An emergency meeting of the Knights of the Crux Ansata had been called, but Lady Amandine denied any knowledge of who had authorized it. As the Knights wondered who could have brought them together in northern Britain, two issues were brought up and laid before Lady Amandine. The first was the book discovered by Professor Ad-Din and those who had accompanied him, outlining a plot to kill and replace her with a doppelganger. The second was much more personal… The murder of our Commandant, Lord Simeon Bennu.
In my report a couple weeks back, Murders and Mysteries, I had omitted the identity of the remains found in Minoc until such a time as Lady Amandine could be informed. Needless to say, the news was not taken well by our commander. Despite her attempts to maintain her composure, the shock and sadness was visible in the sudden change of her tone. Her orders to gather the troops and her abrupt departure was cause for some concern, but not nearly as much concern as her return brought about a short time later.
Lady Amandine returned covered in blood and dragging what appeared to be part of a mutilated corpse behind her. She dropped the body in front of everyone present and hinted that he had been, with proper motivation, very forthcoming. As her tears began to fall, Lady Amandine started to speak of Lord Simeon.
“Quite a long time ago, our Order was nearly destroyed. In the massacre known as the Massacre on the Beach. Many brave knights died. I was only a Squire then, and with me another Squire, Chusa… The only true knight that survived was Lord Simeon. Lord Simeon was a brave, kind and honorable man… I have kept in contact with him much in our times of loss and in my own failings… He has always set us on our track again… Working behind the curtain… A hermit and scribe, as was his way. Even his armor was ceremonial. After our being defeated here in Britain by the brigand known as Jimmy the Pepper… This ‘man’ has murdered our Commandant Lord Simeon. A crime I will not allow him or anyone to get away with.”
Her rage mounting as she spoke, Lady Amandine issued her orders to us in relation to Jimmy Nardello.
“I want you to form up, get on your horses and find this criminal… When you find him, I want you to gut him and spread his corpse like sand across the entire realm. So that there is nothing left of him but dust. I hereby deputize each and every one of you to find this criminal Jimmy Nardello… Find him, and execute him. In the name of the Crown.”
Addressing our concerns about the identity of the body which lay at her feet, Lady Amandine told us that his name mattered not, for he was a criminal. He hadn’t said much, fearing Nardello more than her, but he had mentioned that they had been meeting under the Art building near the West Bank. We were to search the area for any clues as to the whereabouts of Nardello. In the meantime, she had a meeting which required her attendance.
Notes were found which led us from Britain to Jhelom, then to Yew and the prison. In the cell in which Tresha Trifeux should have been imprisoned, two notes remained. Compassion Will Cure More Sins Than Condemnation and The Frame Of The Cave Leads To The Frame Of The Man. The Knights were quick to connect the first of these two notes with the shrine of Compassion, where one final note was found: Compassion Brings Us To A Stop, And For A Moment We Rise Above Ourselves. – Mason. In the cave a little ways North-West of the shrine, mentioned in the second note, Jimmy Nardello awaited our arrival.
“I’ll not come quietly. I defeated you last time. I’ll defeat you again.”
When questioned about the murders he’d committed, he simply told us that families controlling the flow of our future was too much power to be left to random chance and it was better that he himself decided who the rings would go to next. Without further explanation of his actions, Jimmy began to taunt the Knights who had come to exact their revenge for their earlier defeat.
“You are not worthy to fight me… I will let the Bag man handle you.”
Russ the Bag Man, though strong, was quickly defeated by the Knights. However, Nardello was far from ready to quit. “Do you yield? Or shall I have at thee again!?” Amidst the cries of rage, Jimmy sent out Samuel the Sham to face us. Samuel was stronger, but still could not rise above the determination of the Knights to face the one who had humiliated them back in Britain.
“Do you fools have any idea how hard it is to find good help these days?”
Jimmy was quite annoyed now, but a feverish blood lust had gripped the Knights. Jimmy was going to die this time, they’d make sure of it. The battle spilled out of the cave and into the desert as both spells and insults flew. No matter how hard he fought, Jimmy was losing this battle. And he knew it. With his final breaths, he addressed the Knights who had defeated him. “I may die here… but my work. My work will live on.”
Atlantic News Reporter
Knight Major of the Crux Ansata