galleries above the north and south aisles, and areas above the kitchen.

Andrej said...

Andrej goes to the library.

Alexis said...

There are seven monks reading there; there are two open alcoves leading deeper into the cloister, and a door to the court ... but the Abbot has already spoken to you about not venturing into any of these.

Andrej said...

Do the monks show any outward sign as to what order they belong to? If so does Andrej recognize it and know anything about it?

Either way, Andrej approaches the friendliest looking monk, or at least the one appearing most to not mind interruption, and introduces himself.

"Greetings brother. I am Father Andrej and I was hoping for some assistance."

Alexis said...

The monks are loathe to speak at all ... but the Abbot approaches, and speaks to Andrej. "What is it you wish now, Father?"

Andrej said...

"I am sorry for the disturbance, abbot. My eyes, I'm afraid aren't what they once were." Andrej produces the writ from Pavlovcic. "Could you do me the tabor of reading this writ and explaining to me its contents?"

Andrej said...

"favor" ... damn auto speller.

Alexis said...

The writ says effectively what you might expect. It says that if you appear at Fiume by the date specified, that being the 7th day of February, 1651, and demonstrate that you are Andrej by answering questions that are put to you, then 3,000 gold pieces are to be put into your name for the purpose of founding a mission in the land of Cumana, upon the Black Sea, and "whatsoever men can be put at your disposal, and whatsoever ship can be put to service in order to carry you to your destination."

The Abbot seems only moderately impressed with this - "I should hope you will take the Count up upon his offer, Father."

Andrej said...

"That is my intent, Father Abbot. I must confess, though, that I am no scholar. I am a man of action, and qualified therefore to carry the cross into a new land... but I will no doubt need the assistance of good people to see God's will done in this. I could use the help of a learned man. Tell me, are there restrictions on your order that would prevent its members from undertaking such a mission? Could I possibly entice one of your adherents away, to assist me in bringing the love of Christ our Lord into a new land?"

Andrej said...

(OOC: Is Fiume the city today known as Rijeka, Coratia.. or like with Munster am I confusing like-named places?)

Andrej said...

That is, Croatia... coffee must still be kicking in.

Alexis said...

(Ate my post)

Yes, Rijeka would be the modern name for Fiume.

The Abbot seems very displeased by your suggestion, Andrej, and takes your elbow to move you from the cloister - gently, mind, but not in a friendly fashion.

Andrej said...

Andrej thanks the abbot for his help and apologizes for having given offense.

He then makes his way to the north cellar stairs.

Alexis said...

The stairs are locked.

Andrej said...

Andrej looks over his shoulder and listens intently for a breath or two to ensure that he is alone. He then tries the magic keys upon the door, to see if they will unlock it.

Alexis said...

As you move the key towards the lock, it literally reshapes itself to be exactly the right size, shape and fit ... as it does this, the brass metal of the key grows heavier and turns to lead.

Yes, it certainly opens the door.

You find a narrow passage to your left, and two tiny rooms - it looks as though they might have once been some sort of confessional. They are quite dusty now, and stacked with old boards and pieces of large, cracked window glass - a dumping place for the carpenters. Beyond the narrow passage, in the place marked 'Storage' on the map, there's more of the same, including old ratty furniture stacked on top of itself on either side, leaving a path to the door.

The stairs down look dusty and unused.

Andrej said...

Awesome!

Andrej puts the keys away and moves toward the stairs and down, intent upon descent.

Alexis said...

This seems to be a place where they keep much of the seasonal decorations - Christmas, Easter, some funereal accessories, etcetera. There's quite a lot of it, enough to fill out the cathedral with each theme - so the room is about seventy feet long and fifteen feet wide, extending in a northerly direction. But there seems to be little, if anything of immediate interest. This being September, it is fairly dusty - apparently, little that is here is of use in the summertime.

Andrej said...

Andrej searches the room for some way out other than the stairs; keeping an eye out for anything that might be of interest.

Alexis said...

No, it appears very much to be a dead end.

Andrej said...

Andrej returns the way he came, being careful to lock the door to the cellar behind him as he leaves. If he gets that far without incident he makes his way to the sacristy.

Alexis said...

No trouble.

