"Brennus!" Yggmindl hollered across the great hall. "Just what in all the hells happened that made all those sad folks I passed on my way in decide to derelict their duty?"
"Don't pretend you haven't seen the order falling apart," Brennus replied darkly. "We're still missing six Venatori. Everyone's turning on each other... That's why they left."
He crossed his arms. "I've been getting together what Venatori I can to aid in figuring out what's happening... and all Venator private quarters are open as part of the investigation. Your experience would be useful in getting to the bottom of all this."
Keva arched a brow at the Inquisition collar on the skinny little dog, but she scratched his ear when Bullseye nuzzled her leg... and while Maugrimm started eating, this Inquisition hound instead stared up at her pleadingly. Keva looked slightly miffed and shook her head at something, though Bullseye wasn't sure what. Hopefully not him. From the way she patted him on the head, she guessed he wasn't the problem.
"It's alright," she said with a shrug, kneeling to nudge the food bowl closer to Bullseye. "Go on and eat."
"Venator Daisy," Cyrus said calmly "it's good to see you again. I was wondering if you could answer some questions about the search for the Faustus Tome in Artorius."
Daisy gave a chuckle. "Ah, ye say that like it was some magical artifact. 'Twas just a book, in the end... But," she shrugged, "I'll answer any questions you might have."
In Caiden's room, Asti stood guard while Kate busied herself investigating the chest at the foot of the bed... and found it locked, with no obvious signs of a key anywhere. The lock was embedded into the wood itself, so it wouldn't be simple to break, unless she somehow had the strength to smash the entire top of the chest in.
Crestwell, meanwhile, hobbled over toward the alchemy table... but his crutch thudded on a floorboard with a hollow thunk that made him - and Kate - pause. Thudding it again, it still sounded hollow, unlike the rest of the floor. And the nails in the floorboard were loose.
It didn't take Kate long to find a hammer, in this room full of weapons and tools, and pry the board up. Underneath, they found a huge, heavy chest - this one unlocked. Throwing back the lid, they saw something else immensely organized stash of... Everything.
Firstly, there was alcohol. Loads of it. That wasn't the incriminating part, though it very clearly indicated an impressive problem. There were also potions - stacks of potions, some of which Crestwell and Asti both immediately identified as illegal and many of them very dangerous... and some he didn't recognize at all, which worried him even more.
Digging around further, they found a very beautiful set of syringes. All well-kept, unrusted, from what Crestwell could only guess was recent and frequent use, judging from the pristine condition Caiden kept his weapons in.
Lastly, as if they needed more than this, there were two books in the trunk as well: one on dark magic, curses, and demons - and the second on illegal potions, each one delicate from age. Kate recognized them as books that had long since been banned by the Inquisition, and all copies were meant to be turned over to the Inquisition around the time of the fall of Ildrius - countless ages before either of them were born.
"Then perhaps we should get going as soon as possible" Hollí suggested, taking advantage of the opening. "It is no short trek to Dragon's Lair, and—though the chance is unfortunately faint—if our missing comrades yet live, then time is very much of the essence."
Caiden nodded in agreement. But while everyone else gathered their bearings to leave, Krystia returned to the group- to put a hand on one of his arms. Caiden's eyebrows hiked up a good inch or two on his face as he instantly threw Krystia a look.
"I apologise for that. Lyneth had some.. important business to discuss." She pulled slightly. Gods only knew why.
He grunted. Krystia had no idea what that was supposed to mean, but he didn't sound mad, at least, right?
"So, Caiden," she continued in a fair approximation of Lyneth's more sultry tones, "I look forward to working with you. I'm sure you can show me so much."
He swallowed. Huffed, and she had no idea what that meant, either. When she tried squeezing his biceps and smiling, Caiden quirked a brow at her this time and said, "Right... Hopefully I can teach you something useful."
He glanced at her hand on his arm again, then gently reached over to detach it from its hold and unfolded his arms afterward. "We'd better get moving."
Soon thereafter, Holli, Auric, Agethar, Krystia, Araven, and Caiden - plus his unseen passenger - departed Castle Greywatch and made for Dragon's Lair.
"I've packed brains aplenty!" Sivan hollared to the assembled hunters "so brawns and bows will be needed on the road east!"
Keva, who had just reentered the room from feeding the dogs in the kitchen, promptly approached and gave him a nod. "If you need the help," she said, "I'll come."
Sivan knew this huntress: a woman from the Far South who'd seen more than her fair share of combat. Good with a bow and an experienced tracker. Occasionally, he'd heard her temper would get the better of her, but Sivan had never seen such events personally.