07.28.3013: Your Gods Are Obsolete
Summary: The investigation into the disappearance of Brother Tommas Sextus, and the clues he left behind.
Date: July 28, 2013
Related: The Primus Problem
Jor Nitrim Nolan Soleil 

Lower Courtyard — Grand Necropolis — Primus
For Venus to fill in. Jor didn't have it in his log. >.>
July 28, 3013

<OOC> Venus says, "You are all coming to the Grand Necropolis directly from Primus-Val. Brother Martin arranged a private ways that will drop you off in the lower courtyard of the Grand Necropolis. Aidan took both Martin and the journal to a secure location, but Soleil has a digital copies of the pages (at least those that you can read)."

They had arrived in the Grand Necropolis not long after departing Brother Martin's office in the Monastery at Primus-Val. The Priest had kept his word, and the Ways they had found in the former Elder's office still operational, and there was no lock that kept them from dialing to the Necropolis. The staggering arcology of the dead was mostly quiet, though there is evidence that mourners have recently been here to lay fresh flower at the foot of the recently erected statue of King Regnant Symion in the inner courtyard.

At first, it may seem as though this is a staggering task, but they are immediately given a clue to where Brother Tommas might have gone in the form of a scrawl of white chalk marks at the base of Queen Regnant Marionetta Sauveur — a Queen from the Second System War.

<FS3> Nolan rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Soleil rolls Alertness: Great Success.
<FS3> Jor rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Nitrim rolls Alertness: Success.

Venus pages Soleil, Jor, and Nolan: The chalk scrawl looks to be a rather hastily and poorly written "They Will" with some squiggle under it. (Soleil, see the previous page I sent you)
<FS3> Jor rolls Wit: Success.
<FS3> Nolan rolls Investigation: Good Success.

Venus pages Jor and Nolan: You can easily tell that it closely resembles the handwriting in the journal, even though it is hasty.

Soleil had sent for clothes that would be suitable for visiting a tomb— a short and ruffled black Revision style dress that is maybe less medieval than Victorian, but thousands of years in the future, the lines might blur a bit. Or maybe she just, as usual, does things her way. The dress's shortness allows for a little bit of athleticism, and she has paired it with a set of practical but stylish leather boots. She also wears fingerless gloves of black and lace, and a veil. Proper dead-mother visiting apparel.

As they arrive, she has an air of grave and intense interest. Her relationship with death has always been so intense, conflicted, close. But soon she has to shake off the pall that falls over her, and get down to business.

She's quick to notice— that'sd one thing she's good at. "Over here," she murmurs, striding toward the statue after a long look at the one of Symion. She pulls out her datapad as she does so. "I recognize this." Aha, and there it is. The wonders of technology has it beneath her finger on the pad in moments. She extends the pad so the others can see the page from the journal, and the matching symbol there.

"Yeah, it's his handwriting too." Nolan says, pulling out from his coat a little camera, snapping a picture of the scrawled message, hmmning a bit, "He expected someome to come after him it would seem too."

Nitrim always dresses like he's going to a funeral. Long black coat, dark gloves, and grim resolve upon his brow, he trails into the Necropoli behind Soleil in a subtle, yet guarding way. As they pass through the Waygate, his eyes begin to scan, looking more for signs of danger than anything while Nolan and Soleil bloodhound their way for clues and evidence as to the whereabouts of the missing Tommas. Fingertips flexed and ready, he keeps his aura just beneath the surface, ready to spring, and follows.

"Interesting. So this journal is a map and he's leaving breadcrumbs." Nitrim comments quietly, watching as they begin to descend upon the statue. "What does it say?"

On the other hand, the only difference in Jor Aeldan's vestments is… everything. While Aidan looked into the matter of having Brother Martin was secured, he had made it clear he was going to "run back home" to make preparations.

Apparently that involved arming himself, a matter which had nearly led to an altercation with the Watch and his absence from proceedings.

While he may no longer possess a more sophisticated means of self-defense - that lighter suit of combat armor had been stripped from him as much as his title - he still has a more serviceable bit of personal protection, barely more than a skinsuit. He'd strongly considered the sharp and pointy addition to his waist, but given the circumstances of not only the destination, but also certain rules and respect for the dead, had opted for augmenting a skill Nitrim no doubt would recall from a while back. You're much less likely to have someone stop you over wearing reinforced gloves on your hands than a sword, even if it does advertise in its own way.

He, too, caught sight of the writing, grunting his agreement with Nolan as well but otherwise not offering words. On the other hand, he's eyeing Soleil and her datapad, but isn't quite in a position to read it, instead frowning at the handwritten marks. "Which work is the excerpt from?" he asks absently.

<FS3> Soleil rolls Religion: Failure.

"It says 'They will,'" Soleil answers Nitrim, before walking the datapad over to Jor, to show him the passages. "Religion's not my thing," she admits with a shrug. "But /that/ if I recognize her, is Queen Marionetta. Second System War I think? Ah, yeah, there…"

She slides a finger through the air over her pad, causing the pages to turn. "I suggest we locate Marionetta's tomb."

"Over here." Nolan says, his keen eyes surveying the area around the marking, and he approaches the neighborhing statue of King Regnant Elijah Sauveur, the predecessor to marinetta. He indicates a little arrow pointing to a corridor running between the two statues, "I think he wants us to go this way." He says, snapping a picture of the arrow as well.

<FS3> Jor rolls History: Success.

