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ZONE - Iason House


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#1 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 05:54 PM

In a rural part of Killedam in the Deltalunds, there stood a tall, imposing, stone building with barred windows: Iason House, an asylum for the insane. The approach to it was a stone path leading up to a twisted, black metal gate. Through that gate led a winding way through gardens, up to a heavy wooden door.

 

And, through that door, one entered the foyer. It was a large room full of tables, chairs, and numerous guards. Some of the calmer inmates were allowed here, under watch, and the more educated of them sat around reading from the extensive libraries on the walls. A few of them gazed from the barred windows. Others drew or entertained themselves in other ways. Overall, it seemed peaceful, and the inmates seemed well tended to and happy.

 

The foyer was full of nice furnishings and well-lit, with the large windows that let in the light - and large curtains that could be drawn to shut that light out. Overall, however, it looked a lot like a slightly lower-class nobleman's house. But it was warm, it was comfortable, and it was well decorated with a handful of tapestries and other things to make it feel welcoming.

 

At night, things didn't turn horrific. True, fog often fell around Iason House thanks to its location, and true it looked very foreboding, but the asylum remained calm and quiet. Candles and chandeliers were lit at night as the inmates were ushered into their bedrooms. A fireplace always roared in the foyer to keep things warm and lit and exude a calm atmosphere.

 

But, like most any asylum, it held more than a few secrets...

 

---

 

After several days and nights' worth of riding - during which time the group stayed in inns along the roads, inns in towns or villages along the way, or sometimes sleeping by the roadside, they at last reached the city of Killedam*. It was a pleasant, sunny day when they reached the city, and they were largely feeling quite well-rested.

 

The Templars, Inquisitors, and two Venatori entered Iason House after their leisurely trot through Killedam. Their horses were put away by servants, and now they entered into the foyer of the asylum. The inmates currently allowed at the front of the building all turned to stare with wide eyes, though the eyes of a few betrayed grimmer thoughts about their organizations. The guards standing around kept a close eye on everyone as the large group of armored men and women paraded inside.

 

Sebastian muttered under his breath, "Iason House... Iaso is the goddess of recuperation from illness. Is this truly recuperation?"

 

"Don't break the illusion," Ben murmured darkly under his helm.

 

A warden came forward immediately, giving a brief bow. "When I learned the Templars knew of Juilus, I suspected a visit. Please, come with me. We don't want you startling anyone."

 

He motioned for them to follow, and he led everyone aside to a relatively narrow corridor lined with doors. Taking out an iron keyring, the warden unlocked a door and led them inside. Ben had to duck slightly to get through that doorway, glancing in warning back to the other particularly tall members of the party, although the ceiling past that door weren't particularly low. Regardless, Ben shifted around in apparent unease...

 

And he wasn't wrong to do so. They entered into a far less welcoming, stone hall lined with torches. The warden kept walking, leading them deeper and down a spiral staircase, speaking as he went.

 

"I won't question a bunch of Imperial officials - especially your kind... kinds," said the warden as they walked. "But I would ask that none of you do anything particularly loud or disrupting while you're here. Especially while you're down here. This is where we keep the ones who can't be around others. If we let them, they'd probably end up killing someone. We don't treat them poorly, but we don't want them causing trouble.

 

"That," he glanced back at everyone, the dark beard shadowing his features looking even more foreboding in the dim torchlight of the halls, "and we have to keep them away from any tools they might use to kill themselves. That applies doubly to Julius Solon."

 

They entered into a long, dark hall, lined with torches, like the one above the spiral staircase they had descended. The doors in this hall had only a very small window of iron bars at about head height. Otherwise, they were lined with metal and made of thick, heavy wood, all locked tight. Everything else was sturdy, solid stone. A few of the doors they passed by had strange noises coming from them. Some didn't even sound human.

 

The warden halted before one of those doors, turning to face everyone. He held up a hand for them to stop. The hall they now stood in was about wide enough for three to stand abreast, though some of them were feeling a little crowded, regardless.

 

Through the opening of the door the warden stopped before, they could all hear low muttering from within. It was low but fast, like a man out of breath, gasping occasionally and murmuring louder, his voice rising in pitch to a point of panic every few seconds.

 

When the warden spoke again, his voice was considerably lower. "Julius Solon," he said slowly to make sure everyone listened closely, "is one of our worst cases. He speaks nothing but pure madness, and he's tried several times to kill himself. He's scared. Nothing he says makes a whole lot of sense, but I do know this: if he sees any of you Inquisitors, he might just crack even worse. Those of you who have questions for him, tell the Templars or Venatori and let them go in and ask him. He can respond to questions, but the things he says are complete nonsense."

 

He held up the keys. "So let me make myself especially clear: I can't stop you, I don't have the authority. But I don't want an Inquisitor to walk through this door or even be seen in the doorway. I'm not responsible for what Julius might attempt if he sees another person in solid black with the symbols of the Inquisition. We've done everything in our power to keep him calm and keep him alive."

 

The warden then slid a key into the lock, though he waited a moment to add, "And try to keep your voices down when the door's open - close it behind you when you go in. He's easily overwhelmed. Anyway, if any of you need to see any of the other inmates for your investigation, I'll let you see them."

 

"I don't think that'll be necessary," Stevan said, "but thank you."

 

The warden nodded. "The offer stands, if any of you want or need it."

 

As he turned the key, Ben turned and strode off back down the hall, disappearing the way they came. Yaroslava glanced at him as he went, but she didn't ask any questions, and she scooted farther away from the door as the warden opened it.

