Tuesday, June 3, 2008
A conclusion of the events surrounding the murder of Marius Coppercup, based on the information available to the Player Characters, and their own perceptions.
On 10th Augusta 1622 Captain Dogmoss Ret. of the City Militia received a letter from P. Addlegate. Twenty five years previously, Captain Dogmoss had betrayed the Grand Arch Duke and collaborated with the revolutionary movement known as ’the Strugglers’. When Addlegate, under the nom de guerre ’Captain Murder’ had attacked the city with a fleet of pirates from the Salten Reach and Skavva, Dogmoss had slipped a group of assassins into the ducal palace. The plan had been thwarted and most of the Strugglers were captured and executed. Addlegate vanished and Dogmoss lived in perpetual fear of being discovered. As the years passed he murdered numerous people, most connected to the Strugglers but also some innocent people who came too close to the truth, all in order to preserve himself.
The letter from Addlegate/Captain Murder was a threat of blackmail. Addlegate had returned to Takshendal after years spent in hiding, and with nothing to show for his efforts. A veritable vagrant he sought out Dogmoss and threatened to expose him unless he was paid. Dogmoss, old and bent, seemed a simple touch, but when the two men met in the waste ground behind the ’Eel & Spindle’ inn on the night of the 11th , Dogmoss murdered Addlegate in a fit of rage. He stabbed him repeatedly and wildly and when the old pirate had died he dragged the corpse into a nearby bush. The night was dark and there was a down pour. When Dogmoss sought to return via Merrybegot Alley to his abode in the Captains tower, he failed to notice the dark form of Marius Coppercup who was passing water in the shadow of the inn until he had literally bumped into him. Having collected his wits some what he realised that Coppercup was a witness and so he quickly stabbed the unfortunate man in the heart, killing him near instantly. Dogmoss had no idea who Coppercup was. The wealthy young man was dressed in common clothing, drunk and sodden wet. To Dogmoss he appeared to be a mere commoner and not the sort of person who's death would attract too much attention.
As Dogmoss stood over the body, he could see the doorway of the Captains tower. The door was open and light shone from within. The sentry was sitting inside the doorway to shelter from the rain and Dogmoss decided that two murders was too conspicuous. He also discovered in the dim light that he was covered in blood. Rather than make his way home he entered the courtyard of the inn and then the backdoor of Griselda Honeycomb’s house where he knew Sandy was home alone. As he predicted, Sandy was in her room alone and he soon persuaded her to share her bed for the night as she had done many times before. Sandy was very sleepy and soon fell asleep again. Dogmoss took off the bloody garments and pushed them under the bed. He then went to sleep and slept badly, plagued with guilt ridden nightmares.
Early the next morning Sandy, annoyed by Dogmoss’s outbursts and restless sleeping, got up to use the chamber pot. As she did, Dogmoss woke up. The first thing he saw was Sandy sitting on the pot and staring at the bloody garments lying on her floor. Still half asleep, he acted in a panic and lept from the bed to strangle the unfortunate girl. By the time he realised what he was doing he had murdered a third person. Dogmoss spent the rest of the morning in Sandy’s room, wracked with guilt and fear.
The body of Marius Coppercup had been discovered in the mean time by the Militia night watchman. Later on the 12th Dogmoss, wearing clothes taken from Sandy’s cupboard, Dogmoss returned home to the Captains tower and locked himself into his room. For the next two days he stayed in his room, sending Thomas Fennel for food and large quantities of alcohol.
Misteline and his companions arrived on the 14th and began their investigations. Dogmoss was aware of them from the start and sought to avoid them at all costs. He feigned illness and stayed in his room.
