I think, after this week, I can safely conclude that I’ve come to the bad part of Europe.
Things actually started off on a pretty good foot! The local hotel was reopened in order to give all us newcomers some place to stay (I’m not exactly sure if it’s a hotel or a bed and breakfast or what, but it’s definitely got plenty of rooms, serves meals, and appears to have an open bar, which the local mayor did not once leave for the duration of the week), and they also reopened the church to start having services. It’s a Denouncing Venice service and all in European anyway, but hopefully it’ll still help bring this community together. Everyone was there for the services today, including the four brave souls who’d agreed to help excavate the estate today. Two of them are newcomers, so I guess word about my amateur archaeology project is getting around! No word from any big name universities yet, but Croc is some kind of proper archaeologist! Duquesne is, I gather, some kind of soldier. It’s hard to make out when I hardly know any European, but I think she probably must have lived here before shipping out for the war, just because, frankly, I can’t see this place as being much of a tourist destination for someone looking for R&R.
Reynauld and Busquent were really fired up by that Denouncing Venice sermon, and we got to work in the ruins as soon as it was over. We’re trying to scout out the old estate and get a rough map of the area, so that we can perform a more systematic search for artifacts later on. In this, we were extremely lucky that one of the very first things we found was a map of the estate! The map was only for a small section, but it also had several spots marked. We went to check those spots to see what the map was marking, and what we found was this locked cabinet:
And then this beat up old armoire:
My mind was alight with questions. Why would someone make a map to these places? Why would they then discard that map in the estate? Was it some unfortunate soul killed by the zombies? Was the map of supply caches? It didn’t seem like it. We didn’t find much in either the cabinet or the armoire.
While headed towards the third spot on the map, we were ambushed by some of those brigands. On the way to the Hamlet, Reynauld and Dismas were able to deal with the brigands pretty handily. This time around, though, they seemed a lot more slippery. It probably helped that they had a fellow with a shotgun firing buckshot at us the whole time. A terrifying turn of events, let me tell you! Busquent kept on yelling throughout the fight. It seemed to help everyone else. One phrase seemed to come up a lot: “Ni denuncas [thing].” Like, “ni denuncas mallumon!” and “ni denuncas malbonon!” and “ni denuncas Venecion en ĉiuj ĝiaj formoj!”
Despite the fervor, and the best efforts of Reynauld and Duquesne, Croc got caught by some of the buckshot and bled out before the end of the fight. She went from perfectly fine to dead on the stone so quickly, there was hardly time to react. When Croc first showed up, I thought she’d be the most valuable member of our whole project. I thought, wow, a real university-trained archaeologist! This is the perfect person to bring to the ruins! Now I’m wondering if maybe I shouldn’t put a higher priority on survivability over academic background.
We were able to press on without Croc to find out what that third point on the map was. It was this discarded pack: