A Surprise Visitor (Spring 1237)

It's a cool April afternoon in Arans when a group of a half a dozen churchmen climb the hill up to the castle that is the center of the Andorran covenant. By appearance they seem to be three priests, a knight, and two men-at-arms in the service of the church. The military men are mounted on horses, but the priests ride donkeys. As the group approaches the main gate of the castle, one of the priests, a clean-shaven man in his mid- to late-thirties calls out to the guard.

"Good day," he says. "We are representatives of the Papal Inquisition and we seek the master of this castle."

Javier chuckles to himself before leaning out and calling out "Good luck with that. I suggest you find somewhere in the village there to rest and we'll send someone after you when we manage to locate HER and pass on your request."

"I beg pardon," the priest says with a genuine note of apology in his voice. "We should like to see the mistress of this castle. I"m afraid the matter is one of great urgency, however. We can wait here until she is ready to see us."

OOC: FWIW, courtesy says that you invite the churchmen into the castle to wait for Carmen. Sending them back to the village or making them wait outside will be taken as a deliberate insult to the Church.

If it was a churchman Javier recognized, but three guys in black claiming to be from the church showing up with a knight and 2 soldiers? Just letting them in because they claim to be from the church could be seen as a dereliction of duty.
"If you have papers I can see if someone literate can meet you at the gate!"
Javier turns around and yells to whatever servants happen to be nearby "You, let Carmen know we have someone from the inquisition seeking entry. You, go get one of the scribes, one who can read not just copy."

"Of course," the priest calls up, no impatience at all in his voice. "I have my Papal warrant. I commend you on your wisdom in wanting to examine it before letting us in." He then reaches into a satchel at his side and pulls out a leather case about ten inches by six inches.

So when the church shows up, it goes from being the covenant's castle to my castle.
Tel them go away, we don't want any.
What? hurmmmm
Greetings noble gentleman. I am Carmen Perez of Flambeau. How may I help you?

A quick scan of the priest's papers shows that they appear to be a writ from the Vatican naming one Father Matheus Vilanis as a papal inquisitor. From what the scribe can see, it's either authentic or one heck of a forgery.

"Good day to you, Lady Carmen," the priest says when he's let into the castle. The maga can see that he wears the robes of a Franciscan. He's also strikingly handsome. "My name is Father Matheus Vilanis." He gestures toward the older priest and the knight who accompany him. "This is Father Renart, and this is Sir Michael de Sancto. We're here on behalf of the Papal Inquisition." The knight and the older priest shy away from Carmen, clearly uneasy at her presence. Father Vilanis shows no such hesitation when speaking to her.

"We're on the trail of a known heretic," he continues, "And from our investigations, we believe he's come here to Arans. Before we began any investigation we wanted to come here to the castle to let the local authority know what we were doing. We'd also like to humbly request your assistance in running the man down. You're likely to know this area much better than we do, and your aid would be invaluable."

Also, Reputation Check: 1D10+3 = [6]+3 = 9

Carmen has actually heard a report about this priest. He is a member of the Inquisition, and apparently he's under the protection of a powerful cardinal in the Vatican (Protection Virtue).

Carmen smiles.
I am sorry that I am unable to help you. I know of no heretics around here. There was one a while ago, some scribe with Cathar sympathies. He got himself killed in Egypt. Or was that the other guy?
I'm afraid I have no information of use. As for searching the area, there is not I can really offer there. It is a mountainous country and sparsely populated. There are endless places to hide in the wilderness, and places in these mountains that man has not walked in generations if ever.
Seems like an awful lot of trouble for just one measly heretic.

"He is a dangerous heretic, my lady," the priest replies. "Possibly even a blasphemer. And we believe that he's not in the wilderness, but in Arans itself. I was hoping you could lend me the assistance of someone who knows the area well to help us search. It would make things much easier for us, and make it more likely that we'd find the heretic."

I fail to see how one guy could be such a danger, unless he was a wizard.
Is it a wizard you are looking for?
And out of curiosity, what is the nature of his heresies and blasphemies? How do you define such? You're not out hunting Jews or Saracens, are you? Is he a Cathar? You need to share more information with me if I am to help.
At this point, I can offer you a guide to show you around Arans. After I consult with my associates. If you gentlemen would be so kind o have a seat in the parlor, I will have a servant ring you some food and drink.

