The Caged Bird.   Posted by GM.Group: archive 2
Griswold Ortmann
 Player, 266 posts
 Half-Elf
 Knight Errant
Thu 8 Mar 2018
at 09:17
Re: The Caged Bird
Griswold was quiet for a good few moments, before the doubt on his face was replaced by steely determination.

"I'll not abandon Farrissa.  Unlike some"  He said, staring intently at Lady Inara.  He then turned to the others, "But perhaps the rest of you should go?  There's no reason for us all to sacrifice ourselves here, if this trap is both as real and dangerous as has been reported."

This message was last edited by the player at 09:18, Thu 08 Mar 2018.

Wrenn Muernig
 Player, 159 posts
 Gnome Wizard
 HP: 14/14
Thu 8 Mar 2018
at 15:15
Re: The Caged Bird
"The day I saw her, my path was set. Freedom is an ideal that is very dear to me. She did nothing to deserve having her's taken from her, save being who she is. If I lose my freedom in saving her, such is the consequence of my actions." Wrenn glanced up at Griswold, "We sought to buy her freedom when we had barely a coin to our name. You know where I stand on this matter."

Though he had little faith in Griswold being able to talk his way through this rescue attempt, Wrenn was absolutely set on freeing Farrissa. One way, or another. If the people's champions were captured or killed as part of...whatever this inane display was meant to be, then perhaps the people would be inspired to rebel against their corrupt leaders who claimed to keep them safe, yet murdered and enslaved innocent people for the sake of "fear".
Arizima
 Player, 137 posts
 Human Warlock
 HP: 24/24 AC: 14 PP: 13
Thu 8 Mar 2018
at 15:40
Re: The Caged Bird
Arizima considers the others thoughtfully.  "It's most likely a fool's errand.  If we can't convince the people of any of our claims there's nothing actually occurring here at this trial that the people would find objectionable.  Certainly not the sentencing nor binding of a dangerous sin-eater.  Our deaths might be the only sticking point and it will be easy enough to swing that as a necessary evil with the presence of two arcanists and your people's attitudes toward the arcane."

"We're not well prepared.  In truth my plan was supposed to be set in motion before the trial not during it but time and effort did not fully permit.  Lady Inara on the other hand is correct.  The Ashen Order will have prepared in ways we've been barred from doing.  I confess I haven't been entirely idle in the time before the trial.  In particular I've heard whispers that they'll be aiming to remove Griswold's head here most of all, though I'm sure Wrenn and I make a tempting prize.  The narrative will revolve around a noble young knight that sheltered and harbored a dangerous sin-eater from the law of this land.  A rather difficult claim to disprove considering... the reality of the situation.  The Viscount himself may not fully support these actions but most likely has his hands tied because of Roland's own role in not bringing the girl's talents to light.  He can only harm us."  She taps her chin thoughtfully before giving a cheery smile.  "My time is most likely limited anyway.  If you still plan on going through with this I'll stay and trust in the laughter of the void to see me through.  Just so long as you understand that the moment our presence is confirmed or a drop of blood is spilled on either side we'll be quite lucky if even one of us escapes with their head."

This message was last edited by the player at 19:38, Fri 09 Mar 2018.

Kharash
 Player, 200 posts
 Dragonborn
 Watcher
Sat 10 Mar 2018
at 13:35
Re: The Caged Bird
Kharash had been silent mostly, but finally spoke after Lady Inara's warning. "This may not be our fight, here today. I feel sorry for Farissa, I truly do. But she won't be the first sin-eater to be judged in this manner, and she won't be the last. Though I don't agree with most of the Ashen Order's ways, there is a very real basis for their attitude towards those with such uncontrolled potential for destruction. And history has only proven their point. It will be very difficult to sway the people in our favor. Even harder to win a legal fight when the playing field is clearly not in our favor."

He glanced worriedly to Arizima. "If it is true that this is all a ruse to set us up, I would advise we retreat for now. Can't cut the snake's head if we're dead."
Eri Sato
 Player, 44 posts
Sat 10 Mar 2018
at 15:05
Re: The Caged Bird
Eri listens with growing concern, though her face remains smooth and expressionless. What had she gotten herself into?! For a moment she's tempted to take Griswold's offer and leave. She barely knew these people and this was not her fight. However, as she starts to piece together bits of the story, much of which she still did not understand, she changes her mind. Too many people had been killed by fear mongering and corruption. Her brothers wouldn't have run. Jun wouldn't have run. Neither will she. Hopefully she didn't pay too high a price for the decision.

