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Under The Hill

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Sunday, June the 3rd, Lord's Year 1319

The town of Hastings

The Tabard

 

Daffid winces at Timothy's outburst and knocks quickly at the door frame. He timidly ventures, "A learned man who knows of the Fair Folk? Can such a one be found in the town?"

 

Mad Angus tugs at his black beard thoughtfully. "I'll see that the friar comes, Tim-me-lad, or never call me Scotsman again." He pats his dagger meaningfully, and heads for the stairs.

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"A show-off and an butt you are, Angus," says Timothy fondly as his friend leaves. "Never change."

 

His grin fades back to worry, as he searches through his and Annelli's possessions, such as they are, to see what is still there.

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Symywev sneezes a few times and concludes, "They seem to have headed for the door." She feels along the floor for more sticky evidence.

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Amairgen goes to the friar who Mad Angus pointed out. "Holy Brother, God be with you! I come in need of a skilled man. Fell magick, possibly charms cast by THE GOOD NEIGHBORS. Holy Brother, do you know any learned one in this town you could aide us in uncovering the charms and snares of THE PEOPLE OF PEACE?"

 

Faerie Doctors were respectable in this period, as long as they went to church regularly.

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Sunday, June the 3rd, Lord's Year 1319

The town of Hastings

The Tabard

 

Symywev believes that the sticky area is confined to a ring around the bed.

 

Amairgen follows Mad Angus down the stairs. Judging by the bells heard in the distance a little while ago, the church is at least several minutes away. Daffid accompanies his friend, eager to help in any mission that gets him out of the inn. He whispers to Amairgen, "Best that we follow the 'Scot' and smoothe the way. Surely the friar will not refuse good Christians." Leaving the Tabard, the pair see that Angus is trotting off to the northeast, presumably the right direction.

 

Timothy opens his and Annelli's trunks. Although he notes no missing items, he does find some of the bride's clothing in disarray. She is usually so tidy, but perhaps the excitement of the wedding occupied her. Timothy finds at least three drops of what may be blood on some of her gowns. There is no evidence that any of the groom's luggage was disturbed.

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A neatly-folded sheet of parchment is sealed with a bit of wax, and addressed to “Cormac O'Culihan.”

"Perhaps this will explain something," mumbles Cormac with a touch of desperation as he breaks the seal and spreads out the sheet of parchment. His eyes scan over the page. His brow furrows as he reads...

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Cormac reads the following, penned in a spidery script:

 

Yan, tan, tethera, pethera

How many hearts do we gather together-a?

Whose is the lore that will riddle the door?

And which is the elder and which came before?

 

R.

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Symywev slowly brings herself to her feet, running her eyes over the room. She lets her eyes wander up the wall, up to the ceiling, humming a little tune to herself as she does so.

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Cormac fights down the urge to crumple the parchment. Slowly, carefully he folds it up and places it inside the front cover of the Hobbit.

 

"I am neck deep in the kim chee now," he thinks. Looking around for something familiar, or lacking that somewhere where there are people who might be able to answer questions for him.

 

"Maybe Rod Serling is lurking around here somewhere," he says out loud, just to hear his own voice, with a sarcastic chuckle he sets off.

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"There's blood here," Timothy says, throwing the offending garments back in the trunk. "I dunno what to make of it, milk, blood, a sticky circle, why don't they just come out and make their case? Soon as I find where they've taken her, I'm goin' in after, and I'm going to bring her out, fair folk or not!"

 

Having finished, he looks about guiltily as though afraid someone heard hin say that, and closes the trunk.

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Symywev walks over to Timothy, clapping him on the shoulder reassuringly. "Never fear, Timmy. We're with ya to th' end."

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Sunday, June the 3rd, Lord's Year 1319

The town of Hastings

The Tabard

 

Amairgen , Daffid and Angus all hear the cries in the street, before the young man turns a corner and comes into view. "The Sheriff! The Sheriff! Murder!" He appears to be about fifteen years old, already of brawny build. His dirty tunic and leggings are stained with sweat, and his words come between gasps for breath. He does not seem to be injured, but he is obviously frightened. He runs toward Amairgen and the rest, raising dust in the afternoon heat. "Father Eustace!" he yells, as he passes Angus.

 

Sean grabs something from the twisted bedclothes, and holds it aloft. "Was this not Annelli's?" he asks, presenting a thin silver chain to Timothy, who recognizes it instantly as a betrothal gift he gave his intended months ago in Jutland. Missing is the miniature portrait of Annelli's mother that the groom-to-be had had set in brass and hung from the silver links. Annelli, though enamored of the adventurous Irishman, had been loth to leave her mother so soon (six months) after the loss of her father and youngest brother, who disappeared at sea while fishing. Timothy won the love of the mother by asking her advice in the matter of a gift, and at her behest, the following was inscribed on the back of the brass setting: "Gudrida, mother of Annelli, whose heart will always call her daughter home." Aboard ship, the groom once caught Annelli weeping over the portrait, but she quickly stopped her tears and reaffirmed her love for him.

 

Symywev finds no marks on the walls or ceiling of the bridal chamber, but there is an imprint in the dust on the sill of the little window, which is hooked shut from the inside. The track might match those on the floor, but it is hard to say in the dim light. Handing the chain to Timothy, Sean steps over to see what Symywev has found.

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