At Dinu, we watched over the workers as they unloaded the boat and though I kept my eye on the dubious chests, I saw nothing wrong happening. However, I did notice Celine, now sporting a traveler’s mask, watching us from a distance. I assumed that she was avoiding Franke, so I left Raniel to deal with him while I wandered closer to her to see what she was doing here. We had assumed she had left our little group, no longer wishing to risk life and limb beside us, but her presence meant something deeper was at work. However, she said very little about her absence and I left it at that.
I wandered the streets some more, trying to find any credible news that would validate my doubts or rid me of them, and as I wandered, I was hailed by a brother of the Order of the Golem. He had little concrete information, but shared by doubts of Celus’ intentions and motives and warned me to avoid that man in the future. He then gave me a ring and bid me farewell.
Meeting back with the others, I found that Franke had invited us to visit with his employer, a Mr. Betancourt. We did so, but Celine declined coming on this either. I thought it odd at the time, but during the meal they gave us, my suspicions grew more and more as they spoke of a missing daughter. I gave no concrete evidence to the parents and afterwards confronted Celine with my suspicions. She admitted some things, but asked for my patience and cooperation. After having been brought back from death’s door by her divine power, I felt I owed her that much. I will say nothing of this to Mr. Betancourt.
While we began considering what to do next, we overheard rumors that local guardsmen were behaving erratic, even violent. We decided to look into this and see if some coin could be made, but soon found that the local militia’s barracks was teeming with some foul magic. As we studied it, trying to decipher what it could be, the sun set and several of the guardsmen began shuffling about in a strange, eerie trance. Celine approached one and while he was somewhat coherent, little he said made sense and he and his fellows soon attached us. The militia’s captain, apparently not under the sway of whatever dark force was at work here, stepped in to help us, obviously confused by his men’s violent behavior, but even with his aid, we were overwhelmed.
I awoke later tied to a chair, same as my fellows, and looking at a large sculpture of a man’s head. However, almost without even needing to look for it, you could feel the power that permeated the barracks emanating from this bust. Something deep below the realm of conscious thought began tugging at my mind, pleading with me to gaze into the stony eyes before me and a guardsman soon shuffled in and began whispering the same thing aloud. We all averted our eyes, but none of us could escape the bounds that held us. Desperate for some chance at escape, I let my body relax and my voice, slow though it was, to mimic that of our captors. Fortunately, they assumed I had become as them and released me. I shuffled off in search of my weapon and shield, trying to figure out how I could help the others.
Once I found my shield near where I had been captured, I was surprised to hear Theoro’s voice hissing at me from some shadows. Being that he had been trying to find a way out of his cursed boots, he had not been with us and I had thought of his aid. I hissed back to him where the others were held, then shuffled around, trying to learn more as the other guardsmen began gathering, speaking of attacking the city. This went on for a few minutes until, as one, they stopped and turned to the building where the sculpture and my friends were. I could only assume that Theoro had managed to free them and they now were trying to destroy the accursed thing. I shouted a warning that they had little time then drew the guardsmen attention to myself in an effort to buy them more time inside. It was terrifying, trying to stay out of reach of so many shuffling, vicious pursuers, but knowing that I had to stay close or they’d turn to attack my friends.
Fortunately, that time was brief as they suddenly stiffened and dropped to the ground, whatever foul energy that had filled their minds dissipating in the night air. Whatever my friends had done had stopped whatever was controlling these men. However, as I went back to where my friends were, I was surprised to see the captain, face contorting from agony into an inhuman form, stagger out of the building. It was only afterwards that I learned that he had broken the sculpture himself and had taken the brunt of whatever energy escaped when it was destroyed. He screamed, then was gone, a goat-headed demon in his place that turned and attacked us in rage. We were forced to kill the thing.
Afterwards, as the guardsmen began to recover, we wearily told our tale, for they had no memory of any of it. I later slipped back into the building to get fragments of the head, one that seemed dedicated to Eadwig the Bloody. Was this some random item someone had somehow triggered, or was the Trapped God up to something? I didn’t know, nor did I know if I wanted to know.