The abbey statue

Jasper McCarrin

UP: Britannia

    While making my way to the Court of Truth to find out what's holding up the FOA leader trial, a minor commotion at Empath Abbey grabbed my attention. Naturally, I decided to find out what all the hubbub was about. Upon entering the Abbey, I noticed a mob of people surrounding one of the monks. He had pale blond hair and a slight beard and wore the common pale brown robe generally worn by the monks. I heard him telling the throng his name was Brother Jonathan.

    Brother Jonathan said that a statue had been stolen from the Abbey, and he was asking for help in it's return. He said it was only a small, minor statue, but that it had historic value to the monks. "No one other than we here would have any use for the statue," said Brother Jonathan, "So I cannot understand why someone would take it. I'm afraid the only clue I can offer is a bit of torn paper with the word, 'Honesty' on it. I found it on the floor near where the statue had been. What it means, I have no idea."

    After most of the rest of the crowd had left, I asked to see the piece of paper. The word, Honesty, was hand written and looked as if it had followed something else that had been written above it. Just a hint of other writing was visible. The word was also capitalized. There was space after the word, which caused me to think it was not the first word in a sentence. I therefore realized it was referring to something specific. The crowd who had just left had been speaking of the Shrine of Honesty, which did seem a likely guess. But since that avenue was amply covered, I decided to take one that had not been mentioned. The City of Honesty - Moonglow.

    I paid a mage for transportation to Verity Island and the city of Moonglow. Once there, I realized I had no idea where to begin looking. I wandered around a bit then decided to consult a friend at the Lycaeum. I entered the library where he usually works, but found my friend was not there. Exiting the library and crossing the courtyard, I saw a scribe over by the fountain. Intending to ask him where my friend might be, I walked over to him.

"Pardon me, sir, but dost thou work here?" I asked him.
"At times, I do. But other times I do not. Mostly, I do though," Martus replied. Martus being his name. "I help to maintain the libraries here and the writing kept in those libraries."
"Ah, interesting. Perhaps thou may help me then. What know thee of Honesty?"
"Honesty? That lass left a bit over a month ago. She was sent here to study magic, but never really took to it."
Confused, it took me a couple minutes to completely comprehend this odd shift. "Honesty is the name of a person?" I asked.
"Oh yes. A young lass. Her parents were very virtuous and decided to name their children for the virtues. Luckily, they only had three, two sons and a daughter. Honesty was the daughter."
"Most interesting. And ye say she is no longer here?"
Aye. That is correct. She left a while ago. Said she was looking for Valor," Martus told me.
"Valor? What did she mean? Is that perchance one of her brothers?"
"I truly do not know. I'm afraid I've told thee everything I know about her."
Nodding, I thanked Martus for the information and wandered toward the exit.

    "Valor" didn't give me much more to go on than did "Honesty," but I decided to again try the city to which that virtue is connected - Jhelom. I took the moongate to get there. After a walking through a few times, I made it to the Valorian Isles and Jhelom. I asked some merchants if they new a young lady named Honesty, or perhaps a young man named Valor. Most looked at me oddly, as I well expected they should. At the farmers market, though, a man selling vegetables beckoned me over.

"I don' know anyone a name of Valor or Honesty. But ther'n one who come by often a name a Compassion. Him's a chef, or's tryin' ta be. He oft buys me veggies... just did a few ago e'en... ye migh'n catch 'im if'n ya hurry." He gestured towards the eastern door.

    I thanked the farmer and hurried out the door. A few paces away, a young man was holding a bag of fresh vegetables. I approached him and asked if his name was Compassion. He looked at me brightly and said it was. When I asked about Valor and Honesty, he brightened even more.

"Thou hast seen my brother and sister? How fare they?" Compassion asked.
"Well, actually, I'm looking for them. For Honesty actually. Dost thou know where I might find her?"
"She came to visit a few weeks ago," he told me, "She was looking for Valor. He lives in Skara Brae. That's where Honesty went as well. I'm sure she's with him." He smiled as he spoke.
"Where in Skara Brae would I find Valor?" I asked.
"He's often in the woods, I imagine, or fishing off of the docks. He likes the outdoors. Even became a ranger."
"Thank ye, Compassion," I told him.

    I left Jhelom for Skara Brae. A few more times through the moongate brought me there. I decided to check the docks first, since it would be much easier than looking for him in the forest. Luck smiled upon me, for I did find him there. 'Twas all the luck I managed though. As I stepped out onto the docks, a huge man came hurrying down them. Not huge in the sense of a massively muscled guard in shining armor. No, this man was simply a sweating mass of flesh. A wealthy merchant who looked down his nose at others while picking the remain of badly cooked creature from his teeth. The kind of man who looks for the quantity in his meals rather than something of actual taste. The docks themselves complained noisily at his passing. And I barely had time to consider stepping aside before being flung out of his way by a thick, meaty arm. With a splash, I landed in the dark waters surrounding the docks. Coughing up water while struggling for air, I at least had the satisfaction of seeing him turn around angrily and tell something unintelligible about the spray of water that had struck him.

