DoE: Who's a Good Boy?
May 15, 2020, 9 p.m.
Arx - The Bombello Estate
Comments and Log
Mere moments ago, the double doors to the great hall of the Bombello estate had been thrown open to permit a servant of the House to burst through, shouting that murder most foul had taken place. As things were already sliding into chaos, this hardly helped matters. The large cake which was supposed to contain a small knight by the name of Reginald was instead filled with an abundance of dog collars and leashes, and as yet, no one knew where the man actually was, including his partner for the performance, Garth the Minitaur.
Immediately after this dark revelation, the Captain of the House Guard, Cozza, gestures for a pair of his fellows to step forward and remove the wailing servant to a side chamber. To others, he gives the order to lock down the estate, and prevent anyone from coming or going until the matter is resolved. A quick word is exchanged with Galante and Carlo before the former addresses the gathering.
"Everyone," Galante calls out. "I am sure this is all one huge misunderstanding. If you will all bear with me, I ask that you have a little patience as we get this sorted out. For all of our safety, the grounds have been closed." Galante then turns to Hadrian, who had addressed him prior, speaking in a low tone. "Yes, we must indeed speak and soon. Once this is?" He waves his hand, his mouth tugging into a deep frown. "Take care of." Meanwhile, as the Captain assembles those whom he wants to investigate, he grunts, "May as well take the whole show on the road, Marquis, that fool of a servant alerted everyone and their brother to it. We've got to clear the kennels and the kitchens, and with my boys locking things down, it can't hurt."
For a moment Hadrian stands with his arms casually tucked away at his back and his hands clasped together while he looks from Galante, to Cozza, and then back to the scene as a whole. Frankly, he looks rather bored of it all. As though this sort of thing happens at least once a month. Maybe every three weeks. The Duke's mouth works about for a moment, more than likely moving some saliva about before he finally offers a faint nod of his head toward Galante, "Your captain speaks true, Marquis. It is your House though," Hadrian speaks with a abrupt glance toward Cozza. Then his focus returns to Galante and his smile shifts ever so slightly, "The decision is yours, of course. It's often best to put your faith in those you appoint to their given roles, however. So it's also wise to trust in those you have, well, entrusted". Then Hadrian goes quiet as his head tilts one way, "So, Marquis," and then his head tilts the other way, "what is your decision?"
Thea exhales, looking over at the cake and the collars. When the announcement of a murder is declared, she listens for the moment, but not before saying,"At least no one was in the cake."
"Very well, Duke, if you will accompany myself and the Captain..." He glances towards Thea, and says, "You are welcome to join us, if you care to. Your skills may prove useful, if there are indeed any wounded..." Gods forbid they were actually dead! It would seem as though Galante merely hoped that the one screaming about murders was merely an exciteable drunk. "I believe checking the kitchens first sounds prudent, wouldn't you agree?"
"Yes, of course. Thank you, Marquis," Hadrian answers with an affiable smile. It fades away however with the prospective discoveries to be made. That smile is replaced instead by only the faintest of frowns as Hadrian asks of Cozza, without making any effort to prevent Galante's hearing or answer, "Does the Marquis or House Bombello have any immediate enemies that may have wished to disrupt Marquis Galante's noteworthy celebration?" The Duke glances off toward Thea before an answer can be provided by Galante or Cozza and offers a nod of agreement, "Wounded or worse. If it's worse, then have an expert in anatomy may prove beneficial in uncovering any details that aren't so obvious". Then onward his attention goes toward the kitchens, the crowds around them, and for a moment Hadrian's attention drifts to regard Garth the Minitaur and then onward to the direction the servant who raised the alarm was dragged off to collect themselves.
Never one to NOT have her medicine supplies, Thea nods her head,"Of course, Marquis." Her gold-flecked green eyes flick over to Hadrian as well,"Or that. But lets hope that's not the case, yes,"as the youngest Malvici walks with the others.
"This way my lords, my lady," Cozza says as he leads them from the Great Hall and downstairs, to the kitchen. As they walk, he answers Hadrian, showing himself at the very least capable of performing two tasks at once, as well as bearing in mind an efficient use of all their time. "What Lycene lord doesn't have an enemy or three that wouldn't like to take him down a peg? But to go so far as to commit murder?" He shakes his head. "That's a mighty desperate move. Even so..." He sucks at his teeth, looking thoughtful. "Aye, there's a bloke or two I could see doing it. I'll get you their names once we're finished here." Eventually they reach their destination. A different world downstairs, where commoners worked and lived to provide for the nobles above. It was full of all the usual sights and smells one would expect, but one thing was missing: sound. It was uniquely quiet. There were no voices calling out orders, or engaging in banter, and there was nothing to suggest anyone was at work. And that? That never happened.