When she gets a chance she tells a servant to "Go get Solomon".

"A wizard, why no. We think he may be dabbling with the Infernal," Father Vilanis replies. "Or worse than dabbling. But please, by all means get your associate. It's late already and so it's unlikely that our investigations could start until tomorrow anyway." The group retires to the parlor, most of them showing great relief at getting away from Carmen.

(waiting on Solomon then :smiley: )

After receiving the summons, Solomon will limp his way to wherever Carmen is, "Carmen, the grog said it was urgent?"

Sme church guys are here looking for a fugative, some heretic. I fear they are looking for one of our grogs. I can tell they are reacting poorly t my Blatant Gift. Anyway, I figure you know the church better than I. And you are male. I was hoping you could chat with them. Distract them. Convince them to go away.

Solomon nods, "I'll see what they're up to."

As Solomon walks into the parlor, he takes the measure of the men, ensuring they are are men of God while subtly casting Trust Me on the one that appears to be in charge, "Gentlemen, I'm Solomon, how may I help you?"


Trust Me is from True Lineages and basically counteracts the effects of the Gift on the target. Solomon has Deft Form Mentem, so he is using no words or gestures.

Trust Me: 2 (Sta) + 6 (Aura) + 10 (Re) + 10 (Me) + 0 = 28; Penetration = 8+5 = 13.
Cautious Sorcerer lowers botch dice to one and I rolled a 9, so no botch.

Sense Holiness and Unholiness: 1 (Per) + 5 (skill) + 5 = 11 (12 for Evil)

As Solomon walks into the parlor, he takes the measure of the men sitting in there. There are three of them: a knight and two Franciscan priests. The knight is in his early- to mid-thirties and wears the insignia of an order Solomon recognizes as associated with the Church, while the older priest is somewhere in his forties, balding and slightly plump. But it's the younger priest, a strikingly handsome man in his mid- to late-thirties, who catches the magus's attention. First, despite being the younger of the two priests, he's clearly in charge. What's more, he has about him what Solomon can only describe as a holy glow. Not only that, Solomon can see that hanging from his neck is something with an even more powerful holy glow.

Stepping forward, Solomon silently casts his spell to make the priest more comfortable with the Gift only to find that the spell didn't work. Something about the priest repulsed Solomon's spell. As he stands and moves over to Solomon, the priest's eyes narrow ever so slightly, but he makes no comment on what just happened. Instead, he offers his hand to the magus.

"Good afternoon," he says. "My name is Father Vilanis, and these are Sir Michael de Sancto and Father Renart." The two others nod their heads in greeting, but look a bit uneasy. Father Vilanis, for his part, seems perfectly at ease with Solomon. "You must be the associate that Lady Carmen wanted us to speak with. Has she set forth the situation for you, or shall I give you a precis?"

Sense Holiness and Unholiness reveals that Father Vilanis and whatever he's wearing around his neck are both holy. The other two appear neither holy nor unholy.

Some kind of Magic Resistance on Father Vilano caused the spell to bounce.

Also, isn't the Aura only 5?

Solomon shakes his, "I only know that you are here seeking a heretic, correct?" His hand absentmindedly finds the rosary hanging from his belt. "What sort of heresy are you investigating, and how may we help?"

"Indeed," Father Vilanis replies. "We have been been following this heretic from Tolouse. Our investigations have lead us to believe that he's made his way to Arans. As for what his heresy is...," The priest pauses for a moment, then says, "not surprisingly, he practiced Catharism. Unfortunately, he managed to elude church forces in the past several years. However, worse than that, we believe that his lack of true faith has allowed the Infernal to entrap him. We strongly suspect that he has either wittingly or unwittingly dabbled with dark forces, and he may have gone farther than dabbling. We are concerned for what might happen if his actions are allowed to continue unchallenged. As for how you can help ... simply providing us with a local guide to help in our search would be most appreciated. "

"We can of course provide you with a guide, but if you could provide us a bit more information as to your quarry, we could ensure that we provide you with the most appropriate guide. I can assure you that we do not suffer those who consort with the Adversary here, and I will personally do all in my power to aid your cause."