Venus pages: Marionette was the Queen at the beginning of the Second System War, her father Elijah having died ten years before. :)
<FS3> Soleil rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Jor rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Nitrim rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Nolan rolls Alertness: Success.

"They will…" Nitrim's voice trails off as his eyes glance over the scrawl on the statue. Reading it over, he looks to Nolan as he indicates an arrow on the next statue and the hallway beyond. Motioning Soleil and Jor to the arrow, he takes a step closer to inspect the statues as he starts to move in the direction of the hallway. "An arrow is usually a pretty good indicator." He says to them sarcastically, looking down the hall to judge the light, and how much of it they will need.

"It is," Jor replies. "She was crowned… sometime before the Second War started, if I recall. I don't recall exactly when, but I imagine it was ten years prior to the start when she ascended. That was when her father, Elijah, passed on." Spoken softly, as much for respect for the dead royal as for this place, Jor otherwise volunteers to take point, saying as much in that he'll slip ahead in the direction Nolan points.
Venus pages Jor and Nitrim: When/if you approach the place where Nolan finds the arrow on the wall, you notice that there is a faint series of chalk marks in the groove between some of the stone pavers that create a slight hashed line down the hallway that the arrow points.

"Then again, an arrow's fairly straightforward," Soleil says, almost in tandem with Nitrim and a subdued note of wryness. Deep breath. By gods this place is…oppressive. Hundreds of grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles— all freakishly important, all likely staring at her from the afterlife with ghostly disapproval, wondering how they could have spawned someone so…off. It's distracting, that sense of inadequacy.

Before she moves to follow Nolan, she takes a flower from the bundle of lavender, black and white blossoms she carries, and lays it at her uncle's feet. Then, ready, she moves after the others.

"Wait." Nitrim speaks up, seeing something for his own. Slipping past the arrow on the wall, he motions to a series of hash-marks in the grooves between some of the stones ahead. "These hashed lines, I can't tell if they're just marking the direction we need to go or what, but we should probably get a list of the names anyone mentioned going forward." Nitrim looks back to the others. "Do these chalk marks hold any meaning to you?"

As the group gathers between the statue of Marionetta and Elijah, it is quite easy to see that the corridor that divides the two Regnants goes only about twenty feet before it comes to a black lift that is meant to go either down into the facilities below or up into the tombs.

"I get the feeling," Jor's soft bass says, "that we'll find the end of the trail in the past, if you follow my meaning." He tilts his head to further down the hall meaningfully. "A journal full of scripture, markings on past sovereigns, possibly other historical figures buried here? Either way, we should keep our eyes open for more of these, particularly if we enconter further likenesses of our past leaders, or multiple directions to go. And sing out if you see something, unusual, something that doesn't match what you've been taught, or for the love of the Six someone that isn't one of us. The Gods alone know what this will result in."

Nolan glances towards the others, raising a little brow and he shrugs, "Which hashmarks?" he asks, looking towards where Nitrim has indicated, then towards the lift, "I think the main question though, is up or down."

Soleil pauses, and turns to Nitrim to shake her head. "I…no, what do you mean?" she asks. "The names?"

She turns back toward the lift, and then starts off toward it. "Up I assume. To the tombs. As far as I can see, we need to find Marionetta. Anyone have any better ideas? If so speak up." She slips her data pad away for now.

"I just mean any names of these Sauveurs we're coming across. That's all." Nitrim explains to them as he points out the hash-marks in the grooves between the stones. The hash-marks are faint, but they seem to create a trail that leads to the lift. "Probably just a more subtle direction to keep up from blowing holds in the stone." Nitrim comments and then slips into the lift with Soleil. "Let's look and see if there's anything in the lift saying otherwise."

<FS3> Nolan rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Nitrim rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Soleil rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Jor rolls Alertness: Good Success.

Venus pages: You notice more chalk on the ground, just beneath the lift control panel. It says in that same handwriting: "Guide And" — which is a continuation of a scripture in Tommas's journal that goes 'They will guide and provide those who seek it with the knowledge of life and death, but at a cost that higher than either.'
<FS3> Nolan rolls Investigation: Great Success.
<FS3> Soleil rolls Cryptography: Good Success.

At least Jor hasn't lost some of his eyesight while "locked" away for fifteen years. Coming onto the lift, he spots what something there too, blinking once as if surprised to see it. "Over here," he murmurs, squatting down towards the chalk with a frown, gesturing at the 'Guide and' scrawled there. He doesn't read it aloud, but instead his mouth turns down even more.

"He's writing scripture on the wall." In truth, Jor is faintly confused, eyes focused on the latest in chalk markings. "'They will guide and provide those who seek it with the knowledge of life and death, but at a cost that's higher than either.' Something straight out of that journal he left behind, which makes me even more concerned about what he's not saying. Or else he found a particularly virulent narcotic."

Nolan nods towards Jor, "And right there, somebody tried to erase the symbol of the crone." He adds with a bit of a hmmn, another photo is snapped of the markings etc.

Soleil moves to press the button that activates the lift, but just as she is stepping forward she stops short, and instead leans to peer at the ground directly in front of where the toe of her boot stopped. "I think we're on the right track," she says, stepping back and once more pulling out the data pad.

She bites her lip, and peers again at the floor. Then, suddenly, "Press number 9." Her voice has a weight to it, a consciousness of where they are, and of the path growing darker. "Number 9, and I hope this isn't another Mining Pit Epiphany."

