Quaesitor Columbanus and Vladimir ex Tytalus head down towards Nottingham with several companions and grogs to investigate the serial killings which have occurred between Lincoln and Nottingham. Seven Barons have been murdered, their hearts removed (which prevents them rising as undead the following morning) and various other abuses performed on their bodies. On nearing Nottingham, they hear more detailed stories, involving the deaths of quite a few people along with the Barons by a killer being described as a she-devil.
They head to Southwell Minster first, where some priests have been reported to have been killed as well. On arrival, they find a couple of priests at the cathedral unpacking some crates of silverware and other valuables, and Sir Karl Erik discovers from them that it is valuables which the Baron had previously stolen from the Cathedral which the priests are reclaiming now that he and his wife are dead. The Baron had also killed a priest here, when the priest had objected to the taking of the valuables.
At the manor, they discover that both the Baron and his wife have had their hearts and eyes removed, and they had also been skinned - their skins were stuffed down each others throats. The Baron had heard of the killings over the previous few nights, and had forced two of the priests up to the manor to give holy protection, as well as many guards. All had been killed with a sharp bladed weapon.
Investigating the other killings as they had towards Nottingham, it becomes apparent that the methods had become more extreme after each night, but all the Barons seem to have had a reputation of causing harm to the Church, normally due to theft of valuables and relics. The accounts of surviving witnesses leads the magi to think that the assassin may have been one of the Avenging Angels that had taken over Bullington Abbey 5 years ago. She may be hunting down those who have sinned against the Church.
The last site visited before reaching Nottingham was Basford, where the local Baron had been filleted and killed in front of his pregnant wife by the she-devil. She was taken down to the chapel, forced to share his blood and her baby was cut out of her and taken away. She was left to die, but rose the following morning and was able to describe the events.
At Nottingham, the magi are searching for a woman with a baby, and Marigold is able to discover that the priest of St Peter's church, Father Matthew, had taken a child to the orphanage to be looked after. Karl Eric goes to talk to the priest, who is welcoming until he asks about a missing child, at which point Father Matthew immediately denies having seen anyone, and declares that there is nowhere in Nottingham where such a child might be taken. The Father also looks like he has been sunburnt recently.
The magi decide to cloak themselves with invisibility and see what the priest gets up to. A short while later, he is seen leaving the church carrying a bundle, heading round to a door that probably leads down into a crypt. As he is fiddling with a lantern, Columbanus flies down, grabs the bundle and flies off with it. The priest is horrified at the sight of the bundle seemingly flying up into the sky by itself.
At that point Vladimir tries to put on a deep voice and demand that the priest confess his sins. Initially taken in, Father Matthew falls down on his knees at the sound of the invisible voice and begs for forgiveness, since he has failed in his duties, but that he has tried to do everything that he was asked. After a while though, he gets suspicious and decides that the invisible voice is probably a demon, and tries to pray for its banishment.
Meanwhile, Columbanus has found somewhere safe to unwrap the bundle, discovering that it is a bell, with a handle crafted from animal horn. There are two inscriptions on the bell, the first on the inside reads “Ⲡə ⲧʲⲟⲉⲓⲥ ⲛⲁ-ⲕⲣⲓⲛⲉ əⲛⲛəⲖⲁⲟⲥ”, the second is around the handle which is “Ϧⲉⲛ ⳿ⲫⲣⲁⲛ ⳿ⲙ⳿Ⲫⲓⲱⲧ ⲛⲉⲙ ⳿Ⲡϣⲏⲣⲓ ⲛⲉⲙ Ⲡⲓ⳿ⲡⲛⲉⲩⲙⲁ ⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲟⲩⲛⲟⲩϯ ⳿ⲛⲟⲩⲱⲧ. Ⲁⲙⲏⲛ”. Not recognising the script or language, he is unable to decipher it. However, he does remember that there was a holy relic that supposedly had the power to dispel magic and magical creatures at Wakefield.
Vladimir ex Tytalus decides to leave the priest alone and flies up into the air, and is briefly aware of another figure moving in under him towards the priest. Looking back, he sees the priest fall forward and a slight cloaked figure standing over him. The figure move into the crypt out of site, though there is a glint of a weapon in its hand.
Vladimir magically lifts the priest's body up towards him, though he fails to turn it invisible. It is noted by a couple of passers by, but he quickly flies the corpse out of the city and hides it up a tree.
Meanwhile, Columbanus is burying the bell under another tree.
They head back to the Trip to Jerusalem inn in the city to meet up with everyone else and share information. It is decided that they probably need to rescue the baby from the orphanage, so Sir Karl Eric and Marigold head down to it and manage to talk the women there into given over the baby, as well as providing them with a wet nurse for a reasonable number of coins.
After some discussion, it is decided that they need to investigate the crypt and try to locate the attacker, who is thought to be one of the demonic 'nuns' from Bullington Abbey. On arrival back at the church though, they notice that people are pouring out of the orphanage, which is now on fire. Survivors claim that an Angel of Death is within.