I think I will stay, see how this plays out for a while she says with deceptive calm.
Griswold Ortmann
 Player, 267 posts
 Half-Elf
 Knight Errant
Sat 10 Mar 2018
at 17:34
Re: The Caged Bird
Griswold smiled sardonically.  "This is all on my account?  A knight only just declared?Who knew I meant so much to Gustav?  I'm honoured!  But really, the Grandmaster must be extremely petty and have far too much time on his hands to arrange all this for me." His smile turned into a sneer, then a scowl.  "I'll not sacrifice Farrissa's life to save my own.  I am a knight and, unlike these foul Ashen, intend to behave like one.  Stay here or go, but don't follow me."

Griswold walked away from the others, staying within the crowd and looking for a friendly face. That of either Sir Roderick, Sir Hector, the Grandmaster of the Quill or Grandmaster Nurnan.
Arizima
 Player, 139 posts
 Human Warlock
 HP: 24/24 AC: 14 PP: 13
Sat 10 Mar 2018
at 19:26
Re: The Caged Bird
"Well you've been caught violating laws and customs of this land, repeatedly antagonized..."  she gives a small shrug as she looks to Kharash.  "I think he may have taken that to mean he wasn't gambling with the rest of our lives as well.  My apologies that wasn't my intent.  If anyone does want to make a swift exit now would be the time.  The more brazen he gets the more likely we end up decorating the square."

In spite of her words she doesn't make any immediate move toward the edge of the crowd instead watching the others with an apologetic smile.
GM
 GM, 469 posts
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Mon 12 Mar 2018
at 05:39
Re: The Caged Bird
Griswold has no trouble seeing the congregation of grandmasters near the edge of the crowd. They are buffered by a ring of knights from various orders. Before he has a chance to approach, Grand Inquisitor Gustav begins to speak in a loud, projecting voice. “Good citizens of the Empire, I greet you today on behalf of the Ashen Order. As you no doubt know, today is a somber day. Before you stands a girl, a sin-eater from among our very midst,” he says. The words elicits a round of jeers from the crowd. Farrissa, a sword to her back, begins to sob. Gustav gives her a quick glance before continuing. “She is not without merits. She is a competitor in the group of our own Lord Kilquist. Due to the nature of this situation, the normal trial and judgment for a sin-eater can not be held. Instead, the girl must prove her innocence in a trial by combat. In order not to endanger those present, champions must be chosen. Who will stand as champion for the accused?”, he asked pointing to Farrissa and gesturing with his open hand towards the crowd. Utter silence followed.
Arizima
 Player, 140 posts
 Human Warlock
 HP: 24/24 AC: 14 PP: 13
Tue 13 Mar 2018
at 07:37
Re: The Caged Bird
Arizima's eyes narrow at the Inquisitor's words before she glances toward Lady Inara her gaze softening slightly.  "Their plan can't be that crude can it?  Any fool with half a brain would recognize that as a pretext for murder  Why settle for one death when you can have two?  Is this simply meant to draw us out?"
Lady Inara
 NPC, 17 posts
Tue 13 Mar 2018
at 21:25
Re: The Caged Bird
Lady Inara raised an eyebrow. “Do you think such a tactic, despite its transparency, would be any less effective against your group?”, she said and gestures to Griswold. She shook her head and then abruptly left as she made eye contact with Gustav. The Grand Inquisitor gave a smile and inclined his head to Arizima. Lord Kilquist keeps his stern countenance while Roland begins to shake as if cold.
Griswold Ortmann
 Player, 268 posts
 Half-Elf
 Knight Errant
Tue 13 Mar 2018
at 23:32
Re: The Caged Bird
Griswold pushes back to the others through through the crowd.  "Gustav's a bastard!  Trial by combat is normally the purview of knightly trials.  It only comes up in common ones when the defendant is so obviously guilty that they have no other choice.  Even though it was Gustav that called for it, the crowd's going to be even more suspicious of Farrissa now.  At least he cannot participate.  Trials by combat still require the presiding judge to, uh, preside."

