Lucien, Valeros, Ezri and Alissa slowly enter the chapel, taking in the staircases which lead up to a balcony, the ornate carved pews, rich tapestries and the massive statue of Andraste at the other end of the chapel. Lucien and Valeros head up to take a closer look at the statute and notice several bowls of gold and silver coins and gems on the plinth of the statute. Ezri, who had followed to the front, thought it was rather odd to see so much wealth in this chapel when the chantry was so far outside a city and it was so modest everywhere else. Why were the gems left unattended? Or were the gems somehow secretly protected or guarded?
As they explore the chapel, Valeros and Alissa hear voices coming from the door on the right of the chapel. Alissa can tell they are angry/tense sounding and it sounds like it is the Captain and a woman talking. Through the left hand door she can hear owls hooting and realises that that door leads outside. Creeping closer to the door, Alissa hears hushed shouty voices. It is definitely the Captain arguing with a woman and although all that can be heard clearly of the argument is “the girl”, the woman is definitely dominating the argument.
“Why has so much money been left here? There must be at lead 200 gold coins here not to mention all the gems” Asks Ezri before Valeros hushed her and tells her to listen.
“What I can’t hear anything”
“You can’t hear the voices arguing?”
Ezri shrugs indicating she can’t hear anything as Alissa creeps back across to them and tells them about who and what she overheard.
“What shall we do? Will we get in trouble for being here?” Inquires Ezri.
“We need to hide, I don’t think we should be caught snooping around here” whispered Alissa
“We could pretend we are praying and thankful we were rescued, I mean after what we went through I think that would be quite believable, don’t you?” Chips in Valeros just as the voices stop and someone starts walking towards the door.
As the other three quickly drop to their knees and start “praying” and Ezri starts a chant of thanks, Alissa looks around, searching for a place to hide. Realizing it is hopeless as there is no time and no decent hiding place, Alissa just stays stood behind them and tries to look as innocent as she can.
The door is opened just enough for Simon to come out of the room, as he does so Valeros and Alissa glance across, intrigued to see who came out of the door. As he sees them, Simon’s face falls with a look of total dismay and runs silently across to them.
“Guys, I don’t know what you’re doing here but you need to go back to your rooms right now. No questions no arguments.” Turning to focus his gaze on Alissa, Simon adds “Please, for your own sakes we need to hurry.”
“Why?” asks Valeros, standing but making no move to start heading towards the door.
“I said no questions” replies Simon as he helps Ezri up and takes Alissa gently by the arm to make sure she starts moving to the door and ushers the rest of them towards the door. Ezri hurriedly finishes the pray she was saying as they head out of the chapel. Simon ushers the four of them out the door, glancing back he sees the door on the right hand side of the chapel is starting to be opened and lets out a small sigh of relief as he realises just how close they were to being caught.
“What is going on?” insists Valeros as they hurry towards their rooms.
“Still no questions. But I will tell you this everything is not as innocent as it seems here but you cannot go investigating it and been inquisitive. It’s just not worth it.” As far as they can all tell, Simon is being genuine.
“Ok, so what? We just go back to our rooms and ignore it?” Asks Valeros.
“Yes, and try and get some sleep”
“But we were just giving thanks, I mean how we managed to survive that sea serpent is anyone’s guess!”
“Even if that is true, not everyone will believe that that is what you were doing”
“Ok, ok, just one last question”
With a sigh, Simon says “What Valeros?”
“Are you ok?”
Slightly surprised by the question, Simon replies “I will be ok if you lot take stay safe” He turns Alissa before adding “Please take care of yourself….I mean of yourselves” he corrects himself and glances round at the group to try and show them how serious they need to take his warning.
As they obviously won’t get any further explanation, the group all say goodnight and head back to their rooms. Valeros sits, staring into the fire in the room, mulling over everything that had happened since they had entered the chantry. Lucien, who had been suspiciously quite since they had been rescued went straight to bed and was asleep almost instantly, at least as far as Valeros could tell. Ezri and Alissa sat on the bottom of one of the bunks discussing what had just happened.
“What do you make of all this then Alissa?”