 

He certainly opened it slowly enough. It swung inwards with an ominous creak to reveal a stone box of a room, its only furnishing a bedroll in the corner and a small candle within a cage hanging high from the ceiling, out of the inmate's reach. A narrow, barred window rested right against the ceiling, just enough to let in some light and fresh air.

 

In a corner, a man was curled up in tattered clothing, clearly ripped apart by his own hands. He was curled into a fetal position. Other than how disheveled his dark hair was, he didn't look terribly old, and he clearly hadn't been stuck in here very long, particularly as his face only had a thick stubble rather than any kind of heavy beard.

 

But his blue eyes almost bulged out of his head as he gasped and looked up at whoever entered as they stepped inside. Right now, he stared only at the open door. For the first time in hours, Julius Solon's muttering fell silent.

 

 

((*: For a description of Killedam, see the description featured in this zone thread. You are, of course, in this zone, not that one; I'm just linking to it for the sake of description of the city you had to pass through to get to Iason House.))


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#2 Harry Monster Princess

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 09:07 PM

Lady Tamaria was very pleased with the upkeep of the Sanitarium. The warden seemed to run a tight ship, genuinely providing the best he could for the inmates. Mina admired how much care and service they provided. However, there was one inmate in particular that had to be attended to.

 

After the Warden had left the group by Julius Solon's cell, Mina strode forward and turned to address the entire party, keeping her voice low.

 

"Allow me to speak with him first. As I mentioned a few days ago, we both hail from the same city, so I believe he'll be willing to open up to me. In the meantime, maybe some of you could try talking to other patients or workers. Maybe they've heard enough snippets that we can piece it all together into a cohesive message."she suggested. "Even small details could help us piece together this mystery. Now then, if someone would be so kind," Mina unhooked her sheathed sword from her belt, and unslung her shield and spear, and held them out for a trustworthy associate to hold onto. "I can't exactly take these in with me." When someone took her weapons, she smiled and politely thanked them. Then without another word, she entered the cell and shut the door behind her.

 

Mina got a good look at Julian. She hadn't known him well, but his family was noble and proud and she remembered him as a courageous man. What horrors had befallen him...

 

"Greetings, Sir Solon," Mina said with a warm, broad smile and proper curtsy. "I'm Lady Wilhelmina Tamaria, but please, call me Mina. I don't know if you remember me, but I remember you fondly. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind having me for a chat." Mina extended her hand to Julian, smiling again.

 

-------

 

Despite several quiet days of riding, Hadrian hand't spent the time entirely idly. Over the course of the trip he had managed to learn everyone's names. The only reason he had done this was a mere precautionary habit he had picked up. In crucial moments, Hadrian found it slightly more effective to warn someone while using their own name. It helped to increase the chances they'd duck just in time or react fast enough to escape the clutches of a foul beast that had snuck up on them. Not nearly always, but it was the thought that counted. Still, the group was awfully large. He hoped he'd at least be able to remember close enough approximations if it was needed.

 

For now, Hadrian decided to leave the questioning to the Templar and stand watch. He leaned back against the wall, stroking his beard.

 

After a moment, he spoke aloud to the group. "Penny for your thoughts?"


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#3 GhostlyCheese

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 10:49 PM

While on the road, Grey had taken enough time to acquaint himself with most of the team and gave himself enough time while riding to work on a sketch of the convoy of Templar and Inquisition forces, from the perspective of his own eyes. He had been on the road with these people for a few days, moving from inn to inn, town to town. He had switched bunk mates multiple times, when paired back with Hadrian, he often slept in the hall.

When they came into Killedam, the first thing Blackwell noticed was the colours throughout the city. He took in his surroundings as they approached the Iason House. Although in most writings and explanations of asylums, they always seemed to be presented as dark places of filth and insanity. But Iason House was calm and soothing, it seemed the kind of place he would like to go if he lost his mind. As he made his way through the halls of the house, the patients all looked more or less calm... until he came to the cell of Julius Solon.

The man had clearly lost himself. He appeared unkept, with his long hair, stubblely face, and torn rags. Something was wrong with the man, and this situation would need to be dealt with gently. This egg would easily crack.

"Penny for your thoughts?" Hadrian offered the entire group as a woman attempted to make contact with the broken man.

Grey leaned over to get closer to his partner and gave a response. "We might need a priest... or five."

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#4 Ratcatcher

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 10:57 PM

Lucy walked down the grim staircase, and couldn't help but feel like she was stepping into a dungeon trap. Ahead, she could hear noises-- really, strange noises. They were quite unsettling, and without her consent, she involuntarily crossed her arms and clung them tightly to her.

They came to a stop amidst the noise, and the guard explained the situation; no Inquisitors inside. She felt slightly relieved at that, and watched as Lady Tamaria handed her tools to someone and walked into the room with Julius. She noticed Mettius behind her, and stepped back, leaving only an inch between them, and whispered, "What I said about people with the Condition going crazy? I take it back. I never saw a mage this bad."

"Penny for your thoughts?" The bearded fellow Hadrian asked. Lucy considered the question, and replied in a low tone, quiet tone, "Maybe some of the guards or other... occupants remember what Julius was saying when they brought him in. If some Inquisitors find and ask the guards who brought him, and the Templars find out who was already here, he was probably rambling some of his most important info when he first came in. I mean, the details could help-- ...?" She was cut off mid sentence from a nearby chortle of sorts which startled her, then she lost the desire to finish . "...yeah, I'll just go and do that." Scooting past Hadrian, she tapped the Warden fellow on the shoulder.

 

"Um, excuse me," she asked, "Mr. Warden? Do you happen to know who the guards were that brought Julius into the Asylum?"