"If it is, stay behind Jor and myself." Nitrim casts his head down, looking to the writing in chalk now that everything has been pointed out. Fingertips flexing in their gloves, he looks up and down, making sure that the lift is secure and there's nothing visible through any of the grating that should alarm them. "Makes me wish I'd brought my armor, to be honest, but I should manage. The armor I can produce on my own is better than some field armor." Look at the big brain on Brad. "Why nine, Soleil, and why the symbol of the Crone?"

"I'd like —" And then Jor is pointing at Nitrim, not quite glowering at the question being stolen right from his very lips. "The last thing any of us should be doing here, is keeping secrets, or being cryptic." Says the guy who hoarded that journal for a while. "Nine makes little sense, to me, particularly here. Six would be the more likely, if obvious choice, but if he wanted to disguise where, he could have picked virtually any of the other possibilities except ones that lead to public areas."

"The Crone, patron of people near death or those seeking wisdom. Maybe it's as simple as that." Nolan says with a shrug, looking bover towards the two nobles and he offers a slight shrug, "Maybe it will be a useful clue for later, but I cannot answer why nine."

"And aren't you my almost knight in shining armor," Soleil says to Nitrim, letting her faint smile linger. She then shifts so the others can see what she proceeds to point out with a single index finger. "See here? These little bits that almost seem inconsequential, and here and here.." She points out some slashes and dots above the letters 'i', 'e', and 'd'. "It's a basic code. It says, 'up, 9'." She offers a faint smile at Nitrim. Look how educated! Someone did do some studying in the midst of all that teenaged partying. "So, like I said. Hit 9." She points straight up. And she'd so rather go up than down. Moving to the wall of the lift, she leans back, tucking her hands at the small of her back. It's a casual pose, but a sharp eye could easily detect the tension.

It is common knowledge throughout Haven that the Necropoli house their tombs from the oldest up, which means that the ninth floor of some hundred floors is some of the oldest of the Sauveur tombs, even older than Marionette herself. How often, one must wonder, does someone visit the old dead of the Royal House and its greatest heroes?

"Gentlemen it appears that I'm marrying a genius." Nitrim says to the lift sarcastically as it starts to rise. "And I'm severely glad that one of us when to slashes above i's and e's school or else we'd be here for hours." Nitrim looks back to Soleil over his shoulder, giving her a humored wink as he reaches out to her hip. It's a brief moment of affection before getting back to their A-Game. He sighs. "This place is old, this place is huge. Let's just make a deal that no one goes anywhere by themselves, alright? Always in pairs."

"If that's the mouth you'll have to put up with, I'm sorry in advance." This dry-toned apology was brought to you by Jor. When you need peanut gallery commentary? Try Jor. Available at Landing, get yours today! "I'm also sorry you have to put up with him stating the obvious." Brief, hard, humorless smile sent in Nitrim's direction. "But then, marriages are always something to be worked on, so I'm told."

"You know…" Nitrim murmurs. "They call me Lord Obvious because I tell people things that they probably already know."

Nolan casts a look towards Nitrim, clearly unimpressed with the fellow before looking to the others, "Where better to hide old secrets, then somewhere that nobody goes to look." He says rather plainly, "If we're on the right trail, we'll find another marking shortly though."

"It was good for passing notes in class," Soleil says to Nitrim, with a muted hint of wryness, trying to put up a front of not being oppressed by the environment. She cocks her head at Jor, perhaps assessing whether it'd be a good distraction from the tension she feels, to show him just what her mouth can do. She decides against it, for the moment.

"Have any of you ever been here before?" she then asks. "The bones are brittle on number 9. Watch your step."

<OOC> Venus says, "Alright, guess what you get to roll when you step out of the lift? :D"
<OOC> Jor says, "UNARMED?"
<OOC> Venus says, "LOL. No."

<FS3> Jor rolls Alertness: Great Success.
<FS3> Soleil rolls Alertness: Great Success.
<FS3> Nitrim rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Nolan rolls Alertness: Great Success.
<FS3> Nitrim rolls Literature: Good Success.

The lift moves smoothing through the levels of the Necropolis, but the ninth floor is barely a heartbeat up the otherwise lofty height of the arcology. There is no ding to announce the arrival, just a soft whoosh of doors opening to yield a small antechamber that then branches into a series of corridors. It is quite obvious that this place is only ever visited by cleaning drones and perhaps the rare historian. The onyx walls and floors are polished to a faint shine that just seems to reflect like a black mirror. There is almost nothing descript about this place, save for the white chalk that continues to guide them on their way. This time it lies on the righthand corridor with another angle-bracket symbol and another bit of scrawled text.

<FS3> Nolan rolls Investigation: Success.
<FS3> Jor rolls Wit: Failure.

Venus pages: You notice that the angle bracket isn't actually pointing you down the righthand corridor. No, it is actually pointing toward the lefthand corridor across the antechamber from it. Tommas was pretty slick at this clue stuff. The scrawl of text just continues that scripture with the next two words 'Provide Those'.

Grunting, Jor just taps the wall near where the expected marking is, once he moves and catches sight of it, there on the wall. "Not even halfway, if I'm not mistaken. He wandered deep, it seems." Rather than follow the marking immediately, though, he's peering at it further, glancing at Soleil as if to see whether or not there are other abnormalities to the chalk, much like the previous ones had. "I assume you still have that scanner on you, the one you used for checking for traces of blood?" The question, of course, is for Nolan, if Jor's gaze is any indication, moving on from Soleil to the investigator. "I don't have my fun toys anymore, unfortunately."

