V – FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS
Thomas fitz Roy and Corwynn mac Murchan returned to St. Lasar’s Kirk around mid-morning, feeling that questioning the villagers further would not be too helpful. Thomas was all for waking Brother Erlend Svensson from his slumber, but Corwynn knew how Erlend liked his sleep and had himself been the victim of a tongue-lashing or two for waking the monk too early. He advised that they instead profit from the fact that there was nobody about to search the church grounds once again. They already suspected that someone, possibly Brother Tancredus was up to no good – all they needed now was the smoking fire to prove it.
They went to the Sepulchre first. It was a dry-stone tomb with sloped sides and a flat top. The cross stone which lay on top was no longer there as it had toppled to the ground (see previous session), but the carved marker stone in the front face of the sepulchre was still there. It informed that the tomb was dedicated Gilbothyn of Arran, a knight from the Isles who died in 1136 in the service of Fergus of Galloway. He had been granted these lands and, upon his death, bequeathed the little church of St. Lasar to Iona with enough land to pay for its upkeep. The slab was carved with depictions of the Crusade.
The search of the tomb revealed little else. They found the place where (presumably) Brother Noilus had run into the forest and discovered it was no well trodden path – he must have simply crashed through the woods in his zeal to flee. Further along the edge of the woods a more substantial path was found. It led to a place on the burn that might have been a watering hole. Other than some very old footprints, there was little to find here, either. Thomas, on a whim, decided to cast the spell Vision of the Haunted Spirit to help him see if there were any ghosts lingering, but the spell revealed nothing.
Next they turned to the church and the manse. They looked at the lean-to storage shed to see if they could determine if there were any secret compartments and loose flagstones, but found nothing. They re-entered the church (described in the previous session) to look around. They found little other than the bronze receptacle that Tancredus was using to sprinkle holy-water about the church. They wondered briefly why the monk would be sprinkling holy water around so often, but otherwise felt like they were at an impasse.
They decided to wake Erlend after all and walked back toward the manse, where they discovered that Brother Tancredus’ door was now slightly ajar. Corwynn continued into the guest chamber to begin the slow process of rousing Brother Erlend from bed [GM Note: Erlend has the Deep Sleeper flaw] while Thomas approached the door to Tancredus’ quarters.
Thomas knocked gently on Tancredus’ door, softly calling his name. There was no reply, so he peeked into the room. There was nobody there. Thomas let himself in and quickly found the books in the corner. He remembered brother Erlend telling him about them and in particular he remembered mention of the illumination showing the monks climbing to heaven and falling from the ladder. He decided to browse this book for himself. The book with the illumination was called Scala Paradisi by someone who called himself Ioan Climacus and seemed to discuss matters of theology. Another book in latin, the Consolatio Philosophiae by Boethius was more of an in-depth treatise on the humanities. It was un-illuminated. The other two books were also un-illuminated and were written in foreign scripts. Thomas surmised that one of these was Greek and the other Arabic, but since he had no facility with foreign languages he could get little more out of them.
Meanwhile, Corwynn was waking Brother Erlend in the guest chamber. The monk was at first sluggish and unresponsive.
CORWYNN: ‘Brother, you must get up. There will be a funeral soon and you have promised to help.’
ERLEND: (sleepily) ‘Did someone feed the pigs yet?’
CORWYNN: ‘Yes, we’ve hired someone to do that now.’
ERLEND: ‘Did you say funeral? Just let me put my sandals on. Where did I put my other sandal? Oh! Yes! The girl, Eileen! Have we learned anything more?’
CORWYNN: ‘No, not yet.’
ERLEND: ‘Oh! I thought of something – or maybe it was a dream, I don’t know. I’ve heard of an old legend of a creature that would dig buried bodies out of the earth to eat their flesh. I believe in Arabic lands they call them ghul.’
CORWYNN: ‘You dreamt of this?’
ERLEND: ‘It might be a lingering memory.’
CORWYNN: ‘Well, I don’t think Eileen’s body looked eaten.’