The Sacristry is the collection of holy articles and relics which the Cathedral has accumunlated over the centuries. Each item - a medallion, a crown, a massive diadem, two images of the virgin Mary and one of a young boy you believe to be St. Mark, a large closed chest and two small ornate boxes, each rest in a special place of the wall, upon a dais or upon a pillar, whichever is appropriate for the item. Andrej is far too immersed in the religion to consider touching anything; but it is all quite magnificent, and quite probably much of it is magical in nature (he would not need to cast the spell to sense that in this place).

Alexis said...

Something I should mention; I had considered having a giant rat attack Andrej while he was in the storeroom ... but we hadn't worked out what weapons he was carrying. I think we have to argue he isn't armored ... and perhaps he might have one mace on his, under his robe, but almost certainly not both. Anything else you'd like to add to that?

Andrej said...

That seems more than reasonable to me. I would add his backpack. I reason that he have thought to bring if he was aware when he left that he would spend the night before the ceremony in the cathedral. It has his valuables and personal items. The magic keys, for instance, are normally kept there.

Alexis said...

That's fair. What would Andrej like to do now?

Andrej said...

Leaving the sacristy, but not before making a short but reverent prayer, he makes his way toward the door to the south. If beyond it, he turns to his left once in the gallery on the other side, heading toward St. Mary's chapel. If there, he tries the door and if open will peek inside.

Alexis said...

Earlier, before I'd made the map, I described a 'private chapel' for the priests, that Andrej had access to. This would be it. Andrej has been given a normal key to it, and can see inside that it is a small church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

As he stands in the doorway, to his left is a exit to the Cathedral behind a heavy wooden door. Behind him is the corner of the cemetery, which he can view through clear-glass windows on either side of the thick stone wall surrounding it.

At that moment, a block about as large as a half-orc's head thumps from the sky upon the grass between the stones, bounces, and comes to rest.

Andrej said...

This stone fell in the graveyard yes? If so, Andrej moves across the gallery and peers out the window closest to where the stone fell.

Alexis said...

Andrej, you see a shadow move across the grass, which would indicate someone is moving about upon the roof above you.

Andrej said...

Which way is the shadow moving?

Alexis said...

From right to left.

Andrej said...

Meaning towards Stephen's Choir. If so, Andrej makes considerable haste to the north gallery stairs via Stephen's Choir.

Alexis said...

Upon climbing the stairs. you find yourself upon a narrow gallery which skirts the edge of the Stephen's Choir, which you can look into below you. There is a door to the Prior's Office on your right (which you've been in - the Prior's apartment is reached by passing through this office, where Andrej slept last night). the gallery turns left along the outside of the Stephen's Choir and continues through a door which is between where you see the large pillar at the top of the Stephen's Choir and the support stone on the pillar's right.

You have been here before, last night while poking around; beyond the doorway is a hall that corresponds with the one on the first floor running past the kitchen and the St. Anne's Chapel, only this is narrower by half. A set of three doors along the left of the second floor hall lead outside to a long gallery which overlooks the cemetery. This is the only roof access you're aware of, but it suggests of the source for the shadow.

Does this description make sense?

Andrej said...

It does. Andrej continues to move quickly through the cathedral and toward the gallery which overlooks the cemetery.

Alexis said...

The first door to the gallery - a clear-glass door with lead frames - is wide open.

Andrej said...

Standing as he is, does Andrej see either the shadow or the figure casting it? What is out upon the gallery, can he see the cemetery below from here?

Alexis said...

The gallery is somewhat evident through the open doorspace and the windows. You cannot see anyone or anything unusual. There's a stone balistrade that goes around the outside, it is about 8 feet wide, with a fieldstone flooring (pieces of stone fitted together with mortar).

Andrej said...

Andrej enters the gallery, moving to the approximate center, then turns 360 degrees to get as good a view of the nearby roofs as he can (I assumed the gallery overlooking the cemetery was open to the sky). He's on the lookout for the shadow-casting figure and/ or a way up on to the roof.

Alexis said...

Andrej's eyes are naturally drawn first to the cemetery, and the pond within it, viewed now from above; you're higher than one story off the ground; you are more like 20 feet.

You see the cloister beyond the cemetery wall, with its second-story apartments, the open space of the cloister's court, and the peaked roof of what must be the Sacristry.

And then you hear a deep, grinding voice coming from above and behind you:

"You haven't much time, you know."

It does not sound threatening; it sounds, instead, rather thoughtful.

Andrej said...

Andrej turns toward the voice. What does he see?

Alexis said...

Apparently ... a gargoyle.

