The scent of Carsen’s saddle bags continues to gnaw at me for several days after the tourney. The smell was so distinctive and so out of place, I’m haunted by why or how a man panning for gold could be focused on such task when he’s got human flesh in his possession. I devise a plan, and set out towards the tavern.
Hiding a unremarkable horse in the woods by Slim’s tent, I meander under the cover of dusk to the town pub that Slim frequents and watch him descends into a drunken stupor until he’s kicked out by another patron. I follow him back to his accommodations, and settle into some nearby shrubbery before pushing my warging abilities farther than I’ve ever dreamed of. My eyes awaken to a blurred and slightly swollen view, and lifting my suddenly very heavy limbs, I know the first mission of my evening was successful; I am in Slim’s body.
I throw myself over the horse’s saddle and ride into the night towards Carsen’s encampment. It takes a few slow hours, but I’m grateful for the sobering effects of the cool night air and time. A ways a way from his tent, I tie my horse up and creep towards his still saddled stot, overhearing the landed knight’s heavy snoring from his tent. Carefully, making effort to steady my hands and breath, I rifle through the bag in question until my fingers find a material unlike anything else in the pack. I recoil-the feeling of paper thin leather is so unnatural and…wrong. But thinking of House Jasper, and my duty to notify Lord Theodore of secrets being kept from him, I reach back in and pull out…a face? This makes no sense, but I do not have time to spare, so shove it in Slim’s disgusting pants and disappear back into the night before Carsen can wake.
In the morning light, I look at the face more closely. It’s old but not rotting, flesh but not bloodied, lifelike but absolutely nonsensical. How can such a thing exist in this state let alone in Ser Carsen’s possession? I request an audience with Teddy who graciously welcomes me and August into his solar and we review the face together, both confused and both alarmed.
Teddy recalls Ser Darron previously mentioning a “face thing” around the untimely death of Calaila, and calls him in. Ser Darron comes to Carsen’s defense suspiciously quickly, before even a formal accusation can be made, and even brings up the traitor Shaymus’ name, ready to label them both as innocent despite an overwhelming amount of evidence and a completed trial by combat, respectively. While Teddy and I review the strange set of circumstances (a cut out face in Carsen’s bag, Darron’s confession of having witnessed Carsen use the faces of the dead to transform completely into other people, Calaila having been found with her face sliced off, Calaila having been seen leaving with Carsen against her wishes and in an argument shortly before returning only to quickly and quietly be witnessed before her body was found), and agree that this is a matter better suited for the Beacon of Light, Gregoriy and the Council of Justice. Ser Darron returns from gathering a bite from the kitchen, and Teddy makes it clearly know that his discretion is expected in matters as sensitive as this.