#5 Flying Ace

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 12:52 AM

The decision was made and the group would be travelling to Deltalund. Augustin grimaced at the thought. Talking with a madman was not his idea of helping the Empire. However, he could see the logic, splitting would be too dangerous and the insane man was their only solid lead. The trouble at Prigos would have to be handled by a different group, Augustin’s group’s quest lay on a different path. Grabbing some food, Augustin ready his steed and braced himself for another long journey. Just like old times, he mused to himself with a half-smile.

 

The days past almost as a blur. Ride, eat, sleep. Augustin passed the time with small talk or practicing his swordsmanship. During one of their stops in a village, Augustin acquired some ink, a quill, and some parchment, tucking them away in a bag for when they had more time. The Inquisitor figured it would help pass the time on the next leg of their journey. Their current destination sounded like it would be a short trip: Inquire what the man had seen and then hope he gave them an idea where to go next.

 

They arrived at Killedam, a pleasant enough city. Augustin was impressed by the vibrant colors and life of the city. The parts of the North he often visited lacked such vibrancy and excitement, it was a pleasant change of scenery. The Inquisitor adjusted his wide-brimmed hat slightly to keep the sun out of his eyes and glanced at the few peasants that gawked the armored procession. He did not blame them; it was rather unusual to see so many armored warriors, especially the gold and silver of the Templars alongside the jet-black of the Inquisition.

 

The armored party made their way through the city and to the edge where the asylum way. Even in the bright sunshine, Augustin felt a strange chill in his spine. It was a tall, imposing building with barred windows. They traveled up a small winding path, through a twisted metal gate, through the garden and finally to the large door.

 

The foyer was full of guards and a few of the saner patients, though the arrival of the party seemed to cause some anxiety. Augustin watched the guards tense and they watched their patients closely. However the party moved on, led by the Warden down a spirally staircase into the lower levels. The party continued down a long stone hallway, lit by torches that were placed been the doors of various cells.

 

Noises, some inhuman, whispered from the cells as Augustin passed. He felt the hairs on his neck rise as he swore he heard someone whisper his name. Before he could further investigate his attention was drawn to the warden who warned them Inquisitors should keep away from their target.

 

Augustin watched as the larger Ebonguard went back around the corner from where they came. Curious as to what he was up to Augustin started to follow, nudging his roommate ((Cicero)) from back at the first inn.

 

“Come’on,” he nodded his head after Ben and started to follow him.

 

Augustin walked quickly to catch up to the taller man, managing to do so right before he reached the stairs.

 

“So,” Augustin said as he caught up to the other inquisitor. “Where are you off to?”


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#6 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 11:09 AM

Since no one else was stepping up to it, Stevan took Mina's equipment as she asked someone to hold it for her. He nodded as she entered the cell, and he waited quietly by the door, listening.
 
Shortly thereafter, Hadrian asked, ”Penny for your thoughts?"
 
"He doesn't look like someone who should break the way he has," said Stevan, keeping his voice down. "He was a knight. In my experience, only something demonic could drive someone like him into... this."
 
"Perhaps," Sebastian put in. "Unless it was there the entire time."
 
Yaroslava snorted in dismissal. "Demons are not the only things capable of this. Magi could have just as easily committed atrocities that made him this way."
 
"Maybe," Stevan murmured, though he certainly didn't sound convinced.
 
"Um, excuse me," she asked, "Mr. Warden? Do you happen to know who the guards were that brought Julius into the Asylum?"
 
The warden turned to Lucy as she spoke. "I don't know their names, no," he replied. "They weren't my men - they were members of the Killedam city watch. What I do know is this: Julius rode up to the city coming from the swamps in The Moor, shouting and babbling. He was riding a horse that was in bad shape - the animal died of illness and exhaustion not long after the guards brought Julius here. Since then, Julius has only gotten worse. Most of the time, he's talking about that swamp."
 
---
 
Meanwhile, Mina stepped into the cell to speak with Solon. He stared at her the entire time, breathing quickly like a frightened animal. When she curtsied, he blinked. When she introduced herself so graciously, he blinked again. When she said she remembered him, he blinked still more.
 
But when she extended a hand toward him, even smiling as warmly as she did, Solon curled up tighter in the corner, shaking, with a low, almost animal sound of panic.
 
"No - not touching! Touching causes pain - I don't want to cause pain! Touching can kill! I've seen it... seen... Not touching anyone - but the swamp - it touches all! Touches, hurts, kills..."
 
He sobbed and buried his face in his hands, curling up tighter.
 
---
 
“So,” Augustin said as he caught up to the other inquisitor. “Where are you off to?”
 
Ben stopped when addressed, turning to face Augustin and - if he followed - Cicero. He wore his helm, so his face was unreadable.
 
"I've... had things happen to me in places like this," Ben replied at length. "I don't trust them. I wasn't in one, before you think that, but this isn't my first time coming to some dungeon like this to do Inquisitor work."
 
He glanced down the hall at everyone else before adding, "I just need to be alone for a little while. I'll come back in a minute."
 

With that, he turned and started heading up the stairs.


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#7 Neyo Wargear

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 12:11 PM

The colors of Killedam was a nice change of pace from the dullness of Northrim. Cicero admired the city, but the admiration soon faded once the Iason House came into view.

Although, looks can be deceiving, the interior was pleasant enough, until they delved deeper into the building. The pleasantness soon faded from Cicero again.

They, the Inquisitors, were advised not to enter. A tall Ebonguard walked past Cicero, then he felt a nudge.

"Come'on," Augustin nodded his head in the direction of the now past Ebonguard. Augustin walked after him, and Cicero shrugged and followed.

Before the tall Ebonguard reached the stairs, Augustin managed to bridge the gap. "So, where are you off to?"

