(1310-05-20) Arriving at Béziers
Summary: A number of ships arrive at Béziers, and investigations ensue.
RL Date: Sun May 20, 1310
Related: Béziers Plot
alexandre antoine augustin aziza belmont charlotte edgard foulque gabrielle gauge leonide marco timeo leonard_npc florent_npc 

Many had followed the call of the Duchesse. After the dreadful news had been dropped, there had been a few among the nobles volunteering to travel to Béziers, to investigate what exactly had been happening there. Sea travel had an advantage to going on horseback. It was faster, especially with the ships provided so swiftly, and willing to take on more of those volunteers. Volunteers both of the martial and less martial sort, there were lords, sea captains, but also ladies on board of these ships. Taking advantage of an early morning tide, they had only needed a few hours to reach the harbor of Béziers, a beautiful town far to the west from Marsilikos, beyond Montpellier. Winds have been favorable, and the sea comparatively kind and calm. In the moment the ships sail into the harbor, they will note a certain ruckus, the place being abuzz with people working on clearing an area on the rising terrain, not far from the waters.

Their arrival has been expected, as there are a number of nobles present, a man in his mid-forties especially glancing towards the ships with a mixture of nervousness and determination.

Most of the evening before departure had been spent with Timeo in argument with Imogen to convince her to stay behind. It finally took his promise to carry her favor and to be the instrument of her vengence to convince her to stay and heal while he took the ship. Dressed in his leathers and light chain that provides protection, the d'Aiglemort's poleaxe is set across his back as he moves to disembark the ship, making way for more.. civil-minded to handle the greetings with the locals. He's just part of the muscle, or at least appears that way.

Leonide is definitely not a combatant, but has changed into attire suitable for travel and would prove to very much know her way around a ship even if she is merely acting as a passenger today. Less fortunately for anyone on the same ship as her, she also tries to help pass the rather sombre journey with song, suitably grim songs, nothing unsuitable for the mood, she even knows how to sing. Less fortunately she also has an awful singing voice and so this might be less of the suitable ambiance or distraction than intended.

This ceases as the harbour comes into view though, she limbs to the bow, bracing with one hand on a rope and waiting as the vessel is brought into dock.

Edgard and the Mistral, his jewel of a ship, had taken on what passengers they could, and when word given, sails were unfurled, and they had taken to sea. They'd slowed, so they would arrive with the other ships at the same time, and as he viewed the harbour, coming into sight, he raised a brow. "Looks like we're expected!" He called out to those aboard his ship, even as he moved to let his men handle pulling her into dock. The lord himself was wearing dark leathers, well weathered by time at sea, and a life spent on it.

Gauge commands his crew to bring La Silverback around and draw her into port and the docks. The crew knows what they are doing though and works like a well oiled machine. Gauge himself has the Bosun, Greyridge, call out the colors of the other ships at dock and to get their own colors raised appropriately. Most of the people who had traveled upon the Baron de Beaucare's ship had hammocks available to them below decks if they wished to rest, but the Captain's Cabin was reserved for just a pair of individuals other than the Baron himself. It was still a pleasant and quick sail for all the distance travelled.
As the ship pulls up towards a berth at a dock Gauge watches the goings on at the port, the clearing of terrain not far from the waters and he then hops down, handing the wheel to a crewman as he orders the anchor down to drag the ship to a slow stop. "They need to stop whatever it is they're doing over there." He rumbles to nobody in particular in his deep gravelly voice.

Seeing as someone had made fun of her armor, she'd wear someone that 'covers' her so Aziza was in that attire from the ducal court. The tall Menekhet ambassador obviously stood out from the rest of the arriving party as she had taken her five guards with her as well as allowed by the Duchess. Having offered her aid in this matter, she appeared to be there as a less martial figure as her guards were here as the muscle it seems. As she made her way further upon the deck of La Silverback she passed off an ebony bow and quiver to the taller of the Menekhet guards before resting her hands behind her back. "At least there's a welcome party?" That husky voice came across near Gauge as she raised a brow while gazing over at him.

Charlotte is out on the deck nearby Aziza, not wearing any armor, not wearing any weapons, or anything like that. She hmns out at the sight before, "Wonder what they're doing up there?" she asks with a glance out at the area people were doing the clearing at.

Alexandre arrives also by ship, though this one is owned by the Delaunay House, and the Lady Gabrielle specifically. As soon as they are docked he descends the gangplank and takes a look around. Intense green eyes stare at those gathered at the docks and he immediately heads over towards whomever seems to be in charge. The Kushien is armed and armored this time which just makes him all the more imposing and possibly even overbearing. He rests one hand lightly on the pommel of his sword as he locks eyes with whomever nobles are gathered to meet them and appraises them all with that hard judging stare. While he may not be frowning Alexandre's expression is definitely tight, jaw clenched, not amused nor pleased to be here under these circumstances

It was only natural for Belmont to travel on the ship of his brother Gauge, and truth be told, he had so far never had the opportunity to see Gauge in action on his ship. Belmont's sea travels had so far only been those of a passenger, visiting other lands on matters of trade. Today, he is wearing light leathers, and his thin elegant blade hangs from his belt at his side. His gaze shifts to Gauge and he nods, "Yes… I wonder what they are doing there, but cleaning up the mess from yesterday…", he muses, before Aziza makes her comment, and Belmont nods. "Seems to be Mereliot people. They are wearing their livery.", he observes.

