The Mystery of the One Eared Man

Monaco Bay Weyr - Infirmary
A long series of caves, each well lit with electric lights and featuring walls and floors laboriously chipped smooth. A triage cavern/waiting room serves as the nexus between the doorway to the lower caverns and the tunnel leading to the infirmary weyr and is furnished with a soft rug, comfortable chairs, and a bookshelf with books to read while waiting. To the one side of this central area is an emergency surgery cave: steel-topped cabinets on wheels situated around a central table, with a sink and storage cabinet. To the other side, narrow man-made hallway links the healer's office, a small staff conference room, an examination cave, another surgery room, a storage cave, and several caves set aside for those patients who need to stay in the infirmary for an extended period of time.
The major doorway that leads out into the clearing beyond is a heavy one that rivals the sturdiness of the one guarding the Commons Cavern's main entrance. Put in to hold out the foulest weather, it generally stands open except in the worst of storms, a small bell on its far side allowing for letting in of stragglers who were too late to be let in the main doors.

Since the arrival of the stranger the infirmary has been transformed from a place of healing to a strange combination of entertainment and worry. Two guards stand at the opening to one of the private rooms, and though the stream of visitors has reduced over time there's a tendency for people to sneak in to get a look at the one-eared man. The man himself seems oblivious to the fuss he's caused, thanks in no small part to the healers having kept him sedated til the worst of his injuries could be treated. Now he lies alone. Healing. Waiting. Plagued by nightmares since the sedation was reduced that leave him howling in the night.

She's been gone for a little while but now Vanessa has returned to Monaco. Looking none the worse for wear she is sporting a wrapped wrist on one arm. Having heard the talk of the man washed up on the beach she barely spares a glance for the two guards standing watch and she peeks in on the man.

It's a weyr! Nothing can be kept secret for all that long, and of course the hub of all the rumors is the local tavern. People will go, get drunk and spill their guts. Some of it is true and some of it isn't, but it keeps Syd somewhere near the top of the rumor pile. After the rumors of the one eared man began he snuck in and took a peek round the infirmary, and while he didn't see the man the change in the infirmary gave a level of credance to the rumors. If you couple that with the rumors about what happened to the weyrwoman…then you begin to form a better picture in your mind. What he can't work out is why anyone would want to scare Vanessa. She's always seemed to him to be the picture of sweetness. He can't very well let anyone go around intimidating one of the weyrwomen. Marzoth simply wouldn't allow it. In the bronze dragon's mind there shouldn't be anything more intimidating going on around the weyr than he is himself. He's allowed. The others aren't. So Syd once more makes his way into the infirmary following after Vanessa, "Hello Weyrwoman." he says softly.

Though both guards acknowledge the presence of the two riders, only one speaks with a polite, "Weyrwoman. Assistant Weyrlingmaster." and a nod to each. "He's awake if you want to go in, but I'm not sure you'll get much out of him. Seems less than happy to speak to anyone, but after the beating he took I suppose I can see why." With that he falls silent, once again taking up his guarding position against the wall and leaving the door wide open. Inside the room there are a couple of chairs that could be dragged over to the bedside. The one-eared man, when viewed from the door, is merely an un-threatening huddle of blankets.

Vanessa utters a small of surprise as she hears S'dny behind her. Half turning she gives a small smile towards the bronzerider. "Oh..hey." her attention is redirected forward once more to the guard who speaks. "Thank you. Stay out here. Has..anyone else came to see him?" she asks. She doesn't step in just yet.

S'dny keeps tabs on what is going on. So it shouldn't be too shocking. Or rather Marzoth keeps tabs on what is going on and just happens to share a good deal of information. Except of course the things he feels are his business alone. Syd stays silent for the present while Vanessa asks the guard who has come to see him. The list probably will include half the weyr, but it could be important. There is a mystery to be solved here.

The guard lets out a little snort of a laugh, "Reckon most of the weyr's been in to see him Ma'am. Only ones that have ever gone beyond the door are the healers, though. Everyone wants to look, but nobody wants to get too close in case beatings are catching." He pauses a moment, then adds, "Not that I'm saying he could do anything, but if you do go in make sure you don't get too close. Never know. We'll be here regardless."

Vanessa frowns a bit as she listens to the guards answer. "Alright." she murmurs as she steps in past him. Her full attention is now on the man in the covers. "Are you awake?" she asks.

S'dny doesn't step into the room just yet, though he keeps his eyes and ears open for what is going on inside the room. There may be clues to the mystery to be had. Especially since this is likely connected to Vanessa in some way shape or form. Someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to scare her away. Even if this isn't the man whose ear was mailed to her.

From below the blankets comes a muffled, "No." The man doesn't move, though as people get further into the room it becomes obvious he's curled on his side facing the wall. "Not time for more poking and prodding so if you've come to look then look and leave me alone."

"No I don't want to poke or prod you." her head shaking goes unseen by the man facing away from her. Two more steps closer and she stops a distance that she hopes keeps her out of his reach should he move. "I just want to talk. What's your name?" she'll start with the basic easy stuff first.

S'dny crosses his arms over his chest as he leans against the door frame, "We haven't come to look. Just to chat." he says with a gentle intake of breath before he lets it out, "We aren't here to hurt you after all. Just to help. It would probably be in your best interests if you were open and honest about what happened." If what happened was natural the information will likely help the healers, and if it wasn't…that would be good to know too, "Because if it was people that did this to you, then you'll be needing our help. Can't guard you forever after all."

