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 Monastic Moments

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Number of posts : 761
Registration date : 2007-04-26

PostSubject: Monastic Moments   Wed 17 Nov - 13:14:01

Monastic Moments
A curious experience now began for us: We were conducted into the austere fortress by the guard who continued to act as if we were familiar figures though none of us had ever visited this place before. The monastery was an barren, cold place with battlements and courtyards, gloomy towers and above a windmill and flagpole bearing unfamiliar standards. Crossing the largest courtyard we passed a bronze statue of a dwarf holding a set square and plumb line, obviously the founding father Yarazan himself.*

*Clearly a mason then

We were greeted by an aged abbot or Roostmaster as he referred to himself. Over tea and interspersed with occasional lapses and ramblings of his failing memory the old man explained that Yarazan had appeared to him as he presumably had to us and warned of our impending approach. He gave us a faded parchment bearing a message to him from the long dead dwarf. This asked him to offer us aid without explaining about the doomstones. It also referred to seven or eight clues that would lead us to our goal within the monastery.

There was also the first clue: A hexagonal scrap of paper with a cryptic message and a pair of staves. The message from the mage hinted that the clues needed to be assembled jigsaw like to convey meaning. There was also a hint that we interpreted to mean we should follow the statue’s shadow at the dinner hour to identify the location of a second clue.

He also read some Vogon* poetry to us and showed us an ancient document on which were finely detailed drawing. Both text and pictures unmistakeably depicted ourselves.

*OK there must be some fans of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy reading this?

We took our leave of the near senile old man, noting the heavy bunch of keys hanging in his chamber. We were chaperoned by a young snotty novice, Dieter, and from him and others we began assembling the knowledge that would unlock the secrets of this place.

In no particular order then, we established that the real power in the place was Norbert, who bore the title Flagmaster. He was the heir apparent who was patiently awaiting Roostmaster Gregor’s fifty year tenure to come to an end. There was also a guard captain with a wooden arm and hideously scarred face, one Udo Schwerner universally known a Scarr. His forces comprised all of six guards; these normally were posted in two of the towers and on the front gate. For defence the place relied on its inaccessibility. We did warn of the illusionist/ necromancer/ wolfman Werner somewhere out in the snow and were met with complacent assurances.

Including various craftsmen such as the armourer and servants, some fifty souls existed here. We were allocated two rooms as quarters and Silver was found stabling. We paid a visit to Norbert who explained that the flags dictated the routines of the place and were told that the library was off limits to us, odd considering we were supposed to be the good guys, but the Mage’s message had contained a remark that the monastery’s interests did not necessarily coincide with ours. Why was he making it difficult for us? At least half the party took the library ban as a challenge and I must admit I wondered what was being hidden from us. Gambling fighting and removal of stuff from the library was also a no-no, though the latter seemed clear overkill.

We visited the great hall where a portrait of the Mage surveyed the scene and the stairs to the library, but there was little time as dinner hour arrived. We hurried into the main courtyard and examined the statue base. It was inscribed with scenes of the mage’s life and a nice little tableau of six heroes – you guessed it – us. As the shadow of the plumbline touched the wall it picked out a loose brick which yielded a second hexagonal piece of the puzzle, bearing an equally inscrutable motto and design. It did clearly seem to point to the smithy and we visited there next.

The smith was a comedian in his spare time, and we got the distinct impression that most of the monasteries inhabitants spent their time very properly ensuring that his spare time was minimised. We suffered a number of his attempts at humour, but rather than hurling him off one of the all too handy cliff edges we nodded and grinned grimly at his inanities.

We upended his anvil with some difficulty, an outbreak of genuine amusement occurring when it dropped on Mitchell’s toe. Klaus the clownsmith then revealed that he had in his possession a fragment of what was obviously the clue we sought. Clearly in the decades since it was hidden misfortune had befallen it, but the half he handed to us clearly showed a well. Half its message was lost; we hoped this would not prove to be critical. Our next stop would be the monastery’s water supply.

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