Zg Session 54

More than two months have passed since the colossus rampaged through Flint. The RHC headquarters has had its security dramatically increased, and you and other constables have been busy chasing leads and wrecking various Obscurati plots throughout Risur. All of them have been fairly minor—miners paid to smuggle adamant, druids using magic to keep local fey content and out of the real world, glaziers hired to craft replicas of the wayfarer’s lantern, a collection of scholars recruited to collate every scrap of information on the fey titans, and so on.
Most groups were fairly forthcoming once word got out that the conspiracy gave its low-ranking members rings engraved with particular patterns as a means of identifying them. People who had no idea the Ob existed offered to help investigate, and the patriotic spirit is high after the catastrophe in Flint. Of course a few groups were leaning in opposition to Risur, such as cells of erudite soldiers preparing to take over from their more traditional commanders. But enough people were shocked at news of the colossus that they ratted out their allies, rather than be part of some group hostile to their homeland.
Zane may or may not have left a few of these subversives hanging by their ankles in convenient places for the City Watch to bust. They're all on the same team.
On the morning of the 1st of Summer, 501 A.O.V., Stover Delft calls you to the RHC headquarters. The place is thick with heightened security. When the party arrives at Delft’s office, he’s chit-chatting with a tall female half-elf with weary eyes, whose first words to the party sound like an insult. "No one else will tell you this," she says, "but we’re all kinda disappointed you let the colossus escape. Are you ready to clean up your mess?"
Delft smiles politely at the awkwardness, then asks you to kindly move the furniture and rug in his office to the edges of the room. While he explains your mission, Lauryn begins tracing a teleportation ring on the floor with chalks and powdered silver.
Delft: "Being in a bit of a hurry: constables, this is Lauryn Cyneburg, Director of Infiltration. Lauryn, the constables."
Delft puts a hand to the side of his mouth, as if speaking in confidence, and whispers, "She doesn't care about your names."
Smiling again, Delft continues. "I figure you have about five minutes before she's ready to teleport us to Slate. A carriage is waiting to take us to the main headquarters. We'll be meeting with the Lord Inspector and a few others to plan this mission, but I imagine before sunset you’ll be in Ber."
Zane: "Nope, not in any hurry at all. But since we did all the work of finding it in the first place, feel free to infiltrate wherever it wound up and finish the job."
Garrett: "Sounds like Ber's problem to me."
Gerald: "Who the hell is this asshole, Delft?"
Delft: "Someone with a higher pay grade than either of us."
Gerald: "Sounds like she should have been the one hunting down gigantic automatons no one knew existed then huh?"
Phyllis nods in agreement with Lauryn. "We both are. If there's any way we can do better, know that I at least aspire to it."
Chandrasekhar smiles wryly at Lauryn. He's heard of her, before, and the genuine article doesn't disappoint. That said, he's certainly not going to grace -that- with a response.
Delft hands over a sheet of newspaper.
[OOC] Aleith|DM: http://i.imgur.com/88B6Q6x.jpg
Delft: "This was published a few hours ago in Seobriga. We’d had the word out that we’re looking for this gnome, Tinker, and a Beran contact got this to one of our agents. A few spells later, and I have a copy here. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ob have a copy in their hands too."
Delft: "Constables, we've been spending the past two months cleaning our own house, and it's good to feel safe we don’t have any more traitors or secret plots in our midst." He raps his cane against the wood of his desk. "But this is our first real chance to figure out what in the hell they were planning to do with that 300-foot-tall wind-up toy. Tinker Oddcog helped build the thing, and when everything went crazy he didn’t run to the Ob. He ran away. I hope that means he might be willing to talk, but we’re going to need to find him before they do."
Ernst reads over the paper before frowning.
Delft: "Now grab anything you need from the quartermaster and be back in five. Anything you need later we’ll ship with express delivery."
Garrett: "A race, huh?"
Gerald: "Seems pretty obvious to me. They were gunna take over the world, kill some Titans. Y'know." Gerald shrugs.
Zane shrugs. "No problem." And leans against the wall. He's got what he needs.
Ernst makes his way back to his desk to grab some odds and ends.
Chandrasekhar nods to Delft. He's all packed already. "Excellent news."
Phyllis: "I don't think it's quite that simple, Gerald."
Gerald: "Only because you want everything to be a seven layer conspiracy."
Phyllis: "We did, after all," - through grit teeth now - "kill a possible source of information before I - we could extract anything from him."
Garrett: "That's not fair…"
Zane: "Nope. No body."
Garrett: "The three hundred foot drop could have killed him instead."
Zane: "He's still out there."
Chandrasekhar: "With our luck, we'll meet him again someday anyways and you'll get everything you ever wanted."
Zane: "Which I take as a personal insult, since that was a beautiful shot."
Garrett: "Regardless, I think the missed point is we're to steal away Mr. Oddcog from under the nose of the Ber military."
Garrett: "I assume Risur will disavow any knowledge of our actions should we be captured."
Garrett: "And this article might self-destruct in 5 seconds."
When you're ready, Lauryn completes her ritual and teleports herself, Delft, and all of you to Slate, the capital of Risur.
Aleith|DM: Delft informs you as you arrive that the city's teleportation circle lies on the east side of the city between the city's military base and the Banhaman Academy, Slate's foremost martial school, just north of the city centre.
Phyllis: "Correct me if I'm wrong, but was that your alma mater, Zane?"
Aleith|DM: There's about a dozen soldiers and mages guarding the fortified bunker, but when you arrive, they visibly recognize Lauryn Cyneburg, who informs them curtly that 'the constables are with me'.
Aleith|DM: You're through the checkpoint with minimal hassle, and a carraige awaits you outside.
For people used to living in the bustle of Flint, the city of Slate appears stately, calm, and perhaps a bit doddering. The Great Delve River, with its steep banks turning it almost into a manmade channel, generally separates the city into the noble west bank and the common east bank.
Six antique castles sit along the inside of a wide bend on the river's west bank, arranged in a pattern originally designed to defend against invasion. These castles act as nexuses of communities of elite gated villas, and here live the nobles descended from the many kings and queens Risur has had throughout history. Today the district resembles an overly-manicured flower garden, more pretty than practical.
