Part 14 - The Hot Fair
They began the journey to Troyes. On the way, they linked up with a merchant named Naban, who was headed to the Hot Fair. He hired them on as guards. They learned that in addition to doing some trading, he also was bringing a contract from the merchant guild for the Bishop in Troyes, laying out the method in which the guild would pay the debt it owed to the Bishop.
A couple of days into the journey, they were awakened by an upset Daufer, the merchant’s personal guard. Someone had stolen the contract. Not surprisingly, they were the primary suspects. A fight almost broke out, but Naban called for cooler heads.
They began to search for the contract, but it was not found. The lock on the chest it was kept in was not damaged, indicating that someone used a key, which was only Naban and his servant had. They went through the servant’s belongings but found nothing. They did inspect the cooking fire he had had, and found burnt scraps of paper that matched what the contract was written on.
He was about to be tortured for information when the merchant’s wife admitted she gave him the contract to burn. She knew Naban could not afford the terms of the contract and was trying to help him. Naban said he would have to go the Bishop and beg for mercy. He feared this fate more than trying to pay the contract. They continued on their way to Troyes.
The following day they came upon a caravan that had apparently been attacked. Everyone was dead and the wagon was burned. They counted roughly a dozen dead bodies.
In the morning of July 30th, they arrived in Troyes. They went and spoke to Alix and she told them that the five heiromonks had stayed in the spare room of her home. They traced the heresy to a mysterious preacher they referred to as the Heresiarch. People were saying that he was coming to absolve every one of their sins.
The Nephilim looked about the monk’s room and found charts where the monks were apparently trying to calculate the source of the heresy. They also found a leprous finger wrapped in a cloth.
They next went to meet with Foulque but he was too busy. He agreed to meet with them in the morning.
Later in the day, they attended the Hot Fair and took in the sights and sounds. They learned that the Templar Knights had a commandery in the city as well as a castle on the outside of town called Chateau Du Paynes. Rumor had it that the Templars had returned there recently with a mysterious chest.
They also heard that people were appearing in the crowds preaching the word of the Joyous One, which is what they called the mysterious preacher that the monks of the Order had referred to as the Heresiarch. They seemed to be rapidly gaining a following amongst the poor in the city. Some of the Merchants were certain that some of these “faithful” were from the leper colony outside of town.
The next day they went and met with Foulque. Valentine told him he was looking for some esoteric books that perhaps Foulque could acquire. Foulque seemed skeptical, but he said he would see what he could do.
Later that morning, Count Henry, who was in charge of the city, held a special worship service that was attended by the city’s wealthy and several of the Templars. The purpose of the service was to raise funds for the knights that were going back to the Holy Land. They observed that one knight was missing three fingers, and had occult sigils on his armor. The Nephilim recognized the sigils as protection from demonic influence and possession.
They decided to next go to the leper colony, as ill-advised as that may have seemed.