“I’m not sure. But the more we learn or, more accurately, don’t learn, the more I want to find out what the heck is going on here”
“Well if you could get Simon on his own tomorrow, you could just sidle over to him and wheedle it out of him” Ezri says before hurriedly adding “But not in a prostitute kind of a way”
Alissa glares coldly at Ezri “So you think I should ‘prostitute’ myself so we can find out what’s going on do you?”
“No, no, of course not. I mean, I would never encourage that behaviour in anyway, in fact I decidedly said you shouldn’t do that. I just meant that, well you know, you and Simon get on well together and he’s more likely to tell you what’s going on than any of us.” After a few more minutes of Ezri backtracking and trying to reassure Alissa she was not asking her to prostitute herself they say goodnight and both head to bed.
The next day they were woken by the sounds of bells and one of the sisters telling them that breakfast was ready and to go to the dining room when they were ready.
“OK, I’m awake” murmured Ezri as she rolled out of bed, still half asleep.
After they were dressed, Ezri and Alissa decide to go find Valeros and Lucien so they can discuss what happened last night with them. When they hadn’t come up with any new plans after about 10mins and driven by hunger, they all head to the dining room for breakfast. As they enter, they see Simon sat at a table, position so he can see when they come in. As soon as he sees them, he moves closer to the sailors on his table, making sure there is no room for them to sit next to or opposite him.
The four of them find a place to sit away from any of the others so they can carry on the discussion without being overheard. They also find it strange that Malign is still not around and they can’t hear, smell, or taste him!
Ezri notices Alice, the sister that she knows, but before she can call her over or stand to go and greet her, Alice stumbles and spills the mead she is carrying all over the floor and there is a collective groan and a few of the sisters say “Oh not again”. Ezri gets up and heads over to Alice, who has started cleaning up the mead. After catching up for a few minutes, Ezri invites Alice to come across and meet her friends. As they walk over to the group, one of the other sisters sticks her foot out and trips Alice up causing Alice to spill the bucket of mopped up mead all over Valeros and Alissa.
Alice was mortified and throughout the room malicious sniggering can be heard, especially from the group around the sister who had deliberately tripped Alice. Valeros gets up from the table complaining he is completely sodden before stomping his way across to the girl who tripped up Alice.
“Excuse me miss” growls Valeros
Three girls, all in their early 20s, turned around. It was clear that all of them had spent a long time on their appearance which was unusual considering they were chantry sisters.
“Yes, sir?” Replied the brunette in the middle. She sat up straighter when she sees that it is Valeros talking to her.
“Do you not have enough room at the table?”
“Well, we can make some room for you, sir” She said, batting her eyelids at him.
“Why was your leg in the aisle? I think you need to apologise to Alice here.”
“I don’t think so, I mean it’s not MY fault Alice is so clumsy. It’s her that needs to apologise” she replied with a smug smirk, looking around at her friends, waiting for their praise on her quick answer.
“No I don’t think it is. I mean, if I happened to “stretch” my arm out here and “accidently” hit you. I would still apologise!”
“Man of honour right Valeros!” Chips in Ezri
“Indeed, I would apologise because I AM a man of honour!” nods Valeros.
Throughout the exchange, Alice has stayed hidden behind Ezri looking absolutely mortified.
“Don’t leave Alice alone, she might trip over something sharp and pointy.”
“Nice hair do!” Snarls Valeros
“Thanks, I worked very hard on it” Smiled the girl, completely missing the sarcasm.
“Why? Why did you go to all the effort? It’s not like it was worth it, especially as there is not one here you would appreciate it!”
The brunette stands and so do the two blondes on either side of her. “Watch yourself” She hissed, trying to save face.
“Fine, and you better watch yourself as I’ll be watching you” Whispers Valeros threateningly, leaning in for effect.
With a huff and a hair flick the brunette and her friends turn and leave at which point Valeros came back over to the group and smiles at Alice. “If they give you any trouble Alice, you just come and find me” He puts a reassuring hand on her shoulder.
“But what if you’ve gone?” whispered Alice through barely contained tears.
“Oh don’t worry I’ll be around for a while”
“Really? I thought Mother Pia said you’d only be here a day or so.” Sniffed Alice
“Is that so….” Pondered Valeros as Alice turned and ran out of the dining hall, no longer able to hold back the tears.