Across the shore lie dozens of less affluent neighborhoods surrounding the Grand Weft, a massive square where three highways intersect. Wealthy businesses clump along the Lowland Highway, which leads from the square to docks along the river. The king’s residence, Torfield Palace, sits atop a broad grassy hill a mile south of the weft. It is symbolic of the government of Risur that the king lives with the people, and only once he steps down or dies does his family move to the west bank.
Zane: "Banhaman? Nah. Good rival though. They made us sweat something fierce when they went up against Dyer."
Gerald: "Man. I'm glad I didn't get stationed out here."
Aleith|DM: The carriage takes you across a bridge, passes two castles, and stops at the gated compound of the national RHC headquarters.
Zane: "I dunno, the sight lines are great…"
Gerald: "Be bored within a week."
Gerald‘ hopes out of the carriage.
Garrett: "The city holds itself in high regard…" He opens his eyes. "But it’s every bit as noisy as Flint, just in its own way."
Zane slides down as well. "Yeah, maybe. On the other hand, lots of nobility."
Garrett‘ hops down.
Aleith|DM: You’re lead to an ornate conference room, where the head of the RHC Lord Inspector Nigel Price-Hill awaits you. With him is Prinicipal Minister Harkover Lee. A handful of assistants handle maps and any necessary documents.
Gerald‘ shakes his head at Zane. "The weird sex parties are Chandra’s thing, not mine."
Chandrasekhar: "Mmm. I've always thought this city was quite beautiful."
Chandrasekhar may have timed that poorly. Ah, well.
Zane: "I was thinking conspiracies and smuggling. But yeah, them too."
Aleith|DM: After some brief introductions, the Lord Inspector explains, "your mission is to go to Ber's capital Seogriba, find Tinker Oddcog, and get all information he has about the colossus and the Obscurati. However, if would be even better if you could recruit the gnome. Anyone who could design the colossus would be an immense asset to the nation, and the King is willing to offer quite a lot to secure Oddcog's talent."
Garrett: "So is this an honest 'recruit' or is 'gagged and chained' equally acceptable?"
Phyllis: "That." A pause, as she considers either of Garrett's options. "Can be arranged."
Price-Hill: "Preferably the former, though the latter is acceptable."
Garrett‘ grins, nods at Phyllis. "I know we’re well prepared for either."
Harkover mentions that they tried using a Sending ritual to contact Tinker, to which he responded: "Twenty-five words? Three, four, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, thirty! Behold, base five! I have thwarted your numerical orthodoxy!" And then there was a fit of laughter for a few seconds, which apparently counts as a single word.
Lee: "There are a two main complications."
Ernst: "The man is protected by the state, no?"
Lee: "Firstly, the Berans won’t want to hand Tinker over, and Bruse Shantus has used his power as ruler to extend protection against divination magic to the gnome."
Lee: "Literally, yes."
Lee: "I suspect any hostile action taken against Oddcog would alert the Bruse and might damage relations between Risur and Ber."
Phyllis: "Maybe our favor with the gambling city might be handy. This is something on a fitting scale."
Ernst: "So are we going undercover again…?"
Price-Hill: "We both think it is smarter to directly petition the Bruse and negotiate a trade, rather than waste time trying to find Tinker yourselves."
The Lord Inspector shakes his head. "I don't believe Nalaam will be of much use here, politically."
Chandrasekhar: "Hm. It's unfortunate, although I can't fault the Bruse for wanting to honour that asylum. What do we have to offer?"
Gerald: "Eh."
Garrett‘ wryly smiles. "You give up fairly easily…"
Lee: "Secondly, the Obscurati have also been searching for Oddcog. Shortly after the newspaper clipping was delivered to the RHC, spies reported that a Danoran warship, Lux Profectusque, had docked in Seobriga the day before."
Phyllis nods at the Inspect. "Noted. Thank you for that."
Zane: "Oh boy, another ship…"
Zane grins at Garrett.
[OOC] Aleith|DM: you might recall that was the ship that Lya was travelling on when she arrived at Axis Island for the exchange of control over a year ago
Zane: "I wonder of Lya is on it again…"
Gerald: "Can I shoot Lya if we’re not on Risurian soil?"
Zane: "Absolutely."
Delft face-palms, shaking his head.
Price-Hill: "Please try not to start a war with Danor if she is there. At the very least, Beran authorities might arrest you if you do it openly."
Gerald: "Well I mean that was the major point of contention last time it came up…"
Gerald‘ shrugs.
Zane: "’openly.' Sir, you wound me."
Price-Hill: "I wouldn't put it past Mr. Cooper here."
Garrett: "It's true, not like we can use the drunk-tanks of Ber to hold her."
Phyllis: "Hell, -I- might arrest them."
Gerald: "Oh, he didn't heard the story about the train shoot out did he?"
Garrett: "So it'd have to be an extrajudicial killing," he deadpans.
Phyllis: "All I need is a few moments asleep around one of you to make sure you beha~ave."
Garrett‘ waves it off. "Oddcog, right."
Chandrasekhar grins.
Garrett: "He’ll be coming home."
Lee: "We've only the thinnest ideas of what the Ob's resources in Ber might include, but at the least, it appears they've a head start on you."
Lee: "As a final snag, the public in Seobriga has been staging weekly protests—called Civilized Progressive Rallies—and there’s one happening today."
Garrett: "Trying to revive their city or something?"
Price-Hill: "Not everyone is happy with Bruse Shantus."
Chandrasekhar: "Goddess, I love Ber. Not that I don't appreciate the peace and quiet."
Zane: "Well, considering the last time we had really violent protests, all the dragons wound up dead… We try to do things better now."
Lee: "The Roscommon is being equipped with an experimental teleportation ring. Normally such circles must be stationary, but recent research in the wake of the Gidim incursion has helped make this new portal possible. By using the Linked Portal ritual you will be able to teleport to your ship from anywhere, though you’ll need to contact your crew first to find the ship’s precise coordinates or else the ritual will fail."
Lee: "The Reverse Portal ritual will let you have equipment or personnel delivered from your ship. When performed, it will let people or objects pass through the ring on the ship and arrive wherever you are. Again, Sending rituals are vital here for timing."
