Spirits & Demons & Missing People, oh Mine

The following day the Dogs are up bright and early, praying to the King of Life at the start of another day.  Not much later a shout is heard from without, a young panicked voice, recognised as coming from Randle, exclaiming that Roland has gone, asking the Dogs where his brother may have gone, and what they may have done to him.  Brother Jesse teases him, asking where and what has happened, asking him to spit it our or he can join him, to which Randle is shocked exclaiming that they have killed him.  Brother Ambrose reassures him, comforting him, telling him that they have not done anything, and wants to know exactly what has happened.

Last time Roland was seen was in the church, asleep on one of the pews, Randle awoke this morning to find him gone, no sign of him.  Brother Ambrose goes with Randle back to where they were sleeping, to take a look for any thing that may give away any clues.  Randle reluctantly confesses to Ambrose that the brothers were talking about making a run for it, if they found a chance to go, especially if it looked like they were going to be killed, but there is no way he would have gone without him.  Then they go over to the horses to see what things of Roland’s may have gone, only to find the horse still there with just a satchel missing that contains the fire starting gear.

However on his way over to the horses, Ambrose stops and asks Temperance if she may know of anything about the brothers, especially as Randle is missing.  She hasn’t heard anything, but heard talk about the men from the mine sometimes come back sore headed, and all the women keep away from them for awhile.  Ambrose instructs Randle to go back to the church while he gets back to the other Dogs and see what they can find.  Randle walks of muttering something about they had better not had done anything to his brother.

Before leaving, and having Randle nowhere near, Ambrose has a quick investigation around the horses to see if there can be any signs or tracks of Roland.  Only to find that the horse is disturbed by his presence, something wrong with it, Ambrose manages to calm it down to find some feed between its teeth that has a very strong aroma of sinful spirit.

Once back with the other Dogs, Ambrose discusses what has happened and his discoveries with the disappearance of Roland, plus what Temperance had told him.  They all agree that they need to head on up to the mine to see what has been happening there.

At the top of the mine, near the entrance, the Dogs find Ferris sat there busy brewing up a simple drink and food for breakfast.  As they Dogs approach Ferris looks up at them, looking rather tired from a long shift, he greets them offering a share of his drink.  Ambrose thanks him for the offer, but reminds him that they are not there to socialise, and immediately asks him what had happened the previous night at the mine.  Ferris explains that one of his men had an injury so he had to keep watch up at the mine, his face no giving anything away.  He then changes the subject and asks them that they are there to be shown the mine by a young Cuthbert.

They head on down in to the mine as instructed, to meet up with Cuthbert.  Ferris hurries on down the rope in to the darkness, while the Dogs make their way by ladder, only Ambrose takes the chance and goes as Ferris did, by the rope.

In the darkness voices can be heard, one of which they recognise as Ferris giving instructions, soon the Dogs see him approach out of the black towards them, along side him is a man about three quarters his height, very thin and wiry, rough and cuts over his face that looks new to shaving.  As the miners arrive in front of the Dogs, the young one seems to glide across the ground with an acrobatic style, looking up at the watch Dogs with a wide smile showing all his teeth.  Brother Jesse asks the younger one if he is indeed Cuthbert, and receives a positive confirmation.  Cuthbert checks to see if they do want to be shown to the area of the mine that has had the problems.

The Dogs see Cuthbert shudder when they mention the problem area of the mine, Ferris tells them that they should only send the minimal amount of people needed to that area, for safety reasons.  After a little discussion the Dogs agree on Ambrose being the lightest to head with Cuthbert to that area of the mine, while Jesse and Joshua get shown to some other areas by Ferris, Jesse suggesting that they could meet some of the other miners, reassure them that the King of Life is indeed looking over them.

Ferris leads Jesse and Joshua down to the recreation room of the mine, finding only one other miner in there sat on a makeshift bench with a hot brew of something in front of him.  The fellow has his head in his hand, busy chewing on something with a very strong mint aroma, Ferris others the Dogs a bench to sit upon.

