Sinful Liaisons

The three Dogs stand within the scattered scrolls that are now lying on the floor of the Library, smoke snaking in to the air from a hot barrelled gun, and a bloody body spread across a fallen bookcase, most of Derek’s head no longer intact, grey matter dribbling out from the fracture.  Abraham is propped upon the floor, his head bloody with a dent from the ornament still in Derek’s hand.  Cleoplas sat on the floor beside Abraham, her walking stick scattered on the floor away from her.  The only person standing, except for the Dogs, is the heathen bodyguard called Will, his smoking gun still in hand as he leans against a pillar.  Will clicks open his gun, emptying the spent casing and reloads another bullet, snapping shut the gun once more.  He spits out another small piece of rock from the corner of his mouth.  Will replaces the piece of rock with a small piece of wood splinter from one of the nearby toppled bookcases, and places it in his mouth and begins to chew.

“Right then, none of you lot would happen to be good at first aid?”  Will asks of the Dogs as he walks over, stepping between the Dogs and Abraham.  Jesse turns to Joshua who looks back and then walks over to Abraham.  Joshua spends a little time tending to the Judicator; the dent in his head looks very bad but not fatal.  Abraham is going to need plenty of bed rest to recover, his eyes are all glassy and blood shot.

Cleoplas struggles up to her feet and stumbles over to her crutch, the effort is visible on her face and audible in her voice.  “I don’t mean to interrupt, but…he will be okay, wont he?”  Joshua reassures her that it should be okay in time.  “Oh thank the King of Life.”

“WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS!?” a voice booms out from the doorway, as Arch steward Archibald walks in to the Library.  Upon seeing Priory steward Derek lying on the bookcases, Archibald rushes over to him and lifts him in to his arms.  “What happened here? Watch Dogs…did you strike him down?  What was his crime?”

“You’re looking at the wrong people.”  Ambrose answers him.

“Yeah we have only just arrived ourselves.”  Jesse adds.

“It is our friendly defender that killed the man, and we are not sure why this happened, we have not had a chance to ask yet.”  Ambrose carries on, and then turns to Will, “Could you explain what happened Will?”  Archibald looked as if he was about to step in before Ambrose took control, so he simmers back somewhat, rage still burning behind his eyes.

“Yeah I can tell you what happened.  Derek here decided to try and take the statue up side my charges head.  I wasn’t close enough to get in quickly, and didn’t want to give him a second shot so I put a round in his head.”  Will explains as he chews on the piece of wood in the corner of his mouth.

“And why should he do that?”

“Why did he do what?”

“Why did he decide to do that?”

“I don’t know, why don’t you ask him yourself.”  Will spits the piece of wood out on to the floor.  Ambrose asks if the two were having a peaceful meeting together, or were they arguing.  Will tells him that the guy just came striding in and started shouting, picked the statue up and tried to bash his head in.  Jesse double checks with Will what had happened, Will adding that Derek had shouted something with anger, but he didn’t catch it.  Jesse checks if Cleoplas was in the room with Abraham when Derek enter.  Will informs them that she was and that they were having a meeting.  He also answers Jesse question telling them that he was in the room watching over them, making sure nothing went wrong, unfortunately he was keeping an eye on the other entrance.  Will also shares that similar occurrences had happened a couple of times on the way over to here, but he had managed to deal with it, answering more of Jesse’s questions.  Will believes them to have been just normal bandits and thieves, nothing of note.

Cleoplas speaks up, “If I may say…”

“No not particularly. Your stunned, probably got a head injury yourself.”  Will quickly cuts her off.

“Let her speak.”  Jesse instructs Will.

“Yeah, because I want you lot trying to take advantage of someone who has not got the brains right.”

“She was here to witness this like you.  Let her speak.”

“Then give her time to recover.”  Will argues against the action while Jesse tries to allow her to speak now.  However Will is very persistent in not allowing her to speak right now, but at a later time.  Jesse argues that she needs to share what she knows of the insistent.  Will carries on with the fact that he is in charge of them being his charge, and advises that she doesn’t say anything until her head clears up.  He claims that he has seen this type of thing before, and things have been pinned of the dazed and confused.  Jesse asks if it could be that he is worried she may say something that he has done.  To end the argument Will asks Cleoplas to admit if he has said a lie at all here, and Cleoplas respectfully admits that he has not.  After a few more back and forth arguments Will turns and tells Cleoplas that he has given her his advice and that it is now up to her.