There's something in S'dny's words that strikes the man as funny, and even before he rolls over to face them he's letting out a sort of choked chuckle. "Oh it was people that done it, no doubt about that." Any chance of him being recognisable beyond having brown hair is stolen by the vivid bruises and swellings that cover his face, his voice is hoarse and prone to fading out completely on longer words. "You want a name? Suppose it's only fair. Call me Ed, it's as good a name as any."

"Where are you from…Ed?" naturally Vanessa doubts that's his real name but she just goes with it for now. Staying the same distance away she recoils a little at the sight of his bruised and swelling face.

Ed grins, showing a row of chipped and broken teeth. "Well you could say here, but that's not exactly right. My family's been in the area for decades, me I come and go." This comment fades into a deep chuckle that in turn becomes a wheezy cough. "So now you know about me, do I at least get to know a name or two? Only fair."

"Guess so. I'm Vanessa. That's S'dny. We just want to help you, Ed." Vanessa murmurs.

The wheezing comes quicker this time as Ed laughs more, though when his voice comes back there's a strange note to is - almost hysterical. "Of course it is. It makes perfect sense now. Where else would they leave me to rot. Did you know? Or are you just coming to admire their handywork?"

Confusion clouds Vanessa's expression. "But..wha..No. Please. Tell me. Tell us. We need to know what's going on!" she steps forward a couple paces.

Ed shrinks back as Vanessa steps forwards, huddling against the wall as if it would save him. "You should have just given it back and then they'd've left it alone."

Vanessa lifts her arms up with a frustrated wail. "Give /what/ back!?" this is really the crux of the matter since she's been plagued with that note for some time now.

One of the guards puts his head around the door to check everyone's okay, and then vanishes from sight again. Ed stares. He simply stares with his mouth open for a time. "You really don't know, do you." Statement, not question. "The knife, and the playing pieces. They were going to ship them off but the rain happened and they got stuck, and then the landslip."

Vanessa blinks several times. "But we…I didn't.." her head shakes. "Where are you from? What's so important of the knife?"

"Someone did." There's a hint of sadness in his voice, as if resigned to whatever fate should happen. "You were the only one I knew for sure was in there." He pauses, thinking, then suddenly moves to make a grab for Vanessa. "You have to promise me you won't let them find me! I was just supposed to be lookout. It's not my fault! Please! I'll tell you everything, just don't let them know I'm alive."

Vanessa is too shocked to move when suddenly the man comes lurching upwards. Standing there she places both hands on his arms. "I..I..We can keep you safe. I promise!"

Ed's grip is far from strong, he could easily be shaken off should she wish to. "They're smuggling. I don't know how long." He begins to slip away from her, to lie back down again. "That cave I've known for Turns, we used to play there as kids, so it seemed as good a place as any to let them store things. Didn't mean to get involved, met them in a tavern one night."

Vanessa stands stock still without even a thought of shaking him off. As he slips away though she steps back, visibly shaken by his words. "Smuggling?" she gasps out the words. "What's your real name?" she tries to sound stern and demanding.

Ed nods, "Artifacts. I don't know where they found them, close though. They've done it before, other places. Apparently some people pay a lot of Marks for old timer things, and they found enough to keep them happy forever. One of them was talking about buying a Hold over Fort way with his share." Now that the truth has begun to slip out he seems all the more eager to unburden himself, to tell all the truth. "Jarred." He pauses, taking a deep breath, "My real name's Jarred."

Vanessa steps back another couple paces, uncertain if she can believe everything he is saying. "Artifact?" she puzzles this out a moment and spares a glance backwards towards the doorway then back to Jared. "What happened to you? Who did this to you?' one hand weakly gestures towards his ear. Or lack thereof.

"Artifacts." Ed, or rather Jarred, echoes. "This was… I sent you the first letters, got your name from someone that helped dig the road out. Figured you'd know what happened. This…. was my fault I guess. I said you weren't listening, they decided to give you something to listen with. Then they asked me to make a choice, long sleeves or short. I wasn't about to let them cut off my arm, tried to run, they caught me. Guess the thought I'd die and it'd be a warning to you."

Vanessa cringes visibly as it is explained on why the man has a missing ear and why it was sent to her. "But it wasn't just me there." she protests weakly. Guilt stricken at possibly being the cause for his loss of hearing on one side she tries to make amends. "You are safe here. I promise you."
Jarred nods, holding up one bandaged hand to stop her apologies, "I don't blame you. Not now I know you didn't do it. Can't fake that kind of confusion. Was just that you were… well… most folks remember a goldrider, they don't remember normal people. No offence."

Vanessa smirks ever so faintly. "Sydney's a bronze rider. One would think that would be memorable." course said bronze rider isn't here at the moment now. Perhaps he's standing guard outside the room. "You should rest though. Let the healers tend to you but don't make plans to leave just yet. I'm sure the Weyrwoman would want to ask you questions too."

Jarred blinks, then laughs, "He the one with the weird bronze? Knew about him, just not the name." He makes a motion like a vague salute. "Don't think I'd be capable of running much just now. Don't suppose you could tell people I died?"

Vanessa simply shakes her head. "His bronze isn't weird and I won't lie about your death." she slips out.

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