Augustin has spent most of the journey out to Beziers quiet, far from his normal wryly amused self. He hasn't been unpleasant, per se, but he hasn't been chatty either. Now that they are making his way to the shore he emerges from below deck, in a well worn breastplate with his long sword and dirk strapped to his belt. The only concession to rankbesides the fact that he wears a swordis that his surcoat is embroidered with the symbol of the Order of the White Swan. From the way he moves he clearly has sea legs, but hasn't exactly seemed thrilled by being on a boat.

One of those that has prepared for the worst, and thus using both armor suitable for being on a ship, as well as a weapon, just in case, would be Antoine. The Valais vicomte is carefully watching the shore, expression rather neutral. He's not focused only on the docks, but on looking at the area around it, just in case.

Gabrielle has come for many reasons, the main one that her family was at the festival. The other is the sheer lose to the province and the need for answers. She is dressed in a purple cloak that flickers as she ship pulls into dock. She makes sure that anyone with her has gotten where they wish to go but she heads towards the dock as well. Green eyes flash as they glance up at the activity and she frowns softly as she pauses to study the going ons. She is not in armor but she is reading a riding outfit that includes leathers, pants and boots all covered by a flowing half split skirt.

The first to disembark from one of the ships appears to be Alexandre de Morhban, and as he is headed for the man he assumes to be the man in charge, the same straightens and then offers a bow. "My Lord.", the man greets, all politely, even if that gaze of the Kusheline causes a brief furrowing of brows. "I am Léonard de Mereliot, Steward of Castle Chavaise… I assume you and the other ships must be those that have been reported arriving from the direction of Marsilikos." Where Alexandre may be of rather impressive stature, Léonard is more the thinner, studious type. His speech is distinct and considerate, as if weighing each word. A glance is given the others arriving, before his gaze sweeps back to the tall man before him. "And you are…?" An almost question, before he continues, "sent by the Lady of Marsilikos, I assume?"

"Alexandre de Mohrban, Vicomte De Landaul, Heir to Concarneau." Alexandre answers crisply, "I have heard disturbing tales that my cousins have been cut down and murdered in their own home, and that my Uncle and Aunt have been kidnapped." His gaze narrows at Leonard de Mereliot, "I pray that those rumors are in error, or that there has been some answer or information on this situation." He apparently prays for Leonard's sake judging by his expression. "Just what has happened her, Leonard." It's not a request for information, more of a demand. As to everyone else, he is understandably not paying attention to at the moment.

Leonide has opted to arrive on the same ship as Gabrielle, as the vessels are drawn up to dock, she then disembarks in a manner that definitely suggests practise even if she remains somewhat stiff with her motions, her split riding skirts and boots ensuring minimal impediment there. Then she strides up to where Alexandre is being greeted, limping slightly but moving with utter self assurance. A deft curtsy then administered to Leonard. "We are various members of the nobility, and an esteemed foreign guest, the Menekhet ambassador, who were present when her grace heard the terrible news and have arrived to offer assistance. Given the urgency of the Viscomte's question and our numbers? A fuller introduction must wait."

With Alexandre the first to speak up, Timeo remains in place for the moment, allowing those that are of the Lady of Marksilios' court to speak first as is fitting in this situation. However, when Leonide shortens the introduction, there is a brief nod of gratitude to the woman as he watches over he others, and frowns slightly.

Edgard stepped off his ship behind Leonide, smiling as he checked the arrows in his quiver, and bow over his shoulder for now. He gave a nod to her shortening of introductions, "We'd be here all night, no doubt." He smiled, "Good thing we arrived in such good time." He flashed the smirk to Leonide, and then fell in with the others, to see what was going on.

Gauge looks over towards Belmont and smiles slyly at his younger brother, "I'm glad you didn't spend the voyage hanging your head over the railing little brother." He teases Belmont but then goes to make sure the gangplanks are secure as people start disembarking. Looking at Aziza and then Charlotte, Gauge makes sure they both get down the gangplank safely before he comes down himself, pulling on a tunic and then his vest so he is dressed more appropriately. He doesn't go towards the group waiting, but instead to a local dock hand and introduces himself, "Gauge d'Eresse, Captain of la Silverback." His gravelly voice rumbles quietly towards the dock worker, a few ducats offered over in a shake, "What's the news? Heard bad things…"

Léonard de Mereliot lowers his gaze, and with a sigh he nods. "I wish I could deny any of these tales you bring up, my lord of Morhban. But I fear, the children of the Marquise and her husband, your relative, Armand Morhban de Mereliot, are no longer among the living. The four of them that were here at Béziers, that is. But… that is a long story, and it began over there…" Turning, the steward gestures towards the area where people are shifting stones back in places. "At the Festival of Lights… When the Marquise addressed the crowd, shortly before the small boats carrying the lights would be released upon the sea. Suddenly there was shouting, and some among the people began to make their way through towards where the Marquise and her family were under watch of their guards… They had to act quickly, and so the Marquise and her family were taken back to the castle, and brought out of the immediate peril. Or so we thought."