Misteline and his companions soon realised that there was something odd going on. They’d been called in to investigate the murder of Marius Coppercup, but no one had told them about the death of tramp nearby. Misteline the Great asked to see the body and when he did, he recognised it as Captain Murder since as a young man; Misteline had seen Captain Murder at the Great Pirate Battle. Realising the importance of this discovery, Misteline immediately contacted his employer Adriana Arabella Wormpole who made the necessary arrangements to have the body removed and the 10,000 Cr bounty on Captain Murders head paid out. The arrangement was for Misteline to receive one third of this money.
The body of Marius Coppercup had already been removed by his family and was thus not available for examination. It transpired however that Doctor Cinder, physician to the Grand Arch Duke had already examined the body at the behest of Captain Leander Quartermoon, Commander of the Western Wall, and his superior, the City Marshal. Cinder concluded that Coppercup had been killed by a single upward stab to the heart with a long slender blade which had severed the main arteries to the lower body. The body had quickly drained of blood and death had been swift. Drunk and surprised, Coppercup had been too helpless to resist.
Coppercup’s body showed signs of flagellation with fresh wounds over old scars as well as several other unusual wounds. Both hands were blistered, particularly the palms. These wounds appeared to be eruptions of the skin and showed signs of extreme irritation with some pus and bruising. Cinder could not guess what caused these unusual wounds. Coppercup also had an old brand scar on his thigh, though it was hard to make out what the brand depicted. It appeared to be a highly stylised pictogram of a house containing the symbol of what Cinder took to be eye.
Subsequent investigations revealed that Coppercup had left a letter in the inn to a local merchant banker named Augustus Marrow. Misteline and his companions opened this letter which appeared to incriminate Augustus Marrow, possibly linking him to the kidnapping of young women and children. The discovery of this letter shifted the focus of the investigation away from the body of Captain Murder and Misteline and his companions began to investigate Augustus Marrow. Not long after this, a certain acquaintance of Augustus Marrow called Lord Beauforque appeared on the scene and things began to get dangerous. Captain Silas of the Militia, who was acting incognito as a private detective, discovered a suspicious character lurking in the vicinity of the lodgings of Misteline and his friend Drake. Silas challenged the man who attempted to fight and ended up killing him. Later it would transpire that this failed assassin had been sent by Lord Beauforque, but at the time it was assumed Augustus Marrow had sent him.
Though there was always an undercurrent of doubt, Misteline and his companions continued to investigate Augustus Marrow as their prime suspect. They eventually discovered that Augustus Marrow, Lord Beauforque and Bartholumus Pyle the local apothecary, were all involved in some kind of conspiracy. It was assumed that Aurore Marrow was also involved in some capacity but this was not established at the time. Silas uncovered some curious information pertaining to a nearby building. A former wainwright’s workshop, this large building stood silent and empty across a patch of open ground from the house of Augustus Marrow who it seemed had bought the building and left it as he found it. Silas conceived a suspicion and decided to investigate. He took Drake with him and broke into the building, discovering that the building was being used as some kind of secret barracks for mercenary soldiers from Mursula. Quickly the investigators assembled and attacked the building, killing all within, even after several had surrendered. They also discovered a passage way from the buildings cellar in to an old storm drain that ran parallel to Shepherd’s Way and which gave access to both the apothecary and to Augustus Marrows house. From this latter door the sound of a woman being whipped could be heard
After a short pause to gather more weapons Misteline and his companions broke into the cellar of Augustus Marrow’s house. In doing so they took the banker, the apothecary and Lord Beauforque by complete surprise. Marrow and Pyle were taken prisoner and Lord Beauforque was dispatched in a duel by Rufus. A battle then ensued as Marrows guards and Beauforque’s retaliated in vain. Once the Marrow house had been subdued, and the militia guards reassured, Misteline went through Marrows papers whilst Drake took care of the whipped woman and Rufus went to the apothecary where he slew all the remaining mercenaries except their captain whom he defeated and then took prisoner.