Ben stopped when addressed, turning to face Augustin and - if he followed - Cicero. He wore his helm, so his face was unreadable.

"I've... had things happen to me in places like this," Ben replied at length. "I don't trust them. I wasn't in one, before you think that, but this isn't my first time coming to some dungeon like this to do Inquisitor work."

He glanced down the hall at everyone else before adding, "I just need to be alone for a little while. I'll come back in a minute."

With that, he turned and started heading up the stairs.

"Huh, I wonder what happened to him earlier in life, but it's none of my business," said Cicero.

Edited by Neyo Wargear, 11 February 2016 - 02:35 PM.

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#8 Flying Ace

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 02:18 PM

“I've... had things happen to me in places like this,” Ben replied at length. His face was hidden by his mask leaving Augustin to guess at his expression. “I don't trust them. I wasn't in one, before you think that, but this isn't my first time coming to some dungeon like this to do Inquisitor work.”

 

He glanced down the hall at everyone else before adding, “I just need to be alone for a little while. I'll come back in a minute.”

 

With that, he turned and started heading up the stairs. Augustin stared after him. Something felt wrong about the Ebonguard, Augustin couldn’t place his finger on it. He had seemed far too tense, he didn’t exude the calm imposing nature the Inquisitors were noted for. He stood there for a moment, thinking about his next move. Suddenly a voice spoke up beside him.

 

“Huh, I wonder what happened to him earlier in life, but it's none of my business,” said a voice Augustin immediately recognized as Cicero’s. 

 

Augustin glanced at the other Inquisitor and smirked.

 

“Nor is it mine, but I’m going to find out.” He started up the stairs, stopped, and turned back to Cicero. “Care to join me?”

 

Augustin then started up the stairs intent on following Ben. It is for his own safety, Augustin thought to himself.


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#9 Neyo Wargear

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 03:02 PM

"Nor is it mine, but I'm going to find out." Augustin said as he started up the stairs, then stopped and turned to Cicero. "Care to join me?"

Augustin then started up the stairs again as Cicero thought it over in his head. Cicero decided to come along, "Wait, I'm coming." The Ebonguard followed after his friend.

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#10 Ratcatcher

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 04:05 PM

Well, darn, thought Lucy, hearing about the Killedam city guard, that'd take me too long and too far from the group. She thought a bit harder... "Well, who visits him most frequently? I mean, even if it's the guy that brings his food, someone's had to look into his ramblings. I mean, what's the big deal about a swamp?"



#11 Harry Monster Princess

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 09:17 PM

Solon stared at her the entire time, breathing quickly like a frightened animal. When she curtsied, he blinked. When she introduced herself so graciously, he blinked again. When she said she remembered him, he blinked still more.
 
But when she extended a hand toward him, even smiling as warmly as she did, Solon curled up tighter in the corner, shaking, with a low, almost animal sound of panic.
 
"No - not touching! Touching causes pain - I don't want to cause pain! Touching can kill! I've seen it... seen... Not touching anyone - but the swamp - it touches all! Touches, hurts, kills..."
 
He sobbed and buried his face in his hands, curling up tighter.
 
Mina quickly retracted her hand, and hid both behind her back. Mina took a deep breath to steady her nerves before she spoke again. She kept her voice and calming and soothing as she possibly could.
 
"It's okay, it's okay," she crooned. "No one's touching anyone. See?" She took a slight step back to give him some space, as much as she could in the tiny cell. Then she slowly sat down, still keeping her hands tucked away. "No touching, no pain. No pain here." She reassured him.
 
Mina would have to be a lot more cautious. She really had no idea what would set the poor man off.
 
"Please, you don't have to cry. You're a brave, strong knight, Sir Solon. Can you be brave for me?" She asked him sweetly. She waited for a little while so he would hopefully calm down.
 
"Could you tell me about what happened to you, Sir Solon? Or would you like to talk about something else?" She ventured.
 
-----------
 
Grey leaned over to get closer to his partner and gave a response. "We might need a priest... or five." Hadrian scowled. "Have some respect, boy."
 
An inquisitor chimed in- Lucy if he was remembered correctly- replying in a low, quiet tone, "Maybe some of the guards or other... occupants remember what Julius was saying when they brought him in. If some Inquisitors find and ask the guards who brought him, and the Templars find out who was already here, he was probably rambling some of his most important info when he first came in. I mean, the details could help-- ...?" She was cut off mid sentence from a nearby chortle of sorts which startled her, then she lost the desire to finish. Hadrian simply nodded to her, it seemed like a wise course of action. "...yeah, I'll just go and do that." Lucy scooted past Hadrian to speak to the Warden.
 
The Templar Captain responded to Hadrian's query next. "He doesn't look like someone who should break the way he has," said Stevan, keeping his voice down. "He was a knight. In my experience, only something demonic could drive someone like him into... this." Hadrian nodded in agreement. He suspected the same.
 
"Perhaps," Sebastian put in. "Unless it was there the entire time."
 
Yaroslava snorted in dismissal. "Demons are not the only things capable of this. Magi could have just as easily committed atrocities that made him this way."
 
"Maybe," Stevan murmured, though he certainly didn't sound convinced.
 
"It might not be either," Hadrian suggested. "Plenty of horrifying things lurk in the murk of swamps. Some monsters can easily break the will of men." The Venator grumbled, thinking over potential creatures that could have ambushed the knight. "Do any of you know why Solon was in the swamps in the first place? Was he with a group?"
 

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#12 GhostlyCheese

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 09:27 PM

"Have some respect, boy." Hadrian scowled.