Aziza nods to Belmont with a smile. "Noted. Thank you." After that she makes her way down the gangplank just in time to hear Leonide. Looking to the man, she bows as she places a fist to her chest before standing up straight again. For now she is quiet but catches sight of Edgard. A brow raising at the sight of the bow she smirks then just looks back ahead to listen to the story unfold.

Antoine disembarks as well, looking around at the various people present, frowning as he steps over closer to hear what's being said. "What happened to the stones? If there was shouting, and people making their way towards the Marquise, what happened to the stones?" He doesn't seem entirely aware he said his thoughts out loud, as his gaze is mostly on those stones right now.

"I've never had to throw up, from just a few waves rolling beneath the hull of a ship," Belmont quips back towards Gauge, lifting a brow at the brotherly tease. When Gauge helps the foreign ambassador off the ship, and the other woman with that fascinating red hair as well, he follows along, pausing though as he wants to catch some of the conversation going on between Alexandre and the steward. Egdard is spotted though, and Belmont greets the relative with a wave of his hand. Family is family, and House d'Eresse is known for being quite particular with their familial bonds.

Leonide answers the various nods her way, inclining her head a few times in the process, then folds her hands together against her stomach as she fixes Léonard de Mereliot with a rather intent focus of blue eyes. She does not make any move to interrupt as the tale is recounted though, merely glancing toward the indicated area where the incident took place. Followed by. "And then, my lord?"

Alexandre is simply silent and staring, waiting for the rest of the tale, but then he points towards where rocks are being shifted: "Stop them immediately. They are destroying the scene and erasing clues of what has happened then." Then he nods to what Leonide says with a faint smile and look of appreciation towards her.

Edgard spotting the other Eresse men, he gave a smile and a wave. He gave a small bow of his head to Aziza as well, recognizing the ambassador too. He stayed quiet though, as he listened to the story, now wanting to miss the details.

Charlotte follows Aziza down off the ship and over to the others, lingering near the Ambassador, but her attention is on the fellow telling the story of what happens. She remains quiet through all of this.

"There's been bloodshed a day an' a half ago, m'lord," says the man who accepts Gauge's generous offer of ducats. "They say the Marquise's been taken away, the Marquis too. It's been an odd business. Really. Like… it wasn't an attack of pirates an' the like. It was people like us, among us. Throwing stones at the Marquise. Gah… was a creepy thing… odd, too."

"Was anything said?" comes the question from Timeo as he hears the talk from Gauge and the dock worker. "Any shouts or words of discontent?" comes the question. "Or demand made?"

The steward meanwhile looks up, startled, in the moment Alexandre tells him to stop the people who are bringing back order to the rise, where the first movement of the tragedy had taken place. "Why?" he asks, and then gestures for one of his guards to run over and carry out the order. It takes a moment or two, and a long and loud argument, before the workers finally cease their activities. Léonard looks towards Leonide then, catching her encouragement for him to continue the tale. "I shall tell you, on the way to the castle," he replies. "As I am sure, you will wish to see that place as well."

The dock worker looks towards Timeo and just shakes his head. "Nothin' was said, m'lord. They just attacked."

Leonide gives a brisk nod to the steward at that, a glance to Alexandre, then she turns, pivoting on her good leg as she looks back across the other arrivals from the city. Then she pitches her voice, not shouting, but clearly audible across the separating distance. This does appear to be something she is quite used to doing as she calls out. "Lord Léonard de Mereliot, the steward here, will be leading us to the castle as he explains the dire events and shows us what transpired there!"

<FS3> Gauge rolls Perception: Failure. (2 5 2 3 6 3)
<FS3> Leonide rolls Perception: Success. (6 2 1 2 1 7 5)

Gabrielle moves along the dock but she is staying close to Leo and Alex, listening to the conversation and still frowning. But she sends one of her own guards off check on her family - where they normally stay while in town.. She then turns at Leo's shout and she can't help but give a half smile for her friend before moving along, still trying to see what can be seen.

<FS3> Aziza rolls Perception: Failure. (1 1 6 5 2)
<FS3> Gabrielle rolls Perception: Good Success. (8 6 7 1 7 5 6 6 1 1)

Augustin moves to follow on with Leonide. He is keeping quiet for the moment, watching and considering other's reactions as he goes. He blinks at some of the conversation he is hearing, his eyes flitting to the cleaning and to the Steward.