He looks around at everyone, "So who's going?  Considering what we know of her kind, Farrissa might actually be the best choice, but I don't think the Ashen would remove her collar.  Of course, I'll gladly answer the call, but there might be a better choice, if he doesn't mind."  The half elf looked with no uncertain terms at Kharash.  "They'll be expecting me, not a Watcher.  Your station will carry more weight in Farrissa's defence than any of ours ever could and I'm willing to bet that not even the Ashen would risk killing you in this way.  The last thing they need is an investigation by your order, let alone its retribution, should it come to that."

"Feel free to say no.  I'll understand and go instead, but I need an answer now.  Because, if it isn't one us, I'm certain Chris'll be putting his neck on the line at any moment."

Eri Sato
 Player, 45 posts
Wed 14 Mar 2018
at 13:14
Re: The Caged Bird
Eri listens with a mixture of emotions. She would stand and fight with these people but she wasn't going to champion someone she didn't know, plain and simple. Fortunately, no one seemed to expect it of her, and why should they? Stranger that she was. She was still untested in their eyes anyway and from what little she knew of her companions, they were likely more capable than she.

Her eyes dart to Kharash, waiting to see his response to Griswold's request. To be put on the spot like that...she didn't envy the man. Of course, so fearsome a figure as Kharash probably had little to dread. Still, what a complete and utter mess.
Wrenn Muernig
 Player, 160 posts
 Gnome Wizard
 HP: 14/14
Sun 18 Mar 2018
at 16:37
Re: The Caged Bird
Wrenn remained with the others, listening to their advice and conclusions. His lack of combat training clearly put him out of contention for being a champion, so he let the others decide that for themselves.
Arizima
 Player, 141 posts
 Human Warlock
 HP: 24/24 AC: 14 PP: 13
Sun 18 Mar 2018
at 17:33
Re: The Caged Bird
Arizima looks between the members of the group before giving a small sigh.  "In the worst case I could serve as a champion.  My talents function best at a distance though I do have some tools to incapacitate and drive my enemies away if the conflict would occur in a large open space.  Between those talents and the whispers of my benefactor I'll likely have slightly better odds than others if the competition is exceptionally fearsome as well.  I still likely wouldn't survive but my odds would be marginally better than those without such blessings.  If there's a chance to have her represented by two champions rather than one I'd make an excellent second candidate as well for that very reason."
Griswold Ortmann
 Player, 270 posts
 Half-Elf
 Knight Errant
Wed 21 Mar 2018
at 10:12
Re: The Caged Bird
Griswold smiles and nods at Kharash in understanding - this is not his fight and its not fair to involve the Watcher's in this.  He raises his hand and shouts: "I will!" Then turns towards the court and moves through the crowd.  His rapier now snug in its scabbard where there had been none before.

This message was last edited by the player at 10:13, Wed 21 Mar 2018.

Eri Sato
 Player, 46 posts
Wed 21 Mar 2018
at 21:33
Re: The Caged Bird
Eri watches Griswold head off and resists the urge to shake her head. She had a feeling he'd do something impulsive like that. Hopefully the man was as good with his odd, sometimes-present sword as he was with his words. She still had very little connection to these people; barely knew them actually, but considering their kindness it would be best if they didn't get run through needlessly.

She turns toward Arizima and tucks her black, neck length hair behind her ear, features smooth and expressionless. She often looked distant and faraway, focused on some matter or another, never revealing what that might be to any curious enough to ask. Now though, a faint flash of concern is visible behind the mask of calm. What are you going to do if he loses? She chooses her words carefully, not committing to anything yet. Fighting the powers that be was one thing, but she didn't want to throw her life away either.
GM
 GM, 473 posts
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Thu 22 Mar 2018
at 14:56
Re: The Caged Bird
As Griswold steps forward, Gustav smiles cruelly. He points to a section of ground near Farrissa. His words ooze contempt and smugness at the same time. "One of the champions of the festival has taken the side of a known sin-eater, one that has put a noble in danger. I applaud him for putting his own life on the line and upholding the knightly virtues. Despicable as his charge might be, we cannot forget that all deserve someone to defend them in the eyes of the gods. Now, as judge, I must ask Viscount Kilquist to declare his champion, as the Ashen Order cannot since we are conducting this trial," he says with a nod to the elder Kilquist. The crowd erupts into noise, a combination of cheers for Griswold, but quite a few jeers at him as well.