Dropping the unimpressive humor from within the lift, Nitrim steps out with the others. His gloved hand comes to his chin, rubbing softly as he enters deep thought. "They will guide and provide those who seek it with the knowledge of life and death, but at a cost that's higher than either." He recites, remembering the words. "You know, it's just occurred to me that I remember this book on the metaphysics behind Life and Death written by Elder Sabine Sextus. She told me that all was fine and well." He looks up, suspicus and guarded as they move.

Nolan nods towards Jor, "I do." he says in response to the question, his camera lifting to snap another photo of the symbols, "This time the Sage was erased." he says, indicating the remaining smudges that indicate where the line used to be. "That way though, I reckon." He indicates.

Stepping from the lift, Soleil moves cautiously. She beats her thigh gently with the bundle of flowers she brought, ostensibly for her mother's tomb. Her eyes roam the walls, the floor— she lights upon what they're all coming to expect. More chalk. When Jor looks at her, she just wordlessly points left, down a corridor.

"Fun toys?" she asks, then. "What's the point of living then?"

She falls in with Nitrim a moment later, and murmurs to him, "I keep thinking about what we learned on Ignis. Isn't life and death fundamentally all about evolution…change?" She pauses and looks to the ground before them as they walk. "The next stage?"

"I've been thinking the same thing." Nitrim whispers quietly to Soleil at his side. As if to reassure, he brushes a hand over her back and takes a pensive look back in the direction of the lift. "Our gods are obsolete, Sage, Crone; you know it seems like everywhere we turn its brands and hereticals." He adds, stealing his hand back to follow Nolan's head, looking to the symbols and smudges the man points out as they move.

As they head down the corridor, they notice there are smaller branching hallways every six feet or so, always leading to a dead end. Within each hallway are hexagonal-shaped panels that are about a foot and a half wide and a foot tall, and beside each panel is a small palm-sized compression release that allows the individual tombs to be opened. Those search for chalk marks will be let down for several minutes as they transverse the first corridor, nearing another bank of lifts. But then…

"Gods, don't you two start preaching that here, of all places." It's a faintly disgusted tone with which Jor speaks those words. "Having former felons turn into fanatical cultists is the /last/ thing we need before everyone - some of whom not far removed from inheriting their House -" he adds bluntly, looking at Nitrim "- start repeating it. But, since we're all feeling in a mood to talk about disturbing and blasphemous things in holier locations, why don't you we start putting our minds to the question of why it's showing up here of all places? It makes me itch, and I haven't felt like this since the last time I worked a murder case where it turned out the killer lived not even a hundred feet from me."

<FS3> Jor rolls ALertness: Great Success.
<FS3> Nolan rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Soleil rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Nitrim rolls Alertness: Failure.

Venus pages: Eureka! Jor sees a bit of chalk on one of the minor hallways, but something about it seems off compared to the others. It might be that it is whitish with some red, rather dry flecking red. Jor would recognize it as blood. He then notes from across that hallway, there is more chalk that seems to coincide with the later clues. There is a symbol of the Sage and Crone together, another snippet of scripture, and another angle bracket pointing down the hallway.

"It's about Survival, not evolution." Nolan counters, though choose not to elaborate on the statement as he walks. He takes a quick snapshot of the next chalk clue as he observes it. "Yeah, right path certainly." He nods slightly.

"I've been saying it for years," Soleil admits readily to Nitrim. OHNO he's marrying a nonbeliever! Shocking. Nineteen and jaded. She glances at Jor as their quiet conversation is interrupted. "Yes, you can say goodbye to everything you've known and believed. It's all being taken apart, like a gleeful little boy tearing the wings off an insect. Only the insect is your religion, and the little boy is the Hostile."

She stops and points. More chalk, at last. "There. This way."

"I'm not saying that these are things that I believe, Jor. These are things that I've heard from Hostile themselves. I could care less who pays homage to the Six; that's their own business. What concerns me is when the Hostile have opinions on them." Nitrim replies, nodding softly in agreement with Nolan, and then once more with Soleil. Children tearing wings off of insects? The look he gives her is drenched with admiration in a dark, syrupy way. Seeing nothing, he turns and keeps up with the group.

"That's nice, but you three might want to see this first before you start running off." Standing down the hall from the rest of you, Jor's mouth is almost kissing the wall. "Tell me you brought your blood illuminator," he says, turning his eyes then, to Nolan. "Because there's some here." By the way.

"And keep it out and running. I think we're going to need it from now on."

"I already told you I brought it." Nolan repeats to Jor, glancing over towards the man as he presses himself against the wall, but he's moving over towards the man and producing the device anyway. "How much does it look like?"

When Nolan passes his device over the spot of chalk and blood, it illuminates brightly showing that there had been much more there that had been hastily wiped away. The further he shines the light, the more blood is seen, and it leads deep into the corridor that is opposite of the one that Tommas's clues were leading them.

"It might just be me," Jor adds dryly, to the air - he doesn't seem surprised there's prior evidence of a body dripping to death here - "but I'm fairly sure that we go this way." The talk about Hostiles being religious can come /later/, in his mind, but even if he doesn't continue that line of discussion himself, he's still quirking a brow at Soleil.

"Also," Jor adds, "there's more writing on the wall that way."

Soleil wanders over, and says not a word, as she looks down the hall.

"Damn…" Nitrim growls under his breath as so much blood starts to show under the light. Defensively, he turns his back to the group and starts to watch the direction that they've come from. He points in the direction Tommas went. "There's writing down here, and blood the other direction. It might not be his blood, but that's not a chance I'm willing to take. Thoughts?"