THOMAS: (entering the room after his investigations) ‘Indeed I did not. Organs had been removed, but there were no signs of eating. Only pox-marks. Perhaps it’s time we stop being so passive regarding our questioning of Tancredus.’
CORWYNN: ‘When did we start being passive?’
ERLEND: ‘I had another thought. Perhaps we should go easier on Tancredus so as to lure him to Ken Muir to identify the body of Eileen himself. In the meantime we can go to Dalri to question those who live there.
CORWYNN: ’I don’t think he will want to go to Ken Muir.’
ERLEND: ‘Not even for books? I’ve already spoken to him about exchanging some.’
THOMAS: ‘I think it’s an excellent idea.’
CORWYNN: (mumbling to himself) ’It’s not going to work…’
ERLEND: ‘Very well. We’ll help with Noilus’ funeral service, then go to Dalri, then try to convince Tancredus to come to Ken Muir with us.’
CORWYNN: ‘Brother Erlend, what do you make of this sprinkling of holy water about the churchyard?’
ERLEND: ‘I thought it unusual, but it casts some doubt upon the theory of Tancredus as necromancer. I can’t think why a necromancer would sprinkle holy-water about the place.’
THOMAS: ‘Perhaps he’s afraid of something and wants to ward off evil?’
ERLEND: ‘You mean that he knows about the necromancy but cannot speak of it?’
THOMAS: ‘Yes. This is why I think we must question him.’
VI – FUNERAL AND WAKE
About an hour later the three emerged from the guest chamber to see Tancredus standing near the gate of the churchyard and greeting villeins as they arrived. They watched this for a while and soon realized than many more people were arriving than lived in the local village. This was because St. Lasar’s Kirk served a much wider area than just Bogue – it also served Dalri and other settlements within the parish.
Erlend approached Tancredus to offer his aid again.
TANCREDUS: ‘Brother Erlend. I’ve been waiting for you. You will help with the service, will you not?’
ERLEND: ‘Yes, indeed.’
TANCREDUS: ‘Good. You can take Brother Noilus’ habitual place. I also have a favour to ask of you, if you don’t mind.’
ERLEND: ‘Yes, by all means.’
TANCREDUS: ‘Well, this being Good Friday according the reckoning of the Bishop, some of the more well-to-do villagers, and I daresay also your Norman friend Thomas, will be expecting a small Good Friday service. The thing is my heart is heavy and I just don’t have it in me today to deliver this service. Would you do it?’
ERLEND: ‘Well, I’m not accustomed to delivering this service and have not had any time to prepare…’
TANCREDUS: ‘Well, it needn’t be long and frankly the villagers won’t be expecting much….’
ERLEND: ‘Very well, I’ll do my best. Perhaps I can have an hour with the bible after the funeral to prepare?’
TANCREDUS: ‘Oh, certainly! I plan to hold a small wake for Noilus after the service and funeral in any case. You could use that time, perhaps. I do appreciate this, Brother Erlend.’
The crowd fairly filled the church for the service. Thomas and Corwynn stood at the back of the church. Tancredus mumbled the liturgy and those at the back of the room couldn’t make out what he was saying. Thomas tried not to fall asleep. Erlend could understand the latin but was still somewhat dozy from lack of sleep and didn’t pay any attention to Tancredus’ words. If he had we would have noted that the liturgy made no mention of the holy trinity. Erlend passed the holy-water to Tancredus when asked to and noted that it had a dirty appearance to it. Tancredus sprinkled this on the body. When the service was over the body was carried outside to where somebody had already dug a grave and the Noilus was interred.
After the burial the crowd retired to the yard in front of the church. Tancredus nipped inside to get some of his best wine with which to honour his friend and soon returned. He offered some to Erlend, who insisted that Tancredus share it instead with the villeins.
Meanwhile, bold a young girl of about 8 years old approached Thomas and tugged on his robe. Surprised, the mage looked down at her.
THOMAS: ‘What is it, child?’
GIRL: ‘Did you kill brother Noilus?’