"Co... Cozza, is it?" Hadrian asks with a faint twitch of his features, as though the name seems ever so familiar on his tongue. He doesn't pause for long before Hadrian continues with a subdued nod of his head, "We all have enemies, yes. Even some enemies who think they're secretive, but are painfully obvious. Informants are also a wonderful thing. That said? Let's not put a damper on our imaginations and assume that we're looking among the Peerage, either. Are there any among the commons who may have a desire to undermine the Marquis?" Hadrian's attention shifts toward Thea, her medical supplies, and offers her a pleased nod before Hadrian's attention drifts back to their surroundings. The lack of noteworthy noise draws a sharper glance about himself while Hadrian keeps on talking, his voice taking on a keen edge of being lost in his own thoughts as though he hadn't noticed that simple change in their environment, "Marquis Galante? I do wish to assure you that beyond this hopefully minor setback? It really was a fabulous party. One of the better I've bothered to arrive at one time or not send someone in my place, all year."
"We Lycenes like to poison people, do we not,"Thea murmurs from her place in the back. She starts to look around however, because the one Thea has always been is perceptive. Two older brothers will do that, as well as a want to know practically everything. She lets Hadrian do his thing, the better talker obviously, while she just--looks around, weireded out by the silence.
"The commons?" Cozza seems surprised by the question. "Being honest, Galante is one of the better liked of you lot, if you'll pardon my being blunt. And I ain't saying that just 'cause I work for you, Marquis," he says by way of apology. "I'll dig into it. Can't rule shit out." He wasn't going to apologize for crass talk before his betters, though. Galante, meanwhile, gives Hadrian a nod when he is spoken to, but whatever he might have intended to say falls to the wayside once the obvious dearth of human activity becomes clear.
"Is this normal?" Galante asks, showing his very rarely he ever came down here.
"It ain't," Cozza answers, his expression turning grim. He takes the lead, unsheathing his weapon as he does so. The venture from room to room, and all are empty. Tasks clearly left abandoned were there to see, whether it was preparing food, scrubbing pots, or folding linens. The people /had/ been there; they /had/ been hard at work. So where were they?
Eventually the group reaches the last unexplored room, the larder. Once within, the mystery is at least partially solved! For within is the staff of the kitchen, bound and gagged, yet all looking quite terrified and making not a peep, almost as though they had not /wanted/ to be found.
"The fuck is going on," Cozza wonders aloud, no doubt echoing the thoughts of those in his company.
Hadrian's hand rises up and a finger lightly taps in the direction of Thea as he offers a nod along with her words, "Which is precisely my thinking regarding your noteworthy set of skills. If someone has been poisoned and their death wasn't conducted in most obvious manner?" Hadrian's attention drifts toward Thea and his smile brightens considerably, "House Bombello is fortunate to have someone of her talents unexpectedly available". Then the Duke of House Mazetti's attention drifts back to Cozza and Galante. He does not comment or otherwise interrupt the silence as the quartet begin to move off through the various chambers. Upon reaching the larder however, Hadrian's eyebrows dance upward before he comments back to Cozza, "It is not good, obviously". Hadrian's own hand moves to rest over the blade which rests bound to his side. It was a party at a party held by another member of the Peerage. Thus his weapon is peacebound. Which results in Hadrian's attention drifting off toward Galante, "Marquis?" Hadrian begins with a faint twitch of a smile, "While I'm confident in your willingness to protect your guests? I will be removing the peacebond on my sword. Increasingly our future conversation will be a little more firmly worded, I believe".
With a wink in her cousins directions, she smiles a bit,"Thank you,"keeping up in stride. As they walk further about, she doesn't interrupt anymore until they reach the larder. Seeing those bound and such, she lifts her eyebrow, going to reach for her dagger under her gown. There should be no shock her here. Really! "I can help, as well as check them over if you'd like.."her eyes already starting to look them over as she talks. Thea steps closer inside of course.
Upon seeing those in his employ so bound, Galante blurts, "Silvia? Gino? Oh gods, what's happening here?" Even as he so speaks, Cozza steps forward to begin removing their bonds. The first to pull the gag from their mouth is Silvia, getting to her feet, she lets loose as though her words were a flood.
"It was awful m'lord, just awful." An older woman, and big boned, her rosy cheeks grow rosier still as her eyes begin to fill with tears. An emotional accounting was in order. "They were like ghosts! We none of us know how they got in here, m'lord. There we were, all of us working as normal, when suddenly - just as Gino was set to help Reginald into my cake - these men in masks showed up." She practically enacts the entire scene as she tales it, hands waving, body gesticulating. Others, once they too are free, join in with the occassional comment to affirm Silvia's story or add into a detail they thought important.