Phyllis: "I've mastered all three."
Garrett: "Now -that's- progress!"
Lee hands over ritual components worth 3,675 gp, and a ritual book for Ernst with all three rituals in it.
Zane: "The good news is the Obs head start isn't going to matter worth a damn."
Ernst nods.
Lee: "The inscription of the teleportation ring should be complete in a few hours, and then your ship will sail with haste to Seobriga."
Gerald: "Neat."
Price-Hill: "Unfortunately, there's no formal relationship between the RHC and any similar security apparatus in Ber. It's unclear even if Ber has a formal intelligence organization. In the past, interrogated orc and goblin spies have claimed to work for 'El Extraño', but were always recruited second-hand, and never formally worked for the Beran government."
Price-Hill: "We've arranged someone with connections to the court to escort you, so you have a chance of reaching the Bruse."
Zane smiles. "Of course Ber has no formal intelligence service. It's just a bunch of stupid orcs and beast tribes…"
Lee: "I've contacted Brakken of Heffanita, the Beran ambassador to Risur, and asked him to meet you at the Seobriga teleportation circle this morning."
Chandrasekhar snickers at Zane. "Of course."
Price-Hill: "Before seeking out the Bruse, you may also want to contact Melissa Amarie, a journalist in Seobriga."
Price-Hill: "The writer of the artcile."
Phyllis: "I was wondering about her sources. Yes."
Phyllis: "Anything else?"
Zane: "Nothing on my end. It'll be nice to go home though."
Price-Hill: "We'll get the teleportation circle ready for your departure." He motions to one of the assistants and they run off. "Any other questions before you depart?"
Lee: "Hopefully yours and Mr. Singh's connections will prove useful in Ber, Mr. Bieito."
Phyllis: "Can I take one of the rings for closer study?"
Chandrasekhar: "One hopes. Not that I spent -too- long there, but even so, someone might remember me kindly."
Zane smiles slightly. "I expect they will, Minister."
The Lord Inspector flags down another assistant and they come back in a few minutes with a ring. It's carved from walnut with a piece of malachite set in it. The inscription denotes a fifth-tier member.
Price-Hill: "I believe that one was worn by one of the druids helping calm nature spirits."
Lee: "There's some magical effects enchanted onto them, but the main thing is that it helps block divinations on the user and disguises the result to something innocuous."
Gerald: "Divination blocking is pretty handy."
Phyllis: "Yeah. I just wanted to study it a bit more, personally."
Chandrasekhar: "Well, that's obnoxiously convenient."
Lee: "Feel free. We haven't figured out everything about it yet."
Aleith|DM: Any other preparations before you teleport over?
[OOC] Zane: none for me, I'm good
You head over the room and teleport over to Seobriga.
Zane takes a deep breath. "Ahhh. Home."
Gerald: "That just means you're in charge of leading the way."
Zane: "Mm. Good."
Zane is absolutely detouring to get some real food before anything else. >_>
Gerald: "And picking out resturants that aren't shit. Which is probably even more important."
Gerald‘ knew he could count on Zane.
Garrett: "The investigation wasn’t gonna start on an empty stomach." He nods, sagely.
Aleith|DM: Right. Lauryn Cyneburg says she typically disguises herself when she goes to Seobriga. She recommends you do the same, at least for teleporting in, but can choose not to if you prefer.
Chandrasekhar: "That is an important part of any trip to Ber, I can reassure you."
Zane finally has justification for turning the Hat of Hats into a three-foot wide sombrero. Get fucked.
Garrett‘ understands, and dons his disguise.
Gerald` probably can’t be assed to disguise himself beyond pulling the brim of his hat real low and taking off his jacket, but really, that's probably more than enough to keep people from recognizing him.
Phyllis didn't prepare Disguise Self today, but perhaps tomorrow morning.
Garrett‘ blends in easily enough.
Gerald: "Man do people seriously wear those things Zane? Seems kind of unwieldy in the streets.:
You arrive during mid-morning in the middle of the centre square of the city, surrounded only by a simple gazebo-like pavilion, guarded by a handful of soldiers.
Zane hits up a few reliable cart vendors. "Not so much in town, no. Out in the country though, absolutely."
Aleith|DM: In sight of you are hundreds of orcs, minotaurs, goblins, and goliaths out in protest against their ruler.
Aleith|DM: Many of them react with intense curiosity and invitations to join the protest.
Phyllis: "Seems we’re away from the … more formal structures I'm used to navigating."
Despite the sweltering summer heat the protesters are almost all wearing wigs that were in vogue in Danor ten years ago, and some are dressed in fancy, uncomfortable attire. Minotaur and goliath students sweat into their frilly white collars while nearby a small herd of orc women in hoop skirts pump axes in the air to the beat of a protest song.
The large swaths of orc men who make up the bulk of the protest shout to other orcs in swings that dangle off the roofs around the edges of the square, crooning out songs as they paint vibrant murals along the walls of buildings that were built for the proportions of dragons, not men.
Phyllis: "I'll leave it to you more streetwise folks."
While the middle of the square is chaotic, at its edges self-styled intellectuals talk to people as they arrive, figure out what their grievances are, and give them colour-coded flags to wave.
Gerald: "What the hell are you making us eat anyway?" Gerald glances at it, decides it's close enough to gressy food cart stuff he's used to, and takes a bite.
Garrett: "Ask -after- you take a bite, it's more fun that way."
Garrett‘ takes a bite!
Chandrasekhar takes a deep breath, grins, between him and Zane they know the right things to say to politely dodge their way out of the protests at least long enough to get to the cart vendors, because priorities…
Gerald: "Yeah obv."
Aleith|DM: You don’t see Brakken waiting for you when you arrive.
Aleith|DM: However, shortly after you teleport in, an orc bedecked in a fine blue suit trimmed with gold epaulettes and crowned by a grandiose feathered helmet shouts and waves for you to come over.
Zane grins and keeps an eye out for the minotaur as he hands out snacks. "Pasteis de bacalhau. potato, dried cod, onion, and parsley, rolled into a ball and fried."