THOMAS: (taken aback) ’No! Oh, no! None of us killed Noilus. There was a tragic accident and…
Just then a woman came over and slapped the girl’s hand. She started to drag her away, saying:
WOMAN: ‘Martina, come away wi’ ye and leave this gentleman alone!’
THOMAS: ‘No, she’s really no bother dear woman. A charming child, in fact. What is her name?’
WOMAN: (to Thomas) ’I’m very sorry sir. She won’t bother you again!’
THOMAS: ’She’s no bother.’
GIRL: ’I’m Martina!’
THOMAS: ‘Well, Martina, did you know Eileen?’
MARTINA: ‘Aye, she’s my sister!’
THOMAS: ‘Your sister? You mean was…’ (then the the mother) So you must be Eileen’s mother? What is your name?’
WOMAN: (crossing herself) ‘Aye, puir wee girl. My name is Eibhlin.’
THOMAS: ‘Did Eileen ever spend any time with brother Noilus, perhaps helping him with anything? What about brother Tancredus?’
MARTINA: ‘Noilus was ugly! Nobody liked him. He had a big hump on his back and he never spoke! They said you killed him!’
EIBHLIN: ‘Shush, girl!’
THOMAS: ‘Who said this?’
MARTINA: (twirling around with her finger pointing back over hear head) ‘Everyone!’
THOMAS: ‘Well, that’s not right. Noilus actually tried to kill me. Does everybody know that?’
MARTINA: ‘Did he eat you?’
THOMAS: Eat me?! Why would you ask that?’
MARTINA: ‘The older boys said that Noilus eats people.’
EIBHLIN: ‘Martina, no! Those are just kid’s stories, sir, that they told Martina to scare her! They called him an ogre and other nasty things.’
THOMAS: ‘What did you think?’
EIBHLIN: ‘I think he was misunderstood, more than anything. He was kind enough and kept to himself.’
THOMAS: ‘Have any other children of the vill disappeared or died?’
EIBHLIN: (moisture began to rim her eyes) ‘No. Only Eileen.’
THOMAS: ‘What else can you tell me about Noilus?’
EIBHLIN: ‘Not much. He never spoke words, but he did like to clean. The church and yard are very well kept, do you not agree? He was also working on repairing the stained glass window.
THOMAS: ’Which window?’
EIBHLIN: ‘The one from the church. It was taken out so he could work on it.
THOMAS: ’I see…’
Meanwhile Erlend had snuck back into the church to pour some of the holy water in the tin cup that he carried. He planned to bring it back to Ken Muir so that Raderic might investigate it with a spell.
Corwynn was standing close to Tancredus as he spoke to the local villagers and drank his wine. He was trying to listen to what the monk was saying, but also caught what some of the villagers were saying out of earshot of Tancredus, including some of the following:
‘…aye, ’tis a shame he won’t see his diligent efforts come to fruition…’
‘…and I think that maybe he did have something to do with that body they found…’
‘…no doubt they’re also diabolists, drawn here by Noilus himself! But what I cant figure out is why they killed him in…’
‘…and maybe they are somehow in cahoots and they won’t leave until they get what they came for…’
Alarmed that the rumours were getting out of hand, Corwynn wandered over to where Thomas was talking to Martina and Eibhlin.
THOMAS: ‘Have there been any other strange occurances in the vill lately?’
EIBHLIN: ‘What, other than the pox and the novice monk dying at the hands of strangers?’
THOMAS: ‘He did not die at the hands of strangers. As I’ve said many times, it was an unfortunate accident! And it only happened after Noilus tried to push that stone down on top of me, which he did right after I mentioned you daughter’s name!’
CORWYNN: (trying to calm things down) ‘Sir, perhaps were should not discuss this here and now. The villeins already have plenty to talk about.’
EIBHLIN: ‘Discuss what?’
Erlend who was now emerging from the church with a cup containing some of the suspicious holy water. He was trying to hide it under his robe.
THOMAS: (calling out to ‘Brother Erlend) Brother Erlend! This is Eibhlin, Eileen’s mother.’
EIBHLIN: ‘Oh, my. You are the big monk that the villagers have been talking about!’