Cleoplas goes to stand up but quickly collapses, Ambrose rushes to catch her.  She shakes her head, “If it is alright by yourself noble watch Dogs, I must admit that a short time by myself to clear my head will be much appreciated.”  A wile grin spreads across Will’s face.  Ambrose agrees to her request, to which Cleoplas is thankful.  She then asks if they could assist in helping her and Abraham to move to their rooms.  Ambrose looks over at Archibald, who has a look like thunder across his face, his fists clenching and un-clenching, his eyes keep showing daggers at Will.  “Well, the sooner we move them to somewhere to heal, the sooner we can get the truth out of them.”  Archibald states.  Ambrose asks him if there are some apprentice stewards that will be willing to help, to which Archibald assures him that there will be several.

Ambrose walks over to the entrance and opens the door, and a young steward stumbles in, “a um, I was just about to come in as the Arch steward had ordered.”  Newton confesses.  Ambrose asks him to help Cleoplas and Abraham to some rooms to recover.  Newton gathers some more stewards together and move the two injured.  However one of the fresh faced stewards, upon seeing the scene that greets him choking, and as he quickly makes an exit he can be heard vomiting just outside the door.  Will walks out with the stewards carrying Abraham, and he stops and glances back at the three Dogs before heading out of the room.

Soon all that remains in the Library are the dead Derek, Archibald and the three watch Dogs.  “I want that man’s head on a plate.”  Archibald booms at the Dogs, “If there had been something here then he should have brought it to us.  That WILL.  That Will, I want him struck down.”  Ambrose asks the Arch steward if he is attempting to give watch Dogs orders.  Archibald states that Will has sinned, that he has seen it and they have seen it.  And that the order does not come from him but from the King of Life, and that they all know that he has killed the Priory steward of this place.  Ambrose argues with Archibald that it is not what Cleoplas has said.  Jesse suggests to Archibald that he head back to his study and calm himself so he can clear his head and think with a clear mind.  Informing him that they will come to him once they have more news.

“Watch Dogs, there has been murder on holy ground.”  Archibald carries on.

“We are watch Dogs, trust in us and the King of Life.”

“I trust you of course.”  Jesse than sends him off, but not before he requests to have a final farewell to his good friend and Priory steward.  With tears in his eyes, Archibald makes a promise to Derek and in front of three watch Dogs, that he will be avenged.  “I trust you to do your duty watch Dogs.” He booms at the three Dogs as he leaves the room, slamming the door behind him.

Once the three Dogs are left alone in the Library, they spend some time checking over the place to see if anything becomes apparent.  From the powder marks of a gun shot, it looks like Will was not lying to his position.  There is blood on the holy statue that is still grasped in Derek’s hand that match the mark on Abraham’s head.  It also appears that Derek’s was clasping the statue when he was killed.  The statue was one from within in this room.  It seems that they all seemed to have been sat at the table in the centre of the room.  There are only two entrances in to this room, one that Will was watching, which leads in to the gardens and from where the Dogs had arrived.  The other doorway was where Derek had entered, which leads to is study area amongst other places.

The three watch Dogs go off to take a look within Derek’s study.  The monastery is quiet at this time of the evening, and the people that the Dogs do come across quickly move out of the way, nervously eyeing up the weapons carried by them.

Within Derek’s study the candles are still light, some burning low and spluttering.  There are several documents lying upon the desk.  One document stands out upon the desk, it has very neat ornate calligraphy written upon it, and some time was spent upon this parchment.  The document is a revised, slightly adjusted version of his statement.  Holding fast to his original belief, with a few alterations to include Cleoplas’ arguments.  At the top of the document is a short passage describing how he feels, ‘with the watch Dogs present they would not have left it to us if they did not think that there was fair judgment in both’, and thus he has put forwards something that may be acceptable to her, even if some eighty percent is still is argument.  Checking with other document within his desk, it can be confirmed that the hand writing on the document is a match.  At the bottom of the document is a place for two signatures, one has already been signed, by Priory steward Derek himself, the other is for Priory sister Cleoplas.  There is evidence that the document was made out in duplicate, however this is the only one present.

Ambrose takes a look outside the door to Derek’s study, seeing who may have last seen him alive.  A steward with his head down, dressed all in black and a book in his hand, shuffles along the corridor.  As Ambrose’s head pokes out of the room, the steward heads jerks up in surprise, eyes blinking.  The steward appears to be also carrying a dark sack that contains documents.  He looks at Ambrose and greets the watch Dog, asking if he can be of help.  Ambrose asks for his name first, and receives an answer of Jefferson.