"Not trying to be disrespectful, Sir. I'm just suggesting we might need to consult someone who deals with... you know... possession, if we want to help this man." Grey replied, although his previous comment had some sarcasism for it, he was just trying to lighten the dark atmosphere. "I don't know if we're the right kind of help for this man." Grey looked over at the warden, and waiting for a lull to speak.

"Who has visited him while he's been here? Any doctors or medical men?"

Speaking of atmosphere. Grey was feeling quite uncomfortable, once the man began talking, he felt as if something was touching him. A moment later, he blamed his nerves. Can't let my nerves get the best of me. I'm the best the Venatori can lend. I'm a Venator, a hunter, I don't feel fear.

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#13 Burger Warrior

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 11:42 PM

Mettius stayed fairly quiet the entire trip, keeping in his own little space within his void iron plate. He was asked a few questions over the course of their journey, though he was relieved it was mostly just people looking for a name to put to his armor, which he gave. There was no reason to try keeping these people from identifying him… even if he was still unsure about the Venatori being present. Why had they come, anyway? What did they have to gain by dealing with a man with a mental condition?

 

If they decide that he’s some kind of monster or something, and kill him before we can get anything useful out of the crazy old coot…

 

As it turned out, it seemed Tibur hardly even had a reason to follow the others into the heart of the mental asylum. The warden made it clear that if any Inquisitor tried talking to the crazy man, he’d go completely nuts; maybe even get worse than he’d been before. Mettius chewed his lip at that, tapping his sword… and trying to ignore the odd feeling he was getting. There was something… familiar drawing him towards one of the cells, and time and again the Inquisitor tried to ignore it.

 

“Anyway, if any of you need to see any of the other inmates for your investigation, I'll let you see them."

 

Tibur shrugged. “Don’t mind if I do.” He said, keeping his voice low. He began to head along the hallway toward the source of his… feeling, keeping silent as he glanced inside the small windows. He kept his movement slow, trying to make it look like he was really examining the prisoners - he couldn’t in good conscience call them ‘patients’ - as he closed in on this odd source.

 

Maybe he’d find help… or maybe he’d be able to help someone. It depended on what he found.

 

-----

 

Irena wasn’t as quiet as Mettius, and she got around to collecting names on the journey. Still, she didn’t go out of her way to converse with the others, keeping to her books and trying to start figuring out what could cause Sir Solon’s… condition. Not only that, but be interested in helping Letom with necromancy, since that was evidently what he was seeking mastery of. Unfortunately, there were quite a few known demons in existence, and more than enough would be willing to help this Letom with his work. Of course, there were different reasons why… and if they could narrow them down, Cathas would then come much more in handy.

 

Unless, of course, this was a new demon.

 

She tried not to let that possibility bother her as they made their way into Iason House, and the monk stayed quiet as she followed the rest of the party inside. As everyone was briefed on Solon’s condition, and afterward Mina went inside the room, Irena debated following her. However, opening the door again might disrupt the other Templar’s efforts, and there wasn’t much Cathas could really do in there, anyway.

So, with nothing better to do, she tried listening in through the door.


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#14 Sareth

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 11:37 AM

Kristina didn't like Iason House. She couldn't say exactly why, the place was nicely-built and furnished, almost like the home of a lower noble, and the inmates —those she could see— didn't look mistreated, or even terribly unhappy. Still, she didn't like the place.

 

The cells they came to farther in certainly didn't help matters. It might very well be for the protection of others, or even themselves, but the thought of holding people, essentially, prisoner simply because of a mental problem... actually, come to think of it it wasn't terribly different from what the Inquisition did with mages —save for the unnatural level of destruction the latter could cause. So why did this bother her...? Perhaps it wasn't the imprisonment itself, but rather the idea that someone's mind could be broken that badly... She was convinced that she could ever be broken thusly, but the proof that some people could was just a bit unsettling... To be honest, if she ever did wind up in such a condition, where she couldn't even trust her own thoughts, she'd probably rather be dead.

 

When they got to the cell, it turned out she and the other Inquisitors couldn't even see Solon, so she simply leaned back against a nearby wall silently while the templar Lady went in to talk to the man, waiting patiently to hear what the man had to say.

 

However, a short time later, she noticed one of her fellow Inquisitors —Ebonguard Tibur— heading back down the row of cells, looking inside them as if searching for something. Curious if her comrade had found some other lead —and since the talk with Solon seemed like it would be going on for a while—, she followed him.

 

***

 

Sarael had been a bit concerned about visiting an asylum, but was pleased to find the place was quite a lot nicer than she'd expected. She felt a stab of sympathy as they passed the cells, wondering what awful things their occupants must have experienced to render them so distraught.

 

Somewhat lost in thought, she missed Lady Tamaria holding out her equipment for someone to take as she went in to see Solon; by the time she'd noticed, Stevan had already taken it, making her blush a touch in shame —she should have done that, it wasn't right for the Knight-Captain to be holding others' gear like a squire. But, he didn't seem to mind... and she felt too awkward over her moment's inattention to suggest that she take it instead.

 

"Penny for your thoughts?"

 

"We might need a priest... or five." 

 

The venator might well have meant the suggestion as a joke, but it sparked a serious thought in Sarael, prompting her to respond after a moment: "Well, I'm not exactly a priest, but I do have some small measure of Astra's favor... Maybe I should give him a blessing? It might make him feel better to be reminded that the Gods are still with him, that there's still good in the world" she suggested, looking to the more experienced members of the group, particularly Knight-Captain Rolf, for their opinions. "Especially if it was something demonic that did this" she added as an afterthought.


