Whodunnit

Whodunnit
Summary: Coriaria is in the care of Mother Superior Tylon, in the infirmary of the temple of the Four. A bandaged up Alyona teams up with a disraught Castor to begin the search for answers
Date: 02/06/2013
Related: Black Lavender and Old Lace
Players:
Castor Alyona Tylon 

Temple Commons, Temple of the Four
Slightly vaulted ceilings continue into the common room of the Temple of Four. The common room begins the area of the Temple that serves as living quarters for the Covenant and Chosen of the Four. Before the hearth that usually has a fire within it, a small collection of tables and benches for the residents of the temple to share meals, give and take lessons, or simply take a break from the day.

Along the far wall to the west are several alcoves that serve as kitchen and several panties. And to the east a doorway to a long hallway can be spotted. Off of the hallway are the individual quarters for the Priests and Priestess and their Chosen along with the group rooms for the orphans and Acolytes.

2nd June, 1329

Alyona the Still is in a rare state. A fury, even.

Typically, the Chosen being in a fury means there is someone dead upon the floor, or someone about to be dead upon the floor. Instead, both of her hands are wrapped in dripping salve and expertly incapacitated by bandages. She is so far past 'brooding' that the pretty red-headed acolyte feeding her alternating doses of water and medicine shrinks from her gaze as if afraid she will catch on fire. And otherwise? She is completely still, other than meditatively slow breathing. "And you say the Mother Superior has agreed to a watch?" She asks - well, the room in general. The only sign of urgency is the way that her dark eyes roll towards her currently trussed hands, like a horse ready to break her lead. "Only pairs, I hope. Has the lady's room been searched?"

This is, of course, Alyona the Still in a fury.

"It has not," says a dark voice. It is flat, hard and very, very angry. But the more perceptive of people might hear something more, and see something more in the face that belongs to the voice:

Castor Westmark.

He emerges from the room in the infirmary where his sister is being tended by the Mother Superior, his gait a firm and determined stalk, his face a dark cloud, and his eyes… the eyes of one who has murder in his heart.

And blame.

Guilt.

He still has no cloak (that is with his sister) and his sword and bow are in the armory, but his gloved right hand scarcely strays from his dirk, which he begins to draw out while his other hand reaches for something at his belt.

Poison.

A different kind. Possibly the sort one puts on one's blade when one intends murder.

"I am going there next, Chosen." If words were steel, Castor's would put most swords to shame. He hesitates, as if to say something else - then strides on, straight Alyona and the red-haired acolyte.

"Well, get it searched then." The Chosen says, in what, for her, is a commanding crescendo. That is to say a flat, effective order. Alyona was merely a Chosen, and not meant to be giving orders. A Chosen lieutenant, perhaps. But that is fury. "And someone is protecting the Mother Superior?"

It is the count of two before it sinks in who it was that had answered her, and what it was he said. The Chosen's eyes widen just ever so slightly, and then bandaged hands be damned, she pushes herself out of the seat, brushing a salve-soaked hand up to apologise to the acolyte. To her, in direct, soft murmur. "Ensure that the Mother Superior is guarded, child, if you have to do it yourself with a scalpel and a pan of leeches. With your life, girl. I will not suffer any more of these attacks on my Temple."

The acolyte almost stumbles back a step, hugging the cup of medicine to her chest meekly. Sister Alyona was not one to speak so much, or so harshly, after all. It is very easy to overlook your strict orders not to let her out of a chair when she gave such strict ones in return. She recovers her voice: "But Sister, you need rest, the poison…!"

The words fall on blind ears, for in a few strides Alyona is at Castor's side, matching his gait evenly. "Get my gloves out of my belt." She instructs, gesturing an elbow down to her waist. A pair of leather gloves - ones that, were she in the habit of eating breakfast with them on, would have saved a lot of trouble - are clipped near her saber pommel. "You can't just go upending the entire Temple. And certainly not on no sleep."

Castor would have walked straight on past the Chosen (or rather, he would have tried to), were it not for a voice calling behind him - that of the Mother Superior, just loud enough to be heard without actually being 'load'. How she manages to project her voice with such authority (and not shout) elicits a wide-eye from the Westmark boy… as well as stops him in his tracks.