Ernst looks rather out of place for this whole trip, honestly. He'd rather be at a desk tinkering with things. He reluctantly tries to food, but he gives the orc a wary glance.
Garrett: "I think we've been spotted." He nods to the orc.
Chandrasekhar: "Goddess, I've missed these." He nods, politely, to the orc.
Gerald: "Gods, as if fish and chips needed to be even lazier to eat." Gerald glances between the orc and Zane.
Aleith|DM: Zane, you recognize the outfit as belonging to a policeman.
Phyllis munches, a bit distracted, similar to Ernst.
Zane heads over to the orc. "He's a local cop."
Gerald: "…Is the helmet part of the uniform too?"
Gerald‘ trails along.
Zane: "And hey if you think these are good, wait until I find us some rissois de carne or chourico a bombiero."
Stone: "I’m Officer Abormuerto. Executora Glaucia Evora would like to see you in her courtroom about the minotaur you were here to meet."
Gerald: "I'm not sure how I feel about eating bombs, Zane."
Stone: "You can call me Stone, but she requests your presence now."
One hand rests on the heavy iron rod hanging on his belt.
Zane: "Lead on, Officerer Abormuerto. We were just waiting on his arrival."
Chandrasekhar frowns. That sounds serious. "By all means, officer."
Officer Stone nods, pleased, and leads you to over to the courtroom.
Garrett‘ eats and walks at the same time, unperturbed.
Gerald: "Well, I hope she’s got something to drink there because this thing is kinda begging to be washed down and not eaten by itself." Gerald mumbles while finishing off the food. And probably wants left of Ernst's.
Aleith|DM: The buildings you pass on your way there are much as they were two centuries ago, full of massive squat buildings with dramatic spires that dragons once perched on. Where before a single dragon might treat several such buildings as his lair, now most of the old buildings serve as homes for multiple families.
Gerald: "Also uh what's the deal with the uh," Vague hand gesture, "Weird human wigs being worn by decidedly not human folk that look dumb even on humans in the first place?"
Zane: "The wigs were a Danoran thing."
Aleith|DM: The courtroom is an old building missing most of its roof and parts of its walls. It was at this spot that the dragon Widoreva, the female blue dragon who was the last ruler of Seobriga, collapsed when she died. The people of Seobriga have treated the building as a monument of their victory, maintaining the damaged structure and guarding the bones of the dragon.
Chandrasekhar: "The thing you've got to understand about Beran culture is that you never miss an opportunity to cross a line *twice*."
Zane: "They did a lot to help us claw our way up out of the dirt and start turning into a real society. Some of my countrymen feel like we should try and copy what works for them wholesale, rather than adapt for what we need as a people."
Gerald: "Hilarious."
Gerald: "Is government builds having their roofs torn off also in style or…?"
Aleith|DM: A gnoll wearing grey robes and a coppery stole adorned with rearing dragons sits at the snout of the dragon's skull, using it as her desk. The entire face is covered in layers of old candle wax. The broken-chain badge of an Executore dola Liberta shines on her chest, and six gold rings adorn a single of her ears. An unadorned staff with fresh blood stains leans against the skull.
Zane smiles. "The last dragon queen of Seobriga died there."
Garrett: "I was more distracted by the gigantic bones, yes."
Aleith|DM: One trial just seems to be wrapping up as the officer waves to the Executore dola Liberta.
Gerald: "You guys are weird, I'll give you that."
Zane: "Thank you."
Aleith|DM: A cage of the dragon's ribs stands in the middle of the floor, spattered blood surrounding it.
Zane: "Hmmm."
Aleith|DM: The gnoll stands up and walks over, her blue eyes watching you inscrutably.
Chandrasekhar keeps quiet. Something seems off, but…
Zane bows politely. "Signora. You sent for us…?"
Glaucia: "Greetings. I am Glaucia Evora. During the Bruse's absence for the summer, I have taken it upon myself to act as extemporaneous judge in Seobriga for complaints of sufficient merit."
Zane straightens up slightly more than usual. "I see."
Glaucia: "I request that you testify at the trial for Brakken of Heffanita. I believe he was waiting for your arrival this morning…?"
Chandrasekhar raises one eyebrow almost imperceptibly, and nods.
Zane: "Mm. What does he stand accused of?"
Garrett‘ glances at the party.
Glaucia: "The trial will be fast, as is Ber’s custom, and this request is just being polite, because if you don't, you'll be held for contempt of court, at least for the day."
Chandrasekhar side-eyes Garrett. It's the 'There's Some Beran Political Shit Going Down' side-eye.
Garrett‘ wrinkles his brow and there’s a little 'puff' that comes out of his nose. It's entirely pantomime.
Chandrasekhar smiles. It wouldn't be the first time for him, but time -is- of the essence, after all.
Gerald: "Alright your politics suck though."
Zane: "All things considered, my respect for the laws of Ber should be quite well known."
Glaucia: "Your 'guide' has been accused of a heinous crime: mind control. For those of you that might not know, it is seen as one of the worst possible crimes in Ber, where stealing someone's freedom is anathema to the revolution."
Garrett‘ nudges Gerald in the side.
Glaucia nods to Zane, then Chandrasekhar. "We hope that the two of you especially know how badly this is viewed here."
Gerald` nudge Garrett back, very pointedly does not look at the dwarven companion.
Zane whistles. "A serious crime indeed. What would the court like of us?"
Chandrasekhar raises his eyebrows in genuine surprise. "It is anathema in my homeland as well, Signora."
Garrett` telepathically talks to Gerald. Yeah, you forgot he could do that. . o O (I’m just saying, wait until we aren't surrounded by judges.)
Phyllis: "'One' of the worst."
Phyllis: "I'm curious what ranks higher."
Gerald‘ blinks, glancing around. ???
Gerald` looks back at Garrett. "(The hell was that??)"
Garrett` . o O (You’re psychic too, did you know? You can even talk back to me with your mind.) [you can, actually]
Glaucia: "Once we've spoken with the plaintiffs, and the defendant, we'll have some other witnesses, and you will be the last of them. If you wish to stand with Brakken, you can help cross-examine them."