<FS3> Nolan rolls Investigation: Great Success.
<FS3> Jor rolls Wit+1: Failure.
<FS3> Soleil rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Nitrim rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Jor rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Nolan rolls Alertness: Good Success.

"Whoever was bleeding didn't go down that way under their own power." Nolan says, "I suspect we either follow the blood first." He says to the others, "We can always backtrack and go the other way if we need to."

Down the hallway, following the trail of blood, the group passes several of those hexagonal panels. Each has a name inscribed on the center of the panel, and most of them end with the surname of Sauveur. There are a couple with other last names, suggesting that they were some of the heroes that have been entombed here. They get to the end of the hall, and on the lefthand side is a panel that has the name 'Lady Sir Josephine Sauveur', but there is a deep scratch cut right across the panel and there is something about the release mechanism that suggests it has been recently activated.

"Wagers on what's inside?" That, too, is dry, when a partial destination is reached. For himself, Jor is going to take a gander further down and back, and slowly. Just in case there's some marking or another suggestive to the last that he uncovered.

Soleil moves in silence down the corridor, all her attention on what she sees, and, perhaps, what she doesn't see. No Tommas yet. She looks at Jor when he speaks, and then steps back from the tomb. Someone's going to open it, and ladies first does not apply here. She crosses her arms, expecting the worst.

Nitrim still can't help but keep one eye down the corridor where they've come from. As if expecting to walk right into an ambush, his last step backwards sends his hip bumping lightly into Soleil's. He quickly turns his head to shoot an apology to her and then resumes his guarded stance. "Be careful with that panel, whoever's opening it. Whatever is inside, someone's tried to hide the blood but that doesn't mean it might not be a…" He blinks, reaching for Soleil's arm and urging her back a few steps. "Oh gods…please let it not have anything to do with that dream."

Nolan rolls his eyes a little at the two nobles and he crosses over towards the tomb. He removes a handkerchief from his jacket, covering his mouth before reaching to trigger the release mechanism to open the tomb.

When Nolan compresses the mechanism, there is a soft hiss of air as the pressure releases. Normally, there would be no smell associated with the body within as the Necropolis is constantly cycling air to help speed up decomposition. Though, the older bodies require less ventilation, and so it has been a while since good Sir Josephine's tomb was cycled. There is a wash of recent decay that wafts from the tomb, and it only worsens when the drawer automatically rolls open to reveal what should have been just a skeleton. Brother Tommas Sextus lies prone on top of the bones, but his head has been twisted violently to the left and upwards so that he is looking directly at Soleil. His eyes are red and blue, and his skin has started to take on the purple color of rot. He is still in his priest cassock.

Soleil's reaction is not terribly dramatic. She closes her eyes, turning her head away for a moment. It's not really unexpected. And it's not the worst thing she's seen, sadly enough. "Tada…" She passes the back of her hand over her forehead and forces herself to move closer to the corpse, as well as look at it. "I don't even know where to begin," she murmurs.

<FS3> Jor rolls Medicine: Success.  (Cause of death.)

Venus pages: Well, you can definite deduce that the amount of bloodloss and such does not exactly fit with a broken neck, so he probably has a wound somewhere.

That smell is something that Nitrim recognizes early on. He glances back over his shoulder as the tray rolls out and he turns his gaze back to the end of the aisle, watching carefully. Fears confirmed, this means that someone murdered Tommas, that someone knows, and there's something to keep secret. "Search him, get some blood, and close him back up in there. We can't leave a trace to warn anybody that it's been tampered with." Nitrim says coldly.

Once the body is revealed, Jor's got his own bit of nose protection employed. Apparently he's also got some liquid on him to help mitigate the stench, as from one of his pockets comes a small bottle he doses onto the bit of cloth found in the same pocket. A moment later, and he's adding twice as much before bringing it to his nose. From there, he's taking a visual gander at the body. "Caught unawares, I'll wager, but his eyes interest me the most. It shouldn't be just the one. Plus, he /bled/ out and someone tried to hide the fact. Someone help me get him out of here without disturbing the bones too much. I want to see what really killed him."

"And I don't think I'm going to like the answer, either," he adds. "Any wagers on harvesting?"

"Don't. Take. Him. Out. Of. There." Nitrim says flatly, with a bite to his words. "We have the element of surprise. We can bury him later but if anyone checks up on him—"

Nolan casts a glance towards Nitrim, and as he gives the order to leave the body in place, he turns to Jor and nods slighlty, "I'll get this side. I think it warrants a little closer examination, though I don't know about any harvesting."

"I'd say strangled," Soleil says quietly, though she doesn't voice an opinion one way or another about whether the body should be moved.

"Look I don't give a fuck who's the best expert in the situation here right now, you two, but if someone's got a secret in that tomb worth keeping and hiding, there's no telling when they'll be checking up on it, and if they find that body moved too much or not in there anymore, they're going to know it's time to go underground." Nitrim gives Soleil a rather annoyed look as he passes her, moving to lean against the wall. "Think long-term that wants to do this right."

"Gods be good," Jor's mutter is to himself, during Nitrim's objection. He doesn't roll his eyes, but it's the closest thing to it in his voice. "Thank you, Lord Obvious, for stating such," he states, to Nitrim, is a lower, gritted-teeth tone. "And in the event you want to shout some more about your cock wants to do or not do, and possibly attract attention beyond what we've earned already, some of us want to know the complete truth. So shut up and keep an eye out, or stand there and let the adults work. On three," he mutters to Nolan. "One. Two. Three."