<FS3> Charlotte rolls Perception: Success. (7 1 4 3 3 1 6)
<FS3> Timeo rolls Perception: Good Success. (5 6 2 7 6 7)

"No shouts at all? No threats? No discontent?" Gauge asks when the man answers Tideo's question and he frowns, "That's damned peculiar." He rumbles, "Has there been any talk, at all, of people upset with the Marquise and her family?" He rumbles to the dock worker, rattling coins in his pocket lightly, more money to be had there if the answer is good no doubt.

<FS3> Edgard rolls Perception: Good Success. (1 7 3 2 3 2 5 7)

"No shouts, m'lord," the dock worker confirms towards Gauge. "And now, if you allow, I must get on with my work." He doesn't seem too eager for more coins, or maybe he just hasn't anything more to tell.

Alexandre for his part has been mostly silent through all of this, "I expect a good explanation." He says tightly, "As to why the House Guards were not able to protect our Family." He gestures to Gabrielle but seems satisfied when the workers stop. Looking back towards the others who also came from Marsilikos, "Any who are good at discovering clues, telling what happened, I would ask that you examine what remains of the grounds where the attack first took place. There is likely not much to be found after so much work has been done, but if we can find even one clue, that is more than we had." Then he looks to the Steward and nods, ready to leave when the others are.

Aziza listens to the conversations around her then looks to Charlotte. Leaning over she whispers something to the woman before standing up straight. At the mention of the palace she directs her attention that way to seemingly follow along but slowly turns to take a peek of the area that was being cleaned up. Those kohl lined dark eyes just look around, seemingly curious as she takes in the area where things started.

<FS3> Aziza rolls Investigation: Good Success. (8 4 6 8 2 8 5)

"Peculiar, indeed." Timeo agrees with Gauge, as takes a few steps away as if to investigate something he saw between the planks. Perhaps a dropped ducat or coin. His blue eyes scan it as he glances aside at something as he moved in a roundabout as he closed in as he starts to approach a figure he saw, as he comes by the man, and the man pulls himself up to his full height, making sure the crack of leather and chain is heard as he tries to be imposing. "Was there anything else?" he rumbles.

Léonard lifts his hands in a gesture, stepping a little aside, as to allow those wishing to walk over towards the area where it happened to pass. "Just tell me, when you are ready, my lords and ladies, and I will take you to the castle."

"What weapons did they use?" Augustin asks, piping up for the first time. "What numbers did they arrive in, and did they attack anyone else first or did they make their way directly to the family—have you discovered perimeter guards who were killed first or are missing?" His voice is rough as he asks about the last part, about the family.

Charlotte murmurs something back to Aziza as the two have their hushed exchange, her attention over towards Gauge and the man he was talking to before glancing back over to Aziza.

When Timeo does his looming and impressive technique, Gauge decides to back Timeo's ploy by growling out, "If you're leaving /anything/ out…" And his hand goes to the heavy broadsword on his hip. It's a gambit, but might as well push since the pushings already began!

Timeo spends 1 luck points on Intimidation!.
<FS3> Timeo rolls Intimidation+50: Amazing Success. (7 1 7 3 4 4 3 7 3 8 2 8 7 4 7 7 5 2 3 4)
<FS3> Gauge rolls Intimidation: Good Success. (4 6 5 2 8 8 7 6 5 4)

Aziza frowns as she speaks to her guards in Menekhetan, her tone stern. Looking to Charlotte she nods but motions for the woman to stand near her guards as she walks over near Gauge. "Baron…." That look on her face was of concern as she then leans over to murmur something to him.

Antoine frowns as he listens. He glances over towards Timeo, Gauge and the man they are speaking with, frowning a bit as he watches them for a few moments, then looks over as he hears Leonard's words. "Castle, yes," he remarks, turning to follow the man, moving a bit closer. "What happened to those that escorted them back to the palace?" he asks, when he's near enough.

Moving over to Leonide she then taps her on the shoulder before whispering to her as well. Aziza seemed to be on a mission.

The dock worker seems suddenly eager to slip away, cornered as he is, by both Gauge and Timeo. "M'lords…" He glances towards the d'Eresse baron and edges away, only to be stopped by the d'Aiglemort who is bumping into him from the other side. That manner, that tone, they make him freeze on the spot, as a suspicion begins to dawn upon the poor man. "Oooh.. No. I… I'm not one of them, m'lords… Some of them I thought I knew… but not when they… did… became… attacked…" Words fail him, and now he stares at them both, eyes wide with terror. "It was as if the minions of Hell had come out, m'lords. They weren't talking… saying anything."

"And who were these people that you knew?" Timeo's on a roll at this point, as he places a well-worn and battled hand on the dock-workers shoulder. "Were they dock workers like you? Sailors on a ship. Talk!" Gone is the nice questioning and coins. This is a shakedown.