"Told us to shut our holes if we knew what was good for us. Oh, oh it was just awful! They rounded us all up in here and said if we make even the smallest sound they'd kill us and sell our families to the Eurusi." She pointed to the door. "One stood just out there the whole time, listening, making sure we obeyed, ready to kill us." Clapping a hand to her chest, she seemed near fainting.
"And one of them hit Reginald it the back of the head with a bottle!" Another cried out, gesturing to the tiny knight who remained rather groggy, dried blood running down the side of his face.
"Did anyone else who works down here find you or otherwise escape?" Hadrian asks with a tilt of his head, even while his fingers continue to pluck away at the bonding of his sword. It's almost a practiced movement, as he doesn't bother to look down while he does it. He seems to be making rather noteworthy progress in the removal of those knots. All the while Hadrian's harlequin eyes shift over those within the larder, then back the way they traveled to reach that point. "I ask, only because someone alerted the party to a murder that took place down here, which I'm assuming was some confusion on their part about dear Reginald". Hadrian's attention drifts to Galante for a moment before he continues, "Marquis. Has your household brought in any new servants of late, perhaps in preparation for this party? Or was it all prepared within your own household?"
Thea is already stepping toward Reginald, noting the dried blood on the side of his face and his grogginess. She begins taking out supplies from her satchel, looking at the others,"Are any of you hurt as well,"while begining to check over the little man. Meanwhile, Thea is also paying attention to the discussion around her.
Silvia frowns, and looks to the others. They too, appear perplexed. There is practically a collective head shake in the negative. "We are all here," she answers.
"Upstairs," Cozza says, a sense of urgency in his tone. "We'll check on the servant. It's possible he's still one of ours. The kennels are on the on the main floor, and the opposite end of the manor grounds than the kitchen." Of course, Thea would be allowed to tend Reginald. The extent of his injury was a concussion, nothing worse, and the wound did indeed come from that of a bottle, as her trained eye could tell.
"We haven't had to hire anyone new, no," Galante says to Hadrian. "We have had a pretty tight ship for a while now, as they say, no small thanks in part to my late wife. Oh, but you can't count Crysele, I hired her for Dora's sake."
Off and up they go, returning to the main floor. Yet if the quartet had thought they had encountered they night's biggest surprise, they were mistaken. For not one guard awaited them, but two, and each tried to speak at the same time, and each clearly thought /their/ news was the more important. And what ended up happening was that they both just blurted it out at the same time:
"The servant killed himself!" And,
"Sir Anton and Lord Pelinor are dead!"
Hadrian's eyes slip from one guard to the other and their blurted news. He glances aside to Thea, a brow raised, and then a question is sent off toward the Malvici lady, "I am curious about the manner in which this servant may have killed himself. Given all that is happening? A murder disguised as having killed himself seems far more likely". Then Hadrian's attention drifts off toward Galante, Cozza, and finally back to the guard which had blurted about the news of Sir Anton and Lord Pelinor's deaths. He nods toward that guard and remarks firmly, "Show us to Sir Anton and Lord Pelinor. The latter carries the name of Keaton and it would do well to investigate the matter and manner of their deaths". Then Hadrian's attention drifts back to Galante, "With your permission of course, my lord."
Thea meets Hadrian's eyes with a quick nod. "I--will actually be able to get a better look actually. And tell you such,"obviously agreeing with those words. "This is why I rarely wear gowns. Ever! It's pointless."
Galante looks to be in shock. "Dead?" He repeats. "Three people, on my estate...dead..." It was definitely something to be extremely upset about. He merely nodded when Hadrian asked for permission, though he followed alongside them as though he were a ghost.
"I must warn you," the guard from the kennels warns. "It's a gruesome sight." So to the kennels they go! The servant, being dead, wasn't like to go anywhere anyway. Of course, neither were the other two men, but one could even prioritize corpses.
Thus, upon reaching the kennels, they were indeed greeted by a dark visison. For where the dogs were typically kept were instead two men. One was much older than the other, Sir Anton, while Lord Pelinor was likely known to both Thea and Hadrian as he had loyally served Alarissa Thrax for years now. They had been positioned so as to be seated on their haunches, miming that of a dof. Nailed to the sides of their heads were dog's ears, and in places of their hands, dog's paws had been sewn. Sir Anton has a bone stuffed into his mouth, as though he had been gnawing upon it, while Pelinor appears to have a piece of parchment carefully tucked between his own teeth.
Hadrian checked stamina + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 7 lower.