Brother Ambrose is lead a different way by Cuthbert, deeper in to the mine itself.  The mine passages begins to get a lot thinner, Cuthbert gracefully leading the way almost cat like.  The wall torches start to thin out, becoming less frequent as they go, Ambrose finding himself having to go through darker patches of the corridor, while Cuthbert races on having to keep stopping and wait to be caught up.  Every now and again Cuthbert would slow right down and rub his hand across the wall, feeling the roughness and damp texture in the dark, a smile spread across his face, then instructs the watch Dog to be quick and follow.  The going becomes slower with every longer dark passage between torches, Ambrose asks about why there are no more torches light down there especially as Ferris stated that he would have everything ready, Cuthbert stops and glides back to him reaching his hand out, “just a little further, then I will light another torch ahead.  Just hold on to my hand for now.”

A bright glare of white flashes in to Ambrose’s eye as Cuthbert lights a torch, once the irises acclimatise to the volume of sudden light, Ambrose begins to take in the scene around him.  Cuthbert is sat upon a pile of stone, a couple of beams have been split in twine and the roof collapsed from the lack of support.  Upon closer inspection, cloth can be seen still trapped under the fallen roof, all that remains is a small piece that looks like it has been attempted to be cut away.  Ambrose asks if there is someone buried underneath, pointing and saying no more.  Cuthbert nods his head, “The caverns took their due.”  Ambrose repeats this more to himself than to anyone near, pulls out his Book of Life flicking to a passage and begins to read from it standing over the fallen.  Cuthbert seeing this quickly lowers his head, as would be expected of someone showing their respects, however Ambrose just noticed that Cuthbert seemed to winch as he does so.

As Jesse is sat down in the makeshift recreation room, he notices that the furniture looks to have been hastily moved about, and he can make out an almost stick figure painted on the wall of a canary.  Ferris is sat with his college pouring himself another brew of the nettle tea, and as he does asks the watch Dogs where they would like to see.  Jesse asks about the drawing on the wall in passing before standing and going over to the other guy, asking Ferris who is friend might be, offering is hand out.  The guy sits up spitting his chewing mint in to a bucket, and introduces himself as Nathaniel, his hand all clammy as Jesse shakes it, standing closer to the guy so as to feel and smell the guy’s breath as he talks.  Jesse feels more than smells a faint burn underlying Nathaniel’s breath, carrying on talking with him about the mine and town seeing him look up at him with bleary blood-shot eyes, finding out that he will have to go back down on another shift in a minute or two.

Brother Jesse excuses himself from Nathaniel and goes with Joshua for a little walk around more of the mine guided by Ferris, subtly coercing more information out of him as they walk and talk small talk.  As luck would have it Jesse manages to get Ferris to trip up on the conversation, and he mentions a Jack in a room they passed, but there was no room or person that they had been shown.  Quickly Ferris realises what he has said, shakes his head and apologises stating he is getting everyone mixed up and was referring to the guy back at the rest room, spending a long time down here can play tricks with your mind.  Jesse takes notes but does not react, instead reassures him patting him on the back and laugh along with him, telling him that he can understand the pressure of being down here a long time.

Ferris using his deep knowledge of the mine tries to confuse the Dogs by leading them in a mixed and back track fashion around the many dark passages, coming across a guy, whispering to him before patting him on the back and then referring to him as Jack, telling them that this is the guy he was referring to earlier.  Jesse with his good direction sense manages to follow the what Ferris was doing, but doesn’t let on, in fact plays along letting him think that he has no clue to where or what has happened, even starting to cough as his throat dries from all the talking down with all this soot in the mine.

While the confusion is still in the air, Jesse and Joshua takes advantage of the situation and slip within a dark recess, Ferris busy talking doesn’t notice and then wanders off a different way seeming a little confused.  Once he is out of sight the two Dogs make their way back to the area of the mine that was being covered up.  As the approach the area they find one person standing guard over the passageway leading down, but fortunately he is facing the opposite way and the Dogs manage to slip by un-noticed.

As the Dogs walk in to this hidden room a cold chill runs through them, a dull and dank area that has a smell of old rotten urine, stains in the corner and broken cups on the ground.  At one end near a wall stands a metal tubular object with a wooden barrel, a dripping can be still heard from it, it appears to be a still.  On the wall behind can be found another crude hand drawn picture of a canary, and on the ground before it is an indentation, almost like a cup, filled with a liquid, no other drawings are on the walls.  Again very simple seating has been erected here from planks.  Joshua and Jesse discuss their next plan of action.

