Carlisle Part 2
Having recovered throughout the late afternoon, Calais and Raphael once again convene their planning as the shadows of evening begin to fall. Calais has clearly been deep in meditation, something Raphael is able to determine via the milky paleness of her eye…
Calais explains that she is determined to act now that they have the chance but must be very careful in executing the plan she has hatched. She outlines a suggested approach involving the two both entering Carlisle and then Carlisle Cathedral before embarking on separate tasks. Raphael is charged with the task of entering the guardhouse and dungeons. He is to set as many prisoners free as possible using the sewers as an escape route. Meanwhile, Calais planned to enter the main keep, discover what had happened to the Sheriff of Cumberland (Roger de Vallibus) whilst simultaneously assessing the size and nature of the Sithe high command in Carlisle. To aid Raphael in his mission, Calais also promises to use her power on his ring of invisibility adding to the duration of the effect.
In the early hours of the 18th (August) the two once again make their way to Carlisle cutting across country and making their way to the outer walls in the north-western quadrant of the city. Raphael is able to find a secure footing for climbing the wall whilst to his astonishment Calais levitates her way to the top of the wall, before both jump down into the grassy meadow situated just behind the wall. Cutting diagonally across a relatively leafy part of the city, the two approach the outer castle wall without delay easily clearing this obstacle before reaching the moat. After some discussion Calais once again calls upon her powers levitating first Raphael and then herself across. Clearly tired from expending considerable magical power, Calais calls a brief halt catching her breath before approaching the inner castle walls. At this point, she summons her power, mediating energy into the ring of invisibility before wishing Raphael good speed.
Now alone, the Inquisitor quickly climbs the outer facade of the gatehouse jumping over the wall into a courtyard directly behind an archway entrance to the castle grounds. Passing through the eerie night illumination of the guards, he finds a spiraling staircase leading down to a cramped dormitory housing additional guards, asleep in their beds. The staircase leads further down beneath the guardhouse so Raphael continues, carefully treading quietly past the spluttering braziers. Descending down to the basement level, the Inquisitor enters the dungeon, finding 3 guards engaged in a heated argument over their game of cards and 4 sizable cells filled with filthy, sleeping figures.
Hiding behind a particularly gruesome looking wooden bed set with metal shackles and instruments of torture, Raphael quickly discovers that the 3 guards are named Lokiris, Galdo and Fritz. Lokiris is clearly their leader and is a wiry, mean looking man. Galdo is a large, almost obese figure and complains bitterly to Fritz that Lokiris has ‘uncanny’ luck with cards. Fritz, seems least interested in the game and is sat half asleep, his mop of dirty, unwashed hair partially covering his face.
Waiting for his moment, Inquisitor Raphael steals out from his concealment and makes for Lokiris. However, as he draws his sgian dubh, disaster strikes, his boots moving too quickly for his own good, tripping on metal spikes hammered into the floor. Falling forward the dagger is impaled on his right hand, ripping open the flesh and exposing a gaping wound on the back of his right hand. Now visible to the three guards, Fritz bolts for the staircase whilst the Inquisitor blocks the other two from following suit. Using his astonishing speed, Raphael darts forward slashing first Lokiris and having fended off blows from both opponents then catching Galdo a nasty glancing blow to the head. Backing off toward the cells, Raphael sprints forward astonishing his attackers by cartwheeling through the air before slashing down on the exposed back of Lokiris. Howling with pain and now seriously injured both men dart for the staircase. Fearing that reinforcements are likely to arrive soon enough, the Inquisitor lets them go cursing to himself whilst inspecting the metal spikes which had so hampered his attempts at a stealthy breakout. Finding his lock picks, two of the cells are quickly opened but an old priest by the name of Rolf suggests that the third cage be left locked as it harbours genuine criminals including murderers. The men inside beg the Inquisitor to ignore this ‘wicked’ advice but Raphael instinctively feels that the advice is genuine. Quickly the final cage is opened with 40 men free from their containment including some Templars who quickly take control of the situation. They appear to be led by a Templar by the name of Sebastian who quickly appropriates the overall plan to reach the sewers but warns that they will need to reach the latrines at the back of the guardhouse to enter.
As the men form into rows a voice calls down the stairs in a lyrical Irish brogue.
‘A wee message for you all. My guards are a bit upset with the ruffian slashing at them and performing his circus act. We all feel it’s a bit rude in all honesty so I suspect I’ll be needing to come down those stairs to tan your hide before the night is through. Conlai Bradach is the name incidentally just in case you want to know who the last face you’ll ever see is. A handsome one mind so every cloud has a silver lining. ’
The Templars stop panic from spreading through the ranks of men now fearfully eyeing the staircase. A few whisper of Conlai’s madness and in particular his fiddle and terrible scream capable of killing men where they stand. Fearing that the courage of the men will falter, Raphael urges them forward, giving his spare daggers to the two Templars leading the charge. Sebastian stays close to the Inqusitor promising to guide him and any survivors to the sewers.
Charging up the staircase, the group burst into the sleeping chambers above with Conlai and several armed guardsmen awaiting the attack. Throwing back his head, the fiddler emits a spine chilling scream of horrible proportions that stops men in their tracks, many falling to the ground clutching their ears and some remaining still, blood pouring from perforated eardrums. However, sheer weight of numbers forces a few through to the adjoining staircase with Raphael now leading the charge alongside. Entering the back staircase and making his way to the latrines, Raphael noted that 9 men including Sebastian had won through. Shocked at the casualties, Sebastian reminds the Inquisitor that he has given men the chance to die fighting.
Sebastian is quickly able to locate the metal grate beneath the latrine having observed a rat infestation via the sewers several months earlier. Calling for help, Sebastian and Raphael are able to lift the heavy guard enough for men to enter the enclosed, filthy stench of the sewer. With rats scampering in their wake, the 9 men are able to enter the sewers and initially on hands and knees, crawl their way to safety.
Eventually the sewers begin to widen and the nine make their way now quickly through the tunnels as conduit sewers from other areas of Carlisle pour into the main artery. From time to time torches are spotted behind them in the eerie glow of the sewer walls. Raphael urges the men for more speed as he seeks the exit. After over an hour the group finally comes to the end of the sewer, which feeds a stream just outside the city walls. The way is barred by a large metal grate through which the turgid water flows. Raphael, Sebastian and a large priest by the name of Luke try several times to budge the iron grate but despite sensing that the wall is crumbling where the grate connects with the bricks and mortar, it will not budge. With torches approaching in the distance once again, the group fans out behind Raphael expecting the worst. Suddenly behind the grate, a figure in faded golden armour appears, greeting them in Spanish. Gripping the bars, Berenguier’s armour glows golden in the darkness and bit by bit the knight rips the grate from the wall. However, the remarkable feat has cost the group time with Raphael urging Sebastian to get the others to safety whilst he and Berenguier face the threat. As the team backs across the stream, Conlai surrounded by 5 globes of darkness exits the sewer.