Setting themselves up within the Temple of Trell, the group prepared to meet the skeletal horde of the catacombs as the huge cover stone seemed to melt before their eyes. As the skeletons began to make their way through the new opening Soldier and Hatter moved to block them off as Q leaped to the top of the alter, causing an explosion upon himself that scattered nearly all the skeletons to burning dust.
The main skeleton then touched the alter with his staff, and melted Q into the alter, trapping him. The long dead priest was then destroyed soundly by Soldier and Dirk, and the long quiet returned to the tomb. A horde of magical and imbuable items was pulled up from underneath, including a set of rings that Hatter assumes are wedding rings (and an engagement ring), and a spyglass that can see magical auras.
As Q took most of the items to his wagon for identification, Soldier, Hatter, and Dirk sought out a guard that they could interrogate. Finding one alone (named simply Number Four), they liked his intelligence enough to give him the three blue shards and see what he remembered.
Number Four remembered a few things of note, including attempting to draw out a dragon (“so my master could touch him, or put something on him”) with guard Number Two, and that guard Number Three was not in the barracks during The Awakening, but rather woke up in the courtyard in full guard regalia. He then mentioned that Aquilinus had given orders that no one was to be allowed into the barracks. These two items were enough to spur them into wanting to storm the barracks for answers. Hatter convinced the guard that he didn’t want to be involved in whatever went down at the barracks, and the guard
Aquilinus was none too pleased to see them barging into the barracks, but reluctantly allowed them back into his office. Q quick noticed (with the help of magic) that a thin book was hidden under papers. He and Dirk attempted a ruse to distract the Captain and knock the book on the floor and into Hatter’s hands during the pickup, but Aquilinus quickly grabbed the book back and shoved it in a drawer. The group threatened and coerced, and finally Aquilinus was willing to talk, but only with Soldier and Q out of the room.
Hatter and Dirk convinced him that they did not seek his removal or imprisonment (or death), but rather simply answers. Aquilinus finally admitted that among his memories were his name (he is not really Aquilinus), and that he was the leader of Vitellian’s troops before coming to this village. He and his men took over the guard when Vitellian took over, and he regretted remembering sending many people ‘to their deaths’. He admitted not knowing whether he intended to stay in Highpeak, but that if he did, he wanted to be in control.
Dirk admitted that so far, Not-Aquilinus was doing a fine job of keeping order in the village, and of trying to get things back working… so it was decided that for the moment, the group had no issue with Not-Aquilinus staying in command, and no one needed to know about his false identity.
Soldier had noticed, with the help of the spyglass, that Not-Aquilinus carried multiple enchanted items upon his person, so upon reentering she demanded to know about his items, especially the ring. He admitted that the ring seemed to convey a resistance to fire, and that the boots gave him better footing. Of his sword, he only mentioned that it was enchanted. He mentioned that all of them seemed weaker since The Awakening.
After leaving the barracks, Dirk journeyed to the ‘sacrifice spot’ within the mountains, finding nothing of real interest other than the skeletons (or bodies) of a dozen or so horses. Q went to work enchanting, Hatter went to visit Helesse, asking her to keep an eye on Not-Aquilinus and be on the lookout for his hidden book, and Soldier went to the graveyard to exhume the bodies of the three other people from the Consul Office (her presumed two companions and the other unknown body from inside). Study by the Priest of Daneel showed that ‘Coricus’ and the unknown man may not have died from either their weapon wounds nor the fire, but of some unknown cause.
Plans were made to head to the fortress in the morning.