Ambrose asks Jefferson if he has been working around here since the end of the debate today.  Jefferson tells him that he and a couple of his colleagues have been moving some documents from the cellar, in fear of them getting water damage.  He tells him that he and his colleagues have been up and down this corridor all day.  Jefferson asks why, to which Ambrose tells him that he is sure to have already be aware of Derek’s death, and wishes to know if he was seen agitated, either in his room or leaving it.  Jefferson confesses that he had not seen Derek himself, however one of his fellow stewards had, and he was seen leaving his room whistling with a document in his hand.  Heading up the corridor towards the library, no more than maybe five minutes before hearing that horrendous thunder clap.  Ambrose thanks Jefferson for all his help.

Next they head off to find Newton, knowing that where ever Cleoplas was he was sure to be nearby.  They go down in to the cellars where the trainee stewards reside.  It is very dark down in the cellars, and the Dogs use a candle light lantern hanging on the end of a stick, it has shutters upon it that can focus the light.  The air down there is very dark, cold and dank, with high gothic arches holding up the building above them.  The Dogs are careful traversing amongst the sleeping trainee stewards, murmuring sounds of disapproval from disturbed sleep until they realise who is walking amongst them.

Eventually they find Newton amidst the sea of dark sleeping bodies, the place was never meant to hold so many.  Newton not yet asleep, a small fuzz growing back on his face.  He looks bleary eyed up at the three intruders with lights.  With a yawn he questions a yes at them.  Ambrose asks him if they could have a quiet private word with him.  Newton agrees, apologising that he needs a little time to make himself decent.  He quickly rummages under his thin bed cover, pulling from his pile of clothes next to him.  It can be seen that he was lying directly upon the cold stone floor, and only had the cloth to go over the top.

He asks the watch Dogs if it is in regards to what had happened in the library, but the Dogs tell him that they will wait until they are in private.  As they walk back through the other trainee stewards, and expected hush goes over the now awake throng.  They soon find a quiet dark alcove in the cellars where they stop and settle down to ask Newton a few question.

Newton is sat opposite the three watch Dogs, trapped within the alcove an effigy of the Tree of Life behind him.  Jesse begins, he assures Newton that there is nothing to be agitated with, and they just need to ask him a few questions, nothing more.  Jesse shares with him that they know he has a fondness for Cleoplas.  Newton pales slightly and quickly interrupts informing them that he has a respect for the Priory sister.  Jesse assures him that they know this, and that he does his best to look after her, then he moves on to his question asking what Newton may have seen or heard of Cleoplas while she was in the library.  Newton looks down at his feet shuffling them back and forth, Jesse assures him that he will be helping her and the monastery with the information he will share.  Newton implores with them that he would not do such a sinful act, to pry in to their private meeting.

After a short time of Newton defending himself, denying listening in on any conversation, and then suggesting that he should talk with Cleoplas first, he sits further back in to the shadows so as to hide any expression he may give away.  Newton gradually understands the Dogs argument and admits to have heard something while he was passing by, on his way to go to sleep.  He tells the Dogs that Cleoplas was talking with Abraham, telling him that she was sad that it is all over, the debate was over and he would have to leave soon, and she can’t work out a way to keep the debate going.  Cleoplas admits to Abraham that maybe it is for the best, as she can’t convince Archibald to release the novice stewards.  Newton then tells the Dogs that Abraham started to say something but he decide to leave at that time.

Ambrose leads the next questioning, trying to find out more information on what Abraham had said, believing Newton to have heard this side of the conversation too.  Jesse reassures him, reminding him that it is very important to share what he knows.  As Ambrose stands up, looming over Newton who is sat opposite him, Ambrose catches his head forgetting how confined the alcove is, Newton shares more information with the Dogs.  He admits to haven heard some more, telling the Dogs what Abraham was saying to Cleoplas.  Abraham read from a piece of paper, it had a poem on it that he had thought about upon thinking of going to see Cleoplas.  Newton tells them that the poem was quite romantic, but he can’t remember the words, however it was praising.

Jesse asks Newton if he was there still when Derek had turned up, but he admits to having heard a whistling approach so quickly left.  After this the Dogs leave Newton to go back to sleep, and head back up in to the monastery.  During their walk they discuss what they need to do next, and how delicate they need to be with this situation and Arch steward Archibald, who they agree they need to see next to find out more about Priory steward Derek.

Within Archibald’s study, the Dogs find him sat spinning the globe around and around, all the while shaking his head to himself.  As the Dogs walk in he looks up, “Is it done watch Dogs, has justice been served?”  Jesse assures him that justice will be served in the eyes of the King of Life when the time is right.  Archibald states that there is not much time, that everything is going slow this evening, and that his successor is now no more, murdered.

