The Sticky End of Sartor
Note - when we send out the emails, individual players do not receive the whole script, only their own lines (and, as cues, the words which immediately precede them).
The first seven speeches:
1 Hermit: Good day, my good villagers. As most of you know, I like to keep myself to myself, and rarely leave my cave. Hence I am little acquainted with your persons or the village’s customs. I know nothing of this Sartor or who might have killed him, let alone why the Bard threw me in among the suspects. If you ask me, he’s getting on a bit. Bards are not what they used to be.
But I digress. All I have learned about the case so far is that Sartor went out hunting in the morning, and returned in time for lunch, where many people saw him. His corpse was found a few hours before sundown, so he must have been killed at some point in the afternoon. If we are to move beyond these simple facts, I think we should start by introducing ourselves.
2 Chief: A very useful suggestion, lady Hermit. As I’m Chief, I’ll start. I have been in charge round here for as long as anyone can remember. Only two days ago, Sartor became engaged to my beautiful daughter Belle [point]. There was a wonderful party in the evening, the mead and ale flowed like rivers. Sartor and I followed all the proper ceremonies: we shared a drink from the ritual cup, and very good it was too; we swapped our weapons, sang the wedding song, and shook hands. What can I say, I looked forward to having him as a son-in law.
3 Belle: My poor, poor, lost love. As you know, two evenings ago I became Sartor’s fiancée. I had known him for little more than two weeks, but it seemed like two lifetimes – and always will. His death is sad, he had such a hard life. You see, his first marriage, decades ago, was a tragic experience: his wife cooped herself up in the house, started obsessing about stars and the heavens and things, and refused to see anyone. In the end she went properly mad, and, too tormented to stay, he left her.
After that he became shy, a recluse, and spent many years in a barren unhappiness. But when he met me, he suddenly became relaxed and personable again, and felt happy. He told me all this with tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat. Had we been together, he would have enjoyed a peace of mind and spirit that he will now never know.
4 Maid: Welcome to this village, lady Hermit, where I am but a temporary resident. I was poor Sartor’s personal maid. He chose me long ago, before setting out on his travels, and I always took very good care of him, just as he treated me with great kindness. I knew him so well, I doubt he had a single secret from me!
I am sorely angered by this hateful crime, but do not think the reason is too far to seek: my master’s death will very likely result in war between this village and his people, and this will cause a great traffic of new weapons. The village Stonecutter [point] will profit no end, just think of the demand for axes and arrow-heads! Not to mention the Merchant [point], who will do a rip-roaring trade in slings and bandages. Just look at the pair of them, smirking like a couple of Orang-Utangs. Guilty as guilt is guilt!
5 Amazon: How tedious your poisoned words are! Let me introduce myself, O Hermit. I, like the victim, am a foreign envoy here. I represent the faraway tribe of the Amazons, so people here simply call me Amazon.
Me being the murderess is a laughable notion! We Amazons certainly kill, but only on the battlefield or when we hunt. And in any case, I have an alibi: I spent yesterday afternoon with the village Stonecutter, learning about your local techniques of chiseling and so on. He will tell you I could not have killed Sartor, for we were together from lunch until sundown. And likewise, I can vouch for him. So your snide accusation, Maid, crumbles away like a fistful of sand.
6 Stonecutter: Hail, all the company. I am the village Stonecutter, and just as Amazon said, she and I spent the afternoon together in my quarry, until we heard the news of Sartor’s death. So much for the Maid’s insinuations.
Let me point out that our Apothecary lost considerably through Sartor’s presence in the village. For while the Apothecary was away – nobody knows on what business – her field was requisitioned, in order that Sartor’s dwelling could be built there. As far as I know, she is the only person who was harmed by Sartor’s presence in the village, so the stallions of my suspicion gallop towards her.
7 Guard: Certainly it is natural for you to have suspicions, O Stonecutter. For I have long maintained that you are a highly suspicious character! I, Madam Hermit, am the Guard of the temple precinct, located in the centre of the village. In the course of my duties, I have often seen the Stonecutter snooping about in the vicinity of the precinct. I imagine he was waiting for an opportunity to do wrong of some sort, though whether to steal the odd stone from the temple sanctuary, or to pounce and kill, I would not care to say.
Anyway, alibi or no alibi, you may not yet have heard that Sartor was killed just outside the Stonecutter’s house! Perhaps the Merchant, who also stands to profit immensely from Sartor’s death, has something to say about this interesting coincidence?