Leonide moves to follow the steward, only to pause as Aziza taps her shoulder, turning, leaning in to listen, frowning, she speaks quietly in response only to then look back to Léonard. "As we walk Lord Steward, can you please explain what caused the damage to the cobblestones that is now being repaired? An assault with blades, or crossbows, or similar, would hardly cause such."

Gauge listens to Aziza's murmur, and says something back to her quietly before he points at the ground, "A lot more people here died than you are saying. Those stones are being moved to cover more bloodshed I am sure. Who is running things now?!" He demands, "Who is in charge!" He steps closer, leaning down, "Look, if you're not one of them whoever they are then you can have safe passage on my ship there. So long as you tell us what you know, no more holding back." He even points at his ship with all it's armed sailors on it (No seriously, they aren't pirates, honest!).

Charlotte will remain nearby the guards as Aziza instructed, watching the interrogation in progress by the two nobles, her arms coming to cross over her chest a little.

Leonide shakes her head at something there, speaking back quietly to Aziza.

Alexandre also stops when the others stop and he looks at Leonide, "What is this?" He then looks back towards the Steward, "Another trap. Like the one that you lead my family into?" He says with a deathly calm, "Let us go to the castle, where we can all be murdered and you can make up another story and who would there be to question it." He looks back towards Gabrielle, then the others, then towards the ships that brought them all down doing a rough approximation of how many men there might be available.

Léonard de Mereliot looks towards Augustin, when the man asks his questions. "Oh… they had daggers, my lord. They threw stones. They were moving forward, trampling some poor souls to death. They were… as far as I could tell, moving towards the family. As for the guards… Ah, it is much worse than you may think. Returning to the castle… about thirty minutes later than the Marquise, I and other people of her household came upon the most gruesome sight in the courtyard. As you know, the four sons and daughters of hers were killed. There are guards missing. In fact, we have reason to suspect that they were part of… a plot or conspiracy that aimed to abduct her and her husband."

"No trap! I swear, by Elua, my lord. This is the truth. I am a Mereliot. Are you accusing me of being a traitor on my own kin?", Léonard counters towards Alexandre. His shoulders lift in a dismissive shrug. "If you want to bring your own guards along, please do. Who am I to keep you. But may I remind you, that there is no time to be lost, as the Marquise and her husband are still in the hands of these villains?"

Aziza nods to Leonide only to move her gaze to the Stewart with a polite smile before she turns to head back to her guards and Charlotte. Reaching out her hand, she speaks in her native tongue to the tallest as she points to an ebon bow with gold markings. He simply nods then before she looks to Charlotte with a smile. "Have you Asir? Doesn't speak a lick of d'Angeline but handsome….I think you'd enjoy him as a view…." Though there was a smirk there was meaning behind her words. Licking her lips she stands now as she looks to the commotion with Gauge and Timeo but seems to wait to see.

<FS3> Leonide rolls Politics: Great Success. (4 6 7 7 7 6 8 2 1 2)

Charlotte glances over towards the fellow indicated and flashes a smile at the man before looking back at Aziza herself, "Is that so?" she asks, laughing a bit at that, "Perhaps so."

The dock worker meanwhile lowers his gaze, when Timeo asks him about the people he knew, who turned against the marquise and her family. "One of them… is a baker, a man I've known for many years. Then, a woman who has a stall at the market, selling fruit and vegetables. Two more, I know from the tavern.

"Who would benefit from the removal of the whole family? Who is in line to inherit if…if they're all removed?" Augustin asks, before he motions to the man. "Please, if there are more horrible sights to see let us not dally; you're right that we still may save the Marquise and her husband."

<FS3> Alexandre rolls Politics: Good Success. (4 8 8 6 2 2)

"If it were a power play, then leaving my aunt and uncle alive would be foolish, the succession would be unclear." Alexandre says to Augustin, "It seems this is something else." He looks at the Steward and studies him for a few moments, "Very well." He nods, expression going more amiable, or at least not accusatory. "I have lost many family members, I am not keen to lose more." He is not close enough to the dockworker and such going on in the back to be able to pick up what's going on there.

Edgard was quiet and listened as he walked with the others, keeping an eye out, and at the ready.

"Lord Gauge, get this information to the others, ask if the guards we brought in need to be sent to bring them in for questioning." Timeo comments as he turns his attention to the man. "You said they were acting possessed. How?" he's not letting down much.

Leonide looks across to Augustin at that question, a slight nod offered whilst she continues to move with the group toward the castle, still limping a little, then she speaks up to note. "I had not heard that there was any discontent or unrest, or that the noble coupled had any particular enemies. Were any of the assailants apprehended or recognised?" A momentary pause, a consideration. "This might have been targeted more at her grace than to the immediate victims."

