The next morning the group makes its plans over breakfast. Stringer will check with his contacts at the Steamworker’s Guild for any information about the victims of the grave robberies or their families, the others head to City Hall to see if there are records of any sort that may shed some light.
A nervous young clerk named Carth proved to be most helpful and informative. It was Carth who revealed the connection of Dumas to the Corvis Witch Trial of nearly a decade ago, the events that led to the execution of Alexia’s mother, Lexaria Ciannor. While the birth and death records revealed little, the public records of the case file for the Trial proved a rich trove of information. It seemed that all the recent victims of the grave violations were jurors on the case, from all walks of life. It also noted the executions had taken place at a consecrated site prepared a few hours from the city, and that while four of the Coven were interred there, the leader, Lexaria herself, was entombed at the Temple of Morrow’s graveyard as a reminder to the city that witchcraft would not be tolerated.
Having learned all this, the team decided to investigate some of the graves. First they headed east, stopping at the Gadock farm on their way to the East Boneyard. At first leery of the troop of adventurers, Bern and Hilda quickly warmed up to them. But it was their son, young Hagar (named for his grandfather), who claimed to have “seen Gramps get out of the ground and go that way,” pointing northwest. Hilda quickly and nervously dismissed the child’s words as imagination, but Bern didn’t seem too certain.
The East Boneyard was literally that, a huge, barren expanse of inarable land that the poorer locals have been using as a graveyard for generations. Often the bodies were so hastily buried, to merely dumped, that scavengers have been able to easily dig up the corpses. Consequently, bones are scattered throughout the potholes and mud puddles that add to the desolate appearance. Among the few markers that stand, the group encounters a beggar, who sits and rocks himself in the mud, muttering about the “girl in white… just got up and walked away…crawled from the dirt…” He completely ignores them until Fynn offers him some rations and water. Egger the Beggar claims to have seen a “pretty, raven-haired girl in a white dress stop at the graves of Sen Burkette and Ham Hopless, and that the men dug themselves out of the ground, and shambled off to the northwest.
After the long walk back to Corvis, the group met with Sergeant Arn in the Quad, where he told them what he knew of the Trial of the Century:
1. Magistrate Ulfass Borloch brought the charges against the five women.
2. The trial and executions were closed court, only the highest members of society and government were allowed to attend.
3. The evidence must have been very convincing, as the trial and executions were done in short order.
4. Father Dumas prepared the execution and burial site.
Arn then went on to inform the team that his Captain, a Julian Helstrom, would like very much to have a word with them in the morning.
Before dinner at the Temple that evening, it was agreed that Stringer would sneak into Alexia’s room to look for further evidence. Dinner was casual and pleasant. Stringer excused himself early, claiming an irate stomach from “market vendor carts,” while Fynn, Kah, and Durin engaged Father Dumas (“please, call me Pandor, friends”) and Alexia in conversation. Alexia proved to be a charming, intelligent, and curious girl, all while seeming a bit shy. It began to seem unlikely that this waif of a girl, not even of majority age, would be capable of the sheer power and unbalanced mindset needed to conduct the necromantic atrocities they were investigating, and yet the evidence they had gathered so far was convincing, if anecdotal. Alexia did confess an interest in the works of one Professor Viktor Pendrake, a specialist in aberrant and magical wildlife. She said she often spent time in the University Library reading his books, among others.
After dinner, Fynn confirmed with Father Dumas some details of the trial, though the memories obviously pained Pandor a great deal. He expressed concern that perhaps he’d been too busy with his churchly duties to take care of Alexia properly over the years, after having caught her at the execution where she witnessed her mother’s death by the executioner’s sword, but also believes that she’d gotten over the trauma.
It was decided that the next course would be to investigate the Witch’s Tomb, a couple hours ride northwest into the Widower’s Wood from the city. Could be that’s where the dead jurors have been sent by Alexia?