Jesse asks Archibald why he had chose to have Derek as his successor.  “He was, is a man that was dedicated to the King of Life.  He would not let his mind be moved from what he thought was right.  He was not always correct, but he would not let any man or bribe take him from it.”  Archibald carries on sharing his belief in Derek, knowing that the monastery would be in good hands.  Jesse checks if Derek had the strong will and fortitude that would be required for the job.  Archibald confirms this stating that he knew none stronger than he.  Next Jesse asks the Arch steward if Derek would do what was necessary and pass judgement where needed.  Archibald again confirms that Derek would do this, telling them that he would always step in against the wrong doers.  Ambrose asks if Derek was a man of peace.  This time Archibald confides that Derek could be roused, “but then who could not, seeing the worst.” He pauses, “Over the years he took great care at keeping his anger at bay.”  Archibald tells them that Derek had kept it chained for many years now, but in the early days it would often break lose.  “I believe he had conquered his demons.”  Jesse asks how long he had known Derek.  “Since he first started here.  I was a mere priory steward at the time.”  Jesse checks if Derek was an apprentice steward, and Archibald confirms this.  “Fresh blood was he then?”

“That is in bad taste is it not watch Dog?”  Quickly Jesse apologises for not thinking what he said.

Archibald asks the three watch Dogs why they are asking him questions about Derek, “He is not the person who did the deeds here, less you believe he shot himself.  And he would not take his own life.”  Jesse explains that they only wish to know more of the man who had died, so that it may help with when they give their verdict.  “He wasn’t flawless, but then none of us are.  But he was a fine man.”  Ambrose assures him that they are not calling Derek’s character in to question.  “You have heard of the man, now what do we hear of the murderer?”

Jesse changes the subject and moves on to ask about Priory sister Cleoplas.  “She is very knowledgeable in the faith, unfortunately like me she will not be with us much longer.  It is a pity she has been caught up in this.”  Jesse asks how long he has known her, and Archibald tells them that she was there before he had started.  She had become a Priory sister all but six years ago, Archibald answers to Jesse’s question.  He also asks if she was a Priory steward instead of a sister would Archibald have chosen her instead of Derek.  “I can not say, her character as a woman would not be suitable leading men of the faith.  Maybe if she was a man she would act differently but… we can not say these things, the King of Life has created us as we are.  The men to lead and to be brave, and the women for their roles, to be there for people when they need that shoulder to understand, to have the weakness us men can not afford to have.”

Next Jesse asks Archibald about his feelings towards the Judicator Abraham.  “He has not done his job particularly well at resolving things quickly, but I respect that he has come so far to come here.”  Ambrose assures the Arch steward that perhaps Abraham hadn’t understood his job in this matter, to resolve it with speed, that he had taken it as important to resolve it carefully and thoroughly.  “Strange as when he had arrived I told him that I hope this would be resolved quickly so that we can allow the stewards out.  Possibly the man was soft in the head.”  Ambrose tells him that when the Judicator came here that perhaps he had that in mind, but when he heard the arguments he took it serious and didn’t want to sacrifice anything.  “What does this matter anyway, it matters… that creep, that heretic Will was the murderer.  I am sure that actually that dear Derek saw Will up to some nefarious deed.  And then this Abraham merely steps in the way to prevent him from apprehending him in whatever he did, and that is why Will shot him.”  Ambrose assures Archibald that this doesn’t seem to be the case.  Archibald then question what is the case, especially as he has been doing all the talking that his throat is becoming very dry, while they have said very little.  “We are not here to inform you of anything.”  Ambrose tells him bluntly.  “Yet.” Jesse adds.

“There has been a murder in my monastery.”

“There has been a killing in your monastery.” Ambrose corrects him.  Archibald asks what he is saying, whether there has been no murder.  “What he jumped in front of the bullet?  Did the gun go off accidentally, and it happened to hit him in the head?”  Ambrose informs him that his responsibility is still with monastery as a whole, and not towards his worthy loyalty to Priory steward Derek.  And that he his letting his own anger get the better of him.  Informing him that it has not even been an hour since the watch Dogs have began their investigation.  “I have moved aside when you asked me to.  I have let you do this without me getting in the way.  I have seen so far nothing, like you said it has been an hour, a whole hour.  We saw it all there and the man has good as admitted it.”  Jesse asks him bluntly whether he is questioning the Dogs.  “I am asking to know what is going on.  I have stayed out of the way like you asked, but you have come to me now.  I just ask what is happening.”  Jesse tells him that they are doing their job.  Archibald backs down a little, telling them that he had better not keep them so that they can go back to their job.  Ambrose thanks him for sharing the information about Derek and assures him that it should not take too much longer.

The Dogs turn in for the night, giving Cleoplas and Abraham the night to rest before they go to confront them with what they know.

The following morning, bright and early the Dogs walk in to the apothecary, the doors swinging open to find two empty beds!

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