Chapter 437: Beauclair’s Cemetery
Cold winds blew atop the snowy caps, dancing across the great plains. Eventually, it kissed a beautiful city decked out in gorgeous houses, an incredible palace, a breathtaking lower city, and a lively port.
Beauclair, the capital of Toussaint.
Lytta and the witchers strolled down the lower city's streets. She was wearing a tight, red dress that showed off all her curves. Delight showed on her face, and she introduced slowly, "Beauclair's palace is one of the most well-kept buildings of the era of elven rule. Framont, a famous Nilfgaardian architect, used to reconstruct and rebuild part of the palace, and now we're laying our eyes on his work."
Lytta turned around, and everyone looked at where she was looking. The palace was located on the top of a hill outside the city area. To be exact, the whole mountain was part of the palace. A meandering path surrounding the palace connected the top and bottom sides. Petite pavilions stood along the path big enough for two carriages to walk together.
The roofs of the palace towers were colored orange, shining warmly under the sun. Some rooftops were conical, while some were prismatic. It was breathtaking.
"Toussaint's duke and duchess live in the palace." She looked around them. "And the place we stand in is called the lower city. It's mostly occupied by the abodes of workers and workshops."
Roy looked around at the people crossing the streets. These houses all had orange prismatic rooftops, granting the city a sense of uniformity.
"The biggest market in Toussaint is filled with all kinds of stalls. Merchants from all over the world sell their wares here. If you can't find something you want in Beauclair, you won’t find it anywhere. The port is the trade center of Beauclair and greater Toussaint. It's astonishingly bustling."
"More than Novigrad's port?" Roy asked.
"Beauclair's location isn't as strategic as Novigrad's." Lytta held his arm, smiling at him. "But it's more closely connected to the south. The volume of its trade is on par with Novigrad's port."
"Thank you for the introduction, Lytta, but if the tour gets any longer, it'll be night before we can do anything." Letho looked at the people on the streets. Beauclairians looked different from most people in the north. They seemed to be more relaxed, as if they had wine in their blood. They weren't walking too fast either. "Now can you tell us where Orlémurs Cemetery is?"
"It's in the southern part of the city. Five-minute walk. We'll get things done faster than those dolts."
Auckes, Eskel, and Kiyan refused to portal travel. They were tasked to search the remaining diagrams in Fort Ussar. It wasn't far from Mont Crane anyway.
Across the Gate of Lebioda and a deserted path they went. Orlémurs Cemetery was located beside a gurgling river. It had no clear lines that separated it from the outside world. The weed grew as much as it liked. Nobody had cleaned this place in ages. The wind made the alder trees sway. When night fell, these trees would look like humans waving at someone in the distance. It was creepy.
The cemetery had hundreds of gravestones, most of which were lying on the ground. Graverobbers exhumed the coffins, leaving the remains of the dead exposed to the elements. All they took were the valuables. Unfortunately, not even the infamous Tomas Moreau could escape this fate.
The four of them found his final resting place under a gigantic banyan tree in the center of the cemetery.
'Professor Tomas Moreau
Born 987 — Died 1155
K'havani allder aen Dol Naev'de, allder n'corrason. Glorsann a'Aelirenn.'
"Salvation lies not in Dol Naev'de, but in our hearts." Lytta tried to translate the epitaph. "Glory to Aelirenn."
"He started the experiment in 1121, and he died in 1155? That's barely after he gave up on his experiment. Could his death be divine retribution?" Letho asked, "So what kind of clue can we get from his grave?"
Roy fell into silence.
"Since Tomas is dead, Jerome should have left Beauclair after he escaped that prison." Coen's eyes glinted. "And the coffin's exhumed and stripped bare. We lost our lead."
"This epitaph…" Roy circled the gravestone, his eyes set on a gaunt woman not far away from them. She was paying tribute to two gravestones that neighbored each other. Obviously, they were the final resting spots for two very close people.
And inspiration struck Roy. "Dol Naev'de is Valley of the Nine. Don't you see? This epitaph is trying to console someone. It's like someone's telling Tomas' soul to let go of his failed experiment. He needs to give something up if he wants to find inner peace. So the one who made this gravestone must know about his experiment. They know a lot about his life, so we're looking for someone close to him."
"And?" Lytta's eyes glinted, and she bit her lip.
"If you still remember the recording, Tomas told us where he would go after he was done with the experiment." Roy tried to mimic the late professor. "It is time to return to Lydia. Perhaps she will still accept me."
"The one who set this gravestone up and carved this epitaph must be Tomas' wife and Jerome's mother—Lydia."
"So our job is to find this lady." Everyone's eyes shone, while Roy hunkered down to check the remains. The bones showed signs of magical modification. A mage alright. And the teeth were neat and smooth. Unlike most humans, there were no canine teeth.
"It's been more than a hundred and fifty years since their era. Lydia is most probably dead as well. Resting somewhere in this cemetery. Not sure why her grave isn't right beside her husband's."
Everyone started another search, and Lytta asked, "So what's the deal with the epitaph? Why did she bring Aelirenn up?"
Aelirenn, or the White Rose of Shaerrawedd, was a female elf born more than two hundred years ago. She led the younger elves in a desperate battle against the encroaching humans and died valiantly. She was the symbol of elven resistance.
"Tomas is part-elf. He doesn't have the ears, but his teeth are the same as an elf's. He identifies as an elf.
Ten minutes later, the group found the gravestone they wanted in the west side of the cemetery.
Born 1070 — Died 1155
'Just a little longer, child. Hold on. I am coming to save you…
A loving mother, an incredible love.'
The writing of this epitaph looked haphazard. Dried drops of blood were smeared on the stone. The carver must have felt agitated when they wrote the epitaph. Weirdly enough, the surroundings of this grave were clean. The weed was cleared, and the coffin was still intact. Obviously, someone cleaned this place often.
The group stood silently at the gravestone, the looks on their faces bizarre.
"So this is the grave of Jerome's mother?" Coen felt his throat getting dry, and he gulped.
Roy picked up the white carnation beside the grave and held back his suspicion. "This is fresh. Someone left it here about a day ago. At most."
Sleeping beside the carnation were dark, withered flowers. Coen glanced at it and took a deep breath, but his fingers were trembling uncontrollably. More than a hundred years had passed since Lydia died, but still someone came to pay tribute to her. Which means…
"There's someone's scent on this."
Roy handed the flower to Letho, whose senses were the best. The veteran witcher sniffed the air, and a colorful ribbon appeared. It extended beyond the cemetery, pointing at Hauteville, a village standing on the fringes of Beauclair.
"We're counting on you. Find the one who paid Lydia tribute."
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