Venus pages Nolan and Jor: When you turn the body over, you can see that there is a deep and somewhat wide puncture wound right in the center of his chest, which is a good source of where all the blood came from. Other than that, there is very little preliminary evidence to be seen.
From afar (to Venus and Jor), Nolan noddles, is there any indication what caused it? Dagger? Spear? Topiary, etc?
Venus pages Nolan and Jor: I would say your best estimation is something like a dagger or sword.

"That's Lord Nitrim Khournas, Jor Aeldan." Nitrim murmurs back, eyes taking on a menacing term at the outright disrespect sent his way. For a few fleeting seconds, he stares at the two men. "I don't remember seeing either of you in the field, and you would do well to remember your place." He shakes his head as they start to move the body and keeps his body in a half-turn, always on watch. "Get what you need and then put him back in the tomb. Clean your mess when you're done and that is final."

Soleil frowns, and suddenly a spark ignites. "Hold the fuck on," she tells Jor, her voice quiet. "Get your hands off that body right this fucking second or I swear whatever the last decade of your life was like will be like a fucking vacation. Two things you need to understand. One, that guy there— and I— we're not kids. We're your superiors, like it or not. Two, this is /my/ family's crypt. Here, right now, I am the closest thing to in charge. So one more time, fucking back off. And here's a bonus— three? Show some fucking respect. You do that, then we move on and decide what to do, like adults."

Nolan gives a little look towards Jor as the nobles get all indignant, and he lets go of the body, "I think I'm washing my hands of this little conspiracy. The kids can play investigator without me, I think." He says with a roll of his eyes. "Well your ladyship, come conduct the investigation then, tell us what you can on Father Tommas." he gestures, stepping back from the tomb.

"You two don't. Fucking. Get it. Do you? We're not Lords and Sirs in this matter. We're all one foot in our graves, the minute we found him here. So shut your fucking mouths about superiors, family, and crypt. The most we know about this is that someone killed him, and that someone's likely to do the same to all of us. So if you /children/ have something useful to contribute about staying alive, I'll be glad to hear it. In the meantime, why don't you both get your fucking hands dirty and put him back, since you're so /concerned/ about what's happening with us trying to do our Gods-damned jobs." With that tirade over, he'll look at Nolan, and give a short nod. "You remember where the markings were before I found the bloodstain? Think that was the last of it?" Yes, Jor is really going to leave the body there, molested and turned over with that puncture wound for all to see.

"The weapon could be anything edged, I think," he continues saying in his more neutral bass, eyes focused on Nolan as he gets up to join the man, folding his arms. "I've got a couple at home that could have done this, but without access to my equipment, I'd say we're at an impasse on who and how unless we find the secret he was murdered over, and even then it's been long enough we'll likely get nothing. Better to find out what was in that book of his, I think. We've got samples we can take from the wall that we can hopefully use, but I want to know what else is in here, if anything."

"Put your dicks away," Soleil says in disgust, to both Nolan and Jor. "You're so fucking busy trying to prove you're above listening to a couple of kids that you're going to charge ahead. Bravo. Maybe you should start by taking some pictures of how he's found before you move him." She gestures Nitrim over. "I get it's just such a drag to have us along on your quest, but if you have a good reason to do what you want to do, use your words and not your cocks, so busy trying to show how fucking above it all you are. Fucking pissing contest."

She extracts her own camera, a tiny thing like money can buy.

"You want to play at being equals in all of this then start by not rolling your eyes dismissively and going on to do what you feel like doing, when someone says wait. If you're going to do that, I'm going to pull rank. And believe me, in the end I /will/ win." Finished, Soleil starts snapping pictures.

"Before the two of you aged adults start getting your better sensibilities in a bunch over being told what to do, you should probably remember that the two of you have jobs that require you uncover evidence with the mind of finding the criminals and bringing them to justice." Nitrim replies quietly, flatly. "That's not going to happen here. There is a conspiracy. Chantry members are being found on Hostile ships. A Chantry member has alerted us to a conspiracy within the Chantry itself." He turns towards the body, leaning in to get a better look at it.

"Now, this isn't something that's going to the papers, nor to the King until we know who is responsible with evidence. Any evidence that is left behind can be used against us and we need to get to the source first, and smarter." He looks to Nolan, then to Jor. "Use your brains, gentleman. This isn't a pissing contest. It's chess. Your expertise is not in question, but neither should mine be when it comes to dealing with liars and backstabbers. Fucking up here will get you killed."

"I believe you've reminded me, that I do have a job to do, and this one isn't paying, Your Lordship." Nolan says to Nitrim, "And you have made it quite clear you are the only one who is allowed to exert their judgement, Your Ladyship, I do believe my trousers are on and secured however. But, I have more important things to worry about, I think, then this. The investigation is yours, Lord Nitrim, to conduct as you desire."

<FS3> Soleil rolls Alertness-1: Good Success.
<FS3> Nolan rolls Alertness-1: Success.
<FS3> Nitrim rolls Alertness-1: Great Success.
<FS3> Jor rolls Alertness+1: Great Success.  (Oops, wrong math key.)

