Canvas the Castle

Countess Valga is busy with an investigation. With a Disposition of 50 or better, she'll tell you about it—a painting of the count has been stolen from her bedroom—and send you off with a key to the castle's private areas and instructions to speak to castle residents and gather physical clues.

Suspects in the disappearance of the countess's painting: Chanel and Orgnolf Hairy-Legs

From Valga, you learn that the only residents who had access to the locked bedroom and haven't accounted for their whereabouts at the time are court mage Chanel and porter Orgnolf Hairy-Legs. In other words, they're your prime suspects.

She also points you to guard captain Bittneld, steward Orok gro-Ghoth, and herald Laythe Wavrick as witnesses. You can go off and search for the principals or simply wait in the Great Hall. Sooner or later, most of the folks involved in the case flow through the audience chamber.

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Gather your evidence from these Castle Chorrol residents: Bittneld, Orok gro-Ghoth, and Laythe Wavrick.

Gather your evidence from these Castle Chorrol residents: Bittneld, Orok gro-Ghoth, and Laythe Wavrick.

Speaking to everyone makes it easy to get on the wrong path. Wavrick points to Hairy-Legs's drinking problem, and notes that lately he has been asking people for money to support his habit. With a Disposition of 60 or better, gro-Ghoth offers that he didn't see either Chanel or Hairy-Legs on the night of the theft and reports a minor run-in with the latter over his drinking.

However, Bittneld observes that Chanel has been spending a lot of time in the West Tower, and when he spoke to her about

it, she indicated it had to do with her spell research. "I suppose at the time it sounded good enough for me," he says.

Hairy-Legs isn't likely to do himself any favors in your initial interview. This red-nosed man belligerently refuses to answer any questions. However, with a Disposition of 60 or better, he says that on the night of the theft he was quarreling with a delivery boy over a wine shipment and spent the rest of the evening in his room reading. (Reading wine bottle labels, we suspect.) He's not your boy, and an accusation against him will only damage your reward.

And Chanel, with a Disposition of 60 or better, indicates she was in the courtyard taking star readings and then studied her charts over wine in the dining room before bed.

But she also says something a little unusual. Ask her about "Stolen painting" and she offers a brief critique: "Whoever painted it could not do the man justice. He was kind and noble, which is difficult to convey on canvas."

fact that two witnesses mention it was a stormy night contradicts Chanel's "star readings" story. This should help you swing the investigation's focus to her.

After you've spoken to all these folks, a journal entry tells you to focus on physical dues. And this more or less clears Hairy-Legs. Searches of the chest in his modest second-floor chamber and the North Tower where gro-Ghoth found him drinking reveal nothing but the suspect's over-fondness for wine.

However, the West Tower—down the hall to the south and then right from Hairy-Legs's room—is another matter. Behind the boxes in the tower's lower room stands a painting of a chapel. Someone in the castle is a painter. From Bittneld's encounters and Chanel's own remarks, you know the painter is Chanel, but you don't have enough evidence yet to make an accusation stick.

Chanel said she spent time in the dining room on the night of the theft. It's northeast of the Great Hall. Check the north corner of the rug and you'll find paint stains. And check the lectern on the table opposite the door in Chanel's room—just up the southern stairs from the Great Hall—to find paint supplies. The journal takes the position that these were concealed and reports that you now have enough clues to make your accusation.

This is one of the hardest clues to find. It's in the dining room under the table off of the Great Hall.

Chanel concedes its truth, but won't confess outright (which is required to get the countess to buy the accusation) unless you raise her Disposition to 70—at which point she admits her love for the count, her authorship of the portrait, and her jealousy over the time the countess spent with it. (You also get the rolled-up painting here.)

So, now you have a dilemma. Should you tell the truth to the countess, or should you conceal the truth and let Chanel keep her only keepsake of the count?

Talk to Valga. If you rat out Chanel, you'll restore the painting to the countess (it reappears in her bedroom) and receive a leveled reward of 200-700 gold and some gems that range downward from a flawless diamond at Level 17 or higher to a plain or flawed pearl or flawed topaz. If you accused poor Hairy-Legs en route, you'll receive only a significantly reduced allotment of gold (50-300). (Accusing Chanel prematurely just knocks down her Disposition by 20 points, which makes it that much harder to elicit her confession.)

Chanel is gone. She vanishes from the castle immediately and for good.

But it doesn't have to be that way. If you take pity on her— after all, her crime was essentially an act of love—you can claim to Valga that you've accused neither suspect. You'll still get 25-150 gold for your trouble. You'll keep the painting, which you'll give back to a grateful Chanel, who asks you to return in three weeks for a painting of your own. (Your journal will remind you.)

It's a very nice nighttime scene from Chorrol. And if you drop it (the only way to inspect it), you'll find it comes with its own attached easel, so you can display it in your home!

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