Doesn't look alive, though.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Don't trust him! The ghouls weren't alive, either! :) )

Alexis said...

(OOC: One level lost for kibbitzing!)

Andrej said...

(OOC: :) )

"For what do I not have much time?"

Alexis said...

The gargoyle shifts, demonstrates that it is animated, and says,

"The girl is dying. Or may be dead already."

When it stops speaking, the appearance is again so stonelike that Andrej can hardly believe that it has moved ... except that it did change its position.

Andrej said...

"I am at a loss. What girl? Where? Did you see another move across the roof or drop a rock into the cemetery? Was it you?

Alexis said...

"I cannot feel her moving ..." the gargoyle says.

"The Bishop left her behind. As punishment."

Andrej said...

"The bastard. Where is she? Where did you last feel her move?"

Alexis said...

"You handled the service very well, Father Andrej. I did not like the line about the child and the man. An Englishman's words. You are not English."

The gargoyle ruminates.

"She has been chained to a wall since Thursday morning, in the dungeons."

Andrej said...

"How do I get to the dungeons from here?"

Nine-toes said...

(OOC - rescuing a damsel, eh? Can Catholic friars marry in 1450?)

Alexis said...

"They are beneath the South Tower"

Andrej said...

"What do you mean 'they? Who else but the girl?"

Alexis said...

"The dungeons. They are beneath the South Tower."

Andrej said...

Andrej leaves quickly for the South Tower. "I thought twice about the child part, next I'll leave it out."

Alexis said...

As Andrej covers the considerable distance between the Gargoyle and the South Tower, through the main part of the church (where carpenters have begun to reappear to take down the seating and restore the pews that are normally present, he can't help but piece things together from his memory.

If the Bishop left at 3 a.m. Thursday morning, and it is now something like 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, the girl will have been chained up for more than sixty hours.

Andrej will find the door to the South Basement Stairs (the only down staircase he can find marked) locked.

Andrej said...

Andrej unlocks the door using the set of magical keys.

Alexis said...

(OOC: my day is pretty bunged up; I'll do what I can here. I probably can't start the other post as promised, if the others are checking here for answers. When I free myself this will move faster)

Note that the first key seems to have lost its gloss and remains unchanged. This happens again to the second key. Apparently, once it has been applied to a particular lock, it never opens any other lock again.

The basement door opens. A draft rises up the circular stairwell. Andrej cannot hear anything, on account of the movement and breaking apart of the bleachers in the cathedral's nave and aisles.

Andrej said...

(OOC: No worries Alexis, do what you can... today and tomorrow will be good days for me)

How many keys are left unused? Damn shame that I wasted one to look at somebody's Christmas decorations.

Andrej draws his mace, puts the key ring into his belt pouch and descends down the stairwell.

Alexis said...

I believe I gave the party five keys.

Once Andrej gets past the first complete revolution of the stairs, it starts to get pretty dark.

Andrej said...

Andrej has infravision, darkness shouldn't be problem, no?

Ahmet said...

(OOC: You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.)

Alexis said...

The walls are cold and have no ambient heat; as such, the stone is primarily all the same temperature. There is a thin effect of the warm air being pushed forward by Andrej's body as he descends, but not enough to meaningfully "light up" the stairwell.

Certainly, he would see anything that was alive.

I don't have the books in front of me. Is not the range of infravision for a half-orc only 30ft? Or is it 60 ft.

Andrej said...

Also don't have the books handy. Forget it, this infravision thing is always a pain and I keep forgetting that I solved it years ago for myself and take that for granted when playing elsewhere. It's a church, Andrej will find himself a nice lit candle or preferably a torch.

Andrej said...

Andrej leaves the stairwell and looks for a candle, assuming they would be stored someplace close to the nave or chancel.

Andrej said...

(OOC: For Ahmet
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nigRT2KmCE)

Andrej said...

(OOC: The doctors with needles posit repeatedly, that you knocked down that midget in the park unneededly)

Alexis said...

A candle about two inches in diameter and seven inches tall is sitting on a sconce immediately outside the basement door.

Andrej said...

If this candle is already lit, Andrej takes it and descends the stairs. If it is not, Andrej finds a heat source with which to light it.

Alexis said...

It is lit.

I am going to start a new post for this, Andrej; to keep the comments thread from getting any longer. Give me fifteen minutes.

Alexis said...

(the new post is up for this one, too)