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#15 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 04:26 PM

"Allow me to speak with him first. As I mentioned a few days ago, we both hail from the same city, so I believe he'll be willing to open up to me. In the meantime, maybe some of you could try talking to other patients or workers. Maybe they've heard enough snippets that we can piece it all together into a cohesive message. Even small details could help us piece together this mystery."
 
Malvolio grunted. He was fine with having one of the other Templars talk to the crazy knight. Frankly, he was reconsidering the idea of wanting to come here. 
 
As the Templar entered the room, the Scarred Templar noticed that Cathas, the Templar Cleric or Monk or whatever it was she did for a living, was listening in.
 
Before she could speak up, the younger of the two Venators and the Templar Sarael had started talking.
 
"We might need a priest... or five."
 
 "Well, I'm not exactly a priest, but I do have some small measure of Astra's favor... Maybe I should give him a blessing? It might make him feel better to be reminded that the Gods are still with him, that there's still good in the world. Especially if it was something demonic that did this."
 
"We already have a priest." Malvolio said flatly "We have Irena Cathas. But you can give him a blessing if you see fit."
 
---
 
Evan did not like the Asylum from the moment he had seen it. Something about it reminded him of a tomb: clean and white-washed on the outside, but inside, it contained dead bodies and foulness.This was confirmed as the group was lead into the Asylum's basement, where the dangerous patients were kept.
 
The Inquisitor was relieved when they were informed that the Inquisitors should stay away for the time being, and move  away from the door along with his brothers and sisters in arms.
 
He inadvertently found himself walking alongside Mettius and the other channeler. At the sight of the Inquisitor, whom he was undoubtedly sure still had bitter feelings towards him, the dark-skinned Inquisitor smiled awkwardly and said "Well, it's nice to see you again..."
 
It was plain for everyone to see that the Inquisitor was unnerved by the place, especially when he glanced nervously at the cells.

Edited by Dalton Westmoore, 12 February 2016 - 04:55 PM.


#16 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 06:11 PM

As Augustin and Cicero followed Ben, they kept a reasonable distance while ascending the staircase. When they were back in the upper hall lined with doors, they saw Ben still striding toward the closed door back into the asylum proper. But he glanced over one of his broad shoulders at them. With his helm still on, there was no way to tell what he was thinking, but he didn't say a word. He just looked in front of him again and kept walking.

 

He stopped at the end of the hall, pausing before the door and crossing his arms. Eventually, he turned to rest his back on a wall to one side of the room, looking at Augustin and Cicero.

 

"Do you guys want something from me, or what?" he asked. It wasn't hard to read a very slight hint of annoyance - maybe almost suspicion - in his tone.

 

---

 

"Well, who visits him most frequently? I mean, even if it's the guy that brings his food, someone's had to look into his ramblings. I mean, what's the big deal about a swamp?"

 

The warden turned to Lucy first as he was steadily barraged with questions. "We change shifts over the course of days and nights, so a lot of people working here have had their share of bringing him food and checking on him. I check on him pretty frequently, myself. As for what's the big deal about a swamp, this whole area is swamplands, but he came riding out of The Moor. Other than that, don't ask me. He just keeps going on about it. As for looking into his ramblings," he snorted and shook his head, "there's nothing to look into. Death, pain, fear, the usual - half the madmen in this place talk about those things. There's nothing substantial to any of it."

"Do any of you know why Solon was in the swamps in the first place? Was he with a group?"

 

Stevan was the first to answer Hadrian. "He was," he replied. "According to the word the Templar received, he had a small group of knights from Tabula with him, and a few volunteers."

 

The warden arched a brow. "Right. Well, he's mentioned 'them' a few times - he might be referring to friends or enemies, the gods only know - but other than that, I wouldn't know anything about who he was traveling with."

"Who has visited him while he's been here? Any doctors or medical men?"

 

Next, the warden turned to Grey. "Two priests, two doctors... All said the same thing. He's gone mad. They just worded it in different ways. He's healthy - he was sick when he came out of that swamp, the doctors never really told me with what, but he's better now. We even nourished him back to health."

"Well, I'm not exactly a priest, but I do have some small measure of Astra's favor... Maybe I should give him a blessing? It might make him feel better to be reminded that the Gods are still with him, that there's still good in the world" she suggested, looking to the more experienced members of the group, particularly Knight-Captain Rolf, for their opinions. "Especially if it was something demonic that did this" she added as an afterthought.

 

"The priests that came by said it wasn't possession - they gave him blessings, too," the warden said. Darkly, and with a sigh, he added, "Didn't help."

 

"But it never hurts, either. She's right," Stevan said pointedly. He turned back to Sarael and said, "If you want to bless him, I don't see what it would hurt. He could use some of Astra's light."

 

---

 

Julius calmed down somewhat when Mina backed off, though he shook his head slightly. Slowly, he looked up at her again, blinking his reddened eyes, no longer sobbing.

 

"Bravery... bravery's no good. Doesn't help. Nothing helps. Darkness - creeps in everywhere. Swamp... Swamp - dangerous. Takes bravery away. Hurts, kills..."

 

He took a deep breath and clutched at his head, staring into space. Only when Mina spoke again did he snap out of it and look at her, his eyes wide again and almost bulging out of his head.

 

"What happened? The darkness! The pain - death! Death everywhere! Swamp, full of death, going to escape! No one will escape! Danger, so much danger... so much pain... Can't stop it. It's coming. The darkness, the pain, it's coming for us all. Eats bravery... Breeds fear... No escape... I don't want the pain - I don't want to kill... I just want to die..."

 

Julius swallowed hard and shook his head again, sobbing loudly. "All doomed - everyone - everywhere! Doomed! It's coming!"