ERLEND: (with a big smile, he spoke in his soft, highly pitched voice) ‘Aye, big but friendly!’
CORWYNN: ‘Eibhlin, please listen. We didn’t come here by accident. We are from Ken Muir and were sent to investigate a misplaced body that we found near our vill. We are quite sure the dead girl was your daughter, Eileen.’
EIBHLIN: (shocked) ‘That cannae be! She was buried before my eyes in the ground! Flowers grew on her grave!’
CORWYNN: ‘Yes, but we dug it up and…’
EIBHLIN: ‘ACK! You did what? Oh my lord they were right! They said that you came here looking for bodies and the big monk himself was a diabolist and…’
CORWYNN: ‘Yes, but the grave was empty, so we found nothing there. Your daughter was not in that grave!’
THOMAS: ‘Listen Eibhlin! Corwynn is saying that someone else dug up that body before we got here! There is something evil going on in this vill as God is my witness!’
Eibhlin burst into tears as she tried to absorb this. Erlend fanned the flames by telling her that Eileen’s body had ‘been debased in the most horrific and gruesome fashion’ Eibhlin then collapsed to the ground, sobbing so deeply she had to gasp loudly to suck in enough air to breath. This attracted the attention of the other villagers and Trancredus who came running over. Several of the women reached down to help Eibhlin to her feet. Tancredus confronted Erlend:
TANCREDUS: ‘Brother Erlend, what is the meaning of this?!’
ERLEND: ‘We have told sweet Eibhlin the tragic story of her daughter’s fate.’
TANCREDUS: ‘No! No! You’re not spreading these lies again!’
ERLEND: ‘Brother, this is the truth. It is God’s truth! She deserves to know. She is her mother!’
TANCREDUS: ‘Brother Erlend, this is an embarrassment and a disgrace. There is nothing to tell! These are all assumptions on your part!’
ERLEND: ‘Nevertheless it is done. The words have been spoken and received and understood.’
TANCREDUS: (speaking quite firmly) ‘Brother Erlend! There will be no need for you to conduct the Good Friday service afterall!’
Tancredus and the villagers all stood about scowling at Erlend, Thomas, and Corwynn. They were not feeling very welcome at this point. Corwynn tried to explain:
CORWYNN: ‘Brother Tancredus, you may know something of what is happening here, but you may not know that you know it. It is important that you come with us as it might jog something in your memory.’
TANCREDUS: ‘All I know is that you found a body. Lord knows maybe that much is not even true – I have only your word.’
CORWYNN: ‘It is true – would you have preferred we brought it with us?’
THOMAS: ‘Come with us to Ken Muir! You can see it for yourself.’
TANCREDUS: ‘I have a flock to attend to here, with important services both today and on Sunday. I cannot – will not go!
THOMAS: ’Brother Erlend can stay and perform these services.’
TANCREDUS: ‘I do not think the villeins will accept him, now.’
ERLEND: ‘Do you think I am a diabolist? That is so sad. We will go and come back tomorrow, and then you can come with us to Ken Muir and we can exchange books like we spoke of earlier.’
TANCREDUS: ‘Oh! Stuff you and your books, brother Erlend!’
With that, Tancredus turned his back on the group and stomped with the crowd of villagers who had been standing watching. He received some gestures of sympathy from them and also a great many questions which he tried to fend off with grace. His face was quite red with anger and embarrassment.
VII – THE SMOKING FAGGOT
The three travellers from Ken Muir conferred and decided to head back to Ken Muir, however they thought they might at least try to convince one of Eileen’s family to go with them to identify the body. They felt that if they could at least convince one of the locals of the truth that they would be more trusted in the village.
With this in mind, Corwynn approached Eibhlinn and her husband, Barra as they left the churchyard. Barra was quite angry that his wife was so upset by her previous encounter with the men, and so he had little patience. Corwynn was able to get past this, though, and convince the man that he could easily put everything to rest if he only came to Ken Muir to identify the body. [GM Note: Corwynn rolled a critical and came up with a total of 19, enough to overcome Barra’s anger and mistrust.] Barra agreed to come with them on the condition that this would put an end to things and he and his family would no longer be bothered by these strangers.
