Week 21, Healing the Duke?
Sunday, the 24th: Dr. Wu happens to be on the duty roster to serve the physician his dinner. Dr. Wu is planning to give the physician a disabling dose of poison, so this would seem a perfect opportunity, but he would rather someone else actually gave the physician the gunk.
Therefore Fogi and Cantrel arrange to generate some wounds for Wu to be busy with. They have a sparring match and Cantrel KOs Fogi. That was simple.
The physician, still hovering over the duke, scarfs his dinner and begins to feel poorly.
Monday: The physician is ill, so WU gets to step in. He scrys and probes the duke and finds traces of poison (Aphron's boar-bane). He sends a scullion to the midden heap to look for the quarrel that shot the duke. The scullion produces several discarded quarrels, most of them now rendered poisonous by the sort of stuff you encounter in midden heaps. Wu's further scrying is in vain. (No use scrying over spilt blood...)
Tuesday: the duke is dead. Wu is surprised, as are the players, since that seems contrary to the observed game mechanics. Wu probes and it seems the old fellow died from the complications attending being shot with a poisoned quarrel and stepped on by a horse. Nothing odd. The physician immediately blames Wu. Cantrel overhears this at dinner.
Wednesday: Wu goes to his confessor at the cathedral and asks what he should do about his feelings of resentment toward the physician, when after all he honestly did the best he could. (This has the ulterior motive of casting aspersions back at the physician.) The confessor advises a dose of humility. I could have guessed.
Later in the day, Wu is investigated by a court official on the matter of the duke's death.
Thursday: Tom gets to repair something on the third floor of the palace (where the king keeps the diadem segment). Given the recent deaths and assassinations, the palace guards are paranoid and watch him ever step of the way. He sneaks a diadem reading (no change) but suspects they may have seen. At least, Sir Mark, the late duke's retainer, may have. Tom memorizes what he can of the floor plan on the way out.
By now, the rumor mill is churning out every possible version of the causes for the duke's death.
Friday: Lord (now Duke) Kenneth de Morgan shows up at court, to be officially invested on Saturday. He's the late duke's son in law.
Lorelei overhears Sir Mark saying that he is suspicious about the duke's death and that "they" appear to be Deryni. (So was the duke, or his wife, but Mark doesn't know that. Ironically, Tom is probably Mark's prime suspect for being Deryni, and Tom isn't ... anymore.)
Saturday: The new duke is invested. The child Morgan is there. So is Lorelei's first court conquest, that viscount who left her the gold ring. He still has fond memories of her.
Monday, October 2nd: Victoria tells Cantrel that they're being watched again. We all lay low for a week.
Saturday, October 7th: The physician and Wu are both found innocent of the duke's death. We continue laying low.
Mid-October: A thief is spotted sneaking around the palace walls. It takes a little of the heat off us.
Late October: The Tolani are getting restless. The Earl Marshal sends an elite force to retaliate to their latest raids. This includes Cantrel and Aphron, who return covered with dents and glory. (Aphron comes back on his shield and is some time recovering. That's OK. He'll have plenty of time. Watch:)
Cantrel is promoted to sergeant and Aphron to corporal, though he doesn't get Cantrel's old post.
Mid-December: Duke Kenneth is still hanging around court, and Sir Mark is with him. We are running out of time. Now that we are more or less out from under suspicion, we have to start moving. If we continue with the slow and gradual approach, we will soon get to the king's death and the succession of Brion. The place will then be jammed with worldbenders and their customers. We don't want to even BE here, much less try anything tricky then. We start scheming like mad.
Lorelei gets an assignation on the fourth floor. She takes the tracer with her and, after anesthetizing her date, locates the point on the fourth floor directly above the segment. Wu, Aphron, and Cantrel case the dungeons, just in case we find ourselves needing to be rescued from them.
The next full moon is January 3rd, 1094. Tom slips back to the pantope and sets it to show up on a weekly basis, every Sunday. We are going to fly it into the king's chambers, while he's out to church services, then a hit squad in fresh new faces will pile out and we will try to snatch the segment secretly and, having got it, create a replacement.
We move on the 3rd Sunday of January.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.