Telfor stares long at the pleading priest at his feet, anger rising in response to the offer. He hopes his anger is righteous indignation, but he knows it’s frustration struggling against the temptation over the amount being offered.
Trying to ignore the thoughts, Telfor shifts his focus to listening for Laurin. He wanted to shout for the others but if the prisoner had accomplices they could be alerted, besides which he doubted his voice would even make it through the heavy stone of the building.
“Hey, Cap,” Laurin’s voice rings up through the house seemingly from a lower level, a basement perhaps, “Get the others, I think you’ll want to see this.”
Cursing, Telfor fumbles in the unfamiliar darkness of this strange house for a lamp. Eventually finding one, he lights it finally revealing inside of the house. Grey and barren, it’s eerie. No decorations to be found anywhere. Returning to the entrance, he grips the prisoner beneath his arm and drags him to his feet, his pleas and bargains silent since Laurin’s call. Half leading, half dragging, he takes the priest through to the back door which he unlatches and opens to reveal Jasha and Vahkragg still waiting patiently for the possibility of an escape.
“Come in, Laurin’s found something he wants us to see in the basement.”
The pair enter, Jasha eyeing the prisoner almost disappointedly and Telfor closes the door behind them.
“What did he find?” Jasha asked.
“He didn’t elaborate, just shouted to get you two, that we’d want to see. He’s been down there since.”
Jasha grunts her annoyance. Vahkragg at the same time is forced to stoop at the height of the doorways, almost reaching the roof itself while standing casually.
“I’ll wait here. Watch the prisoner.” He says.
Telfor nods. Probably easier than trying to drag him around and down the stairs. Without any further discussion needed, with Jasha following shortly behind, Telfor lifts the lantern as they search for the source of Laurin’s voice in the grey, dark house.
From the back room, Telfor leads them in the vague direction of the voice. Sticking his head first into a large master bedroom, empty of both Laurin and any sense of life. An office, similarly devoid. And last, the kitchen off the entrance-way. From this cursory pass through there had no sign of Laurin or basement entrance.
“Where are you hiding, Laurin?”
“Kitchen pantry, there’s a cellar entrance.”
Sure enough there was. Telfor took a moment to look before entering, there was no handle on the outside, and he imagined when closed it would fit almost seamlessly with the rest of the floor, especially in the dark. How Laurin could have noticed this, even with his eyes, was a mystery.
Stepping carefully onto the thin, well worn stone steps of the descent he stopped as Jasha’s hand met his shoulder.
“I don’t like this.” She said.
“Neither do I,” he answered, “You can stay up here if you’d prefer.”
She glared defiantly in response, “You know that’s not what I meant.”
He nods. He did know, but it was all he had to offer her. Objections raised, they step down into the dank, stale air off the cellar. What lay below was a fairly standard, if impressively stocked wine cellar. The rock here was much dustier, and worn. The air is cool and damp, with a strange odour to it.
Again, Laurin is not immediately apparent to them as they enter. The rows of wine shelves keep sight lines short and claustrophobic.
The call is answered by his stepping from between two of the far shelves and waving them over. When they meet him, there is nothing but more wine shelves, nothing unusual like they’d been expecting.
“I need your help moving this shelf, it’s not built into the wall like the others.” Laurin says before they can question him, pointing out where the corners of the wood differentiate from the rest.
With a slow nod, Telfor positioned himself on one end of the shelf. Laurin after letting the larger man through started towards the other end, but Jasha pushes him back and out of the way, positioning herself on the other side of her husband.
The air shifted cold momentarily as a trickle of magic was drawn from the ether to strengthen Jasha then together they drag the tall wooden shelf a couple feet away from where the wall should have been. Instead carved into the rock and dirt is another room. Much rougher than the craftsmanship of the house above, this is clearly roughshod, hasty work.
Inside the hidden room a corpse stands, still animate, staring through metal bars towards them.
“God’s blood…” Telfor curses beneath his breath.
The corpse stares in thoughtless hatred. It’s mere presence an abhorrence that beggars belief. How could there be undead in Capital? And in a priest’s house no less. It didn’t make sense.
“Laurin,” Telfor’s voice is low and menacing, “I think you’ve kept me in the dark long enough. How did you know to look for this?”
Laurin sighs, none of his former playfulness present, “I didn’t. Honestly. Not this. I was looking for something, someone, else. My niece went missing some months ago, I’ve been looking for her whenever I could. I’m only here because I ran out of meaningful leads ages ago, now I’m just looking for anything that could be anything.
“I’d heard rumours about the conflict between the church and the crown. People on both sides taking secret actions against the other. Your prisoner is up there is a priest of Anir. Even better secret hoarders than me. I discovered Diatter by accident, we have some mutual acquaintances of a lower quality than most would suspect a priest to be friends with. It was curious, but I had better leads so I didn’t look further into it. When you brought me that contract of yours, it was suddenly strange enough for me to consider looking into. I figured even if it was nothing to do with my goal, it might give me something to trade.
“I never expected this. Gods, I hope my niece’s disappearance had nothing to do with this.”
The plot thickens. More undead, and one right here in Capital, under a priest’s house!? That’s probably a bad thing, I would imagine. Lucky they caught the guy, now everything will be a-ok!