The young lieutenant Callam looked to each of the companions gathered in the Stag-Horned Flagon in turn, assessing their valor and honesty. That obviously included the drow, he seemed the most enthusiastic of the group while the dwarf inquired incessantly about the details of the Lord Alougarr’s investigations into the murders, but it was the ranger who balanced the two view points and agreed they would assist in any fight against evil.
“I assure you this it is all hands on deck good dwarf, but if I can persuade you to help patrol the streets or help with the investigations the Lord of the Garrison and I would be in your debt.” Callam said. “I must attend to the curfew announcements, if you would please meet me in an hour.”
Sixty minutes later Balder, Shar, and Hilmar were gathered under a clear night sky with Callam standing near the statue of the Great Shalarn in the middle of town, upon its base was a rough map of Amphail engraved into a bronze plate.
Balder noted that the map was simple, obviously not to scale, and weathered. Another trio of volunteers was in attendance as well, local brothers Loab and Garl Eagleshield, and much to the ire of dwarf War-priest was the half-orc Denaz who paid Balder no heed.
“Gentlemen these are the locations of the murders,” Callam said sullenly as he marked each site with dark wax. “in order, here, here…” With a slight bit of confusion in his speech, Callam transposes the third and fourth murder locations. “Here, here, and here.” The young lieutenant stood after marking the sites looking pained.
“Who are the victims?” Balder asked inquisitively, “Is there any connection among them?”
Callam took a deep breath and composed himself, the three companions could see the weight of these murders under Callam’s watch was taking a toll; the young officer was losing against an unknown foe.
“The first victim was Trauning Tarm, the daughter of one of the most prominent families in Amphail.” Callam began revisiting each point on the bronze map. “She was soon to be wedded off to a merchant family in Waterdeep. The second victim Baloca Ilzimmer, who my sources tell me, was an overweight sloth of a man, known for being a slave master to his children, who work the family stables.”
“Good riddance.” Shar said dryly uncaring of who heard.
“The third victim Jusnile Ammakyl,” Callam continued. “A young girl recently married. She was murdered near her family's farm, which is adjacent to Highmore Tower.”
“It was the husband obviously.” One of the Eagleshield brothers interrupted, Loab or was it Garl?
Balder grunted; murder was never that easy.
“Not so I’m afraid as I will explain,” addressing Garl Eagleshield. “The fourth victim on the map is Kerrlie,” Callam continued in order of incident. “She was an older elven woman held over from the Retreat. She was known for her generosity and kindness around town. Her sons cared for her after the death of her husband, a local merchant who specialized in exotic herbs. The fifth victim was actually the third victim Jusnile Ammakyl’s husband Hannil Ammakyl. He was murdered not far from the spot where his wife was killed leaving behind a family...” Callam finished trailing off, obviously emotionally drained.
“I’m so sorry Callam,” Shar said still trying to abide to human grieving customs. “Mystra guide them to the light. How were they killed?”
Callam looked solemnly at the drow elf, “Now I think would be a good time to take you to last night’s crime scenes.”
Leading them to Horse Pond, a place of miracles during the Time of Troubles Callam continued the investigation with the six volunteers noting how well the dwarf and drow interacted, it was like they were close friends.
"It was right here that the last body was found," Callam stated flatly, not yet hardened to the cold realities of death. He pointed down at a spot in the middle of the street where a still-sticky pool of dark blood remains. Hilmar was quick to point out that the body had been moved, noting a bloody trail that terminated among the day’s foot traffic.
“By the gods you are right.” Callam stated, “That makes two.”
“Two?” Balder asked not missing a beat.
Callam looked to the dwarf, “Two critical differences. In every other murder save for this one the person was killed where they were found.” The young Callam regarded Shar, “and you asked how they were killed?”
To which Shar nodded.
“This victim was stabbed repeatedly in the back and evidence seems now to indicate they had been dragged here. The others victims were flayed ritualistically from palm to palm and up across the neck. All were found face down with their life blood staining the ground, left to bleed.” Callam said clearly agitated.
“And this one what, was left in a heap,” Hilmar confirmed for himself.
“My brother and I will follow the trail of blood and see where it leads.” Garl Eagleshield said volunteering his group to follow up on the outstanding murderer.
Before Balder could protest Shar put a hand on his shoulder and said in dwarven, “If there are cultists at work here, do you not see that as the greater evil?”
An hour later Callam took Balder, Hilmar, and Shar to the scene of the only other murder that took place last night; here stakes and ropes have been placed into the road around a patch of blood-soaked ground.
“The blood stains the ground in a clear line.” Hilmar observed while Shar scanned the area for magic.
Balder however could sense a strong presence of evil from the center of the roped-off area. Ignoring the stakes marking off the area Balder approached to see a faint red glow of seven points arranged in a circle, with one of the points almost seeming to be two points that overlap each other. Then it was gone.
“The victim’s name was Winnian, about 80 years of age. He was well liked in the community; he commonly told stories to the younger children at the market, while his daughters sold their crops and livestock. His farm actually does not lie far from here. He had two daughters, who are out of town, visiting family.” Callam explained to the trio, but no one was listening because each of the three had discovered separate clues vital to the investigation.
“I sense evil at work,” Balder said cryptically to Callam, his dark eyes reflecting torch light. “These murders are fulfilling a sequence that if allowed to continue will bring about something I don’t think your Lord Alougarr would want.”