03/08/998: Late Morning, Ebbington District- Broad Street Mortuary

Your cursory inspection of the body reveals a puckered scar on the man's neck, although this wound looks to be non-fatal, and very old at any rate. You surmise from his general thuggish demeanor that he probably picked this beauty up in a long-forgotten bar fight. Other than that, you don't see any obvious wounds or injuries that might have contributed to the man's death.

Corporal Miles Bridgeworth

"Master Corporal, was there a specific reason the guard donned a pair of leather gloves while handling this corpse? Or does touching a dead guy give him the willies?"
Bridgeworth shrugs at the question. "As I said, His Lordship wishes to spare no precaution in the handling of this matter. Our coroner already inspected the body, as was able to find no obvious signs of death." You see him sniff and dig out his handkerchief once more, ready to press it over his nose and mouth should the delightful odors associated with death choose to arise.

"Since no cause of death could be found, the Watch is taking no chances in this affair. There's no telling what killed this man."

As if on cue, as Bridgeworth explains the reasoning behind the unusual handling of the corpse and you complete your supplication to Vecna, you are filled with the knowledge you were expecting to find: this body is infected with some form of poison you cannot yet define, but it is inarguably present.

Cymmeiian watches as the shimmering aura of green begins to glow in and around the man's body. He sucks his lip and nods, slightly, to himself. Now that the what was taken care the who and how needed to be discovered. The why was perhaps for someone else to deal with.

"Since no cause of death could be found, the Watch is taking no chances in this affair. There's no telling what killed this man."
"Ahh, but there is telling what killed this man. I will need more time of course but you brought him here for a reason, did you not? I love riddles you see, and each unexplained death is just that. I work through various scenarios, catch light of facts that are unseen to an untrained eye and in the end, I have broken a secret."

Cymmeiian's eyes are a bit more open that normal and a certain smugness has settled into the corners of his lips. He takes a moment to walk around the body; slow, clicking steps thud on the wooden floor underfoot. Moving back over to his rolled out toolkit, Cymmeiian reaches for a scalpel and a pair of small scissors. Turning on his heel he snaps towards the body and makes methodical work of removing what clothes may still be on the body. His eyes scan the truth of the flesh, looking for any telling sign of epidermal disturbance. After every square inch of visible surface is scoured, the mortician-by-day gently turns the body over to repeat the process.
One thing is for certain though, no one can claim this mortician to be feckless. Every move is born of a purpose. Every application of pressure is intended to extract information. Every look into the corpse's dull eyes is a question searching for an answer.

The autopsy continues on arduously. You finds no outward signs by which the poison he detected could have been introduced the poison you detected earlier. Thus, you determine that there is no other course of action toward discovering the cause of death in this man other than the tried-and-true method of getting your hands... dirty.

You first select a dainty silver scalpel, intent upon vivisecting the corpse's chest. However, you find your heavy subject unyielding to your efforts, as his considerable flab and scar tissue put up significant resistance to your earnest effort. Clearly, this one calls for more drastic measures, which you are keen to employ as you discard your scalpel and opt for a steely hacksaw.

You set yourself with grim determination to the task of opening this Pandora's box of secrets. But just as you pierce the first few layers of skin, you are shocked to meet no further resistance to your blade, and the hacksaw opens up the man's chest cavity like a pig being dressed for banquet!

Suddenly and without warning, your hacksaw and the hand holding it are thrust violently out of the man's chest, followed by a macabre fountain of blood and humours that gushes directly at you!

The roaring column of fluids washes over and past you, leaving a steaming, wretched trail of bile across your pristine workroom floor. You feel the humours drip and dribble down the front of you... there is a momentary, tingling sensation on your skin, but nothing more beyond that.

As the flow of putrid juices subsides and slows to a trickle from the man's ravaged chest cavity, the only sound which remains in the autopsy room is that of Corporal Bridgeworth, vomiting in earnest over in the corner.

There is no escaping the blood, bile and phlegm; it is everywhere. Cymmeiian wipes his face with is hand and makes a few mental notes before heading over to help the corporal. After grabbing a gray towel from a drawer under the workbench, Cymmeiian grabs an empty glass storage jar and fills it with water in the
pressuming that it did not fill with blood and the likes...disregard if that is the case
wash basin.
Without hesitation he moves to the corporal, lending him the
and water if able
towel before he begins cleaning decompsing matter and fluids from the corporal's once crisp jacket.

Once the corporal has restrained the outcries fo his stomach; "Corporal, I ensure you that this is not a normal occurence. I need to think about this for a moment; collect my thoughts if you will and piece these odd occurences together."

Cymmeiian ignores the bile-blood coated floor and immediately returns to the corpse, examining to now mostly-empty chest cavity for more clues as to what would cause a reinforced epidermal layer coupled with an immense pressure buildup within the fluid systems.

These dice sets were omitted or moved: 1d20+3, 1d20+3, 1d20+7, 1d20+4, 1d20+5, 1d20+4

Corporal Miles Bridgeworth

Corporal Bridgeworth thanks you mutely for the towel and water. It's clear from the man's pale, sallow face that this is rather far out of his sphere of experience as well, if the floor now coated with his breakfast is any indication.