"Do not go alone!" she commands in that tone of voice which implies it is not the first time she has said this. Then, it is quiet again. Castor, shoulders heaving with each breath, stays there motionless - his eyes closed, his teeth gritted.

He looks sidelong - just with his eyes - at Alyona.

For a second, only a second, there is nothing but anger, pain and guilt in those dark blue eyes of his… then his brow creases. Shame replaces wrath. His gaze softens - only minutely - and he draws in a long, shuddering breath through his nose, and expels it through his mouth.

"Aye, Mother Superior!" he calls back over his shoulder. "I… I'm sorry." He is still looking at Alyona, and those words carry more weight than just an apology for trying to run off. Much more. Even if his lips cannot say it, his eyes do: help. It is as though the poor boy has no idea how to ask for assistance, at least in this case when his world is turned upside down…

…and not for the first time.

Not like he had a choice. If she is was like a rock in a the flighty stream of youth earlier, now Alyona is like a boulder rolling down a hill. She pauses, her eyes flickering over his face appraisingly as he finally shows some shame, and as his haughty teenaged nobility falters. She just nods. An unspoken question gets an unspoken answer. Well, really no reason to call him out.

She has less patience for her instructions being ignored. "My gloves, please?" She repeats, holding up her bandaged hands as evidence that she is, at the moment, quite incapable of undoing the clip by herself. Then she turns to keep walking towards the guest quarters.

"Aye, Chosen. Of course."

Castor turns to face the woman and quietly assists her with her gloves. He does not look up. Does not meet her eye. He couldn't if he wanted to. His features are a storm of emotions, a troubled sea with each wave veritable at war with each other, as if the ocean were trying to break itself.

By the time he moves to follow the Chosen to his sister's quarters, there is gratitude in his face. Gratitude for not berating him, or 'asking the question'. Gratitude for letting the hot-headed youth get control of himself.

"Who would have access to a guest's quarters, here?" he asks in a murmur from Alyona's side. His eyes are everywhere now, his fingers drumming on the pommel of his dirk - the vial of poison with which he was about to lace the knife is already back in its pouch. For the moment, he is the Chosen's… Chosen. Or so his actions imply.

He pauses.

"Thank you, by the way," he utters softly. "For helping Cricket. Helping me. I… won't forget it."

From everything he has read about black lavender, and certainly from the evidence in his sister's sickroom, this is not the most pleasant of topical poisonings. Even the mild amount Alyona experienced would certainly lead to boils and lesions by this point, regardless of salve. Coriaria certainly would have tried to tear off every bandage put in place until finally sedated, before he was expelled from her room. Still, when he assists with the Chosen's gloves, there is no more than a slight tightening of her eyes in reaction, a crinkle of crow's feet, a tug of that old scar. Nothing more.

She flexes her fingers a few times, into a fist and then out, as they walk, like a knight trying on a new gauntlet. Then, of all things, she smiles, gently. Her hand settles on his arm, for just a bare second, a butterfly's touch of sympathy. Her eyes catch the vial of poison, but again, she says nothing. "Of course, son. I'm so very sorry it happened." And she means it, too. That tightness in her eyes again, a flicker of pure wrath that this happened like the fire upon the altar of Ravas. The emotion burns itself out quickly.

"That, I do not know. The Mother Superior set guards upon your family's rooms while you slept. They reported seeing no one but you four." Alyona gestures slightly as they reach the door. "You will be better equipped to go first." Her hand rests ready over the pommel of her own dirk, but it does not take much to see that it is difficult for her hand to tighten completely around the hilt. She is not much use if there is a fight.

Castor nods.

There is a whisper of steel against leather when he draws his dirk, and he reaches for the door with his free hand. The door opens with only a slight noise, and Castor steps into the room.

It is empty.

The room is more or less identical to the other guest quarters in the temple - juts like Castor's own room - however, Coriaria has lent it her 'touch' by putting some of her things about, making slight adjustments.

As the young Westmark had expected, everything in the room is tidy, clean, ordered - just like Cricket. Cas lets out a breath.

"I do not know how she does it," he murmurs. "But everywhere we go she makes her room… feel like hers." He walks to the window (which is closed) and then starts searching the small wardrobe where his sister has put some of her dresses.

Cas swallows.

"Chosen - Alyona - it is not just the chemise that was poisoned…"

TO BE CONTINUED…

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