Chapter 3: Epiphany

((OOC: Okay, the messenger has arrived just before night fall, I believe. Aedituus would prefer to leave early in the morning after making some preparations.))

Abelard leads the young monk to his sitting room. "Tell me your name, brother." He continues talking, attempting to calm the clearly agitated monk.

"You are exhausted, brother. Rest for now, and we will leave for the Abbey before Lauds. We should be there by sext. Have some food, then sleep." Abelard settles the monk onto his own cot. "God's Peace, brother. Rest easy, while I pray and prepare for the trip."

"Johann, my name is Johann." His only resistance to Aedituus' efforts to lead him into his sitting room ((OOC: is this inside his sanctum?)) are vague comments about the urgency of going back to the Laach to help the sick. But he is soon asleep.

((OOC: Brother Johann and Luca arrived to the covenant just after sunset -- which would be around 16h30 at this time of the year. So, will Aedituus want to leave before or after sunrise? That's around 8h30 at this time of the year. Very long winter nights on those latitudes. I'd know, Quebec is very similar in that regard.))

The sitting room and cot are outside the sanctum.

Lauds is the 6:00 am morning prayer; Aedituus plans to leave just before that time, so they can arrive soon after noon (Sext).

Aedituus watches, praying silently, as Brother Johann falls asleep. Once he is certain the monk will not easily awake, Aedituus stands, and spends about a quarter of an hour preparing a spell. He gently touches Johann's chest during the casting, but speaks the words of the spell quietly. Casting on a monk disturbs Aedituus somewhat, and the words catch in his throat as he begins, but he feels the Gift swell as the spell completes successfully. A subtle scent of roses settles around Johann as his physical state lies open before Aedituus' eyes.

If Brother Johann shows no sign of illness other than fatigue, Aedituus will have Edgar gather some supplies for the trip to the Abbey tomorrow.

[size=85]Spontaneous version of The Physician's Eye: InCo5 Base 4, +1 Touch = Level 5.
Casting Total = 7 In + 5 Co + 1 Stm + 2 Aura + 4 Ceremonial Casting + 0 Roll (no botch) = 19; /2 for fatiguing casting = 9.
Identifying diseases = Roll 6 +1 Per +2 Medicine = 9[/size]

Brother Johann is apparently healthy, with no sign of illness.

Are you planning on bringing Edgar along? If you are leaving before sunrise, which one will you extend your Parma over, to protect from the ghosts? And how will you explain the presence of a bodyguard to monks of the abbey? (This would have happened also during your first stay at the Abbey, but we could assume that you had Edgar remain in Koblenz during that time.)

"Edgar, I need to travel to the Abbey with Brother Johann." Aedituus gestures toward the curtain drawn across the doorway as he talks quietly with his shield grog. "Some sort of sickness has settled among the monks, and Brother Clement has asked for my help. I'll be leaving before dawn, and will need our usual traveling gear for the short trip."

Edgar looks thoughtful for a moment. "Given the early hour of your departure, and your destination, I assume I am to remain behind for now?" Aedituus nods, and Edgar continues, "If I don't hear from you within the month, I'll follow quickly." He breaks into a wide smile as Aedituus responds, "Of course," picking up a small knife. "Just a very little off the back, mind. I'm no monk to go about with a tonsure!" Edgar chuckles as Aedituus cuts a lock of the grog's hair, ties it with a string, and tucks it into his robe.

"I'll meet you on the portico with the supplies in a few hours." Edgar trots off to see to the preparations, as Aedituus settles into a chair for some prayer and sleep.

A few hours later, late in the evening, a soft knock on Aedituus' sanctum door announces the return of Edgar before he lets himself in. The shieldman simply nods to Aedituus to indicate that all is well and ready, in the silent fashion that both are familiar with.

Brother Johann's sleep has been unsettled by dreams -- more like nightmares, actually -- which caused him to mutter and cry out occasionally. The sleep of a worried soul trying to cope with worry for his fellow brothers at the abbey.

Hearing the monk's muttering and restless sleep, Aedituus decides to help Johann rest more easily. He concentrates for a moment, and begins casting a spell to ease Johann's dreams. Partway through the spell, Johann mutters loudly, and fearing that his casting will wake the monk, Aedituus gestures badly. The spell fizzles, leaving the wizard momentarily winded.