* * * * *

You return with determination to your examination of the corpse, despite the sudden and uncertain turn this investigation has taken. Probing the depths of your knowledge, you are certain that this is some sort of magical poison; you can't think of any normal concoctions which could so thoroughly devastate a man's insides like this.

While it would take you the better part of the day to fully list anyone who would be capable of getting their hands on this sort of poison- Fairhaven's criminal underworld is resourceful if not particularly creative- you aren't able to recall any who would be able to manufacture this sort of poison on their own.

With ginger care, you peel back the ragged strips of flesh that were once the victim's abdomen and gaze upon the walls of the upper chest. Your keen eyes see that the man's throat is almost entirely occluded by a mass of strange purple, round polyps which cling to the throat lining with unbreakable force. The polyps exude a foul-smelling, viscous coating of slime whose stench has begun to pervade the entire room.

From the pustules and along the body's inner walls run a fibrous network of veiny growths that have completely overrun the hollow structure that is the body before you. Your healer's intuition tells you that these polyps are likely the culprit in this man's death. But more than that, the sight of them jars a faint memory in your mind.

You recall reading an old coroner's text which described a case very similar to this one. The incident was a death by poisoning, perpetrated upon the scion of a noble house by a rival, out of envy over a stolen lover. The murderer used some kind of rare poison whose name and form of delivery escapes you at this moment, but the result in the deceased was the very same state which you see before you now.

The actual details of the case were uninteresting. But the most compelling part of the affair was that the parties involved were all Drow.

Cymmeiian returns and grabs another clean towel for himself. There are fragments of skin, sinew and organ everywhere; he is determined to keep his hands free of such debris. Grabbing a pitcher of water and some rather large sponges, Cymmeiian returns to the hollow man, dunks a sponge in the water and begins to clean up the decimated cavity. He works quickly and carefully, extracting blood, decomposed tissues and organs in order to show a cleaner, more apparent view to the corporal. After the fluids are extracted, Cymmeiian takes a flenser from his tray of tool and uses the light, flexible razor to cleanly flay the ragged strips of flesh off. He makes quick, sharp cuts and in a matter of minutes has the cavity opening carved into one smooth shape, more appropriate for viewing in to.

"Master Corporal, are you able to take a look at this? If you take a look up into the throat you will notice the purplish polyps. These are likely the result of the man's death. Suffocation. The fibrous grows here most likely grew down into the chest cavity and did caused mortal damage to the internal organs."

Cymmeiian give the corporal as much time as he likes to examine the half-body. While waiting for the corporal's curiosity to be quenched, Cymmeiian begins cleaning the examining table and floor of the exploded carcass.

"I know of the method, Master Corporal but I have no idea who would be behind it. Before I divulge that information, do you think you could at least give me this man's name?"

Corporal Miles Bridgeworth

The corporal looks down into the chest cavity with clear distaste on his face. As his eyes pass over the macabre display, you note that he keeps his handkerchief close at hand, in case he is inspired to express himself once more.

"What a dreadful way to die," mutters Bridgeworth, shaking his head in absent dismay. "I've seen men pass on in the most agonizing ways- dismemberment, disembowlment, musket shot in the belly. But in all my years, I've never seen the like of this man's malady. Rogue that he appears, I pity his end." The corporal braces his hand against the metal dissection table, making certain not to put his fingers into the slowly growing puddle of putrified remains.

"Alas, this man's name is a mystery to us. We found him in lodgings in the poor quarters of Fairhaven, but the landlord never inquired for the man's identity." Bridgeworth lets out a quiet sigh. "We consulted the tenant logs, only to find that he had given his name as one 'Mr. X.'"

The Watch Officer looks up at you with raised eyebrows. "Short of disseminating a public inquiry, we seem to have no way of learning his name or profession."

With a heavy sigh, Cymmeiian's brow folds into disappointment. The corner of his mouth tightens and curls as he studies the corpse, apparently trying to will information from the dead.

"If only the dead could talk, huh?"

There is apparent frustration creasing deeper through his face; the half-drow's ruby sunburst eyes seem dry and aloof. Quietly Cymmeiian fetches a clean white linen and approaches the examination table. He waits for eye contact and a silent confirmation that the corporal is satisfied with what he sees before draping the linen from mid-chest to the end of the table, covering the exposed cavity.

"Master Corporal, this is definitely poison induced; magical poison to be exact. The important information is what I am not telling, however. I would like your assurance that either yourself of his Lordship will remember me and perhaps allow me a favor down the road sometime. Sure gold is nice and if his Lordship is inclined to help out an upstart, then he will have a mortician available to him night or day. Of course, Master Corporal, knowing which 'his Lordship' we are talking of would be quite beneficial as well."

Cymmeiian's spiel is dry and matter-of-fact but his face embraces a
Diplomacy check
gentle smile and as much trust as he can muster while tossing the corporal a clean towel and refilling his water glass.


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