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1205 RE-- Rosenfeld Priory Fire

Date: Autumn, 1205 RE
Outcome: Unsolved.
Parties: Provost Octav, Ilyana Von Chamneberg, Accuser Poul Outav, Matron Danae Fisk, various residents and travelers.
Casualties: Many, many books.

The town of Rosenfeld sits on the edge of a marshy lake near the northern border of the Skattenmark, south of Kelkheim. It is a quiet, rural community, devoted to the Redwood Throne and ministered to by the Rosenfeld Priory; a moderately sized edifice with Durenite sympathies, welcoming to all. In addition to its role as the center of life and politics in Rosenfeld -- sheltering travelers, tending crops, crafting items to trade, and providing a place for research and contemplation -- it boasted a particularly fine library, for a provincial Priory. Provost Octav, the priest in charge, was known to take particular pride in the library, and often went out of his way to seek out interesting and unusual tomes for the library's collection.

It was this, perhaps, that generated certain whispers about the Provost's intellectual proclivities, that he might be poking into powers and blasphemies that were anathema to the Throne. But the Provost was much loved by the town of Rosenfeld, and conditions in the Skattenmark were so difficult compared to more civilized parts of the Principalities, that an inquiry seemed to be more trouble than it was worth. This changed, however, following an incident in the autumn of 1205 RE.

One night, several residents of the Priory awoke to the sound of shouting, oppressive heat and the smell of smoke. A Durenite Nun1 in residence and a visiting swordsman2 rushed from their rooms before anyone else, and saw flames pouring from the windows of the several buildings in the priory, including the library and the provost's study. One of the priory's students, Ilyana Von Chamneberg, was already running from room to room, pounding on doors and waking all of the sleeping inhabitants for their help in extinguishing the fire. Once everyone was awake, or waking, she ran into the town to seek the assistance of the Watch. The keen-eyed night-watchman3 having already spotted the flames, a number of them were already roused and getting organized to bring water to the burning buildings.

Most of the residential buildings were spared, save that of the senior clergy, which caught early. Fortunately, some of the priory's visitors4+ and younger monks and nuns5+ rescued the Priory's matron and several other staff. Others made for the library in an attempt to rescue some of the Priory's more priceless treasures. Many were saved, but this was only a small fraction compared to what was ultimately lost.

One particularly perceptive resident6 heard a weak call for help from one of the hallways in the building of the senior clergy, and discovered Provost Octav, lying there and gasping from smoke inhalation. The resident managed to carry him away from the burning building, where he was tended by one of the priory's physickers7. The Provost explained that he had been trying to get to the library to save what he could, but by that point the fire had already spread too large. At this point, he dissolved into helpless tears, unable to continue, while the Physicker comforted him.

With a full night of concerted effort, the fire was finally defeated by early morning. The full extent of the damage took a week to fully assess, but the library and several of the priory buildings were damaged, and repair might be the work of years. An incident of this size and cost quickly drew the attention of Provost Octav's superiors. Further, the student who had alerted everyone to the fire, Von Chamneberg, was nowhere to be found, and a large sum of money was missing from the Provost's personal chest in the ruins of his study. Thus, it was no surprise to the Provost when he received word that an official Inquiry had been filed, and Throne investigators would be arriving from Kelkheim within the week.

He did seem a little more surprised when a Left Hand Accuser, Poul Outav, and his retinue8+ arrived to question him on the subject of the fire and his missing student. The results of the Inquiry are not known, but the Provost announced that he was to accompany Accuser Outav back to Kelkheim temporarily. During his absence, the Durenite Matron Danae Fisk would be placed in charge as Provost pro tempore, with a Maergin's Disciple Monk placed directly under her in the Matron's office.

Numerous rumors yet surround the fire and the circumstances of the departure: that the Provost had been dabbling in mystery cult practices, that he or Von Chamneberg was an Ehrenite Schismatic and had been harboring fugitive Homunculi in the basement of the Priory, or even that he was himself loyal, but helping the Left Hand with something still more serious. Several townsfolk reported seeing an unnatural, hulking monster lurking around the edges of the priory, and there were whispers that this creature had actually started the conflagration. Either way, the Provost has not returned to Rosenfeld, and repairs continue on the damaged buildings, although the Library may never be restored to its former glory.