Winter's Harvest: A Gift

Winter's Harvest: A Gift

Postby Niabh » Sat Dec 24, 2016 5:45 pm

A quiet winter morning dawns.

Before the prosperous familial home of Aloisius Treadwell, a blanket of fresh snow lies unblemished. And this, the town guard will remark later, is unfortunate, for the new-fallen snow has filled in footprints and erased the traces that might have been a clue of who and how many.

Standing as it does in the center of this pristine lawn, it would be hard to miss the marble birdbath with its bowl half-filled with dark crimson slush. Through the scrim of ice crystals on its surface protrudes the round white brow of a newborn infant no more than a week old. Its lilac lips are pursed as if in sleep, sealed with a delicate web of rime. Through the near-opaque ice swarms a tangle of ill-defined shapes that resolve themselves to the disbelieving eye as the pale outlines of limbs and miniature innards suspended like savories in aspic.

These things are prosaic: the snow, the bowl, the child. The chill white winter sun regards them all as equals and does not blink, though after a time, as it rises higher and its rays strengthen and stretch, a runnel overflows the lip of the marble basin and a single red star novas in the snow beneath.
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Re: Winter's Harvest: A Gift

Postby Treadwell » Sun Dec 25, 2016 6:25 am

The morning was meant to be a small gathering of the few remaining Tubbian faithful in the town at their leader's house for a meal commemorating the date some years ago when Aloisius Treadwell took on proper leadership of the faith. There was to be a sizable breakfast served in the house. Treadwell's awakening to find this macabre offering led to one running boy's being sent to town to send others to tell his followers the meal was quite off.

Guards were summoned. A pale-faced, furry-robed Treadwell stood alone outside with them, he at his door, they near and around the scene. "Too much snow." "No footprints." An impossible to trace crime. A bird bath to clean carefully.

But first?

An infant to bury. Not one of Treadwell's family, of course, and not one that the Lord Steward consciously recognizes. Meditation on Marta, the Great Mother in the Tubbian faith and to a few isolated pockets of non-Tubbian believers, might bring clarity as to the child's identity, or it might not. That will be for later.

For now?

Instead of sitting to a sizable breakfast ready for service, and completely against Myrken's custom of burning bodies, Treadwell spends the morning sadly and quickly fashioning a coffin while one of the servant staff goes about digging a suitable hole to inter the box. The principles of such are simple: a box, a lid, some hinges, some nails to seal the box shut. In truth, it is quite similar to creating one of the doll houses that sit in the back of the toy shop. By time for lunch, the site is finished, the body and box are buried and the ground filled in and smoothed over, the tomb is marked with a simple unnamed slab, and the solitary head of the Church of Tubbius is holding a brief funeral service, alone.
"Looks like a table to me. Do you think it could hold up someone as bulbous as Treadwell?" -- Dr. Brennan, Myrken Wood Rememdium Edificium
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Re: Winter's Harvest: A Gift

Postby catch » Thu Dec 29, 2016 3:40 am

It may not have been caught had Arin not had been there.

The bringing of meat to the Dagger was not an unusual thing. All sorts of hunters and patrons in the past had brought raw meat, to be turned into something more savory than half-burnt over a fire-pit. The Broken Dagger was many things, and the food was fine enough for those on limited coin, finer still when those who could provided their own supplies. The Dagger need not pay extra for a side of pig, and enough coin was paid to ensure the time, spices, and fuel were never wasted.

"That is man."

Arin had worked for the Burners, the arm of a militia that made certain Myrkenwood's law was upheld in the matter of disposing bodies. Before that he had worked on the Derry lines, knowing enough herb-craft and knife-knowledge to patch wounded on the battlefield and mark they and bodies for recovery. Now he worked as a butcher, and he went on as if he had said nothing, solemnly cutting up the hare he was working on, chak-chak, with his knife.

"Surely, you jest," said the staff, nervous titters and laughter abound. But Arin was not the jesting type, and he shakes his head, pointing at the wad of well-marbled stuff that sat on the counter.

"I've seen enough of shattered men, smelled enough of it in flesh. That's man , mark my word."


The fighting-man, Finn, had gone up to his room. There is talk if they should alert the constables or not.
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Re: Winter's Harvest: A Gift

Postby Caile » Thu Dec 29, 2016 1:42 pm

It had been tidied away quickly enough but not so quickly that rumours did not abound. This was, after all, Myrken Wood and rumours were a thing of currency here. And when there seemed to be proof to support one of the favoured rumours of the realm, well, that spread even more quickly.

Renea hadn't been back in town more than a few moments before those rumours had reached her ears. Treadwell was eating babies. It was nothing she hadn't heard before. She'd been in and out of Myrken Wood for many years after all and even when she was freshly arrived those rumours existed. Now, however, there was talk of bodies left on lawns, mutilated and half eaten, bones with teeth marks discarded in the rubbish heap. Renea's first thought was to discard such things as fancy but the whispers were too many to fully discard.

She took a side trip to visit the guards, some of whom she still had a good relationship with from her days as the Marshall, and they confirmed. An infant in a birdbath. Barely old enough to have drawn breath. A gruesome crime indeed. This was no wild beast attack but something calculated and cold. As much as it would please her to think Treadwell was the man responsible he wasn't so great a buffoon to have left the evidence of the crime so neatly laid upon his own property and then to summon the guard, nor was he so intelligent as to seek to use that method to turn suspicion from himself. No, the man was innocent of that she was sure but if so then who was the true party responsible?
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Re: Winter's Harvest: A Gift

Postby Niabh » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:11 am

In spite of the Lord Stewart's high profile within Myrken, such a crime tended to creep to the low end of concerns for the local law. There are always deaths in Myrken Town. The more pressing need to lock up and prosecute the more obvious criminal elements--the bar brawlers, the drunk who stabbed his brother during a game of dice, and who sobbed his remorse as they took him to the jail, the swindlers and the purse-slashers and the horse thieves--remained their priority.

Twelve days after the infant's body was recovered, no frantic family had come forward to report a missing infant. No one had noted that a neighbor woman had a baby and now had none. Privately it was assumed that some unwed girl had concealed her pregnancy, killed the child, and disposed of the body. It had happened before, though why such a wretch would chose to deposit the evidence of her misdeed in Treadwell's birdbath, or why she would first tear the tiny corpse limb from limb, was a matter for conjecture. A few crude jokes were made. None are worth repeating here.

Above all the guard found themselves more focused on the mysterious case of one of their own, who a week ago had gone to a farm on the edge of town to investigate a noise complaint, and who had not yet returned.
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