Viscount Kilquist nodded back and moved forward to address the crowd. His manner is that of a practiced statesmen. The crowd quiets as he begins to speak. "Good people of Maypole and beyond, I deeply regret that this matter has come to trouble you. I only wished to help the girl with her abilities. I see now that such is not possible. Since it is my son that brought her to endanger the public and is a key component to this trial, I declare that he, Roland Kilquist, shall stand as the people's champion and attempt to clear his honor against Sir Ortmann, recently declared and accepted in the League of the Golden Thread," he says and returns to Roland. The young man looks visibly shaken now and is brought a pair of short swords by an attendant. The crowd starts to clap in a few places.

For their part, you can see that the Grandmasters look to not be expecting this turn, the knot of them near the edge of the crowd murmuring and in heated discussion. They look split along the same lines as they did during Griswold's judgement. Gustav smiles and addresses the people, his words quick and to the point, ready to proceed with the trial. "Unless someone has evidence to overturn a trial by combat, champions, take your posts." Roland nervously moves forward and salutes Griswold with his swords.
Griswold Ortmann
 Player, 271 posts
 Half-Elf
 Knight Errant
Thu 22 Mar 2018
at 16:29
Re: The Caged Bird
Griswold draws a deep breath and shakes his head.  He calls out, apparently to Gustav, but addressing everyone.  "Inquisitor, this girl is innocent of affecting Master Kilquist."  He turns to bow before the Viscount.  "My lord, allow me to introduce myself.  I am Griswold Ortmann, knight of the League of the Golden Thread.  It was my companions and I that risked life and limb to bring your son and his friends safely home.  As such we were first to arrive at that terrible scene, that this girl stands accused of causing.  Yet here I stand ready to defend her. Why?"

"Well I shall tell you why.  There are a number of reasons.  To begin with, it is my understanding that all sin-eaters are forced to absorb magic and release it in waves of destructive force.  However, your son was possessed not attacked.  Thus the girl is simply incapable of invoking this kind of glamour.  Secondly, magic like possession requires the caster's focus over its duration and Farrissa was unconscious when we found her.  Incapable of any thoughts, let alone those complex enough to wield arcane power.  Finally, she wore the collar then that she still wears now.  It is an artefact that reduces a sin-eater's power into insignificance.  So we're supposed to believe, whilst unconscious, bereft of magic and unable to enchant people even when in full control of her faculties, that this girl somehow caused what happened to your son?  I do not think so.

"And where is the proof that she did?  I've not seen or heard anything but accusations."

"All this and more is known to the Ashen Order and yet they still pursue her.  Why?  Only because of what she is.  Yet,"
the half-elf turned back with an accusative, piercing stare at the Inquisitor, "as much as some would like us to believe otherwise, in this glorious country of ours where it is a knight's sworn duty to protect the innocent and uphold the laws of the land, believe it or not being a sin-eater is not a crime."

Griswold drew his rapier and faced Roland.

"I mean your son no ill will, Viscount.  If I did I could have let him die in the ruins.  However, I am a knight.  And I will do my duty."

He saluted his opponent.

One last attempt on Griswold's part to convince the world and his wife that Farrissa is innocent.

Persuasion: I'm going to spend my one use token/coin thing to get a natural 20 on this persuasion roll.  Total persuasion = 24.

This message was last edited by the player at 16:35, Thu 22 Mar 2018.

Wrenn Muernig
 Player, 162 posts
 Gnome Wizard
 HP: 14/14
Thu 22 Mar 2018
at 16:32
Re: The Caged Bird
Wrenn stood by and watched the proceedings. He seemed a bundle of nerves right up until the point that Roland was named the champion, at which point Wrenn became absolutely still, focusing on the proceedings before them.
GM
 GM, 475 posts
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Sun 25 Mar 2018
at 13:40
Re: The Caged Bird
As Griswold speaks a few things begin to happen. The Grand Inquisitor's face set in a hard, measured expression that conveyed his irritation at the young knight and at the growing commotion around the crowd. The mob has begun to be slathered into a frenzy. Arguments abound, with people both for, and now against, Farrissa's death. The argument break out into a few fights and many town watch have to come in to break up the worst of it. It is at this point that Whisper, joined by Sir Roderick and Sir Hector, approach Sir Gustav and the Viscount.

