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What is the reason behind the series of crimes in Andaris? Who is behind them?

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Mythic
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Truths and Lies

98th of Ashan, 716
Truly, it was a grisly sight that captivated the attentions of Marcus Levinis.

The Knight arrived at the scene of a crime committed the night before, brown, dry blood clinging to the notches of a wooden post, though there was so much more that drew the knight's attention. Looking up from the ground, the blood had poured freely, clinging to the surface and congealing. As Marcus looked higher, he found the first strands of hair, following them to the scalp. No incisions or cuts had formed upon the cranium of the victim's head, though blood had poured from his mouth as well, obvious signs of internal injuries. However, even more prevalent was the wear upon the man's flesh. Flesh peeled from bone, hanging in blob-like shapes from the remaining skin. The victim's ribcage was revealed, sprayed with blood though there was no visible heart within the pointed bone. From the neck down, the body was in utter disrepair, as if acid had been thrust at the man's body and was allowed to fester within.

"By the Seven, what's happened here...?"

Though Marcus continued to ask for details regarding the crime scene, none could provide him answers, his brow furrowing as he looked to the rest of the scene. Five feet from the pole, there was half of an arm, cut from the elbow. Three fingers were closed, the index pointing to the southwest. Turning about, Marcus looked to find that the victim's body had been maimed not once, but twice, bile rising in the knight's throat before he composed himself. The stench of blood and rot was intolerable, the scene rank with the festering that only the dead imposed upon the senses. Continuing his examination of the scene, the victim's leg, which had also been amputated, was ten feet to the south of the arm, pointing southwest towards the rest of Midtown.

By the sun had risen high into the sky, Marcus had obtained a suitable amount of information, requesting the assistance of a doctor, who informed him that the body looked far older than it truly was, the impression given that three nights had passed when less than one had truly passed since the crime.

"The rotting process... accelerated? It has to be those scum at the university. Practising their heathen rituals in the cover of darkness... The Seers? Seekers? I've got to find out."

Brows furrowed as Marcus officially opened his investigation, granted permission to assemble a team to assist him, with the promise of reward to whomever was courageous enough to help bring justice.

Posters hung about the capitol of Andaris, reading the following:

WANTED

Assistance in tracking down a murderer in the capitol. Compensation for time is 50 gold nels, with a reward (to be determined) offered if the perpetrator is caught. Any information that is able to contribute to the investigation is of tremendous value, and haste is a necessity.

If interested, meet Marcus Levinus at the Rynmere Gazette at sunfall of the 98th of Ashan, from where the investigation will begin.
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Aster
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The warm air, and the hustle and bustle of the city did not fit well with the rugged natural lifestyle of Aster. These rules and laws were concepts that always annoyed him. The world was so much bigger, why block themselves in walls and distance themselves from the thing that supports them?

The only reason Aster was in the city was to make some nels from the pelts and meats he hunted, the recent drama with the strings of murder and the painting with words written in blood made it that leaving and entering the city itself was difficult.

Aster sighed heavily and fed Heath some crumbs of bread. Heath looked as miserable as Aster felt. "I know you want to fly off into the woods, don't worry about me. I'll be fine." He said softly to the owl, he raised up his arm and Heath flew up.

Heath circled around Aster for a few trills and flew off deeper into the city. Aster wasn't worried about Heath, the owl could take care of himself. He sat down on a bench and watched the people walk around the city.

They were nervous, the way they moved, the looks on their faces, it was obvious. A few bits later, Heath returned to Aster with a parchment in his beak. Aster removed the parchment and read the message carefully.
WANTED

Assistance in tracking down a murderer in the capitol. Compensation for time is 50 gold nels, with a reward (to be determined) offered if the perpetrator is caught. Any information that is able to contribute to the investigation is of tremendous value, and haste is a necessity.

If interested, meet Marcus Levinus at the Rynmere Gazette at sunfall of the 98th of Ashan, from where the investigation will begin.
The hunter wasn't interested in the affairs of the city and only wanted to leave the city and walk among the trees. "Why'd you bring me this? Usually you bring me some dead bird or mouse..." Heath just hooted at the parchment. "Oh, you want me to help with the investigation so we can leave the city?" Heath hooted twice and flew up high, signalling Aster to follow.

"He's more trouble than he's worth." He muttered jokingly and followed behind the bird. A few break of walking later, Aster had found the Gazette.

Aster looked for someone who looked like he was in charge. "Marcus Levinus? I'm here about murderer, I'm willing to lend my assistance to this matter."
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Arcana was a disease. For quite some time, Peake had feared it as it was anything but a mystery to him. The unknown was, of course, something to be feared, and despite his utter grace and magnificence, Peake was not above fear. Ashan had proven to be a nightmare for him, in which a simple investigation about a murder had turned into a chase for a necromancer, a task that not only made him lose three of his knights, but also his patience and part of his morals. Now that said case was closed, Peake simply wanted to find something that didn’t have to do with arcane. Men who raped, men who killed, men who raped those whom they killed… Far more appealing than dealing with arcana. The troubles were slowly fading away, becoming bitter memories and thus losing importance in Peake’s lifestyle, and once again he found his courage to try and pursue more reputation and fame – mostly to brag about them and get more women, of course. Maybe marry one day, although marriage between a nobleman and an entire brothel was something unheard of.