They arrived at Ken Muir a few hours later with Barra of Bogue in tow. Corwynn showed Barra around the community while Thomas and Erlend went up to the tower to find the other two mages, Medigas of Florence and Raderic mac Gillolaine. Thomas told them everything that had happened at Bogue and what they had so far discovered [GM Note: He summed this up with the words ‘Things happened, mistakes were made…’]
Erlend handed the cup containing the sample of Tancredus’ murky holy water to Raderic who then examined it. He sniffed at it and noted the smell of earthy decay. Then he placed a drop of the liquid on his tongue and smacked his tongue against the roof of his mouth a few times, casting Subtle Tongue of the Poison Purity, a spell that he knew of the second magnitude.
RADERIC: ‘It is indeed water, though there is some other content, probably from living tissue.’
ERLEND: ‘Living tissue?’
RADERIC: (Smacking his tongue again) ‘I taste human remains – either this concoction was made from them or it was perhaps exposed to them. Perhaps this is grave water?’
THOMAS: ‘Human Remains!?’
RADERIC: (grimacing) ‘Yes, and a soupçon of frog. Somebody pass me some wine to rinse with, please.’
THOMAS: ‘I knew it! Well, either Tancredus is a necromancer or the person who made this holy water is! He’s been spreading this around the churchyard!’
ERLEND: ‘And he used it for the funeral of Noilus, too. Yes, I think this is the smoking faggot that points to the fire.’
Raderic also cast a spontaneous spell, Wizard’s Subtle Touch, to see if he could detect anything magical about the potion. It did not display any magical properties, but as he told the others he couldn’t vouch if the water was indeed holy, or perhaps infernal in nature.
The three magi then went down to where the body of Eileen had been interred and Medigas used his earth magic to bring it back to the surface. They cleaned it and gave it a fresh swathing to hide the mutilations and decay. Then, finally, Barra was brought over to look at the body. He recognized it immediately as his daughter Eileen, and immediately broke down in despair. It was some time before they dared to rouse him from where he knelt, but eventually they did.
Thomas tried to explain that this was the work of someone in their very own village, perhaps Noilus. He suggested that the village of Bogue was under threat. Corwynn then assured Barra that the good people of Ken Muir would stand by him and his fellow villeins against whatever this threat might be, but that they needed the cooperation of the villeins if they were to be successful in fighting this evil.
Barra asked the Eileen’s body be buried properly at Ken Muir by Brother Erlend [GM Note: And the magi agreed that it would be good optics to show that Ken Muir was a good Christian community]. A ceremony was performed out at Erlend’s small chapel and Eileen was interred for the third and final time.
Next the group planned the expedition back to Bogue. Erlend and Corwynn agreed immediately to going back. Thomas at first did not want to go, feeling that he was unpopular with both the villagers and Tancredus, but in the end he decided to finish what he started. Since they were travelling at night, they decided to bring an extra grog along and Domhnail mac Donchadh was chosen to accompany the group.
VIII – BUMPS IN THE NIGHT
They reached Bogue again shortly after dark and Barra led them directly to his house where he found that all was well. Then he turned to Corwynn to ask that they be left alone so he could break the news of Eileen’s reburial to Eibhlin gently. The travellers from Ken Muir were about to take their leave when the sharp sound of alarm came to them from across the village, followed by a loud bang!
Barra and the four men from Ken Muir ran through the darkened village toward where they could now hear some crying and the frantic voice of a woman. “That’s Fiona’s house!” exclaimed Barra and he burst into the cottage through the door. The woman, Fiona, was inside explaining that she had seen a dark, lumbering form in the moonlight down near the burn. She described it as a sticky man, which they gathered was the local term for some sort of mythological Wild Man. By then some other villagers had arrived and Barran and Corwynn organized them into a hunting party to go and search for this thing.
