Feldard eyed the guard with a scowl and for a moment considered telling the others to continue on without him but that would mean he would not be present when the others met with Nicolai’s mother.. that wouldn’t do.
The dwarf stomped his way over to the scribe and gruffly gave his name and handed over his crossbow and his two axes. “If they are tampered with in anyway, YOU..” Feldard pointed to the guard, “will find out quickly that this dwarf doesn’t need weapons to upset your precious peace.”
Stephan muttered under his breath and followed Feldard’s lead in allowing the town’s guard to register his bow and arrows.
He followed along with the group, keeping an eye on the townsfolk. Upon seeing where their weapons would be kept, he said “Da. I’ll be on my way then. Back for my things soon.”
Hasan and Ludo followed suit, quietly handing the guard their bows. The scribe recorded their names and confiscated weapons in her ledger.
“We don’t need to all stay and present at the court, do we?” asked Stephan, turning to his companions. “I’ll go with Feldard to Nicolai’s mother’s place. We’ll meet back here at the third hour.”
Ludo muttered to Stephen. “Yes, but what will Arthol say? He has in effect ‘asked’ us to accompany him, I doubt he will agree to you and Feldard splitting off after we ‘demand’ to go to the Clerical Court.”
While Feldard only wanted to be done with this place as quick as possible, he wasn’t willing to split off from Maruc and the main group. Maruc had stretched the truth a bit, by telling the guard that he, Feldard, was his personal bodyguard. Feldard wasn’t about to let the cleric be caught in a lie by leaving his side just as he was going to see this Court of Clerics. “Where Maruc goes, so do I—you know that, Stephan,” Feldard answered loud enough for the city guard to overhear. “Nicolai’s remains will wait. Plus do you REALLY want to be without the priest when you tell her that her son died? Not I,” he added softly.
Stephan knew all too well when he was defeated in an argument. He grunted acquiescence and stood near the back of the group, watching with some curiosity the goings on.
Arthol and his contingent of men held their posts on the wharf until another group of guards showed up to take their place. All dressed uniformly in white surcoats over chain mail, they saluted one another and then Arthol explained the situation.
“This lot be raisin’ a ruckus ‘bout surrenderin’ their arms. That one,” said Arthol, indicating Maruc, “seems to be the ringleader. We be goin’ to Town Hall to see what the clerics make of this.”
They started off into town. Hoisting his backpack, Ludo wondering where the spies were that Golthar had most likely hired were watching from. He felt strangely nervous about entering town and wondered if perhaps buying Arthol a few drinks later might reveal some information about Golthar’s whereabouts. A man of his description should not be hard to find, especially having traveled to Threshold on a flying carpet.
In the meantime, he followed the guards and the group to the Clerical Court. As they walked through the bustling streets, he turned to Miklos, “This could go badly for us, its much better to obey the law when they watching, and do what you like when they are not”.
Feldard followed the group, his scowl would remain in place for the entirety of their guided walk into town.
Ludo chuckled, “Feldard, maybe they have heard of your reputation with that axe and figure that this is the best way to keep the peace. You should take it as a compliment.”
The elf fell into step with the troops and trudged through the town, bristling as he heard the little boys heckle the group of “five men traveling with one girl — she must be tired! how desperate can they be?” He didn’t care that the boys had seen so few elves they thought he was a girl. The elf turned in fury to Feldard, “Your stubbornness will be the death of us yet, dwarf! Would it kill you to enter somewhere quietly, even once?!” The boys in the crowd tittered more, and the butt of a guard’s spear dug deep into the small of Hasan’s back. The elf stumbled forward again, quietly.
“Is it my fault the folk here are ninnies? They cower from an axe yet think nothing of allowing those with swords into their city freely,” the dwarf retorted.