There is a soft, mechanical whishing sound down the left end of the hallway. It is fast approaching, but when it does, it is merely a dome-shaped cleaning drone that is about two feet in diameter and height. It whishes past the hallway the four are standing in with its little scrubbies rotating rapidly to simultaneously sweep and mop the floors. It makes a little beep as it backtracks abruptly to the hallway and it immediately activates its scanners, big washes of blue light illuminating the corridor of tombs as it scans for messes to clean up.

If Nitrim was expecting a further bout of nerves, it's fine, Jor has a bit more calm now. So that's why he just glances at Nitrim as though he had just discovered that hot stoves are indeed hot and /can/ burn you, quirking a brow aloft in the meantime. "I think you'll be surprised by —" he stops abruptly, tensing and making a shushing motion as his head turns to find… a drone. "Fuck." He can guess what it means for one of those to come wandering down this way. "What time is it? Are these on a set schedule?" he asks, turning his attention to not-quite glare at Soleil. To Nolan, he jerks his head at the body. "Put it back, quickly, before the drone gets over here and does something. The kids are too sensitive about getting their feet wet."

"Look," Soleil says coldly to Nolan. "What I made clear is that neither one of you old-timers is going to dismiss what we say. It's not one extreme or the other. We /cooperate/. Can you /do/ that? Or is it more important to you to show off how little you think of us? You're welcome here. Your skills are welcome here. The 'I'm above giving any credence to something a couple of spoiled brats say' attitude is not. Like I said, you pull that, -I- start pulling shit too." The drone has her whip her head around. "Fuck."

"I'm surprised enough by your conduct, the two of you." Nitrim says coolly to Jor and Nolan, about to turn back to the view ahead, and then stops. He knows that sound, and as the blue light starts to scan, he lashes out quickly for Soleil's wrist. With a hard yank he pulls her closer to him in an attempt to block the cone-like angle of the scanner with their bodies. To kill all suspicions, should the camera feed, if any, be directed back to the source, he's forced to think quickly. Tugging at her chin, he pulls her lips to his face and goes from one-to-fifty in two seconds flat, forcing a heavy, passionate, and open-mouthed kiss to her lips.

Nolan is turning on his way to leave, it would seem, when the noise of the approaching drone can be heard approaching. The two kids start sucking face, and Jor calls for help. He hesitates for a minute, frowns, then goes to help Jor with the body.

Well, when that gets back to the family it will really just reinforce what they think of Soleil. Backslider. Making out in the family crypt. Typical of Rennik's kid. There's a muffled 'Whatthefuck', a little resistance at first, and then just…relenting. Maybe she catches on to what he's doing fairly quickly. But the look Nitrim got right before he went in for the kill was 'OHMYGODWHATAREYOUDOING?'

Nitrim has overestimated this particular drone's intelligence. It is solely looking for messes to clean up, and while Soleil and Nitrim might be a mess, it isn't the sort of mess that it deals with. While there are definitely new obstructions in this hallway, but it cannot detect any new spills or otherwise to clean up despite the fact its records show that there had a been a large spill a few days ago. Its scanners go blank and it continues scrubbing along down the larger corridor.

"Very mature," Jor says dryly, to Nitrim's 'quick thinking' about how to distract a cleaning drone. "Yes, we can leave the body in there now. After we fix it. Besides, we know what killed him now, if not who. And I still want to know how often those things come through here, if at all. Bloodstains don't disappear into thin air, after all, and if they come through here on a set cycle, we might be able to figure out when this happened. That's where you two adorable facefuckers can come along and pull rank so badly, like you were discussing doing earlier. If it's not too much for me to make /suggestions/," he adds, giving Nolan a wry look that says he expects problems there. "Now, I'm going to go see if I can find why our Brother was here in the first place, because I highly doubt he left us a trail to find his corpse. To say nothing of that book of his we might be able to get some clues with, but I have no fucking idea how we're going to do that yet if he bled out here."

When the cleaning droid scuzzles off, Nitrim lets go of Soleil. A relieved sigh crossing over his lips. He gives his betrothed a little frown and leans in, murmuring something quiet into her ear. Squeezing her upper arm, he turns his head to look back to Nolan and Jor. His fingertips drum on the blonde's arm.

"You will not speak of us like that again. Do so again will full understanding that you were warned." Nitrim says flatly. "I won't suffer outright insults, when I've given you none." He lets go of Soleil's arm and turns, heading for the main junction.

A little dazed, Soleil is at least no longer swearing at Nolan and Jor. When Nitrim lets her go, she stands there blinking for a moment. Passing a hand over her lips, she glances after him. One corner of her mouth twists a little. Something sort of like a smile. Sort of.

"The two loverbirds can search Father Tommas for any clues, I suspect he hasn't shared his last secret with us in there yet either." Nolan says to Jor, "But I'll see the rest of the Necropilis through at least."

Shaking his head, Jor doesn't return a response. No apologies, no acknowledgement aside from that swiveling of his neck and a muttering about "kids". For himself, he's going to check on a very short list of items: is the body rearranged as it was? Is there /any evidence of their tampering left behind anywhere? Cleaning up after all of this, that's what he's doing. Only when he's satisfied that time reversed to before they opened the tomb, so to speak, will ex-Sir Aeldan simply walk off, nodding to Nolan and going that way.

"I'm telling you," he says to Nolan as he leads the way to where the original chalk markings were, "they think they can jump off a cliff not wearing a thing and think they can change directions or change their minds half-way down. And they wonder why we get upset at them. I think we can safely say that it wasn't a person that cleaned up the mess, though, with the drones. I'm also concerned about the fact they broke his neck /and/ bled him out, and that's only the start of my list. At least we know where he was attacked. He came here for something and someone or multiple people followed him, is what I think happened. They ambushed him in the hall, and that's how the marker there got smeared with his blood. It still doesn't make sense why his neck was twisted, though. The stabbing would have been enough."