The hunting party went down across the fields to the burn, which was still in spate. The ground was muddy all around and had been torn up by the feet of villagers, sheep, and cattle over the recent weeks. They couldn’t anything remarkable on the ground, and to make matters worse the moon disappeared behind the clouds leaving them in the dark. Torches were brought and Corwynn started to organize the group to head upstream to see if they could find anything. They were interrupted again by the sound of a loud scream from the village, and this time it was accompanied by a darker and more bestial sounding growl. They ran back to the village to find that another crowd had gathered.
THOMAS: ’What’s going on, here?!’
VILLAGER: ‘There was a beastie, here! Did you no see it?’
ERLEND: ‘Is anyone hurt?’
VILLAGER: ‘Maighread, here, was grabbed. Her wrist is hurt!’
The woman Maighread stood nearby in silence and held her wrist. Her clothes were soiled with mud.
ERLEND: (speaking to Maighread) ‘Here, Let me look at that.’
OTHER VILLAGER: ‘No diabolist is going to touch my wife!’
ERLEND: (offended) ’I’m no diabolist! I’m a true monk!’
THOMAS: (afraid of the villagers turning against them because of rumours) ‘Barra! Tell them we mean no harm!’
Barra moved to the centre of the crowd and pleaded for calm. Then he informed the villagers that he had been to Ken Muir with the men and could vouch for them as good Christians. He explained how they had found the body of Eileen (leaving out the more sordid details) and had come here to help the village, and that they should put their trust in them. With his explanation the crowd relaxed.
One of the village men then described the sticky man. He described it as a beast-like man, covered in mud but with sticks and straw sticking out at odd angles here and there. The creature had grabbed Maighread’s wrist, causing her to scream. She hit it with a bucket she had been carrying in her other hand. The creature backed off, then fled as the crowd of villagers ran up to her.
Looking around on the ground they found some barefoot tracks. These led in an irregular fashion through the village to the northeast. The crowd of villagers huddled together, asking many questions about where the beast had come from and why it was in the village. Somebody asked if Good Friday was the night of the resurrection, and this reminded Thomas of the monk.
THOMAS: ‘Tancredus! Has anyone thought to check on him at the church? Brother Erlend, you lead the way! Domhnail! You stay here and help protect the village!’
Thomas, Erlend, and Corwynn marched up the trail to the church with lanterns in hand. They creaked open the low wooden gate and entered the churchyard. All was dark but for a single light coming from Tancredus’ room in the manse. Acting on a hunch, they circled the churchyard to the graves to inspect the grave of Brother Noilus. What they found was a disturbed pile of earth, as if something had erupted from the ground!
THOMAS: ‘Noilus has emerged from the ground to haunt the village! What should we do, Brother Erlend!’
ERLEND: ‘Listen, was that the sound of a door closing?’
CORWYNN: ’It’s Tancredus! I’ll go this way around the church, you two go the other way!’
Corwynn rounded the church and nearly barrelled into Brother Tancredus who held an armful of large books. The poor monk was so startled he dropped them and the candle he was holding.
TANCREDUS: ‘Bless me! Look what you made me do! What are you doing sneaking around here in the night?’
CORWYNN: ‘Brother Tancredus, what are you doing out here at night with all these books?
TANCREDUS: ’I had them in the manse to fill out the register to record Noilus’ death and to write a letter informing the Abbott. Dear me. Help me pick them up, will you?’
CORWYNN: (kneeling to pick up the books) ‘Did you know that there is no body in Noilus’ grave?’
TANCREDUS: ‘Oh, pish! Don’t start that again!’
CORWYNN: No, really! There’s a gaping hole where the grave should be!’
TANCREDUS: (gasping under the weight of the books) ‘What are you babbling about?!’
CORWYNN: ‘Follow me, I’ll show you!’
TANCREDUS: ‘Well, let me put these away first!’
Tancredus placed the books inside the church just as Thomas and Erlend arrived. Tancredus gave them a scowl, but followed the three of them out into the churchyard where he was confronted by the disrupted grave of Noilus.
TANCREDUS: ‘Ach! Now who did that?! This is getting embarrassing!’
CORWYNN: ‘Whatever came out of this grave has attacked the villagers this night.’
TANCREDUS: ‘Attacked? What do you mean?’