Zane nods. "I don't know him personally, nor did I spend time with him when he was recently in Flint. But all reports seem to make this an unlikely crime at best. I will happily report to the court, as requested."
Gerald‘ .oO(Woah, that’s cool at hell.)
Glaucia: "If it is true that he can use mind-magic, I suspect his reputation, or at least his current position, will be in jeopardy, depending on the results. If not, he will be free to go."
Zane nods. "Quite so."
She directs you to the benches at the front of the audience, behind the table for the defendant.
Zane takes a seat. "(Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck…)"
Aleith|DM: Brakken is brought in from another part of the building and escorted to the dragonbone cage.
[OOC] Chandrasekhar: Important question are we out of earshot yet »
Aleith|DM: A couple of orcs sit at the plaintiffs bench.
Aleith|DM: She sits back down at her desk, yes.
Gerald‘ plops himself down onto the bench. "So much for getting something to wash that snack down with, I guess."
Garrett: "Nothing sweeter than the taste of victory." He also takes a seat.
Chandrasekhar: "(Okay so: she’s doing the Bruse's job right now, which at the very least is a signal of no confidence in his leadership. Also, I suspect that she's trying to clear the board of one of the Bruse's allies, here, although I haven't got any evidence for that.)"
Phyllis: "(Can we gather any in such a short time?)"
Zane: "(It's an awkward position, as she is one of the most respected Executores dola Libertad.)
Aleith|DM: This trial appears to have drawn a large crowd. Vendors at the edges offer dried meats and roasted corn dipped in butter and cheese. And yes, even some drinks.
Garrett: "(I think we're relegated to observing the testimony…)"
Garrett: "(There must be some inconsistencies within!)"
Garrett: "(…or at least I hope, because that's all we've got.)"
Chandrasekhar: "(Unless one of those rituals you studied before we left involved mind-reading. …anyways, let's do our best to discern the truth here.)"
Gerald‘ makes a detour to get some corn and a drink. Blending right in.
Phyllis: "(Only on a willing or sleeping subject.)"
Glaucia traces a ring of brimstone on the ground and whispers to it, causing it to flicker with dim fire. The crowd cheers a bit as it lights up. It seems anyone who testifies is required to stand in the ring. For the crowd, she explains that anyone that tells a lie within the ring will be signed by the flames as they flare.
Glaucia calls the first plaintiff to the stand. She has the orc stand in the ring, and asks for his name: Rulio.
Glaucia: "What day is it, Rulio?"
Rulio: "Summer 1st, ma’am."
Glaucia: "Alright. Now, tell me the date again, but please lie."
The orc scratches his neck nervously. "Err, 2nd of fall, ma-" He yelps as the flames surge, dealing him 1 point of fire and radiant damage.
Glaucia: "Very good."
Garrett‘ smile-winces and cocks his head. There isn’t a better way to make sure it's calibrated…?
Aleith|DM: What do you expect from Ber…?
Gerald: "Naw that way's perfect. Lets the people in question know they're fucked."
Phyllis stares intently. She's thinking the same as Garrett. (( Insight for later questions? really wish i had time to cast Discern Lies ))
Chandrasekhar isn't impressed. His own divine punishments are -much- more severe. (Then again, it's about public perception and discernment of the truth, anyways…) "(You know, I always thought this would be easy to game. Just set a burning circle that you can flare up at will, and suddenly, you're the arbiter of truth…)"
Phyllis: "(My thoughts exactly.)"
Zane: "(Well yes.)"
Rulio begins his testimony. "I was carrying a jug of wine when I ran into Mr. Foldero over there, spilling it all over his shirt. He yelled at me, and then we started pushing each other, and I shoved him in to the minotaur there. Foldero elbowed him in the snout, then he tried to shove Mr. Brakken at me, but the minotaur told us to both calm down."
Rulio: "We stopped fighting almost immediately, but I thought it was odd and shouted that he used magic on my mind. Foldero there agreed, and the crowd around us grew angry and practically dragged the three of us to the courtroom."
Chandrasekhar snorts quietly.
Rulio: "I admit that we didn't need to fight, but Brakken's crime here is far, far worse than the minor ruckus we caused."
Zane makes a faint, pained noise.
Rulio: "I'm sure everyone's heard of how Ambassador Brakken here stared down a bear once, and I think he used magic then too, making him a fraud."
Garrett‘ slumps forward. "(Is this guy for real…?)"
Glaucia: "Is that everything?"
Rulio: "Yes, ma’am."
Phyllis stares at the circle, studying it. Is Garrett's theory correct, or does it actually work as advertised? [Arcana? Religion? idk]
Gerald: "(Zane what's the ruling on making loud farting noise sin court? 'Cause that dude is spewing shit all over.)"
[OOC] Aleith|DM: what are you asking about exactly? You can roll Insight for what he testified.
Zane: "(Being an ignorant peasant is not a crime. I'll admit this is more than slightly embarrasing though.)"
Glaucia looks over at you six. "Any questions for the plaintiff?"
[OOC] Phyllis: that for now, then, haha
Zane: "Yes, signora. If I may stand and approach the witness?"
Chandrasekhar: "(I imagine they only save crying wolf about mind control for when they're trying to frame someone, or else it'd be entirely diluted.)"
Gerald: "Does he often poop out of his mouth or is that just a new thing for today?"
Garrett‘ immediately thinks at Gerald. . o O (’How frickin stupid are you' isn't a good question, by the by-)
Phyllis: "I have one, myself."
Glaucia nods and waves to Zane to proceed.
Chandrasekhar will be amused at Gerald as soon as they're not in danger of fucking up the whole operation inside the first hour.
Glaucia: "If you don't have any productive questions, please keep them to yourself," she states, staring down Gerald.
Gerald: "Granted that could of been phased better but that was just about the dumbest testimony I've ever heard, and I mainly deal with drunks and cultists." He shrugs, but shuts up after that.
Zane walks up and looks at Rulio. "So. You and Mr. Foldero were having a fight. Yes? And you attempted to involve Mr. Brakken. But rather than join in, he told you to calm down. Which you did. Yes?"
Rulio: "I'm sorry. 'Attempted to involve Mr. Brakken'?"
Zane: "You said Mr. Foldero elbowed him in the snout, and then tried to push him at you?"