Shaking my head while trying to grasp at the dock, I felt a hand grasp mine. I looked up as I was helped from the water. The man who had helped me smelled strongly of fish, but smiled warmly. I noticed the fishing pole at his feet and realized his smile was exactly the same as Compassion's had been.

"Ah, thou must be Valor. Thank thee for putting my feet back on dry... well, partially dry... land, "I said returning his smile.
Starting in mild surprise, Valor replied, "Thou know my name? Should I know thee? Have we met before?"
"Only in the sense that I met thy brother in Jhelom just scant hours ago," I told him.
"Ah, Compassion. Still trying to be a cook, is he?"
"Aye, seems so. I wonder if thou could tell me where to find thy sister?"
"Honesty? Aye, she's likely over at the Rangers' Hall practicing archery. She came to me a few weeks ago wishiing to become a ranger. Or at least to learn how to shoot a bow."
After getting directions to the Hall, I made Valor promise to meet me another time for an ale at the tavern, The Shattered Skull, in thanks for his help getting out of the inlet.

    Honesty was shooting a bow at the Ranger's Hall just as Valor had expected. Suddenly wary, I realized that if the path I had followed proved true, then she could be the one who stole the statue. And she was holding a bow, while I had but my staff. I considered for a moment, and then approached her.

"Greetings, dear lady, " I called out as I stepped closer.
Turning, she smiled and replied, "Hello good sir. May I help thee?"
"I'm of hope that ye can, M'Lady. I seek an item. A statue of small value. It was once housed at Empath Abbey and a source tells me thou may know where it hath disappeared to."
A fleeting panic visible in her eyes told me she was indeed the one who took the statue. "How would I possibly know anything about a statue from the Abbey, good sir?" she replied.
"Ah, well 'tis just something I has reason to believe. I was hoping to perhaps see the statue and perhaps purchase it from the person holding it. Such a statue would have possible value to a collector, especially if it has true historic worth. I have gold."
Relaxing visibly, she told me, "Ah, I see. Another interested in that statue. Who'd have ever believed it so important. But I have it no longer. Well, that is to say, 'tis a statue no longer."
"I'm afraid I miss thy meaning, M'Lady, 'tis no longer a statue?"
"Aye. I nipped it for a man named Candil. He offered me gold to bring it to him. In need of gold so that I could repay my brother for the supplies he lent me, I agreed. I thought the statue of no value and that no one would ever miss it. When I gave it to Candil, though, he smashed it into the ground. Yon pile small pile of rubble is all that remains. Stranger still, from the broken bits of the statue, Candil pulled a rolled parchment."
"A parchment ye say? 'Tis indeed odd. What was the parchment?" I asked.
"I have no idea, good sir," Honesty replied, "If thou art truly interested, I suggest asking the monks at the abbey. And please tell them I shall pay them for the statue when I am able."
"As ye wish, M'Lady." And with that I left.

    Uncertain what exactly to do next, I decided to speak to Brother Jonathan as she suggested. Back at the Abbey, I told Brother Jonathan what I had discovered and asked for his advice on how to proceed. Unexpectedly, Brother Jonathan was neither relieved nor at ease with my news. Rather, he seemed truly more worried than previously. I asked him what was bothering him and if it had something to do with that parchment. Barely able to look me in the eye, Brother Jonathan told me that the parchment was in fact a treasure map. It had been given to him as a donation for the Abbey. But he had decided to keep it for himself. Knowing that there was no possible way he could go looking for the treasure on his own, he had tried to hire some adventurers to aid him. Candil was the leader of a group of mercenaries to whom he had spoken and considered hiring. Candil had refused the job, though, saying that there was no way a monk could afford his services and claiming that the treasure probably did not exist. Even after giving the mercenary a quick glimpse of the map, Candil remained uninterested. Or so it had seemed. Candil had apparently decided to take the treasure for himself. Brother Jonathan had hidden the treasure inside the hollowed out statue. The statue truly was worthless, but had been thought by Brother Jonathan a suitable hiding place. Unfortunately for him, when he removed the map from it's secret location, Candil had noted where it was.

    By this time, I had decided that I was through with this whole situation. Other adventurers had returned who had been trying to help Brother Jonathan, and I left him to explain what was really going on to them. Perhaps they would get the treasure back for him. Perhaps they would take it for themselves. All I knew was that I needed a good bottle of ale. Maybe a few of them...


From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online, Monday, February 15th 1999