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The Paladin’s Secret - A Play By Forum game of The Burning Wheel


The Funeral Parlour

The funeral parlour is a simple shop front, it has a clock above the door that can be seen from either direction along the street and in the window, a simple selection of coffins, all beautiful examples of carpentry. It’s location in the heart of Inchwick conforms that this is a parlour for the richest of the colonists. This is where the body of Lady DuPont is being held, it is also where the credit note you found was issued from.

Let me know if you go straight in, or maybe do something else first.


(( Let’s call this the next day, so @Shades has a chance to catch up to you ))


(Sounds reasonable for travel and a thorough search of the house.)

Warran regards the exterior of the establishment and ponders a bit, internally, about mortality. He will let the others lead the investigation while he thinks on possible questions to ask the director of the establishment.


Nudge, or is this the end of this game?


Kaelin has the credit note in hand. He’ll go to the front desk to introduce himself and his collagues, pointing out Aulexis as an appointed deputy of the Watch who has been asked to help look into teh circumstances surrounding Diana’s death.

Kaeline will specifically enquire about the credit note, asking if anyone can tell him what it directly relates to.


A kindly woman inside invites you to sit in one of the comfortable seats and brings you a cup of tea. This is a business that prides itself on the personal touch, there are no desks or signs of what service the undertakers provide, though you could guess the careful dignity and pristine calm of the space.

She fetches the undertaker who assumes a mild, respectful tone “Ah yes, so very sad” he tells you “Lady DuPont had only come in that day to arrange and pay for her funeral. A common occurrence, people like to know their arrangements are finalised well in advance of being needed. Lady DuPont paid the asking price in full, but I had charged her too much. You see, I did not realise that she had just that day purchased a plot of land in the graveyard so I charged the the price for it. When I went to see the priest, he informed me that she had been there earlier and already had one, so I issued her a refund and took it over that afternoon. I understand the deed was done later? The horror, to think I could have been the last friendly face she ever saw.”


"Did the Lady give any suggestion or indication as to why she was planning for her own funeral arrangements at that particular time? As you say, such forward planning is not unusual, but with the timing of events, it perhaps makes her activities seem almost prescient."


“No, she was straight to the point, she knew exactly what she wanted and I was not asked to offer any suggestions about any of it. She was only in here for an hour at most and her choices, I must say were of impeccable taste, the perfect blend between religious ceremony and humanist.”


“Your refund. What form did it take?
Money or a promissory note?”


“Credit note, our clients tend to prefer them” you sense he is being diplomatic, the upper classes look down on those who carry their own money.


“Could you point out the grave plot to us please?”

It still sounds to Kaelin like Diana was expecting her death. The speed at which she arranged the details could speak of efficiency and long fore thought, but it feels more like quickly ticking off outstanding business.


“I can but do you really need me there? If I dont start the enbalming process today, the Lady will not be in perfect condition when your masters deign to release the body”


Warran has been quiet up until this point. He finally speaks, “Surely, someone there will be able to confirm the plots location. If you provide us with the lot number or description of its location, that will suffice. Have the messages to her next of kin been sent yet?”


“It’s lot 45, under the linden tree. We would only contact her son when we have a funeral date, which we dont yet have, whether someone else does is not something we find ourselves being informed of, but you might find a friend or colleague or even her lawyer has done so already”


“If you do not mind, would you describe your opinion of her disposition when she was here making her final arrangements?”

(A follow up question for after he responds for ease and speed.)

After the undertaker responds he follows up with another question, “In your professional opinion, what do believe the cause of death to be?”


What does Simon know about linden trees?


“As I said, she knew exactly what she wanted and didn’t ask for any advice, she told me and accepted my price without negotiation, paid on the spot. She wasn’t rushed though, she had me work through everything again to make sure I understood her instructions. I suppose I would describe her as organised and businesslike.”

“My post mortem is ready for, well, you I suppose. She was killed by a sudden strangulation. The markings are dark and deep, with a mark of a knot on the front. The ligature used, was probably rope by the pattern of the markings and thickness, was either red or something red was between the rope and her throat as I found red velvet fibres in the wound.”

“Whoever did this was strong. It takes remarkably little force to strangle yourself, had she done this to herself, I would expect shallow wounds and little damage, however her entire throat had collapsed such was the force used. There were no signs of a struggle, no fingernail marks where she would have grasped at the rope, I believe this is how quick the act was, she didn’t have time to get over her surprise and grab at her neck before she passed out, not that it would have done any good if she had.”

“There were many abrasions on the ligature markings, but these happened after her death. Someone sawed the rope back and forth when she had already passed”

Mister Vanderberg, who so far has been unflappable has to take a moment after that.

“If you don’t mind me making an assumption, this sawing of the rope was a psychopathic act, whoever did this was in that moment at least, lost to evil.”

A great deal, all across the Old World, Linden trees are a symbol of spiritualism and are revered for their beautiful foliage and statuesque growth. They are planted throughout Inchwick, and make the air smell sweet, even where many horses travel through the day. In the autumn, their bright green leaves turn yellow, and despite their large canopies, they let a lot of light filter through.


Apart from looking nice, they are pretty useless for construction or joinery. Some master carpenters will make lindenwood shims as part of their inlaid decorations, to give the piece the smell of the wood. It quickly fades, but can drive up the price considerably as it adds to the appeal of the furniture, but aside from that, they make a lot of smoke when burnt, and spit constantly, will not grow straight for planks or keep a consistent shape when drying, no matter how you peg it out.


That supports Kaelin’s supposition concerning the curtain tie at least (assuming that the ties were red of course).


The curtain ties were red velvet


Aulexis’ left hand makes an audible popping sound when she hears the description of the act. She remembers the feeling all too well, and her mind could go down some very dark places if not immediately distracted.

“Any other marks on the body, signs it was despoiled, further damaged or moved unnaturally?”