Ezri, Alissa, and another sister start to clean up the spilt mead and Ezri questions the sister about what had happened between the two. The sister informs them that Julianna and Alice had a fallening out a while back. They had a dispute over a man from outside the chantry, they used to be quite friendly with each other.
“What? About a man?” Questioned Ezri, surprised.
“Well that’s the rumour, but it is just a rumour.”
“Can’t the superiors do anything about helping Alice?” inquires Alissa
“Yes but Alice won’t tell them that anything is wrong”
“But Alice, she has friends yeah? I remember her being well liked” Asks Ezri
“No. Julianna is very persuasive. Plus she’d the illegitimate daughter of a noble, which is why she was left here, and the money she brings in gives her quite a bit of sway.” The sister informed them.
They also learn that there are about 25 sisters living in the chantry and they are all equal except Mother Pia. Mother Pia had been in charge of the chantry for 10 years and since she came they no longer train novices. They also learn that they will meet Mother Pia that afternoon and the sister they are talking to is called Jasmine.
“So, Jas…” Says Valeros
“I prefer Jasmine, actually” the sister interrupts before Valeros can ask his question.
“Sorry, Jasmine, are there any other guests staying here at the minute?”
“You are the main guests.”
“And have the sailors been here before?”
“Er…No I don’t think they have”
Although the sister seems a little unsure, she seems to be telling the truth. As they have finished clearing up, Jasmine takes the bucket and leaves the group saying she will send a sister back with towels for Valeros and Alissa. As the sister leaves, Ezri notices that quite a lot of the sisters are making eyes at the sailors and that all the sisters seem quite young with the oldest only being about mid-20s. They also notice that Simon is actively trying to avoid looking at them or making eye contact with any of them. It is at this point that Z2 enter the room and join the sailors at their table. Both of them look exhausted and seem to only be able to keep their heads up by resting them on their hands.
Another sister they have not met yet comes across to them and gives Valeros and Alissa a towel and Alissa leaves to go get out of the soaked clothes. Ezri asks the sister who brought the towels if she knows where Malign is. The sister informs her that she hasn’t seen him but suggests he could be in the medical bay. When Ezri asks if they can go and look for him they are surprised to learn the medical bay is in quarantine. “Subtly” Valeros inquires where the medical bay is ‘so we don’t accidently stumble into it’ and the sister informs them it is on the right as you enter the chapel.
“After I get changed, I think we need to go and pray!” whispers Valeros to Ezri before he leaves to go and get changed.
Under the doors of their rooms, a note has been slipped that tells them to join Mother Pia at 12 for a service in the chapel, not to bother the sisters and they should feel free to wonder the gardens.
Whilst the others are getting changed, Ezri heads over to one of the sailors that are still in the dining room. The one she talks to is a bald, bearded sailor.
“Do you happen to know what happened to Malign?”
“Malign, he was on the boat with us…erm….the one that looks like a guy but who wears a dress”
“Oh….the man/woman! Didn’t he die on the boat?”
“Er…..no he didn’t. He arrived here with us”
“Then I don’t know”
At the end of this exchange, Alissa comes back in and goes over to Ezri who has started asking the other few sailors that are still there if they know anything about what happened to Mailgn. Alissa inquires what the first bald, beardy one what his name is.
“Brom. B-R-O-M, Brom”
After they had talked to them for a bit longer, they are just about to bid farewell when Brom says to Ezri with a wink “You know if you want a really man, one you know is definitely all man, I’ve got a glass of mead with your name on”
“Er….well I’m flattered sir but as you can see” Ezri glances down at her robes before continuing “I am a chantry sister so I’ll have to pass on the glass of mead”
Turning to Alissa, Brom says “What about you then love?” Before Alissa has time to reply, one of the other sailors nudges Brom and says “Not her” at the same time as Ezri whispers to Alissa “remember, you don’t have to prostitute yourself”
Brom nods with comprehension then says “I retract that offer”
Alissa turns to Ezri with a raised eyebrow “Not sure whether I should be offended or not!”
Brom quickly adds “Sorry love. If it was up to me I would and if you ever get bored of the other one just let me know” and with that the sailors all get up and leave.
Slightly confused by what had just happened Alissa stood there for a bit until Ezri asks “Do you think he meant Simon by ‘the other one’?”