Gauge looks at Timeo curiously as he is ordered about, one eyebrow arcing up very high but he chuckles afterwards and then goes to relay the information to the others about the location of the known traitors, but quietly, so that it is not let known that they are found out by anyone else whom might be around and not friendly. Whisper whisper, whisper whisper. He also catches Aziza and Charlotte's comments, at least part of them and he shakes his head with an amused look briefly, "Grab your bow." He tells Aziza, "And your guards. We're going bakery shopping." And with that, Gauge starts to slip away from the docks, heading towards the one location he knows for sure has a bad guy, if a very scared dock worker is to be believed.

Antoine frowns, as he looks between Leonard and Alexandre. Shaking his head a bit, he offers a brief nod to Alexandre. "That is a valid concern, my lord," he offers to the man, before he adds, "There are some major differences, though. I mean, we are armed, and we are expecting the possibility of a trap." A sigh as he looks around again, nodding a little at Leonide's words. "I must admit one thing has been on my mind on the way here. What if this was a distraction?"

"While the Marquise is absent, I am in charge.", Léonard de Mereliot declares quietly. "I would rather this were not the case, so I am quite interested in having her recovered as swiftly as possible. Believe me, while I do enjoy giving a tour of Béziers occasionally, today is not the time. If it is I who is to inherit you ask? Oh no, I'm just a far removed cousin who happens to be good with numbers." There is a faint sharpness to his tone, as he looks towards Augustin and then to Alexandre. "Yes. As long as we haven't seen proof or heard word on the Marquise, we are to assume they are still alive. There is another daughter though, who wasn't in Béziers when it happened. She should be safe. Or so I hope."

Aziza is still there, those dark eyes still staying on Gauge and Timeo with the dock worker. As she was approached, that brow raised as she smirked then as she held out her hand. That tall Menekhet handed out that bow as she spoke to them firmly. "As you wish. Time for some bread?" Pulling that bow on her shoulder she then took that quiver as she strapped it on. Following after she then motioned for her five guards to follow her.

Leonide shrugs in reply to Antoine there, her expression grim, also her left shoulder definitely stuff, she spreads her hands a little. "If this was a distraction? Well her grace has not despatched any of her chevaliers or men at arms, or her own warships, it failed. But this atrocity has abducted her strongest ally in the form of the Marquessa Monique Ariane Mereliot, her sister."

Seeing Gauge and Aziza about to go about their own business, Belmont falls in after them. After all, his older brother seems to have a clue he wishes to pursue. And so the younger Eresse lord follows along, glancing attentively about him as they head off towards the bakery.

"You and I, we're going to go have a talk with the others." Grabbing the dockworker by the shoulder, Timeo hauls him bodily towards the other mobiles. "This man has some insights he wants to share with you!"

"Wait… I said… I don't know anything. Didn't do anything wrong, by Elua I swear!", the dockworker calls out, stumbling as he is tossed towards the others, his balance failing, as he falls down onto his knees. "Please… high lords and ladies, have mercy on a poor soul… I wasn't part of it. I'm a witness, that's all. Didn't do anything wrong."

Alexandre looks towards the Steward and nods, but keeps his opinion to himself. "Alright, let us go to the castle and get the rest of this story then." He looks over at the others heading off, "And bring him with us." He seems ready to depart for the castle now. "I want to stop where the attack happened. I still don't know how these cobblestones got tore up and moved or why." He looks at the dock worker, "If you are just a witness, then no harm will befall you so long as you tell us what you know." The Kusheline narrows those intense green eyes on the dockworker, "But not here. So keep silent until we get there." He looks back towards the Steward with another nod.

Gabrielle waits for word to return and has been a little distracted but her skills might do better in the castle so she turns to walk with the others her eyes flickering to Leo and Alex with a tiny questioning frown but again is silent for the moment.

Léonard casts the dock worker a glance, and then waves for one of his guards to haul the man to his feet. "He can come with us, if you intend to question him in the castle, I have no objections," he tells Alexandre with a faint smile. "We also can offer you some refreshments at the castle… after all you just arrived." But his voice sounds distracted as if his thoughts are already lingering elsewhere. "Will you come along?" His gaze brushes those close by, Alexandre, Augustin, Edgard, Antoine and Gabrielle. Not waiting for their answer, he turns and moves towards the road that leads up towards the castle. It is a walk following a winding path, the weather is pleasant and the view impressively beautiful. "Or would the ladies have required a carriage to be fetched?" Léonard asks over his shoulder. Not pausing. It doesn't take long, and Castle Chauvaise appears before them, a pleasant but also impressive building with the banners of House Mereliot visible at its spires.

Edgard was well enough to walk, moving with the others. He kept close eye on things as they passed through town and to the castle itself, quiet, not a man of many words it seems.

Antoine nods a little as he hears Leonard's words, looking around as they walk. As they reach the castle, he offers a brief smile to Leonard. "An impressive castle, my lord," he remarks, before he glances around a bit carefully.