Returning to the sitting room, Aedituus drops into a chair. Worry about his difficulty casting spells this evening interrupts his prayers for strength and health for the monks, and the image of his former novice master swims in his vision exhorting him to pray for forgiveness for his pride. Imagined laughter cuts through his reverie as he pictures his mater, his beloved Sonya, scoffing at such foolishness. My sweet monk, do you really believe that God would want your brothers to suffer? The foolish apprentice standing on a rock in the incoming tide will drown if he does not use the tools his Master has provided. The memory of her voice and her smile, loving and challenging, relaxes Aedituus, sliding him into sleep.

The wizard rouses quickly when Edgar enters. "Is it time already? He whispers, more to himself than to Edgar, "Even the beloved apostle fell asleep rather than staying watch. Mea culpa." Smiling at Edgar, Aedituus continues, "Thank you, my friend. I'll bring Johann down in a moment, and we'll be off."

Aedituus looks at the sleeping Johann, then shakes him by the shoulder, "Brother, it is time we were off," and envelops the sleeping monk with his parma.

[size=85]Spontaenous spell to calm worried dreams: ReMe 10 (Base 5, +1 touch)
Casting Total: +7 Re +8 Me +1 Stm +2 Aura + 0 roll (no botch) /2 for fatiguing casting = 9.[/size]

((Sorry for the delay, I've been busy with something else and I kind of forgot this thread.))

((Wouldn't there also be a seperate stress die for his Weird Magic flaw? Can't check Invisibile Castle from work, so I don't know whether you rolled one or two.))

((Assuming nothing weird resulted from the additional roll -- if it did, then let's make this something that Johann won't notice.))

Brother Johann wakes up with a startled cry and is initially confused about his unfamiliar surroundings. But he settles down quickly. After a short while, the two tonsured figures are on the road again, Johann occasionally trying to convince Aedituus to ride the donkey (which he'll refuse to ride himself if "Brother Abelard" goes on foot).

Soon after they depart, rain starts falling.

(You can fast-forward to their arrival to the Abbey. Nothing special happens during the trip, unless you choose to add some mishap due to the rain.)

((I included an extra die roll when rolling for the botch, but came up with nothing weird.))

The trip to the Abbey is slow and soggy with the rain. Aedituus walks with Johann between him and the donkey, glad for the additional foot wrapping Edgar provided. The two sing psalms quietly as they pass through the forest, but their journey is uneventful.

It is hard to tell with the rain, but it feels like past noon when the pair arrives at the gates of the monastery. The climb up the mountain had been its own trial, for the path was slippery where is hadn't simply turned into a small stream. And the rain has turned very cold, just this side of snow.

Coming up to the door, Brother Johann swings the knocker and calls out. "Brother Michael! Open up, it's me, Johann, bringing back Brother Abelard to help with the sick!" The usual monkly countenance is notably absent from the young monk in his hurry to get out of the rain.

A few minutes later, they are inside. Brother Michael, the older gatekeeper of the abbey, takes charge of the donkey, while the drenched duo are led to the refectory to get some warm broth and dry robes. Soon, Aedituus sees the rotund shape of Clement hurrying towards him.

"Brother Abelard, my friend! You came, thank God!"

Abelard shrugs into the dry habit, pulling the sleeves down to hide the tattoos on his wrist. He eyes widen at the sound of Clement's voice, and he turns to greet his friend. "Brother Clement! You are well I hope? My heart was heavy when I received your letter about Brother Paul's passing. And when Brother Johann brought news of more deaths and illness ..." Abelard squeezes the other monk's shoulders, and looks him up and down. "Well, I am glad to see signs of health in you. But come, let's proceed to the infirmary. Tell me the news on the way. I am eager to meet Brother Tristram, and humbly offer what talents God has granted me to his and the Abbey's aid."

"For time being, God has fit to keep healthy." There are shadows under his eyes, though, proof of many sleepless nights and deep worry. "But t..t..too many have been s..str..stricken already. M..M..M..More than a dozen," a deep sigh from Clement. " of t..them have d..di..d.." He takes a deep breath, "P..passed away." The rotund monk looks miserable.

((Got to remember to play out his speech impediment!))

The two make their way towards the infirmary. The small room is currently empty, but there are many small dirty bowls and other instruments scattered around, showing that someone has tried mixing various herbal remedies. There is also a small lamp burning and a strong scent of incense.

Aedituus examines a few of the containers, peering in and gingerly sniffing the contents to see if he can tell what Brother Infirmarer has been cooking up. He wrinkles his nose at the incense, recalling the advice of his mentor, Brother Matthew, many years ago who thought the smoke and scent of strong herbs made it harder to mix proper remedies.

"Perhaps we should visit the patients? I know you have been busy, Clement, and you look like you could use some sleep. After you introduce me to Brother Tristram, you should find some rest."

