This thread will continue the story of the Diabolist's Lair which is close to concluded, although some unresolved events and characters have yet to be "finalised".
Carrick is unhappy that it appears that some of the diabolists may have eluded them and is concerned that they may reorganise themselves and take revenge on the covenent.
With this in mind he organises patrols with strict order not to engage but to report any strange activity no matter how minor or trivial it may seem. This includes collecting gossip from the villages.
To assist with motivation Carrick has posted a monetary reward that will be provided to the patrol that returns with information that turns up a concrete lead on the Diabolists.
Karrick your grogs depart and return periodically. Many return with stories of gossip and oddities, but for over a month the stories have no hint of Diabolism. Once or twice you take the descriptions to Callan who asks further questions, but no solid clues are found.
Then a middle aged shieldman named Noah returns after a very long time away, with his two younger traveling companions Nell and Stanler. In the mercenary troupe Noah is somewhat of an oddity as he is semi-educated, a gentle speaker, and also appears almost venerable despite still being a competent soldier. His nickname is "Argent".
Speaking directly to Karrick, with the two younger swordmen a pace or so back, "Commander, I think we have a trace of the Diabolists."
"[i]We traveled through the midlands and took the trade road east to Edinburgh, then upward into the north toward Aberdeen. I knew that it would take many weeks, and that these pups would wine about the cold; but it seemed to me that ranging further from home was wiser. When we were around half way north I heard story of a brutal farming accident. It seemed like nothing untoward, but as we chatted more and more details stuck out as unnatural."
"The story had it that the farmer died by misfortune, his face and neck cut after a poor fall through the roof of a mill. I took leave from these two and traveled out to the farmstead. The farmer did indeed die near the mill, and despite the clean-up efforts his blood was still present. What struck me as odd was that the hole in the upper floor was out of condition with the rest of the mill."
"The upper floor stocked storage and across all the beams and bearers it was very solid, having been built only ten years before. In the place where the farmer fell the wood was rotted through and aged to almost one hundred years condition. Once healthy wood was dry and ridden with rot, and no sign of any damage around it. To my eye it was magical. Further to this was the tools which cut the farmer were several paces from the hole."
"The stories were a little inconsistent - but it seems that four men, some armed, moved past the village. Too coincidentally that group of travelers were seen passing the town around the same time, but they did not take rest indoors, nor approach; just passed by heading further north. I returned to Nell and Stanler and we continued on the northern road."
"After passing through Aberdeen on the inland road we found another rough campsite. Again the men did not speak to anyone, nor trade; just quickly camped and passed. The camp we found was hastily abandoned. We did find a mark on the earth where more blood seemed to be spilled and the ground stank unnaturally."
"This time though we got more of a description from a road marshal of one of the clans who saw the group. The pack is four men, all armed, and carrying cases and packs that weigh them. One man was either wounded or especially encumbered, and in hindsight that makes sense as if they were not slowed we would probably have lost them sooner. He did not get close enough to get a true read, but said that one prominent man was thin and tall, bald headed, and carried a long-spear. This was roughly a days walk outside Aberdeen to the north west."
"It took us almost three weeks to get back here, so I think the travelers have moved on again, but from there they can only go so far[/i]."
OOC: Is it Carrick or Karrick?