Fifty golden nel would only buy him a break at the brothel, yet nonetheless the promise of more renown was quite appealing. That is what Peake thought as he stared at the poster, biting on his slice of watermelon from the height of his steed, looking gloriously fabulous even when doing something as simple as satiating his watermelon addiction. As his horse transported his noble owner, Peake finished his fruit as he approached the building in question. Coated in the shiny, polished new armor provided to him after his previous one got totally ruined, once again he felt as imposing as he should be. The peasants themselves saw this shine in Peake, some lusting over him, and those whose sexual preferences he did not match simply loathed him instead. Peake paid them no heed, of course, as his mind was occupied with the dealing at hand. There was no information provided regarding the investigation itself, which only made the thinking harder. Murder in the capitol. Considering how large the Knighthood’s reach was within the Kingdom, being able to murder and not being caught was… surprising, at the very least.

Eventually, Peake found the building in question, having had to ask directions from the lower classes as they were far more aware of those kinds of details. Peake’s compass only pointed towards his home, the Outpost, a brothel, and another brothel, and he wouldn’t change those four cardinal directions in any way nor anyone.
Dismounting the horse and tying the reigns to the nearest post, Peake adjusted his black cloak before he entered the building. “Lord Peake Maxos Andaris, Steward of the Moseke Knights, here to assist this Marcus Whatshisname peasant in the murder investigation.”
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Andráska Venora
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The room was barren.

Little to no furniture decorated his apartment, with a modest table and chairs, bed, and chest. It would need an extra touch, something to decorate it. The small flower pot in the corner, try as it might, wasn't doing much in terms of adding a homier touch. Andraska plodded over to the table and put down his bounty from his trip. Shopping had soured his mood, the prices making him realize just how poor he was going to be unless he took a second job. The Gazette was paying him pennies. It hadn't bothered him when he agreed to it. Asking people questions, spreading rumors, writing. No physical labor involved! He thought it was going to be easy, but now? Looking around his room and its sad state, the noble sighed, dropping into one of the chairs.

Before him was some vellum, the cheapest sheet of parchment he could find, an ink well, and pen. The vellum was tan and crude, but had only cost him a gold nel. Paper, itself, that was fancier than he was willing to go. He smiled, amused by the irony. A nobleman living a poor life. It was an interesting experience. He prepared his pen an ink, and started to think of the words to write:
  • "Man in the
    Gladiator in the Making?

    The famous Fighting Arena in Andaris, which boasts of some of the most reputable fight trainers in the city, may have something else to brag about.
    " Andras read over his word choice, pleased. He continued, "Recently, a fighter known as Devon" ....What last name would the noble make up for him. It needed to be something cool, "Ironfist Manslayer Bloodbringer, has become undefeated, 3-0, and shows promise in bringing the king glory. Bloodbringer, a slave fighting for his right to party freedom, shows no mercy to opponents and has become a fan favorite. His endurance and passion in the bedroom battle has drawn in the attention of spectators, and continues to shake his victims challengers. Next slaughter fight can be viewed 105th of Ashan where he faces off with another, identity yet to be disclosed."
Despite the edits, András was happy. He stood and stretched his legs. "Now the boring part," Rolling the vellum up, he tucked it into his pocket and grabbed his crossbow and bolts. He'd drop off the article at the Gazette and go try and find more work before it got too dark. There had to be something.

As he made his way to the streets, he kept to himself, and didn't even notice any posters. It wasn't until he was almost outside of the building that he looked up at the ad hanging on a stone wall. He quickly read it over and his eyes widened. The 98th of Ashen? That was today! 50 gold nel? He could fix up his place, maybe buy some beers at Blacksmith Arms. Luck seemed to have shined on the young man and he grinned, as if he hadn't grown up around money his whole life. Rushing inside, András submitted his article and tried not to look eager as he saw the group forming. It was a lucky day indeed.

Grinning as he walked over, a giant and a huntsman seemed to already be talking to Marcus Levinius, "Hello," he began, "I'm here about the investigation?" Not one to throw around his title... almost ever, Andráska felt the need to be honest here. In case anything were to happen to him, "Lord Andráska Venora, at your service."
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Leeson Andaris
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No one had to prod Leeson. No reward had to be offered and no loitered waiting upon his assistance was necessary. His definition of family was in no way a strong one, and his personal feelings towards the assault of his brother were weak, but the blatant murder and dismemberment of the people - otherwise seemingly innocent people - to make a point?

A line had already been drawn by the officials of Rynmere.

And whoever this was crossed it.

Leeson didn't have much to offer. He lacked a skilled sword arm and he lacked a quick wit. Sure, he was physically able, but the ability to do a few push ups could not catch and contain a serial killer. He had no arcana to utilize, he had no armor and trusty steed. He had his tortoise, who was slung over his shoulder in his knapsack, and he had a strong moral compass. That in no way whatsoever was all he needed for the odyssey he was to embark on, but Leeson was nothing if not a man of the people. He was willing to put himself and everything he has on the line in order to apprehend this villain and prevent such killings in the future.

Leeson stood in front of the Gazette door, contemplating quietly how exactly to go about this highly delicate business. Or, perhaps not.

Lacking any form of prose, Leeson threw open the door to the interior of the Rynmere Gazette.

"Levinus." He demanded.

"I want to assist my countrymen."
word count: 254
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