Investigation

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Entry 1779 30/05/07 00:00
Up the dusty hill trudged a small band of soldiers and mercenaries, acting as reinforcements for the mysterious Fort Ralzain on the mysterious island of Curin. Guards from the fort peered over the battlements at the troop but their faces were blank. They did not cheer or boo the newcomers. They simply watched silently. 

At the head of this troop was Captain Lionel Murdock himself, second only to the Vice-General and the General of Central. Cold wind caught his lengthy brown hair, but it did not phase him. His face remained a determined frown as they neared the front gate. 

He turned back around once they reached the top. "Mercenaries, form one line beside me!" he ordered.
 
Entry 1780 30/05/07 00:00
Daven was part of the line. He had a slightly bored expression. He was only there purely for the money, nothing more, so he ended up bored by it.

He watched the Captain, wondering what the next order would be.
 
Entry 1781 31/05/07 00:00
Murdock glanced down the line on his right and then back towards the rest of the group that were official guards. He turned back around and looked up at the fort. Two men were exiting and approaching him. 

"That's all you brought?" cried one. "We'll need more than that!"

The other soldier nudged his partner and cleared his throat. "Ahem, Captain Murdock," he saluted, "Welcome to Fort Ralzain. You have all been briefed, I assume. You can speak with our commander within the hour. There are two living quarters dedicated to you and your troop; areas B3 and B4 in the west wing. Any questions?"

"Yes," Murdock said. 

"And what is that?"

"Would you move out of my way now?" Murdock muttered. 

The two soldiers quickly shuffled to one side and Murdock went into the fort, motioning for his troop to follow him. 

[1]
 
Entry 1782 01/06/07 00:00
(Don't you mean 'The Wasteland'?)

Aren't soldiers usually more disciplined? Daven wondered silently. He followed Murdock. I wonder what the first one meant.
 
Entry 1783 02/06/07 00:00
The dedicated quarters were cosy and rather untidy. A few chairs were on the floor, tapestries were torn, pieces of ceramics lay scattered about, and the door didn't even have a handle. Murdock seemed utterly unimpressed as they all entered the quarters. He was acting as though he didn't even want to be there, but then who would?

"All right," he said. "Mercenaries are in this one. My men are in the other room through that door there. I'm going to see the commander here and resume his duties for a while. Actually, I might need a couple of you to accompany me. Any volunteers?"

[1]
 
Entry 1784 02/06/07 00:00
[1]

Daven had been surprised at the conditions of the quarters they had been assigned to. He had been under the impression that the officers would go berserk over something left in this state. 

Something isn't right here...

"I volunteer." Daven muttered, still loud enough for Murdock to hear. "I need something to do, as opposed to 'settling in'."

He looked at the Captain's face carefully, wondering what his thoughts were. His head was tilted to the side in thought.
 
Entry 1785 06/06/07 00:00
Murdock coughed at Daven's comment, apparently finding it amusing. He and Daven followed one of the other soldiers back into the passageway, into a stairwell, and after they had ascended a couple of floors they came out into another long hallway with doors on either side. The farthest door on the left was the one they were taken to.

The soldier knocked and asked, "Sir? Captain Murdock is here to see you." There was a only silence, and then the soldier opened the door for them. "Enter."

Murdock walked into the dark room and stood in the middle of it, eying the man at the table, who turned around to stare at them through tired eyes. 

"I'm here to relieve you of your duties," Murdock said, glancing at Daven as if to say, 'what a slob'. 

"Oh, that's not possible," the commander replied worriedly. "I'm afraid... You don't know anything. You need to know what's going on here to be able to give my men orders, and you, sir, have no idea!"
 
Entry 1786 08/06/07 00:00
Daven raised an eyebrow at Murdock's glance, hinting his surprise at the Captain's state.

"What has been going on then?" He asked. His stance was casual, almost derisive, but his eyes sparked with curiosity. "Soldiers don't normally seem so...disorganised."

And more to the point, why are you in any more state to lead than the commander? Daven thought to himself. Something bad must have happened to this place.

He stared at the Captain, his eyes probing.
 
Entry 1787 22/06/07 00:00
"What a bizarre question!" replied the commander after a moment of silence. 

"I'm sorry to hear how little faith you have in the first Captain of Lyte," Murdock said to the commander. "I'm also afraid you have no choice in the matter. I am aware I don't know what's going on, and that's my very reason for taking your position. Do I make myself clear? Or shall I have you declared insane?"

The commander frowned at this, and he opened his mouth to speak but no words came from his parched lips. He simply stood and left the room. Murdock turned to face Daven and then went to sit at the commander's desk. He lifted up some papers, read them furtively, and looked back towards Daven. 

"You are my personal bodyguard and first commander now," he said. "Any objections? And, 'I'm a mercenary' won't get you out of this one either."
 
Entry 1788 22/06/07 00:00
Daven's eyes had followed the previous commander out of the room, staring sharply. In my employer's place, I would have already declared him insane...

"No objections." Daven responded, smirking slightly. "But I think your troops will have many at being commanded by a mercenary."

He looked at Murdock. "Their loss, I guess?"

His eyes turned to the papers that Murdock had read carefully. He raised an eyebrow, curious, but not probing. "Any theories on what may have happened?"
 