[size=85]((Medicine Roll to determine information about the current remedies: 3 (roll) + 2 (Medicine w/ speciality) +1 (Per) = 6.))[/size]

((That should probably Int instead of Per. Looks like a variety of concotions to be drunk by the patien. Hard to say exactly what each of them would do, although he's fairly certain one of them is a general fortifiant, while another may be used to help the patient breathe better. There are some salves too. But Aedituus is unable to determine what most of the preparations are for.))

"T..Trist..tam is likely with t..the p..p..patients. In cells. There were too m..many to here."

Clement leads Aedituus out of the infirmary and to a section of the monastery where monkly cells are aligned on each side of the corridor. After a short walk, they begin to hear the low words of a monk, coming from a door that's been left partially open. There they find Brother Tristam, kneeling beside the pallet of a sick monk. Clement takes a waiting stance beside the door, obviously a sign for Aedituus to do the same and wait for the infirmarer to come out, which he does soon enough.

Brother Tristam is a narrow-faced young man, with the pinched look that seems natural to his face, further emphasized by an obvious lack of sleep. That appearance is at odds with the voice that Aedituus heard coming out of the cell, which was the soft bass of a larger man.

" Trist..tam, is Brother He has knowledge of..fff illness. He has c..c..come to help us with the s..s..s..sick." Brother Tristam nods to Aedituus in greeting, not looking particularly happy.

((Can Aedituus understand the words Tristam is saying? If I need a roll for it ... 8 (roll) + 1 (Per) + 5 (Speak Latin) = 14. Other languages are French and English at +2 and +5 respectively.))

Aedituus inclines his head toward the other monk. "Pax vobiscum, brother. Clement tells me that the Abbey is sorely tried by this illness. I have come to offer my humble talents in assistance."

((Being able to hear the words well enough to understand some of them would be a Per + Awareness roll, so a total of 11 based on your roll. That's enough to hear at least some of what he's saying. Unfortunately, those words seem to be in German, so Aedituus doesn't understand them. But the tone seem sooting, more along the lines of gently prodding the patient to drink his herbal tea, or some such.))

"If you can do anything about this sickness, we will all be grateful, brother." He looks back at the cell he just left, before making a small gesture inviting Aedituus and Clement to walk back, "Let us got back to the infirmary." Up close, the constrast between his narrow face and deep voice is even more striking.

He remains silent, however, while they walk back slowly. When they reach the small infirmary, the infirmarer closes the door before falling into a chair. "I don't know what more to do, brother. It is like nothing I have ever seen." His voice, which was soft and carefully controlled when he was treating his patient, is now filled with despair. He goes on to describe the various symptoms -- a hot and wet fever, with congestion of the lungs and some delirium right before death -- and the various ways he's tried to treat them -- herbal teas, syrups and poultices. Much of which goes beyond Aedituus' understanding of medicine, but at least he has enough of a grasp to understand the basics of what's been tried.

Brother Tristam concludes with a heavy sigh, "Four have died so far, and two more brothers are starting to slide into delirium. Worse, I have six more brothers who are showing the first symptoms of the illness. Can you recommend anything to treat them, brother?" There is faint hope in the look he directs to Aedituus.

"Perhaps I could relieve you of the watch this night? I will spend the time examining those who are ill, and praying with them. You could use the rest, and it may be that my fresh eyes might discern something that has eluded you in these troubles." Aedituus inclines his head toward Tristam. "What remedy are you currently pursuing, brother? I will follow your treatments this night and consult with you tomorrow, if you will show me those currently in your care."

Tristam nods, his face pinching again. Whether that is in anguish or anger is hard to tell, "Of course, brother. You will want to examine those who are ill so that you can see for yourself how little my treatments are working." On second thought, Aedituus thinks there might be more defeatism than anger in the young infirmarer's tone. "I would rather not admit such in front of them, but beyond some relief to their discomfort, there seems to be little I can do to help them. I have varied the concoctions I give to each of them in order to see if something else might work, but to no avail so far."

As Trsitam rises to resume his rounds, this time accompanied by Aedituus, Clement asks softly, "Is I ca..can do?"

((During the visit with the patients, brother Tristam present each of them by name and explains when they got ill. Then, once back outside each patient's cell, he softly explains what treatment he has tried. Again, Aedituus understands only a little bit beyond the basics. Not that Tristam seems to be a master himself, but his knowledge is still more than Aedituus'.))

Eventually, the rounds are over. Two brothers are gravely sick and not fully conscious, while six more are showing a variety of symptoms at an early stage.

((What's the plan for Aedituus' investigation?))