|Issue:||Issue 11, August 2001|
You've returned! I've not seen you in such a long time, I had thought you dead! Welcome back to the Admiral Bombow, may I take your coat? No? Would you buy me a drink instead? I'd so appreciate it, and I will tell you another story of The Land ...
Ahh, a fine ale. I thank you most kindly. Pull up a pew and I'll tell you about the monastery.
The monastery, it sits upon a hill on the eastern side of The Land, close to the italian mansion. The monastery has been deserted for many a year now, but the gateway - a massive one at that - remains locked to this day. You will need to find the right key to get in, or if you are not so lucky, tools to break the gate.
Inside, you should find a beautiful avenue of trees passing through a cobbled yard to the north and south. I visited the monastery many years ago while it was still occupied - the avenue was a spectacular site then, but I doubt you will find much of interest there now.
If you carry on along the avenue, you'll reach the main entrance to the abbatial church, but let's not go there yet. I'll take you through the the kitchens, they never locked those doors when the monastery was in use, so I doubt they'll be locked now.
The kitchen is a lovely warm room, or at least it was. There's a great spit in there which at times of celebration would be heavy with meat. The rest of the time, the kitchen was used to cook more restrained meals which would be solemnly eaten in the refectory.
The refectory? Yes, that's just to the west of the kitchen. The monks would eat their meals there in silence, except for the prayers from the pulpit.
Treasure? Would you even consider raiding a sacred and beautiful place like this? You would? Oh! Well, I imagine other scoundrels like you have already stripped the place, but there were many bits of silverware on the tables and in the kitchen, so you may be lucky.
On the other side of the kitchen is the Pilgrims' hospice. It's a bare room with little interest to most people, but worth a mention as it leads to the cloisters, which are most definitely worth a mention.
The most attractive feature of the cloisters was the little garden in the centre. The abbot would grow the most wonderful roses there - somewhat of a luxury, I always thought. You're unlikely to find much there now, of course. I doubt a gardener has been near the place in many a year.
To the south-west of the cloisters, you'll find the Abbot's cell. I was never permitted to enter it, as is right, but now it lies empty, there'll be no one to stop you. If you do get a chance to visit it, please let me know what it is like - I have always wondered.
On the south-east corner is the main dormitory. I have slept there a couple of times - the best I can say of it is that it is dark. Dark and quiet. Comfortable? Hah! Don't make me laugh, young man.
Lastly, there's an entrance to the abbatial church I mentioned earlier to the north-west of the cloisters.
The church, at last I get to the church! Such a beautiful sight. With its high ceilings and beautiful columns, you'll never want to leave. What did you say? Hmm ... no taste at all. I'll move swiftly on, then. The church runs from west to east with a transept near the altar.
To the north and south of the transept are two small chapels. I would not speak to you again if you raided those, and that is a promise. Sic transit gloria mundi.
If you leave the church by the main entrance, you'll find yourself back at the end of the avenue. I'll tell you about the north cobbled yard if you're still interested? You are? Good! My mouth is a little dry, though. Could I trouble you for some more ale to lubricate my poor throat?
Ahh, thank you. It's always a pleasure. Back to the monastery. To the north and north-west of the north cobbled yard are two terribly stinky places - the balneary and pigsty. They might be worth a visit, though as you never know what might have been dug up there ... I wouldn't go digging yourself, though!
The cobbled yard continues to the east and ends in some stables - there won't be any horses, mind.
More interesting than the stables is the other building at the east end of the yard. It's built into the wall, and is in fact the old scriptorium. The entrance takes you to the ground floor, but you must climb the stairs to reach the largest part of this most fascinating building.
The scriptorium was where the scribes both worked on and stored their manuscripts. Only the most senior monks would be allowed in, and so a lot of what I tell you is merely rumour.
The monks, fearful of people stealing their valuable books made the scriptorium into a maze. At the centre of this maze was access to a crypt, rumoured to be hidden directly under the church. Only the architect of the building and the Abbot knew the route through the scriptorium to this most holy of chambers. Now that route is lost ...
... unless ... I did hear that the Abbot, before he left the monastery, had the key to the scriptorium's maze written down - but not on paper. He was said to cry over the sadness of it all. I do know that the Abbot never returned to the crypt, so it is likely to be full of the treasure it was built to keep safe.
Another rumour I heard is that a hunchback was employed to guard the scriptorium, and is living there to this day. I myself don't believe it, but it is worth your knowledge, and I might add, worthy of another ale for me?
You are too kind. Let me tell you about the buildings surrounding the monastery, they are not as impressive, but you may care to hear about them. Oh? You know of them! Hmm ... Perhaps the gardens? No? You'd like to go and visit the monastery? You're going to seek out the hunchback? You're going to find the hidden crypt and its treasure? Then all I can say is good luck. You will need it ...
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