Though you can't see past her mask, the conversation is low and heated. With a quick flourish of her hand, Whisper made a signal to the two knights, who scoop up Farrissa and begin to haul her away. They are delicate but firm with her as she is escorted away. Whisper quickly turned to the crowd and held up her hands. Calm spread over the crowd as only the commanding presence of a Rose can do. Her voice rang out.

"Good people, hear me! As is my right as a Rose, I have stopped this trial and committed it for further investigation. Fear not! You are in no danger from the Ashen Order or the girl. She will be taken to the capitol and tried there. Go back to your day," she finishes. The crowd begins to slowly disperse after she finishes. Viscount Kilquist looks as if nothing has changed, though Roland is visibly relieved.

Whisper goes back to the Grand Inquisitor, but before she does, she gestures to Griswold to go back to the crowd and the rest of the group.
Griswold Ortmann
 Player, 272 posts
 Half-Elf
 Knight Errant
Sun 25 Mar 2018
at 18:58
Re: The Caged Bird
The confusion on Griswold's face is plain to see as he returned to the others.  "Well, that was unexpected.  I honestly don't know if that's a good thing for Farrissa or not.  Regardless, I guess things have advanced beyond just buying her contract now.  Lady Arizima, Master Wrenn - I'll pay you back later."
Wrenn Muernig
 Player, 163 posts
 Gnome Wizard
 HP: 14/14
Mon 26 Mar 2018
at 00:16
Re: The Caged Bird
"You'll not be paying me back. Money well spent, I say."
Arizima
 Player, 142 posts
 Human Warlock
 HP: 24/24 AC: 14 PP: 13
Mon 26 Mar 2018
at 01:47
Re: The Caged Bird
Arizima shakes her head seemingly unconcerned.  "I gave you what?  Five golden coins.  I'm not particularly worried about it."

She pauses as if in thought before looking toward Whisper and the Grand Inquisitor.  "It's difficult to say what will come of this.  If I had to wager innocent blood will be spilled one way or another before her fate is decided.  See how the Viscount does not seem to be relieved?  The Inquisitor was quite dead-set on punishing all those involved in this little drama regardless of the outcome of the trial... Excuse the pun." 

She sighs and runs a hand through her hair a contemplative look settling across her face.  "Now that this simple ambush has failed he'll begin looking for another way to bring harm to those that have slighted him and those that are an affront to his eyes.  He certainly doesn't seem to be the type of man to release a grudge.  Wherever we choose to travel in the wake of this festival I'd suggest loudly planning to leave in a different direction.  I would put good coin on some rather well equipped 'bandits' and 'cutthroats' waiting for us in whatever direction we're believed to travel."
Eri Sato
 Player, 47 posts
Mon 26 Mar 2018
at 17:30
Re: The Caged Bird
When the crowd starts to go into a frenzy, Eri grips her spear with white knuckles, her heart pounding violently. Her face goes white and to anyone who would have noticed her, there is something akin to panic in her eyes, though her expression is just as calm as it's ever been. Every muscle is stiff, ready to move as soon as the need arises, which, thankfully, it doesn't.

As Whisper calms the crowd, Eri fights to keep her knees from trembling with relief. She well knew what a rabid crowd could do. Was this what it had been like for Jun and the others? Were they even aware of each other, in the end? It would have been easy to get lost in such a swarm of madness. No. She couldn't dwell on it now. Not now!

As the situation levels out and the others begin to converse about plans, the color slowly returns to her face and her heart starts to slow. She can't bring herself to speak though. Not yet, and though her face is seemingly expressionless, her hand never loosens on the shaft of her spear, her hand aches from how tight she grips it. All she can manage is a slight nod at Arizima's words.
GM
 GM, 476 posts
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Thu 29 Mar 2018
at 00:45
Re: The Caged Bird
Whisper approached the group a few minutes after a good portion of the mob dispurses. Her voice is hushed and firm. “This will not sit well. You need to leave. Don’t worry about the girl. She will be safe until this blows over. Gustav will not forgive my intervention in the trial. Whatever your plan is, keep it quiet. I bid you a safe journey. Gather your things and depart in the morning,” she says and quickly leaves.

OOC: Time to pick your next quest! Post your decision in the Chapter 2 thread.