Rulio: "That was him, not me. But the rest of your question was correct."
Zane: "Of course. Now… Do you know what Mr. Brakken does for a living?"
Rulio: "Once I found out his name, yes, I recognized him as one of the ambassadors. The one to Risur, right?"
Zane: "Very good. So. Is it not possible then, that rather than using some form of mind control magic on you… Mr. Brakken simply did his job? We Berans are, on occasion, a hot-blooded lot. Does it not stand to reason that a diplomat might, just maybe, be able to calm down potential trouble without needing anything more than simply body language and tone of voice?"
Rulio: "The speed at which it worked was unnatural, I'd say. I was winding up to throw another punch at Foldero and then just…stopped. I knew something was up."
Zane: "Hm. Have you ever been in the military, Mr. Rulio?"
Rulio: "No, sir. I'm just a carpenter who was taking a day off to join the demonstration."
Gerald: "…He doesn't have a clue how mind control works does he?" Not shouting his question disruptively this time, mostly talking to himself while shaking his head.
Phyllis: Alternately. Phyllis squints and puts together a few details about Brakken, herself.
Brakken does seem to be frowning slightly at the man's testimony.
Phyllis: To herself, possibly to Gerald. "(This might not be magic.)"
Zane nods. "So no experience with giving or recieving commands, on a professional level."
Rulio: "I wouldn't call my boss unprofessional."
Phyllis stares at Brakken, almost in - recognition.
Gerald‘ tilts his head.
Zane chuckles. "Maybe not. Has your boss ever told you to do something and you immediately jumped to it?"
Chandrasekhar has been quietly paying attention to the proceedings, watching Rulio’s reactions to Zane… [Insight]
Chandrasekhar rolled d20+17 and got 16 ( Total: 33 )
Rulio: "Well, sure. But I've never calmed the fuck down like that before. The anger just kinda disappeared almost instantly. And he didn't say anything then, 'calm down, gentlemen. Let's be civil about this'."
Chandrasekhar: "(…he's not lying, but there's something he's not telling us. He's being -very- deliberate about what he says…)"
[OOC] Aleith|DM: anything more than
Garrett‘ thinks at Gerald. . o O (Something on your mind?)
Gerald` .oO(Just how goddamn stupid this idiot is. If he was mind controlled he wouldn’t 'instantly thing something was off'. He'd think it was fine. Also kind of laughing that even in Ber they play up the whole 'stupid uncivilized demihuman' thing.)
Phyllis: "Zane. Any more questions, or can I have a turn?"
Chandrasekhar: "I've got a question, but it can wait." He smiles.
Zane: "No, no further questions for this plaintiff."
Zane takes his seat.
The orc in the ring relaxes a little as Zane backs off.
Glaucia waves for Phyllis to head up.
Chandrasekhar inwardly laughs at the idea of relaxing because you're about to be questioned by Phyllis. Oh, this guy.
Phyllis stands from hers and strides up to the plaintiff, hands behind her back. "He didn't say anything other than that? Usually charm spells have a command word or phrase, a very specific incantation. Ones not suited for natural conversation like that."
Garrett‘ thinks at Gerald. . o O (Hah, well… keeping up the act seems to be somewhat of a tradition in itself…?)
Rulio: "No, ma’am."
Phyllis: "The duration seems short, too, if it were actually a mind control spell. And you realized something was off that soon, too."
Phyllis: "That, and such methods are detectable to a well-trained mage. If I can successfully present the possibility that Brakken was just … naturally convincing - if I can similarly loosen your tongue without magic - would that acquit him of his alleged crimes?"
Glaucia: "Not before the ambassador's testimony, at least."
Gerald: "I'd just ask him which key detail he's leaving out of his, personally. Seems a lot faster."
Chandrasekhar: "Phyllis, if I may?"
Phyllis *grins* and does as Gerald says. "Sure, sure. Tell the -whole- truth." [Spending an AP for Fiat]
Rulio: "No," he answers Phyllis.
Phyllis: "You're leaving something out. What is it?"
Chandrasekhar stands, ambles towards Phyllis and the plaintiff. "Mr. Rulio. Were you compelled, convinced, coerced, or compensated in any way, to initiate an altercation with Mr. Brakken or Mr. Foldero?"
Rulio: "A half-elf hired us to accuse Brakken of mind magic, which the man was sure he would use on us. He paid us 50 gold pieces to put on our display, which was a deliberate 'accident', and we intended to rough him up some more, but it seems like the mind magic claim was real." The flames do not surge up at any point in this, and he gasps when he finishes.
Rulio: "What did you do to me?!"
Phyllis: "I just asked you a simple question."
Rulio: "That's-"
Phyllis: "Unless you're accusing me of the same."
Glaucia: "Mr. Rulio."
Phyllis: "But any mage in here will attest that I didn't."
The gnoll glances significantly at Phyllis. "What you just said was the truth, though, correct?"
Rulio: "…yes."
Glaucia: "You two are most certainly not leaving here before this trial is over."
Glacia: "Mr. Foldero!"
Phyllis: "My work here is done."
The other orc at the plaintiff bench yelps. "Yes, ma'am?"
Phyllis bows at Glaucia and returns to the bench.
Glaucia: "I presume your story is much the same…including everything about this half-elf?"
Chandrasekhar returns to the bench, struggling to keep a smile off his face.
The orc folds in on himself a bit. "Yes, ma'am…"
Glaucia: "Good. I may just get you to stand in this circle later for my own amusement, but for now you can stay seated. Mr. Brakken! Please leave the Ribs and stand in the circle."
Garrett‘ stage whispers to Gerald and jerks a thumb towards Rulio. "What a simple guy, yeah…?"
Gerald: "Called it."
Phyllis: "I didn’t even need to pay him 50 gp."
The minotaur sighs and stands up, stepping inside the circle. Glaucia has him state his name, the date, and again lie about the date. His fur singes a bit, but he just sighs again.
Zane just leans back with a small smile.
Brakken tells the story from his perspective, which was just that these two men started fighting and fell into him, and then he was getting hit, so he yelled at them to stop.
Glaucia: "Did you use magic to stop them?"