Corwynn described what had happened in the village.
TANCREDUS: ‘This is most unbelievable! Are the villeins all right?’
CORWYNN: ’They’re shaken, for sure.’
TANCREDUS: (expressing concern) ’They’ll need me. I’d best go down to the village myself.’
CORWYNN: ‘You should also know that we took Barra back to Ken Muir with us and he identified the body that we found. It was indeed Eileen, as we tried to tell you!’
TANCREDUS: ‘But I buried her with my own hands!’
CORWYNN: ‘True, but you can’t watch the graves all day and night. You also buried Noilus while we watched, and yet his grave has been disrupted, too. There are many things that will happen in this world without our seeing.’
TANCREDUS: (looking relieved) ‘True, true. We should go to the village, then.’
When they reached the village things had calmed down, but several of the village men had gone off to scout around and see that the perimeter was safe. Corwynn told those who remained that Noilus’ grave and now empty and a new panic was started. There were many calls for people to stay inside and lock their doors, but since no one house was big enough there was much argument over where to go. Someone suggested going up to the church since it was the only place big enough to hold them all. Others said they would not go up there. Through all this Tancredus expressed surprise, shock, confusion, and above all, concern. It seemed to Erlend, who was especially empathic, that he truly wanted to take charge and tell people what to do, but had no idea what to tell them.
While all this was happening, Barra and one of the other men of the village came running up to the house.
BARRA: (shouting in panic) ‘Something got Willie! He was right behind us on the trail near the woods – then he was gone! There was the sound of crashing through the trees, but no sign of anybody when we looked!’
CORWYNN: ‘Quick – we should go and search! We should all go – nobody stays behind! It’s too risky. Gather everyone up!’
They gathered all the remaining villagers and began to head up to where the man Willie was last seen.
Suspicious of Tancredus carrying books around at night, Corwynn and Thomas decided to leave the group and head up to the church again to examine the books that he had been carrying. Upon arrival Thomas looked at the books again. One of them he had seen before – it was the one written in Greek. A second book was the church registry, a rather large tome which recorded the births and deaths of the parish and all of the accounts from the lands it held. Tucked inside this was a terse letter written to Abbot Muiredach of Iona, informing him of the death of Noilus and requesting a new groundskeeper. The remaining book contained mostly empty pages, but the first twenty or so were written in a slightly sloppy Latin. They discussed a variety of religious matters, including the Gospel of Thomas and others. It appeared to be a thesis of sorts on aspects of Christianity, but it was rough and incomplete. Thomas surmised it was a book in progress being written by Tancredus himself.
Meanwhile, Erlend and Domhnail stayed with Tancredus and the villagers as they headed for the spot Willie had last been seen. They found some tracks leading into the woods and down to the burn, which they followed. Once they reached the edge of the burn they fanned out to search around, and eventually they found the body of Willie. Many of his bones had been broken, and this greatly increased the anxiety of the crowd.
TANCREDUS: (shouting out a desperate plan to the villagers) ’We’re not safe! We should all go to the church where the Good Lord and sacred ground will protect us!’
ERLEND: ‘Er, Tancredus, about this sacred ground I feel there is something I should tell you.’
TANCREDUS: ‘What would that be, Brother Erlend?’
Erlend was about to say something about the taint of the holy water when he realized that the entire village hanging on his next words. Since the anxiety level was already high, he decided to keep this news to himself.’
ERLEND: ‘Eh, well, remind me later that I have something to tell you.’
With that the crowd of villagers, most of them carrying torches, gathered up and headed for the church en masse to barricade themselves inside for the night.
HISTORICAL NOTES: This map from the late 1800’s shows the location of the vill of bogue (now a farmstead) and the ancient churchyard to the northwest of the vill. The run of the burn can also been seen. Just try to imagine more forest.
As for the church itself, it would look much like the medieval church of the same period excavated at modern Barhobble in Wigtownshire. In our imaginary St. Lasar’s Kirk, the altar is located where the screen is shown in the picture below and there is no screen and the window at the back of the church is slightly larger.