As they walked to the clerical court, Ludo kept a wary eye out for land marks and suspicious faces in the crowd, sadly having the guard ‘escorting’ new arrivals to the town was making that job impossible, as it seemed that everyone in town was congregating to see what the fuss was about. Sadly Ludo’s thoughts of sneaking quietly into town, conducting their business and leaving just as quietly without fuss had just gone up in smoke. Golthar would know all about their arrival now.
Maruc remained aloof and silent in front of the guards. He wasn’t really one for trouble making but he felt he needed to teach this sergeant a lesson in deference.
Finally, they arrived at the Town Hall, located in the center of the frontier town. One of the few stone buildings in Threshold, four guards were positioned outside. They saluted Arthol and he led the way inside. Throughout their walk and particularly inside the hall, it was clear that he was well known and respected by his fellow guards and city officials as he gruffly returned the salutes and greetings he received along the way.
The clerical court was comprised of five clerics appointed by Patriarch Sherlane. Charged with overseeing the running of the town, they took a dim view of lawbreakers.
Normally, they would have required an appointment, but apparently it was a relatively slow day and after Arthol conversed with one of the bailiffs, they were brought into one of the courtrooms.
after description of court and introductions of key characters…
Arthol started right in, quickly, and gruffly stating the matter as he saw it. “This here man seeks to be bringin’ illegal weapons inside the town borders. His whole crew be lookin’ suspicious to my eye,” he said gesturing to his non-patched eyeball, “but all of ‘em have complied, ‘cept for him. I’m happy to be rid o’ the lot of ‘em and leave them to ye to deal with.”
The priestly judge nodded at Arthol and then turned to hear what Maruc had to say.
“I must have the honour of being in the presence of The High Court of the Most Holy Patriarch Sherlane? I give you greetings and and prayers from my Abbot who resides in a modest quarter of Specularum. Thank you for your servants’ … kind invitation to visit your city. He was however somewhat robust in his respect for the cloth. I very much doubt that your Holinesses would have him disrespect those of a …higher station? It would surprise me greatly that, although his loyalty is beyond question, his freedom to treat the priesthood in the manner demonstrated to me …. was what you desired.”
“If I have caused offense by showing my feelings to this servant then I beg your forgiveness. This is but a small matter, and he has my weapon. But I felt this matter deserved some small moment of your attention. I shall pray for his misguided soul and this matter will not reach the ears of the clergy of Specularum as I know the special relationship that dwells within the hearts of all clergy.”
Maruc affected a brave but slightly hurt face for a few moments before dropping his eyes in a solemn gesture. “Mere greetings is not all I have to bring to your attention Most Holy. Firstly, a brave companion of mine has fallen in battle against an evil….wizard.” Maruc paused. “I have brought his ashes for his mother to bury. The wizard was vanquished and my companions and I are hunting out his Dark Brothers who have infested these lands. Despite the best efforts of the soldiery of the Divine Duke Stefan.” Maruc looked up into the eyes of the Patriarch
“This brings me to my second reason for standing before you. We have uncovered the identity of one such Dark Brother who was seen entering Threshold. I seek your permission to bring this man to Holy justice. He is a dangerous and powerful Wizard and will stop at nothing to gain his own ends. He can call on vast numbers of indoctrinated slaves and I fear what mischief he will cause within your walls.”
Maruc knelt. “Your holiness, do we have your permission to continue our Holy quest?”
Miklos winced behind his hand at Maruc’s out of character bluster. There must be some reason for this as the cleric was normally is that enthusiastic about violence. Perhaps these last few months have opened his eyes to the world. But something about what his was donning smacked of manipulation. Like he wanted to see the Patriarch and didn’t want to wait for an audience. Either Maruc was stupid and was going to end up in a cell or Miklos was witnessing a master stoke of political wiles.
Time would tell. While he slunk along behind Lucius making himself as unobtrusive as possible, he wondered also if this bluster was almost aimed at taking attention away from him? Either way Miklos distanced himself from Maruc.
The curate regarded Maruc inquisitively. “Specularum, you say? What order be you?”