Entry 1789 03/07/07 00:00
"The men are confused," Murdock said, moving to a window and peering out. "They need someone who at least puts on a brave face." He turned to Daven. "You do a decent job, it seems. I don't have to remind you of the pay that anyone who comes here receives, do I? It's... remarkable, to say the least. The men need to think of money. Nothing else will keep them safer, right now."

He looked back out of the window and his gaze lowered, as though something on the ground caught his sight. 

"No theories yet. A theory is an assumption based on fragments of facts. I need to ask you to consult the fort's blacksmith, assuming they DO have one. I've got some things to tidy up in here, so make your leave when you are ready. Just ask for directions if you get lost. I'm hoping the other soldiers here aren't as delirious as their commander."
 
Entry 1790 05/07/07 00:00
"Money will keep them motivated, against almost anything." Daven remarked as he stood to leave the room. "I will remind them of that when they need it."

He paused at the door. "Perhaps I can find out what we're up against." He murmured, loud enough for the commander to hear. "While they may not tell it to a commander out of fear of beiong thought insane, they may tell it to a nameless mercenary without any obvious rank."

"I shall try and find the possible blacksmith. Perhaps he will be more organise than the soldiers he forges for." Daven left the room.
 
Entry 1791 07/07/07 00:00
Daven was on the side of a long hall lined with columns and lit by a few braziers. There were half a dozen doors along this side and the opposite side, the door to the left by which they entered, and some stairwells on the right. There was nobody in immediate sight to ask for directions and all was oddly silent.

[1]
 
Entry 1792 07/07/07 00:00
Daven walked slowly, his footsteps seemingly booming in the silence. The first room he checked had been the galley and he had moved on, knowing the Blacksmith (if there was one) probably wouldn't be there.

The next few rooms brought him no luck except for small groups of the demoralised soldiers. Not wanting to try and talk to them without having found out what had broken them, he continued searching through the rooms for the blacksmith.

What could have so badly broken these soldiers... He opened another door, coming across another a pair of soldiers.

"Either of you able to tell me where the blacksmith is?"
 
Entry 1793 13/07/07 00:00
Both soldiers turned to face Daven, both looking rather startled and dumbfounded. 

"Oh, uh..." muttered one. "Down the east stairwell back out in the hall. He's on the level beneath us."

"Just follow the smell," said the other with a laugh, and the first soldier laughed with him. "The smell of smoke, I mean."

And they walked off with their nervous laughter and left Daven alone again.
 
Entry 1794 25/07/07 00:00
Am I really that unusual? Daven wondered sarcastically. Though it's clearly obvious I'm not the problem. He began walking quietly in the direction of the aforementioned east stairwell, noticing small groups of soldiers moving around with no clear direction.

I thought soldiers were battle-hardened and organised. These guys make mercenaries look perfectionist. His thoughts were sharp as he walked down the stairs.

But perhaps this blacksmith can help me. He did follow the smell, as the soldier suggested. After a few mistakes, he opened the door to the smith.

"My dear blacksmith...can I bother you for a period of time?"
 
Entry 1795 27/07/07 00:00
A huge man with a round face and narrow eyes looked up at Daven. For at least two minutes, he stared, his sweaty bulk gently moving as he heaved each breath, and then he spoke in a surprisingly small voice. 

"You already have bothered me," he muttered, obviously annoyed but not going back to his work. "You must be one of the new ones. Waddya want?"
 
Entry 1796 27/07/07 00:00
"More like what the new commander wants." Daven responded, raising an eyebrow at the man. "But what I would like to know is what has been happening around here?"

"Soldiers are generally organised, far more than mercenaries. The ones here seem to have broken that tradition." His voice was blunt, his eyes staring straight at the blacksmith. He crossed his arms over his chest. "You don't seem to be in the same state."

"I'm a mercenary, and I'm amazed at the state these soldiers are in." He added. "I'm here for the money, I would have thought that even soldiers would remember the money and stay moralised."
 
Entry 1797 10/08/07 00:00
"What's been happening? What's been happening?!" the blacksmith mocked, and though he rolled back and forth and wheezed, it appeared he was actually laughing. 

He pointed a fat finger to a plate cuirass on a nearby anvil. It was heavy blemished and had large gashes through it, that seemingly required no effort to make. The smith went and turned it over in his hands, shaking his head. 

"This is beyond repair, and I needn't explain the state of the soldier that was wearing this, aye?" He dropped it back on the anvil with a clatter. "Money does nothing to men when they see this kind of thing. People here are so scared they're going insane. I mean, the only reason they stay here is for the pay. But seeing the fate of soldiers here, would you say it's worth it, lad?"
 
Latest Post Entry 1798 17/08/07 00:00
Daven raised a furry eyebrow as the blacksmith went to the armour. As he picked up the cuirass, Daven widened his eyes at the gashes and winced slightly. He moved over to the armour to exam it more carefully.

"It would depend." He began his answer to the blacksmith's question. "Being what I am, I would say that it would be worth it. But I have little choice. A soldier, on the other hand, probably would."

He tapped the armour with his claw. "However enough money can tempt even the most fearful into doing just about anything. I'm willing to admit that our new commander will go to such lengths, he probably needs to."
 
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