After finishing his reading Ambrose asks Cuthbert if this is the only one, or whether there are any more, but Cuthbert tells him that this is the only one.  Ambrose asks who had died there to which Cuthbert answers him “Garrison its….its….”, he sits up straight and turns to Ambrose, the glint gone from his eyes, he then shakes his head and tells how Garrison was the first to be heard, calling out, the others couldn’t be heard.  “When I went to sleep that night, all I could hear was Garrison calling out”, Cuthbert shares and his voice crumbles and water wells in his eyes.  Cuthbert then grits his teeth turning back to Ambrose once again, explaining to him that the next day he had talked with others and they all seemed to have had the same dream.  After what seems like a long silence Cuthbert stands up with a shiver running through him, and asks Ambrose if they can go now, starting to head back the way they had come.  Ambrose asks Cuthbert before he leaves if he would join him in prayer for the fallen, but Cuthbert insists on leaving, so Ambrose gives and tells him that they can leave first.  Cuthbert quickly grabs the torch and leads Ambrose out of that morbid place.  Ambrose notices as he follows Cuthbert that the fellow doesn’t seem to be so light on his feet now, and he doesn’t even seem to touch or look at the walls, Ambrose now seeing that the moist wall is from crude bird drawings.

On the way back Ambrose bumps in to Ferris walking about, who apologises explaining that he appears to have lost his two friends.  Then Ferris grabs and embraces Cuthbert, “Good to see you, good to see you safe, you have done us proud and true.”

“I will see you at church tonight Cuthbert.” Ambrose reminds him, as Ferris praises the lad for never failing to return.  Not that long after Jesse and Joshua walk around the corner, Ferris again apologises explaining about how twisty the passageways are.  As the watch Dogs business has finished, Ferris guides them back out of the mine.

As they leave and head back down to the town they can see that many of the miners are heading that way too.  When they draw near to the town a pleasant fellow in a white shirt, which is fairly battered, stripped with blood stains and ruffled hair, the Dogs recognise him as the guy they saw Ferris speaking to the day before, drunk.  Ferris greets him and asks that his leg is feeling better, then he turns to the watch Dogs and explains that the guy is one of the only guys from the richer side of town that still comes up to the mine, a very good, sociable guy, never turns down an invite.  Ferris then turns back to the guy, addressing him as Pleasance, saying that he hasn’t seen him for a few weeks, telling him that he needs to look after himself, and is sure that the wife would like to see him.  “I’ll see what I can do”, Pleasance mutters, then Ferris turns to the Dogs telling them how good it is for them to be in town, giving a prayer for the ones down in the mine, settle the demons in town.  Ambrose looks at Ferris sternly,

“What’s the problem watch Dogs?” Ferris asks,

“What do you know of demons?”

“Well we had a cave in………..got to be something bad there………All the boys are on edge, have been every since.  I don’t know what caused it, but I hope you settle what ever spirits to rest.”

“Spirits are the problem, aren’t they?”

“Yes, not really an expert on the details, thought the demos where the problem.”

Joshua then asks him about how often they have been having late night session at the mine, to which Ferris tells him that it is a bonding of the boys, to remember those that got trapped, “the women wouldn’t understand.”  There weren’t any session before the cave in, to which Ambrose informs him that they will have to stop.

Ferris takes the Dogs to one side and asks them if they could do him a favour, telling them about his wife and a bruise that doesn’t seem to be going, she has told him that she has been having accidents around the house, but he doesn’t know.  He is worried that one of the other women is taking it out on her, and she isn’t telling him.  And could they do it discreetly, not want her to think he is checking up on her.  Ambrose agrees, thinking they may be able to do something.  Ferris reassures them that he is worried about her, Ambrose telling him that they would all be better off if the town had a steward.  Ferris then confesses that he is not trying to lie to them, but he also doesn’t want to cast stone on his boys.  Ambrose informs him that he knows they have been sinning, and that this action is not helping them deal with the pain, it is only feeding the demons that give them the pain, and causes the dreams.  He finds it difficult to say, but Ferris tells them that he will try to have a word with the boys, see if they will tell him anything, but he can’t promise.  Ambrose tells him that they will try to help his wife, but it will not be immediate, other matters are more pressing.