Phyllis studies Brakken's face during this.
Brakken glares at her, since they both know his admission might ruin his career. Then he answers, "I did no harm to them. In fact, I spared them further injury. But yes, I used magic to calm them. Once I passed they would have been free to keep fighting. I did not steal their liberty."
The audience jeers.
Glaucia: "Please give me a list of the powers you possess."
Phyllis: "(…Chandra, how bad of an idea would it be to go on a sequentialist tirade right now? You're more familiar with Ber's customs than I am.)"
Brakken: "I am a telepath, and can hear surface thoughts. I can nudge people towards compromise if necessary."
Glaucia: "Did you leave any out?"
Chandrasekhar pinches the bridge of his nose.
Brakken: "No, ma'am."
Glaucia: "Who else have you used these powers on?"
Zane: "Well, that's a little bit of egg on my face. I didn't know he could do magic at all."
Phyllis: "You and me both."
Brakken: "That is not relevant to this case, Executore. I refuse to answer, but I have only ever used this power to bring peace." The flames to not surge up.
Gerald: "Telepathy isn't even magic, he could have easily skirted around this uncomfortable conversation. What an idiot."
Garrett: "(Any idiot can use telepathy, yeah.)"
Glaucia: "Defendants? Do you have anything you wish to ask Mr. Brakken here?"
Phyllis: "If I may again."
Phyllis rises.
Zane: "Go for it, I gotta reassemble by whole arguement now."
She waves you forward.
Phyllis: "So, my prior argument in shambles, and not being entirely familiar with the culture and law of Ber - why is mind control magic looked down upon with this much distrust? I have some inkling, but fill me in."
Glaucia: "Our country was ruled by dragons until only a few centuries ago when they were all slain. Their subjects were treated as slaves or worse. Le Roye Bruse united us forty years ago in our great cultural Revolution, and formed my order, the Executores dola Liberta to come down punitively on any form of slavery. Mind control through magic is one such form of slavery."
Phyllis: "The reason it was looked on with disregard was due to the original intent, then, yes? Not the inherent act itself, I would argue, but for its purpose - to use and exploit someone for their own selfish gain."
Phyllis: "You, however, had nothing to personally gain by instructing them to calm down, correct? You're no dragon. You were thinking of the best course of action for the greater good of everyone."
Brakken: "Yes. The best negotiations result from compromise on both sides."
Gerald‘ turns at Garrett, stares at him. There are no words unspoken, but the thoughts undoubtedly get through.
Garrett` closes his eyes, and nods solumnly.
Chandrasekhar: "(Zane, remind me to introduce your countrymen to the concept of ’admissible evidence' when this is all over. I'd've done so the last time I was here last, but I was too busy trying to stay -out- of courtrooms.)"
Zane: "(We're a few years away from that yet, I think.)"
Phyllis looks around the room a bit. "There is the letter of your law, and the spirit of what it is meant to enforce. If someone endangers us all by breaking the unwritten social contract … " She stares at Rulio and Foldero. "… A gentle nudge to keep them in line should be lauded, not reprimanded."
Phyllis: "Is that the extent of your feelings?"
Phyllis: "I have no questions after this."
Brakken: "Well said, ma'am. I agree."
Glaucia frowns, but nods. "A valid point. Any further questions?"
Zane: "Yeah, actually. Did you use your empathy on the bear?"
Phyllis sits back down.
Brakken: "To get the sense of them? Yes. To get him to back down? No. I stood my ground to prove a point that day, and the bear accepted that."
Zane smiles. "I was really hoping that would be the answer, you know. But I felt obligated to ask, since the bear was brought up in earlier testimony. So. You faced the bear without using your empathy. Let me emphasize, this wild bear could have *killed you*, but you didn't use your talent on it. So in a life or death situation, you kept to the right and honorable path. Nobody would have
Zane known, but you did. And then these two *get paid* to start a fight with you, and you used your talents to diffuse the situation. Not to make them fight each other. Or… extort some sort of recompense, since one of them DID hit you in the face. Or… really, anything other than calm what seemed to be two hot tempers having a pointless fight. Is that the long and the short of it? "
Brakken nods. "That is correct. As I said before, they were free to start it again once I was away from them, though it sounds like that would not have been the case now."
Zane turns and bows to the Executore. "This is a good man. He could use his gifts for great wickedness, but he has chosen to serve Ber. That being said, the court is within its rights to punish him for the use of his talent. As the blood son of Executore Bieito, I ask for clemency for this man. Let his sentence be held at no higher than five lashes, and I will bear them in his stead."
Glaucia: "I will bear that in mind, Mr. Biento."
Zane: "I can ask nothing else, Executore."
Zane returns to his seat.
Chandrasekhar: "…among my people, it is acknowledged that a well-placed word - the conveyed meaning alone, absent of any ties to otherworldly coercion - can change the face of history. Surely this was the case with Ber, and the spark that lit your glorious revolution! I myself have caused men at the brink of mortal combat to stand down, with the use of my words and faculties alone; it is the very task given t
Chandrasekhar: o a negotiator and diplomat… " -he smiles. " A role which I myself at one point served for your nation. Sometimes, one heart speaks 'peace', and another heart must simply respond in kind. Can any man truly draw the fine line between this instinct and the intercession of the will? " He pauses. " Furthermore! As your country looks abroad for guidance, know that Danor in their wisdom differentiate bet
Chandrasekhar: ween evidence that is faithful, and evidence that is not - and I submit that in light of his involvement in a plan to entrap Mr. Brakken, the evidence of Mr. Rulio cannot be admitted to the court! " Chandrasekhar, too, takes his seat. " ('It'll be a few years yet', my foot.) "
Garrett‘ stays seated, and simply says. "No questions."
Gerald` shrugs next to Garrett.
Glaucia: "Ah, Mr. Singh, is it? I thought you looked familiar. You raise some good points yourself, though Brakken did admit to it himself, even if it was admittedly under duress. My apologies for that, but we had to get to the heart of the matter. If there’s no further questions, we'll move along."
Chandrasekhar nods.
Two witnesses corroborate the orcs' story of the fight, and they make an effort to talk up their role in dragging the minotaur to justice, though there's more murmurring in the crowd about that than cheers.