A gruesome sight indeed. Hadrian's stride is at first confident and then slows to a shuffling halt. He stares at the two men in their current state, he blinks a rapidly a few times, and then promptly leans aside as he begins to empty his stomach. After the moment of vomiting, Hadrian stands upright fully once more and wipes away at the corner of his mouth as he sucks in a lungful of air. He nods once, attempts to correct his break in composure, and shifts his attention around to regard Galante. "This is not normal, Marquis. What may have been explained away as someone hoping to damage your reputation? Has vacated the premises". There's a brief moment of hesitation before Hadrian's attention shifts back to the state of Sir Anton and Lord Pelinor. The pair are regarded for a moment longer before Hadrian nods toward the latter, "Would one of you be so kind as to retrieve what has been placed in Lord Pelinor's mouth?"
Galante, too, is not well. Not well at all. Having turned a shade of grey not unlike the pallor of the two corpses, he seems moments away from dropping to the ground. Cozza, who is indeed still with them, does the honors and carefully removes the parchment. "This is just as you found them?" He asks the one guard, who nods vigorously. When Cozza offers the note to Galante, he waves him away dumbly. The man instead presents it to Hadrian.
Despite having just been sick himself, regardless of that Hadrian still reaches a hand out to offer a comforting squeeze at Galante's shoulder. A silent assurance that he was not alone in these gruesome moments. Then Hadrian's hand drifts away and reaches out to take up a much less wholesome task. He accepts the folded parchments from Cozza with a simple nod of his head. He takes care in unfolding it as he remarks toward the two guards, "Was anyone seem coming or going from the kennel within the last few hours? I care not whether you believe they were the most loyal and devout of servants. Their identities are all that matter."
"Just the servant," one guard explains, while the other adds, "The one what's killed himself." Cozza listening as well, shakes his head in dismay. "I did not have anyone stationed here in the kennels. Of course, there's the kennelmaster, but after the dogs were put up he was given leave to enjoy the night's festivities, so any number of people could have come and gone without being seen." His fist tightens at his side, and he claps it in frustration upon his thigh, the words "Damn it," slipping past gritted teeth.
The note merely reads: Like hounds we served.
"And how did he kill himself? A hanging, I imagine?" Hadrian asks with a thoughtful glance toward the two guards, then to Lord Pelinor and Sir Anton, and finally back to the note. Lips part and the tip of his tongue runs across the point of a tooth before it withdraws and his leaps seal anew. A glance is given to Cozza at his accounting and finally Hadrian offers a nod. "A new question, Marquis," Hadrian's attention then shifts back to Galante, then to Cozza, "I've asked about whether new services have been hired. Have any been released from their service within recent history? Perhaps within the months leading up to the first disappearances?" The parchment is finally passed along to Cozza.
"I...I don't know," he answers listlessly, then shakes his head, though to clear it of cobwebs. "I will need to get you a list. Much of that sort of thing is handled by Carlo. Oh, gods, Carlo, he'll be so grieved...Sir Anton was like an uncle to him." He dashes away a tear, and then turns from the gruesome sight. "I know not how we're going to get through this, but by the gods I'm thankful you're with us. Please, let us quit this place. Captain, see to it that their bo- that they are properly seen to." It was going to be a very, very long night, of that much they could all be certain.
"He bit down on something, your lordship," the guard answered in the silence that followed. "John and I, we questioned him - 'cause we knew straight away he wasn't one of ours, and he said he wouldn't tell us nothing. So we got a little rough and he still wouldn't talk, just smirked a whole lot. And that pissed John right off, and John said: if you don't tell us what we want to know, you're in for a world of hurt!" The guard was a younger man, and it seemed as though he had some time to get through his own shock. Or maybe talking fast was how he was trying to work through it. A proverbial running away when his legs could not.
"So this fellow says, he says, 'Nothing can hurt me now!' and he bites down hard, like this, see," which he imitates. "Next thing you know, he's foaming at the mouth, eyes rolling back and his arms and legs dancing about. John tried to get it out, but his teeth were clenched tight, and it was over practically before you knew it. And...and, well, that was about the time you all returned from the kitchen."
"Marquis," Hadrian remarks with a soft, understanding nod, "thank you," he answers regarding the offer of an eventual list. Then Hadrian's attention drifts back to the guards, Cozza, and finally to the three as a whole, "Then I suggest seeing to your duties. For everyone's sake? Please ask the servants and others to stop shouting about murders?" Then Hadrian sucks in a long, slow breath. He looks throughout the kennel and quietly mutters, "Like hounds we served," and then his voice rises that he may be heard, "The implications are varied. Who was served would unravel a good deal of this". Then Hadrian nods again, twice, and then a slow third time before he begins to drift away from the kennel and back to the party itself. He watches the floor for a moment, thoughtful. As he makes his way back to the party, Hadrian's hand rises up and rakes his hair back from his forehead as his eyes remain downcast and his mind works.
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