There is an archway with a raised portcullis, beneath of which they enter the castle grounds, and the courtyard. A few nobles have followed the Steward of the castle, Léonard de Mereliot all the way up from the harbor to the castle. As they enter the courtyard a few details will immediately spring to their attention. The dark blood stains still visible on the cobblestones. Four bodies covered with blankets so that only their outlines are visible. And a servant in a loud and rather emotional discussion with a guard, demanding to be admitted for cleaning the ground, and having the dead bodies relocated to the small chapel of Elua.

<FS3> Alexandre rolls Composure: Good Success. (8 4 6 7 1 2 6)
<FS3> Edgard rolls Perception: Success. (4 7 1 2 6 3 6 6)

"I-." Alexandre starts to say something upon seeing the covered bodies, "Are those my cousins?" He asks softly and there is a moment when he looks like he might do something rash but he regains his composure after that half a second and then asks, "There were no bodies found with them here?" He asks with a frown, "No guards died defending them?" He looks around over the scene, looking to see if there's any specific boot or shoe prints possibly left in the blood or the like. Trying not to look at the bodies and letting others deal with that for the moment.

<FS3> Antoine rolls Perception: Great Success. (7 7 2 4 7 8 3 2)

Gabrielle steps into the castle that she visited from time to time, as they move into the courtyard she blinks slowly and there is a tiny hiss of breath as those green eyes looks over the blood and the covered bodies. Her already pale features become ghostly white and she closes her eyes for long enough that her reaction might be note. But finally she opens her eyes again and moves gracefully to study the courtyard as Alexandre and others ask the questions for now.

Marco has been staying pretty quiet going with the group his dark eyes intent and surveying the area with the eyes of someone comparing it to memories and searching. He has to grit his teeth as he approaches the bodies. There's a hard cast to his face clearly controlling his emotions as he takes in the scene observing it with an expert eye for those amiss. The argument gets a hard look and he moves towards the figures to identify those who he can.

<FS3> Marco rolls Perception: Great Success. (7 8 6 4 7 3 8 6 4)

Letting out a bit of a breath as he looks to the covered bodies, Antoine lowers his head respectfully for a few moments, before he looks around a bit more carefully. "Lord Leonard," he offers after a few brief moments. "You said earlier that there are guards missing? Are those guards all the guards that were supposed to protect the marquise and her family, or are there others still alive, that we could speak with?"

<FS3> Marco rolls Medicine: Failure. (5 3 3 5 6 4 3 6)

As Marco steps closer, Léonard's eyes narrow, and he offers a bow to the other Mereliot. "Ah… Lord Marco, I had no idea you were with these people." But then the steward falls silent, granting the other Mereliot that moment. The servant and the guard, once they catch that hard look of Marco, fall silent at once. A silence that extends to the rest of them as Marco kneels down beside the first of the bodies, and in lifting the cloth away from the face, recognizes the features of the eldest and heir to the Marquise, Anais de Mereliot. The face has been cleaned at least, but if he dares to reveal more, there is a nasty cut to her throat, but whether this caused her death is hard to determine. There are marks about her wrists, as if they had been bound. She is dead, and obviously has been for a while.

<FS3> Alexandre rolls Perception: Good Success. (1 1 5 8 4 7)

Augustin follows the other in, continuing to be more quiet than not. When they are brought in to the castle area through the arch, he moves to follow Marco and Alexandre toward the bodies. He swallows a little bit as well as Marco pulls the sheet back. "Bound wrists means they weren't killed right away, although I have no idea how to tell how much time there would have been between the two." His eyes linger on the cut throat. "A slit throat could be someone in a hurry, or someone who didn't know a better way to kill someone. Or didn't care," he murmurs, almost to himself. "I'm sorry," he offers softly to the young woman in question.

Towards Alexandre and Antoine, the steward replies, "They were found as they are now, here, on their own. We have some of our guards still, those that were not on duty that night, but… the ones that were with the Marquise and her family… they are gone. Eight guards. All have been in service to House Mereliot for years, and till this happened, there have never been any causes to distrust them. Another one," he clears his throat, "who was on duty that night was caught on a trail northwards, where he behaved suspiciously. Local peasants alerted us to him, and we managed to take him captive. We have tried to question him, but so far… he hasn't uttered a single word."

Marco's eyes have a dark humor as he murmurs to Leonard, "What? Did you think we'd send a party to investigate without at least one Mereliot." He says in a dry one but he nods gesturing a hand to placate Leonard patting him on the shoulder resting it there and setting to inspecting each. He sighs quietly as he inspects first, "Anais." He murmurs grimly and he does reveal the damage inspecting the wounds and the wrists. He lets the others who might wish to see. He inspects the wound clearly trying to gather what information he can about the inflicting weapons he glances to the others, "Does anyone have experience with such wounds? I expect we'll want to know what was used on her." He lifts her wrists as well sighing. He looks to LEonard, "If you can have the names and descriptions written up it might be useful." He looks to the others, "Shall we meet the silent one then?"

