The rock caves in the cliffs of Hevensar are cold and damp. The damp isn’t minded all that much by those who work within. They are glad about the cold. You can’t keep bodies in the summer heat. They bloat. They split. That’s not the worst of it. The smell in the summer heat, makes a man retch. You’ll lose your breakfast.
You wouldn’t think you’d need guards for the dead. The four fully armed soldiers with the pointy sharp spears stood at the small opening entrance don’t know why they have this easy task. After-all it’s not like the residents of the night cave are likely to get up and walk out. There are ghost stories of course, of the Arbiter.
Jarant approaches the guards and explains, voice lowered, why he needs access to the cave. The use of the Bears official name causes the men to become far more acquiescent. Jarant is in plain clothes, the black uniform of the warden placed aside. It is better for an investigator to be slightly less noticeable. The uniform is iconic and carries certain weights of assumption with it. He is still wearing his favourite midnight blue cloak, he rarely wears any other.
Damp, is an apt word for this space, as he journeys past the guards and through the small opening. The corridor is lit by wall sconces, the orange flames cast a dim glow as he moves forward towards the opening about a hundred yards in. The light in the cavern is bright, and he moves his hand to shade his eyes from the glare.
“People are often surprised by the light in here,” he can’t see the owner, “Err, yes it is” His eyes adjust and a half man is stood on a stool leant over a corpse, laid out on one of the three tables. The other two are empty yet stained. He tries not too look so closely. The corpse the half-man is ministering too is dead and no doesn’t have the traditional coins on the eyes, they remain open having turned white and glassy. Deep red burns hang like a necklace in the neck area, a sure sign the man was executed, probably strung up from the tree in the Flower Market Square.
The little man has a sharp knife in his hands and the corpse’s stomach is open, the flesh peeled back to expose the organs. There is a pungent strong smell and whilst Jarant is used to death, he gags a little.
“Pot, on the table over there, wipe it under the nose and you’ll find it doesn’t bother you as much.” The man doesn’t look up and lifts the corpses organs into small silver bowls. Jarant see’s a liver go in and decides to take the man’s advice. There are scrolls, parchment and diagrams on the table along with comprehensive notes made in tiny script.
Jarant, wipes the pungent smelling contents of the jar under his nose and reads an entry from the script.
“The year of the maker 1345, September 1st. Received another executed thief. Male, average build and in fair health for a convict who has spent six months in Hevensar Dungeon.”
It goes on to describe the condition of the organs and an Arbiter tumour wrapped around a lung. The man was dead anyway the small script cites. He hears a cough and turns. Jarant looks down, the half man is stood in front of him with his arms folded across his chest. He doesn’t look amused and Jarant feels a bit embarrassed and sticks out his hand for the man to shake.
“Names, Jarant..” The man looks at his hand for a second considering it and then smiles up at the warden. “I won’t shake, diseases that the dead carry and all that.” He smiles, “probably for the best.”