After saying goodbye to Ferris, and finally having some time to themselves, the Dogs share what they have found out.  They discuss what plans they think would be appropriate.  Ambrose believes that just maybe, a demon could have been riding on the back of Ferris, due to how his behaviour changed about, more when he is down in the mine.

The Dogs head back over to Archibald’s abode, and no sooner than they arrive there they are met by the man himself, who happened to be outside under the white ivy covered balcony.  Archibald instantly tells them how glad he is to have heard their plan to get everyone together, but asks them if he could leave a small group to man the mine, arguing that he doesn’t want the children to wander in, even go so far as to state that the whole town could not all fit in the one small church.  After this debate the subject goes back to them not having a steward in town, informing him that he needs to spend more time and money on a concerted effort to acquire for themselves a steward.  Archibald not to happy with the direction of the conversation pulls out a large ledger book, opening it before them, offering it as an open book for them to check on his efforts.

“The next question we wish to discuss is of the mine workers,” Ambrose begins, “mainly of the alcohol they are consuming.”

“Um…..I’m sorry.”  Archibald totally stunned by this remark, blinking a few times as he replies.


“If you would like I could have a word with them, that should hopefully put things in its place.”

“I think it has gone a little beyond that.”  Archibald carries on with telling them that if there is a problem with this town, it is down to the cracks between the two sides, they have tried to mend them, they even had the marriage between Ami-Lou and Ferris.  He shares with them that he doesn’t want to create a rift between the sides again, instructing them that if they can do it on the quiet it would help the town significantly.

As Ambrose assures him that he has had a word with this Ferris fellow, for help in the matter, Archibald asks his secretary to go a fetch him some more of that lovely drink that they seemed to have ran out off, and could she lock the door on the way out.  “I’m not one for soulless rumour, but if we can keep this very low key.”  Archibald lowers his voice, getting the Dogs attention, he then goes on to tell them about the best man at Ferris’ wedding, a guy called Pleasance.  He has been known to have made suggestions to Ferris’ wife, that she would be better off with someone else.  Archibald tells them that Ferris is unaware of this rumour.  The Dogs and Archibald discuss this Pleasance and his drinking habit.  Next Ambrose informs Archibald about a young man called Roland which has disappeared, only taking firelighters from his saddlebags and no food.  Unfortunately Archibald has not heard of anything.

The Dogs walk back to the church, coming upon Randle who has been keeping himself busy, Jesse notices that he has made an improvised shiv, and has in tucked in to his boot.  Whenever the Dogs are not looking at him directly, Randle’s face tightens, narrowing his eyes and keeping an eye on Jesse, as if awaiting an opportune moment.

Brother Jesse goes back to the area where Roland was last known to be, sleeping in the church amongst the pews, and takes a look around to see if he can spot any signs.  Unfortunately Jesse is having a hard time of it as people begin walking in on him, mindless walking all over the floor, and at one moment he thought he spotted something just as someone’s foot put an end to the possibility.

Brother Joshua takes the opportunity to take a look at the route that Roland may have taken to his horse, and begins to see if he can find any signs of his passage, or what may have happened.  Joshua is finding it difficult going, horses getting spooked as they pass by scuffing up the dust.  However he does find a clue.

Joshua finds some trails of some sort of heavy sack being dragged along, and next to this is an even heavy object dragged.  Also there is a small piece of material caught up and partially buried, upon uncovering it and dusting it off the material looks a lot like the same material that Pleasance wore as a shirt.


2 thoughts on “Spirits & Demons & Missing People, oh Mine

  1. A much gentler read this week but not lacking the usual stimulating description of events.
    Where is this dull and dank area with a smell of old rotten urine (with stains) situated?
    Is it local?
    Is it known to us?
    Obviously a great deal of time and effort has gone into this blog.
    Great read!

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