Edgard gave a nod, "Maybe we can get him to speak, where others have failed." He toyed at one of the arrows in his quiver, turning it slowly in agitation at all this senseless death.

"Get me flechettes." Alexandre tells Leonard in a toneless voice lacking emotion, the Kusheline Viscomte looks down at the blood trails that are about, trying to determine how many foot prints there might have been, how many different sets of boots. "No guard bodies means the guards were a part of this." He straightens up and looks at Marco with a nod, "Yes Cousin, we will." He straightens up to his full height, "He will talk and tell us everything he would know by the time we are done with him." There is a cold fury in his expression as he looks at the other covered bodies.

Antoine nods as he listens. "Names and descriptions of the missing guards," he says to Leonard, before he frowns momentarily as he looks to the others. "Let's speak with him," he replies, perhaps a bit of emphasis on the word 'speak'.

"Flechettes, my lord?" Léonard seems astonished and appalled at the suggestion. "This is not Kusheth, we are here in Eisande. Believe me, I doubt flechettes will be of any use…" He glances towards Antoine when the man requests names and descriptions of the missing guards, "Yes, we can provide you with those. As for now. You may see the guard in custody. See for yourself." The latter, he says with a hint of sarcasm lacing his tone, as he moves into the castle, gesturing for them to follow along.

They are led into the entrance hall, and from there towards a stairway leading down into the dungeons. Dark it is down here, with torches shedding a flickering light. The guard in question is kept in a cell at the end of the hallway. With a sigh, Léonard gestures for the guard to unlock the door with his chain of keys, and then steps aside to let those who wish to enter inside.

In the middle of the room, bound to a chair sits a man, stripped of his armor and only wearing tunic and hoses. A man in his mid thirties, pale eyes, curly dark hair. He sits there in silence, like a statue, and stares through them, as if he didn't know they were there.

"Then go to la Court de Nuit, I assume you have one of those, go to Mandrake, and get me some." Alexandre tells someone, a guard, a servant, someone who will listen he hopes… since Leonard doesn't seem to have the will to.

Edgard walked in to look over the man. "You man, they say you will not speak. Open your mouth." He put on a glove, and went to force the man's jaw open if he didn't comply.

Augustin raises an eyebrow as he follows Alexandre in. "You think the city of Beziers has a district which would qualify as a Court de Nuit? Let alone have an individual house that specializes in Mandrake?" He shakes his head, and reaches back to his belt to pull out his dagger. "You want to use a blade, you're going to have to settle."

Marco glances over at the call for Flechettes as well, "As Leonard says this is Eisande. We must understand the situation before the right pressure can be applied. Pain is just one tool." He says simply though he doesn't stop someone from sending for the tools. His attention more on ensures that the bodies are covered appropriately with sadness after checking each one to name and looking for wounds. He then moves and follows with Leonard. He studies the captured man considering him. He moves to the bound man and lets Edgard physically handle him. "Your name?" He asks simply his eyes surveying and looking into the man's eyes searching for sanity and recognition. He asks of Leonard without looking away, "Has he received any food or drink? And what was found on him? Any drugs or drink?"

Gabrielle follows with the others, though the idea of being trapped in a Dungeon does come to mind as those green eyes narrow and she tries to track each way out if needed. A frown is still to her lips, having never been in this part of the castle after all. A breath and she moves to step behind Alexandre and Augustin and to the side. There is a pause, then she gasps softly stepping forward without thinking about it. "Florent?" She whispers as others move around. "The guard, that is Florent Dubois… he.. has a family. He was always kind to me. Why.. this doesn't seem right.."

Antoine nods in agreement with Marco, expression a bit thoughtful. He glances to Gabrielle, offering her a brief nod, before he pauses as she says the guard's name, frowning momentarily as he listens. "Florent," he repeats, stepping towards the man as well. "So… Florent, I might need your help for a few moments. You see, the good lord here," a gesture towards Alexandre. "He thinks we need to torture you to make you speak. Will you please do me a favor and prove him wrong, hmmm? We need to know what happened here…"

There is some annoyance on Alexandre's features at all of the response to his request for flechettes, "This is the last time I do not bring my set with me…" He says to nobody at all, the Kusheline looking vaguely annoyed. He does nod his thanks to Augustin's suggestion though, "Crude, but no doubt will be just as effective in the end… messier, by far… and more painful in the end." He says with a frown but, a blade is a blade, and it's better than him trying to do precision work with that big sword he carries… now /that/ would be messy. Still he waits for the others to have their go though.

<FS3> Alexandre rolls Occultism: Success. (8 5 5 1 4 1)

Florent Dubois doesn't even blink. He continues to stare, without seeing them, and maybe even without hearing them. Not even Gabrielle receives a glance from him, even as she says his name and recognizes him. Like a stone at the bottom of the sea, drifting in the tides. His consciousness buried beneath the heavy weight of something dark and unrelenting.

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