The Case of the Doctor’s Doubles (Part II)
The city of Mitrik is the capital of Veluna, but it is not the most important city. Veluna is a Theocracy ruled by the Canon of Rao, currently that is the impossibly old Hazen of Veluna. Although the term Canon of Rao is used for all rulers of Veluna, in nearly 64 years of reign It has become the name of the Canon Hazen in the minds of most. And when he passes, calling his successors the Canon will seem odd to the people of the Flaness. Archclericy of Veluna was divided into eight diocese each ruled by a Bishop appointed by the Canon who also gave some authority to the senor nobility. But the word of the Church of Rao, god of reason and peace, was law. Mitrik may be the capital of Veluna, but Veluna City, the home of the Church and Canon of Rao was the heart.
So why isn’t Veluna City the capital? Simple answer is money. Mitrik sits on the bend of the Fals River. The multiple trade rivers from Geoff and Ekbir merge in the Bramblewood and pass through the lowland of the Lortmills; emerging as the Fals. So it sits on vital trade routes and is not an impossible ride for Canon and his governing bodies: The College of Bishops and the Celestial Order of Moons (College of Nobels). Still most of the governing is done in Veluna City and most of the trading in Mitrik; even though there are dual offices in each place. All of this means Mitrik has a far more secular vibe than one would expect from capital of a theocracy.
King Tristan has arranged for us to have diplomatic rooms that were extended by the Council of Moons. The rooms were quite lavish and after unpacking we met to discuss our next move in my master’s sitting room. “They are fond of the moon imagery,” I said.
“They would be,” said my master, “this is where it is supposed to come from…well one of them. The Vale of Luna…Veluna. Where the god Rao broke the moon from Oerth so it’s light could counter the never ending cold and dark of the mad god.”
“It’s an odd place for an evil doctor,” I said.
“Is he evil?” interjected Quentin, Iisn’t that what our surveillance is supposed to discover?”
Jeremy nodded, “We can watch him for a few days, at some point Quentin will keep him from the office and home while we search the areas. If the two of you handle surveillance, I need to research ley lines.” My master paused in thought, “Quentin, the last Cartwright, Serrik was able to take him over whenever he pleased…even if he isn’t evil the danger he poses..”
Quentin cut him off. “Do you know what happens if you murder an innocent where I come from? Your soul gets influenced by something called the Dark Powers. Their tendrils slip in, even a little, and start manipulating you. They start making you think that morality is something subjective. They whisper that little evils are alright for the greater good and eventually innocence and guilt, good and evil become matters that can be justified in whatever circumstances exist. And eventually, you are a mindless drone of evil..some willing cooperator in the vilest acts or a darklord fully aware of the evil you do and you revel in it. All from the death of one innocent, the world starts to fall apart.” There was silence in the room. “Do you know what happens here when you kill an innocent?” he asked.
“What?” I asked.
“The exact same thing gentlemen: Except all of you get the luxury of not feeling the burning rot from inside. The symptoms may be less obvious, but the disease still exists. Maybe that’s better or worse, I have my opinions. But if the Cartwright’s have souls we find a way to save them. Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to teach the attendants how to make coffee.”
We remained in silence for a time after our friend left. My master sat and remained in thought. “So why did we bring him?” he asked.
“You think he’s wrong?”
Jeremy sighed, “No. I think he’s right. But I could do without the complication the acknowledgment of the truth brings.”
“The willful ignorance of a fact is only borrowing a future tragedy that could be avoided.” I said.
He sat back in his chair. “That was me, wasn’t it?”
“You said it when we worked that case involving the skeleton that regained its memories and kept killing the actors who had taken her former roles at the theater.”
“Ahh,” he said in delight, “the lovely madam Isabella. How is she?”
“Ironically, starring in the revival of Three Gentlemen of Veluna back in Hollowfaust, last I knew.”
“Ironic for Veluna or for the term revival?”
“Master,” I asked before we got too far from the point, “What do we do?”
He smiled, “We are in a country run by Bishops of Rao…we need to know if someone has a soul. I think we go to church.”
The three of us stood outside of the Cathedral of Rao in Mitrik. The grand mask of Rao looked down on us, carved of Ivory…as, indeed, the entire Cathedral seemed to be. “Is the whole thing…Ivory?” I asked.
Quentin nodded. "Over a thousand years ago a massive bone devil was summoned. It battled the ancient Canon of Rao, Kelis Brent. She fought it using the Crook of Rao and turning it to Holy Ivory. They carved the Cathedral from its consecrated bones.”
“I’ll remember,” said Jeremy, “not to anger a cleric of Rao.”
“Always wise master,” I said, “they are known to lack tempers but also merciless once driven to combat.”
We entered the cathedral and waited for our appointment with the representative of the Bishop. We had sent a message via the communication crystal to Sir Christopher who spoke to the local Bishop. He arranged for us to have a cleric of Rao attached to us so we could discern the spiritual state of Dr. Cartwright. After a short wait we were approached by an acolyte who led us to the offices of Adventuring Priestess Circe Harnett.