Soleil, coming out of her dazed state, remains rather bemused at the attitude from Nolan and Jor. "Funny," she murmurs. "We're the kids. They're the grown-ups. Heh." She shakes her head, and reaches into the small pouch she carried with her, and extracts a syringe. This is going to be disgusting, but the 'grownups' have apparently washed their hands of any attempt at cooperation.

She pulls the body back out. Taking a deep, disgusting breath, she jabs the needle into the corpse. What's that? Bone? Gross. Gross gross gross.

A second go allows her to extract a thick sludge, whatever his blood's turning into. And the whole time he's staring at her. She caps the syringe and puts it away, slides the body back, and turns to follow.
Nolan has partially disconnected.

Coming to a stop at the end of the row, Nitrim looks up and down the hallway to make sure that they're still not being followed by the little roomba-like robot. Seeing nothing, he adjusts the front of his coat and turns around in time to see that almost grin from Soleil. It makes him smile. He waits for Nolan and Jor, watching them speak as they move. He points back towards Soleil, nodding upwards to them.

"The child educated in cryptography that located which floor we needed to head to just extracted a useable blood sample, it looks like." Nitrim says flatly to them. "If you two gentlemen were professionals you'd not discredit the rest of the team. Now. Where are we going to from here?"

"I would not presume to tell your lordship where we ought to go next, Lord Nitrim. We, your humble servants are here to follow your intrepid lead." Nolan says with a bit of sarcasm, "Tell us where to head, and we shall follow."

"Gods, I'm cursed." It's a to-the-air mutter, that, from the words of Mister Aeldan. "Let me see here if I've got this right," he says, taking on a suspiciously patient tone. "I've trusted you with not stabbing me in the back up to this point, I've listened to what you've said, not argued with her when she stated the floor, and was quite correct on, but once we find a corpse and want to know the full cause of death - because we both have done similar in our history? - "there's a hint of question to that as Jor glances at Nolan with a brow raised -" and right then, everything I've trusted of you goes out the fucking window when we want to do our thing, and now here we are, on Primus, infighting in the middle of a conspiracy we've been dropped into. So yes, I'm having a hard time understanding how this is adult of you, or why I'm even continuing this conversation. So, please, elucidate me on the fact on why you couldn't be bothered to show as much faith as I have for the both of you. We all got spooked by a fucking drone, so we're all on edge - and by the way, no, I didn't bring anything suitable for blood extraction because I didn't have anything, so instead I came prepared to keep your asses alive if it came to that. That said, as I've also said previously, I'm going to see what he came here and eventually died for. Right now, I'm not optimistic about finding anything that hasn't been tampered with. Someone else knows."

Soleil puts her fingers to her temple as she comes back into the group. "Wow. Fucking wow," she says, exasperated. "I have /never/ in my life seen two men so completely butthurt simply because people younger than themselves demanded a /measure/ of respect. Get the fuck over it, already."

Realizing she just touched her forehead with the same fingers she had used to touch a rotting corpse, she grimaces, and vigorously shakes her hand.

"Now, from /this moment on/, leave the pride out of it. Or just go. That's what /adults/ do, they move on and get down to fucking business."

"Look, fool, you are the investigator and he is the guardsman." Nitrim replies, rubbing at his face with an extreme degree of I'm far too rich to be putting up with this. "Now, I respect everyone's sudden need to get together in a circle and talk about our vaginae because of a tactical disagreement in the Grand Necropolis at Primus, but—" What Soleil said. "Yes, let's end the snide passive aggressiveness and get back to the job at hand. And Jor? I'm going to pay my sister to beat you like a mule the next time you get into the ring with her." Nitrim sighs, then steps to fall in-line alongside Soleil. Leaning for eye contact, he whispers quietly to her, following along.

"And you were very clear you are the Noble, and you are in charge, Lord Nitrim, so we are giving you the respect due your station." Nolan counters. "So i again, respectfully defer to your gallant leadership."

"My gallant leadership is to defer to my subordinates for direction." Nitrim replies, flashing a happy, disrespectful grin to Nolan. "You won't win this game with me, so stop."

Walking beside Nitrim, Soleil heeds the whisper and then smiles faintly, looking straight ahead. She Glances behind her, then murmurs to Nitrim, "Let's pass on visiting Mother. She's not here anyway. Not the part that matters."

Jor's only response to all of this is to sigh and keep walking, and: "Noted." That one word, by itself, given after mention of Anabethe Khournas v. Jor Aeldan. TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Of course, there's one thing that Nitrim Khournas is forgetting in all this, but that devious plot will come to fruition another day, no doubt. "Keep your eyes open for the rest of his markings." A directive, yes, but just as much a reminder, since everyone is still determined to keep the conversation going.

When the group finally goes down the opposite hallway, they come across another of those hexagonal panels with the name of 'Lord Corben Sauveur' and surrounding the name are all six symbols of the Divine. Within, they do not find a body stacked on top of the bones, but rather a small digital picture frame that is often used by tourists to show off their photos from their vacation. In this frame's storage, however, is just one photo, and it is of about a dozen or more Hostiles in the very halls of the Grand Chantry, and with them is a shadowy robed figure with the glowing sigil of the Chantry on its left breast.

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