Misteline and his companions established that Augustus Marrow was part of a conspiracy to overthrow the Grand Arch Duke and they gave this information to Captain Quartermoon who acted accordingly. By the time the Grand Arch Duke’s birthday was underway, arrests were being made all across the city. Misteline and his companions continued to investigate the matter, interrogating those prisoners they had access to. They discovered that Marrow and his wife, Lord Beauforque and Bartholomew Pyle were all guilty of high treason. Augustus Marrow and Lord Beauforque were both ring leaders of a city wide plot to assassinate a number of prominent citizens using Mursulan mercenaries and they had been directly plotting to attack the local militia guards and take control of the western gate, and killing Captain Quartermoon in the process.
In the meanwhile however, the matter of who murdered Marius Coppercup remained unsolved, but things were coming to a head. Thomas Fennel had noticed Dogmoss’s agitated manner and grew puzzled as to what might cause it. He was himself already personally affected by the death of Sandy however, his only recourse to sexual release, and was himself too despondent to think further on the matter. As the city celebrated the Grand Arch Duke’s birthday, Dogmoss skulked in the tower, watching the goings on in street below where numerous militia were gathered outside the house of Marrow. Finally he called for Fennel who came to see what was wrong. Fennel found Dogmoss standing by the window looking jubilant. As Dogmoss ordered Fennel to bring him wine, Fennel happened to notice the tunic shirt Dogmoss was wearing and which he had taken from Sandy’s cupboard and forgotten. Fennel recognised it because it had a certain embroidered rose patter on its collar. His eyes widened with understanding and as he stared, Dogmoss understood his mistake in forgetting to change out of the tunic shirt. He had been so occupied with his thoughts, and not a tidy man at the best of times, it had totally slipped his mind. Fennel turned and fled and Dogmoss chased him. He grabbed a crossbow from a wall rack on his way and tried to kill Fennel under the pretence that he had stolen something. Dogmoss knew from long experience that his rank would protect him if only he could silence Fennel first. He failed. Misteline and his companions observed the chase and intervened, saving Fennel and taking Dogmoss into custody.
Dogmoss knew that Fennel would talk so he tried and failed to hang himself. Under the misapprehension of death he was tricked by Misteline and a local actor of unscrupulous morality, into a full confession. The murder was solved.
Interrogations and arrests continued over the course of the next few days and most all the conspirators were caught. The leader of the conspiracy was not caught, although a name was discovered. Several of the ring leaders named him under interrogation as Renas Costa, but they were not able to identify who this person was. Only that he was very powerful, very rich and always acted via intermediaries. Aurore Marrow was never caught. Living so close to the western gate, it was assumed she had managed to flee the city before the alarm had been given.
Several questions remained unanswered; Amongst Augustus Marrow’s belongings was a note book full of what appeared to be architectural designs by one Albrecht d’Spear, a shipwright artisan working for the City Militia, of some kind of domed structure. It later transpired that this was a note book pertaining to d’Spear’s interest in an old mystery of the city known as the ‘Royal Enigma’. In short, the Royal Enigma is the mystery of what became of the last King of Takshendal. D’Spear had been investigating this mystery in his spare time, making use of the Militia archive (a comprehensive library which is not open to the general public) to search avenues of inquiry that were hidden by obscurity. He told Misteline that he had lost the note book, presumably ‘at the library’. D’Spear was never questioned by any one else.
Other unanswered questions revolved around several pieces of black rock found at the houses of six of the ring leaders of the conspiracy, and at the house of Bartholumus Pyle. These rocks were all kept in locked rooms, atop what appeared to be alters and the conclusion was the conspirators were using these rocks a means of influencing people. Interrogations revealed that the rocks, supplied by Pyle came from an unknown contact in the village of Slapershaven. When applied to the skin for any length of time, these rocks caused a blistering which in turn provoked an intense euphoria and a willingness to follow suggestion. Prolonged use, gave rise to certain mental instabilities and a loss of sexual ability. It also led to massive blistering of the contact area and in some cases habitual use.
Questions in the comments will be answered....