The group converged upon the eastern square, where they found Sgt. Pulcher and his men setting houses afire (with help from casks of oil) and beating and poking innocent villagers. Quickly realizing that the fortress men were under some form of mind control, and that Pulcher’s glowing helmet was likely the cause, the group did their best to not inflict permanent harm upon the men, and brought Pulcher down. Ripping off his helmet, they discovered a glowing blue crystal shard.
Soldier removed the shard carefully, which caused the glow to cease and the soldiers that were still fighting suddenly shook themselves free of the effect.
They passed the shard, regaining memories. Q told a tale of remembering ordering men to kill a wounded dragon that had a controlling shard upon it, and of his old master, Vitellian, placing the curse upon him that made others find him untrustworthy and ugly. Soldier told of a new memory with Hatter leading her and her two men through the village at night, and mentioning the specific people that were ‘with’ him: the Ricimers, Aquilinus, and the old Consul’s daughter. Dirk had memories of his men, of riding into a demon-infested town, and an odd memory of Hatter and he about to fight (later further confirming Dirk’s thought that he had been under mind control, and may have been the one to take Lefty’s hand). Aquilinus only mentioned remembering being forced to do the bidding of “Consul Vitellian.”
The villagers were safe and without harm, but two houses took damage, and the warehouse was burning. Under urging from Aquilinus, Q made himself immune to the raging fires and went into the warehouse, rolling barrel after barrel out into the courtyard. As the village put out the fires, the group walked the roads and perimeters with the guard, to make sure that no one else was going to cause trouble that night.
Finally, they slept a few, fitful hours.
In the morning the group met briefly with Aquilinus and Helesse, discussing their plans. The group wished to share the blue shards with nearly all in the town, but Aquilinus requested that they not give them to his soldiers, fearing confusion and a decrease in a respect for his authority. They switched the thought to giving the shards to the important people of the town, the crafters and leaders among them.
The group made their way over to the temple of Bisd to meet with the fortress soldiers that they had fought the night before. Pulcher expressed remorse over his actions, but Hatter quickly snapped him back and threw questions at him. Pulcher told his story:
A black form entered the fortress, and seemed nearly immune to their blades, pushing them back easily. The form grabbed Captain Rex and instantly had control of him, which slowly spread to all the people of the fortress. The form and Rex spoke then, but all Pulcher heard was when Rex pointed at him and said “there is your distraction.” Pulcher then had a blue shard placed upon his head.
He gathered his men and set out from the fortress with the black form accompanying. They came upon a man on the road, and the form took him over with a shard, and after a brief talk, the new man said “a chest, yes.” They headed west as Pulcher waited a set amount of time before starting to burn and harass the people.
At the word “chest,” Hatter set off at a run to the store, quite startling Pen as he barged in. He found the metal chest of gray stones still under his bed, untouched. When he checked the old Consul building, where the chest came from, he found evidence of someone having gone through the rubble looking for something, and then moving away to the south.
During the next few hours, they spread about the village and interviewed everyone. They questioned where they woke on the night of the Consul Building fire, and what they may know. The local drunkard said he woke covered in blankets outside the public kitchen, various craftsmen said they knew what they did simply because they woke up within their house/workroom, and Atticus the beggar aroused suspicions with a few of the members of the group, but he would admit to nothing else but his story of waking beside the warehouse with the accouterments of a beggar.
The woman from the locked house remembered being the butcher (and her husband telling her not to be), and Lefty remembered his name: Aquilinus. And while he remembered having brothers (all in the guard), this (when added to the memory of Vitellian firing him) cast doubt on the true identity of Captain Aquilinus. Lefty Aquilinus also remembered his house, the house that the woman was locked in with Soldier’s equipment in the hidden basement.
Hatter floated the idea of abducting Captain Aquilinus and interrogating him, but the other members of the group convinced him that they had no real proof against him, and he should just be watched closely.
After lunch the group ventured into the sealed up temple of Trell, discovering an empty place cleaned out long ago. Moving a giant slab of rock they discovered the entrance to the catacombs, and the skeletons within that wanted out. Q’s staff put a quick end to the initial skeletons, and they explored the long hall, finding a set of stone doors at the end.
These doors led into a great tomb filled with coffins. At the far end sat two larger coffins and a pile of discarded items, presumed to be the cast away enchanted items from the town of long ago.
Hatter made his way across the room, and even as the coffins all about him began to open, he charged straight to the pile of items and grabbed a wooden staff as the skeleton from one of the large coffins arose. Hatter dropped his torch into the arising skeleton’s coffin and ran with the staff, a beam of ice shooting beside him as he ran. The group slammed the doors and blocked them as they could, making their way quickly back to the stairs and the temple proper. The stone slab was put back into place, and they waited.
After waiting a moment, the slab itself seemed to melt and open, and the skeletons were free.