Glaucia: "Mr. Singh, Mr. Bieito, you were supposed to meet with Brakken of Heffanita this morning. Might I ask one of you to come up to answer a few questions?"
Zane: "I will, Executore."
Zane steps into the ring of fire.
Glaucia: "Very well." Once you're in the circle, she asks, "what is your name?"
Zane: "Zane Bieito."
Glaucia: "What day is it today?"
Zane: "The first of summer."
Glaucia: "Please lie about today's date."
Zane: "Today is clearly the eight day of winter. Ow."
Zane takes 1 point of fire/radiant damage.
Glaucia: "Before today, were you aware of Ambassador Brakken's psychic abilities?"
Zane: "No, Executore."
Glaucia: "What is your past history with Brakken of Heffanita?"
Zane: "I have none, other than we are both from Ber. I wasn't even able to meet him except in passing during his last visit to Flint. Not even a conversation, just polite greetings and we were on about our respective ways."
Glaucia: "Very well. Why were you meeting him today?"
Zane: "He was to act as a diplomatic liason for my friends and I."
Glaucia nods. "Alright." She glances at the plaintiffs bench, and they shake their heads quickly. "You may retake your seat."
Zane nods. "Thank you, Executore." And he returns to his seat.
Glaucia: "Plaintiffs, your closing remarks?"
Foldero stands up and says loudly, "he still used mind magic on us, bane of the Revolution!" There's a few shouts from the crowd, but much less than before. "
Glaucia sighs. "Right. Defendants, you made some good arguments earlier. Anything else you wish to add?"
Zane: "Bane of stupid squabbles that you were paid to be a part of, you mean."
Gerald: "Telepathy isn't even magic and you have no idea how it or mind control spell work you dumb CORRUPT fuck!"
Ernst glances at Gerald before shaking his head.
Garrett: "That half-elf, huh!"
Garrett: "Wonder who that character was."
Zane nods at Glaucia. "As his bear was tamed in the traditional fashion, I petition that his diplomatic position be unchanged. And my offer to take the lashes in his place for the use of minor mind magic still stands." He grins at Garrett. "I would also ask the court to hold the plaintiffs on charges of bribery and racketeering. For after we are done heer."
Chandrasekhar: "I, too, am curious about the truth of this matter." He smiles. "Other than that, I rest my case."
Phyllis: "Nothing that hasn't already been said."
Glaucia walks up to the dragonbone cage, her staff in hand.
Glaucia: "To wrap this up, it appears that Brakken of Heffanita does indeed possess and did use mind magic in the confrontation, and so broke the letter of the law. I sentence him to a perfunctory beating because of this. Mr. Bieito, your sentiment has been noted, but denied for this."
Zane nods. "As you command, Executore."
She motions for Brakken to hold out his hands, and strikes him painfully across the knuckles, once.
Glaucia: "You are dismissed, Brakken of Heffanita, and your use of your talents in the service of our country is noted." She raises her voice to the crowd. "This man has served our country admirably, and I would not hear slander laid against him!"
Phyllis shivers a bit in relief. That bodes well for her own, um. Talents.
Brakken rubs his knuckles as he bows his head, then moves out of the cage towards you all.
Garrett‘ winces. "Sir Brakken. Can we provide you with an ointment."
Glaucia: "As for Misters Rulio and Foldero here, I sentence you to a moderate beating for your ploy to harm Brakken, both physically and towards his position!"
Aleith|DM: She calls each orc forward, one at a time, and proceeds to wallop them with her staff for thirty seconds each. They’re knocked to the ground, broken and bleeding, but guards come to take them to see the medics.
Garrett: "(That's a -moderate- beating?)"
Gerald: "Well, strange proceedings aside,"
Zane: "(Mmhmm.)"
Gerald: "That certainly seems like it'd save on the cost of operating jail cells."
Glaucia: "As this was the last trial of the day, this court is dismissed!"
Brakken nods at your offer, Garrett.
The gnoll walks over to you as the crowd starts to disperse.
Zane: "(She's pretty good. My mother prefers her fists, better control that way, but Glaucia gets results.)"
Garrett: "(Takes all kinds.)"
Phyllis glances over, still on-edge. "Yes?"
Gerald‘ holds up a hand in greeting as she makes her way over. "Not a wizard."
More quietly, she asks, "judging by the fact that I know at least two of you are working for Risur these days, are you planning to speak with the Bruse?"
Zane: "Mmhmm."
Glaucia: "Very well. I will offer my assistance alongside Mr. Brakken here and accompany you to the court to see him."
Garrett: "It’s appreciated, Executore."
Gerald: "Huh, that worked out pretty well on the whole."
Zane: "It is appreciated. What in the name of all the tiny gods is happening here? These protests… it was not like this when I left home."
Glaucia: "He's in his 'Summer Court' right now, across the peninsula to the north of us."
Gerald‘ shove what remains of the corn’s cob inside the paper cup - he's been eating and drinking during this entire thing, then finds a waste bin to toss it in as they prepare to leave.
Glaucia: "Not to speak ill of the Bruse, but, he's not as…passionate about the Revolution as La Roye was…" She frowns.
Zane: "Hah. Nobody ever will be."
Glaucia: "Not necessarily a bad ruler, but the populace does not like an indifferent one any more."
Glaucia: "The man was truly a hard act to follow."
Chandrasekhar: "Passion sparks the flame, but perseverance keeps the hearth."
Glaucia: "Now, I can prepare horses for the journey so we might make it before nightfall. Is there anything else you were planning to do in Seobriga today?"
Garrett‘ opens his mouth, turns to Chandrasekhar, nods, and closes it.
Zane: "Visit my family, but it can wait."
Chandrasekhar: "There was one thing. If we’d be permitted a moment to meet with another associate of ours before leaving?"
Glaucia: "If you're looking for someone, I can possibly point you in their direction."
Chandrasekhar: "I think we'll be able to find them on our own, but thank you for the offer."
Glaucia: "Alright. I'll meet you at the north gate when you're ready to leave."
Chandrasekhar: "And, well, I may be wrong about that." He smiles. "It's been a while."

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