Shale momentarily fills the building with sand, hoping it will douse the flames (without killing too many people), then he and Sir Karl Eric and Columbanus head inside. There are plenty of dead bodies that appear to have been stabbed, and a young girl who has survived. Karl Eric helps her up, but is stricken with paralysis and she demands to know what has happened to her child. She takes on an angelic form, covered in golden fire which burns the Templar but leaves the two magi unscathed. Before she can do much else though, she is truck down by both Shale and Columbanus, and attempts to dissipate herself.
Shale captures some of her smoke in a glass sphere, though it is later determined that she is probably dead. Left behind is her dagger, which is the same style as those found at Bullington.
Investigation of the crypt turns up nothing much of interest, so they head out to find the bell and the corpse.
The magi determine that the bell itself is about 600 years old, but the handle of goat horn is about 2,700 years old. The Templar thinks it may be related to the horns that were used at Jericho.
By morning the priest has risen from the dead, and they are able to question him (after he is given sufficient encouragement). He claims that the baby and the horn were given to him by an angel, who asked him to look after them, and that the angel claimed that the child was gifted. The magi are unable to find anything unusual about the child however.
They return the child to his mother Eleanor at Basford, then head back to the covenant. It is decided to do nothing with the bell for now (especially not to ring it) until there is time for proper research.
The rest of the season passes mostly uneventfully, though Adric ex Bonisagus of Voluntas covenant turns up in late Autumn seeking a place to stay. He says that Voluntas is no longer suitable, and that the only other member, Corva, has taken to sulking in her sanctum looking after her child, and refuses to speak to anyone. Since Corva has been dead for quite a while, there is some surprise that she has managed to give birth.
Adric is given room, and he brings a large collection of books and scrolls over from Voluntas covenant.
Letter from Nestor ex Tremere of Tablinum
It is with great interest that I received your request for information. We get very little such requests from outside of our House, and even fewer of them are answered. You seem to have made quite an impression on Insidiae however, and she assures me that your request is one that should be honoured. So honour it I do.
It is no secret that we keep many things here at the Oppidum of Tablinum, many of which have yet to be investigated. We are diligent keepers however, and do ensure that everything that we have is labelled, recorded and notes kept safe in our libraries.
There are many layers to the regios that hold our treasures, and their security is of utmost importance. However, there was a gateway to one which we were not aware of, which was found by some crusader mercenaries in the summer of 1205. They did not get far before our wards alerted us to their presence, but one of their number did break an artifact of considerable age. I believe that this is the event that you refer to.
The artifact was a vase, about 13 and one half inches tall and forty four inches around at its widest point. It was decorated on four sides with the face of a lion. The top was sealed with amber, with an inscription upon it as follows: ⲒϨϬ ⲛⲜϬ ⲁⲙⲓⲛ. This is written in Coptic, and translates as “Jesus Christ Amen”.
The base of the vase had the inscription Ϧⲉⲛ ⳿ⲫⲣⲁⲛ ⳿ⲙ⳿Ⲫⲓⲱⲧ ⲛⲉⲙ ⳿Ⲡϣⲏⲣⲓ ⲛⲉⲙ Ⲡⲓ⳿ⲡⲛⲉⲩⲙⲁ ⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲟⲩⲛⲟⲩϯ ⳿ⲛⲟⲩⲱⲧ. Ⲁⲙⲏⲛ. This is also Coptic, and translates as “In the name of the Father, And of the Son, And of the Holy Spirit, One God. Amen.”
It is believed to have been sealed by Divine blessings, and a cursory investigation failed to determine what was inside. It was recovered from the Levant Tribunal, and came to us from Venti Rosa in 1123, from the magus Cupitor ex Mercere who had located it somewhere in Egypt. Unfortunately, our records do not cover its full history prior to it coming into our possession.
Physically, the contents of the vase was a grey dust, most of which was lost. It identified as being of Corpus nature, though further information could not be gleaned. The breaking of the vase caused the release of an infernal spirit, the exact nature of which was never determined. It possessed one of the mercenaries, and seemed to have a desire to cause immediate harm. By the time we arrived on the scene, the mercenary in question was acting irrationally and violently. They were all subdued and the infernal spirit destroyed. Given the newly discovered nature of the artifact, we decided that it was best that the artifact should be destroyed together with any remaining dust that could be gathered. Nothing now remains of the artifact. We now perform regular checks of all the regios to ensure that no further openings are possible without our knowledge.
As regards to the elemental artifacts that have been discovered, we are always willing to take them into safe keeping. Some research has been done on them, but we have not been sure of their importance. If you believe that they are somehow related to the terrible events of the last few years, then researching them may be of greater importance than we imagine.
Demetrius ex Bonisagus has been performing a little research into the icosahedron - we shall try and devote more time to its study based on the latest information from Rellantali covenant.
If you would be willing to deliver what you have into our care, then we would be happy to ensure that they are protected and in an environment where they can be safely researched and monitored. If you would like, we could send a small group to collect it, either directly from yourselves or from Doissetep as I believe that it resides there.
As always, we seek to do what is best for the Order. Transylvania is currently one of the few safe places left in Europe, for we have had no major outbreaks of the Infernal compared to most other Tribunals.
Curator Nestor ex Tremere, Oppidum of Tablinum, MCCXXVIII