 

---

 

As Mettius looked into some of the cells, he saw some seriously disturbing individuals. One man was as hirsute as a beast and towering so huge he almost hit his hunched head on the lantern that hung from the ceiling. He was shuffling and grunting, growling and pawing at his bedroll like he thought he was some kind of bear.

 

The next cell contained a skinny man who had stripped himself of all his clothing, sitting there in the nude with his emaciated self bared and his legs crossed, his fingers knit before his face. He was smiling, his eyes wide as he stared into space, straight at the door. His hair stood on end and his pale skin looked white as death's own visage. The moment Mettius passed the door, the madman's motionless eyes locked onto him, wide and bloodshot, staring silently and tracking seamlessly his every movement - like a portrait in a haunted house - still wearing that disturbing smile until Mettius passed out of sight again.

 

The third cell he reached contained what looked like a hunchbacked old woman, sitting in a corner, her head hunched low and her hands absently working on something. She might've been knitting. She wore bundles of brown rags that shadowed her face from view, all except for a long, hooked nose and some stringy, silver hair hanging from the sides of her head, peeking out from the brown cowl she wore. She didn't look up as Mettius peered through the bars, her hands working endlessly on her knitting.


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#17 Burger Warrior

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 08:21 PM

"Well, I'm not exactly a priest, but I do have some small measure of Astra's favor... Maybe I should give him a blessing? It might make him feel better to be reminded that the Gods are still with him, that there's still good in the world," one of the Templars was suggesting, just loudly enough to keep Irena from catching anything inside the cell. The monk tried not to get irritated. "Especially if it was something demonic that did this," she added as an afterthought.

 

"The priests that came by said it wasn't possession - they gave him blessings, too," the warden said. Darkly, and with a sigh, he added, "Didn't help."

 

"But it never hurts, either. She's right," Stevan said pointedly. "If you want to bless him, I don't see what it would hurt. He could use some of Astra's light."

 

"We already have a priest." Malvolio cut in flatly, all of a sudden. "We have Irena Cathas. But you can give him a blessing if you see fit."

 

Irena rose up, backing away from the door. She’d missed everything said inside because of these people’s- calm down. They didn’t know. Cathas took a deep breath as she approached them, folding her arms and keeping them tucked in their baggy sleeves as she looked between the Templars and the Warden. She quietly cleared her throat to make sure she had their attention. “If you’re not confident in your abilities in this area,” she said to the Templar that suggested blessing - Sarael, now she remembered - “I will handle it. It is rather more my area of expertise, I believe...” Irena pointed out, careful not to seem proud of that. She didn’t want to upset her fellow Templar… or get swallowed up in her own pride.

 

-----

 

Mettius, meanwhile, was lost in thought as he patrolled the hall, chewing his lip as he felt the odd sensation growing. It was just like so long ago… which worried him. Those with the Condition could be dangerous enough when they were stable. But that realization left Tibur confused, enough that when he passed the second cell he hardly registered the fact a mad man was trying to stare into the depths of his very soul. If there is someone with the Condition present… why haven’t they broken out? If they’re truly crazy, there’s nothing stopping them from doing-

 

He paused as he finally stopped before the third cell, staying silent. There was just an old woman there, apparently knitting. It was actually hard to see anything specific: she was well-covered, and position just right to hide herself from view. Barring a strand of silver-grey hair, anyway, but that could easily be put down to her age. The Ebonguard bit his lip, wondering if he should try getting her attention - this was the most sane person he’d come across, so the others probably wouldn’t question it - but he was abruptly interrupted.

 

"Well, it's nice to see you again..."

 

Gods damn this place him! Mettius thought, spinning around in surprise. Not only was Evan standing there, but also the other channeler! Tibur’s blood ran cold for a moment. They’d found out. They were going to drag him back to Karak Du Vide and keep him from ever helping anyone else ever again! They were-! ...W-wait.

 

Evan was smiling awkwardly. And the channeler, Kristina or something he’d heard, didn’t seem suspicious. Mettius slowly opened his mouth, trying to calm down. At least all that was hidden under this armor… thank the gods for Void Iron. “Oh. Yeah. You, too…” Tibur sighed, trying not to sound relieved. “Ah, sorry, you… caught me in the middle of my thoughts.” He added in a mumble, turning back to the cell.

 

“Um, this person seems… more-or-less alright.” The Inquisitor added, gesturing with his helmet towards the old woman in her cell. “Maybe the Warden will let us ask her a few questions? She’s probably heard Solon’s ramblings from here.”


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#18 Sareth

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Posted 13 February 2016 - 01:55 PM

"We already have a priest. We have Irena Cathas. But you can give him a blessing if you see fit."

 

Sarael gave a slight sheepish smile of embarrassment; she had forgotten that Cathas was also a priest, and not just a a scholar.

 

"The priests that came by said it wasn't possession - they gave him blessings, too. Didn't help."

 

"But it never hurts, either. She's right. If you want to bless him, I don't see what it would hurt. He could use some of Astra's light."

 

The Knight-Captain's support was all she really needed to decide. "Alright, then. I will" she replied with a mix of determination and her usual good humor.

 

“If you’re not confident in your abilities in this area, I will handle it. It is rather more my area of expertise, I believe...”

 

She froze momentarily as Irena spoke up, torn with indecision. Still, Stevan had said she could do it... "Thank you, but I think I've got this" she replied cheerily. While the woman was a priest, her attitude seemed a little... what was the word?—brusque; probably not the best thing when dealing with a man as shaky as Solon apparently was.

 

"But, uh, if you want to back me up I'd appreciate it. Besides, you should probably be there to record anything useful he says firsthand" she added a moment later, with a smile, to soften the blow —she assumed that was why Irena had been listening at the door, and she actually kind of wondered why the woman hadn't just gone in to begin with.