“He must have, I mean I don’t know who else he could be talking about”
Valeros had come back into the dining room just in time to hear the end of the exchange and Ezri filled him in on the rest before Alissa showed Ezri the note about the meeting at 12 and suggested they should take a look round the garden. They all agree and are about to go when Ezri remembers Alice had promised to find her a walking stick but must have forgotten what with everything that had happened with Julianna. Valeros, man of honour that he is, says he will go and find the stick for her. In his rush to start investigating what is really going on in the chantry, Valeros gets lost on his way to find Alice, who is working in the kitchen today, but after a few wrong turns he suddenly smells bacon and is back on track and finds the hatch for food and soon after the kitchen. He knocks on the door.
“Who….who is it?” asks a whimpery voice.
“Alice? It’s Valeros”
Alice slowly opens the door and Valeros can see she has red, puffy eyes.
“Are you ok Alice?”
“Yeah, it’s just the onions”
“Onions? In the morning?” Questions Valeros, suspiciously but lets it drop when Alice makes some excuse about preparing lunch and it’s clear she doesn’t want to talk about it. Valeros reassures Alice that they will be around if she needs them before asking her about the crutch. Alice rushes out of the kitchen and in to the chapel to fetch the crutch but she closes the door of the chapel after her so Valeros can’t see in. She then rushes back carrying the crutch which she hands to Valeros before returning to the kitchen to get on with her work. Valeros thanks her for the crutch before heading back to the others.
“Here’s the crutch. You know, I’m worried about Alice”
“Thank you. Yes, me too. She’s not the Alice I remember…”
They walk around to the right of the building, pass through a courtyard with a fountain and come to where the room of to the right of the chapel is. It is quite a bit bigger than they had pictured from the inside but, much to their disappointment, the only windows it had were small, reflective windows right at the top. Not being able to gain any information about what is going on from the outside, liked they hoped, they group carried on their walk around the chantry. They discover there are 3 entrances to the building and also a stable block outside. They decide to go take a look at the stable. Inside there are 3 horses, all well looked after. The sister who is attending to the horses is about 35. They all greet her.
“Good morning. You must be the guests that are staying here” she smiled “I’m Eleanor”
She then turnings to call back to the room attached to the stable and tells Leo to come and meet the guests. A lad about 16 who looks very similar to Eleanor comes out and she introduces him as her son. As they chat to them, the group discover that the horses belong to the chantry and that Eleanor is in charge of making travel arrangements for the guests that stay at the chantry.
“You lot were a day late in to shore” remarks Eleanor
“Yeah we had a bit of trouble with a sea serpent” says Valeros and at this Leo becomes a lot more interested in the conversation and starts to ask Valeros questions about the fight. Valeros tells him a slightly exaggerated version of what happened in the fight before Leo asks if he can have a go with Valeros’ sword.
When Ezri asks about the fact she is a sister and has a son, Eleanor explained that she knew Mother Pia before she took over the chantry so Mother Pia made an exception for her.
“So, Leo are you an apprentice then?” asks Ezri
“Yes, I’m training him up to be a stable boy” replied his mother
“And are you going to stay on here to look after the stable?”
“No! No, I want to go on an adventure like you lot” protested Leo
With a shake of his head Valeros said “No, no, lad you should stay here. There is a lot to be said for having a stable home” Valeros then turned and asked Lucien if he was alright as he had been very quiet since they had arrived at the chantry, when Lucien nods and says his fine Valeros turns back to ask Eleanor if she had seen Malign, Cleric. When she told them she had not the conversation moved on to other guests etc. They found out that the Captain had stayed at the chantry before and that the chantry do trade with him. Mother Pia and the Captain had met in Highever and got talking and came up with a deal. Since then, he had stayed at the chantry a few times but he didn’t normally bring the crew with him.
Eleanor also filled them in on what had happened between Alice and Julianna. Alice used to work front of house and because of that she meet a man from Highever. The man offered to take Alice away from the chantry but Alice turned it down as she had dedicated her life to Andraste. Julianna had taken a shine to the man and hoped he’d make her the same offer but he didn’t and since then Julianna had been making Alice’s life hell.
By this time it was nearing 12 o’clock so they said goodbye to Eleanor and Leo and headed back to the chapel to meet Mother Pia.