To the Father General, a report of my continued service to the Holy Church, from its humble servant, Brother Damien Bernard.
Returning with my former companions I once more entered the ruins of Castle Nicodemus We approached what appeared to be a guard tower. Even to my eyes, it was apparent that this structure was created to withstand a siege. The tower was adorned with a herald that I was unfamiliar with, but I had the Acolyte Nodger record it appearance in his ledger.
Gunter, a hireling of one of my companions was bitten by a poisonous snake inside the lower level. I was appalled that they were going to let him remain behind without aid - a very unChristian thing to do - so I cut open the wound, extracted the poison, and comforted the man as best I could. He regained his pallor somewhat. Nodger and I created a litter to bear him along as we further explored the castle.
The lower level was filled with the corroded armor of two armies that had fought inside of it. Their bones were so old that they had turned to dust. The party eradicated a nest of wasps of incredible size. I am finding that flaming oil is a useful protection for we clerics of our Lord to use from time to time. After ascending a staircase to the upper level, we found more such soldiers.
Inside one of the rooms were even more flying creatures that resembled a cross between a bat and the wasps. They were blood-sucking creatures and hideous. Nodger defended Gunter from attack while I healed another slightly injured hireling.
On the upper level I acquired what must have been a shield of a Templar or other holy warrior. I am convinced of this, because after leaving the castle and returning to the caravan the old woman who has a reputation for identifying things told me it was especially protective. The fact that it was the only piece of weapon or armor to appear in useable condition seems to confirm this. The old woman asked if she could tell my fortune. As we are taught in the Scriptures, divination is witchcraft and an abominable practice, so naturally I declined.
I must also report something of a delicate matter. Please know, Father General, that I think nothing of myself and do not seek mystical experiences. However, like the revered St. Francis, I have been afflicted on occasion by the sign of the Stigmata. I pray earnestly for the strength and wisdom to learn from this and I will not speak of it to anyone else. I try to conceal it from onlookers when it manifests and will by no means draw any attention to it.
May the blessings of the Almighty be with you and Mother Church. Please remember your servant in prayer.
+ In the Year of Our Lord Unknown,