 

She then began to disarm herself like Lady Tamaria had, although for a moment she stood undecided with her weapons in her hands, not wanting to just dump it on someone —some of her stuff was rather heavy. Still, there wasn't really anywhere else to put it... "Um, could someone hold these for me?" she asked with a slightly embarrassed smile.

 

Once someone had done so, she removed her armored gauntlets and slipped them through her belt, then opened the door of Julius' cell and headed in.

 

***

 

"Well, it's nice to see you again..."

 

 

“Oh. Yeah. You, too… Ah, sorry, you… caught me in the middle of my thoughts.”

 

Kristina said nothing as the southron Inquisitor —... Evan, she recalled after a moment— announced himself, though she did give him a polite nod to acknowledge his presence.

 

“Um, this person seems… more-or-less alright. Maybe the Warden will let us ask her a few questions? She’s probably heard Solon’s ramblings from here.”

 

She glanced into the indicated cell, which turned out to contain a hunchbacked old woman —who might have been knitting, it appeared. It didn't look like the best source of information to her, but if her comrade thought so, she figured there was no reason not to try.

 

"I don't see why not" she replied neutrally, turning and waving the warden over.

 

"What's her story?" she asked the warden when he'd come, gesturing at the old woman's cell.


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#19 Ratcatcher

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Posted 13 February 2016 - 04:50 PM

"We change shifts over the course of days and nights, so a lot of people working here have had their share of bringing him food and checking on him. I check on him pretty frequently, myself. As for what's the big deal about a swamp, this whole area is swamplands, but he came riding out of The Moor. Other than that, don't ask me. He just keeps going on about it. As for looking into his ramblings," Lucy frowned as the warden shook his head, then confirmed his body language by saying "there's nothing to look into. Death, pain, fear, the usual - half the madmen in this place talk about those things. There's nothing substantial to any of it."

 

Lucy nodded and said "Thank you," then slipped out as others began bombarding him with questions. Looking around, she saw most everyone getting involved in someway or another-- whether it was rallying behind a blessing for the possibly-possessed Julius or gathering around another strange prisoner that Mettius pointed out. The greater part of the young Inquisitor girl wanted to go join the crowd around Tibur, but she didn't want to be pushy either.

 

Augustus crossed her arms, furrowed her brow, and pursed her lips, as her fingers generated thoughts by rapidly tapping on her arm. What to do, what to do... after a while, she began to notice anger rising within her. What the heck was she supposed to do!? She absolutely, completely, and assuredly hated doing nothing, but her ideas were running thin. There was already at least one (if not three to five) adventurers talking to Julius, interviewing the warden or other prisoners, or...

 

What exactly was Ben doing? Augustin and Cicero followed him, although he seemed pretty upset, and Lucy wanted to be better at giving people space. She found herself heading upstairs to pace around various parts of the asylum, but didn't stop herself. She trusted the guard to kick her out of any restricted areas. Perhaps I should try talking to the more sane occupants-- she stopped that thought as she heard herself. Right. Sane, sanitarium. Stupid. I could try talking to the other guards, but I don't imagine they'd have anything different to say. There must be something that doesn't lead to a dead end? Having paced the hall twice, she got an idea.

 

Lucy went to any sort of bookshelf or library the Sanitarium had, and began looking for some kind of encyclopedia or atlas of the area. Anything that can tell me anything about The Moor... Rumors, superstitions, history, any of it could be helpful.

 

She grabbed a book and pulled it down, staring at the title. It read... something. You've got to be freaking kidding me, she thought. Shoving the book back into its bookshelf, she stormed off to a nearby guard, the most random pick of anyone, and abruptly asked him, "You wouldn't happen to know anything about The Moor, would you? Any rumors or superstitions that go around? Or somebody here who might know more about it?"



#20 Harry Monster Princess

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Posted 14 February 2016 - 01:13 PM

Julius calmed down somewhat when Mina backed off, though he shook his head slightly. Slowly, he looked up at her again, blinking his reddened eyes, no longer sobbing.
 
"Bravery... bravery's no good. Doesn't help. Nothing helps. Darkness - creeps in everywhere. Swamp... Swamp - dangerous. Takes bravery away. Hurts, kills..."
 
He took a deep breath and clutched at his head, staring into space. Only when Mina spoke again did he snap out of it and look at her, his eyes wide again and almost bulging out of his head.
 
"What happened? The darkness! The pain - death! Death everywhere! Swamp, full of death, going to escape! No one will escape! Danger, so much danger... so much pain... Can't stop it. It's coming. The darkness, the pain, it's coming for us all. Eats bravery... Breeds fear... No escape... I don't want the pain - I don't want to kill... I just want to die..."
 
Julius swallowed hard and shook his head again, sobbing loudly. "All doomed - everyone - everywhere! Doomed! It's coming!"
 
"That's not going to happen, Julius. We're here to stop the darkness." Mina proclaimed with conviction. A little more than she truly felt. "We can stop it if you can just give us some kind of a lead. A specific place to go or a person to find. We can stop this from happening to anyone else. You just need to point us in the right direction. Please."
 
It was then Mina heard the door creak open, and she turned to see the tall Templar Sarael entering the cell. Mina nodded to her before turning her full attention back to Julius.
 
 
--------------
 
Hadrian shook his head at the talk of prayers and demonic possessions. "The poor boy has simply been traumatized," he stated. "Many men find themselves unexpectedly staring into an abyss of horrors and blink. It's only human. He just needs plenty of time, calm, and patience to recover. If he ever does, and he many never fully." Hadrian sighed deeply, lost in remembrance.

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